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Something borrowed 

Money is at the root of most questions about buying a home. Mortgage broker Shawna Snair can help you get both the answers and the cash.

click to enlarge Shawna Snair helps buyers avoid being “house poor”. - JESSICA EMIN
  • Shawna Snair helps buyers avoid being “house poor”.
  • Jessica Emin

As my mortgage broker, what will you take care of?
Putting a complimentary rate hold in place while you look for the right home. I work with the very best realtors in the business and I’ll connect you with the perfect professional to help you buy, at no cost to you. Walking you through the mortgage process step by step and once you have found the perfect home, I’ll get over 20 of Canada’s leading lenders, including the major banks, competing for your mortgage financing in an electronic bidding process with only one credit check.

What’s the difference between going to a broker, and going to the bank?
The big difference is that we have the option for that bidding process with just one credit check. We would most times have access to the bank the client is dealing with anyway, along with numerous other options to compare rates and to best find a product that most fits the consumers own personal situation.  What do you think is the most important thing people can do in preparation for applying for a mortgage? Get a pre-approval and a rate hold in place, then run your budget to make sure that you do not purchase a home out of a comfortable price range that leaves you “house poor.”

 

What are my options if my down payment savings are slim?
Some lenders will still allow for a borrowed down payment and one will even still consider NO down payment. Whether a first-time home buyer or a repeat buyer, you’re only required to do a five percent down payment.

After I’ve been approved for a mortgage, how can I figure out what I can actually afford as a monthly payment?
I highly recommend meeting with a broker first to complete a pre-approval and review the payments associated with different purchase prices. This way you can avoid disappointment and heartache by sticking to your budget instead of falling in love with a house and making an offer on something you can’t afford. The budget that we look at in the pre-approval process should give you good insight on how much you would be comfortable spending per month on your new home costs.

 

Realistically, how much extra money should I put aside for extra costs like lawyer fees and inspections?
The recommendation is 1.5 percent of the purchase price for legal, home inspection, house insurance and property tax adjustment. Deed transfer tax is in addition to that.

 

I’m thinking of buying a fixer-upper, how should I plan for this financially?
Know the process of what we refer to as a purchase plus improvements. You buy a fixer-upper and receive a mortgage to do so on closing day. You’ll need to provide quotes for labour and material up front for approval of any improvements or renovations you intend to do. After you take possession of the property the renovations can begin. What’s most important to note is that in most cases the work must be 100 percent complete before the renovation funds can be advanced from the mortgage and there is generally a 90 to 120 day window to complete all improvements.



After nine years of working as a mortgage specialist at both TD and Scotiabank, Shawna Snair became a broker with The Mortgage Centre in 2012. Contact her at at 902-448-2007 or ssnair@mortgagecentre.com.

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Vol 24, No 39
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