Darling Dubbo: Being a broker in small-town Australia

by Mackenzie McCarty17 Jan 2013

Being a mortgage broker in small-town NSW has its challenges, but for lifetime Dubbo resident and principal of Regional Mortgage Professionals, Peter Smith, the friendly atmosphere is well worth the relative isolation and close proximity to recent bush fires in Coonabarabran.

“The broker market here is quite small, we usually have drinks on a Friday – it’s quite a tight knit community.”

Smith, who worked in Sydney for 12 years, says there are a number of significant differences between broking in the big city and doing so in Dubbo.

“It’s more an education thing here. In Sydney and Melbourne, people are used to brokers. Here the inevitable question is ‘do you charge.’ Word of mouth appears to be more prevalent here as well. Also, here the client always wants to come see you - we service a lot of people who are 400-500kms west, but it’s rare we have to go out.”

Though times have been difficult, especially since the GFC when the number of brokers in town effectively halved, Smith says he still thinks it’s a good time to enter the industry – so long as newbies do it right.

“I don’t see a lot of young people entering – I must say from my point of view the best way to come into it would be from an admin perspective – watch and lean and then go do your diploma, that way you’re on a salary while you learn.”

However, he admits the first home buyer market has fizzled since the NSW government’s recent axing of FHOGs (other than those for home builders).

“The first home buyer market has almost died here because of the grant being taken away. I don’t think first home buyers should build and I think [the state government’s] target market was wrong. They should have expanded it so that people who want to upgrade could get the grant.”

Dubbo is located at a crossroads between two major thoroughfares, HWY 32 from Sydney to Adelaide and HWY 39 from Brisbane to Melbourne – but Smith says there are many reasons for visitors to stop – or even stay permanently – in the Orana region’s hub.

 “There’s farming, light industry, retail, – and the wildlife park. The average price of homes is probably $260,000, though distances here are probably a big shock to people from the city.”

He says a lot of people try and relocate to the coast, but come back because the people there ‘aren’t as friendly’ as those in Dubbo.

When asked if he had anything else he wanted to say to Australian Broker readers, Smith was quick to answer:

“Tell them to move out here!”