I had several jobs before I began my career as a Mortgage Broker in Brantford, Ontario. I was working in a factory in Port Hope until my husband got transferred to Brantford. I had to quit my job and uproot my kids, and after nine months of looking, we settled on a home in St. George. I decided to go back to school, and I took a small-business course. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but as luck would have it, I ended up in the mortgage industry. Fifteen years later, I am still here helping people get their mortgages.

When I first started in the industry, getting a client approved for a mortgage was reasonably straightforward. Even if someone was self-employed, we just had to get a few invoices, submit them, and they got a mortgage. It was so simple. Today, regulations are much more stringent. Everything has to be documented, and rightfully so.

The most important thing I tell customers to do before looking at potential homes is to do a pre-approval. Whether you’re deciding to purchase, refinance, or do a straight switch, which is to take a current mortgage and bring it to another company so you’ll get a better rate, you need to know how much the lender can lend you.

When I do a pre-approval, I always request a credit bureau unless I know the person because the credit bureau is only good for 30 days, so I don’t want to keep requesting one. The credit bureau tells it all. It will show if you’ve had a bankruptcy, collections, and what debts you have. Sometimes, something gets missed on the credit bureau, but if people tell me they have a loan, I’ll put it in there because there is nothing worse than the day before closing having everything falls apart.

I take great pride in seeing people become homeowners when they don’t think they can. I wish I can say that I can help everyone who comes through my door; however, there are some that I just can’t put together. That’s just the way life is. Other than that, the rates are excellent.

The variable is probably your best option, but I don’t sell a lot of those because of the pandemic, and people are unsure what the rates will be in a year. I don’t think they’ll skyrocket, but nobody knows. So, if you lock in, then at least you’re guaranteed and understand what your payments will be for the duration of your mortgage, which is usually five years. If you only want to keep your house for three years, I will lock you in three years, so you avoid penalties.

Doing a pre-approval is the main thing for potential homeowners, but also be aware of your job situation. If you are self-employed or you work part-time and aren’t guaranteed any hours, you are going to have a hard time getting a mortgage.

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