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MFAA Prosper : Mortgage and Finance Brief 06
Life in the Outback Broker: Conni Warren Company: LoanMarket Based: Katherine, Northern Territory Three hundred kilometres from Darw in is Katherine; home to the giant saltwater crocodile – and also some 10,000 residents who buy and sell property. Conni Warren moved to this Top End town only a year ago from Darwin, so well understands the benefits and challenges of operating in a remote region. Top of her list when talking about operating in Katherine is LV R (loan-to-value ratio) regulations, closely followed by flood risks and distance. “My biggest challenge would be access to the higher LV R loans,” she says. “I have a much more limited range of lenders than the capital cities as the mortgage insurer or the lender w ill sometimes have a maximum LVR of 80 or 90%. “Some lenders have told me that they will not accept security in Katherine full stop because Katherine is a smaller rural town with a small population and is very isolated.” To add to the challenges, about two-thirds of Katherine is in a declared flood zone. “First-home buyers really struggle to buy in this part of town because unless you have a large deposit, it can be a challenge to secure finance,” she says. And then there’s the remoteness of Katherine. “ Documents can sometimes take five days in an express post bag or two nights in a courier bag,” she says, “so I need to be aware of timelines here as things can get very out of control in this business where dates rule.” Conni has put herself on a giant learning curve since starting her business in Katherine, making sure she understands the lingo and the passions of the predominantly rural and agri- business-based community. “An awareness and willingness to learn about rural lifestyle is very important here,” she says. As for promoting her services, Conni says it’s not so hard in a small town. “People don’t really forget that I am here because I run into at least two or three of my clients every time I do my grocery shopping and they are also the people providing serv ice to me when I go into their businesses.” Mor tgage & Finance brief | 29 InDepth
Mortgage and Finance Brief 05
Mortgage and Finance Brief 07