Potential Uptake of the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive

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Big Mistakes Buyers Make And How to Avoid Them

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Difference Between a Real Estate Agent & REALTOR®?

“REALTOR®” and “real estate agent” are not interchangeable, although some real estate agents might like them to be. The term REALTOR® is a registered certification mark that identifies the quality of services rendered by licensed real estate agents who are members of The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). All real estate agents are not REALTORS®, but all REALTOR® members are real estate agents. REALTOR® members are committed to a strict code of ethics known as the REALTOR® Code, and are the only ones who have the right to list your property on the MLS® Systems of their local real estate boards. To correctly be referred to as a REALTOR®, a real estate agent must be a member of CREA.

What makes me different from your traditional Real Estate Agent & REALTOR®?

 

10 questions to ask when hiring a REALTOR®

Home owners should interview a few potential REALTORS® before deciding on one to sell their home. Here are some smart questions to ask: 

  1. How long have you been in the business? A freshly-licensed REALTOR® can do a wonderful job and will have up-to-date training; those in the business longer bring more practical experience to the table.
  2. What is your average list-to-sales-price ratio? A listing REALTOR® should hold a track record for negotiating sales prices that are very close to list prices.
  3. How will your marketing plan meet my needs? Specifically, how will you sell my home? Where and how often do you advertise? Will you show me a sample flier? How do you market online?
  4. Will you provide references? Ask if any of the references are related to the REALTOR®. Ask if you can call their references with additional questions.
  5. What separates you from your competition? Key phrases to listen for: assertive, available by phone or e-mail, analytical, able to maintain a good sense of humour under trying circumstances.
  6. May I review documents that I will be asked to sign? A good REALTOR® makes forms available to you before you are required to sign them. Ask to see agency disclosure, listing agreement, seller disclosure.
  7. Can you help me find other professionals? Your REALTOR® may be able to provide a list of service providers who can help with things such as home inspection, staging, renovations, legal and financial advice. Get an explanation if you see the term “affiliated”. It could mean the REALTOR® is getting compensation from vendors.
  8. How much do you charge? Real estate fees or commission are negotiable and may vary from broker to broker. Always make sure you negotiate your best deal with your REALTOR®.
  9. What if I’m unhappy with the service? If you sign a listing agreement with the REALTOR® and later find that you are unhappy with the arrangement, will the REALTOR® let you cancel the agreement?
  10. What haven’t I asked you that I need to know? Pay close attention to how the REALTOR® answers this question, because there is always something you need to know – always.

Q: Why should I hire a REALTOR®?

You’re trusting a REALTOR® with your most valuable possession, your home. REALTORS® take this responsibility very seriously. Here’s what we promise you:

  1. Your REALTOR® is a trained professional

    REALTORS® take extensive pre-licensing courses in order to obtain credentials for practicing in real estate.

  2. Your REALTOR® is continuously trained

    REALTORS® keep pace with the times by taking continuing education courses to upgrade their knowledge on a broad range of real estate related issues in order to be able to continue to provide consumers with current advice.

  3. Your REALTOR® does everything by the book

    A REALTOR® must be registered under provincial laws that govern exactly how real estate can and cannot be traded. These regulations are your legal guarantee of professional behavior.

  4. Your REALTOR® is an ethical businessperson

    REALTORS® must adhere to the extensive Code of Ethics of the Canadian Real Estate Association. Several provinces have additional codes of ethics governing real estate professionals. Your interests must always be put first.

  5. Opportunity for recourse

    Should you have concerns about the professional behavior of a REALTOR®, provincial regulators and your local real estate board or association take these matters very seriously and work quickly to resolve any issues.

  6. Your REALTOR® has access to a local Board’s MLS® System

    A Board’s MLS® system is the single most powerful tool for buying and selling a home. Your REALTOR® can provide you with exclusive features of the Board’s MLS® System, such as immediate notification when new properties are listed. You don’t have to wait for it to be posted on a web site.

    What makes me different from your traditional Real Estate Agent & REALTOR®?

Clock Ticking on the BC First-Time New Home Buyers’ Bonus

The Provincial Government First-Time New Home Buyers’ Bonus Expires on March 31, 2013.

The B.C. First-Time New Home Buyers’ Bonus is a one-time payment worth up to $10,000.
B.C. residents who are first-time home buyers and who purchase an eligible new home on or after February 21, 2012 and before April 1, 2013 may be eligible for this bonus.

A first-time home buyer is an individual who has never previously owned a primary residence anywhere in the world.

A primary residence is generally a house that you own, jointly or otherwise, and that you intend to live in on a permanent basis. You may have more than one place of residence, but you are considered to have only one primary residence.

Qualifications

You may qualify for the bonus if you meet all of the following criteria:
  • You purchase or build an eligible new home in B.C.
  • You and your spouse or common-law law partner are first-time home buyers
  • In the case of multiple buyers of a home, each buyer is a
    first-time home buyer
  • You file a 2011 B.C. resident personal income tax return or, if you move to B.C. after December 31, 2011, you file a 2012 B.C. resident personal tax return (you are not eligible for the bonus if you move to B.C. after December 31, 2012)
  • You are eligible for the B.C. HST New Housing Rebate
  • You intend to live in the home as your primary residence
  • No one else has claimed a bonus for the home

Eligible New Homes

Eligible new homes include:

  • new homes (i.e. newly constructed and substantially renovated homes) that are purchased from a builder
  • owner-built homes

A substantially renovated home is one where all, or substantially all, of the interior of the building has been removed or replaced. Generally, 90% or more of the interior must be renovated to qualify.

Eligible homes include detached houses, semi-detached houses, duplexes and townhouses, residential condominium units, mobile homes and floating homes, and residential units in a cooperative housing corporation.

Newly constructed and substantially renovated homes

The bonus is available for newly constructed and substantially renovated homes in B.C. purchased from a builder, where:

  • a written agreement of purchase and sale is entered into on or after February 21, 2012 and before April 1, 2013,
  • HST is payable on the purchase, and
  • ownership or possession of the home is transferred before
    April 1, 2013.

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Decoding Mortgages – Be Aware & Beware of Collateral Mortgages

When shopping for a mortgage, it’s easy to get lost in the fine print. And not all mortgages are created equal. There’s a major distinction that you should be aware of: collateral mortgages vs. conventional mortgages. 

With a conventional mortgage, the amount registered is the amount you need to borrow, so, for example, the value of your house minus the amount of your down payment. However, with collateral mortgages, the amount that’s registered is the full value of the house, and can, in some cases be up to 125% of the value of your property.

Collateral mortgages are becoming more popular. In 2010, TD made a major shift: the bank was no longer offering conventional mortgages; all its mortgages would be collateral. ING made a similar move in 2011.

According to TD, collateral mortgages allow homeowners to more easily access credit, allowing them to borrow more without additional charges. In an e-mail, TD wrote:

“A collateral charge registration will allow a customer to borrow in the future without requiring a new registration. In contrast, a conventional mortgage would require a new registration if there are changes or increases in the amount of the mortgage.”

However, many experts are concerned that collateral mortgages mean less choice and flexibility for consumers.

One concern is that while it can be relatively easy to transfer your conventional mortgage at the end of your term to another lender, a collateral mortgage can be more complicated, and expensive, to move, says mortgage broker Steve Garganis.

Another concern is it encourages more debt. People should be moving to pay off their mortgage not increase their mortgage.

Shopping your mortgage around at the end of your term, experts advise, can save you a lot of money. While most homeowners renew their mortgages with their current lender, shopping around can save you 0.5% to 1% on your interest rate – which can mean a huge difference in how much you have to pay.

A good mortgage broker will make sure your options remain OPEN. Our job is to ensure that your clients get the right product for the long term …

Not to have them saddled with a lender with a costly and difficult exit strategy at renewal!! 

Please give me a call if you have questions … I would love to hear from YOU! 

Lisa Manwaring
Meridian Southwest Mortgage
lisa@southwestmortgage.ca
www.lisamanwaring.com
tel: (604) 943-8943
cel: (604) 805-1833
fax: (604) 943-8942