Canadian Foreclosure Info Takes Some Digging

Kamloops and area home listings including judicial sales and foreclosed properties click here.

FORECLOSURE SIGNI found this article below that details foreclosures in B.C. We really have seen very little foreclosure action in the Kamloops housing market. It has been announced recently that B.C. is not immune to this recession and job losses, the drop in property values and the amount of debt carried by individuals is increasing. This extra pressure on individuals and  families will definitely cause those who are highly leveraged to sell either on their own to prevent a foreclosure (where the lender will force the sale) or the lender will foreclose on the property. It is expected that we will see more foreclosures in Kamloops in the months to come, but nothing like we have seen in the U.S. due to many factors that are different with our lending system here in Canada.  Read more below…

Media reports from the United States routinely list a litany of horrors about the number of foreclosures. According to an August 4 New York Times report, 8.41 percent of subprime-mortgage loans from 2005 were in arrears by 90 days or more or in foreclosure in the month of June. Of subprime-mortgage loans from 2007, 16.6 percent were delinquent, according to the report.

This is creating huge problems for U.S. real-estate lenders, who have to put properties in foreclosure and then find a buyer in a market that is already glutted with distress sales.

Fortunately, in B.C. there haven’t been nearly as many foreclosures, which are legal processes in court to extinguish all rights, title, and interest in an owner’s property so that it can be sold to pay a lien against it.

According to the Canadian Bankers Association, just 0.15 percent of B.C. residential mortgages were in arrears in April, the latest month for which figures are available. This is quite low when compared with other months dating back to 1990. The percentage of mortgages in arrears peaked in May 1999 at 0.66 percent—more than four times the most recent figure.

Vancouver real-estate educator and foreclosure researcher Kap Hiroti told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview that he expects the number of B.C. foreclosures to increase—but only because the numbers are so low. He noted that some high-risk borrowers who’ve previously relied on alternative-financing companies are finding themselves in trouble because those lenders have abandoned the market.

“What that means is that you’ve got people who’ve got a mortgage one or two years ago,” Hiroti said. “They’re coming up for renewal, and that company cannot renew because they pulled out of the market. Usually, they’re very highly leveraged loans.”

Those cases, however, are the exception to the current market norm here. Hiroti pointed out another difference between the U.S. and Canada when it comes to foreclosures: south of the border, information is readily available. In Canada, it’s much more difficult to find data on properties that are about to enter foreclosure proceedings.

ForeclosureList.ca, a Web site owned by Hiroti, does the legwork in digging up information on foreclosures. He explained that a foreclosure typically begins when a lender issues a demand letter to a property owner seeking repayment of a debt. If the borrower doesn’t respond appropriately, the next step is for the lender to file a legal document called a petition in B.C. Supreme Court.

The petition lays out the particulars, and normally asks for a court order quashing the owner’s rights, title, and interest in a property. At this point, the owner has a chance to file a response, which sets the legal wheels in motion. Prior to any judicial rulings, the owner still has control over the property and can usually sell it without obtaining permission from the lender.

Hiroti said his company compiles information from these petitions and distributes it for $99 per month to subscribers, most of whom are real-estate investors. He estimated that there are approximately 20 foreclosure petitions filed in B.C. Supreme Court each week. Doing this research isn’t cheap. In B.C., it costs $8 to research a court file and $1 per page to photocopy documents.

Ordinarily, a judge or a master of the B.C. Supreme Court will issue a decree nisi, which may require owners to pay down the debt within six months. Hiroti said the next step is for a judge or a master to issue an order for the conduct of sale. “That’s where they actually bring a realtor onboard,” he commented.

The agent has to list the property for market value on the Multiple Listing Service. Once an offer is made, the court must approve the sale. It can be a time-consuming process, which is why Hiroti thinks it’s useful for investors to find out about foreclosures much earlier in the process.

So can a buyer get a better deal by approaching a property owner who has just received a petition? “It’s a good question,” Hiroti responded. “There is the potential.”

An RRSP Can Help A First Time Home Buyer

HomeA federal program is in place to assist first time home buyers with the purchase of a home. Under the federal government’s Home Buyer’s Plan, you can use up to $20,000 in RRSP savings ($40,000 for a couple) to finance a down payment on a first home. You are then required to repay your RRSP over 15 years.

You have to ensure that the RRSP funds have been deposited for at least 90 days. You will also have to sign an agreement to buy a new or resale home. Buyers have to qualify the  home purchase.

Depending upon your situation, it might be to your advantage to access savings through the Home Buyers’ Plan. For example, if you had already saved $20,000 for a down payment – and assuming you still had enough “contribution room” in your RRSP for a contribution of that amount you could move your savings into a registered investment at least 90 days before your closing date. Then you could withdraw the money through the Home Buyers’ Plan.

Your $20,000 RRSP would then count as a deduction for the year. You could also use any tax refund you receive to repay RRSP or other home buying expenses.

Many home buyers looking to purchase a home in Kamloops are trying to find ways to ensure they have an adequate down payment. First time home buyers can definitely put this technique to use. Ensure, prior to making any major financial decisions, to check with your financial advisor, lawyer or tax specialist. These professionals can determine whether this strategy is practical for your financial situation.

Home Buying / Hunting Tips

For up to date Kamloops and surrounding area home listings click here.

You have established your budget. You have been pre-approved for a mortgage. You have contacted a REALTOR to assist you with the purchase of a home. Now the fun, and evaluation begins. You will probably be looking at a few homes before you decide on the perfect one for your family. Before you decide to purchase that home you have absolutely fallen in love with, be sure to be objective in your decision. On appearance alone, the fireplace, the new flooring, paint job and new carpeting create a warm and inviting feeling. Yet, is the home really that perfect? Take a deep breath. Take some time to think about the bigger picture of the home in terms of your needs. Carefully consider whether this home offers the features that will last beyond the first impression. Here are some essential factors to consider:

* Location is a significant factor in your choice of home. An established community, with a good reputation, a low crime rate and well-maintained homes, maintains home values. A garbage dump, industrious buildings disposing bad odours and major freeways surrounding your neighborhood are unattractive and disruptive to a peaceful lifestyle. Many communities within Kamloops have positive and negative aspects about each and every one of them. Ensure you are informed about every area that you are interested in.

* Also consider availability and cost of access to public transportation, major roads and highways. This is especially important when considering properties outside of Kamloops.

* Also consider the condition of public areas such as streets, sidewalks, parks and recreational facilities.

* Public services should also be established including street cleaning, snow removal, garbage collection, and emergency services.

* You will also want efficient access to medical services including hospitals, doctors and dentists.

* Be sure that schools and related school services are also within easy access.

* Recreational, shopping and entertainment needs should also be considered.

Buying a home is a big job and there are many things to consider. With the Kamloops real estate market being a lot slower, buyers have more time to make an informed decision on a purchase. Before making an offer on a home take the time to look over the home carefully and really consider the floor plan and how your furniture will fit. Ensure your Realtor shows you the comparable homes on the market in your chosen area. Remember, often homes look much better in person than they do in pictures on the MLS.

Improvements Have Been Made To Realtor.ca

The Canadian Real Estate Association has made some improvements to realtor.ca (previously MLS.ca). I rarely search for real estate there unless I am curious about some area outside of the Kamloops region. As a result of two rounds of consumer testing, several enhancements have been made to REALTOR.ca.

* There is a new home page for residential real estate, designed to eliminate consumer confusion. The default is now set to a “Quick” search format, with an option to search by interactive map.

* The pop-up that had generated complaints has been eliminated.

* The results page has also been re-designed to make the photos larger and the interactive map space smaller. The address, if approved for display, has been added to the thumbnail. This has been a frequent request from consumers, although the address often is omitted.

* Zoom level restriction has been removed. There has been complaints that the site does not respond due to the number of properties in an area. Until this change was made, users would hit the restricted zoom level without displaying properties, creating the impression the map was zooming in and out, in effect, out of control.

Realtor.ca has received a lot of criticism since it debuted. I hope you like the changes and if not you can head over to my site and search there. I find that Realtor.ca is a very slow, time consuming website. Searches take a long time and often buyers are still left wanting more information in the end. Get ahead of Realtor.ca you can receive MLS listings days before they hit the web. To receive daily emails with personalized search results sign up here.

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