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Investing in a multi-unit properties? Take care…

Recently, I noticed something very strange happening with multi-unit properties and I want to share two experiences with you…

I was approached to refinance 2 separate and different Multi-unit properties by 2 completely different borrowers.    Both properties were in the Greater Toronto area.   They were both in great condition and were bringing in good rental income.

Property 1 was purchased in 2008 for $385k.  There are 3 legal rental units.   It generates good rental income of $3700/month. The owner paid utilities.

Property 2 was purchased in 2006 for $610k.  There are 3 legal rental units.  It generates rental income of $3400/mth…. The tenants paid utilities…(it should be noted that Property 2 is in a more expensive part of town where real estate prices are higher).

Fast forward to today…. Based on current appraised values, Property 1 is currently worth $460k, Property 2 is currently worth $660k.   Keep in mind that these are actual rents for both properties.

So how can this happen?  It’s clear to me… the buyer’s of Property 2 overpaid in 2006….Property 1 is in a less expensive part of town but the rental income and condition of the property are more relevant when dealing with investment properties….

How can you avoid this mistake?  Seek out the help of a good Mortgage Broker… A good broker can seek out the opinions of a recognized real estate appraiser… and even crunch the numbers with an experienced Lender to determine the property’s Lending Value…

As an aside, the average sale price of a single family home in GTA in 2006 was $350k…. today, it’s around $427k.   Multi-unit dwellings can be attractive but consider single family homes if you want to invest in real estate.  Always discuss the purchase with a trusted group of advisors… including your Mortgage Broker.

 

CBC news reports Scotiabank slams client with $30,000 penalty!

A word about world events the past 4 weeks…  We have seen a lot of turmoil overseas……  Egypt, Libya  and other middle east countries…. We need to pay attention…. Let’s hope for an immediate and peaceful resolution…

The Tsunami in Japan has been horrible… the images on TV are tough to watch…what a tragedy… Our hearts go out to the people of that nation.

Fixed rates drop slightly and Variable rates remain flat.

We have also seen how mortgage rates can be affected by these events… The uncertainty has caused the Bond market to fall…. and we even saw a very small rate reduction by the Big Banks… Posted Fixed rates are down around 10bps… 5 yr fixed is 5.34%. Continue reading “CBC news reports Scotiabank slams client with $30,000 penalty!”

Report shows Canadian borrowers are too complacent…don’t drink the koolaid.

That’s what a report in the latest Bank of Canada Review had to say…    This article in the National Post sums it up well…  “Simply put, borrowers are often complacent and end up paying more than they should.

This is exactly the reason I started this site…..To make you an informed borrower. Like the review said,  “consumers have different preferences and skills when shopping and bargaining for a mortgage and where lenders maximize profits based on observing these preferences and skills.”

So, how does the average Canadian borrower know if they are getting the absolute best rate or the right mortgage product?  Is there a better product with a different Bank, Financial institutions or other Lender?  How do you know if you aren’t speaking with an unbiased professional that doesn’t work for any one bank?  For me, there is only one sure way to know you are getting a highly competitive mortgage product…..You must deal with a Mortgage Broker.

Here’s another quote from the Bank of Canada Review…  Canadian lenders appear to be extremely slow to pass on changes in the Bank Rate to their customers.”  I’m sure this comes as no surprise to most of us.

Never forget that the Banks are a business… and they are here to make a profit… It’s imperative to seek unbiased, market neutral advice…..  A Bank Mortgage Specialist just can’t be neutral or unbiased….They can only offer one set of products…  I save the best for last….

A Mortgage Broker helps to ‘creates competition’ as the report said.

Hopefully, this site will keep you informed and awake…Don’t settle for the status quo….

The Big Six have all raised their rates now…

A look at locking into a Fixed rate

By now, you’ve heard that Fixed Mortgage rates have gone up by 0.55% since November…5 year fixed is currently sitting at around 4.04% vs 3.49%.  (these are best broker rates…the best retail bank rates are 4.39%)…. Let’s take a closer look at what this will cost you.

On a $200,000 mortgage with a 25 year amortization, your monthly payment goes up by $58.89 or about $3,500 over a 5 year period.    That’s quite a bit of money…. and this probably gets a lot of us thinking about locking into a 5 year fixed rate….But is this the right strategy for everyone?

For some of us, it will make sense to take a 5 year fixed rate… this is not a bad option for those on a tight budget, pension income, or just can’t sleep at night thinking about rates…  make sure you are locking in for the right reason…

A look at NOT locking into a Fixed rate

Current Variable is 2.25%….  A $200,000 mortgage with a 25 year amortization has lower monthly payments by $185.16.  Okay, I know what you’re thinking and you’re right… this rate will not remain the same for 5 years.. In fact, we know it’s probably going to go up.   So it’s difficult to calculate exactly how much you would save or lose by sticking with a Variable rate…  History shows us Bank Prime goes up and down around 2 to 3 times a year….Look at this chart of Historical Rates. The RBC is forecasting for Bank Prime to go up by 1.00% this year and another 1.50% next year!!  (not sure I agree with this forecast).     If you like flexibility, are willing to tolerate rate movements, and want to take a calculated risk of floating your rate, then Variable could be a great option for you.

Is Variable rate more stable than Fixed rate?

The media keeps telling us mortgage rates are going up.. they will skyrocket….So why are people still considering Variable Rate mortgages?   We looked a little deeper and found some interesting trends…

-From Oct 2008 (the month of the U.S. Mortgage crisis) to Oct 2009, the Bank of Canada only changed Bank Prime 4 times…This was the worst recession since the Great Depression of 30’s….and yet Bank Prime only changed a handful of times….

-the BOC raised rates in 1992 because they thought the economy was strong enough to handle… they quickly lowered them but it was a little late as the economy staggered for another few years… this pattern has repeated itself on more than one occasion…most recently, 2010…

-the BOC forecasted that interest rates would skyrocket in mid to late 2010… they were wrong…

-Variable rate has historically been 1% to 3% lower than fixed rates.

Conclusion….Variable rate moves less often than Fixed rates… And yes, it’s more stable if you measure stability by rate movements… But there will be movement.. and maybe that’s what makes Variable rate a choice for only 25% of Canadians…  Us Canadians are a conservative bunch, or so our rep goes….  And by the way… The Banks would LOVE to have everyone take a 5 year fixed rate.. these are the most profitable mortgage products for them…. Keep that in mind…

Listen to the Professor about how to save money.

Professor Moshe Milevsky is regarded as one of Canada’s leading Financial Experts… He’s written several books on building and preserving your wealth.  He’s also done several studies on debt and mortgages.   (make sure to visit his site here)

One of my favorites, and one of his best case studies, called “Why these eggs belong in one basket”, was about a strange phenomenon that seemed unique to Canadians.   We seem to take the rule of diversification and apply it to our debts.   We would rather have a mortgage, a credit card, a car loan, a line of credit, etc…when we should really be looking at consolidating these debts into the lowest possible interest rate.

He concluded that a typical family with $95,000 in total debts, with $2,700 in the bank, is losing about $1,000 per year by diversifying their debts instead of consolidating.   Now apply that to your own situation…. maybe your debts total $300,000 or more, how much are you losing per year?  $3,000, $4,000 per year or more?

I have my own opinion on why, we Canadians, do this… it must have something to do with our being so conservative….  Our parents taught us to pay off our mortgage first… get rid of that mortgage…. This is good advice… but somehow we thought it was okay to buy that car with a loan or a lease.. after all, everyone finances their car, right?   And then there’s the Home Shows on TV… ah yes… We must have the latest in home decor…etc.. you get the picture…Symptoms of the ‘must have now’ generation (a subject for another day).

The Federal Govt thinks Personal Debt levels will go down if we change Mortgage Rules….  By making it harder to get a mortgage, we will slow personal spending habits… My advice is to listen to the Professor…  Take your debt, roll it into your mortgage, pay less interest and save money… It’s really that simple…

Should we encourage home ownership or renting?

I found this article about the effects of making it harder to buy a house….. Here’s one of the statements that got me thinking..  “Rather than buy a home for half a million, many are moving out of the community to rent, or living rent free with their parents and buying all this junk.” I wonder how true this is.   I must admit, I know several people that are living at home in their 30’s, 40’s and even longer…. They don’t seem motivated to buy a house.

Final message is that Debt Consolidation is not a dirty word.   It’s good money management.

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