• I remember when I bought my first condo at 28 years old, it was an exciting and at the same time stressful adventure. I wondered around the neighbourhood where I intended to buy a place, visiting numerous open houses. I did not want to work with a Realtor because I was not sure if I could afford to buy a place, what were the steps involved in buying a condo and what were the real costs of buying my first condo. I simply did not want to waste their time, until I knew I was ready to buy.

    I found the condo I “had to have”. Lucky for me the Realtor made me feel comfortable to ask my “newbie” questions. After sitting and talking for a little while she recommended that I speak to a mortgage broker. “You need to get pre-approved” she said.

    I made the call the next day to her mortgage broker. To my surprise he offered to come and meet me at my office. He took an application and the next day he called to let me know that I was approved for the loan amount I needed to buy the condo I “had to have”.

    I remember the mortgage interest rate was 1.25% lower than the rate my bank offered. I was impressed but sceptical, could it be for real, what is the catch? After my offer to purchase for my condo was accepted, the mortgage broker came by my office to pick up the required paper work. Prior to my meeting with my notary he came back to have me sign some papers. I kept waiting for him to tell me how much his services would cost me. Finally I asked him the direct question and he told me he would be paid by the bank when the loan funded through the bank he sent my application to. He was there to provide me the service at no cost to me!

    From then on I used a mortgage broker when I purchased other properties and renewed my mortgage. What a great deal, they met with me at a time and place that was convenient for me and I got rates better than my bank was prepared to offer me.

    Today, there are many more mortgage professional in the industry. We are required to be licensed with the Financial Institutions Commission of BC and members of professional organizations such Mortgage Brokers Association of B.C. and Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals. We are required to take ongoing educational courses and attend seminars to keep up to date on the changes in the industry.

    While I appreciated the mortgage brokers’ service and great rates during my first home buying experience, I could have used a little bit more guidance and education throughout the process. Such as, Why do I need a home inspection? When do I pay the deposit and what happens to it? What is the purpose of the appraisal and who pays for it? What is mortgage default insurance (CMHC)? Who gets the Property Transfer Tax exemption and how is it calculated? What is the minimum down payment and who can gift a down payment to me? And answers to the questions that I did not know to ask.

    I have gone through the home buying process myself and I have helped many first time home buyers, I will help make your home buying experience less stressful. Don’t be afraid to ask me your questions, everyone has to be a FIRST TIME HOME BUYER, at least once.