Sunday, March 1, 2015

Meet Jack Harris of City Mortgage Advisor

Jack Harris is an independent mortgage broker from Bournemouth in the UK. His new website City Mortgage Advisor has been set up to help first time buyers gain access to the Help to Buy Scheme, plus lets them request independent mortgage advice for when buying a home in the area. In this interview we speak about the website launch and his plans for the business in the future.

1. Would you tell us a little bit about your own background and how you came to work in the mortgage broker industry?

I studied finance at Bournemouth University, and after graduation, I started working for a mortgage brokers in the town. As with many people who run their own businesses, it got to the point where I wanted to be independent by myself and believed I could do it better. Because of that, City Mortgage Advisor was born, and I am now my own man so to speak.

2. What kind of services do you offer, and in what way do you differentiate yourself from the local competition. I'm thinking that mortgage advice must be a pretty competitive industry, right?

You are so right. It is ultra-competitive. But, I am firm believer that if you offer a quality and friendly service, then the rest will take care of itself. I am already getting referrals in from existing clients and am growing month on month so can't complain.

In terms of service, I am 100% independent. That means I can search the whole mortgage market to get the best deals for my clients, and am not tied contractually in to anyone mortgage lender. That's why people come to me: because I am a truly independent mortgage broker in Bournemouth.

3. Can you explain a little bit about the Help to Buy Scheme in Bournemouth and what this entails?

Sure, in the UK, just like the US we saw a large economic downturn in the last decade. As a result, people, especially young people and first time buyers, were unable to get enough of a deposit to buy a new home. The UK Government launched the Help to Buy Scheme which means that first time buyers can now get onto the property ladder with as a little as a five percent deposit.

The Help to Buy Scheme in Bournemouth is only available for first time buyers and on new-builds, so I partner up with property developers in the town to open up this possibility for my clients. It's a great scheme and has helped hundreds of young people in the town so far. I offer advice on this and help those buyers get onto the market where otherwise they would struggle. It's the part of my job that I love the most to be honest!

4. So what's Bournemouth like as a place to live and work in?

It's a beautiful part of the UK. It has sandy beaches (award-winning I might add) and great nightlife, and is right next to the forest which means some great days out when not working. I have a young family, and during the summer we spend as much time outdoors as we can, whether that's camping or down on the beach with friends.

5. In terms of the business, what plans do you have for that and your own website, City Mortgage Advisor?

I want to continue the growth. At the moment I am putting the final plans on a new office location which will be more centrally located in the Bournemouth town centre which should make things easier for me in terms of client acquisition.

For the website, I am currently getting my online marketing manager to develop out new pages to target other geographic areas within a 30 mile radius of our office premises. I also plan to begin doing Skype and video consultations online as I feel that this is something that you don't often get in the mortgage broker market. Hopefully this will translate into more business if it means I can work with more potential clients online rather than with a physical office appointment.

Thanks so much for your time today. As a final word, what piece of advice would you give for other people reading this interview who might want to start their own business?

Don't be afraid to take the jump. Without fail, every single business owner I talk to who has done the same has said that it was the best decision that they ever made. Starting out on your own can be a scary concept, but unless you do it, you will never know. I didn't think I was going to be a mortgage broker in Bournemouth when I was a kid growing up, but I sure as heck wouldn't change it!

Thanks, Jack!

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