Cheryl Alleyne
Sales Representative

Sutton Group Heritage Realty Inc., Brokerage

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Helpful Tips For Buyers


Advantages of Bigger Down Payments

As mentioned above, when you put a 25% down payment on your purchase you can avoid the CMHC premium. More importantly the larger the down payment, the lower the amount of interest you will pay over the life of your mortgage. It is important to note that it may not be wise to stretch yourself to increase your down payment and end up borrowing on credit cards or a line of credit at a higher rate.

Short Term Rates vs. Long Term Rates

The options for mortgages available can be very confusing for most mortgage shoppers. Terms for mortgages vary between variable and fixed rate, 6-month terms to 10 year terms. Taking a variable or floating rate mortgage can have savings. Typically the shorter the term or guarantee of the rate, the lower the rate will be. This does not always happen, depending on the market place and the economy, but history has shown that short-term rates tend to be lower than long-term rates. The up side of variable rate is the strong potential for interest rate savings. The down side is the fact that you are accepting the interest rate risk without a guarantee. If you are considering a variable rate mortgage you need to look at your own risk tolerance, and your cash flow available to deal with potential increased payment. Considering projections of rates and where we see interest rates heading can also be important in this decision. Make sure you talk to an expert when you are making this decision.

Making Extra payments

Paying extra amounts on your mortgage can make a big interest saving over time. When we select a mortgage company, privilege payments options are something that we look for. A 20% privilege payment will allow you to pay off up to $20,000 per year on a $100 000 mortgage. It is important that the privilege payment also be flexible to allow you to pay smaller payments on the mortgage and as often as you wish. An extra $1000 periodically paid on a mortgage can help you become mortgage free faster.

Reducing the CMHC fees on your purchase

When you require a mortgage for more than 80% of the purchase price of a property, that mortgage must be insured by Canada Mortgage and Housing (CMHC) or GE Mortgage insurance. The premium charged by these company`s decreases as the down payment increases. When you finance your property at 95%, a premium of 3.75% is added to the mortgage. By increasing the down payment to 10% of the purchase price the premium can be reduced to 2.5%. If you can put down 20%, you can avoid any additional insurance fee. Depending on your situation there are ways that you can structure this financing to avoid the CMHC or GE insurance premium.

Bi-weekly and weekly payments

Most mortgages have the option to allow payments to be made on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. This option may be desirable for two reasons. The first is it can save you money as you can expect to pay off your mortgage about 4 years sooner. This can save you dramatically over the life of your mortgage. The other reason why these options are so popular is that if your employer pays you on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, you can simplify your budgeting by making the payment line up with the way you paid.

Homeownership for Young People

Looking Ahead - No one likes to think they will get old but we all seem to. Equally, no one likes to think that they will be living in their parents' basement until they're thirty-something! While saving for a mortgage may be the last thing on young minds preoccupied with sports, dating, or academics, it's never too early to plan for the future. A few small steps can become giant leaps towards financial security!
Every dollar counts! If there are two key words every young adult and teenager should know they are "compound interest". A simple mathematical calculation demonstrates how savings can build. If the initial investment is $100 at a conservative interest rate of 5% per year, by the end of that year the investment will be $105. If the money remains invested through the next year, the investment will grow to $110.25 ($105 x 5% = $110.25). The following year it would be $110.25 x 5% = $115.76. So it is easy to see how quickly an investment can grow. It's a great habit to get into setting aside a certain amount from every paycheck. Regular "payments" to your investment not only result in greater savings, they can help even out the ups and downs of the marketplace. There is nothing worse than investing one large sum of money and immediately afterwards seeing the stock market or interest rates plummet. Also try to think of invested money as being out of reach and avoid dipping into those savings.
Elephants aren't the only ones with good memories… A credit history can go as far back as the first loan (even those co-signed by a parent) or the first credit card. A bad credit rating can make it hard to lease a car, get a mortgage, or any type of loan. Always pay at least your minimum monthly credit card payment and pay it on time. Of course, the best plan is to never carry a balance. The lure of credit, however, can be too hard for anyone to resist especially for a young adult on a limited budget. If you can establish good habits early, think of how much you will save by avoiding years of paying 18-20% credit card interest. (That's compound interest too, by the way.)
A poor credit rating can haunt you for years but a good rating can help you get a loan or mortgage in the future. Most lenders need to see that a borrower is financially responsible. Credit cards can be a great beginning. Most credit card companies will give accounts to students in their last year of university or most applicants over the age of 21.
Research the area where you would like to live. No one can predict where the future will take him or her. Society is more mobile than ever. Educational pursuits or new jobs often force people to leave their hometowns and relocate in other cities or provinces. Wherever a person decides to put down roots, it's important to research the market. Talk to local real estate agents. Most will be happy to share their knowledge and experience. Some important questions to ask include How much will I expect to spend in order to purchase a house with a certain number of bedrooms or a certain square footage? What sort of features should I look for in a home? Is there a strong resale market in this area? Also check out the local real estate companies on the Internet to get an idea of local home prices and sizes.
Mortgage Calculators. The best place to start is a mortgage calculator on the Internet. You can simply type in "mortgage calculator" and several options come up. (Ensure that you are using a Canadian mortgage calculator since rules differ between countries. A good calculator can be found at ( A mortgage calculator is a quick, easy way to see what you can afford. If you enter an approximate home value and current interest rates, the calculator will show the required monthly payments and the value of the mortgage. By changing the amount of your down payment or the length of the mortgage payment period (amortization period) you can see how monthly payments change. Remember that this calculator only provides general information. When an individual applies for a mortgage the lender will take numerous factors into account including income, length of employment, and of course that omnipresent credit rating!
The tortoise and the hare… Even if buying a home is years away it's a good idea to start planning today! The slow steady building of your investments pays off richly in the end. Save a specific percentage of your income on a regular basis starting from your very first part-time job. Also try to make payments to your credit card on time and don't carry a balance. Eventually we all get to the finish line but it's nice to get there in style!

Do Your Homework - Home Inspections

Home inspections are often an important part of the pre-purchase routine when buying a house. You do not want to end with faults that you had not anticipated. Choosing a home inspector can be difficult process. It is important to consult with family and friends to find a reliable inspector that has good references. You should also contact several inspectors in your area and interview them in advance to ascertain their qualifications. Be sure to do your own independent investigation of the Inspectors' qualifications.
Questions to Ask
1. How long has the inspector been in business AS A HOME INSPECTION firm?
2. Is the inspector specifically experienced in RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION?
3. What does the inspection include? Inspections should include visual inspections covering exterior, structure, garage, plumbing, heating, cooling, electrical, interior, insulation and ventilation. Extras include radon testing, a pest infestation survey or inspection of septic systems or wells. Be sure the inspector will provide a written report.
4. How much will it cost? Determine fees up front. Inspections cost from as little as $200 to as much as $1,000 depending on the size of the home and which inspection services are requested.
5. How long will the inspection take? The time depends on the size and age of the home, the average is 2 to 3 hours. Anything less isn't enough time to do a thorough inspection but many inspectors take a full day to thoroughly inspect your prospective purchase.
6. Does the inspector encourage the client to attend the inspection? This is a valuable educational opportunity, and an inspector's refusal means you should look for a better qualified inspector.
7. Bluntly ask what educational and/or training facility the inspector attended. Does the inspector participate in continuing education programs to keep his/her expertise up to date? Ask to see the inspector's papers. When hiring a company, make certain that your home will be inspected by a registered professional.
8. Does the company offer to do any repairs or improvements based on its inspection? This might cause a conflict of interest. We do not recommend that you deal with these firms.
9. Do they belong to an association that will investigate a consumer complaint?
10. Do they carry errors and omission insurance?
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