Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Don't miss out on the Great Canadian Mortgage Sale!!

The days are getting longer and mortgage rates are wonderfully low as the spring housing market approaches. In fact, homeowners are locking in some of the lowest rates in history, although those low rates could reverse at any time so make sure you are pre-approved. 

With a pre-approval, you'll know the amount you qualify for and how much it will cost you to carry the mortgage, and your interest rate will be held for a specified period of time, typically 120 days. This way you don't have to worry about rates rising while you are house hunting, and both realtors and sellers will know you're serious, which means you'll be in a good position to get the home you want. You also won't waste any of your valuable time looking at houses that are out of your price range. And by not underestimating what you can afford now, you can save over the long term if you don't need to purchase a trade-up home later. 

Your pre-approval is a conditional mortgage approval that gives you mortgage amount, term, interest rate, and expiry date. Keep in mind that you'll need to substantiate the information you provided for the pre-approval when you go back to the lender for the actual mortgage.

Contact us to get pre-approved today. You don't want to miss out on the Great Canadian Mortgage Sale!
Kevin & Faye Kitzman
Sales Representatives
Remax Real Estate Centre
Direct : 519-577-0603
kevin@kitzman.ca
faye@kitzman.ca

http://www.kitzmanteam.com/

Faye Kitzman
Mortgage Agent
Mortgage Intelligence
519-588-0141
http://www.mortgagesbyfaye.com/
M08003930


 

The Mortgage Broker Advantage

Increasingly, Canadians are turning to mortgage brokers for their first and next mortgage, taking advantage of the value and convenience of their services.  A 2011 study conducted by CMHC (Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp) found that 48 per cent of first-time buyers completed their transaction with a mortgage broker, up from 45 per cent in 2009 and 35 per cent in 2007.

One of their most compelling reasons to work with a mortgage broker is that they have access to a wide range of lending sources, making it significantly easier to match borrowers with the mortgage product that best suits them. When you’re dealing directly with one financial institution, you just don’t know if you’re getting the best deal because they’ve only got their own menu of products to offer you.

If you are dealing with one of the largest mortgage brokers in the country, you’ll also enjoy considerable bargaining power. A large brokerage has clout with lenders to negotiate volume discounts that lead to lower rates and greater product choice than other companies. And, brokers are generally paid by the lender rather than the borrower, making it a logical choice to always consult with a mortgage broker.  They’re shopping the market for the best rates, doing all the work, and there’s no cost to you.

But a mortgage broker’s role extends beyond securing financing – to arranging the home appraisal and lawyer or notary, reviewing the purchase contract and statement of adjustments, securing mortgage life insurance, and keeping tabs on the entire closing process. And that’s just during the mortgage transaction. The broker then stays in touch, keeping clients apprised of new mortgage offers and rate fluctuations, and advising when to lock in a variable-rate mortgage.

Ultimately, the role of your mortgage broker is that of a trusted advisor and it’s a relationship that can last a lifetime. Many mortgage brokerage clients have been referred by word of mouth, and many are even second- and third generation client families.

Whether you’re taking on your first mortgage or a long-time homeowner looking to refinance, consolidate debt or leverage your equity to acquire a new property, a mortgage broker is a wealth of information. They can advise about down payment requirements, mitigating credit history issues, mortgage payment and prepayment options, interest-saving strategies, purchasing vacation, investment and commercial properties, qualifying with supplemental rental income, and mortgage options for new immigrants.

When you get a mortgage, likely the biggest financial commitment you’ll make in a lifetime, it’s critical that the person you’re dealing with is knowledgeable, able to answer your questions, and has access to a full range of lenders so you get the best mortgage for your needs. Thats why we are hear to help!! Call us at 519-577-0603 we would love to hear from you!


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Kevin & Faye Kitzman
Sales Representatives
Remax Real Estate Centre
Direct : 519-577-0603
 
 
Faye Kitzman
Mortgage Agent
Mortgage Intelligence
519-588-0141
M08003930

Friday, 27 January 2012

Renting vs. Buying, which is better?

One thing is for sure; we all know that we need a roof over our head. In most people’s case they end up having to pay either Rent for this roof or a Mortgage payment, unless of course you have a rich family that can offer you FREE or Reduced Rent. The point is, we ALL have to pay for a roof over our heads.

Real Estate has always been considered a Long-Term Investment. The real question you need to ask yourself; do I really want to pay RENT for the rest of my life? Generally, a home makes financial sense if you are going to live in it for at least three, four, or preferably five years. When you buy you need to take into consideration the costs involved in buying and selling a home, from appraisal fees and home inspection to real estate commissions, all must be taken into consideration.

When people lose money in the real estate market it is usually because they did not own it long enough, they sold to quickly. This usually means within the first 3 years of the purchase. You cannot depend on making any real profit in real estate in the first 3 years. In fact, the market may fall after you buy your home. However, also keep in mind; the longer you own your property, history has shown us, you can be sure it will have increased in value when you come to sell.

Real estate has proven to be one of the most stable long-term investments there is. It is your guarantee of retirement security. Overall, it is far better to own your own home than rent. Not only for the pride of ownership but because it is your only long-term hedge against inflation. With rental rates increase constantly, there is no guarantee you will be able to afford them as the years go by.

Sincerely;
Kevin & Faye Kitzman
Sales Representatives
Remax Real Estate Centre
Direct : 519-577-0603
 
 
Faye Kitzman
Mortgage Agent
Mortgage Intelligence
519-588-0141
M08003930


Monday, 23 January 2012

Good debt vs. Bad debt

Not all debt is created equal – and not all debt is bad. In fact, you need some debt to establish a good credit rating. Being a responsible borrower means knowing which types of debt can help you reach your financial goals and which types leave you further behind. So how do you distinguish between debt that’s good and maybe not so good?  Good debt includes any investment or purchase that helps improve your overall financial position:

Mortgage loans. We are benefiting from historically low mortgage rates, and over the long term, property has gained in value. You also build equity as you pay down your mortgage. This combination of low mortgage rates and increasing home equity creates smart debt.

Investments. Certain investments generate income and capital gains. Often, the interest expense on money borrowed for investments is tax deductible. Borrowing money to maximize your RRSP contributions is also good debt, since you’re investing in your future and benefiting from tax sheltered investment growth.

Bad debt involves purchases where the value becomes lower than the original cost, and which can carry a high rate of interest, making them harder to pay off:

Credit cards. Though you need to activate and use at least one credit card to generate credit history, irresponsible use can get you deep into debt. If you usually carry a balance on your card and make only the minimum payment each month, you’ll end up paying significantly more in the long run.

Buying a new vehicle. Before you start shopping for new wheels, keep in mind that cars start depreciating in value as soon as you drive them off the lot. Try not to buy more car than you need!

Deferred purchases. Be wary of advertisements for big purchases like furniture or home electronics at places where you “do not pay until 2015!” Sellers add financing charges to the cost of these items, and you could also be slapped with a steep interest rate until the item is paid off.

Preventing or reducing credit card or other bad debt may seem overwhelming at first, but it is manageable. Avoid cash advances, since these carry high interest penalties; use your debit card or cash instead. Only use your credit card to buy what you can afford, and pay off the balance in full each month. If you’re still unsure about your debt situation, set up a meeting with your mortgage broker. He or she can take you through your finances and advise you how you can use your home equity to trade bad debt for smart debt, and give you some financial breathing room. The right refinancing package can help put an end to the monthly squeeze of too much credit card debt or too many loans, and help you get back into your financial comfort zone.    

Sincerely,
Kevin and Faye Kitzman
Sales Representatives
Remax Real Estate Centre
Direct : 519-577-0603
kevin@kitzman.ca
faye@kitzman.ca

Faye Kitzman
Mortgage Agent
Mortgage Intelligence
M08003930
faye.kitzman@migroup.ca

A Peek behind deeply discounted 5 year rates

A peek behind deeply discounted 5-year rates 

When considering a deeply discounted 5-year rate, keep in mind that cheapest isn't always best. Strangely, we know that's true when we're shopping for anything else - but we still tend to believe that lowest rate is the one and only factor in choosing a mortgage. But, that low-rate mortgage could actually cost you more in the long run.

An amazing cut-rate mortgage could have you locked in to a very rigid contract filled with financial "trip lines" that could work against you down the road. That's why it's important to check the fine print. For instance, is the mortgage fully closed? That means you're not leaving the lender unless you sell your house, so your options are limited and you have no negotiating power if your needs change in the next 5 years. Low or no prepayments: means you have no or limited ability to chip away at your principal to reduce your overall cost. Maximum 25-year amortization can take away flexibility you may need later. Many prudent homeowners take a 30-year amortization but set their payments higher using a 25-year or lower amortization. This gives them the option to reduce their payments should an emergency arise or a special need like maternity leave. For first-time buyers too, a 25-year amortization means higher payments than a 30-year amortization and could limit their entry into the market.

Spot a deeply discounted 5-year rate? Talk to us first. We'll always help you find the right combination of low rate with the options you need to achieve your goals for homeownership and the financial future you want.

Sincerely,
Kevin and Faye Kitzman
Sales Representatives
Remax Real Estate Centre
Direct : 519-577-0603
kevin@kitzman.ca
faye@kitzman.ca

Faye Kitzman
Mortgage Agent
Mortgage Intelligence
M08003930
faye.kitzman@migroup.ca

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

No Bank of Canada Rate Change for the 11th Consecutive Meeting

No Bank of Canada Rate Change For The 11th Consecutive Meeting

With weaker outlooks for Europe and the U.S., the Bank of Canada announced earlier today that it is keeping its key policy rate steady, exactly where it's been since September 2010, which makes this the longest recorded rate pause.

In its statement the Bank noted that "the recession in Europe is now expected to be deeper and longer than the Bank had anticipated", and that the "U.S. recovery will proceed at a more modest pace going forward."  The Bank noted that while the Canadian economy "had more momentum than anticipated in the second half of 2011, the pace of growth going forward is expected to be more modest than previously envisaged, largely due to the external environment."

The prime rate at most lenders will stay at 3.00%, which means those with variable-rate mortgages will not see their payments change and will continue to enjoy historically low rates.  New variable rate mortgages are available to qualified borrowers at Prime minus 0.10%.  

The Bank's next rate decision is scheduled for March 8.

And while not related to the prime rate, it is worth noting that fixed mortgage rates are near all-time lows, with 4 and 5 year mortgages available at rates that are close to variable-rate pricing. 

If you would like to review your options, please let us know
 
Sincerely,
 
Kevin & Faye Kitzman
Sales Representatives
Remax Real Estate Centre
Direct : 519-577-0603
kevin@kitzman.ca
faye@kitzman.ca

http://www.kitzmanteam.com/

Faye Kitzman
Mortgage Agent
Mortgage Intelligence
519-588-0141
http://www.mortgagesbyfaye.com/
M08003930

Monday, 16 January 2012

14 Important Facts to Consider before you try to sell your own Home

14 IMPORTANT FACTS TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU TRY TO SELL YOUR OWN HOME

Occasionally, one can see "For Sale By Owner" signs, and some owners think that selling their own home will not only save them money, but believe they have an advantage over the sellers that have their home listed by a reputable Realtor©. Before you decide to take on this very important and legally complicated process…remember not even most Real Estate Lawyer's recommend selling your own home yourself in today's market. Here are a few of the reasons why:

1. You are limiting your exposure to potential buyers (less than 10% of what a good real estate broker will generate) which theoretically means your home will take ten to fifteen times longer to sell on the market.

2. The longer a home is on the market the lower the selling price is. Why? Because most buyers think that if the home has not sold after this long... there must be something wrong with the home.

3. The selling/buying process begins AFTER the buyer leaves your home. Most sellers think that all it takes is for someone to see their home, fall in love with the great decor... and the offer automatically will follow. Remember that the buying process begins after they leave your home. If a real estate sales representative does not represent the buyer, and they are looking on their own…they usually leave the home and start to talk themselves out of the buying process. If the buyer is represented by a real estate professional Realtors© are trained on how to overcome buyers remorse--a very common occurrence.

4. Because of the limited exposure you will very likely end up with a lower selling price. Remember, in order to generate the highest price possible for your home… selling means exposure. You need the maximum exposure possible, to generate the highest price possible.

5. Most buyers find it extremely awkward to negotiate or even to talk directly with sellers and therefore avoid FSBO properties.

6. Lack of negotiating experience and lack of pertinent information often will result in a lower selling price, or worse yet, a bungled contract and possible lawsuits.
7. The majority of qualified buyers are working with experienced real estate professionals.

8. Many serious buyers will pass by a FSBO home merely because they recognize that it is not in the real estate mainstream, this can some times make them wary.

9. As most local buyers now retain an experienced real estate sales person to represent them as their buyer-agency, you will probably be negotiating against an experienced professional.

10. Expected savings in broker's fees will also be greatly reduced if you offer a selling commission to entice real estate sales representatives to bring potential buyers.

11. If you are planning to use a Lawyer to help you negotiate the offer, then your lawyer's fees will be considerably higher.

12. Only real estate sales representatives have access to the up-to-date market information. News reports cannot approach the timeliness or specificity available to real estate sales people. Further, real estate sales representatives are involved in home sales much more frequently than the average homeowner is. This familiarity leads to a degree of expertise that provides an edge on negotiating and successful selling.

13. You only pay the commission to the real estate broker, if they successfully sell your home at the price you are happy with.

14. Accepting an offer is one thing, ensuring a safe and successful closing is quite another. Real estate transactions usually always have problems on closing. At times, expecting the Buyers and Sellers Lawyer's to fight it out or resolve the problems, can sometimes mean the deal is lost. This is the time that your experienced real estate professional, can be the most important. Your Realtor© can act as a great mediator. Lawyers MUST act only on their client's instructions and are not paid to negotiate
Call us today! We can help. Let our years of experience guide you every step of the way!!
Kevin & Faye Kitzman
Sales Representatives
Remax Real Estate Centre
Direct : 519-577-0603
 
 
Faye Kitzman
Mortgage Agent
Mortgage Intelligence
519-588-0141
M08003930

 

Credit counsellors ready for post-holiday rush as Christmas bills come due

Credit counsellors ready for post-holiday rush as Christmas bills come due
Craig Wong
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, Jan. 13, 2012 1:18PM EST
The holiday hustle and bustle is over for most Canadians but now, as the bills begin to roll in, the busy season has begun for credit counselling services.
Scott Hannah, president and chief executive of the Vancouver-area-based Credit Counselling Society, said there's a pick up in inquiries every year as the bills for sometimes too-generous decisions made in December start coming due.
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“January is a great time to reflect on what they want to do differently this year – whether it is lose weight, improve their finances or whatever their case may be,” he said.
“Typically, it starts around the middle of the month and coincides when a lot of consumers are just receiving or expecting the statements on their credit cards.”
While financial planners urge Canadians every year to make a plan for their holiday spending, there are some that inevitably don't and overspend or don't stick to a plan, despite the best of intentions.
Pat White, executive director of Credit Counselling Canada, said her organization has been seeing more clients aged 50 and over looking for help in recent years.
“We're seeing more of that side of the population where they still have debts at a time that we think people should be thinking about retirements without debts,” she said in an interview from Brantford, Ont.
Ms. White said as a general rule of thumb, if you can't pay your debts as they come due, you should be seeking help.
“If you're behind on things like utilities, those are obvious signals things are not going well,” she said.
But even if you are current on your bills, but feel stressed or are unable to sleep, she said it is better to seek help before a crisis emerges.
Before you meet with a credit counsellor, experts say you should make a list of your debts, including who you owe, how much, account numbers and when you last made payments as well as a list of your assets.
People also should take with them a statement of income like a pay stub and some idea of their living expenses.
Ms. White said counsellors start with an assessment of a client's financial health before examining their options, including looking for ways to reduce spending and increase income.
“Some people may say, we certainly can cut back on that and it wasn't until we went through this exercise of looking at our expenses did we realize that we were spending more than we thought in one area or another.”
If it is possible, Ms. White said one option to consider may be a bank loan to consolidate other higher interest debt such as credit card balances or a mortgage refinancing that could be used to pay back other borrowings.
But if those options aren't enough, Ms. White said a voluntary debt repayment program may be a possibility.
Under a voluntary debt repayment program, a credit counselling agency contacts lenders and makes arrangements in an informal way to reduce payments and stretch them out over a longer payment. The advantage to the lender is that they receives all that they are owed without having to resort to harsher measures.
There are also the options of bankruptcy or a consumer proposal.
A consumer proposal sees someone repay a percentage of their debt over time, while a bankruptcy is a declaration that someone has nothing left to pay their debts.
“People often think that those are quite drastic measures, but it depends on the circumstances of the person and those options may be the only things that are really viable for them,” Ms. White said.
But Ms. White said the majority of those her agency deals with only require counselling, while around 25 per cent end up taking more drastic steps.
According to the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada, there were 6,259 consumer bankruptcies in October, 2011, the latest month statistics were available, down 20.2 per cent form 7,844 in October, 2010. The number of consumer proposals totalled 3,709 for the month, up 3.1 per cent from 3,598 in the year ago period.
Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty have repeatedly urged Canadians to reduce their debt levels, which stand near all-time highs.
Though economists don't expect the central bank to raise interest rates until perhaps as late as early next year, it is just a matter of time until they come off their near record lows and drive up rates for loans such as lines of credit and variable rate mortgages tied to the prime rate.
Mr. Hannah said with interest rates still sitting near record lows, now is the time to get one's financial house in order and pay down debt before rates start to rise.
He suggested that even those who aren't in financial difficulty should take an opportunity to review their finances to make sure they are on track.
“It is hard to be motivated to save money, especially when the interest that you are being paid by your financial institution maybe one or maybe one and a half per cent,” Mr. Hannah said.
“However, having savings on hand to deal with expenses like car insurance or Christmas is far better than not saving funds, using credit cards and then having to pay for those purchases at 20 or 28 per cent interest.”
The Canadian Press

Call us today!! 519-577-0603
Sincerely,
--
Kevin & Faye Kitzman
Sales Representatives
Remax Real Estate Centre
Direct : 519-577-0603
kevin@kitzman.ca
faye@kitzman.ca

http://www.kitzmanteam.com/

Faye Kitzman
Mortgage Agent
Mortgage Intelligence
519-588-0141
http://www.mortgagesbyfaye.com/
M08003930

That low-rate mortgage could actually cost you more...

That low-rate mortgage could actually cost you more.

Cheapest is not always best. We know that’s true when we’re shopping for anything else. But we still tend to believe that lowest rate is the one and only factor in choosing a mortgage. Most Canadian homeowners would be shocked to discover that their low-rate mortgage could actually cost them more in the long run.
Why? Because the right mortgage is about a lot more than just rate.  
It’s true that even a small reduction in rate can mean interest savings over the life of your mortgage. And mortgage brokers are experts at seeking out competitive rates from a wide range of lenders. But they also look deeper. Sometimes those cut-rate mortgages come with higher fees, penalties, or restrictive terms, which could prove more costly over the long term than a slightly higher-rate mortgage with flexible terms.
One of the best ways to save interest, for example, is to use pre-payment options. If you get a quarterly bonus, a tax refund, or a seasonal income boost, then you have some excellent opportunities to slash your mortgage costs. Putting extra money against your mortgage principal could save you thousands of dollars in interest. If your cut-rate mortgage doesn’t permit pre-payments, that’s a huge missed opportunity.
Also watch for low-rate “teasers”: cut-rate mortgages with a short timeline. Sometimes a lender will offer a rate that is good for just 30 days, after which the rate will jump. If closing takes a little longer, or there’s a glitch in documentation, then you need to be prepared with a backup plan. These teasers can be stressful – and not always the best deal anyway.
An accredited independent mortgage broker will determine the features and privileges that best meet your personal situation, looking at:
·         Refinancing penalties
·         Fixed vs variable rate
·         Term
·         Pre-payment options
·         Payment flexibility
·         Restrictions
·         Fees
·         Portability
·         Assumability
Most people spend more time choosing the right car than choosing the right mortgage, although it’s likely the largest expense they’ll likely ever undertake.
Make sure you have a mortgage that is custom-built for your personal situation. Cheapest isn’t always best. And obviously the most expensive mortgage is rarely the best choice either. But the right combination of rate and features – matched to your needs – is the fastest route to mortgage freedom. It’s your mortgage broker’s job to help you with that route-planning: a map for your financial future.
Whether you’re buying your first home, getting ready for renewal, refinancing a mortgage, taking out some equity for debt consolidation, renovations, or investing – it’s a good time to get some fresh, timely, expert perspective.

Call us today!! 519-577-0603
Sincerely,
--
Kevin & Faye Kitzman
Sales Representatives
Remax Real Estate Centre
Direct : 519-577-0603
kevin@kitzman.ca
faye@kitzman.ca

http://www.kitzmanteam.com/

Faye Kitzman
Mortgage Agent
Mortgage Intelligence
519-588-0141
http://www.mortgagesbyfaye.com/
M08003930

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Business outlook weakening: BoC survey

Business outlook weakening: BoC survey
Financial Post January 9, 2012
OTTAWA — Global economic uncertainty and concerns over demand for their products are continuing to cloud business expectations in Canada, with the majority of companies forecasting lower sales over the next year, according to the Bank of Canada’s winter survey, released Monday.
While that marks the second negative outlook in a row, it’s the first time the central banks’s survey reading on future sales has fallen below zero since the start of 2009, when Canada was still in recession.
“Overall, the weak U.S. economic outlook, concerns about adverse effects from the situation in Europe and an expected slowing in household spending were among the factors dampening sales prospects,” the central bank said in its survey, released Monday.
The survey found that 41% of firms said they expect sales to slow over the next 12 months, while 37% are forecasting growth and another 22% expect sales to be the same as they were in the past 12 months.
The Bank of Canada said “the balance of opinion on futures sales has turned slightly negative, as firms in Western Canada expect sales growth to slow from the recent strong pace and those elsewhere generally expect growth to remain modest.”
“Firms still expect to increase investment and employment, although the balances of opinion remain below the high levels reached earlier in the year.”
Meanwhile, the BoC survey showed little change in inflation expectations among business, while firms said they “no longer report a net easing in credit conditions.”
Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC World Markets, said “there was no material change in the two measures the bank views as signs of inflation pressures — the share of firms reporting difficulties meeting demand increases or finding workers — with both of those results being in line with levels seen during previous periods of contained inflation.”
“All told, not much different than the last survey, with a slight tip towards more caution in sales growth expectations, as one would have expected.”
In a separate survey, the Bank of Canada said responses from senior loan officers showed “almost no change in overall business-lending conditions during the fourth quarter of 2011.”
“This follows several consecutive quarters of easing credit conditions for business borrowers,” the BoC said.

Kevin & Faye Kitzman
Sales Representatives
Remax Real Estate Centre
Direct : 519-577-0603
 
 
Faye Kitzman
Mortgage Agent
Mortgage Intelligence
519-588-0141
M08003930

 

Monday, 9 January 2012

Hard times trigger changes in insurance choices

Hard times trigger changes in insurance choices
Garry Marr  Jan 7, 2012
 
It almost seems hard to justify in times of austerity — paying for something you may never use.
But that period of your life might be exactly when you need the most insurance because if you lose your job or source of income you are much more financially vulnerable to a major calamity.
“When people become unsure, certain types of insurance become even more appealing,” says Clay Gillespie, a certified financial planner with Rogers Group Financial. “You might see things like property and car insurance go down but [money spent] on life insurance and disability insurance start to go up.”
Hard times lead people to plan and one of the issues they start thinking about is their mortality, he says. “There is usually some trigger that gets people thinking, like somebody dying,” says Mr. Gillespie, adding economic circumstances can also change thinking.
At the same time a stretched wallet means you have to start choosing between life insurance and something like critical illness, which pays if you get a certain type of illness.
“Then there’s disability or long-term care. You have to prioritize which is the most important. Death is important so you have to insure for that; disability is important so I’ll insure for that,” says Mr. Gillespie.
Term life insurance, which provides for a specific payout during the length of policy but offers nothing at the end if you don’t die in that time frame, can be a cheap alternative during a recession.
“If the question is, ‘If I die during this period what happens,’ that’s what you need a term insurance policy for,” he says.
The key thing to remember about cancelling any life or disability policy is that you are going to have to qualify again medically if you decide to renew them again — a strong incentive not to let your payments lapse as you get older and face more health issues.
There’s an adage in the insurance business that it’s a good idea to get a medical before you cancel a policy, just in case you are ill with something and don’t know.
So what insurance can you cut? Car and property policies are almost ripe for the picking, but even here there are certain minimums you want to maintain.
Mr. Gillespie notes you often have no choice but to get car insurance in most provinces so the question comes down to how much do you need to cover catastrophe. The same holds true for homeowners’ insurance.
“Some of this you have to have, so other things will get cut like savings or your RRSPs,” says Mr. Gillespie. “In a perfect world you would have it all, but we don’t live in a perfect world. Even when times are good you have to prioritize.”
Allen Wong, senior partner of Ottawa-based Wealth Creation & Preservation Inc., which sells life insurance, says rising premiums for some insurance policies has led some people to buy more life insurance so they can lock in a rate.
He suggests some customers have switched to term insurance — as opposed to whole life or universal — because rates have come down based on people living longer. By contrast, whole and universal premiums have risen as insurance companies have been squeezed on their ability to reinvest money because of today’s low interest rates.
“I always tell people to get [life]insurance first and if cash flow is an issue, get term,” Mr. Wong says. “After that you want to look at disability if you don’t have coverage and then critical illness.”
He says that if you make under $50,000, you should be spending 2% of your income on life/disability/health products. He raises that to 4% if you are making more than $100,000.
Over $150,000, it’s 6%.
“There comes a point where you can only afford so much insurance,” says Mr. Wong. “But I ask clients who think they are paying too much, ‘How much are you paying for your home and car insurance.’ What’s more important?”
Good question. Where to cut? Fortunately there are some savings you can also look for on your and home car policy.
If you have a older model car, you can cut the collision coverage. On your home policy who is to say you need such a low deductible when in truth most people don’t put in a claim unless it is for a large amount because of the fear it will raise their rates.
Daniel Mirkovic, chief executive of Vancouver-based Square One Insurance, says every provider across the country will allow you to increase your deductible.
“If you have a $500 deductible and submit a small claim you likely lose your claims-free discount,” says Mr. Mirkovic, adding that increasing your deductible from $500 to $1,000 could save you 5% to 10% on your premium. “You have to pick a number you are comfortable with but $500 was a number that made sense in the 1980s.”
The rules change if you are condo owner/renter or a homeowner. He suggests a condo owner needs only a $1,000 deductible while homeowner might want to go as high as $2,000.
Michelle Megna, managing editor of insurance.com, says there are no exact data on what insurance people will cut to save money but notes life insurance purchases are near a 50-year low in the U.S.
“They know they should have it but people don’t want to spend money on it,” she says, adding the complexity of insurance also tends to lead to indecision. “Everybody knows life insurance is something you should have but people just are not buying.”
Ms. Megna says car insurance costs are being chopped because people are driving their cars longer and longer, meaning they have cheaper cars that won’t cost them as much in insurance.
“They buy used cars instead of new cars. The average age of a car on the road is about 10.7 years and it was about eight in 1995,” she says, adding collision is something many people drop from coverage if they are feeling the pinch. Her rule of thumb is if your car is eight years old and your annual premium for collision and comprehensive is more than 10% of your car’s value, you might as well just pay the liability.
But there are other factors to consider. If your car is the only way to your source of income, you probably need extra coverage because no car means no job. “Whatever you cut depends on your individual situation,” Ms. Megna says.

Kevin & Faye Kitzman
Sales Representatives
Remax Real Estate Centre
Direct : 519-577-0603
 
 
Faye Kitzman
Mortgage Agent
Mortgage Intelligence
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I RESOLVE.. to start clearing holiday bills and building wealth.

Most Canadians suffer with their highest personal debt load in January, when the “holiday hit” arrives and your credit card statements let you know just how much you spent on the festive season. It’s especially hard if you already had a burgeoning debt load before the holidays.
This year, make the best New Year’s resolution ever: resolve to clear that debt, and start building wealth. With the right plan in place, this year could be the beginning of a strong new financial life. Start now, and every month you could be seeing the difference: a boost to your monthly cash flow, one easy payment, faster debt paydown, and potentially thousands of dollars in interest savings.
It’s not about borrowing more: it’s about restructuring your debt to save interest and pay down faster. Your debts could be standing in the way of your financial security. Add up the interest you’re paying on all your bills this month. Then talk to us about how you can slash that.
We can show you how to use your home equity to consolidate your high-interest debt into a new or existing mortgage. In almost every case, you’re better off rolling large amounts of high-interest debt into a mortgage. Why? Because we are benefiting from mortgage rates that continue to be among the lowest in decades.  Just compare mortgage rates with what you’re paying on your credit cards and other debts. 
First we’ll do an assessment of your situation.  Here’s an example – mortgage, car loan and credit cards total $225,000. Roll that debt into a new $233,000 mortgage, including a fee to break the existing mortgage, and look at the payoff:

                                                                                             Current                                        NEW
                                                       Today        Monthly Payments*     Monthly Payment*
Mortgage                          $175,000                $969                                $1,176
Car loan                            $  25,000                $495                                $       0
All credit cards                $  25,000                $655                                $       0
Total                                                             $2,119                               $1,176
*4.5% current mortgage, 3.6% new mortgage, 25 year am. Credit cards 19.5% and car loan 7%, both at 5 year am. OAC. Subject to change. For illustration purposes only.

That’s $943 less each month! Now decide how to use that $943. If you put $500 into your mortgage payment, you’ll reduce your amortization from 25 years to 15. Or you could invest in RRSPs or RESPs and reap some tax benefits. Consider putting some funds aside each month into a “December” fund – so you never have the financial pain of the “holiday hit” again!
It’s a new year. Make it the start of a new financial life. We’d love to help you crunch some numbers to see what kind of life you could be living, something to really celebrate about next New Year’s Eve!

Kevin & Faye Kitzman
Sales Representatives
Remax Real Estate Centre
Direct : 519-577-0603
 
 
Faye Kitzman
Mortgage Agent
Mortgage Intelligence
519-588-0141
M08003930

Thursday, 5 January 2012

How social media will change in 2012

HOW SOCIAL MEDIA WILL CHANGE IN 2012
2011 was a big year for social media. Not only did Facebook land 800 million monthly users, Google+ became the new kid on the block and my dad joined Twitter. But as more people glom on to social networks than ever before, businesses have also had to step up. These days, entrepreneurs and brands are constantly on the lookout for innovative ways to not just promote and market themselves and their companies but also become a valuable friend, fan and follower. 
To better assist you on this journey in the New Year, I reached out to some of the entrepreneurs and social media mavens I look up to and trust. Here are their top social-media trends for 2012:

Gary Vaynerchuk
Book author and founder of VaynerMedia
Bookmarking Website Pinterest will explode. Similarly, closed networks like Path, which allows users to post and share videos and photos, will find traction. The reason is, the more open we become, some will do the opposite: They'll look for closed networks. 
And of course, brands and businesses will continue to misunderstand social. They will always look to 'push' their product or service and it will hurt brands. Websites that are social aren't platforms that are similar to TV or print or radio, they are living and breathing. People should be able to react to your creative and you need to be there to react to it, as well as listen.
Looking at the communities you build as an 'asset' is important. You need to treat it like a spouse. For instance, you 'sell' your spouse on things very differently than someone who works for you. It takes more tact and a slower roll. That's how to build advocates.
Chris Brogan
President, Human Business Works 

With so many consumers and businesses using social media, 2012 will be the year of oversaturation. That will require a more focused effort to make useful/meaningful media or be left behind as noise.
Guy Kawasaki
Book author and co-founder of Alltop.com

Google+ will have more users than Twitter in 2012.
Charlene Li
Founder of Altimeter Group

Given the limited time and resources that entrepreneurs have, you actually should be very careful about how much time you spend following new trends. Allocate a small amount of time to following new shiny objects -- but 90 percent of your effort should be focused on the few social-media sites that have the greatest impact on your business. Develop them fully each and every day before turning your attention to new trends. 
That said, the big one to watch carefully this year is Google+. It's growing quickly and will accelerate as it gets adopted by companies at the enterprise level. Have at least a presence and cultivate a deeper, dialog-driven relationship that's different than what you can do on more constrained social media sites like Twitter. 
Shervin Pishevar
Managing Director at Menlo Ventures
This year will mark the rise of the ambient platforms where apps, services and devices mesh together as one in real-time synchronicity. Your activity will automatically register and trigger across multiple apps and devices.  
Collaborative consumption, social commerce and services addressing excess capacity are going to build very fast. Social gaming and entertainment will continue to ascend in a second wave of innovation across Facebook and increasingly through mobile devices.
What do you think the new trends in social media will be in 2012? Leave a comment, and let us know. 

Kevin & Faye Kitzman
Sales Representatives
Remax Real Estate Centre
Direct : 519-577-0603
 
 
Faye Kitzman
Mortgage Agent
Mortgage Intelligence
519-588-0141
M08003930

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Your Mortgage- Consider a Mortgage Check up in the New Year

Your Mortgage

Consider a mortgage check up in the new year 
As we begin 2012, consider getting a mortgage check up in the new year to make sure you have the best mortgage strategy for meeting your financial goals.   
A personalized mortgage check up is a simple way to ensure: 
  • that your repayment approach suits you, for example with payments structured to maximize mortgage principal reduction,   
  • any consumer debt you may have (such as credit card balances) is transferred to a lower interest rate, 
  • you have access to the lowest-cost funds for renovations, education or other major expenditures.
Contact me to learn more about your current mortgage options and how to make your home equity work for you.

Faye Kitzman
Mortgage Agent
Mortgage Intelligence
519-577-0603
M08003930

Monday, 2 January 2012

The Canadian Homeowners' Crystal Ball: Top Ten forecasts for the year ahead

The Canadian homeowners’ crystal ball:  Top Ten for the year ahead

Everyone loves to make forecasts for the New Year. With that in mind, we’ve put together a glimpse into the year ahead for Canadian homeowners – so you can plan for some great opportunities!
1.  Low rates early in the year!   So many financial experts were wrong last year when they predicted we’d see a rise in mortgage rates. But their loss is your gain. We are beginning 2012 once again at historically low mortgage rates.
2. “Green” money available until the end of March.  The popular Eco-Energy Retrofit Grant is still available until March 31, 2012. You can access up to $5000 for improvements for energy-saving renovations to your home, but you’ll need to act fast. Before you begin work, you must arrange for an NRCan-licensed energy advisor to perform a residential energy assessment of your home. After the work is complete, a post-retrofit evaluation must be done by March 31, 2012. Full details are available at www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca. To register, go to www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca/register.
3.  The wealth train is leaving the station! At some point rates will begin to rise to more normal levels of 5 or 6 per cent, and it’s possible the trend upward might start in 2012. If you are carrying household debt outside your mortgage, you have a great opportunity right now to board the “wealth train”. Roll your high-interest debt into a low-rate mortgage. Start spending sensibly, saving smart, and you’ll be well on your way to slashing your debt and building your wealth. When interest rates begin to rise, debt derails even the best financial plan. Do it now.
4.  Never renew with your eyes closed. When your mortgage comes up for renewal your lender sends out a note suggesting you renew at their current offer. Never renew your mortgage with your eyes closed! This is your moment of opportunity to negotiate the best possible deal. Who knows if the same lender is the best choice? If a renewal is in your financial future this year, bring us your renewal notice. There are some great options out there; we’ll help you look around.
5. Check out the re-advanceable mortgage! This is a brilliant mortgage concept for those who want to pay down their mortgage and have flexibility should an unexpected opportunity or expense arise.  The re-advanceable mortgage is the perfect solution. If an emergency comes up, an unexpected investment opportunity, or a special renovation project, you can access your equity without a fuss. It may be the “last mortgage you’ll ever need”.
6. Time to build an income buffer? It’s a bit ironic, but it’s always hardest to get money at the very time that you need it. If there is even a chance that your household income could take a hit this year, then talk to us about building a financial buffer using today’s low mortgage rates. Maybe you won’t need it. But if you do, you’ll be grateful you made the arrangements when you did. With the European debt crisis still reeking economic havoc worldwide, unemployment and income fluctuations are still a risk.
7. Speed up your mortgage pay-down. Before rates rise, take the opportunity to beat down your mortgage principal. Build a plan to take advantage of your lender’s prepayment privileges! Consider changing from monthly payments to weekly or bi-weekly payments, and take some or all of your tax refund and put it against your mortgage principal. Your interest costs will go down with every dollar you’ve reduced on your principal amount.
8. Build a financial cushion. Your high-interest credit card should never be your emergency fund. This year, build a financial cushion: get in the habit of putting a small sum from every paycheque into a special emergency fund. A nice plump emergency fund is smart saving.
9. Staying put? Instead of moving to get the home you want, consider the many benefits of staying put. The right renovation – an addition, a new family room, a fresh kitchen – might be all it takes to turn the house you’re in, into the home of your dreams. It is almost always less expensive to renovate than to relocate – if an upgrade to your lifestyle is what you’re after!
10. Get your annual mortgage checkup. It’s your financial “medical”; early detection of problems can save your financial life! We like to know how your mortgage is working for you – and look for opportunities to make the most of your greatest budgeting asset! Book a mortgage review and make sure your plan incorporates what may be ahead in 2012: it could pay big dividends in the year ahead!
Faye Kitzman
Mortgage Agent
Mortgage Intelligence
519-588-0141
M08003930
 
 
Kevin & Faye Kitzman
Sales Representatives
Remax Real Estate Centre
Direct : 519-577-0603