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The science of mortgages – advising in the time of the lockdown

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I’ve been a local mortgage adviser in the Stroud area for more than 15 years, writes Stephen Thatcher. 

Before March 2020, every time I received an enquiry, I would go and meet my clients face-to-face to discuss their current situation and to see how I could help them buy or re-mortgage their home.  I could then search from my panel of over sixty different lenders to find the right product for them.

When the first lock-down happened, this was now no longer possible.  My business could either stall, or I could find a way around this.

The most important thing was, however, not to lose what was the most important philosophy behind my business.  I’d built my success around explaining mortgages in a way that even I would have understood all those years ago when I bought my first home, knowing nothing about the subject.

How could I keep the personal service in a world of technology?

Putting an online enquiry form was the first stage.  

Clients can now go to my website and complete a simple online form, giving me enough information to start the process.  

I can then research all of my lender’s affordability calculators, check their criteria (especially important at the moment) and find a suitable product for them.

I then record a personalised video to go through my clients’ options which I embed into an email for them to watch at their own convenience.

I have also embraced the world of Zoom, making sure that I was used to the embarrassment of being on camera as quickly as I could.  If there was a zoom event, I was on it!  It’s now second nature to me.

Once my clients have input their details, and watched their personalised video, we can then either have a phone call (not everyone is as happy with Zoom as I am!) or a Zoom meeting.  We can do that at a convenient time for them.  They can deal with work, children and their own lives and then we can talk!  No taking time off work, no pre-visit housework and no having to make me a cup of tea!

Once they are ready to go ahead, I have now set up new secure document-upload systems to make sure that I have everything ready for the lender when I submit the application.

Again, I can email personalised videos going through product illustrations and protection information to keep my clients completely informed.

I have even started my own YouTube channel!  Who’d have thought that a year ago?  I have made a series of videos explaining many aspects of the world of mortgages, to help my clients make the right decision and choices for what is possibly their biggest financial commitment of all time.

My next plan is for a Facebook live event every week.  Starting in April, every Tuesday at 6.30 in the evening, I shall be available, live on Facebook to discuss any questions that anyone might have about any aspect of the world of mortgages.  

Whilst it’s a huge shame, and I very much miss seeing my clients face to face, I can still advise as personally and professionally to maintain the highest service possible.If you would like any help or advice on your mortgage, please visit my website www.stephenthatcher.co.uk complete my online form or contact-page, then let me do the rest!

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