GROWING MARIJUANA AND SELLING YOUR HOME

General Darick Battaglia 31 Oct

There is quite a bit of information being passed around about growing marijuana in your home that could or will prevent the sale of your property down the road.

CMHC is Canada’s federally owned mortgage insurer. As of October 25, 2018, their stance on homes that were former grow operations has not changed and reads as follows:

“At this time, CMHC is not making any changes to its mortgage loan insurance policies in relation to the impending legalization of cannabis. CMHC will continue to insure mortgage loans for homeowner residential properties (1-4 units) and multi-unit residential properties (5+ units) where cannabis was previously grown and/or will be legally grown.
We will also monitor the impacts of the Cannabis Act on our mortgage loan insurance activities over the long term. We will also be reminding Approved Lenders that, in cases where property damage has occurred, they are required to disclose this information to CMHC in making the request for mortgage loan insurance and confirm that remedial action has been taken to address any related property damage/alterations,” Courtesy Beverly LePage, Client Relations – CMHC.

HOWEVER, in my opinion as a mortgage broker, it is the damage to the home from a “typical illegal” grow op that is most important here. When one hears “grow op”, you picture rooms full of plants with lights and irrigation lines with no care taken to prevent irreparable damage to the home.

Please consider the following scenarios.

Tomato Enthusiast #1
Tomato enthusiast #1 absolutely loves tomatoes. He/she finds them relaxing and even fun to share with friends. Tomato enthusiast #1 places dozens of tomato plants in every room of their home with full irrigation and grow lighting. Without proper ventilation, this caused a drastic increase in humidity in the home. If that were to continue, a dangerous mold condition may develop, making the home uninhabitable. In this case the damage that
Tomato enthusiast #1 caused may prevent a mortgage from being placed on the property by the lender and/or insurer.

Tomato Enthusiast #2
Tomato enthusiast #2 also loves his tomatoes but not quite as much as #1. He/she enjoys having a few slices on toast on a Friday evening as a weekly treat. Tomato enthusiast #2 places 4 tomato plants in front of the living room window and daily watered and talked to them pleasantly. Having 4 tomatoes plants in the home was not illegal before October 17th and probably never will be. With proper care the 4 tomato plants thrived and never caused any damage to the home. A few weeks down the road Tomato enthusiast #2 decided to sell the property. When their trusted realtor arrived to list the home there was no apparent damage caused by any plant or animal
that resided there and it was immaculate. It is highly unlikely that the presence of 4 tomato plants would prevent approval by a mortgage lender or insurer.

Courtesy of Kevin Carlson – AMP – DLC The Mortgage Firm based in Regina, SK.

DEMAND LOAN VS. TERM LOAN. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 29 Oct

What’s the difference between a Demand Loan and a Term Loan? A recent commercial mortgage refinancing I was involved with resulted in a discussion around Demand Loans. What are they exactly, and how they might typically differ from a term loan?

A demand loan is a loan that a lender can require to be repaid in full at any time. This condition is understood by the lender and the borrower (or should be) from the outset. A term loan on the other hand is a loan which has a specific length of term. It has a set repayment schedule.

Normal loan default remedies are provided to the Lender in typical term loan documentation. Unless and until there is a default, the borrower generally continues making regular (often monthly) payments. Apart from having to typically report annually with updated rent rolls or financial statements, has little contact with the lender until loan maturity.

Robert D. Betteridge, a lawyer with Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer LLP, in a May 2008 article entitled Does Demand Always Mean Demand? indicated that in simple terms a Demand loan often has all its required terms in a few paragraphs. “The debt is acknowledged, an interest rate and payment mechanism is specified and a clear statement that the loan is payable on demand is included.” He goes on to state that “term loan documentation is necessarily more complex”. Of necessity the lender will typically need to cause repayment of the debt if certain elements of default occur, often a monetary (i.e. non-payment) event.

Increasingly however, Lenders are using hybrid loan documentation which seems to include both elements of Demand and Term loans. These hybrid loans may in fact be Demand loans in the sense that they provide the Lender “a right to demand repayment upon the occurrence of a specified event of default”.

Do Lenders really call loans?
A relatively sophisticated borrower I represented last year, secured an attractive rate from a Bank lender. However, the product was only offered as a Demand Loan. This borrower successfully negotiated a further provision. The lender’s security documentation was amended, to require the lender to specifically identify the item of default, and to set out a 10 day Notice period to cure the default, prior to being able to call the loan (i.e. Demand payment).

Was it necessary for this borrower to amend the loan security? This borrower, out of an abundance of caution, felt that it was. I have often thought it prudent to consider a commercial mortgage as a loan with a demand element. The practical reality is that many/most commercial mortgages include a borrower covenant to pay as well as security for the debt. The covenant to pay typically includes language which sets out that if default occurs, all mortgage money then owing to the lender will, if the lender so chooses, become due and payable.

My experience has been that Demand is a lever that Banks or other lenders could use if they feel that there overall investment is at risk. Its more likely to happen if the borrower’s financial situation is precarious, or if the loan security is in jeopardy. A well leased commercial real estate project provides excellent security for a lender. Lenders in these situations most often supplement their security with an Assignment of Rents to further protect themselves. This allows them to step into the shoes of the borrower/landlord, during a mortgage enforcement action, to secure rents directly from property tenants, to continue to service the mortgage payments.

What’s the take-away here?
In practical terms, if you make your monthly mortgage payments as agreed, your loan will likely not be “demanded” or “called”. It is important to understand that it’s the lender’s prerogative. Other factors come in to play of course. Consider the rate of interest. If your loan carries a rate of 6%, and market rates have fallen to 4%, your lender is not likely to call your loan anytime soon, unless they perceive undue risk. They cannot readily replace the loan they call, with a new investment opportunity paying the same rate.

Bear in mind your loan documentation may reflect a Demand/Term hybrid loan.

Courtesy of Allan Jensen – AMP – The Mortgage Source based in Ottawa, ON.

7 TIPS FOR BUYING YOUR FIRST HOME

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 26 Oct

As a licensed Mortgage Broker, I am often asked “what do I need to know when buying my first home?”
Everyone has their own aims and objects when buying their first home. As a Mortgage Broker, I specialize in making sure your financing is in order to facilitate your dreams of owning a home.

Buying your first home is very exciting, but it can easily be overwhelming. Being prepared is the first step. The decision to purchase your first home can be a huge, life-changing event and you need to know exactly what you are getting into.

To get you prepared with the knowledge you need, here are my 7 tips to consider when you buy your first home: (Some of these may only relate to B.C.)

1. Strengthen your credit rating.

It’s pretty simple: the higher your credit score, the lower your mortgage rate will be.

Spend the time now to improve your credit. Check your credit report. Many credit reports have errors, so you need to ensure that your credit bureau is current and correct.

ALWAYS pay every single one of your bills on time. Set up automatic payments if you have had any late payments over the last couple of years.

Stop applying for any new credit a year before you are considering buying and continue until you sign the closing papers on your home. Spend only 30% of credit limits on credit cards.

2. Find a Mortgage Broker and figure out how much you can afford to spend.

The home buyer’s mantra: Get a home that’s financially comfortable.

Contact a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional. We work with you up to a year in advance to analyze your situation, and tell you how much mortgage and monthly payments you can afford.

Lenders like to see that you spend a maximum:

32-39% of your Gross income on mortgage payments, maintenance fees (if applicable), heat & property taxes
38-44% of your Gross Income on all debts
Including #1 above PLUS loans, credit cards, additional financing etc.
1 year+ prior to going home shopping, calculate the mortgage payment for the home in your intended price range, along with the increased expenses (such as taxes, insurance and utilities). Then bank the difference between the home payments and what you’re paying now. Not only will that simulate ownership, it also helps you save for your down payment!

When you are ready to start shopping for your home, as your Mortgage Broker, I gather all your financial documentation that the lender requires, in order to figure out much you can afford to spend. Then I work with you to get a pre-approval and lock in a low interest rate to protect you in case rates rise between now and the time you by your new home.

3. How long will you live in your new home?

The transaction costs of buying and selling a house are substantial including: real estate fees, legal fees, Property Transfer Tax, selling in a down market, moving, etc.

If you don’t plan to live in your new home for at least 3-5 years, you may not gain enough equity to make selling worthwhile.

Short-term home ownership can be a pretty expensive proposition. If that is the case, holding off on purchasing could be your best option.

4. How much house you need?

Buying a cheaper, smaller home might sound like a good place to start, but could end up costing you more if you need to move due to changes in your lifestyle, including a growing family. Then again, buying more house than you currently need will cost you more with higher mortgage payments, higher maintenance, energy and tax costs.

Prioritize your housing wish list. They say that the 3 most important things to think about when buying are home are location, location, location. In Greater Vancouver your first choice for location i.e. Kitsilano or Yaletown may not be within your means. You also need to think about how the new home space will be used and whether it will fit your lifestyle now and in the future.

5. Build a savings account.

Start now to build a healthy savings account. To avoid paying CMHC Mortgage Default Insurance you need to prove you have a 20% down payment.

Building your savings account, over and above the money you will require for the down payment and closing costs. Lenders want to see that you’re not living paycheck to paycheck. If you have three to five months’ worth of mortgage payments in your savings, that makes you a much better loan candidate.

6. Remember closing costs.

While you’re saving your down payment, you need to save for closing costs too. They’re typically 1% to 3% of the purchase price and due on the completion date.

In B.C. you need to also pay Property Transfer Tax (PPT). The amount of tax you pay is based on the fair market value of the land and improvements (e.g. buildings) on the date of registration unless you purchase a pre-sold strata unit. The tax is charged at a rate of 1% for the first $200,000 and 2% for the portion of the fair market value that is greater than $200,000. 3% on the portion over $2,000,000 and if the property is residential, a further 2% on the portion greater than $3,000,000

7. Shop for a Realtor that has your best interests in mind.

Interview at least three Realtors. Get referrals from people you trust who have recently bought or sold, including me, your mortgage broker. I work with a lot of realtors, some of whom are outstanding in their field. Once you’ve decided which Realtor is the best fit for you, they can help you focus your search to find your perfect home. There is no cost for the Realtor for the home buyer since the home seller pays the commission.

Besides the 7 tips I’ve listed above, there are many other things you should need to be aware of prior to buying your first home.

Courtesy of KELLY HUDSON – AMP – Richmond, BC.

RATES ON THE RISE BOTH VARIABLE & FIXED

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 25 Oct

With the Bank of Canada in a mood to raise rates, it’s a similar feeling for the bond market, which impacts fixed rates. In every interest-rate market there are many factors leading to an increase and we are hoping to provide a little bit of clarity on what is happening and what it means to you and your loved ones. We tell you this in advance to be proactive to take care of you, as our mortgage family, so as you hear the news about the changes you have comfort we are here to lead with clarity.

At this time, we see fixed rates increasing as the bond market increases.

Why do we note this information and how does it relate to you?

If you are in a variable rate, you will want to:

Review your lock-in options by contacting us or your lender directly (every lender has different policies in allowing us to help or not). Knowing it’s unlikely the prime rate will reduce and fixed rates are on the rise, there could be a sweet spot to review your options now.
If you decide not to lock in, it’s time to review your discount to see if a higher one can be obtained elsewhere.
Locking in won’t be for everyone, especially if you are making higher payments and your mortgage is below $300,000, which most people fit and will continue on that path. Also if your discount is more than .6 below prime you may want to wait and watch the market. Locking in will be around a 1% higher rate than you are likely presently paying. If knowing you can likely lock in around 4% now is most attractive to you, this may be your time.

If you are in a fixed rate:

If you obtained your mortgage in the last year, stay put.
If you are looking to move up the property ladder or consolidate debt, get your application in to us ASAP so we can hold options for up to 120 days.
If you are up for renewal this year or know someone who is, secure your options now with us to weight out the savings prior to renewal with us keeping a watchful eye on the market.
Keep in mind that if you or someone you care about has an average mortgage of $350,000 and got it a few years ago at 2.49% now a qualified applicant can expect about 3.89% which is a payment increase of $254 dollars a month, so increasing your payment now will protect your equity, and you from future payment shock.

Courtesy of Angela Calla – AMP – Port Coquitlam, BC.

ARE YOU BEHIND ON YOUR CRA TAXES?

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 24 Oct

Nothing weighs heavy on one’s shoulders than owning a home and getting behind on your Canada Revenue taxes. Most banks will not be able to help you refinance your home to pay them off as CRA has first dibs on your house and assets. We have clients owing anywhere from $5,000- $300,000 in back taxes and have threatening letters from CRA that would keep anyone up at night.

There are options and strategies we can assist with financing your CRA debts:

1: We use alternative lenders that charge higher fees/rates for a 1-year term

2: Short term 2nd mortgage to pay off your CRA debts and then refinance back with your lender.

Find out who we can help with a no-obligation application. Let a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional get you back on track!

Some CRA notes on penalties for filing late:

The first time you file late you’ll pay:

a late-filing penalty –5% of the amount of tax you owe, plus 1% for every month that your return is late, for up to 12 months. That adds up to a maximum of 17% of the tax you owe.
interest – at the prescribed interest rate on the amount you owe, beginning on May 1. You’ll also be charged interest on any late-filing penalties. Interest is compounded daily, not monthly or annually. The prescribed interest rate can change every 3 months.
If you miss the deadline again, the late-filing penalties are doubled. For example, if the CRA charged you late-filing penalties for any of the 3 previous years, you would pay a penalty of up to 50% made up of 10% of the taxes you owe, plus 2% of the taxes you owe for each full month that your return is late, to a maximum of 20 months.

Courtesy of KIKI BERG – AMP – Financial based in Langley, BC.

7 THINGS EVERY SELF-EMPLOYED INDIVIDUAL SHOULD KNOW — BEFORE YOU APPLY FOR A MORTGAGE

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 23 Oct

Self-employed individuals are quickly becoming one of the most common clients that we handle. Daily we have successful business owners come into our offices who enjoy the perks of being an entrepreneur. One of these includes fantastic write-offs that allow them to bring their income down to a low tax bracket.

However, this benefit can also mean that the same business owner may have a hard time qualifying for a mortgage all because their income is significantly reduced on paper… how frustrating ‘eh? But these savvy business owners know that there is advanced planning that is involved in being able to qualify for conventional financing. Back in 2015, Statistics Canada reported that there were about 2.7 million people self-employed in Canada… which is an astounding 14% of the total population of Canada! What does that stat mean? Two things:

1. That being self-employed is a more than viable way of earning income in today’s world.
2. That 14% may not fit into the conventional lending “box”

The Conventional Lending Box
To fit into this box, self-employed individuals must meet certain qualifications. For example, they must be able to provide:
>Two most recent years of personal tax returns
>Two most current years Notice of Assessments
>Two most current years financial statements
>Statement of Bank Account Activity
>Investment Income Statement
>Photo ID

Now, the one area that raises a red flag in the above is the tax returns. As we previously mentioned, their income claimed on the return itself might be significantly different than their actual income. Tax deductions related to business often reflect meals, rental spaces, credit card interest etc. The result is that the income the self-employed business owner shows on their tax return is a significantly lower figure than what their actual take home pay is. However, the conventional lending box requires income to justify the mortgage. So how do we pull this off?

The Unconventional Lending Box
Now please keep in mind that “unconventional” in this box just means that as a self-employed individua,l you are going to work with a Mortgage Broker to find an alternative to allow you to show that you can justify the mortgage. There are several well-known and consistently used pieces of advice that we would like to pass along to you:

1. If you are organized and planning (think 2 years out) you can plan to write off fewer expenses in the two years leading up to the property purchase. Yes, you will pay more personal taxes. However, your income will be higher, and it will be easier to qualify you for the mortgage amount you are seeking.
2. Set up your finances through a certified accountant. Many lenders want to see self-employed income submitted through a professional rather than doing it yourself. The truth is that the time you spend doing your own taxes will not be nearly as efficient both financially and time-wise as a professional. Make sure that you discuss with them what your goals are so that they can set up your taxes properly for you!
3. Choose your timing carefully. If you are leaving for an extended holiday within the two years before purchasing, your two-year average income may fluctuate. Plan your vacations and extended trips away with income in mind.
4. Consider using Stated Income. You have the option to state your income. This is based on you being in the same profession for 2+ years before being self-employed. The lender looks at the industry and researches the mean income of someone in that profession and with your experience. You will be required to provide additional documents such as bank statements, showing consistent deposits and other documentation may be asked of you to show your income.
5. Avoid Bankruptcy at all cost…. or if you do declare bankruptcy have all your discharge papers on hand to present to the lender and ensure you have two years of re-established your credit.
6. Mortgage Brokers can state income with lenders at the best discounted rates. But if you do not qualify with A lenders using stated income, then a broker will work with you to utilize a B Lender who are more lenient but may come with higher interest rates and applicable lending and broker fees.
7. Last but not least, if A or B lenders don’t fit, private financing can be looked at as an alternative option in order to get you into the market and offer a short-term solution to improve credit or top up your reporting income. Then you and your broker can refinance into an A or B lender at that time. Just keep in mind that private lending will have a higher rate associated with it , with lender and broker fees added on as well, if you choose to go with this option.

So, to all of our self-employed, hard-working, determined individuals, take heart! You can qualify for the mortgage you want, it just takes a little more planning to get everything in order. Keep in mind to that every lender has different guidelines as to how they view self-employment.

Courtesy of – Geoff Lee – AMP- DLC GLM Mortgage Group based in Vancouver, BC.

BANK OR MORTGAGE BROKER?

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 18 Oct

Mortgages are like vehicles. A bank is similar to the brand, Ford or Toyota for example. How long you have a mortgage before it’s time to renew is like the model, a Fusion or Camry. The rate is similar to the car’s paint color, and the mortgage benefits such as prepayment privileges and portability are like the car’s benefits; 4-wheel drive, hatchback, four doors instead of two, etc.

A bank is like a sales person at a Ford or Toyota dealership. He or she is an expert, they know everything about every car on their lot; engine size, warranty, all available colours, and their fuel ratings. He or she can match any car to your needs and lifestyle, as long as it’s sold at their lot.

But what if they don’t have the most fuel efficient car? What if you don’t like the design or you need four doors and a trunk and all they have is two doors and a hatchback? Are you still going to buy from that dealership just because you went there first? No, you’re going down the street to check out the Chevrolet, maybe even BMW, Mazda, or the new Chrysler dealership. That sales person doesn’t want you to go buy from another lot down the street, but you are buying to satisfy your needs, not the dealership’s needs of selling their own cars.

Now imagine a dealership that sold every single make and model of vehicle. Imagine you could choose one of their sales people, and have them work only for you. They know just as much or even more about every make and model, they do all the research for you and tell you what you need to look for, they ask you the important questions; they have your best interest. That is a mortgage broker, your own personal expert.

Now, you may not need a personal expert to buy a car. But what about mortgages? Is a 0.10% lower interest rate a lot? Or will a 20% prepayment privilege instead of 10% be more advantageous? Can you switch lenders and move your mortgage? $15,000 or $5,000 penalty? How is it calculated? Fixed or variable? Is a collateral charge good or bad? 2-year term or 5-year? Big bank or monoline lender? How about credit unions? The list goes on.

So, a bank or mortgage broker? Put it this way; would you buy from the first dealership you visit or hire an expert?

Courtesy of RYAN OAKE – AMP – DLC Producers West Financial based in Langley, BC.

LEGALIZED MARIJUANA AND THE CANADIAN HOUSING MARKET

General Darick Battaglia 17 Oct

October 17th will be an important day in Canada’s social history. It’s the day when we are going to have legalized marijuana across the country. We will be the second major country in the world to do this. How does this affect mortgage brokers like myself? When someone comes to me to obtain financing for a home purchase and the sellers have disclosed that they smoked pot in the house or grew a few plants , how will this affect their home purchase?

A few years ago, someone disclosed that their home had been a grow-op six years previously and their home insurance company cancelled their policy citing safety issues. I could see this happening with both lenders and mortgage default insurers like CMHC, Genworth and Canada Guaranty. A recent article by a member of the Canadian Real Estate Association suggested that both lenders and insurers might ask for a complete home inspection. It was suggested that sellers who have grown a few plants might want to get a head of a problem and have an inspection before they list the property. If there are any issues of mold or electrical systems that are not up to code, they can remedy this and have a quick sale.

I contacted both CMHC and Genworth Canada to find out if any policy changes are in the works. CMHC told me that there’s nothing planned beyond what is already on the books. If there’s been a grow operation it needs to be inspected and remediation done before they will insure. Genworth says that nothing has been announced as of yet. Any changes will result in an official announcement to all brokers.
Mortgage brokers may want to call their realtor referral partners and discuss this with them to see if local real estate authorities have any changes planned. If nothing else it will be good to touch base with your realtors to find out how the market is in your area.

Courtesy of DAVID COOKE – AMP – DLC Clarity Mortgages in Calgary, AB.

A BRIDE AND A MORTGAGE BROKER – OUR HOUSE MAGAZINE

General Darick Battaglia 16 Oct

Dominion Lending Centres’ leading lady in the new national commercial campaign has a few questions of her own. As a young Canadian looking to get into the housing market, Laura Steponchev has a candid Q&A with one of our pro’s.

You could say Laura Steponchev is a pretty typical Canadian millennial. The aspiring actress moved to Toronto from Regina five years ago to pursue her career. And over the years, she’s moved around quite a bit. Steponchev lived on her own for a while, and loved it, but paying the bills was tough and she needed to be more reasonable. She got a roommate, but he moved in with his fiancé, and she moved out of that condo and into an old house in Greektown with four other roommates. She eventually met her boyfriend, and they soon moved in together. The couple decided they wanted a place of their own, so they moved into his parents’ house in the ‘burbs.
“Living with your partner comes with its own troubles, but living together with your inlaws – that’s a whole new ballgame,” she said.
Steponchev wants to get into the market, but she’s got a lot of questions.

Our House Magazine teamed up with Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker to answer some of those questions and help Steponchev on the path to homeownership.

Q. I understand that first-time homebuyers are granted a five-per-cent down payment – I am not a first-time buyer any more. What am I looking to save for a down payment now?
A. First-time homebuyers are not the only ones who can purchase a home with as little as five per cent down. As long as the home you are purchasing will be your residence, you can still put only five percent down. But all lenders and mortgage insurers (CMHC, Genworth and Canada Guaranty) will want you to have an additional 1.5 per cent of the purchase price to ensure you can cover closing costs such as legal fees, Property Transfer Tax, Land Title registration etc.

Q. What’s the minimum down payment you would recommend to have before looking?
A. As long as you have the minimum five per cent down and 1.5 per cent of the purchase price for closing costs, that’s all a lender and mortgage insurer will want you to have. However, I recommend having a bit more as a buffer against unexpected costs. Remember, with a move there are utility hook-up costs, moving costs, home inspection and so on. Having an additional $5,000 above your down payment and lender-required 1.5 per cent will help make it a smoother move.

Q. What kinds of interest rates are we looking at?
A. Rates will vary day-to-day, but we are still at almost historical lows right now, and they are on the rise. Rates are offered and guaranteed for a period of time called a term. Terms can vary from one to 10 years with some lenders and are priced according to each individual lender’s pricing structure.
The most popular are five-year fixed and five-year variable. Where right now we see five-year fixed rates as low as 3.04 per cent and five-year variable rates as low as 2.36 per cent for qualified applicants, be aware that it is not all about rate. Some of the more appealing lower rate offerings come with additional terms that may not work for you, such as higher penalty structures or bona fide sale clauses that could have you stuck if you want or need to pay out your mortgage mid term.
As always, it is advisable to speak with an experienced mortgage broker to find out more about the terms of any rate offering to make sure you know all the implications that could apply to your situation.

Q. Realistically, what should our budget be?
A. Conservatively, the government has said that 35 per cent of your combined annual gross income should be enough to cover property expenses (mortgage payment, property taxes, condo fees, heating costs), and 42 per cent of your gross annual income needs to be enough to cover the property expenses plus any other credit payments (loans, credit cards, lines of credit).
In reality, every person’s situation is different, so, before you decide to take the leap into home ownership, it is a good exercise to detail your current budget to get a starting point for what supports a comfortable lifestyle. Be sure to include a savings plan into that monthly budget, not only for retirement but you will likely have maintenance costs with your new home or you may want to do some updating.
Now replace your rent payment with property costs (detailed above) and see how your monthly cash flow will be. Is it comfortable, or would you be pinched? Ultimately, it is no fun to be house rich and cash poor, so, if you would feel pinched, it might be an idea to downsize your purchase price to a more realistic level.

Q. In this economy and as a millennial, we’re told that owning a home is a very distant reality (especially due to that darned avocado toast).
Are our dreams of owning our own place just that – dreams?
A. Not at all! In my experience, millennials are very determined when they set their sights on a goal and really just need enough information to formulate a realistic plan. If a home purchase is in your future, my recommendation is to get in touch with a mortgage broker and start building that plan – sooner rather than later.
You may already be qualified and just don’t know it, or there may be tips and tricks you are unaware of that could bring that dream closer sooner. Or it may be that it could take you a year or two to get into a really strong position to enter the market. You just won’t know until you try.
I can tell you personally, it is a very satisfying professional experience when I work with clients from dream to reality, not matter how long it takes. It’s an exciting experience every time!

Courtesy of JEREMY DEUTSCH – Communications Advisor

THE DOWNSIZING DILEMMA

General Darick Battaglia 12 Oct

With almost 50% of homeowners ready to retire and wishing to stay in their home and 30% of those people with most of their money tied up in home equity, the downsizing dilemma is real. Can they afford to stay in their home or is downsizing the better option.

In the past, retired couples or a widow would keep their clear title home and use pension and investment income to live. They would only sell the family home and move into a retirement home when health issues forced the move or upon death of both people. Times have changed.

People are living longer and want to stay in their home. The cost of living has risen and, due to higher home values, the amount of equity in that home is greater than ever. Many home owners are being stretched with their budget and their retirement income is insufficient to maintain their lifestyle.

We have found that many retired people are unable to meet their budget each month and are using a line of credit and/or credit cards. This becomes a vicious cycle and the cost of interest pushes them to the wall and they reach their maximum limits. Then they are forced to sell their home or reduce their lifestyle to manage. Often family members are unaware till it becomes a serious matter. Planning ahead is essential to avoid this situation and lower stress levels for all family members including the aging parent.

In a recent Globe and Mail article, Scott Hannah of the Credit Counselling Society talks about the risks.

Some homeowners now recognize the need to look to their home as a source of income from home equity financing.

There are a growing number of programs designed specifically for homeowners over the age of 55. Each comes with different requirements, advantages and benefits. It is important for retiring or retired people to talk with their family and then in a group with their independent Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker and financial planner.

For some family members, the next step is for the aging parent to downsize to a new home. For some, it is to stay in the family home and set up an equity plan to maintain a safe place and comfortable lifestyle. Consideration must be made for current income, current budget and future needs.

Courtesy Of PAULINE TONKIN – AMP – Coquitlam, BC.

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