Meet Mike Ufkes (a.k.a. MyQ)
Q. There is such a misconception about the necessity for mortgage brokers, why did you decide to pursue this as your career?
A. Before getting into the mortgage business I was one of those people who didn’t see the need for a mortgage broker and always arranged for lending through my bank, like most people. As a licensed Realtor I was exposed to the Mortgage Broker community when clients needed help with their financing. Mortgage agents can arrange for much more creative financing, especially when a client doesn’t quite fit the mold for a standard bank. I’ve spent most of life being self employed which can present a challenge for financing at the banks. Even for regular clients mortgage agents can access lending rates not publicly posted. I pursued this career because I recognize that every single borrower should be represented by a mortgage agent.
Q. In addition to your heavy involvement in the GTA real estate and mortgage markets, you were a firefighter. How has that shaped the mortgage broker you are today?
A. Being a company officer and firefighter has taught me many life skills that carry over to everything I do, including being the best mortgage agent I can be. Firefighting requires discipline and the ability to think creatively in situations that can mean the difference between life and death. I’ve developed a keen understanding of the importance of focus and attention to detail as well as being able to think on my feet and move in the best direction for my client depending on their current and future financial situation. It’s not just about securing the best financing in the present for my client, it’s also about having a vision for their future financial goals.
Q. What do you love most about the Greater Toronto Area?
A. I was born, raised and still live in Brampton. I’ve spent my whole life in the Toronto area from the east end all the way to the Halton Region. This is a very unique and diversified area to live. From condo living at Harbourfront to small community living in the outer reaches of Toronto we represent every ethnic background and cultural diversity one can imagine. In the GTA you can spend your day along the lakeshore with crowds of people or spend time hiking the Bruce Trail in solitude when you just need to get away.
Q. What do you think will be the biggest shift in the market for 2018-19?
A. For obvious reasons the Mortgage and Real Estate markets are inseparably tied together. The real estate market has just undergone a huge shakeup with the skyrocketing prices and sales numbers of 2016/17 crashing back to reality coupled with the governments new “stress test” regulations intended to cool the red-hot real estate industry. The good news is that the real estate market has settled down and things are now returning to normal, albeit slowly. With sales numbers being lower there is more competitive financing available to borrowers as lenders try to secure a portion of the smaller market. Although the Bank of Canada has raised interest rates slightly I don’t forsee any big jumps in the near future. Competitive rates are available to borrowers right now and the real estate market is back on track… it’s a great time to buy a home.
Q. When you’re not busy negotiating on behalf of your clients, what do you do to stay busy?
A. I have a keen interest in technology generally and the truth is I spend most of my time sitting at my computer. I love all things new and interesting and I spend a great deal of time reading about our universe and how it’s evolving including cosmology and the latest discoveries in theoretical physics. As most people do, I also enjoy travelling the world and seeing other countries.
Q. What is the one thing you’d want people to understand about mortgage brokers?
A. It’s free! Most people are surprised to learn that mortgage agents get paid by the lenders. We bring business to financial institutions from clients that require mortgage financing and they thank us with a small payment. By going through a mortgage agent, you will get the best rate possible and have a mortgage that’s tailored to your specific financial situation and goals. Sometimes clients find themselves in a position, through no fault of their own, that can make it challenging to get the best rates through a regular bank. Your mortgage agent has a whole list of banks and other lending institutions at their disposal so they can ensure the client gets the best rate they can.
MyQuick Tip: Work with a mortgage broker to determine exactly how much you can afford. It is our job to ensure that you aren’t only in the home of your dreams, but that you can still afford to live your life and not be mortgage broke.