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The Big Story: Don't hate the storefront

James Laird takes on a guided tour of one of True North's Storefronts -- and addresses common criticisms.

Video transcript below:

Reporter: Many brokers are critical of True North’s glitzy storefronts and hey do they really bring in the walk ins? But hold your fire. James Laird takes that criticism on a guided tour this week on the Big Story.

Critics of True North storefronts talk about high overheads and saturation in one pricey neighbourhood. Some of that might be true, some of its not.

James Laird, COO, True North Mortgage

James Laird: There is some truths in the common criticisms people in the industry have, the leases are hard to acquire, the build out is expensive and the rents are high. All of our offices in Toronto and other major cities are located fairly close to each other. That’s because we insist on being in the financial core of each major city where all the best customers are. So that’s really more of a strategy for us.

So we picture ourselves as somewhere between a bank and a brokerage. So we need the convenient downtown of locations that our customers want, but also services and the rates that only a broker can provide. 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. So overall walk ins account for 30 to 40% of our overall business. We can count on 5 to 7 good walk ins each day.

  • The Big Story: Housing market snapshot The Big Story: Housing market snapshot (views 14092)

    It’s been an ongoing debate for a while now. Housing bubble – no housing bubble. The latest numbers support the idea that the Canadian housing market will have a soft landing in 2012. In January, CREA reported that sales activity was down for the first time since August of 2011, while prices increased by a modest two per cent year-over-year. Forecasts for economic and job growth going forward vary widely for different parts of the country, meaning some markets may soften while others pick up. For experienced brokers, continuing to work with Realtor partners may be one key to surviving any drop-off in the market. As well, people will continue to buy, refinance and renew. So regardless of what the market may or may not do, brokers need to continue to show clients why brokers are an integral part of the home-buying purchase. On today’s Big Story, we spoke to mortgage broker Paula Roberts and mortgage agent Dena Kakaletris of The Roberts Group-Dominion Lending Centres. Find out on today’s