Scared You’ll Make a Wrong Career Choice?

Meet Sarah Thomson Who Reassures Us Your Career Is A Journey, Not a One-Stop-Shop!

Part One

Sarah Thomson is a Loan Market Mortgage Broker in Geelong, and has over a decade of experience in the financial services industry.

However, she was not always driven by a career in finance, instead beginning her career as a photographer!

It is always exciting to hear of stories of women who have changed career paths, and Sarah’s journey to her current role is very exciting. I spoke to Sarah about how and why she got to where she is today and what she loves most about her current role!

  1. What did you want to do when you were growing up? Were you interested in real estate and finance?
Hmm I wanted to be many things when I grew up — a racing car driver was probably the main one and Photographer (which I actually became). I wasn’t so much interested in houses or money but knew after seeing my parents sell horse and chicken manure at the back gate (so we could buy milk and bread during the recession) that I wanted to secure my future financially. I moved off the family farm and became a Photographer in Sydney in

2. How and why did you get into real estate? What did you study?

I needed a break from Photography, worked in a bar for a while and then saw a random add in the paper — I actually didn’t know exactly what it was I was applying for at the time…..the add was more about ‘do you have the right attitude?’ The role was a sales position in a finance company and this lead to packaging applications/getting them ready to submit to the banks for clients. I loved it! In relation to study I had finished year 12 and had known since I was in Year 7 that I didn’t want to go to Uni (not sure how this bit happened or what was behind it). Since becoming a Broker 15 years ago the industry has changed greatly and is heavily regulated. A Diploma in Finance Broking is now expected for most in the industry. I’ve been Self Employed since I was 17 years old and haven’t been the most studious….instead I love learning from people that are doing things really well and truly listening to how they do it.

3.What do you love most about your job? What’s involved in finance broking?

I love more than anything meeting with clients and guiding them through the entire process of purchasing a property whether for themselves or as an Investment. There are so many options out there when it comes to banks/lenders — it all comes down to their individual policy and products. Everyone’s situation is different and it’s our role as Brokers to know which lenders policy will fit with the client’s needs. I love it when a client has been advised that they can’t secure a loan through their own bank (and are devastated thinking that their purchase is all but over) we meet with them and get them approved ready to go without any fuss. People are astounded once they start to use a good Broker to see what we can do.
We meet with clients and go through their individual situation, what are they looking at purchasing, where do they want to be in 2,5,10 years, the structure of loans (whether for tax, mortgage reduction, lifestyle etc) will they be off work for travel or a family, goals etc. We can organise:
· Credit reports (checking their credit history for blemishes that may impinge on their borrowing)
· Property Reports — if they are interested in a home then through these reports we can see what it may have sold for last time and when, what the suburb growth and sales have been like and loads of other information to help them make a decision
· Negotiating for a purchase –assisting clients with negotiations between them and the Real Estate Agent (as we do this daily its generally easier for us to assist our clients in this way…it can sometimes be a little overwhelming as you don’t buy a home every year!).
· Fully validated Pre Approvals — these put clients in a strong position when negotiating and is also a must when clients go to Auction instead of a private sale. It means that there finance is in order and they can be confident when purchasing.
· Too any things to mention……

4. What are your biggest work challenges? What challenges do you face if someone is unable to obtain a suitable loan?

The Biggest work challenge (and most exciting) for me is growing a great team! Also, keeping up with the every changing landscape of lending (banks can change their policies and products weekly) is a challenge at the moment. When it comes to someone obtaining a suitable loan we will know pretty quickly if we can assist so that we can set the expectation from the start. So, prior to submitting a loan for a client they will already know the likelihood of their approval being given.

5. Do you practice what you preach? Do you invest in property yourself?

Sure do — it’s such an exciting industry property and finance — I know people’s eyes can glaze over when you mention finance ….but it’s the whole process of purchasing, selling, renovating, upsizing downsizing that makes it interesting. There’s no quick scheme for wealth but even if you have a little time on your side let it work for you.

6. What’s your advice for your women who are just starting out and are navigating their own career path?

You need people who encourage and inspire around you (Successful people build each other up,. They motivate, inspire and push each other. Unsuccessful people just hate, blame and complain –Instagram quote).
Listen to your ‘gut’/’intuition’ — it’s generally right.
Don’t worry if it’s not perfect …get it implemented and then work on it.
Be honest with yourself and have fun!