Question: "What's the biggest financial investment most Canadians will ever make?"
Okay, that may have been an easy one if you read the headline of this column. For most Canadians, their home is their biggest investment - and their most powerful financial tool.
It's odd - given the importance of the mortgage decision - that many homebuyers will spend much more time deciding on which mutual funds they should invest in... or even which sofa to buy... than on which mortgage will best meet their needs.
Times are changing though. Mortgage options are exploding, and Canadians have begun to demand - and receive - better rates, more flexible products and more personal service than ever before. And to get a better look at their growing range of options, more homebuyers than ever are going to a mortgage "store" - and to the professional mortgage brokers who run them.
The Ontario mortgage store is a symbol of just how much the mortgage industry has changed since those days when you simply walked into your local bank to apply for a mortgage. Today, one in three first-time Canadian homebuyers choose to work with a mortgage broker, and those numbers are climbing. It's estimated that in the not-so-distant future, up to 50% of all Canadian mortgages may go through a mortgage broker for their financing needs. Our American neighbours are far ahead of us; almost 70% of all U.S. residential mortgages are now arranged through a mortgage broker.
Here in Canada, homebuyers are demanding choice - and they've been beating a path to the door of independent mortgage brokers to get it. Happily, that path is becoming shorter and more traveled; with attractive and inviting storefront offices, many independent mortgage brokers are now setting up "Main Street" offices... just like the banks.
It's hard not to get excited about the options available through a mortgage store. To begin, consider that many different institutions lend money for mortgages: banks, trust companies, credit unions, pension funds, insurance companies, finance companies, etc. At a mortgage store - like those run by many independent consultants at Mortgage Intelligence, Canada's premier player in the mortgage broker industry, homebuyers (through their mortgage broker) can access mortgage rates and information from a huge, varied group of lenders, including traditional banks, of course. The mortgage broker doesn't represent any specific lending institution, but works to find a tailored mortgage solution. And they have information on the growing list of specialized mortgages that now cater to niche markets like the self-employed, or homeowners looking for a recreational or investment properties, for example.
For many Canadians, the family home has been their best-performing investment in the last several years. It's a reminder that a Ontairo mortgage is an important financial tool - and access to a broad range of lending institutions is a critical advantage. After all, a quarter-point difference on your mortgage rate can add up to many thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage.
Ontairo mortgage storefront offices are popping up in towns and cities all across Canada. For your own financial well being, they're definitely worth a browse!