Insightful Monday Week 103

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Experiencing and observing excellent leadership gives me butterflies. Sure, it sounds ridiculous but it is true. There are so many incredible things that have occurred in history that are a result of exceptional leadership.

I have been fortunate enough to have 2 mentors in my professional career and friendships on a personal level that have been equally as rewarding and powerful. Embrace those who you can learn from.

Happy Monday XO

marissa7

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Financial Health| Talking Mortgages!

It is no secret I am a firm believer in financial knowledge. I have blogged about household finances in the past to create awareness on the importance of understanding your full financial picture.

Knowledge is power, which is why I teamed up with Ashley Champagne to talk about mortgages. Ashley is a Mortgage Agent and helps countless people achieve their dream of homeownership. Ashley helps potential home buyers understand what they can afford and what lenders will do for them.

32535_402720387148_6509169_nA house is probably the largest financial commitment you will make in your life time, a great reason to make sure it is done right! I had a chance to sit down with Ashley to ask her a few questions.

Here is what she had to say!

Q- Household finances are extremely important to understand and be on the same page as your partner on. In preparation for buying your first home or upgrading, are there any tips you could offer to make the process easier?

A- Absolutely! The most important thing you can do when you begin the home buying and mortgage process is to be informed. Do not be afraid to do your research. This doesn’t mean you have to know every step of the process (leave that to the professionals), but knowing some terminology and standard processes will most definitely assist you on your journey.

Another important aspect is to understand your affordability or more importantly a payment you are comfortable making each month.  You need to be all inclusive when looking at your finances or budget; mortgage payment, property taxes, home insurance, possible condo fees, etc.  Deciding on a monthly amount can help lead you to a mortgage amount, which in turn sets your budget for house hunting.

Next, build a team.  As a real estate investor, I have learned the importance of building the right team of professionals to achieve my goals.  Again, don’t be afraid to do your research and ask a million questions, your team should work for you.  It should include a Mortgage Agent, Real Estate Agent, Insurance Broker, Property Inspector, and Lawyer.  You’ll note I put Mortgage Agent as number one.  No, I am not being biased, you MUST get your financing in order first.  It is very tempting to go looking at properties, get excited about your dream home, and put an offer in.  Then what? Can you afford that mortgage? Will you be approved for a mortgage? You want to fulfill your dreams of homeownership, not crush them by jumping the gun.  Attaining a Mortgage Agent is free of charge for you as a homebuyer and comes with many perks; a personal relationship with someone who is working for you, a single credit check, and access to multiple lenders. This offers you the most variety for your mortgage needs. Don’t limit yourself!

Q- Are there aspects of “pre-approval” amounts you should be aware of when purchasing a home?

A- I think the number one misunderstanding when it comes to a pre-approval is the word “approval”. Although it is a great guide, this is not a guaranteed mortgage. It is all dependent on a full disclosure application, proof of declarations, and the actual property to be purchased. When placing an offer on a home I strongly advise to ALWAYS place a condition of financing in it. This means your offer is valid providing your financing is approved. Don’t allow a bank, or anyone for that matter, to glance at what they have on file or have a verbal discussion with you as a way of obtaining a pre-approval.

As a Mortgage Agent, I insist on a fully completed pre-approval application; the same way I would for an actual mortgage application. This ensures everything is fully disclosed to the lender in advance, we know the exact financial situation, and providing everything remains the same (credit balances, income, etc.) it is a simple and smooth transition into the application. Referring to my previous comment of “understand your affordability”; it is extremely important to assess your personal situation. You may make a great income, carry little debt, and have a great credit score, which would clearly put you in a position for a great pre-approval, but that doesn’t always mean take the maximum mortgage and go house hunting. Stop and think. What do the next few years look like? Do you plan on having kids? Will this lessen your income and make a maximum mortgage unaffordable? Your team can help guide you along the way, but it is up to you to make the right decisions.

Q- Any other expert tips?!

A- Yes, be honest. It may be tempting to exclude information or inflate numbers to make your application look better. In the end you are limiting yourself and the people who are trying to help you. The right professional will take your application, assess it and help guide you in the right direction for your personal situation. There are many financing paths available for different needs.Another “rule” I stress to all current and potential clients is to avoid being rate driven. At this point, all interest rates are the lowest we have ever seen. Don’t let 0.10% of a rate determine which type of mortgage you accept. Focus more on what your needs are in a mortgage. Do you want the ability to pay down your mortgage faster? Or make large lump sum payments? No mortgage is one in the same, do your research and remind yourself you don’t need a rate, you need the right mortgage product to suit your needs.

When you take the time to set yourself up for success, it will pay off and avoid any unnecessary stress.  Make the process fun and exciting!

marissa7

Insightful Monday Week 102

9152328cd4b26fc15e61531a980e1b02Brene Brown is one of my all time favourites, she is a clinical psychologist and an author. Vulnerability is one of the most misunderstood concepts (in my opinion). Many perceive vulnerability as weakness, where it is a sign of ultimate strength.

This past weekend was extra long in Canada, I got so many thing done around the house, which included tackling some of my mile long to-do list. I had time to be alone, paint and sit in thought… it was lovely.

marissa7

Where have you been all my life?!

I am back! I know, the last few weeks haven’t been as active on the blog as I had hoped but the madness of spring time hit my life. Plain and simple.

Spring is always a crazy time for me. Professionally, I hit numerous re-occurring deadlines, as well as the beginning of new projects. I start to travel a lot for work as well, which is extremely time-consuming but a nice change of scenery. My studies semester always ends around the same time, so I have been completely consumed by final research and papers.

2d2b89eeb85c9ffe843b6df877dce826I am sure I am not alone when I say spring time gives me a little bit of spark, I start to feel more alive after the bitter cold of the winter season is over. I begin to think of all the projects I want to get done and try not to get ahead of myself… something that has never been easy for me!

This week was also my birthday. It is the last year of my 20s, which is somewhat bittersweet. The last decade has been a complete world wind and has provided me incredible memories. I think this calls for a whole post in itself though… so, more to come!

I can’t wait to share all my little projects I plan to start this weekend and in the weeks to come. I feel like there are so many little things to do and some BIG paint jobs. So stay tune 🙂

marissa7

Home Progress| Touch of Spring

c9cf72f04010e0905fd1b46460866b11It feels like a lot has happened in the last month, many things unplanned. Everything seems to be taking SO much longer than I would like. The end of my semester has been a complete time killer, plain and simple. More time than normal, which I think is the frustrating piece.

BUT onwards and upwards! My list from April was barely touched and even better, items have been added to the list. There is a long weekend around the corner and have so much time to tackle my projects. This girl is very excited!

House To-Do list

– Sort and clean the front hall closet

– Paint living room & upstairs hallway (Repair work started)

– Paint & freshen Ryan’s office

– Touch up paint on front door

– Touch up paint in the spare room

Price out updates to our Kitchen (something I am SUPER excited for… I must contain myself!)

– Sort through wardrobe and donate unused clothing

Hold a garage sale

– Finish chair make over

– Wash all of our windows inside and out

– clean inside kitchen cabinets

+++ – Refinish stairs (again!… having a dog really kills wood stairs)

+++ – Paint stair railing white

marissa7