How to find a Great Mortgage Broker


What are the Benefits of Using a Broker?

A mortgage broker helps to facilitate the negotiations that take place between you and the bank when you apply for a home loan. They will research, compare options and also provide guidance from application to settlement.

 You Get the Best Products for You

Because brokers have a lot of experience and expertise, they will be able to recommend you the best possible loan and lender according to your current financial situation.

They Can Save You Time

If you were to talk to each bank, negotiate terms and send documents back and forth, it would take you forever. And this isn’t even accounting for the fact that every bank has their own set of procedures. Missing a step could cause major problems and working with a broker will make sure this doesn’t happen.

What are the Disadvantages of Using a Broker?

Make sure you keep the following in mind before working with a broker.

It’s Not Their Money

Since brokers work on commission, they have an incentive to encourage you to take a larger mortgage. This could lead them to push you towards a mortgage you really cannot afford, leaving you with lots of financial stress. These types of shady practices were one of the major drivers of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, which resulted in an unprecedented number of defaults.

Hidden Biases

All brokers have relationships with lenders, which could lead them to give you an incomplete comparison of products that pushes you towards one product over another, even if it’s not the best deal for you.

How Do You Find the Best Mortgage Broker for You?

All these problems can be avoided if you manage to find the right broker for you. Follow these tips to find the ideal mortgage broker:

Know What You Need

Everyone needs something different from their broker. First home buyers may need advice and guidance, whereas investors need efficiency, due diligence and prompt communication. Make sure you’re working with a broker who’s sensitive to what you need.

Get a Referral

Ask your real estate agent, friends, family, coworkers, etc. to see if they know any good brokers. Going off a trusted recommendation is a great way to make sure you get a good broker.

Look at Reviews and Ratings

Look on review sites, such as Google Reviews. They allow you to search for and compare different brokers. Other ways to learn about brokers include onto property forums and searching for the names of those you are considering. Additionally, brokers will have their own website where people leave reviews and write comments, and these can be a great way to learn if a broker is right for you.



Should You or Shouldn’t You Renovate When Selling?


When it comes time to sell your home, there is always a temptation to renovate it to try and increase its value and the amount of money you’ll eventually get for it. But is this the right move? This is not an easy question to answer, but here are some things you should consider before making a choice.

Must-Do Improvements

It’s absolutely important you present your property in the best light possible whenever you decide to sell. Before putting your property on the market, you should definitely do the following six jobs:

  • Clean your property top to bottom so that it shines
  • Fix any chipped paint
  • Remove or store away highly personal items
  • Repair any obvious damage
  • Tidy the front yard
  • Maximise curb appeal by sweeping paths, making sure your gate is working and touching up the front to make sure your street number is apparent.

Think of the Sale as a Business Move

No matter if you’re selling your family home or a personal investment property, it’s always smart to treat the sale as a business decision. Will renovations provide an immediate boost to property value? Are you doing construction to try and enjoy the home more? Or is it strictly to please the next owner? It’s important to leave your own emotions and tastes out of the equation, as they aren’t going to guide you to the right decision.

In the end, people are going to come in and do a lot of work anyway, especially if your property is a real fixer-upper, so it may end up making much more sense to leave things as is and tidy them up to look better to prospective buyers.

Understand the Current Market Value of the Property

You can’t make decisions about renovations if you don’t first know how much your property is currently worth. Do an appraisal right from the beginning, and then use this number to help you determine how much money is too much for renovating your home, as you want to make sure you’ll get back all of your investment and more when you do sell.

Think About Your Market

When renovating, it’s very tempting to want to make your own mark. But if you’re renovating to sell, then you need to be very careful about this, as you’re not the one who is going to be enjoying the end result of all this work.

Speak to your agent to find out what people want and pay attention to trends. This isn’t about expressing your personal style, but rather about doing something that is going to please a wide audience and bring in lots of offers.

How Much to Spend

This is the most important part. While there’s no hard rule, it’s generally considered a good idea to keep your renovation budget at around 10 percent of the value of your home, especially when you’re only doing cosmetic renovations such as painting, floor sanding, changing carpets, etc. This will make it much easier for you to recoup your investment and make a profit when you sell.



4 Tips for finding the Perfect Rental Property


So, you want to be a landlord? Or perhaps you are looking to expand your existing rental income?  These 4 Tips could help you find the perfect rental income property.

 1. Location

Rental properties are no exception to this age-old rule of real estate.  The closer you get to the heart of a city the greater the demand for properties, people will pay more in rent to have a shorter commute - every time.  The more centralized the location of your rental property the greater the number of interested renters.  Having more applicants interested in your property means you can be more discerning about who you trust with living in your property.

2. Fixer Upper or Remodel

It can be tempting to purchase a home that has already been completely renovated.  It saves you all the effort of doing it yourself and allows you to begin renting it out right away.  It is important to keep in mind that most house flippers only do resurfacing improvements and some of them will use that new surface to hide the real damage underneath.  Also remember that when you buy an already remodeled property, you are paying more for those improvements than the person selling you the property.  In other words, you are paying them to pick out your paint/flooring/appliances and that is the most enjoyable part of a home improvement project.

3. Get more with a Duplex

When you purchase a Multi-family home up to %75 of your potential rental income can be used for income verification on the loan application if you occupy one half of the duplex.  This means that you will be able to qualify for more house and half your mortgage is paid by your neighbors.

 4. Talk to a Mortgage Broker

 There are many reasons to hire a Mortgage Broker, the first being that they have lower rates than the bank.  Loan Officers working for a bank are incredibly limited in what they can offer in all aspects of a loan, including (Rates, Terms and Total Loan Amount).  They have the loan packages they have and if you don’t fit, they aren’t going to make any adjustments.  Because Mortgage Brokers are so adaptable to your specific situation, it is important to make sure they have all the information they’ll need to tailor mortgage to your needs.   Call your Mortgage Broker often, keep them up to date on any changes to your situation no matter how trivial they may seem. You’d likely be surprised how many clever funding strategies I’ve discovered just chatting with a Broker. 

It is my hope that this information will be of use to you as you navigate the real estate markets.  As mentioned in tip 4 – Never hesitate to call me personally with any questions you have about purchasing and investing in real estate.