I participated in a Q & A with one of my good realtor friends, Jenelle Cameron of Remax. We had a chance to discuss the current impact of COVID-19 on mortgages and the real estate market in general. Find out the latest on mortgages, what’s happening with closings during this time, and more!
For 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 10 years 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 topic worth taking another look at.
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-’90s, 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, shaving 4 or 5 years off your amortization. Sound familiar? While offering some benefit, BI-WEEKLY PAYMENTS DON’T SAVE AS MUCH AS YOU MIGHT THINK!
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 sorts 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 “When a Second Mortgage makes good financial sense.”
It’s not a new concept but it is one that is worth remembering and so I will repeat it. If you want to pay off debt, start by paying less interest.
January is usually a tough financial month for most of us. Holiday bill payments, rrsp contributions, property tax bills and if you are self-employed, you probably have to make some sort of business tax or corporate tax payment. If December is the Holiday Season, then January feels like a hangover!
Banks and Credit Card companies love this time of year because this is when we will normally carry a balance and have to pay those crazy interest rates that range from 9% to 25%. Wait, before you get too depressed, there could be a better option. There’s a less expensive way to manage your debt.Continue reading “Want to pay off debt? Pay less interest!”
New year, new home? It’s a good time to take another look at the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP).
If you’re planning to buy your first home anytime soon, you may be able to take advantage of a helpful federal government program. This enables you to withdraw money you’ve already contributed to your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) and use it towards anything related to your home purchase, including your down payment, closing costs or real estate fees.
But, the key is that the funds must be in your account at least 90 days before you can withdraw them under the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP).
You can withdraw up to $35,000 ($70,000 per couple) from your RRSPs tax- and interest-free to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself or a related person with a disability.
Having worked on 8,000+ mortgage applications at this stage in my career, I’ve witnessed my share of separations and divorces. While I have shared a financial and personal perspective on marital splits in the past, it is always worth revisiting for those out there that are going through these life changes now or in the future.
You’ve heard the stats: 1 out of every 2 marriages fails. Actually, I think the number of failed marriages is even higher now. Wait, let me rephrase that. A marital split is not a failure. I think that’s old-world thinking. A marital split is usually a positive move for all parties involved – for the spouses who are no longer in love and the kids who don’t have to see an unhappy married couple.
Marital splits can be a very emotional and difficult time in one’s life – especially when there are kids involved. There’s always one parent who wants to keep the house because the kids grew up there or have friends there or it’s just more familiar to them.
That’s right, I’ve said this before, and will say it again.
Our lifecycle goes something like this… Go to school. Find a job (and work hard for 40 years). Fall in love. Get married. Save money. Buy a house. Start a family. Retire on enough pension or savings. Enjoy the results of your hard work. Live in your house until death. Leave the house for your kids.
This is how most of us envision a normal lifecycle. But how often does this really happen? How many people really live happily ever after? What’s the big deal about tapping into home equity to fully enjoy life?
Contrary to media reports about our ‘record personal debt levels’, it’s extremely prudent to ensure you have access to emergency money.
The line of credit popularity that took place in the ’90s wasn’t a bad thing. It allowed us to borrow at low rates to invest or spend as needed. Many successful investors have been doing this for decades. Borrowing to invest makes smart financial success. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
We’re seeing more reasons for Canadians to get a secured line of credit now: Age; Income; and Qualification.
Is choosing a mortgage as easy as booking a trip or trading a stock? Let’s find out!
Sure, you can book a flight online or buy a stock through the web. But, can you really choose the right mortgage product on your own? Can you really find the absolutely lowest cost mortgage financing option? I’ll bet some consumers can. I’ll also bet the vast majority cannot. There’s a steady stream of horror stories, on this news site and others, that show just how costly and financially dangerous it is to be in the wrong mortgage product, with the wrong lender.
Mortgage rates fell by about 1% since January of this year. That rate drop has created a surge in real estate sales across Canada, with September and October seeing a greater than average number of real estate transactions. We also saw consumers taking advantage of these low rates by refinancing their mortgages early.
The Five-Year Government of Canada bond yields have been going up and down like a yo-yo over the last three months, with a low point being 1.13% and a high of 1.58% just this past week. This uncertainty/volatility forced financial institutions to raise their interest rate by about .2% to .3%. Having said that, interest rates are still very low. In my discussions with the major lenders, they are all telling me that it’s busier than usual for home purchases and refinance purposes. Continue reading “Important week for mortgage rates could cost or save you thousands.”
The internet is great for researching information, ratings and even advice. With so much available data, it’s hard to decide which is accurate, reliable or even truthful.
Take this site for example. If this is your first visit then you may not be aware of all my credentials nor how accurate my information or recommendations are.
You’re probably making a decision right now. That’s how fast we decide today. I’ve either got your attention or I don’t. Hello to those that continue, or farewell and thanks for stopping by to those that are leaving. (By the way, stick around, you may find this useful). Continue reading “Information vs advice. Why is it free?”
I wrote that back in 2006. Since then we have seen some provincial governments step in with laws to help protect unsuspecting homeowners. You can also purchase Title insurance or an alternative method of protection.
A couple of years ago, 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.
If I gave the option of choosing between two cell phones, which would you choose? Both phones had similar specs and were identical in almost every way… except PHONE one came in a nicely gift wrapped box with a bow on it. PHONE two came in a brown paper bag but was less expensive and also had slightly better options.
Most of us would choose PHONE two right? Wrong! When it comes to mortgages, most of us are focusing too much on the beautiful gift box and not paying enough attention to the contents. They say around 47% of all mortgages go through a BANK and 39% go through a Mortgage Broker. Broker share is up, but not enough in my opinion.
When it comes to mortgages, historically the BIG SIX BANKS have been charging higher rates than what can be had from MORTGAGE BROKERS. (see Bank of Canada study ‘competition in the Canadian mortgage market). And their inflated prepayment penalty calculations are now infamous (typical BIG SIX BANK penalties are around 4 times higher than other lenders). Continue reading “Are you looking at the beautiful box or what’s inside?”