Have you considered joining a large network?
We’ve been mortgage brokers for 10 years, five years as independent and five years with a national brokerage, so we have seen both sides of the coin. We had initially joined a national brokerage with the hopes of receiving ongoing training, support, camaraderie, but we received little of that. In fact, we experienced fellow brokers stealing our clients, having to train ourselves, and figuring things out on our own. So, since we had to become self-sufficient anyway, we decided to leave that brokerage and start our own firm. That brokerage tried to scare us into staying by threatening that we wouldn’t survive the year as an independent, yet here we are five years later.
How do you think independent brokerages can continue to thrive in today’s market?
Five to 10 years ago, it was all about volume and the lender’s commission structure was set up for that. Today, with more and more lenders offering “trailer fee” programs, an independent brokerage can earn just as much as they would if they were with a national brokerage, you just have to have a long-term mindset and not be in business for a quick buck.
At, the end of the day, the client only wants their problem solved: find me a good mortgage that meets my needs. If we can provide that, the logo on the broker’s card is irrelevant to the client.
What advice would you offer to brokers who would like to set up an independent brokerage?
Becoming independent will require a good business plan and an initial financial investment to set up a good website, rent and renovate office space, have signage, etc.
It is also extremely important to stay focussed on your mortgage business and avoid getting side-tracked in other unrelated businesses.