Dawn van Alphen brings a very special magic to our industry
In December last year, MortgageMax CEO Jors van Niekerk and his team recognised Cape Town-based bond originator, Dawn van Alphen, as an industry legend, and acknowledged her incredible contribution to the bond origination industry with a MortgageMax Industry Legend Award. Over the past 20 years, Dawn has built her business, BondMagic, on ‘Simply Smarter Service’. And given the incredible success she’s achieved, it’s clear that this single-minded approach has resonated with clients, time and time again.
Dawn has been involved in the property industry since 1981 when she started out as an estate agent. In 1993, she moved into the home loan industry as a bond consultant after being head hunted by FNB – within a year of her move, she was managing all the FNB bond consultants in the Western Cape. Dawn joined Absa in 1997 after being approached by the bank and in 1999, she moved into bond origination when she was head hunted yet again. After negotiating with her employer to bring in business from independent agents she had established relationships with, and finding that this business was exceeding her assigned agent business, Dawn decided in early 2003 that the time was right to branch out on her own. She describes her transition to business owner as, “The BEST decision I ever made!”
We recently caught up with this bond origination superstar and all-round wonderful human being to find out what has kept her so passionate about the industry for so long, the secret to BondMagic’s success, who her greatest inspiration is, and (since she’s such a pro!) what advice she has for those considering bond origination as a career.
What is your ‘why’ – the reason you do what you do?
I thrive on making my clients’ dreams of owning a home a reality. And I’m passionate about giving the very best of myself in my chosen career to clients, banks and my colleagues at MortgageMax (my silent partners), each and every day.
What is your greatest strength as a bond originator?
I’m a perfectionist when it comes to admin and paperwork and I pride myself on delivering a perfectly completed application along with all of the required supporting documentation. I also personally complete every application to ensure that everything is done correctly and to remove any stress from my clients who often find the paperwork overwhelming. I’m happy to say that I’ve been told many times by the banks I work with that my applications are a pleasure to work on.
What do you love most about working in the bond origination industry?
My greatest joy is opening an email with a Final Bond Grant. Every time I receive one, I do a happy Bond Grant dance!
What is the secret to BondMagic’s success?
I take a personal interest in every single client and take the time to determine their wants and needs. I put them at ease by answering all their questions and offering guidance when it is needed. I also remind them that I’m just a call away if they are unsure or uncertain about anything relating to the home loan application and process. Over the years I’ve encouraged the estate agents I work with to allow me Pre-Qualify their potential buyers as this gives everyone – agent, buyer and seller – peace of mind when an Offer to Purchaser is submitted.
How have your clients and their needs changed over the years?
When I started BondMagic, there weren’t many self-employed applicants. This sector of the market has increased substantially over time, so I’ve had to improve my knowledge on exactly what a mortgage lender requires to consider an application of this nature favourably.
You’ve built your business on ‘Simply Smarter Service’. What is the secret to outstanding client service?
My clients entrust me with the biggest investment of their lives, so it’s up to me to make the homebuying process as easy as I can by holding their hands from beginning to end and keeping them constantly updated on the progress of their application. The period between the Offer to Purchase being submitted and the bond being granted can be very stressful and it’s my duty to make that road as smooth and uncomplicated as humanly possible.
Who is your greatest inspiration?
My husband Mike is my inspiration and greatest supporter. I’m very blessed to have him constantly guiding me – even as I’m answering these questions, he’s leading me through the process. Mike has worked in banking for over 45 years and headed up Absa Home Loans in the Western Cape, and his knowledge of the industry is admirable. He has taught me to keep a cool, calm head under pressure, to believe in myself and never to make rash and hasty decisions.
What does success mean to you?
It’s the complete satisfaction that comes with knowing that I’ve been part of making someone’s dream a reality. I’m so grateful to have a career doing something I’m so passionate about.
What has been the biggest highlight of your career?
The honour of receiving the MortgageMax Origination Industry Legend Award in December 2022 in recognition of my dedication to service excellence.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in bond origination?
Always put the client first by establishing their wants and needs. Be 100% thorough with your applications and the paperwork required by banks, and make sure you have an excellent understanding of the mortgage bond process and legalities.
Remember that the client is king and treat them accordingly. Don’t make promises you can’t keep!