Some of you may recall my tribulations in selecting a mortgage broker -- chiefly, I discounted any businesses with spelling errors and/or poor website design, and booked an appointment with the last name remaining. The meeting went well, the terms were fair (because despite the problems in the American subprime industry, it's still pretty tough *not* to get a mortgage in Alberta right now), and I was just about to close the deal, when the broker made a few corrections to the form by hand.
That's when I noticed she misspelled "accelerated" three times in a row. Now, I like to think I'm not a petty man, but I also like to think that a mortgage broker has seen the term "accelerated payment" enough times to know how it's spelled. A case of the nerves soon befell me, and I left to "think about the offer".
The next broker I tried was polite, knowledgeable, professional, and offered me a better rate than the first broker. I was content to sign with her, until she noticed a detail with my new condo (it has a "no children" policy). "Oh," she said. "Oh, my."
"What's the problem?"
"Well, it's this clause here... I think that means the condo's uninsurable unless you place a 20% down payment."
"Really. Are you sure about that?"
"I'll look into it, and I'll get back to you as soon as possible."
"All right," I said, and I left.
That was two weeks ago. It finally occurred to me that I'd been operating under the assumption that banks are horrible, and mortgage brokers remove the hassle of shopping around for the best deal. Since I was shopping around anyway at this point, why not go back to the source? I booked an appointment with RBC, and went to see them yesterday.
About ten minutes into the meeting, the mortgage specialist had just finished recording my personal data, and then she looked at me kind of funny.
"Did you... ever live in Moose Jaw?", she asked.
"For a few years, when I was in elementary school."
"Hm." Her brow furrowed a bit, unsure exactly how awkward the next question would be. "Are you, by any chance, Graeme's brother?"
For those you who never knew me in my Regina days, allow me to explain: My brother Graeme was arguably the wittiest, luckiest, and handsomest young lad ever to live in that city. Girls simply followed him through the hallways of his high school, content simply to be within the radius of his charm. The question, "Are you Graeme's brother?" was one I heard so often, I considered translating the answer to Latin for my coat of arms. It was like being related to Kevin Bacon, if you'll pardon the meme.
And now, many years later, here I am in a bank, getting financial advice from Graeme's old Grade 3 classmate. Not only that, but I also learn that my father taught her English in high school. It looks like my quest for a mortgage has come to an end -- and a happy ending, at that.
Just as soon as I ask my dad what her final grade was.