Buying a house is stressful and exciting, nerve-wracking and heart-warming, and a new mortgage brokers' in Chorley is on a mission to lend a hand.
One of the UK's fastest-growing financial service businesses, Mortgage Experience was founded just nine months ago but has quickly gone from employing two members of staff to 23, with more to come in the new year. Already a serious mover and shaker, the company is set to hit a turnover of £1.9m by Christmas.
The firm's unique selling point is its use of technology to wade through an otherwise busy marketplace for their budding client base. Combining a deep experience of the financial sector with the vim and verve of their senior management team, they're in the business of making an often-daunting process as smooth as can be.
Mortgage Experience is headed by the triumvirate of CEO Shaun Evans, Head of Operations Alistair Jameson, and Head of Marketing Andrew Morrison. The trio, who boast more than 100 years' experience in finance between them, are keen to bring mortgage brokering into the 21st century.
"Alastair, Andrew, and myself have worked together for over 20 years," said Wigan-born Shaun, 47. "About two years ago, we started to look at how we'd build our own mortgage company based on technology. We had a clear vision - there are lots of mortgage advisers out there, but we wanted to be different.
"It's the after-service which can be seriously lacking, so we spent a lot of time creating a hybrid of all the best cutting-edge tech available to us in the industry," added Shaun, who has worked in the mortgage business for 25 years. "We can then offer the best deal for the customer and their circumstance. We want clients to be happy."
At Mortgage Experience, Shaun - who has a degree in Accounting and Finance at the Manchester Metropolitan University - has assembled a crack team of professional mortgage advisers, with the company supported by HL Partnership, one of the UK’s leading independent mortgage and general insurance networks. Onwards and upwards, as they say.
"The industry is what you make of it; I'm pretty passionate about it," explained Shaun. "In 2008 when the crash hit, we were doing a lot of mortgages, but it became like being a joiner who didn't have any tools. It was a humbling experience, but these last few months have been really exciting. It's a very emotive business and you get pride in doing the best job you can.
"If someone says they've been to the bank, they've been to the mortgage brokers, they've seen their house, but they've been told by text or email that they've been declined for a mortgage - that the computer says no - then they don't know who to go to," said Shaun. "That's where our referrals come from, and I love that."
Mortgage Experience offer their own app which allows clients to keep constantly up to date as to where their mortgage progress is via a portal. At each stage the client gets an update by text to keep them abreast and offering them the chance to get in touch if they want to discuss it. There's an app for everything these days, it seems.
"It's been a phenomenal time, and we're really pleased," said Shaun of the whirlwind nine months in business. "We want to stay grounded: we've achieved growth [and] we want to make sure the quality is consistent."
Making sure that quality sticks is huge, reflected by the fact that Mortgage Experience have started their own 12-month academy programme to nurture students with an interest in the industry.
"We're always looking for local recruits who are interested," said Shaun of the programme. "We're looking at the growth for the future; they have to work hard across all sorts of jobs, earning their stripes, but they end up being our best advisers."