Alumni advice


Making mortgages manageable with Kasper

When Conrad Neufeldt (BCOMM’10) graduated he started working as a sales manager, but it wasn't until 2014 that he came across what would become his career - mortgage brokering. After only two weeks in the field, Neufeldt quickly realized that the mortgage industry was outdated.

“It was obvious to me. I thought there had to be a better way to do things,” he said. “So I spent a year looking around, trying to see if there was anyone who was making an app for mortgages, and there wasn't.”

From there, the idea for a mortgage app was born. Neufeldt pulled together a team and the first version launched in 2015 under the name Kasper.

“We were the first app in Canada that could prequalify Canadians for mortgages instantly. Up until then, when realtors and builders had someone who wasn’t prequalified - as most people are - they had two choices. [They] could send them away and hope that they’d come back when they were prequalified, or, they could start showing them homes and hope they will prequalify,” Neufeldt said. “When we came onto the market, we said, ‘We can prequalify your clients on the spot, so you can start showing them homes now in the right price range.’ It was a win-win for everyone.”

By changing the face of how Canadians can access mortgage information, Kasper saves clients time and money, and Neufeldt's work earned him the Innovator of the Year award in 2015 with Mortgage Professionals Canada. Today, Kasper is an online web-based platform, but it holds the same capabilities as the original app.

As a USask alumnus, Neufeldt said he learned the value of networking in the classroom and uses those lessons to succeed in his industry.

“When I was in university, I made a point of connecting with one person every week in my third and fourth year - people in a variety of different industries,” he said. “I think there’s a real connectedness there. People who have graduated from the U of S want to help other people who are at the U of S. It’s a great community.”

 For more information on Kasper, visit www.getkasper.com.

Neufeldt’s five tips for new homeowners

1. Know your budget

“What you’re qualified for and what you can afford are sometimes two different things. Sometimes people want to get qualified for the largest mortgage they can, and a great broker can get people approved for mortgages that are a lot higher than fits their budget. Just because you can get qualified for it doesn’t mean you should take that full mortgage amount.”

2. Save for a rainy day

“Set some of your savings aside for after you buy a home. Furnaces break, dishwashers leak and there’s maintenance in everything, so not dumping everything you have into the property [upfront] is important.”

3. Pre-qualify before you shop around

“Before buying a home, find out what you qualify for. People have ideas in their heads and think they’ll be able to get qualified at $450,000 easily, so they start looking in that price range, but then struggle to find a good home at $380,000, which is what they qualified for. It’s about setting expectations and the best way to do that is to find out right away what you qualify for.”

4. Take free advice with a grain of salt

“A lot of people, especially when they’re first time home buyers, want to rely on [family]. There’s nothing wrong with that, [but] oftentimes the people giving you advice bought in a very different economic time where approvals, laws and regulations were all different. It’s not that their advice is wrong - it was perfect for when they bought, but it may not be the best advice for the current environment.”

5. Surround yourself with knowledgeable professionals

“Making sure you have a strong network of professionals to rely on is important. If you know more than your mortgage broker or your realtor, then you are using the wrong one.”

Neufeldt is a speaker at USask's newest speaker series, Backpack to Briefcase, where USask alumni offer up skills and advice on issues that matter to you. Visit alumni.usask.ca for more information.
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