2 Things to Consider Before Taking Out a Collateral Mortgage


If your lender has ever offered – or only offers – you a collateral mortgage, your first reaction might be to jump on it and accept. Collateral mortgages are a readvanceable mortgage product. With one, your lender has the ability to lend you more money as your property value increases, without ever having to refinance your mortgage. If you think you’ll need to borrow more money at any point throughout your mortgage term, a collateral mortgage will save you money on legal fees and the costs of refinancing your mortgage. (And who doesn’t like to save money?)

Unfortunately, there’s more to think about, before you accept such an appealing offer. Here are two things you should consider before taking out a collateral mortgage: Continue reading

Land Transfer Tax in Calgary


In many Canadian provinces, the most expensive closing cost a homebuyer will face is their land transfer tax. We say many because there is no land transfer tax (LTT) in Calgary, Alberta. Instead, the city charges a much smaller land title transfer fee. However, just because it’s small, that doesn’t mean you should pay it without understanding how it’s been calculated. Let’s take a look at how LTT works in Calgary.

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4 Easy and Affordable DIY Condo Renovations


An oft-heard complaint about condos in high-rise buildings is that they can sometimes lack a little in terms of design and personality. The walls may all be white, the cabinets cookie-cutter, or perhaps the finishings just didn’t age well over time. Especially if you plan on selling your condo in the future, spending a little effort on renovations can yield big returns, both in terms of your initial investment and how much your enjoy your space in the meantime. Not all condo renovations need to be stressful undertakings, though. Here are a few you can tackle in under a day, and with minimal cash and handyman know-how. Continue reading

How Cash Back Mortgages Work and Who Offers Them


When buying a home, some homeowners might want to buy all new furniture, complete a home renovation or two, or simply have a safety net of cash for the first few months of homeownership. For many, though, the thought of having extra cash when purchasing a home is nothing more than a dream. Fortunately for those people, some lenders offer something called a “cash back mortgage” which can help make that dream a reality.

With a cash back mortgage, you receive a lump sum cash rebate when your mortgage closes, commonly around the 5% mark – though it can be anywhere from 1.00% to 7.00%, depending on which lender you choose. The rebate is tax-free and can be used for almost any purpose, such as to pay for closing costs, complete renovations, buy furniture or pay down other high-interest debts. Some lenders even let you use the cash back as part, or all of, your down payment.

Which Lenders Offer Cash Back Mortgages

Many Canadian lenders, including RBC, CIBC and TD Bank, offer cash back mortgages with varying terms. Take a look, then let’s run some examples of how it works: Continue reading

What Happens if Your Mortgage Renewal is Denied?


Over the past few weeks, we’ve shared a number of tips on what you should and should not do with your mortgage when it comes up for renewal. Remember that when your current mortgage term “expires” (reaches its maturity date), you’ll need to renew the outstanding balance for another term; this is a process you’ll likely do a number of times, until you pay off your mortgage in full.

Just before your term expires, your current lender will send you a renewal offer in the mail. The offer includes a new mortgage rate + term, typically for the same length as your current term, as well as a slip that you can simply sign to accept and send back. While the process is meant to be convenient (but can cost you in the long-term, which is why we suggest switching providers at renewal time), signing the slip doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get approved. Here’s what you can do if your mortgage renewal is denied. Continue reading