SURF COAST LIFE & LENDING : Introducing Lanie Conquest.
Five years after deciding to call Torquay home, local financial guru, Lanie Conquest has quit the city high-life to truly settle into her sea-change. We caught up with her to find out what she’s up to, and how she’s finding her new change of scenery.
Hi Lanie. Can you tell us a bit about your background, and how Surfcoast Life & Lending came about? Well, after initially falling into Financial Planning while I was at Uni, I’ve spent the past 26 years or so working in financial advice businesses, mainly within the banks. I spent about 15 years with St George (which became part of Westpac) and was a Division Director at Macquarie for a few years before I came to Torquay. Since moving to here, I’ve juggled corporate and family life (and lots of travel!) mainly consulting on technology projects including Grow for Advice with ANZ.
But for some time, I’ve been yearning to do something local, and for myself. It made sense to combine my love for property and the Surfcoast lifestyle, with my skills & experience in the financial world.
What services are you offering clients through Surfcoast Life & Lending? I offer a full suite of debt solutions for families & small businesses. That includes mortgages, investment loans, construction loans, business loans, refinancing, asset & equipment finance, even personal loans.
How would our vendors & buyers benefit from your services? When people are genuinely in the market for a new property, the 2 things that give them most confidence is knowing 1. How much they can afford, and 2. How much a bank is willing to lend. I call it getting “buy-ready”. I have clients who have a good idea of the type of property and price range they’re after, and believe they can afford it, but because of business or employment longevity for example, different banks will assess their borrowing capacity very differently. Other clients have had credit history hick-ups, or may have been out of the workforce on parental leave for example. It all affects what different banks will lend, and what interest rate they will apply.
What do you tell people who simply revert to their bank for a loan? For those clients who have had a long history, and trusted relationship with their bank, it may be OK to tread that known path. But those scenarios are few & far between these days, and shopping around on your own is actually quite risky. Every time you apply for credit of any kind, including interest-free shopping, it shows up on your Credit Record. It raises all sorts of red flags that can add complexity to your loan application.
How can clients ensure they have unconditional approval quickly when they purchase a home? Plan ahead! And ensure you have pre-approval “conditional only on assessment of a suitable property”. It’s easy to fall into the trap of getting a bank pre-approval that is based on high level details provided to the local branch, for example. Bank staff are able to use their internal calculators to give an indication of how much they can borrow, but the pre-approval is subject to a long line of conditions (that get evidenced through the full credit assessment). Any piece of information can change a bank’s view of what they will loan and at what rate. So they only way to get pre-approval subject only to a suitable property, is to go through the full application process. A mortgage broker ensures you only go through that process with the right lender the first time.
So, are there particular lenders & products that you like? Service is a big one for me. Of course I want a rate that is in the money, but the ability to talk to someone who will assess the loan quickly, and communicate through the process is critical. The Big 4 can be pretty competitive on rate and have a huge suite of ancillary products to make managing money easy. But I love the simplicity of lenders like Macquarie, ME Bank, AMP & ING, who also place emphasis on service. For a number of reasons I’ll often look at non-banks such as Liberty & Pepper, even Rate-Setter who are a Peer-to-Peer lender platform. I’m even looking at Qudos for someone at the moment off the back of their Frequent Flyer specials!
And what sort of rates should people be looking for in a new or refinanced loan? It totally depends on what complexity (and opportunities) we might be dealing with. The lowest rate I’ve got on standard offer at the moment is 2.99%, which is amazing. It’s for owner occupiers who also have an investment loan though, so not available to everyone. Somewhere between 3.59% & 3.89% is pretty good right now, but how money is managed across different accounts, and structures is almost more important. And all lenders have nuances in their pricing policies, so you need to weigh it all up.
And how do we get in touch? Just like Lynne & Suzy at Links Property, I’m a digital girl in a digital world, and very focused on personal service with every one of my clients. I balance my work in and around family life, and understand that sometimes evenings & weekends are necessary to lock in that dream property (though the banks don’t, so that does hold us up!). Clients can also get the process started online via a secure portal in our website, and social media is a great way to get a feel for who we are, and what we’re about.