The Canadian mortgage industry has never been more confusing. Do I use a broker? Do I go straight to my bank? Who can get me the best rate? Who can give me the best independent advice?
Alma Pasic has been helping clients navigate the confusing World of mortgages and financing in Canada for almost 20 years. Using her expert knowledge of the industry and relationships with leading financial institutions, Alma gets her clients the approvals needed with the best terms.
As well as being the coauthor of “Complete Home Buyer’s Guide for Canadians”, available on amazon.ca, Alma is also a leading provider of real estate investment seminars throughout the Lower Mainland.
She offers a full service financial platform across a wide range of products and options by working with a range of realtors, accountants, builders, developers and financial planners.
Alma has the resources and relationships to access the complete range of mortgage options.
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Are Reverse Mortgages a Good Idea?
Are Reverse Mortgages Ever a Good Idea?
Home equity is a tempting source of capital or income for older investors but what are the hidden catches? Gordon Powers of RateSupermarket.ca offers advice
November 18, 2014
Gordon Powers RateSupermarket.ca
This article originally appeared on financial advice website RateSupermarket.ca. To read the original article, click here.
Ask advisors whether the money tied up in your home should be counted as an asset that you can tap in retirement and youll get a wide variety of opinions.
Most financial planning software programs dont consider home equity when tallying potential retirement income. In looking at the few that do, its clear that theres no agreed-upon method for calculating its impact on your financial future.
Despite this, home equity remains a tempting target for older investors to tap. Dont forget that close to three quarters of Canadians over age 60 are homeowners, not renters a considerably higher rate than for most other age groups.
You can always downsize, of course, and invest the difference. But, other than that, there really arent a lot of options when it comes to wringing money out of your home.
HELOCs Not Generally Available
A home equity line of credit (HELOC) secured against the value of your property is likely your best bet. But these are typically less useful for many older homeowners since they often have a harder time qualifying unless they already have some regular income.
Thats why a growing number of baby boomers exiting the workforce, or in the midst of a grey divorce, are looking to mine the value of their homes through a reverse mortgage.
A reverse mortgage allows you to borrow from your homes equity while not having to make any monthly payments. Unlike most mortgages, theres no credit check, no income confirmation, and no insurance requirement. Approval is based only on your age and home equity.
Another major attraction is that the payments you receive arent considered taxable income and thus wont affect any government retirement benefits.
Qualify As Young As Age 55
All this anticipated demand has prompted HomEquity Bank, the countrys sole provider of reverse mortgages, to recently lower the minimum age threshold for its CHIP Home Income Plan from 60 to 55.
But, before you rush in, understand this: The amount you owe increases over time, while the amount of equity in your home likely decreases. Whats worse, the younger you are, the more the compound interest will grow, and the more you will owe.
And there are a few upfront fees to consider as well.
Watch For Additional Costs
First, youll need a home appraisal which will cost $200 to $400, depending on location. On top of that, lawyers fees, required by law on all reverse mortgage transactions, can range from $300 to $600.
The third setup cost is closing and administrative fees, which amount to $1495 a charge HomEquity has waived during past promotions, at least for buyers willing to lock in for a three or five-year term.
But, even then, this is still an expensive option. Right now, for instance, HomEquity is charging 4.75 per cent on a variable-rate mortgage which is 1.75 percentage points above prime. Five-year terms are available at 5.69 per cent. That compares with rates as low as 3.19 per cent for conventional five-year mortgages.
Debt Doubles Every 11 Years
Going this route means that your debt level is going to double about almost every 11 years at todays interest rates, all the while eroding the value of your estate.
But older Canadians are definitely buying, largely because theyve seen the rates on their fixed-income savings fall significantly while their houses have at least maintained their value or better.
In a world where people are living longer and spending more, the attraction is obvious. Still, tread carefully before you sign up.
Copyright 2015 - See more at: http://www.rew.ca/news/are-reverse-mortgages-ever-a-good-idea-1.1591812#sthash.WmD0dlm9.dpuf
Professionals who can help you with home buying
Because purchasing a home is probably the biggest investment you will ever make, youll definitely want a team of professionals working with you throughout the process.
The Real Estate Agent
Helps you find the ideal home
Writes an Offer of Purchase
Negotiates on your behalf
Gives you important information about the community Can help you plan the home inspection
A lawyer (or a notary in Quebec) protects your legal rights. He or she will review all contracts before you sign them, especially the Offer (or Agreement) to Purchase. Remember that a lawyer/notary should:
Be a licensed, full-time lawyer/notary
Be local and understand real estate laws, regulations and restrictions Have realistic and acceptable fees
Be able to explain things in plain language
The Home Inspector
Performs an inspection of the visible components of the home
Tells you the condition of the house; what is working properly; what needs to be changed; what is unsafe; and what repairs need to be made
Can tell you where there may have been problems in the past
Usually belongs to a provincial or industry association
A good credit report and credit score are important factors in determining whether or not you will be approved for a mortgage. Here are some simple steps you can take to maintain a good credit history, and improve your chances of being approved.
What is a Credit Score
Your credit score is a number that illustrates your financial health at a specific point in time. It also serves as an indicator of your financial past, and how consistently you pay off your bills and debts. This is one of the factors mortgage professionals consider in qualifying you for a mortgage.
How to Check Your Credit Score
To find out your credit score, contact Canadas two credit-reporting agencies: Equifax Canada at www.equifax.ca and TransUnion Canada at www.transunion.ca. For a fee, these agencies will provide you with an online copy of your credit score as well as a credit report a detailed summary of your credit history, employment history and personal financial information on file. You can also obtain a free copy of your credit report by mail. If you find any errors in your report, notify the credit-reporting agency and the organization responsible for the inaccuracy immediately.
If You Do Not Have a Credit Score
Its important to begin building a credit history as early as possible. You can begin to build one by applying for and responsibly using a credit card. Your financial institution or mortgage professional can help.
How to Improve Your Credit Score
Demonstrating your ability to manage credit is key to maintaining a good credit score. There are a number of things you can do to improve your credit score. These include: Always pay your bills in full and on time. If you cannot pay the full amount, try to pay at least the required minimum shown on your monthly statement. Pay off your debts (such as loans, credit cards, lines of credit, etc.) as quickly as possible. Never go over the limit on your credit cards, and try to keep your balances well below the limits. Reduce the number of credit card or loan applications you make. Once your credit score has improved, work with your mortgage professional to obtain a mortgage that works for you.
Find Out More
To find out more about credit scores and reports, visit the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada website and download or request a free copy of their guide, Understanding Your Credit Report and Credit Score. This guide provides practical, straightforward information on how to obtain and understand your credit report and score, as well as how to build and maintain a good credit history.