Without a doubt, mortgage brokers have a wealth of knowledge to impart. So it isn’t surprising, then, that one of the country’s top brokers just released a book with the intention of helping consumers avoid some of the pitfalls he’s endured throughout a decorated career.
Confessions of a Halifax Mortgage Broker by Clinton Wilkins details his career’s highs and lows, splicing the narrative with jovial anecdotes. In the book’s first chapter, Like a Virgin, in which Wilkins is writing for first-time buyers, he recounts not only his first home purchase at the ripe age of 19, but also the accompanying tribulations.
“I had a great mortgage broker, but I didn’t have a great realtor,” said the Centum broker. “It was a new construction build. My realtor wasn’t very effective. He was a realtor for the builder and didn’t have much advice. That’s one of my biggest takeaways for first-time buyers—it’s the biggest purchase of their lives, and having really good advice from an unbiased mortgage professional, but also a good realtor, is a big piece of that pie.”
Wilkins has owned 18 houses over the last 17 years that he bought, sold or traded, but he’s owned up to five at a time and, as one can imagine, some problems reared their ugly heads.
“I talk about my great successes, but also my failures. When we had all the properties on the go, there were definitely some failures that I’d had, and I caution consumers that you don’t always make money in real estate when you sell it, and you don’t always make money in a rental when you hold it. But not to discourage people, because I think that there’s a lot of money to be made in real estate, but doing it cautiously and being educated is very important.”
Wilkins also highlights how his real estate investment strategies have changed over the years. For example, he no longer has much faith in quick flips; instead, he advises living in a home for a few years and avoiding capital gains payments.
As the title suggests, Wilkins derived inspiration for Confessions of a Halifax Mortgage Broker from his home turf, but he also believes his book is filling a void.
“I look at Dustan Woodhouse’s book and I really like how that was put together,” he said. “But it’s by a mortgage broker for mortgage brokers, and I wanted to do something for consumers. I looked around out there and there weren’t any books available for consumers about the mortgage industry. There are all kinds of self-help books around personal finance, and even real estate, but there’s nothing in that category around mortgage lending. I wanted to do something that was Halifax-specific because I think we’re kind of forgotten here. I think homeownership is more possible here because it is more affordable, so I wanted to do something that would speak to the masses.”