Renewal Time!

Ok, so it’s been a few years and you’ve been busy hammering away at your mortgage principal and now it’s time to renew your mortgage. This post will share some myths, insights, and ideas I have when discussing renewals with clients.

First of all, renewal time is your best chance at getting the best deal without any cost. Whether you went fixed or variable, short- or long-term amortization, the lender you’re with now knows full well you may not shop your deal around therefore they will offer you an average and mediocre rate. If you fail to sign up and do anything about it, they’ll offer you an even worse rate: the dreaded convertible option. This means they will fix your mortgage, apply high penalties to leave, but give you the option of picking another term with them at anytime, without cost. Let’s face it: lenders salivate at offering high-rate…


New World Order On Down Payment

The new Finance Minister announced changes to the down payment rules we all knew were coming from last week’s blog post. Simply put, they are the lowest-hanging fruit for the Government to use in order to cool things. Let’s face it - things are out of control in Toronto specifically. If you’re a buyer or buying Realtor you know how insane things are. If you’re a listing agent, you know how insane things are. If you’re a lender or mortgage broker, you know how insane things are. So why not change things up a little bit to cool things off?

This is the sixth version of mortgage rule changes we have seen in the past 10 years and like the previous five, this one will do little to cool things. It will certainly help a little bit, especially on the higher-end, but it is the most gradual and relaxed rule…


BIG. NEWS. (maybe). 10% down new minimums?

There has been a lot of speculation about a potential increase to down payment rules from 5% to 10%, especially with the Vancouver and Toronto housing markets continuing their incredible run.

Both Bloomberg and Canadian Mortgage Trends reported today these potential moves brought on by the Liberal Government. “As many as 115,000 buyers across Canada may not afford a 10% down payment”. There is also talk of a sliding scale policy where the 5% down payment would still work for homes under $500,000, 7% being required for $500,001 and $700,000, and 10% on anything over $700,000.

The worst part? If this is to happen expect it to happen fast, without warning, and potentially without much heads up.

The second worst part? This would cause huge damage to a very weak market outside of Toronto and Vancouver as is evident by the charts below. Our prices are…


Don’t Let FOMO Affect Your Decision Making

Lately a lot of my clients of had a difficult time deciding between fixed and variable when choosing their mortgage option. I certainly can sympathize with the decision that is not easy one to make. It seems that it all comes down to fear of missing out a relatively new phenomenon that we are experiencing in the world at large. FOMO has become a term popularized by the fear of missing out on interesting events, especially aroused by usage of social media. In my example here, social media does not have anything to do with the choice of fixed vs variable. Rather, FOMO here revolves around getting the best deal and making the best decision.

For example, if someone takes a variable rate today, there are always worries that the rates might go up by too much, too fast. If someone takes a fixed rate, have they really captured…


So You Wanna Make An Offer…

I got a call today from a client who wants to take out their RRSPs to make an offer on a house, but, we aren’t sure if their offer will go through.  Now what? Will Revenue Canada tax him on the funds he withdrew? Can he put them back if this offer doesn’t go through? What if he finds another house he wants to buy, how does he get his money back again? If he decides not to buy anything can he fund his RRSPs again and not face any penalty? All good questions to which I have the answers!

Revenue Canada is surprisingly accepting of what’s happening in our surreal estate market these days. They know and understand offers come and go, deals fall through, and do not wish to tax someone for a house they did not end up buying for one reason or another within limits of…


Why I Do What I Do

It has been quite some time that I have put some writing on this blog. Simply put, the summer has been exceptionally busy and I have been dedicating my time to serving my clients as well as spending some quality time with my son who his growing up at lightning speed (matter of fact, today was his first day of school!). Since he’s starting that, I thought I would start today’s blog entry with a straight-from-the-heart post:

Why I Do What I Do

I do what I do because I love what I do. Wouldn’t you rather buy a car from someone who loves cars? Someone who loves cars so much they learn all about the cars they sell and also the cars they don’t sell? Someone who you can see their passion for what they sell shine when you meet them? I hope it’s the same feeling with me.…


Big Banks Touting Their Amazing Features In Face Of Increased Competition. #BRINGITON

I nearly fell off my Ikea chair this morning while eating breakfast and reading the newspaper. It appears the big banks are tired of fighting for just rate, and are now touting their amazing features as reason why you should go with them.. Please, if your sarcasm meter is broken, now is the time to turn it ON.

One paragraph I found most interesting was:

Rather than advertise a rate special, Bank of Nova Scotia is launching its spring mortgage campaign with a consumer poll showing that while 84 per cent of mortgage shoppers care about the rate they’re getting, a majority also care about other mortgage features, such as the ability to break their mortgage early or make extra payments.



First of 2015! RENEWALS!

After taking some time off from blogging I wanted to kick off 2015 by discussing mortgage renewals. Why? Lately I have been receiving a lot of inquires with many renewals coming up and in order to demystify the process I wanted to share my insight.

First, never ever ever take the offer you are given from your lender right off the bat. Most likely they have priced the renewal offer much higher simply because they are aware that many clients do not want to take the time to shop around. YET, shopping around can literally save you thousands in unnecessary interest costs, so it is worth your while to do so. Your lender knows that inherently people are either too busy or nervous at renewal time and therefore are offering rates (today) that are .10 to .30 basis points higher (or more). Although signing a renewal is a very easy…


Why Bridge Loans Are A Pain In The Rear

You finally found it. After months of searching, and an ever-growing family, you found “the one” that will suit all your needs. Bigger, better, newer, and any other attribute you could name, this one has it. What a relief. You set a closing date 3 months out and post your house up for sale. It’s ideal for first-time buyers so you should have no problem selling it, either. You list your house for sale, and naturally three offers come to the table. After speaking with your Realtor, you decide the best course of action is to sell one week after your purchase date, and take a bridge loan to cover the difference. Relief sets in.

The above scenario is played out hundreds or thousands of times per year in our real estate market. It makes sense. Why not sell your house after you move into the new one, thus giving…


The Financing Behind A Big Reno

I’m an avid reader of the Globe & Mail’s Real Estate section, especially Dave Leblanc and Alex Bozikovic. Quite often we see dreamy renovations accomplished in their articles but rarely do we actually know how much they cost. When inquiring about this, the writers both mention the fact that the subjects did not want to reveal personal finances - quite fair in my opinion. It was interesting to see an article in today’s paper, then, that did discuss actual costs and showed us the final product. The Principals behind Solares Architects gutted and greened an old Roncesvalles home for $325,000 and have done an absolutely fantastic job. Two goals were accomplished: 1. a complete makeover of the property and 2. a complete energy update to the property. The results are astounding on both fronts, and the budget was quite manageable in my…

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