OMJ Mortgage Capital
Years as a commercial broker: 16
Sales volume in 2015: $60 million
Totals deals in 2015: 30
CMP: What made you go into commercial mortgages rather than residential?
Omid Jalili: I started in the industry as a residential broker, but most of my savvy clients started getting involved in real estate development and commercial investments. I got married in 2003, and my wife was a commercial banking lender. She left her bank, and together we formed a boutique brokerage, OMJ Mortgage Capital. It was a perfect niche with little competition, as most brokers at the time focused on residential. Our expertise in the commercial markets led us toward specializing as commercial brokers and the nickname ‘Doctor Finance.’
CMP: What are your main challenges as a commercial broker in 2016?
OJ: Banks and appraisal companies. They continue to be our biggest challenges. Banks have been more conservative over the last few years due to tighter lending policies. Another challenge is the appraisal companies, due to the dramatic increase in real estate pricing over the last year. There is a big gap between the market approach and income approach when it comes to property evaluation. Comparable sale prices have increased much more dramatically than actual rental income due to high demand for commercial properties and plazas in the GTA.
CMP: Has your business been affected by the volatility in the economy?
OJ: When the market is strong, our business is strong, as investors are continuing to purchase property. When the market is weak, consumers still require financing, and our business is still strong. Consumers are always in need of funds, whether they are for a new purchase or an equity take-out. We have been busiest in the last three years due to all the development projects.
CMP: How have you relied on changing technology in your business?
OJ: Everything is more smartphone-friendly and web-based – from our website to social media to online marketing. Also, technology in our industry is being used to facilitate smoother transactions and improve communication with past customers and lenders.
CMP: What advice would you offer to a young broker entering the commercial space?
OJ: My advice is to get mentored by an industry veteran, as commercial deals are more complicated. It requires deep analysis of tenants, cash flow and financial statements. In the commercial industry, knowledge is strength.
CMP: What are the main targets for your business going forward?
OJ: I want to continue to excel in providing our clients with sound advice and ensuring their deals gets packaged for approval while negotiating the best rates and terms for them. Also, I want to maintain strong relationships with our lenders, both institutional and private, as well as growing our online presence in the market.