How a mortgage adviser saved a client from losing their life savings

by Ksenia Stepanova16 May 2019

Helping people out of difficult financial situations and into their homes is one of the most rewarding parts of being a mortgage adviser, and socially conscious finance workers are increasingly seeing the appeal of switching careers.

Mortgage adviser and NZ Adviser Young Gun 2019 Sean Zeier started his career in the banking sector, where part of his job was to meet the local mortgage advisers of Hamilton to promote the bank’s options. Thoroughly impressed with the difference they were making to their clients’ lives, Zeier knocked on the door of one of the firms – Nest Home Loans – and was soon taken on as an adviser.

Zeier spoke to NZ Adviser about his change from banking to mortgage advice, and how his new career has allowed him to help clients on a whole new level.

“I love helping people get ahead in their lives, and I wanted to be working in a job that gave me greater scope to impact people’s financial livelihoods in a positive way,” Zeier said. “I always saw brokering as a good avenue to achieve this, and I was frustrated with not being able to help a lot of people in my banking role when I knew there was likely another solution out there for them. I joined Nest as I could see they had an outside-the-box approach and were having a really big impact and helping more people into home ownership.

“The best part of my job is seeing how happy people are when they buy their first home,” he continued. “It’s a daunting and nerve-wracking process to go through, and it’s rewarding to be able to help them every step of the way and play a big part in helping them achieve what is likely to be one of their biggest life milestones in buying a house.”

Zeier says one of his most memorable client experiences was a referral from his old bank; a mother and daughter who were unable to get finance as the mother was on a pension, and the daughter on a disability income. They were close to losing a deposit of almost $50,000, and approximately two months out from the expiry of their agreement.

“Most of the initial deposit was from the mother’s life savings,” Zeier explained. “Their landlord was rubbing their hands in anticipation of them not fulfilling their contract so they could pocket their deposit and then sell the house, which had more than doubled in value from the price the initial sale contract was signed for.

It took a lot of work and I went down many dead ends trying to make something work, but I finally got them approved with a couple of weeks to spare before the contract expired. Given their limited incomes, I needed to be careful that I didn’t put them in a position where they would have struggled with the mortgage going forwards. The best part about the solution I managed for them was that the repayments were cheaper than the rent they had been paying, so I had helped them become wealthier too. They now owned a property that was worth hundreds of thousands more then the price they had initially agreed to pay for it.”

When it comes to entering the job, Zeier says the most important thing is to set yourself tangible goals – and, of course, to always keep the client front and centre.

“Working hard without an idea of where you’re heading is not going to go well,” he said. “Always put the clients’ interests first and give them the best service possible. You want to get clients for life so that you can help them again in future and so they refer their friends and family to you. You will deal with a lot of clients that appear have impossible financial situations which stop them from buying a house, so you need to keep learning and keep thinking about ways you can help your client.”


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