Is a Reverse Mortgage Right for you ?

General Abha Jain 23 Jan

Is a Reverse Mortgage Right for You?.

A reverse mortgage is a versatile and flexible financial solution for Canadians in their retirement years. Homeowners 55+ are unlocking their home equity for tax-free funds that don’t have to be repaid until they decide to sell their homes.

Consider these four reasons Canadians 55+ turn to the CHIP Reverse Mortgage by HomeEquity Bank:

1. Alleviate the stress of debt.

You are struggling with mortgage payments and credit card bills, prefer not to tap into savings or investment portfolios, or are incurring more debt due to unavoidable expenses.

2. Pay for unplanned expenses.

You are faced with unexpected home repairs such as a leaky roof, retrofitting for mobility reasons, or need to hire in-home healthcare to assist with day-to-day.

3. Want to live life to the fullest.

You have more time to do the things you want – but not the funds. For example, you want to purchase a summer property or take your dream vacation.

4. Maintain a standard of living.

You are experiencing a shortfall in your retirement funds while trying to maintain the lifestyle you and your family are accustomed to.

If you relate to any of the above scenarios, contact your DLC Mortgage professional for details on how the CHIP Reverse Mortgage by HomeEquity Bank can help you.

 

written by DLC Teams

New Year Resolutions For Your Home

General Abha Jain 28 Dec

New Year Resolutions for Your Home.

Your finances aren’t the only thing that has room for new resolutions in 2023! Consider these great ideas to make your home feel brand new come January:

Purge Your Space

While most people think about purging when Spring comes around, the end of the year really is no better time. While cleaning your home is common around the holidays, purging takes that a step further. Make it part of your New Year’s resolution to purge your home of all the things you don’t need. It may seem daunting at first, but most of the decisions are already made. Look around your home and really catalogue those items you didn’t use in 2022 (or 2021!) and make it your resolution to finally get rid of them. Go room-by-room to ensure the purging remains manageable and you get the most out of the process!

Donate What You Can

Following up on purging your home, this is a great time to donate old items. While purging, make two piles – one for garbage and one for items to donate. During this time of year, those in need can use your help the most! So, while you’re purging, reconsider tossing out old items and instead donate them to someone who would benefit.

Make Sure You Are Safe & Sound

A clean house is only half the battle – you also need a safe one! While your home is going to look fresh and organized after you’ve finished purging old items from the year, now you will want to put some effort into ensuring safety. Check fire detectors and fireplaces, as well as investigate radon and carbon monoxide also (the hardware for these tests are not particularly expensive). This is a good time to check ventilation as well!

Shrink Your Bills (and Your Carbon Footprint)

Some people think the only way to “go green” these days is buying a hybrid car – but your home is a great place to cut energy too! Everything from switching off the lights when you leave a room, to dialing down your air conditioner and heating, to installing LED bulbs and energy-saving showerheads or toilets, can help you save in the long run and ensure your home is more energy efficient for the New Year!

Plan Out Home Improvement Projects

Heading into the New Year is a super fun time to plan out future home improvement projects! They don’t even have to be on the docket for 2023, but this is a great time to re-evaluate your home for any changes or additions you want to make in the coming years – and to start saving for them now.

Written by DLC Teams

FINANCIAL MISTAKES TO AVOID IN TODAY’S ECONOMY

General Abha Jain 12 Dec

Financial Mistakes to Avoid in Today’s Economy.

2022 has been nothing but bad news financially for most Canadians. Our stock portfolios are worth a lot less, everything we buy costs more, and interest rates are making our mortgages and other loans a lot more expensive. More than ever it is time to tread carefully and avoid any financial mistakes, so we gathered up the top 5 missteps you definitely want to steer clear of for the rest of this year and beyond!

1. Not understanding your loan agreements.
It is shocking to see how many people fail to understand the terms and conditions before entering into potentially life-changing contracts like a mortgage or student loan. Don’t assume your student loan will have a low interest rate and make sure to investigate the amount of your monthly payment post-graduation, and how many years you will be paying.

Mortgages can be complicated, but that’s no excuse and a good mortgage broker will take the time to answer all of your questions. Trigger rates in mortgage agreements have recently been in the news with rising interest rates and are a good example of people not full understanding what they signed.

2. Not having any system to track your expenses.
“I don’t know where my money goes” is a common refrain as prices continue to rise. However, given the number of mobile applications, web programs and other online tools available to simplify this task (or just use a pencil!), there isn’t any excuse. Regardless of how much income you have coming in, monitoring and controlling expenses is critical step as plenty of high-earning-now-bankrupt athletes and actors have proven!

3. Investing before paying off debt.
The question of whether it’s better to invest any “extra” cash or pay down debt needs a re-think given recent economic changes. In 2021, mortgages and lines of credit could be had for around 2% and most stock indexes reported double-digit gains. Paying down those debts with money you could have invested in the markets was not the best option.

A year later, borrowing rates have doubled in many cases (mortgages for example) and financial markets are wobbly at best, with many deep into the red year to date. These aren’t the only factors to consider, and you need to do the math for your situation, but the case for paying down debt is getting stronger by the day.

In case you are wondering, credit card debt is another deal altogether! In almost every case you would be much better off by throwing all you have at the unpaid balance before investing any of that money.

4. Not saving and investing.
As higher prices and interest rates suck up more of our disposable cash, something has to give, and putting a little bit of money away each month may be on the chopping block. If you need the money for essentials like food or rent, then you have no choice but be honest with yourself on what is essential! Once you break the saving habit it’s hard to get it back and saving is not really a discretionary expense unless you have an alternative plan to fund your retirement?  Catching up on savings might be possible when things get better, but that could be years and the earlier you start, the more your savings are going to grow.

5. Spending too much on a car.
You should be aiming for 15% of your take-home pay for total car costs including the loan payment, insurance and gas. This leaves you between $30K and $35K for a vehicle if you make $100k annually. That’s not a lot given new and used cars have been in short supply in 2022 and prices are through the roof. Although repairs aren’t cheap and you won’t get that new car smell, hanging on to your current ride may be the best option financially.

At the end of the day, financial knowledge is the best defense for avoiding mistakes and we hope you continue to learn with us.

 

written by DLC Teams

10 “Must Know” Credit Score Facts.

General Abha Jain 28 Nov

10 “Must Know” Credit Score Facts.

If you are in the market for a home or a new car, you are probably very familiar with your credit score. Lenders are one of the primary users of credit scores and it can have a huge impact on whether you get approved for a loan and just how much interest it is going to cost you. What isn’t well known about credit scores is where they come from, what makes them go up (or down!) and who else besides potential lenders uses them to make decisions? Your credit score is going to be with you for life, so why not take a couple of minutes to get the facts.

  1. There are two credit-reporting agencies in Canada: Equifax and TransUnion. Your credit score may vary between the two. Lenders may check one or both agencies when you apply for credit.
  2. Your credit score is actually derived from the data in your credit report — which can be had for free once per year from Equifax and TransUnion. Some banks, credit unions, and other financial services companies provide your credit score for free as part of their services.
  3. Credit scores range between 300 and 900 with the Canadian average being 650.
  4. Your credit score is used for a lot more than just borrowing money; insurance companies, mobile phone providers, car leasing companies, landlords and employers may all require your credit score to make decisions.
  5. Five factors affect your credit score: length of credit history, credit utilization or how much of your limit you have used, the mix/types of credit you hold, the frequency you apply for credit, your payment history.
  6. Mistakes and omissions are not uncommon and is a good idea to check the details of your credit report. Both agencies have a process to report errors and get them corrected.
  7. Credit scores of 700+ are considered “good” and offer a higher chance of loan approval, greater borrowing limits, and lower or “preferred” interest rates and insurance premiums.
  8. Credit scores are continuously evaluated and adjusted. If you have “errored” in your past, the damage is not permanent! Your score can be raised/rebuilt by using credit responsibly (see #10).
  9. Checking your credit score regularly is a good idea and will help detect errors, monitor improvements, and identify fraud. This is a “soft” enquiry and will not affect your score.
  10. To increase your credit score: make payments on time, pay the full amount owing, use 35% or less of your available credit, hold a variety of credit types, apply for new credit sparingly.

Don’t make the mistake of ignoring your credit score. Even if you aren’t looking to borrow money anytime soon, there are a lot of reasons to keep an eye on it.

written by DLC group

8 Sure-Fire Ways to Sink Your Household Budget.

General Abha Jain 30 Oct

8 Sure-Fire Ways to Sink Your Household Budget.

Despite the effects of the current onslaught from inflation and ever-increasing prices, the basic concept of budgeting hasn’t changed. Dividing up your money into little piles for the various things you need (and want) doesn’t seem like such a difficult process, so why is a budget so hard to put into practice?

The simple answer is that no matter how small those little piles get, they still add up to more than you have! Yes, more money will certainly help, but also make sure it isn’t your budgeting process that is contributing to your failure. Here are eight things that can easily derail any budgeting system.

1) You didn’t start with the right number.
Your take home pay (AFTER all deductions) is the starting point.

2) You used the wrong time frame.
Some bills are monthly, but most of us get paid every two weeks. A two-week spending plan is much easier to follow and matches up with your cash inflows.

3) You had no idea how much you were spending when you made your budget.
Track your expenses for at least two pay periods and create your budget based on actual data, not your best guess. You can always tweak the amounts if it proves to be unrealistic.

4) You forgot to record all of your expenses.
Whether you use the latest app or a collection of post-it notes to track expenses, it needs to be quick, easy, and you need to make it a habit. Don’t forget expenses which are seemingly invisible but still need to be tracked, interest expense on credit cards or lines of credit for example. Leave your cash in the bank and use a credit or debit card for everything so you can easily view your bank or credit card statement to see exactly where your money went. Many banks now offer some expense tracking capability right in their online banking system.

5) You spend too much. 
Just because you had been spending $400/month on dinners and drinks doesn’t make it a reasonable or sustainable amount for your budget. List up your needs, analyze your wants, and set priorities… force yourself to make choices!

6) You didn’t contribute to a reserve fund.
Unexpected expenses like birthday presents, car repairs, or a trip to the dentist can all derail your budget if you don’t have an emergency fund to dip into. Makes sure to set aside some sort of contingency cash to give you a little wiggle room.

7) You didn’t ensure your spouse/partner/kids were on board.
It’s a household commitment with all-hands-on-deck. Take the time to explain to your kids that the actual supermarket cost of the food in a take-out burger & fries is likely around $2, and that by cooking your own burgers & fries you now have $5 more in your jeans (and arguably a much better burger!). Don’t be shy about telling your friends either– declining an invite for a night out you can’t afford is not a crime, and chances are they can’t afford it either.

8) You had no goal and lost your “mojo”.
Pick a realistic goal your budget will help you achieve and track your progress… paying off a credit card? topping up your RESP/TFSA/RRSP contributions? eliminating your line of credit balance?

Creating and maintaining a budget is a lot harder than it seems. Most of us will have to make some tough choices and rearrange priorities, so make sure you have a good process in place to evaluate those decisions and keep you focused on your goals.

For powerful personal finance education and training with immediate results, check out the complimentary livestreams each week from Enriched Academy. View the schedule and sign up for upcoming sessions on their events page

SELLING YOUR HOME IN WINTER

General Abha Jain 5 Oct

Selling Your Home in Winter.

While you might think selling your home in winter is harder, with the right considerations it doesn’t have to be! When selling your home during warmer months, the focus is typically on curb appeal and gardening, as well as having bright colors and patterns to draw out different rooms.

While curb appeal should not be forgotten in winter months, the focus should be centered on creating a warm, comfortable and welcoming space. You can do this through the following:

  1. Curb Appeal – If you live in an area that receives high amounts of snow, be diligent about keeping your sidewalk and driveways clear for visitors, and to keep your home looking clean for viewing. Always make sure to sweep any fallen leaves or debris.
  2. Keep it Cozy – Ensuring your home is sufficiently heated during showings will also go a long way to making it feel more comfortable; a steady 20 to 22 degrees Celsius during showings is ideal.
  3. Light and Inviting – With days being shorter and darker during winter, ensuring your home is light and inviting can make a big difference. In some cases, you may consider repainting the walls before listing your property.
  4. Declutter – When selling, it is important to declutter your home so that it looks its best and gives room for people to imagine their own belongings in your space.
  5. Define Property Boundaries – If you are showing your home in the middle of snow season, be sure to mark the four corners of your property so that potential buyers can see exactly what they are getting.

While there is some extra work with selling your home in the winter due to the weather conditions, it can pay off! Buyers tend to be highly motivated and often there is less competition for sales during this time giving more focus to your home.

FIVE GREAT FINANCIAL OPTIONS FOR CANADIANS IN RETIREMENT

General Abha Jain 9 Sep

Five Great Financial Options for Canadians in Retirement.

If you are an individual aged 55+, it may surprise you that you currently represent 33.09% of the total Canadian population. What may not surprise you, is that Canadians 55+ know what they want in order to live a fulfilling life as they enter retirement. However, they do not always have the financial means or are unaware of the financial options available to them to support their lifestyles into retirement.

Here are some of the financial options available to Canadians in retirement:

1Credit Cards: Credit cards may be the perfect financial option for you if you are a retired individual with an income source and short-term financial needs. They give you easy access to credit that you can use to meet your short-term financial needs. However, keep in mind that credit cards require a monthly payment. So, if you do not wish to take on high interest debt, it is best to always have a concrete plan to pay off the borrowed amount before the deadline.

2. Private Loans: Private loans are another option for retired individuals with an income source and short-term financial needs. Like credit cards, they give you easy access to credit but have required monthly payments. Furthermore, having a reasonable repayment plan is important as they charge very high interest and repayment terms are very rigid.

3. Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC): If you are a retired homeowner that has an income source and need a large sum of money immediately or over a period then, it may be worthwhile to explore HELOC as a financial option. HELOC allows you to borrow a large sum of money for your financial needs. However, it is also important to consider that HELOCs require monthly payments, the qualification for the loan can change based on changes to your income or home value, and you may be asked to repay the loan at any time if it is called.

4. Downsizing: Downsizing is a popular financial option and may be great for you if you are a homeowner in an urban area willing to transition into a smaller home located in a rural area. Downsizing allows you to access the value of your home’s equity to meet your financing needs in retirement. However, it is crucial to note the land transfer fees, commissions, moving costs associated with downsizing, and having to say goodbye to the home and community you have grown accustomed to.

Now, before revealing the fifth financial option for Canadians in retirement, you may find it interesting that a study from the National Institute of Ageing showed that 91% of all Canadians want to remain in their own homes for as long as possible after retirement. Furthermore, 95% of Canadians 45+ say that being able to retire in their own homes would give them the independence, comfort, and dignity they need as they age. However, due to costs associated with in-home care, many individuals cannotto remain in their homes. If you are among these Canadians, then the fifth financial option provided below may be the most suitable for you.

5. CHIP Reverse Mortgage: If you are a retired Canadian homeowner who wishes to remain in your dwelling while maintaining your current lifestyle, you have to look no further than the CHIP Reverse Mortgage. This finance option allows you to access up to 55% of your home’s equity value to meet your short- and long-term financial needs. With the CHIP Reverse Mortgage, you can choose to receive your money in a tax-free lump sum or tax-free monthly payments. Furthermore, you are not required to make any monthly mortgage payments but instead pay back the loan through the value of your home when you sell it or move out.

As the Canadian population ages, these are just some of the financing options that Canadians can utilize to enjoy retired life.

Contact your DLC mortgage broker to find out how the CHIP Reverse Mortgage by HomeEquity Bank can be a viable option to help you live your best retirement!

 

Published by HomeEquity Bank

When Was Your Last Credit Check-Up?.

General Abha Jain 3 Jun

When Was Your Last Credit Check-Up?.

A few simple steps to healthy credit…

Just like you should have a physical every year to make sure you’re healthy, you should do the same for your credit report and score.

Don’t wait until you go to buy something and you are turned down. And don’t worry… chequing your own credit does not affect it. So, what should you be looking for?

MISTAKES

Make sure your personal information is correct and upto- date. Also check that your date of birth and any other identifying information is correct as well.

ERRORS

Even creditors make mistakes sometimes so carefully look over any negative information appearing on your credit that isn’t true. Creditors are required to change any errors that you find on your report.

HINT: Send a letter to the credit bureaus, as well, to let them know there was an error and send a copy to the credit agency who incorrectly reported to motivate them to take care of it in a timely manner.

OUTDATED INFORMATION

Credit agencies are required to remove certain information from your credit after a certain number of years. For example, if you got behind on your payments but then went back to your normal payment schedule, that late history is to be removed after 6-7 years. Don’t assume it will be. Be proactive and follow up to make sure it was done.

FRAUD

We all know someone who has had their identity stolen and nothing wrecks a credit score and report more than someone hijacking it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a stranger either. Family and friends have been known to “borrow” someone’s credit. Be smart and make sure to protect your credit from the known and the unknown.

WHY DO ERRORS MATTER?

Even minor errors like a misspelled name or a wrong address can keep you from getting a loan or even lower your credit score. Keep your credit as healthy as possible by checking it every year. Choose a day that will be easy to remember like your birthday or the day you file your taxes.

WRITTEN BY dLC TEAMS

why you need a home inspection

General Abha Jain 22 Apr

Why you need a home inspection.

Ahome inspection isn’t a legal requirement when you buy a home in Canada. Yet, it’s certainly a wise decision for the largest purchase you will likely ever make.

Here are five reasons why you should opt for a home inspection when buying a home, even if it is a brand-new build.

  1. Things unseen

The home you want to buy may have a gorgeous skylight, cathedral ceilings and a huge master bedroom.  But the home’s aesthetics can hide big problems.

When you tour a house, you aren’t climbing into the crawl space or looking at the furnace. A home inspector isn’t wowed by beautiful staging. He or she will look at what’s in your walls, not what’s on them.

  1. Realistic budget for home maintenance

Many home inspections include the items that will need to be replaced within the next five years.

Paying for a home inspection can help you come up with a realistic home maintenance budget. If you know that the windows and roof are nearing the end of their lifespan, you can plan for that.

  1. A solid negotiation tool

Getting a home inspection gives you a huge amount of leverage. You can ask the sellers to fix some or all of the issues found during the inspection. Or you can renegotiate the sale price or ask the seller to contribute more towards closing costs.

With a home inspection, you have the upper hand in the deal. This gives you a lot of power to get a better deal on the purchase. Of course, you can also choose to back out of the sale if there are big, expensive issues that you’d rather not deal with.

  1. Can be an eye-opener

A home inspection will reveal the big picture when you might be focused on the location and the open kitchen plan. You don’t want to be blind to the potentially big issues like foundation cracks or electrical problems that can lurk unseen.

  1. Peace of mind

Lastly, and most importantly, a home inspection gives you peace of mind. You’ll be able to finalize the sale of a home knowing exactly what you’re getting yourself into. That way, you don’t uncover any major surprises shortly after moving in—even new builds are subject to issues.

 

written by DLC TEAMS

UNDERSTANDING YOUR MORTGAGE RATE

General Abha Jain 29 Mar

Understanding Your Mortgage Rate.

When it comes to mortgages, one of the most important influencers is interest rate but do you know how this rate is determined? It might surprise you to find out that there are 10 major factors that affect the interest you will pay on your home loan!

Knowing these factors will not only prepare you for the mortgage process, but will also help you to better understand the mortgage rates available to you.

credit score

Not surprisingly, your credit score is one of the most influential factors when it comes to your interest rate. In fact, your credit score determines if you are able to qualify for financing at all – as well as how much. In order to qualify, a minimum credit score of 680 is required for at least one borrower. Having higher credit will further showcase that you are a reliable borrower and may lead to better rates.

loan-to-value (ltv) ratio

This ratio refers to the value of the amount being borrowed as a percentage of the overall home value. The main factors that impact LTV ratios include the sales price, appraised value of the property and the amount of the down payment. Putting down more on a home, especially one with a lower purchase price, will result in a lower LTV and be more appealing to lenders. As an example, if you were to buy a home appraised at $500,000 and are able to make a down payment of $100,000 (20%), then you would be borrowing $400,000. For this transaction, the LTV is 80%.

insured vs. uninsured

Depending on how much you are able to save for a down payment, you will either have an insured or uninsured mortgage. Typically, if you put less than 20% down, you will require insurance on the property. Depending on the insurer, this can affect your borrowing power as well as the interest rates.

fixed vs. variable rate

The type of rate you are looking for will also affect how much interest you will pay. While there are benefits to both fixed and variable mortgages, it is more important to understand how they affect interest rates.  Fixed rates are based on the bond market, which depends on the amount that global investors demand to be paid for long-term lending. Variable rates, on the other hand, are based on the Bank of Canada’s overnight lending rate. This ties variable rates directly to the economic state at-home, versus fixed which are influenced on a global scale.

location

Location, location, location! This is not just true for where you want to LIVE, but it also can affect how much interest you will pay. Homes located in provinces with more competitive housing markets will typically see lower interest rates, simply due to supply and demand. On the other hand, with less movement and competition will most likely have higher rates.

rate hold

A rate hold is a guarantee offered by a lender to ‘hold’ the interest rate you were offered for up to 120 days (depending on the lender). The purpose of a rate hold is to protect you from any rate increases while you are house-hunting. It also gives you the opportunity to take advantage of any decreases to your benefit. This means that, if you were pre-approved for your mortgage and worked with a mortgage broker to obtain a ‘rate hold’, you may receive a different interest rate than someone just entering the market.

refinancing

The act of refinancing your mortgage basically means that you are restructuring your current mortgage (typically when the term is up). Whether you are changing from fixed to variable, refinancing to consolidate debt, or just seeking access to built up equity, any change to your mortgage can affect the interest rate you are offered. In most cases, new buyers will be offered lower rates than refinancing, but refinancing clients will receive better rates than mortgage transfers. Regardless of why you are refinancing, it is always best to discuss your options with a mortgage broker to ensure you are making the best choice for your unique situation.

home type

Among other things, lenders assess the risk associated with your home type. Some properties are viewed as higher risk than others. If the subject property is considered higher risk, the lender may require higher rates.

secondary property (income property/vacation home)

Any secondary properties or those bought for the purpose of being an income property or vacation home, will be assessed as such. The lender may deem these as high risk investments, and you may be required to pay higher interest rates than you would on a principal residence. This is another area where a mortgage broker can help. Since they have access to a variety of lenders and various rates, they can help you find the best option.

income level

The final factor is income level. While this does not have a direct affect on the interest rate you are able to obtain, it does dictate your purchasing power as well as how much you are able to put down on a home.

It is important to understand that obtaining financing for a mortgage is a complex process that looks at many factors to ensure the lender is not putting themselves at risk of default. To ensure that you – the borrower – is getting the best mortgage product for your needs, don’t hesitate to reach out to a DLC Mortgage Broker today! Mortgage brokers are licensed professionals that live and breathe mortgages, and who have access to a variety of lenders to ensure you are getting the best rates. Mortgage brokers can also assess your unique situation and find the right mortgage for you. Their goal is to see you successfully find and afford the home of your dreams and set you up for future success!

 

WRITEEN BY DLC TEAM

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