I’m not good enough

This one insidious little lie, that most of us have bought into in some form or another, is so effective at annihilating one’s self esteem and eroding our sense of self that we are often stuck in success purgatory engulfed in the simultaneous fears of both failing and succeeding. Because, as we understand it, failing is bad so we shouldn’t fail. But succeeding can also seem bad, especially when others around you are failing.

So we unwittingly limit ourselves. To avoid failing, we don’t try. To avoid success, we don’t try. Same strategy but it can look very different depending upon the stakes.

Let’s take getting a mortgage for example. People want to own a home and get a mortgage (success) but their negative beliefs about themselves and their situation limit them (failing) so they are “stuck” renting (purgatory).

We’ll hear things like “Oh I really would like to own a home, but I know we wouldn’t qualify for a mortgage”. There is the move toward success in even broaching this with a mortgage broker but then a quick retreat by disqualifying themselves before we can even get started.

It took me a couple of conversations like these to realize the best answer to this statement is:

How do you know?

So simple, yet so profound! Because the fact is, most people don’t actually know. Most people are just ASSUMING that they can’t qualify. They’ve based this life limiting assumption on something they read somewhere, or something someone said once, or that so-and-so couldn’t get a mortgage so of course there’s no way they could get one… I’m sorry, but that is straight up ridiculous. That’s like saying, “Oh, I know how to perform botox; I saw them do it in a movie once”.

Life altering situation + irrelevant information = not being able to move (your muscles in your face).

So, if you ask yourself “How do I know I can’t qualify for a mortgage?” and your answer is anything other than “Because I talked to Kerry and Kari and they built a plan for me so I WILL qualify for a mortgage”, stop limiting yourself. Give us a call and find out for real.

Just so you don’t feel alone, here are some real life examples of clients who came to us with objections that simply were not an obstacle to them getting a mortgage. Enjoy!

Limiting belief: My credit is bad.
Bad is a relative term. I find what some people think is bad is actually pretty darn good by mortgage lender standards. And even if your credit is really in the dumps there are STILL lenders who will give you a mortgage. A client of ours was very reluctant to have us pull his credit report because he had some past credit challenges. When we did, he had a fantastic score (which he still felt was low) and we could easily place him with several different lenders and get him the very best rate.

Limiting belief: I don’t make enough money.
Well, that may be true if you have your eye on a Maserati, but until we’ve run your numbers you don’t know for sure. For example, a client of ours who owns his own business has a very good accountant and claims very little income in order to pay very little taxes. We were able to get him approved for a house and a condo… when his bank wouldn’t do it AND another mortgage broker said it couldn’t be done. But it could, and we did. BOOM.

Limiting belief: I’ve claimed bankruptcy but it hasn’t been seven years yet.
So what? I mean… not to worry. There are lenders who will look at your file just 6 months after being discharged. No need to wait seven years! A client of ours had been putting off home ownership for YEARS thinking it wasn’t possible but didn’t check with a broker to make sure. Now they are out looking at places and could be in a new home within months of our initial meeting.

Limiting belief: I don’t have enough of a down payment saved.
This is an interesting one. There can be many variations when people start quoting just how much they think they need to put down. Truth is, for your principal residence the minimum you need saved is zero and the minimum you need to put down is 5% of the purchase price. So how does that work? There are lenders who have programs that allow you to use borrowed funds for your down payment. We have a client who currently owns a home and they are looking to upgrade but it’s not a great time to sell. So after reviewing their situation with use, they decided not to sell and keep it as a rental investment instead. This leaves them with no money for a down payment, but they are able to qualify for an additional loan, which they can use for their down payment. Moving on up!

Limiting belief: I can’t afford the monthly mortgage payments.
If you pay rent, I’m pretty confident you can afford a mortgage payment. Generally speaking, for every $100k in house purchase price your monthly mortgage payment is $470.00. So if you’re paying $950 in rent you could probably swing a $200k purchase. A client of ours was told by another mortgage broker that in order to qualify they were going to have to sell their vehicles and make all these changes to reduce their monthly debts – which wasn’t true. That said, there is a difference between how much mortgage you can qualify for and what you are comfortable paying each month in terms of your financial budget and goals. One of our clients, a single gentleman, thought for sure he couldn’t afford a mortgage on his salary alone yet was paying upwards of $1200/month in rent. Wasn’t he surprised to find out that he could buy almost the exact same unit in his building and pay only slightly more a month!

Limiting belief: My bank denied me a mortgage and I’ve been with them for years so why would any other lender give me one?
Well, that’s because non-bank lenders are running a business based on mortgages and giving you a mortgage makes them money. Banks make their money in a variety of ways however, so your mortgage business may not be their priority. Plus they know that many people will remain loyal and come back to them when their financial situation improves. At this point the lending “risk” to the bank is lower and they can better protect their profit. So they often don’t bother going that extra inch to help an existing client. I have too many examples of this one-sided loyalty. So many that I think I will make it my next blog post.

Okay, okay. I could be at this all day. Bottom line is… unless you have talked to us you don’t know for sure that you DON’T qualify for a mortgage. And IF you don’t, we’re happy to help you make a plan so if becomes a when you can qualify.

Feel free to post in the comments any other ridiculous limiting beliefs and I would be happy to rebut them for you!

Kerry Reid is a Licensed Mortgage Professional with Modern Mortgage Group, a franchise of Dominion Lending Centres, in Sooke, BC. She recently teamed up with Kari Stauble, also a Licensed Mortgage Professional with Modern Mortgage Group, to become the powerhouse team Kerry and Kari, Licensed Mortgage Professionals. Don’t worry. We’re on it. http://www.kkmortgages.com

Free Mortgage

There are several different services that I would currently love to take advantage of; like a nanny for instance. I would love to have a Mary Poppins like nanny to entertain my “high intensity” child, change his hazardous dirty diapers, and be the stand in for the frantic whiny pant grabs all whilst making everything a song.

I’d love a housekeeper, a personal shopper, a landscaper, an interior designer, a personal chef, a first birthday event planner and a personal assistant. It’s not that I’m lazy; just the opposite. I’m an efficiency crazed, go big or go home, perfectionistic, challenge-aholic and I, for some reason, just can’t manage to get it all done. I don’t know why.

But alas, my dreams of having everything I want, the way I want it will have to wait. Because we have a kid. And kids are expensive. And we’re planning a wedding. And weddings are expensive. And although I make out all right at this mortgage gig, money is not yet busting out at the seams of my mattress.

I cannot hire these people because we cannot afford it right now. How do I know? Because I have called and asked their rates. Because I have scoured websites and know that there is no flipping way we can hire a landscaper regardless of the fact that our front lawn has become one massive weed fest where all the weeds have invited their little weed buddies to come hang out in our front yard mocking us. Our neighbors love it though.

But what about mortgage brokers? How much does it cost to hire one of those?

That’s the thing. It doesn’t. Not unless your credit resembles my son’s diapers or we’re talking about a commercial property, our services are 100% free to you, the consumer.

Let me put it another way: using a mortgage broker doesn’t cost you a penny. Or how about this way: Mortgage broker = free mortgage. And just in case you’re still a little unclear, how about this: FREE.

Now that we have that out of the way, there is no reason for you NOT to sit down with a mortgage broker. What are you waiting for?? Think of it as a no obligation, free assessment of when you can buy a home.

If you just said to yourself, “oh, well there’s no point in talking to a mortgage broker right now since we can’t qualify for a mortgage because of X”, please, read my next blog post. It will be written just for you.

Kerry Reid is a Licensed Mortgage Professional with Modern Mortgage Group, a franchise of Dominion Lending Centres, in Sooke, BC. She recently teamed up with Kari Stauble, also a Licensed Mortgage Professional with Modern Mortgage Group, to become the powerhouse team Kerry and Kari, Licensed Mortgage Professionals. Don’t worry. We’re on it. http://www.kkmortgages.com

Ah, summer; the passive-aggressive season

Summer is the I’m-having-so-much-fun-doing-all-the-things-I-don’t-normally-do-that-I-now-realize-I-need-to-make-more-money-so-I-can-live-like-this-all-the-time-and-that-my-life-during-the-other-three-seasons-sucks season.

It has the effect of simultaneously making you love and hate your life. It is the backhanded compliment. It is the dysfunctional fling with the guy you knew was a douchebag – in the beginning it was new, fun and a welcomed change from the relationship before. By the middle it’s hot, heavy, sticky, a bit too intense and all consuming. And by the end your self-esteem is a couple notches lower, you feel sick to your stomach with shame for the poor choices you made and you now have body image issues. For my guy readers, I can only assume it would be like the one night stand with the girl who was super hot but you knew had a lot of crazy in her; major score until reality sets in and you now have to live through the suck that will be your life for the next month or so trying to avoid the crazy.

Summer. The season of denial, shame, and envy.

I had one of these life-is-so-great-right-now-but-I-hate-my-life moments when my husband, son and I went to the lake. Scattered along the shoreline were some beautiful homes. Some obviously cabins, others probably year-round residences.

So like any self-respecting idealist dreamer, I turned to my husband and said, “I wish we could own a home or a cabin or a shack on the water”. His response? “Pfft. Yeah, me too. Maybe when we’re rich” (as we both glance over at our money-pit, er… I mean toddler son, eating sand).

But back at the office I couldn’t let the dream go. So I took to the interwebs and I happened upon Sharleen’s website www.waterfrontwest.com (and by happen upon I mean opened it from my Bookmark folder called Inspiration). Sharleen and I connected on Twitter a couple of months ago and since then I love visiting her website to check out all the fabulous oceanfront and lakefront properties she has listed there.

But this time was different. I don’t know if it was because summer was winding down so it was losing its seductive grip on my commitment to reality, but I started looking more closely at the price tags attached to these beautiful homes and cottages and realized, hey, this might not be just a pipe dream. So of course I got in touch with Sharleen and I want to share with you what came out of that conversation…

Me: We’ve been kicking around the idea of buying an investment property but we can’t even afford a condo in Vancouver. Surely we can’t afford a HOUSE on waterfront property…

Sharleen: The benchmark price of a condo in Greater Vancouver for June 2014 was $378, 000 and while that doesn’t buy you a huge spread in the city, with this kind of a budget, there are many waterfront or view properties in smaller BC communities that would fit nicely into this price range. For example, take a look at this oceanfront home for $329, 9000 on Malcolm Island. If you are up for moving to a smaller community, you can have a pretty high standard of living in that price range. Areas where you can find similar (or sometimes lower) recreational real estate prices include parts of the Cariboo Chilcotin, Northern BC, the islands along the east coast of Vancouver Island (Discovery Islands, Northern Gulf Islands, Malcolm Island) and many other small towns across the Province.  I have also seen single-family oceanfront and lakefront homes on our site for under $400,000 this year in not-so- remote areas including the Southern Gulf Islands and a few communities on Southern Vancouver Island such as Cowichan Lake. You just have to keep an eye out for them to get them before they sell.

An interesting trend that some of our real estate agent clients have noticed in recent years is the movement of  “New Homesteaders” into their communities. As the cost of living gets higher in Vancouver and Victoria, these buyers are seeing the benefits of moving to smaller towns where they can purchase single family homes they wouldn’t be able to afford in the city, often with acreages so that they can work the land. These families see the benefits of becoming part of a small, close-knit community and often grow their own local food and home school their children.

Me: Hmm. Okay, so maybe I can afford a waterfront property in a small town – maybe even smaller than Sooke. But why would I want to move to somewhere smaller that Sooke??

Sharleen: I can personally speak to the benefits of moving to a small town. My husband and I sold our Main Street (Vancouver) single-family home and moved to the Comox Valley in 2004. We purchased a home with a small mortgage and with the extra money we had in the bank from the sale of our home, we were able to create our own businesses and work for ourselves. We now have a much higher standard of living (larger house, larger lot, more privacy) and enjoy the same outdoor opportunities we had in Vancouver (skiing, boating, mountain biking, hiking, etc.) with less lineups, faster travel times and for less cost. Our son attends the local French Immersion school, (which I did not have to line up for days to get him into), we go to the local Farmer’s Market almost every week and attend the surprisingly large number of local events held throughout the year. Courtenay has most of the perks of the bigger city such as awesome coffee shops and a cute main street with boutique shopping, but also stores like Costco and Winners and full recreational facilities and services.

Me: Okay… so what’s better then – oceanfront or lakefront?

Sharleen: I can’t really say which is better because they are completely different settings: each type of waterfront is appealing to different buyers for different reasons. A buyer looking for lakefront is more likely to be interested in enjoying the lakefront lifestyle in the summer (ie. warm water swimming, waterskiing and boating), while an oceanfront buyer might prefer salt water activities such as salmon fishing or ocean kayaking, or maybe they just want to watch the ever changing view as the ocean traffic goes by. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

Me: Is there more maintenance involved with a waterfront property than a regular house?

In a nutshell, yes, but that depends on your definition of a “regular” house. If it’s a basic single-family home on a city lot, then definitely there are a few more things to keep in mind when owning a waterfront property, but as I have learned, the bigger the property, the more work, whether or not it’s waterfront.

Typically, waterfront homes are going to be more open to the elements.  Winter storms may hit the home with more force, causing falling debris and washing things up on the shoreline. This means you must be vigilant to maintain siding and roofing and keep an eye on any large trees that might be dying on your property. Good quality double pane windows are important to keep the winter cold out. You will also have a beach to “take care of.”  In areas where beach access is public, this might mean cleaning up a bit after other people enjoy the waterfront. Some people go so far as to remove rocks from their frontage or bring in sand to “their” beach, while others build retaining walls to keep the foreshore from eroding. Always check local guidelines and laws before doing any of the previously mentioned changes to a waterfront property. If you have a dock, that will require some extra maintenance as well.

While not maintenance related, there are also special setbacks for waterfront properties and protected riparian areas to keep in mind if you plan to build anything on your lot. For this reason, it is a good idea to make sure you use an agent who is experienced in working with waterfront properties.

Me: So I’m obviously going to have to blog about this now…what would you say is the biggest misconception about waterfront property?

Sharleen: I would say the biggest misconception is price as per my previous answer. You can buy a deluxe waterfront single family home in many smaller cities in BC for the same price or less than your average single family home in East Vancouver.

If you’re really set on living in a city such as Victoria or Vancouver and purchasing oceanfront property, you will obviously have to pay more (and in some cases a lot more) but if you look a little out of town you can still find areas where waterfront is less expensive. For example, you can still get an oceanfront home in a community such as Sidney (30 mins drive from downtown for under $1,000,000). Other areas near Victoria where waterfront is less expensive include the Gorge and Sooke. Near Vancouver, for oceanfront, you can look at areas such at Deep Cove, Bowen Island or Lion’s Bay as opposed to the uber-expensive West Vancouver. Other getaway areas near Vancouver with less expensive oceanfront include boat access cottages up Indian Arm and Keats and Gambier Islands.

So there you have it folks. Summer is on its way out, I’m back to reality, back to regular posting, and on the hunt for my next property – on the water.

Kerry Reid is a Licensed Mortgage Professional with Modern Mortgage Group, a franchise of Dominion Lending Centres, in Sooke, BC. She recently teamed up with Kari Stauble, also a Licensed Mortgage Professional with Modern Mortgage Group, to become the powerhouse team Kerry and Kari, Licensed Mortgage Professionals. Don’t worry. We’re on it. http://www.kkmortgages.com

Do this one thing and everyone will like you.

The fact of the matter is, even if you were to give everyone $1000, turn water into wine and give free unicorn rides there would still be people who didn’t like you.

There would be those people who would resent you for having enough money to give everyone $1000. And the Lord knows there are people who are ready to crucify those who can turn water into wine. And if you can believe it, some people think unicorns aren’t real anyway and would be cynical about your generous offer.

So, based on all the empirical research I’ve done, there is nothing you can do that would make everyone like you. And with that little nugget, we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

Why? Because no matter what you do, what you say, how much you temper who you are, there are going to be people who hate your guts. Awesome, right??!! No? Well, let me put it this way:

You have nothing to lose by just being yourself but everything to gain.

When you are true to yourself you will attract others who like you for you; not that lukewarm, watered down version of “you” that you’re putting out there so others will like or accept you. You will expend way less energy trying to figure out “how you should be” and worrying about what others think; energy that can be used for good and not evil. You get to just BE. And that is freaking fantastic. Kinda like this:

Then that other person has the opportunity to decide for themselves if they like that or don’t. And let me be honest with you, you’re going to win some and lose some. But personally I’d rather win connections that appreciate my cheeky, sarcastic, line pushing side and be my genuine self than to win connections that think I’m someone I’m not and have to compromise my honesty, integrity and sense of self.

Why do I bring this up? Well it seems the universe really wants to solidify this concept for me as it has come up in various ways this last week. First, I heard through the grapevine that someone wasn’t keen on my last blog post; to that I say, “c’est la vie” and you probably shouldn’t call me for a mortgage. Second, Kari and I were having a conversation about why some of our contacts will choose to deal with one of us, almost exclusively, over the other. And to that I say, at least you’re talking to one of us.

Lastly, a friend of mine posted a beautiful status update on Facebook the other day in response to the meme question “I wonder if anyone ever looks at me and thinks ‘Wow. She’s beautiful’”. She very eloquently proves my point with her personal observation:

“On my first evening in Paris, earlier this year, I was walking along the Seine and I experienced my first French cat-call. What happened was that one man called out to me to essentially ‘come visit him.’ As my cheeks burned a little and I walked past, the man sitting next to him said (also in French): ‘Well she’s nothing special.’ Then the first guy explained to his friend that he liked the shape of my lips and chin. Weird. Anyway, the experience felt a bit cutting for a moment and then I suddenly felt incredibly free, because in that moment was the glaring and inescapable reality of the variation of preferences.

The attached poster reminded me of this experience. I see so many men and women all the time who, through my lens, are so beautiful and do not in many ways fit the beauty ‘standards’ of pop culture. Here’s a messy reality: Some people find a certain look attractive and others find that same look unattractive or are disinterested. There is nothing you can do, no recipe for a perfect appearance you can follow that will be liked or disliked by everyone. So to the person who wrote this, yes someone probably looks at you and thinks: Wow, she’s beautiful. And someone else probably looks at you and might think you’re ugly. That might or might not feel ok. But I have this hope that eventually it will feel just fine for everyone.”

So although at times it is going to sting, I will continue to put my authentic self out there, curse words and all. If my personality resonates with you; great, let’s be friends. If it doesn’t, that’s okay too. Either way, I wish you the courage to also put it all on the line.


Kerry Reid is a Licensed Mortgage Professional with Modern Mortgage Group, a franchise of Dominion Lending Centres, in Sooke, BC. She recently teamed up with Kari Stauble, also a Licensed Mortgage Professional with Modern Mortgage Group, to become the powerhouse team Kerry and Kari, Licensed Mortgage Professionals. Don’t worry. We’re on it. http://www.kkmortgages.com

F%ck The Banks. And other tag line discards.

Since two heads are better than one, and I always like to be the best, I have partnered up with the fabulous Kari Stauble to become the world’s answer for mortgages.

karikerry (4 of 17) cropped

We’ll be the Bonnie and Clyde, Hansel and Gretel, Turner and Hootch of mortgages. Orrr… maybe not those, but we will be a pretty fine dynamic duo taking down the mortgage scene in Canada. Well, maybe not Canada (although we could if wanted to) but definitely BC and most definitely Vancouver Island. And we’re going to OWN Sooke, BC. That I know for sure.

So now that it’s “just the two of us” and we’ll make it if we try, we needed to come up with some new branding. I’m pretty sure we hit it out of the park, but you be the judge. However, if you don’t like it, don’t judge. We’re not one for negativity.

kerry kari logo italic

“We’re on it”. What more do we need to say for a tag line? It’s professional; it’s punchy. It conveys trust, resourcefulness, tenacity and spunk. It’s pretty darn sexy. But it wasn’t our first choice. Noooo. We had a whole Friday of tossing one-liners back and forth, complete with mental breakdown giggle fit, before we arrived at this keeper. And here, for your reading pleasure, are those discards.

Kerry | Kari…

…Fuck the Banks

…Mortgages that don’t make you want to blow your brains out

…Ebony and Ivory

…At your service. On your side.

…Making the Mortgage Magic Happen

…We make mortgages sexy

…Your mortgage escorts

…Your first and only mortgage stop

…Your Mortgage Matchmakers

…Sister and Sista

…Salt and Peppa (which lead to…)

…p-Push it. PUSH IT REAL GOOD.

I know. There was some gold in these tag lines. And we had fun. We want you to have fun too so we are giving away a $50 gift certificate to the restaurant of your choice for one lucky fan. All you have to do is:

  1. Like the new KK Mortgage Facebook page (here)
  2. Share this blog post on FB
  3. Leave a comment on our pinned post telling us your favorite tag line discard and your restaurant choice (here)

The winner will be announced and contacted July 31st!

Nailed it.

I’m not racist, but you people…

I’m black. And although I live in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, in my 30+ years I’ve actually only heard these words uttered a handful of times. And you know what followed next was definitely racist.

So it caught me a bit off guard when someone said to me, “What is it you people do anyway?” In the moments it took me to comprehend the question asked, I’m sure my face had contorted from a look of shock, to disdain, and then to humorous relief when I realized they were asking me about my job.

I get that question a lot – albeit not usually with a lynching undertone – so here’s the answer:

I help people find the best mortgage product for their needs by shopping around at over 90 lenders to find the best rate and product at no cost to them so long as they are qualified borrowers (read: don’t have super challenging credit). And if they do have a ghetto credit report I can still help, but it’s gonna cost ya. Kinda like a payday loan.

“Oh, I see. So you’re the same as the mortgage guy at my bank”. Yeah, no. That’s like saying all Asians look the same. What are you, racist?

Here’s the deal. In Canada there are people who are trained, tested and licensed to offer mortgage advice and then there are people who, because of a loophole, can call themselves Mortgage Experts, Mortgage Advisors, Mortgage Specialists, Mortgage Professionals, Mobile Mortgage Specialists, etc. and not be licensed. These are the people who work directly for financial institutions.

Don’t get me wrong, just because someone is not a trained chef doesn’t mean their fried chicken can’t be good. But, if you’re looking for fried chicken, do you go to the place that specializes in fried chicken or the burger joint that also has fried chicken on the menu? Mmmm, fried chicken

Put another way, if you were looking to buy a car and went to a Ford dealership, do you think they would recommend a Chevy to you? No, they would do their darndest to show you why you should buy a Ford. If the Chevy is the best car for your needs, is their argument going to make the Ford a better buy? No! But if the Ford sales guy came to your house and brought the car with him would that make it a better car for you? HELL NO!

The best car for you will always be the Chevy, no matter what the Ford guy tells you, and the only way to know that would be with independent, unbiased assistance. Can I get an amen?!

A Licensed Mortgage Professional that is not restricted to a specific lender will give you qualified, unbiased assistance in finding the best mortgage product at the best rates that fits your needs. No lemons. AMEN.

So here’s your call to Jesus: always use a Licensed Mortgage Professional with a credible Mortgage Brokerage firm for all your real estate financing needs.

If I’ve offended anyone in the making of this blog post, that’s okay because I’m Black and I can say this kind of stuff. Unless you’re offended by my use of Ford and Chevy as my examples, then I’m sorry.

Oh, and it’s not racist if it’s a compliment.

Congratulations to the 2014 Hermann Gmeiner Award Winners!

So here’s a little about me: growing up, it was just me and my mom. My mom had many struggles to contend with on a daily basis as a single parent but on top of that was breast cancer in her early thirties, a good ‘ol dose of family drama, and the not so great coping mechanism of alcohol. So yeah, you could consider me a latchkey kid.

Home was less than stable and didn’t always feel safe. For me, a “carefree” childhood was an enigma similar to a unicorn. This made everything that much more challenging; staying focused at school, having a social life, creating a sense of self.

I ended up excelling at school and doing all right in the friends department but it would take a long time before I had a semblance of a sense of self. Heck, I’m still working on it!

That’s why I am in love with SOS Children’s Villages and a proud supporter of SOS Children’s Village BC. They work with children who are orphaned, abandoned or neglected. They give these children the opportunity to build lasting relationships within a family. Their family approach is based on four principles: Each child needs a mother, and grows up most naturally with brothers and sisters, in his or her own house, within a supportive village environment.

Their Vision is beautiful:

Family is the heart of society. Within a family each child is protected and enjoys a sense of belonging. Here, children learn values, share responsibilities and form life-long relationships. A family environment gives them a solid foundation on which to build their lives.
Through love and acceptance, emotional wounds are healed and confidence is built. Children learn to trust and believe in themselves and others. With this self-assurance each child can recognise and fulfil his or her potential.
Each child’s voice is heard and taken seriously. Children participate in making decisions that affect their lives and are guided to take a leading role in their own development. The child grows with respect and dignity as a cherished member of his or her family and society.
Children are protected from abuse, neglect and exploitation and are kept safe during natural disaster and war. Children have shelter, food, health care and education. These are the basic requirements for the sound development of all children.

~From SOS Children’s Villages International website.

This organization, both internationally and locally, does great work and improves the lives of so many children. Recently, the 2014 Hermann Gmeiner Award was handed out to two individuals who were cared for in their program as children, and who have distinguished themselves in terms of their social, cultural, athletic or career accomplishments. Their stories are inspiring and put my own in perspective.

Congratulations to the winners, Maya Dhal and Deepak KC, to the 100 finalists and 279 nominees.

And a standing ovation to SOS.

I am passionate about helping others create a place they can feel comfortable, safe and call home. Call me to discuss how we can get you that home.

For more information on SOS Children’s Villages BC please see their website.

To donate, click here.


The computer says no

Q: Excuse me, do you have any ice?

A: “You mean the frozen kind?”

Yes, this was an actual exchange of words I had with a Big Box Store cashier a couple of years back when I was out frantically trying to find ice for my clients on the day of their wedding when the person responsible for bringing the ice came empty handed (in my previous life I was a wedding planner).

This exchange stuck with me as the perfect example of how some people possess critical thinking skills, and others, well, do not. This can also be said for good customer service, creativity, tenacity, resourcefulness, and many other skills and characteristics that are often important in service type roles; some people have them, some people don’t.

It’s possible that the employee just had a momentary brain fart. Or they were so thrown off by my really random question that the neural connections of their brain couldn’t compute faster than the speed at which the words came out of their mouth.

Either way, this is not the type of individual you want to be dealing with when you are: applying for a mortgage, applying for a loan, doing your taxes, setting up a business, or if you have a nut allergy and they are the one confirming there are no nuts in the dish you are about to order.

When the answer matters, you want to pose the question to someone who can think beyond the box. Too many people receive a “no” when in fact, with some additional information or a little creativity, the answer could have been “yes” (*cough* what happens at banks *cough*).

This is why it sometimes seems to my clients that I make magic happen. I turn “no” into “yes” and between you and me, I have a ton of fun while I’m doing it.

So I leave you with this clip. If this has been your experience, call me.

Clip: Little Britain – The Computer Says No

Oh yeah? Well my Dad could beat up your Dad!

Remember when that was the go-to phrase to end the one-upmanship on the playground? The little sentence thrown in the face of your opponent as a last ditch effort to win the fight? And the general comeback? “Oh YEAH?? Well, mnaw” (or some equally lame variation).

Well that’s what’s going on with the mortgage rate “wars” that are happening right now. It’s all talk and not a lot of follow through. Don’t get me wrong. I’m loving the low rates and its great for clients that the lenders keep trying to out-do each other but rates are not the be all and end all to a mortgage.

Often times, borrowers are fixated on their mortgage rate because it’s the one aspect of their home financing they know to ask about; it’s concrete and what is most predominantly advertised. But it’s important to look beyond just the rates to the bigger picture surrounding what’s significant when it comes to your specific mortgage needs.

For example, if we put into real terms the difference between 2.99% and 3.04%, it works out to an additional $2.66 in your monthly payment per $100,000 of your mortgage. Over the course of a five-year term, this culminates into just $159.60 per $100,000. Say what??!

So, while “no-frills” mortgage products typically offer a lower interest rate (like our 2.99% example) when compared with many other available products, the lower rate is really its only perk. A one trick pony so to speak.

The biggest problem with looking at rate alone is that you may end up paying thousands of dollars in early payout penalties if, for instance, you opt for a five-year fixed-rate mortgage and then decide to move before the five years is up. Yes, you read that right. So you get that great job promotion and now you need to move so you have to break your “no-frills” mortgage because you can’t transfer it to your new home and you get dinged up the wahzoo to do it. But don’t worry, you’ve invested that $159.60 you saved in some magical investment vehicle that pays you a 200% return so you’ll at least be close to breaking even. No? Oh…you spent it on shoes? Well, that’s unfortunate.

No-frills mortgage products won’t let you take your mortgage with you if you purchase another property before your mortgage term is up – portability is not an option with this product. Portability is an important option that could save you money over the long term. For example, if that dream home is within your reach before your mortgage term is up and rates have risen (which they have a tendency to do over a five-year period) you get the house AND keep your existing low rate. Cha-CHING!

This no-frills, rock-bottom, fire-sale type of product is usually a good option for those who also have zero plans to take advantage of prepayment privileges that will help pay down their mortgage faster – such as lump-sum payments, double or increased payment frequency, or general extra payments for those times when you won a fistful of cash at bingo.

Essentially, this product is only ideal for borrowers who a) are certain then will not be moving before the end of their term; b) won’t be in a position to put any extra money on the mortgage or c) property investors who need a low fixed rate and aren’t concerned with making lump-sum payments. Oh, and d) those borrowers interested in saving the above-noted $159.60/year over anything else.

It’s understandable why these products are appealing. I don’t fault you. I will hunt out a deal like no other. I have bins of clothes for my 8 month old ranging in sizes from now ‘til college because I can’t pass up a bargain. But it’s important to remember that, like fashion trends, a lot can change over the course of five years – or whatever term you choose for your mortgage. You could get transferred, find a bigger house, have babies, change careers, etc. Five years is a long time to be anchored to anything. At least with an out-of-fashion outfit it can be re-purposed as a Halloween costume. Your mortgage, not so much.

The thing is, you can still get great mortgage savings without giving up the perks of traditional mortgages. And there are still many other ways to earn your discounts. A mortgage shouldn’t be a clearance-item-impulse-buy-that’s-one-size-too-small-but-that-you-will-fit-into-eventually-once-you-lose-those-5 lbs-but-you-never-do-and-it-just-sits-in-your-closet…

Remember, you are borrowing money from someone who is in the business of making money off of this transaction. If they are not making it on the rate they are sure as heck going to make it somewhere else, or at the very least prevent you from taking your good rate and running. They’ll get their pound of flesh out of you somehow. That’s why it’s essential to discuss with your mortgage broker the full details surrounding the small print behind the low rates.

So there!

Consider me the Gynecologist of Mortgages

Men joke it’s probably the best job in the world. Women simultaneously hope for, and dread getting, a good-looking one. I’m talking Gynecologists. The poke-ologists. The docs that get on up in your business.

As a woman who has been there, done that, I can tell you it’s a bit nerve racking being on such display. It feels vulnerable, uncomfortable and a little on the embarrassing side. I mean, I don’t spend a lot of time taking inventory down there so to have someone else poking around goes outside of my comfort zone. When I run through the appointment in my mind I see laughter, pointing and perhaps worst of all the knowing tsk, tsk look of disapproval. I cower as much as I can with my knees practically up by my shoulders.

So in anticipation of the big day there is a lot of primping, priming and worrying. Heck, I’ll probably even get a pedicure. But inevitably I’m somewhat disappointed each time.

The doc doesn’t care. Most of the time they are chatting away about something else or to someone else; going about their business as if it routine and just the usual. No laughter or judgment. Quick and mostly painless.

And that is because they are a professional. It is their job. For them, it IS routine, the usual, and just a way for them to help you stay healthy. They’ve seen it all and it is all normal. No big deal.

So consider me the Gynecologist of Mortgages.

I’m not here to judge your finances. It doesn’t matter to me how much money you do or don’t have, if you’re sitting on a nest egg or up to your eyeballs in debt. I’m here to help you. If you’re in debt, let me help you manage it, create a plan and get out of it. If you have money to burn, let me help you invest it wisely to get the most bang for your buck.

Whether you have a mortgage or think at some point, some time, you’d like to own a home, send me an email or give me a call and we’ll set up an appointment for a mortgage health check. I promise I’ll be gentle.