Mediaplanet: You appeared on Dragon’s Den back in 2007 — why did True North Mortgage (TNM) pique the Dragons’ interest?

Dan Eisner: I think the Dragons liked the mortgage store concept because it was a new way to address an old industry.  Over the years, we've seen a number of businesses like foreign exchange kiosks and independent stock brokerages scalpel new business from markets historically served by the Big Banks. I came along with a new way to help mortgage clients better than the banks could.

MP: What innovations does True North Mortgage bring to the table that serve to help buyers?

DE: New rule changes over the last couple of years have made quoting rates very complicated, so we developed tools for our agents to quote rates accurately and efficiently.  Much of our success hinges on hiring high-quality mortgage specialists and Realtors— something very rare in the industry— so by providing them with the right tools only enhances the client experience.

MP: What do first-time buyers need to be aware of when it comes to mortgages?

DE: For first-time homebuyers, it's all about the new stress test.  Right now, a good five-year fixed rate would be 3.04 percent, but the rate a homebuyer would actually need to qualify for would be 5.14 percent because it’s the Bank of Canada’s current qualifying rate. For most potential homebuyers, this is roughly a 20 percent loss in buying power. It’s a powerful change that has repercussions across the housing market.

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