25 Jun



Posted by: Michael Hallett

Here are the new HST rules in BC that will be coming out later this year. It’s not as confusing as you may think. First off, if you’ve purchased a home, then you know that you don’t currently pay GST when you buy a home that’s been previously lived in. This means one house that’s had one previous owner, is now an old house and no longer requires GST to be paid. The HST rules will only apply to brand new homes, homes that have never had anyone else reside in it.

For those of you that don’t know, the HST rule comes with a rebate clause on the PST portion only. The rebate is only for 71.43% of the PST, with GST being paid in full. The maximum rebate for a $525,000 purchase will receive a total of $26,250. If your home is $1 more, there will be no rebate.

Basically if you were to purchase a new home prior to the HST rule being implemented on July 1st, 2010 a $500,000 home with just GST will cost approximately $10,000 less than a home that is charged HST.


24 Jun

Look Beyond the Rate


Posted by: Michael Hallett

It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that comparing mortgage rates will guarantee you get the best bang for your mortgage buck. While this may be true for particular situations, there are many scenarios where this strategy is not effective. Following are three reasons why it doesn’t always pay to make a decision based solely on rates.

Reason #1

Your long-term plan and risk tolerance should determine which mortgage product is right for you. This product may or may not have the lowest rate.

For instance, there are cases where lenders will offer lower rates for insured mortgages. With insured mortgages, however, you’re charged an insurance premium, which is usually added to the mortgage amount. But if you’re not planning on keeping the property for a long enough time to offset that cost, it may be better to take an uninsured mortgage with a slightly higher rate. The cost difference you will pay with the higher interest rate may still be less than what you may pay in insurance premiums.

As another example, if you prefer to budget for a consistent payment and can’t handle rate fluctuations, it may be better to go with a higher fixed-rate mortgage. If you think current rates are low enough and you will be living in your property for at least five years, it may be wise to also opt for a mortgage with a longer term.

Reason #2

One of the biggest mistakes people make when merely comparing mortgage rates is failing to consider important factors such as prepayment options to help pay off the mortgage faster, whether secondary financing options are allowed, early payout penalties, or what fees are involved.

It’s not enough to simply compare mortgage rates because you have to know what “clauses” are contained within the mortgage deal. There may be cases where you will find a lender with the lowest rate and willing to pay for your closing costs, or even provide you with cash-backs after closing.

Reason #3

Lenders can change their rates at any time. As such, if you’re shopping for rates with one lender and then approach another that gives you a lower rate, it’s quite possible that the first lender has also dropped its rates. This is why it’s important to get pre-approved with a lender once you a mortgage that fits your needs. In some cases, you can secure your rate and conditions for up to 120 days.


22 Jun

Why Should You Choose a Mortgage Broker?


Posted by: Michael Hallett

As a licensed mortgage broker with Dominion Lending Centres I have access to multiple mortgage products and services to meet your unique needs and long term goals when it comes time to purchase a new home, renew your existing mortgage, refinance to consolidate debt, take equity out of your home for renovation purposes, or even access your equity to send your kids to a post secondary school.

With access to more than 90 lending institutions, including big banks, credit unions and trust companies, I’m familiar with a vast array of available mortgage products – ranging from financing for the self-employed to financing for those with credit challenges.

And, best of all, I work for you and only you! – not the lenders. This ensures you always receive the best mortgage product and rate to serve your specific needs. Based on the high volume of business I fund, lenders offer me better discounts on mortgages that I can further pass on to my clientele.

With interest rates still below the 10 year mean, refinancing your existing mortgage and switching to a lower rate may save you a lot of money – possibly thousands of dollars per year. Imagine what you could do with the savings – anything from renovating or investing to going on a much-needed vacation or putting money towards your children’s education. By refinancing now and paying off high-interest debt, such as credit cards, you can put yourself and your family in a better financial position.

If your current mortgage is up for renewal, you’re thinking of refinancing your mortgage or you’d like to discuss your options, please give me a call 604 616 2266. I work the standard Monday – Friday hours, evening, weekends and social media 24/7. Instead of taking time out of your busy work week to shop your money around, please let me do the shopping for you. We can meet in the comfort of your own home or at my office. Don’t just accept what the banks tell you!


17 Jun

10 Important Questions to Ask the Home Inspector!


Posted by: Michael Hallett

The purchase of a home is likely the largest financial expenditure you’ll ever make. And getting your home inspected is an essential step in the home-buying process. No one wants to buy a money pit – and once you have signed on the dotted line, there is no turning back.

The best way to ensure you use a professional home inspector is to seek referrals from your me, your real estate agent or friends that have purchased homes in the past. Gather 3 referrals names and call them all. Make sure all the prices are competitive and it’s not always the wisest decision to go with the cheapest. Since you want to be able to trust your home inspector’s judgement, you have to ensure they’re not part-time home inspectors just trying to make some extra cash on the side, or they aren’t only home inspecting so they can also offer to complete any work for you that you need done on the home. To ensure the job’s done right, after all, the home inspection must not be biased.

The purpose of a home inspection is for the inspector to be able to tell you everything you need to know about the home you’re going to purchase so that you can make an informed decision.

Following are 10 key questions you can ask your home inspector before they’re hired to ensure the inspection will be completed professionally and thoroughly:

1. Can I see your licence/professional credentials and proof of insurance?

2. How many years’ experience do you have as a home inspector? (Make sure they’re talking specifically about home inspection and not just how much experience they have in a single trade.)

3. How many inspections have you personally completed?

4. What qualifications and training do you have? Are you a member of a professional organization? What’s your background – construction, engineering, plumbing, etc?

5. Can I see some references? (Make sure you also check the references.)

6. What kind of report do you provide? Do you take pictures of the house and add them to your report?

7. What kind of tools do you use during your inspection?

8. Can you give me an idea of what kind of repairs the house may need? (Be wary if they offer to fix the issues themselves or can recommend someone else to complete the job cheap.)

9. When do you do the inspection? (Let’s hope they don’t have a day job, and can only do them at night when it’s too dark to see the roof. It’s best to stay away from part-time inspectors.)

10. How long do your inspections usually take?

Remember to ask all these questions…


10 Jun

8 Ways to Make Money With Your Real Estate


Posted by: Michael Hallett

Below are just a handful of ways to make some additional money with the real estate property you have purchased.

1. Roommates – helps to pay your mortgage faster.

2. Home Business – will allow you to receive tax deductions; just make sure it is zoned correctly.

3. Storage – rent out unused space. Check with local companies storage companies to make sure you are renting for market value.

4. Parking – if your apartment comes with a parking stall and you don’t use it, that is potential for monthly income.

5. Vacation Rental – if you travel for long duration, rent your property.

6. Collateral – use your current equity as leverage to secure better rates or a HELOC.

7. Long-term investing – it’s not liquid, but if you have the correct plan, this can provide financial freedom.

8. Tax shelter – real estate is a great tax shelter; lowers your tax liability, mortgage interest, closing costs and property taxes can be deducted from your income.