Why you should plan ahead to get ahead
Mortgage broker Francis Raymond has come full circle since his first investment back in the early 90s. At the time he was working in the hospitality industry, living the frenetic high-life of many 30-somethings.
“It was a ‘Friday I’m a millionaire, Monday I’m a pauper’ lifestyle,” says Francis. So his father decided to intervene, encouraging him to invest in property.
“Unfortunately it was terrible timing,” says Francis. He and a friend purchased an Eastern suburbs property right before the 1990s recession.
“Suddenly the manageable 7% interest rate rose to 19% practically overnight,” says Francis. As did his stress levels.
“I had this incredible pain in my stomach, thinking it was appendicitis,” says Francis. “The doctor said ‘There’s nothing actually wrong with you, other than you are the most stressed person that’s been in my office this month’”.
So Francis sold the property for less than the purchase price. “It was a steep learning curve about property and prices.”
As fate has it, after years working in the hospitality industry, Francis pursued the very career where he could apply this life lesson – mortgage broking. For him, it was the perfect role to continue to help people, while enjoying a more balanced lifestyle.
“I love working with people to achieve their goals.” he says. “Every person has a unique problem we’re trying to solve and it’s so rewarding when we can get the ideal result for them in a timely manner.”
I go to Macquarie because they listen. They take the time to get to know the individual and understand it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ market.
Achieving this is all about establishing trusting relationships, which includes reliable connections with lenders.
“It can be challenging at times,” says Francis. “At some banks we might deal with a new person with each element of the process, meaning we have to explain things over and over again.”
This can be incredibly time-consuming for brokers and the client; and problematic when approvals are needed in a hurry, which is why Francis relies on the Macquarie Home Loan team.
“We’ve been really lucky with dependable relationships with Macquarie,” says Francis. “Dealing with the same person from start to finish makes a world of difference.”
A regular conundrum Francis sees is clients who don’t fit the traditional borrower profile (such as those who are self-employed).
“A lot of banks are rigid: they see things in black and white without giving the borrower the opportunity to prove their ability to honour the loan,” says Francis. “But I go to Macquarie because they listen. They take the time to get to know the individual and their history and understand it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ market anymore.”
For example when Francis’ client, an entrepreneur, wanted to buy his first home at the age of 69 people were saying ‘don’t bother, you’re too old’.
“So we worked with the history of his business financials and the projected household spending for the next seven years,” says Francis. Macquarie approved the loan. “It’s all about proving their financial viability,” says Francis. “You need to meet the lender’s needs too.”
Having confidence in the lender makes the hard work worthwhile. “We really try to go that extra mile to make things happen for our clients,” says Francis. “Which is bolstered by our relationship with Macquarie.”
With over 17 years in the industry, Francis has seen it all and knows the right recipe for achieving life’s financial goals.
“It’s about understanding the market, seizing opportunities and working within your means,” he says. A lesson he’s learnt and applied. In the mid-90s he and his wife Leanne purchased a property in Freshwater which they still live in today with their two sons.
“My wife looks after our family finances. She is totally risk averse,” he says. “So besides our home loan we’ve never borrowed money for anything.”
He says it’s important to adjust your lifestyle to achieve your goals – and to have a contingency in place. “You’ve got to expect adversity and plan for when things go pear-shaped,” he says. “And to know when to seek help from the experts.”
Now the plan is to have a ‘soft landing’ in retirement by making calculated moves with their super – but under the watchful eye of Leanne.