As some of my clients are in the real estate industry, I first stumbled on Leah Coss’s website one day looking for interesting articles about Real Estate. What I found was her really entertaining blog about (sorry Leah...) a usually pretty boring subject (however, really important to anyone who owns a home), mortgages. I was amazed how she had managed to use video blogging (vlogging) to talk about her business as a mortgage broker in a way that totally connected with me and made it really interesting. She’s natural, energetic and provides valuable information. She’s definitely knowledgeable about her trade and she knows how to use her personality and skills in her videos to connect with her audience. I encourage you to check out her website to see what I'm talking about.
Here's what Leah had to say...
Question: What is a Mortgage Planner and what is the difference between doing business with you versus a local bank?
Answer: A Mortgage Planner (or Mortgage Broker) is someone who specializes in strictly obtaining mortgage products for consumers. It is just like going to the bank for a mortgage, except when you go to a Mortgage Broker you are going to 40+ banks.
Why is this a good thing? As a Mortgage Broker, I like to think that we keep banks honest. Mortgage Brokers create competition between not just chartered banks and credit unions, but also specific mortgage lenders (many owned by banks). With competition comes better products and better rates.
It’s important to remember that a bank is a “for profit” business. Their objective is to make money.
Often times if you get a rate from a specific bank, I can go to that same bank and get a better rate. The reason is that the bank knows that I have 40 other lenders all competing for your mortgage and therefore they have to give me their best rate or they won’t get the deal. When you walk into the bank, chances are you will only go to 1-3 banks so they know that competition is slim and they can offer high rates or less appealing products.
The other nice side of using a Mortgage Broker is that, at least with me, I work when you’re available. I am mobile and am available from 9am to 9pm by phone, email and text message. So when you’re making an offer on a home at 8pm when the banks are closed, you can always get a hold of me to get you answers. Convenience is a huge selling point.
Question: Is your market local or can you service clients outside your community?
Answer: I am very fortunate being in BC. Our regulations and ethical committees are very strict out here and therefore I can service those in other communities and even other provinces. My website, allows me to offer 24hour in-depth and current mortgage information to those anywhere in Canada.
Question: Most people would say that in order to be a successful entrepreneur, you need passion for what you do. Where do you find your inspiration to stay passionate about your business especially during the tough economic times?
Answer: I am very fortunate in my profession in that no matter what the economic state, people will always be buying homes and renewing their mortgages. Therefore, no matter what the media says, a Mortgage Broker can always stay busy. I keep focused quite easily as my job requires me to hold other peoples livelihoods in my hands. If I don’t come through, my clients will feel it. Pressure like that keeps me on my toes.
I also have a special place in my heart for helping families who have hit hard times or just haven’t been told how to save up money or manage credit in a way that will allow them to own a home of their own. By setting time aside to really help these people it makes me want to get up in the morning and keeps me passionate about what I do.
Question: How do you use the internet and technology to market your business and can you say that it has helped you increase your business?
Answer: I love technology, and for many of my clients, they appreciate the convenience that I offer by utilizing technology through my website, e-fax, text message and email. My website is especially the key which separates me from other Brokers. I always encourage Realtors to refer their clients to my website first so they can see me, hear me, and judge me.
If they like me they call. If they think I know what I’m talking about, they call. If I rub them the wrong way they still might call simply because they know what to expect from me as opposed to another broker who has no web presence with which to judge them by.
Question: What is the most important element in your opinion about doing video blogs?
Answer: Content! Short, sweet, specific, and relevant content. If you are looking to have raving fans, create credibility for yourself and establish long time readers then you can’t waste their time with a lot of filler or useless content. Don’t show boat or be fake. Just offer answers and be yourself.
Question: What has been your biggest challenge in your business to date?
Answer: Competing with Big Bank advertising budgets and consumer loyalty. When you have been banking with the same bank for years and years, it’s hard to believe that they would do you wrong. A bank is a For Profit Business and no matter what the commercials say, they are in it to make money from their consumers. It takes a lot of time to inform consumers that they can save a lot of money by using a broker. And if the broker is like me, it will also save them a lot of time and potential heart ache.
Question: What has been your greatest victory so far?
Answer: Every day has its little victories but the ones that stand out the most for me are those people who find me online and contact me just to say thanks. I have never met them before, but they feel like they know me because of my videos. By offering so much information about mortgages online, in some way, I have either saved them time, money, or in some cases, saved them from losing their family’s home.
Question: How do you define success?
Answer: Just this year I was invited to one of my clients’ wedding. That is success. I have impacted their lives and they are so happy with my services that they want me to share in one of the most important days in their life.
Not to say that if I don’t get invited to a clients wedding that I am not successful, but really, if you float day to day and never impact another person’s life in a positive manner then you are missing out on a large part of what makes life worth living.
Question: If you could give one piece of advice to new entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Answer: The true test of an Entrepreneur compared to someone who works for themselves, in my opinion, is their vision for the future of their business. Not just a year from now, but their ability to see the big picture of where they want their business to go and the unwavering faith in themselves that it will get there. It is that faith and vision that will help you through any tough spot that is inevitably going to hit you and your business at some point.
Question: Fast forward five years…what do you see?
Answer: Hopefully more happy clients, another dog, and completed renos on my home!
You can find Leah Coss: