We have an old shed/garage and want to build an oversized detached garage in its place. So far, quotes have been between $35-40 thousand! We plan to sell eventually. Would it be better to spend the money fixing up our tired kitchen and bathroom? – SHOCKED
DEAR SHOCKED: Without having seen your home, I would say that kitchens and bathrooms are always a great place to invest. People tend to place a high premium on these areas and statistically, their return on investment is second only to a fresh coat of paint (in a neutral colour, of course).
A garage is generally a great investment if it suits your property, but before you make the decision to go ahead, weigh out your cost versus expected return. In my experience, the number you were quoted sounds like it could be a good investment. I was recently quoted $130 thousand for a three-car garage, which proportionally sounds a bit out of reach for the return I could reasonably expect.
What’s a good credit score and why does it affect my ability to buy a home? – EXTRA CREDIT
DEAR CREDIT: Your credit score is a measure of your financial health and one of the indicators that lenders rely on when considering you for a mortgage. A credit report summarizes your credit, employment and financial history. It details your financial past and shows how consistently you pay off your debts. The report shows whether you manage your credit well, and scores to your financial “trustworthiness” with a number between 300-900.
Canada has two credit reporting agencies, Equifax and TransUnion. For a fee, either will provide you with an online credit report (you don’t need a monthly subscription). Contrary to popular belief, pulling your own report does not have a negative affect your credit score, though the inquiry will be noted on your file.
Mortgage insurance requires a minimum credit score, and something as simple as a late payment can have serious consequences. Recently, a client of mine was late with a single bill payment. Since her credit score was already close to the minimum required for mortgage insurance, her file was sent for review instead of being automatically approved. Pro Tip: If your credit score is in the 700’s, you’re doing pretty well. At 550 it needs work, but with a bit of coaching, we’ll get you there. #AskDavid