8 of the Best Home Updates to Get Your Money’s Worth

Nearly all home updates can improve the aesthetics and function of your home, but some give you more value to each of your dollar spent. We’ve compiled the best home updates that are worth your money to give you an idea which home upgrades to go for more so if you’re planning to sell in the near future.

Backsplash

Adding a backsplash can be as good as a remodel for your kitchen and obviously a lot cheaper. Subway tile backsplash is very popular amongst buyers too and can potentially increase a home’s asking price by as much as 6.9% according to statistics. They can also be installed in your kitchen in just a day or two.

Bathroom Vanity

The bathroom is one of the rooms that can make or break a sale. People truly appreciate bathroom vanities these days so adding one will not only give your bathroom an overhaul that has the same effect as a renovation but will also add to your home’s buyer appeal. A vanity can be installed over the weekend and relatively cheap compared to other home upgrades.

Barn Doors

Barn doors are not just for following trends but also a smart way to free up space while updating a room. They can be installed over closets or in rooms that have little floor space to begin with.

Cabinets

There is a huge difference between attractive functional cabinets versus new cabinets, with form and function winning most of the time. If your cabinets are already a good style, repainting or refinishing them will do. If your cabinets needs to be replaced, choose a Classic style as they tend to appeal to most people.

Energy Saving Thermostat

Using an energy-saving thermostat is not going to magically increase the resale value of your home but this is is an investment that you can benefit from in the long run in terms of potential savings on your energy bill. Some homeowners who did this reported a savings in their power bill of about $200 to $300.

Functioning Fireplace

Most home buyers still appreciate a functioning fireplace in a home. It isn’t just for beautiful holiday photos! Survey says that a functioning gas burning fireplace can increase a home’s buyer appeal, more so if you have a wood burning fireplace.

Landscaping

Your home’s curb appeal will not only increase your home’s resale value but will make you love your house even more (humans inherently love beautiful things). Get to planting some flowers, adding turf to your lawn, and trimming bushes. Its good weekend exercise, adds so much value for a little investment, and psychologically proven to improve your mood. What is not to love?

Paint

Painting a new color is the easiest and perhaps the cheapest way to update and freshen up a room, more so if you choose good colours with a nice contrast. Don’t get overboard though and keep most walls neutral. A pretty grey can modernise an otherwise outdated room in a jiffy!

Ready to go for the best home updates described above but need help with funds? We can help at Mortgage Central Nationwide. We’re here to assist you with mortgage refinancing, getting a second mortgage, accessing your equity via home equity loan, or applying for a private mortgage. Contact us for details!

Should You Get A Private Mortgage?

A significant number of Canadians are borrowing from private lenders to purchase homes because not everyone can get mortgages from Canada’s lending institutions and big banks.

The Dream of Home Ownership

The above is the reality of the housing situation these days as traditional lenders get stricter in their lending practices because of the rising real estate prices and low interest rates. After all, they are also businesses that have to weigh factors and lending in present time can be quite risky.

The situation is made worse by the fact that down payments have also risen, with homes costing a minimum of half a million needing a down payment of at least 10% of the home’s value. That kind of money is not something that everyone can produce out of pocket; hence, most Canadians will have to resort to loans to make their dreams of home ownership come true.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

Private mortgage lenders are a blessing to many Canadians because they allow those who need funds to borrow via a private mortgage. A private mortgage is not the same as borrowing from a trust or bank as the funds come from a private individual or a business.

The business of private lending accounts for about 4% to 5% of the mortgage market in Canada. While this figure is still small, this is a huge leap considering that private mortgages used to be less than 1% of all mortgages during the recession of 2008 and 2009.

With the above said, it is hard to deny that private lenders play a significant part in Canada’s real estate landscape, more so that those who are self-employed (15% of Canada’s workforce), turn to them because they can’t get a traditional mortgage without third-party income validation.

Private mortgage lenders are also a top option for first-time homebuyers who have bad credit, have an illness, have lots of debts, have just divorced, have lost a job, is a non-resident, or owe back taxes. These people are potential homeowners who happen to not have a good income record or do not possess as big enough take home salary such as in the case of small business owners who have just started their companies.

It should be noted that borrowing from a private mortgage lender means paying higher interest than what a traditional lender charges. With this mentioned, private lenders also help borrowers repair and rebuild their credit ratings so that they can get better rates with other lenders in the future.

Benefits of a Private Mortgage

There are many ways to determine whether a private mortgage is right for you but the best way in our opinion is to weigh the benefits of a private mortgage that you can avail of. They are as follows:

  • There is less red tape
  • Enjoy mortgage flexibility
  • Higher lending risk tolerance
  • Good rates.
  • Real time lending speed
  • Real-world purchasing advice from the lender
  • Easy pre-approval of mortgage

Need help getting a private mortgage? Contact us at Mortgage Central Nationwide. Our professional mortgage brokers will help you get in touch with a private lender and help you with your private mortgage application.

 

How to Use Home Equity to Unlock Tax Deductions

Do you know that there is a way for the CRA or Canada Revenue Agency to allow something that would be akin to letting taxpayers deduct mortgage interest from their taxes just like what our American neighbours have down south?

How?

By using the Smith Maneuver, a way to deduct from taxes created by retired financial strategist Fraser Smith from Victoria, BC two decades ago. The Smith Maneuver goes around the fact that although mortgage interest is not tax deductible in Canada, loans on investment are.

How to Use the Smith Maneuver

By making use of the Smith Maneuver, a Canadian who has some substantial non-registered investments can use the funds from the investments to purchase a residence or pay off an existing mortgage. Now, you have to note that depending on your mortgage and whether it is closed or open, paying it off before the end of term may warrant prepayment penalties. You have to keep this in mind to assess whether using the Smith Maneuver would truly benefit you.

Let’s say that the numbers are in your favour. A few days after using the Smith Maneuver, you will be able to use your property as collateral when applying for a separate loan for investing purposes. Also keep in mind that a substitute of collateral may later be agreed to between you and the lender if you decide to move houses while this is ongoing. Once this is done, you can then reinvest funds from your loan into qualified, non-registered investments and deduct the interest on the investment loan from your taxes. Be sure to stay away from RRSPs and TFSAs as those are categorized as registered investments!

How the Smith Maneuver Can Benefit You

Strategizing using the Smith Maneuver allows you to use your home equity to invest and grow your assets over time because it lets you deduct from your taxes as you continue to grow your investments. It is making your money work for you and not the other way around while still keeping everything legal. Yes, this deduction is legal and permitted by the CRA though it would be best to ensure that you still keep a record of all tax deductions just so you have complete documentation in the event that your deductions are questioned.

When Would the Smith Maneuver May Not Work for You

The Smith Maneuver isn’t the answer everyone is hoping for. In the case of Canadians who take out mortgage loans to buy rental property, the high interest rates associated (because lenders usually add a premium to homes that are not occupied by the legal owners) may not make the maneuver worth it at all. It is therefore helpful to compare mortgage interest rates and really do your research to ensure that you won’t be at the losing end.

Just to add, under CRA rules, if you’re someone who does at least half of your work from home (in your home office), you may be able to deduct some or your home office’s cost from your taxes although note that this does not allow deductions of your actual mortgage. This is still a win, right?

Do you want to know more about how some loans can help you out? Contact the mortgage experts at Mortgage Central Nationwide or apply for your own home equity loan in minutes today!

Tips and Tricks for Success in Real Estate Investing

Real estate investing can seem like an easy way to make some money, after all, plenty of people have found it to be very financially rewarding. The thing is, people who find success with it typically do their homework to minimise risks. Find out how you can do the same below!

Find a Good Real Estate Agent

If you’re investing in rental property, the best real estate agent you can find is someone who is also an area investor. Better if your agent can show you some of their properties together with what they are charging for rent. You can also ask your agent for details such as names of other investors they helped. A good real estate agent will either have a team of real estate professionals such as insurance advisers, home inspectors, lawyers, accountants, property manager, and mortgage brokers; or have refutable contacts that can be shared with you.

Think Long and Hard about Location

Real estate is all about location. An area in decline will be a loss in the future no matter how cheap the property is. If big chains such as Home Depot and Tim Hortons are moving in, then that area is either on the way up or is a prime location because big chains use a lot of research before setting up business in any location.

Draw a Partnership Agreement if Investing with Others

Good relations now can turn sour in the future when money is involved. If a real estate partner passes away, loses a job, or ceases to be a friend, problems can ensue later on. With a partnership agreement, what to do in situations like these are decided early on and will help you avoid an expensive mistake later on.

Invest for the Long Term

When you buy and hold real estate for the long term, you can manage expenses and income easier plus plan to pay the mortgage with the income coming in.

Be Careful Who You Rent Out To

Depending on where your property is, renting out homes to students or certain rooms to other people may need to be done with a permit and certain legal parameters in place such as complying with fire code or procuring a license.

Find a Dependable Property Manager

This would be best if you’ll be renting out quite a few properties (more than 3) because when you have a property manager, you can be a bit more relaxed. Property managers handle repairs and minor problems for your rental properties. They also help find tenants for you. Just note that property managers often get 10% of the monthly rent.

Don’t Rush into Leasing Your Property

Evicting a problem tenant can last months so making sure your potential tenants present no issues is paramount. You may have to ask for references and draft a lease agreement several times before both you and your potential tenant reach an agreement.

Being a landlord isn’t guaranteed easy money. You’ll have to ensure that you’ll still have something left after all bills are paid off and the monthly mortgage has been taken care of. When done properly, investing in rental real estate can be very rewarding and will be free from investing mistakes.

Interested in taking your real estate investing to the next level and are looking for a loan? If you own your home, you’re approved in just 24 hours! Apply today!

Why Buying Real Estate Beside a Cemetery Might Be Your Best Purchase Yet!

Real estate properties near or beside cemeteries are often overlooked by potential buyers, but do you know that purchasing a lot near a cemetery might be one of the smartest purchases you can make, especially around Toronto?

It isn’t a secret that the Toronto real estate market is one of the hottest in the world right now. The chances of purchasing a home you truly like is not that big if you’ll factor in budgetary constraints this side of Canada. If you’re not easily spooked, does not care much for superstitions, or have an adventurous streak, then looking for available homes or lots near cemeteries might be for you! Bonus points if you love Halloween!

Homes Near Cemeteries

Toronto resident Ms Flowers shares her childhood experience living in a home next to a cemetery in Bracebridge. She recalled playing ‘Ghost Ghost’, a form of hide and seek with her friends and how much fun she had until one night when a grave she was standing in caved in! She freaked out and ran away screaming. There’s no poltergeist or ghost involved by the way. It was merely a rotting coffin underneath that was the culprit for her scare.

Ms Flowers is far from scared when it comes to cemeteries and consecrated areas these days even though a lot of people still do not find the idea of living near dead bodies appealing. The sight of headstones still makes some people feel creepy the same way some people still do not want to live near churches and funeral homes.

A New View

Real estate agent Andrea Feldman recalls her Asian clientele not wanting to purchase homes near the Elgin Mills Cemetery in Richmond Hill during the 90s and saying it is bad feng shui. These days, this has become less of a problem as land as become too valuable in Toronto. Ms Feldman shares that land is so valuable these days that she sold houses around graveyards without having to give discounts. In fact, the houses and homes close to Mount Pleasant Cemetery are catching a good selling price. It should also be noted that the location is close to Chaplin Estates, Moore Park, Forest Hill and chi-chi Rosedale.

Sam Dubeau, an entrepreneur, bought a condo on Mertin Street beside Mount Pleasant Cemetery. The reason she bought her unit was because of the beauty of the place and the abundance of walking areas for her pug, Roxy. A 9-kilometre former rail line borders the cemetery. The same area draws joggers and cyclists alike. She says that she appreciates how quiet the area is, especially that she mostly works from home.

Carl Kingston, also appreciates his home which sits beside Prospect Cemetery. He describes the property as an oasis for him and his wife, with all the green space around it compared to the rest of Toronto. He shares that the cemetery is home to a lot of birds and he enjoys that. He even jokingly said, “honestly, I prefer my neighbours dead.”

Is a Private Mortgage Right for You?

There are just many situations in life when a “conventional mortgage” (i.e. a bank acts as the lender) doesn’t fit your needs. Private lender financing in Canada is up over 60% than in previous years, so it’s important to explore all of your options. Whatever type of financing you’re looking for, one of our Toronto mortgage brokers can help! Here we’re going to explore what a private mortgage is and what situations it works best in. The only thing that is different about a Canadian private mortgage is the lender, so let’s get started.

Why Would You Want a Private Mortgage?

There are many reasons someone would choose private mortgage lending over more traditional forms of credit. Maybe you have a poor credit history or no credit history at all (which likely isn’t the case in this situation, but everyone is different!) You could also be self employed or retired. Some people have high risk properties that can discourage traditional lenders, and others will need a private loan to bridge the gap between what they have and what they need to move into a new home. If you need to take out a second mortgage to pay off bills, a private mortgage may be right for you.

Why Private Lending?

When you work with Toronto mortgage brokers, you’ll get access to many different private and conventional lenders. If you want to be able to apply to as many lenders as possible to get the best outcome without ruining your credit, you’ll want to work with us. You’ll have a two week period from the time you first apply for a mortgage where your credit won’t be “dinged” for excessive inquiries. This is why when we take your application we start applying to multiple lenders for you, making sure you get the best mortgage possible.

What are the Benefits of a Private Lender?

When you work with a Canadian private lender, you get a lender who understands your situation. Why should you have to apply to just one lender and hope that the outcome works out in your favour when you can get the right loan at the right price from someone nearby? Interest rates now are at the lowest they’ve been in many decades, so if you can cash in on low interest rates now you’ll be able to have a great mortgage that you can live with today and tomorrow. Even if in the end you don’t go with a private lender, you’ll know that you explored all of your options and came out with the best mortgage for you.

If you’d like to learn more about private mortgage lenders and your financing options, contact us today! One of our Toronto mortgage brokers will help you through the process and help you find the loan that’s just right for you. From a fixed rate private loan to a variable rate conventional loan, you’ll find the one that fits your needs.

Looking for a private mortgage in Toronto? Apply today!

How do Second Mortgages Work?

If you need money and own a home, you can get a second mortgage! Do you need to remodel your home, have bills that you need to pay or many a big ticket item that you want to buy? If so, a Canadian second mortgage could help you get the money you need today for a better tomorrow. Here we’re going to talk about how these work and why you should work with a Toronto mortgage broker like us to get the best deal. Let’s get started.

What is a Second Mortgage?

A second mortgage is a lot like your first mortgage, but a little different. Depending on how much you’ve paid off from your first mortgage, you may be able to delay payment on your second mortgage for up to 25 years. This is where it pays to understand all of the terms of your mortgage, and why you want to work with a Toronto mortgage broker to make things work out in your favour.

When you apply for a second mortgage, you’ll need to fill out paperwork like you did for your first mortgage; you will need to bring some identification documents with you, but we can help you know which one of these you’ll need. After that, we’ll help you go over your application and figure out what areas need improving and if this is the right time to apply for a mortgage. You may want to work on your credit so you can get the lowest interest rate possible (up to 2.75% in some cases!)

Aren’t Second Mortgages Expensive?

This will really depend on the type of lender you go with and their attitude towards you. If you have poor or bad credit, you may be better off avoiding more traditional lenders. This way you’ll be able to get the financing that you need without any of the hassles of being paired with the wrong lender. If you’re looking for a quick loan that you can pay off in a short term (shorter than many 25 year mortgages go anyway), you may want to choose a conventional lender.

Is a Second Mortgage Right for You?

It’s hard to evaluate your case; everyone is different and has their own unique needs! This is why it’s important to evaluate why you want to take out this loan. Speak with one of our Toronto mortgage brokers to see if this is the right choice for you. Some common uses for second mortgages are:

Home Repairs and Remodels: a home repair and remodel can go a long way towards making sure your home is ready to be sold.

Paying off Debts: From credit card debts to private hospital bills, home equity can help you cover it. If you’re in the process of debt consolidation you may need a lump sum for settling your debt.

Bridge Financing: if you’re in the process of buying a home and selling a previous one, you can get a special kind of second mortgage known as a “bridge mortgage” to help you fill in the financing gaps.

Looking to apply for a second mortgage? Click here!

Is It Time to Leverage Your Home Equity?

If your homeowner with equity, you can cash in and start making equity in your home work for you with a home equity loan. After all, you’ve been saving for years, making your payments on time, isn’t it time you started getting something back? This kind of mortgage, also known as a second mortgage, can help you remodel your home, start a business, pay for retirement, or help you buy a new home. Under the current mortgage rules, you can burn up to 80% of your home’s worth; you may not actually borrow this much though! Here were going to talk about equity, how one of our Toronto mortgage brokers can help you, and if this is the right choice for you.

What Is a Home Equity Loan?

After years and years of payments, you’ve started building value in your home, and that’s equity. The less debt you owe on your home, the more equity you have. As Canada mortgage brokers we can help you unleash the power of your home’s hidden equity to get the money you need for your next project.

But before we talk about qualifying for a home equity loan we need to talk about loan-to-value ratios or LtV. No one will ever get 100% loan to value, even with the 720 or above credit score. You’re most likely to get between 60% and 80%, and you’ll only be able to borrow up to 80% of your home’s value – and that’s after they subtract whatever you still own it. This is why you to have as much equity available as possible.

Who Can Qualify for a Home Equity Loan?

If you have equity you can qualify for home equity loan – the trouble is finding the RIGHT but home equity loan. When you work with us as your Toronto mortgage broker you’ll understand what your real options are. We don’t work for the banks, we work for you, so you’ll know what you’re supposed to be getting. Credit, employment history, and payment history all play a role in your eligibility.

Understanding the Risks of Borrowing

Anytime you borrow against your home there will be risks. What we can do as mortgage brokers is mitigate those risks, helping you understand if now is the right time to get a second mortgage on your home. After all, what’s the point going through with it if you’re only going to end up losing your home?

Let Us Help You

Working with us will help you save time, money, sanity, most importantly your home. We’ll help you understand if your lender is on the up and up, you can find a better deal somewhere else, or if maybe you should just wait to borrow against your home. A little time can do a lot of things for your credit, and the better your credit is, the better your mortgage terms will be. Visit our home equity loans page today, and see how much you could save on your next mortgage!

Put the Equity in Your Home to Work with a Home Equity Line of Credit

With a home equity line of credit, or HELOC, you’ll finally be in the equity in your home to work. But if you were to find the lowest HELOC rates, fantastic and easy access to your credit line, and the flexibility that suits your life you’re going to need one of our Toronto mortgage brokers help you! Here were going to talk about how HELOCs work, the benefits and pitfalls, and everything else you need to know if this is the right decision for you. You want to make sure you’re getting the lowest rate possible – the lower the interest the less you have to pay!

How does a home equity line of credit work?

Instead of you having to worry about things like dealing with a large lump sum or planning far ahead, a HELOC works a little different. Open one for a rainy day and use it when you need it with the flexibility and easy access options you need. Open one right now and fund your retirement, start a business, pay your kids’ Uni tuition. Unlike a second mortgage or home equity loan, you borrow just what you need and pay it back when you use it, and borrow it again if you need to. If you never use it, you don’t have to worry about paying it back – it’s just that easy.

Who is eligible for a home equity line of credit?

If you have equity in your home, you’re eligible for a HELOC. The more equity you have the better the deal you’re going to get – but you’re also going to want to have good credit, a good job and proof to back it up. The lender needs to know that you’re going to be able to pay back this loan; if you don’t have good credit or a good income, you may still qualify for a HELOC – but you may have to pay more in less favourable terms and interest rate penalties.

Can I pay off my home equity line of credit early?

This depends on the lender you’re working with. When you choose us as your Toronto mortgage broker we’ll help you through the process. From figuring out whether you should go with Lender A that offers a great rate but a penalty if you pay early, or Lender B which offers the ability to pay it off early with a slightly higher interest rate, you might want to take Lender B.

Get the best rate with us

If you want to get the best rate on your next HELOC, you’ll want to work with us! As Canada mortgage brokers we can help you figure out how much you can save – you might even be surprised at how much it could be! If you’ve already worked with your current lender to find a HELOC, we can help you find a better rate – so give us a call today!

Also, visit our home equity line of credit page today to learn more!

Why the Toronto Real Estate Market Cooling Down is Normal

Buying a home in Toronto has been nothing but challenging these past years, but as the housing market begins to cool down, there is more hope that buyers may have chance of purchasing their dream homes soon.

Turning of the Tides?

The TREB shared that some home owners have cashed out their equity after hearing about the provincial housing policy in April and the increase in supply of resale homes in May due to the first quarter’s strong prices.

Sellers that listed their homes in spring are seeing lower and fewer offers from would-be-buyers. In fact, home prices in Toronto dipped 7% in May compared to April although it is still 15% higher than May of last year’s average home price.

Toronto Real Estate Board director of market analysis Jason Mercer shared that a month-to-month decline did happen although the market soared. The details were released in the end of May statistics by TREB.

The May cool down occurred with a 43% hike in active listings but Mercer was quoted that this is not an indication that the housing bubble will burst. He added that for that to happen, a dramatic economic change has to take place. Examples of such would be a real increase in lending rates or a significant change in regional employment.

Toronto Housing Competition Still Fierce?

Mercer further shared that there is still enough buyer competition to keep pushing home prices up – if the average price growth of about 15% and less than 2 months of housing inventory is to be looked upon. He also said that buyers are simply taking a step back this month to see how the new government policies and foreign buyers’ tax will affect the market,

A housing commentary from RBC Economics Research stated that buyers and sellers are locking horns because we’ve entered a period of price expectations adjustment. This will predict whether a buyer’s market will be coming in the months ahead.

One realtor said that buyers should not expect to chance upon a steal in the near future but that they can expect to have more choices and more negotiating power.

Owner of Spring Realty Ara Mamourian shared that a lot of buyers are misunderstanding available data and thinking that there is a crash where there is none. There is no huge buying opportunity but rather an increased opportunity to buy with less competition, not an absence of it and certainly no huge discounts coming soon. He added that for safe measure, sellers must make sure that their realtors have sold their old home first before buying their next home, taking a 180 degrees turn from the first quarter’s real estate advice.

Desmond Brown of Royal LePage said that the current market is not a new normal, rather only a return of the old normal. He also shared that he is welcoming this market change because this will allow people to move to a bigger home if they need to without having to jump hoops because they can’t afford to.

Thinking of taking advantage of the changes in the Toronto real estate market to purchase a home soon? Contact us at Mortgage Central Nationwide to find out how we can help.