Everything You Need to Know About Buying, Selling, Renovating or Financing Real Estate in the Fraser Valley, Vancouver area of Canada. FREE NEWSLETTER, Insider Secrets, 162 ways to Save Money, Get Top Dollar for your Home and Get the mMost Home for Your Money
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Everything You Need to Know About Buying, Selling, Renovating or Financing Real Estate in the Fraser Valley, Vancouver area of Canada. FREE NEWSLETTER, Insider Secrets, 162 ways to Save Money, Get Top Dollar for your Home and Get the mMost Home for Your Money
Everything You Need to Know About Buying, Selling, Renovating or Financing
Real Estate in the Fraser Valley, Vancouver area of Canada
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Each month, we publish a series of articles of interest to homeowners -- money-saving tips, household safety checklists, home improvement advice, real estate insider secrets, etc. Whether you currently are in the market for a new home, or not, we hope that this information is of value to you. Please feel free to pass these articles on to your family and friends.
Common Mistakes People make With Their Money and How to Avoid Them!
Everybody makes mistakes with their money. The important thing is to keep them to a minimum. And one of the best ways to accomplish that is to learn from the mistakes of others. Here is our list of the top mistakes people make with their money, and what you can do to avoid these mistakes in the first place.

5 Things You Must Know
about Recent Mortgage Loan Changes
Everyday, people are pondering whether they can afford their dream home and if they will qualify for a mortgage loan.  By taking these few minutes to acquaint yourself with the "5 Things You Must Know about Recent Mortgage Loan Changes", you will greatly increase the chances of having your mortgage loan approved and getting that home of your dreams.

Seven Unhealthy Habits That Stop us from Attaining our Goal Weight!

1)  Skipping Breakfast
We all know the deal: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Still, many of us skip it thinking that it will help us shed pounds. In fact, this bad habit actually packs on the pudge. A recent study found that those who ate ready-to-eat breakfast cereal, hot cereal or even quick breads (like muffins and banana bread) had significantly lower BMIs (body mass indices) than those who skipped breakfast.

2)  Eating at Your Desk
Everyone is time-crunched, so it makes sense these days to eat when and where we can — in the car, at our desks and in front of the TV. Unfortunately, when we tune into work or to our favorite show, we generally tune out healthy eating habits and don't pay attention to internal cues that tell us we're full. Make time for meals as often as you can. When you designate only the dining room, kitchen and restaurants as places to eat, you're less likely to be distracted and overeat.

3)  Cleaning Your Plate
Calories add up. So, even that light pasta dish or bean burrito can add girth if you're taking in more calories than you're burning off. Beverages and snack foods are common culprits for including multiple servings in what looks to be a single-serving size container. Without thinking, you can down 180 to 240 calories in beverages that are otherwise healthy. Check the label and stick to the portion size (See Portion Control), even if it means putting the rest in the fridge or taking home a doggie bag.

4)  Forgetting Fitness
Many dieters think that just cutting back on calories will lead to lifelong weight loss. This works initially, but only for a while and often leads to yo-yo dieting. Studies show that most people who successfully lose weight and keep it off long-term do so by both cutting calories and adding regular exercise to their lives. Couch potatoes take heart: just 2,000 steps a day will go a long way toward keeping off unwanted pounds. Get a pedometer and get going!

5)  Late-night Monster
This is by far one of the most common ways people sabotage their weight loss goals. They've been good all day and had a reasonable dinner. Then they plant themselves in front of the TV, where the munchie monster calls and they head for the chips or ice cream. Other folks are plagued by late-night eating due to long hours at the office. If this is your case, make sure to keep healthy snacks (link to snacks piece) on hand so that you can make a smart choice about what to eat when you finally get home.

6)  Fat Phobia
If you eschew fat of any kind and live in the land of fat-free food, you're not getting the bargain you hoped for. In addition to making food taste wonderful, fat also helps us feel satisfied. Cut it out of your diet and you'll feel the need to stock up on fat-free, but calorie-full foods, like cookies and pretzels. You're better off keeping your fat intake (See The Facts on Fat) to about 30% of your total calories and enjoying small portions of your favorite foods once in a while.

7)  The Bar Scene
Alcohol, no matter what form it comes in — beer, wine or spirits — packs on the calories mercilessly. Not only does alcohol contribute 7 calories per gram, it also has the effect of making you eat more during a meal. You don't need to be a teetotaler; just try to stick to one drink (for women) or two drinks (for men) per day. If you're at a bar or a party, space each drink you have with a glass of water and avoid super-sugary and calorie-packed tropical and frozen drinks. Also, don't head out for a night on the town without eating something first. Otherwise, you'll fill up on nutrient-free alcohol and really hate yourself in the morning.
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Common Mistakes People make With Their Money and How to Avoid Them!
Everybody makes mistakes with their money. The important thing is to keep them to a minimum. And one of the best ways to accomplish that is to learn from the mistakes of others. Here is our list of the top mistakes people make with their money, and what you can do to avoid these mistakes in the first place.

1.  Buying items you don't need...
and paying extra for them in interest. Every time you have an urge to do a little "impulse buying" and you use your credit card but you don't pay in full by the due date, you could be paying interest on that purchase for months or years to come. Spending money for something you really don't need can be a big waste of your money. But you can make the matter worse, a lot worse, by putting the purchase on a credit card and paying monthly interest charges.

Research major purchases and comparison shop before you buy. Ask yourself if you really need the item. Even better, wait a day or two, or just a few hours, to think things over rather than making a quick and costly decision you may come to regret.

There are good reasons to pay for major purchases with a credit card, such as extra protections if you have problems with the items. But if you charge a purchase with a credit card instead of paying by cash, check or debit card (which automatically deducts the money from your bank account), be smart about how you repay. For example, take advantage of offers of "zero-percent interest" on credit card purchases for a certain number of months (but understand when and how interest charges could begin).

And, pay the entire balance on your credit card or as much as you can to avoid or minimize interest charges, which can add up significantly. If you pay only the minimum amount due on your credit card, you may end up paying more in interest charges than what the item cost you to begin with. Example: If you pay only the minimum payment due on a $1,000 computer, let's say it's about $20 a month, your total cost at an Annual Percentage Rate of more than 18 percent can be close to $3,000, and it will take you nearly 19 years to pay it off.

2.  Getting too deeply in debt.
Being able to borrow allows us to buy clothes or computers, take a vacation or purchase a home or a car. But taking on too much debt can be a problem, and each year millions of adults of all ages find themselves struggling to pay their loans, credit cards and other bills.

3.  Learn to be a good money manager.
Also recognize the warning signs of a serious debt problem. These may include borrowing money to make payments on loans you already have, deliberately paying bills late, and putting off doctor visits or other important activities because you think you don't have enough money.

If you believe you're experiencing debt overload, take corrective measures. For example, try to pay off your highest interest-rate loans (usually your credit cards) as soon as possible, even if you have higher balances on other loans. For new purchases, instead of using your credit card, try paying with cash, a check or a debit card.

There are also reliable credit counselors you can turn to for help at little or no cost. Unfortunately, you also need to be aware that there are scams masquerading as 'credit repair clinics' and other companies, such as 'debt consolidators,' that may charge big fees for unfulfilled promises or services you can perform on your own.

4.  Paying bills late or otherwise tarnishing your reputation.
Companies called credit bureaus prepare credit reports for use by lenders, employers, insurance companies, landlords and others who need to know someone's financial reliability, based largely on each person's track record paying bills and debts. Credit bureaus, lenders and other companies also produce "credit scores" that attempt to summarize and evaluate a person's credit record using a point system.

While one or two late payments on your loans or other regular commitments (such as rent or phone bills) over a long period may not seriously damage your credit record, making a habit of it will count against you. Over time you could be charged a higher interest rate on your credit card or a loan that you really want and need. You could be turned down for a job or an apartment. It could cost you extra when you apply for auto insurance. Your credit record will also be damaged by a bankruptcy filing or a court order to pay money as a result of a lawsuit.

So, pay your monthly bills on time. Also, periodically review your credit reports from to make sure their information accurately reflects the accounts you have.

5.  Having too many credit cards.
Two to four cards (including any from department stores, oil companies and other retailers) is the right number for most adults. Why not more cards?

The more credit cards you carry, the more inclined you may be to use them for costly impulse buying. In addition, each card you own — even the ones you don't use — represents money that you could borrow up to the card's spending limit. If you apply for new credit you will be seen as someone who, in theory, could get much deeper in debt and you may only qualify for a smaller or costlier loan.

Also be aware that card companies aggressively market their products on college campuses, at concerts, ball games or other events often attended by young adults. Their offers may seem tempting and even harmless — perhaps a free T-shirt or Frisbee, or 10 percent off your first purchase if you just fill out an application for a new card — but you've got to consider the possible consequences we've just described. Don't sign up for a credit card just to get a great-looking T-shirt. You may be better off buying that shirt at the store for $14.95 and saving yourself the potential costs and troubles from that extra card.

6.  Not watching your expenses.
It's very easy to overspend in some areas and take away from other priorities, including your long-term savings. Our suggestion is to try any system — ranging from a computer-based budget program to hand-written notes — that will help you keep track of your spending each month and enable you to set and stick to limits you consider appropriate. A budget doesn't have to be complicated, intimidating or painful — just something that works for you in getting a handle on your spending.

7.  Not saving for your future.
We know it can be tough to scrape together enough money to pay for a place to live, a car and other expenses each month. But experts say it's also important for young people to save money for their long-term goals, too, including perhaps buying a home, owning a business or saving for your retirement (even though it may be 40 or 50 years away).

Start by "paying yourself first." That means even before you pay your bills each month you should put money into savings for your future. Often the simplest way is to arrange with your bank or employer to automatically transfer a certain amount each month to a savings account or to purchase a Savings Bond or an investment, such as a mutual fund that buys stocks and bonds.

Even if you start with just $25 or $50 a month you'll be significantly closer to your goal. The important thing is to start saving as early as you can — even saving for your retirement when that seems light-years away — so you can benefit from the effect of compound interest. Compound interest refers to when an investment earns interest, and later that combined amount earns more interest, and on and on until a much larger sum of money is the result after many years.

Banking institutions pay interest on savings accounts that they offer. However, bank deposits aren't the only way to make your money grow. Investments, which include stocks, bonds and mutual funds, can be attractive alternatives to bank deposits because they often provide a higher rate of return over long periods, but remember that there is the potential for a temporary or permanent loss in value.

8.  Paying too much in fees.
Whenever possible, use your own financial institution's automated teller machines or the ATMs owned by financial institutions that don't charge fees to non-customers. You can pay $1 to $4 in fees if you get cash from an ATM that isn't owned by your financial institution or isn't part of an ATM "network" that your bank belongs to.

Try not to "bounce" checks — that is, writing checks for more money than you have in your account, which can trigger fees from your financial institution (about $15 to $30 for each check) and from merchants. The best precaution is to keep your checkbook up to date and closely monitor your balance, which is easier to do with online and telephone banking. Remember to record your debit card transactions from ATMs and merchants so that you will be sure to have enough money in your account when those withdrawals are processed by you bank.

Financial institutions also offer "overdraft protection" services that can help you avoid the embarrassment and inconvenience of having a check returned to a merchant. But be careful before signing up because these programs come with their own costs. Whenever possible, use your own financial institution's automated teller machines or the ATMs owned by institutions that don't charge fees to non-customers.

Pay off your credit card balance each month, if possible, so you can avoid or minimize interest charges. Also send in your payment on time to avoid additional fees. If you don't expect to pay your credit card bill in full most months, consider using a card with a low interest rate and a generous "grace period" (the number of days before the card company starts charging you interest on new purchases).

9.  Not taking responsibility for your finances.
Do a little comparison shopping to find accounts that match your needs at the right cost. Be sure to review your bills and bank statements as soon as possible after they arrive or monitor your accounts periodically online or by telephone. You want to make sure there are no errors, unauthorized charges or indications that a thief is using your identity to commit fraud.

Keep copies of any contracts or other documents that describe your bank accounts, so you can refer to them in a dispute. Also remember that the quickest way to fix a problem usually is to work directly with your bank or other service provider.

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Increased Ability To Finance Your Closing Costs

You can now finance up to 100% of your closing costs thanks to recent changes in Federal Housing Administration (FHA) guidelines, compared to the old limit of 57%.  This is very good news for the first time home buyer who typically has less cash available at the time of closing.

Increased FHA Limits
There FHA loan amount maximums have increased, which is particularly helpful for people living in high cost housing markets.  FHA 's mortgage limit is now tied to local housing costs.  The limit is now 95% of the median home price, or 75% of the Fannie Mae maximum loan amount, which ever is lower.  This is another avenue for the first time home buyer to achieve the dream of home ownership.

Increased Accessibility to Down Payment Assistance Programs
With the rapid increase in home prices over recent years, more and more people are having the dream of home ownership ripped from their hands.  Typically one had to go through a rigorous process to qualify for a down payment assistance program.  Today, there are now programs which have very little hassle.  Ask your mortgage broker if they have access to such options.

Rapid Loan Approval
One of the latest innovations in the mortgage industry is the advent of computerized loan approval.  These programs provide both rapid loan approval and more uniform loan approval practices.  This type of approval is done by scoring a borrower's credit worthiness which quantifies the risk they will default on the loan.  Does your mortgage broker use such a program?

Affordable Mortgages Which Don't Verify Income
These loans are perfect for those people who are self employed, real estate investors, retired persons and anyone who doesn’t want to have to prove their income.  It is essential to have a good credit score in order to qualify for non income verified loan.

With so many mortgage products being offered in Canada, and new products being introduced all the time, the choices for the consumer are immense. An Invis Mortgage Consultant offers the expert, impartial mortgage advice you need, and can educate you on the range of mortgage types which are now available.

Fixed Rate vs. Variable Rate Mortgages
With a fixed rate mortgage, the interest rate stays the same throughout the term of the loan, providing a measure of stability that some prefer. A variable rate mortgage can allow the borrower to take advantage of low rates as it has an interest rate that is calculated on an ongoing basis at the Bank of Canada prime lending rate minus a set percentage.

An Open or Closed Mortgage?
Open mortgages allow the borrower to pre-pay, renew or refinance at any time before maturity without penalties. A "closed" mortgage, on the other hand, typically allows for a set percentage of the principal to be prepaid without penalty. A "closed" mortgage may also be renegotiated or refinanced in most cases with the payment of a penalty which varies from lender to lender.

High-Ratio Mortgages
While a conventional mortgage is a loan for up to 75% of the purchase price of a property, a high-ratio mortgage allows you to borrow up to 95-100% of the purchase price. This type of mortgage must be insured.

The above-mentioned options are just a starting point - there are numerous other mortgage features to be explored, and a  Mortgage Consultant with access to 400 different Mortgage Lenders will work with you to determine which mortgage best meets your individual needs and objectives.

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email: info@fvhg.com

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FREE - Subscribe Now! Each month, we publish a series of articles of interest. From money-saving tips, household safety checklists, home improvement advice, Disaster Preparedness, to insider real estate secrets, etc. Whether you currently are in the market for a new home, or not, we hope that this information is of value to you.
Please feel free to pass these articles on to your family and friends.
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