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condo-ready

Condo-Ready in 10 Steps

 How can you know if you are financially ready to become a condominium homeowner?

 

This step-by-step guide walks you through some simple calculations to figure out your current financial situation, and the maximum home price that you can afford. Follow these rules to get yourself condo-ready in 10 steps.

 

1. Calculate Your Household Expenses

Start figuring out your financial readiness by evaluating your present household budget. How much are you spending each month? Knowing exactly how much will give you a better idea about whether you can afford to become a homeowner.

 

2. Calculate Your Monthly Debt Payments

Do you know how much debt you are carrying? You need this information to figure out whether you are financially ready for homeownership. If you decide to buy a home, mortgage lenders will ask for this information.

 

3. Calculate Your Total Monthly Expenses

Your total monthly expenses are your household expenses plus your debt payments. To calculate your monthly expenses, add the total from the Current Household Budget as Homeowner to the total from Monthly Debt Payments form.

 

Household expenses (Total from Current Household Budget) Debt Payments (Total from Monthly Debt Payments form) TOTAL

 

4. How Much Can You Afford?

Before you begin shopping for a home it’s important to know how much you can afford to spend on home ownership. You will want to plan ahead for the various expenses related to home ownership. In addition to purchasing the home, other significant expenses will include heating, property taxes, home maintenance and renovation as required. Two simple rules can help you figure out how much you can realistically pay for a home.

 

Affordability Rule 1

The first rule is that your monthly housing costs shouldn’t be more than 32% of your gross monthly income. Housing costs include your monthly mortgage payments (principal and interest), property taxes and heating expenses. This is known as PITH for short — Principal, Interest, Taxes and Heating.

 

If you are thinking of buying a condominium or leasehold tenure:

For a condominium, PITH also includes half of the monthly condominium fees. For leasehold tenure, PITH also includes the entire annual site lease.

 

Lenders add up your housing costs and figure out what percentage they are of your gross monthly income. This figure is called your Gross Debt Service (GDS) ratio. To be considered for a mortgage, your GDS should be 32% or less of your gross household monthly income.

 

Affordability Rule 2

The second rule is that your entire monthly debt load should not be more than 40% of your gross monthly income. Your entire monthly debt load includes your housing costs (PITH) plus all your other debt payments (car loans or leases, credit card payments, lines of credit payments, etc.). You have calculated these on the Monthly Debt Payments form. This figure is called your Total Debt Service (TDS) ratio.

 

TDS Ratio (A) Total monthly income (A) from your GDS calculation (B) Multiply (A) X 0.40 = TDS

 

5. Calculate Your Maximum House Price

The maximum home price that you can realistically afford depends on a number of factors. The most important factors are your household gross monthly income, your down payment and the mortgage interest rate. For many people, the hardest part of buying a home — especially their first one — is saving the necessary down payment.

 

Note: For CMHC-insured mortgage loans, the maximum purchase price or as-improved property value must be below $1,000,000.

 

Interest is compounded semi-annually not in advance. The interest rate is fixed for the term of the mortgage. The interest rate is usually renegotiated at the end of the term of the mortgage. Minimum down payments may vary.

 

6. Mortgage Loan Insurance

Mortgage loan insurance helps protect lenders against mortgage default, and enables consumers to purchase homes with a minimum down payment of 5% — with interest rates comparable to those with a 20% down payment.

 

The CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance premium is calculated as a percentage of the loan and is based on a number of factors such as the intended purpose of the property (owner occupied or rental), the type of loan (i.e. purchase/construction or refinance loan), and the size of your down payment. The higher the percentage of the total house price/value that you borrow, the higher percentage you will pay in insurance premiums. The cost for mortgage loan insurance premiums is usually offset by the savings you get from lower interest rates.

 

7. Get a Copy of Your Credit Report

Before approving a mortgage, lenders will want to see how well you have paid your debts and bills in the past. To do this, they consider your credit history (credit report) from a credit bureau. This tells them about your financial past and how you have used credit.

 

Before looking for a mortgage lender, get a copy of your own credit history. There are two main credit-reporting agencies: Equifax Canada Inc. and TransUnion of Canada. You can contact either one of them to get a copy of your credit report. There is often a fee for this service.

 

Once you receive your credit report, examine it to make sure the information is complete and accurate. If you have no credit history, it is important to start building one by, for example, applying for a standard credit card with good interest rates and terms, making small purchases and paying them as soon as the bill comes in.

 

If you have poor credit, lenders might not be able to give you a mortgage loan. You will need to re-establish a good credit history by making debt payments regularly and on time. Most unfavourable credit information (including bankruptcy) drops off your credit file after seven years. Consider getting some credit counselling if you have a history of poor credit or talk to your lender to discuss options.

 

8. Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval

It’s a very good idea to get a pre-approved mortgage before you start shopping. Many realtors will ask if you’ve been approved. A lender will look at your finances and figure the amount of mortgage you can afford. Then the lender will give you a written confirmation, or certificate, for a fixed interest rate. This confirmation will be good for a specific period of time. A pre-approved mortgage is not a guarantee of being approved for the mortgage loan.

 

Even if you haven’t found the home you want to buy, having a pre-approved mortgage amount will help keep a good price range in mind.

 

Amortization Period

Amortization refers to the length of time you choose to pay off your mortgage. Mortgages typically come in 25 amortization periods but they can be as short as 15 years. Usually, the longer the amortization, the smaller the monthly payments. However, the longer the amortization, the higher the interest costs. Total interest costs can be reduced by making additional (lump sum) payments when possible.

 

9. Payment Schedule

You have the option of repaying your mortgage every month, twice a month, every two weeks or every week. You can also choose to accelerate your payments. For example, for a $250,000 mortgage (5% interest rate and 25 year amortization) choosing an accelerated bi-weekly payment over a bi-weekly regular payment ($727 vs. $670) allows you to pay down your mortgage more quickly. You could pay off the mortgage in just over 21 years and reduce your interest costs by almost $30,000.

 

This usually means one extra monthly payment per year.

 

10. Interest Rate Type

You will have to choose between “fixed”, “variable” or “protected (or capped) variable”. A fixed rate will not change for the term of the mortgage. This type carries a slightly higher rate but provides the peace of mind associated with knowing that interest costs will remain the same.

 

With a variable rate, the interest rate you pay will fluctuate with the rate of the market. Usually, this will not modify the overall amount of your mortgage payment, but rather change the portion of your monthly payment that goes towards interest costs or paying your mortgage (principal repayment). If interest rates go down, you end up repaying your mortgage faster. If they go up, more of the payment will go towards the interest and less towards repaying the mortgage. This option means you may have to be prepared to accept some risk and uncertainty.

 

A protected (or capped) variable rate is a mortgage with a variable interest rate that has a maximum rate determined in advance. Even if the market rate goes above the determined maximum rate, you will only have to pay up to that maximum.

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It Pays to Buy Pre-Sale

While the temperature in Edmonton may still be dropping, condo prices are rising, according to the Realtors Association of Edmonton. Single family houses in February averaged $430,770 — up .84% from January and 1.17% over the same month in 2014, say the latest numbers from the Realtors Association of Edmonton. Condo prices also continued upward with a 1.2% increase over January and 4.7% increase from February 2014. “We are starting to see sales numbers increase as we enter the spring season. It is common to see sales start to ramp up in February,” said Realtors Association of Edmonton president Geneva Tetreault, prior to the first day of spring, March 20.

 

As the market heats up and the bidding wars begin, it is a good time to consider investing in a pre-construction condo project. Among the many advantages of signing on to a project early,  pricing is at the top of the list. A pre-sales program will typically mean prices are 10-20% lower than they will be once construction is completed. At this phase a project is more immune to market fluctuations, and your return on investment stands to be far greater. The value of your new home will likely be 15-20% higher upon completion than when purchased, giving you instant equity. Buying in early also gives you the chance to personalize your new home or investment by choosing the floor plan, building location, design finishes and appliance package that best suits your needs.

 

Pre-sale programs are often built around incentive packages that can save you even more money off the purchase price and improve your equity. Developers are eager to sell during this phase to secure their financing, which creates the optimum conditions for negotiating a deal that is right for you. While the project is under construction, your down payment can be earning you interest before your mortgage payments have even begun, allowing you to save even more money in the months leading up to your close and move-in. Add a long-term low interest rate guarantee to the mix, and you will quickly see how and why it actually pays to buy pre-sale.

 

 

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Control4 Home Automation

 How do you turn your home into a smart home? Give it a brain. That’s what a controller is—the brain of your smart home. It manages your home automation system, allowing the electronic devices in your home to work together—from lighting and security, to music and video, and pretty much anything else in between.

 

With Control4 Home Automation, you can start with just one room or automate your entire home all at once. Imagine a “Wake Up” scene that automatically adjusts the thermostat and gradually turns up the lights each morning. How about a “Goodbye” button that locks the doors, arms the security system, turns off all the lights, and adjusts the temperature on your way out. While away, your Control4 system can alert you when your child arrives home from school or if there is a water leak detected in the laundry room. A casual night at home? A single remote or touch screen provides you with complete control of your entertainment system. As the movie starts, the shades close and the lights dim—automatically.

 

Customize Your Home Automation System

No matter the size of your home, whether you’re automating a single room or a sprawling mansion, Control4 controllers are capable of powering your entire home automation system. The award-winning HC-800 Controller has the horsepower necessary to run even the most demanding systems, from multiple rooms to an entire house. The popular HC-250 Controller is great for smaller or single-room systems, and can also act as an ideal universal remote alternative for every television in your home.

 

Control4 Operating System

The award-winning Control4 Operating System (OS) is the software platform that provides you with quick and easy access to all the features of your home automation system from any interface at any time—whether it be a touch screen, TV, remote, keypad, smartphone or tablet. The Control4 OS brings your Control4 system to life, giving you the ability to interact with and customize virtually every aspect of your smart home. And with the Control4 App, you can control your entire Control4 system from virtually any smartphone or tablet anywhere you have 3G/4G or Internet access. Find a local authorized Control4 dealer today, and turn your home into a smart home!

 

Video Solutions from Control4

Transform any room into a state-of-the-art home theater. Watch TV, access your movie collection, and easily stream films online from your favorite on-demand media provider. Conveniently power-up any video game console using your smartphone, tablet or an easy-to-use remote control. All it takes is one tap to have the shades lower, the lights dim, and the receiver to kick in at the perfect volume and you are ready for pure entertainment. Eliminate coffee table clutter and multiple-remote frustration by controlling everything in your entertainment center with just one remote control. Distribute HD video to any room in the house and watch video from multiple sources, including media players, hard drives and even portable devices, or browse through them all simultaneously.

 

Whole Home Audio

Control your entire music library or favorite music streaming service from the palm of your hand with Control4 media distribution solutions. Stream high-fidelity sound to every room in your home, or just to the rooms you choose. Enjoy your personal music collection from your smartphone or tablet, or stream services including Spotify, Napster, Rhapsody, Pandora, and SiriusXM, and thousands of free Internet radio stations throughout the house. Browse through your personal music collection or favorite Internet streaming services. Our intuitive user interface makes it a breeze to play any song you want, at any volume, in any room in the house. Distribute your favorite music from any audio source, such as: your smartphone, tablet, receiver, music library, Internet radio or streaming service; to built-in ceiling or wall speakers for a killer sound and smooth aesthetic. Your options for listening choices border on the infinite. Control4 power amplifiers deliver high-quality audio to four or eight stereo zones. The Control4 Audio Matrix Switch allows up to 16 different audio sources to simultaneously play in up to 16 different rooms in your home. Even guests can stream music throughout your home.

 

Meet the Bridge- Product of the Year!

The Wireless Music Bridge is a little box that delivers a big world of music, sports, news, audio books and podcasts to your Control4 system. Whether it’s an iTunes playlist or a favorite streaming service, the Control4 Wireless Music Bridge connects your favorite libraries of music from your (or your friends’) smartphone, tablet or laptop to your Control4 system, delivering stunning clarity of sound wherever speakers are located. The Wireless Music Bridge features built-in Airplay, Bluetooth and DLNA to allow any smartphone, tablet or other personal device to wireless stream your favorite music to one—or every—room in the house.

 

Touch Screens

This dedicated interface brings intuitive, responsive and elegant interactions to your entertainment and lighting experiences. Browse your playlists with a simple swipe, display bold cover art images, and easily personalize your lighting experience using a screen that compliments the beauty of your home.

 

Get Some Face Time with Video Intercom

Whether you want to see who is at the front door, check in on your sleeping baby, or simply call everyone together for dinner, video intercom allows you to instantly connect with loved ones and visitors through high-quality audio and video, providing you with peace of mind and added convenience.

 

One-Touch Lighting

Control4 offers a full array of elegant lighting options for homes, large or small, whether under construction or hundreds of years old. Accent your home’s design with stylish lighting, make it more energy efficient, safe and secure, and leverage the magic of automation by integrating smart lighting. Work with your Control4 dealer to decide how you can integrate lighting control into your daily life, whether it’s setting a scene to watch a movie.

 

Climate

Heating and cooling your home can be expensive—especially if your HVAC system is cranking when it doesn’t need to be. Let your smart home orchestrate the proper set of functions to ensure optimal temperature efficiently. Shades raise or lower based on time of day, fans can turn on and off to help circulate air, and the AC or heat can turn on just before you arrive home, welcoming you back with the perfect temperature. With Control4, a smart home has the ability to respond intelligently to changing conditions. Many “smart” thermostats give you the option of setting minimum and maximum temperatures for various times of the day and may give you different programs for weekdays and weekends. But there are many limitations. With Control4, your thermostat can determine what “mode” your house is in and respond with the perfect temperature, whether you’re home or away. It can even adjust based on sunrise or sunset, or adapt to the current season. In addition to heating and air conditioning, you can supplement a thermostat with additional products that can be controlled manually or automatically through your home automation system. A Control4 Fan Speed Control Switch can enable your fans to be turned on automatically when a room reaches a certain temperature. Add a motion sensor to make sure the fans come on only if the room is occupied. If you have a room that receives sunlight at a particular time during the day, install shades that automatically lower to help keep your home from getting overheated. During the winter, custom programming can raise the shades to catch the daylight and close them for privacy in the evening. Your Control4 system knows exactly when the sun rises and sets every day year-round, so you won’t have to adjust the schedule as the days get shorter and longer.

 

One-Touch Security

A little peace of mind goes a long way. Protect your home or business by integrating smart locks, lighting, sensors, security cameras, network video recorders, security panels and monitoring systems with a Control4 automation system so you can keep a virtual “eye” on your house 24×7. Homeowners rely more and more on surveillance cameras and NVRs (network video recorders) to bolster the security of their homes and businesses. With Control4 solutions, it’s easy to check in on home from anywhere in the world—right from your smartphone. View live security camera footage straight from your mobile device while remotely connecting and commanding your home, from virtually anywhere.

 

One-Touch Smart Locks

Control4 automation systems work with most smart locks, so with a touch of a button—on a touch screen, keypad, and even your tablet—every door in the home is securely bolted. You can even assign temporary security codes for deliveries and service workers. Provide your kids or family members with unique codes and you can get text alerts when they are coming and going. And on those days when nothing goes right, it’s easy to let yourself in when you forget your keys.

 

Immediate Intruder Text Alerts

Your Control4 smart home can also be programmed to respond to “actions” identified by the security camera or sensor to keep your treasures safe and secure. Get a text alert when someone approaches the door. If a door opens after midnight, have lights flash and alarms sound to ward off would-be intruders. The text alert system can also notify you if your water heater leaks while you are on vacation, so you can take care of the problem long before you head home. Studies show that burglars are much less likely to enter homes that are occupied. You can create realistic “Mockupancy” scenes that program interior and exterior lights throughout the house to turn on and off—just as they would if you were really home. Would-be intruders move on thinking your home is occupied and off limits.

 

The Control4 App

Throw away your remote controls, leave that thermostat alone, and stop fumbling around in the dark to turn on the lights. Control4 has the app you need to turn your smartphone or tablet into the ultimate command center! The Control4 App connects directly to your system and allows you to manage all of your system’s features, such as controlling lights, adjusting the temperature, managing your entertainment center, locking doors and more—right from your smartphone or tablet. The app is available for Apple iPhones and iPads, Android smartphones and tablets, and the new Amazon Fire phone.

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New Bike Lanes For North Van

North Vancouver has long been known for its bike lane network, and is considered one of the safest and friendliest cities in the GTA for riders. Now the province has announced it will contribute $400,000 towards cycling initiatives that include new bike lanes between William Avenue and Mollie Nye Way in the District of North Vancouver. The funding is also earmarked to serve the separated multi-use trail between the Squamish Nation Waterfront Greenway and the Bewicke section of the Spirit Trail in the City of North Vancouver.

 

By improving the safety of bike facilities and demonstrating the importance of cycling on major routes by delineating bike lanes, the City of North Vancouver aims to encourage greater use of bicycles as a mode of transportation for local and regional commuter trips and provide improved recreational opportunities and alternative transportation options. These improved facilities are also a way of enticing recreational cyclists to become commuter cyclists.

 

Studies have repeatedly found that the most significant deterrent to cycling is “fear of traffic”. Improving cycling facilities, such as the installation of more bike paths/lanes, will not only help minimize conflicts between cyclists and other vehicles but also increase the number of bicycle trips. By providing a delineated bike lane it will improve cyclist safety by reducing potential conflicts between vehicular and bicycle traffic in the existing shared curb lane. The presence of clearly defined bike lane will also encourage vehicular traffic to travel a safe distance from the path of cyclists.

 

The city has also installed new bike boxes at some key intersections including Bewicke at Larson, Bewicke at Marine, Bewicke at 2nd and Kennard at Cotton. The intention of a bike box is to allow cyclists to move ahead of stationary traffic at an intersection, which allows the cyclist to go straight or make a left turn with increased visibility and safety. Motorists should leave a bike box clear for cyclists, except when proceeding through it.

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Pre-Construction Condo ROI

Earning a higher pre-construction condo ROI is all about timing, financing, and planning ahead. During an economic or industrial slowdown, the idea of tying up cash flow or assets can make first-time buyers and investors nervous, especially if they haven’t experienced owning a property before. In fact, there are a number of advantages to investing in real estate during these periods, especially before the property is actually built.

 

 

  • Pre-sale pricing is typically below market value.
  • Low interest rates due to slow economic conditions, and long-term rate hold options.
  • Lower down payments are required for first-time buyers.
  • Developer’s often have pre-con purchase incentive programs in place such as appliance upgrades.
  • Allows time for the market to recover from the time of initial purchase until the condo is completed and you start making payments.
  • Mortgage payments don’t start until construction is complete, giving you time to save up more capital before move-in.
  • Some developers offer to pay you interest on your deposit while construction is happening.
  • Higher ROI by the time construction is complete.

 

 

It is also important to remember that your investment continues to work for you once the project is built. Mortgage payments you make are an investment in an asset, not a cost towards an expenditure. Once your term is complete, the condo you have paid for is owned by you. In a city like Edmonton, demand for rental apartments continues to grow every year, especially in high demand neighbourhoods. If the condo is located close to a university, hospital, or within a densely populated area, you are likely to keep the property rented year round. This demand also allows you to review the applicants carefully to make sure you are renting to the right tenant. In a fast-growing city like Edmonton, owning a condo can be like owning a rare stone that stands to grow in value over time.

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Worried About Your Down Payment?

First time buyers often worry about the ‘qualifying’ process when considering purchasing a home. Often they are most concerned about the down payment and how they will come up with the funds to cover it. The minimum down payment in Canada, on homes less than $1M, is 5%, with the typical down payment ranging from 5-20% of the home price. This 5% benchmark is used to determine your maximum affordability. For example, if you have saved $15,000 for your down payment, the maximum home price you could afford would be $15,000 / 5% = $300,000. This begs the question:

 

Where does a first time buyer come up with the $15,000?

If asking mom and dad for a loan is not an option and your bank account balance can’t handle a withdrawal that high, how does one get into the game without selling the shirt off their back to pay for it? In Canada, a first time buyer is entitled to certain exceptions pertaining to the purchase of a home, and one of them can actually cover the cost of the down payment without you having to spend a dime of your operating cash flow.

 

The HBP
The Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) is a program that allows you to withdraw funds from your registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself or for a related person with a disability. You can withdraw up to $25,000 in a calendar year. If your partner or spouse is qualified for the same program that adds up to $50,000…..enough to make that down payment. Generally, you have to repay all withdrawals to your RRSPs within a period of no more than 15 years. You will have to repay an amount to your RRSPs each year until your HBP balance is zero. If you do not repay the amount due for a year, it will have to be included in your income for that year.

 

To be eligible for HBP:

  • you must be considered a first-time home buyer.
  • you must enter into a written agreement to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself, for a related person with a disability, or to help a related person with a disability buy or build a qualifying home before October 1 of the year after the year of the withdrawal.
  • Neither you nor your spouse or common-law partner or the related person with a disability that you buy or build the qualifying home for can own the qualifying home more than 30 days before the withdrawal is made.
  • you must intend to occupy the qualifying home as your principal place of residence no later than one year after buying or building it.
  • If you buy or build a qualifying home for a related person with a disability, or help a related person with a disability buy or build a qualifying home, you must intend that the person occupy the qualifying home as his or her principal place of residence.
  • Your repayable HBP balance on January 1 of the year of the withdrawal must be zero.

 

 

Additional RRSP withdrawal conditions under the HBP:

  • You have to be a resident of Canada at the time of the withdrawal.
  • You have to receive all withdrawals in the same calendar year.
  • You cannot withdraw more than $25,000 per RRSP bond.
  • Only the individual who is entitled to receive payments from the RRSP (the annuitant) can withdraw funds from an RRSP. You can make withdrawals from more than one RRSP as long as you are the annuitant (plan owner) of each RRSP. Your RRSP issuer will not withhold tax on these amounts.
  • Generally, you will not be allowed to withdraw funds from a locked-in RRSP or a group RRSP.
  • Your RRSP contributions must remain in the RRSP for at least 90 days before you can withdraw them under the HBP, or the contributions may not be deductible for any year.

 

 

If you haven’t yet registered for an RRSP, you still have other options. Consider applying for a down payment bond. This financial guarantee or ‘promise to pay’ is accepted in lieu as cash when a purchaser must pay deposit monies to financially secure their commitment to purchase real estate. The down payment bond equates to putting a cash deposit in escrow. Similar to a loan, the bond application process involves a credit score analysis and an audit of your monthly income, and getting approval for a bond means your back account remains virtually untouched until you start making your monthly payments.

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The Presale Advantage

When you decide to buy a presale unit, you’re actually entering into a contract for the right to receive and an obligation to pay for a finished condo at a set point in the future. This forms the basis for some of the unique opportunities that go along with buying pre-sale condos.

 

Personal Touch

In a presale phase you can customize design finishes and features in your unit before it is built. This allows you to tailor elements of your new home to your personal style and taste, without having to do all of the sourcing and costing yourself.

 

Because you’re buying a brand-new home, you also won’t have to worry about doing costly repairs for at least another decade. And your pre-sale condo will be covered under the Alberta New Home Warranty Coverage, so that if something does go wrong, you won’t have to pay for it.

 

Investing in a unit during the presale phase also offers you greater selection within the building. Often times the unit that best suits your lifestyle has already sold-out by the time the building is completed, which limits your ability to select your floor, view, location and layout.

 

Financial Benefits

There are definitely advantages to buying presale. You can pay just a small deposit upfront, save money while it’s being built, then pay the balance of your deposit when you move in. Some developers allow you to pay your deposit in bite-sized increments during a portion of the building process.

 

Many developers offer ‘incentives’ to presale buyers including rebates and free upgrades. The interest that accrues on your deposit during construction is another way the pre-sale buyer can ‘earn’ money on their investment. Some developers will offer to pay this interest back to you while the building is under construction, ad this money can go towards your future payments once the building is complete. If you purchase a unit early in the presale phase, you stand to earn even more interest while the building is being finished.

 

Presale prices always benefit the buyer. In active markets a presale purchase price is usually considerably lower than the actual value of the unit once construction is completed. Therefore, the re-sale value of your home rises during the construction phase, while your earning interest on your deposit and saving up for your monthly payments.

 

Due Diligence

Long before you’re ready to sign anything, find out everything you can about the builder of each development you’re considering. Do they have a reputation for building quality product? Talk to your Realtor and to homeowners who’ve purchased from them in the past.

 

Talk to an independent mortgage broker as well, to find out what you can afford and to make sure your credit is in shape before you go in. That way you’ll be financially ready. Some developers work with banks to offer a better mortgage rate that is guaranteed before, during and after construction. This assure you that you’re rate will remain constant regardless of market fluctuations, and helps keep you within budget during the entire process.

 

Review the developer’s Disclosure Statement

Before you sign a purchase contract, you have the right to review a Disclosure Statement prepared by the developer. The Disclosure Statement lays out everything you will be buying, including proposed and filed bylaws, common property and storage allocations, and descriptions of appliances, furnishing, and finishes.

 

The developer is obligated to keep you up-to-date on amendments to estimated dates and material facts. This is important because building a new development is a long and complex process, and things often morph as it progresses.

 

Take time to review the statement carefully and make sure you understand all the terms set out in it. A good realtor will be able to answer any questions you have about the contract and remove the guesswork. Often new buyers have consulted with friends and family who may not have the most up to date information on contractual obligations and rights, leading to misunderstandings and confusion.

 

Check the Pre-sale Contract

 

After you’ve thoroughly reviewed the Disclosure Statement, look over the presale contract with a fine tooth comb. Here are a few things to look for:

 

Right of rescission- The contract will also cover when you can terminate the contract without losing your deposit. Once you sign the presage contract or a receipt acknowledging you’ve had time to review the Disclosure Statement (whichever comes later), you are given a 10-day “rescission period” where you can serve written notice to the developer to terminate the contract.

 

Allowable unit changes- Contracts usually give the builder the right to change the size, certain design features, or substitute comparable materials. The contract should also outline any adjustments to the purchase price that would be made if the finished size varies by more or less than 5% than planned.

 

Assignments- This section covers whether or not you can sell and assign your contract to a third party before completion, what fees would be involved, and what would happen to your deposit. This is significant for investor buyers who are considering selling the unit before completion.

 

The presage condo process can be an extremely educational and financially rewarding experience if done with the right amount of planning. Set yourself up for real estate investment success by getting pre-qualified with a financial institution, speaking with an experienced realtor who is familiar with the project, and carefully reviewing the developer’s offer before signing.

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Wood You Risk It? A Concrete Tale

It was built to code. It had working sprinklers. But as local firefighters pointed out, once the lightweight wood assembly caught fire, sprinklers were simply no match for the 5-alarm blaze that tore through a luxury apartment complex recently in Edgewater, New Jersey. It prompted local officials to declare a state of emergency, and displaced more than 1,000 residents. It also has resulted in several lawsuits against the developer for millions of dollars in damages.

 

Naturally, this begs the question: Is Concrete Better?

Concrete outperforms wood as a construction material, and won’t burden building owners with constant repair and maintenance costs. Versatile, long-lasting and durable, concrete is a cost-effective, sustainable choice for both residential and commercial buildings.

 

Durable

When it’s built with concrete, it’s built to last. Concrete is a building material that gains strength over time. Concrete’s 100-year service life conserves resources by reducing the need for reconstruction. Concrete is durable – it resists weathering, erosion and natural disasters, needs few repairs and little maintenance, adding up to a solid investment.

 

Economical

Operational energy requirements typically represent 85% of the total energy a building uses over its service life. Concrete provides one of the most efficient and cost-effective means of constructing energy-efficient structures. The Cobalt Engineering Report shows heavy frame buildings (concrete) generate average energy savings of 20% to 25% over light frame buildings (wood) in various locations across Canada.

 

Safe

Concrete is safe, secure and healthy for building occupants. Being an inert construction material, concrete does not burn. It also does not feed rot and mildew. It does not off-gas any volatile organic compounds and provides excellent indoor air quality. Superior quality of construction helps prevent the entry of pollen, dust and other airborne pollutants. The structural integrity of concrete provides added protection against earthquakes and severe weather. Thanks to solid construction and the benefits of thermal mass, concrete provides superior protection against the effects of outdoor temperature swings, which means a draft-free interior environment and consistent room temperatures, year-round.

 

Sustainable

In concrete’s life cycle, recycling is present from start to finish. Many wastes and industrial byproducts that would end up in landfills are used in the cement kiln or can be added to concrete mixes to provide desirable characteristics. Used concrete is recyclable and serves as aggregate in roadbeds or as granular material in new concrete. While production of a cubic metre of conventional concrete generates 210 kilograms of CO2, this effect is mitigated by the inclusion of supplementary cementing materials, and by the use of waste products to heat the cement kilns.

 

Quiet Comfort

A peaceful and quiet building enhances the comfort of occupants and provides a sense of privacy – solid concrete walls and floors means significant sound reduction from your neighbours units, the floors above, and the building’s plumbing systems. Simply put, concrete lets you sleep at night.

 

 

 

 

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mortgage

Don’t Leave Your Mortgage Rate to Fate

Buying a home is a multi-step process which begins with your credit score. Your credit score is the benchmark for determining what the best interest rate that a lender can offer you will be. Lenders take a risk when lending so they will want to know what your repayment habits are on the credit you currently have. A good credit score indicates good repayment practices which gives the lenders confidence that you will repay the loan. The reward for you is a lower interest rate.

 

Next, talk to a lender or mortgage broker and apply for a mortgage. Being pre-approved will tell you exactly how much you can borrow and what your interest rate is. The lender will give you a pre-approval letter, which you can attach to any offers you make on homes. Studio On The Hill pre-sale buyers qualify for our exclusive mortgage rate protection program with TD Canada Trust. Your mortgage rate is locked in at the time of purchase and is guaranteed at completion. If the interest rates have dropped by the time you close, you benefit from the lower rate. Our TD representative Ani Lika can answer all of your questions about mortgages and qualifying, even if you’re not quite ready to buy. It’s better to have a clear picture of what you can afford before you start to shop around. It will save you time, money, and stress. The rule of thumb is to keep your housing costs to 30% of your income, with 25% being closer to the ideal. In many cases, buyers are surprised by what they can actually afford to carry as a mortgage, once the math is done.

 

Contact Ani Lika today for a free consultation: ani.lika@td.com.

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mortgage

Exclusive Mortgage Rate Offer

 Interest rates are at their lowest in years and will likely rise in the future. Buying a presale Studio on The Hill condominium home can save you $1,000’s compared to higher prices during construction and even higher on completion. Our presage program is ending this month, and Studio on The Hill wants to help you take advantage of an incredible offer from our partner, TD Bank.

 

Now you can take advantage of an amazing offer from TD Canada Trust for Studio on The Hill presale buyers. Purchase at Studio on The Hill today, choose the TD mortgage that best suits you and AT NO COST TO YOU TD will guarantee your mortgage rate at completion based on today’s low mortgage rates. Better still, if rates are lower at completion throw away the guarantee and take the lower rate, even if it’s from another financial institution.

 

Talk to our TD Canada Trust Representative Ani Lika for more information about how the Studio on The Hill / TD Canada Trust Mortgage Rate Protection program works.

 

Call Ani for the best rate at 780-237-2264 or email her at Ani.Lika@td.com.

 

DON’T FORGET TO ASK ABOUT THESE ADDITIONAL OFFERS:

  1. No Application fees
  2. No appraisal fees
  3. TD Mortgage Life & Critical Illness Insurance
  4. Chequing Account Service fees waived for 2 years
  5. Flexible Mortgage payment options. Deposit financing options

 

It is also important to note that a TD approval is good for 2 years whereas with other brokers it is not and you will need to get re approved and re qualified at the 1 year mark. Also Brokers do not have access to 2 year rate holds like TD does.

 

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