Women in the mortgage aren’t just leaders but extraordinary. They are shaping the landscape of the mortgage industry by bringing passion, a compassionate approach, and a social and economic equity lens to the business. One such ardent mortgage professional is Dalia Barsoum, the Founder and Principal Broker of Streetwise Mortgages.
Dalia is a multi-award-winning mortgage broker, public speaker, and an Amazon best-selling author of Canadian Real Estate Investor Financing: 7 Secrets to Getting All the Money You want.
Dalia holds an MBA in Finance from Dalhousie University and is a fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers Association. She has been recognized by Canadian Mortgage Professionals (CMP) as the #1 Canadian small markets broker (2020), a Global 100 Mortgage Professional, a Woman of Influence, a CMP Hot List, Top 75 Broker, and a multi-award winner of the Manulife Outstanding Customer Service by an Individual Office.
An Uphill Growth
Dalia started streetwise in 2011 after over 20 years of multidisciplinary experience in the financial/banking sector, spanning Wealth Management, Personal and Commercial Banking, Strategy, and Technology.
Dalia is passionate about Real Estate investing. Using Real Estate as a powerful vehicle in growing one’s wealth, coupled with her desire to make an impact by helping others prosper and her desire for financial freedom and better control over her time, lead Dalia to leave a rewarding career with the banks and start Streetwise Mortgages. She combined her personal experience of owning and financing rental properties, deep finance, and wealth background to come up with a unique exclusive methodology in the mortgage industry for financing investment properties; called “ The Financing Roadmap TM ”
The financing roadmap methodology combines the principles of financial/strategic planning with mortgage financing for investment property. It enables Canadians to build and scale a portfolio of investment properties at the most optimal cost of capital.
Over the years, Streetwise quickly grew up the ranks of Canada’s small market broker and has been recognized within the Real Estate investment community for its strategic, non-biased advice, ability to scale portfolios, and excellence in client service experience.
Having her first child while juggling a demanding career at the bank and daily commute with a growing family are the key life events that fueled Dalia’s desire to change from a corporate to entrepreneurship.
She bought her first rental when she found several better ways to grow one’s wealth after reading about it in her first real estate book, Rich Dad Poor Dad.
Besides, she says, “I also lived through the Gulf war as a teenager, and that taught me some valuable life lessons, including to trust and keep our hopes up and to keep moving forward even if all signs show darkness.”
The Ups and Downs of The Pandemic
In Dalia’s opinion, the pandemic has resulted in a lot of fear, uncertainty, and panic for clients, lenders, and employees alike.
From a client’s standpoint, Dalia observed concerns about liquidity, income loss, softening real estate prices, and potential tenants’ defaults on rents. On the lender’s side, she observed tightening and regular changes to the lending policies. For employees, a changing work environment due to having kids at home and increased workload as employees spent more time supporting clients caused an increased level of stress, anxiety, and burnout.
Despite these challenges, Dalia’s team and the company thrived during the pandemic.
The immediate focus was on its team, providing them with wellness/mental support and flexibility. The team was also forthcoming with timely financing strategies to help the clients increase liquidity, manage market risk, and position themselves for any opportunities that may surface.
Dalia’s team was in constant touch with mortgage key lenders to quickly understand any lending changes. They also improved their internal due diligence policies and efficiencies to help their lenders mitigate risk and better manage the increased mortgage volumes.
Maintaining the Positive Work Culture
The heart and soul of Streetwise is its team. It ensures that everyone is happy, engaged, and growing personally and professionally in the culture it fosters.
Streetwise provides work from anywhere/any time arrangement, attractive compensation, professional growth, support, and mentoring. It carries out team events, weekly team alignment meetings, and access to leading personal development platforms.
Keeping Up with Technological Advancements
While sharing her thoughts on utilizing newer technologies, Dalia stated that innovations in delivering better client experience/service levels and enhancing efficiencies and productivity are a must.
With millennials being a powerful driving economic force as time advances, it is essential to be in tune with their servicing and advisory needs and aligning internal processes and technology accordingly. It is a massive opportunity for many businesses, including mortgage brokers.
Offerings to the Community
When it comes to giving back to the community, Dalia mentions that Streetwise Mortgages is part of the 100 Brokers Who Care community, an initiative where participating brokers come together every quarter to donate $10,000 to a deserving family.
It is also in the process of launching the Streetwise IMPACT fund. This initiative donates a percentage of the commissions earned to the client’s select charity on every mortgage transaction.
Moreover, Dalia is the chairwoman of PIPCA (Property Investment Professionals of Canada), a not-for-profit industry association that she has formed in collaboration with industry practitioners to elevate the standards of advice for Property Investment in Canada.
Marching Into the Future
In her envisioned plans at Streetwise, Dalia says, “We are here to elevate and touch as many lives as we can. 10,000 Canadians by 2025.” Streetwise plans to get there by being the number one brokerage to work for in the income property financing space and continuing to deliver innovative financing solutions and leading advice to Canadians looking to prosper through Real Estate investing.
Advising the Future Generation of Entrepreneurs
Dalia believes that you can succeed if you want to, even though the industry may seem crowded. She advises emerging women entrepreneurs to pick a niche and become excellent at servicing that niche. She says, “Seek the advice and support of successful colleagues and mentors who can help you navigate the industry and avoid the mistakes. Do not let negativity and fear paralyze you or stop you from pursuing your dreams.”
“Most importantly, your name is everything in this industry. Protect it. Do the right thing all the time. Always do what is best for your client, even if there is no immediate commission. Always go above and beyond with value and service,” concludes Dalia.