Investing in real estate can seem scary at first. After all, a house is likely the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. So if you’re nervous don’t worry, because you’re not alone.

In my opinion, the best way to handle these first-time jitters is by starting small. If you’re scared of investing in real estate because you don’t want to lose everything I have a really simple solution: don’t risk everything.

I hear stories all the time of people who have put everything on the line by quitting their jobs and investing in major house flips. This is a terrible idea! Being successful in real estate, and any business, really, isn’t about making giant leaps. It’s not about getting rich quickly. Truly successful people are deliberate, decisive and strategic. They’re cautious and they look for warning signs. They take small but significant steps. And they take them continuously.

Dipping your toe in the real estate pool by renting out your basement to a friend, or investing in a rental property with a few partners, is a great way to test the waters and start to learn the business of real estate investing without taking on a ton of risk. And not just that.  Taking on partners on projects can minimize your risk, but it can also provide you with a support team to share in the successes and failures while you’re learning. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a win-win.

If that’s still too much, an even smaller step is to rent out your home while you’re away. Sites like Airbnb have made it easier than ever to make money from your home, and their review system helps to minimize some of the risks by giving you confidence about who you’re renting to. This is a particularly great option for people who live in popular tourist areas. When you live in a high-demand area – a city centre for example – you can always find people to rent your home when you’re away on vacation or business. And ultimately you can decide not to rent to someone if their profile doesn’t give you 100% confidence. 

Remember, you don’t have to make a huge commitment to get started as a real estate investor. There are more options now than ever before, so start small and then take bigger steps once you have more experience.

Source: Scott Mcgillivray


And this good advice doesn’t cost you a nickel, says Saanich mortgage broker

Is it time for your mortgage checkup?

After signing a mortgage document, many homeowners forget about it until five years later, when they receive a call or letter saying it is coming due for renewal. But your mortgage needs regular attention, says Brenda Joynson, a Mortgage Consultant with Mortgage Depot in Saanich.

“If you experienced changes in your physical health, you would go see your doctor. With changes in the mortgage world, including the Stress Test, your mortgage broker or banker can find new ways to improve your financial health,” she says.

Here’s five good questions to ask your mortgage professional:

  1. Do the Stress Test rules apply to me? This test was designed to ensure borrowers would be able to pay the loan if interest rates rose. But did you know the rules do not apply to mortgage renewals, as long as they are with the borrower’s existing lender? You may even be able to move your existing mortgage to a new lender to take advantage of better rates, without having to apply the stress test.
  2. Does refinancing make financial sense to access my equity for other things? Even with mortgage payout penalties, your savings could be significant. That could help you increase cash flow by eliminating credit card balances or lines of credit. This would allow you to increase your mortgage payment and pay it off faster to save interest. Perhaps your properties need maintenance, or you’re considering a renovation to enhance its value and/or rentability? Leveraging your equity can also play an important role in successful investing.
  3. Is there room for improvement in my mortgage structure? If you own more than one property or want to pursue tax-deductible investments, changing your mortgage structure can save you money at tax time. For example, many multi-level mortgage products allow you to separate non-deductible mortgage payments from your deductible mortgage interest.
  4. When should I lock in my variable-rate mortgage? Current fixed rates are often lower, so if you plan to keep the property, it’s worth having your professional do a comparison between fixed rates and your current variable rate. A key consideration are the penalties charged for breaking the mortgage contract early.
  5. How can I pay my mortgage off faster? Mortgage payments determine amortization length: the higher the payment, the lower the amortization; the lower the payment, the longer it takes to pay the mortgage off. One strategy worth looking at is extending amortization on revenue properties and reducing it on your residential mortgage.

If you have other mortgage questions, an annual mortgage check up might be just what the doctor ordered, Joynson says. Best of all, it doesn’t cost you anything!

Source: Saanich News

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