Elijah and Lucas Barrett simplify the broking process

Mortgage Choice franchisees create an easier way to run a brokerage

Elijah and Lucas Barrett simplify the broking process

It’s no exaggeration to say that getting to grips with the complex world of mortgage broking has been a rollercoaster ride for the young Barrett brothers.

But almost two years after Lucas Barrett, 24, and brother Elijah Barrett, 21, set up their own Mortgage Choice franchise, known as Barrett Brokering, covering Bayside and Kingston in Melbourne, they have got their everyday process down to a fine art.

While they both know that being a mortgage broker is a continuous learning curve, which can always present new challenges and opportunities, they are comfortable enough to share their career journey so far and discuss what they have learnt.

When MPA caught up for a chat with Elijah (pictured above left) and Lucas (pictured above right) their energy, enthusiasm and passion for broking shone through, as did their strong commitment to serving their customers’ needs.

They have even devised their own system to ensure the process of helping customers find the best loan is clear, simple and efficient.

Elijah and Lucas Barrett’s journey of learning

Elijah said the fact that their father Michael Barrett is a mortgage broker, who runs a Mortgage Choice franchise in nearby Sandringham, meant they had some experience of broking “by diffusion”.

“But in terms of direct experience, we came to the business with none,” he said, jokingly referring to themselves as being “blind and stupid” at first.

Sister publication Australian Broker ran a story on the Barrett brothers in February 2023. Elijah said in the past year “every new client had provided an amazing learning experience [for us]  because they’ve all got little niches”.

Many of their clients are first-home buyers, but each has different needs.

“I feel like only recently we have looked at each other and said look, we can and will keep learning every day but I think we can now take full confidence in the service we provide,” Lucas said.

“Now our attitude has shifted from being a sponge to now trying to expand and grow.”

Standardising the lending process

“We’ve refined our processes and we’ve got full confidence in product knowledge and now it’s about trying to make the business grow as much as possible,” said Lucas.

Elijah said because each client was different,  for almost two years the pair had been working on trying to “standardise every customer that comes our way and the process that they go through”.

“We know that the service that we provide is good and it's thorough and it's everything the client needs and wants,” he said. “It's trying to make sure that every client, regardless of what their niches are, fits the process.”

“That just means that every client that we see has the same good experience that we can provide.”

The Barrett brothers’ six-step lending process

The process involves:

  1. Enquiry
  2. Loan options
  3. Application
  4. Conditional/pre-approval
  5. Unconditional
  6. Settled

Elijah said the six-step process was a great framework for their clients to know “where they're at and where they're working towards”.

“It’s also a great framework for Lucas and I to compartmentalise each client, and the tasks that are required to do in each step which are pretty similar amongst every client,” he said.

Lucas said the process had just been finalised and the process was the reason “why we wanted to go out on our own".

“I think it’s because we realised that we could provide a different edge to the whole process. Whilst still making it all about the client, we still want to help expedite our process, which will ultimately expedite their process.

“How we’ve done that is through technology advancements and coming up with our own programs that already suit the software that we need to use.

“We’ve come up with our own internal process and database, templates and filing, which allows us to pick certain clients and filter certain clients by what we’re looking for.”

Lucas said he loved minimalism and simplicity.

“It was about identifying what are the key things that we want to measure and then building a system around that. That system is just basic collaboration spreadsheet software to identify those key metrics.

“What we don’t want is information overload and analysis paralysis.”

Elijah said they had spent their first two years finding solutions to common problems or creating tools they needed.

He hoped that spending all this time making these processes work would pay off in five to 10 years’ time “when it’s crazy busy”.

“In our experience with other brokers is that they are 10 years down the line and they say ‘I would love it if I could do this’ but they don’t have time to sit there and workshop it,” said Elijah.

Elijah said while Mortgage Choice had fantastic systems in place for tasks such as borrowing calculations the other things required to run a business were rightly the brokers’ responsibility.

“I think it also helps that we keep each other accountable. Lucas has never met a spreadsheet he doesn’t like. For me, I would just get an update about a client and think about it in my head.

“Whereas Lucas would say write it in the database. We know that everything in the database is current.”

Lucas said the system was built to scale and handle any number of employees they hired in future.

“We don’t want to have to completely redo everything we have done because we’re employing someone,” he said. “We want them to come in and whether it’s one staff member or 20, our processes are still going to be adaptable and the same.

“It’s taken some time but we’ve got grand ambitions for our business and we’ve approached these two years as if we will achieve those grand ambitions in the near future.”

Client referrals

Elijah said their new process had given them a lot of confidence and the referrals between clients had been incredible.

“Regardless of the marketing measures that we want to put in place, and have put in place, there's nothing better than having a client saying, ‘Thank you so much for your help, I've got my neighbour Bob looking for the same thing’.”

Lucas said almost every client of theirs had left a Google review and referred someone.

“We touch base with them often and they really appreciate what we’ve done and that makes us really happy and gives us the confidence to know we’re doing something right.”

The power of Instagram

The Barretts love using Instagram as a tool to promote their brokerage and Elijah described the growth in this area as amazing, with their use of Instagram constantly evolving.

Elijah and Lucas usually post one video reel and one infographic on Instagram each week, as well as a couple of Instagram stories. You can see their Instagram page here.

“The awareness you can generate with social media is unbelievable,” said Lucas. “We go out and friends and acquaintances will say they have seen our Instagram and ask us how the business is going.”

“You’re thinking ‘I’ve never spoken to you about this before’ but the difficult conversation of letting people know what we do is already done.”

The brothers saw their youth as an advantage, given that the young people in their area didn’t really know any brokers so by providing them with information, it resonated.

“Elijah and I have recognised that because of our age demographic, our business is actually an education business,” said Lucas.

“If you're the one that educates them, then you're the one that they're going to go to because the people who know what a mortgage broker does already have a mortgage broker. The people who don’t, if you’re the one that informs them, they’ll go to you.”

Educating young people about finance

Last year the two Mortgage Choice brokers visited a couple of local schools, including their old school St Bede’s College, to teach the students about finance. They will also be visiting more schools this month.

Lucas said the hope was that by talking to students in Year 9 that 10 years down the track when they were ready to buy a home they would remember their visit and say “what about those mortgage brokers that came to our school”.

Elijah said apart from the long-term benefit of that connection, there was also a community responsibility on their part to educate young people.

“We know the things they don’t teach in school, we see it every day. We see first home buyers coming to us who don’t even know what an interest rate is. So it helps them and it helps us with growing our business and also just giving back – to have educated clients and an educated community.” 

What do you think of Elijah and Lucas Barrett's six-step process? Comment below