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3 Mortgage Terms You Need to Know

Prepayment, Portability and Assumability Prepayments One of the most common questions the Valko team gets is about mortgage prepayments.  The conditions vary from lender to lender but the nice thing about prepayments is that you can pay a little more every year if you want to pay off your mortage faster. A great way to do this is through prepayments. They’re always something to ask your broker about because each lender is very different.  You can always do an increase on your payments and that means that you pay a little bit more each week or each month when you make your mortgage payment.  You can also make a lump sum payment.  Perhaps you get a bonus every year or you get a lot of Christmas money.  You can just throw that on your mortgage.   It goes right on the principle so you’re not paying interest on those extra funds.  …
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Alternative Lending – What is it and Why might I need it?

This is a guest blog written by Dan Pauls from Magenta Capital written for The Valko Team.  Dan is a Business Development Manager for Magenta Capital.   “Alternative lending” is a broad term that covers the many loan options available to any borrower that might not qualify for traditional mortgage financing.  The reasons for borrowers not qualifying are widely varied, since every borrower has a situation or circumstance that is unique to them. Banks and traditional lenders have rigid, standard criteria that they must follow to approve someone for a mortgage.  Their borrowers’ credit history, job history, job type, income type, debt ratios, property type, down payment, etc. must all meet those requirements, which continue to get tighter and tighter in our current environment.  The benefit of the Alternative Lenders is that they can look at your unique circumstances for what they are, and they will assess the big picture …
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The Bank of Canada on Hold

On Oct. 25, the Bank of Canada made no change to the overnight lending rate. This lack of movement was widely expected, then again the Bank of Canada surprised 27 of 33 economists polled with the previous 0.25% rate hike on Sept 6, following a previous 0.25% hike July 12. At this point cooler heads are prevailing. These two recent increases should be viewed with the consideration that the last time the Prime rate reached a level this ‘high’ was September 2010, where it then sat stagnant for more than four years. Until a shock to the system triggered two 0.25% drops in early 2015. A response to the sudden drop in oil prices. Shocks to the system often cause rates to drop, the unexpected. What will cause rates to continue to rise in the future? Economic good news, which is something that tends to build in a predictable and slower fashion. …
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Know your Options when it comes to Separation and Divorce

This is a guest blog written by Colette Fortin, Owner of Fairway Divorce Solutions Waterloo-Wellington. Divorce is ranked the second most stressful event in a person’s life.  People describe those early days of separation as a roller coaster of emotions.  Lack of sleep, brain fog and feelings of sadness, anger, fear of the future can leave you feeling overwhelmed.  Many times, there are so many good-intentioned advice givers that the anxiety of ‘what’s my next step’ is compounded.  The internet can also be filled with so much false or misleading information.  People simply don’t know where to turn. Fortunately, now more than ever, there are options available to help with your separation.  Understanding these options will help you and your spouse make the right choice for your situation.  the separation agreement is the legal document that describes the decisions a couple has made regarding 2 key areas – the finances …
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Credit Scores: Here’s what you need to know

The interest rate you pay on loans for every major purchase you make throughout your lifetime depends on various factors, and is dependent on your creditworthiness – everything from the mortgage on your home to your car loan to your line of credit. And, given today’s ever-changing mortgage requirements and rising interest rate environment, your credit score has become even more important. Your first step towards credit awareness and wellbeing is to know where you stand. Request a free copy of your credit report online from the two Canadian credit-reporting agencies – Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada – at least once a year. This will also help verify that your personal information is up to date and ensure you haven’t been the victim of identity fraud.   Newly established credit If you’re new to credit, you may wonder why your credit score pales in comparison to your friend’s. Payment history …
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Thinking about putting in a firm offer? Make sure you read this first.

The market is constantly changing these days, so if you asked me about affordability just a few weeks ago, I would have had a different answer, as the seller’s market has quickly shifted to a buyer’s market – for now, anyway. The key difference is that the inventory of available houses on the market in the Kitchener-Waterloo area – and many other places across the province – has kicked into high gear. This spring, many first-time homebuyers were quickly being priced out of the market due to multiple bidding scenarios that saw houses sell well over their asking prices. This was not an ideal situation for any buyer – let alone first-time buyers on a particularly tight budget. And while affordability was going by the wayside just a few weeks ago, so too were having a condition of financing and a home inspection included in the purchase offer. Weighing the …
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Mortgage Pre-approval is Not What You Expect

Although going through the pre-approval process is more important than ever, the actual term ‘pre-approval’ is often misleading. It really addresses just a few variables that may arise once in the middle of an actual offer. The pressure in many markets has never been greater to write a condition-free offer, yet due to recent changes to lending guidelines by the federal government, the importance of a clause in the contract along the lines of ‘subject to receiving and approving satisfactory financing’ has also never been greater. (There are variations to be discussed with your Realtor around the specific wording of such clauses.)

Renting vs. Buying – A Question Everyone is Asking

This is a guest blog written for The Valko Team by Caroline Harvey, Real Estate Representative for Team Harvey. In today’s crazy real estate market it is, without a doubt, tougher for first-time buyers to hop into the market and purchase their first home. Some would suggest to keep renting until the market cools to prevent paying inflated prices.  Others would say to take your savings and invest in real estate now because the market will continue to grow and become hotter and hotter in the coming years. First-time buyers, like all buyers have a wish list. This will almost always include a typical detached home with an attached garage, in a lovely family neighborhood similar to what they grew up in – somewhere they can raise a family and live for 20 years.  These types of properties are hard to attain on your first purchase, and in today’s market …
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Effect of foreign buyer tax still uncertain

On April 21, Toronto became the second Canadian city to implement a ‘foreign buyer tax’. The impact that the 15 per cent tax on residential real estate will have on the market remains to be seen. The fact remains that Toronto’s residential real estate supply remains at a 37-year low, and economics 101 taught us that reduced supply results in increased prices. Trying to tackle the problem of rapidly rising house prices from the demand side is popular when it is a method that primarily impact ‘other people’, especially outsiders who we grant less of a right to real estate ownership. Understandably we favour locals, or at least a definition of ‘local’ that resonates with voters. Vancouver was first to this approach in August of 2016, although the results remain unclear. The stats on the impact were skewed as many of the transactions set to close in the months following …
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