7 Jun

Top Home Renovations That Pay Off


Posted by: Gert Martens

Top Home Renovations That Pay Off

If you are looking for ways to improve the sales value of your home, there are a few top renovations that pay off, along with some that won’t.  You can get advice on renovations that raise your property value from your Alberts mortgage broker before you take the plunge.  Knowing which renovations are overpriced and which are beneficial can save you a lot in the long run.

We’ve asked Alberta mortgage brokers what some of the top renovations are that will actually add value to your home.

Exterior Renovations

Curb appeal and first impression matter a lot with people looking to buy a home.  If your home looks uninviting from the outside, potential buyers may bypass it altogether.  Whether you are selling your home or not, these renovations will add value to your home.

Replacing Siding

This is a renovation that is well worth the cost and can raise the value of your home by nearly 75% of the cost of the project.  It makes your home exterior look new and fresh and, depending on whether you use foam backing, can further insulate the home.

Window Replacement

Any Alberta mortgage broker can tell you that replacing old windows with new vinyl ones looks great and has the added benefit of helping to keep your energy costs down.  Buyers are more willing to buy a home that has had new energy efficient windows put in over one that has old windows.  Most replacement window installation jobs will gain you up to 74% value on the cost of the job.

Roof Replacements

Not many people want to buy a home that has to have the roof replaced and prefer homes that have recently had a roofing renovation done.  It’s an essential upgrade to the home that adds value to the property and ensures the home is protected from the elements.

Interior Renovations

Minor Kitchen Renovation

You don’t have to gut your entire kitchen to add value to the home.  Minor kitchen remodels, such as upgrading the flooring, appliances, cabinets will add around 80% recoup value to your home.

Bathroom Remodeling

Just like a kitchen, you don’t have to tear out the entire bathroom to add to the value of your home. By updating your bathroom fixtures, tiles, and flooring, you can recoup about 70% of what you put into the remodeling when it comes time to sell.

Bathroom Additions

Having more than one bathroom in the home is often a key selling feature for many.  Even if it isn’t a full bathroom, you will see many homes fitting a downstairs toilet as an addition to the home.  You can add even more value if your bathroom is universally designed for safety, such as showers with support bars, wheelchair accessibility, and walk-in showers.  You can recoup from 60 to 70% value on the jobs overall cost.

Adding a Master Suite

Another big selling point in homes is those who have a master suite with its own bathroom.  Many people will pay more for homes that have this addition and you can add around 55% to the home’s value.

These are just a few of top renovations that pay off for your home.  For more ideas and advice on adding value to your home, visit your Alberta mortgage broker.

9 May

Mortgage Rates Explained

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Gert Martens

Mortgage Rates Explained

The world of mortgage rates can seem like a minefield to many people. How do you get the best rate from your Alberta mortgage broker? First, we need to understand what a mortgage rate is.

Definition of Mortgage Rate

Basically, the mortgage rate refers to the interest that you pay for the money you have borrowed. It’s a fee charged for the use of that money borrowed. The interest rate, or mortgage rate, can be a fixed rate mortgage, adjustable rate mortgage, or variable rate mortgage. Whatever this rate is will have a substantial impact on the amount being paid back every month.

How Are Mortgage Rates Set?

It’s mainly the housing market that sets the mortgage rate, alongside the Bank of Canada and other large banks’ influence. One of the most influential is the residential mortgage bond market. So, the higher the yield of mortgage bonds, the higher the mortgage rate.

Regarding the types of mortgages, it is usually the fixed rate options that have the higher interest rates. This is down to a fixed rate locking in a particular rate of interest that cannot be increased throughout the mortgage’s term, regardless of a rise in mortgage rates. Also, longer-term mortgages tend to have a higher rate of interest than shorter-term mortgages.

Fixed, Adjustable, and Variable Rates

A fixed rate mortgage, as explained earlier, locks in a specific interest rate for the entirety of the mortgage term. The benefit with this option is that there will be no surprise changes should the interest rates suddenly shoot up. However, should they drop lower than your fixed rate, you may end up paying more than you would with the lower market rate.

An adjustable rate mortgage means that both the interest rate and mortgage payment amount will vary based on the conditions of the housing market. You generally start with a lower rate of interest that will change after a period, for example 5 years. This is a good option if you plan on moving before that 5 year period is up.

A variable rate mortgage means your mortgage payments and interest rate fluctuates depending on the housing market. This one is considered a bit risky because you can end up paying more if the interest rates shoot up. Your Alberta mortgage broker may start you off with a low rate for taking the risk. This is an option that isn’t always viable for those who are on a strict budget though. Your Alberta mortgage broker can guide you on the best option for your situation.

Conventional and High-Ratio

Conventional mortgages are those where the buyer has paid at least 20% of the homes purchase price and the lender pays 80%. A high-ratio mortgage comes into play when you make less than the 20% down payment of the value of the home. This means that the lender covers up to 95%. A high-ratio mortgage requires insurance against any payment defaults, but the interest rates tend to be lower.

Open and Closed Mortgages

Closed mortgages mean you pay the same amount every month for the entire mortgage term. This is a good choice if you need a fixed payment schedule and you don’t plan on moving or refinancing your mortgage before the mortgage term ends.

With an open mortgage, you can make a lump sum payment at any given time, and it can be paid off before the term without being charged a penalty. Open mortgages are a good option for those who plan to sell their homes in the near future, or who want to have the flexibility of making large lump sum payments. These mortgages tend to have a higher interest rate than a closed mortgage.

There are many options where mortgage loans are concerned. Speaking with an Alberta mortgage broker means you will get a deal that suits your needs and situation.

15 Apr

Is a Pre-Approval Letter Necessary to Make an Offer?


Posted by: Gert Martens

Now that we are officially in the spring season, that means we are approaching the peak time to buy a home. Most home buyers wait until spring to purchase a house because that is when the real estate market is most active.

As a first-time homebuyer, you should start preparing all the pertinent documentation and getting your finances in order. Make sure you schedule an appointment with your mortgage broker in Alberta so they can walk you through the application process.

So, to help you get started, Gert Martens with Dominion Lending Centres has explained what exactly a mortgage pre-approval letter is and if one is required to make an offer on a home.


What Is A Mortgage Pre-Approval Letter?

A mortgage pre-approval letter is when your broker reviews all your financial documentation and will run a credit check on your finances to see what your debt-to-income ratio is. This will help them determine how much you would be able to borrow for your Alberta mortgage.

Now you do not need a mortgage pre-approval letter in order to put an offer on a house, however, there are many benefits that come with getting pre-approved.


Benefits Of A Pre-Approval Letter

As mentioned above, your mortgage broker will review your financial documents and let you know how much you’ll be able to borrow. This means you will know what price range to shop in once you start viewing different houses. Knowing this can save you time so you don’t view a home outside your budget.

Another benefit of receiving a pre-approval letter is that it gives you more credibility with sellers. This letter shows sellers that you are financially fit enough to become a homeowner, which means they will be more likely to choose your offer over someone who has not been pre-approved.


Contact Us

If you would like to learn more information on the benefits of receiving a pre-approval letter or if you are looking to apply for an Alberta mortgage, please contact Gert Martens with Dominion Lending Centres at 780-933-0109.

8 Mar

Market Update – Grande Prairie and Surrounding Area


Posted by: Gert Martens

Most potential homeowners feel the best time to purchase a home is during the spring and summer months. This is due to the fact that experts on the Home Garden and Television network (HGTV) state that is when the peak season to buy a home is. However, this creates an influx in buyers since everyone is waiting until then to make their purchase and to apply for an Alberta mortgage. This means that mortgage rates have risen and there is an increase in competition for homes.

So, to avoid looking for homes in the spring and summer months, consider purchasing your home now, this winter. By working with a mortgage broker in Alberta, you will receive low rates on your home loan and can take your time viewing whichever homes you are interested in.

To help you get started in the home buying process, your local broker, Gert Martens with Dominion Lending Centres, has listed the most recent market update for Grande Prairie and Surrounding Areas.


Grande Prairie and Surrounding Areas

Market Update

In regards to Zolo.ca, Alberta has approximately 4.1 million inhabitants and this region spreads over 642 kilometers. Grande Prairie is among one of the more popular cities in this area and there are currently 759 different property types available for purchase.

In 2018, the Grande Prairie region had a strong year for residential sales. This is mainly due to the increase in production from the oil and gas companies. Experts are predicting another strong year for the area, which means housing prices are expected to increase. Therefore, if you are considering applying for an Alberta mortgage and would like to purchase a home in Grande Prairie, it would be in your best interest to do so now before the rates get even higher.

As for the surrounding areas, such as in Peace River, there are currently 145 different properties for sale and 100 of those properties are single, detached homes. Please reach out to your local Alberta mortgage broker for more details.


Contact Us

If you would like to receive more information on the market update for the Grande Prairie and surrounding areas, please contact Gert Martens with Dominion Lending Centres at 780-933-0109.

16 Nov

Benefits of a Second Mortgage


Posted by: Gert Martens

If you are currently a homeowner and have been making regular payments on your mortgage every month, you could have accumulated a substantial amount of equity in your home. Your home’s equity is the difference between what you owe on your mortgage and your home’s overall value, meaning that the more payments you make towards your mortgage, the more equity you could have in your home.

Having an increase in home equity opens up a lot of doors for homeowners that they might not have ever thought about. This includes obtaining a second mortgage. So, to help provide some clarity, Gert Martens, your local mortgage broker, has explained what a Grande Prairie second mortgage is and the benefits in obtaining one.


What Is A Second Mortgage?

A second mortgage is an additional home loan that is taken out on your house, where your home is put up as collateral in case you default on your payments and are unable to pay back your broker. This mortgage does not replace your original mortgage, it is in addition to. This means that you will have to make two separate payments towards your mortgage every month.

In order to qualify for a Grande Prairie second mortgage, the requirements are the same as when you applied for your first mortgage, which includes having a steady income and a good credit score. Also, it is important that you are not in large amounts of debt. You will not be approved for a second mortgage if you owe too much on your first mortgage, so be sure and pay off your home loan as much as you can before you apply.


Benefits Of A Second Mortgage

When you obtain a second mortgage, you gain access to a large sum of money by tapping into your existing home equity. Once you have this money, there are no restrictions on what you can use it for. So, if you wish to purchase more real estate with this amount, you can. Or, you can use this money to help pay for your child’s college tuition or you can even pay off any loans you may have accumulated over the years. Taking out a second mortgage can also be used to fund a luxurious vacation or purchase a dream car.


Get Started Today

Whatever the case may be, a Grande Prairie second mortgage can offer you immense financial benefits. So don’t wait, contact your local mortgage broker, Gert Martens, today at 780-933-0109 to get started!

8 Oct

Mortgage Calculators


Posted by: Gert Martens

Congratulations on making the decision to purchase a home. There are a lot of benefits to homeownership such as more privacy, it’s a great financial investment, there are some initial tax benefits, more creative freedom, and home equity. Making sure you have the appropriate amount of finances so you can afford a house and start reaping these benefits of home ownership is the first step of the loan approval process.

Reviewing your finances and using a mortgage calculator is a convenient way to stay on top of your expenses and help you become more organised. So, to help you get started, your local Grande Prairie mortgage broker, Gert Martens with Dominion Lending Centres, has listed the usefulness and importance of mortgage calculators.

Mortgage Calculators

A mortgage calculator is a useful tool where you can find out what type of mortgage payments you will have depending on the type of home you are looking for. With this device, you can manually type in the sale price of the home you want, the down payment percentage you are thinking about paying, the length of the mortgage you are interested in, and the annual percentage interest rate.

Once you input all this information, multiple different factors are calculated. The calculator will provide information on how much you would owe if you were to make a 10% down payment on a $150,000. It is important to note, however, that if you pay below 20% on your down payment in Canada, you will be required to obtain mortgage default insurance.

Your mortgage calculator will also tell you what the amount that would need to be financed is, your monthly payment with principal and interest as well as what your monthly payment would be if you had to pay mortgage default insurance on top of your Grande Prairie home loan payments.

Regardless if you are a first-time home buyer or are refinancing your home, a mortgage calculator is free to use and can help you see what your affordability is before you begin the application process. Please click HERE to try out our mortgage calculator today!

Contact Us

For more information on mortgage calculators or to get started on your application for a Grande Prairie home loan, please contact Gert Martens at 780-933-0109.

13 Sep

Tips For Renewing Your Mortgage


Posted by: Gert Martens

Renewing your mortgage has a lot of added benefits, such as shortening or extending your loan’s amortization period, receiving the current low-interest rates, or to consolidate your debt. Whatever the case may be, there are a few tips you should know before you begin the mortgage renewal application process.

So, to help get you started, your local Grande Prairie mortgage broker, Gert Martens with Dominion Lending Centres, has listed 5 useful tips for renewing your mortgage.

Tip #1: Shop Around

Most homeowners don’t realise that you do not have to stay with your current mortgage broker if you wish to renew your mortgage. Instead, shop around and compare different lenders prices with one another so you who is offering the best rates. It is also worth noting that you will not be charged a fee if you switch brokers, so there is no harm in shopping around and comparing prices.

Tip #2: Review Your Finances

Before you begin the renewal process for a Grande Prairie mortgage, review your finances and come up with a financial goal so you are prepared when you go in to speak with a broker. Having a plan and sharing it with your broker can help them understand what exactly you are hoping to achieve with your mortgage.

Tip #3: Good Credit

Your credit score still largely affects the type of rates you will receive on your mortgage renewal, just as it affected your primary mortgage. Therefore, make sure you have good credit before you apply or you risk the chance of your application getting denied.

Tip #4: Pay Down Debt

Grande Prairie mortgage brokers will be more inclined to reject your application if you have large amounts of debt. So, before you begin the application process, pay off any high-interest debt you may have. This can also help increase your credit score.

Tip #5: Don’t Accept A Bank’s Posted Rate

A bank’s posted rate may seem like the cheapest option but it is not. Instead, negotiate with a bank first to see how low they are willing to drop their rates. You may even want to consider using a mortgage broker so they can find you the best rates on the market.

Contact Us

For more information on tips for renewing your mortgage or to begin your Grande Prairie mortgage application, please contact Gert Martens with Dominion Lending Centres at 780-933-0109.

9 Aug

Market Update – July 2018


Posted by: Gert Martens

Buying a home is a huge investment, and will most likely be the biggest expense you ever have. It is important as a first-time homebuyer to be familiar with the residential market before you make such a big financial commitment. Therefore, comparing listing prices and viewing sales over the last year can help you decide when the best time to buy is, and it can help you predict where housing prices might head in the future.

If you are searching the greater Grande Prairie area and are in need of a Wembley mortgage, then it is important to be up to date with the current market trends. So, to help you get started, Gert Martens with Dominion Lending Centres has listed the most current market update for Grande Prairie and its surrounding area.

Market Update

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), the total residential homes that were sold in June 2018 was 282 units, which was a drastic 21.6% increase from June 2017. By comparing the number of homes that were sold from January to the end of June, a total number of 1,347 units were sold, which was a 20.2% increase from this same time frame last year.

The average price of homes sold in the Grande Prairie area was $319,084, which was a 5.3% rise from June 2017. The provincial average price for houses sold decreased 2.3% compared to the previous year, with the average price being $402,354. With this recent decline in the provincial average price, now would be an excellent time to lock in a rate for your Wembley mortgage before the prices go back up.

In addition, at the end of June, there were a total of 536 active listings posted, which was an 11.3% decrease compared to the year prior. This amount of listings is surprising since spring and summer is the best time to put a home on the market. This decrease in active listings could be due to the new Canadian mortgage rules, which has affected the overall amount homebuyers can borrow. Talk to your local Wembley mortgage broker for more details.

Contact Us

If you would like to know more information on the current residential market for the Grande Prairie and surrounding area or would like to get started on your application today, please contact Gert Martens with Dominion Lending Centres at 780-933-0109.

16 Jul

Top Reasons to Buy a Home


Posted by: Gert Martens

Taking the initiative to quit renting and purchase a home is a big step. Knowing if you are financially ready to become a homeowner is half the battle, the other half is wondering if it really is worth it to make such a big purchase. Well as your trusted Wembley mortgage broker, Gert Martens with Dominion Lending Centers has listed the top 5 reasons on why you should buy a home.

Reason #1: Consistent Payments

When you rent a home, your landlord has the right to increase your monthly rent at the end of every lease. This means that you could be spending more money on each renewal. However, if you buy a home and obtain a fixed rate mortgage your monthly rates will never change. This will allow you to accurately budget since you will know exactly how much you owe and how long it will take you to pay it off.

Reason #2: Creative Freedom

Landlords generally do not allow tenants to change the interior of the home in any way, or there is a fee. If you own your home, you will have the complete creative freedom to change and decorate the house any way you would like. You can paint the walls any color or even renovate the interior for a more modern look.

Reason #3: Good Investment

You will never see the money you spend every month on rent, again. It gives you no added, long-term benefit. Buying a house is a good investment because homes appreciate in value. In addition, every time you pay towards your Wembley mortgage, you are decreasing your loan balance and increasing your home equity. When you have enough equity in your home you can access that money and use it any way you would like.

Reason #4: Low-Interest Rates

Rates have currently been at an all-time low, which means now would be the best time to buy a house and obtain a mortgage with low, affordable payments. To find out what current rates are going for, contact your local Wembley mortgage broker at 780-933-0109.

Reason #5: Community Involvement

Homeowners are more likely to get involved in the community than those who rent. Owning a home could entice you to volunteer in the community to better the area in which you live. Community involvement is also an excellent way to meet new people, strengthen your skills and learn more about the area.

Contact Us

For more information on reasons to buy a home, or to get started on your Wembley mortgage application today, please contact Gert Martens at 780-933-0109.

12 Jun

5 Tips for Raising Your Credit Score


Posted by: Gert Martens

Your credit score largely affects what kind of rates you will receive on your La Crete mortgage. Therefore, it is important that you familiarise yourself with your current score so you have a better understanding of what type of mortgage you will qualify for. Your credit score not only determines how high of an interest rate you will receive, but it also dictates what kind of loan you will be able to apply for since each loan has a different requirement.

To help, Gert Martens with Dominion Lending Centres has made a list of 5 tips to help raise your credit score.

Tip #1: Make Sure Your Credit Report Is Correct

It is not uncommon for credit card companies to make a mistake on someone’s account. This means you should review your financial record to make sure all the information listed is correct. If there is an error on your record, fixing this problem could help improve your score.

Tip #2: Do Not Miss Payment Due Dates

If you skip a payment or have multiple late payments pending, your credit score will be negatively affected. Write on your calendar when these payments are due, or set up a reminder on your cell phone so you know exactly when you need to make your payments. Being organised and paying off late payments can help increase your credit score.

Tip #3: Pay Off Debt

Being in a lot of debt can hurt your credit score, so the more you pay towards your debt, the more your credit report will be improved. You can consolidate your debt by refinancing your La Crete mortgage. This can be done by accessing the equity in your home and using that money to pay off any outstanding balances you have. For more information, contact your local broker at 780-933-0109.

Tip #4: Get A Credit Card

If you do not have a credit card, your score could be very low and be affecting your ability to make big purchases. Getting a credit card can improve your credit if you stay on top of the payments and do not spend more than you can afford.

Tip #5: Avoid Retail Credit Cards 

If you are out shopping and a retail store says you will receive exclusive deals if you sign up for their credit card, do not accept this deal. Regardless if you get approved or not, filling out this application can cause your credit score to drop. If you want or need this type of credit card, avoid applying for one until you have already been approved for a home loan.

Contact Us

For more information on how to raise your credit score, please contact Gert Martens, your local La Crete mortgage broker, at 780-933-0109.