When Alex Shein (pictured) co-founded Peak Mortgage, he and his partner sought to be location independent. Based in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, they chose to open their main office in South Burnaby, which can be reached in 20 to 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver, Coquitlam and South Surrey. Shein built her partnerships accordingly, working with realtors across the region, even as the Metro Vancouver housing market increasingly focused in downtown condos where there are had so many new developments.
As the pandemic shifted gears and shifted market activity to the suburbs, Shein’s business benefited. He saw significant increases in volume from across the Lower Mainland as he worked to deepen his relationship with existing referral partners and forge new ones with once-exclusive real estate agents downtown, now far in the the “ burbs ”.
“There is a lot more activity in Coquitlam, Langley and in many suburbs. Our office located halfway between downtown and Langley means you can access any market you really want, ”Shein said. “But at the end of the day, it also depends on your relationships with people in the industry. Your accountants, lawyers, your real estate agents. By having an office here, it is a little easier for these referral partners to work with us. “
Even though many business operations have been far apart, having such a focal point in this suburban market matrix has helped Shein and his team stay ahead of a changing market. Being closer to the territory of now extremely busy suburban real estate agents has allowed Shein to strengthen her relationship. At the same time, as agents downtown track money in the trash, Peak’s established presence in these markets makes it easier to forge a new relationship.
It’s these relationships, Shein said, that set her company up to compete in these hot markets. He maintains regular correspondence and offers regular gestures to agents, lawyers and notaries essential to the conclusion of transactions. He and his team go out of their way to ensure swift loan turnaround times to ensure the satisfaction of these referral partners.
Shein’s main selling point to these partners is the depth of financial conversations he and his team can have with clients. Peak sells itself as a consultancy service, and in these highly competitive multi-offer markets, in-depth knowledge and training is essential.
Shein cited the example of a potential client offering an Eastside home in Vancouver proper with a closing date of March 31. In a tight turnaround before several offers, Shein was able to secure a no-matter situation for the borrower due to the extensive discussion they had initially. The client was happy and the real estate agent was happy.
Shein pointed out that the most important thing to keep in mind, from a broker’s perspective, is as beneficial as these relationships can be for you, they should never be viewed as extractive. The relationship with a notary or real estate agent goes both ways, and as the markets move under our feet, it’s important to make sure that you are supporting them as much as they are supporting you. This relates to service levels and closing times, as well as handwritten notes and gift baskets.
This approach, which emphasizes new and old partners with less consideration for location, is an approach that Shein says will work in any real estate market whose traditional geography has been turned upside down by COVID.
“Treat everyone as a true partner rather than a deal,” Shein said. “Try to make their business easier, and the next time your files are the ones they choose, your offers will be reviewed faster. In this type of market, more than the best rate, the most important is to build on the relationships you have created and support the partners who have been supporting you all this time. ”