How to avoid real estate fraud

How to avoid real estate fraudAs housing prices climb in many markets across the country, real estate fraud can become a much more enticing prospect for scammers. While it’s one of the lesser known kinds of fraud in Canada, its impact can be devastating.

There are two types of real estate fraud that may result in financial losses — title fraud and foreclosure fraud.

Title fraud happens when a fraudster steals the title to a home — usually after stealing the owner’s identity — then sells the home or applies for a new mortgage against it.

Foreclosure fraud happens when homeowners having difficulty making their payments mistakenly turn to a fraudster, who convinces them to transfer their property title in return for a loan. Often, the fraudster keeps their loan payments and resells or remortgages the victim’s home.

Protect yourself from becoming a victim of real estate fraud with these simple tips:

Safeguard your personal financial information.

Contact your mortgage lender first if you are having difficulty making your mortgage payments.

Consult your lawyer before giving another person a right to deal with your home or other assets.

Research the company or individual who is offering you a loan.

Do a land title search with your provincial or territorial land registry office. This search will show the name of the property owner and any mortgages or liens registered on the title.

Consider buying title insurance to protect against title fraud.

Find more information online at canada.ca/money.

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Benefits of planning for retirement at an early age

Benefits of planning for retirement at an early ageNowadays, Canadians will generally need over $1 million to live comfortably in their golden years when taking into account the average household wage, retirement age and life expectancy. Though this news may seem frightening, there are many programs and strategies out there that can help you plan accordingly.

For instance, through the Canada Pension Plan, most of us are contributing to a pension that will replace up to a quarter of the average income in retirement. With changes coming to the program starting in 2019, CPP benefits will begin to grow to replace up to a third of average work earnings.

If you work in Canada, contributions to the CPP are automatically deducted from your paycheque, and any funds not needed to pay current beneficiaries are invested by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. This ensures that the CPP is sustainable for generations to come so that even your grandkids can rely on this stable source of retirement income when it is needed most.

But what about the remaining portion needed to make up your retirement income?

By investing into your personal retirement savings plan at an early age, you may get closer to your goal than you think. Take, for instance, the effects of compound returns. It might change the way you look at discretionary spending that could otherwise be put towards your life savings.

Instead of buying an iPhone X, which currently retails at around $1,500 after taxes, say you invested that money. Using CPPIB’s current 10-year average return of 6.2 per cent, your original investment would grow to $1,582.88 after one year. While this may not seem like much, compounding returns on that initial investment over 40 years would net $16,531.18.

You will receive exponentially more money the longer it is invested, but anything helps and the earlier you start the better off you will be in the long run.

So, when you save that $1,000 for retirement, don’t think of it as saving a measly $1,000 — think of it as saving $10,000. That’s a lot closer to what its actual value will be when you need it.

Find more information at www.cppib.com.

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