Michelle Harvey is a self-confessed workaholic and as Principal of MoneyQuest Ringwood, Sponsor of Ringwood District Cricket Association, Kilsyth Cricket Club, Free Jumping Castles Yarra Ranges, not to mention, being a mum to a little boy. Well, we believe her.
From accounting cadetship to principal of MoneyQuest
Michelle grew up in Melbourne’s Eastern Suburbs. During high school, Michelle worked at a Real Estate Agent on the weekends and with a love for numbers, acquired an accounting cadetship with Deloitte at the end of Year 12. Finding the audit department less interesting than she’d hoped, Michelle left and returned to real estate.
“I worked in real estate for 25 years and opened my own estate agency in 2009. Three years later I had my son and sold the business to stay home with him. Though, it did not take me long to miss being in business and I believed finance was a good cross over from my previous career – and would allow more work life flexibility”.
Michelle has now been in the industry for two and a half years. Falling in love with the ability to help clients buy their dream home, Michelle particularly likes working with first home buyers.
“Many of the skills I had have been transferable into this new career path. Knowing the real estate transaction from end to end adds value to my finance clients”.
Motherhood and mortgage broking
With a son to raise and a business to grow, finding that ‘perfect’ balance between work and life is an ongoing challenge for Michelle, who offers a mobile service to her clients, making herself available on weeknights and weekends.
“I like the flexibility for being able to work my own hours, so I do get to pick my son up from school every day but on the other hand, those late-night client appointments and weekend appointments are a regular occurrence and I don’t want to miss out on time with my son”.
It is clear, Michelle goes above and beyond for both her business and her clients.
Advice to other brokers
For brokers wanting to start their own business, Michelle believes the best thing you can do is thorough research and spend a lot of time planning the business before you start it.
“I spent six months planning the business, researching franchisees thoroughly and meeting with the ones I felt comfortable with. I think it’s important to have a clear plan on where your clients are going to come from. Trust your instinct and let your heart make a few decisions, not just your head. It’s supposed to be enjoyable so let yourself enjoy the decision-making process”.
Always be branding
Michelle’s ethos and philosophy are to focus on the outcome not the income. Great outcomes for clients bring the income. What’s more, Michelle runs her business with the idea to ‘Always Be Branding’. Holding free information nights for first home buyers and from time to time hosting her own business stand at the local shopping centre on a Saturday, handing out branded shopping bags and balloons to generate more business and to get her name out in the community.
Michelle recently won the Brand Ambassador Award for MoneyQuest Australia in 2018.
A career spanning nearly 30 years in the property industry
Michelle clearly understands the real estate transaction better than most, with a career in the property industry spanning 30 years. Michelle’s background enables her to walk her clients through every step of the process, from assisting them to finding a property, to helping with the offer process, and then guiding and reassuring them through every step of the transaction to settlement and beyond.
Delivering a full service for her clients, Michelle is also a strong believer and advocate of loan protection.
Protecting clients against financial hardship
“I plant the seed at the first meeting when we are discussing living expenses, mainly around insurance expenses. Later, when the clients get their loan documents, and we’re making a time to go through them, I mention I will also be quoting on My Protection Plan (MPP). Then, at the meeting, I present the ALI quote/s and we go through them”.
Michelle has worked hard on her delivery to ensure clients know the benefits of having a protection plan in place and don’t misunderstand it for an upsell. Having the right dialogue is key says, Michelle.
“I put a focus on the word protection and remind them that their biggest assets are their health, their family and their home. Their biggest liability is their home loan, so it needs to be protected”.
Michelle does not want to see her clients go through a serious life event and not have a back-up plan in place to help them in times of need.
“If something happens to my client, the bank is going to get their money back, but the last thing I want, is a ‘for sale’ sign out the front with a sold sticker on it and to see my client packing and moving boxes when they are going through hardship. I would hate that to become a reality for my clients”.
Don't be disheartened if you hear 'no'
Michelle admits to once being terrible at offering and discussing MPP with her clients. As a new to industry broker, Michelle was accredited with ALI at the same time as being accredited with over 20 lenders and it was overwhelming to say the least.
“I contacted my ALI Group BDM, Dinh and asked if she could retrain me and honestly, Dinh could not come out and buy me a coffee fast enough. After spending 45 minutes with her going through the product again and drilling down on the benefits, I was much more confident with what I was offering to my clients and really believed in the product”.
Michelle is confident and comfortable in talking about My Protection Plan with her clients because she strongly believes they should have it.