A 13-year veteran is actively contemplating a career switch to real estate appraisal, blaming a slowdown but also the loss of a competitive edge due to the FirstLine closure.
“I love being a mortgage broker,” J. Darren Ings, of Centum Advantage Financial Group Inc., in PEI, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “It is a very rewarding profession and much of what I’ve built came from it. But business is just drying up.”
If he does leave the profession, the long-time broker will be following the lead of many newer agents who have left the industry because of the tightening market.
Ings is not the first mortgage broker to air concerns over the future of the industry. His comments come after relicensing in Ontario and the loss of hundreds of agents.
By contrast, Ings has been a broker for more than a decade, although, like an increasing number of brokers now moving to diversify their revenue streams, he also became a real estate appraiser in 2005.
“Taking the real estate appraiser course was part of my Plan B,” he said. “But it looks like Plan A has fallen apart.”
Ings is currently offering real estate appraisal services, and his business partner, also a broker is dually qualified – and working – as a Realtor.
“I consider us lucky because we were able to plan ahead,” said Ings. “But I believe many other brokers are considering the move we made.”
MortgageBrokerNews.ca reported on the reverse trend last year, with Realtors moving to get their mortgage agent licenses – something many brokers objected to.
In Ings case, with CIBC shutting down FLM, he believes the mortgage side of his business will further suffer.
“FirstLine’s product line enabled me to compete not on rates alone,” he said. “Without FirstLine products to back me up, I’ve lost my advantage against the banks.
“This could be the one that breaks the camel’s back.”
What he liked about FLM was their wide product selection that provided brokers with greater flexibility.
Ings points to, among other products, the mono-line’s Homeowners Advantage Program, which provided clients with up to $10,000 worth of free home repair services annually.