Monday, August 30, 2010

Wondering where to start your reno?

If you're looking to increase the value of your home through a renovation project, it can often be overwhelming finding a place to start.

Since very few homeowners have unlimited funds to play with, it's important to start with the projects will give you the most bang for your buck. Below are the top three areas you should focus on, according to the Appraisal Institute of Canada:

1. Painting and interior decor
Most prospective buyers can't help but fall in love with a well-staged home. Investing the time to add a coat of paint to the walls and either buy or rent some fashionable furniture will go a long way in getting a 'sold' sign on your front yard.

2. A chef's kitchen
While a kitchen renovation can often be the most pricey, you're virtually guaranteed a return on your investment. New buyers love new appliances, fancy countertops and plenty of storage space.

3. A bathroom fit for a king
They don't call it the 'throne room' for nothin'. A bright, clean bathroom with nice fixtures and tiling will make prospective buyers feel at home.

*reprinted courtesy of Axiom Mortgage Partners

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

When to walk away...

Did you know that acting as a straw buyer in a mortgage transaction is illegal? ‘Straw buyers’ who allow their name and credit rating to be used to obtain mortgage financing for a profit can be fined or even jailed for their actions.

Definition of straw buyer

According to the attached article in the Calgary Sun, this situation has been common in the last few years due to the recent economic boom. Individuals that act as a ‘straw buyer’ in a mortgage transaction are legally responsible for the mortgage they have obtained.
The Calgary Real Estate Board offers the following tips to help protect yourself from mortgage fraud:

-Employ a licensed mortgage broker registered under the Real Estate Act of Alberta. Visit to ensure the person you are working with has a license in good standing.

-Before you make an offer on a property, have your realtor provide you with the property history. Check how many times the property has been sold, the price ranges and the comparable properties for sale in the area. Does the history seem logical to you?

-Get a market analysis on the property, provided by your realtor. If you are concerned about the value you can include, as part of your offer, a condition to have the property appraised by a designated or accredited member of the Appraisal Institute of Canada.

-Ask for a copy of the land title search (this will show the registered owner of the property as well as any mortgages registered on the title).

-Make sure your deposit is being held in a trust account.

-This is my own tip, and one that I happen to think is the most important: Trust your gut! If you have a bad feeling about the transaction that you just can’t shake, trust yourself! If something seems too good to be true, it likely is. There are plenty of other properties out there...don’t be scared to move on.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Banks announce rate decrease...

The major banks have all announced cuts to their fixed interest rates! I am still waiting for some of my lending institutions to send out updated rate sheets. Watch for new, discounted rates in the next couple of days...

Monday, August 9, 2010

The fixed/variable rate rages on...

A recent article in the Financial Post has stirred up the fixed vs. variable rate once again – hinting that the variable rate's reign may soon be coming to an end.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Rates are wayyyy down...

I just received notice that the five year fixed rate is down significantly! You can now get a five year, fixed mortgage for 3.99%. This is incredible; we are close to historical lows. This might just be the perfect time to purchase or refinance!

Prime 2.75 %
Open Variable Rate Mortgage 3.55 %
Home Equity Line of Credit 3.75 %
6 Month Fixed 4.45 %
1 Year Fixed 2.54 %
2 Year Fixed 2.54 %
3 Year Fixed 3.54 %
4 Year Fixed 3.89 %
5 Year Fixed 3.99 %
5 Year Fixed No Frills Mortgag 3.89 %
5 Year Fixed-1.4% cash back 4.59 %
5 Year Variable Rate 2.15 %
5 Year Fixed - 5% cash back 5.69 %

* Note: OAC. Rates are subject to change without notice. Please contact us for more information.