In the summertime when the weather is hot, you can stretch right up and touch the sky. When the weather’s fine, you got mortgages, you got mortgages on your mind.
Perhaps not quite the same as what Mungo Jerry wrote, but I thought it a good way to start this article. This is because, this summertime, you should be planning ahead, looking at your prospective deal-flow, working your client book to ensure you’re fully aware of those clients which are coming up for renewal, how far in advance they should be contacted, and whether they’re fully aware of all the services you’re able to provide them with.
Take the buy-to-let market, for instance. A sector which – despite our best efforts – tends to have a real ebb and flow throughout the year when it comes to business being written, and rather importantly, the needs of landlord clients.
According to the latest statistics from CACI, buy-to-let mortgage maturities are likely to spike in October this year, jumping between £1.9bn in July to £1.8bn in August, to £1.3bn in September, and hitting a peak of £2.5bn in October.
That’s a significant jump and a lot of business that could potentially be up for grabs. Let’s not forget that advisers aren’t just competing with their advisory peer group, but when it comes to retention, they will face plenty of competition from many lenders who are not so inextricably linked with the intermediary sector, and may well be doing all they can to facilitate a product transfer without any advisory involvement.
The debate around ‘who owns the client?’ continues to develop, and advisers should be acutely aware of the resource and investment many of the main high-street operators, for example, put into securing this business direct.
Putting that to the side though, even if advisers are having to compete against such lenders, there is plenty that can be done to ensure the client knows exactly where to come when that remortgage/refinance requirement comes into view. For instance, we are just a few short months away from October and therefore the likelihood is that these clients with product maturities are going to be looking at and reviewing their options right now.
Indeed, they may also be looking to release equity built up in these properties in order to add to portfolios, so this might not just herald a simple remortgage opportunity for advisers, but also one that leads onto a purchase. And of course, as advisers should be finding out, contacting the client after two/three/five years (possibly even longer) does often mean a considerable change in circumstances.
This means that a whole new range of services and products might be required, especially given the level of change the landlord could have experienced in recent times. Understanding how, and being able to help, a landlord client as they perhaps seek to reshape their portfolios or their individual investments, could herald a raft of business opportunities for advisers which go far beyond a remortgage.
However, the important point here, is to make client contact early enough, and to get to the bottom of their needs and requirements, quickly. The longer you leave it, the greater chance they’ll either opt for their existing lenders’ options – which might be wholly unsuitable if, as likely, their circumstances have changed – or they could try to do it themselves, or they could go to a competitor firm whose marketing messages have hit home.
None of these outcomes will be satisfactory for you, the adviser, especially as you were in the driving seat having provided that initial service, and having all the data at your disposal in order to retain that client. Missing out on that opportunity is pretty criminal behaviour and, to avoid that penalty, make sure you use your summertime wisely and have buy to let on your mind.
Jeff Knight is director of marketing at Foundation Home Loans