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How to Safely Buy a Home in Calgary and Obtain Financing

General David Cooke 13 May

How to Safely Buy a Home  in Calgary and Obtain Financing

It may be hard to understand but there are still people out there buying homes, renewing mortgages and refinancing their homes to increase cash flow. How could they and why would they want to mix with strangers in these uncertain times?

Well, until March 14th , most places in North America were starting their busy spring housing market. People had given notice in January and February that they were not going to renew their leases and had made offers on new and existing homes. Many people were also shopping for rates as their mortgages were coming up for renewal. Who knew that the world was about to come crashing down on their heads.

Modified full appraisal Modified full appraisal

The housing industry had to make accommodations in order to help these people out.  If you had an accepted offer on a house, how could you obtain a mortgage without meeting a mortgage professional ? Fortunately we had the technology to help us out. Mortgage applications can be taken online or over the telephone and have been for several years. The big change has been signing a mortgage commitment. Lenders now allow us to have mortgage documents signed using an electronic signature.

If you had not made it that far in the house buying process, realtors have also made a number of changes to limit contact. Obviously sellers are not happy with having strangers walking through their homes and touching door knobs and other items. “RECA, the real estate Council of Alberta is encouraging realtors to ask a series of health questions before realtors arrange to show homes” says Julie Pinault of Royal Lepage Solutions in Calgary. “Think of a property as a museum and don’t touch anything” she adds.

“Open Houses have been cancelled for the foreseeable future” says Rebecca Yarmoloy of ReMax First. Homes can be first viewed using websites and if you are seriously interested in a property.”

Some realtors are going even further. Lionel Sale from Frist Place Realty states that buyers meet the realtor at the property. The sellers are encouraged to turn on all the lights and leave doors and closets open so that no one will touch any surfaces that could spread the virus. Some sellers are leaving disposable gloves by the front door.

If a home needs an appraisal, what can you do? Appraisers need 45 minutes to examine a property from top to bottom in order to establish a proper value for the home.  Once again, adaptations have been needed. For bungalows, the appraiser will go to the windows around the home and take photos. Other appraisers are   using 3rd party technology to do their jobs. They will Facetime or WhatsApp the client and have them walk around the house they way they normally would in order to do a full inspections. This is called a Full Modified Appraisal.

Finally, we get to the end of the process and you need to sign all the mortgage documents with the lawyer or notary. At this time, “wet” signatures are still needed. E-signatures are not allowed which poses a problem for social distancing. Another solution has been found. The home buyers go to the lawyer and go into a room with a copy of the mortgage documents. The lawyer sits in the next room using video conferencing or Zoom and goes over his copy of the documents, telling the buyers where they need to sign and explaining any parts of the contract they may not understand. When the clients leave, the lawyer goes into the signing room and picks up the signed copy to be registered at the title office.

From beginning to end in the home buying , refinancing and renewal process, it’s now possible to obey social distancing rules and accomplish your home financing goals.

If you need any further information please feel free to contact me. At 403-836-1201

David Cooke has been a mortgage broker since 2005 and presently works for Jencor Mortgage Corp, situated in Calgary, Alberta