Bryan Johnstone joins the Richmond Christmas Fund Board of Directors





Bryan & Tracy Johnstone of VERICO Riverside Mortgage Group are excited to announce their involvement with the 2013 Richmond Christmas Fund.  Bryan recently joined the Board of Directors in April and looks forward to working with a great group of business professionals from the Richmond and Steveston areas.  There’s a lot of exciting fund raising initiatives planned in the coming months and the team encourages everyone in the community to get involved and show your support.  If you would like to participate or have any great ideas please call Bryan Johnstone @ 604-274-9000 or email:

Volunteer Richmond Information Services understands that not everyone is fortunate. Many families in Richmond live with only the barest of necessities. During the holiday season, financial pressures are particularly tough.

Our Richmond Christmas Fund program mobilizes the community’s spirit of giving, through monetary donations and donations of new toys and other gifts for needy families.

Each year, the Fund distributes grocery vouchers to low-income Richmond residents so that every family has the opportunity to sit down to a joyful holiday celebration.

More than 800 children 15 years and younger receive numerous gifts ensuring that no child returns to school in January without a wonderful story to tell.

Some fortunate families are matched with a generous sponsor for a custom food and gift hamper. Sponsors, who are usually individuals or corporations, then create a personalized food and gift package for their sponsored family based on the needs and tastes of that family. The number of families who receive hampers depends solely on the commitment and generosity of the community.

This program would not be possible without the 120+ volunteers who contribute their time each year to help with registration, toy distribution, data entry and fundraising events. If you’d like to help the Richmond Christmas Fund in some way, please call 604-279-7020 or email

Riverside Mortgage Featured in Steveston Insider

Riverside Mortgage Group

by Sarah Gordon ~

I first met Bryan Johnstone when he became a Director of the Steveston Merchants Association.  He quickly jumped in to help plan events and has become an asset to the board. He brims with enthusiasm and is eager to help make Steveston a year round destination.  It is hard to believe that Bryan can find the time to volunteer when he and his wife, Tracy, who is also his business partner, are busy running a successful mortgage office, and juggling their young family.  Bryan and Tracy are recognizable Stevestonites. You will see them at every local event. They are also loyal supporters of Steveston restaurants and shops.

It is apparent that Bryan and Tracy love their profession as mortgage broker-owners of Verico Riverside Mortgage Group Inc.  Located at London Landing in Steveston, the Riverside Mortgage Group office exudes a warm seaside atmosphere. You instantly relax and feel welcome upon entering this tasteful space with its soothing blue walls, high ceilings and nautical prints. Bryan and Tracy joke that they based their choice of this idyllic location on convenient parking, close proximity to the village, easy access to blackberry patches and the bike park across the street.

Bryan and Tracy believe that their clients’ happiness is key, and this comes through in the effort they have made to create such an inviting space to conduct business. They focus on educating their clients so that they can confidently make the right financing decision. They assist by guiding them step by step through the process. In turn, clients feel secure knowing that they are in competent hands.

Whether a client needs help preapproving a mortgage, or with a renewal or refinancing, Riverside Mortgage Group is able to assist. Flexibility and ease are top priorities at Riverside Mortgage Group. Having built their home and office space, Bryan and Tracy have the advantage of personal experience to assist their clients with one of the biggest financial investments they will make.

In addition to Bryan and Tracy, they have a team of eight licensed multilingual mortgage professionals who offer service in English, French, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, Vietnamese and Filipino. Riverside Mortgage Group is able to help self-employed clients and new Canadians find the best available rates.  On standard, qualified applications, you are never charged a fee to arrange your mortgage at Riverside Mortgage Group.

Bryan and Tracy have called Steveston home for the past five years. Tracy was born and raised in Richmond. Real estate has been part of her life for as long as she can remember, as both of her parents were realtors. Originally from Halifax, Bryan moved to British Columbia twenty-one years ago. He feels very much akin to this coastal environment; in fact, Steveston’s spectacular waterfront location and the outdoor environment were at the top of his list of reasons to move here.

Living and working close to home makes sense, as their personal and work lives are so interconnected.  They know the community well, and derive satisfaction from helping their fellow local businesses.  As a company, Riverside Mortgage Group likes to give back to Steveston and they are proud sponsors of local events including Steveston Starry Nights (Movies in the Park), and the horse drawn carriage ride, one of the highlights of Christmas in Steveston Village.

Giving back to the community is also very important to Bryan and Tracy. Tracy is actively involved with Breakfast with Santa at Lord Byng Elementary.  Bryan is one of the three cofounders of Tall Ships 2002. Stemming from his Maritime roots, and his love for all things nautical, Bryan lobbied the City of Richmond to get the event to Steveston, and worked on sponsorship and ship recruitment. Bryan’s volunteer work with the Tall Ships event helped introduce him to the Steveston community, and made him feel at home here.  He recently volunteered as Ship Liaison at the Ship to Shore event.

Bryan and Tracy have worked as mortgage brokers in Steveston for the past ten years, eight years in the village and two years at their London Landing office. Both came from marketing and sales backgrounds, Bryan was involved with the telecom industry and Tracy worked in the food industry. In addition to their busy work lives, they ensure that they reserve plenty of time for their two young children.  As a family, they enjoy skiing, cycling and plenty of outdoor activities.  Bryan enjoys building furniture in his spare time. Both Bryan and Tracy love design, and took a keen interest when they had their home built.

Some of the Johnstone family’s favourite Steveston hangouts include the Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant, Tapenade Bistro, breakfast at the Steveston Hotel, Bean and Beyond Café, Steveston Pizza Co., and shopping at the Mercato and Heringers.   Their children’s favourite hot spots are Outpost Mini Donut Company, Splash Toy Shop, Alegria Cafe, where they love to play in the courtyard and eat grilled cheese sandwiches.  As a family, they enjoy hopping on their bikes and cycling around Steveston.

It is because of business owners like Bryan and Tracy Johnstone, who make a long-term investment in the place they work and live, that Steveston is such a vibrant and sought after community to call home.






Costs Associated With Closing A Home

Your mortgage isn’t your only expense when buying a home. In fact, there are several closing costs that you must pay before you can take possession of your house (to “take possession” means the home is now legally yours). Many of these costs are listed below:

Appraisal Fee

This is the cost for a professional to come to your property to assess its value. Your mortgage lender or mortgage default insurer may require an appraisal to determine whether the selling price is reasonable for that market.


You must pay the Goods and Service Tax (or Harmonized Sales Tax) on a newly constructed or substantially renovated home. Resale homes do not require a GST payment. Some of this can be recovered with the GST/HST rebate for new or substantially renovated homes.

Home Inspection Fee

This covers the cost of a professional inspection of your home. Hiring an inspector is voluntary but recommended for resale homes, and usually costs $400-$600.

Property Insurance

Since your lender has a large stake in your home, they will often require you to purchase insurance against fire and weather-related damage. It is also a good idea for you to purchase ‘contents’ insurance to protect your valuables.

Land Transfer Tax

This is a tax charged to buyers in most provinces, usually based on the purchase price.

Legal Costs

This includes fees charged by your lawyers or notary for services such as conducting a title search, drafting a title deed and preparing the mortgage, and registration fees. This will cost over $900.

Mortgage Default Insurance

High-ratio mortgages (those with less than 20% down payment) generally require mortgage default insurance. The cost is usually added to the mortgage and ranges from 1%-3.25% depending on the amount of your down payment.

Mortgage Life Insurance

Special insurance coverage to cover the cost of your mortgage in the event of death or severe illness is available from most lenders.

Moving Expenses

Costs will vary, depending on whether you do it yourself, rent a truck, or hire professional movers.

Prepaid taxes, Utility Bills and Other Charges

Any previous owner may have prepaid some bills before the closing date, which you will have to reimburse them for. All taxes, utility bills, and other charges incurred after the closing date become your responsibility.


Most utility companies charge for hooking up your services and replacing any previous owner’s names with your name on the bill.