Philanthropy & COVID-19

General Roo Wyda 24 Apr

Marine Mammal Rescue/Instagram

The role of philanthropy in responding to this pandemic is critical. During today’s challenging times, it’s important to think globally and act locally. Many non-profits that rely on public participation and donors are struggling and need our help.

Many clients with the ability to give are asking “How do we best respond to this crisis?”  Here are seven suggestions:

1. Give locally.  The best place to start is in our own communities where we are most familiar with the needs, nonprofits and people.  Vancouver’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre is a personal favourite and their Instagram page is exactly what we need in these trying times.

2. Give more to the charities you already know, believe in, and support. Consider making an additional donation to ensure that your favorite nonprofits will be here when the virus subsides.  Another personal favourite over the years is Elizabeth’s Wildlife Rescue, a grassroots rescue in the Fraser Valley that does big things with very little money.

3. Support newly created funds responding to the pandemic.  Many cities have community foundations, and other organizations, that have established funds specifically designed to provide aid in this crisis.  These organizations are collecting funds and deploying them where the needs are greatest.  Here in our backyard is the West Vancouver Community Foundation with their COVID Response supporting seniors and non-profits across the North Shore and British Columbia.

4. Trust nonprofits to choose how to spend the funds.  Now isn’t the time to direct how your donations should be spent. Trust your non-profit partners to direct donated money where they believe it can have the most impact.

5. Dig deep. Take stock of what you have and need, and if you’re  able to, stretch to give more to others who are more severely impacted by this pandemic. Focus less on what you’ve lost and more on what you have.

6. Anticipate longer term needs.  Although the needs are significant today, they’ll continue to grow long after the immediate health crisis subsides. If you can, create a plan for future giving, as well.

7. View this as an opportunity for growth, change and reflection.  Now is a great opportunity for each of us and our families to reflect on how we consume, share, collaborate, invest and give.  Let’s use this opportunity to hit the reset button so we can create a better tomorrow – one that is more in line with the values we are currently reflecting on while in lockdown.

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now,” Martin Luther King, Jr.


Four Ways A Luxury Real Estate Mortgage Broker Helps Clients Achieve Personal Wealth

General Roo Wyda 28 Feb

roo wyda, luxury real estate, mortgage broker, west vancouver, high net worth, wealth,

Today, most of us would agree that being wealthy means more than just having money in the bank. It can mean being able to live somewhere you love, building family memories, providing for your loved ones, and surrounding yourself with all that brings you joy. True wealth, and living out your dreams, means something different for everyone.

Certainly, money is an important instrument. Without it you can’t buy that vacation home, send your kids to university debt-free, or build out a real estate portfolio. Financial, emotional, and personal wealth mesh together in a complex web – and it can be challenging to sort out how to achieve all these things.

A Luxury Real Estate Mortgage Broker, accustomed to working with high net worth families, understands these connections deeply. While on the surface we may be working to help Clients achieve purely real estate wealth, our jobs encompass much more than that. Through real estate lending, I’m often involved in supporting life decisions that greatly enrich my Clients’ and their families’ lives.

Here are four ways a Luxury Real Estate Mortgage Broker can help Clients achieve their own personal definitions of wealth:

#1 – Finding Wealth in Health
For most people the necessity of financial wealth pales in comparison to achieving physical wellness. However a person’s health goals, can and should, work in tandem with their financial goals. An experienced Luxury Real Estate Mortgage Broker can analyze a Client’s financial situation and work with them to ensure their home is in a neighbourhood that supports their health goals. Whether it’s living near the mountains to access hiking and running trails, or near the ocean for paddling and swimming opportunities, the right home is key in supporting physical fitness and health goals.

Another health related consideration that an experienced Luxury Real Mortgage Broker can provide clarity and guidance on is understanding long-term care considerations. Real estate can be leveraged to provide an approach that’s right for a Client’s finances and family situation. This advance planning is proving to be paramount as people are living longer and can require more assistance. Most people prefer to age in place – it’s preferable to plan for all of it when you don’t need it.

#2 – Finding Wealth in Adventure
Wealth, for some people, means using their time on this beautiful planet to see as much of it as possible. A Luxury Real Estate Mortgage Broker can help their travel-bug clients achieve these goals. Real Estate can be leveraged to pay for travel experiences and it can also provide travel experiences for others.

Whether it’s a vacation property to visit and rent out when you are not there or it’s suite in your home, there are many options. If you’d like to travel for an extended period of time, perhaps putting in a basement suite for yourself, and renting out the upstairs of your home would be worth exploring. A Mortgage Broker accustomed to working with high net worth Clients has these conversations regularly with Clients and works with them to make their adventure dreams come true.

#3 – Finding Wealth in Family
Helping to pass down real estate wealth in families is a common conversation. Sometimes it’s a gifted downpayment from the parents to the adult children to enable the adult children and grandchildren to live in the home of their dreams. Other times it’s everyone under one roof and contributing to one mortgage. There are many options.

When parents start to reach their sunset years, oftentimes their adult children wish to have them living closer. Sometimes this means everyone is under one roof – other times, it’s creating a separate suite for the elderly parents and paying for care nurses to support the family. The financial burden of getting older can be somewhat mitigated through savvy advising and careful timing.

Another common goal for families is a vacation property or second home. Being able to build family memories in somewhere like Whistler or Kelowna is a wonderful experience. Oftentimes these properties can also be rented out when you are not there, if you wish to be a landlord. If not, leveraging your existing home’s equity can be worth exploring.

#4 – Finding Wealth in Favourite Things
Hobbies and activities can bring wealth into a person’s life by allowing them to devote their time and money to their passions. For clients who are into collecting—be it art, wine, stamps or sports memorabilia, real estate can be leveraged to make these investments. If the outdoors is a passion, a second home or vacation property may be the answer.

Sometimes a hobby can evolve into an income-earner. A client who has achieved professional success may seek to spend the latter part of his or her career putting time and energy into a passion project. Whether it’s investing in a BC winery, a local craft brewing company or a resort in a tropical locale, a Luxury Real Estate Mortgage Broker can provide valuable finance strategies to leverage the Client’s current real estate portfolio to meet long-term objectives.

A Luxury Real Estate Mortgage Broker knows their job goes way beyond money. The modern advisor wears many hats, and in many ways, may bear more similarities to a holistic life coach than to a traditional finance professional. We’re not just helping clients grow their fortunes, we’re helping them plan for the future and pave a brighter path for the next generation.

Is There A Ticking Time Bomb In Your Real Estate Portfolio?

General Roo Wyda 7 Feb

condo insurance crisis, canada, roo wyda, luxury real estate mortgage broker
It started with a heartbreaking news headline just before Christmas. A young Fort McMurray family was pushed into bankruptcy. The culprit was their beloved condo, or more specifically, a massive spike in their condo building insurance costs.

There was much discussion in the Mortgage Broker Community. Was the location of the condo building to blame? A delayed outcome of the Fort McMurray wildfires from 2016? A colleague knew the couple in the news story personally, and could verify there wasn’t anything unreported in their financial situation. They were literally being pushed into bankruptcy due to the soaring costs of insuring their strata building.

Fast forward to the New Year and a story closer to home hit the headlines. Condo owners in Langley were reeling. Their premiums had just jumped from $97,000 to $371,000 and their strata insurance deductible spiked from $5,000 to $250,000. Clearly no wildfire risk in Langley, and the building is under five years old.

The most recent condo insurance spike headline concerns a building in Abbotsford that is only a year old. A building so new it doesn’t even show up on Google’s street view. In 2019 the building paid a $66,000 premium. Last month, the strata council got its bill for 2020: A massive 780% increase to a premium of $588,000. Again, no wildfire risk and certainly no flood risk.

Tom Watson, Vice President of Guardsman Insurance Services in Ottawa, sheds some light on what is going on. “I used to be able to put them (condo buildings) with 9 different insurers easily. 12 if I was lucky. Now it’s hope the existing carrier offers a renewal so you can avoid going to the Lloyds marketplace.” What’s the Lloyds Marketplace? “It’s a market, literally in London England, where underwriters arrange insurance for things that are generally hard/impossible to insure.” Tom goes on to say “When they price a product like that they really don’t want to write it but will if you give them enough money. Crazy premiums are the insurer way of saying, “If you insist but……please don’t.””

So what should a condo owner do? Now is a good time to really evaluate one’s financial situation. What a lot of people don’t realize is that they may be able to qualify to own a house with a suite. Once the condo fees are removed, and suite rental income added in, a house can be within reach.

Different Lenders treat suite rental income differently. Some Lenders are aggressive with how much suite rental income can be added into a Buyer’s income. The key is to work with an experienced Mortgage Broker who has access to a wide range of potential Lenders. Possibly house ownership is in your future and scary potential condo insurance spikes in your past.

Here is the latest development aptly titled “Warming of Collapse in BC Condo Market.”  And here is where you can apply to find out if you qualify to purchase a house.

Buying a Vacation Home?

General Roo Wyda 28 Jun

vacation home, vancouver, whistler, cultus lake, roo wyda, mortgage broker

It’s the stuff memories are made of. Whether it’s a cottage at the lake or a cabin in the mountains, a vacation property can provide years of amazing memories with loved ones. It can even become an idyllic retirement home. The good news is it may be closer within your reach than you realize. Here’s a few things to keep in mind:

1. Location, Location, Location
Where to buy is a huge decision. Do you love to swim in the lake? Or do you prefer the mountains for winter adventures? Is close proximity to Wine Country attractive? How far away can the home be located for everyone to reasonably be able to travel to the property is also an important consideration.

2. What will you use your Vacation Home for?
Will the place be used for family gatherings? To enjoy during regular vacation times, or will it be more regularly used since you are now retired? For example:
-A vacation property that will double as a retirement retreat should have easy access to
amenities, such as grocery stores, gas stations and hospitals.
-A family cottage should have adequate sleep areas for a growing family: the kids will want sleepovers, and later there maybe be grandkids to consider. Family size will factor into needing adequate kitchen and eating areas.
Make a list of your important features. Things that were important in your family home may not be as important in a vacation property.

3. How much money to spend on it?
Qualified Buyers can now purchase with as little as 5% down. For properties equal to, or less than $500,000, 5% down payment is required. Once the purchase price goes above the $500,000 threshold, you will need to put a higher percentage of money down. Also keep in mind the costs of heating the home and any strata fees that may be a factor.

Potential deal breakers to purchasing your vacation home with 5% include:
-Investment properties
-Rental pool properties 
-Timeshare properties

Words of Wisdom from Personal Finance Experts:
“Consider the travel time and costs to commute.  (i.e. getting to a Gulf Island can mean mooring a boat etc.)” –Alan Young, Portfolio Manager with Richardson GMP

“Considerations on our end would be:
*Capital Gains tax at death.
*Liquidity to pay that expense.
*Concern with keeping it in the family and separating it evenly amongst the kids.”
Jay Gangnes, Certified Financial Planner with JR Financial

Should you be purchasing a vacation property in a popular area, you may need to brush up on this: Writing a Subject-free Offer?

Writing A Subject Free Offer?

General Roo Wyda 23 Jun

Roo Wyda, Mortgage Broker, West Vancouver, Whistler, North Vancouver,
In today’s red hot markets, many Buyers have no choice but to write a subject free offer – or risk losing out on their desired property. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. There is no such thing as a 100% guaranteed pre-approval
Lenders need property details, documents, and an appraisal to actually approve the loan.  A pre-approval is essentially a rate hold with a Lender who is familiar with your financial details and reasonably expects to be able to do the loan for you.  The Lender will ultimately need all of the property details before they can actually do the loan for you, and unexpected surprises can derail your loan.

2. What types of unexpected surprises can cause the Lender to not be able to do your loan?
* Previous grow-ops
* Condos with special assessments where the work is in progress or incomplete
* Work/Live units
* Age restricted properties
* Self managed Stratas
This is only a small list of potential deal breakers for a Lender so it’s vital for your Real Estate Agent and your Mortgage Specialist to communicate early on to limit surprises.

3. Ensure your Realtor and your Mortgage Broker have the all-clear to openly discuss your situation.  There are things a Realtor needs to know when writing the Offer such as no quick closes under 10 days (most Lenders can’t turn the loan around that quickly).  Open communication helps limit deal-breaking surprises.

Here are a few words of wisdom from Real Estate Agents that are in the trenches of the hottest markets:

“Be prepared for anything by having all the most recent/relevant information about the local market & property on hand! This will help you make an informed decision while limiting the role that emotions and external influences can play during a multiple offer negotiation.”
– Wayne Pasco, Kore Realty, specialising in Downtown Vancouver & Burnaby North

“Be as prepared as possible before putting forward the offer.  Work with a good a mortgage broker, in advance to have any financing organized.  Often Sellers in a competitive real estate market will have a date and time that they’re accepting offers, so the Buyer can have the house inspected by a home inspector in advance of the offer deadline.  If it’s a strata property, you can request the strata meeting minutes from the Sellers Realtor in advance to review before putting forward the offer. This way a Buyer can be as informed as possible, before putting any subject free offer forward.”
– Dave Brown, The Whistler Real Estate Company, specialising in Whistler

“I would suggest that a Buyer and their agent do as much due diligence prior to writing the offer like: 
-Reading strata minutes if it is a strata property they are buying. 
-Going to the city of it’s a house and finding out about zoning, permits taken and as much history as the city is willing to share.
-Doing a home Inspection prior to the offer review date.
-Getting a bank appraisal done before the offer acceptance date. 
-Visiting the neighborhood a few times and at different times like the morning and in the evening. During rush hours to see if this is the neighborhood that want to be in.”
Tony Cikes, Sothebys International Realty Canada, specialising in North & West Vancouver and Downtown

The earlier you get your Realtor and your Mortgage Specialist talking, the better.  If I can be of assistance with your Lending needs, please do not hesitate to reach out: or 604.783.4111.