25 May

Looking Beyond Mortgage Rates

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Jon McKay

It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that comparing mortgage rates will guarantee you get the best bang for your mortgage buck. While this may be true for particular situations, there are many scenarios where this strategy is not effective. Following are three reasons why it doesn’t always pay to make a decision based solely on rates.

Reason #1

Your long-term plan and risk tolerance should determine which mortgage product is right for you. This product may or may not have the lowest rate.

For instance, there are cases where lenders will offer lower rates for insured mortgages. With insured mortgages, however, you’re charged an insurance premium, which is usually added to the mortgage amount. But if you’re not planning on keeping the property for a long enough time to offset that cost, it may be better to take an uninsured mortgage with a slightly higher rate. The cost difference you will pay with the higher interest rate may still be less than what you may pay in insurance premiums.

As another example, if you prefer to budget for a consistent payment and can’t handle rate fluctuations, it may be better to go with a higher fixed-rate mortgage. If you think current rates are low enough and you will be living in your property for at least five years, it may be wise to also opt for a mortgage with a longer term.

Reason #2

One of the biggest mistakes people make when merely comparing mortgage rates is failing to consider important factors such as prepayment options to help pay off the mortgage faster, whether secondary financing options are allowed, early payout penalties, or what fees are involved.

It’s not enough to simply compare mortgage rates because you have to know what “clauses” are contained within the mortgage deal. There may be cases where you will find a lender with the lowest rate and willing to pay for your closing costs, or even provide you with cash-backs after closing.

Reason #3

Lenders can change their rates at any time. As such, if you’re shopping for rates with one lender and then approach another that gives you a lower rate, it’s quite possible that the first lender has also dropped its rates. This is why it’s important to get pre-approved with a lender once you a mortgage that fits your needs. In some cases, you can secure your rate and conditions for up to 120 days.

These are just three reasons why it’s not enough to merely compare mortgage rates. The mortgage rate you may qualify for is also highly dependent on your credit score among other things. In order to get the best mortgage deals, you need to have solid credit.

For more information, please contact:

Jon McKay, AMP
Accredited Mortgage Professional

jon@mortgageslugger.ca
Direct: 416.846.2203
Toll-Free/Fax: 1.888.281.3240
www.MortgageSlugger.ca

Dominion Lending Centres
Mortgage House Licence #10557
Independently Owned & Operated

17 May

Single Ladies Buying Homes

Purchase

Posted by: Jon McKay

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that a greater number of women are now taking the reigns when it comes to home purchases. There’s a growing trend among single women – and, more precisely, professional single women – who are becoming independent homeowners. While many of them may be putting off marriage, they’re not waiting around for Mr Right before taking the plunge into homeownership.

It’s believed that around 20% of homebuyers in North America are single women based on a 2011 report released by the US National Association of Realtors. Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies also released a report that said single women are buying in record numbers.

There’s no equivalent data for Canada, but an abundance of anecdotal information has led to the creation of shows like HGTV’s Buy Herself, which follows single women making their first real estate purchases.

Women are looking for ways to become financially independent, and investing in real estate and building equity for themselves are ways to invest in their future – building financial security.

Women are taking advantage of historically low interest rates and recognizing homeownership is often more affordable than renting.

Seeking expert advice

One of the amazing things about women looking to invest in real estate is that they’re getting more advice before they make the decision to enter the market. They’re seeking out mortgage experts and real estate agents, and building a plan for the perfect entry into the market. They’re making lists of areas in which they’re interested in purchasing, itemizing amenities they would need in their ideal neighbourhoods, ensuring they have all the facts around closing costs and fees associated with making the purchase, and securing a mortgage.

Buying a home is likely one of the largest purchases you’ll ever make in your lifetime, and can feel overwhelming. That’s why working with a professional mortgage agent, real estate agent, home inspector and so on is essential. You’ll be working with these professionals closely – possibly for months – so interactions should feel comfortable, and they should be knowledgeable and responsive even to the smallest question.

The more prepared you are, the smoother the experience will be so do a little research on your own over the Internet to get a good idea of what types of properties and areas are of interest to you. Make a list of questions to ask your mortgage agent or realtor – and keep it on hand so you can add to it as more questions arise.

Interest rates are the lowest they’ve been in history and they have nowhere to go but up. Industry professionals believe that as rates begin to rise, they’ll continue to rise for some time. There has never been a better time for women to make the decision to get into the real estate market to find the perfect place to call home.

For more information, please contact:

Jon McKay, AMP
Accredited Mortgage Professional

jon@mortgageslugger.ca
Direct: 416.846.2203
Toll-Free/Fax: 1.888.281.3240
www.MortgageSlugger.ca

Dominion Lending Centres
Mortgage House Licence #10557
Independently Owned & Operated

9 May

Using Home Equity to Your Advantage

Refinance

Posted by: Jon McKay

Canadians purchase homes for a variety of reasons. Some want the stability of owning their own home, while others also look at home ownership as an investment vehicle. No matter what the reason, the truth is that home ownership has proven itself to be a good stable investment over time, and one which many Canadians are profiting from.

While many people have chosen to purchase their first home during these times of lower interest rates, there has also been a large movement to refinance home loans and pull out equity for home improvements, investments, college expenses, and even high interest debt consolidation. Canadians have been borrowing against their home’s equity in record numbers, taking out billions of dollars in cash each year.

In years past, many saw their homes as a shelter of safety, yet today, they are more than ever before willing to borrow against the equity owned in their homes to further their investment portfolios, get out of debt, send their children to university, make improvements to their home, or even boost their RRSP contributions. Where home equity was once sat upon, today it is something to be tapped out and used to one’s advantage.

While tapping the equity in your home can be a good idea, you should do so with caution and understand any of the possible consequences. The best thing you can do is consult a licensed mortgage professional and financial planner to discuss opportunities to make your home’s equity work for you.

For more information, please contact:

Jon McKay, AMP
Accredited Mortgage Professional

jon@mortgageslugger.ca
Direct: 416.846.2203
Toll-Free/Fax: 1.888.281.3240
www.MortgageSlugger.ca

Dominion Lending Centres
Mortgage House Licence #10557
Independently Owned & Operated

8 May

Deciding Which Type of Home to Purchase

Purchase

Posted by: Jon McKay

There is an endless supply of different types of homes available for purchase – ranging from condos to townhouses to fully-detached homes. The key is to decide what you can afford and which amenities you prefer before heading out shopping for a new home.

Your best first step is to seek the advice of an Accredited Mortgage Professional (AMP) and get pre-approved on a mortgage. That way, you already know what your price range is – and, therefore, which type of home you’re in the market for – before you begin shopping.

Budgeting is also an important part of preparing yourself for the purchase of a home. If you save for a down payment and up-front costs, such as closing costs and emergency reserves, much sooner, you’ll be sure to save enough to cover the many expenses facing a new homeowner, including moving, utility hook-ups, tools, maintenance supplies, window coverings, etcetera.

Once you have the money available to make your home purchase a reality, you should weigh the following options to help decide what type of home is right for you:

Condo

A condo makes a great first home because it typically costs less than a townhouse or a detached home, which translates into a smaller down payment. But there are, however, monthly maintenance fees you must take into consideration when budgeting for a condo.

Condos are also ideal for those who do not want to maintain a lawn or worry about clearing snow away from walkways and driveways.

Townhouse

If the condo life is not your forte and you’re not looking for a big yard to maintain, a townhouse may be your best home purchase option.

A townhouse costs less than a fully-detached home and results in cheaper property taxes as well.

Many townhouses also come with monthly maintenance fees unless they are freehold townhouses. In situations where you pay a monthly fee, however, you won’t have to worry about outdoor maintenance or snow removal.

Detached Home

If it’s privacy you’re seeking as well as a larger yard, a detached home is your ideal choice. Still, prices can vary drastically based on such variables as whether you’re seeking a spot in the city, a place in the suburbs or a more rural location.

Other Considerations

The size of the home and property (if you decide not to opt for a condo) are also important things to consider before you head out shopping. While everyone has their dream home in mind, this is not always a practical purchase choice, especially if this is your first home purchase.

When it comes to location, think about in which area or neighbourhood you’d like to make your purchase, and which home features are absolutely essential – including what you can live without and what aspects are entirely out of the question.

Take a look at real estate ads for the area(s) you’re interested in to see what’s on the market and the price ranges. Also drive around a few neighbourhoods and see what’s for sale or visit Open Houses. This can help crystallize what you want or don’t want in a home.

By making your first purchase a modest and affordable ‘starter’ home, you will be putting money towards a mortgage that will build equity in that home. And once you’ve paid down a significant portion of that first home’s mortgage, you will then have more money to put towards an upgrade into your dream home.

For more information, please contact:

Jon McKay, AMP
Accredited Mortgage Professional

jon@mortgageslugger.ca
Direct: 416.846.2203
Toll-Free/Fax: 1.888.281.3240
www.MortgageSlugger.ca

Dominion Lending Centres
Mortgage House Licence #10557
Independently Owned & Operated

3 May

Tips for Paying Off Your Mortgage Faster

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Jon McKay

Mortgages in Canada are generally amortized between 25 and 35 year terms. While this seems a long time, it does not have to take anyone that long to pay off their mortgage if they choose to do so in a shorter period of time.

With a little bit of thinking ahead, and a small bit of sacrifice, most people can manage to pay off their mortgage in a much shorter period of time by taking positive steps such as:

  • Making mortgage payments each week, or even every other week. Both options lower your interest paid over the term of your mortgage and can result in the equivalent of an extra month’s mortgage payment each year. Paying your mortgage in this way can take your mortgage from 25 years down to 21.
  • When your income increases, increase the amount of your mortgage payments. Let’s say you get a 5% raise each year at work. If you put that extra 5% of your income into your mortgage, your mortgage balance will drop much faster without feeling like you are changing your spending habits.
  • Mortgage lenders will also allow you to make extra payments on your mortgage balance each year. Just about everyone finds themselves with money they were not expecting at some point or another. Maybe you inherited some money from a distant relative or you received a nice holiday bonus at work. Apply this money to your mortgage lender as a lump-sum payment towards your mortgage and watch the results.

By applying these strategies consistently over time, you will save money, pay less interest and pay off your mortgage years earlier!

For more information, please contact:

Jon McKay, AMP
Accredited Mortgage Professional

jon@mortgageslugger.ca
Direct: 416.846.2203
Toll-Free/Fax: 1.888.281.3240
www.MortgageSlugger.ca

Dominion Lending Centres
Mortgage House Licence #10557
Independently Owned & Operated