You’ve been saving for awhile, weighing your options, looking around casually. Now you’ve finally decided to do it—you’re ready to buy a house. The process of buying a new home can be incredibly exciting, yet stressful, all at once. Where do you start? It is essential you do your homework before you begin. Learn from the experiences of others, do some research. Of course, with so many details involved, slip-ups are inevitable. But be careful: learning from your mistakes may prove costly. Use the following list of pitfalls as a guide to help you avoid the most common mistakes.

1. Searching for houses without getting pre-approved by a lender: Do not mistake pre-approval by a lender with pre-qualification. Pre-qualification, the first step toward being pre-approved, will point you in the right direction, giving you an idea of the price range of houses you can comfortably afford. Preapproval, however, means you become a cash buyer, making negotiations with the seller much easier.

 

2. Allowing “first impressions” to overly influence your decision: The first impression of a home has been cited as the single most influential factor guiding many purchasers’ choice to buy. Make a conscious decision beforehand to examine a home as objectively as you can. Don’t let the current owners’ style or lifestyle sway your judgment. Beneath the bad décor or messy rooms, these homes may actually suit your needs and offer you a structurally sound base with which to work. Likewise, don’t jump at a home simply because the walls are painted your favourite colour! Make sure you thoroughly the investigate the structure beneath the paint before you come to any serious decisions.

 

3. Failing to have the home inspected before you buy: Buying a home is a major financial decision that is often made after having spent very little time on the property itself. A home inspection performed by a competent company will help you enter the negotiation process with eyes wide open, offering you added reassurance that the choice you’re making is a sound one, or alerting you to underlying problems that could cost you significant money in both the short and long-run. Your Realtor can suggest reputable home inspection companies for you to consider and will ensure the appropriate clause is entered into your contract.

 

4. Not knowing and understanding your rights and obligations as listed in the Offer to Purchase: Make it a priority to know your rights and obligations inside and out. A lack of understanding about your obligations may, at the very least, cause friction between yourself and the people with whom you are about to enter the contract. Wrong assumptions, poorly written/ incomprehensible/ missing clauses, or a lack of awareness of how the clauses apply to the purchase, could also contribute to increased costs. These problems may even lead to a void contract. So, take the time to go through the contract with a fine-tooth comb, making use of the resources and knowledge offered by your Realtor and lawyer. With their assistance, ensure you thoroughly understand every component of the contract, and are able to fulfill your contractual obligations.

 

5. Making an offer based on the asking price, not the market value: Ask your Realtor for a current Comparative Market Analysis. This will provide you with the information necessary to gauge the market value of a home, and will help you avoid over-paying. What have other similar homes sold for in the area and how long were they on the market? What is the difference between their asking and selling prices? Is the home you’re looking at under-priced, overpriced, or fair value? The seller receives a Comparative Market Analysis before deciding upon an asking price, so make sure you have all the same information at your fingertips.

 

6. Failing to familiarize yourself with the neighbourhood before buying: Check out the neighbourhood you’re considering, and ask around. What amenities does the area have to offer? Are there schools, churches, parks, or grocery stores within reach? Consider visiting schools in the area if you have children. How will you be affected by a new commute to work? Are there infrastructure projects in development? All of these factors will influence the way you experience your new home, so ensure you’re well-acquainted with the surrounding area before purchasing.

 

7. Not looking for home insurance until you are about to move: If you wait until the last minute, you’ll be rushed to find an insurance policy that’s the ideal fit for you. Make sure you give yourself enough time to shop around in order to get the best deal.

 

8. Not recognizing different styles and strategies of negotiation: Many buyers think that the way to negotiate their way to a fair price is by offering low. However, in reality this strategy may actually result in the seller becoming more inflexible, polarizing negotiations. Employ the knowledge and skills of an experienced realtor. S/he will know what strategies of negotiation will prove most effective for your particular situation.

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Edmonton, February 2, 2017: Reported unit sales for all residential listings in the Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) were strong in January, increasing 19.4% compared to the same month in 2016. Reported unit sales were also up relative to December 2016, increasing by 3%.

Unit prices were consistently stable with only modest decreases across each category. Compared to January 2016, condominium prices increased 8.7% and duplex/rowhouses increased 8%. Both categories decreased only slightly relative to December 2016, with condominiums down 0.37% and duplex/rowhouses down 0.46%. The average price of a single family home remained stable at $416,859, which is down 0.49% relative to January 2016, and down 0.97% compared to December 2016.

“2017 has started strong, with an increase in year over year unit sales and prices remaining stable,” said James Mabey, REALTORS® Association of Edmonton Chair. “While it is still early in the year, the rise in sales suggests that consumer confidence in the housing market is on the rise.”

The average days on market for all residential listings increased, which is typical for the winter season. Single family homes average days on market was 68, compared to 62 days on market in the previous month. Condominium average days on market increased to 82 relative to 80 days in December 2016. Duplex/rowhouses continue to be popular, with the average days on market decreasing to 68 days, which is 10 days faster than in December 2016.

All residential inventory decreased 2.7% compared to January 2016, and increased by 7.4% relative to December 2016. While the overall listings for January more than doubled compared to December 2016, from 1,067 to 2,185, they decreased year-over-year by 7.6% when compared to January 2016.

“REALTORS® always look forward to fresh inventory in the spring. Inventory was a big story in 2016, so it is positive to see more seasonally-appropriate inventory for 2017,” said Mabey.

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MLS® System Activity for January 2017

1 Census Metropolitan Area (Edmonton and surrounding municipalities)
2 Single Family Dwelling
3 The total value of sales in a category divided by the number of properties sold 
4 The middle figure in a list of all sales prices
5 Residential includes SFD, condos and duplex/row houses. 
6 Includes residential, rural and commercial sales

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CMHC to Increase Mortgage Insurance Premiums

OTTAWA, January 17, 2017 — CMHC is increasing its homeowner mortgage loan insurance premiums effective March 17, 2017. For the average CMHC-insured homebuyer, the higher premium will result in an increase of approximately $5 to their monthly mortgage payment.

“We do not expect the higher premiums to have a significant impact on the ability of Canadians to buy a home,” said Steven Mennill, Senior Vice-President, Insurance. “Overall, the changes will preserve competition in the mortgage loan insurance industry and contribute to financial stability.”

Capital requirements are an important factor in determining mortgage insurance premiums. The changes reflect OSFI's new capital requirements that came into effect on January 1st of this year that require mortgage insurers to hold additional capital. Capital holdings create a buffer against potential losses, helping to ensure the long term stability of the financial system.

During the first nine months of 2016:

  • The average CMHC-insured loan was approximately $245,000.
  • The average down payment was approximately 8%.
  • The average gross debt service ratio (GDS) was 25.6%. To qualify for CMHC insurance, a homebuyer’s GDS should not exceed 32% of their total monthly household income.
Down payment between 5% and 9.99%
Loan Amount $150,000 $250,000 $350,000 $450,000 $550,000 $850,000
Increase to Monthly Mortgage Payment $2.82 $4.70 $6.59 $8.47 $10.35 $15.98

Based on a 5 year term @ 2.94% and a 25 year amortization

*Premiums in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec are subject to provincial sales tax — the sales tax cannot be added to the loan amount.

Premiums are calculated based on the loan-to-value ratio of the mortgage being insured. The premium can be paid in a single lump sum but more frequently is added to the mortgage principal and repaid over the life of the mortgage as part of regular mortgage payments. Additional details and scenarios are included in the backgrounder below.

CMHC regularly reviews its premiums and sets them at a level to cover related claims and expenses while also reflecting the regulatory capital requirements.

CMHC is Canada’s most experienced mortgage loan insurer. Our mortgage loan insurance enables Canadians to buy a home with a minimum down payment starting at 5%. As a Crown corporation, CMHC is the only mortgage insurer whose proceeds benefit all Canadians.

As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need and offers objective housing research and information to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry.

For additional highlights please see the attached backgrounder.

For more information, follow us on TwitterYouTubeLinkedIn and Facebook.

Information on This Release:

Karine LeBlanc
Media Relations
613-740-5413
kjleblan@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

Backgrounder

  • CMHC’s standard mortgage loan insurance premiums will be changing as follows:
Loan-to-Value RatioStandard Premium (Current)Standard Premium (Effective March 17, 2017)
Up to and including 65% 0.60% 0.60%
Up to and including 75% 0.75% 1.70%
Up to and including 80% 1.25% 2.40%
Up to and including 85% 1.80% 2.80%
Up to and including 90% 2.40% 3.10%
Up to and including 95% 3.60% 4.00%
90.01% to 95% - Non-Traditional Down Payment 3.85% 4.50%
Down payment between 10% and 14.99%
Loan Amount $150,000 $250,000 $350,000 $450,000 $550,000 $850,000
Increase to Monthly Mortgage Payment $4.94 $8.23 $11.52 $14.81 $18.10 $27.98

Based on a 5 year term @ 2.94% and a 25 year amortization

Down payment between 15% and 19.99%
Loan Amount $150,000 $250,000 $350,000 $450,000 $550,000 $850,000
Increase to Monthly Mortgage Payment $7.06 $11.75 $16.46 $21.16 $25.86 $39.96

Based on a 5 year term @ 2.94% and a 25 year amortization

  • During the first nine months of 2016
    • Nearly 50% of CMHC’s transactional mortgage loan business were for loans of less than $300,000
    • Nearly 95% of CMHC’s transactional mortgage loan business were for loans of less than $600,000
    • Less than 1% of CMHC’s transactional mortgage loan business were for loans of more than $850,000
  • CMHC follows OSFI guidelines for federally regulated mortgage insurers in Canada.
  • Calculating the gross debt service ratio (GDS) allows potential homebuyers to estimate the maximum home-related expenses they can afford to pay each month.

GDS = Principal + Interest* + Property Tax + Heat
Monthly Income

*Interest is calculated using the qualifying rate

  • Mortgage loan insurance helps protect lenders against mortgage default and enables consumers to purchase homes with a minimum down payment of 5% with interest rates comparable to those with a 20% down payment. Mortgage loan insurance is typically required by lenders when homebuyers make a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price.
  • CMHC’s new premium rates will be effective for new mortgage loan insurance requests submitted on or after March 17, 2017. The current mortgage loan insurance premiums will apply for applications submitted to CMHC prior to this date, regardless of the closing date. As is normal practice, complete borrower and property details must be submitted to CMHC when requesting mortgage loan insurance.
  • The changes do not impact mortgages currently insured by CMHC.
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Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.