A day in the life of Habito Mortgage Expert, Emily Smith, CeMAP
I live in South East London, and start my day with a fight for a space on a packed train followed (thankfully) by a relaxing walk over Tower Bridge to the Habito office. My zen has normally been restored by the time I reach my desk.
The first thing I do when I get to work is have a coffee. …Then another. And then another. Did I mention I like coffee?
Although we’re an online business, I spend most of my day chatting to customers. I’m a Mortgage Expert at Habito. We’re a free online mortgage broker that combines technology and excellent advisers to get people on the best mortgage deal for them. My role involves chatting to customers on live chat and using our cutting-edge tech to assign them the best lender for their circumstances. I’ll send them a mortgage recommendation by email and help them understand why I’ve chosen that mortgage for them. Then when they’re ready to move ahead, I’m also responsible for putting the mortgage application together so it can be assessed by the lender.
My job is all about taking responsibility and instilling trust. Buying a property or remortgaging can be an incredibly anxious time, and there are so many moving parts. It’s my role to make this process as stress-free as possible. I’m ultimately responsible for making sure each customer has the best deal and feels completely reassured.
There’s never a dull moment. Mortgage advising is a constant challenge. I’ve been working in mortgages since 2011 and qualified as a mortgage broker and got my CeMAP certification in 2014 — and now, even eight years on, I still see cases I haven’t seen before. Some people have complicated or unusual circumstances, but placing that seemingly unplaceable mortgage application is a brilliant feeling.
The most challenging aspect of my role is when something doesn’t go to plan. For example, when a property gets undervalued by the lender. You can’t always fix every problem and that’s difficult to accept!
My friends and family find my job very handy. They love to pick my mortgage brain whenever and wherever! Sunday lunch, in a taxi, on a night out…
The mortgage industry has changed a lot over the last few years. Lending criteria (what banks want to see from customers) has evolved really fast: buy-to-let affordability assessments (stress tests) are now almost unrecognisable from what they were three to four years ago, so it’s now very difficult for landlords to choose the most appropriate mortgage without specialist advice.
And finally the industry has also started to embrace technology! It’s an absolute joy that we can take someone from the initial stages to final Mortgage Offer without the need for a phone call or face-to-face meeting, or them actually having to leave their sofa!
Working at Habito is a world apart from my previous role. I used to work at a traditional mortgage brokerage, meeting customers face-to-face, filling in paper questionnaires and photocopying stacks of documents. At Habito, all the customer’s documents are uploaded through our document portal, so we check these online. Gone are the days of a desk piled high with paper!
Before, being a woman in the mortgage industry was a little intimidating because I was always one of only a handful of women in the room. Habito has been a breath of fresh air though because more than half of the senior positions in Mortgage Operations are held by women. It’s great to think that an underrepresented group in the industry is leading the way in changing how people get their mortgages.