Listed finance group breaks into real estate

A diversified financial services group is set to launch a real estate arm as it looks to create a one-stop shop for clients and to capitalise on cross-sell opportunities.

N1 Loans CEO Ren Wong told Real Estate Business that he expects to officially launch N1 Realty in July, with the business to be based in Chatswood on Sydney’s north shore.

“The real estate arm includes residential property sales [for local suburbs] and property management,” he said. “A lot of people would have thought we are going into project marketing or off-the-plan, [but] in fact that’s not true."

After seeing strong demand for mortgages, Mr Wong realised that many of the group’s clients had pre-approvals and had been relying on the mortgage broker to refer them to a local agent.

“Hence, we would like to be able to offer more to clients,” he said.

Mr Wong said N1 Realty will look to capitalise on cross-sell opportunities with the ASX-listed group’s mortgage broking business, and has appointed one of its top loan writers, Jacqueline Wang, to co-head the real estate arm.

“We will have mortgage brokers on site at every inspection that N1 Realty has,” he said, adding that N1 Loans will also actively recommend the N1 Realty service to pre-approved borrowers.

“As N1 started out as a mortgage broker, we want to explore this new business model of bringing the real estate hunting process to home loans borrowers, unlike what’s common in the market, which is the other way around.

“We found a lot of buyers don’t understand that they should work out how much they can borrow before starting out to hunt for property.”

The group also recently launched LoanRobot.com.au, a website that allows borrowers to calculate an accurate borrowing capacity and then be presented with up to six home loan options.

Mr Wong said N1 Realty will initially start with one agent, with plans to employ more within the next three months.

“It depends on how we intend to grow as we are contemplating options of organic growth or acquisitions,” he said.

“If we go down the path of acquisitions, then we wish to be able to retain [an] acquired team, then be able to offer more space to grow within the company’s growing businesses.”

A trial of the firm's new DIY rental property app, SnailApp, which began in December last year, proved to be successful and the app is now being reconfigured to fit N1’s new business model, Mr Wong said.

[Related: Franchise chiefs outline home loan strategies]

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