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As a mortgage broker, I always strive to think out of the box, in order to stay competitive.

With that in mind, over two years ago, I went to the US (specifically Florida) and started making contacts with realtors, other mortgage brokers, lenders and wholesalers, just to name a few.

Once I had my contacts established and verified, meaning I would only work with referral sources that had been verified and could back up their offerings with proper protocols in place, I was then able to hit the Canadian market and start marketing this source of business.  It has not been easy and has taken a lot of work but in the end, it has definitely worth it, as I have been assisting countless investors in Canada to invest in both residential and multi-family properties.

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Every year thousands of new immigrants arrive in Canada and more than half of those end up immigrating to Toronto. With property prices where they are, many people cannot afford to buy resale and therefore end up looking at the pre-construction opportunities, of which there are many in this growing city.

My current clients are Canadians but were living in Kuwait for the last 17 years. There two oldest have since come back for University and their youngest will be going to high school next year. They arrived in Toronto 6 months ago and the wife recently found work but the husband is still looking for work in a highly competitive marketplace.

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Recently, I was contacted by a new client that was separating from her husband. Prior to filing for separation they decided to amicably split and split the proceeds from the sale of their existing home. They agreed that since they had no children and he had supported her through her schooling, he would not pay her alimony. The amicable split helped them protect their credit score as the credit score will usually take a hit, when you divorce or separate.

Divorce or separation can have a major impact on both your personal and financial lives. Where you might have previously had joint accounts for major expenses like your mortgage or loan payments, now you will have your sole accounts. Furthermore where you had two incomes you now have one income.

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It’s no news that the new mortgage rules have thrown everyone into a tizzy! Not only, are there new rules, but now there is new terminology and a new way of thinking we need to adopt, so I thought it would be a great primer to spell it out in this blog post.

Before November 30, 2016 we would assess a Purchase in terms of Conventional or High Ratio. Now we need to look at a Purchase in terms of Insurable or Un-Insurable. Note all refinances are considered Un-Insurable.

So how does this affect you?

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Booya and the Government changes the mortgage rules again!

This past week the Trudeau Government took us all by surprise by announcing new mortgage qualification rules. The mortgage industry and the media have gone wild with speculation and concern about the future of our industry, but what does this mean for you and how do you navigate these changes going forward?

Currently in place, the Government has required homeowners with less than 20% down to qualify at the BOC rate of 4.64% for any term less than a 5-year fixed rate. Effective October 17, 2016, this requirement will apply to all insured mortgages, including fixed-rate mortgages with terms of five years or more.

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Recently I was approached to finance a commercial building in Hamilton, Ontario.

The property was a vacant and former rooming house and the clients wanted to transform it into a retirement home. The clients were a retired nurse and two personal support workers, all of whom had experience working with seniors, however they did not have experience operating a retirement home.

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This is not my usual mortgage article but I hope you will read on anyways. I am writing about how being a mortgage broker makes me grateful everyday!

I am an avid blogger – I love writing and sharing my knowledge and experience but that last two weeks have been a mental struggle for me. I finally stopped beating myself up and sat down to think why I was struggling and realized it was because I had forsaken my daily gratitude habit, because I have been so busy with work and life in general.

I have learned through various strategies, readings, courses that having the practice of being grateful not only brings peace into my life but the ability to focus and expand that gratitude into all areas of my life, including work and family.

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In Canada we have two past times or conversations that get people heated up! One is the weather and the other is real estate. The last few years have given people lots to talk about – even those that are not directly in the real estate industry.

We speculate when the market crash or softening will happen; where prices and interest rates are headed and what will happen when the market does soften. We have all come to expect bigger and better, even when bigger and better is not necessarily affordable.

I personally don’t want bigger and better as I don’t want to be burdened with a huge mortgage but what do you do when you live in a house that you are outgrowing? What are your options?

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Every once in a while as investors, we come across an amazing deal and usually that deal is a deal because it needs a lot of work – otherwise known as a “handyman special”.

Then the question becomes what is the best way to financing this opportunity and which lenders will consider the “after repair” value and not the “as is” value.  Currently there are very few options that exist to renovate properties using the “after repair” value.

Options using the “as is” value literally suck!  You can do a purchase plus mortgage, where the lender will give up to 10% or $40,000 max. of the “as is” value for renovations and after all is said and done, you get to include that cost into the mortgage. However the caveat is that you must have those funds in your pocket to begin with. Another way might be to take it out of your existing HELOC or unsecured LOC, but then you are worried about timelines, paying it back, over-extending your lines of credit and worse if another opportunity comes along you have now tied up that money into the current property, waiting to flip it!

Furthermore, how far is 10% of the value going to get you? Not very far in most cases! The rest comes from your own pocket and if you are like me there are typically other uses for that money.

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I got a call today from an investor client, who is tired of losing out on bidding wars for existing homes and is considering putting an offer on a pre-construction stacked townhouse. Last year she had purchased a pre-construction condo as an investment but this year she was purchasing a stacked townhome as a second home for her son, who had just graduated school and did not have a job yet, which meant he could not qualify for a mortgage on his own. She had a pre-approval in place for 5% down on a purchase.

She was concerned that even with the 5% down she planned to put down. the builder was insisting on a 20% down payment and all of it was due in 90 days, with no firm closing date. She asked if there was a work-around. I suggested she show the pre-approval to the builder and see if she could reduce it.

She was taken by surprise by the demand for a 20% downpayment and so I thought this would be a timely article as many people are unaware of all the costs and demands that come with pre-construction. Here are some things to consider.

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