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Making the most of your mortgage broker

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The process of becoming a homeowner can be long and arduous, and your mortgage broker is one of your key allies in getting a mortgage in order to buy a home. But if done right, the relationship between you and your broker doesn’t stop once you have the keys.

Depending on how your individual mortgage is structured, you’re going to be up for a renewal at least twice over the life of your mortgage – and, for many people five or more times. That means many opportunities to reconnect with your mortgage broker, not only to get you the best interest rates available at the time, but to evaluate where your mortgage falls in your overall financial picture.

A good mortgage broker will definitely want to keep you as a client over the lifetime of your mortgage, so your broker will probably already have their own efforts in place to reach out to you every so often and checking in on how your mortgage payments are coming along. They might even have a newsletter of some kind, with helpful tips for homeowners. Either way, it’s only to your benefit to have a good relationship with your broker; here are some ways that you can make the most out of that relationship over a long period of time.

 

  1. Be honest
When getting your mortgage, there’s no point in lying about your occupation, your income, or your debt. It’s all going to come out in the wash anyway, and your broker can’t place your mortgage application with the best lender for you if they don’t have all of the facts. Not to mention that you’re going to have to come clean eventually when the lender does their due diligence on you. If you don’t tell the truth and lie about details on your mortgage application, then you’re committing mortgage fraud, which is something that you want to avoid at all costs. This holds true after you’ve gotten your mortgage as well – be honest when it comes to what you want and don’t want for your next mortgage term. Remember that your broker works for you and is paid (by lenders) to deal with the situation that you present to them, not the situation that works best for them and/or is easiest to place.

 

  1. Keep in touch

Months, even years, may go by, but don’t let your mortgage broker become a stranger. As mentioned, your broker may – and should – reach out to you every so often, but if they don’t, don’t be afraid to initiate contact with them, even if it’s just dropping a quick email to say hello or asking a simple question. This way, when you actually need something or it’s time to discuss renewal, your mortgage broker won’t have to think, “Who is this person?”

 

  1. Don’t be shy
Things change. Your broker doesn’t expect your financial realities to be the same 10 years down the road as they were when you got your mortgage. If you’ve changed your plans and now want to own a farm or move out of province or even start thinking about investment properties, don’t hesitate to let your broker know. They can only help you develop a mortgage plan if they know what your plans are; otherwise, the options that they suggest for you might not work for your short-term and/or long-term goals.

 

  1. Refer

If you’re happy with your mortgage broker, don’t keep them to yourself! A large part of a broker’s business is referrals, and often those referrals come from clients who they’ve previously worked with to get mortgages. If you know someone who is looking for a mortgage, maybe even someone who is unfamiliar with the role of a mortgage broker, offer to put them in touch with yours. It’s really a win-win-win situation: good for your friend who needs a mortgage, good for your broker who needs the business, and good for you, who just bought some goodwill from both parties.

 

  1. Educate yourself

Part of the reason it’s beneficial to speak with a mortgage broker is so that you can learn about the wide range of products and services in the market that they can get for you. But if you do your own research into a mortgage product or subject before speaking with them about it, then you can have a much more productive conversation about the products and see how they apply to your situation. You’ll be able to ask more detailed questions, and will probably understand your broker’s responses a bit bitter. It never hurts to do some preliminary homework.

Just like your relationship with your realtor, the relationship with your mortgage broker is a long-term one. Knowing how to make the most out of that relationship over the life of your mortgage can really work out in your favour.

Related stories:
Why you should use a mortgage broker
Things to look for when choosing a real estate agent

 

Are you looking to invest in property? If you like, we can get one of our mortgage experts to tell you exactly how much you can afford to borrow, which is the best mortgage for you or how much they could save you right now if you have an existing mortgage. Click here to get help choosing the best mortgage rate


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‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market

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The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place. HomeYou’ve been selected.Only $1.49/week for your first 4 months.Special offer just for you. Unlimited access.

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10 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers

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Buying a home for the first time is exciting and a commitment to the future. It’s often challenging, too, and the process requires a lot of steps, many of which can be tricky to navigate as a first-time home buyer.

What are some things you should keep in mind as a first-time home buyer?

First-Time Home Buyer Tips

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind as you begin your journey toward homeownership.

1. Have Your Finances in Order

It’s wise to begin saving as early as possible once you’ve made the decision to purchase a house. You’ll need to consider the down payment, closing costs (which often range from 2% to 5% of the down payment), as well as move-in expenses.

You also need to understand the other costs of homeownership, such as mortgage insurance. property taxes, utilities, homeowner’s insurance, and more.

2. How Much Can You Afford?

Knowing how much you can realistically afford in a home is another important financial consideration. Look for the home of your dreams that fits your budget.

One way to avoid future financial stress is to set a price range for your home that fits your budget, and then staying within that range. Going through the preapproval process will help you understand what price range is realistic for your budget.

3. Make Sure Your Credit is Good

Another thing to keep in mind as a first-time home buyer is your credit score because it determines whether you qualify for a mortgage and affects the interest rate that lenders offer. 

You can check your credit score from the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

This is another good reason for getting preapproved before you start your search. Learn more about the preapproval process and your credit score.

4. Choose The Right Real Estate Agent

A good real estate agent guides you through the process every step of the way. He or she will help you find a home that fits your needs, help you through the financial processes, and help ease any first-time buyer anxiety you may have.

Interview several agents and request references.

5. Research Mortgage Options

A variety of mortgages are available, including conventional mortgages – which are guaranteed by the government – FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans (for veterans).

You’ll also have options regarding the mortgage term. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is popular among many homebuyers and has an interest rate that doesn’t change over the course of the loan. A 15-year loan usually has a lower interest rate but monthly payments are larger.

6. Talk to Multiple Lenders

It’s worth your time to talk to several lenders and banks before you accept a mortgage offer. The more you shop around, the better deal you’re liable to get – and it may save you thousands of dollars.

7. Get Preapproved First

Getting a mortgage preapproval (in the form of a letter) before you begin hunting for homes is something else to put on your checklist. A lender’s preapproval letter states exactly how much loan money you can get.

Learn more about the preapproval process and how preapproval provides you with a significant competitive advantage in our article How Preapproval Gives You Home Buying Power.

8. Pick the Right House and Neighborhood

Make sure to weigh the pros and cons of the different types of homes based on your budget, lifestyle, etc. Would a condominium or townhome fit your needs better than a house? What type of neighborhood appeals to you?

9. List Your Needs and Must-Haves

The home you purchase should have as many of the features you prefer as possible. List your needs in order of priority; some things may be non-negotiable to you personally.

10. Hire an Inspector

Hiring an inspector is another crucial step in the home buying process. An inspector will tell you about existing or potential problems with the home, and also what’s in good order. You can learn more about home inspections and how to find a home inspector through the American Society of Home Inspectors website.

Buying a home for the first time is a challenge, but it’s one you can handle with the right planning and preparation.

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A Simplified Guide for Toronto First-Time Home Buyers

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Toronto is the largest city in Canada, the fourth largest city in North America, which makes it an exciting place to live in.

But as with other major cities, finding the perfect place to move to can get tricky. If you’re planning on buying a home for the first time in this city, it is indeed a big decision and there are things you should know in advance.

Don’t worry, this guide will help explain the basics of what you as a buyer should know when you decide to buy a home. It will make you feel like a true expert during the buying process.

Decide what type of home you are looking for

There is no right answer to what makes a good home. It all depends on your preferences and needs as the resident. It is, therefore, a good idea to determine as early as possible which features of a home are important to you. If you are buying a home and moving in with someone, it can be a good idea for both of you to make a list and compare.

Toronto is a city that offers different styles of living accommodations and its neighborhoods are quite versatile and diverse, same as the people living there who come from all parts of the world.

The most common forms of housing and real estate opportunities in this city include bungalows, two-storey houses, split-level homes, and the very popular Toronto condos. Due to the high property values, the city boasts of construction of many condominiums as they are a more cost-efficient choice and provide a plethora of benefits.

When you decide on the type of home you want to buy, it is good to do some research and learn the biggest differences between them.

What to think of when choosing homes in Toronto

There are certain things you need to consider when choosing your home in this city. 

Being close to the things you need to visit every day makes life a lot easier. Pay attention to the proximity to shops, preschools, schools, and your job. In addition, access to good public transportation is crucial. Being able to move around the city easily and the opportunity to commute is important to many.

Know that having a balcony can significantly increase the value of your home and improve your well-being. Being able to move easily in the area is something that many people underestimate, but can be very convenient, and this is why you should see if there are good cycles and walking paths. 

And finally, make sure that the house is well designed which is a quality that does not disappear with the age of the house or with renovations. 

Set your budget

Before you start the search for your new home, you must know how expensive of a home you can buy. It is preferable to know in what price range to look for. The budget is usually decided based on your mortgage and how large are the monthly costs you can handle.

A mortgage is always about a balance between risk and income for the bank. The higher the risk for the bank to lend to a particular home, the more expensive the mortgage will be. When it comes to the bank’s reasoning when applying for a loan, it is in principle always a question of whether you as a borrower will be able to repay the mortgage.

The bank also takes into account your financial history. If you are a person who has managed your finances well, the chance increases that you will get your mortgage approved. If, on the other hand, you have a bad reputation with banks, it is weighed in as an aggravating circumstance.

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