Wednesday, December 17, 2014

8 Tips For Finding Your New Home

A solid game plan can help you narrow your homebuying search to find the best home for you.
House hunting is just like any other shopping expedition. If you identify exactly what you want and do some research, you’ll zoom in on the home you want at the best price. These eight tips will guide you through a smart homebuying process.
1. Know thyself.
Understand the type of home that suits your personality. Do you prefer a new or existing home? A ranch or a multistory home? If you’re leaning toward a fixer-upper, are you truly handy, or will you need to budget for contractors?
2. Research before you look.
List the features you most want in a home and identify which are necessities and which are extras. Identify three to four neighborhoods you’d like to live in based on commute time, schools, recreation, crime, and price. Then hop onto to get a feel for the homes available in your price range in your favorite neighborhoods. Use the results to prioritize your wants and needs so you can add in and weed out properties from the inventory you’d like to view.
3. Get your finances in order.
Generally, lenders say you can afford a home priced two to three times your gross income. Create a budget so you know how much you’re comfortable spending each month on housing. Don’t wait until you’ve found a home and made an offer to investigate financing.
Gather your financial records and meet with a mortgage broker  to get a prequalification letter spelling out how much you’re eligible to borrow. The lender won’t necessarily consider the extra fees you’ll pay when you purchase or your plans to begin a family or purchase a new car, so shop in a price range you’re comfortable with. Also, presenting an offer contingent on financing will make your bid less attractive to sellers.
4. Set a moving timeline.
Do you have blemishes on your credit that will take time to clear up? If you already own, have you sold your current home? If not, you’ll need to factor in the time needed to sell. If you rent, when is your lease up? Do you expect interest rates to jump anytime soon? All these factors will affect your buying, closing, and moving timelines.
5. Think long term.
Your future plans may dictate the type of home you’ll buy. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in the home for five to 10 years? With a starter, you may need to adjust your expectations. If you plan to nest, be sure your priority list helps you identify a home you’ll still love years from now.
6. Work with a REALTOR
Ask people you trust for referrals to a real estate professional they trust. Interview agents to determine which have expertise in the neighborhoods and type of homes you’re interested in. Because homebuying triggers many emotions, consider whether an agent’s style meshes with your personality.
Also ask if the agent specializes in buyer representation. Unlike listing agents, whose first duty is to the seller, buyers’ reps work only for you even though they’re typically paid by the seller. Finally, check whether agents are REALTORS®, which means they’re members of CREA- the Canadian Real |Estate Association, Canada's national real estate association.
7. Be realistic.
It’s OK to be picky about the home and neighborhood you want, but don’t be close-minded, unrealistic, or blinded by minor imperfections. If you insist on living in a cul-de-sac, you may miss out on great homes on streets that are just as quiet and secluded.
On the flip side, don’t be so swayed by a “wow” feature that you forget about other issues — like noise levels — that can have a big impact on your quality of life. Use your priority list to evaluate each property, remembering there’s no such thing as the perfect home.
8. Limit the opinions you solicit.
It’s natural to seek reassurance when making a big financial decision. But you know that saying about too many cooks in the kitchen. If you need a second opinion, select one or two people. But remain true to your list of wants and needs so the final decision is based on criteria you’ve identified as important.
Source:  Future Investments Inc. blog

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Own Sweet Home – Episode 3: The hunt for home begins

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

episode 2 Home Sweet Home

If you need more information on home buying please contact David Cooke , your Calgary mortgage broker at
Dominion Lending Centres Westcor

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Troubling news on mortgage rates

As a consumer you have to be aware of changes that are occurring in the mortgage market. It's tough to stay on top of things which is why you really need to consult a mortgage broker now. Float downs are not automatic anymore.
 Contact me at for more information

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Locksmith Scam Rips Off Home and Auto Owners

Hundreds, maybe thousands, of locksmith scam artists are taking advantage of emergencies to rip off home and auto owners across the United States. Some professional locksmiths even believe the widespread fraud is part of an organized crime operation.
According to the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), which published its annual Top 10 list of consumer complaints this past August, locksmith fraud is one of the fastest growing scams in the nation.
The basic structure of a locksmith scam is simple.
You're locked out of your car or your home or you urgently need to change the locks on your property for any of a number of reasons -- like securing it against previous occupants, or even a divorced spouse.
You look up a listing online or in the phone book and call up the supposed locksmith who subsequently grossly overcharges you for the service. $1,500 or so is not uncommon for a service that generally should cost around $150.
"Often unlicensed locksmiths use the Internet to advertise very low prices," says the CFA. "Typically, they disassemble the locks and then demand more than the amount they originally quoted to finish the jobs. Faced with the alarming prospect of not having working locks, consumers are forced to capitulate."
If the victim refuses to pay, the phony locksmith will often use bullying tactics, threaten to call the police, or refuse to return a credit card that the customer may have handed over at the outset.
Sometimes, too, bogus locksmiths can damage your property in the process of doing a botched job, costing even more to put it right. While this is an American problem it has spread to Canada as well
I spoke to a locksmith recently and found out how you can spot a bogus locksmith.

1. look up the company. If they advertise on Kijiji but do not have a legitimate website, they are probably a fly by night operation. They also need to have a registered address as their place of business.
2. Look at their trucks. If they are unmarked this means trouble.

3. look up the telephone number. If it’s a cellphone or not registered anywhere this can be a red flag.

4 Ask to see their provincial license. As their occupation is breaking into homes and cars, believe me,
   The province wants to know who they are and that they are honest people. They should have a licence on their person and in their vehicle.

5. Ask how much the job should cost.

In this day and age, it’s easy to get ripped off. Take precautions and stay safe. 

for more information on homes and financing, contact David  at 

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fixed Rates as low as 2.99% Apply here

With signs that the US economy is picking up and inflation is starting to raise it's ugly head, there isn't much time left to secure these all-time low rates. Contact me to obtain a 120 day rate hold today.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Your Home Value

Whether you’re purchasing a home or looking to refinance, determining a property’s value is an essential step in the mortgage application process. You can help by providing precise and accurate information about your property.
The value of a property is determined by a number of different criteria, each of which can influence how much your home is currently worth. These criteria range from the square footage and the age of your home, to its location, construction quality, architectural features and even the number of bathrooms.
It’s important to remember that a property valuation is not a fixed or permanent number – it’s simply a snapshot of what your home is worth today, in relation to current market conditions and what other, similar properties are selling for. This value can change over time based on improvements to the property, as well as changes in your neighbourhood and the overall housing market.

Property valuation and mortgages

When applying for a mortgage, you’ll be asked a series of questions about your property. This information will help establish the property value – a critical element for determining the amount of your mortgage loan.
If you’re buying a home, your mortgage application will include the purchase price along with a detailed description of the property.

For refinancing, the lending value will be established after considering recent sales in your area, the latest municipal value assessment and any significant improvements you’ve made to the property. If you want to add the cost of any planned improvements to your mortgage application, be sure to provide all of your plans and cost estimates.
To help the process go as quickly and smoothly as possible, use the Property Information Worksheet to identify and collect the information you’ll need to complete your mortgage application.

Professional appraisal

A professional appraisal may be required if a more in-depth assessment of the value of your property is needed.
This process includes a professional assessment of the property’s physical and functional characteristics, a detailed comparison of the home to recent comparable sales in nearby areas and an assessment of current market conditions affecting the property. It’s important to allow the appraiser access to the property in a timely manner, in order to minimize the time required to obtain financing.
From time to time, the property value assessment will not support the loan amount requested. Should this happen, we can explore all options available to you.
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Home Renovation Financing Options

There are many different reasons to renovate a home: to save energy (and save on utility bills), to make room for a growing family, to improve safety or increase the resale value of your home, or simply to bring a fresh new look to your home. There are also a number of different ways to finance your renovation.
Explore your options
Your own resources: For smaller renovation projects, you may consider self-funding material costs, especially if you plan to do the work yourself.
Credit card: Likewise, you can use your credit card to pay for materials for smaller renovations. But be careful not to carry the balance for too long. Credit card interest rates can exceed 18%.
Personal loan: With a personal loan, you pay regular payments of principal and interest for a set period, typically one to five years. You also have the option of a fixed or variable interest rate for the term of the loan. The interest rate on a personal loan is typically less than that of a credit card. Unlike a line of credit, however, once you pay off your loan, you’ll have to reapply to borrow any new funds needed.
Personal line of credit: This is another popular choice for financing renovations. It’s ideal for ongoing or long-term renovations since it lets you access your funds at any time and provides a monthly statement to help track expenses. A line of credit offers lower interest rates than credit cards, and charges interest only on funds used each month. And, as you pay off your balance, you can access remaining funds, up to the line of credit’s limit, without reapplying.
Secured lines of credit and home equity loans: These options offer all the advantages of regular lines of credit or loans, but are secured by your home’s equity. They can be very economical, since they offer preferred interest rates, but keep in mind that initial set-up costs including legal

and appraisal fees usually apply. Lines of credit are typically limited to 65%, while home equity loans are capped at 80% of your home’s value.
Mortgage refinancing: When funding major renovations, refinancing your mortgage lets you spread repayment over a longer period at mortgage interest rates, which are usually much lower than credit card or personal loan rates. This type of financing can allow you to borrow up to 80% of your home’s appraised value (less any outstanding mortgage balance). Initial set-up costs including legal and appraisal fees may apply.
Financing improvements upon purchase: If you’re planning major improvements for a home you’re about to purchase, it may be advantageous to finance the renovations at the time of purchase by adding their estimated costs to your mortgage. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Mortgage Loan Insurance can help you obtain financing for both the purchase of your home and the renovations – up to 95% of the value after renovations – with a minimum down payment of 5%.
Grants/rebates for energy-saving renovations
Across Canada, renovation grants and rebates are available from the federal and provincial governments and local utilities, especially for energy-saving renovations. If you qualify, they may help pay for some of your project’s costs.
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