Thursday, March 18, 2010
Jim Flaherty announced changes to mortgage rules in Canada on February 16th, 2010 which are to take effect on April 19th, 2010. Here is a list of the changes:
Borrowers will be tested on their ability to make payments on a five year fixed-rate mortgage, even though they may choose different terms (e.g. a three year variable mortgage). Currently borrowers are tested against a three year fixed rate mortgage. This means people will qualify for lower maximum mortgage amounts. This will protect people from taking out larger mortgages than they can really afford. What some people are doing is opting for variable mortgages (with lower payments) and this exposes them to the risk that gradually increasing interest rates over time (because interest rates can really only go up from here) will make their mortgages unaffordable later on because they bit off more than they could chew up front.
The maximum a mortgage can be refinanced has been lowered from 95% to 90% of the value of the home. This reduces how much a borrower can tap into the equity of their house. Again this will curb the ability of people to stretch themselves too thin.
Mortgages for homes in which the borrower will not occupy will now require a 20% down payment. It was 5% previously. This reduces speculation in residential real estate since borrowers now have to put up serious money in order to buy.
It should also be noted that these rules apply to those seeking CMHC insured mortgages (or an equivalent private sector mortgage insurer). So if you can find someone willing to offer you an uninsured mortgage you don’t have to worry about these rules.
As you can see, this will not really affect first-time buyers. There was speculation of upping the down payment from 5 to 6% but this change was not implemented. Please call me if you have any questions....Dora 250-565-5297
Sunday, January 3, 2010
When asked about inexpensive changes to freshen up a bedroom or living room for Spring, we got lots of great suggestions. Which ones will work for your home?
- Mary Baltz says to use color and paint on walls, furniture, or trim. She likes a neutral ground but introduces aqua blues and spring greens. With outdoor colors coming inside, how about bring in a piece of outdoor furniture, too? It will bring in a new interesting texture.
Lyn Peterson loves color and pattern. Take a clue from fashion catalogues and use the colors and patterns in your home. Avoid "pasty pales or deep dark drenched colors" and choose a mid tone. Use organic color to cheer up an uninteresting neutral space. Think of "Mother Nature" and go to the colors you see outside.
Use colorful patterned pillows on a "neutral chenille or canvas couch." Get rid of the fussy beads and fringe. "Let color and pattern do the talking... a crazy hot pink, magenta, marigold and cobalt madras plaid.... a chartreuse, plum and teal floral. These bold ingredients distract the eye." Revive a boring old sofa.
Charlotte Moss likes paint, too, because it's cheap, you can do the job yourself, and it creates a major change. She suggests that you "try a color you've never tried before -- kiwi green or a pale violet -- something you've always wanted to try. A couple of gallons of paint is a very inexpensive experiment."
Yvette Piaggio says it in 2 words, "Lighten up!" That means colors, fabrics, and flow. Everything should be clean and refreshing, light and tranquil. Choose sheer fabrics, linens, and open weave textiles. Move from ceramic to crystal and glass, either contemporary or traditional.
And, "nothing says Spring more than fresh flowers. Make sure to be consistent with creating arrangements. Choose a color scheme, like all white, instead of mixing bouquets, use the same type flower in one glass container with a beautiful white satin or grosgrain ribbon wrapped around it."
Tricia Foley attacks clutter which is "so distracting and high maintenance!" Simplify. Use sheets, flowers, and rearranging to create a new look with what you have.