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CategoryMoney saving tips

Considering a Second Mortgage? It can save you money!

Home Finances

Quick, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of “second mortgages”?   For some it could be that shady-looking character in a smoke-filled pool hall… guys with gold chains and a baseball bat nearby. Maybe you’re thinking of someone in financial trouble? Or, perhaps it’s just someone who doesn’t want to pay outrageous costs and penalties to refinance their existing mortgage.

The mere mention of second mortgages conjures up all sort of images. Most of them, negative. For many, a second mortgage can be a last-resort solution during a financial crisis. For several others, it can be an opportunity to save money. That’s right, to save money.

Sure, second mortgages carry a higher interest rate than first mortgages, but they can also serve a purpose. One of those purposes can be to save you money. Yup, I said it again. There are some new trends emerging with today’s new mortgage products that are forcing consumers to seek other options. Two of these trends are INFLATED PREPAYMENT PENALTIES and NO FRILLS MORTGAGES! Continue reading “Considering a Second Mortgage? It can save you money!”

Rent is up, vacancy is down… rental properties make sense

Real Estate Investment Image, Feb 2018

Rental properties are a secure long-term investment. Note the emphasis on “long-term”.

Check out any seven-year period over the past 50 years (anyone who has read this news site knows that I always recommend buying and holding for at least seven years). Property values have almost always risen.

Sure, the last five or 10 years have seen fantastic appreciation in almost every part of Canada. But, let’s leave capital appreciation out of the equation for now.

Why aren’t we talking about rental income? Or, how about the equity growth through your mortgage being paid down each year?

RENTAL INCOME IS UP, UP, UP!

Rents have definitely gone up with inflation (or even higher, in many cases, as we have seen in urban markets like Toronto and Vancouver). This is part of what makes rental properties attractive rent rises with inflation and, in many cases, even higher. This is how you create your own pension or retirement income! Continue reading “Rent is up, vacancy is down… rental properties make sense”

Why I started this site… 400+ articles later

Facts Myths

I’m often asked why I started this site. It’s simple: I was tired of reading misinformation and twisted truths about mortgage brokering in Canada.

Back in 2009 when I created the site, there were some new blogs reporting on mortgage trends and offering ‘expert’ advice. (I use the term ‘expert’ loosely.) In reality, these sites were full of misinformation. The information was even damaging to the mortgage brokering landscape, in many cases… yet, they were being quoted by our largest newspapers and TV news channels. Wow! How can the major newspapers print this stuff?? It made me angry.

At the same time, there were rate shopping sites being launched. You know the ones… they compare bank, credit union and mortgage broker rates. These sites promised to compare rates, with no strings attached and tell you which provider has the lowest rate. They were supposed to be totally unbiased. They were supposed to be market neutral. Hey, don’t get me wrong, everyone loves to compare, shop and save, right? Comparing is part of being a smart consumer… but there is this huge problem… These sites are NOT unbiased or neutral. These sites are NOT run or owned by independent people.

You would expect a product review site to be neutral and unbiased, right? I mean, it just makes sense. If I want to compare hotels or vacation destinations, I’ll go to a site like TripAdvisor or Booking.com. We can clearly view the best available price and past customer experiences. We wouldn’t expect TripAdvisor or Booking.com to own the hotels or airlines they were advertising. That would be a conflict of interest.

Continue reading “Why I started this site… 400+ articles later”

Recent mortgage fraud in Toronto.. you can prevent it easily.. Read on.

In November, Toronto police said a woman used fake ID to get a $300,000 mortgage.  The unsuspecting homeowner only discovered a mortgage had been fraudulently registered on their home when they received mortgage documents in the mail.

This is not a new scam. It’s happened many times in the past. Here’s a big one from 2010 that involved $140million and hundreds of people.  This one was huge.  Most are not this big or elaborate.  It’s the smaller ones, like the recent one for $300,000, that are more common place.

HOW IT’S DONE

Continue reading “Recent mortgage fraud in Toronto.. you can prevent it easily.. Read on.”

Long term contracts have a price… nothing has changed from 2010

Originally posted in 2010…. some things never change..  enjoy and beware.

Here’s a great article written by consumer advocate, Ellen Roseman.  She points to different industries where signing in for the long term protection can be very costly and expensive.

Ever wanted to change cell phone providers?  How about internet providers?  Move your investments or rrsps?  Cancel that hydro or gas contract because you moved?

And how about mortgages?  When interest rates started heading downward about 12 months ago, thousands of borrowers in fixed rate mortgages wanted to get out of their higher rates and start benefitting from the record low interest rates we have been seeing.

But they were shocked to hear of unbelievably high early prepayment penalties… the example Ellen uses is about a $46k penalty on a $530k mortgage with a major bank…  I’ve seen dozens and dozens of situations like this.

Beware of long term mortgages… with the average person moving or refinancing about every 3 years, choosing a 5 year fixed rate term is usually not the best option.  It could cost you more than you think… always seek professional advice from a reputable mortgage broker before selecting your mortgage.

(Just a personal note… It sure would have been nice to see some mortgage relief given to the average homeowner during the recession.   CMHC used to cap their penalties to 3 months interest but removed this cap in 2000…quietly, all financial institutions are free to charge a higher penalty…and they all do.. the longer the term, the greater the penalty…)

Your best interest is my only interest.   I reply to all questions and I welcome your comments.  Like this article?  Share with a friend.

Steve Garganis 416 224 0114 steve@mortgagenow.ca

Another example of BIG SIX BANK inflated penalty calculation.. $13,634.00! Wow!

big-six-banks1 If you still think your local BANK is your best friend, think again.  Last week, one of my client’s discovered it would cost them $13,634 to exit their mortgage early.  Compared with only $2736 if they had chosen a BETTER mortgage Lender.

Here’s the details..  The clients had a $395,000 mortgage balance remaining.  Renewal date was October 2018.  Original term was 5 yrs and their rate was 2.77%.  The rate is competitive, but not any better than what I could have offered at that time.  There had to pay the mortgage out.

Penalty quote is $13,634.  That’s equal to over 14 months interest!!  Wow!  Incredible.   $13,634 compared to $2736.

I’ve shared many examples similar to this in the past.  It’s really simple.  DON’T FOCUS ON THE RATE!.   There is so much more to choosing a mortgage than just rate.  The average Canadian changes their mortgage ever 3 years.  And there are many reason this happens.. change of job, marital status, family issues, health issues, etc.

And if you are expecting your Banker to show you other products to compare, well, that’s just not gonna happen.  It’s like expecting Ford to send you to Toyota for a new car.  Not gonna happen. Do yourself a favour and speak with an unbiased, neutral professional. Speak with an experienced Mortgage Broker that deals with dozens of Lenders.  You’ll be glad you did.

Your best interest is my only interest.   I reply to all questions and I welcome your comments.  Like this article?  Share with a friend.

Steve Garganis 416 224 0114 steve@mortgagenow.ca

Debt diversification vs Debt consolidation…who wins?

debt

ONLY IN CANADA

Attention:  Bankers, close your ears.. we don’t want you to hear this.  Credit card balances, lines of credit, car loan, student loan, home reno loan, personal loan..   If you have one or more of these and you own a home, you’re probably losing money by paying a higher interest rate.  In many cases, $thousands are lost and overpaid each year.   And your Banker is laughing and recording Record profits!!

It’s surprising how many of us have some, or all of these debts… and ALSO a house with lots of equity.  Yet, as Canadians, we somehow think it’s better to separate our mortgage from other debts.  We somehow think it’s good to pay down our mortgage but then rack up other debts.  This attitude has puzzled me for years.

check out this chart for one client.. tell me if this looks familiar: Continue reading “Debt diversification vs Debt consolidation…who wins?”

Bi-weekly payment myth… it doesn’t pay your mortgage off faster.

RRSP home buyers planFor years, we’ve been told to pay our mortgage bi-weekly. Magically, it will  pay your mortgage off faster.  Hmm, let’s put that to the test.

(SPOILER ALERT!)  Around 6 yrs ago, I wrote an article showing some simple but effective math to explain this.   I’m constantly getting emails from my readers asking me what they should do..obviously, a popular topic.

Let me also say, there is merit to paying bi-weekly…I’ll explain further on.

HISTORY OF BI-WEEKLY PAYMENTS

Back in the mid 90’s, there was a huge marketing blitz by the Big Banks that promoted making bi-weekly payments instead of the traditional monthly payments.   The sales pitch was that you could save huge amounts of money and pay your mortgage off much faster….save 4 or 5 years off your amortization…. Sound familiar?   Well, BI-WEEKLY PAYMENTS DON’T REALLY SAVE YOU ANYTHING!

And I’ll prove it…. here’s the straight facts! Continue reading “Bi-weekly payment myth… it doesn’t pay your mortgage off faster.”

Bridge loans explained… your bank hates them but they are extremely useful

bridge-loansBridge loans are short-term loans that bridge the gap between two different closing dates.  More commonly used when an existing homeowner sells their home, and buys another home, with two different closing dates.   But bridge loans have become a very popular way to take possession of that new home while it’s empty for 2 or 3 weeks to allow for renos.   Best of all, it’s really inexpensive!

THE OLD WAY

In the past, most homebuyers would have their selling and buying dates match.   It’s always been a bit of a juggling act as you have to pack your moving truck and unpack it, all in less than a day.   Somehow, everyone manages to get it done… but you talk about one of the most stressful days in your life….moving ranks right up there!   Throw in some kids, maybe a dog, and a house full of stuff and you have a real chore on your hands….

THE NEW WAY… Continue reading “Bridge loans explained… your bank hates them but they are extremely useful”

Marital splits… woman seem to be at higher risk when it comes to finances.

 

Stack of Coins and Bride and Groom Wedding Cake DecorationsThey say about half of all marriages end up in divorce.  In Canada, it’s around 48%.  In the U.S., it’s around 53% according to Stats Canada.  You’ve probably heard these stats before.

But what happens when a couple splits and all the financial matters were being handled by just one spouse?  In most cases (but not all), it’s the woman who is left with no knowledge of money matters.    Over the years, I’ve seen hundreds of marital splits and in an overwhelming majority of cases, the woman is left in the dark when it comes to finances (that trend is changing as today’s women are becoming more financially astute..  good for them.. let’s continue that trend).

There is HOPE and HELP.   Here are some things you can do to take charge of your finances before or after a marital split: Continue reading “Marital splits… woman seem to be at higher risk when it comes to finances.”

Tax Free Savings Accounts should be 2nd on your list

There are over 10million TFSA accounts in Canada according to this article in the Financial Post.   Wow, it’s great to see that level of savings….

But hold on…..is this the right strategy for those of us with a mortgage?    Well, if you have a mortgage on your principal residence and the interest is not tax-deductible, then I think it’s NOT the right strategy.

For most of us, the interest on a residential mortgage is not tax deductible (I say for most of us because if you rent out part of the home or use it for your business then you may be able to claim a tax deduction).

Take those after-tax $$dollars and pay your mortgage first before putting them into a TFSA… reduce the amount of non-deductible debt and then focus on a TFSA….   If you own an investment property, then this strategy may vary slightly…. but for most of us, let’s get rid of that mortgage first…

And yeah, for those higher income earners looking to diversify, then sure.. A TFSA makes sense.  But for most Canadians, I would suggest getting rid of the mortgage is a better strategy.

Your best interest is my only interest.   I reply to all questions and I welcome your comments.  Like this article?  Share with a friend.

Steve Garganis 416 224 0114 steve@mortgagenow.ca

Short term fixed products are still in…

SHORT TERM RATES ARE STILL IN

A few months ago, I said Variable was out, Fixed rates were in.   I recommended going with a short-term fixed rate products.  The reasons are simple:

  • You can get the same or better in a 2 and 3 yr fixed rate term.  That eliminates the Variable rate for me.
  • 2 yr is 2.19% and 3 yr is 2.29%.
  • Variable is 2.30% today.  Why choose a fluctuating rate when you can get a guaranteed better rate for the next few years?
  • I also don’t like the current Variable rate pricing that’s out there.
  • Prime less 0.40% isn’t good enough.. I like to see Prime less 0.50% or better.

Historically, we’ve always done better by choosing short-term rates.  And that’s what Variable rates are…A mortgage product priced from short-term funds.  The only difference today, is that it makes more sense to lock into 2 or 3 yr fixed term vs choosing a Variable rate.

WARNING

( you’ll see lower rates advertised.. but be careful.  There are so many NO FRILLS products or products that carry inflated penalty calculations, limited repayment options and other hidden fees.. stay away from those)

MORTGAGE TIP

Hey, want to know which Mortgage Advisor to use?  Check out their historical recommendations and forecasts.  That should tell you all you need to know about that advisor.   And if you can’t readily find those historical forecasts, then walk away and look elsewhere.

Your best interest is my only interest.   I reply to all questions and I welcome your comments.  Like this article?  Share with a friend.

Steve Garganis 416 224 0114 steve@mortgagenow.ca

I have 2.39% for 5 yrs fixed available…but I wont sell it.

percentageIt’s true.  I have access to this great rate.  It’s around 0.20% lower than the best rate today.   And you won’t see me recommending it to my clients.

That’s right, I’m recommending they don’t take it.

Why?  It’s simple.  No, I don’t want my clients paying more on their mortgage. I want to see them PAY LESS to own their homes.  This is one of those products that carries an inflated prepayment penalty. Should the homeowner need to get out of their mortgage early, they will be hammered with a ridiculous exit cost.   We’re talking 10, 12, even 16 months worth of interest penalty.

Statistics clearly show we are paying or changing our mortgages every 3 years.   So, chances are, you will have to pay this penalty.   On a $300,000 mortgage, your penalty could be $9,000 or more.  Compared with $1,943.  That’s a $7,000 difference.

That 0.20% savings on the rate equals $600 per year..   You still think that 2.39% rate is great??

The next time you hear or see something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  If you aren’t sure, call me or an experienced Mortgage Broker for unbiased advice.

Your best interest is my only interest.   I reply to all questions and I welcome your comments.  Like this article?  Share with a friend.

Steve Garganis 416 224 0114 steve@mortgagenow.ca

Mortgage penalty calculations.. More important than the interest rate.

greedy banker

WHY ISN’T ANYONE TALKING ABOUT THIS?

You bought a home…  you need a mortgage.. what’s the first question you ask your Banker?  “what’s your best interest rate?”.  And the second question is usually, “what product should I choose?”.

Almost no one asks about Mortgage Penalties or how they are calculated.  After all, how often does anyone have to pay a penalty, right?   WRONG!   $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 and higher.  This is how much penalties can add up to… these are real numbers.   And guess what?  This isn’t some unknown bank or small lender.. These are coming from the BIG SIX BANKS.!!

Here’s a little known stat…. “Canadians change their mortgage every 3 years, on average”.  Ask anyone that’s owned a home before.  Chances are, they’ve had to deal with a mortgage penalty at some point..  and for most of them, it’s an embarrassing subject.   After all, who wants to admit to being the victim?  Check out the stats… Continue reading “Mortgage penalty calculations.. More important than the interest rate.”

These 3 clients broke their mortgages, paid a penalty, and still saved between $9,000 and $26,000!

long term contractsFixed mortgage rates are at an all-time low.  If you have a mortgage that is over 3.09%, then you should consider breaking it, paying the penalty and getting into today’s lower rates.

That’s short answer… the full answer is a little more complex but, it’s really just simple math.   If the savings is greater than the cost to break, then the answer is obvious.  You should do it!   I’ll give you some real life examples of clients that could be savings huge $$s today if they paid their mortgage and the penalty and went into a new lower rate mortgage…. check out these success stories….
Continue reading “These 3 clients broke their mortgages, paid a penalty, and still saved between $9,000 and $26,000!”

It’s September, sharpen your pencils!

Sharpen pencil

It’s September…and as green turns to gold we return refreshed to the rhythm of our daily routines. It’s our seasonal cue. Autumn is the perfect time to “get back to business” with a fresh look at your finances. Maybe you spent a little extra on that summer vacation, or the little home reno job that grew. That’s okay. Get out your calculator and get back on track.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF RECORD LOW RATES!

Mortgage rates have hovered around historic lows for longer than anyone thought they would or could. That’s created a golden moment of opportunity for Canadian homeowners. In fact, the right mortgage can build your wealth… and save you thousands of dollars.

Thinking about a cottage or investment property? Wondering if it’s the right time to expand your space… or find a new one? Looking at ways to reduce your debt? Talk to an experienced Mortgage Broker.  A good broker will provide a free, no-obligation review of your situation – wherever you are in your current mortgage journey.

Your best interest is my only interest.   I reply to all questions and I welcome your comments.  Like this article?  Share with a friend.

Steve Garganis 416 224 0114 steve@mortgagenow.ca

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