Tag Archives: buying a home

Buying a Home in Canada in 2018

The bottom line is this, despite the new mortgage stress testing, which took effect on January 1st this year, you can still buy a home!

What’s this stress test?
Stress testing is a best practice risk management tool. Stress tests are used by financial institutions to gauge how their business would fare under extremely difficult conditions. Basically if the Bank of Canada raised the interest rates by say 2% over a short period of time, how would this affect people’s ability to pay off their mortgages? Can they still pay it? or will they default, causing a economic crisis?

Who is dictating this?
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada (OSFI) is an independent agency of the Government of Canada, established in 1987 to protect depositors, policyholders, financial institution creditors and pension plan members, while allowing financial institutions to compete and take reasonable risks.
On October 17, 2017 OSFI released new guidelines for the mortgage industry in Canada. Guideline B-20 now requires the minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages to be the greater of the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada or the contractual mortgage rate +2%.
“These revisions to Guideline B-20 reinforce a strong and prudent regulatory regime for residential mortgage underwriting in Canada,” said Superintendent Jeremy Rudin.

Why is this happening?
Of course this make it harder to be qualified for a larger mortgage (debt), but for good and logical reasons. According to Statistics Canada, household credit market debt as a proportion of household disposable income is 170.4. This means there is a $1.70 in credit market debt for every dollar of household disposable income. So with the Canadians debt to income ratio being historically high, especially in Greater Vancouver Area and Greater Toronto Area, any fluctuations in bank interest rates will shoot up the mortgages and many mortgage owners may not be able to keep their homes. Kind of what happened in 2008 in the US – an economic disaster. So to avoid this, when a bank tries to qualify you for a mortgage, they will offer you a mortgage rate but add 2% to that. Of course this makes your home purchase power less, but it makes your more robust to interest hikes.

So now what?
You can still buy a home. You just have to change your game plan. For one you need to get your finances in order. This means work and save your money, watch your spending. You simply need to make some lifestyle changes to allow you to save more. Don’t buy too much on credit, aka money you don’t have. Do you really need that latest phone or car? Do you really need 10 pairs of jeans? Do you need multiple expensive vacations? In a perfect world, everyone wants everything. But you have to ask yourself, what is more important to you? If having a home is the answer than that is your goal and reason to sacrifice other things to be able to save a larger down payment.
Second, you may not be able to get the newest, biggest, nicest house in the best area in the city. You may have to consider condos and townhouses, instead of fully detached home which tend to run higher in price. You may have to expand your search, which mean checking out suburbs. Sure that extra 10-15 minutes drive from work when you’re already so tired is a major pain but you can get more land and bigger house. So in the end it’s about sacrifice and what’s more important to you.

Lastly, no mater if you’re buying a home or selling a home, you definitely should hire a real estate agent. A trusted professional that will be able to guide your thought the whole process. Buying or selling a home is a serious thing and trying to do it all yourself is highly not recommended. If you’re in the Burlington real estate market, be sure to contact Team VanDinther – Lori and Kim. They provide exceptional service with integrity, experience, knowledge and skilled negotiating.

Offer Strategies When Buying a Home

Offer Strategies When Buying a Home

Offer Strategies When Buying a Home

Choose the Strategy That’s Best for You!

  • The “How Low Can You Go” offer
  • The “I’ve Got to Have This Home” Offer
  • The “Poker” offer

The “How Low Can You Go” offer is contingent on you not having an emotional attachment to the property you intend to purchase. In a buyers’ market, you may find a few homes that catch your interest and you may want to make a lowball offer. This is usually significantly less than the asking price. Lowballs only succeed if the seller is desperate. You may receive a counter offer, but more often than not, the seller will feel insulted and ignore your offer.

We may advise you against presenting such an offer, but will pass it along to the vendor.

The “I’ve Got to Have This Home” offer usually happens when buyers fall in love with the home and want to present their best offer first. This offer leaves no negotiating room, but if the market is hot, it’s an offer that will attract attention. Your RE/MAX associate will convey to the seller that this is your best offer. Most sellers expect to receive an offer and counter with another, so you may find yourself in a situation where you either accept the counter offer, or walk away from the home.

The “Poker” offer usually arises in a sellers’ market where buyers find themselves in a bidding war for the property. If you find yourself in this situation, all of your negotiating strength will be lost. You have the choice to raise the bid, or fold and move on.

The power of waking away is a formidable one, especially when no one else is competing against you to buy the house.

Also keep the following points in mind:

  • All negotiating should be done in writing.. don’t relay on oral communication.
  • Don’t settle for the first offer presented, especially if not what you expected.
  • Do examine each clause, contingency and condition in detail.
  • Do consult with a real estate lawyer before signing any papers.
  • And always hire a professional real estate agent to represent you – this is what they do, and trust us, you do need the guidance in today’s real estate market.

What Should I Do Before/After My Closing Day?

When buying or selling a home, the Closing day can be intimidating – so much to do! Here’s a quick checklist for Buyers and Sellers to help take the stress away and make your moving day a GOOD DAY!

Closing Day Tips

If you are selling a home, make sure to do the following:

  • Call the Municipality to cancel your automatic monthly property tax and provide your real estate lawyer with your tax statement.
  • Call the Utility companies to advise of your move and to cancel your accounts and stop automatic debits from your bank account. The meters will be read on your closing day.
  • Call your telephone, cable etc., providers to advise of your move.
  • Call your home insurance provider (you must maintain insurance through your closing day).
  • If you are selling a condominium, call your property management company to cancel the automatic withdrawals of your monthly common element fees/condo fees.

If you are buying a home, make sure to do the following:

  • Instruct your mortgage lender/bank to send your mortgage instructions to your real estate lawyer’s office (We need your mortgage instructions 2 weeks prior to your closing date).
  • Call the Municipality after you move in to set up your automatic property tax withdrawals if you wish to be on monthly payments.
  • Call the Utility companies to advise of your move and to set up your accounts.
  • Call your telephone, cable, etc., providers to advise of your move.
  • Call your home insurance provider. We will need to have your “insurance binder” the day before your closing date.
  • If you are buying a condominium, call your property management company immediately after you move in to set up the automatic withdrawals for your monthly common element fees/condo fees.

If you are selling your home in Burlington, or moving to Burlington and looking to buy a home – contact Lori VanDinther and her team. As a long time residents of Burlington, they are well familiar with all the neighbourhoods, amenities and good locations to either get your first home, start/raise a family or happily retire.