My mortgage is about to come up for renewal and I’m looking for a competitive rate. Are there risks involved with using some of the private lenders I see advertised, rather than staying with a major bank? – Rate Shopping
Dear Shopping: What I’ve found is that when any lender offers a “teaser rate”, it is often less flexible than a traditional big bank mortgage and may come with specific restrictions regarding pre-payments, porting (in case you decide to move), bridge financing or early repayment. Since none of us can see into the future, I generally advise my clients to look for financing options with a level of flexibility.
When the time comes to renew your mortgage, your current bank will probably send you an auto renewal notice which may or may not offer the best possible rate. If you want to explore some options, I would be happy to introduce you to one of my Mobile Mortgage Specialists from the big banks (TD, RBC, Scotia or CIBC), each of whom can offer something highly competitive with which to compare. At the end of the day, you may find you feel more comfortable sticking with your current financial institution. If that is the case, it’s worth visiting the branch in person to see if they might be able to offer a rate that’s a little more enticing.
My neighbour’s teenage kids have taken to parking their cars on the front lawn. It looks terrible, are there any rules about this? – Pride in the Neighbourhood
Dear Neighbourhood: A first step might be to initiate a caring conversation with your neighbour to express your concerns and see if they might be willing to try an alternate parking arrangement. Failing this, a next step would be to check the parking by-laws that apply in your area. These are posted on each city’s website and vary according to the type of vehicle and where in the yard the vehicle is parked. In some cases, the rules can vary according to neighbourhood. In the City of Kitchener for example, extended parking is not allowed on any part of the lawn or driveway boulevard, with limited seasonal exceptions. Also listed are the bylaws for street parking. These may vary by season as well, but can to be more lenient in some cases and may present a viable alternative.