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View online at MORTGAGES & HOME BUYING SPECIAL SECTION A S U P P L E M E N T T O T H E W I N N I P E G F R E E P R E S S WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, WEDNESDAY MARCH 11, 2020 1 Meet your mortgage calculator F O R H U M A N A D V I C E ® Michael Froese is a managing partner with Royal LePage Prime. He offers insight on some commonly asked questions about buying and selling homes. Q: I'm thinking of buying a home but I don't know where to begin. What are some of the first steps I need to take? A: The first step is to build a team of professionals, starting with a realtor. A real estate agent can clearly navigate you through the entire extensive home-buying process. The next important step would be to get pre- qualified for a mortgage. Not only does it help prepare you for what you can afford, but it also prepares you to make stronger offers when you could potentially be competing for a home or condo in our market. Q: How do I know if a house or a condo is the right choice for me? A: I've been asked this question for my entire career and it all depends on the lifestyle you're looking to lead. If you want to have an urban lifestyle that allows you to walk or bike to work, a condo might be a good fit. Similarly, if you're a jetsetter and you want to lock the doors and leave, condos are easier to maintain. But if want to have backyard barbecues and invite 30 people over for Christmas dinner, then it's probably easier to do that in a house. For growing families with kids, condos aren't usually their favourite choice. There's no right or wrong — you just need to figure out how you want to live and make your decision from there. Q: What are some advantages of working with a realtor? A: Anyone can do research on Google, but that doesn't replace someone who has the expertise of doing their job day in and day out. The professionalism, local area knowledge and market knowledge are some of the main advantages to help you navigate the different market conditions. Another great reason to work with a realtor is that they act as your advocate. They will look after your best interest and put you in the best negotiating position. Buying or selling a home is extremely emotional and your realtor is there to provide you with an objective opinion as a third party. Q: What other professionals will I need for the process? A: If you're getting a mortgage, you'll need a mortgage lender. You'll potentially need home inspectors and contractors if you're looking to get a quote for renovations. As well, you'll definitely need a lawyer to close the real estate transaction. Q: What are some tips for buying a home? A: Don't fall in love until you get the key to move in. Homebuyers often fall in love with a home and then they'll make decisions based on emotion like bidding too high or removing conditions. Instead, it's better to make objective decisions — so take your time, get great advice and commit to the process. A good realtor will navigate you through it all. Q: What are some tips for selling a home? A: Understanding the market conditions is paramount. It's not necessarily about how the home is priced but how it's positioned in the marketplace. You need to know what's going on in the neighbourhood and the price ranges since it's important to know how your home stacks up to the others. That will include price but it also includes condition, curb appeal, how things appear in the home and the marketing strategies that are taken to present the home in its best light. Q: Is there any other information that you'd like to highlight? A: With over 100 agents and three locations in Winnipeg, Royal LePage Prime has an agent with the local expertise to help you whether you're buying, selling or investing. In Winnipeg, we're extremely blessed to have a market that is stable with market conditions that are still favourable. We have low interest rates and Winnipeg is one of the most affordable major cities in Canada. Only 3 times since 1970 has Winnipeg's average home price deceased. So whether you're buying or selling, it's a good market and it's a good time to own real estate in Winnipeg. ASK A REAL ESTATE EXPERT Prime Real Estate INDEPENDENTLY OWNED AND OPERATED 204-989-7900 | By Jennifer McFee IF YOU'RE HOPING TO MAKE YOUR DREAM HOME A REALITY, YOU'LL FIRST NEED TO QUALIFY FOR A MORTGAGE SO THE HOUSE-HUNTING PROCESS CAN PROCEED AS SMOOTHLY AS POSSIBLE. C andyce Amos, a financial ac- count manager with Assiniboine Credit Union, provides some words of wisdom for anyone seeking a mortgage. "When it comes to purchasing a home, securing a mortgage comes with some ex- citement and some nerves, so there are a few things that can be done to alleviate some of the pressure," she said. "Your first step would be to work out how much you think you can afford before you start looking for the home of your dreams." A mortgage expert can determine how much you can qualify for — as well as how much you can realistically afford. "In order to determine how much you qualify for at the time of application, we would need to know your annual earnings, your job position and tenure with the company you work for, any monthly debt obligations you have, as well as the source of your down payment," Amos said. "There are many options for the source of a down payment such as using an existing RRSP you may have under the Home Buyer's Plan, a non-repayable gift from an immediate family member or your own savings." Down payment options vary with each application, but in some cases you might be able to purchase a home by putting as little as five per cent down, Amos added. "There are also closing costs involved to consider that could be anywhere from two to three per cent of the purchase price of the home," she said. "This is something important to keep in mind when you are budgeting for your new home purchase." Many different types of mortgages are available, such as a fixed-rate term ranging from six months up to five years. This option provides a fixed interest rate that is guaranteed for the duration of the chosen term. With variable rate mortgages, the interest rate could change along with the prime lend- ing rate. At the same time, the variable rate mortgage offers the flexibility to lock in and convert to a fixed-rate mortgage at any time if interest rates rise. "It is also very important not to just focus on the interest rate, as there are many vari- ables you will want to consider when negoti- ating your mortgage," Amos said. "Prepayment penalties vary from lender to lender and it's important to consider how this is calculated." In addition, you have the chance to di- rectly benefit your community by holding a mortgage at a credit union, Amos added. "Assiniboine Credit Union is a socially responsible co-operative providing finan- cial services for the betterment of all of our members, employees and our communities," Amos said. "As a values-based banking organization, people and planet are very dear to us. We are a carbon-neutral financial institution and are working to raise funds to help replace some of the trees that were damaged in our Octo- ber 2019 storm." All in all, you'll need to consider mul- tiple factors to determine what type of mortgage is right for you. Some points to ponder include a focus on your lifestyle, fi- nancial health objectives, market tolerance and individual beliefs. "It is important to be comfortable with the organization that holds your mortgage as well as the type of mortgage," Amos said. "It is important to work with a company that has the same values as you." MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR MORTGAGE Candyce Amos, financial account manager with Assiniboine Credit Union

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