What are Consumers Saying About their Mortgage Debt Level?

Yesterday, CAAMP (The Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals) released their annual fall Consumer Survey Report on residential mortgages. Those consumers who participated in the survey, said they are comfortable with their current mortgage debt levels.

Jim Murphy, AMP, President and CEO of CAAMP says in the press release that, “Consumer confidence in the mortgage market remains high, especially among those who have owned homes for a longer period. Consumers are paying off their mortgages faster, selecting five year fixed term rates and agreeing real estate is a good long-term investment.”

Why are consumers feeling so comfortable about their mortgage debt level?

  • taking aggressive actions to pay their mortgages off 
  • make new investments or leverage their equity to consolidate debt
  • taking advantage of the low interest rates
  • more are relying on mortgage brokers to fulfill their needs compared to the major bank institutions

Some key statistical findings from the survey:

  • 40% of mortgages this year were obtained through brokers, increasing the broker share to 28% (previously reported at 25%)
  • 80% of homeowners selected comfortable, confident, content, and/or secure when describing their emotion towards their current mortgage debt level
  • 96% will see a lower rate if planning to renew within the next six months

The report was authored by Will Dunning, Chief Economist of CAAMP.

For detailed information on the Consumer Survey Report, click here.

For the Press Release, click here.

For the Significant Statistics, click here.

If you have any questions regarding the above, please give us a call at 604-588-4466 or email us at info@brokersmart.ca


10 Things to Know About Your New Neighbourhood

Are you the new kids on the block? Sometimes it can be overwhelming thinking about moving into a new neighbourhood. Here are 10 things to keep in mind!

1. What are your neighbours like? 

Take time to get a feel for the locals and how you might fit in. Does the area attract empty nesters and retirees, for example, or is it characterized by young families? We can help inform you about demographic trends.

2. Does it fit your lifestyle?

Your homebuying checklist may include amenities that are must-haves for your lifestyle, such as access to public transit, a strong community centre, a place of worship, or even a great dog-walking park for your pooch.

3. What are the schools like?

Some schools are in such demand that parents will seek out a home in that area. Even if you don’t have young ones at home, a location in a desirable school district can give you an advantage if you decide to resell.

4. What will your commute be like?

If you drive to work, test your prospective new route in rush-hour conditions. Add up any additional costs you might incur for fuel, parking, or public transit.

5. Is there commercial activity nearby?

Shops and recreational facilities can help an area thrive economically and may add to a neighbourhood’s attractiveness to some buyers. On the other hand, consider if the traffic levels or noise will be an issue.

6. Is there a homeowner’s association?

Condo or neighbourhood associations can bring people together, instill a sense of belonging and advance the needs of the community. Many have their own volunteer-run websites, so search the Internet or inquire at city hall.

7. Is the neighbourhood new?

Don’t judge a new development solely by the plans. If you can, go to the building site to see where things will be in relation to a lot of building, such as street lighting, fire hydrants, transformers, driveways, or intersections. Find out where schools, retail space, or other amenities are planned. Raise any questions with the builder or representative before you buy.

8. How is an older neighbourhood showing its age? 

Consider the area’s infrastructure, from roads to utilities to school and other pubic facilities. Are improvements part of a city or town’s long-term plan?

9. Will there be new development? 

If you love a home for its adjacent green space of unobstructed views, don’t just assume it will stay that way. A real estate professional can tell you about zoning changes or planned construction that may affect enjoyment of your home. Keep in mind that well-planned development can also enhance the value of a neighbourhood and improve it’s infrastructure.

10. Are there restrictions?

Some municipalities have unique bylaws to restrict things such as new driveways, pools, or sheds. In some private developments, land title may include restrictive covenants to limit you from anything from stringing a clothesline to painting your front door an odd colour. Ask early to avoid any surprises at closing time.


For more blog posts on real estate and mortgages, click here.

Hidden, Uncommon Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Faster

The majority of home sellers understand the simple basics that need to be done in order to prepare you home for a showing – vacuuming, cleaning, cutting the lawn, fluffing the pillows, etc. But, there are numerous hidden, uncommon staging tips that can make your home a more desirable option for potential buyers – making it just a bit more attractive.

The Kitchen (One of the most important rooms people consider when buying home)

Simple Tip:

  • Clean the stove, sink, and countertops to become absolutely spotless

Hidden, Uncommon Tips:

  • Grind a lemon to eliminate any lingering odours to give it a fresh, inviting, natural scent to the room

  • Arrange the contents of your refrigerator and pantry to face forward for a more organized, tidy, visual appeal

hidden, uncommon tips

Source: Google

The Bathrooms

Simple Tip:

  • Scrub the tub!

Hidden, Uncommon Tips:

  • The toilet lids are closed

  • Hang matching towel sets on the racks for a uniform look

The Bedrooms

Simple Tip:

  • Beds are made, pillows are fluffed!

Hidden, Uncommon Tips:

  • Make sure nothing is lying around on the floor or misplaced

  • A shirt draped neatly over a chair or shoes lined up against the wall can appear messy to some potential buyers

The Play Place (if you have children, tidiness of the toy room is important)

Simple Tip:

  • Tidy up the toys on the floor and put them away into bins and boxes

Hidden, Uncommon Tip:

  • Set the toys up to be “staged” instead of throwing them into a corner or into a box. For example, you can set up a train to displayed how you find it at the store. If you have race track, set up the cars to be ready to race.

Extra Hidden, Uncommon Tips:

  • Did you know house plants look their biggest and brightest approximately four hours after you water them?

  • Turn all the lights on – open and brighten the house up – this includes the fireplace and even that one above the stove!

  • Don’t forget the tunes! Throw on some easy listening tunes for the background. Remember to keep the volume low as the potential buyers shouldn’t have difficulty talking above the music.


These hidden, uncommon stagings tips will only take just a few minutes to execute – but it’s worth it. Studies show that a well-prepped home for viewings will help sell your home faster and at a higher price.


FVREB October Statistics

Get up-to-date with the key stats listed in the newly released Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) October Statistics Report. Below is an overview of from the report on the current housing market situation is the Fraser Valley region.

Consistent with 10-year Average 

  • Typical levels of activity of October remain on par with the 10-year average – increase in sales, decrease in new listings 
  • Posted sales totaled 1,249, an increase of 19% compared to the same month last year
  • FVREB’s listing inventory totaled 9,047 this month, a decrease of 10% compared to the 10,551 available properties in October 2012


The benchmark prices reported for October:

  • Single family detached homes: $551,400, a 0.8% increase from October 2012
  • Townhouses: $295,500, a 0.5% drop from October 2012
  • Apartments: $199,500, a 2.2% decrease from October 2012

Ron Todson, President of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, states in the press release, “We’ve had a great summer and good early fall, but it’s important to remind everyone of the context. The last four months of 2012 we’re amongst the slowest for our real estate market in the last 15 years. What we’re witnessing is a return to a balanced residential market indicated by prices remaining unchanged or down slightly compared to a year ago, stable inventory levels and the average length of time to sell a home is about two months.”

To view the full FVREB October Statistics Report, click here.

If you have any questions, please give us a call at 604-588-4466 or email us at info@brokersmart.ca

For more blog posts on the real estate industry, click here.



REBGV October Statistics

October has flown by! End of the month calls for new stats. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) October Statistics Report on the housing market has been released. Below gives you a quick overview along with some key points of the report.

Balanced Conditions continue this month

  • For this month, residential property sales reached 2,661 on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This results in a 37.8% increase compared to October 2012
  • New listings (attached, detached, and apartment properties) totaled just over 4,300
  • Currently listed properties totaled 15,257, a decline of 5.3% compared to that of September 2013
  • $600,700 is the current composite benchmark price from the MLS Home Price Index, a 0.5% decline compared to October 2012

Sandra Wyant, President of REBGV said in the October Statistics Report, “We continue to see fairly typical activity when it comes to monthly home sale and listing totals. Today’s activity is helping to keep us in balanced market territory, which means that prices tend to experience minimal fluctuation.”

Check out the YouTube video of the October Statistics from REBGV.

To see the full, published report on the October Statistics click here.

If you have any questions regarding the above, please give us a call, 604-588-4466 or email us info@brokersmart.ca

For more blog posts on real estate related topics, click here .

10 Closing Costs When Buying a Home

When you’re ready to close that deal, it is important to know the costs associated when buying a home. Here are the 10 Closing Costs:

1. Land Transfer Tax

When a home changes hands, many provinces and a few municipalities charge a property transfer tax or title transfer fee. Rates are usually on a scale of 0.5% to 2% of the home’s value and can add thousands to your purchase price. First-time home buyers qualify for rebates or exemptions in some provinces.

2. Appraisal Fee

Your lender may ask you to have a home appraised to confirm its market value. Fees vary depending on a property’s value and complexity, but are typically around $400.

3. Legal Fees 

A lawyer or notary will help protect your interests by reviewing your purchase agreement, searching the property title, and ensuring that all documents are completed properly. Basic legal fees start between $500 and $800, plus disbursements, with added services as needed.

4. Home Inspection 

An inspection can help make you aware of issues related to a house’s structure and systems, such as plumbing and electrical, and recommended or necessary repairs. Fees range from about $350 to $450.

5.Home/Fire Insurance

Your lender will require proof that the property is insured in case of fire and other damage. Insurance costs vary, depending on the coverage needed, but budget for at least $500 a year.

6. Costs for Newly Constructed Homes 

If you’re buying a brand-new home, be prepared to settle any items not quoted in the original price, including upgrades or paving and landscaping fees. New homes are also subject to 5% GST, although this is often included in your purchase price. A federal rebate reduces the GST or the federal part of the HST to about 3.5% for homes valued at $350,000 or less.

7. Prepaid Costs 

If the seller has paid property taxes, water bills, or utilities in advance, you’ll need to reimburse these at closing. This can add hundreds to your upfront costs, but means these bills will be paid for your first months in your new home.

8. Tax on Mortgage Insurance

If you have less than a 20% down payment, your lender will require that you obtain mortgage default insurance. You can roll the cost into your mortgage payments, but the PST is due at closing. For example, if your mortgage insurance is $5,000 and the PST is 8%, you’ll pay $400.

9. Title Insurance 

Title insurance can safeguard you against fraud and problems with your property title or survey. Fees range from $150 to $350.

10. Moving-In Costs 

Before the big day, budget for all those last minute things: $100 or more to rent a van or a few hundred for professional movers, $50 to $60 for a locksmith to re-key your locks, and cleaning supplies.


If you have any questions regarding the above, please give us call to discuss.

604-588-4466      info@brokersmart.ca

For more blog posts on real estate or mortgage related topics, click here .