13 Nov

You Just Got a Mortgage. Now What?

Mortgage Tips

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YOU JUST GOT A MORTGAGE. NOW WHAT?

Mortgages are a funny thing. On the one hand they allow you to become a home owner without saving up enough money to purchase the home outright, which is a really good thing. On the other hand, even at today’s really low interest rates, as they are amortized over a really long time (most of the time 25 years), they can cost you a lot more money in the long run. With the government tightening mortgage qualification, chances are securing your most recent mortgage wasn’t a painless process.
So now that you finally have a mortgage, and you’re a home owner, the first thing you should do is figure out how to get rid of your mortgage! Here are 4 ways you can do that!

ACCELERATE YOUR PAYMENT FREQUENCY
Making the change from monthly payments to accelerated bi-weekly payments is one of the easiest ways you can make a difference to the bottom line of your mortgage. Most people don’t even notice the difference.
A traditional mortgage splits the amount owing into 12 equal monthly payments. Accelerated biweekly is simply taking a regular monthly payment and dividing it in two, but instead of making 24 payments, you make 26. The extra two payments really accelerate the pay down of your mortgage.

INCREASE YOUR MORTGAGE PAYMENT AMOUNT
Unless you opted for a “no-frills” mortgage, chances are you have the ability to increase your regular mortgage payment by 10-25%. This is a great option if you have some extra cash flow to spend in your budget. This money will go directly towards paying down the principal amount owing on your mortgage, and isn’t a prepayment of interest. The more money you can pay down when you first get your mortgage the better, as it has a compound effect, meaning you will pay less interest over the life of your mortgage.
Also, by voluntarily increasing your mortgage payment, it’s kinda like signing up for a long term forced savings plan where equity builds in your house rather than your bank account.

MAKE A LUMP SUM PAYMENT
Again, unless you have a “no-frills” mortgage, you should be able to make bulk payments to your mortgage. Depending on your lender and your mortgage product, you should be able to put down anywhere from 10-25% of the original mortgage balance. Some lenders are particular about when you can make these payments, however if you haven’t taken advantage of a lump sum payment yet this year, you will be eligible.

REVIEW YOUR OPTIONS REGULARLY
As your mortgage payments are withdrawn from your account regularly, it’s easy to simply put your mortgage payments on auto-pilot, especially if you have opted for a 5 year fixed term. Regardless of the terms of your mortgage, it’s a good idea to give your mortgage an annual review. There may be opportunities to refinance and lower your interest rate, or maybe not, but the point of reviewing your mortgage annually, is that you are conscious about making decisions regarding your mortgage.

If you have any questions about your mortgage, how to get a mortgage, or how to get rid of the mortgage you have, please don’t hesitate to contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist.

written by Michael Hallett, Dominion Lending Centres

13 Nov

4 Common Financial Mistakes Every Small Business Owner Should Avoid

Mortgage Tips

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4 COMMON FINANCIAL MISTAKES EVERY SMALL BUSINESS OWNER SHOULD AVOID

Every entrepreneur and business owner will make a few financial mistakes during their journey. Those who aren’t savvy in accounting often overlook the need to brush up on their financial IQ. Truth is, these little financial errors can lead to some serious cash flow problems if you aren’t careful. Here are four financial mistakes you can easily avoid so you can protect your bottom line.

Late payments
Nobody is fond of paying bills. We tend to put them off until the last minute for short-lived peace of mind. This applies to all business owners when it comes to both your account payables and receivables.
When billing your clients, it’s common to give them an extended window of time to make payments so you can foster more sales. While your clients may appreciate the flexibility this can seriously cripple your cash flow. I generally suggest giving your clients no longer than 14 days to pay an invoice. If you’re providing quality goods and services they should have no problem paying you within this time window.
When it comes to paying your own bills, it’s important to follow the same principles above. This is especially the case if you’re operating off borrowed money. Paying an invoice late may result in a few unhappy emails, but when it comes to paying off your debts you need to always be on time. Even one missed payment can severely harm your credit score.
The best way to stay on top of these is to use an online payments solution that offers online invoicing and accounting features. This way all of your bills are organized and can be accessed anywhere at anytime.

Forgetting to have an emergency fund
Every successful entrepreneur will probably tell you that hindsight is 20/20 and foresight is … well you just never know what’s going to happen. Every business will have to pivot and there will always be unexpected hurdles. That being said, it’s absolutely imperative that you have your contingency plan, especially when it comes to finances. I recommend that every business owner has a three-month emergency fund at least.
You should start putting money away into your emergency fund as soon as the cash comes in. No matter the size of your business you should learn the art of bootstrapping and staying lean. The more money you put away, the more you’ll force yourself to get by with what you have. The majority of startups fail due to the lack of or misuse of capital. Having an emergency fund gives you a bit more runway when disaster strikes.

Failing to separate business funds from personal funds
This is one of the most common and dangerous pitfalls in small businesses. Small business owners often put their lives on the line for their business, literally. This is a big no-no. When starting a business it’s important to immediately separate your personal finances from your business finances. If you’re like any other entrepreneur it’s going to take more than one go to be successful. That being said, you definitely don’t want a failed business to tarnish your financial reputation.
Start by opening up a business bank account and apply for a business credit card to keep track of expenses. Make sure you’re only using your business credit card for business expenses and vice a versa. Failing to separate the two can also lead to complications around balancing accounts, filing taxes, measuring profits and even setting clear financial goals. Do yourself a favor and avoid mixing these expenses.

Spending too much time on non-cash-generating activities
It’s a given that you most likely won’t see an ROI on every activity you do when running a business. That being said, it’s important to distinguish which ones have the highest chance of eventually generating some cash flow. When it comes to time tracking and time management, it’s important to pay close attention to your productivity levels.
Everyone has 24 hours in a day, some decide to work smarter than others and that’s why they become successful. Know that time is your most valuable asset and treat it as such. Remember, it’s okay to say no or to turn down meetings that you know provide little to no value for your business. There’s no need to take or be present on every phone call either. Being able to identify what brings true and tangible value to your business is a key to success.
Try your best to follow the 80/20 rule. There are likely three to four activities in your business that generate the most cash. Once you identify these activities, create a habit of spending 80 percent of your time doing these tasks and save the rest of your time for other miscellaneous jobs. If you’re able to get really disciplined around this strategy, it will surely pay off.
It takes years of practice to improve your financial literacy. Although most lessons in finance are learned the hard way, it’s important to learn them nonetheless. Take note of these four common financial mistakes and do your best to avoid them. Contact Dominion Lending Centres Leasing if you have any questions.

written by Jennifer Okkerse, Dominion Lending Centres
13 Nov

Advice and Options Mean You’re In Control

General

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9 NOV 2017

ADVICE AND OPTIONS MEAN YOU’RE IN CONTROL

Today, you and your spouse go looking for a new home. You’re excited because after years of scrimping and saving, you can finally afford your own place.

You’ve engaged a realtor and he’s called you to say that he’s found your new home. You visit the property and while its not perfect, your realtor insists that this is the home for you. He says there’s nothing else available that’s better suited and urges you to make an offer. He mentions at one point that he’s actually the owner of the property he’s showed you. You make an offer at the price he suggests and, hey presto, the offer is accepted!

You move in at the end of the month, happy that you’ve at least got a roof over your head.

It all sounds pretty unbelievable, doesn’t it? You can’t really imagine doing that, can you?

Let’s look at a similar scenario; one where you make a very similar choice.

A month or two earlier, you casually mention to your mum and dad that you’re going to start looking for a home. They’re both pleased and proud – they ask about your mortgage financing – and recommend you go see their account manager at Big Blue Blank.

Like most Canadians, you prefer going to the dentist over applying for credit, so after you meet with Cal from Big Blue, you’re pleased and relieved when he calls you later that day to say you’ve been pre approved for financing at a fixed rate. He’s even guaranteed the rate for 90 days! When you end up buying that not so perfect home, the mortgage is in place in a blink of an eye.

This time, the whole scenario is way more familiar, isn’t it? Why is the second scenario any more acceptable than the first?

A Mortgage Brokers’ value proposition is based upon the ability to offer independent advice about multiple products provided by multiple lending partners.

How we demonstrate that proposition is by providing both advice and options; advice on not only obtaining the right financing, but also repayment strategies and strategies to handle a changing interested rate environment.

By combining options on rates, terms, repayment privileges and to minimize penalties, we provide you with the one thing you didn’t get in either of the two scenarios – informed choice.

Dealing with a broker, any broker, gives each of us back something we are always looking for; control.

As always, if you have any questions or need help contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist.

written by Jonathan Barlow, Dominion Lending Centres