This very publication may have prematurely announced the death of the mortgage broker storefront, with at least one broker pointing to the strong traffic that model continues to win him.
“I have a storefront on a corner location and I have a lot of signage to advertise rates on the front lawn,” Brian Lambert, a Barrie-based broker with Real Mortgage Associates told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “I’m looking to get a scrolling LED message board that will list rates for people who stop at the lights.”
Lambert says he has found the perfect location to draw in curious customers, though he admits that it takes the right balance of location and reasonable rent. Being in Barrie has helped with the latter.
“I don’t understand why brokers shy away from storefronts; 50 per cent of my business is from walk-ins,” Lambert said. “It’s really about searching for the right location – I searched for one for years.”
Lambert isn’t the only one who relies on storefronts to bring in potential customers. True North Mortgage has built their business on the model and it continues to bring the nation-wide broker success.
“For us to provide the rock bottom rates that the hyper competitive down town customer requires, we do need these stores to attract the volume,” James Laird, COO of True North Mortgage said on MBN TV last summer. “So overall walk ins account for 30 to 40 per cent of our overall business; we can count on 5 to 7 good walk ins each day.”
However, not every store draws those numbers.
“If I had to rely on all my business coming in from walk-ins I would have closed my business a long time ago,” Terry Kilakos of North East Mortgages told MortgageBrokerNews.ca last August. “Maybe we’ll get one a week or one every couple of weeks that will actually walk in, on average. Maybe it’s not bad for some but it’s not great for us.”
Closing time: Moving the storefront online
Storefront brokerages an expensive lesson