CMP: What made you want to become a mortgage broker?
Shaun Zipursky: I got licensed as a mortgage broker when I was 21, in 1991, so I celebrated my 25th year in the business last year. When I left school, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do, so I took some time off from school and finding a career and worked in the restaurant business, waiting tables. Needless to say, that wasn’t going to be my lifelong career.
My father was in the mortgage business a long time ago, and I decided to get licensed and see what would happen.
CMP: How would you describe your time in the industry?
SZ: It’s been really good. When I first got into the business, I worked under Andy Ambro at Hamilton Mortgages, but I left there after three years and opened up City Wide with my partner at the time. That was in 1995 when I was 25.
I did a lot of A- business at that time, a lot of hard-to-place deals. I did what some of the B mortgage specialists are doing today, but to be honest, I didn’t like that side of the business. I didn’t like charging fees or the stress of dealing with clients in financial hardship.
I started focusing more on A business around 10 years into my career, and that’s where 95% of my business is today. I still tinker with second mortgage stuff, but my main focus is the A business.
CMP: What are your thoughts on the recent regulation changes?
SZ: We still don’t know how impactful this is going to be; we’re still digesting all of the rule changes and how they affect the lenders and how they price their mortgages today. Who thought that a client putting 20% down, even if they still fit within the ‘insurable’ guidelines, was going to be so unattractive to some lenders under the new rules? Those clients are now paying some of the highest rates in our market. In my 26 years, these are the most impactful changes our industry has faced.
The day the announcement came out, I skipped lunch and went out to play nine holes of golf by myself. My phone was blowing up like Vegas a slot machine with calls from other mortgage brokers asking, “What the heck is going on?”
I think the consumer still has a huge advantage going to a mortgage broker because, with all of these changes, it isn’t as simple as it was. Having choice and the ability to go to different lending institutions is very important to the consumer. It’s going to be interesting to see how the different lending institutions react.
CMP: How have your clients been impacted?
SZ: The biggest thing for clients has been the stress test. I would say that the majority of my clients do not qualify for what they want to. For example, I had a client over the weekend who has been preapproved with me for a year and a half purchase a home for $428,000. They had previously been preapproved for close to $600,000. I think their maximum was $475,000, but they ended up buying below that because they implemented their own stress test.
When you qualify someone at 4.64% on a 25-year amortization, it takes 20% to 25% of their purchasing power away, based on the old qualification guidelines, when a client could have qualified at the discounted rate when taking a fixed rate. In my opinion, first-time buyers, those buying a rental property or someone refinancing their own home have been affected the most.
CMP: What’s the secret behind your success?
SZ: It’s all I’ve ever done and known. I’m very involved with clients, and I try to meet with as many as I possibly can. There is a lot of competition out there, and I want to educate and wow my clients. There are a lot of reasons why a consumer might walk into a bank and get a mortgage, so I need to wow them from A to Z. I want them to walk out of our meeting knowing way more about mortgages than when they came in. I also believe in collaborating with other mortgage brokers in the business.