So whether you're buying a home, renewing your mortgage, refinancing, renovating, investing, or consolidating your debts — I’m the VERICO Mortgage Advisor who can help you get the right financing, from the right lender, at the right rate.
A slow real estate market and savvy buyers are helping to drive January housing sales
Traditionally, January is a slow month for real estate as most sellers choose to wait until the middle of February in the hopes of capitalizing on the early spring market. However, more and more sellers are opting to put their house on the market in January.
This presents an opportunity for buyers. Most people are reluctant to uproot their families during the school year, so that means less competition and fewer bidding wars. Lenders will not be as busy, so buyers can expect a more efficient process to get approved for a mortgage to ensure they have financing in place before making an offer. But there are things you simply wont be able to inspect during the winter.
Here are some tips for protecting yourself when making a deal during the winter months:
Spruce up the outside: Use urns with light wood branches to brighten up the exterior of your home, to compensate for any overcast day or snow on the ground. Get rid of the Christmas lights: homes that look dated on the outside give the impression that they are probably dated on the inside.
Make sure your fireplace is working during any showing, that the temperature is comfortable in the home and that any interior lighting compensates for what is usually grey lighting from outside.
Have pictures of your landscaping available from the summer and autumn, showing how beautiful your home looks year round.
Have available any inspections that you may have done on your air-conditioning unit or swimming pool before they were closed for the winter, as buyers will likely not be able to conduct inspections on these items and will have questions.
Consider inviting a company to do an environmental audit on your home in advance, confirming that there is no moisture behind the walls that could lead to mould and that you have sufficient insulation behind the walls.
If there is anything that cannot be inspected because of the winter, such as the air-conditioning system or any swimming pool, then negotiate an extended warranty in the agreement, to give you until at least May 1, to inspect and have the seller be responsible for any damages. In addition, also negotiate a holdback of, say, $2,000 so that if a problem arises, the money comes out of that fund to fix it and you dont have to chase the seller in court later.
Be careful about snow accumulating around the base of the home. It will be difficult for a home inspector to figure out whether the grading is likely to cause water problems in the basement later. Consider doing your own environmental audit to check for moisture behind any walls.
If the snow on the roof looks like it is evaporating faster than the snow around the house, it is likely a sign that there is not enough insulation in the home.
Check with your insurance company early as to whether you will have any difficulty obtaining insurance on the home; for example, by finding out whether there have been claims made in the neighbourhood about water damages or sewage backups.
Check whether snow accumulation makes it more difficult for street parking, as this may be the only parking available on certain streets. Also see how bad weather may affect your morning commute.
Check the last electric/gas bills, to determine how energy efficient the home is in winter. People tend to hibernate and stay at home in the winter, so take the opportunity to get to know the neighbours before you finalize your purchase.
By being properly prepared in advance, buyers and sellers can negotiate a safe and successful winter home sale.
3 Things You Should Pay Attention to When You're Shopping for a Home in Ottawa
A lot of people strive to have a home to call their own. So, if you are searching for a home to buy, you deserve to be congratulated as you are on your way to achieving one of your dreams. However, even though purchasing a home is a rewarding experience, it not without its headaches. For one, you may purchase a home that does not suit you, and you may end up regretting your decisions, sometimes after spending lots of money on home renovation without achieving your desired goals. Therefore, you must understand what you need, want, and desire in a home before venturing out to purchase one. Usually, by the time you have decided to purchase your home, and are out searching for one, you will most likely have grasped the essentials, which includes a home with a solid foundation, non-leaking roofs, and proper electrical wiring. Nonetheless, there are three other things that you need to consider before purchasing the home, as they will determine your quality of life in your new home in Ottawa, Canada.
These three considerations are:
1. Quality of Natural Lighting
Natural light improves your home experience by not only providing ample illumination but by also making you feel good. You, therefore, need to buy a home that allows in ample natural light. Moreover, a dimly lit house prevents you from properly surveying its in-house features when you are visiting it for the first time, and even during subsequent visits. It is, therefore, advisable that you schedule your daytime viewings to ensure that you view the house during mornings, afternoons, and evenings. This will allow you to gauge how much natural light gets into the house. Furthermore, purchasing a home with ample natural lighting will save you the costs of future renovations, including resizing of windows and purchasing new window panels, when you decide to increase the amount of daytime natural light that lights up your home.
2. State of Driveway and Parking Space
The size and state of your driveway contribute to your home experience. A narrow or short driveway that forces you to park your car on the street is most likely to make you feel short-changed about your home purchase. A properly sized driveway and ample parking space will allow you to not only enjoy your home but also to be able to invite friends into your home without worrying about where their cars will be parked.
This is one of the most important considerations. You must always remember the neighborhood where your house is located so that you can determine whether you will fit in, or if you like it. It is advisable that you buy a house that is located in a neighborhood that you respect and love; as this will allow you to smoothly integrate into the community, and experience its social life. Moreover, if you have children, you should find out if there are schools in the neighborhood. Besides, if you purchase a home located close to a school, you can be assured that its resale value will increase in the future. Finally, you must familiarize yourself with the bylaws, restrictions, and other guidelines that govern your neighborhood.
How Much Does Home Ownership Really Cost?
Many first time home buyers are so eager to join the home ownership club that they do not consider the true costs of home ownership. The cost of home ownership is more than just the amount you pay each month for your mortgage.
According to Brad Nemes of BradsMortgages.com, Most people just stop to consider their monthly mortgage payments. But there are other costs that are associated with home ownership. It is important for owners to factor in these costs when deciding what home they want to purchase.
How much will your new home cost you each month? What type of expenses should first time home owners consider when buying a home? There are quite a few things to consider.
* The 1/3 rule of thumb. To comfortably afford your home, your mortgage should not be more than 33% or one-third of your income. Some experts recommend keeping that amount to about 25%,
* Factor in incidental costs. In most cases, you will need money for a down payment. Depending upon the type of mortgage, you may need anywhere from 5 percent to 15 percent of the purchase price.
You will probably also need to pay for the home inspection. These inspections can run start about $300 and up. If you buy a rural property, also include a septic inspection for about the same cost or more.
* Closing costs. Closing costs will run anywhere from 1% to 2% of the cost of your home.
Depending on where you live, you may need to pay a transfer tax or a home occupancy tax. This can vary from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars depending on your community.
* Home Owner Association fees.
If you are purchasing a condominium, you may need to pay condominium fees. In some areas, home owners must pay a home owner association fees each month.
* Incidental fees.
Most homeowners want to paint or buy new curtains for their home. Some homeowners may go a little bit further, and they may decide to put down new flooring or purchase furniture. Remember to include these fees in your budget.
* Ongoing expenses.
There are other expenses including home maintenance expenses and taxes to consider. Also, you should consider the costs of utilities too. The bigger the house, the greater the costs. A larger home will cost more to heat or to cool than a smaller house.
* Changes in interest rates.
Right now, interest rates are at an all-time low. Depending upon your mortgage, your interest rates may not stay the same for the life of your mortgage. When interest rates rise, your mortgage rates will also rise. You should factor this into your budget when deciding if you can afford a home.
* Insurance fees.
You will also need homeowners insurance to cover your property in the case of some events. Depending on where you live, you may also need to purchase a specialized type of home owners insurance. For example, you may need to purchase flood insurance or hurricane insurance in addition to your regular insurance policy.
Insurance policies must be paid to take effect when you move into your new home. If you are building a home, you will need insurance even if you just have a lot.
Many experts also recommend having a savings account for emergencies or other expenses that may arise. According to Brad, It is important not to cut yourself short. You want a financial cushion available just in case of an emergency. For example, if your air conditioning system or furnace should go out, you will need the money to fix the problem. According to Brad, you should set aside $200 each month to build a financial cushion. This cushion can be used for emergencies or routine maintenance.
All of these expenses may seem a little bit overwhelming, especially if you have never owned a home before. One good way to get used to paying a mortgage and expenses is to start putting aside the difference between your rent and your mortgage in a savings account.
If you are paying $1000 for rent and you are looking at a $2000 mortgage payment, put the $1000 difference in a savings account. Not only will you get used to carrying the larger mortgage, but you will also be putting money aside to pay for incidental moving expenses.
Says one prospective homeowner, I was worried when we decided to buy our first home. But because we had been putting money aside each month, we knew that we could afford the higher monthly payment. Instead of panicking, we knew we would be okay.