The new mortgage rules in Canada - What you need to know

 Monday, May 14, 2018     unknown     Financial Health Real Estate Market Buying and Selling

At the beginning of this year, new tighter mortgage rules were put out by The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI). This has made it more difficult for some homebuyers to get mortgages this year. 

The new rules have stricter qualifying criteria as the requirement for a mortgage stress test is now extended to all homebuyers. Even borrowers with a down payment of twenty per cent or more now face a stress test, as has been the case since January 2017 for applicants with smaller down payments who require mortgage insurance. This is aimed at limiting the amount of debt that Canadians and financial institutions take on.

So what is the stress test? It means that financial institutions would use either the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada or the customer's mortgage interest rate plus 2 per cent - whichever is higher. This is to ensure that borrowers’ housing expenses compared to their income remain below a certain threshold even if rates rise. Financial institutions look at the size of the loan compared to the price of the house as well as credit scores.

For some first-time homebuyers these stricter mortgage lending rules mean you might need to rent for longer before you can buy a home. Or you might need to consider getting a co-signer to qualify under these stricter rules. This may cause others to have to settle for a less expensive home than they would have qualified for in the past, and some people may choose to wait and save up for a larger down payment.

Are you a first-time homebuyer? Get in touch to discuss how I can help you on your journey to home ownership! Call me at (905)330-5201 or by email at mariongoard@kw.com


New Listing - Unit 20, 2282 Orchard Rd. Burlington ON L7L 0B5

 Thursday, May 10, 2018     Marion Goard     House and Home Buying and Selling Just Listed

Featured Photo

20-2282 Orchard Rd. Burlington ON  L7L 0B5

More pictures to follow soon!

Stunning and exceptionally well maintained 3 bed/2.5 bath end-unit town-home, across from green-space in a quiet Burlington ‘Orchard’ enclave. Plenty of natural light in this extensively upgraded home where the quality workmanship is apparent throughout.

Main level features a custom ‘Selba’ kitchen with ample work/storage space, quartz counters, deep sink, touch-less faucet & quality stainless steel appliances. Separate dining area & bright living room with walk-out to a private patio - perfect for family gatherings. 9 ft ceilings & pot lights on main floor, custom Levelor ‘Silhouette’ sheers in living & dining rooms, inside access to the garage.

Hardwood floors are found in the bedrooms & upper hallway. The king-sized master bedroom with large walk-in closet features an exquisite 5-piece ensuite bath with a generously sized shower, stand alone soaker tub & his/her vanities. Two additional bedrooms (one will also accommodate a king-size bed) are with double closets. 4-piece main bathroom has also been updated.

The list of quality features goes on - upgraded light fixtures, designer window coverings, ceiling fans with timers, tankless water heater (owned) & natural gas line for the BBQ. The basement is unfinished.

Low condo fee includes building insurance, grass cutting, in-ground sprinkler system & common area maintenance.

Conveniently located within walking distance to schools, close to shopping & highway access.

Don’t miss this wonderful, move-in ready home. Contact Marion today to arrange your private showing!

Price:            $710,000

# Rooms:      6

Bedrooms:     3

Bathrooms:    2.5

Square Feet:  1703 +/-

Garage:         Single

Basement:     Unfinished

Taxes - $3,426 (2018)

Condo Fee - $163.45/month


Burlington is the perfect place to spend Mother’s Day this year

 Monday, May 7, 2018     unknown     Community News and Events

Family enjoys mother's day

Burlington locals have plenty of opportunities to make mom feel celebrated this Mother’s Day. Enjoy many different kinds of outings with mom in Burlington, whether you take her lakefront, on the golf course, to a restaurant or out in the conservation. Showing your mom how much you love her shouldn’t be hard this May 13 in Burlington.

Bring mom out to buy a new grill at the Burlington BBQ Show May 12 and 13 at Central Arena. If she is in need of more than just a grill, general and landscape contractors will be onsite booking folks in for this spring and summer festival! Tour vendors and taste samples at this culinary festival for foodies and homeowners on Mother’s Day in Burlington.

Don’t miss the annual Mother’s Day Champagne Tea at Ireland House Museum in Burlington. This traditional tea party is usually booked well in advance, however, if Mom loves her tea perhaps you’ll be in luck this year. Three settings and traditional refreshments will delight mom after strolling this stunning heritage grounds located at 2168 Guelph Line.

If your mom has a green thumb, be sure to visit the annual plant sale May 12  

at St. Christopher’s Church. Support the Burlington Horticultural Society and Open Doors at St. Christopher's while grabbing mom a gift for Mother’s Day!

Pop into the Student Art Exchange happening throughout May in Burlington at the Art Gallery of Burlington. Find all sorts of nifty gifts in the gift shop and tour this exclusive art exhibition in the heart of Halton!  

Book a reservation downtown Burlington at a restaurant, walk the pier after morning breakfast or share a coffee after lunch along the shores of Burlington Beach this May with mom. Perhaps you’ll book her a tee time at Tyandaga Golf Course or tour the Royal Botanical Gardens this May 13—Mother’s Day, in Burlington!


A fresh coat of paint is a great selling tool

 Tuesday, May 1, 2018     unknown   

Paint to sell

Painting is one of the most affordable and easiest ways to make a difference in your home when it comes time to sell. Adding a fresh coat of paint can make the house more appealing and it looks great in photos and videos on listings. But you’ll want to make sure you choose the right colours. 

A general rule is to go neutral. You want to have the house feeling natural, fresh and look newer as well. Choosing a light shade is important to brighten it up and make it look more spacious. Keeping it neutral helps potential buyers to better envision themselves in the space. 

Some of the most popular shades to choose are beige, cream, soft white or “greige” - a light grey and beige tone. You can also add in other neutral tones such as warm browns, including oatmeal and taupe, and pale blues, which look especially good in bedrooms and bathrooms. 

Choose areas of the home to paint that give off first impressions and are high-traffic, like your entranceway and main hallway, kitchen and family room. You’ll also want to include any rooms in the home that stand out as needing an update. In the kitchen, this might include an update to the cupboards and trim as well. This fresh new colour can make all of the difference to update the look of the kitchen. 

Consider also the exterior of the home and front door. Darker shades on the door look great such as navy blue or a dark grey. 

So grab a paintbrush as you prepare your home to sell, as it’s one of the most efficient ways to update your home.


Understanding housing options for seniors

 Friday, April 27, 2018     unknown     Real Estate Market Buying and Selling

Sell 'n Stay

By: Marion Goard, Sales Representative, Master Accredited Senior Agent, Senior Real Estate Specialist

This article was originally published in Silver Links News' spring issue.

Understanding later-in-life housing options or discovering what is best for yourself or an aging relative can be a daunting task. Often, seniors find that just thinking about a move is overwhelming so they simply avoid the matter completely. As a Master Accredited Senior Agent and Senior Real Estate Specialist, my goal is to help seniors and their families become familiar with all their housing options and to encourage that important conversations take place sooner rather than later to help circumvent crisis situations. In this article, I demonstrate the difference between reverse mortgages and a unique program called Sell ’n STAYTM. 

We know that living costs are continuing to increase and we also know that many seniors fear they’ll outlive their money. As a result, Reverse Mortgages are currently capturing seniors’ interest. A reverse mortgage is a way for homeowners to access up to 55% of the current value of their home as a tax-free cash loan. The amount of the loan is based on the age of the homeowner(s) (who must be 55 or older), the appraised value of the property, it’s sale-ability and the amount of equity the owner has in the property. In general, the older you are and the more home equity you have when you apply for a reverse mortgage, the bigger your loan will be.  Funds from a reverse mortgage can be made available to you in a lump sum, in planned advances, or a combination of the two. Money from the loan can be used for anything you choose. Although with some exceptions, you have the option to repay the principal and interest in full at any time; with a reverse mortgage regular mortgage payments are not required. Instead, interest will be added to the original loan amount, which over time, increases the loan amount. When you or your estate sells your house or if you move out the loan will need to be paid out. 

A reverse mortgage may be an appealing option, however, it’s important to note that the interest rate charged for this type of mortgage is notably higher than for other types of mortgages; the equity you hold in your home may go down as the interest on your loan adds up over the years; there are prepayment penalties if you sell your house or move out within 3 years of getting a reverse mortgage; your estate will need to repay the loan and interest in full within a set period of time when you die; given the probate process, the time to settle an estate can be longer than the time allowed to repay a reverse mortgage and, the costs associated with a reverse mortgage are usually higher than for other mortgages.  The senior continues to own the home and remains responsible for property maintenance and repairs, utilities, insurance, municipal taxes as well as condo fees if the property is a condominium.

Sell ’n STAYTM is an option where seniors sell their home to a qualified investor buyer at its fair market value or the price negotiated between the seller and the buyer. Together with the sale, the senior enters into a lease agreement with the new owner. The terms of the lease vary with each transaction. As a tenant, the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) protects the senior. Among other things, the RTA outlines tenant rights, clearly states landlord responsibilities and protects the senior against unlawful eviction and rent increases. An added benefit is that home maintenance, repairs and taxes etc. are now the responsibility of the new landlord allowing the senior to remain in a home they love and are familiar with, without the costs associated with home ownership.  It’s also a way of leveraging the property’s equity without having to move and/or search out alternative housing or face a market with low vacancy rates for rental properties.

Sell ’n STAYTM provides the senior with 100% of the equity established in the home (minus closing costs). Other than making rent and utility payments, the senior is no longer responsible for house related expenses. In contrast to a reverse mortgage where interest is accumulating, by opting to Sell ’n STAYTM seniors can invest the funds realized from the sale to earn interest income. Depending on how the funds are invested, the interest earned can go a long way to covering the rent payments. The funds from the sale of the property could be used for other ‘bucket list’ items and/or to be able to afford homecare or other services an older adult may find necessary or beneficial as time passes. Lastly, the senior’s estate is not affected in the same way it would be with a reverse mortgage. In a nutshell, you do not pack, you do not move, you do not change your address -  you simply change the ownership status.

In Canada, reverse mortgages are available from HomEquity Bank as the Canadian Home Income Plan (CHIP) and can be accessed from HomEquity Bank directly or through mortgage brokers.  Equitable Bank offers reverse mortgages as well, as the PATH Home Plan, also available through mortgage brokers in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. As noted above, age is a primary qualifying factor.

Sell ‘n Stay Inc. is a Mississauga based company that is federally incorporated and has been vetted by lawyers, financial advisors and mortgage brokers.  The company trains and certifies real estate sales representatives across the country to offer this unique program. As Sell ‘n STAYTM is not age dependent, it is not limited to seniors and can be valuable in various other scenarios.

Should you choose to pursue either of these options, please be sure to consult with your own professional advisors, primarily your financial planner and lawyer.  For more information on Sell ’n STAYTM or other housing options for seniors you can trust that I will competently help you consider all your options so the best possible decision and plans can be made.