Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mortgage Advice

Mortgage Advice

             Amidst all the recent financial doom and gloom there is one positive result. Interest rates are going to be low for awhile. Any one renewing or obtaining a mortgage can feel a lot safer going with an open variable rate.
            The last I checked I could get an open variable mortgage at 2.25% with the 5 year term being close to 4%. That’s a difference of 1.75% those savings can be substantial. For example if you are renewing a $200,000 mortgage that difference would save you $3500 per year in interest charges. Over 5 years that would be $17,500. Now wouldn’t that be better in your pocket than your lenders? I think that is something we all would agree on. Imagine the savings to those people with $400,000 mortgages. There is some risk that your rate could raise but I believe that risk has been substantially lowered and you have the option of locking in at any time if economic circumstances change. If you are still concerned many lenders offer a product where your payments are based on the 5 year rate but your actual rate is open. This way your payments are not subject to change and any extra money over and above the 2.25% is applied to your principle thus paying down your mortgage that much faster. Should the rate rise above the 4% during the 5 year term the extra interest is added to your principle. With this product you have the benefit of the lower interest but no risk of higher payments during the term.
         Always remember to shop around at renewal time. Find the best rate and product that suits you and ask your lender to match it. In most cases they will. Remember lenders are in the business of selling money and are profit driven. There is nothing wrong with them charging you as much interest as they can or as much as you are willing to pay. One extra point or % means more profit for them. Many lenders have what they call roving mortgage professionals. These are the people that will come to your home and see you after hours and on week ends. Most are on commission and many can offer you a better rate than the branch. The reason for this is the lenders realize these people are on the front lines competing for mortgage business. This latitude gives their roving sales team one of their most important tools to compete. This tool is a more competitive rate.
          I am always amazed at those individuals that are willing to pay a higher interest rate because of loyalty to a particular lender. Remember it is no good to try and borrow money on a rainy day for an umbrella. Lenders have no loyalty to you. Shop and get the best deal.

Larry Matthews is a recognized expert in Nova Scotia real estate. He is licensed as a real estate broker, real estate appraiser and mortgage broker. The Nova Scotia Legislature has passed a resolution recognizing Larry and his wife Peggy for the success of their company Hants Realty Limited. The Municipality of East Hants awarded Hants Realty Limited with a certificate of recognition for providing 25 yrs of quality service to the residents of East Hants. Larry is an author,photographer,artist and publisher.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Why Use A Real Estate Agent ? (edit/delete)

There are many discussions going on across North America about the value of using a real estate agent. Below is a copy of an email I recieved from a customer and my response. This was a retired couple. He was a lawyer. I think the email speaks for itself. My response also speaks for itself. Natasha is my daughter who is our general manager.

An email from one of Hants Realty's customers

by Luke Matthews on Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at 4:17pm
This email just made my day!!

Hi Larry. Every time I drive through Brookfield, I say to myself that I must e-mail you, because every house in the village that was for sale when we listed ours is still for sale. So we want to say a very big thank you to you, and of course to Natasha. You were both patient, helpful and cheerful when we needed it. (Especially when I got ticked and was ready to pull the plug!) You are good at what you do, and we tell everyone we see what great service we had from you. Best of luck to you.

Sincerely, Jean and Don.

Here was my response

Hi Jean. Thanks so much. Appreciation is the greatest human want mainly because it is so rare. It is people like you and Don that keep our little family enterprise going and make our efforts all worth while. Give Mark my thanks for recommending me to you and from my family to yours.

God Bless !!

Larry Matthews is a recognized expert in Nova Scotia real estate. He is licensed as a real estate broker, real estate appraiser and mortgage broker. The Nova Scotia Legislature has passed a resolution recognizing Larry and his wife Peggy for the success of their company Hants Realty Limited. The Municipality of East Hants awarded Hants Realty Limited with a certificate of recognition for providing 25 yrs of quality service to the residents of East Hants. Larry is an author,photographer,artist and publisher.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Is The Internet Good or Bad ?

Has there ever been anything that has impacted society the way the internet has? Maybe fire, electricity, the automobile, the airplane or perhaps the printing press would be the closest comparison. The printing press made knowledge available to the common person. Over time it gave many great minds a chance to express themselves and share their knowledge and opinions with the rest of society. Books also motivated people to want to learn to read and write. To be able to share in knowledge and understanding.
With knowledge and understanding came motivation and the desire to aspire for a better life. Courage to fight for freedom and rights. Desire to change your circumstances and the combined will to fight oppression. The internet today shines a light on oppression and those in power are unable to hide behind lies and deception as they did in the past. The whole world is aware of what's taking place via the internet.
With change comes pros and cons, benefits and detriments, good and bad. All aspects are debated. Those for and Those against. Through it all society evolves towards higher knowledge and better understanding.
Is the internet good or bad? I believe it is good. A true benefit to society. Providing an amazing benefit to society over all. It has it's negative aspects such as the explosion of porn, misuse of information and the distortion of truth. For me the good out weighs the bad. Knowledge does and will set us free. The evolution of mankind does and will depend on increased knowledge.
My advice. Embrace the internet or be left behind. Control it's intrusion into your life. Do not let it control you. Utilize it in your business because your competition is going to. Make it work for you. Do not let it work against you.
Larry Matthews

Real Estate Investment Blueprint

Real estate is probably one of the best investments you can make for wealth creation over time. Right now many people have cashed out of the stock market and are hesitant to re-invest for various and in some cases obvious reasons. Mainly it's a lack of trust. All markets are mainly influenced by supply and demand. Right now that lack of trust is still evident as the value of shares fluctuate on the stock market. In my opinion the stock market has become a market ruled by emotion and manipulated by those who make their money taking advantage of those emotions. Not a place for the faint of heart or small investors who can't afford to lose the limited principal (money) they have to work with.
Although real estate is blamed for the recent financial crisis it was really the financial manipulation of the mortgages by those same manipulator types I refer to in the stock market that caused the crisis. In my opinion the actual fundamentals of real estate as an investment are still as solid as they ever were and it will continue to be a great investment and wealth builder for years to come. How ever as in any investment strategy you need a blueprint or plan to follow. Here are some important things to consider.
As in all investment strategies it is not as important what you make as it is what you keep. What you keep is your true return on the investment. What you keep is after expenses and taxes. It is extremely important to start off on the right foot tax wise. Depending on your circumstances and ultimate investment goals. Do you want to own the properties personally or do you want to set up a holding company to own the properties. In some cases you may want two companies a holding companies and an operating company to manage the properties. This is where you start your blueprint and structure your plan in a way that is most advantageous to you tax wise. I strongly recommend consulting with both an accountant and a lawyer for advice. The benefits of a proper tax structure will be substantial as you build your portfolio and eventually decide to cash out for profit.
Next you have to decide what type of investment you want to make and where. In most cases I would recommend income producing as the goal should be to buy income producing real estate with a positive cash flow after expenses and debt service. Also remember the three most important rules in real estate investing location, location and location. Sticking to these rules will guarantee your return when you cash out. I also strongly recommend you connect with a knowledgeable agent in your area. Some one with the experience to work with you and help you find the right properties. (not a friend or relative unless qualified)
Building a successfu portfolio is all about leverage. Simply put buying the most amount of real estate with the least amount of your own money. Your real estate agent should have the ability and knowledge to structure the sale to your benefit tax wise and financing wise. If both the buyer and seller are happy and the only losers are the bank and the tax man. That is the true art of deal making. If your real estate agent can not discuss these options with you intelligently and impress you with their knowledge find another agent.
In closing, put together your blueprint, meet with your team, structure your strategy around the right foundation and then implement your plan. Now is the right time to buy real estate. You will be well rewarded as the next round of inflation erodes the value of so many other investments and the value of your real estate investments double over the next 10 years. Watch for my next article on how leverage and real estate can create wealth and help you retire early.
Yours in real estate
Larry Matthews

The Halifax Airport or Stanfield International Airport Halifax Nova Scotia

The Halifax Nova Scotia Airport is Atlantic Canada's gateway to the world. It is the only airport in Atlantic Canada with 24 hour customs service and US pre clearance. It is the regions main full service airport. The Halifax airport generates 1.27 billion dollars annually towards the Nova Scotia provincial economy. The airport handles over 3.5 million customers each year and has received first place awards the last six years from the Global Airport Service Quality Program.
The Halifax airport is located less than 2 hours from New York, Boston and Toronto and is North America's closest continental link to Europe. The Halifax airport has nearly 5500 employees and an active business community with land, retail and office space for lease.
The closest residential community to the airport is Enfield Nova Scotia. Air Canada Jazz and Can jet are both headquartered in Enfield. Enfield exists in both the Municipality of East Hants and Halifax Regional Municipality and is divided by the Shubenacadie River. Enfield was named by Thomas Donaldson in the late 19th century who moved from Enfield Connecticut. Enfield is a bedroom community for the Halifax Airport and Halifax Regional Municipality. Stanley cup champion Sydney Crosby has a home in Enfield on Grand Lake.
The 3 villages of Enfield, Elmsdale and Lantz are home to many of the airport employees and their families. These communities offer great amenities and quality of life. For more information on the Halifax Airport here is a link to the Halifax Airport website Thank you for reading my article and I hope I have provided you with some useful information about The Halifax Airport and surrounding communities.
Larry Matthews

Realty Business in Nova Scotia

The realty business is organized through The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and The Nova Scotia Association of Realtors (NSAR). In Nova Scotia you must be licensed to trade and the industry is administered by The Real Estate Commission under the real estate trading act. Licensed brokers or salespeople who are members of CREA and NSAR are know as realtors(TM) .Realtor is the licensed trademark of The Canadian Real Estate Association across Canada.
Realtors(TM) are required to pass a provincial examination and required to complete mandatory education requirements each year. By statue (Statue of Frauds) all contracts pertaining to real estate must be in writing to be legal and binding which moves a transaction outside the normal realm of contract law.
The realty business offers consumers considerable value as evidenced by the number of transactions recorded each year on MLS (Multiple Listing Service) MLS is the registered trademark of The Canadian Real Estate Association across Canada. This system organizes all the property information and makes it available for Realtors(TM) to work together to share information and co-operate in the listing and selling across Canada through local board members such as NSAR.
Not all real estate trades through the MLS system as some brokers may list and sell exclusively and not submit certain listings to the MLS system normally a decision made by the customer for a reduced commission or other reasons as decided by the customers. Although there is no way of knowing for sure the author would estimate 90% of transactions are brokered by Realtors on the MLS system.
The realty business in Canada also makes available listings to the public on the world wide web at The realty business is well managed and offers true value to Nova Scotia consumers and is continually evolving to improve the service offered to the Nova Scotia public. Buying or selling be sure and use a Realtor(TM) and be sure your interests are well protected.
Larry Matthews

Nova Scotia Real Estate

As the world economies merge more and more people are looking at having homes and investments in different countries. The recent world wide recession has high lighted how stable Canada is as a country and Canada's banking system stood out as one of the best in the world.
As the world economy recovers I believe it will take time for investors to trust a still unstable stock market. Also many shaken local economies are not stable and many local governments now have severe deficit positions. Ice Land would be an example of what could happen.
I would like to make a case for investing in Nova Scotia real estate.
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's smallest provinces with only about a million people in the whole province. They say at any point in Nova Scotia you are never farther than 30 miles from the ocean. The whole province is completely surrounded by water except for a small portion connecting it to the province of New Brunswick where you can drive across the Tantramar salt water marsh on the trans Canada 102 highway to access the rest of Canada. From Nova Scotia you can tour all of Canada (by paved highway in most cases) by automobile or RV. Even the Island of Prince Edward Island is only a few hours crossing the Confederation Bridge near the New Brunswick border. Canada is a huge country with breath taking scenery a true delight with many Canadians spending their retirement years just touring in their RV's.
Nova Scotia real estate can be amazingly affordable when compared to many other markets. There is no boom bust cycle like you see in other Canadian provinces and major cities. Almost no chance of buying on the upside and losing on the downside. Most of the real estate is privately owned and there is a lot of coast line. The Capital city is Halifax Regional Municipality which was created with the amalgamation of the cities of Halifax and Dartmouth some years back. Almost half of the people in the province live and work with-in 40 miles of this Municipality. This is one of the best deep water harbours in the world.
As Nova Scotia adjusts from a resource base (fishing, lumbering, farming) to a more and more knowledge, financial and technology based economy. Rural Nova Scotia is slowly but surely being depopulated as more and more people move to Halifax Regional Municipality for job opportunities. Research in Motion just located and built an office building there (blackberry fame) Several Investment firms and banks have located there etc. This whole circumstances opens up two great real estate investment scenario's depending on your circumstances.
Halifax will continue to grow and that growth will be along the 102 highway between Halifax and Truro. The federal government has committed funding to what is called the Atlantic Gateway. Plans are in the works and studies underway to Develop Halifax as a super port. Halifax is one of the few harbours on the East Coast that is deep enough to accommodate the new super container ships. In my opinion real estate between Halifax and Truro will appreciate substantially as growth and demand continue. The simplest philosophy in investing "buy low and sell high". The smartest move in real estate "buy before the demand comes and wait for the growth and demand to come to you."
The second opportunity is outside Halifax Regional Municipality in the smaller communities too far for commuting to the city. For example the community of Sheet Harbour on the eastern shore is about 60 miles from the city. This is pretty much a self contained community with a Scotia Bank, Home Hardware, Credit Union, Grocery, Hospital, RCMP, 2 motels, Deep water harbour and great people. Here you can buy a pretty nice retirement or seasonal home probably with a view of the water. (frontage is more expensive) for between $80,000 to $100,000 Canadian. There are communities inland where you could buy a home or cottage between $60,000 and $80,000 or less depending on your expectations. Right now in Upper Stewiacke there is a cottage with 1.5 acres listed for $15,900 Canadian.
In closing I would like to say the quality of life in Nova Scotia is second to none. Many people in rural Nova Scotia do not lock their doors. If you are looking for a great place with great people you will never find anything to compare. There is no restrictions on foreign ownership in Nova Scotia and here is our government website for information regarding citizenship and working in Canada. I don't believe you can work with out a visa but you can stay here six months out of the year with out any complications. Nova Scotia hotels are affordable especialy in the off season and Nova Scotia travel is easy by auto with most major roads paved. Why not take a trip to this beautiful province and enjoy our downeast hospitality.
Thanks for reading my article.
Yours in real estate.
Larry Matthews