The full service agency

by AB24 Oct 2018

Loan Market’s first director of strategic partnerships Peter Camphin, is changing how real estate and broking integrate

Part of the White Family group of companies, Ray White, Loan Market and Wealth Market dominate in their respective fields.

According to the latest financial results, in the year to June 2018 the Ray White Group sold $45.42bn worth of property across Australia and New Zealand, almost matching the $45.7bn achieved in the previous fiscal year. In July, Loan Market’s 650 brokers lodged $1.27bn in applications and $922m in approvals, with $846m in settled loans – an increase of more than 10% year-on-year.

For more than 20 years the family-owned group of businesses has been trying to integrate real estate and broking, but has struggled to strike the right balance. Now, after 25 years with the group, Peter Camphin has taken on a newly created role in which he will do just that. “I was petrified but confident. I think if you’re not scared by a new role there would be something wrong,” he tells Australian Broker.

As Loan Market’s new – and first – director of strategic partnerships, Camphin’s aim is to simplify referral processes between the companies for brokers, agents and property managers.

“The broker finds things out about the client, which helps them understand how the agent can work better. For example, can this buyer afford this property? Have they got the ability to perform on the contracts? Normally agents would get a contract signed subject to finance and cross their fingers, but last month 78,000 applications for housing finance across Australia failed,” he says.

Observing the changes that have occurred since the royal commission started, he adds that “it takes more than four times longer now to get deals over the line on loan applications than it did two years ago”.

While the move will bring significant growth opportunities for all three companies, the intention is to “create a culture for the convenience of customers”. However, Camphin believes this is the start of a new way to integrate broking and home sales, and it’s only a matter of time before it catches on.

“This provides real value to the buyer, confidence is reassured in the vendor, and the investors can get the best ROI possible. We see that there is so much potential now that we haven’t identified before,” he says.

Customer-facing team members throughout the group will learn how to refer clients for home loans, personal financial planning, SMSFs, investment strategy advice and other services, through the three businesses. Targets for the first 12 months are currently being devised and work will centre on two goals: looking after buyers, and increasing the percentage of people who buy through a Ray White agent and borrow through a Loan Market broker. The bonus is that buyers will have to prove much earlier in the buying process that they can put their money where their mouth is.

“We want to be able to provide a great customer experience through the confidence and professionalism of our agents and brokers – and we want to eliminate those people who are buying at auctions but aren’t approved for finance. Property and finance just go together,” Camphin explains.

The integration will also see additional benefits for investors, who can expect higher ROIs through the added-value services of accounting and tax advice and loan reviews.

However, creating a full-service agency starts with culture, and agent and broker training will be paramount. Existing programs are being adapted to include updates on the new integration strategy, as well as the direct benefits collaboration can achieve, with a focus on training real estate agents.

“Every time an agent does an inspection or contract negotiation, there are touchpoints that need to be initiated so the agent understands and has a better control of the sales process,” Camphin says.

“They know what’s going on, and they are not dealing with people who are not in a position to perform on their contracts.