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5 ways to damage your credit score

5 ways to damage your credit score

December 18th, 2013 by Lisa J. Gryba, AMP

And how to improve your credit score in the year ahead…

Your credit score doesn’t need to take a back seat as the busy holiday season approaches. Instead, as the year winds down, start thinking about ways you can improve your creditworthiness in 2014.

When you apply for credit, lenders evaluate your credit score and the information in your credit report to assess your risk as a borrower. With a higher credit score, lenders will view you as less of a risk and will be more likely to extend you credit, and they will also likely offer you the best terms and interest rates.

Before you can positively impact your credit score, you need to understand which credit behaviors will have a negative impact on it.

While credit scoring models have different ways to evaluate the information in your credit report, there are five possible ways you can damage your credit score across the board.

5 ways to damage your credit score


  • Making late payments

In general, your payment history has the strongest impact on your credit score. About 35 percent of your Equifax credit score, for example, is based on your payment history. That means that any late payments – whether on credit cards, an auto loan, your mortgage, or another credit account – could cause your credit score to take a dive.

Your late payment history will stick around on your credit report, too. For example, one delinquent payment that is 30 days late can remain on your credit report for up to seven years.

Tip: Paying your bills in full and on time should reflect positively on your credit score. To avoid a late-payment blemish on your credit report, consider using automatic payments or setting up electronic payment reminders on your phone or computer.

  • Racking up high balances

Your credit score also takes into account your credit utilization (how much of your available credit you are using). A high debt-to-credit ratio – meaning that you are borrowing a significant portion of your available credit – will generally have a negative impact on your credit score.

Tip: Work on keeping your ratio of debt to available credit as low as possible to help boost your credit score. Avoid carrying a balance of more than 30 percent of your credit limit because if you take on any more debt, lenders may view you less favorably. If you are carrying debt, work on paying it off as quickly as possible. Paying off your current debt may open up some of your available credit.

  • Applying for a lot of credit at once

If a creditor or lender accesses your credit report because of a transaction you initiated, it will trigger a hard inquiry on your credit report. If you apply for too much credit over a short period of time, triggering many hard inquires, your credit score could drop and lenders may view you as higher risk.

A single hard inquiry will usually not have a significant impact on your credit score, and credit scoring models generally don’t penalize consumers for shopping for the best rate on student loans, auto loans, and mortgages within a short time frame.

Tip: Because credit scoring models consider your recent credit activity to evaluate your need for credit, only apply for credit when you really need it to avoid overextending yourself.

  • Closing an account

Closing one of your credit accounts could reflect negatively on your credit score because it will change your credit utilization. If you close an account, you may lower the combined credit limit on all of your accounts, making your debt-to-credit ratio appear higher.

Tip: While positive credit behavior – such as paying your bills on time- will reflect positively on your credit score, you don’t need to carry a balance on all of your accounts. Instead of closing an account, consider paying off a small purchase on the account every few months, which will generally get reported to the credit reporting agencies.

  • Having a short credit history

About 5 percent to 7 percent of your Equifax credit score is based on the length of your credit history, and the score considers both the age of your oldest account and the most recent account opened.

If you do not have at least one credit account open for at least six months or if you do not have at least one update to at least one credit account in the last six months, you may not have a credit history or credit score. Without a credit history, it is difficult for creditors to determine your creditworthiness when making decisions about extending you credit.

Tip: If you plan to borrow money in the future, start thinking about establishing your credit history now. If you don’t have a credit history or you have a thin file, consider opening a retail, gas, or low-interest credit card in order to start building a positive credit history.

Know where you stand

As you work on boosting your credit score, make sure to regularly monitor your credit report so you know where you stand. If you spot any errors on your credit report, file a dispute with the necessary credit reporting agency to have the erroneous information corrected as soon as possible.

Source: Equifax.com

Source: by Lisa J. Gryba, AMP

I am a passionate and dedicated mortgage professional, devoted to enabling my clients to obtain the best mortgage products and interest rates for their need

4 mortgage problems – and how to overcome them

August 8th, 2013 by Lisa J. Gryba, AMP

Tips to help you secure a mortgage approval and a home of your own

Here are a few tips that can assist you in getting your mortgage application approved…

1.    Problem – Your income isn’t high enough to qualify for the mortgage you need.

Solution – Ask someone who has enough disposable income if they will be your co-signer. When someone agrees to be your co-signer they are agreeing to guarantee the lender that your mortgage payments will be paid. It isn’t necessary for this person to be actually living with you or helping you repay the mortgage. Another benefit that a co-signer can provide is if your credit is less than perfect, their credit may compensate for it.

It goes without saying, however, that co-signing is a big commitment with possible financial and legal ramifications for the co-signer should you default on the loan. It is therefore advisable to discuss the financial and legal obligations with your co-signer and for them to seek professional guidance prior to signing any mortgage documents.

2.    Problem – The economy/market currently isn’t conducive to getting a mortgage.

Solution – Wait it out. Of course, this might be easier said than done, but sometimes waiting has benefits. If your credit score needs improving, now would be the perfect time to work on it. You can also take this opportunity to increase your savings or reduce/pay off any debts that you may have. At the same time, the price of homes or even interest rates could drop. These factors will improve your mortgage eligibility.

3.    Problem – You can’t qualify for the amount of mortgage that you want.

Solution – Be flexible and look at purchasing a property that is more within your financial reach. If you are in a situation where you can’t put off purchasing a home until a later date, switching the kind of home you are willing to purchase may make the difference.  What about a smaller house or a different location? There are many different factors to consider. Making some changes now can assist you in purchasing the kind of property you had originally wanted in the future.

4.    Problem – You just don’t have enough funds.

Solution – Find a family member to gift you the money or find someone to purchase the property with you if you can’t qualify on your own. This is a major purchase for anyone, so it is important to find someone you trust and who you will be able to live with.  This is different from a co-signer as the individual will actually be living with you and making mortgage payments along with you.

Source: GoldenGirlFinance.com
by Lisa J. Gryba, AMP
I am a passionate and dedicated mortgage professional, devoted to enabling my clients to obtain the best mortgage products and interest rates for their nee

Looking into the future: How to alleviate the homebuyer’s tax hit

Looking into the future: How to alleviate the homebuyer’s tax hit

October 7th, 2013 by

Our suggestions for government to ease the Land Transfer Tax burden


We were grateful that the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Canada’s Minister of Finance, didn’t increase the minimum down payment to 10%, as he was contemplating. First-time homebuyers have a lot of saving to do, requiring that they save 5% of the purchase price, plus another 1.5% to 2% in closing costs in Manitoba – the majority of which is made up of a tax levy called the Land Transfer Tax. On top of this, our average home price has increased year-over-year for the past eight years, increasing the minimum down payment and capital required to complete a purchase.

What is Land Transfer Tax?

This is the tax that the Manitoba government places on the transfer of a property; it is born by the purchaser. Done electronically, the process involves registering a new owner at The Property Registry (i.e. a clerk inputs the name of the new owners, legal description and mortgage information that is registered against the property). This is accomplished in very little time, and in Manitoba, it is calculated on the purchase price of the property. In short, it can add thousands of dollars to the closing costs.

The Land Transfer Tax is based on a sliding scale of home values, and increases greatly once the purchase price exceeds $200,000. Since the Land Transfer Tax was brought into legislation in 1987, the average home price in Manitoba has risen dramatically ($80,000 versus $230,000). More importantly, over the past few years, the activity where most home sales are occurring is much more accentuated in the higher price ranges. The under-$100,000 sales market, which used to represent 60% of the total sales in the late 1990s, is now hovering around 10% of total sales; home sales over $200,000 now represent more than one out of every two sales.

Our suggestions to government for controlling the homebuyer’s tax hit

1. A first-time homebuyers Land Transfer Tax exemption – This would encourage our young people to stay in Manitoba. It also makes entering the housing market more affordable for first-time homebuyers.

2. Adjust the current provincial Land Transfer Tax brackets and tax percentages to more accurately reflect the current housing market. Our suggestion: $0 – $100,000 value = .5%; $100,000 to $200,000 value = 1%; $200,000 to $500,000 = 1.5%.

3. Consider putting a cap at the upper end of the housing market (eg. no tax applicable over $500,000). This will help to encourage new home construction.
Source: GoldenGirlFinance.com
by Lisa J. Gryba, AMP
I am a passionate and dedicated mortgage professional, devoted to enabling my clients to obtain the best mortgage products and interest rates for their nee

4 questions to ask your mortgage broker

November 27th, 2013 by Lisa J. Gryba, AMP

Let your mortgage broker guide you through the process of securing a mortgage

If you’re in the market for a new home, chances are you’re also shopping around for a mortgage. It’s an intimidating process; after all, it’s probably the biggest financial commitment you’ll ever make. A certified mortgage broker can help you navigate the journey by “giving you unbiased advice to better understand mortgage products and how they affect you,” says Tracy Irwin, a Toronto-based mortgage broker. Ask the following four questions to get the most out of your first meeting.

4 questions to ask your mortgage broker

  1. How much can I afford?

“Usually people pick their homes before they pick the financing but it should be the other way around,” Irwin says. She advises determining what you can afford before delving into your home search. Typically, your total housing costs – including mortgage principal and interest payments and heating and housing taxes – should not exceed 32 percent of your gross monthly income. Your total debt load, including your home costs and other debts such as credit cards and car loans, shouldn’t exceed 40 percent of your gross monthly income. A mortgage broker looks at your current sources of income and  credit report to help you determine what type of home you can afford.

  1. What should I take into account for the future?

According to research conducted by Genworth Canada, roughly 70 percent of Canadians would be concerned about paying their mortgage if interest rates were to rise, or if their partner lost their job. “Everyone’s excited about buying a beautiful home but not really thinking about what that means long term,” Irwin says. What you can afford today might not be the most practical choice in years to come. Will you still be able to make payments if you factor the costs of parental leave and daycare into your monthly budget? What if your job situation changes or your interest rates rise? Your mortgage broker should take all these factors into account when negotiating your mortgage rate with lenders.

  1. What type of mortgage should I consider?

Fixed and variable interest rate mortgages are the two most popular options. A fixed interest rate is set in stone when you sign for the mortgage; it won’t change for the entire term. A variable rate, however, will change according to market interest rates. While market fluctuations are hard to predict, “your broker can give you historical data and information around the economic cycle to help you make this decision,” says Irwin. “The advice we give changes based on what the economy is doing.” Your broker will also determine your tolerance for risk and advise you on the best option based on your financial fitness.

  1. How much do I need for a down payment?

Many first-time homebuyers assume they need to make a large down payment in order to get the best mortgage rate, but that’s not the case. Mortgage insurance products, such as Genworth Canada’s Homebuyer 95, let first-timers put as little as five percent down and still get the same competitive mortgage rates as those who put down 20 percent or more. Your mortgage broker can help you decide how much of a down payment you’ll need to get the home you want while still maintaining your budget over the long term.


Source:  Homeownership.ca
Source: GoldenGirlFinance.com
By Lisa J. Gryba, AMP
I am a passionate and dedicated mortgage professional, devoted to enabling my clients to obtain the best mortgage products and interest rates for their needs.

New to Canada ? Tips for making your first home purchase

November 13th, 2013 by Lisa J. Gryba, AMP

The top 5 homeownership concerns of new Canadians – and the right questions to ask

Becoming a homeowner can be very exciting, while at the same time can feel a tad intimidating. Some of the most common questions asked by those who are looking to purchase a home, but are new to Canada, are:

  • Do I qualify for a mortgage?
  • What’s a pre-approval?
  • How does buying a home in Canada differ from my home country?

Purchasing a home can be one of the most personally and financially rewarding investments you’ll ever make. But it’s also refreshing to know you aren’t alone. Canadian property virgins all have concerns…and rightfully so.

With this in mind, here are some interesting statistics when it comes to individual concerns of home ownership in your new country…

The top 5 homeownership concerns of new Canadians

  1. Getting approved for a mortgage – 31 percent
  2. Making the down payment on their home – 18 percent
  3. Making the regular monthly mortgage payments – 16 percent
  4. House prices rising in the next two years -14 percent
  5. Mortgage rates going up – 14 percent

There are a lot of uncertainties that come with buying a home. Knowing the right questions to ask can help ease the unknown.

The top 4 questions to ask your mortgage broker

  1. How much can I actually afford?
  2. What are the best mortgage options for my financial situation?
  3. How much do I need for a down payment and what are my options if I don’t have enough?
  4. What are closing costs and how much do I need to set aside?

If you answer these tough questions in advance, you can avoid last minute surprises when it comes time to purchasing your first home on Canadian soil.

Source: News Canada
Source: GoldenGirlFinance.com


I am a passionate and dedicated mortgage professional, devoted to enabling my clients to obtain the best mortgage products and interest rates for their needs.

The role of AMPs when seeking out a mortgage

The role of AMPs when seeking out a mortgage

October 1st, 2013 by Lisa J. Gryba, AMP

Is it better to see an Accredited Mortgage Professional (AMP) or deal directly with a lender rep?

The mortgage broker channel has established itself as a major contributor to the success of the overall mortgage market, having originated one-quarter of all outstanding mortgages in Canada. Not only are brokers originating a lot of mortgages, but they are also performing very well on key customer satisfaction metrics. Overall, 51% of mortgage broker customers are very satisfied with the service provided by their mortgage professional, versus 43% among those who dealt directly with a lender rep, a statistically significant difference.

The difference an AMP makes

Accredited Mortgage Professionals (AMPs) are also doing an impressive job servicing their clientele. Among those customers who identified their mortgage broker as an AMP, 59% are completely satisfied with their mortgage, compared with just 35% among those who say they did not deal with an AMP. This is a very substantial difference, and points to the professional nature of AMP’s and their ability to instill a strong sense of confidence in their clients that they have chosen the right mortgage professional.

Source: Mortgageinsights  & Maritz Research

Source: GoldenGirlFinance.com

by  Lisa J. Gryba, AMP

I am a passionate and dedicated mortgage professional, devoted to enabling my clients to obtain the best mortgage products and interest rates for their needs.

Do you need a realtor or a real estate agent ?

SOS: Do you need a realtor or a real estate agent?

October 17th, 2013 by Lisa J. Gryba, AMP

 And what’s difference anyway? Your questions answered…

Purchasing your first home or a new home at any stage of your life is certainly a big event. The more knowledge you have when it comes to selecting someone to help you sell your home, the more of an advantage you will have.

What’s the difference between a real estate agent and a realtor?

“REALTOR®” (realtor) and “real estate agent” are not interchangeable, although some real estate agents might like them to be. The term ‘realtor’ is a registered certification mark that identifies the quality of services rendered by licensed real estate agents who are members of The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). All real estate agents are not realtors, but all realtor members are real estate agents. Realtor members are committed to a strict code of ethics known as the REALTOR® Code, and are the only ones who have the right to list your property on the MLS System of their local real estate boards. To correctly be referred to as a realtor, a real estate agent must be a member of CREA.

How do I figure out what mortgage I can afford?

Determining the mortgage you can carry is based on a relatively simple calculation of loan amount, down payment, interest rate and amortization period.

A good rule of thumb when figuring your monthly housing cost is that it should not exceed 32% of your gross monthly family income or 40% of your gross monthly income.

What questions should I ask when looking for a realtor?

Here are 10 smart questions to ask. But remember, this is just a starting point. Your realtor should be willing to answer any questions you have. After all, that’s why you hire the pros.

  1. How long have you been in the business?
  2. What is your average list-to-sales-price ratio?
  3. How will your marketing plan meet my needs?
  4. Will you provide references?
  5. What separates you from your competition?
  6. May I review documents that I will be asked to sign?
  7. Can you help me find other professionals?
  8. How much do you charge?
  9. What if I’m unhappy with the service?
  10. What haven’t I asked you that I need to know?

Why should I hire a realtor?

You’re trusting a realtor with your most valuable possession, your home. Realtors take this responsibility very seriously. Here’s what they promise you:

  1. Your realtor is a trained professional

Realtors take extensive pre-licensing courses in order to obtain credentials for practicing in real estate.

  1. Your realtor is continuously trained

Realtors keep pace with the times by taking continuing education courses to upgrade their knowledge on a broad range of real estate related issues in order to be able to continue to provide consumers with current advice.

  1. Your realtor does everything by the book

A realtor must be registered under provincial laws that govern exactly how real estate can and cannot be traded. These regulations are your legal guarantee of professional behavior.

  1. Your realtor is an ethical businessperson

Realtors must adhere to the extensive Code of Ethics of the Canadian Real Estate Association. Several provinces have additional codes of ethics governing real estate professionals. Your interests must always be put first.

  1. Opportunity for recourse

Should you have concerns about the professional behavior of a realtor, provincial regulators and your local real estate board or association take these matters very seriously and work quickly to resolve any issues.

  1. Your realtor has access to a local board’s MLS System

A board’s MLS System is the single most powerful tool for buying and selling a home. Your realtor can provide you with exclusive features of the board’s MLS System, such as immediate notification when new properties are listed. You don’t have to wait for it to be posted on a website.

What should I expect when I enlist the help of a realtor to sell my house?

Realtors help you get the most for your home and they remove stress and confusion from the process. Here are just some of the advantages:

  • Your realtor becomes your home’s champion

When you sign a “Listing Agreement” with your realtor, this is their promise that he or she will use all their skills and resources to get the most for your home.

  • Realtors know how to attract the most potential buyers

Your realtor is an expert home promoter, connected to a network of agents and their buyers. He or she knows how to write compelling ads for your home, and only realtors can place your home on a board’s MLS System.

  • Realtors will help you increase your homes “sale-ability”

You probably have an emotional attachment to your home, and therefore can’t view it objectively. Your realtor will help you present your home in the best light, so buyers will fall in love with it more easily.

  • Market knowledge – to help you get the most for your home

Realtors are masters of reading the market and pricing your home for maximum return. A realtor’s experience literally pays.

  • Negotiation Skills – to keep the deal on track

Realtors are indispensable when it comes to bargaining with buyers. Tempers can flare and heels can dig in. Your realtor is an expert at smoothing things out.

Do I really need a realtor to sell my home?

Many people who try to sell their own home end up using a realtor in the end anyway. Before anybody decides to fly solo through this complex, time-consuming and financially perilous process, they should consider these questions:

  • Will you really “save” the real estate commission?

When buyers see a home for sale ‘by the owner’, they see a bargain. They imagine the realtor’s fee going into their pocket, not yours.

  • How many potential buyers will you reach?

Selling a home takes more than just hanging a “For Sale” sign. How will you promote your home? Will you write your own ads? How will you use the Internet? MLS and the corresponding web site Realtor.ca have changed the way people search for homes, and it’s hard to court buyers without it.

  • Do you have the time?

Promoting a home is a full-time job, and you may already have one. Will you be able to take calls at any time? How about screening the callers to figure out if they’re suitable candidates? Not everybody who calls is even suitable to walk through your home, but how do you tell?

  • Do you know the market well enough to get the most for your home?

Lacking years of experience, the average do-it-yourselfer is merely guessing at their listing price. Often they set the price too low and miss out on thousands of dollars, or they price their home too high and drive away willing buyers.

  • Do you have the negotiation skills to keep a deal on track?

When an offer comes in, emotions can run high with so much money on the line. This is why direct seller-to-buyer deals often end in disaster. Realtors keep it professional and are indispensable when it comes to bargaining with buyers.

Source: How realtors help

Source: GoldenGirlFinance.com

I am a passionate and dedicated mortgage professional, devoted to enabling my clients to obtain the best mortgage products and interest rates for their needs.

Plan your mortgage renewal (before you sign)

Plan your mortgage renewal (before you sign)

October 9th, 2013 by Lisa J. Gryba, AMP

Automatically signing a renewal without looking for better terms could cost you thousands of dollars


You could be missing out on thousands of dollars in interest savings by not planning your mortgage renewal to your best advantage.

CMHC studies show that 80% of consumers intend to shop for a better deal at renewal time; however, only 30% of all consumers actually do.

In fact, over one-half simply sign their renewal, accepting the lenders first offer without question, negotiation, or investigation.

Although interest rates can be locked in months in advance of a renewal date to protect mortgagors from rate increases, most lenders wait until just 30 days before the maturity date to send their clients a renewal notice.  In some cases, the notice comes only 2 weeks before the maturity date. Here’s why…

Why lenders give little renewal notice

1) It allows the lender to avoid costs by only protecting you from rising rates for 30 days.

2) Your lender can significantly limit your ability to shop around for a better deal.

An accredited mortgage professional (AMP), like myself, can help you take control of your renewal to get the best possible interest rate for which you are eligible. For example, I can arrange for a rate hold 120 days prior to your renewal.  This will protect you from rising interest rates, but if rates drop before your renewal date, you will get the benefit of the decreased rate.

Since the majority of Canadians believe that interest rates are on the rise, it is very important to contact us as early as four months before your renewal, so we can lock in today’s best rate. If interest rates increase during that period, you will still get the lower rate. If rates decline, you will get the lowest rate available during the 120-day period.

Consider refinancing other debt

Renewal time is also an excellent time to consider refinancing your high interest debt like credit cards and finance company loans into your mortgage, as no penalty would be applicable at the end of your existing mortgage term. Handled properly by professionals, a mortgage refinance can save you thousands in interest charges and significantly increase your monthly cash flow.

How I can personally help you…

  • Review your options for renewal and refinancing to determine how much money we can save you.
  • Save you time by ‘shopping’ the lenders for you.
  • If contacted before signing the renewal agreement you receive from your lender, help you find a better deal or confirm that the deal your lender is offering is the best deal for your circumstances.

Source: GoldenGirlFinance.com

I am a passionate and dedicated mortgage professional, devoted to enabling my clients to obtain the best mortgage products and interest rates for their needs.


Message from Realtor Rosalie Drysdale

Looking to buy your next or first home, or for a really good investment property?

By far the best  way to find your next home is to simply contact me by phone or email. We’ll discuss exactly what you’re looking for and keeping you within your budget.

My clients have found my marketing plan to be second to none. To find the right buyers for your home. we use the MLS  Listings, also your home will be featured in printed publications, and posted on different internet sites

( 999-rose.ca and WinnipegHomeValue.com ) plus posting your property on social media

( twitter @rosaliedrysdale and Facebook )

To contact Realtor Rosalie Drysdale , call me at 204.999.7673 or by Email