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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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.
Canadian home sales activity strengthens in July
Statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show national home sales were up from June to July 2018.
National home sales rose 1.9% from June to July.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was down 1.3% from July 2017.
The number of newly listed homes edged down 1.2% from June to July.
The MLS Home Price Index (HPI) in July was up 2.1% year-over-year (y-o-y).
The national average sale price edged up 1% y-o-y.
National home sales via Canadian MLS Systems rose 1.9% in July 2018, building on increases in each of the two previous months but still running below levels recorded from mid-2013 to the end of last year. Led by the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), more than half of all local housing markets reported an increase sales activity from June to July.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was down 1.3% y-o-y. The result reflects fewer sales in major urban centres in British Columbia and an offsetting improvement in activity in the GTA.
This years new stress-test on mortgage applicants continues to weigh on home sales but its effect may be starting to fade slightly in Toronto and nearby markets, said CREA President Barb Sukkau. The degree to which the stress-test continues to sideline home buyers varies depending on location, housing type and price range. All real estate is local, and REALTORSremain your best source for information about sales and listings where you live or might like to in the future, said Sukkau.
Improving national home sales activity in recent months obscures significant differences in regional trends for home sales and prices, said Gregory Klump, CREAs Chief Economist. Regardless, rising interest rates and this years stress test on mortgage applicants will likely prove to be difficult hurdles to overcome for many would-be first time and move-up homebuyers, heading into the second half of the year and beyond.
Hacks to slash your car expenses
(NC) When you consider the rising costs of gas and insurance, owning a vehicle can get pricey. Fortunately, these easy tips can help lower how much you spend on your car so theres more room in your budget for other expenses, like groceries and recreation.
Increase your fuel economy. Did you know that a small spark plug problem can lead to a big expense? A dirty spark plug can cause a misfire, which wastes fuel and can ultimately harm your engine. To combat this, look for a spark plug thats designed for improved fuel economy, like the those from Fram. Try the Autolite Iridium XP Enhanced Alloy Technology line, which is precisely engineered with a focused ignition point for maximum power, efficiency and life.
Get regular tune-ups. When a vehicle is properly tuned, all systems work in harmony, including the fuel, ignition, emission and computer systems. While it can be a hassle getting to regular appointments at your mechanic or dealer, remember that you are investing in the long-term performance of your car, saving you time and money. Regular engine tune-ups bring power and efficiency back to your car, ensuring that its reliable, safe and road-ready.
Change your filters. There are many ways to keep your engine in good shape, helping it to last longer. One is checking the air filter every time you have the oil changed, because engine life and durability are directly related to keeping incoming air clean. Its an air filters job to remove contaminants from the air before it goes into the engine, and neglecting this component results in reduced performance. Fram extra guard filters provide premium engine protection and are proven to let in two times less dirt than the average leading standard retail brands.