In a market much smaller than those of his interstate rivals and despite writing smaller loans in his first year as a mortgage broker, Nitish Kumar has finished in the top 30 brokers listed by industry magazine, The Adviser.
The list recognising brokers under the age of 30 has ranked Mr Kumar 14th, a remarkable achievement in his first year as a broker.
It is even more noteworthy given that the average loans in the ACT market are much lower than those in Sydney.
This year, the Clarity Financial Group’s rising star has written 127 residential loans worth $56.8 million, and $2.2 million worth of commercial and business loans.
The Adviser ranks Mr Kumar as the number one broker as a first-year operator.
After completing his secondary education at Copland College, Mr Kumar worked in retail for two years before following his brother Kunal into the real estate industry, where he discovered he enjoyed selling and the work/life balance it offered compared to the nine to five days of the retail sector.
After six years in real estate, and numerous referrals of clients needing finance to the Clarity Financial Group, he decided to make the switch. He felt he could be of far greater use to buyers as a broker with access to 30 banks.
“With real estate, you can only help buyers with the properties you have to sell,” Mr Kumar says.
He has been able to share his optimism in the industry with his many clients.
“I don’t think it is as hard to get a housing loan as the media makes it out to be, they [borrowers] need to get an understanding of what they have to do to get a loan,” he says.
“The perfect client for us is someone who sees us today and wants to buy a property in six to 12 months’ time, because we can prepare them to be in a position to get a loan then.
“I saw a lot of clients 12 months ago who were not quite ready to buy. They are now. They have got everything ready during those last six or 12 months.”
About half of the 28-year-old’s clients are first-home buyers. He says the first-home buyer market is a little easier these days, whereas it is more difficult for investors with multiple properties.
“Most of them are quite surprised at how easy we make it for them to get a loan,” he says.
More want to go it alone with finance rather than turning to their parents, although a number of guarantor loans are being issued.
More than 50 per cent of his business comes from client referrals, with the remainder from real estate agents or returning clients.
“A lot of real estate agents refer clients to us because of the service their clients receive, which means the sellers are happy, the buyers are happy and obviously if the client is happy they are telling their friends and family about it,” Mr Kumar says.
He attributes his success to Clarity Financial Group’s well-established brand name in Canberra over the past 12 to 13 years, and the stability of the Canberra property market. “It is a very trusted brand, and even though conditions in the finance industry have been a bit tough over the past 12 months, we have not really noticed over the past year as an organisation,” he says.
Mr Kumar says having an understanding of the banks’ policies, knowing what their appetite for risk is, and what they are looking for in a client, helps him as well. “The support network available at Clarity for brokers helps too,” he says.
Mr Kumar is optimistic about the lending industry. “Our volumes have gone up this year. It is harder to get a loan, but the banks are still open for business, they still want to give people a loan, you just have to provide more information to the bank and make sure everything you provide to them is accurate,” he says.
“Banks are not making any money if they are not giving loans out.”
His goal now is to work his way higher up the list of top mortgage brokers, and help even more people into their own home.
Outside of work, he looks forward to spending time with his young daughter, Natalie.
A keen sports fan, he has a soft spot for the St George-Illawarra Dragons National Rugby League team.