Archive for the ‘General Info’ Category

Tips for Home Buyers, Home Maintenance and Renovations

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

I just spent an hour browsing through the CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) website and was amazed by the wealth of information they have for home buyers and home owners.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation


For those of you new to home ownership and mortgages,  CMHC provides mortgage loan insurance that enables you to buy a home sooner with a minimum down payment of 5%.

The  CMHC  site has dozens of informative articles and videos aimed at helping you buy, maintain and renovate your home.

Here’s a synopsis of the information and where to find it:

Buying a Home

The information in this section includes a Five Step Home buying Primer as well as information on; Buying Your First Home, Choosing a Neighborhood, Buying Condos and information on Government of Canada Home Ownership Incentives.

CLICK HERE for information on buying a home.

Maintaining a Home

For most Canadians, their home is their most important investment. It’s where your family spends a lot of time, so keeping it healthy, well tended and safe is important. A regular schedule of seasonal maintenance and repairs can help you protect your investment by putting a stop to the most common and costly problems before they occur..

CLICK HERE for information on maintaining your home.

Renovating Your Home

Planning is the key to a successful renovation. To help you plan your renovation project, CMHC has information and easy-to-understand tips that can help you assess your requirements and learn the key questions before you get started.

CLICK HERE for information on how to successfully renovate your home.

Are you buying a home for the first time?  Do you need CMHC backing?  Let us guide you through the whole process … it’s easier when you know how!    Call me now (Justin Blacklock)  and we can get started right away!  604-736-1855



How Your Credit Score Is Calculated

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Your Credit ScoreYour credit score is a number which potential creditors use to determine if and how you will pay your debt. Your credit score is calculated using your credit history. When you apply for a mortgage, lenders use your credit history and score to make their decisions.

Scores range from 300 to 950.  If you get a score of 750 or above you’ll qualify for the best loan rates and terms. If you get 620 or lower, you’ll pay higher rates IF you qualify. The absolute minimum credit score for insured mortgages is 620.

In determining a credit score, a number of factors in your bill-paying history are considered:

Payment history – approximately 35%

Do you pay your bills? Tardy or missed payments, collections, and especially bankruptcies all affect your payment history. If you have not paid bills in the past, but are paying on time now, this will be factored into the equation.

Credit utilization – approximately 30%

Credit utilization involves the amount of debt you currently have in comparison to the credit you have available. The higher your credit utilization, the lower your credit score will be. Keep your credit card balances at less than 30% of your credit limit.  For example, if you have a total limit of $20,000 on your credit cards, you need to keep the balances under $6000.

Credit history – approximately 15%

The longer your credit history the better.  Don’t close credit cards or bank accounts that you’ve had for a long time.

Credit History Inquiries – approximately 10%

Every time you apply for for credit, the inquiry is added to your credit report. Too many applications put up a warning flag to lenders.  For example, if you are shopping for a mortgage with a number of banks and finance companies each one will request your credit history.  *One of the benefits of working with a Mortgage Broker is the fact that we only ask for your credit history ONCE!

Only those inquiries made in the past year are part of the credit score calculation.

Mix of credit – approximately 10%

Though this isn’t a significant part of the equation, having a mix of different types of credit is a good thing.  For example credit cards, personal bank loans, and a car loan show a range of credit situations that include installment and revolving credit.

Make sure you have at least one credit card as soon as you are eligible, but don’t take out other loans just to improve your credit score!

If you are applying for a mortgage with us, we will request your Credit Score.  We can discuss the results with you and let you know if you need to improve your score and how to do it.

Call Justin at  604-736-1855

Is Your Insurance Policy Putting You in Jeopardy?

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Vancouver CondosAn article in the Vancouver Sun alerted us to a potential problem for many of our customers — specifically those of you who own condos.


“Some Metro Vancouver residents have been shocked to find, after a leak in their unit causes water damage to other parts of the building, that they are required to pay the entire deductible on the strata council’s insurance policy, which can amount to $100,000 or more.

Many condo owners have their own unit policy that covers a portion of the deductible on the strata corporation policy. But some are finding out the hard way their insurance covers only a fraction of the larger deductible – usually about $10,000 – or in some cases, not at all.”


Unfortunately many condo owners believe that the Strata Association’s insurance policy covers them for everything. It does not. You must have your own insurance policy to cover anything inside your condo, including your personal property, and any liability issues.


With increasing insurance costs, many Strata associations are now resorting to larger deductibles and are changing their bylaws to make individual owners responsible to pay the deductible even if they are not negligent in the cause of the damage.
Alan Rees, a longtime insurance broker at KRG says that you MUST read the rules.  It is up to you, the owner to make sure your insurance policy will cover whatever the Stara Association’s policy doesn’t cover.

The solution is to make sure your own unit insurance covers the strata deductible. Rees said he pays $20 a month for such coverage, which is worth $100,000.


If you own a condo, please read your Strata bylaws and make sure you have the necessary insurance. If you are not sure whether you are covered or not … call your Strata Manager and your Insurance Agent.  Thirty minutes of your time could save you a lot of heartache!

Summit 5 Award – 7th Year In a Row

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Mike and I are thrilled to announce that we have once again been been given TMG’s (The Mortgage Group) Summit 5 Award.    This is our 7th year in a row  (2006 – 2012).

The Summit 5 Award is given to the top 5% of all  TMG brokers.

We wish to thank all of our loyal customers who have made this possible.  We strive to give everyone our very best service and this is one of the indications that we are doing the right things!



Is Suspect Data Driving Up Home Prices?

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Confusion over Vancouver Housing Prices

The Toronto Sun reported today that house prices may have been driven up by a national database which estimates the worth of houses across Canada.

Dubbed Emili, the automated system uses data, such as from the recent sale of nearby homes, to set values, without having an appraiser sent to the address. The potential margin of error in making these calculations could cause problems for homebuyers, homeowners and banks …

In June of this year Finance Minister Jim Flaherty introduced new rules to slow down the housing market.  The decrease in Vancouver house sales would indicate that his plan has worked.

However …

Statistics Canada data shows that new home prices in Canada were up 0.2% in August for a 17th straight month-on-month increase. August prices were up 2.4% from a year ago.

… so though house sales may be down, prices still appear to be going up.


If you need help making it through the maze of conflicting statistics and information, be sure to give us a call.  We’ll explain what’s happening in the mortgage market and help you get the best mortgage possible.  Justin: 604-736-1855



Precedent Setting Ruling in Blackhat SEO Case

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Last March I wrote a post about the fact that two of our competitors were utilizing what are know as Black Hat (unethical) Search Engine Marketing (SEO/SEM)techniques.  (Click here to read our original article)

Late last week we received a summary of CAAMP’s (Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals) proposed settlement, and today the findings were reported in Canada’s Mortgage Broker News.

The decision is believed to be the first case involving the use of questionable search engine optimization practices, or so-called “Black Hat SEO,” by a mortgage broker brought before CAAMP. It would see the violator fined $500, handed a written reprimand to remain on his file for five years among other things.

There is more to the CAAMP`s proposed censure. The committee would also publish a summary of the case and its findings as well as require the broker to complete an online course on the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards.


The Black Hat SEO tactics utilized by the offending broker basically   “hijacked”  our names and reputation. Anyone doing a Google search for my name, Justin Blacklock or Averbach Mortgages would  see our  competitor’s site appearing in the search results.  This was a clear violation of the ethical standards and guidelines established by our professional association.  Though I am disappointed by the low fine, I am happy that CAAMP’s Ethics Investigator took our complaint seriously.

This is good news for Canadian consumers because it shows that our professional association is maintaining its’ high standards and that membership in CAAMP has meaning.

Mike Averbach