neigh

How to Gauge a Neighbourhood’s Appeal

When you buy a home, you are also buying a neighborhood, the place where you will spend most your social time and where your children will attend school. Before making an offer on a property, you need to check out the neighbourhood and figure out if it’s right for your lifestyle.

Let’s review the best ways you can measure a neighbourhood’s appeal to determine if it’s the right place for you to call home.

Create a Checklist

First thing is to make a list of the things that matter to you. Some are mostly concerned with commute to work where others want the vibe brought forth by local restaurants and bars.

Here are some items for your checklist but be sure to customize it based on what you want from a neighbourhood. This list includes features that people with children should consider.

  • Quality and quantity of schools, including daycares
  • Social or family programs, including recreational sport leagues, music classes, art classes, libraries, after school programs, etc.
  • Walk Score, which measures the walkability of a neighbourhood. This means can residents walk to do their errands and do walking routes exist to local amenities.
  • Public transportation, including access to the subway, streetcars and buses.
  • Nightlife, which includes cinemas, theatres, bars, cafés and restaurants.
  • Green space, including parks, parkettes, dog parks or even hiking trails.

Adjust this list to what you are seeking in a neighbourhood. If you can cross off the majority than a neighbourhood might be a good fit for your life.

Online Research

The internet is rife with information specific to neighbourhoods. Yelp can give you an idea of the local restaurant scene. Greatschools can help you understand the quality of local schools. Dwellr uses Census Burea Dara to provide statistics on community.

Be sure to leverage the information provided by their online resources to get a better idea of a neighbourhood on your list. 

Speak to the Locals

The best way to measure a neighbourhood’s livability is to visit it. Spend time in the popular spots and visit the schools to speak with the administrators.

It’s wise to strike up conversations with the local to get a more personal and honest view of what it’s like to live in the area. You can strike up conversations with people in the coffee shops or restaurants but we would also recommend speaking with the people who work in the area—postal workers, bartenders, store owners, to name a few.

Keep an Eye Out for Red Flags

When neighbourhood shopping, here are a few red flags to be aware of:

  • Lack of new developments. This can be proof that the neighbourhood is not experiencing growth.
  • Low housing prices. Make sure you look at regional data to see how homes in the area are selling.
  • General friendliness. This one is more subjective but try to gauge whether the residents are friendly and what the experience is like patronizing some of the establishments. This can ultimately be very telling.

Happy Home Hunting!

Searching for your next home is a daunting task but understanding what to expect from a neighbourhood can simplify the decision-making process. It will also ensure you aren’t surprised by something local after moving in.

Reach out to us if you are ready to discuss your mortgage options. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Down-Payment

Where to Invest your Money if Saving for a Down Payment

A down payment is typically between 10-20% of the purchase price. Of course, the more you can pay upfront the better, but most buyers in the GTA aim for at least 10%. To reach your down payment goal quickly, here are some options with respect to investing your money.

Remember, this is for people who are comfortable with investing, have the knowledge to successfully navigate the world, or have someone they trust—like a broker—to guide them. It is not recommended to ever risk your money to grow it.

Where can you invest your money to build a down payment to get the mortgage you want?

High-Interest Savings Account

High-Interest savings account from any of the popular institutions is one of the better and more common places for people to grow their down payment. Granted, it stretches the definition of the word, “investment”, but your money can grow and be secure.

Most banks allow you to set up automatic deposits, making savings easier.

Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)

A GIC offers a guaranteed safe return so there is no risk involved. You know the return will be limited but if you are only looking to raise the last little bit of your down payment then a GIC could make sense.

There’s another downside besides the low return. If you pull your money too early you could be forced to pay a fine.

RRSP

This is the one that first-time homebuyers should consider.

RRSPs is usually viewed as part of a retirement savings plan. While your money won’t necessarily grow, it can help you in other ways. Canadian residents who are buying a property for the first time can take advantage of the Home Buyers’ Plan, which allows you to withdraw up to $25,000 from a RRSP tax-free. If there are two people who are buying the home, then each can use the plan to withdraw up to $50,000.

Remember, you must repay the withdrawn amount within 15 years.

Saving is never easy. Even if the property is fairly priced, a down payment will be a lot of money. You need to be prudent and save diligently.

Contact us to discuss your down payment or to start the pre-approval process.

disruption-and-digital-transformation-1

The Technological Disruption to Real Estate

From listing apps to contract platforms, technology has changed the face of real estate and will continue to evolve every aspect of how people buy and sell properties. Technology streamlines a complicated process and every real estate agent and lender should be taking advantage.

Let’s review some of the most exciting web and mobile applications that buyers and sellers should consider adopting to maximize efficiency, drive the value of their property or to even help them negotiate a sale.

DocuSign

This app has over 200 million users and allows users to sign documents from any device. It has replaced cumbersome old methods like faxing and doesn’t require a courier or postal office. It’s secure and easy to use and automatically sends fully executed documents to all parties.

Your realtor should be using DocuSign to secure your signature on key documents. It will speed up the purchase process.

Magic Plan 

This app is a bit more niche but it allows people to turn photos into floorplans by marking the corners. Once you have a floorplan, you can edit and decorate and start to see how you can make the property more valuable or how you can add your own personal touches.

The app creates 3D views and users can export their floorplans. This is a great tool for real estate agents to use with their clients.

Canadian Mortgage App

The Canadian Mortgage app is a well-built and simple mortgage calculator that uses industry qualifies and the 2018 stress test. Its algorithm includes land transfer taxes and rebates. We recommend speaking with a lender to get pre-approved as no app can replace the opportunity to ask your questions to an expert in the mortgage field.

For those looking to learn more about mortgages or to get an idea of what they can afford, this app is useful.

BiggerPockets 

BiggerPockets is an online resource that educates people on everything real estate. Users can find out about specific markets and gain access to analytical tools. You can also get connected to agents and vendors.

This is an education website for people who want to learn more and have the comfort of knowing what they are getting into.

Get Pre-Approved Today!

Online resources and apps are useful but they work best when you partner with an agent and lender. Contact us today to start the pre-approval process and we would be happy to answer all your questions.

why_need_renters_large

Toronto’s Impending Rental Hike

Toronto is a metropolis but living in the GTA can be challenging. Because of the mortgage stress test that was implemented several years ago and the overall cost of property, many have been unable to enter the housing market. This has led to a hyper-competitive rental market with no end in sight.

As if rental prices aren’t high enough, this year might see a 11% hike. This is bad news for young professionals in Canada’s most expensive city.

Reasons for this Hike

The lack of inventory is the biggest culprit. Supply is driving demand, allowing landlords and property owners to charge renters more. This lack of inventory is the result of people staying put because they don’t want to be susceptible to higher rent. The difference in one’s current rent compared to moving to a new place could be hundreds of dollars.

There is an incentive for people to stay where they are even if they want to upgrade or move to a more desirable neighbourhood.

The Impact on Renters

Per a panel of housing experts, the average annual rent for a typical apartment or condo in Downtown Toronto will increase, making moving or living in Core Toronto very difficult those with a relatively normal income.

The new average cost of renting will make moving in the foreseeable future impossible for some as a person will need to pay for first and last month’s rent in addition to being able to carry the home monthly.

Toronto will experience a more significant increase than other major Canadian cities like Ottawa and Vancouver.

It’s Time to Consider a Mortgage 

Most want to buy a property but feel that they can’t afford it. Buying a home costs more but the difference between a mortgage and rent could be negligible, or a mortgage could conceivably cost less per month.

If you don’t have enough money to cover a 20% down payment or the other fees, then make 2019 a year of saving. Put off upgrading your rental home and make other sacrifices so that getting approved for a mortgage can be a reality in 2020.

If you want to learn more about mortgage approval or start planning, then contact us today!

mortgage stress test

Looking Back at the Mortgage Stress Test

The mortgage stress test hasn’t been in effect for very long but enough time has passed for us to examine its early impact. Enacted as of January 2018, Canadians applying for a new mortgage or refinancing an existing one had to prove their financial situations could withstand an interest rate hike.

This Government initiative was designed to protect lenders from defaults and borrowers from overextending themselves. It’s fair to say that the high prices and competitiveness of the GTA and Vancouver housing markets required this level of intervention.

Impact on the National Housing Market

All of Canada’s big banks instituted the stress test so there wasn’t a way around the rules. The result was that many people had to stay with their lender and buyers had to settle for a less expensive home.

There was an impact on inventory as fewer properties were put up for sale. This led to a seller’s market and higher average prices. For those who were looking to refinance, they most likely had to settle for a lower loan amount.

None of this is particularly bad. It was simply a shift in lending, which led to people being more cautious.

Best Chance at Passing

To pass a mortgage stress test, you should max out your down payment. This means getting as close to 20% as possible if not more. Also, if you feel as if a promotion or better paying job is around the corner, then it’s not a bad idea to wait until your household income is higher.

These rules roughly breakdown as $600 for $100,000 you borrow to purchase a home. If you think you can afford this then you are in good shape to get pre-approved. This is something to discuss with your lender as they can guide you through the entire process.

Talk to a Broker Today

Contact us to discuss your financial situation and to start the pre-approval process. We would be happy to answer your questions and give you a clear picture of what your future as a homeowner could look like.

saving for down payment

Where to Invest your Money if Saving for a Down Payment

A down payment is typically between 10-20% of the purchase price. Of course, the more you can pay upfront the better, but most buyers in the GTA aim for at least 10%. To reach your down payment goal quickly, here are some options with respect to investing your money.

Remember, this is for people who are comfortable with investing, have the knowledge to successfully navigate the world, or have someone they trust—like a broker—to guide them. It is not recommended to ever risk your money to grow it.

Where can you invest your money to build a down payment to get the mortgage you want?

High-Interest Savings Account

A high-interest savings account from any of the popular institutions is one of the better and more common places for people to grow their down payment. Granted, it stretches the definition of the word, “investment”, but your money can grow and be secure.

Most banks allow you to set up automatic deposits, making savings easier.

Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)

A GIC offers a guaranteed safe return so there is no risk involved. You know the return will be limited but if you are only looking to raise the last little bit of your down payment then a GIC could make sense.

There’s another downside besides the low return. If you pull your money too early you could be forced to pay a fine.

RRSP

This is the one that first-time homebuyers should consider.

RRSPs is usually viewed as part of a retirement savings plan. While your money won’t necessarily grow, it can help you in other ways. Canadian residents who are buying a property for the first time can take advantage of the Home Buyers’ Plan, which allows you to withdraw up to $25,000 from a RRSP tax-free. If there are two people who are buying the home, then each can use the plan to withdraw up to $50,000.

Remember, you must repay the withdrawn amount within 15 years.

Saving is never easy. Even if the property is fairly prices, a down payment will be a lot of money. You need to be prudent and save diligently.

Contact us to discuss your down payment or to start the pre-approval process.

disruption

The Technological Disruption to Real Estate

From listing apps to contract platforms, technology has changed the face of real estate and will continue to evolve every aspect of how people buy and sell properties. Technology streamlines a complicated process and every real estate agent and lender should be taking advantage.

Let’s review some of the most exciting web and mobile applications that buyers and sellers should consider adopting to maximize efficiency, drive the value of their property or to even help them negotiate a sale.

DocuSign

This app has over 200 million users and allows users to sign documents from any device. It has replaced cumbersome old methods like faxing and doesn’t require a courier or postal office. It’s secure and easy to use and automatically sends fully executed documents to all parties.

Your realtor should be using DocuSign to secure your signature on key documents. It will speed up the purchase process.

Magic Plan 

This app is a bit more niche but it allows people to turn photos into floorplans by marking the corners. Once you have a floorplan, you can edit and decorate and start to see how you can make the property more valuable or how you can add your own personal touches.

The app creates 3D views and users can export their floorplans. This is a great tool for real estate agents to use with their clients.

Canadian Mortgage App

The Canadian Mortgage app is a well-built and simple mortgage calculator that uses industry qualifies and the 2018 stress test. Its algorithm includes land transfer taxes and rebates. We recommend speaking with a lender to get pre-approved as no app can replace the opportunity to ask your questions to an expert in the mortgage field.

For those looking to learn more about mortgages or to get an idea of what they can afford, this app is useful.

BiggerPockets

BiggerPockets is an online resource that educates people on everything real estate. Users can find out about specific markets and gain access to analytical tools. You can also get connected to agents and vendors.

This is an educational website for people who want to learn more and have the comfort of knowing what they are getting into.

Get Pre-Approved Today! 

Online resources and apps are useful but they work best when you partner with an agent and lender. Contact us today to start the pre-approval process and we would be happy to answer all your questions.

condo market

Toronto’s Impending Rental Hike

Toronto is a metropolis but living in the GTA can be challenging. Because of the mortgage stress test that was implemented several years ago and the overall cost of property, many have been unable to enter the housing market. This has led to a hyper-competitive rental market with no end in sight.

As if rental prices aren’t high enough, this year might see an 11% hike. This is bad news for young professionals in Canada’s most expensive city.

Reasons for this Hike

The lack of inventory is the biggest culprit. Supply is driving demand, allowing landlords and property owners to charge renters more. This lack of inventory is the result of people staying put because they don’t want to be susceptible to higher rent. The difference in one’s current rent compared to moving to a new place could be hundreds of dollars.

There is an incentive for people to stay where they are even if they want to upgrade or move to a more desirable neighbourhood.

The Impact on Renters

Per a panel of housing experts, the average annual rent for a typical apartment or condo in Downtown Toronto will increase, making moving or living in Core Toronto very difficult those with a relatively normal income.

The new average cost of renting will make moving in the foreseeable future impossible for some as a person will need to pay for first and last month’s rent in addition to being able to carry the home monthly.

Toronto will experience a more significant increase than other major Canadian cities like Ottawa and Vancouver.

It’s Time to Consider a Mortgage

Most want to buy a property but feel that they can’t afford it. Buying a home costs more but the difference between a mortgage and rent could be negligible, or a mortgage could conceivably cost less per month.

If you don’t have enough money to cover a 20% down payment or the other fees, then make 2019 a year of saving. Put off upgrading your rental home and make other sacrifices so that getting approved for a mortgage can be a reality in 2020.

If you want to learn more about mortgage approval or start planning, then contact us today!

new_home_owners_with_key

Should Millennials Look to Buy in 2019?

Over the last number of years, Toronto has become one of the fastest growing cities with respect to real estate prices. This has hurt millennials who feel shut out from the dream of homeownership.

Affordability is a significant and widespread issue and one that has also extended to the rental market. The rental market has become just as competitive and pricey as ownership. And why should landlords get your money without any real benefit to you?

Let’s look at some reasons why millennials should consider entering the real estate market in 2019.

Choose a Neighbourhood that Makes Sense

While it may seem more affordable in the short term, millennials who are not already in the market would be wise to make 2019 the year they jump in.

You may feel priced out of the midtown area and the downtown core, but there are various spots across Toronto to explore. Maple, Markham, Scarborough, the Junction, the Danforth, are all expanding and changing in housing and demographics. Public transit options are also changing accordingly with the subway expansion, light rail growth, and various Go train locations.

The GTA is becoming more accessible and well connected so maybe it’s time to expand your search beyond Little Italy.

Short Term vs. Long Term Payoffs

Ultimately, affording a down payment on a mortgage can be daunting, but monthly mortgage payments can potentially be lower than rent prices. In the long run, you are also paying towards owning and building equity and credit, while the value of your home is likely appreciating.

Buying a home is like investing your money in a term deposit that doubles as a place to live. You have complete control over renovating, downgrading or upgrading.

A Great Investment Option

Although there may be some risk involved, such as a real estate crash, the market is always cyclical and, therefore, you can wait until prices go back up to make a profit by selling. And while home ownership may come with some headaches, there is also satisfaction and payout in having the security and stability of your own living quarters, not to mention not that you can’t be “kicked out” by a landlord who wants the place back.

Contact us today to take the first step towards becoming a homeowner!

Oppono_logo

Oppono’s Service Commitment

With so many options available today, it can be difficult to know where to turn and from whom to seek good advice. Our service commitment was designed to make this decision easier for people looking to get approved for a mortgage or home equity line of credit.

Oppono offers borrowers many advantages, including experience, expertise and the ability to get people approved to buy their dream home.

Quick Turnaround

Oppono responds to inquiries and applications within three hours, letting people know if partnering with us makes sense. Our team also contacts you directly about your request for a mortgage to help answer any questions. We also aim to address any issues that may have arisen during your application process.

Our clients depend on us for this reason, as well as trust in our advice and assistance.

Dedicated Team

Since we strive to contact our customers and prospects within a short window of time, we are committed to hiring dedicated professionals who go beyond the typical workday. We aim to help you move forward with your mortgage application as efficiently as possible.

Our team is made up of business development managers who offer sound, helpful advice. Further, we have skilled underwriters who are reachable when you have further questions.

Follow-up

We pride ourselves on following up with customers and prospects like you as part of our excellent service and commitment. Oppono is a unique financial lender and mortgage provider in this way, because we care about delivering quality across the board. You can feel confident and at ease that you are in good hands—because we truly care about maintaining the solid reputation we have earned and continue to build.

Availability

Our team works hard to ensure you are always satisfied and content. We help you overcome any issues or challenges you might be experiencing to make the mortgage application and loan process smoother and simpler. As a result, we look forward to hearing any and all feedback you may have for us so we can continue to improve all the time.

Feel free to reach out and divulge any positive experiences or suggestions, so we can respond accordingly.