Why Should You Use a Canadian Mortgage Broker?

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Mortgage Studio Blog! I’m Michele Ellis, Senior Mortgage Broker at the Mortgage Studio. In last month’s post about new federal mortgage regulations due to come into effect in January, I urged any readers thinking about changing or applying for a mortgage to give me a call so we could talk through your options. I know I heard from some of you, and I hope to continue helping people wondering what to do between now and the end of the year with regard to these particular new guidelines. However, my job as a mortgage broker extends far beyond guiding Canadians through big changes to the mortgage market, and so I wanted to take this post to briefly explain the services I provide even when there aren’t big changes like these on the horizon. So, without further ado, why should you use a Canadian mortgage broker?

Brokers Can Help You Figure Out Your Perfect Mortgage

A lot of people who come to me looking for mortgages are first-time home buyers who have never had reason to give mortgages a second thought. Even for more experienced homeowners, it’s difficult to take personal goals and desires about the future and translate that into smart personal mortgage policy today. Is it better to look at fixed or variable-rate mortgages? How much of a down payment do you need to save, and, for that matter, how big of a mortgage can you reasonably expect to be approved? Questions like these – and the countless others that stem from the minutiae of federal, provincial, and private mortgage requirements – are ones that I’ve encountered every day for the past 20+ years. I know not just how to answer them but how to answer them in the way that makes the most sense for you and your personal financial situation. And since I’m not tied to any single lender – unlike the mortgage representatives at your bank – you can trust that my advice is 100% unbiased and professional.

Brokers Deal With Complexity So You Don’t Have To

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make, and it’s complicated and stressful enough already without trying to hunt down the best rate for your mortgage (and that’s if you even know what sort of rate you’re looking for!). Mortgage brokers like myself handle this entire process on your behalf, from getting a sense of your financial situation and shopping for rates to getting you pre-approved, approved, and finally, securing financing. Your only role in the process is giving me a call to get the conversation started – after that, you can sit back, relax, and let my years of experience do all the hard work for you.

Brokers Don’t Cost You a Dime

This is the part that sounds too good to be true, but 99% of my clients don’t pay for my services at all. This is because mortgage brokers are paid directly by lenders, who are just as happy to be hooked up with perfect customers as my clients are to be hooked up with perfect rates. The only exceptions to this involve situations where a client has trouble getting a mortgage through traditional lenders – such as if they have a particularly bad credit history. If you don’t fall into that category (and if you’re unsure, ask!), then I can help you figure out your perfect mortgage and get it for you – all at no cost to you. If that sounds like a pretty good deal, I urge you to give me a call at 604-892-4647 and get the conversation started.

(Just remember, though, that come January 1st mortgage regulations will be tightening significantly – so if you do call me, please try to do so quickly!)

Michele Ellis – Senior Mortgage Broker, The Mortgage Studio

How Will New Canadian Mortgage Regulations Affect Your BC Mortgage?

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Mortgage Studio Blog. I’m Michele Ellis, Senior Mortgage Broker at the Mortgage Studio, and I want to jump right into things today by discussing the new federal mortgage underwriting guidelines put in place by OSFI, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada.

The new regulations, which come into effect on January 1st, 2018, establish a new minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages. Generally known as a “stress test,” these minimum qualifying rates mean that buyers “will need to prove that they can afford payments based on the greater of the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate (currently 4.89%) or their contract mortgage rate plus two percentage points” (via Canadian Mortgage Trends, emphasis theirs). In simplest terms, this means that a buyer looking for a mortgage in the new year will be able to afford much less than they would be today.

Here’s a handy chart courtesy CanadaMortgageNews.ca that illustrates the change:

Mortgage Qualification Differences with 2018 Stress Test Guidelines

As you can see, the difference is quite drastic, and many industry insiders think that the regulations go too far. As a professional mortgage broker, my only job to help Canadians get the most of their mortgage, and I’ve done that through many years of shifting economies and regulations just like this. This upcoming change is particularly significant, and I strongly urge anyone who might be affected by it to contact me so I can talk you through your options. This includes, but isn’t limited to:

  • Anyone looking or thinking of looking for a new mortgage.
  • Anyone who has a mortgage up for renewal.
  • Anyone thinking of refinancing their mortgage in the future.

Crucially, anyone looking for a mortgage in the near future should strongly consider getting one sooner rather than later. The new OSFI regulations kick in on January 1st, so anyone who acts before then won’t be subject to the new stress test guidelines. If you think you fit that bill, or simply want to learn more about how the new rules will affect your mortgage, my number is 604.892.4647 and I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.

The next two months will be a critical time for Canadians looking to get their perfect mortgage. If you’re one of them, I hope to hear from you soon.

Michele Ellis – Senior Mortgage Broker, The Mortgage Studio

What the Bank of Canada Overnight Rate Hike Means For You, Part 2

Hi everyone! Senior Mortgage Broker Michele Ellis here, as always, to bring you the latest mortgage news across Canada. The most recent development might sound a little familiar: On Sep6, the Bank of Canada “raised its target for the overnight rate to 1 per cent.” To recap, that’s up a quarter point from 0.75%, which is what the Bank of Canada set as the overnight rate less than 2 months ago (for the 7 preceding years it had been another quarter point below that, at 0.50%). To wit: the overnight rate is now double what it was at the start of July.

So what does that mean for your mortgage?

That’s a complicated question, the answer to which depends almost entirely on your personal situation and home-owning goals. In my post about the last overnight rate hike, I pointed out the immediate general effects of such a raise: if you have a variable mortgage or line of credit, you’ll see a slight raise in rates, and if you have a fixed-rate mortgage, you have nothing to worry about – for now. The general value of interest rates is of course trending up, but this is a purposeful move on the part of the Bank of Canada in response to “recent economic data [that’s] been stronger than expected”. In other words, interest rates are rising only because the Canadian economy is on a strong upswing of its own. This economic strength accounts for the suddenness of this second rate hike so soon on the heels of the first one – if you’ll recall, the subject of another raise wasn’t supposed to come up until the BoC’s October meeting. Yet here we are.

The rapid pace of our changing economy, even if those changes are for the better, makes it all the more important to understand how your mortgage will be changing too (or how a mortgage might look for you in the future). If you have a variable mortgage, are you in a position to handle rising rates? Would it be a good idea to convert to a fixed-rate mortgage for pure peace of mind, even if your initial interest rate might be higher? Conversely, if you have a fixed-rate mortgage now, is it possibly worth breaking to get a better variable rate?

You can see how these questions – and many others like them – can only be answered in the context of your unique personal situation. I know it’s a complicated landscape to traverse, and that’s why my best advice is to consult with a professional in the mortgage or finance industries. As it so happens, I have over 20 years’ experience in these fields, and plenty of that experience comes from helping people just like you figure out how to best plan for their financial future. Ultimately, only you can know which mortgage is the right fit for your personal and professional realities and goals – but I can show you all your options, walk you through the pros and cons of each, and help you narrow down your choices until you’re 100% satisfied you’re making the right one. In fact, that’s the definition of what I do as a professional mortgage broker – I use my thorough understanding of the market to guide you to your perfect mortgage. Unlike the overnight rate, my commitment to that goal never changes (though changing rates are a good example of why my help is useful)!

As always, my number is 604.892.4647, and I keep my phone on all day. If you think my experience in the Canadian mortgage industry could be at all of service to you, I urge you to give me a call. And if that doesn’t convince you – have I mentioned my services are completely free?

Michele Ellis – Senior Mortgage Broker, The Mortgage Studio

What the Bank of Canada Overnight Rate Hike Means For You

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the blog. I’m Michele Ellis, Senior Mortgage Broker here at the Mortgage Studio, and today I’m going to address last month’s Bank of Canada overnight rate hike. On July 12th, the BoC raised this rate for the first time in 7 years – by a standard quarter point – from 0.50% to 0.75%.

First, a quick refresher on what this means. From the Bank of Canada website, the overnight rate is “the interest rate at which major financial institutions borrow and lend one-day (or ‘overnight’) funds among themselves.” In practice, this rate is mirrored by the Big 6 Banks, who set their own prime rates – the ones that affect variable mortgage rates and consumer loans – in general lockstep with the BoC. Such is the case here, where within a few hours of the Bank of Canada’s announcement, the Big 6 Banks increased their prime rates equivalently from 2.70% to 2.95% (though it’s worth noting that in 2015, when the BoC lowered its overnight rate by 50 basis points, the Big 6 Banks broke tradition by cutting their own rates by only 30 points – meaning that for Canadian consumers, interest rates are still 20 basis points higher than they should be).

So what does an increase in these interest rates mean for you, a homeowner or potential homeowner? For now, it means a slight increase in variable rate mortgages and lines of credit; fixed-rated mortgages, of course, won’t be affected until they come up for renewal. Via CBC, Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz points out that “you need to preface [the increase] with an acknowledgment that of course interest rates are still very low.” This is true – interest rates are still incredibly low (consider that this time 10 years ago, in August 2007, the overnight rate was a full 4.5%). That said, Canadian Mortgage Trends predicts that “the Bank of Canada isn’t through with its rate hikes just yet,” and goes on to forecast that “the bank will raise rates again at its October meeting, with potentially more to follow in 2018.”

In that light, which questions should you be asking and which actions should you be taking? If you already have a mortgage (variable or fixed) and are concerned that this hike will affect your future ability to pay, I urge you to give me a call so we can talk about your options (whether or not to convert, what the pros and cons are of breaking a fixed mortgage, etc). If you don’t yet have a mortgage but have been looking around for homes or think you might soon, I would again advise consulting with a professional mortgage broker such as myself. Whether it makes sense to jump into the market now or hold off despite potential future rate increases depends entirely upon your goals and personal financial situation. And if you are ready to take that next step, I can arrange a pre-approval to prevent your rates from increasing in the short term (no matter what happens with the rest of the market). Finally, if all you want is more information about the overnight rate and what it might mean for you down the line, I offer my 20+ years of experience in the Canadian finance and mortgage industries completely free. Just pick up the phone and give me a call at 604.892.4647 – no strings attached.

For more up-to-date mortgage news and advice – and to keep up with new blog posts – follow me on Twitter @Mortgage_Studio. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your summer!

Michele Ellis – Senior Mortgage Broker, The Mortgage Studio

Top Tips for B.C. Home Buyers in the Spring 2017 Housing Market

Hi everyone! Michele Ellis here, welcoming you back to the Mortgage Studio Blog. It’s the start of May and the spring housing market has been keeping me pretty busy – and if any of you are out there searching for a new home or mortgage, you can probably relate! This is always the biggest season for mortgages, and especially here in BC where the housing market is white hot! So I thought I’d take some time this afternoon to pass along some mortgage advice right when you might be needing it the most:

Tip 1: Understand Your Personal Situation

Buying a home is a significant life event no matter who you are, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the same for everybody. Before you even start searching, it’s important to understand exactly what kind of home and mortgage would fit into your life. Do you know what your credit score is, or if it needs to be improved before you can apply for a mortgage? What sort of budget do you have or need? Do you have savings you can draw down to pay your mortgage more quickly, or enough to make a down payment (what kind of down payment can you expect, anyway)? These are all questions you need to consider before you can even begin to start looking for your perfect home – and if you’re not sure how to answer any of them, my phone number is 604.892.4647 and I’m eager to help!

Tip 2: Get Pre-Approved For a Mortgage

If you’re serious about becoming a homeowner, you want to make the best impression possible on the sellers and real estate agents you’ll be dealing with – especially during the busy spring season, when they’ll likely be getting lots of competing bids. One of the best ways to do that is by getting pre-approved for a mortgage, which means that you’ll be qualified for your perfect mortgage before you even make a single offer. Getting pre-approved by a lender doesn’t cost anything and comes with no strings attached, but it increases your bargaining power and lets you shop for your home with confidence. On top of that, your pre-approval comes with a rate guarantee so you don’t have to worry about mortgage rates shooting up while you’re searching. Sound intriguing? Give me a call at 604.892.4647 and I can help you get pre-approved today!

Tip 3: Do Your Due Diligence

The Canadian mortgage industry is a complicated, ever-evolving landscape, and I’ve written before about just a handful of its changing nuances. As a mortgage broker, it’s my full-time job to understand all this complexity, so I know full well how daunting and difficult it can be for someone who has their own complicated job and life to deal with already.

To get your perfect mortgage, it’s necessary not only to understand all the different aspects of the B.C. mortgage industry (did you know you can pass on TFSAs and RRSPs to pay down your mortgage, for example, or that CMHC just increased its homeowner mortgage loan insurance premiums?), but also to understand how to use that information to your advantage when shopping for rates between dozens of lenders.

You can do all that due diligence on your own, and it’s absolutely a good idea to get a basic understanding of the market when searching for a mortgage. But the best tip I have for you if you’re looking to buy a home in the spring 2017 market is this: consult a mortgage broker and let them do your due diligence for you. I’ve been a professional broker for 20 years, and I know this industry in and out. I have access to over 40 lenders, and I know how to go between them to find you the perfect rate for your personal situation. Best of all? Since I get paid directly by lenders, you get access to my wealth of experience at no personal cost.

My number – one last time – is 604.892.4647. If you’re still hungry for home- or mortgage-hunting tips, give me a call – I have plenty more where these came from!

Michele Ellis – Senior Mortgage Broker, The Mortgage Studio

How to Handle the Increasingly Complex Canadian Mortgage Market

Hi there, and welcome back to the Mortgage Studio Blog! It’s been officially spring for about a week now, but the spring housing market already seems to be in full bloom! This is traditionally the busiest time of year for anyone involved with houses – real estate brokers, mortgage brokers like myself, and most importantly, the homeowners and home buyers looking to find their new perfect place. As exciting as that always is, it can also be frustrating – because buying a home and finding the right mortgage can be a lot of hard work! This has always been the case, but a sweep of new mortgage regulations this past year has made things more complicated than ever.

In October 2016, the federal government announced new mortgage financing rules that subject all insured borrowers to a mortgage rate stress test against the Bank of Canada’s unrealistically high 5-year fixed rate, reducing the purchasing power of all Canadians looking to buy a new home. In December, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) introduced a wholly new framework for the capital requirements for federally regulated mortgage insurers, meaning that home buyers looking to secure a mortgage have to verse themselves in new rules for lending and borrowing in order to understand how their loans will play out over the next 30 years of their lives. Additionally in December, in B.C. specifically, a new Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership program was launched whose potential effects could include increased consumer debt and the risk of rising home prices. Finally, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) increased its homeowner mortgage loan insurance premiums just a couple weeks ago, on March 17, affecting anyone applying for a mortgage from that date forward.

Whew. That’s a lot of change to process, and not a lot of time to do it!

This represents an important truth about the Canadian mortgage industry: it’s complicated, and it’s always evolving. I say that as someone whose job is to understand every nuance of this industry; simply following and comprehending the changing landscape of regulations makes for a full time profession! And while I love the work I do, I know that the mortgage industry can seem overwhelming to the average home buyer, who simply wants to find a fair loan at a fair price that fits their life and future expectations. Everybody deserves that, right?

I certainly believe they do, and that’s why I’m so passionate about my work as a mortgage broker. As Dan Putnam puts it:

“The more complicated the mortgage market gets, the greater the need for homebuyers and homeowners alike to lean on the expert advice of a professional mortgage expert.”

That’s what you get when you call me: knowledgeable, professional advice that’s custom-tailored to your unique situation. It’s becoming more and more difficult to negotiate a proper mortgage on your own, and that’s being reflected in the growing number of Canadians calling on mortgage brokers (per the 2016 CMHC Mortgage Consumer Survey, market share among first-time home buyers is at 51%).

So if you find the mortgage landscape daunting – you’re not alone. Luckily, the solution to this is not only tried and tested but deadly simple: enlist the help of a professional mortgage broker who can handle the complexity on your behalf. I’ve been doing this for 27 years in Squamish, B.C., and my company The Mortgage Studio has a downtown office that’s open late and on weekends. My number is 604.892.4647, and my phone is always on. Last but not least, I get paid directly by my lenders, so utilizing my years of experience and thorough understanding of the mortgage industry doesn’t cost you a dime.

Now that’s what I call simple. Have a great week, and enjoy the sunshine!

Michele Ellis – Senior Mortgage Broker, The Mortgage Studio

Preparing For a Mortgage: Are You Ready to Buy?

Hi all! Michele Ellis here with another post for the Mortgage Studio blog. Today’s topic is something that I deal with every day as a professional mortgage broker: how do you save money when looking for a mortgage? But right now I want to talk not about what I do but about what you can do. My number one piece of advice for anyone looking to save money on their mortgage is, of course, to give me a call – but that’s not all there is. Here are a few of my favourite tips for getting the most out of your mortgage:

1) Build Your Credit

Having good credit is an absolute priority when trying to purchase a home, so you want to make sure you’re in a good financial position before you start looking for a mortgage. You can request access to your credit report (this link runs down exactly how to do that), but the principles of improving your credit score are pretty straightforward: always pay your bills on time and in full, pay your debts as quickly as possible, and stay under the credit limit on your credit cards. If that still sounds daunting, don’t worry! I have lots of experience helping Canadians establish or rebuild their credit, and I’d be happy to help you, too. All the information you need is just a phone call away!

2) Get Pre-approved For A Mortgage

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage means filling out a mortgage application before you even go house hunting, which, if successful, means you’ll know exactly how much money you’ll realistically be able to spend on a home. More than that, it sends a clear message to sellers that any offer you put down is serious – and, most importantly, that it will be approved. Sometimes, that certainty is just the advantage you need to seal the deal!

3) Know What You Want, But Also What You Can Afford

Building off the previous tips, it’s important to be aware of what kind of mortgage is the best fit for your life. It’s a cliche to say that buying a house is the biggest investment you’ll ever make, but it’s cliche for a reason. You want to have a very clear picture of the amount of debt you can take on before you start looking for homes, because it’s a lot easier to find a house that fits your budget than to find a budget that fits your house. There are a lot of imperfect mortgages out there, and it’s easy to look at them and figure you can work out the details later. But if you put in the extra effort up front, you can get your perfect mortgage straight off the bat – because I promise, that’s out there too.

So what does that extra effort entail? That’s up to you, but I know what I would recommend: a single phone call to an experienced mortgage broker (my number, again, is 604.892.4647). I know that sounds like cheating, since I said these tips were things you could do yourself – but the truth is that as a mortgage broker, I’ve consulted with hundreds of people in the exact same position as you. I have first-hand experience consulting on credit, securing pre-approved loans, and finding perfect mortgages. So sure, you could do it on your own – but why would you? Mortgage brokers get paid by lenders directly, so you don’t pay a dime. You get to have an experienced professional with you every step of the way, at no cost. The single best thing you can do for your mortgage is to take advantage of that!

Until then – have a great weekend!

Michele Ellis – Senior Mortgage Broker, The Mortgage Studio

How Will Higher CMHC Insurance Premiums Affect Your Mortgage?

Hi all, and welcome back to the Mortgage Studio blog! I’m Michele Ellis, a mortgage broker in Squamish, B.C., and my goal is to spread awareness of the mortgage industry and changes therein to my fellow Canadians. This is only my second post of the year, but there’s already a lot going on! The big news this week is that Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the most experienced mortgage loan insurer in the country, has announced that it’s “increasing its homeowner mortgage loan insurance premiums effective March 17, 2017.”

That sounds daunting, so let me break it down a little bit. In Canada, homeowners who put down less than 20% of the purchase price of their home are required by law to pay mortgage insurance (which protects the lender in case the homeowner defaults on the loan). The insurance premiums vary depending on the size of the down payment and the price of a home – this is called the loan-to-value ratio – and currently the standard premium ranges from 0.6% of the mortgage value (when the loan-to-value ratio is low) to 3.85% of the mortgage value (when the loan-to-value ratio is abnormally high). Starting March 17th of this year, the new range of those values will shift so that almost all premiums will be higher than they are today, with 4.5% of the mortgage value being the new upper limit.

CMHC to Increase Mortgage Insurance Premiums

So what does that mean for a mortgage insured under the new rules? According to CMHC (via CBC), it means very little: “It expects the changes announced Tuesday to work out to an extra $5 a month, on average, per borrower.” That doesn’t sound like much, but if you multiply it by the lifetime of a mortgage – it means an extra couple thousand dollars.

But here’s the good news: “Anyone who already has a mortgage or has applied for one will be grandfathered into the old rates.” That means that if you have a mortgage now, or apply for one before March 17th, you avoid this insurance premium increase entirely. If you’ve been thinking about it at all, or if you have any questions about how these new rules affect you specifically, I urge you to give me a call at 604.892.4647. As a mortgage broker with years of experience dealing with shifting economic climates and constantly changing rules, I know exactly how to navigate the landscape to get YOU your perfect mortgage. It doesn’t cost you anything at all to ask for my advice, but it could save you thousands of dollars in the long run if you do. I get paid by lenders directly, so my only interest is finding you the right fit – and I guarantee I will.

On that note, have an excellent weekend and a wonderful rest of the month! I hope to hear from a few of you before March 17th!

Michele Ellis – Senior Mortgage Broker, The Mortgage Studio

What You Should Know About Interest-Free Loans For First-Time B.C. Homebuyers

Happy New Year 2017!

Hi, Happy New Year, and welcome back to the Mortgage Studio blog! First and foremost, I want to say thank you to Squamish for another successful year in business. The support of this community means the world to me, and I look forward to another year of helping people find their perfect mortgages.

And now, back to business. In December I wrote about the year in mortgages 2016, thinking that there couldn’t possibly be anything else to cover before 2017 rolled around. Turns out there was one last bit of news I should have held out for, because the day after I published that year-end round-up, the B.C. government announced the Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership program. In a nutshell, this new program aims to “help first-time homebuyers cover the cost of a mortgage down payment with an interest-free loan” (via CBC).

This is an important shift in the B.C. mortgage market, so it’s important B.C. homebuyers understand all the facts. From the official press release: the B.C. HOME Partnership program will provide first-time homebuyers “up to $37,500, or up to 5% of the purchase price, with a 25-year loan that is interest-free and payment-free for the first five years.” With that goal, the province is planning to invest “about $703 million over the next three years to help an estimated 42,000 B.C. households enter the market.” As premier Christy Clark puts it: “Our B.C. government wants to be your partner, if you want to buy your first home.”

As noble a goal as that is, and as helpful as it could prove to be for first-time homebuyers, the HOME Partnership program isn’t necessarily a great solution to the problem of skyrocketing home prices. There are two main issues that will follow these new interest-free loans: increased debt and the risk of rising prices. About the former, B.C. NDP housing critic David Eby says this (again via CBC):

“The risk of attacking this problem by encouraging people to take on more debt instead of providing more affordable housing is that people will be at increased risk of default if interest rates go up.”

In other words, this short-term solution could end up being a long-term problem. That said, it’s also worth noting that the B.C. government “has committed $855 million over five years, including $575 million this year, to support the construction or renovation of 4,900 units of affordable housing throughout the province.” Until this new program has had some time to establish itself, it’s hard to say how difficult it will be for its applicants to manage their debt – especially considering how the program is already targeting “a very privileged set of people” (according to sociologist Nathanael Lauster in an incisive analysis).

The second potential problem – the risk of rising home prices – is summed up nicely by UBC Sauder School of Business economist Tom Davidoff as “too much demand chasing too little supply”:

“People are going to bid exactly what they are willing to pay. Now you tell them you are going to give them more money … and it encourages them to bid more for the property. So to the extent you have multiple first-time home buyers bidding on the property, all this does is hand money to the property owner.”

Basically, if homebuyers suddenly have more money to spend, home sellers suddenly have more money to ask for, and property owners pocket taxpayer money with no tangible benefit for consumers. More likely to happen is that these loans will spark more first-timers to buy, which might drive up prices slightly but could still end up being a net positive. Again, we’ll have to monitor the situation for a few months before saying anything for sure – and I’ll be watching closely.

The B.C. government will start accepting applications for the HOME Partnership program on January 16, 2017. If there are any of you out there looking to buy your first home, please give me a call at 604.892.4647. I can answer all your questions about the process, run you through your options, and make sure that you get your perfect mortgage. That’s my only goal as a mortgage broker, and it will remain my only goal no matter how many new programs and regulations get introduced in this province. And remember, it costs nothing to give me a call! My phone is always on, because people always need mortgages.

On that note, Happy New Year! Let’s get out there and make 2017 the best year it can be!

Michele Ellis – Senior Mortgage Broker, The Mortgage Studio

Welcome to the Mortgage Studio!

Hi there! My name is Michele Ellis, and I’m the senior mortgage broker at The Mortgage Studio in Squamish, BC. If you’re reading this, it’s likely I’ve either helped you with a mortgage in the past or you’re looking for help with a mortgage in the future – or possibly both. Either way, welcome to my blog! I’ve been brokering mortgages in Squamish for many years, and I thought it was time that I take my passion for helping people to the internet.

My job as a mortgage broker is this: I keep up with the latest industry news, process shifts in regulations, the economy, or both, and filter all that information through the unique situations of my clients to give them the best, unbiased, professional advice I can offer – otherwise known as their perfect mortgage. I’ve stuck to that driving goal of helping Canadians for my entire career, and in this blog I want to do the same thing by sharing my industry experience and suggestions for the future. Please think of these posts – I’ll start publishing them regularly in the new year – as a general guideline of consumer mortgage advice. For help specific to your personal situation, I urge you to give me a call anytime at 604.892.4647It won’t cost you a dime to pick up the phone, and I can give you custom tailored advice for the same price.

For my first post, let’s look at a rundown of mortgage industry in 2016 and see where the markets are heading now:

At the start of the year, Canadian mortgage interest rates were phenomenally low, and that’s a trend we’ve seen continue pretty much all year. In April, BC’s Financial Institutions Commission began introducing new regulations to “improve disclosure measures for mortgage brokers in British Columbia” in order to make sure BC consumers understand how mortgage brokers get paid. (Those measures, it’s worth noting, don’t apply to mortgages offered through the Big Six Banks, who have shown time and time again that they don’t have consumers’ best interests at heart – another reason to phone a broker before walking into a bank branch). How mortgage brokers get paid is something so simple that I’ve already covered it in this very blog. That said, it’s worth repeating:

For the majority of people making use of brokers, they get their perfect mortgage at no personal cost.

I know it sounds too good to be true, but that’s how 99% of my deals turn out – my commission is paid directly by the lender. You have nothing to lose by using a professional, and everything to gain. The entire purpose of my job is to bring you value – not to take it away!

This summer, a buyer’s market and oil boom made it a great time to be buying a house in British Columbia, and the sheer quantity of mortgages I’ve brokered this year simply reaffirms that point. In October we heard of some more big regulation changes, in the form of abrupt new federal financing rules that decreased consumer purchasing power. Most recently, the surprise election of Donald Trump in the US is having an impact on international bond markets, and borrowing is becoming more expensive. The fact of the matter is that sooner rather than later, those record low interest rates we’ve been enjoying in Canada are about to start inching up.

But don’t worry – remember, I’m here to help! If you’re looking at getting a mortgage in 2017 or are worried about how your current mortgage might be affected by these changes, now is the perfect time to pick up the phone and call me (again, my number is 604.892.4647, and you can use it any time). I’ve had years of experience as a mortgage broker in Canada, and effectively managing market changes is a fundamental part of my job description. Trust me when I say that none of this is unprecedented, and my goal of getting Canadians their perfect mortgage remains rock steady. Remember, asking me for advice costs you absolutely nothing, and I have only your best interests at heart. I’ll always do my best to walk you through your options and find you the one that works best for you and your personal situation, and that’s my promise to you going forward in 2017. Your perfect mortgage is out there, and I want to help you get it.

I just wanted to introduce myself today, but I have great expectations for 2017 and couldn’t be more excited to get this blog rolling in the new year. I’m always looking for the best way to help Canadians with their mortgages, so I’ll add one last gentle reminder that you should give me a call if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions. Until then, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I’ll see you in January!

Michele Ellis – Senior Mortgage Broker, The Mortgage Studio