Friday, 30 March 2012

Home buying Step by Step

Home buying Step By Step

Step 1: Is Homeownership Right for You?

Buying a home is one of the biggest emotional and financial decisions you'll ever make. But homeownership isn’t for everyone. There are vast differences between renting and owning a home, and each has its pros and cons. So how can you be sure homeownership is right for you?
To help you make the right decision, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) offers the following list of questions you should ask yourself before you decide whether or not it’s time to buy:
  • Do you have the financial management skills needed to handle all of the financial responsibilities that come with owning a home?
  • How financially stable are you? Buying a home means taking on all of the costs that come with homeownership, including mortgage payments, property taxes, and regular repairs and maintenance. Is your financial situation stable enough to take on these added costs
  • Are you ready to spend the time needed to take care of your home? A regular schedule of maintenance and repairs can help you protect your home and your investment. Take an honest look at your lifestyle and decide if you’re prepared to devote the time each month that will be required to maintain your home.
  • Do the advantages of owning a home outweigh the advantages of renting? Make a list of the pros and cons of each or use CMHC’s Is Homeownership Right For You free online worksheet. Then, compare the advantages and disadvantages of both options, listen to your heart, and decide for yourself whether or not homeownership is for you!
Follow the link for more step by step help courtesy of CMHC

Kevin & Faye Kitzman
Sales Representatives
Remax Real Estate Centre
Direct : 519-577-0603

Faye Kitzman
Mortgage Agent
Mortgage Intelligence

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Mortgage Industry: How Refreshing

Boris Bozic. March 27, 2012

Straight talk from a politician is rare and yet when we hear it we still look for the underlying message. We are conditioned to look for what wasn’t said. I have a great deal of respect for Minister Flaherty, and his willingness to speak in clear terms. That’s not easy for a politician to do because it opens them up to criticism and it gives them little wiggle room if they want to back track. You may not agree with what Flaherty has to say but at least you know where he stands on issues. Minister Flaherty gave a speech in Stittsville, Ontario last week, and it was another example of straight talk.
His speech was about the state of the Ontario economy, and his thoughts regarding the pressure being put on the federal government to further tighten mortgage rules. There was no ambiguity in his speech, here’s what you may have missed in his speech:
“I find it a bit odd that some of the bank executives are taking the position that the minister of finance or the federal government somehow should tell them how to run their business. We have bank executives in Canada going and saying ‘really, the rules on insured mortgages should be lightened up.’ They must forget that they are actually the ones that issue mortgages. It’s their market. It’s not my market. They decide what they want to charge in interest rates. They’re the ones that make the profits out of this business, so I find it a bit much when some of the bank executives turn to the government and say ‘you ought to change the rules and make it tighter.’ It’s very interesting commentary from them.”
Try as I might but I can’t find a hidden message in the statement above. No Clinton like speak here. The message is clear and what else is clear is that some bank executives got a verbal public spanking. For months now the pressure has been relentless that the government must act and tighten mortgage rules. The fact that some of those that are sounding alarm bells have introduced or decided to follow the irrational interest rate pricing game is “special”. Let’s see, “we’re concerned about consumer debt so we’ve decided to lower rates so consumers can take on more debt, and add gasoline to an already hot housing market.” Alex, I’ll take double speak for $200 please.
I understand and agree that the concern about consumer debt is real, and it needs to be addressed. The Bank of Canada, and the Ministry of Finance, are walking a tightrope. Cooling down the housing market, while not negatively impacting the overall economy, is not an easy task. Recently CAAMP provided a report to the Ministry of Finance about the impact of the housing industry has on employment in Canada. The report was written by Will Donning, CAAMP’s Chief Economist. I encourage you all to read the report, and to receive a copy please visit CAAMP’s website at
Here’s a few highlights from the executive summary:
  • The housing and mortgage industry has been particularly important to job creation these past 5 years. From 2006 to 2011, it’s estimated that 18% of all job creation occurred as a direct and indirect result of growth in the housing and mortgage sector.
  • The biggest threat to the health of the Canadian housing and mortgage industry is a recession that results in job losses. The best way to support the housing and mortgage industry and to sustain its positive impact is to pursue policies that continue to create jobs. At the same time it is important that qualified buyers have choice when seeking mortgages to finance or re-finance their home.
As an industry we have a responsibility to the government to provide facts, which ultimately can assist the government with a safety net. Is our message getting through? All I know is that the government decided to not change the mortgage rules at this time. I would like to believe that our efforts to date have had a positive impact. One thing I am certain of is that we have to stay the course, and not talk through both sides of our mouth.
Until next time,

Monday, 26 March 2012

Rate watch- March 26, 2012

This edition of Rate-Watch has our latest, best national rates for Canadian mortgages.  You may qualify for even better discounts or regional specials, so be sure to contact Faye to learn about all your rate options. 

In This Issue
                Our Best Rates
                How much home could your rent buy?
Our Best Rates

Posted Rates
Our Rates
Rates are subject to change without notice. *OAC E&OE
Other Rates:


Variable Rate Mortgage: Prime - 0.00

Lower rates may be available in certain regions, or to those with higher credit scores or higher net worth – be sure to check with us for full details.

Rates are subject to change without notice.  Fixed mortgage rates shown in table above and quoted variable mortgage rates are available nationally to qualified individuals.

First-Time Buyers

How much home could your rent buy?

The days are getting longer and mortgage rates are wonderfully low as we move into spring housing market 2012! In fact, homeowners are locking in some of the lowest rates in history.  This Great Canadian Mortgage Sale is a good time to take a look at how much mortgage you could afford given your current rent.  Your dream home may be more affordable than you think!

Rent Today
Mortgage Tomorrow*
Home Purchase

Your monthly rent cheque doesn't have to be money out the window. It could be building equity in your own home.  

Keep in mind that home ownership involves costs beyond the monthly mortgage payment like utility bills, insurance, and property taxes. Faye can help you determine what you can comfortably afford.  

Get pre-approved today and have your rate held for 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.  

Friday, 23 March 2012

Flaherty criticizes banks' desire for government mortgage change

OTTAWA — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty saw irony Thursday in major banks seeking changes to mortgage rules from government, given the control the banks themselves have over the industry.
Flaherty said, however, the possibility of tightening the insured mortgage market — which has been done three times under the current Conservative government — is there. Those decisions, however, result from constant evaluation of the markets.
“I find it a bit odd that some of the bank executives are taking the position that the minister of finance or the government somehow should tell them how to run their business,” Flaherty said during an appearance in Stittsville, Ont., just west of Ottawa.
“We have bank executives in Canada going and saying ‘really, the rules on insured mortgages should be tightened up.’ They must forget that they are actually the ones that issue the mortgages. It’s their market. It’s not my market. They decide what they want to charge in interest rates.
“They’re the ones that make the profits out of this business, so I do find it a bit much when some of the bank executives turn to the government … and say ‘you ought to change the rules and make it tighter.’ It’s very interesting commentary from them.”
Ideally, the finance minister said, the mortgage market will be able to work out its own issues, for which he said he’s already seen positive signs.
“There’s a balance there. The new-housing market produces a lot of jobs in Canada, so there’s a balance that needs to be addressed,” he said. “I’d like the market to correct itself if it can. We’re seeing some evidence of that in the condo market, particularly in Toronto, where there is some softening of the market and that’s a good thing.”
Canada’s household debt-to-income ratio hit a record high of 151.9% last year, largely the result of mortgage borrowing. The ratio dipped slightly in the fourth quarter but at 150.6% was not far off the record.
Since 2008, Mr. Flaherty has lowered the maximum amortization period for new mortgages to 30 years from 40 years, raised minimum down payments required to qualify for government insurance, and required all borrowers to qualify for a five-year fixed-rate mortgage to get insurance.
“We will have modest savings-reductions in order to stay on track to a balanced budget in the medium term,” Flaherty said. “More importantly — and this really is the focus of the budget — if you concentrate on the savings, you’re going to miss most of what the budget is about. (It’s) about long-term sustainability for jobs, growth and prosperity, looking at retirement income, making sure our social programs are sustainable in the long-term for Canada.
“We’re coming back down in our deficits — you’ll see the numbers next Thursday. We’ve done very well this year, we’ll do better next year. We keep reducing the deficit and we’ll get to balance in the medium term.”
Flaherty also defended the government’s Economic Action Plan by referring to a number of infrastructure projects across the country, as well as numerous tax credits, including child fitness credits and those linked to volunteer firefighters.
He said that initiative has help keep unemployment down across the country as well, saying that despite the economic downturn, Canada’s unemployment “never went into double digits.”
Flaherty was particularly critical about provincial spending in Ontario and said change is needed in that province to put it in a better fiscal situation.
“What we’ve basically seen in Ontario is eight, almost nine years of spending mismanagement,” he said. “They need to focus in Ontario, and for the good of the country … on the spending side of the ledger and get things under control. What we’ve seen so far from Ontario — and this is disappointing, but not surprising — is this ‘we’re in a lot of trouble … so we’re going to blame Alberta and other Canadian provinces.’
“Next week I suspect they’ll blame … the federal government, despite the fact our transfers to Ontario are up 77 per cent since we took government in 2006. This year, we’ll transfer $19.2 billion to the government of Ontario, so I forewarn you about that, that we’ll see this ‘blame everyone else, and don’t look in the mirror’ (attitude).”

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Low Mortgage rates skew sense of affordability

Historically low interest rates are creating an opportunity for Canadians to fulfill their dream of home ownership.  Whether you are a first time buyer or a current owner, understanding affordability will ensure that you are comfortable with your mortgage payments today and in the future, so if interest rates rise and your mortgage is up for renewal, the new interest rate and associated mortgage payments are not overwhelming. Here are three tips to help home buyers and owners benefit from the low interest rate and provide for any potential future interest rate increases.
Pay down your mortgage debt faster. One way to do this is by setting the mortgage payments higher than required by taking advantage of any privilege payment options that your lender permits. Most Lenders will allow you to make annual lump sump payments, or increase your scheduled mortgage payments by a certain percentage. Taking advantage of this will help you reduce your principal balance faster. In addition, this will also condition you to adjust your lifestyle and budget so that upon renewal, even if the interest rates rise you have become accustomed to the higher required payments thereby making your mortgage more comfortable and manageable.
Anticipate future payments. Use online mortgage calculators to compare multiple mortgage payment scenarios. Base one payment calculation on today’s interest rates and one or two other calculations on interest rates that are perhaps 2% or 3% higher.  This exercise will help you understand how much cushion you need in your budget to protect you from any potential future rate increases.
Lock in for longer.  If you see your life changing,  for example a possible retirement in the next few years or you have university tuition to contend with in the near future then you may want to lock in for a longer term so that you can count on the stability of your mortgage payments not increasing during that time. If you are locking in however, take the time to explore what flexibility you have if you do need to make changes to your mortgage earlier then expected.  Working with your lender to fully this will give you the comfort to know your options ahead of time so that you can make informed decisions.

Kevin & Faye Kitzman
Sales Representatives
Remax Real Estate Centre
Direct : 519-577-0603

Faye Kitzman
Mortgage Agent
Mortgage Intelligence

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Is there a Canadian Real Estate Bubble

Is There a
Real Estate
As the Canadian housing market continues to thrive, naysayers are predicting its demise. High household debt
in relation to income has sounded alarm bells for some, who warn of an American-style housing bubble and
subsequent burst. Additionally,
as much as
It’s true that consumers are borrowing at higher levels; the ratio of household debt rose to
The Economist estimated that Canadian home prices are overvalued by25 per cent.1 Is there any truth to all of this fear mongering?
149.47 per cent
remain stable and avoid the devastation felt in the United States, even if prices fall, for several reasons.
in 2011.2 However, most experts predict that the housing market will
1. We have stricter lending standards than the United States.
major banks, who are required to follow specific regulations. Additionally, sub-prime mortgages are rare,
comprising only
they never gained traction here.
Most mortgages are written by one of our six5 per cent of mortgages.3 While these loans were all-too-common in the United States,
2. Mortgages are full recourse loans,
of circumstances. Lenders are able to use a homeowner’s assets and income as collateral, thereby reducing the
risk of the borrower walking away from a mortgage. As a result, delinquencies are
of the United States.
meaning the borrower is responsible for paying back the loan regardlessone-tenth of the level
3. We tend to seek conservative mortgage options.
heads; in fact, most of us add an average of
We don’t like having a large mortgage looming over our$400 per month to our regular mortgage payment.4
Rising interest rates may trigger a
with a variable rate mortgage; however, rates aren’t set to increase until 2013 and a “slowdown” doesn’t mean a
crash is likely.
that raised their payments by $200 a month, and
are in a good position to survive a housing drop.
slowdown in the housing market, impacting the 31 per cent of Canadians5 Additionally, 84 per cent of Canadians report that they could handle a mortgage rate increase73 per cent feel that they5,6
Sources: 1. The Economist, November 26, 2011
2. CTV, June 26, 2011
3. Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University, August 2010
4. CAAMP/ACCHA, Stability in the Canadian Mortgage Market
5. Montreal Gazette, November 10, 2011
6. Royal Bank of Canada, March 2011
In sum, the Canadian housing market is healthy and
flourishing. Contact your trusted real estate professional
to learn more about your local market.

Kevin & Faye Kitzman
Sales Representatives
Remax Real Estate Centre
Direct : 519-577-0603

Faye Kitzman
Mortgage Agent
Mortgage Intelligence

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Bank of Canada- Once again no change to the Bank of Canada's Key Rate

Bank of Canada

Once Again No Change To The Bank of Canada's Key Rate

The Bank of Canada announced earlier today that it is keeping its key policy rate unchanged, exactly where it's been since September 2010, which means no changes for variable rate mortgage holders. The longest recorded rate pause continues – 12 consecutive meetings.  As a result, the prime rate for most lenders should stay at 3%.

The Bank's statement was slightly more optimistic than in recent announcements, saying "the heightened uncertainty around the global economic outlook has decreased" although they note that "the global economy is still expected to grow below its trend rate." With respect to the U.S and Canada, they state that "the U.S. expansion is proceeding at a modest pace" and "that the outlook for the Canadian economy is marginally improved."  Canadian debt levels continue to be an ongoing concern as "spending is expected to remain high relative to GDP as households add to their debt burden, which remains the biggest domestic risk."

The Bank's next rate decision is scheduled for April 17.

We're heading into the spring market with historically low 5 and 10-year fixed rates, which are unrelated to the key policy rate.  The great Canadian mortgage sale continues.

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

Faye Kitzman
Mortgage Agent
Mortgage Intelligence

Canada housing market seen flat over next 2 years

Canada housing market seen flat over next 2 years
Reuters  Mar 7, 2012 –  
Canada’s housing market will cool off over the next 24 months with home sales and prices remaining flat near 2011 levels, but it will avoid the sharp plunge seen in the United States during the recession, Bank of Nova Scotia said on Wednesday.
A slowdown in global growth over the past year has sapped some of the strength from Canada’s formerly hot real estate sector, particularly in major urban centers such as Vancouver and Toronto.
“Currently, it looks like an environment where home prices will likely be relatively flat on an average basis,” said Scotiabank senior economist and real estate specialist Adrienne Warren.
Average home prices rose 4.3% in 2011, but cooled considerably in the final quarter, rising just 1.1%  from the previous year, according to data compiled by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).
Ms. Warren said homes are likely overvalued by as much as 15% due to an extended period of rising prices and low mortgage rates, but she didn’t foresee a U.S.-style subprime collapse.
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The national average home price in 2011 was $363,346 according to CREA data.
“I don’t think there’s a big risk of a big price correction,” said Ms. Warren, adding the main triggers would be a jump in the unemployment rate and multiple interest rate hikes, neither of which is expected by Scotiabank economists over the next 12 months.
The Bank of Canada has kept interest rates at record lows since the financial crisis began in 2008 and is widely expected to keep is main policy rate at its current 1% target through 2013.
Ms. Warren said housing starts and existing home sales would hold close to 2011 levels. She predicted starts would dip to 185,000, down slightly from the 194,000 in 2011, according to CREA data. Sales should hold near last year’s total of 456,749 units.
The Scotiabank forecast was in line with a recent CREA report that home sales would edge up 0.3% this year, but fall by the same amount in 2013. CREA also predicted housing prices would fall by 1.1% in 2012, but rebound 0.9% in 2013.
In a Reuters survey last month, 10 of 14 economists and strategists expected home prices to stall, with a mere 0.1% rise this year, and the same in 2013. “There has been a wide variety of opinion, but they tend to be from modestly optimistic to mildly pessimistic,” said Phil Soper, president and chief executive of Brookfield Real Estate Services.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Buy and renovate for the perfect abode

Buy and renovate for the perfect abode 

Many homebuyers looking at older properties find themselves in a common predicament: they've found a property that suits them, but it needs some costly and immediate upgrades.  Increasingly, buyers are adding the costs of those immediate renovations into their mortgage, instead of racking up credit card bills or selling investments to pay for the upgrades.  Known as a "purchase plus improvements" mortgage, this type of mortgage covers the sale price of the home, plus any renovations that would increase the value of the property, with as little as 5 per cent down.  

If you're buying a home but want to add a second storey, finish a basement or redo a kitchen, it can make a lot of sense to add those costs to your mortgage.  That way you can spread your payments over the life of the mortgage and have a cost-effective way to get your dream home.  You can also use your pre-payment privileges to pay the renovation off faster.  The process is quite simple:
  • Obtain cost estimates for the upgrades
  • Get your appraisal - for the value of the property "as is" and the estimated value of the property once the improvements are completed
  • Renovation costs are included in your mortgage 
  • Complete your upgrades
  • Renovation funds are released by your solicitor upon completion
Be sure to consult with us to learn about the full range of options available to you when purchasing a fixer upper
Kevin & Faye Kitzman
Sales Representatives
Remax Real Estate Centre
Direct : 519-577-0603

Faye Kitzman
Mortgage Agent
Mortgage Intelligence

Thursday, 1 March 2012

The Key to preventing Moldy BERRIES!!

Berries are delicious, but they're also kind of delicate. Raspberries in particular seem like they can mold before you even get them home from the market. There's nothing more tragic than paying $4 for a pint of local raspberries, only to look in the fridge the next day and find that fuzzy mold growing on their insides.
Well, with fresh berries just starting to hit farmers markets, we can tell you that how to keep them fresh! Here’s a tip I’m sharing on how to prevent them from getting there in the first place:
Wash them with vinegar.
When you get your berries home, prepare a mixture of one part vinegar (white or apple cider probably work best) and ten parts water. Dump the berries into the mixture and swirl around. Drain, rinse if you want (though the mixture is so diluted you can't taste the vinegar,) and pop in the fridge. The vinegar kills any mold spores and other bacteria that might be on the surface of the fruit, and voila! Raspberries will last a week or more, and strawberries go almost two weeks without getting moldy and soft. So go forth and stock up on those pricey little gems, knowing they'll stay fresh as long as it takes you to eat them.
You're so berry velcome!
Kevin & Faye Kitzman
Sales Representatives
Remax Real Estate Centre
Direct : 519-577-0603

Faye Kitzman
Mortgage Agent
Mortgage Intelligence