In his interview with CanadianSME Small Business Magazine, Michael Garrity, Executive Chair and Co-Founder of Financeit, shared insights from his extensive experience in the finance and technology sectors. Michael began his journey in 2007 with CommunityLend, Canada’s first peer-to-peer lending service, which later evolved into Financeit, a leading Point of Sale financing company. He discussed the current economic landscape, highlighting the advantages of home renovations over purchasing new properties amid rising interest rates and inflation. Michael explained how Financeit helps homeowners make impactful renovations within budget, offering flexible financing options for various home improvement projects. He emphasized the importance of alternative financing options in enabling homeowners to proceed with renovations without compromising financial stability, especially with one in three homeowners considering postponing such projects due to rising interest rates. Michael also outlined various alternative financing models and their benefits compared to traditional options. He addressed the impact of inflationary and economic challenges on the real estate and home improvement markets, suggesting strategies for homeowners and businesses to navigate these effectively. Lastly, Michael highlighted Financeit’s innovative solutions to assist homeowners and businesses in the home renovation sector, adapting to the changing needs of customers in challenging economic times.
Michael Garrity is the Executive Chair and Co-Founder of Financeit, a market-leading point-of-sale financing provider servicing the home improvement, vehicle, and retail industries.
With an extensive background in the finance and technology sectors, Michael established CommunityLend in 2007, which was later rebranded to Financeit in 2011. CommunityLend revolutionized lending in Canada by connecting borrowers seeking better rates directly with lenders looking for superior fixed-income returns, making it Canada’s first peer-to-peer lending service. Under Michael’s stewardship, Financeit evolved into a market-leading Point of Sale (POS) financing company.
Throughout his tenure, Michael grew the company to be a trailblazer in the Canadian fintech and open-banking spaces and an overall leader in the Canadian technology industry. He remains on the Board of Directors to continue providing his strategic thinking and insights as Financeit looks to achieve its next growth milestones.
In the current economic landscape characterized by inflation and rising interest rates, why do you believe Canadians should consider renovating their existing homes as opposed to purchasing new ones? What advantages does home renovation offer in such a financial environment?
Given the tumultuous real estate market and interest rate hikes, Canadians may hesitate to engage now. With rising house prices, buying a new one may be financially unattainable. Instead of the stress and time searching for the perfect spot, consider renovating. Aside from cost savings, advantages include increased liveability, higher property value – translating into a strong ROI, and the ability to stay in your familiar home while upgrading it to your dream one. This alternative not only mitigates financial concerns but also streamlines the process, making it less stressful amid other life events.
Many homeowners are looking to make impactful renovations while staying within budget constraints. Can you share some insights on how homeowners can select renovations that significantly enhance their home’s livability without overspending?
When considering home renovations, some are essential, while others enhance overall comfort. For example, for HVAC replacement or repairs, Financeit takes the stress out of unexpected HVAC expenses by offering customers low monthly, biweekly or weekly loan payments and flexible financing options with our promotional programs.
For individuals aspiring to install a pool or hot tub, Financeit transforms substantial costs into affordable monthly loan payments, enabling businesses to boost sales without resorting to discounts. Complete home renovations, such as roof replacements or replacing windows or doors, are now more flexible for businesses with affordable monthly payment options to offer their customers, resulting in more available contracts and helping businesses get paid faster. Overall, homeowners can make meaningful changes regardless of their budget to improve their home’s liveability.
With rising interest rates, one in three homeowners is considering postponing home renovations. How can financing options, beyond traditional bank loans and credit cards, such as those offered by Financeit, help these homeowners proceed with their renovation plans without compromising their financial stability?
Whether a home renovation is required to fix an issue or a desire to enhance the liveability and value of a property, Financeit offers flexible financing options to businesses to pass on to their customers to make these a reality. This flexibility could include various loan terms, interest rates, or repayment plans tailored to the needs of both the business and its customers. The more options available to both the business and its customers, the more likely the customer can make their renovation dreams come true that they may not otherwise be able to afford upfront. Additionally, 85 percent of homeowners responded favourably to Financeit’s product and services over conventional bank loans according to recent feedback scores from a Financeit led survey in Q4 2023. Overall, Financeit grants Canadians various advantages, including quicker approval times, more flexible options such as deferred payment terms, and lower interest rates, thus making it the perfect solution for homeowners in light of the current economic environment.
Can you provide some examples of alternative financing models that homeowners can explore when planning home renovations? What are the key benefits of these models compared to traditional financing options?
Homeowners have many options for alternative financing, such as peer-to-peer lending, home equity investment, contractor financing, and applying for a line of credit. Each of these has unique advantages and overall preference on which one to opt into is dependent on the customer’s situation and goals. Alternative financing models offer a range of flexibility and payment plan options to suit each individual. Here at Financeit, we offer consumers financing solutions for home renovations big and small, providing a maximum financing amount of up to $100,000 for projects and purchases. Additionally, our plans can include as little and to no interest rates when approved or consumers can get approved for deferred payment plans on a case-by-case scenario. With inflation not slowing down, there are still a lot of alternative financing options available for all your dream home renovations.
In your experience, how do additional inflationary and economic challenges impact the real estate and home improvement markets? What strategies should homeowners and businesses in the renovation industry adopt to navigate these challenges effectively?
Inflationary and economic challenges do curb very minor and major renovation projects, which we saw trending throughout 2023. Raw materials also rise in cost with inflation, causing some homeowners to delay moving forward on their projects. Homeowners should consider a third-party financing provider for more flexibility and payment plan options to navigate these challenges. There are competitive advantages that businesses can offer to potential and existing consumers when exploring and implementing third-party financing. For example, the rise of “Buy Now, Pay Later” allows homeowners to defer or have flexible payment plans for a larger amount of time. This not only enhances affordability but also has the potential to attract a broader clientele by alleviating hesitation and financial strain. We also have an app and a simple, accessible online platform so customers can easily track and monitor their payment plans.
As the Executive Chair of Financeit, could you highlight some innovative solutions or services that your company offers to assist homeowners and businesses in the home renovation sector, especially in light of the current economic conditions? How does Financeit support the changing needs of its customers in these times?
We at Financeit are proud to support both businesses and consumers as they navigate larger purchases in the home improvement, retail and vehicle spaces. We know how challenging these can be and are here to offer multiple payment solutions to meet the needs of each project and accommodate external factors. Some of the solutions we offer include long-lasting loan approvals so you can book a project in advance, seamless processing applications, the ability to get paid quicker (as soon as the job is completed and signed off), no interest, deferred payments and of course the flexibility to customize to each business, consumer, or project.
We are also excited to share that we have some additional innovative payment solutions to accommodate the payment structures of different industries and the changing needs of homeowners that will be rolling out later this year, so please stay tuned!