Buying a home is likely the biggest financial investment you will ever make. Families stay in their homes for 30+ years and watch their families grow up in the same house, often passing it down to the next generation. Many others enjoy the idea of buying one home, then upgrading to their next (often bigger) home in search of something new.
Homes are investments for the future and provide a nest egg for retirement. But being able to buy a home and make that investment can be difficult – especially for single women and single mothers. As an experience mortgage broker in Edmonton, though, I have the pleasure of working with a number of women who are seeking to purchase a home and making it financially possible for them.
One of the women I worked with a few weeks ago was Sam N.. She is a single mom of one young daughter now studying at MacEwan University. She was living in a rental property and wanted to buy a new home in Edmonton where she would be able to start something new.
This was not her first time getting into real-estate and had worked with a mortgage broker in the past – but she was still unsure about qualifying for a new mortgage after so many years renting. Here are some questions we asked her about her experience working with me for her most recent home.
MAX OMAR (MO): Hi, Sam! Thanks for agreeing to share your experience with others about your experience working with me to secure your mortgage on your new home.
SAM N. (SN): Absolutely! I was so pleased about the experience that I was happy to speak with you for your blog.
MO: You decided to buy your own home after renting for so many years, how did you get to that point?
SN: It was a scary decision but I knew it was the right one to make for myself and my daughter. She is 21 years old now and spends most of her time at school, work and in the downtown core, but I knew that getting myself a new place to live would send a good message to her about the importance of investing for your future. Real estate has always been a good investment for me and it was just time to stop paying someone else’s mortgage for them (because I was renting a friend’s duplex) and pay towards my own equity. It actually ended up being about the same amount of money on a monthly basis.
MO: Many single women find the down payment for their home difficult to save. How did you do it?
SN: This is my third time buying a home and each time I’ve saved because of a bonus received at work. That money goes a long way to saving those lump sums and seeing it in the bank just makes me want to keep it there until I’m ready to make the commitment to a new home.
I wasn’t sure if I would qualify this time because I don’t have a whole lot of other equity – especially not on my own. But I have a great job and my credit score is in good standing which helped pave the way towards getting a good mortgage rate.
Budgeting in any household goes a long way, too, and I love to buy in bulk to save money over the long-run. I minimize my spending on things I truly love and give value to my life – the gym, continued learning and food! I may indulge on a few luxuries but I try not to spend too much on things I don’t need. It’s all about budgeting.
MO: What did you have to do to qualify for a mortgage?
SN: A friend recommended that I contact you before even starting to look for a home so that I could decide on what price range to look for when shopping around. I provided you with some past pay stubs and some personal details for a credit check. Within 24 hours of contacting you, I had prequalified for a mortgage and was on my first appointment with a realtor to look at homes within my price range! Going house shopping while being pre-qualified for a mortgage also gave me some bargaining power which saved me some money over the long-run.
Did I want to qualify for a larger mortgage to get a bigger home? Sure, I did! But this was a very realistic approach to what my situation was (is) and what would make the most sense for me and my family. Working with the realtor allowed me to look for some great homes in that price range – we’re lucky in Edmonton that homeownership is still possible for less than $200,000 because in other cities, that’s just not possible.
MO: Would you work with a mortgage broker again?
SN: Sorry to break it to you, Max, but you weren’t my first mortgage broker! My experience has always been positive when working with a broker because you can shop around a bunch of different banks and lenders for the best rate, while only doing one credit check.
I have to say, though, that you are the only broker that was able to secure me a mortgage with an actual bank. I had always been with independent lenders in the past so was shocked when you came back to me with a great mortgage rate from Scotiabank. I just couldn’t believe it!
MO: Congratulations on your new home, Sam. I’m glad I was able to help you get you the mortgage that was right for you.
SN: Thank you, Max! It was great working with you. When my mortgage is up for renewal in a few years, I’ll also remember to come talk to you about trying to secure an even better rate, right?!
MO: I’ll do my very best for you then, too!
For help securing your mortgage, please be sure to give me a call or contact Max Omar through maxomar.ca.