Wednesday, 19 November 2014

House hunting with your head and not your heart!

How to house-hunt with your head, not your heart
2014-11-13

March 19th, 2014 by Golden Girl Finance

What is your HIQ? Let's find out in 8 steps...
Contrary to popular belief, home is not where the heart is. Home is where the head is - and if you don’t use your head when house-hunting you could find yourself wishing you’d never said “I do” to that not-so-dream home.
Though it’s sometimes appropriate to let your heart take the lead, finding the right home is a matter of hunting with your head.
But as we learned after talking to the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) about the most common mistakes people make when buying or selling a home, people fall in love all too easily.
Luckily, we can avoid the broken hearts (and the broken bank) with a few simple steps to smarter home-hunting.
8 steps to smarter home-hunting
  1. Don’t be blinded by the love
That means: don’t overpay, don’t rush through the process, and don’t ignore glaring concerns just to win ownership. If it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be.
  1. Keep searching for your “sales” mate
According to RECO, there are more than 60,000 real estate brokers and salespersons in Ontario - meaning you can expect to meet a bunch before you find “the one”. Make sure you discuss the services you expect of them and get it in writing.
  1. Know there’s never such a thing as “no strings attached”
Do you know what the terms in your contract with your brokerage mean and your obligations to one another? (And please don't tell us you didn't even bother to read the agreement in full?!). Read your agreement thoroughly and fill in every blank before signing. Remember that verbal agreements mean little. Get everything you discussed and agreed upon in writing to avoid problems later on. Always get a copy of the contract for your own files, too.
  1. Check that prenup - who gets what after you ink a deal?
The furnace, fridge, and other items at the showing might have been major selling features for you, but never assume they’re part of the package. The sub-zero might go with the seller; the furnace could be on lease. These details - called “chattels” - ought to be outlined in writing and clarified amongst all parties before any offer is laid on the table. Who knows - you may be able to get your seller to pay off the balance on that furnace lease as part of your offer.
  1. Know it’s what’s on the inside that counts
It’s easy to overlook the more mundane things in a nicely staged home, but ask questions about the insulation, wiring, plumbing, upgrades and past permits. Better still, sign the agreement conditional on a satisfactory home inspection. A qualified home inspector is an aptly-trained necessary third party - and someone who is looking at this transaction totally objectively.
  1. Get to know what’s on the outside, too
Get to know the neighbourhood. When you get into a home, you’re also getting in with a whole family of homes - as well as the parks, the kids, and the community.
  1. Know your home’s past relationships
A simple Internet search for the address can go a long way; or even ask the neighbours for their take on your potential purchase. You never know what kind of mischief the house may have been involved in.
  1. Know what it really costs to seal the deal
Land transfer taxes, title insurance, a home inspection - these are all costs not included in the listing price, but can easily add up to thousands of dollars. Budget and shop accordingly.
http://www.goldengirlfinance.com/inspiration/?post_id=2922

Thursday, 16 October 2014

CMHC helping Canadians find affordable homes

Programs and Financial Assistance

Did you know that CMHC invests $2 billion a year to help Canadians find quality, affordable homes?

CMHC’s funding can help create new affordable housing; upgrade existing housing that may be in need of renovations or accessibility modifications; address the housing needs of victims of family violence; and provide rent subsidies for individuals and families in need.


Housing needs for 20 per cent of Canadian individuals and families cannot be met by the marketplace.
To help, CMHC works with its government, industry, and non-profit partners to improve access to affordable housing for these Canadians.
CMHC’s $2 billion annual investment in housing is improving the quality of life for low-income Canadians, including, seniors, persons with disabilities, people at risk of homelessness and Aboriginal people.
The investment includes approximately $1.7 billion to help Canadians living in existing social housing off and on reserve.
It also includes approximately $240 million toward new and existing affordable housing through the Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH). The IAH gives your provincial or territorial government the flexibility to provide affordable housing programs that meet your community’s housing needs.
Under the IAH, provinces and territories match CMHC’s investment and report to their citizens on how they are using the funding to improve access to affordable housing.
You can find the  reporting done by your province or territory here.
Find out more about the affordable housing programs offered by your province or territory:

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Listing your homes asking price.

Listing Your HomeChances are, if you've lived in your home for more than a few years, you can likely turn a tidy profit. That's great news. But sealing the deal requires more than just a handshake. You'll have to consider if now's a good time to sell? What's the best way to get the word out? How do you get top dollar for your property? These are just some of the questions that The Kitzman Team can help answer. visit the link below for more information on listing your home and determining its asking price.

Listing your home

Sincerely,

Kevin and Faye Kitzman
Sales Representative
Re/max Real Estate Centre

Friday, 30 May 2014

Common mistakes most sellers make.

8 Common Mistakes Most Home Sellers Make1. Failure to effectively market the property. Good marketing distinguishes your home from hundreds of others on the market, selling its benefits not just its features. Open houses and print advertising (the most obvious) are only moderately effective. Only 1% of homes are sold at open houses, and just 3% of people purchased their homes after seeing a print ad! Your Realtor© should be using other methods as well to attract prospects. Ask your sales professional to provide a list of things they will do to market your home.

2. Basing your asking price on needs or emotion not market value. Many sellers base their pricing on what is termed as Subjective Value. To an appraiser, subjective value is based on emotions. For example, how much a seller paid for their home, how much they love their home, and overall pride of ownership is considered subjective value. Objective Value, is what ALL appraisers base the true value of a property.

Setting the asking price of a property should always be based on Market Value. Appraisers call this objective value. Objective value looks at the condition of the property; it’s location, what properties with similar features in the same area are selling for, what other properties in the same area are listed for, and the overall condition of the economy and real estate market.

If your home is not priced competitively, homebuyers will prefer larger or better homes in the same price range, increasing your time-to-sell. When your price is later lowered, buyers may be wary because they suspect other reasons the house has remained unsold so long.

3. Failing to "present" the home. A property that is not clean or well maintained often suggests hidden defects that increase the total cost of ownership. Sellers should make necessary repairs, and spruce up the house inside and out, keep it clean and neat, or risk chasing away buyers brought in by realtors. Buyers will leave themselves a large margin for error for the cost of repairs, reducing their offer price.

4. Over-improving your home before you sell it. Most buyers will base their decision on purchasing a home based on how they feel about the kitchen and bathrooms. If these areas of the home meet both their emotional and physical needs it makes it easier to sell a home. It is a good idea to get a real estate professional to do a market assessment of what your home is worth BEFORE improvements. The next step would be to get a written estimate for improvement costs; then have your real estate professional give you an update on the market value to determine how much more money your home will sell for AFTER improvements are made. This will let you know whether it makes sense to upgrade your home first, then put it on the market, or to just put it on the market for sale the way it is.

Sellers may spend thousands of dollars doing the wrong upgrades to their home prior selling, expecting to recoup this cost. If you are thinking of selling, ask your realtor which upgrades are cost effective. Typically the most important and saleable areas of any home are the kitchen and bathrooms.

5. Choosing the wrong Realtor© or choosing for the wrong reasons. Many homeowners list with the real estate sales representative who tells them the highest price, or a popular Real Estate company in the area. Remember it is NOT the sign that sells a home it is the real estate sales representative. Sellers should always choose the sales person who provides the most experience and the one the seller thinks has the best negotiating skills. More experience could mean a higher price at the negotiating table, selling in less time, and with less hassles along the way.

6. Failing to take the first offer seriously. Many sellers believe that the first offer received will be one of many to come, hoping to hold out for a higher price, especially if the offer comes in soon after the home is listed. Often the first offer ends up being the best buyer, and many sellers have had to accept far less money than the initial offer much later on in the selling process. The first 2 weeks of the listing term is critical. It is this time that the home will usually get MOST of its action. Do NOT let how quickly the offer came in determine your decision to accept it or not.

7. Using the "Hard Sell" during showings. Buying a home is an emotional decision, and buyers are looking to see if a house is comfortable for them. Good Realtors© let the buyers discover the home's features on their own, pointing out only features they are sure are important to them. Overselling your home during showings make buyers think they are paying for features that are not important to them and can lose the sale.

8. Not knowing your rights and obligations. The contract you sign to sell your property is a complex and a legally binding document. An improperly written contract can allow the purchaser to void the sale, or cost you thousands of unnecessary dollars. Have your Realtor© fully explain the contract or have your lawyer review it before acceptance .

8 common mistakes most home sellers make

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Homebuyers Road Map

Realtors are experienced in everything you need to know and do when buying a home.
- Assess your Financial readiness
- Consider your mortgage options
- Mortgage Default insurance
- Research government programs
- Find a home
- Make a offer
- Closing and related costs

Whatever your question is a experienced realtor can help!

Call us today!
Kevin and Faye Kitzman
Sales Representative
Re/Max Real Estate Centre
519-240-9193

HOMEBUYERS ROAD MAP

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Atten Homebuyers- Federal government has assistance programs to help homebuyers

The federal government
has assistance programs
to help homebuyers.
Research government
program requirements to
see if you are eligible.
 
 
 
 
 
 
First-Time Home B uyers’ Tax Credit – a

$5,000 non-refundable income tax credit

on a qualifying home. The credit provides

up to $750 in tax relief to assist first-time

buyers with purchase costs. For more

information, check the Canada R evenue

Agency’s (CRA) website:


www.cra-arc.gc.ca.




• Home B uyers’ Plan – a one-time

withdrawal up to $25,000 from a

Registered R etirement S avings Plan (RRS P)

by first-time buyers to help purchase or

build a home. Generally, you have to repay

all withdrawals from your RRS P within 15

years. For more details, visit CRA’s website


at: www.cra-arc.gc.ca.




• CMHC Green Home program – when you

use CMHC-insured financing to buy or

build an energy-efficient home or make

energy-saving renovations, you may

qualify for a premium refund of 10% on

your mortgage default insurance and a

premium refund for a longer amortization

period (if applicable). Check out CMHC’s

website for more information:


www.cmhc.ca.




Government programs can change over

time. For the most up-to-date information,

refer to S ervice Canada’s website:


www.servicecanada.gc.ca.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

PLAN YOUR FINANCES- Before you start looking for your dream home.

Planning your financesHome buying can be a daunting and complex process. But with The Kitzman Team by your side, it doesn't have to be. Remember, we work for you and are here to look after your best interests. So take a few minutes and learn how we can help you find what you're looking for.



Figure out how much you can afford. Before you start looking for your dream home, let's find out how big you can dream. Knowing your true budget is the first and most important step in buying a home.

A home is a big purchase. It's probably the most expensive thing you'll ever buy. The total cost of buying a home consists of two aspects: the one time costs associated with the initial purchase, and the monthly costs of maintaining and owning the home. Some of them include:



Cost of buying a home=One time costs+Monthly costs
  Down payment Mortgage
  Legal fees Utilities
  Title insurance Maintenance
  Inspection fees Insurance
  Property transfer Property taxes
  Taxes  
 

Everybody's total costs are different, but it's almost guaranteed you won't have that much money saved up. Hopefully you have enough for a nice down payment, but for the rest...

Yes, you need a mortgage. So determine how much a bank will lend you
Head over to the next step where you'll find helpful tips on arranging your mortgage. But the first step in determining how much a bank will lend you is to understand how much you can afford each month. This is determined using two lending principals.
1. Gross Debt Service Ratio (GDSR) calculation:
This lending principle simply states that your monthly housing cost should not exceed 32% of your gross monthly family income.

2. Total Debt Service Ratio (TDSR) calculation:
This lending principle summarizes that your monthly housing cost and payments on all of your other debts (including loans, credit card and lease payments) should not exceed 40% of your gross monthly income.
We can help you estimate your maximum affordable mortgage payment of principal and interest.

 Arrange a mortgage

Money makes the world go round, and a mortgage gives you the power to buy a home. This isn't the most fun step in buying a home, but it's vital.

Who do you talk to?


Call a mortgage broker
Lucky for you, you don't need to go far. With Faye's access to a vast network of over 50 lending institutions - including major banks, credit unions, trusts and other national and regional lenders, she has the tools to build a customized mortgage plan, with the features and options that meet your needs.

Mortgage terminology
Mortgage term:
Refers to how long the bank has agreed to lend you the money – typically from six months to five years. At the end of the term, you usually renegotiate a new term.

Amortization:
The length of time it will take to pay off the whole mortgage, often as long as 25 years. The longer your amortization, the lower your monthly payments, but the more you pay in interest over time.

Interest rates:
Interest is the cost of borrowing money, and the interest rate tells you exactly how much. Using a mortgage calculator, check the difference between borrowing $100 000 at 6% and at 9% at the same amortization. Surprising, no? That interest rate not only affects how much you pay, it also affects how much you can borrow. So keep searching for the best rate!

How big a down payment?
You want as small a mortgage as possible, which means making the biggest down payment possible. Just remember to set money aside for all the fees associated with buying a home. Not to mention moving, repairs, renovations, new furniture... think ahead.

The Home Buyers' Plan – A little sweet relief
If you're a first-time homebuyer with money in an RRSP, you can withdraw up to $25,000 without paying any income tax. If your spouse is also eligible, that's $50,000. Ask us how to best take advantage of this plan.

Lock into an interest rate? For how long?
It's a tough question. What if you 'lock in' for five years and the rate goes into a period of decline? That could mean you're stuck paying more than you had to for a long time. But if rates were to steadily climb over the next five years, locking in for five years now would be a great move.

What you need to apply for a mortgage

  • Letter of employment confirmation (include your position, your pay and how many years you've been with the company)
  • List your assets (your car, stocks, bonds, GICs, etc)
  • List your liabilities (car payments, student loans, credit card debt, etc)
  • Social Insurance Number
  • Your chequing account number
  • Your lawyer's contact information
  • Information about the house you want to buy
Don't forget these extra costs

  • Application fee:
    Some mortgage lenders charge a fee to process your application. But ask to see if you can get it waived.
  • Appraisal fee:
    Your mortgage lender may need to have your new home appraised by a professional, and they often pass the bill on to you. Sometimes your lender will also waive this fee.
  • Mortgage broker's fee:
    Your mortgage broker may charge a fee that's payable on your closing date. Ask your broker to avoid surprises.
  • Land survey fee:
    Lenders may require a survey of your property, even if it's an existing survey. Get your lawyer on the case.
  • Home inspection fee:
    A home inspection is so important, we devoted an entire step to it. Avoid surprises and protect yourself... this is money well spent.
  • Home Insurance:
    Mortgage lenders require you to carry fire and extended-coverage insurance because your home is the security deposit on the mortgage. Often you can have these payments added to your monthly mortgage payments. Shop around.
  • Title insurance:
    It's not mandatory, but protects you from all sorts of fraud and potential errors surrounding the title to your land. Ask your lawyer for details.
  • Legal fees:
    You'll pay your lawyer for their invaluable time and "disbursements" which are the costs involved in title searches, drawing up the title deed, and preparing your mortgage.
  • Adjustments:
    The previous owner may have paid property tax or utilities in advance, and they want to be credited for those payments. Ask your lawyer what might come up on the closing date.
  • Maintenance and utility costs:
    Remember, you'll now have more regular monthly payments in the form of property tax and utilities.
  • Property Transfer Tax:
    The amount of this tax varies from province to province.
  • The GST/HST and new homes:
    Resale homes don't involve GST/HST, but new homes do. If you intend to live in your new home (instead of renting it out) there is some relief. Consult us and your lawyer for more information.
  • REALTOR® Commissions or fees?
    REALTOR® commissions or fees are subject to GST/HST.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Common mistakes home sellers make

8 Common Mistakes Most Home Sellers Make1. Failure to effectively market the property. Good marketing distinguishes your home from hundreds of others on the market, selling its benefits not just its features. Open houses and print advertising (the most obvious) are only moderately effective. Only 1% of homes are sold at open houses, and just 3% of people purchased their homes after seeing a print ad! Your Realtor© should be using other methods as well to attract prospects. Ask your sales professional to provide a list of things they will do to market your home.

2. Basing your asking price on needs or emotion not market value. Many sellers base their pricing on what is termed as Subjective Value. To an appraiser, subjective value is based on emotions. For example, how much a seller paid for their home, how much they love their home, and overall pride of ownership is considered subjective value. Objective Value, is what ALL appraisers base the true value of a property.

Setting the asking price of a property should always be based on Market Value. Appraisers call this objective value. Objective value looks at the condition of the property; it’s location, what properties with similar features in the same area are selling for, what other properties in the same area are listed for, and the overall condition of the economy and real estate market.

If your home is not priced competitively, homebuyers will prefer larger or better homes in the same price range, increasing your time-to-sell. When your price is later lowered, buyers may be wary because they suspect other reasons the house has remained unsold so long.

3. Failing to "present" the home. A property that is not clean or well maintained often suggests hidden defects that increase the total cost of ownership. Sellers should make necessary repairs, and spruce up the house inside and out, keep it clean and neat, or risk chasing away buyers brought in by realtors. Buyers will leave themselves a large margin for error for the cost of repairs, reducing their offer price.

4. Over-improving your home before you sell it. Most buyers will base their decision on purchasing a home based on how they feel about the kitchen and bathrooms. If these areas of the home meet both their emotional and physical needs it makes it easier to sell a home. It is a good idea to get a real estate professional to do a market assessment of what your home is worth BEFORE improvements. The next step would be to get a written estimate for improvement costs; then have your real estate professional give you an update on the market value to determine how much more money your home will sell for AFTER improvements are made. This will let you know whether it makes sense to upgrade your home first, then put it on the market, or to just put it on the market for sale the way it is.

Sellers may spend thousands of dollars doing the wrong upgrades to their home prior selling, expecting to recoup this cost. If you are thinking of selling, ask your realtor which upgrades are cost effective. Typically the most important and saleable areas of any home are the kitchen and bathrooms.

5. Choosing the wrong Realtor© or choosing for the wrong reasons. Many homeowners list with the real estate sales representative who tells them the highest price, or a popular Real Estate company in the area. Remember it is NOT the sign that sells a home it is the real estate sales representative. Sellers should always choose the sales person who provides the most experience and the one the seller thinks has the best negotiating skills. More experience could mean a higher price at the negotiating table, selling in less time, and with less hassles along the way.

6. Failing to take the first offer seriously. Many sellers believe that the first offer received will be one of many to come, hoping to hold out for a higher price, especially if the offer comes in soon after the home is listed. Often the first offer ends up being the best buyer, and many sellers have had to accept far less money than the initial offer much later on in the selling process. The first 2 weeks of the listing term is critical. It is this time that the home will usually get MOST of its action. Do NOT let how quickly the offer came in determine your decision to accept it or not.

7. Using the "Hard Sell" during showings. Buying a home is an emotional decision, and buyers are looking to see if a house is comfortable for them. Good Realtors© let the buyers discover the home's features on their own, pointing out only features they are sure are important to them. Overselling your home during showings make buyers think they are paying for features that are not important to them and can lose the sale.

8. Not knowing your rights and obligations. The contract you sign to sell your property is a complex and a legally binding document. An improperly written contract can allow the purchaser to void the sale, or cost you thousands of unnecessary dollars. Have your Realtor© fully explain the contract or have your lawyer review it before acceptance .

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Preparing To Sell

Preparing To Sell | Cambridge Real Estate/Kitchener/Waterloo Real Estate Board

Chances are, if you've lived in your home for more than a few years, you can likely turn a tidy profit. That's great news. But sealing the deal requires more than just a handshake. You'll have to consider if now's a good time to sell? What's the best way to get the word out? How do you get top dollar for your property? These are just some of the questions that The Kitzman Team can help answer.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Did you know you can with draw your RRSP's to purchase or build a house?

RRSP Home Buyers Plan (HBP)

The Government of Canada Home Buyers™ Plan allows qualified buyers to withdraw a maximum of $25,000 tax free from their RRSPs to purchase or build a house. If your spouse is also eligible, you can each withdraw up to $25,000 towards the down payment, for a total of $50,000. No income tax is deducted from these funds, as long as they are repaid to the RRSP according to the government’s repayment schedule.
How the Plan Works
You may participate in the plan if you (or your spouse) have not owned a home which you occupied as your principal residence in the last five years.
Repayment Schedule
The money you withdraw from your RRSP must be repaid over a period of no more than 15 years to retain its tax deferred status. Your repayment period starts the second year following the year you made your withdrawals. If you pay less than your scheduled annual payments, the amount that you don’t repay must be reported as income on your tax return for that year.
For example, in October 2009 you withdraw $24,000 from your RRSP to finance the purchase of your home. Your first annual repayment of $1,600 ($24,000 divided by 15 years) is due by December 31, 2011.
For more information, go to the Canada Revenue Agency Web site and search for Home Buyers Plan.

 

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Do you shop around? - 2 out of 3 Don't shop at Renewal

 


2 Out of 3 Don't Shop at Renewal
January 26, 2012 @ 1:30 AM by: Roar Admin
Every now and then we see a mortgage stat that’s a jaw-dropper.
This finding from Manulife Bank is one of them. It suggests there are a lot more people with money to burn than one might expect.
Manulife recently surveyed 1,000 Canadian homeowners between the ages of 30 to 59. Among respondents with a mortgage, two-thirds (65%) did not compare mortgages from more than one lender when they last renewed.
More specifically:
20% stayed with their current lender after maturity and did not negotiate
45% stayed with their current lender and tried to negotiate a good deal, but did not shop around
35% compared mortgages from several lenders and choose the best overall lender and product.
The youngest group (ages 30-39) was most likely to shop around (41%), but was also most likely to
accept their current lender’s offer without negotiating (24%).
We asked Doug Conick, President & CEO of Manulife Bank, why on earth people would give so much power to their lender.
"Most people lead very busy lives and may not have the time or expertise to fully investigate their options,” he said.
“Through our debt survey we've found that only about 3 out of 10 Canadians work with a financial adviser to manage their debt more effectively."
“With busy lives and a lack of advice for most, this decision often gets left until very close to the renewal date, causing borrowers to follow the path of least resistance and renew with their current lender.”
“The unfortunate thing,” he added, “is that this could end up costing them a lot of extra money and keep them in debt longer than they need to be.”
That’s for sure.
In our experience, people who auto-renew often pay 1/2%-3/4% more than necessary, or worse! In fact, we’ve seen innumerable people sign renewal letters at their bank’s “special offer” rate, which is usually well above the market. (Example: Today’s 5-year fixed “special offer” bank rates are 3.94% to 4.09%. That’s up to 80 basis points above competitive rates on the street.)
Even a 1/4% rate difference amounts to over $4,000 more in interest over five years, on a $200,000 mortgage with a 20-year amortization. That’s money that could normally go towards prepaying a fat chunk of principal.
pickpocketingIt’s hard to fathom why anyone would let a lender pick their pocket like this. At the very least, folks must find it within their strength to lift up the phone and call an independent mortgage planner.
Even if you’d rather stay with your current lender at renewal, seek out a second opinion. You absolutely owe it to yourself to keep your lender honest by surveying the market.
Of course, this all begs the question of why someone would ever want to deal exclusively with a lender that aims to maximize the interest they pay…but that’s a story for another day.
Sidebar: The report also confirmed, yet again, the various studies which show that people underutilize their prepayment privileges.
In the last year, out of respondents with a mortgage, 70% did not make any extra payments.
By far, the most common reason cited for not making an extra mortgage payment was “a lack of extra money.”