Category Archives: advice

TD: Toronto & Vancouver face 15% decline

It seems like one of these bank economist forecasts come out every week, but TD is calling for a 15% decline in house prices here and in Toronto over the next couple of years.

“There have been growing signs that the markets have been tilting towards excess supply of new multiples,” the bank said.

Indeed, condo prices in both cities have shown signs of slowing down much more than the price of single-family homes, the usual benchmark of a market’s overall health.

“In fact, looking at the trend in condo prices, you can see there has been essentially no increase in prices since the federal government first began tightening mortgage rules in mid-2008,” the economists said.

So if the average selling price on a Vancouver single family home is already down 12% year over year and the outlook for condos looks worse… maybe not the best time to buy a presale condo eh?

Realtor & landlord trespass in tenant homes

There were a couple of interesting comments in last weekends free-for-all post on the same topic, the first from XYZ:

Well today was interesting. We left the house for an hour for a quick Costco run and when we were about 15 mins away from being home, my 16 year old daughter calls me really upset that some Chinese person just walked into her bedroom :O HER BEDROOM!!!! Apparently he closed the door and went on to wander through the rest of the house, and my son (11) noticed him when he got up from his computer to get his hourly snack and was in what I can only describe as state of shock.. Not every day you see some Chinese dude wandering around your house uninvited and unannounced.

Turns out this was the Realtor. (who’s name for know shall be withheld to protect the guilty, at least until I decide what my next course of action will be.)

Obviously I called the landlord and ripped him a new one. He said that he explicitly told the Realtor that they were not to disturb the tenants. Clearly the Realtor thought since our car was gone he would just waltz right in. :-O

We have an inspection scheduled tomorrow so the only thing that saved that Realtors a$$ from the cops being called was the fact that I needed a few minutes to confirm the inspection date and speak to the landlord.

All the while my daughter stood in her room scissors in hand ready to strike.

I definitely see a complaint being filed in the near future for trespass against this Realtor.

What would you do in this situation?

The second in a similar vein from DR:

Alright folks, I need a little tenancy agreement advice. I have been after my landlord to fix some broken tiles in the kitchen from a water leak. There are now several broken ones with sharp pieces continually coming off. The building is having some renovation work done as many of the units are being updated.

I have been trying for several weeks to get the landlords (as it is family run) to discuss the long over due repair. I just learned from one of the contractors that the landlord entered my unit without notice or permission this morning to look at the tiles. Rather than communicate with me, he decided to just check things out for himself.

This is a huge violation of my privacy and rights as a tenant. I am more than mad at the moment, but I wanted to see if any of you bears have had similar experiences and what your recourse was.

By the way, I have been a longstanding tenant in excellent standing, and the landlords were extremely appreciative when I notified them of the leak because of the potential for serious damage. However, this failure to communicate has become a recent trend as every phone call is never returned and some requests just end up getting taken care of (again without letting me know).

 

Leaving debt as a legacy

There’s an article in the Globe and Mail about the rising number of ‘Grandpa debtors‘ – people past the age of 55 who have debt problems.  There are a few reasons sited for this shift: easy credit, lack of emergency savings and relying on real estate as a retirement plan:

Real estate can also be a factor in some of these dire debt situations, Mr. Elyea said. Some older debtors head into retirement with $50,000 still left on their mortgages, and then start using their credit cards to pay them because their income has dropped and the CPP and OAS aren’t enough to cover the payments.

There’s also the trap of considering your home to be your retirement nest egg, said Mr. Elyea, which can backfire because of the unpredictability of the housing market.

“In our Tri-Cities practice [covering Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody], that’s where a lot of people bought houses at the height of the market when anybody could get financing, and now they’re all [valued] below what they paid for them,” he said.

If you do find yourself in a situation where your debt has gotten out of control, see a professional, said Mr. Eylea, whether it’s a bankruptcy trustee or a money coach who can let you know about your options.

Here’s the full article.

Bank offers you should not accept

Many Franks pointed out this article in the Financial Post, which offers a flipside view to yesterdays “do whatever it takes to scrape up 5%” article.

It has a real simple message: Banks exist to make money.  That includes making offers that sound good but may not be in your best interest.

While many people want to blame the banks or the government for Canadas alarming consumer debt problem, theres only one person who is truly to blame: the consumer.  Sign yourself up for a suckers deal and you have only yourself to blame.

While some bank chief executives have put it on themselves to tighten their own lending rules, others continue to look to Ottawa to take the lead.

In the interim, all you have to do is walk into a branch, grab some pamphlets and you will see an array of offers that could get you into even more debt trouble.

One of my favourites is the cash-back mortgage. It is offered to a varying degree by most of the major banks, so there is no point in picking on any one institution.

Here’s the offer: Take out a mortgage for more than five years and get 5% of the value of the mortgage up front to a maximum of $25,000. In other words, get a $500,000 loan and immediately get $25,000 back. “It’s great for first-time buyers,” we’re told.

Really? If the loan is at the posted rate of 5.44%, which it usually is for these types of mortgages, you could easily land into more debt trouble long term.

Another deal tries to lure me over to a new bank with an offer of 2% cash up front, or up to $4,000 on $200,000 if I switch to the financial institution. But what about the costs to break my existing mortgage, and is there really any point in switching products to get that cash right away if I’m going to end up with a higher rate and a less-flexible mortgage?

“Somebody is going to pay for it,” says Kelvin Mangaroo, president of RateSupermarket.ca, about the cost of the promises. “Sometimes there is more fine print than the actual offer.”

Check out full article here.

What do you think, do we need more consumer protection to protect consumers from themselves?