23 Jan

The most common pitfalls of buying a home and how to avoid them

General

Posted by: Brent Adair

mortgage broker

To make sure you are prepared for buying a home, here are some common pitfalls you’ll want to avoid, and how to avoid them!

Closing issues

Is your money all in one place? If you don’t have the money ready for the closing date, you could face serious issues (i.e. legal issues). Make sure all your money is ready in one account for closing. Transferring money from one account to another, especially if it’s in investment accounts, can take much longer than you expect. This will make the home buying process much smoother, so make sure you get the money situation handled ahead of time.

Home inspections

Sometimes buyers forget to have a home inspection before they buy their new home. Things may look pretty on the outside, but there could be pluming issues, heating issues, etc. on the inside. Hire an engineer, and electrician, or whatever you need to do – just make sure to have professionals inspect the house before you buy. Sometimes if there are very serious issues lurking in the house, it might be better just to walk away from buying the house. Without that inspection, you might have gotten a very bad deal.

Make sure to hire a lawyer

If you hire a lawyer from the beginning of the home-buying process, you’ll be prepared for any legal or contract issue. Never act as your own attorney in real estate if you’re not a professional. For example, make sure you consult with a lawyer to ensure that everything that you expect to be in the home when you move in, stays there. There are cases of sellers removing toilets from their homes, appliances, chandeliers, light fixtures, and more without the buyer expecting this because it wasn’t noted in the contract. Make sure that before you sign any legal document, you have your lawyer look over it.

Get advice from professionals

To avoid any future problems, consult with all relevant professionals when buying your home. There will always be little things that you wouldn’t have considered without their help and have a huge impact. You’re already paying for a broker, lawyer, etc. so make sure you listen to their advice!

 

23 Jan

List of Things To Tell Your Realtor

General

Posted by: Brent Adair

b-lenders

Buying a home is a big deal! It is likely one of the biggest investments you’ll make in your life. Because of this, you’ll want to plan ahead and make sure that all of your needs are considered and expressed to your realtor, so you can find the home that is best for you.

Find a good realtor

First things first, make sure you find a realtor you ‘click’ with. Pick one that you feel best understands your needs, wants, and your overall vision for what you’re searching for in a home. If you have a realtor that you don’t have great chemistry with, you could waste a lot of valuable time.

Price range

What is your price range? Make sure your realtor knows this at the beginning of the home shopping process, so they don’t present you homes that are way out of your price range. You also want to make sure your realtor knows this, so they know the areas for homes to show you. Or if you’re looking for a home in a specific area or neighbourhood, they can make sure to show you only the homes in that area that meet your price range.

Needs and wants

Make a list of what you need to have, would like to have, and cannot have. This will make it much easier for your realtor to help you in your search of finding your ‘perfect’ home. For example, maybe a ‘cannot have’ would be to live on a busy main street since you want to live in quiet neighbourhood. Or, maybe a ‘need to have’ is living a reasonable distance from your work.

Timeline

When do you expect to move into your new home? Are you renting currently? When does your lease end? Are you selling your home currently and looking for a new one? These are all things to tell your realtor at the beginning of the home shopping process. If you don’t they could advise you on a house that will be gone by the time you hope to move in. Make sure you give your realtor as much information as possible such as the date you hope to move in.

23 Jan

First-Time Homeowner Concerns

General

Posted by: Brent Adair

Whether you’re newlyweds, first time home owners, parents looking for a home in a good school district, or planning on buying a new home, these are some concerns you may have when searching for your new home. With these concerns, we’ve also included tips on how to deal with them

The Right Home

Think about what you truly want in a home. Do you want a big, spacious house, or a cozy and quaint living space? What is your budget? What features do you want in your new home? Make sure you talk to your real estate agent and make a clear list of what you’re looking for in a new home. It’s always good to look at houses that may not fit you’re expected criteria, because you may just find a home that’s even better than you expected.

How Much Should I Offer?

Make sure you consult with professionals when giving an offer on homes. A good rule of thumb is to never immediately base your offer on the original asking price. Make sure whatever you offer, it is based on the actual value of the home. As mentioned, always consult with professionals because they are there to help you make sure you get the best bang for your buck. Buying a home is a big deal so you won’t want to skip this tip.

Finances and Other Expenses

Down payments, credit scores, employment, personal finances, and other unexpected expenses are all things first time home owners, and those just buying a new home need to consider. If you are a newlywed, make sure you have the ‘finance’ conversation before rushing into buying a new home. Do you know your partners credit situation? Are you both prepared to buy a new home based on your financial situation? Do you have savings to make a down payment? Is your current employment sustainable? You might also want to get preapproved for a mortgage if you can before checking out homes on the market. This will make it easier to understand what price of home you should be looking for.

Neighbourhood

What type of neighbourhood are you hoping to live in? Do you have children, or are you hoping to start a family? Do you want a home close to your work? These are all things new home owners often consider when buying a home. Make sure to talk to professionals about what areas would be best for what you’re looking for. If you’re thinking of starting a family or already have children, you probably want a neighbourhood with a good school district and is safe for children.

23 Jan

Benefits of Buying Vs. Renting

General

Posted by: Brent Adair

Here’s a general list of the benefits of buying vs. renting that will be sure to help you in making your big decision when it comes to looking for a new home.

Buying a home is an investment

Buying a home is a great investment. Over time, your home will very likely increase in value. Your equity will also build over time when you make your monthly mortgage payments and will grow more the longer you stay in your home. Simply, renting is not an investment – you’re paying someone else for money you could be using for an investment! Why not pay a mortgage instead that will benefit you in the long run?

Freedom

Have you ever had those landlords who never let you make the place you’re living in, your own? You had to keep the walls a pale white, or had to deal with an old bathroom or kitchen that barely does its job? As a homeowner, you can fix these things and make the home truly your own. You won’t have to worry about what colours you’re allowed to paint the walls or having to get permission to make changes to that old kitchen or bathroom.  

Generally over time, buying costs less than renting

Have you ever experienced a landlord increasing your rent each year? With paying a mortgage, you won’t have to deal with that if you opt for a fixed mortgage rate! This makes it easier to budget since it will stabilize your monthly finances. Also, your home will increase in value for your benefit, and each payment you make impacts your equity. With renting, there is no chance for money to be made. Also, when you’ve paid off your mortgage, guess what that means? No more mortgage payments – the house is all yours!

Family stability and being part of a community

Do you remember growing up in your family home and how special that home was to you and your family? If you’re planning on starting a family or thinking of moving to a new home to make life better for your family, buying a home will create a space that will be more important to you and your family than any investment. Without getting too cheesy, owning a family home is really something special: you can watch your kids grow up and make family memories that you’ll never forget.

Also, when you pick a great neighbourhood to live in, you’re sure to build a sense of community with your neighbours and foster a great environment for your children to grow up in.

Make sure to talk to your mortgage broker for more information on how buying is the right choice for you.

23 Jan

Tips for Alternative Home Ownership

General

Posted by: Brent Adair

As we have seen in the housing market, there has been a rise in the price of homes and while the supply can’t keep up with the demand, many young buyers are finding themselves priced out of the housing market. While it is unfair, here are some helpful home ownership strategies.

 

Shared Home Ownership

Co-ownership is very common in the United Kingdom and this strategy has slowly started to gain traction in Ontario. As some of the real estate prices are going up, some buyers are pooling their resources to procure a property. Recent examples have seen everything from purchase costs split evenly amongst the groups of buyers, to banks allowing separate mortgages between them, to renovation costs being split to divide the living space, to certain owners taking on specific property management duties, to monthly mortgage payments coming out of joint bank accounts, to life insurance policies being taken out to ensure the right owners will be entitled to their portion of the house in the event of another’s death, and so forth. This is something to think about, if you can’t afford to buy alone, are you able to with others?

 

Purchasing Pre-Construction

There are numerous benefits when it comes to buying a pre-constructed home. One of the major benefits about this is that you are able to purchase at a lower price than resale. When it comes to the end of the day, you are not only leaving the bidding war in the dust but also starting to accumulate wealth.

 

Heading to the Suburbs or Further Distances

To combat being priced out of the housing market, a lot of millenials are now heading out of the big city and relocating to other parts of Ontario. According to Statscan’s latest intraprovincial migration data, Toronto has lost the highest number of young people since 1999-2000. Some of these buyers are encountering a greater amount of inventory, lower home prices and less competition. They are also finding new jobs or making arrangements with their current employer.

 

Taking Over an Exclusive Condo Assignment

Simply put, there is a huge inventory of available pre-construction condo units out there which have been built, are ready to occupy and remain empty. They are called assignments, referred to as such because the Seller is actually selling their contract with the builder, since they don’t own the actual condo yet. In other words, they’re assigning it. The kicker? Nobody really knows about these assignments because so many are exclusive listings, meaning they aren’t on MLS. By doing some legwork and finding one that suits your needs, you’ll most likely find a new unit without the burden of multiple offers, the bidding war or inflated prices.

23 Jan

Refinancing your mortgage

General

Posted by: Brent Adair

 

Step 1 Decide If You Need to Apply for a Loan

Refinancing your mortgage is a long-term commitment, so before approaching a lender, you must decide whether you have a good reason to apply for a mortgage, the following are some reasons:

  • You are planning to renovate your house.
  • You are thinking about buying a new property.
  • You need to put up enough money for your child’s education fund.
  • You are thinking about entering into a new business venture, but do not have the capital to proceed.
  • Refinancing your home is a strategy to consolidate all your debts.
  • Interest rates have dropped to the point that refinancing your home can lower your borrowing costs.

Step 2 Evaluate if refinancing your mortgage is your best option

Refinancing your mortgage may be beneficial to you under certain conditions. This is where you will need to speak with a mortgage professional, they can give you an honest opinion of the market and whether mortgage refinancing is your best option.

Step 3: Can You Afford the Monthly Repayments of a Refinanced Mortgage?

Before applying for a loan, it is best to ask yourself these questions:

  • “How much do I need to borrow?”
  • “How much can I actually afford to borrow?”
  • “Do I urgently need the money or is it possible to just save up for it?”
  • “How much can I afford to spare for monthly loan payments?”
  • “Can I still pay off the loan even if interest rates increase?”

If you are honest and realistic with your responses to these questions, then you have a better chance of getting a loan that’s favourable towards you.

Step 4 Understand Your Credit Score

Sometimes your credit score can make or break your loan application. Lenders need to know how well you are with handling your money. If your credit score is bad or bruised, the best option is to try and repair it first before applying for mortgage refinancing.

Step 5 Shop around

Various lenders offer different mortgage terms and interest rates. Make sure you are taking time to fully understand each one. There are three basic mortgage loan types.  

  • Fixed-rate mortgage: You will pay the same monthly payments and interest rate for the duration of mortgage term.
  • Variable rate mortgage: Your monthly payments and the interest rate of your mortgage will fluctuate depending on market conditions.
  • Hybrid or combined rate mortgage: Terms may include both fixed and adjustable rates.

Feel free to talk to a mortgage professional or your current lender to see which options are available to you.

Step 6 Calculate the total cost of Refinancing

When you refinance the mortgage of your property, you’re not just going to pay back the amount you borrowed. You must consider other expenses such as:

  • Home appraisal costs
  • Title search fees
  • Title insurance fees
  • Legal costs

Once you have calculated the total costs that come with refinancing your home, you’ll get a clearer picture if the loan options available to you are favorable or not.

Step 7 Submit your loan application

It is now time to begin applying for a mortgage refinance on your home. If you plan on doing this on your own, you will need approach the lenders and ask them for a full list of documents that must be submitted with your application.

Step 8 Read and Review the proposed Mortgage Agreement

At this point the lender has reviewed and approved your application, as they have found you are a qualified to secure a refinancing mortgage loan. You must make sure you read the conditions of the loan thoroughly. You can ask the lender about clarifying any thing on the contract you don’t fully understand. Perhaps a mortgage expert could help guide you and negotiate a lower interest rate, as well as better terms.

 

23 Jan

Preparing your home for sale

General

Posted by: Brent Adair

Ready to sell your home? One of the most critical things about selling your home is that you make a good first impression for potential buyers when they walk into your home. That is why preparing your home before the sale is important. A good first impression will help convert a home buyer who is just looking into a buyer that will close the sale.

So when it comes to first impressions, pretend that you are walking into your home for the first time and taking notes on what you as a potential home buyer would notice. From your notes it is best to either repair or replace those items. Here are few more helpful tips for preparing your home for sale:

 

Clean!

One of the best things you can do is go through your home and clean your entire house. This includes going from one room to the next and cleaning off mantles, tables, fan blades, appliances, faucets, and make sure to give your windows a thorough clean. If you’ve already moved out or are too busy to stay on top of cleaning, you can always hire a cleaning service to do the job.

 

Pay Attention to Smells

You should be mindful of cooking in your home and what you are cooking. For example if you plan on having an open house later in the day, you should probably stay away from cooking anything in your home that would have a lingering smell (fish, bacon, etc.). While it may taste great, you also don’t want your home smelling like a fast food restaurant during open houses. However you could make something “yummy” like cookies, to help people connect with the kitchen.

 

Repaint the Walls a Neutral Colour

Having bright colours in rooms could deter potential home buyers, so it is best to repaint rooms neutral colours (tan or white). These help buyers focus on the spaces of the rooms and not the colours.

 

Clear Out The Clutter

It is best to have the buyers focus on the house and how much space and room it has. You should clear out the stack of mail, shoe piles and anything else that might detract from the buyers focusing on the clutter and not the gorgeous features of your home.

 

Get Rid of Personal Items

Buyers want to envision themselves in this house, so it is best to hide any personal items, kids’ artwork or family photos.

 

Boost the Curb Appeal

Don’t spend all your time indoors! Buyers will sometimes not even enter a home based on the curb appeal alone. It is important to make sure that your home’s exterior looks good too. Spend a few hours outside, trimming shrubs, weeding the garden, and keep the walkway clear. You can even add a row of potted plants to help make the front cheerful and welcoming.