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Linda and Matt Ireland are re-engaging with their clients, their referral partners and, crucially, their staff 

Our runner-up this year came as a surprise, albeit a very welcome one. Mortgage Choice Buderim is unlikely to be a name you’ll recognise; the Sunshine Coast seems a million miles from the investor hotspots of Sydney and Melbourne. Yet this hasn’t stopped owners Linda and Matt Ireland from building a formidable operation and competing at the top level. 

The past year has been a big one for the brokerage, they’ve had some big changes which have seen the Irelands’ re-engaging with the business after a period working part-time after their child was born.  “We’d had the business for 12 years,” explains Linda Ireland, “so you get into a roll, but this year we really looked at doing things diff erently and injected new marketing into the business, and have had really positive results as a consequence.” 

They’ve been looking at their existing client database and at their key referral partners. “We’ve been reconnecting with all of our clients and relationships that we’ve had over the years, and, instead of generating new business, we’ve been looking at connecting with established clients.” 

The brokerage tends to get a lot of investor clients, Ireland says. “All of the brokers in our office are investors themselves: we find we have mum-and-dad investors with the intention of growing a portfolio over time.”

In Mortgage Choice Buderim’s case, the changes aff ecting investor lending in 2015 have actually increased demand from clients, as Ireland observes. “We’ve definitely had a lot more people looking for a better deal, actively wanting to renegotiate with their existing lenders, and if that doesn’t work then refi nancing.” The brokerage also actively goes out to its database, with a staff member assigned to call the entire database every 12 months. 

Within the office, Mortgage Choice Buderim has four brokers, each with their own specialisms, including in construction and commercial finance. Ireland makes a point of keeping all brokers up to speed. “We actively cross-train our brokers; even though they each have their specialty, we believe in keeping our qualifications up to par across all areas.” Those brokers are supported by six support staff, and Ireland is planning to hire over the coming year.

Management is immensely important to Ireland, and the “total opposite” to being a good broker. “They’re different skill sets; one is supporting your clients, the other supporting your team,” Ireland says. She prides herself on developing this team mentality and pushing the brokerage forward. “We really believe in putting our team fi rst; we don’t see them as working for us, but us working with them towards our collective goal.”

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