Marshall Condon started out as a broker with Mortgage Choice and then went into management with the banks, before returning to the franchise giant to start his own branch in South Yarra.
Condon launched into broking straight out of school, then gained his Bachelor of Business in economics and financial planning alongside his career over four years, before spending 12 months learning about business banking as a partnership manager with Bankwest.
But the call of broking led him to leave the banks and start a new Mortgage Choice branch in Melbourne, now in its second year. The opportunity to be his own boss also played a big part. “I always wanted to be self-employed and I’d developed sufficient networks to (start my own branch),” says Condon, a welcome change to the cold-calling and late night appointments when he first started broking.
His business model is B2B orientated and has honed in on property developers specifically, providing the opportunity to generate many follow-on leads from a few sources. After assisting the developers in construction finance and the projects are underway, these leads come in the form of off-the-plan apartment buyers.
The fun is in the challenge
In line with their aim to provide an end-to-end service for property developers is helping their purchasers secure the funds they need. Off-the-plan financing isn’t always easy as Condon says, “valuations are always contentious and are not necessarily always reflective of the actual purchase price. We found that our biggest benefit to the developer is we can be that source of contact for those solutions for those clients that get stuck.”
And it looks like the effort put into the commercial side of things will pay off in good time. “We’ve got a good pipeline of potential clients to come,” says Condon. “So the construction deals I was doing last year, next year they’ll come to fruition and they’ll be out on the market for the purchasers.”
“The reason why I do it and I enjoy it is because each different construction deal is different, they always have their different complexities, different locations, potential different builders, different equity structures, different pre-sale methods, all of these different things are adding to the total deal.”
But the deals are not the only challenge as being the sole broker, mastering time and productivity is crucial too. “The biggest challenge was time management – in terms of working on the business and working within the business,” Condon explains as he estimates about 60% of his time is spent out getting business and 40% doing the work. “But the fundamental part of broking is that you are getting to meet new people and helping them get their dream.”
Keeping busy with big numbers
Last financial year Condon settled about $40m in residential loans and this year is looking to double it to $80m. “My particular focus is to certainly grow our residential side,” he says. That’s just one side - the other side reveals even bigger numbers. Commercially, he is aiming for over $200m, a giant step up from the $118.72m of last financial year which secured him the fourth spot in our Top 10 Commercial Brokers list, but one he says they are well on track to achieve.
For the new financial year, Condon is planning to target the millennial crowd and to bring on board staff that will bring a young energetic culture to the brokerage and so helping to attract that demographic. And for new brokers just starting out he stresses the importance of good banker contacts.
“My advice would be to have a really good network of good quality bankers and resources that you can rely on for these transactions because it’s not the bank that you’re dealing with, it’s the banker and you’re only as good as the banker at the end of the day.”
But at the end of the day, long construction loan deals and the fast pace of broker life can take their toll so Condon makes sure to set aside time to revisit his country NSW roots, re-energizing through some quality down-time and his passion for waterskiing.