‘Twas the Debt Before Christmas…

Jeff Evans

If recent news reports about our collective appetite for credit are any indication, Canadians may wake up in the new year with a doozy of a post-holiday debt hangover.

As new or future homeowners, make it your resolution in 2011 to commit to a long-term program of debt and expense reduction. Pay yourself with the savings, either through lump sum payments on high interest lines of credit, your mortgage or your retirement fund.

Here are five simple strategies for increasing your year-end bottom line:

1. Reduce the number of credit card balances you carry

Making minimum monthly payments on credit card balances is the slowest route out of debt. Paying off cards starting with the lowest balance first – and working up to the card with the highest balance – has both psychological and credit rating advantages. This is known as the ‘snowball approach’ to credit card debt reduction. Another tactic is to reduce the number of balances you carry starting with the highest interest rate card first. This is especially important if your highest interest rate card is also the one with the largest balance outstanding.

2. Renegotiate service contracts

Cable, internet and phone companies often release attractive rate packages to lure new customers. If you’ve been a loyal customer of these providers for some time, or your contracts are coming up for renewal, ask them to match competitors’ rates or give you the same packages offered to new clients.

3. Reduce your household energy consumption

Winter started early in many Canadian provinces this year. Simple actions such as weather stripping to cut down on heating costs, and turning off or unplugging appliances and electronic equipment when not in use can help you reduce your monthly utility bills year round. If you buy a qualifying energy-efficient home, you could be eligible for savings on CMHC mortgage loan insurance.

4. Lower your entertainment expenses

Some of the most insidious drains on earned income are miscellaneous entertainment and dining expenses. For example, that daily $4 latte on your way to work adds up to about $80 per month – or more than $900 per year.

5. Get help from a financial planner, tax or mortgage professional

Businesses can’t thrive without financial plans and budgets and neither can family households. If you’re not sure how to budget your monthly expenses, seek advice from a trusted financial advisor. Is your mortgage coming up for renewal? Consult an independent mortgage professional before locking in at your bank’s offered rate. Finally, talk to a tax expert to find out if you’re missing out on important deductions that could lower your taxable income.

Author: Jeff Evans

I am a mortgage broker, hair salon owner, squash player, student, and husband, aspiring to do good for people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Articles

home buyer mortgage broker
First Time Home Buyers Mortgage Broker Tips And Tricks
Jeff Evans
No Comments

Among the services I provide to my clients, I consider myself to be a "first-time home buyer mortgage broker".  As a first time home buyer mortgage broker, I know how difficult it is to get into the real estate market, particularly in Vancouver, and it brings me a particular amount of job to help someone get past the challenges if being a first time home buyer.

I have recently completed an e-book and will be launching it soon.  I believe it will be very helpful for not just first-time home buyers, but for anyone who is not as knowledgeable in residential mortgage lending, about how to make your home buyer mortgage broker application appealing to a mortgage lender.

As a sneak preview, here are three tips on improving your mortgage application as a first-time home buyer.

3 Home Buyer Mortgage Broker Tips

  1. Take advantage of the home-buyers plan to fund your down-payment.  This program is not technically ONLY for first-time home buyers, but all first-time home buyers are eligible.  Under the plan, you can borrow up to $25,000 from your RRSP for the purchase of an owner-occupied residence.  If you and your spouse are both applying, then you can withdraw $25,000 each. It is a loan, so it has to be paid back over 15 years (or 1/15th of the loan will be added to income for that year).  However, there is no withholding when you withdraw it, it does not have to all be declared as income on any given year, and you don't even have to use all of it for down-payment!  You can use it for any purpose that you need it for. A good mortgage broker, like myself, can help you with some of the finer details and complex situations that often arise from these situations.
  2. Make sure you pay your bills on time. If you have a high balance on your loan, or you have a lot of debt, those also have a significant negative impact on your credit score, but you can get the bills down and there is no record of your high debt levels.  However, when you miss a bill payment, it stays on your credit bureau for 6-7 YEARS.  This not just negatively impacts your credit score, but lenders look at this when assessing risk, and they have been particularly uncompromising and (unreasonable, paranoid, strict...and other words that I cannot put in print) in the last few years.  While you likely do not have to wait 6-7 years to become bankable if you have had gone through a period of bad credit, the less negative credit on the bureau, the better. At least make the minimum required payments and you will go a long way to making yourself appealing to them.
  3. Having no credit is just as bad as having bad credit. Many people feel that not requiring credit should prove your ability to pay your bills and should be good evidence of credit-worthiness.  This is not how mortgage lenders think.  If you currently do not have any credit, then you do not have any documentation that you are an acceptable credit risk, and no matter how strong your income is, you will have difficulty obtaining a prime mortgage approval.  Make sure you have at least 3 different credit facilities in your name.  (Secondary credit cards in a spouses name are not considered acceptable for establishing your credit).

I am excited to launch my home buyer mortgage broker e-book soon, in which I go into much greater detail and give many different ideas to help home buyers prepare for home ownership, but as a mortgage broker in Vancouver, you are welcome to contact me in the meantime to discuss your circumstances and see if there are any options for you.

mortgage broker Vancouver BC
Good news regarding OSFI rule changes
Jeff Evans
No Comments

This is just a quick note to let viewers know that IF you are one of the people with 20% or more down-payment and are in a position that the new OSFI rule changes affect your pre-qualification, that I can extend the current guidelines into the new year by up to 120 days provided that I have an application and am able to get a pre-approval in place with a lender for you before January 1.Read More

OSFI B20 mortgage guideline changes 2017 – Part 2
Jeff Evans
No Comments

This is a continuation of the article published here about the OSFI B20 morgage guidline changes for 2017.

If you are familiar with mortgage brokers at all (which you probably aren't) you would know that we also have alternative sources of lending for situations where a mortgage borrower will not qualify with a prime institution.  We have what we call "B" lenders, who have higher rates but more flexible lending criteria, and we have private lenders, which are individuals and corporations who can lend money on on anything that suits them.Read More