Buying a House With a Friend is Becoming the New Trend!

With house prices rising, it can difficult to afford a home on your own. You and a friend might be in the same situation and feel that if you pool your resources, you can invest in a home instead of throwing your money away by paying rent. What all parties have to realize is that this is a business partnership and should be treated as such.

What is involved with Buying a House With a Friend

Before you buy, it is important to look at the big picture and answer these questions:

  • Are my friends in a stable financial situation? Can they afford to split mortgage payments, utilities and come up with their share of a down payment? Ask them straight out, to avoid any issues in the future.
  • Do we share the same values? Are you both neat freaks? Couch potatoes? This can lead to tension as unlike a traditional business you are living with each other. People are used to doing things a certain way, are you ready to compromise?
  • Does everyone agree that this is an investment? Eventually, people’s lives change, they meet someone, relocate for a job. Have you talked about what will happen to the property when one person inevitably needs to sell their share?

Now that you have decided that this deal is going to work, you have to look at getting a mortgage. Is everyone involved going to be listed on the mortgage? All parties will have their credit ratings looked at and generally the person with the lowest credit rating will set the bar as to what a mortgage will be approved for.

After all of these questions have been answered and you have decided to go forward it is recommended that you find a lawyer. Once again, treat this investment as a business arrangement. Sit down with legal council and have a written agreement compiled that includes things such as:

  • Who will cover the down payment, property taxes, bills, and repairs when they are needed.
  • What will happen to the home if one of the owners is killed or incapacitated.
  • When can someone sell or leave the partnership? Do they need to give notice? Can the other partners buy out their share?

Sitting down with a lawyer will make sure that everyone fully understands how situations will be handled as they come up.

The last thing you may want to talk to your new business partner about are the house rules. Set out guidelines regarding pets, parties, noise and guests.

Purchasing a home with a friend can be an excellent way to start building your equity. As long as all of the people involved have been upfront with each other, there should be no surprises along the way to jeopardize the partnership. Let us help you when it is time to apply for that mortgage. We are here to answer any other questions that you may have when planning on buying a home with friends.

Devin Cristo & Wes Will are Trusted Saskatoon Mortgage Associates of YourMortgageNow.ca

How Much is Enough to Save for a Mortgage?

When should you start to save for a mortgage?

The challenge today is saving for a sizable deposit for a down payment and closing costs. Credit scores are critical, but so are income and assets when you are applying for a mortgage.

Home buyers are required to have at least 5% deposit of the home purchase price, although if you don’t want to purchase default insurance, then you’ll need at least 20% for a conventional mortgage.

There are several benefits to waiting until you have enough for a down payment of 20% or more before you purchase a home.

  1. Reduced mortgage payments
    The more you put down on your home upfront, the smaller your mortgage payments will be. That could help your monthly budget. More important, you could save thousands of dollars in interest in the long run. For example, on a 30-year mortgage at 5% interest, putting an extra $10,000 into the down payment will save you $9,325 in interest payments over the life of the loan.
  2. Lower interest rate
    Lenders often offer better interest rates to borrowers with a lower loan-to-value ratio, or the percentage of the purchase price that you’re financing. An increase in your down payment lowers the ratio and reduces the risk to the lender that you will be unable to pay your full loan balance. Lower interest rates can also save you money over the life of the mortgage.
  3. No mortgage-insurance fees
    If you want to contribute a smaller down payment than the traditional 20%, most lenders require that you take out mortgage insurance. This insurance protects the lender in case you cannot pay your mortgage.
  4. Instant Equity Building
    A significant down payment builds instant equity in your home. A 20%t down payment immediately puts equity into a property when you purchase it.

So, if you’re a first-time home buyer, how do you save for a down payment?

As a first-time buyer, you’ve got other things to consider, including:

  • Your rental costs. (Are they higher or lower than your potential ownership costs?)
  • Alternative uses for your down payment money. (Can you get a better return by investing down payment funds elsewhere?)
  • The size of your emergency fund. (Home ownership comes with a laundry list of unexpected expenses.)
  • Your economic stability and future earning power.

There are several ways to piece together a bigger down payment. You can:

  • Cut your spending and reduce your credit card limits. You might want to consider asking your credit card company to reduce your overall limit as this will help boost the overall amount lenders will be willing to offer you.
  • Get rid of debit! Carrying high levels of debt will reduce the overall amount lenders will be willing to offer you for a mortgage. Demonstrate to the lenders that you have responsibly made repayments on your credit cards.
  • Sell old, unwanted items.
  • Tap into the bank of mom and dad. Gifts from parents get a lot of young people started as home owners.
  • Borrow from your RRSP under the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP).
  • Apply tax refunds and bonuses.
  • Get rid of one car in a two-car household.
  • Postpone a vacation for 18 months or more.
  • Get a second job. Working a couple nights a week at a part-time job only puts extra cash in your account. It also decreases time and opportunity for you to go out and spend unnecessary money.
  • Use municipal first-time home buyer grants when applicable (like this one in Saskatoon).

There are ways we can help you plan your down payment. Give us a call today at (306) 244-7755 or visit www.www.yourmortgagenow.ca

Where Can I Find a Down Payment?

Thinking of buying a home but not sure where to start when it comes to finding a down payment? The minimum down payment in Canada is 5% of the home purchase price with the average range for most down payments being 5 to 20%. As of July 9th, 2012, all homes over $1 million dollars will require a 20% down payment. With this in mind, remember, the more you put into your down payment the less your overall mortgage payments will be.

There are different sources that you can look at to help you fund a down payment.

Traditional sources include:

  • Setting aside a fixed amount each month from your pay cheque
  • Selling stocks, bonds, property and other investments
  • Receiving help from immediate family

Non-traditional sources include:

  • Borrowing funds
  • Gifts from non-family members

An option for the first time home buyer is the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP). This program allows a person the opportunity to withdraw up to $25,000 from their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSPs) tax free. Many people realize the potential of this program and set up an RRSP account in advance. That way when the time comes to purchase a home they have this resource available to them. Remember though, this withdrawal is considered a loan and needs to be repaid within 15 years.

Each of these options has their own unique benefits and we will gladly sit down with you to discuss which might be the best for you.

What Comes First the Mortgage or the House?

Many people get it backwards. They shop for a home, and then make an emotional decision without knowing what they are able to afford. And then are surprised and disappointed to find out that they cannot get the financing. Thankfully, mortgage brokers do the homework for the applicant to see whether they have the ability to repay the loan while in the lifestyle they are accustomed to.

Something’s to consider about your lifestyle:

  • Are you single or a family of six? Costs for food and clothing alone are very different.
  • Do you take annual vacations?
  • How often do you like to eat out?
  • Are you involved in costly sporting activities?
  • Would you be willing to sacrifice these things for a bigger or nicer home?

Also take into consideration the following:

  • Do you have car payments?
  • Do you have to repay student loans?
  • How much do you owe on your credit cards?
  • Do you have bad debts?

Falling in love with a home without considering the REAL impact on your lifestyle is a recipe for unhappiness….either in re-adjusting to a “lesser” home or disappointment over the lack of vacations or entertainment.

Our advice is to focus on your financing. Find out what you can afford from a lender’s perspective, but then, spend some time considering the cash flow realities of your choice.

Additionally, we can advise you on ways to properly represent and transfer your assets, how to explain and document your income, as well as, assist you to get your optimum credit score. This process will help smooth out some of the bumps during the mortgage process, giving you the best change to the best mortgage rates available. All your prep-work will pay off in the end.

The choice is clear get the mortgage before the house!