GLOBE & MAIL INTERVIEW – WHY USE A MORTGAGE BROKER?
“Vancouver mortgage broker Jessi Johnson says a mortgage broker can help you with all aspects of a mortgage, from figuring out how much you can truly afford, to determining the best mortgage product for you, to finding ways to save you money and pay off your mortgage faster.
In addition, you should expect your mortgage broker to review your mortgage a few times a year to see how you can pay it off faster, whether it’s still the right product for you, and if it’s still competitive. “It’s very rare that you’re going to get that service from a bank,” he says.”
“Mr. Johnson says you should look for someone with several years experience, who is licensed and has the title AMP – accredited mortgage professional. Mortgage brokers are regulated provincially so you can check with your provincial regulator on the website for the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals. The organization also has an online directory that can help your search for a broker.
“Like every industry there are rookies, so be careful when researching your broker, get a good idea about their experience before proceeding,” he suggests.
Many brokers now do the bulk of their work online, Mr. Johnson says, and that’s not an issue as long as there’s enough communication with the client either via e-mail or over the phone – and their online application process is secure. “To be honest, the majority of our clients don’t leave their living room, and I don’t blame them,” he says.”
“Mortgage brokers are paid their fee by the lender, not by the person who is using the mortgage broker’s service, says Mr. Johnson. “There’s no cost for the client.” Be aware though, whether you’re doing a new mortgage, refinancing or renewal, to ask whether there are any legal or appraisal fees, he says. Legal fees for a new mortgage can be about $1,000, but sometimes a lender may cover both legal and appraisal fees; you just have to ask.
Right now, one of the big questions for those looking for a mortgage is whether to go for a fixed or variable mortgage, says Mr. Johnson. While historically variable mortgages have had better rates than fixed mortgages, that’s not necessarily the case right now.
“Any time the fixed and variable rates are very close I do recommend going fixed and they are close right now,” he says. Up until recently, about 90 percent of the mortgages he arranged were variable, but now more are fixed.”