Con­sider com­mute when plan­ning mort­gage

IN­DUS­TRY EX­PERTS BEST OF VAN­COU­VER

The Georgia Straight - - Best Of Vancouver - By

NI­COLE TUR­COTTE

Af­ter many years of work­ing in a bank, Ni­cole Tur­cotte de­cided she wanted a new ca­reer.

She was look­ing for some­thing that would keep her ex­cited and at the same time al­low her to use her fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy.

“The op­por­tu­nity to go into mort­gage bro­ker­ing oc­curred, and that just seemed like a re­ally good fit,” Tur­cotte told the Ge­or­gia Straight in a phone in­ter­view.

As a mort­gage bro­ker, she works with home­buy­ers and home­own­ers in ex­plor­ing their best fi­nanc­ing op­tions. By the na­ture of her pro­fes­sion, Tur­cotte is not tied with any fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion, and she re­lies on a net­work of lenders.

“The prob­lem-solv­ing as­pect of the busi­ness is what I re­ally en­joy, and hav­ing ac­cess to nu­mer­ous so­lu­tions through the bro­ker­ing world is what re­ally be­came in­ter­est­ing for me,” she said.

The Van­cou­ver bro­ker noted that things have be­come more dif­fi­cult, es­pe­cially for first-time home­buy­ers.

In Jan­uary this year, the federal gov­ern­ment tight­ened up lend­ing, mak­ing it harder for many peo­ple to get a loan for a home pur­chase. Pre­vi­ously, buy­ers who could not put down a pay­ment of at least 20 per­cent were sub­ject to a stress test, which meant they had to qual­ify for a higher in­ter­est rate.

Now, bor­row­ers who can put down an ini­tial pay­ment of 20 per­cent or more have to pass the same test.

“It is a re­ally chal­leng­ing time right now be­cause as we’ve seen, peo­ple are qual­i­fy­ing for less,” Tur­cotte said.

In B.C., the new mort­gage rules have slowed down the prop­erty mar­ket. But as Tur­cotte pointed out, buy­ers have “not seen hous­ing prices”. a dra­matic drop in

While not­ing that it can be a “very frus­trat­ing sit­u­a­tion”, Tur­cotte said that buy­ers should not be stymied.

“The best thing that we can tell peo­ple is start out with what you can af­ford, be very re­al­is­tic about what your bud­gets are, and make sure that you give your­self lots of time to plan to get to achieve your goals,” Tur­cotte said.

Talk­ing about tips, here are some in Tur­cotte’s own words.

BEST WAY FOR A FIRST-TIME HOME­BUYER TO GET AP­PROVED FOR A MORT­GAGE

The best thing that you can do is to speak to a mort­gage bro­ker be­fore you start look­ing for prop­erty. That’s the big one, be­cause what they need to do …have a re­al­is­tic bud­get. So set­ting a re­al­is­tic bud­get, and then mak­ing sure that your mort­gage bro­ker has all of the fi­nan­cial doc­u­ments that they re­quire for an ap­proval. So this is re­ally go­ing through that dis­cov­ery process with your bro­ker.

BEST WAY FOR HOME­OWN­ERS TO GET A GOOD DEAL WHEN RE­NEW­ING THEIR MORT­GAGE Shop around. So whether you are do­ing that your­self by look­ing at other of­fers from dif­fer­ent banks or lend­ing in­sti­tu­tions, or you speak to a bro­ker who can do that for you, shop­ping around will be the most im­por­tant be­cause ev­ery­one’s unique sit­u­a­tion is so dif­fer­ent.

BEST WAY TO MAN­AGE A MORT­GAGE

Here on the West Coast, es­pe­cially in Van­cou­ver, we tend to have very large mort­gages. What­ever you can do to pay down your prin­ci­pal faster is what I rec­om­mend to clients. So even some­thing as sim­ple as switch­ing from a monthly to a weekly pay­ment can have a big im­pact in the over­all amount of in­ter­est and how quickly you pay down your prin­ci­pal.

BEST NEIGH­BOUR­HOODS FOR MIL­LEN­NI­ALS TO BUY A HOME IN VAN­COU­VER

Al­ways, al­ways con­sult a re­al­tor, be­cause they will know…the neigh­bour­hoods [that are] the best. But my per­sonal opin­ion…is that the Strath­cona or Kens­ing­ton–cedar Cottage ar­eas are the best places for mil­len­ni­als. Well, they’re just still up-and-com­ing ar­eas of Van­cou­ver, so there are op­por­tu­ni­ties there.

BEST AL­TER­NA­TIVE CITY TO VAN­COU­VER TO RAISE A FAM­ILY

I love Squamish. That would be where I would rec­om­mend rais­ing a fam­ily, not only for the life­style op­por­tu­ni­ties that are there. I think a lot of fam­i­lies have moved out that way, and it’s still a rea­son­able drive into Van­cou­ver if you do need to make a com­mute. And not only a rea­son­able drive, but a beau­ti­ful drive… There are so many great op­por­tu­ni­ties now for flex­i­ble work­ing en­vi­ron­ments where you can do…a por­tion in the of­fice, a por­tion from home. And Squamish…it’s…45 min­utes to an hour away from Van­cou­ver. Its com­mute, in my per­sonal opin­ion, is much nicer than, say, driv­ing out on High­way 1.

BEST ADVICE YOU CAN SHARE

The best tip that I can give peo­ple is to take own­er­ship of their fi­nances and to do it early, and to re­ally ed­u­cate them­selves on the op­tions that are out there. And I think one of the best things that goes hand in hand with mort­gage plan­ning is fi­nan­cial plan­ning.

Car­l­ito Pablo

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