Self-employment can be a fulfilling and rewarding way of making a living, whether you're a freelancer, private contractor or business owner. When shopping for a mortgage, application requirements and the process may differ from someone with a traditional full-time job. The important thing is to keep looking as you have options.

Finding a perfect move-in ready home in your budget isn’t always a reality, especially in a hot housing market. Many times, that almost-perfect house can become your dream home with just a few repairs or renovations.

Investing in income property can be an excellent investment vehicle. It can give you a positive cash flow from rental income each month, an appreciation of the property and a reduction in the principal of its mortgage over time.

Whether you’re looking to fix and flip, fix and rent, or supplement your income in retirement, you’ll need a suitable mortgage to help you efficiently acquire and hold your investment property.

Thinking about purchasing a distressed property, fixing it up, and then reselling it for a profit? Flipping is a job with an uncertain income at the end. The bottom line is if you flip properties correctly, you can make money.

So, if you've decided to flip, the first leap is financing. Money is needed for the purchase of the home, renovations, and closing costs. (which will come from your profits).

Are you considering buying a building with five or more rental units to secure your retirement, generate additional income, or invest in more property? A multi-unit can be an excellent opportunity for investing in real estate.

The critical thing to remember is purchasing a multiplex with five apartments or more follows a different set of rules and processes than buying one with four or fewer units.

A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) is one of the most convenient, flexible, and low-cost ways to borrow money.

It can help you access funds to improve your investments or help you get out of debt faster. You may want to cover a mortgage, purchase another property, do a home renovation, or pay for your child's education.

Improvements to your home can add to its value and appearance. However, paying for any home reno project is the most challenging part.

In the end, the financing you'll want for your project has a lot to do with the kind and cost of the renovations you're doing. Some programs will allow you to stretch beyond what a typical lender will let you do while remaining compliant with the rules.

When your mortgage term reaches its maturity, three things happen.

  • There’s no penalty for pre-paying it in part or in full. You can move it to another financial institution or refinance it without a prepayment penalty.
  • You’ll get an offer from your bank to stay with them for another term. Each term option will come with an offered rate. This is a great time to shop around for the best terms.
  • Your circumstances and goals may have changed, so it’s back to the drawing board to ensure the way you choose is ideal for you.

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To start, you need to understand the basic math of investing. You either buy low and sell high, or you buy well and keep for a while. Ask yourself, which one do you want to do, and how will your numbers look? Together, we can work out some scenarios and prepare you for your search.

Every investment comes with its own set of risks. We can consider mitigation strategies to help you manage some risks, but not all are inherent in a given investment. Real estate is no different. The plan you choose will have its own set of risks. How you manage or minimize them will depend on your unique approach.

Buying a property out-of-the-box means you’re not inheriting old problems, and the place will come with a warranty. As they say, the new car smell is never free.

An upfront conversation about your numbers can put some of these elements into perspective and help you plan your real estate portfolio around your goals, abilities, and lifestyle.

Cash flow is what you make every month minus what you spend. What you spend every month should include a buffer for any unplanned expenses (which you should be saving up for anyways). Positive means you’re in the plus and visa-versa.

The bank views cash flow-positive property as a more robust investment and is more likely to lend preferentially against it.

How do you estimate and budget for cash flow? That’s a more extensive conversation that we can have.

The answer is it depends. First, you should ask at least three people: your accountant, mortgage broker, and lawyer. There are considerable implications of doing so, but I’ll stay in my lane and speak only to the borrowing ones.

When you finance a property held in a holding company, there are rules you have to follow. In addition, you will:

  1. Limit your choice of lender and product options.
  2. Incur costs and be bound by some additional conditions of financing.
  3. Forfeit some privileges you may be otherwise entitled to when buying a property as an individual. And notwithstanding all of the above, it still makes sense to go the hold-co route for some specific scenarios.

Call professionals, take good notes, and run some solid numbers to make sure this makes sense for you - before you make a move. Ask to be referred to tried and true professionals who can help you improve the quality of the answers you get.

Investment concepts, where the outcome hinges on elbow grease or downright speculation, are often harder to sell to a lender. These projects will hold the operator (you) to a higher standard of financial ability to service this debt should your project hit choppy waters.

In contrast, opportunities, where properties have a strong cash flow and a solid long-term value projection, will be a lot easier. Financing costs will be lower, and the emphasis will be placed on the property itself rather than its investors.

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is secured credit. Your home acts as a guarantee that you will repay the money you borrowed.

Up to a maximum credit limit, you can borrow money, repay it at your discretion, and borrow again. It typically comes with higher rates than their regular mortgage counterparts. You can best use them for consolidating short-term and/or recurring costs.

There are other factors to consider, and every situation is different. Talk to a professional to help weigh your options.

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