A Big Deal: Michelle Towner

by Melanie Mingas01 Nov 2019

When repeat clients approached Michelle Towner to broker the finance for their bespoke-built home, she designed a holistic solution so impressive that she received referrals from the project’s builder, agent and valuer

THE SCENARIO
For many years, I have worked with a lovely couple, helping them to secure finance for three owner-occupied properties and two investment properties. However, their ambition was to build a brand-new home to their specifications.

In late 2017, they decided to pursue their dream. The clients spent months researching the market, and most weekends they were out looking for the right block, close to their business. I was always behind the scenes, helping with advice and countless RP data reports.

Then, following a conversation I had with a real estate agent who was working with other clients of mine, they struck gold. Even better than having to demolish an old house, they had found a full-sized vacant block only four minutes from their place of work. It was perfect.

Together, we crafted an offer. I advised on strategy through the negotiation phase, and they secured the block well below asking price.

Together, we crafted an offer. I advised on strategy through the negotiation phase, and they secured the block well below asking price.The couple had a clear vision of what they wanted in their new home and engaged a designer to document their dreams. The design suited the block perfectly, and the layout was lovely. They admitted the house was bigger than they needed, but with a growing family, it suited them to a tee.

With my husband’s help, they put the design out to tender with five builders – luckily, the most competitive one was also the builder they liked best. The building contract was signed, the local authority approved the plans, and construction was to start within four weeks.

I had already negotiated a very competitive pre-approval for the build, and it appeared the clients were one step closer to their dream. That is, until the panel valuer decided the completed project would be $15,300 less than the total cost.

I have persuaded valuers to increase valuations on existing houses in the past, but sadly, because this was a new build in an established suburb, there was little applicable sales evidence, and the valuer wouldn’t budge. There were tears on the phone when I broke the news, and I really felt their pain. It was a devastating blow for the project.

THE SOLUTION
Despite the setback, I knew there had to be a way. I called the builder and explained that the project couldn’t go ahead unless we found a solution. He checked his numbers and said he couldn’t build the house as designed for any less but wanted to make it work somehow. 

The couple didn’t want to change anything about the house or put another $15,000 of savings into the deal. Over the next five days, we negotiated with the builder to include $14,000 of upgrades for an additional $2,000. This satisfied the valuer and the lender, and we were back on track. Construction started in February 2018, and the family moved into their beautiful new home that December.

These clients had worked with me for many years, and although I had pulled rabbits out of the hat before, they couldn’t believe how far above and beyond finance I went. I have since settled loans for another seven clients they referred.

Although I had pulled rabbits out of the hat before, they couldn’t believe how far above and beyond finance I went

After seeing how hard I worked to craft a viable solution, the valuer has also obtained finance through me, and the agent and builder have referred clients, too.

THE TAKEAWAY
Most clients don’t buy property often, so it can be overwhelming and stressful for them. Brokers work through property transactions and deal with the various stakeholders every day. This gives us unique experience and perspective from which to help clients achieve their goals.

Clients call wanting a great deal on finance, but finance is only part of the equation. Finding the right property, negotiating the deal and arranging finance are barriers between our clients and the outcomes they desire.

I see my role as doing whatever I can to help clients achieve their financial and lifestyle goals. Taking a holistic approach and helping clients navigate through or around barriers must be the focus. This is the ‘secret sauce’ for converting people from leads into lifetime clients and ardent advocates for your business.

There is more to it than negotiating with lenders and submitting applications: be an empathetic, trusted advisor and advocate for your clients, and you will never be short of work as a broker. Your clients will see to that.

Michelle Towner
Director
Towner Finance