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Buy-to-Let Watch: Make the most of what you have

There may not be a wealth of new business out there right now, but there are plenty of opportunities to capitalise on

I have read some fascinating articles over the past few days. One was by the ever-wise Paradigm chief executive, Bob Hunt, who spoke of the need to stop focusing on chasing new mortgage leads and instead look at the importance of engaging existing clients.

On the same subject, a piece by The Times journalist David Byers revealed that a fifth of borrowers were paying thousands of pounds more on their mortgage each year simply because they had moved onto their lender’s standard variable rate and not explored the better options available to them.

Both of these articles struck a chord with me. It is not exactly headline news that things have been difficult in the buy-to-let market of late. Right now, at least, it is hard to attract new buyers.

There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the tax changes, not to mention the continued turbulence over Brexit and in our political world. So investors are not chomping at the bit.

However, there are currently more than 1.5 million landlords operating in the market, each of whom is a potential client. Yes, some landlords have sold up and left (though, from our experience, this is not happening anywhere near as much as the national newspapers would have you believe), but there is plenty of business out there.

Are you revisiting existing clients as often as you should be? Brokers – and buy-to-let brokers in particular – could be forgiven for feeling their prime focus should be on new business at present. When something appears to be in low supply, or is likely soon to see a decline in supply, there is a tendency to rush for it before anyone else does. But focusing all your efforts on this can mean you are inadvertently neglecting your existing client book.

Do not forget that revisiting existing clients can bring you more than just remortgage business.

A conversation with them may reveal they have general insurance needs you could meet. Or perhaps they have a complex situation in which a loan or a blended solution may be appropriate. You will not find out about this unless you contact them.

There may not be a wealth of new business out there just now but there are plenty of opportunities to capitalise on.

We just need to remember it is not always about looking for more. Sometimes we need to focus on what we already have.

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Ying Tan is managing director of Buy to Let Club

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