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Want to be mortgage-free faster?

5 tips for making a dent in your debt.

According to a BMO 2015 home-buying report, the average Canadian expects to pay off their mortgage by age 59 — but 31 per cent think they’ll still have a mortgage by their 65th birthday. Looking to ditch your debt quicker — without over-extending your budget? It may save you hundreds (if not thousands) in the long run.
The biggest benefit is saving money on interest charges. The longer it takes to pay down your mortgage, the more you’ll pay in interest. The BMO report found that, on average, Canadians believe they’ll pay approximately $60,000 in interest on their mortgage (and this number hits $100,000 for B.C. residents).

First-time homebuyer tip: Curious how mortgage payments work? It’s all about the amount of money you’re borrowing and the length of the loan. Based on these factors, your lender will calculate your payment schedule. Some of your payment will go toward interest (the amount paid on the amount you borrowed), and some will go toward your principal (the amount initially borrowed under the mortgage). You may pay more toward interest than principal in the first few years of your loan, and more toward principal in the later years. Calculate your potential payment schedule with our nifty mortgage calculator.

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The list price is right — but have you factored in these 8 extra costs?

Review this checklist so the home you buy doesn’t break the bank.

Consider these 8 home-related expenses:

  1. Home inspection fee: Before closing, it’s customary for the buyer to hire a home inspector to confirm the home meets building standards and is “up to code” for that city. The inspection cost is based on the size and complexity of the home’s systems, but on average the fee should be between $375 and $500, according to our BMO Home Buyer’s Guide. You are responsible for paying this to the inspector. It’s a good idea to make your offer conditional, based on a successful home inspection. Sure, the house might look beautiful, but your inspector may detect structural or other problems that you can then negotiate with the seller to either fix or deduct the repair cost from the agreed-upon price.
  1. Appraisal fee: Your mortgage lender will require an appraisal (for example, the current market value of the home) before they’ll finalize your loan. Appraisals generally cost between $250 and $500, according to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), and you may have the option to roll it into your closing costs.
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  1. Utility bills: Unlike renters — who may have utilities built into their monthly rent payment — homeowners are responsible for all bills, such as water, gas, electric, home phone, cable and Internet. And this can add up faster than you may think. For example, keeping a home warm in the winter and cool in the summer can be pricey, depending on where you live. In fact, heating accounts for a significant part of the total expenses of Canadian households, according to Statistics Canada. Its Survey of Household Spending found Canadians spend an average of $1,895 on electricity, natural gas and other heating and cooking fuel a year. Need help planning? Use Natural Resources Canada’s home energy calculator to estimate how alternative energy sources and energy system replacements could potentially affect your energy bills.

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