It PAYS to shop around.
Many Canadian homeowners pay too much for their homes because they are not getting the best mortgage financing available in the market.
The mortgage process can be intimidating for homeowners, and some financial institutions don't make the process any easier.
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Keep it Simple
Keep it simple when buying a houseSpring is here, which means increased activity in the real estate market. If you are thinking of buying a house, keep these simple tips in mind.Decide whether the time is right for you to buy – “If you currently own a house, you should buy and sell at the same time, which will help ensure you don’t sell low and buy high,” explains Chartered Professional Accountant Eli Palachi, a partner with Crowe Soberman LLP in Toronto. “If you are a first-time purchaser, try to buy when you can secure low mortgage rates so that your monthly cash outflow is lower.”Determine what you can afford – “Establish a budget that includes the cost of the new house and then try living with that budget for a while to make sure you won’t become financially strapped and end up house rich and cash poor,” advises Chartered Professional Accountant Albert Yu, a sales representative with RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd. in Toronto. “Mortgage rates are at historically low levels these days. But keep in mind that every one-per-cent increase in interest rates means you can buy 10-per-cent less house.” Yu says your budget should also include other costs, including a rainy day fund that covers three to six months’ worth of expenses, retirement savings and a children’s education fund. Your Chartered Accountant can help you set up a realistic budget and help with decisions on how to finance a house purchase.Don’t forget to factor in the hidden costs – “In addition to the price of the house itself, your other costs include legal fees associated with closing the sale, adjustments for property tax and utilities, the land transfer tax, mortgage fees, house appraisal fees and moving,” says Palachi. “If you are buying a bigger house, you may also have higher insurance costs.”Shop around for the best mortgage rate – “Speak to several banks to see what their rates are,” says Palachi. “It doesn’t hurt to get an idea of what competitive rates are, and banks don’t charge a fee or commission for securing financing. Your CA can also introduce you to mortgage officials at the bank.” If you are going to shop around for rates, Yu cautions against signing several applications that would result in a credit check. “Your credit score will decrease if too many checks are done at once,” he explains.Make the biggest down payment you can afford – “You must pay at least 20 per cent of the purchase price down to avoid a high-ratio mortgage and paying one-time Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation premiums,” explains Yu. A larger down payment will also lower your monthly payments.
Canadian home sales edge higher in March 2019
Home sales via Canadian MLS Systems edged up 0.9% in March 2019 following a sharp drop in February, leaving activity near some of the lowest levels recorded in the last six years.
There was an even split between the number of markets where sales rose from the previous month and those where they waned. Among Canadas larger cities, activity improved in Victoria, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Oakville-Milton and Ottawa, whereas it declined in Greater Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, London and St. Thomas, Sudbury and Quebec City.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity fell 4.6% y-o-y to the weakest level for the month since 2013. It was also almost 12% below the 10-year average for March. That said, in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, sales were more than 20% below their 10-year average for the month. By contrast, activity is running well above-average in Quebec and New Brunswick.
It will be some time before policy measures announced in the recent Federal Budget designed to help first-time homebuyers take effect, said Jason Stephen, CREAs President. In the meantime, many prospective homebuyers remain sidelined by the mortgage stress-test to varying degrees depending on where they are looking to buy. All real estate is local, and REALTORS remain your best source for information about sales and listings where you live or might like to in the future, added Stephen.
5 ways to help stop the sniffles this allergy season
(NC) Spring has sprung again and while the warmer weather is definitely a welcome change, the return of itchy eyes and a constantly dripping nose may not be.
Its estimated that 25 per cent of Canadians are affected by seasonal allergies, and depending on what you are allergic to, allergy season may not just affect you in the spring but could also linger right up until the first frost in the fall.
This spring, try to avoid the discomfort by getting to the bottom of what is causing your allergies before they start. Here are five tips to help you get ahead of your symptoms:
Check the pollen forecast: Be on top of this as it can change daily and really affect your symptoms. If youre planning on exercising, go to the gym or exercise inside on warm, windy days.
When you are outside, protect yourself: Wear sunglasses or a hat not only do they look good and block the sun, they also help keep pollen off your body and out of your eyes.
Cover up when being active outside: If you are doing outdoor activities like cutting the lawn or gardening, consider wearing a mask or scarf to cover your nose and mouth.
Protect yourself from pollen: We carry a lot of pollen into the home with us. Wash your bedding more frequently during spring, summer and fall; keep your windows closed and remember your pets can track pollen into the house, too.
Find the right product: Speaking to your local Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist can be your first line of defense. They can help assess your symptoms and recommend an over-the-counter medication or product. If this isnt enough to kick your symptoms, your pharmacist can write you a prescription for a medication in all provinces excluding British Columbia and Ontario. If your symptoms are more severe, pharmacists in B.C. and Ontario can work with your doctor to make sure you have the right treatment option for you.