What Does A Commercial Broker Do?

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What Does A Commercial Broker Do?

What Does A Commercial Broker Do?

Scott West introduces the company and talks us through the role of a commercial broker.

What does a commercial finance broker do?

It’s a fairly generic term so I tend to break it down into two areas. Retail brokers will connect you with finance brands you’ll have heard of, like Santander, Halifax, The Mortgage Works. As a client, if you’ve got standard income, a standard property and a standard credit report you will probably fit that retail category.

But if any one of those three things, your credit circumstances, your income or your property are not standard, that’s where a commercial broker becomes really valuable. It depends which one of those three things is the sticking point. If it’s a unique property there are certain lenders we will go to; if it’s the credit or your income, other lenders will give you a better deal or they will take a view on what is or isn’t poor credit. 

Essentially, we take a commercial view of the deal. You’re probably still a very good customer. You’ve probably got the right income and property, but perhaps you missed a payment on your phone bill two months ago. Our job is to take that commercial view and present you to a lender as profitable or valuable to them.

Why would I need to speak to a commercial broker like Propertyze?

It depends what your circumstances are and what you’re looking to achieve. You might be looking to make a career out of property and gain a full-time income from it, in which case a commercial broker can give you the advice, guidance and contacts you might need to do that. 

For example, we can help you source properties through our various contacts, give you contacts with solicitors, find valuers if you want to get appraisals done privately and discuss your business plans with lenders. 

Some people want five or six properties to replace their income, while others want to build an empire, with a very large property portfolio generating significant income. It could mean you could retire with your spouse and create wealth for your children, and even allow long-term bloodline income planning for the next three or four generations. 

Where you sit on that scale will drive what we can do for you. But the first thing we do is sit down and have a chat with you about what you want to achieve. The biggest hurdle we have is that people don’t know what they don’t know. 

It’s a bit of a corny saying, but it really applies to what I do. I might sit down with somebody for the first meeting and they say they want a Buy to Let in their own name at 50% Loan to Value. We can give you a solution to make that work. But there may also be a different solution to make that money work better – to deliver a better yield and a return on your investment. 

People often haven’t thought about that. Some are comfortable being on the lower end of the scale, while others are hungry to explore all the options and get the best possible return. We demonstrate how people can make an informed decision. So the service we offer is fully holistic.

What kind of service can I expect? What keeps clients coming back to you?

Those two things are linked. The service we provide is tailored to the individuals we meet. We can just help you purchase or refinance one or two properties, and we’ll touch base with you every six months with an update on the market. We’ll see if we can help you, but otherwise leave you to it. 

Or if you’ve got large portfolios like some of my clients, you might need support on a weekly basis – sometimes even daily – because there are so many moving parts. We’re refinancing some, we’re buying new ones, we’re refurbishing others. Those clients have a very hands-on relationship with us. I’ve got several clients that I speak to three or four times a week. 

So our service can range from transactional, which is not my preferred method, where we can mortgage a property or raise capital. I prefer an ongoing relationship, where we take you from a business plan, reviewing what you’ve currently got. Can we make it cheaper? Can we make it better? Are you with a lender that was maybe very competitive originally but is quite archaic? 

Those are the first things we look at for a client’s portfolio. We will also manage the legal side of things, the valuer, the lender… and in some cases we’ll manage the client – chasing them up to ensure everything performs for them. Even though on paper, we are just the broker that sits in the middle, we actually manage everything throughout that process.

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You’re based in Hampshire but can you help someone based elsewhere in the country? 

Actually I don’t think I have any clients in Hampshire! We work with anybody in the UK and outside it, where they might be expats who own UK properties. We help them with their financing.

We also work with foreign nationals in other countries who want to invest in the UK or the rest of the world. Our clients can be anywhere, with properties anywhere. We’ll cover it all.

Being able to email and Whatsapp people has totally changed the way we work. With different time zones it’s impractical to schedule a call sometimes. I can just drop onto Whatsapp and they’ll respond when it’s appropriate – and the same with email. It’s quite a fluid way of working and can be instantaneous. I could be heading to a meeting on the train while working with clients all over the world.

When was Propertyze founded and how long have you been in the industry?

Propertyze came into being in summer 2020 when I officially moved to self-employment and started doing this myself. That came on the back of working for a very large Buy to Let brokerage in Surrey. While that gave me a fantastic leg up, I realised there were aspects of my work that I could be doing better. I could be providing a much wider service for my clients, but not in that set environment. 

So we’ve been going for almost two and a half years and it’s going from strength to strength. I started in finance in 2014, working for a very large bank on their leasing side. I moved into financial advice shortly after that. I covered pensions, investments, protection, wealth management and the tax relief side of things to help clients maximise their incomes. 

We particularly aimed our services at ‘middle wealth’ families that had a good income of around £100,000 or £150,000 – but not quite enough to give them the lifestyles they wanted. We had to work really cleverly to maximise each client’s incomes and investment allowances to help them put their children through private school. It meant creative thinking, problem solving and very commercially reviewing the client’s circumstances. And that’s where my love of financial problem solving came from.

Does it cost for an initial consultation with you?

A lot of people are put off by the idea of paying fees, but there’s a lot to be said for it, because too many people expect things for free and to get immediate gratification. Having said that, our initial consultation is free. 

We will have a very frank chat with you about your circumstances and goals. Within that 15-20 minute conversation I can establish whether it’s worthwhile having a further, more in-depth chat, or whether we should outline the next steps to take and catch up in six months’ time when you’re ready.  If we do then proceed on to further work, we’ll discuss how it works and agree on the fee.

Note, too, that because we are a commercial broker we’re not limited to property. We can finance anything – art, watches, boats, fancy cars, holiday homes and more.  We can get you the finance for business acquisitions, or raise money in your company for cash flow purposes, to fund developments and build ground up properties. If it can be financed, we can probably help you with it.