Understanding the role of the ‘oilfield worker’

Every Albertan knows someone working in the field, the oilfield that is. Many of us grew up around a town that has a lot of the province sustaining resource that allows many of us to do what we do, no matter the industry. Likely every business in Alberta has been supported by someone in this industry and without the resource and that employee many of our businesses would wither away.

The oilfield worker is a very broad term, but to the insiders that work out there it’s as general as they come. In the field, there are literally hundreds of positions and to outsiders they are often times categorized as the same type, when they can be extremely diverse.

The oilfield is so specialized these days that to jumble these workers in the same category is insulting to many of them, but they usually just take it because it’s too difficult for someone on the outside to understand what it is that they actually do.

When asked what they do, many of them just answer, “I work in the oilfield”. Well, that’s a pretty standard response, but to a mortgage professional whom spent a couple of his early years out in the field, I want to know more of what you do. Understanding what you do and explaining to a lender your expertise in the field is going to help them to understand your specialty and feel more comfortable with your application for a mortgage.

Here’s the thing, Alberta owes these guys and girls a tremendous amount of thanks as many of our business wouldn’t be sustained for it not for them. They come home from long shifts in the field, with pockets full of cash and a few short days to run their errands and enjoy some well-deserved time off.

And like a bunch of lions at a watering hole, businesses are there advertising and waiting for them to come in and spend their money which keeps our economy humming.

Spring break up is a time of year many of them are home after a long cold winter from being in the middle of nowhere and many of them are out shopping for homes, but where do you start?

Due to the nature of your wage which likely comes from a lot of overtime, or a salary with job bonuses lenders are typically going to review your past two years of income and use either the average of your income or most recent years income- whichever is lower, I know it doesn’t seem fair, but it’s truly for your safety as lenders too have seen the ups and downs of the oilfield.

To prepare yourself for a successful mortgage application, there are many items one needs to have ready and the most important ones are your Notices of Assessments(NOA’s),T1 Generals and T4’s, basically everything that your tax package should contain and then you’ll also need your pay stubs, an employment letter and proof of your down payment.

The most often described and least understood to everyone is their NOA’s, these are the forms you get back from the government after you’ve filed your taxes, and often times are attached to the refund cheques. These elusive forms are mailed back to you from the government after your tax filing, but are typically over looked or misplaced once received but is usually one of the most important pieces of the puzzle.

Once you have these items gathered or semi gathered, you need to find out what you’d qualify for first before shopping for your new home and this is where your local mortgage professional comes into play. How do you know what to look for if you don’t know what you can afford?

We are all living in a province that has one of the greatest resource supplies in the world, and we have some of the most talented people operating them as witnessed by many overseas countries courting our neighbours to go and work abroad. No matter what position you’ve achieved, good professional advice is out there and sometimes closer and easier than you think to obtain.

Jean-Guy Turcotte is an Accredited Mortgage Professional with Dominion Lending Centres and can be reached for questions or appointments at 403-343-1125 or emailed to jturcotte@regionalmortgage.ca.

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