Your first mortgage: have you thought of everything?

Whether you’re buying a home, condo or cottage, Desjardins advisor Patrick Champagne has some exercises for you to make sure your dream doesn’t turn into a disappointment or hassle. « There’s some prep work to do before you start visiting homes and talking loans, rates and mortgage terms. »

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What can you afford?

The first order of business is to figure out how much you can afford to spend on a home, which you can determine by using our calculator on desjardins.com. Be as financially realistic as possible.

This calculator considers your household’s gross income and overall financial commitments1,  the amount you plan to use as a down payment and the approximate fixed costs of your future home (e.g., municipal and school taxes, condo fees).

Remember that the higher your down payment, the less you’ll have to borrow and the less interest you’ll have to pay. The minimum required down payment is generally 20% of the property’s cost.

However, if your down payment is between 5% and 20%, you’ll have to take out mortgage insurance from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) or Genworth Canada. The premium will be between 0.6 % to 4.5% of the mortgage loan depending on the percentage of your down payment. To pay your premium, you can either add them to your mortgage loan or pay them with a lump sum up front. Continuer la lecture

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Finding the right notary

The notary plays a critical role in the home-buying process. In fact, not everyone has a notary within reach. There are two ways to find one: by word of mouth or with a few clicks of the mouse.

You will especially feel the need to find a trustworthy notary when comes the time to draft the promise to purchase or complete the transfer of ownership. Yet, a notary can accomplish much more. He* can make your life easier.

If someone gives you the name of a notary, make sure his name appears on the Chambre des notaires du Québec (CNQ) roll. All you have to do is write the first and last name of the notary. If you are looking for a random notary offering his services in your neighbourhood, consult the CNQ referral service. Continuer la lecture

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A Well-Lit Kitchen

Not only is aesthetic lighting allowed in the kitchen, but it’s actually prescribed. After all, isn’t this the room where we spend most of our time in? However, as it is primarily a working area where we tend to move around a lot, practical lighting must take precedence.

During the day, nothing beats natural light. If you are thinking of renovating the kitchen, consider putting in some windows. Think of large windows and if possible skylights. You will notice lower energy bills, which are quite considerable.

Featured somewhere: small rectangular windows between the ceiling and the top of the cabinets, or a sliding window as a backsplash. Brilliant! Continuer la lecture

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The Shabby Chic Style Creates a Soft Atmosphere

Perfection does not exist in a shabby chic decor and that’s exactly what makes it so charming. Distressed but vibrant furniture overshadows new furniture. It fits easily into this decor that is soft, joyful, organic, and let’s admit it, a little bohemian. Shabby chic is silky-soft. At the heart of this style is distressed furniture. As if the wood was worn out by sea salt, or simply over time. The furniture looks like the kind you would find at a flea market or antique store. You can see the wood through the cracked paint. In some instances, several coats of paint let different layers of colours peek through.

Shabby chic becomes a full-blown style when the walls, ceilings and floors also have a worn-out look, if not to say neglected. The whole room seems weathered. Almost everything looks distressed but without the dusty and old appearance of antiques or the tacky and playful side of pure vintage.

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Shabby chic can be mellow and not so mellow. The first variant gets all of its potential from a stark and sober decor, almost bare, where the furniture takes centre stage to express the style. The second alternative welcomes various decorative accessories: candlesticks, crumpled fabrics, dried flowers, patchwork, glazed silver. In this instance, shabby chic meets vintage. Continuer la lecture

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Fixed or variable rate: a question of monthly mortgage payments

Once you’ve settled the question of open or closed term, you will inevitably have to decide between a fixed and variable rate. Which is best for your situation?

When the time comes to choose your mortgage term, there are a number of elements to take into account, including your financial means, your risk tolerance and the economic situation. To demystify it all and equip you to make the best possible decision, here’s some information that will help you make an informed choice about your mortgage type.

Fixed- versus variable-rate: which is lower?

As a general rule, variable-rate mortgages tend to be lower than fixed-rates. To understand the difference, you need to look at how these rates are calculated. Essentially, a financial institution’s variable interest rate corresponds to its preferential rate. This is established based on the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate. Add a certain percentage to this, and you have the variable rate.

As with fixed-rate mortgages, the monthly payment amount usually stays the same, but the ratio of interest to principal is subject to market fluctuations. There are also certain types of variable-rate mortgages where the monthly payment varies based on the fluctuation of market interest rates. With a fixed-rate mortgage on the other hand, you are guaranteed to always have the same amount dedicated to repaying your principal, regardless of what the market does. Continuer la lecture