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With housing prices running away and rule changes that make it harder to qualify for a mortgage, the mortgage industry had been lobbying for months now to introduce some changes to help millennials and first-time buyers. On March 19, the budget announced two changes:

1. CMHC First Time Buyer Incentive

2. Home Buyer Plan (HBP) limit increase

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We all need a place to live. Let’s assume our parents have kicked us out of the house, and living rent free is not an option. We are faced with the choice of renting a home or buying a place and making mortgage payments. Intuitively speaking, buying a place makes a great deal of sense. Instead of your rent payment going to someone else, a mortgage payment goes to you by paying down a loan. 

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Let’s say you are on the bubble for qualifying for a particular mortgage amount. Aside from credit score and other paperwork, etc. what are the key factors that can make a difference to being approved or declined?

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Myth: If you are pre-approved for a mortgage, then you definitely get the mortgage loan
Myth: Mortgages are commodities distinguished only by Interest Rate.
Myth: The risk of variable rate mortgages can easily be mitigated by converting to a fixed rate.
Myth: You need perfect credit to be approved for a mortgage

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Whether you are a Canadian citizen living in another country, a landed immigrant, or non-resident of Canada, the aspiration to purchase a property in Canada is a dream for many people. It’s a noble and worthy dream, too.

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Conventional mortgage wisdom has taught us for years that putting down 20% for a down payment will save you tremendously. The reason is, in Canada, you are required to pay default mortgage insurance for down payments less than 20%. The standard premiums are based on the Loan-to-Value (LTV), which is simply the Loan Amount / Property Value.

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Owning a property has the big advantage of simplicity. You own a piece of land and a building. You can see it, touch it and smell it. The land isn’t going anywhere. It’s been around forever and is a tried and true way of wealth creation.

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Mortgage arrears in Canada are exceptionally low, both today and historically. We Canadians place a great deal of importance on ensuring we make our mortgage payment as top priority. The consequences of being behind are simply not worth the excessive fees associated with missing a payment or, more importantly, dealing with the Bank kicking you out of your home. Watch about the first 30 minutes of the Hollywood movie “99 Homes” and you’ll really witness the stark harshness of the eviction process.

Did you know there are some strategies you can employ with your mortgage to keep yourself up to date on your payments?

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When buying a home, there are many costs that you may not be aware. Today, let’s explore the steepest upfront cost you face when purchasing a property, specifically the land transfer tax. Like any tax, it’s important revenue to the province or municipality. It’s not going away! The land transfer tax is charged to you by the province you purchase your property in. Toronto is the only municipality that charges an additional tax in Ontario.

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Did you know that about 30% of people get their mortgage from a mortgage brokerage? I like to think of the remaining 70% as those who are yet unaware of the benefits of a mortgage broker. It’s only natural that if you walk into a bank branch they will try to persuade you to use them for your next mortgage.

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