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10 WORST FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER MISTAKES
10 WORST FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYER MISTAKES Are you gearing up to buy your first place? Arm yourself with these tips to get the most out of your purchase and avoid making 10 of the most costly mistakes that could put a hold on that sold sign. 1. Not Knowing What You Can Afford As we’ve all learned from the subprime mortgage mess, what the banks says you can afford and what you know you can afford or are comfortable with paying are not necessarily the same. If you don’t already have a budget, make a list of all your monthly expenses (excluding rent). Subtract this total from your take-home pay and you’ll know how much you can spend on your new home each month. 2. Skipping Mortgage Qualification What you think you can afford and what the bank is willing to lend you may not match up, so make sure to talk to your mortgage broker and get pre-approved for a loan before placing an offer on a home. Beware that even if you have been pre-approved for a mortgage, your loan can fall through at the last minute if you do something to alter your credit score, like finance a car purchase. 3. Failing to Consider Additional Expenses Once you’re a homeowner, you’ll have additional expenses on top of your monthly payment. You’ll be responsible for paying property taxes, insuring your home against disasters and making any repairs the house needs. If you’re purchasing a condo, you’ll have to pay maintenance costs monthly regardless of whether anything needs fixing because you’ll be part of a building strata. 4. Being Too Picky Go ahead and put everything you can think of on your new home wish list, but don’t be so inflexible that you end up continuing to rent for significantly longer than you really want to. First-time homebuyers often have to compromise on something because their funds are limited. 5. Lacking Vision Even if you can’t afford to replace the hideous wallpaper in the bathroom now, it might be worth it to live with the ugliness for a while in exchange for getting into a house you can afford. If the home meets your needs in terms of the big things that are difficult to change, such as location and size, don’t let physical imperfections turn you away. 6. Being Swept Away Minor upgrades and cosmetic fixes are inexpensive tricks that are a seller’s dream for playing on your emotions and eliciting a much higher price tag. If you’re on a budget, look for homes whose full potential have yet to be realized. First-time homebuyers should always look for a house they can add value to, as this ensures a bump in equity to help you up the property ladder. 7. Compromising on the Important Things Don’t get a two-bedroom home when you know you’re planning to have kids and will want three bedrooms. Don’t make a compromise that will be a major strain. 8. Neglecting to Inspect Before you close on the sale, you need to know what kind of shape the house is in. You don’t want to get stuck with a money pit or with the headache of performing a lot of unexpected repairs. 9. Not Choosing to Hire an Agent or Using the Seller's Agent Once you're seriously shopping for a home, don't walk into an open house without having an agent. Agents are held to the ethical rule that they must act in both the seller and the buyer parties' best interests. 10. Not Thinking About the Future It's impossible to perfectly predict the future of your chosen neighbourhood, but paying attention to the information that is available to you now can help you avoid unpleasant surprises down the road.
National house price index rises again in August
The national HPI has grown at a below-inflation rate of 0.6% over the last 12 months. However, the weakness is not regionally broad-based. The national HPI has been depressed by 12 consecutive months without a rise in Vancouvers index, which dropped a cumulative 6.6%. Other Western metropolitan areas (Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg) also contributed to slow the national HPI. At the opposite, annual growth has been decent in most of the regions located in the central and eastern part of the country. That being said, home sales in August were up 55% from March in Vancouver, where market conditions went from favorable to buyers to balanced. Over that period, home sales rose 19% in Calgary and 12% in Edmonton. These improvements, if sustained, will sooner or later help limit home-price deflation in this region.
The TeranetNational Bank Composite National House Price IndexTM increased 0.4% in August, a fourth gain in a row after an eight-month string without a rise.
On a monthly basis, the index rose in 8 of the 11 markets covered: Victoria (+0.2%), Calgary (+0.6%), Hamilton (0.7%), Winnipeg (0.7%), Toronto (+0.8%), Montreal (1.1%), Ottawa-Gatineau (1.7%) and Halifax (1.8%). The index was down in Vancouver (-0.8%), Quebec City (-0.4%) and Edmonton (-0.1%).
From August 2018 to August 2019, the Composite index rose 0.6%. Over the period, the HPI declined in Vancouver (-6.6%), Edmonton (-3.1%), Calgary (-2.3%). It was marginally up in Quebec City (0.1%), Victoria (0.7%) and Winnipeg (1.1%). It grew more convincingly in Toronto (+3.8%), Hamilton (+4.4%), Halifax (5.5%), Montreal (+5.7%) and Ottawa-Gatineau (+6.4%).
Source: National Bank, Marc Pinsonneault
CREA Updates Resale Housing Market Forecast
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has updated its forecast for home sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) Systems of Canadian real estate boards and associations for the rest of 2019 and looking ahead to 2020.
Economic fundamentals underpinning housing activity remain strong outside of the Prairies and Newfoundland and Labrador. Population and employment growth have both remained supportive and the unemployment rate remains low. At the same time, expectations have become widespread that the Bank of Canada is unlikely to raise interest rates over the rest of the year and into next.
More importantly for home buyers and housing markets, longer-term mortgage rates have been declining. Among those that have declined is the Bank of Canadas benchmark five-year rate used by banks to qualify mortgage applicants.
Additionally, the Federal Government has recently launched its First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, a shared equity program in which the federal government finances a portion of a home purchase in exchange for an equity share of the homes value.
Of these factors supporting Canadian housing activity, the decline in mortgage rates is arguably the most important development since the release in June of CREAs most recent forecast. The decline in the benchmark five-year mortgage rate has marginally relaxed the B-20 mortgage stress-test, which has dampened housing activity more than other policy changes made in recent years.
Home sales have improved by more than expected in recent months and there are early signs that home price declines in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and across the Prairies may be abating. Meanwhile, home prices are re-accelerating across Ontarios Greater Golden Horseshoe region.
Strong economic fundamentals, previously unexpected declines in mortgage interest rates and stronger than previously expected housing market trends in British Columbia and Ontario have resulted in CREA upwardly revising forecast home sales in 2019 and 2020. Nonetheless, the overall level of national sales activity this year and next is anticipated to remain below levels recorded prior to the implementation of the B-20 stress test.
National home sales are now projected to recover to 482,000 units in 2019, representing a 5% increase from the five-year low recorded in 2018. While this is an upward revision of 19,000 transactions compared to CREAs previous forecast (85% of which is due to upgraded British Columbia and Ontario forecasts), it represents a return of activity to its 10-year annual average. It also remains well below the annual record set in 2016, when almost 540,000 homes traded hands. Notwithstanding the upward revision, the forecast for 2019 on a per capita basis remains the second weakest since 2001.