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May Market Report

In this month’s market report, Tracy looks at the May real estate market with guest Realtor, Caroline Harvey from Royal LePage Wolle, right here in Kitchener. Caroline works closely with her husband, Mike, and TEAM HARVEY is consistently one of the top-producing teams with Royal LePage, and you can check out their current listings, or contact them here.

Bank of Canada Rate Change: Here’s what you need to know

As a home owner, or someone who is looking at purchasing a home, you’re probably wondering what today’s announcement from the Bank of Canada really means.  Today, for the first time in 7 years, the key interest rate was increased by a 1/4 percent, setting the rate at 0.75%.  This directly changes the Prime lending rate, which Banks and Mortgage Lenders use to set their rates. It’s no secret that the housing market here in Canada has been hot. In the Waterloo Region alone we have seen prices increase month over month by over 30%, according to the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS®. Since the Bank of Canada has held the key interest rate for so long, it is only natural that in a strong economy this rate would eventually increase.  Current mortgage rates have been affected by the market as well: rates have been inflated because of market pricing, and …
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Make Your Voice Heard About Affordable Homes

As you may know, the government has made changes to the rules and regulations around qualifying for mortgage financing last year. We are very proud that Tracy has joined forces with Mortgage Professionals Canada, attempting to drive positive change for Canadians. If you have been affected by these changes in any way, now is your time to speak up! www.tellyourmp.ca is a simple and easy way to express your concerns to those who need to hear it most. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, or looking to refinance – make your voice be heard!  

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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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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Playing with “house money”

How much of the current record-setting price gains in several Ontario and BC markets are self perpetuating? That is, ‘I just got paid $100,000 over asking, so now I too will pay $100,000 over asking…’ After all it is ‘found money’ – easy come easy go. For those of you smart enough to avoid the casino, you may not be familiar with the term house money. This describes a players winnings, gambling with said winnings – with the house money rather than their own. Of course it is actually the players money, it is in their hands not the ‘houses‘, but it arrived easily and quickly and thus no deep attachment has formed – unlike with hard earned and slowly built up savings. And we humans often take bigger chances with ‘found money’. The effect can be seen in stock markets as well. Strong market performance will change an individuals …
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Budget Breakdown

No Change in Capital Gains Taxation and No Hit to Housing By Dr. Sherry Cooper Budget 2017 continues the government’s commitment to support the middle class by enhancing Canada’s long-term growth potential. Investments to foster innovation, skills and the ability to attract top talent from around the world are included. An important and growing competitive advantage is Canada’s openness to trade and immigration, having a broader range of free trade agreements than any other G-7 country. This is particularly potent today as the U.S. is aiming to retrench from free trade and even potentially impose trade restrictions and border adjustment taxes. Ottawa is also targeting a few high-potential sectors for government support. These targeted areas are advanced manufacturing, agri-food, clean technology (a sector that the Trump Administration might well be abandoning), digital industries, health/bio sciences and clean resources (also very different from proposed U.S. policy), with the hope of enhancing …
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Is now the right time to buy?

Q. Is today the right time to buy yourself a home or not? A. Today is the right day assuming one has found the specific property that works for them on all levels. This question arises on a near daily basis within our social circles. If the conversation is about an owner occupied property which one plans to reside at for at least the next seven to 10 years, then arguably yes, the right time to buy is today. Over a seven to 10-year horizon the day-to-day, even the month-to-month gyrations of the market will tend to resemble those of a small yo-yo on a large escalator. There are some ups and downs, although with the lows often not dropping below the second last high. This is true of nearly any major urban 25-year chart of real estate values. There are some key considerations that will dictate not only the …
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Home Renovations – Building Value with Equity

This is a guest blog, written for The Valko Team by Cindy-Lou Schmidt, Real Estate Representative. Home Renovations — Building Value with Equity In a healthy real estate market, with steadily increasing appreciation rates, purchasing a home can be a great investment! But buying new property isn’t the only way to benefit — you might want to consider taking advantage of the equity you’ve built since purchasing your home. But before you grab the cheque book and credit card, and start logging on to Houzz.ca and Instagram for inspiration, remember that your home’s equity and the return on investment from each project is not realized until you actually sell your home. So what to do? Renovate S.M.A.R.T.: Stay on track When you have your budget lined up, stick to it! The middle of a kitchen reno is not the time to go over budget by falling in love with Italian sourced …
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