Returning to his roots Dave Bruynesteyn is back in Lynn Valley offering mortgage clients options to meet their financial and life goals. Slotting in the final piece of the puzzle in Lynn Valley’s one-stop shop, MortgageDave now shares offices with LynnValleyLife.com’s real estate services, David Fiteni’s insurance offerings and Kay Manabe of Senju Notary to cover all the bases for Lynn Valley residents.
Walking the streets of Lynn Valley as a child and teen, Dave Bruynesteyn loved this place. Starting his early career in finance, it’s where he bought his first home. With a life that has taken him to different parts of BC, he is excited to be back where it all began.
“Lynn Valley is a part of me,” he said. “I love that I can go grab a coffee and I am seeing friends, past clients – current clients. I was walking by Safeway last week and ran into a client and we caught up on life and I did a mortgage review right there.”
MortgageDave’s foundational philosophy is that if you support a community, it will support you. He was a past co-chair of Lynn Valley Days, he was a founder of the Christmas Tree Parade, he has worked with the Lynn Valley Community Association and even lent his time to educate students at Argyle Secondary in financial literacy.
As an independent mortgage broker for more than 18 years, MortgageDave, is ready to be back in Lynn Valley.
“I am excited to be working here – around these people,” he said. “Everyone is so busy, if we have real estate working alongside mortgage, alongside insurance and a notary, we have just made it easier for people. It’s not just about convenience, it’s about working with good people, ready to collaborate and take care of each other’s clients. I love the energy.”
Mortgage broker 101
It has been a volatile time in the financial sector. Lending rates and inflation have climbed, and savings rates have remained stagnant. For those entering the real estate market or looking to renew in the coming months, it’s time to talk to a mortgage broker – not a bank, says Bruynesteyn.
“A mortgage broker is an independent party that helps people arrange residential financing,” he said. “I love it because I don’t work for a bank – I work for the client. It is at no cost to the client. We are paid by the lender, so the only goal is to get the best deal for the client
“You get all of my expertise and at no cost – it’s a no-brainer.”
From his work in traditional Canadian banks – and as a past customer himself – MortgageDave says he has learned how not to treat clients. Appalled by bonus structures that encourage bank employees to offer higher rates, when he changed track in 2006 to be an independent mortgage broker he vowed to do things differently.
With two big factors working in his favour, convenience and access to more lenders, he is confident he is able to provide not only better service but also better products.
“A bank has its one product and I deal with 40 different lenders. I talk to the client and figure out what they want today, but also what they want in five years, in 10 years because we have to set them up properly to reach their goals,” MortgageDave said. “I also just make it easy. I work around the client’s schedule – if you want to talk at 8 am or you want to talk at 8 pm on a Tuesday night – we do that.
“I am always looking for what is easiest for the client. I can meet you in Lynn Valley or at my office in Lion’s Bay or Lower Lonsdale. I can also come to your home. If you are really busy we can do an application with [a digital docu sign] and a quick zoom meeting. A bank will want you in their office at 2:30 on a Tuesday afternoon – you don’t have time for that.”
In Canada, mortgage brokers are compensated by the lenders based on the mortgage amount, not the rate. The commission varies little and doesn’t link bonus structures to rates (as helped contribute to the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States in the late 2000s). For brokers like MortgageDave, a happy and informed client is what matters. And closing clients with the best deal leads to returning clients and referrals.
“I am proud of the five-star rating I have on Google – I earned that, and if I didn’t have five stars you bet I would be learning to make sure it didn’t happen again.”
Today’s rates, triggers and reversals
The mortgage market of early 2023 has changed substantially from a year ago. For the first time, some homeowners are hearing terms like ‘trigger rate’ and seeing payments double.
“The mortgage market now is uncertain – and the market hates uncertainty,” said MortgageDave explaining that we used to be in a “North American market,” following about six months behind the US, but there has been a shift to a global market.
“While the conflict in Ukraine is devastating for its people, subtler impacts are far-reaching. If the war ends, it would settle the bond market and stabilize the fixed rate mortgage market.”
He credits the Bank of Canada with some aggressive action that has stabilized inflation, but the consequence has been high rates.
“I don’t see prime going up, barring any worldwide events,I think we have seen the plateau,” said Bruynesteyn. “We may see a reduction by the end of the year but I don’t really expect it until early 2024.”
Context is important. Rates today aren’t devastatingly high, they are just not as extreme as we have seen recently, he said.
“We went so historically low. Rates aren’t insane. We just went so low we were spoiled rotten. I have always suggested a variable rate because they have been better over time but when rates were sub-two percent, I put many clients into a fixed rate.”
The fluctuations have influenced how some clients are choosing their mortgages.
“Typically clients get a five-year term. Right now I am putting a lot of clients into two-year terms because we don’t know where we are going. Two years ties into the US election which typically sees a reduction in rates.”
The changes to variable rates have been difficult for some homeowners.
“It is tough on some of my clients on variable rates, some of my clients on variable rates saw payments almost double,” he said, adding he doesn’t like trigger rate products. Whenever possible, MortgageDave chooses to put clients with lenders that ensure payments rise with interest rates going up, rather than being hit with a significant trigger rate.
“If you don’t change your payment as the rates go up you are paying more and more interest. I don’t like those products as they are not best for my clients. Payments should go up with interest rates. People don’t want to manage their mortgage – that’s my job.
“When you get a mortgage with me, you are going to hear from me on the anniversary, and every time the Bank of Canada reviews their prime rate – eight times a year – you get my newsletter discussing what this means. As you get closer to maturity I will communicate with you nine months out, six months out and four months out – because you have a life and don’t need to be worrying about your mortgage – that is my job. Dump that stress on me – it’s my job to get it done.”
One of the biggest trends MortgageDave sees is families leveraging equity to help adult children get into real estate.
“The cost of living in Lynn Valley is high. I am seeing parents wanting to help their children stay in the city. There are more people looking at reverse mortgages to start the wealth transfer now rather than later.”
What to do now
With the typical mortgage locked in for five years, mortgages coming up for renewal in the next year are maturing in a completely different atmosphere from when they were signed.
“A lot of people are feeling the pressure of variable rate mortgages as rates have climbed,” he said. “The beautiful thing about a variable rate is that you can get out of it at any time for three months’ interest. It’s not a big penalty – so recently I have been helping clients get into the stability of a two year so they know what their payments are and they added in some debt they have had to take on. Re-amortizing the mortgage is another option. Everyone’s situation is unique but there is a lot we can do.”
To ensure the best financial position, homeowners should begin the process earlier rather than later, said MortgageDave.
“One year out, bring the mortgage renewal up on your radar. Six months out, get in touch with a mortgage broker, we can hold rates for four months,” said MortgageDave. “So I can start watching the rates and hold one if a good rate comes up. If, in two weeks, a different bank offers a better deal, we grab that and hold – you don’t have to worry about rates.”
MortgageDave says it’s simple: it’s a conversation with a broker and it’s free.