It may soon be the 21st-century equivalent of a business card, but an Alberta broker is one of the industry's first to pull his very own app from the proverbial back pocket.
“We designed the AM Canadian Mortgage Advisor for our existing clients to take our services on the road when house hunting,” Gerry Orr, owner of Alberta Mortgages, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “The app allows them to quickly determine if that property is a good financial fit for them by using the exact rates available in the Canadian market and that we have access to in calculations.”
The app, launched earlier this spring and updated just this month, is available for download free of charge on iTunes for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users. The application was developed strictly for Canadian mortgage consumers, offering auto updating of best rates; insurance, HST and debt calculations, said Orr. He came up with the idea from watching his own kids fiddle away with their ubiquitous iPhones. “It seemed like a perfect tool to hand young first-time homebuyers,” said the Calgary-based Orr.
The app is also a handy tool for calculating mortgage qualification and planning and also provides users ready access to Orr’s brokerage, Alberta Mortgages.
“We realized that the easier we make it for our clients to go out there and do the initial calculation, the better it is for us as we try to build our business on customer service,” he said.
The “Canadian-ness” of the tool has fueled downloads, with 3,500 already logged in the app’s short life. Orr is also crediting it with generating a significant number of leads for his brokerage, which serves a mix of residential clients from across the province.
“I know that it’s meant for clients, but I downloaded it recently as a handy tool,” Jacquie Carstensen, a managing partner with MortgageBroker.com in Alberta, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “There are other apps like it on the market, but most are American and not accurate in terms of calculating rates and taking into consideration other Canadian or provincial factors.”
Orr’s development team focused on ensuring the app could be specifically tailored to client wherever they may be, allowing them to view automatically updated rates by province. They can also determine if it’s in their best interests to do a debt consolidation or figure out what they still owe on an existing mortgage.
“We built it for our clients and our clients are Canadians, so there are universal factors, he told MortgageBrokerNews.ca, “but we added the functionality for each province, so the app will factor in the HST if you're in B.C., for example.”