• Educate Yourself And Negotiate Confidently With The Bank

  • Meet Robert Floris

  • Meet Sean Howard

  • CAN HOUSING PRICES BURST AGAIN? WELL, MAYBE... There is an old saying, “predictions are difficult, especially about the future”. So, as I looked at the Canadian Real Estate Marketing from the late 1980’s to the mid-nineties I present only the facts, with no predictions.  It was 1988 and I was replacing a mortgage legend at Montreal Trust. Hamilton, and area real estate was booming. It was easy to be successful as the mortgages came in two by two. It was not selling; it [...]

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    What is the cheapest home equity loan?Often times we will have clients come to us for a mortgage believing that they will qualify because they have so much equity in their home. What does it mean by having equity in the home?It means that the home is valuable and that there is a very small or no mortgage on it. The difference between the value of the home and the mortgage amount, if any, is the equity. It is the portion of the home value that is yours. What does it take to get[...]

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    Why mortgages have become harder to be approved for How it affects home buyers and realtorsAs I sat back on my desk this past Wednesday, TD Bank had sent me their recent mortgage rate update. The new five year fixed rate was up to 3.75% [all the banks had their mortgage rates go up]. I started to reflect at just how quickly rates had escalated. It was almost one year ago a five year fixed rate was almost 2% less. Suddenly, it occurred to me this was worse than I imagined. Why? The Canadian [...]

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    I'm In A Rent To Own : How Do I Keep It?Renting to own a home can seem like a good solution for a family who cannot qualify to purchase. There are many reasons why one may not qualify to purchase. It could be related to insufficient income, insufficient work history, insufficient credit, insufficient savings/down payment, or any combination of those! When you rent to own a home: You agree on a future purchase price of the home. The landlord/owner charges a premium on the rent that will [...]

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    ARE YOU A PARENT HELPING YOUR CHILD BUY A HOME?Vanessa came to us in late 2020. She was referred by her sister who had come to our office to help manage her mortgage. Unlike her sister, Vanessa was not married and had not established herself in a career.  Vanessa had a single income and a relatively new position with the Hamilton Board of Education. Teacher salaries grow each year until they reach their final grade. Our client was on the low side of her pay grade but she did have a good [...]

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    Refinancing "for dummies". Is this you? Unsure if you should refinance?In the mortgage world there is no better feeling than helping first time homebuyers or helping clients refinance with a purpose. This is how we helped Jackie with her situation. Jackie's StoryI met Jackie one morning to listen to her current mortgage situation. She was a referral from our previous clients. She came in with a happy face and tons of energy. Quickly I realized how wonderful a human being she was. As Jackie [...]

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    How Can I Afford A More Expensive House In 2022 : 3 Useful TricksBefore we answer the question: how can I afford a more expensive house in 2022?, it's important to first discuss what you need to get a mortgage when purchasing a home in Hamilton. To get a mortgage, you need 3 main things: Income Credit Down payment You can get a mortgage when 1 of those items is lacking, as lock as you are stronger in one of the other 2 areas. Let's say all of that is in order, you've been pre-approved, [...]

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    How can I consolidate debt without refinancing? Combine high interest debtsThe whole idea of debt consolidation is to combine high interest debt into one single lower interest loan. The most common way of doing this is by refinancing your home. If you already have a mortgage, then this involves increasing your mortgage and including the higher interest debt. This will result in one single payment on a lower interest. Refinancing has consequencesHowever, when you refinance there can be [...]

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  • Hamilton mortgage brokerChoosing A Hamilton Mortgage Broker

    The most important factor when choosing a mortgage broker in Hamilton is to find somebody that you trust. Trust is a very hard thing to build and it is very fragile. Of course it is important to find a broker who has the necessary knowledge, expertise, contacts and creativity. But generally speaking, if you’re just looking for the best mortgage rate, all the brokers have access to the same banks and the same rates.

    So What Makes One Hamilton Mortgage Broker Better Than Another?

    Just because most mortgage brokers have access to the same mortgage rates, it doesn’t mean that they are all created equally. So what are some of the defining factors? Well, I already mentioned trust, but let’s look at the answer from a different perspective. What can mortgage brokers do badly?

    1. They can pre-approve you with a purchase price that is not realistic.

    It takes time for a Hamilton mortgage broker to properly scrutinize and underwrite a client’s income, down payment and credit when determining a realistic purchase price. It’s easy (and lazy) for a mortgage broker to say you’re pre-approved for a $500K home without looking at your income documents.

    If you’re trying to maximize your purchase price, you’re probably going to go with a broker that promises the highest amount. This is a mistake. You see those advertisements on television that claim 30 second pre-approvals. It’s impossible to properly pre-approve somebody in 30 seconds. There are too many questions. Talk to a Hamilton mortgage broker.

    A False Sense Of Security

    If you have a false sense that you can afford more than you can, guess what? When the time comes you will not qualify. At best, you will have wasted your time and the time of the realtor. At worst, you have placed a firm offer on the home, the financing falls through and you lose your deposit (and potentially get sued for losses). Bottom line: find a mortgage broker in Hamilton that asks questions!!! It may be inconvenient but the more the better.

    2. Some Hamilton mortgage brokers can “drop the ball” on you.

    So you find a mortgage broker in Hamilton that you think you can trust and that you start to worth with. Great! So you have purchased a home and you have a mortgage approval from the bank. You have received it from the mortgage broker and you have reviewed it with him/her. You and the mortgage broker believe that it is safe to waive your condition of financing.

    Beware! Every mortgage approval is conditional. That means that the lender has requirements that must be met by the mortgage broker AND the lawyer in fact, before they will advance the funds. The bank has the right to revoke their offer at any moment leading up to the closing date on the purchase. It is VERY easy for the Hamilton mortgage broker to drop the ball on you.

    Here is an example:

    One of the lender requirements is valid ID. I know it sounds silly – but you need to prove who you are to get a mortgage! If your driver’s license has expired and you don’t have a passport, the purchase may not close on time. Again, you need a Hamilton mortgage broker who does his/her due diligence to protect you. In other words, you need to trust him/her because there are many things that can go wrong and prevent a purchase from closing on time.

    3. They can gouge. BIG TIME.

    A mortgage broker in Hamilton is in a unique position to abuse you! If you are financially strong and you are getting a mortgage from an A bank, you should not be paying a brokerage fee. A brokerage fee is a fee that the mortgage broker will charge for his/her services. Do not accept this. When the Hamilton mortgage broker places your mortgage with an A lender, the broker is already paid handsomely. They should not double dip.

    When There Are Fees

    When the client is not as financially strong, the Hamilton mortgage broker will often place the mortgage with a B lender. Generally B lenders will charge a lender fee that they may or may not split with the mortgage broker. It is normal to be charged a lender fee and/or a brokerage fee for B lenders and private lenders. This is normally 1% of the mortgage amount for B lenders and sometimes 2-5% for private lenders, depending on the risk. You need to be careful.

    But Mortgage Brokers Are Regulated

    But you may say, aren’t Hamilton mortgage brokers regulated? Aren’t they required to disclose their fees? Yes, they are! However, you may not read everything carefully OR the broker may wait to disclose and get you to sign everything until it is too late. If you are signing your documents 5 days before closing, you don’t have time to go elsewhere. You either accept the gouging or don’t close on time. Not a good position to be in! You need to trust your Hamilton mortgage broker!

    4. They can mislead you and put their own needs above yours.

    How is this possible? Let’s say that you call up your broker to tell him/her the good news that you’re moving! Great! After congratulating you, the absolute first concern of the broker should be: will there be a penalty and how can you avoid it. A dishonest broker will immediately advise you to break your existing mortgage and set up a new one. Why? That’s how the Hamilton mortgage broker gets paid the most!

    Port Your Mortgage!

    If you are moving, you should always try to port the mortgage. That means you take the mortgage with you to the new home (and increase it if necessary). Of course, there are circumstances where it makes more sense to break the existing mortgage (the savings of the new mortgage may outweigh the cost of the penalty) or your purchase closes on the same day that your mortgage matures. How will you know this? You need to trust your Hamilton mortgage broker to give you the right advice.

    Here’s another example:

    you are purchasing a home and you have a huge down payment but it won’t become available until after the purchase closes (you are cashing in some investments). In this case, a dishonest mortgage broker in Hamilton may sell you a large mortgage that you will then need to pay down considerably in the near future when the investments arrive. Don’t do this. It is better to split the mortgage into 2 parts if possible:

    1. A mortgage in the amount that remains.

    2. A second portion that does not carry a penalty like a line of credit.

    Why Use A Hamilton Mortgage Broker At All?

    If you’re looking for a mortgage in Hamilton, Ontario, then chances are you have 2 choices. You can walk into a bank or you can call a mortgage broker in Hamilton.

    Advantages Of The Bank

    Some banks offer AMAZING mortgage rates. Especially RBC lately. It’s almost like the mortgage is their “lost leader”. Meaning that they offer you a ridiculously low mortgage rate that they make very little on BUT they make up for it in fees and interest on your other business. They want to be your one stop shop for all financing, investments and savings.


    But beware! The banks will almost NEVER offer you their best rate up front. They will likely test you. If you are thinking of keeping all your business at the bank, you should still call a Hamilton mortgage broker for 2 reasons: 1. Maybe the broker can do better. 2. You can use the information to negotiate a better deal with the bank.

    Mortgage Brokers Have Limitations

    The bank can often do things that Hamilton mortgage brokers cannot. For example, mortgage brokers are not good at doing unsecured loans. These are things like personal loans, student loans, car loans, unsecured lines of credit. However, a good mortgage broker will know his/her limitations and more importantly, they usually have contacts with the branch where they can refer you to the right person. Many mortgage brokers have some pull in the bank because we will often send them business (or vice versa).

    Advantages Of A Mortgage Broker

    Here are some advantages of using a Hamilton mortgage broker:

    1. We run your credit once

    And can use it over and over again with different lenders. If you walk into 5 banks asking them to give you a quotation on a mortgage, each one will check your credit. This is not a good thing. A Hamilton mortgage brokers will check your credit once and can use it to check with over 57 different lenders to see who has the best rates and terms for your particular situation.

    2. We are impartial.

    Every Hamilton mortgage broker has a hand full of lenders that they frequent. Usually each one has it’s own specialty. One might be good for rentals and another might be good for a high ratio owner occupied purchase. One does 35 year amortizations and another one is good for land only. Walk into a bank and guess what they will sell you: their product of course!

    3. We are creative.

    Hamilton mortgage brokers generally have access to private money. They can do second mortgages, equity loans, bridge loans. Hamilton mortgage brokers have bigger tool kits. In fact, this is why many banks will have brokers to whom they will refer their clients when they can’t do the job themselves.

    The “Lowest Mortgage Rates” But Read The Fine Print

    Many Hamilton mortgage brokers claim that they are able to get you the Lowest Mortgage Rates. However, there are so many other points to consider. I know you may think that is lip service, but it is really true. It would be nice to have everything:

    Lowest Mortgage Rates

    • Lowest Mortgage Rates
    • Prepayment Privileges
    • Small penalty for breaking the mortgage early
    • The ability to break the mortgage without selling the home
    • 30 year amortization with no mortgage rate premium
    • Fixed rate
    • A rental or investment property with no premium

    Unfortunately, that just doesn’t exist.

    “Bait & Switch”

    Lowest Mortgage Rates

    Don’t fall for the “bait and switch”. The Lowest Mortgage Rates are advertised but often the Hamilton mortgage brokers knows full well that it is not realistic or that it is not practical. For example, if it is for a refinance, it might not apply. If it is for a conventional mortgage, it may not apply. The Lowest Mortgage Rates almost always fall under one main category: this is the “high ratio” mortgage.

    High Ratio Mortgage

    Lowest Mortgage RatesA high ratio mortgage is one where the mortgage amount exceeds 80% of the value of the property. In other words, the down payment on a high ratio mortgage is less than 20%. Why do high ratio mortgage yield the Lowest Mortgage Rates? If you put less than 20% down, the Canadian Government mandate that you buy insurance, regardless of the Hamilton mortgage broker. This insurance protects the bank in case you default on the mortgage. It also thereby reduces the bank’s risk and consequently, the interest rate.

    So as you can imagine, the interest rates for these scenarios are the ones that are posted across the internet to catch your attention. However, when you consider this scenario, the consumers pays for this rate through the cost of the insurance. This insurance fee is added to the balance of the mortgage adding years onto the amortization. Furthermore, just to add insult to injury, they force the consumer to pay the HST on the cost of the insurance premium. This contributes to the closing costs.

    Conventional Mortgage

    This is the converse of a high ratio mortgage. A conventional mortgage is one where the amount of the mortgage equates to less than 80% of the value of the property. In other words, a conventional mortgage is one where the down payment is 20% or more. The rates of conventional mortgages where the purchaser is putting 20% down are generally avoided. Why? Because they are generally the worst rates you can get. As you put more and more money down, the rates improve until you reach the 35% down level. At this level of down payment, the rates are comparable to those of high ratio mortgages. Good Hamilton mortgage brokers will explain this.

    Understand The Fine Print

    Lowest Mortgage RatesAs Hamilton mortgage brokers, we often see clients who come through our practice that have been abused by other Hamilton mortgage brokers. For example, they may have received the Lowest Mortgage Rates when they signed, but when the time came to pay out their mortgage early, they find out that the lender has a clause preventing them from doing so; a “bonafide sale”. So the borrower cannot exit the mortgage even with a penalty. Were the Lowest Mortgage Rates worth it in that case? Most of our clients in that situation would say not.

    Beware The Hidden Fees

    Lowest Mortgage RatesHamilton mortgage brokers will offer the Lowest Mortgage Rates to their clients and the clients only to find out too late that there is a brokerage fee. Since the mortgage broker is not getting paid very well or at all due to the low rates, they charge a brokerage fee. Consider that when you factor in all the fees (legals, appraisals, brokerage), the actual annualized percentage rate that you are paying is much higher than the original “Lowest Mortgage Rates” offered by the Hamilton mortgage brokers.

    Do Not Be Blinded By The Lowest Mortgage Rates

    We would recommended that you check the details beforehand. Low rates can be mesmerizing. They can also be very costly in the end. The problem is that if you have already waived your condition of financing on the property, and you go to sign with the Hamilton mortgage brokers, you might discover this too late. If you do not have time to arrange alternative financing to purchase the home, you will be stuck. You have no choice but to sign with the broker or lose your deposit on the property. This puts you at risk of being sued by the seller if they sell it for less than you had agreed with them.

    Surround Yourself By People You Trust

    Lowest Mortgage RatesThis is why it is extremely important to work with a Hamilton mortgage broker you can trust. Robert Floris and Sean Howard have a loyal following of many clients, many of whom have left reviews on their Google page. Some businesses will fabricate Google reviews. We have a large box overflowing with actual old school cards from happy clients. We can show you these cards if you would like to come and visit us at our Mortgage Architects Office located at 236 Pritchard Road in Hamilton, Ontario.

    Word Spreads Far and Quick

    Lowest Mortgage RatesIt is hard to know who to trust which is why we Hamilton mortgage brokers, value and respect the trust of our clients. We are never greedy and we treat them with respect. Word spreads, we can sleep at night and we have built a strong reputation in the Greater Hamilton Area from Woodstock, Brantford and Ancaster to Burlington, Mississauga. We also have a lot of experience with mortgages towards Stoney Creek, Grimsby, St. Catharines, Welland and the Niagara region. We also have lawyers that we trust and we would be happy to recommend them to our clients unless they have their own already.

    Robert Floris is a Hamilton mortgage broker. His office is located at 236 Pritchard Rd., Hamilton, Ontario, L8W 3P7. If you would like to speak with Robert, he can be reached at 1-855-55-TRUST. Alternatively, you can contact Robert here.

    If you would like to apply for a mortgage online, please follow this link.

    If you would like to see our Google reviews or leave one yourself, you can do so here.