18 Aug

What the New 2009 Federal Budget Means for You.


Posted by: Brian Marling

The January 27th federal budget was chock full of goodies for homeowners and first-time homebuyers. Below are some highlights from the budget that you may find useful. If you have any questions, please contact your Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional.


Home Renovation Credit

If you’ve been thinking about doing some home renovations, a 15% Home Renovation Tax Credit (HRTC) of up to $1,350 on eligible home renovation expenses undertaken before February 1, 2010 that was proposed in the new budget may help in your decision to invest in improvements to your home.


The credit will apply to expenditures in excess of $1,000, but not more than $10,000, for the 2009 taxation year. Expenditures for work performed, or goods acquired, after January 27, 2009 and before February 1, 2010, will be eligible for the credit. The credit will, however, not be available in respect of expenditures for work performed or goods acquired in that period if the expenditure is made pursuant to an agreement entered into before January 28, 2009. Individuals may claim this credit (including expenditures made in January 2010) in their 2009 income tax returns.


Eligibility for the HRTC will be family-based. For this purpose, a family will generally be considered to consist of an individual, and where applicable, the individual’s spouse or common-law partner, and their children who were under the age of 18 throughout 2009.


Two or more families that share ownership of an eligible dwelling will each be eligible for their own credit. Each family’s credit will be determined by their respective eligible expenditures in excess of $1,000, but not more than $10,000.


Individuals will be able to claim the HRTC on eligible expenditures made in respect of dwellings that are eligible at any time after January 27, 2009 and before February 1, 2010 to be their principal residence or that of one or more of their other family members under the existing tax law.


In general, a housing unit is considered to be eligible to be an individual’s principal residence where it is owned by the individual and ordinarily inhabited by the individual, the individual’s spouse or common-law partner or their children.


In the case of condominiums and co-operative housing corporations, the credit will be available for eligible expenditures incurred to renovate the unit that is eligible to be the individual’s principal residence as well as the individual’s share of the cost of eligible expenditures incurred in respect of common areas.


Individuals who earn business or rental income from part of their principal residence will be allowed to claim the credit for the full amount of expenditures made in respect of the personal-use areas of the residence. For expenditures made in respect of common areas or that benefit the housing unit as a whole (such as re-shingling a roof), the administrative practices ordinarily followed by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to determine how business or rental income and expenditures are allocated between personal use and income-earning use will apply in establishing the amount qualifying for the credit.


Expenditures will qualify for the HRTC if they are incurred in relation to a renovation or alteration of an eligible dwelling (including land that forms part of the eligible dwelling) provided that the renovation or alteration is of an enduring nature and is integral to the eligible dwelling. Such expenditures would include the cost of labour and professional services, building materials, fixtures, equipment rentals and permits.


Expenditures will not be eligible if the related goods or services are provided by a person not dealing at arm’s length with the individual, unless that person is registered for Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax purposes under the Excise Tax Act. Any eligible expenditure claimed for the HRTC must be supported by receipts.


ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes Grants

The new budget also proposes an expanded ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program, and Natural Resources Canada is currently working to finalize the details.


The new expanded program includes a $300 million increase over two years for support to property owners looking to make their homes more energy efficient. It is estimated that additional funds will extend the reach of the current program to an additional 200,000 homeowners.


Under the current program, ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes provides home and property owners with grants of up to $5,000 to offset the cost of making energy-efficient improvements. ecoENERGY Retrofit grants apply to a host of measures that reduce energy consumption and provide for a cleaner environment, from increasing insulation to upgrading a furnace.


Only homes that have undergone a residential energy efficiency assessment by an energy advisor certified by Natural Resources Canada will be eligible for grants.


Detached homes, row housing, duplexes, triplexes and mobile homes on permanent foundations and some small apartment buildings of three storeys or less may qualify for ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes grants.


The ecoENERGY Retrofit grant is based on the type and number of energy improvements that have been made and how much the efficiency of the home has been improved. The grant is based on how effective that upgrade is in saving energy, not on the cost of the upgrade.


The maximum grant one can receive per home or multi-unit residential building is $5,000; whereas the total grant amount available to one individual or entity for eligible properties over the life of the program is $500,000. The average grant is expected to be more than $1,000 and will yield an average 25% reduction in energy use and costs.


RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan Increase

The budget proposes a $5,000 increase to the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan, meaning first-time homebuyers can now withdraw up to $25,000 from their RRSPs for a down payment – tax- and interest-free.


Tax Credit for First-Time Homebuyers

Also proposed in the new budget is a $750 tax credit for first-time homebuyers to help with closing costs, such as legal fees, disbursements and land transfer taxes.


The tax credit is based on an amount of $5,000 for first-time homebuyers who acquire a qualifying home after January 27, 2009 (ie, the closing is after that date). The credit for a taxation year will be calculated by reference to the lowest personal income tax rate for the year and is claimable for the taxation year in which the home is acquired.


An individual will be considered a first-time homebuyer if neither the individual nor the individual’s spouse or common-law partner owned and lived in another home in the calendar year of the home purchase or in any of the four preceding calendar years.


A qualifying home is one that is currently eligible for the Home Buyers’ Plan that the individual or individual’s spouse or common-law partner intends to occupy as the principal place of residence no later than one year after its acquisition.

18 Aug

Using your Mortgage to Lower Debt


Posted by: Brian Marling

Where the heck does it all go?” You’re looking at your T4 slip from last year… or maybe your most recent pay stub. Sure, many people wish that those numbers after the dollar sign were a little higher, but it’s the vanishing act that alarms you most. Tax time is especially sobering; you can see how much money you made… but your credit card is still maxed out and you don’t have much to show for a year’s income.


If you’re looking for the holes in your wallet, start by making a list of your debts. Are your credit cards teetering at the top of their limits? Do you make regular use of your overdraft protection at the bank? Do you have escalating tax liabilities? What about any department store cards? And – quick – what was the interest rate on those balances last month? Have you added it up? Many Canadians are startled to see how much they are actually paying to service their debt. Industry Canada, which monitors consumer data, reports interest rates for department store credit cards as high as 28%. Even competitive-rate credit cards will often run at 18% or more. And this is at a time when some mortgage rates are still tipping below 5%. Why do the banks and department stores charge such high rates? These are unsecured debts, meaning that – if you default on the debt – the lender has no easy recourse to recover the money. Not surprisingly, they charge a higher rate – sometimes a MUCH higher rate – to compensate for the higher risk that an unsecured debt represents. A house is considered a reliable security, so mortgages often offer the best rates available anywhere. Consider this, then. If you have equity in your home, you can take advantage of attractive mortgage rates to save a bundle on interest charges. Compare current mortgage rates with the rates charged on your other debts. Get some professional advice on whether it might pay to do some refinancing and roll your other debt, such as credit card debt and tax liabilities, into your mortgage. You can consolidate your debt into fewer payments, save some money on interest, and improve your cash flow. You have a few options: A secured line of credit could provide you with funds up to 75% of the value of your home, minus any mortgage debt on the home. You can look forward to a substantial reduction in the interest rate, and all you need to pay each month is the interest. You can do the math on this comparison yourself, or talk to a mortgage professional. If you are carrying credit card debt, you’ll be shocked at what you can save with a secured line of credit. You could also consider increasing your existing mortgage. If your mortgage is coming up for renewal, this is the perfect time to reorganize and consolidate your debts at today’s excellent rates. Even if you are in the last year or two of your mortgage, it may make sense to renegotiate your mortgage now and roll in your other debt at a low rate. Or, you may be able to benefit from this kind of debt consolidation through a second mortgage. Your best option – have a professional outline your options for using a mortgage to consolidate your debt and increase your cash flow.

18 Aug

The Little Purple Bicycle


Posted by: Brian Marling

This article is provided by Brian Marling of Neighbourhood DLC – Canada’s #1 Mortgage Team  905.372.7222


In some ways 1996 doesn’t seem that long ago, yet in other ways it seems like another life ago. But then, like now, there were those who were prospering financially and those who were suffering financially.  And like now, those who suffered financially usually did so in quiet obscurity struggling to make ends meet & trying to keep it all together somehow. 


One particular family was about 4 years into a stretch that lasted 5 years of less than full time employment. With 3 children aged 6 and younger it was tough to say the least just to keep everything afloat. I guess it was inevitable that the phone calls would start coming. You know the ones I mean. The ones you wished you hadn’t picked up. The ones asking when payments would be made and suggesting what might happen if they weren’t. Then if that weren’t enough, there were the letters in the mail that just never seemed to end. What great despair that started to set in when eventually the letters didn’t even get opened anymore – what was the use?


In the midst of all of this there were 3 young girls who needed to be protected from the negative fallout caused by financial pressure. Dad knew that things would turn around at some point. After all he was a man of faith and he knew God would intervene sooner or later. The girls were young enough not to notice that gifts at Christmas & birthdays were often bought at second hand shops or yard sales – nothing wrong with that. Mom would clean them up and they would be received with joy. Why did no one seem to notice? Why did no one seem to care?


One thing for certain, when money is scarce we are forced to be creative. Many nights for that family were spent playing board games, reading great stories or going for walks. Picnics and long playtimes in the park were common place. These are the things people do when they don’t have money.  Hmmm, doesn’t really sound that bad, does it?


Anyhow, on one particular outing they decided to go for a drive to a neighbouring town and visit a different park – a change of scenery does good sometimes.  It was early fall and the colours were just starting to change. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. They were climbing the play centre, swinging on the swings and kicking around old soccer balls. And of course mom had packed another famous picnic lunch complete with an old blanket to sit on.


As they were enjoying the picnic and the warm sun on their faces, dad happened to look up into the second story window of a hardware store across the street from the park. There hanging in the window and glistening from the sun was a beautiful purple bicycle. In fact it was a girls bike complete with training wheels already attached. The high handle bars and tassles dangling from the hand grips made it irresistible. Immediately dad had the thought that every kid deserves a new bicycle at some point, don’t they. His heart yearned to be able to just go over there and purchase it no problem. His present financial reality however didn’t allow him to go to McDonalds let alone buy bicycles.


Why he excused himself and started walking across the road he wasn’t exactly certain, but something was telling him to at least check it out up close. Up the creaky stairs he went to the second floor showroom and proceeded straight to the little purple bike. His heart started to ache and a tear formed in his eye as he realized there was no way he could afford it. Feelings of inadequacy and despair started to flood his being.  “Can I help you”, came the polite voice from over his shoulder. Oh, if only you could he thought.  When he turned around he realized it was the owner of the store speaking with him, and in the brief moment before he spoke the dad decided that he had nothing to lose by asking, and so for the sake of his little girl he did. With a quiver in his voice that came from the humbling nature of his situation he said, “I honestly can’t afford this. Is there anyway you could accept less?”


It’s hard to expect good things when you’re down & out, but what an amazing act of kindness that was shown to a stranger that day. “How much can you afford”, came the reply?  An amount was mentioned by the dad which the shop owner immediately agreed to. Wow, finally a break. A few tears started to fall – he couldn’t stop them, but they were tears of joy.  What great excitement ensued as dad came back across the street with a beautiful shiny new purple bicycle. Does anything bless a parents heart more than to see a smile of pure joy from the face of their child. What great times were had on that Little Purple Bicycle as each of the 3 sisters eventually learned to ride from the same bike. To this day that Little Purple Bicycle hangs on the wall of his garage as a constant reminder of a strangers kindness & God’s blessing.


So what’s the point of this months article?  Simply this: it isn’t, nor should it be, always about the money. Sometimes all a person needs is to be shown a little kindness.  So go today & show a stranger a random act of kindness. You will probably never know what an amazing blessing you have been. By the way, in case you didn’t figure it out, I was that father and I would like to officially say ‘Thanks’ to that kindhearted shop owner.


Here at Neighbourhood, & the home of the Brian Marling Mortgage Team, we are concerned for the total well-being of our clients. That’s why we are taking the years of experience from our award winning office and offering a series of  FREE Seminars to our clients and their friends & families and to the public at large. The seminars, entitled ‘Financial Fitness’, will be offered free of charge and will cover all the secrets of successful personal financial freedom. If interested please call our office at 905.372.7222 to reserve your spot as seating will be limited.




18 Aug

Examining Revenue Property Options


Posted by: Brian Marling

Given the current national credit-crunched lending environment and the slowing real estate market – which has shifted to a buyers’ market – coupled with lower interest rates, now is an ideal time to invest in the purchase of revenue property.


After all, although the real estate market slowdown has seen prices drop and interest rates dip, rental income has not wavered – making now an optimal time to start building your revenue property portfolio or continue adding to your existing list of properties.


In order to take advantage of this opportunity, the key is to work with a mortgage professional who is an expert in this niche and can provide you with a wealth of knowledge and ongoing information that will help you make informed investment decisions and feel at ease throughout each purchase.


Mortgage professionals offer an invaluable service to real estate investors because, if the mortgages on your investment properties are not set up properly from the on-set of each venture, you will not be able to get future financing – a necessity for continuing to build your portfolio of revenue properties.


Mortgage professionals who are experts in dealing with real estate investors know that a portfolio approach must be taken to ensure future financing for those looking to purchase revenue properties. An experienced mortgage professional will ask you in detail about your specific property investment goals and develop a game plan for the next five or 10 years based on these goals.


Your mortgage professional can work with you in order to determine where you currently stand in terms of your real estate goals, where you need to be to meet those goals and the steps involved to get you there.


Keep in mind, however, that your plan should be revisited with your mortgage professional at least annually to ensure you’re still on track.


A team of experts

A mortgage professional who specializes in helping clients acquire revenue property is also likely to partner with other investment property experts, including real estate agents, lawyers, accountants, insurance agents and contractors, to name a few, which enables your mortgage professional to provide valuable information to you through this knowledge network they have created.


By forming ties with other trusted experts, your mortgage professional is able to provide you with a one-stop shop for meeting all of your real estate investment needs.


Your mortgage professional can also help direct you to other organizations that will offer you further insight into your real estate investment needs. If you join groups such as the Real Estate Investment Network (REIN) or even a local Rental Owners and Managers Society (ROMS), for instance, you can receive a wealth of added knowledge catered to your revenue property needs.


While REIN can provide market insight and investing tips through years of experience, ROMS helps with credit checks for potential tenants, keeps you abreast of changes to the Residential Tenancy Act and other topics/concerns often faced by landlords.


So before you begin building your revenue property portfolio, ask a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional what they can do to cater to all your real estate investment needs.




18 Aug

Have you considered re-financing to take advantage of lower rates?


Posted by: Brian Marling

With interest rates falling as of late, refinancing your existing mortgage and switching to a lower rate may save you a lot of money – possibly thousands of dollars per year.

Imagine what you could do with the savings – anything from renovating or investing to going on a much-needed vacation or putting money towards your children’s education.

Perhaps your home is financed through a first and second mortgage. If so, reviewing your options to combine the two could also result in having more money left over at the end of each month.

With the high cost of holiday gift-buying and entertaining now behind you, this may also be the perfect time to get 2009 off to a fresh start by refinancing your mortgage and freeing up some money to pay off high-interest credit card debt. With access to more money, you will be better able to manage your debt.

By refinancing now and paying off your debt, you can put yourself and your family in a better financial position. It’s very important to not rack up your credit cards after refinancing, however, so set your goals and budgets, and stick to them.

There are penalties for paying out your existing mortgage loan prior to renewal, but these may be offset by the extra money you could acquire through a refinance.

Also keep in mind that by refinancing you may extend the time it will take to pay off your mortgage. That said, there are many ways to pay down your mortgage sooner to save you thousands of dollars. Most mortgage products, for instance, include prepayment privileges that enable you to pay up to 20% of the principal (the true value of your mortgage minus the interest payments) per calendar year. This will also help reduce your amortization period (the length of your mortgage), which, in turn, saves you money.

You can also change the way you make your payments by opting for accelerated bi-weekly mortgage payments. Not to be confused with semi-monthly mortgage payments (24 payments per year), accelerated bi-weekly mortgage payments (26 payments per year) will not only pay your mortgage off quicker, but it’s guaranteed to save you a significant amount of money over the term of your mortgage.

If, for instance, you have a $100,000 mortgage, an interest rate of 5% and an amortization period of 25 years, your monthly mortgage payment would be $581.60 and your total payments for a year would be $6,979.20 ($581.60 x 12).

To understand the savings accelerated bi-weekly mortgage payments can make, take the monthly mortgage payment of $581.60 and divide it by two ($581.60 ÷ 2 = $290.80).  Next, take that payment and multiple it by 26 to arrive at your total payments for the year ($290.80 x 26 = $7,560.80).

As you can see, by using the monthly mortgage payment plan, you’ve made payments totalling $6,979.20 for the year, while using the accelerated bi-weekly mortgage plan you’ve made payments totalling $7,560.80 – a difference of $581.60. 

Basically, with accelerated bi-weekly mortgage payments, you’re making one additional monthly payment per year.

Using this example, you would reduce the amortization on your $100,000 mortgage from 25 years to just over 21 years and your total savings on interest over the life of the mortgage would be just over $12,000.


18 Aug

Never again will you see this in your lifetime…


Posted by: Brian Marling

Provided by Brian Marling, Accredited Mortgage Professional,Neighbourhood Dominion Lending Centres, Cobourg

Those are fairly ominous words, and as I like to say…Never Say Never! However, when they come from someone like Benjamin Tal, senior economist with CIBC World Markets, we ought to listen.  This past Monday afternoon Deborah & I had the privilege of attending a luncheon in Toronto where Benjamin Tal was the keynote speaker.  The question is, ‘What was he referring to?’

Well, among other things, he was specifically talking about the unbelievable opportunity that presents itself right now with regard to current interest rates and real estate values.  It seems as though all the cosmic forces have aligned themselves at just the right time in order to present an unprecedented opportunity.  As far as real estate prices go he made the point that we are in no way experiencing the kind of free-fall in prices that has been witnessed south of the border. The decline in housing prices the past 8-12 months is nothing more than a direct response to the recession we find ourselves in. In other words it is a typical cyclical correction (say that 3 times fast!). In fact, according to Benjamin Tal the decline in the housing market has begun to stabilize. Therefore, there is no good reason to delay purchasing a home. Could prices fall further? Sure they may, but the combination of current lower prices and historic low interest rates will not last forever.

Lets talk about interest rates. He calls these rates “Emergency Rates”, and stresses that they are somewhat of an anomaly!  With respect to the recession he feels that we are in the 7th-8th inning of this ball game and that the worst is definitely behind us. He noted that last fall the world came within inches of a total economic collapse and that the central banks of the world absolutely did the right things in pumping all the monies into their respective economies that they did. When we start to pull out of this recession, which he believes will be later this year or early next year, we will see with that a rise in both inflation and interest rates.

So where does all this leave us?  As with many things in life … snooze & you loose! When a window of opportunity presents itself you must first realize that  at some point the window will be shut. When that happens there will be a number of responses: first of all there will be  those who never knew the window was even open – thanks for coming;  then there will be those who knew, but procrastinated, and only heard the sound of the window closing on their sluggish behind;  and then there will be those who take advantage of this unique situation and benefit for years to come!!  Which one are you?

I have been telling my clients for the past number of months that this may be a great time to consolidate debt, purchase an income property or buy that first home.  One client, by re-structuring their debt actually created an $1800 per month cash flow while eliminating all debt except for the mortgage. Wow – better than playing the lottery for sure!  Another client has saved over $120,000 in interest costs thru our restructuring plan. There are many other examples I could share of how my clients have taken advantage of this great opportunity.

For those of you who have not checked into this yet, do not miss this opportunity to see if you can save some money.  Please call me any time at Neighbourhood Dominion Lending Centre  905-372-7222 for a free analysis. I hope to hear from you soon.


18 Aug

Mortgage Brokers Offer Choice


Posted by: Brian Marling

The next time you’re looking for a mortgage for that new house or you’re up for renewal on your existing mortgage, think about using a mortgage broker – their services are free and they offer you an abundance of choices the banks simply can’t compete with.


Mortgage brokers have access to a vast array of lenders – up to 90+ institutions, including some of the big banks – which enables these professionals to negotiate the best possible mortgage products and rates on your behalf. In comparison, if you approach your bank with a mortgage request, they can only offer you a narrow choice – namely, their own products.


Mortgage brokers do their homework on available mortgage products and keep themselves abreast of any new products, or changes to existing products, to ensure they find the best mortgage to fit your specific needs.


Unlike the banks, mortgage brokers can also cater to self-employed borrowers as well as those who have suffered credit blemishes due to life experiences such as divorce or illness. Brokers will listen to your story, whereas the banks have a very narrow view of what fits into their financing box – and this is unnegotiable.


If you’re thinking of buying a home, Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professionals can find the best mortgage rate and term for your unique situation.


Top Reasons for Using a Broker:

  1. Choice – access to multiple financial institutions
  2. Costs – using a broker is free and they can negotiate lower rates for you
  3. Knowledge – brokers stay up-to-date on available products and services
  4. Flexibility – mortgage products are even available for the self-employed or those who have credit blemishes 


18 Aug

Homeowners with ‘Rate Envy’ are Re-financing


Posted by: Brian Marling


Many homeowners wished they’d asked more questions

when they got their mortgage. They assume there’s

nothing they can do until the mortgage matures. Not

so. A mortgage broker can review your mortgage at

any time and offer tips on how to save money.

Typically, we think of a fixed term mortgage as a

non-negotiable contract. And it’s true that there are

financial penalties to re-negotiate. But many homeowners

ask mortgage brokers for a mortgage analysis

– a detailed look at the penalties versus the payoffs –

– to determine whether it’s worth refinancing to get a

lower rate, finance a renovation or roll other debt into

the new mortgage. Like many Canadian homeowners,

you may find that refinancing makes sense.


When you signed your mortgage a few years back,

you were thrilled with the rate you had negotiated:

possibly the lowest in your home-owning memory.

That was then.

Who would have believed that mortgage rates

would have continued that marvelous downward

trend? Today, mortgage shoppers are looking at

some of the lowest rates in history, and many homeowners

with existing fixed-term mortgages are

experiencing some “rate envy” about today’s rockbottom

mortgage rates.

It might be worth a conversation with a mortgage

broker about your options.


There are two approaches to refinancing: you can

simply pay out the penalty on your existing mortgage

and start fresh with a new mortgage, or you can opt

for what is termed a “blend and extend.”

Firstly, understand that you won’t reap immediate

rewards when you refinance; it will take time to see

the savings, since you’ll have some up-front penalties.

Your mortgage broker can help you to assess your

“payback” period: the length of time required to see

any savings, based on the penalties you will incur

and the difference between your existing rate and

your new one.


Speaking of penalties, what does it cost to get out of

your existing mortgage? Generally, you can expect

to pay out the greater of either a) three months’ interest,

or b) the interest-rate differential. The interest rate

differential can be high; in effect, your mortgage

lender will expect you to pay them the equivalent of

what they will lose by releasing you from your mortgage

and lending the money at current rates. If you are

close to the end of your mortgage, these penalties

may not be too severe, but a quick analysis from your Mortgage Broker can give you the answer.

Don’t be put off by what looks like a big penalty: it’s

only one factor in your analysis.

So is it worth it? Only your mortgage professional

can tell you for sure, but many homeowners are

experiencing significant savings – even with rate

differentials of two points (or possibly more).

Begin with a visit to a mortgage broker, who has

access to rate information from a broad selection of

lending institutions – and who can provide you with

the kind of detailed analysis you’ll need to assess

your options. Many choose to consolidate their other

debts at the same time in order to maximize their

savings & improve their credit.


This article is brought by Brian Marling of Mortgage Intelligence


18 Aug

Great Opportunity for First-Time Homebuyers


Posted by: Brian Marling

This Article is Provided by Brian Marling, Accredited Mortgage Professional


If you’ve been thinking about purchasing your first home, but haven’t yet made up your mind, now is an ideal time to think about taking the plunge into homeownership. Since Canada’s currently in a buyers’ real estate market and interest rates have been dropping to historic lows as of late, now is the perfect time to consider your mortgage options.


Your first step in the home-buying process should be to talk to a licensed mortgage professional. These experts have access to a vast array of lenders – up to 90+ institutions, including big banks, credit unions and trust companies – which enables these professionals to negotiate the best possible mortgage products and rates on your behalf. In comparison, if you approach your bank with a mortgage request, they can only offer you a narrow choice – namely, their own products.


Mortgage professionals can get you pre-approved for a mortgage so that you know how much you can afford to spend on a home before you start shopping.


And thanks to the latest federal budget, there are a couple more reasons why now is the optimal time to purchase your first home.


First, the budget proposes a $5,000 increase to the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan, meaning first-time homebuyers can now withdraw up to $25,000 from their RRSPs for a down payment – tax- and interest-free.


The budget also proposes a $750 tax credit for first-time homebuyers to help with closing costs, such as legal fees, disbursements and land transfer taxes.


The tax credit is based on an amount of $5,000 for first-time homebuyers who acquire a qualifying home after January 27, 2009 (ie, the closing is after that date).


An individual will be considered a first-time homebuyer if neither the individual nor the individual’s spouse or common-law partner owned and lived in another home in the calendar year of the home purchase or in any of the four preceding calendar years.


If you’re thinking of buying your first home,  mortgage professionals like Brian Marling can answer all of your mortgage-related questions.


There has never been a better opportunity than right now, so don’t delay. Call Brian to have all your questions answered.

18 Aug

Financial Solutions for Seniors


Posted by: Brian Marling

‘There’s No Place Like Home’

Many seniors would like to spend their retirement years living in the home they raised their family in, and around people and places that are familiar to them. Indeed, as Dorothy says at the end of that great classic, “The Wizard of Oz,” while clicking her ruby red shoes, ‘There’s no place like home.” Unfortunately, due to increasing maintenance costs and rising property taxes, many seniors are beginning to question the viability of this sentiment.

According to a survey conducted by Decima Research, while rising property values enhance an individual’s net worth, the corresponding rise in property taxes places an increased burden on

senior homeowners. The survey, conducted in two key Canadian markets, found that although 84 per cent of seniors believe it’s important to be able to remain in their homes for their retirement years and still have money to spend, maintaining their homes and paying property taxes are their two biggest financial concerns.


Faced with this financial struggle in retirement, many seniors often consider downsizing.

However, given the many costs associated with this approach, such as purchase or rental price of the new home, real estate commissions, legal fees and moving expenses, this may not be the best solution, notes Kelly Healy, a Toronto realtor with Sutton Group.


CHIP Home Income Plan provides an alternative to those seniors who want to remain in their home, but are finding it difficult due to the loss of income in retirement. A simple and sensible borrowing option, a CHIP Home Income Plan allows seniors to access up to 40 per cent of the equity they have built up in their home, while maintaining ownership and control of it. It can also help them create long-term financial stability.


“Often seniors think that selling their home and moving to a smaller place is the only way for them to regain control of their finances, even when they really want to stay in their home,” says Healy. “The truth is, by unlocking the value in their home, seniors can often receive the same amount of money they’d save by downsizing, or even more. It is important senior homeowners consider all their options so they can determine which is best for them.”


For further information about a FREE seminar on Financial Solutions For Seniors on March 19/09 at the Cobourg Library please call Brian Marling at 905-372-7222.