Guusto mobile image(Sponsored Post)

“Thank you” can be a powerful pair of words, in personal life and equally in business.

A recent survey from Mortgage Professionals Canada found that 75% of mortgage consumers would have liked to receive a follow-up from their mortgage provider after closing, with most expecting just a simple “thank you for your business.”

For mortgage professionals wanting a unique way to convey that appreciation, or brokerages looking to reward employees, there’s a new, free service that makes it easy. It’s called Guusto and it’s an instant gifting platform (app and web dashboard). It lets you send something thoughtful like a drink, dinner or a movie, leaving a lasting impression on clients and a potential referral source. And to really make someone’s day, Guusto has teamed up with the One Drop Foundation to donate one day of clean drinking water for every gift sent.

Gone are the days of easy-to-misplace plastic gift cards that add waste to landfills and are tied to a specific store or restaurant. With Guusto, gifts can be redeemed at any of the 1,500+ partner locations across Canada using a mobile device or by displaying a printout.

One of its best features for business is the ability to track when clients have claimed the gift you’ve sent. You can even set a date in which the gift must be claimed by. If the gift recipient hasn’t done so in that timeframe (e.g., one year), the money is refunded back to your account. That way your incentive spending isn’t wasted on people who lost your gift, or never bothered to open it in the first place.

According to Guusto co-founder Joe Facciolo, “it can be costly to underestimate the power of building a loyal customer base.” In the mortgage business, customers can easily be worth more than 4-5 times as much as their first mortgage.

And referrals are just as important, given they’re trusted more than virtually any form of advertising. As all of us in the mortgage business know, it’s far harder to sell to new clients than old ones. Data from Market Metrics finds that the probability of closing a new prospect is less than 20%, compared with a 60-70% chance of selling to an existing client.

So if you’re looking for a unique way to give thanks this holiday season and beyond, either for customer appreciation or employee recognition, try Guusto for free. For businesses that need to send a lot of gifts, email Joe Facciolo for a 10-minute Guusto for Biz demo –



Paperwork_smSponsored Post

Occasionally, the very same mortgage regulations that protect lenders and borrowers can also drown us in an ocean of red tape.

Income proof is a great example. People with self-employed, bonus or commission income often need a Notice of Assessment (NOA). If they can’t provide one in a timely manner to satisfy a financing condition, they can risk losing the home they’ve fallen in love with.

“This is a big deal for mortgage brokers,” said Mitchell Demeter, founder of NOA Today Services Inc. “It is common for lenders to require these documents, and often clients have lost them.”

A key home-buying prerequisite

When most people go house-hunting they mainly consider the mortgage approval. Specific income documentation, like Notices of Assessment, rarely cross their minds. But they should be top of mind for their mortgage broker, and even their Realtor.

Industry professionals feel an obligation, as they rightly should, to see their clients’ home purchase go smoothly. So they must anticipate a client’s needs. This includes ensuring they have the proper documentation to close the sale, something that brokers and Realtors should confirm early on.

Getting access to NOAs is fairly easy, says Demeter, but getting that access takes time. “Clients can obtain NOAs themselves from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), but it can take one to two weeks. That can easily make the difference when it comes to getting the house you want in the allotted financing time,” he said.

NOA Today helps address that by securing government tax documents quickly. Mortgage brokers who register with NOA Today are verified by a representative, usually the same day. Once the process is complete, mortgage professionals can regularly order Notice of Assessment packages on behalf of their clients. This package will contain NOAs from the past three years as well as a current Statement of Account. And it is virtually always delivered within 24 hours.

A valuable business tool

Homebuyers rely on mortgage brokers to remove stress from the paperwork process. NOA Today secures NOAs within 24 hours most of the time. That allows clients to gain certainty from the lender sooner, rather than having to wait days or weeks for Revenue Canada to mail the documents.

Traditionally, many mortgage brokers have advised their clients to contact the CRA to get these documents. In today’s competitive housing market, an intermediary can save precious time, and often save a deal altogether. NOA Today’s service costs $39—one of the lowest such fees in the industry. A broker’s first order is $0.99 and each subsequent order earns an entry into monthly raffles for prizes like NHL tickets.

Interested mortgage professionals can visit to learn more.


Magenta_stated income3By Magenta Mortgage Investment Corporation, Sponsored Post

Self-employment has been trending upwards in Canada in recent years. In its 2015 Spring Survey, CAAMP estimated that five per cent of home buyers worked for themselves.

And it’s no wonder that the ranks of self-employed workers are growing. Apart from involuntary reasons like job dislocation, many choose self-employment for the lifestyle benefits, like making your own schedule, being able to work from home and deducting day-to-day expenses such as fuel, utilities, telecommunication and networking costs. That last point is a big one. It can be highly advantageous to earn, say, $100k per year, and then whittle it down with legitimate write-offs in order to achieve a much lower tax bracket.

The often-misconstrued disadvantage of being self-employed, however, is the challenge of getting a mortgage. After all, a key to borrowing is the ability to repay, which is linked to one’s earnings, usually provable earnings.

Fortunately there are programs in place from various mortgage lenders that can accommodate the unique circumstances of the thousands of self-employed buyers.

Accessing these lenders usually requires one to venture outside the normal borrowing channels—those being banks or trust companies. Although banks and other “A” lenders have their own self-employed lending programs and more favourable rates, borrowers often get bogged down with their paperwork requests, to the extent that many “business for self” applicants cannot meet all of the lender’s documentation requirements.

Fortunately, mortgage brokers have access to simple and easy alternatives provided by lesser-known private lenders. As one such lender, Magenta Capital Corp. offers a “no-doc” program (well actually it’s more of a “low doc” program) that makes life less cumbersome for self-employed borrowers.

The program requires only that clients provide their most recent NOA (notice of assessment) to prove their taxes are up to date. Unlike most banks and institutional lenders, Magenta doesn’t use the NOA to gauge income. It instead relies heavily on the property equity for its security, for which a standard appraisal is used to confirm the value.

At this point you may be thinking, ‘This seems a little too easy. The catch must be incredibly high interest rates and fees.’

The reality is that rates can be as low as 4.99% with a 1.5% fee (which is added to the loan amount). And, provided your credit rating is over 575, you can access up to 75% of your home’s value through this program. If your score is 650+, that goes up to 85%. Better yet, this can all be done with a 40-year amortization to keep your payments manageable until you can qualify for cheaper bank financing.

Lenders offering these sorts of low-document lending programs rely primarily on the borrower’s previous repayment history and the property itself. That’s important to keep in mind. It’s also essential that the property is located in a high density area—i.e., a city or its various suburbs.

If you have a legitimate self-employed business, an urban property and no worse than minor credit blemishes, remember that flexible stated income programs still exist. They can help you get in a home much sooner, even if you can’t prove income the traditional way.