Oak Bay News
Before shopping for your new home, take the time to shop for a mortgage.
Traditionally, that has meant heading to your bank, but some people are appreciating the option of working with a mortgage broker.
Either way, having an approved mortgage in hand before searching for your dream home will let you place an offer with confidence that the financials are in place.
For Oak Bay couple Liberty and Aaron Smart, a mortgage broker was key to the purchase of their family home on a quiet road just off the Avenue.
“A friend suggested contacting a mortgage broker as they offer a very personal hands-on approach and have very competitive rates,” says Liberty.
The couple first contacted Paul Macara, a broker Invis-Beyer Mortgage Services, when purchasing a condo in 2010. When the time was right to move into a single-family home perfect for their growing family, Smart again called on Macara.
“There were many benefits from using a broker. (He) would meet us when it was convenient for us. My husband works and we have two children and he was open to either coming to our home or meeting somewhere convenient,” Liberty says.
One of the most compelling reasons to work with a mortgage broker is that they have access to a wide range of lending sources, making it significantly easier to match borrowers with the mortgage product that best suits them, Macara says, noting that as a “mortgage broker, I work for my clients not any one lender.
“Because I work under a large national brokerage, we have great relations with many different lenders, allowing us to negotiate great rates and limited-time specials, and those savings are always passed on to our clients.” he adds, explain brokers are generally paid by the lender rather than the borrower.
“We are shopping the market for the best rates, doing all the work, and there’s no cost to you.”
The Smarts also appreciated Macara’s ability to walk them through the many options and steps in the mortgage process.
“There’s a lot of paperwork and personal information needed when completing the mortgage approval application and our broker helped to break it all down and explain what was needed and when. It can be an overwhelming experience but I felt we were in good hands,” Liberty says.
Beyond securing financing, brokers are involved with arranging the home appraisal and lawyer or notary, reviewing the purchase contract and statement of adjustments, securing mortgage life insurance, and keeping tabs on the entire closing process, Macara says.
Following the mortgage transaction, the broker then stays in touch, keeping clients apprised of new mortgage offers and rate fluctuations, for example, and advising when to lock in a variable-rate mortgage.
During the process of securing a mortgage, the access to factors beyond simple interest rates also make a difference to clients.
Whether you’re taking on your first mortgage or a long-time homeowner looking to refinance, consolidate debt or leverage your equity to acquire a new property, a mortgage broker is a wealth of information. Brokers can also advise about down payment requirements, mitigating credit history issues, mortgage payment and prepayment options, interest saving strategies, purchasing vacation, investment and commercial properties, qualifying with supplemental rental income, and mortgage options for new immigrants.
“Our situation was unique, as every home purchase is, and I think our broker worked hard to make sure we got the best rate available at the time,” Liberty says.
Ideas for others ready to embark upon the mortgage process?
“I would suggest doing a bit of research on your own before meeting with either a broker or a financial institution. There is a lot of information available out there and the more you know, the more confident you can be in your decision,” she suggests.
“I would also ask your friends and family about their experiences and if they can refer someone to help you, as purchasing your home is probably one of the biggest decisions you will make. Our broker was referred to us by a friend and that meant a lot – you want to have that confidence going into the process.”