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May Madness: Market, Mortgage Deferral & Other Tips!

It's been 50 days in isolation (it feels like 100)! The slow down has been nice and the extra time with my little guy has been both challenging and rewarding. How are you holding up? These are unusual times and we are all likely going to be experiencing life in vastly different ways. Some may find their life is relatively unchanged, others are living with anxiety in the uncertain times, maybe have lost jobs or even become ill or lost loved ones. There are people that are postponing weddings, cancelling trips or unable to have a funeral for loved ones who have passed during this time. Perspective is important and it helps me get through the hard days but you can and should allow yourself to feel what you feel. It's okay to be sad, angry and it's okay to grieve your life before the pandemic! Just promise me your won't stay in that space. I do not want to underestimate the hardship many will face during this difficult time and beyond. Many of you are my friends, my family and clients who have become friends and I am here for you if you need anything. We will need to collectively continue to be resilient and ride a tough economic wave likely for some time in addition to our current hardship. With that, the Calgary Real Estate Board's chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie has said “With social distancing expected to soften by the third quarter, the pace of the decline in sales will ease by the third and fourth quarter. However, a turnaround in sales is not expected by the end of the year, as the financial implications for many households will have lingering effects.” People still need to buy and/or sell in a pandemic. It is not going to be the right time for everyone of course but if you are searching for a home in a pandemic, there is a good chance you are motivated. So although sellers may not see the typical traffic, the traffic they do attract may be all they need. It only takes one! Find the full report here >> COVID-19 Impacts and the Housing Market Quarterly Report I was also recently asked for some tips for someone looking to sell. Certainly my recommendations can differ depending on the type of property and location but below are 3 basic and cost effective tasks that I would recommend to anyone looking to list their home. If you want some advice about what renovations would be most valuable for your home and for it's future sale, please feel free to reach out. I would be happy to help. As a bonus this month, the lovely ladies at Illuminate Mortgage Group have some great information about Mortgage Deferral and other very relevant tips for the current times which will follow. These are a must read! Enjoy.

3 Must Do Tasks Before You List:

Walk through your home. Once you have the reason why you want to sell your home firmly in mind, we’ll walk through your home and identify any areas buyers may note as less than ideal. Even minor details such as wall scuffs, faded paint, or older light fixtures could impact a buyer’s opinion of your home.

Make repairs/upgrades. After identifying potential problem areas, take the opportunity to make repairs and upgrades to present your home in its very best light. Investing a little time and money in your home before you list can help it sell faster and for a higher price.

Stage your home. Once your home is in top shape, it’s time for staging. The most important part of the staging process is decluttering. Clear out your closets and cabinets and remove bulky and non-essential furniture to make your home feel larger.

For more staging tips or information about buying or selling your home, reach out! I’m always here to help. Stay safe, healthy and optimistic my friends. "This too shall pass." Diandra

Mortgage Deferrals and Ten More Timely Tips by Brie Robertson & Katie Whyte, Mortgage Brokers | May 2020 We hope you and your family are enjoying good health and finding some measure of happiness in this strange spring! Many Canadians are feeling the financial pressures mount as we work together to conquer this pandemic. The good news is there are strategies that can help! The Mortgage Deferral Program has been the first line of defence for thousands of homeowners looking for immediate financial relief. A Mortgage Deferral is not payment “forgiveness” that allows you to simply miss payments. While you don’t pay anything at all during the relief period, your lender will add the interest accrued during the skipped period to your outstanding balance, which means your mortgage balance will increase. Your payments remain the same for the rest of your term but can increase at renewal to account for the higher balance. Some lenders may increase your payments after the deferral. Some additional strategies and tips:

  1. Consider other options. Instead of using the Mortgage Deferral Program, perhaps you can borrow what you need from a Line of Credit, making interest-only payments until the financial stress begins to ease. Other possibilities include extending your amortization or moving from accelerated to monthly payments.

  2. Applying for the CERB. You need to apply to the Canada Economic Relief Benefit (CERB) for each 4-week period that your situation continues, up to a maximum of 16 weeks. If you are receiving the CERB through EI, you simply complete your bi-monthly reports to continue receiving your benefit. Keep in mind that these payments will be taxable to you next spring.

  3. Get your tax return filed. If you collect the Child Benefit or GST/HST credit, you don’t want your benefits delayed. If you’ll owe money, payment has been deferred until September 1, so don’t let that keep you from filing now.

  4. Check your travel points program. Many points programs allow you to redeem travel points for gift cards that will help pay for gas, groceries and other essentials.

  5. Ask your credit card provider about minimum payment deferrals. Some providers will allow deferrals to help get you through a tough patch.

  6. Talk to your local utilities and communications providers. Again, many are willing to talk about payment options or deferral programs.

  7. Look for money leaks. Go through your credit card and bank statements with a fine-tooth comb, looking at subscriptions or other expenses that can be eliminated or reduced.

  8. Make a (better) budget. Check out the good budgeting apps that are free – Mint, Wally, or check out KOHO, which is like a chequing account with the perks of a credit card.

  9. Be aware. These are unsettling times and unfortunately there has been a wave of fraudulent scams. Visit the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre for up-to-date information.

  10. Adopt a positive mind. Use this time period to be better with money. There are many predictions that our new habits will carry forward with us, so adapting and keeping better money habits will serve us well in the bright future that is just over the horizon.

Please know that we are at the other end of a phone call, email, or video conference, ready to help. Be safe. Be well. Be happy. Take care!

Diandra Johnson | 403.660.8608 |




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