1. It is irresponsible for us to guess at how long the COVID-19 pandemic will be with us. What we do know for certain is that until there is a vaccine developed it is going to be an issue and until there is an anti-viral treatment we will be in self-isolation. This is emotionally and mentally draining for people and it is ok, it is allowed to be.
I truly feel it is important in order to ensure that a few things are taken care of while we are still able, in order to assist in reducing the stresses that you will feel:
-Consolidate Debts to improve cashflow
-Place a Secured Line of Credit on a property when available to help with any emergency situations that might come up
-Take out equity if you feel you need some additional money set aside
2. If you have found your income negatively affected by COVID-19 and need to take advantage of some of the programs the government is offering, we are happy to supply you with any available information.
3. Make sure to negotiate with the companies you currently owe to if you are out of work or seeing a decrease in income. It is better to renegotiate than to just not pay.
4. Take this time to self educate, read a book, do a project you haven’t had time for. It is very easy to just spend all day on the couch watching Netflix or the news, and we have to pull ourselves away from it. We need to remain active, do something to better ourselves, learn something new, touch base with friends and family we may not have spoken with much. This is a great time to focus on self-improvement.
5. ORGANIZE YOUR FINANCES – most of us are terrible at organizing our personal finances, we pile up bills everywhere, our documents are in fifty different places. Now is a great time to get a few binders and start putting our financial documents together and organizing them. It is amazing what a 3-ring binder and a hole punch can do for you.
6. Interest Rates – there is a lot of incorrect information on social media right now regarding interest rates – it is important that you are getting your information from a reliable source. The comments section of FB is the last place to get advice on your finances. Everyone has an opinion on what is going on with interest rates right now and honestly, a lot of it is incorrect.
Fixed rates are not based against the BOC overnight rate or Prime, so don’t fool yourself into believing just because the BOC drops rates that the Banks and Lenders will drop the fixed rate. Yes, those on Variable Rate mortgages will see their rates drop, however, Fixed Rates are more based against the cost of borrowing money for the financial institutions – with deposits (from businesses, payroll, ect) decreasing, it is causing the banks to borrow money at slightly higher rates, and this is being reflected in some increases in the fixed rate. HOWEVER, the fixed rate, historically is still very low.
7. Lenders are asking for confirmation of employment upfront. Paystubs and job letters at the time of application are very important.
8. Don’t wait until your mortgage is up for renewal to begin the renewal process – with the backlog that we are seeing from many banks and lenders right now it is important to get a head start on putting a renewal in place – if you have been offered a renewal from your existing financial institution it is important to have that reviewed by a 3rd party in order to ensure you are being offered the best deal that you currently qualify for. We recommend beginning the renewal process 3 months before your renewal date.
9. Purchasing a property – if you have a purchase currently underway or are shopping for a purchase, remember that it is important to ensure that you have enough time to complete it. The worst thing we can do right now is trying to rush any parties involved in a purchase transaction. The Lender, the Appraiser, even the Seller. It is important to try and remain open and flexible to changes that might happen in your transactions right now, because things are so unpredictable. If you have been shopping, but have been laid off, keep shopping, but know that you will likely need to wait until you are back in work before completing any purchases.
10. Be open and honest with any questions you might have – this is an unprecedented time for us, we have not gone through this situation before, and if you are feeling uncertain or have questions about something it is important to be open and ask an expert. We haven’t gone anywhere, and we are happy to do our best to explain what is going on and what options may be available to you. The best way to combat fear is with knowledge, and our team of experts are here 7 days a week in order to respond to any questions you might have.