Q. Why use a mortgage broker? I love my bank.

A. We love your bank too!  In fact, as your mortgage broker, we will
evaluate all of the current rates and terms offered by every major bank
along with trust companies, credit unions and private lenders to find
you the \"best\" mortgage.  Since we place hundreds of mortgages each
year it's only natural that we can negotiate a better rate than you can
- this will save you loads of time and can save you thousands and
thousands of dollars in interest payments and potential penalties down
the road.

Q. How can I trust you? How are you regulated?

A.  As an independent licensed mortgage broker , we are bound by the
Mortgage Brokers Act and registered with the Financial Services
Commission of Ontario to represent your best interest  (not the
lender's) so you can trust us to work diligently on your behalf.
Unlike many other mortgage brokers, The Personal Mortgage Group is not
affiliated with any particular lender so have no hidden motivations
for  where we place your mortgage.

Q. What is the \"best mortgage\"?  Isn't the interest rate the most
important thing?

A.  Rates are definitely important but they are not the only factor
that you should consider when looking for a mortgage.  For instance,
our average client breaks a mortgage after 3.2 years.  Why does this
happen?  This can happen for many different reasons, for example; the
market changes and they want to switch to a lower rate, they outgrow
their current home, they downsize from their current home, or they get
a job transfer.  In light of this reality, it is important that you
consider all of the other aspects of the mortgage including the penalty
to break the mortgage, pre-payment privileges, what (if any) guarantees
are offered for locking into a fixed rate from a variable rate, etc.
Call today to speak with a Lending Consultant and we can assess your
plans and determine what type of mortgage is best for you.

Q. How much can I borrow?

A. If you are purchasing a home you may be able to borrow up to 100%
of the purchase price.  If you are re-financing the amount varies based
upon several factors including your credit, job stability and your
property.  Speaking to one of our Lending Consultants can help you
determine the best course of action.

Q. Home Improvement / Renovation: Will it increase the value of my

A.  An increasing number of people are making the most of the current
low interest rates to borrow money to improve their home, and see the
spending as an investment for the future.

The classic way for homeowners to increase the value of their house is
by remodeling existing rooms or adding on to its current plan. Some
choose to build recreation rooms and studies while others add new
appliances, fixtures and cabinets to enliven rooms and make their home
more attractive to future buyers.

But when should you decide to stop sinking money into a home and buy a
bigger place? And how much renovating is too much when it comes time to
recovering remodelling costs through a home sale. For instance, if
you've just spent $1,000.00 remodelling your living room and you didn't
expand your small bathroom, the chances of increasing the number of
interested buyers are slim. With these concerns in mind, I can offer a
few tips for those struggling to add value to their home.

In general, here is an average pay-back for specific renovations (the
value added to your home as a proportion of the total cost of the
  * Interior painting and decor (73%)

  * Kitchen (72%)

  * Bathroom (68%)

  * Exterior painting (65%)

  * Flooring upgrades (62%)

  * Window/door replacement (57%)

  * Main floor family room addition (51%)

  * Fireplace addition (50%)

  * Basement renovation(49%)

  * New furnace or heating system (48%)

Source: 1999 Renovations and Home Value Survey published by the
Appraisal Institute of Canada.

First, always protect the character of your home. Nothing sticks out
more than a new addition that is in a completely different
architectural style. Be consistent. Recognize your home's character and
stay within its framework. The most financially rewarding areas to
remodel are usually the kitchen and bath. Newly re-done cooking spaces
and cabinets can attract more buyers and may command a slightly higher
price for the home than a comparable one on the market. Simple repairs
that are made to last will bring you the biggest returns upon sale.
Enlarged bathrooms are the most popular attraction for new home buyers,
according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Today, the most
popular additions for younger buyers are sunken whirlpool baths and
showers. But be sure to install modest, solid amenities. It's easy to
quickly over-spend on bathroom fixtures.

Buyers are, by convention, more interested in above-ground living space
 not basements, yards and walkways. Swimming pools can be a poor
investment if installed for the sole purpose of increasing a home's
value; it's rare that a pool's cost will be recovered in a home sale.
It can also be a negative feature for potential buyers with very young
children. Replacing worn carpeting, tiles and wood floors can give your
home an immediate advantage over similar properties in the area.
Updating paint colours in all areas of your home can also prove
beneficial. However, it's recommended that you use neutral colours,
such as grey, beige and off-white when adding new floor and wall
coverings. Fewer buyers will then turn away because of differing

Stay simple with your remodelling and look at your home as though you
were the buyer. Chances are that if you find the upstairs bedroom could
be brightened by a larger window, potential buyers will probably feel
the same. Don't go overboard. Concentrate on improving two or three
deficiencies in your home. More than likely, the time and money you
spend adding quality to your home will be rewarded with greater profit
at selling time.