Interview – Matt Caldwell MortgageMe
Last month I had a property purchaser who was an Expat that needed to talk and deal with a lending company who is familiar with the local property market here in Wanaka.
By chance we recently had Matt Caldwell from MortgageMe and his team in our office giving us a market update and presentation on what they could do for our buyers, naturally I referred them to Matt. The feedback from both parties was great, they managed to get the deal done in a minimal amount of time.
I had a chance to catch up with Matt to get a better understanding on what they do and what makes him tick.
How long have you been involved with MortgageMe in Central Otago and the wider financial industry?
I have been running MortgageMe in Queenstown for the last year with my business partner. We are actively in Wanaka and Central Otago at least two days a week and can see this growing. While the MortgageMe role appears new it came as an easy transition after working as a Chartered Accountant specialising in property transactions and building my own property portfolio in Dunedin and Central Otago. The mix of hands-on experience and time running the numbers made this a rewarding move and clients enjoy the results we provide.
In your words how does MortgageMe distinguish itself from other financial lending institutions in NZ?
Having the mix of first-hand property investing and overseeing property transactions from an accounting perspective we can help clients think beyond the purchase in front of them and look at the bigger picture. We often red flag ownership structures and other potential implications before clients sit down with their accountant and lawyer. Our goal is to save the client time and money while providing the right solution for them. As well as funding, we also help clients with personal insurance, foreign exchange and Kiwisaver.
Is there a specific investment level required before they can utilise your firm?
We cater to all levels of funding, whether it is a first home, a rental investment, a business purchase, motel lease, or commercial opportunity we are interested to see how we can help. We are invested in our clients and like to keep our range broad to reflect this.
Do you cater for international buyers or EXPATS?
Yes, funding for international buyers has its challenges but we have successfully managed to get applications across the line. We see this as a specialised area because the applications we come across often have complex situations and structures that require some skills to unravel and present to funders. Bank policy rapidly changes in this area as well, so you need a broker that is actively engaged in this area to keep up to date.
What is the most rewarding part of your role with Mortgage Me?
The most rewarding part is clients having a good experience and referring their family and friends. When this happens, we know we have helped the client save time and money and provide the right solution for them. The best part is the funders pay us a commission and we get the client a good deal so there is no direct charge to the client for our time. We are basically an employee of every funder!
Who is and what are the backgrounds of your typical client who owns property in the Central Otago region?
We have a wide range of clients because that is the nature of the region but they all have one thing in common; a clear plan to get involved in the property market. Property prices are much higher than other regions and it takes some forward thinking at times to make it work. Many of our clients also have their own businesses and complex structures to put forth to funders.
What advice would you give potential property purchasers looking for future finance?
Approach a mortgage broker early and talk through your ideas. Never assume it is easy and you will be able to walk into the bank in the final hour for a loan. The funders are looking at your serviceability, equity towards the deal and character. Small differences in policy may mean you may qualify at two banks and then next month it might be a different bank. There is no point finding this out the hard way of meeting each and every funder when the broker can do it for you. Like I mentioned earlier, the broker gets paid by the funder, not the client, so why not make the most of this service?
Best place to get coffee in Wanaka?
There’s too many too choose from but you’ll often find me at Urban Grind.
Does Wanaka differ from other NZ regions for your line of work? If so, how so?
Property prices are a lot higher and there seems a proportionally higher amount of self-employed individuals and business owners. Given our accounting background we can read the financials and unravel complex structures and explain this to funders.
What is Wanaka best kept secret?
The outdoors! It’s got everything you could ever want.
Best advice for people moving to Wanaka?
Visit and explore the outdoors. The town will continue to grow and change but there will always be a spot outdoors to escape to.
It’s 10am on a Sunday morning, where would we find you and what are you doing?
Probably hunting, fishing or exploring. Although this is sometimes out of reception my phone calls are being covered so don’t be afraid to get in touch!
Favourite time of year in Wanaka and why?
February / March – The evenings are long and warm and if you pick your time you’ll enjoy an uninterrupted water-ski up the lake.
You can reach Matt on firstname.lastname@example.org