What’s your mortgage rate? Back in 2011 when I bought my townhouse, my mortgage rate of 3.74% (5-year fixed) was considered extremely good. Now? Not so much. I’ve run the numbers, and refinancing doesn’t work for me, but people looking to enter the housing market (like a few of my friends) can now get rates much lower than that.
In fact, KANETIX.ca is offering a Spring Mortgage Rate Special, offering customers a super low interest rate of 2.75% on a 5-year fixed! And to top it off, they’re offering homebuyers who secure a mortgage rate online a chance to win $5,000. Not only are KANETIX customers automatically entered to win the $5,000 prize, but they can also gain entries by connecting with KANETIX and sharing the contest via social media. If you’re the lucky one that wins, that’s a pretty significant chunk of change that you can dump onto your mortgage, or do a few renovations around the new home. :)
Until April 19th, customers in Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, and Newfoundland are eligible for a chance at the $5,000 prize. Sorry British Columbians. :) For more information on the Kanetix mortgage $5,000 giveaway, click here.
KANETIX was one of Canada’s first online insurance marketplaces, and provides over a million quotes per year to customers looking to compare mortgages and and credit cards. Launched in the fall of 2012, the KANETIX online mortgage rates comparison service allows shoppers to secure rates online in minutes, without actually having to complete a full mortgage application – which I think is pretty cool. Customers will then have the option to complete the mortgage pre-approval process online, or through a licensed mortgage broker over the phone.
When I was house hunting two years ago, a huge consideration for me was whether I should purchase a home in a building complex that allows rental units.
Condo buildings often have bylaws that might restrict whether you can rent out your residential unit. This can be seen as a good, or a bad thing. If you plan to live in your condo, you may want other owners to live in their units as well. However, if you are buying a home as an investment to rent out, or if you think you might want to rent it out in the future, you will want to check the building’s rental restrictions and bylaws carefully before you make an offer.
I ended up choosing a townhouse in a complex that did not allow rentals (except under financial hardship, which is super complicated to prove) – and that seemed like a great decision. However, eight months later I found myself looking to move to Europe, and all of a sudden I was faced with the financial burden of not being allowed to rent out my unit while I lived abroad. Thankfully I was able to pay my mortgage and my rent while living in Germany, but for a lot of people, that wouldn’t have been an option.
Having any sort of rental restrictions on units in a building will always lesson the pool of potential buyers (like investors), but it doesn’t seem to negatively affect the price in which the unit will end up selling for. In fact, it’s the opposite. In a Downtown Vancouver Ownership, Occupancy, and Rentals study, the median value for owner-occupied units were valued over $30,000 to $40,000 more than non-owner occupied units.
My realtor explained to me that it’s because owners often purchase with their wants in mind, and are willing to pay more for units with a better layout, upgraded features, or a nicer view. Makes sense. Owners are more willing to invest money to renovate their units and make them nicer, because it helps them improve their overall quality of life – and that’s why owner-occupied units usually sell for more. Whereas investors who rent out units for profit are only concerned about their bottom line.
That being said, if you plan on living in the unit that you purchase, there’s a chance purchasing in a building that allows rental units might negatively affect the price of your owner-occupied unit when it comes time to sell. Since a rental will typically sell for less than an owner-occupied unit in the same building, the owner-occupied unit would then have to use the rental unit sale price as a comparable.
I liked the idea (and still do) of living in an owner-occupied community because I feel like owners have a stake in the building, and are more likely to take good care of the common space. Also (and maybe this is just my own personal experience living in rental units), I find that noise and cleanliness to be better when living in an owner-occupied building, and there’s a nice sense of community because people usually purchase property and plan on staying put for an extended period of time.
Would you buy (or have you ever bought) a condo that has rental restrictions?
Note: this is a guest post
There are varying schools of thought on when purchasing a life insurance policy is a safety-buy and when it is a necessity-buy; ultimately, it’s up to you on when you want to purchase, how much you want to purchase, and if it’s currently an affordable purchase.
However, there are a great many factors that are going to weigh-in on this decision that you should definitely thoroughly research, consider, and apply to your own unique financial circumstance. You can learn more about Suncorp Life Insurance Cover & other policies offered on their website.
WHEN LIFE INSURANCE IS AN AFFORDABLE SAFETY-BUY
Purchasing life insurance is really only ever considered a not-yet-needed, but good-idea-anyway purchase when you’re young; specifically, when you’re in your 20’s. At this point, if you’re financially able to take on an affordable payment of $350 to $450 per year for a $500,000 term policy—this is on the high-end—then, why not? A policy like this will cover you for the next 30 years, since it’s a term policy your rate will never increase, and you’ll be good to go until your 50’s.
In fact, if you were to wave this policy around in front of someone who purchased a policy in their 30’s or 40’s, you’d get to watch them turn green with envy! Purchasing when you’re that young, and unencumbered with any kind of health issues, ensures that you’ll get the most affordable policy that is available. This is, of course, dependent on you not having any major prior medical conditions.
If your plan is to get married and have kids within the next 5-10 years—statistics show that the vast majority of people in their 20’s have this plan—then you can enter into that stage of your life knowing that they will be taken care of if something should happen to you; it’s already in the bag.
WHEN LIFE INSURANCE IS A NECESSITY-BUY
Generally, any financially planner will advise you that life insurance is necessary as soon as you have children; if something tragic should happen to you, they need to be taken care of.
Of course, if you wait until this time and you’ve already entered into your 30’s, or even your 40’s, the rates for term policies are going to have significantly increased and you’re going to be taking this on during a time when starting a family is costing you quite a bit, as well.
Unfortunately, all of these expenses are a big part of the reason why so many families are completely uninsured. In 2012, a study was conducted by LIMRA—a research outfit dedicated to the insurance industry—that determined a whopping 64% of U.S. families didn’t have life insurance; 11-million of which had children who were under the age of 18. These figures represent a drastic 26% drop from when the same study was issued in 2010.
MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION
With these ideals and statistics in mind, be smart and make a sound decision for both your financial future and the financial future of your future, or even current, family. The costs of left-behind debt, funerals, college tuitions, loss-of-income, and standing mortgages is a hefty weight to leave for a grieving family.