Total value of residential loans FY2019/20: $130,016,894
Total number of residential loans FY2019/20: 110
With the highest average loan value of this year’s top 10, Chris Bates has also achieved an incredible 221% loan value growth over the past two years. Coming from a financial advice background, he mainly handles property purchases at Wealthful, and sees a lot of first home buyers and upgraders in particular.
During the first half of the financial year, soon after the federal election, the market was strong, and people were buying and transacting, but the pandemic created a lot of uncertainty, and the business had to shift slightly. While first home buyers have been a big part of the market this year, Bates has also had to help clients understand their refinancing options. Aiming for lifelong clients, he strives to become a trusted adviser and takes the time to make sure his clients are doing the right thing.
“We’re very passionate around not just providing them with a loan; we do a lot of education around what’s a good property, is this the right decision, and we spend a lot of time upfront talking that through,” he says. “Our relationship is about trying to become that trusted adviser and then never lose them.”
This year his clients have required extra support, and Bates says the most important thing has been to make sure they don’t panic and buy a poor property. His passion for educating clients inspired his podcast, The Elephant in the Room. Bates believes the best brokers do more than just facilitate a loan; they focus on educating themselves and their clients.
“A top broker is continually learning or reading and has that philosophy, and they can pass that knowledge on to their clients,” he says. “The real top ones in my view take the time to educate people on property. That’s ultimately what they’re using the loan for.”
Clients respond well to Bates’ approach, and Wealthful has benefited from referrals. Its six years of growth have also been down to the decision to bring on more team members. For the first four years Bates was a solo operator, but he brought on his business partner two years ago and another team member at the start of 2020, allowing him much more time to deal with clients.
“Where things took on a new trajectory is when I got a business partner and other people, so you should do that sooner rather than later because you need that to grow and have more time to help more people,” he advises.