By Carrie Cosgrove
From big name banks to local estate agents and solicitors, relationships are key for any mortgage advisor.
But for Paul Good, the most important relationships are with his clients.
The owner of Stockton-based Good Mortgage Solutions explains: “Most of the people we see come to us with some sort of problem to solve. Maybe they’ve got a low credit score or they’re self-employed and only have a year’s accounts.
“Our ethos is ‘Working with you, for you’, so it’s our job to sit down with our clients and take the time to really understand their circumstances. That’s how we determine which lenders are most likely to accept them and which of those lenders’ products would benefit them most.
“I recently helped a client to save over £200 a month – that’s a family holiday each year.”
It’s not just about saving people money though. Having worked in various roles in the industry since 2002, Paul had developed a unique understanding of purchasing and remortgaging processes.
In 2014, he established Good Mortgage Solutions to help guide clients through from day one to completion.
Understanding how estate agents, solicitors and lenders work means that the Good Mortgage Solutions team can project manage the process of buying a property.
“We know the industry inside out, whereas most people rarely remortgage and many people will only buy one house in their lifetime,” says Paul. “So we talk them through what needs to happen at each stage.
Then we do whatever we can to make that journey as smooth as possible for them.”
Of course, there will always be some unavoidable bumps along the way – when a surveyor values a property at less than the estate agent, for example. For Paul and his Stockton-based team, the trick to overcoming these hurdles is proactive communication.
They keep in regular contact with everyone involved, so that they can deal with any issues that crop up quickly and efficiently.
Helping clients to see the bigger picture is the team’s priority, which is one reason why Paul isn’t concerned by the growing popularity of online comparison sites.
He explains: “At a glance, it’s easy to be swayed by low interest rates, but finding the right mortgage for you requires a lot more than a few calculations.
“Low interest doesn’t always mean that the product is cheaper overall, as there can be some hefty fees involved – and they’re difficult to compare online when different lenders give them different names. It all depends on your circumstances.”
That’s why any potential customers should be prepared to discuss not only their current situation, but also their plans for the future.
Paul continues: “We see a lot of first time buyers, and we often meet them several months before they’re in a position to proceed. We help them to understand what steps they need to take to get there and to work out a budget that’s actually realistic for them, not just for now but longer term too.”
And determining a budget is a big responsibility for any mortgage broker.
There are some standard affordability checks involved, of course, but for Paul and his team there’s much more to it. There are a lot of “what ifs” to consider before a recommendation is made.
So what’s next for Good Mortgage Solutions? More of the same, according to Paul.
Speaking about the Brexit-shaped challenge ahead, his reasoning is sound: “No one knows what will happen, but people will always want to buy houses. Even when the market crashed in 2008, people still needed advice.
“And for me, there’s nothing more rewarding than sitting down with someone, hearing their story, then helping them get the keys to their dream home.”