The uno Home Loans advisor recalls how he helped a client navigate the fallout from a divorce to keep her family home
Divorce is a stressful and upsetting experience for all involved, and the additional worry of splitting assets only adds to it.
One of my most complicated deals was for a client going through exactly this situation: she and her ex-husband had decided she would remain in the family home to bring stability to their children’s lives at a difficult time. She would therefore need to buy him out, but was having a hard time securing finance.
I received a call from her distressed grandfather explaining the situation. They had tried several lenders and brokers to get the loan but had not been able to find a solution. By the time they came to uno Home Loans, they were starting to get worried.
My primary aim in this case was to prevent as much disruption to her family’s lives as possible. The eldest son had Asperger’s syndrome and the youngest had attention deficit disorder. Changes to their lives, even small things, had an enormous impact, and their mother desperately wanted to minimise this as much as possible.
Remaining in the family home of 10 years was a critical step to help the two children through the divorce, and she was worried they would not be able to do so.
To maximise my chances of finding a solution for the client, we started with a thorough fact-find. I spent a long time talking to her to understand her situation and objectives. We talked through her financial position, long-term needs and goals, what she estimated her living expenses would be post loan settlement, and the impact of this loan on her future position.
In working through to find the right solution, we found that the client’s greatest obstacle was going to be finding a lender who would accept her income. Her options were significantly narrowed because she received a carer allowance, family tax benefit and spousal support.
I looked through uno’s lending panel and talked to our BDMs to discuss the situation and options available. Due to the client’s income source, I spent a lot of time looking at specialist lenders that would be able to consider her situation. My research showed that Liberty would be the best option considering the income presented by the client.
As I had spent so long understanding the client’s needs and gathering all the supporting documents, beyond the requirements stipulated by Liberty, it made for a seamless transaction. As my conversations with the client showed, she certainly needed this to be simple and painless given the stress she was already under in finalising the divorce.
I managed to provide her with a great solution and negotiated a competitive rate with the lender. I left the client with the feeling that she had conquered the insurmountable and not only survived but come out on top in the shortest amount of time.
This case reinforced to me the importance of investing time and effort: asking the right questions, being a fastidious notetaker, and gathering more information than the lenders require. This really saved the client, lender and me so much time in the long run and made for a much better client experience.
We built a great rapport during the journey, and I felt that I was able to turn a negative situation into a positive one for her. She certainly felt supported and that I had made the time to really understand her needs.
The case also reminded me that having an in-depth knowledge of all lenders’ credit policies – not to mention great relationships with BDMs – assists in getting the best outcomes for clients and helps a broker to talk through scenarios. This is particularly true for cases that are a bit out of the box.
Putting myself in the client’s shoes inspires me to always go that extra mile. My goal is to provide the high level of service that I would like to receive if the roles were reversed, and it has proven to be a winning formula so far.