Seniors playing with fire when taking on a big debt

The use and abuse of mortgages in retirement

Are retirees playing with fire? They could be if they decide to use money borrowed through a mortgage to supplement their other sources of retirement income. The most common ways those at or close to retirement do this is to hold a mortgage through their Locked-in Retirement Account (LIRA) or to borrow money against their home through a so-called “reverse mortgage.” But retirees should think long and hard before entering into either of these arrangements. READ MORE

Stressed out over mortgages stress test?

Know the rules before you sign on the dotted line

If you’ve been shopping for a mortgage for your new home, you probably have run across something called a “stress test.” It raises the bar on your financial health a lot higher before you can qualify for a mortgage – even if you don’t have to be insured! This has been stressing us out many unprepared borrowers. But by understanding a few of the rules beforehand, you can smooth out the path to buying that home. READ MORE

Mortgage refinancing costs could slash any rate savings

Beware the fees and penalties!

Sometimes it makes sense to refinance a mortgage – and it’s tempting if your rate is higher than prevailing rates – but mostly it doesn’t. It would make sense only if you have a longer-term mortgage at an interest rate considerably higher than what’s on offer at current low rates. It all boils down to the math, and like it or not, you’ll have to do some number-crunching to determine whether refinancing makes sense for you. READ MORE

Got the first-time home buyer blues?

Learn the basics of financing before plunging in – no math degree required

Young couples shopping for their first home are faced with the bewildering new language of the real estate market – mortgages alone often seem to require a degree in higher mathematics. It’s tempting to give it all up and just let the lenders and lawyers lead the way. Often, though, that’s the shortest route to turning your dream home into a “money pit.” So it’s vitally important for first-time home buyers to learn at least the basics. Here’s a quick guide to the rules of down payments and mortgages. READ MORE

Time to lock in low mortgage rates?

A mortgage rate hike could put you in a cash crunch

If you currently have a fairly large variable-rate mortgage on your home, it’s probably set at a very low rate, which makes your monthly payments affordable. But with interest rates apparently ready to rise, is now the time to lock in today’s low rate? READ MORE

Six rules to help you survive the mortgage market

Take on life’s biggest debt…and win!

Even though much of Canada is still covered with a thick layer of snow and ice, the so-called spring real estate market is gathering momentum. And banks, finance companies, and lawyers are all gearing up to take their cut, mostly in the hyper-competitive mortgage market. You might well feel like a lamb among the wolves here. So here are a few things you should know about mortgages to avoid getting fleeced. READ MORE