Unlike a vast majority of finance industry professionals, Rebecca Awram, mortgage advisor at DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts, did not find her earliest days in the industry to be the most difficult part of her decade-long career.
Her secret? Being well-capitalized and having a plan, which she says “makes all the difference.”
“It’s like starting a small business, and like all small businesses, you should not necessarily expect to turn a strong profit in your first few months. Or even in your first couple years, if you’re reinvesting and building,” Awram told MBN.
Awram recounted starting slowly and comfortably, not being in a mad rush to make “the proverbial ten calls a day.”
“I’d say my biggest challenge in those first couple of years was not having any type of mentorship,” Awram said. “In hindsight, I wish I’d started somewhere with stronger resources in place for new brokers.”
Fortunately, her natural conscientiousness served her well during this phase.
“Initiative goes a long way, and I did read everything I could, drove all of my [business development managers] crazy with my incessant questions, and went to every industry event/seminar/conference.”
This hunger for knowledge has honed Awram’s skills in two essentially unrelated areas – new construction/pre-sales and mortgages for seniors – to a fine edge. The focus on serving seniors was more of a product of serendipity than anything else.
“When I first started in this industry, my parents were determined to refer everyone they knew to me, and the over-65 demographic was quickly over-represented in my book of business,” Awram said. “I developed a website just for seniors’ mortgages and I still use the same one to this day, with a singular focus on options for that specific strata of borrower.”
As for the development side, Awram said that she has dedicated years to deepening her developer relationships and contacts, although “it is not an easy niche to grow and not one that yields quick results.”
“Fortunately I was with a brokerage that had a unique legacy program for extended firm approvals (a builder rate cap program), not available to many brokers in our industry,” Awram said. “I saw it as an opportunity to grow in a space that not many others were seeking to expand in.”
Awram said that this ethos of continuous learning has helped her throughout her career so far.
“In a couple of years, I will look back on 2020 and wish I’d known now what I’ll know by then. It's inevitable,” Awram said. “So I seize all learning opportunities. Even if my takeaway was only one small nugget, it was worth all the effort. I don’t know what I don’t know. But I hope to learn it.”