Archive | October, 2012

Buying bookshelves

October 31, 2012

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In my home office, I have three large IKEA bookshelves. I acquired them separately over the years, but made sure to always buy the same exact model and finish so that, now that they are in a row on the same wall, they look like a beautiful, built-in shelf, where all of my books are finally in one place after many years as a student. But they are not built-in bookshelves; they are only attached at the back with hooks so that they don’t fall over.

When you are buying or selling a home, it is extremely important to be clear about what stays and what goes. If you have something that could be considered a fixture, i.e. that looks like it is attached, you should put it in writing that it moves with you. Conversely, if you want something to stay, you should make sure that you specifically include it. Calling after the fact to say that the microwave looked like it was built in won’t get you very far if it was only sitting on a shelf.

I know that when I sell, even though they are chattels, I will make sure that my bookshelves are excluded fixtures.

Cesia

Cesia is a real estate lawyer at Wall-Armstrong and Green, a boutique law firm in Barrie focusing on real estate and estates. When she’s not online, she can usually be found in her garden.

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Article: Pay Your Mortgage Like It’s 2007 – You’ll Save a Pile of Money

October 29, 2012

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There’s a fantastic article in the Globe and Mail today by Robert McLister about how much money Canadians could save in the long run if we were paying our mortgages as if interest rates were what they were 5 years ago.  Today’s rates could save $101,700 if projected out over 25 years on a $200,000 mortgage.  Robert takes a look at just how many Canadians are taking advantage of these amazingly low rates, and how much money Canadians could save if they did.  Read the full article here.

Tim

Tim is a mortgage agent in Barrie who specializes in helping first-time home buyers. He works with a variety of lenders and can help customize a mortgage with the best rates & options that fit the needs of each customer.

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Leasing to own

October 24, 2012

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In the Barrie area, we have several adult communities; most notable are Hoe Doe Valley, Big Cedar Estates and Sandy Cove Acres. All of these communities are comprised of communal areas and, generally, mobile (or otherwise movable) homes. Sometimes, the land is owned; sometimes, there is a lease over the land for many years.

In Sandy Cove, for example, the properties are easy to maintain as the land is not owned, and the owner of the home pays a small rental fee each month to cover taxes, insurance, and maintenance of communal building.

These types of properties are not for everyone, but are ideal for people who are downsizing and looking to be in a community of people at their life stage.

Cesia

Cesia is a real estate lawyer at Wall-Armstrong and Green, a boutique law firm in Barrie focusing on real estate and estates. When she’s not online, she can usually be found in her garden.

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10 Things to Consider Before Your Mortgage Renews

October 22, 2012

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Article courtesy of Genworth Canada.

 

  1. Have you explored all your options?  Once you receive your mortgage renewal statement, there’s nothing easier than simply signing on for another term. But while this may make sense in many cases, your family or financial situation may have changed over time. Mortgage brokers can look for opportunities that could better meet your needs right now.
  2. Are you comfortable with your payments?  If you’ve been feeling financially strapped each month making your mortgage payments, this could be the time to reduce them to a more easily managed level. On the other hand, if you’re earning more, why not pay down your mortgage faster and save thousands of dollars in interest over time?
  3. Do you need cash flow for other things? Your priorities may have shifted since you first bought your home, and your cash flow needs can shift too. Things like paying for a child’s university education, planning a career change, or a major purchase such as a vacation property may call for spending money on things other than your home. You may be able to refinance your mortgage to take this into account.
  4. Can you handle fluctuating rates?  Some homeowners are nervous about any hikes in interest rates, while others are comfortable to go with the flow. Rates are tough to predict. It’s best to base your decision on your personal situation, not what you read in the news, and tailor your mortgage renewal around your needs. Mortgage brokers can help you decide whether to opt for fixed or variable rates — and they don’t want you to lose any sleep over your decision!
  5. Will you sell soon?   If you are likely to sell soon, consider a shorter-term mortgage or one that has flexible terms so you’re not penalized if you sell your house before the mortgage comes due.
  6. Are you thinking about a major renovation?  You know that projects such as a new kitchen or an addition can make your home more valuable. But the cost of having the work done can tie up a lot of money. Before you renew, look at all your financing options, which may include getting an additional line of credit or keeping your monthly mortgage payments low so you have money on hand to finance the renos.
  7. When do you want to be “mortgage-free”?  If you’re planning extended time away from work or perhaps an early retirement, it may make sense to pay down your mortgage sooner rather than later. While increasing your payments will raise your monthly costs now, you’ll ultimately save on interest in the long term and can prepare for that fabulous, 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 buying another property. Mortgage renewal time is an ideal occasion to review all your options.
  9. Have your insurance needs changed?  If your financial situation has changed since you first took out your mortgage, review whether you need the same level of insurance in place to cover mortgage obligations.
  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. Mortgage brokers analyze mortgage markets daily to ensure you don’t miss any money-saving opportunities.

Tim

Tim is a mortgage agent in Barrie who specializes in helping first-time home buyers. He works with a variety of lenders and can help customize a mortgage with the best rates & options that fit the needs of each customer.

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Closing time

October 17, 2012

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Tim shared a great post a few weeks back from Genworth regarding closing costs on a real estate deal. These are all important considerations before you confirm that you have enough funds to be able to close. Here’s another: tax adjustments.

Depending on where you live, your city will charge property taxes every so often. In Barrie, it is every quarter. If you buy a property in the middle of a quarter, you will have to pay some money back to the sellers because, essentially, they have paid for taxes beyond when they will have owned the house.

Buying a house is a very exciting thing, but be sure to keep everything in mind so that you’re not surprised by the cost at the end.

Cesia

Cesia is a real estate lawyer at Wall-Armstrong and Green, a boutique law firm in Barrie focusing on real estate and estates. When she’s not online, she can usually be found in her garden.

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