Is it time?
Renting is a necessary evil that we all endure at certain stages of our lives. Eventually, the time comes when we are finally in a position to purchase property for ourselves. At last, we have the opportunity to put our hard-earned cash into paying off our own property, instead of lining our landlord’s pockets.
It used to be that the banks were the only places we could go for home financing. To be approved for a mortgage meant showing proof of steady income, having enough cash to put up a hefty down payment, and a stellar credit record. Personal bankruptcy? Imperfect credit record? Your chances for mortgage approval went out the window, and you were very likely shown the door.
Fortunately, things have changed. There are more opportunities than ever for us to obtain the financing necessary to own our own home. Alberta is one province in Canada that is a hot spot for housing. Her cities and towns are drawing families from across Canada, and increasingly, the world.
Alberta’s economy continues to outperform every other province in the country. There is a wealth of housing options available in big cities, small towns and everything in between. You may find yourself spoiled for choice!
Location, Location, Location; Where Do You Want To Be?
Your finances, job, and family situation will be key factors in deciding which part of the province will become your future home.
One of the best things about Alberta, from a prospective homeowner’s perspective, is the range of accommodation options that exist. Many people are drawn to the bright lights and big city feel that Calgary exudes. It’s impossible to deny the pull that the city has. There are still affordable areas within the city, although finding a house for a first time buyer may prove challenging. Fortunately, many other cities and towns are out there waiting for you.
Okotoks. A Sustainably Designed Community A Stone’s Throw South Of Calgary
One excellent option to buying a home in Calgary, is to look into the town of Okotoks. Just a short drive south of Calgary, this “bedroom community” is full of young families, and professionals that work in the city, but prefer a quiet home to come back to at night. The town’s motto is “historic past, sustainable future”, and the local government is working hard to balance the two.
When asked to rate the quality of life they enjoyed in Okotoks, an unbelievable 97% said they had a very good standard of living!. An Okotoks mortgage broker will be your best bet for exploring the housing options that exist in this up and coming Alberta community.
Go North And Discover Airdrie, Alberta
As any Airdrie mortgage broker will tell you, this city is one of the fastest growing communities in Canada. It’s not hard to see why. The city is in such close proximity to Calgary, it is considered part of the Calgary metropolitan area.
Airdrie is home to the Festival of Lights, a fantastic celebration of all things Christmas that runs throughout the month of December. The Nose Creek Valley Museum is considered one of the best in the province.
Sports enthusiasts can follow the Knights of Airdrie, a top notch senior mens lacrosse team. The Airdrie Thunder is the town’s Jr. B level hockey team. Part of the Heritage Junior B Hockey League, taking in a game is possibly an Airdrie family’s favourite activity.
There’s Lots To Love About Lethbridge
Lethbridge is the economic, agricultural and industrial heart of southern Alberta. Compared to other areas of the province, Lethbridge enjoys mild winters with less snowfall and cool summers. Skiers and snowboarders need not worry! The spectacular Rocky Mountains are within easy driving distance. Opportunities to take part in winter and summer sports abound.
The first step to Lethbridge living involves a call to a mortgage broker. Lethbridge is a city that is truly coming into it’s own. Affordable housing options still remain plentiful. Lethbridge is still something of a hidden gem, but every year thousands of newcomers discover her charms. Don’t wait too long to make your move!
Red Deer On The River
There aren’t actually any red deer in Red Deer. The first Europeans to settle the area saw elk, and thought of the European red deer native to their homeland. Never mind, with so much natural beauty in the area, they must have felt overwhelmed. Located on the banks of the Red Deer River, in an area of rolling hills midway between Calgary and Edmonton, the city is Alberta’s third largest, after Calgary and Edmonton.
Red Deer is a major centre for petrochemical production and processing. Agriculture also provides many jobs. The unemployment rate in the region is around 4%, compared to the national average of more than 7%. Our Red Deer mortgage brokers are waiting to hear from you! Let us introduce you to the opportunities and the housing options in this beautiful Alberta city.
Beating out the Banks. Alberta Mortgage Brokers Come Out on Top
Nowadays, in North America mortgage brokers are the number one provider of home financing packages to the public. At last, all Canadians are in a position to partner with a mortgage broker to find the find flexible lenders that meet their family’s needs and financial constraints.
Steven Crews works with Canadian and international lenders. Montana-based Black Diamond Mortgage Brokers is one lender that provides a variety of client-focused home financing packages. We are all entitled to be treated with dignity and understanding, when we seek out financial services. We are the customers.
Mortgage brokers remember this, whereas too often the banks seem to have forgotten. The notion of providing supportive, constructive customer service that caters to customers needs (and not those of the lender) appears to have been lost on many bankers. When dealing with a mortgage broker, a bank representative is well aware that your broker has contacts with hundreds of other lenders. They are all competing for your business. The banker knows they have to compete, and so they are more likely to offer a mortgage broker a more competitive package.
Where to Start? Two Questions Your Local Broker Will Ask.
Be realistic. Dream extravagant estate dreams, but be aware they will take time to achieve! Start on the small side, be a little conservative. You can always get bigger, but downsizing is considerably more difficult. Steven Crews and his team will work hard to get you the home of your dreams on terms that you can afford.
Neighbourhood and budget are of course interconnected! If you simply must be in downtown Calgary, you can expect to pay a lot more money, for a lot less space. The opposite is true as well. If you don’t mind a short commute to the city for work, the bedroom communities of Airdrie or Okotoks may be a better choice. More property, more peace and a family-friendly environment.
The Paper Trail. The Proof You’ll Need to Provide.
Each lender may have slightly different requirements when it comes to providing paperwork. At the very least, you can expect to be required to show income tax returns, pay stubs, credit card and bank account information and statements just for a start.
If your record-keeping skills need improving, now is the time to get organized! It will make the process of applying for a mortgage far easier if you have your paperwork in order. It also makes a good impression on potential lenders. It shows that you are truly ready to make one of the most important financial investments in your life. Don’t be intimidated, but make sure you’re prepared!
Learning the Lingo. The Terms You Need to Know
The world of finance has a language all it’s own. In order to work with your mortgage broker, you’ll need to have an understanding of some of the terms you’ll be discussing. If you are not clear on something, do not hesitate to ask for clarification. It’s part of a broker’s job to make sure that you are completely comfortable, and 100% confident as you enter the homeowner’s club!
The word mortgage combines two foreign words into what we now know today as a loan to finance a home or other property. “Mort” is a French word that means death or die. “Gage” is an old Latin slang word for .Put together they become “death pledge”.
It sounds worse than it is! The idea is that an individual or family made a pledge to pay back a loan on a building or land. Once the loan was paid back in full, the pledge “died” and the land or home became wholly owned by the person who had taken out the loan.
In Canada, most mortgages have an amortization period of between 25 and 30 years. The term of the mortgage is often five years, but can be up to ten. Different lenders will have varying criteria and restrictions on the mortgages they extend.
It takes the average family over 20 years to pay off their home. Every 5 years (or at the end of the term you have chosen) the mortgage is renewed, and some negotiations can take place.
The principal is the amount of the loan (not including interest) that is owed by the home owner to the lending institution. The principal decreases over time as monthly payments are made.
This is the total length of time it will take to pay off your mortgage, including all interest and other charges. Expect upwards of 20 years. The longer the amortization of the mortgage, the more total interest you will end up paying. However, your monthly payments will be lower and last longer. A shorter amortization period means you will pay less interest, and be mortgage-free sooner. The downside? Higher monthly payments.
The Term of the Mortgage
This is the time that you and the lender have agreed upon to maintain the payment conditions of your mortgage. Five year terms are common, so for five years you agree to a fixed or variable interest rate etc. After the five years has passed, you renew the mortgage and are able to renegotiate the terms. Perhaps you wish to increase the amount of your monthly payments or switch from a variable to a fixed interest rate? It’s possible when you meet to renew the loan.
The Down Payment
It is rare, but not impossible to buy property with “no money down”. A mortgage broker can help you understand the circumstances where this may be possible. The vast majority of Canadian lenders will want to see a minimum 5% down payment. Often the larger the down payment, the more favourable terms you may be in a position to negotiate.
An advantage to working with an Alberta broker is that they know the policies and restrictions that different lenders have. They know who will be the most flexible regarding the financial hurdles you are facing. It saves everyone’s time by going straight to the lenders who are in a position to work with you.
Fixed vs. Variable Interest Rates
Fixed interest rate mortgages are pretty much as they sound. The interest rate is locked in at an agreed upon rate for the term of the mortgage. The advantage to this is that you know that your payments will remain the same until the end of the term.
Variable rate mortgages may save you some cash if interest rates fall. But you’ll be paying more if they rise! The interest rates are based on prime, plus or minus an amount agreed upon when the mortgage term is negotiated.
Your credit score is based on your personal financial information. Of particular importance is the credit you have access to (credit cards, lines of credit etc), how much of it you use, and how often (and timely!) you make your payments.
It is critical to pay your bills on time. 35% of your credit score is based on how often you have made your bill payments on time. One late payment can cost you up to 100 points off your credit score. Do what you must to make your bill payments on time, every time!
Equifax and Transunion are perhaps the most well-known credit rating agencies in Canada. It is usually possible to obtain a free copy of your credit report from each or either organization once a year. Both have excellent websites that can provide you with plenty of information to help you understand how your credit score is calculated.
It’s worth remembering that lenders are most interested in the last seven years of your credit history. So even if you have had financial difficulties in the past, home ownership is not necessarily out of reach forever. Even if you have defaulted on a loan, or been forced to declare personal bankruptcy, don’t give up hope.
Steven Crews team of brokers can help provide you with an honest assessment of your financial situation, and the hurdles you may face getting your mortgage application approved. They know how you can repair bad credit, and the lenders who are not afraid to extend home financing to those who have struggled financially.
mymortgagebroker.com makes it easy for you to get quick answers to any mortgage questions you may have. There is even a “live chat” option online, give it a try!
Debt to Income Ratio
Often abbreviated as DTI, this is the percentage of your gross monthly income that goes towards paying off or servicing any debt you carry. A lender will want to know your current DTI before approving your mortgage application. You should be aware of your DTI, many free online calculators will help you figure it out.
What Separates Steven Crews Team From The Rest
Experience, financial expertise, and a commitment to customer service that is second to none. Decades spent working for major banks and other financial institutions has given Steven an insider’s perspective on the home finance sector. From his time on the front lines as a bank teller, to his years as bank manager and mortgage specialist, it’s what sets him and his team apart from the others.
And it’s why you can be sure that the mortgage package that Steven Crews will negotiate for you will be the best there is. You’ll save money, hassle, and you’ll be into your new home sooner than you thought possible. Give him a call, 403 870 2669.