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Another week on the roller coaster

I’ve had a frustrating time with a deal collapsing at the last minute. This could become more commonplace so brokers may have to start charging customers upfront fees, says Sue Read

It’s been a typical week on the mortgage roller coaster. I got a call about 10 days ago from a client I’d had an initial meeting with, informing me she’d found a property. She wanted me to source some products quickly.

She was desperate to get onto the property ladder but the only way she could afford to do so was on a shared ownership basis. Even this was tricky because of her income.

The property was great value and it would have been impossible to find an equivalent any time soon. But then we discovered that someone else was interested so the client put in an offer to secure the property.

I got the figures, did an agreement in principle that was accepted and arranged to meet her the following weekend to complete the application. Then the fickle finger of fate touched me, or rather a nasty bout of campylobacter.

On the Saturday I came down with horrendous food poisoning, which rendered me incapable of leaving home.

Various phone calls to my client ensued. I emailed her the application form and she agreed to complete it and fax it to me on Monday morning.

Monday dawned and the fax arrived but pages were missing. More frantic calls followed and the full application arrived mid-afternoon. I left the confines of my sickbed just long enough to key the deal into the lender’s system.

Three days later I was still stuck in bed with food poisoning when the phone rang – it was the client. She informed me the deal was off because she had resigned from her job.

I apologise for sharing my personal afflictions but all brokers have cases like this. They begin well, go off at tangents and then fall apart.

In today’s difficult market conditions we are going to see more applications submitted to lenders that come to nothing. As a result an increasing number of brokers will start charging upfront fees.

I’m not cross with the client because these things happen but brokers are playing a numbers game. We have to have enough enquiries in the pipeline to accommodate wild goose chases. The problem is we cannot tell which enquiries are going to turn out to be geese.

So what brokers do is treat customers fairly and equally. We put as much effort into each case in the knowledge that you win some, you lose some. Back to bed for me.

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