Friday Mortgage Roundup: February 15, 2013

This week's mortgage lowdown

To some, Valentine’s Day is a day to really show that special person in your life how much they mean to you.  To others – myself included – it marks a countdown to discounted chocolate prices.  If you’re in blissful love, the world is a great place.  But what if you’re not in love?  (For a GREAT read check out the Cost of Love, maybe we’re better off!).

“Love Your Neighbour as Thyself”

A really great concept, but let’s be honest … some neighbours are unbearable!  Whether it’s the neighbour with the barking dog in condo land or the eyesore in suburbia, living next to someone with a different lifestyle isn’t easy.  It turns out that a bad neighbour can do more than aggravate your very last nerve; their landscape and lack of upkeep can actually lower your own home’s value by more than five to 10 per cent says Richard Borgoes, president of the Appraisal Institute, the largest professional association of real estate appraisers in the U.S., in a Financial Post article.

Pave Paradise and Put up a Monster Home?

Living next to someone who uses their property as a junk yard is unpleasant to say the least, but the other end of the spectrum hasn’t received rave reviews either.  While the idea of tearing down a home to replace it with a newer, improved version sounds flawless, a recent super-structure in Brampton is certainly ruffling the feathers of nearby homeowners.  People within this community are arguing that the monster home does not fit the architectural style of the area and sticks out like a sore thumb.

It’s one thing to build an above average sized home on a spacious piece of real estate, but it’s another to construct a home that is three times the size of the rest of the neighbourhood and fills the entire lot including the driveway.  In my opinion, I see this not as a tale of envy, but rather a cry for help from the neighbourhood.  And to make matters even more controversial, the owner of this fortress has said that it will accommodate him, his two brothers, their families and parents; cohabitation to this degree differs drastically to that of the biased western world, including this particular neighbourhood.

Real Estate Red Flags

Before you buy you should take a gander at the overall neighbourhood and consider the proximity of the property at hand to such things as commercial facilities, shopping centres, cemeteries and other structures that may negatively affect its value.  One article in the Financial Post suggests making random visits throughout the week at various times throughout the day to see what’s really going on in the neighbourhood.  Personally, I think this Columbo stake out technique is a little aggressive, but it could be fun to pump some the James Bond theme song in your car and drive around!

How To Deal

If you no longer look forward to heading home at the end of the workday because your neighbour has made the experience less than relaxing, there are some things that you can do to remedy the problem (depending on how severe the issue is):

  • First Degree: Simply send an anonymous letter to your neighbour and address the problem
  • Second Degree: Talk to other neighbours and approach the issue together
  • Third Degree: Look up any planning or subdivision restrictions to see if an offense has been committed
  • Fourth Degree: Call a lawyer or bi-law officer to address noise, untidy yards etc. Week in Review

How low can they go?  Lots of movements since the last update!  All fixed rates have dropped along with further discounting to the three-year variable rate.  The biggest movers are the two-year fixed which moved from 2.59 per cent – 2.44 per cent and the three-year variable rate which also dropped 15 basis points, landing at 2.65 per cent.  If you are wondering where the experts are saying where rates will go next, check out this month’s Mortgage Rate Outlook Panel!

Related Topics

Mortgage News / Mortgages

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