How to Get Your Condo Ready for Fall and Winter


It may seem like a long way off, but the cooler days of fall and winter will be upon us before we know it. Rather than get stuck with higher heating bills (at least for those who suffered the awfully cold temperatures we had here in Toronto last year), there are a few things you can do to prepare your condo for the colder months—and save some cash in the process. Thought winterizing homes was only for detached houses? Here are four reasons to think again:

1. Trap the Heat

Having plenty of windows in a condo means bright, light-filled living spaces. But as the temperatures dip outside, all that glass can leach out a lot of your home’s heat, and let in the cold. If they haven’t been already, look for ways to weatherproof your windows from the inside and out. Continue reading

The Consequences of Skipping a Mortgage Payment


There’s one feature that some lenders offer with their mortgage products which we’ve never really discussed before. Lately, however, it seems like everywhere we look, more and more lenders are advertising it. Maybe it’s a sign of the times, since housing prices are at their highest, as well as household debt levels, and we could all use a little relief in the financial department of our lives. But this is one feature that might sound too good to be true: it’s the option to skip-a-payment and, while it could be helpful in times of financial duress, it comes with some consequences. Take a look at how it works, what it could cost you, and what to consider before making the decision to refrain from making one of your monthly mortgage payments. Continue reading

2 Reasons to Switch Mortgage Providers at Renewal Time


If you’ve ever renewed a mortgage before, chances are you’ve at least entertained the idea of switching mortgage providers. Switching providers is often the best choice, for two reasons: new lenders can usually offer you the best mortgage rates, as well as better prepayment options. The differences in these numbers from one lender to the next may seem insignificant, at first, but waiting until you find the best options can save you thousands of dollars in interest charges over the course of a mortgage term. Here’s why you should make the move: Continue reading

How to Stress Test Your Mortgage


Worst-case scenario planning is factored into so much of our daily lives: we carry umbrellas when it’s cloudy out, pop Gravols before taking a long flight and buy travel insurance when vacationing in other countries. Why should a life-changing decision, such as taking on a mortgage, be any different?

In finance, planning for a worst-case scenario with an investment is called a stress test. When it comes to mortgages, a stress test is a way of determining exactly how much you can afford and—this is the important part—under what circumstances. For example, if your income was reduced due to a job loss or unforeseen expense, could you still afford to make mortgage payments? What if interest rates spiked, or you needed to refinance your home? Continue reading

Monthly Mortgage Update: August 2014

Kerri-Lynn McAllister

Well, despite July being one of the longest months of the year (at least in terms of hours of sunshine, although we didn’t see enough of that in Toronto), it was one of the quietest in mortgage news. Mid-month, the Bank of Canada announced it was going to leave the overnight lending rate at 1.00%, which is barely news anymore… yet that’s most of what made the headlines. (We even talked about it with CTV News.)

Fortunately (or unfortunately), new surveys were released that finally gave us something to buzz about. Take a look. Continue reading