We want to move to a larger home, but I just changed jobs. Does that mean we have to wait a few years? – FEELING CRAMPED
DEAR FC: This depends on a number of factors. My sense is that the bank is more likely to approve the mortgage if your new job is in the same category as your previous one. Just to be sure, I consulted RBC Mortgage Specialist Claire Cochrane and here’s what she said:
“From the bank’s perspective, you may not necessarily have to wait to be approved. If you are established in your career, often times you’ll just need a job letter as proof of income and a pay stub that matches what is outlined in the letter. These together will often suffice as proof of income. If you can demonstrate long-term experience in your career field and have built up significant equity in your house, the process is easier still.”
“Moving soon after a change of employment tends to be more of a problem when people are new to the market: perhaps they’ve recently graduated, have no mortgage history, have the minimum 5 percent down payment and are still on probation with their employer. If this is your situation, get a pre-written approval first. But if you’re a client that has changed jobs for more income, can prove that income and are still working in the same field, a recent job change is not likely to be an issue.”
Claire’s guidelines provide a good idea of what your lender’s concerns may be, but each situation is different. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to consult your mortgage professional before making any big moves.
I’m a first-time buyer in search of affordable options. Do mobile homes appreciate at the same rate as other types of properties? – CASTING A WIDE NET
DEAR CASTING: Mobile homes may appear to be an affordable option, but there are a few things to consider before you purchase. Like a car, mobile homes tend to depreciate over time. If an owner owns both a mobile home and the land it sits on, they may see an increase in the combined value over time. Most likely, this would be due to an increase in the value of the land, and have little to do with the mobile home sitting upon it. Consideration of the “big picture” (the condition of the mobile home, its location and the terms of the land lease) may also show appreciation.
So why don’t mobile homes hold their value? Generally because they are classified as personal property, not “real property”. In the real estate world, real property is defined as a section of land and anything that’s secured to it permanently. As their name suggests, mobile homes can be moved (though decks, etc. may complicate the process). Because of this distinction, they are considered personal property and not real property.
Along with their tendency to depreciate, mobile homes may carry few additional challenges. Because they are classified as personal property, they may be more expensive to finance. A personal property mortgage (known as a “chattel loan” in the real estate world) tends to come at a higher interest rate than a traditional mortgage. There’s also the issue of seasonality; many locations that welcome mobile homes (such as trailer parks) are closed for the winter in Ontario.