How rewarding is the mortgage business for young brokers?

Adviser enjoys the industry's family feel

How rewarding is the mortgage business for young brokers?

Despite the uncertainty that has beset the mortgage industry in recent years, working in the sector is a rewarding experience, according to young broker Areeb Jalali (pictured).

A mortgage and protection adviser with Access Financial Services, Jalali’s entry into the industry has been something of a family affair.

“It’s a weird and brilliant family thing,” he told Mortgage Introducer. “While studying for a BSc in financial economics at Kingston University, London, I worked in compliance at NHS Professionals. After graduation, I joined NatWest as a senior personal banker.

“During this time my mother, Aneela Jalali, was working as a mortgage broker at Access Financial Services, where she was generating more business than she knew what to do with. So I started helping her out in my free time. I really loved what Mum was doing.”

So much so, in fact, that in 2022 Jalali decided to become properly qualified.

“At this point, I was able to take a load off Mum and join her at Access FS, where I’ve been a happy, hard-working mortgage and protection adviser for two years,” he said.

What’s the best thing about working in the mortgage industry?

Though it was the relationship with his mother that led him to the firm, Jalali effectively discovered an extended family both there and beyond, in the wider industry.

“I love the sense of family and unity that is strong here at Access FS and seems to permeate throughout the industry,” he reflected. “Everyone is out to help each other. I love speaking to clients and new people, and get such satisfaction when a client sends me a video or pictures of them with the keys to their new home.”

The more complicated the case, the better, for Jalali, it seems.

“There are so many complex cases out there,” he noted. “Someone might have a poor credit history or a complicated income like a day-rate contractor has, or maybe they’re a limited company director or a person on a zero-hour contract. Maybe they want to buy a property for letting, but it’s a house in multiple occupation (HMO) property with multiple kitchens. I love challenging, weird and quirky cases. The satisfaction of finding the right lender for people in these kinds of situations is enormous.”

When Jalali started in the market around 2018, things were more stable, without the fluctuation in rates and uncertainty that have become commonplace in the years since.

“The UK was still feeling the effects of the 2008 recession, with The Bank of England keeping rates low, to boost borrowing to help the economy recover,” he said. “So the market was stable for mortgages. Then COVID-19 happened and we saw historic new rates and lows. It was a very weird time for everyone. A lot changed in the mortgage industry. Lenders reacted with changes in their criteria and policies.Fast forward, though, to Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng’s epic fail, and we saw those rates jump sky high.”

Amid what Jalali describes as ‘the extreme turbulence’ of recent times, he has thrived.

“It’s been challenging, but an enjoyable and good experience,” he shared. “At Access FS there are so many opportunities for professional growth that we advisers can work at our maximum capacity whilst enjoying what we do – so, that’s what I’m doing!”

READ MORE: Access FS hits 200-adviser milestone

What are the biggest challenges in the mortgage market today?

High property values and affordability are the most pressing issues for the industry, in Jalali’s view.

“The biggest problem in the market is that house prices are through the roof,” he suggested. “Over the past 30 years, interest rates have lingered around four to six per cent. However, house prices have quadrupled and salaries have been left behind. So, even though interest rates are the same, affordability is a major issue. I expect the Bank of England base rate will start coming down soon, which will help provide some certainty and increase confidence in customers.

Jalali aims to take a long-term approach to his customers’ needs, rather than focussing on their present transactions.

“I try to help people plan not just for their first property and current challenges, but for where they want to be in ten or maybe 20 years’ time,” he said. “That’s where advisers can really help people. A good broker loves what they do, is good at communicating with clients and is fully committed to finding the best solution for each client.

“I think the best business lesson I have learned is to be patient. The mortgage industry is tough and every client’s needs are different, so you have to be patient with every customer - even down to the finer details of simply keying in their mortgage details. The consequences of any impatient slip-ups are simply not worth it.”

A keen cricketer and photographer, Jalali’s life outside of work is clearly as busy as his life in it, yet he retains a focus on his longer-term ambitions.

“I would love for my mum and I to have our own team of people working on residential, buy-to-let and protection, generating a big business where clients can trust us,” he said. “I’m also interested in delving into commercial property.”