Porting: A crutch, a koi, a pond, a cup of tea & the right advice, by Steven Poole

Dashly Marketing Team: “How on earth are you going to turn porting into a blog post, Steve?” Me: “I’m going to talk about giving advice and a lady who once fell into a pond while I was doing a home visit appointment.” Dashly Marketing Team: “...ooooooookay.”

The right advice. What does it mean?

Some will say it’s a subjective term, but is it really? Is knowing your customer, digging into the depths of their current situation, understanding their needs and preferences, and clearly explaining their options to ultimately give sound advice subjective?

My point (stick with me) links back to giving the right advice, not what I deem to be the right advice.

In my early days as an advisor, I spent a lot of evenings doing home visits*. (*I once left the ‘Welcome to XXX Estate Agent’ sign out overnight, so was temporarily banned from having an office key and locking up the office after hours…)

As I worked for an estate agency as a broker, I was often seen as part of the ‘package’, so owners would love to show me around the house before we talked business. One evening, I was greeted at the door by an owner who was limping around with a bandaged foot and, for some reason, was just using one crutch (I’d already learned not to ask too many questions so just accepted the situation – all I knew is that she’d had her house valued and had been out viewing).

She told me I must see her garden before we started ‘the boring stuff’ (I hid my offence). As she was showing me the rhododendrons, she started telling me about her mortgage situation and how she’d spoken to her bank already, who’d told her about ‘porting’ her mortgage.

"Ah, okaaaaay…" was the only reply I had. (I must caveat here by saying that ‘back in the day’, the vast majority of adviser training was simply systems and a roleplay of a fact find. The rest you had to learn on the fly.)

I’d never heard of porting. It sounded… nautical? As I racked my brain to try to remember if I’d ever heard this term before, I realised I was staring directly into the mouth of the biggest koi carp I’d ever seen in my life, just looking up hungrily at me. I used to hate getting asked questions in the early days where I couldn’t secretly google, like I could’ve done discreetly back in the office as clients couldn’t see my screen.

Before I could embarrass myself by saying that I didn’t know what she meant, and I definitely didn’t do mortgages on boats, the koi carp’s dream had been answered and the client was in the pond. Now I know about as much about ponds as I do about boat finance, so I can’t explain the technicalities, but maybe all the rain recently had caused some weakness and/or the edges weren’t built for the weight of one crutch?

Rather than use the chance to quickly google ‘an idiot’s guide to porting’, I helped the lady out of the pond and back into her house. She insisted I stay while she sorted herself out so I suggested making a cup of tea, which she thought was a terrific idea. I know this all sounds like the premise of an adult movie, but the reality was far different.

While waiting for the kettle to boil I frantically googled ‘porting’.

gerund or present participle: porting
1. turn (a ship or its helm) to port.
"the yacht immediately raised all sail and ported her helm"

Ha! I knew it was nautical!

Obviously, I then tried ‘porting a mortgage’.

It was the ability for a client, who was within the initial period of their mortgage, to be able to potentially (subject to affordability and criteria) bring that mortgage with them to a new property and top up with an additional amount (if required) that would create an additional part to the mortgage. Both parts would have their own initial rate and initial period. Perfect for clients who had large ERCs as this would avoid those penalties!

I later found out that all I needed to do was apply to the lender for an illustration and compare this to the whole amount with a new lender. This would allow the client to make an informed decision as to whether to pay the ERCs or port the mortgage. Essentially, giving the right advice.

Back to the story quickly as there was one cruel twist left in this tale. We’d agreed I’d show myself out rather than have her hop around anymore so, as I stood up, I did what felt like the right thing to do and tried to make her feel better about her impromptu dip. I decided to say: “At least it was your own pond. The guys in the office told me about a lady last week who knocked over a vase in someone else’s house. Imagine the absolute horror!”

To my surprise, she didn’t crack a smile. Instead, she just slowly raised her bandaged foot and said, “That was me.”

Somehow, I signed her up a week or so later. I don’t know who felt more sorry for the other!


Thanks for reading. Maybe your exploration and experience with porting won’t be quite as amusing as mine, but I hope it’s as valuable to you as a broker aiming to offer your clients the right advice.

And see what Dashly does daily to help mortgage advisers in this regard: https://dashly.com/partners/mortgage-advisers

Steven Poole
Dashly Operations Manager - Intermediaries
Book a call: https://meetings-eu1.hubspot.com/meetings/steven-poole

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