22 Jul

10 Things to Consider Before You Renew Your Mortgage!


Posted by: Michael Hallett

1. Have You Explored All Your Options? Once you receive your mortgage renewal statement, there is nothing easier than signing on for another term. This may make sense in some cases, but your family and financial situation may change over time. I can look for opportunities that may better meet your needs right now.

2. Are You Comfortable With Your Payments? If your monthly payments are barely letting you breakeven each month then it might be time to reduce payments. On the other hand, if you are earning more why not pay down your mortgage faster and save thousands in interest over time.

3. Do You Need Cash Flow For Other Things? Your priorities may have changed since you purchased the home, things like your child(s) post secondary education, planning a career change or a major purchase. You can access equity in your home and refinance your mortgage.

4. Can You Handle Fluctuating Rates? Some homeowners are comfortable with the ebb and flow of interest rates and some are not. It is best to base your decision on your personal situation, not what you read. I can help you decide on a fixed or variable rate mortgage.

5. Will You Sell Soon? If so, consider a shorter term mortgage that has flexible terms to if you decide to sell your home.

6. Are You Thinking of a Major Renovation? Upgrades can increase the value of your home but the cost of having the work done can tie up a lot your money. Make sure to allow for ample finances to complete.

7. When Do You Want To Be “Mortgage-Free?” Increasing your payments will raise your monthly expenses now, but you’ll ultimately save thousands on interest in the long term, a mortgage-free lifestyle.

8. Could You Use Your Home Equity to Fulfill Other Goals? Refinancing a mortgage can be one way to free up cash you need for other things, which could even include purchasing another property.

9. Have Your Insurance Needs Changed? If your home equity has increased, there may not be the need for default insurance.

10. Are You Getting the Best Rates and Terms? In a competitive mortgage environment your good credit history can make refinancing work to your advantage. We analyze mortgage markets daily to ensure you don’t miss any money saving opportunities.

16 Jul

Industry NEWS!


Posted by: Michael Hallett

The Bank of Canada will raise its key overnight interest rate next week, but the pace of subsequent hikes is less clear, according to Canadian primary dealers and global forecasters surveyed by Reuters. The Reuters poll, released today, showed a 73% median probability that the Bank of Canada will raise the overnight rate by 25 basis points, to 0.75% from the current 0.50%, at its next policy announcement date on July 20th. Read more http://www.financialpost.com/news/Bank+Canada+July+hike+seen+highly+likely/3277012/story.html
94% of Canadians say they feel better when they have a safety net of savings to fall back on. 19%, haven’t put any money aside for a rainy day, according to a survey released Tuesday by Scotiabank. Personal finance experts say everyone should have an emergency fund that would cover one to 3 months’ worth of household expenses.The bank’s survey found that 25%, of those surveyed have that much set aside. Another 33% have more than three months’ worth, and 23% have squirreled away less than one month of expenses.

Canadians bought more US properties than the citizens of any other country in the last year, although financing was a hurdle for many of them. A study by the Chicago-based National Association of Realtors showed Canadians bought 23% of all the homes sold to foreigners from March 2009 to March 2010. Mexicans came in second at 10%. The United Kingdom (9%), China (8%) and Germany (7%) rounded out the top five. Read more http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/canadians-snap-up-us-properties/article1638310/

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 189,300 units in June, according to CMHC. Seasonally adjusted annual rate estimates of housing start activity were also revised up for April and May. This resulted in a month-over-month gain of 3.7% in April (205,900 units), a 5.1% decline in May (195,300 units), and a decrease of 3.1% in June. Read more

6 Jul

Remaining Proavtive in An Uncertain Market.


Posted by: Michael Hallett

With the uncertainty of job loss racing through many people’s minds these days, taking a proactive approach to this issue by putting mortgage payments aside while you’re still actively employed can help set your mind at ease. Planning for the future and potential job loss is one of the most important undertakings you can make to ensure you can pay your mortgage in an uncertain economy.

I suggest you put money aside each pay period so you can place six to 12 months’ worth of mortgage payments into a short-term GIC as security for a possible job loss. And, best of all, if your job remains secure, you can take the money out of your GIC and make a pre-payment back on your mortgage on your anniversary date, which can end up saving you thousands of dollars in interest payments.

Refinancing to access your home’s equity

If it’s not plausible to save money each pay period, refinancing to access the equity you’ve already built up in your home is another valid option for planning ahead in uncertain times. In addition to freeing up money to store future mortgage payments in a GIC, some of the money can also be used to pay off high-interest debt – such as credit cards – and get you and your family off to a fresh financial start.

You will find that taking equity out of your home to pay off high-interest debt can put more money in your bank account each month. And since interest rates are still quite low, switching to a lower rate may save you a lot of money – possibly thousands of dollars per year.

There are penalties for paying your mortgage loan out prior to renewal, but these could be offset by the extra money you acquire through a refinance. With access to more money, you will be better able to manage your debt. Refinancing your first mortgage and taking some existing equity out could also enable you to make other investments, go on vacation, do some renovations or even invest in your children’s education. Keep in mind, however, that by refinancing you may extend the time it will take to pay off your mortgage.

Options for paying your mortgage down quicker

There are many ways to pay down your mortgage sooner that could save you thousands of dollars in interest payments throughout the term of your mortgage. Most mortgage products, for instance, include prepayment privileges that enable you to pay up to 20% of the principal (the true value of your mortgage minus the interest payments) per calendar year. This will also help reduce your amortization period (the length of your mortgage), which, in turn, saves you money.

Another way to lower the time it takes to pay off your mortgage involves changing the way you make your payments by opting for accelerated bi-weekly mortgage payments. Not to be confused with semi-monthly mortgage payments (24 payments per year), accelerated bi-weekly mortgage payments (26 payments per year) will not only pay your mortgage off quicker, but it’s guaranteed to save you a significant amount of money over the term of your mortgage.

If, for instance, you have a $100,000 mortgage, an interest rate of 5% and an amortization period of 25 years, your monthly mortgage payment would be $581.60 and your total payments for a year would be $6,979.20 ($581.60 x 12).

To understand the savings accelerated bi-weekly mortgage payments can make, take the monthly mortgage payment of $581.60 and divide it by two ($581.60 ÷ 2 = $290.80).  Next, take that payment and multiple it by 26 to arrive at your total payments for the year ($290.80 x 26 = $7,560.80).

As you can see, by using the monthly mortgage payment plan, you’ve made payments totalling $6,979.20 for the year, while using the accelerated bi-weekly mortgage plan you’ve made payments totalling $7,560.80 – a difference of $581.60. 

Basically, with accelerated bi-weekly mortgage payments, you’re making one additional monthly payment per year. Using this example, you would reduce the amortization on your $100,000 mortgage from 25 years to just over 21 years and your total savings on interest over the life of the mortgage would be just over $12,000. By refinancing now and paying off your debt or putting money aside for future mortgage payments, you can put yourself and your family in a better financial position.