Thursday, September 27, 2018

Mortgage Awards of Excellence

Very happy to announce that I and my founding partner Mauro Poletti  have one the Best New Broker Owner 2018 at The very 1st Mortgage Awards of Excellence.
It goes to show that hard work and dedication does pay off and live by these four words since 1994 when I first came into the business "You Get By Giving".

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Canada Revenue Agency recruited to help fight mortgage fraud Lenders would have direct access to an applicant’s tax data for the first time in Canada Frank O'Brien Western Investor

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) is considering calling in the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to battle an increase in mortgage fraud.
 
The campaign is either overkill or inevitable, according to mortgage industry sources.
 
The focus of the oversight is income verification of mortgage applicants, which the federal housing agency fears is a growing problem.
 
According to a CMHC statement, “the industry’s current detection tools have not kept pace with the increasing sophistication of the threat we face.”
 
In an emailed response, CMHC stated “there is no timeline in place for the co-operation with Canada Revenue Agency on income verification,” but industry sources expect it could roll out as early as October 1.
 
CMHC is Canada’s largest mortgage insurer. In the first half of this year, it insured 107,000 homes.
 
 Image result for revenue canada
 
According to a 2017 Equifax study, mortgage fraud has increased 53 per cent since 2013, though it did not indicate the number of fraud cases. A survey by the debt-rating firm also found that 13 per cent of Canadians would be comfortable fudging a mortgage application.
 
With the tighter mortgage restrictions today, it could be more tempting for mortgage applicants to lie, including inflating their income. For years, some banks required only a signed stated income form, which was especially popular with the self-employed and contract workers who often lacked conventional payment stubs.
 
Lenders accept CRA statements of income that can be printed from the CRA website and, some say, are easy to alter. Currently, the CRA is not allowed to provide a taxpayer’s information to a third party, even with the taxpayer’s permission.
 
Under the CMHC proposal, income would be verified by giving lenders direct access to CRA data on a potential borrower’s income.
 
But not everyone is on board with the idea. Some critics of the plan note that Canada’s mortgage delinquency rate has fallen to near-record lows, even as housing prices have risen and mortgage fraud is feared.
 
In a report earlier this year, Equifax found that British Columbia mortgage holders had the lowest mortgage delinquency rate (0.08 per cent) in Canada, despite having the country’s highest home prices, and default rates across the country are near record lows.
 
CMHC said its arrears rate on insured mortgages fell to 0.27 per cent in 2018’s first half, down from 0.29 per cent a year earlier. Equifax also found that Canadian homeowners have “good” credit ratings.
 
Rena Malkah, owner of CYR Funding of Thornhill, Ontario, a mortgage broker for 44 years, argues that income verification is an issue best left to underwriters.
 
“Their job is to verify the claims. If they can’t, they should be fired and replaced by someone who can,” she told Canadian Mortgage Trends.
 
Malkah argues that credit rating is more important than income verification. “If someone has a high credit rating, it shouldn’t matter what their income is. If they fight and scrap for under-the-table money to pay their bills on time, then it should be of no interest to the [mortgage insurer] where the money came from.”
 
But some Metro Vancouver mortgage brokers believe CRA involvement is inevitable.
 
“Mortgage fraud is right up there near the top of the list of things to crack down on,” said Port Moody-based Peter Kinch, vice-president, mortgage agent and investment adviser with Vine Group, part of the Mortgage Alliance Group.
 
“In the United States, one of the online lenders can access your tax returns as soon as you fill out a mobile app. This allows them to grant a mortgage approval in seconds.
 
“It only makes sense that CMHC should be able to do the same thing up here. I can definitely see that happening, and it would definitely cut down on mortgage fraud when it comes to income verification.”
 
As of June 30, CMHC’s insured mortgages totalled $463 billion, and the agency held $13.5 billion in capital available to cover any defaults.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

My mortgage is up for renewal: Should I go fixed or variable?

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Skipping home inspections a major red flag for new buyers


Having a detailed walk-through to locate problems worth the investment in long run
Mike Holmes May 5, 2018
Depending on where you live, the real estate market has been really hot the last few years. The sad truth is, for many new homeowners, to even have a chance of closing a sale, they’ve had to completely forgo the home inspection, among other less than ideal conditions. I understand the panic that sets in, and the way prices rose, it’s natural that they wanted to get into the market before they were completely priced out. How does the saying go: The best time to buy real estate is five years ago?
Unfortunately, I’m starting to hear stories from those new homeowners who skipped that crucial inspection step in the process, and are now starting to see some of the “hidden” costs of home ownership that could have been planned for, had they hired a good inspector.
Looking at the stats recently, a bit of a shift is starting. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a sellers’ market out there. But the sales numbers are starting to slow, and home prices in many areas are stabilizing.
As we move into spring, which generally sees more home transactions than the winter, I want to once again, stress the importance of getting a home inspection before you buy a property. It’s some of the smartest money you can spend when buying a home. It matters!
 
Why you want a home inspection
Getting a home inspection before buying a home can save you a major headache down the road, not to mention tens of thousands of dollars. A house can look good, with shiny new countertops, and some fresh bright paint, but you don’t know what’s going on behind the walls.
When you walk through a potential home with an inspector (and I always recommend to attend the inspection, if possible), they can point out any major red flags with a home. Inspectors are trained to look beyond the lipstick and mascara of a home, and put a spotlight on the major structural aspects of the home, as well as its systems.
If a home’s roof is on its way out, or the wiring and HVAC are in need of updating, these are things you want to know about BEFORE you make an offer, not during your first winter in the home when the heat shuts off out of nowhere.
I always say that a home inspection is never wasted money because it can give you an idea of what issues a home will have down the line — and when. If you know you’ll need to update the roof in the next 10 years, then it’s something you can plan ahead of time. To me, the few hundred dollars you’ll spend on an inspection is worth the peace of mind.
I just read about a survey in Quebec that stated 25 per cent of homeowners in the province experienced considerable issues within the first five years of their home ownership. I’m betting a lot of these homeowners skipped the inspection process. Not a lot of things make me nervous, but buying a home blind does. If I had to buy a house on the condition that I skip the inspection, well, I’d walk away even if I fell in love with the property at first sight.
Who to hire?
In Ontario, I’ve been really happy to see progress made in the regulation of the home inspection industry. For a while, there was nothing to stop any Tom, Dick or Harry from picking up a flashlight and a ladder, and calling themselves a home inspector. Requiring that all home inspectors are licensed and insured will go a long way to protecting vulnerable homeowners.
Even if inspectors are licensed and insured, it still pays to do your homework. Before you hire, ask them for references, find out how long they’ve been in business and find out what their previous work experience was. Ideally, you’ll want to find an inspector who has experience in residential construction or engineering. Transferable skills will help them take a careful lens to your home, and find areas in need of attention.
For most of us, buying a home will be the biggest purchase we ever make. Don’t let your dream home turn into a lasting nightmare; hire an inspector. Trust me.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

10 habits of mentally strong people


 10 habits of mentally strong people
1.     You have to fight when you already feel defeated. A reporter once asked Muhammad Ali how many sit-ups he does every day. He responded, “I don’t count my sit-ups, I only start counting when it starts hurting, when I feel pain, cause that’s when it really matters.” The same applies to success in the workplace. You always have two choices when things begin to get tough: you can either overcome an obstacle and grow in the process or let it beat you. Humans are creatures of habit. If you quit when things get tough, it gets that much easier to quit the next time. On the other hand, if you force yourself to push through a challenge, the strength begins to grow in you.

2.     You have to delay gratification. There was a famous Stanford experiment in which an administrator left a child in a room with a marshmallow for 15 minutes. Before leaving, the experimenter told the child that she was welcome to eat it, but if she waited until he returned without eating it, she would get a second marshmallow. The children that were able to wait until the experimenter returned experienced better outcomes in life, including higher SAT scores, greater career success, and even lower body mass indexes. The point is that delay of gratification and patience are essential to success. People with mental strength know that results only materialize when you put in the time and forego instant gratification.

3.     You have to make mistakes, look like an idiot, and try again — without even flinching. In a recent study at the College of William and Mary, researchers interviewed over 800 entrepreneurs and found that the most successful among them tend to have two critical things in common: they’re terrible at imagining failure and they tend not to care what other people think of them. In other words, the most successful entrepreneurs put no time or energy into stressing about their failures as they see failure as a small and necessary step in the process of reaching their goals.

4.     You have to keep your emotions in check. Negative emotions challenge your mental strength every step of the way. While it’s impossible not to feel your emotions, it’s completely under your power to manage them effectively and to keep yourself in control of them. When you let your emotions overtake your ability to think clearly, it’s easy to lose your resolve. A bad mood can make you lash out or stray from your chosen direction just as easily as a good mood can make you overconfident and impulsive.

5.     You have to make the calls you’re afraid to make. Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do because we know they’re for the best in the long-run: fire someone, cold-call a stranger, pull an all-nighter to get the company server back up, or scrap a project and start over. It’s easy to let the looming challenge paralyze you, but the most successful people know that in these moments, the best thing they can do is to get started right away. Every moment spent dreading the task subtracts time and energy from actually getting it done. People that learn to habitually make the tough calls stand out like flamingos in a flock of seagulls.

6.     You have to trust your gut. There’s a fine line between trusting your gut and being impulsive. Trusting your gut is a matter of looking at decisions from every possible angle, and when the facts don’t present a clear alternative, you believe in your ability to make the right decision; you go with what looks and feels right.

7.     You have to lead when no one else follows. It’s easy to set a direction and to believe in yourself when you have support, but the true test of strength is how well you maintain your resolve when nobody else believes in what you’re doing. People with mental strength believe in themselves no matter what, and they stay the course until they win people over to their ways of thinking.

8.     You have to focus on the details even when it makes your mind numb. Nothing tests your mental strength like mind-numbing details, especially when you’re tired. The more people with mental strength are challenged, the more they dig in and welcome that challenge, and numbers and details are no exception to this.

9.     You have to be kind to people who are rude to you. When people treat you poorly, it’s tempting to stoop to their level and return the favor. People with mental strength don’t allow others to walk all over them, but that doesn’t mean they’re rude to them, either. Instead, they treat rude and cruel people with the same kindness they extend to everyone else, because they don’t allow another person’s negativity to bring them down.

10.  You have to be accountable for your actions, no matter what. People are far more likely to remember how you dealt with a problem than they are to recall how you created it in the first place. By holding yourself accountable, even when making excuses is an option, you show that you care about results more than your image or ego.

Bringing it all together
Mental strength is as rare as it is important. The good news is that any of us can get stronger with a little extra focus and effort.