The number of Vancouver brokers taking a second job outside the mortgage biz is on the upswing, say seasoned professionals, as the competition for a falling number of originations heats up and newbies find themselves without the established portfolios needed to grow referrals and refinances.
“A lot of people looked at broking in the last boom as very lucrative and they entered the market thinking that the money was always just going to flow in,” Luisa Hough, owner/broker of Exclusive Mortgage Professionals in Surrey, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “The market has now slowed, and it hasn’t worked out for them and they find themselves in a tough situation.”
A number of those relatively new entrants are now seeking part-time employment outside of brokering, a survival strategy meant to make up for the falling number of new purchases in the Vancouver area, according to several industry veterans. Some are pegging the attrition rate as high as 7 per cent to 9 per cent of the more than 100 mortgage professionals who entered the market after 2008, when sales began to claw their way up to 35,669. It means that by Dec. 2008, Vancouver had bettered the recession-battered performance of the previous year by 44.8 per cent. The change in fortune led to what many brokers are now calling a super-saturated market of mortgage professionals.
Those new agents are largely without the deep client portfolios more experienced brokers are actively drawing on for refinances, second mortgages and other secondary transactions. They’re not prepared to leave the business entirely, pinning hopes on the return to a more-active market as the B.C. economy capitalizes on increased global demand for its natural resources.
But any strategy that would see an agent turn to brokering part-time may be problematic, said another brokerage head working the Lower Mainland.
“It’s very common: working part-time,” Trish Pigott, of Verico Primex Mortgages in Coquitlam, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “But as a broker in this market, you have to be on the top of your game. If you’re starting to look for work in another area, you’re not spending the time to keep on top of industry trends and the market or investing the time to grow your business. I don’t know that you can adequately serve clients.”
Both she and Hough are suggesting new brokers thinking about part-time work outside the field first seek out mentors, a way of gaining the kind of guidance necessary to weather a slower sales market.
“There are opportunities out there,” said Hough. “I’ve been in this business for eight years and every day I’m out there looking to see how I can get business. That’s how this business works.”