The harder you work, the luckier you get
Years as a commercial broker: 42
Loans closed in 2014: 57
Location: Thornhill, Ont.
CMP: Why did you get into the commercial mortgage space?
It was more challenging and more lucrative. It was also more interesting, because there are so many different types of deals. Special purpose, condos, funeral homes – every deal is different. Clients are different than residential clients; they’re more sophis-ticated. It’s just a more interesting market to be in. And it’s more profitable.
CMP: What would you say to a residential broker trying to break into the commercial side?
The most important thing is getting in the business. And of course, as a broker, you have to be reliable and know what you’re doing. If you don’t – if you’re new in the business – find a more experienced broker who can teach you the ropes.
CMP: What’s the secret to building a successful business?
Your marketing plan. I believe in the human touch. Still, after 42 years, I call builders and developers and Realtors – everybody who’s related to real estate – and introduce myself. On each file, after I’ve done a deal, I’ll call all the people related to the client – lawyers, accountants and such.
I think it’s important to introduce yourself to new business all the time to keep business rolling in, even though you have your existing repeat business and referrals. Keep good communication. Have a database, and send communication so the clients feel like they get to know you.
CMP: And how do you find new business?
Basically, it’s calling, emailing, meeting in person. Just contact with potential borrowers or people who can refer potential borrowers. And keeping in touch with people is very important. I call it the ‘Chinese torture method’ – like a drop of water going over and over until they get it into their brain!
CMP: How can commercial brokerages stand out from the pack in today’s market?
It’s sort of the same thing. It’s all about getting business, which is a numbers game. The harder you work, the luckier you get. If you put in the work and contact more people, you’re going to get more business.
Have good relationships with the lenders, be they institutional or private. Make sure you understand their policies and what kind of deals they’re looking for, so when you get a deal you know which lenders to target.
Put together proper packages. I get business from a lot of other mortgage brokers, and it’s quite appalling, actually, the amount of misinformation they send. You should have a checklist of documentation that’s required on a deal and make sure you get all of it.
CMP: What’s the most important thing a commercial broker can do to grow his or her business?
You’ve got to get the business in, and you’ve got to get it approved. Think of all the obstacles you may have to overcome, and see if you already have answers to overcome the objections before they arrive.
CMP: Are today’s market conditions a boon for the commercial space or a challenge?
We have found that we’re busier, actually. Year over year, the last three years were busier each year. Because we’re in Toronto, there’s been a lot of development. Toronto is a good, expanding city.
We do business all over Ontario, and the market conditions, I think, are strong. Values are continuing to rise, and rates are continuing to drop, so things are better than ever.
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