Buying a home can be intimidating. For most of us, it’s the largest purchase we’ll ever make. That’s why I’ve always recommended home buyers work with reputable mortgage agents.
This advice has never been more relevant than it is right now. In April 2021, home sales broke an all-time record, according to the May 2021 Toronto Housing Market Report from WOWA, a Toronto-based real estate technology company. Average selling prices were up 33% from a year ago. For a detached home, the prices have increased a whopping 41% to an average price of $1.39 million.
At the same time, the report shows that our housing inventory is shrinking, which could leave buyers feeling a little desperate and believing they have few good options. Thousands of qualified buyers may be opting out of the housing market altogether, which compromises their ability to build wealth and jeopardizes their financial future.
I firmly believe that avoiding the housing market now is the wrong move. Done right, real estate is always a good investment and a mortgage broker can help you do it right.
Consider these essential services that brokers provide to home buyers:
- A good broker helps you select the home that’s not only right for your family now, but also likely to grow in value in the future.
- Brokers are experts in many types of loans and lending institutions. Your broker can easily guide you through financial decisions, such as what type of loan is best for you. A broker can explain the advantages and disadvantages of lump-sum payments and fixed vs. variable rates. Most importantly, brokers work with lenders all the time. Their relationships with underwriters and the services different lenders provide are often the quickest route to the best rates.
- Truly professional brokers will advise you through the whole process of submitting mortgage applications. Brokers know the ins and outs of these applications, streamlining what can be a frustrating and arduous process.
- Finally, working with a broker is a perfect way to ensure you fully understand the fine print on your loan. Seeking their advice at the beginning of the process is a surefire way to avoid any unfortunate surprises later.
If you take my advice and seek out the services of a broker, some things to look for include:
- Find a licensed broker. Many mortgage brokers are licensed by the province in which they work. Licensing demands that the broker (and his or her staff) keep up with developments within the industry. Going through the process of licensing also encourages a high level of professionalism.
- Look for a broker with an established office. Nowadays, many of us work from home without a problem. But a bricks-and-mortar office shows a commitment to the industry and the community.
- As with any time you’re hiring a professional, ask friends and colleagues who have worked with that broker what they thought of them.
- Finally, don’t ignore your instincts. You need to trust this person, which means feeling comfortable with their personality and style.
It’s a little more work on the front end to find and hire a mortgage broker, but the effort you put in will pay off. Now, when the market is changing fast, it’s nearly impossible for a casual investor to keep up with the latest information. Working with a broker allows you to tap into his or her expertise, making the entire process faster, smoother, and more profitable for you.