14 Dec

WHY CAN’T YOU PORT YOUR MORTGAGE?

General

Posted by: Sangeeta Sangeeta

WHY CAN’T YOU PORT YOUR MORTGAGE?

Policies are always changing, and when you port a mortgage, a FULL application must be approved and completely underwritten with full, credit, income, property and policy review.
It’s a mistake to believe that just because you already had a mortgage, you will easily get a new one. Policies and rates are changing rapidly and you need a strategy to stay informed. SO BEFORE you consider a move, understand the worst case scenario of what you qualify for without porting your mortgage so you avoid the disappointment of falling into the 70% of people that don’t end up porting. Mortgages can be made simple when you are empowered with relevant information relating to the current market and your life stage. Depending on those factors, you might be happy to get rid of your old mortgage and get in with the new! We have a mortgage for that and can help. On average less than 3% of mortgages are portable.
Let me list a few of the reasons why
1. Dates– most lenders have a different policy on the dates that will allow to port the mortgage; it can be weeks or months. Your closing date will determine that.
2. Amortization– porting a mortgage means you port the same amortization, so if you are moving up the property ladder, that may mean your payments are significantly increased making it less affordable or meaning you can’t qualify with your income.
3. Amounts– some have a 10% variance limit up or down, where the penalty will trigger or it’s no longer a fit within the policy.
4. Change in credit– depending on the credit score and outside debts you have will determine if you still fit the credit profile your previous mortgage had.
5. Income– if there has been a change in your income type or amount this will also impact the options.
6. Property type– some lenders only lend on single-family homes, or a particular zoning, or don’t do private sales- even if they did when you originally got your mortgage with them.
7. Rate– may be the change in rates either way of the product type you took doesn’t allow for a port due to one or a few of the combined factors. For example, going from the insured to uninsured comes with different policies.
8. Product– may be the product you had no longer exists for your particular profile.
9. Inspections – may be the lender approved it initially but after your inspection just as you wanted a reduction in price, they decide they are no longer going to lend on it or decide it doesn’t fit the profile or they won’t do it under that program ( instead you need a purchase plus improvements or a hold back they may or may not participate in and maybe want a different fix that you or a strata council agree on.)
10. Bridge – if you want to buy before you sell, all the above factors come into play. Maybe the original lender doesn’t allow the length of time you need, their cost to bridge is much higher, or maybe they don’t approve that portion of the loan, which puts you back at square one.

Purchasing a home is complex, with many moving parts and needs to be understood as such. When you have an experienced Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker by your side while lots of things can come up, we can guide you through what is best for your family, which is why we encourage you to be educated and empowered so you are ready for your next part of your ownership journey.

7 Dec

THE #1 MISCONCEPTION ABOUT MORTGAGE FINANCING!

General

Posted by: Sangeeta Sangeeta

THE #1 MISCONCEPTION ABOUT MORTGAGE FINANCING!

It is a reoccurring but common misconception that you will qualify for a mortgage in the future because you have qualified for a mortgage in the past.

This is not accurate!

Do. Not. Assume. Anything.

Even if your financial situation has remained the same or has improved, securing mortgage financing is more difficult now than it has in recent years.
The latest changes to mortgage qualification by the federal government has left Canadians qualifying 20-25% less. On top of that, guidelines that lenders would use in determining your suitability have been replaced with non-negotiable rules and declarations.

As mortgage professionals, we keep up to date with the latest trends going on in the mortgage world by understanding lender products and staying attentive to evolving changes.

From experience, we can tell you that having a plan is crucial to a successful mortgage application. Making assumptions about your qualification or just “winging it” is a recipe for disaster. Here are a few points on why a mortgage broker is a must for the first time home-buyer.

1. They have access to over 40 different lenders, not just one
2. They work for you, not for the lender
3. They will guide you through the application process
4. They save you valuable time shopping for you
5. They pull your credit once — if you go to multiple banks, you will have multiple credit pulls

If you are thinking about buying a property, please feel free to contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional where we can help you devise a full-proof plan!

30 Nov

WOULD A CO-SIGNER ENABLE YOU TO QUALIFY FOR A MORTGAGE?

General

Posted by: Sangeeta Sangeeta

WOULD A CO-SIGNER ENABLE YOU TO QUALIFY FOR A MORTGAGE?

There seems to be some confusion about what it actually means to co-sign on a mortgage… and any time there is there is confusion about mortgages, it’s time to chat with your trusted Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional!

Let’s take a look at why you would want to have someone co-sign your mortgage and what you need to know before, during and after the co-signing process.

Qualifying for a mortgage is getting tougher, especially with the 2017 government regulations. If you have poor credit or don’t earn enough money to meet the banks’ requirements to get a mortgage, then getting someone to co-sign your mortgage may be your only option.

The ‘stress test’ rate is especially “stressful” for borrowers. As of Jan. 1, 2018, all homebuyers with over 20% down payment will need to qualify at the rate negotiated for their mortgage contract PLUS 2% OR 5.34% whichever is higher. If you have less than 20% down payment, you must purchase Mortgage Default Insurance and qualify at 5.34%. The stress test has decreased affordability, and most borrowers now qualify for 20% less home.

In the wise words of Mom’s & Dad’s of Canada… “if you can’t afford to buy a home now, then WAIT until you can!!” BUT… in some housing markets (Toronto & Vancouver), waiting it out could mean missing out, depending on how quickly property values are appreciating in the area.

If you don’t want to wait to buy a home, but don’t meet the guidelines set out by lenders and/or mortgage default insurers, then you’re going to have to start looking for alternatives to conventional mortgages, and co-signing could be the solution you are looking for.

In order to give borrowers, the best mortgage rates, Lenders want the best borrowers!! They want someone who will pay their mortgage on time as promised with no hassles.

If you can’t qualify for a mortgage with your current provable income (supported by 2 years of tax returns and a letter of employment) along with solid credit, your lender’s going to ask for a co-signer.

Ways to co-sign a mortgage

The first is for someone to co-sign your mortgage and become a co-borrower, the same as a spouse or anyone else who you are actually buying the home with. It’s basically adding the support of another person’s credit history and income to those initially on the application. The co-signer will be put on the title of the home and lenders will consider them equally responsible for the debt should the mortgage go into default.
Another way that co-signing can happen is by way of a guarantor. If a co-signer decides to become a guarantor, then they’re backing the loan and essentially vouching for the person getting the loan that they’re going to be good for it. The guarantor is going to be responsible for the loan should the borrower go into default.
Most lenders prefer a co-signer going on the title, it’s easier for them to take action if there are problems.

More than one person can co-sign a mortgage and anyone can do so, although it’s typically it’s the parent(s) or a close relative of a borrower who steps up and is willing to put their neck, income, and credit bureau on the line.

Ultimately, as long as the lender is satisfied that all parties meet the qualification requirements and can lessen the risk of their investment, they’re likely to approve it.

Before signing on the dotted line

Anyone that is willing to co-sign a mortgage must be fully vetted, just like the primary applicant. They will have to provide all the same documentation as the primary applicant. Being a co-signer makes you legally responsible for the mortgage, exactly the same as the primary applicant. Co-signers need to know that being on someone else’s mortgage will impact their borrowing capacity while they are on the title for that mortgage. They’re allowing their name and all their information to be used in the process of a mortgage, which is going to affect their ability to borrow anything in the future.

If someone is a guarantor, then things can become even trickier the guarantor isn’t on the title to the home. That means that even though they’re on the mortgage, they have no legal right to the home itself. If anything happens to the original borrower, where they die, or something happens, they’re not really on the title of that property but they’ve signed up for the loan. So they don’t have a lot of control which can be a scary thing.

In my opinion, it’s much better for a co-signer to be a co-borrower on the property, where you can actually be on title to the property and enjoy all of the legal rights afforded to you.

The Responsibilities of Being a Co-signer

Co-signing can really help someone out, but it’s also a big responsibility. When you co-sign for someone, you’re putting your name and credit on the line as security for the loan/mortgage.

If the person you co-sign for misses a payment, the lender or other creditors can come to you to get the money. The late payment would also show up on your credit report.

Because co-signing a loan has the potential to affect both your credit and finances, it’s extremely important to make sure you’re comfortable with the person you’re co-signing for. You both need to know what you’re getting into. I recommend looking into Independent Legal Advice between all co-borrowers.

Co-signing is NOT a life sentence Just because you need a co-signer to get a mortgage doesn’t mean that you will always need a co-signer.

In fact, as soon as you feel that you’re strong enough to qualify without your co-signer – you can ask your lender to reconsider your application and remove the co-signer from the title. It is a legal process so there will be a small cost associated with the process, but doing so will remove the co-signer from your loan (once you are able to qualify on your own), and release them from the responsibility of the mortgage.

Removing a co-signer technically counts as changing the mortgage, so you need to check with your mortgage broker and lender to ensure that the lender you choose doesn’t count removing a co-signer as breaking your mortgage, because there could be large penalties associated with doing so.

Co-signing is an option that could help a lot of people buy a home, especially first time home buyers who are typically starting their career and building their credit bureau.

A final mortgage tip: a couple of alternatives to co-signing that could help someone out:

  • providing gift funds for a down payment
  • paying off someone else’s debt, giving them more funds to pay the mortgage
24 Nov

4 FACTS ABOUT USING A GUARANTOR

General

Posted by: Sangeeta Sangeeta

4 FACTS ABOUT USING A GUARANTOR

A Guarantor, when it comes to mortgages, is exactly what it sounds like—they “Guarantee” the mortgage for another person if they are unable to pay back the loan.

Guarantor’s or co-signers are often used if someone has:

• Damaged or poor credit
• Insufficient income

In most cases, someone with poor credit and/or insufficient income has a more challenging time securing a mortgage. Adding a guarantor can help get the file approved as the lender is assured that he or she will be paid, should the mortgage holder default.

Many people will assume that a co-signer and a guarantor are the same thing. This is not the case though…there are key differences that you should know before becoming a guarantor on a mortgage.

1. Whose name is on the loan?
This may seem like a small detail, but when it comes to loans, whose name is on it matters!
With a guarantor, their name will not be on the title of the property, but it will be on the mortgage. With a co-signor, this changes in that their name will be on the mortgage and on the title of the property. In addition to this, for a guarantor mortgage the guarantor must be a spouse. With a co-signer this is not the case, and you can utilize whomever agrees and meets the qualifications.

2. What’s the Risk?
For the people seeking a guarantor, a portion of risk is alleviated because they have the guarantee of the guarantor. However, for the guarantor, there is a heightened risk. They are responsible for the entire amount of the loan if the borrower defaults at any time. With this in mind, lenders require the guarantor(s), in addition to the borrower(s), to qualify for the loan they are looking to borrow. They must meet the following lending requirements which include:
. Credit Check
. Disclosure of income
. Disclosure of Liabilities
. Disclosure of Assets

It is also highly advisable that a potential guarantor seek legal advice before signing for the loan—and this should be a separate attorney from the one that is involved in the mortgage transaction. Seeking out proper legal advice can allow the potential guarantor to ensure they fully understand the contract, the loan, and any other details.

One final note that should be evaluated by any potential guarantors, is the relationship with the person you will be signing for. You are taking a risk and taking on a lot of responsibility for this person and it is advisable that you know the person well and trust them.

3. What other Variables are there to Consider for Guarantors?
There are a few other things that a guarantor will want to consider before finalizing anything. One of these is the fact that if you are a guarantor, you may not be able to qualify for a large loan or mortgage on your own. Look at your goals and future (or current) expenses before taking on this additional responsibility. As a final note to guarantors, they may want to consider creditor insurance (amount varies based on the loan) to protect themselves and their assets.

4. Can your relationship with your bank dictate if I need a Guarantor?
In some cases, yes! If you have a long-standing relationship with your current bank and they have seen your ability to responsibly handle debt-repayment, they may consider not requiring you to have a guarantor. This is not always the case, but it is an option that your mortgage broker may review with you.

These 4 facts along with your mortgage broker’s advice, can help you decide if you want to be a guarantor, or if you truly require a guarantor mortgage after all! If you have any other questions about guarantors or co-signers, we encourage you to reach out to your Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker—we know they will be happy to help!

16 Nov

PRE-APPROVED FOR YOUR MORTGAGE… WHAT DOES THAT REALLY MEAN?

General

Posted by: Sangeeta Sangeeta

PRE-APPROVED FOR YOUR MORTGAGE… WHAT DOES THAT REALLY MEAN?

There is a myth out there that once you’re pre-approved for a mortgage, you’re good to go out and buy a home… with a no subject offer… DON’T do it!

A pre-approval means that based on being able to PROVE (through documentation) your CURRENT income, expenses, down payment and credit bureau you SHOULD be able to get fully approved once you find the right property (this is the first half of the equation).

Remember that there cannot be any major changes to the your mortgage application details prior to the completion of their purchase as it may affect the your qualifications and change the conditions of the approval.

I always recommend my clients put in a “subject to financing” clause with their realtor when they are putting in an offer to protect themselves.

Here’s why:

The lender can like you and your financial picture, BUT the lender doesn’t know which property you want to purchase (this is the other half of the equation). Here are 3 examples:

  • A bidding war has bid up the price and the best offer (yours) has been accepted. YIPPEE!!! The lender sends in their appraiser to determine the value of the property. The appraisal comes in at a lower price than your accepted offer DRATS!! You now have to come up with the difference between the appraised value and your offer, since lenders will only offer a mortgage based on the appraised value of the home.
  • You are buying a condo/townhouse and the strata minutes indicate that there are: leaks, electrical issues, roofing problems, etc. that the strata needs to act upon. If the Strata doesn’t have a big enough contingency fund, the lender can decline due to potential special assessments down the road.
  • Property zoning – if the zoning is anything other than residential then your options will be limited. Some condos are zoned commercial if there is a large commercial component to the complex. Industrial, Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) in B.C., or leasehold (government or otherwise) limit a buyer’s options.
    As you can tell “you may be pre-approved” but most certainly the subject property is not!!

There are several properties that most lenders will not touch these days. Here’s a (partial) list of property details that can affect most lender’s decisions on approving your mortgage:

  • A remediated grow-op or drug lab
  • Leased land or co-op
  • Age-restricted property
  • Special assessment (pending or otherwise)
  • Any reference to water or leaks in the minutes
  • A “fixer upper”
  • Contains asbestos, vermiculite insulations or has (even partial) knob-and-tube or aluminum wiring
  • Is on land with a commercial zoning component
  • Livestock is present, etc.
  • Self-managed strata’s (no strata management company)
  • Size of the property- below 500 sq. feet,
  • Doesn’t use municipal sewage or waste
  • Over 1 Acre and/or multiple buildings
  • Ongoing or upcoming assessments or legal proceedings
  • Strata with small contingency fund

The lender reviews the details of each property in detail once you have an accepted offer in place.

It’s important that the real estate agent discloses the information to their buyer ASAP so that it can be brought to the lender’s attention. The agent should be proactive in getting all documentation pertaining to the building/property, so that the buyer can make an educated buying decision. Many of the issues stated above can affect the long-term value and marketability of a property.

If you have a “subject to financing” clause in your purchase agreement, and you can’t find a lender (for whatever reason), then you can back out of the deal with no financial repercussions.

In my opinion you need to always put in a “subject to financing clause” as that’s the best protection you have. With subject free offers you could forfeit your deposit (and facing potential legal action from the seller) should you want to cancel your contract after the agreement has been made, even though you were technically “pre-approved”.

As you can tell there is lots to discuss about buying homes including pre-approvals! If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker near you.

9 Nov

HOW TO GET A FREE COPY OF YOUR CREDIT BUREAU

General

Posted by: Sangeeta Sangeeta

HOW TO GET A FREE COPY OF YOUR CREDIT BUREAU

Think of your credit score as a report card on how you’ve handled your finances in the past. A credit score is a number that lenders use to determine the risk of lending money to a given borrower.

There is always someone willing to lend you money, however, higher risk = higher rates!

Step 1 for good credit – you need to know your credit history
• In Canada, there are 2 credit bureaus – Equifax and TransUnion.
• You can receive a FREE copy of your credit report from both Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada once a year
• You can pay Equifax or TransUnion for a digital copy, which is much faster, BUT you have to pay, which sucks.

I recommend you order a copy of your credit report from both Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada, since each credit bureau may have different information about how you have used credit in the past.

Ordering your own credit report has no effect on your credit score.
• Equifax Canada refers to your credit report as “credit file disclosure”.
• TransUnion Canada refers to your credit report as “consumer disclosure”.

Once you have obtained your free credit report, check it for errors:
• Are there any late payments that have been erroneously attributed to your credit history?
• Are the amounts owing in your credit report accurate?
• Is there anything missing on your credit bureau
o Sometimes the credit bureau has more that one file with your name, which can be merged, but it takes time.

If you find any errors on your credit report, you need to dispute them with your credit bureau.

How can I get a copy of my credit report and credit score?

There are two national credit bureaus in Canada: Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada. You should check with both bureaus.

Credit scores run from 300 to 900. The higher the number, the greater the likelihood a request for credit will be approved.

The “free-report-by-mail” links are not prominently displayed since credit bureaus would love to sell you instant access to your report and credit score online.

Equifax, the instructions to get a free credit report by mail are available here.

For TransUnion, the instructions to get a free credit report by mail are available here.

The bottom line: when it comes to financing your life, through credit cards, mortgages, car loans or any other kind of debt – your credit score has a BIG impact on what kind of terms you can negotiate.

Keeping an eye on your credit score is important — if there’s a problem or an error, you want to know and have time to fix it before you apply for a loan. If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional near you.

2 Nov

DOCUMENTS YOU NEED FOR YOUR MORTGAGE PRE-APPROVAL

General

Posted by: Sangeeta Sangeeta

DOCUMENTS YOU NEED FOR YOUR MORTGAGE PRE-APPROVAL

Being fully pre-approved means that the lender has agreed to have you as a client (you have a pre-approval certificate) and the mortgage broker has reviewed and approved ALL your income and down payment documents (as listed below) prior to you going house hunting. Many bankers will say you’re approved; you go out shopping and then they  say ‘sorry you not approved’ due to some factor. Get a pre-approval in writing!
Excited! Of course. You are venturing into your first or possibly your next biggest loan application and investment of your life.

What documents are required to APPROVE your mortgage?
Being prepared with the RIGHT DOCUMENTS when you want to qualify for your mortgage is HUGE; just like applying for a job or going for a job interview. Come prepared or don’t get hired (or in this case, declined).
I assist all my clients along the way to ensure any questions are asked and YOU are prepared UPFRONT and fully PRE-APPROVED before you go house hunting.
No stress, no running around, no surprises.

Why is this important?
You can have a leg up against the competition when buying your dream home as you can have a very short timeline (ie: 1 day to confirm vs 5-7 days) for “financing subjects”.
Think? You’re the seller and you know the buyer doesn’t have to run around finding financing and the deal may fall apart. This is the #1 reason deals DO fall apart. You will likely get the home over someone who isn’t fully approved and has to have financing subjects. The home is yours and nobody’s time is wasted.
If you just walked into the bank, filled an application and gave little or no documents, and got a rate – you have a RATE HOLD. This is NOT a pre-approval. This guarantees nothing and you will be super stressed out when you put an offer in, have 5-7 days to remove financing subjects and you need to get any or all of the below documents. That’s not fun, is it? Use a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker ALWAYS. We don’t cost you anything!
When you get a full pre-approval, you as a person(s) are approved; ie: the broker did their work of reviewing (takes a few days) to call your employer, review your documents, etc. All we have to do is get the property approved, which takes a day or two. Much less stress, fastest approval…faster into your home!

Here is exactly the documents you need MUST have (there is NO negotiation on these) to get your mortgage approved with ease. The keyword here is EASE. Banks/Lenders have to adhere to rules, audit files and if you don’t have any of these or haven’t been requested to supply them…a big FLAG that your mortgage approval might be in jeopardy and you will be running around like a crazy person two days before your financing subject removal.
Read carefully and note the details of each requirement to prevent you from pulling your hair out later.
Here is the list for the “average” T4 full-time working person with 5-15% as their down payment (there is more for self-employed, and part-time noted below):

  1. Are you a Full-time Employee?
    Last 2 paystubs: must show all tax deductions, the name of the company and have your name on it.
  2. Any other income? Child Support, Long Term Disability, EI, Foster Care, part-time income? Bring anything that supports it. NOTE: if you are divorced/separated and paying support, bring your finalized separation/divorce agreement. With some lenders, we can request a statutory declaration from a lawyer.
  3. Notice of Assessment from Canada Revenue for the previous tax filed year. Can’t find it? you can request it from Rev Can to send it to you by mail (give 4-6 weeks for it though) or get it online from your CRA online Account.
  4. T4’s for your previous 2 years.
  5. 90-day history of bank statement showing the money you are using to put down on your purchase.
    Why 90 days? Unless you can prove you got the money either a sale of a house, car or other immediate forms of money (receipt required)…saved money takes time and the rules from the banks/government are 90 days. They just want to make sure you aren’t a drug dealer, borrowed the money and put it in your account or other fraud issues. OWN SOURCES = 90 days. BORROWED is fine but must be disclosed. The GIFT is when mom/dad give you money. Once you have an approval for “own sources” you can’t decide to change your mind and do gifted or borrowed. That’s a whole new approval.

Down Payments
Own Sources: For example “own sources” include if you are a first-time buyer and your money is in RRSP’s then, have your last quarterly statement for the RRSP money. If your money is in three different savings account, you need to print off three months history with the beginning balance and end balance as of current. The account statements MUST have your NAME ON IT or it could be anyone’s account. I see this all the time. If it doesn’t print out with your name, print the summary page of your accounts. This usually has your name on it, list of your accounts and balances. Just think, the bank needs to see YOU have X$ in your (not your mom’s or grandparents) account.

GIFT: If mom/dad/grandparents are giving you money…then the bank needs to know this as the mortgage is submitted differently (this is called a GIFT).

If you are a PART-TIME employee? All of the above, except you, will need to bring three years of Notice of Assessments. You need to be working for two years in the same job to use part-time income. You can have your Full-time job and have another part-time gig… you can use that income too (as long as it’s been two years).

If you are Self Employed?

  1. two years of your T1 Generals with Statement of Business Activities
  2. Statement of Business Activities.
  3. 3 years of CRA Notice of Assessments
  4. If incorporated: your incorporation license, articles of incorporation
  5. 90-day history of bank statement showing the money you are using to put down on your purchase.
26 Oct

7 TIPS FOR BUYING YOUR FIRST HOME

General

Posted by: Sangeeta Sangeeta

7 TIPS FOR BUYING YOUR FIRST HOME

As a licensed Mortgage Broker, I am often asked “what do I need to know when buying my first home?”
Everyone has their own aims and objects when buying their first home. As a Mortgage Broker, I specialize in making sure your financing is in order to facilitate your dreams of owning a home.

Buying your first home is very exciting, but it can easily be overwhelming. Being prepared is the first step. The decision to purchase your first home can be a huge, life-changing event and you need to know exactly what you are getting into.

To get you prepared with the knowledge you need, here are my 7 tips to consider when you buy your first home: (Some of these may only relate to B.C.)

1. Strengthen your credit rating.

It’s pretty simple: the higher your credit score, the lower your mortgage rate will be.

Spend the time now to improve your credit. Check your credit report. Many credit reports have errors, so you need to ensure that your credit bureau is current and correct.

ALWAYS pay every single one of your bills on time. Set up automatic payments if you have had any late payments over the last couple of years.

Stop applying for any new credit a year before you are considering buying and continue until you sign the closing papers on your home. Spend only 30% of credit limits on credit cards.

2. Find a Mortgage Broker and figure out how much you can afford to spend.

The home buyer’s mantra: Get a home that’s financially comfortable.

Contact a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional. We work with you up to a year in advance to analyze your situation, and tell you how much mortgage and monthly payments you can afford.

Lenders like to see that you spend a maximum:

  1. 32-39% of your Gross income on mortgage payments, maintenance fees (if applicable), heat & property taxes
  2. 38-44% of your Gross Income on all debts
    Including #1 above PLUS loans, credit cards, additional financing etc.

1 year+ prior to going home shopping, calculate the mortgage payment for the home in your intended price range, along with the increased expenses (such as taxes, insurance, and utilities). Then bank the difference between the home payments and what you’re paying now. Not only will that simulate ownership, it also helps you save for your down payment!

When you are ready to start shopping for your home, as your Mortgage Broker, I gather all your financial documentation that the lender requires, in order to figure out much you can afford to spend. Then I work with you to get a pre-approval and lock in a low-interest rate to protect you in case rates rise between now and the time you by your new home.

3. How long will you live in your new home?

The transaction costs of buying and selling a house are substantial including real estate fees, legal fees, Property Transfer Tax, selling in a down market, moving, etc.

If you don’t plan to live in your new home for at least 3-5 years, you may not gain enough equity to make selling worthwhile.

Short-term home ownership can be a pretty expensive proposition. If that is the case, holding off on purchasing could be your best option.

4. How much house you need?

Buying a cheaper, smaller home might sound like a good place to start, but could end up costing you more if you need to move due to changes in your lifestyle, including a growing family. Then again, buying more house than you currently need will cost you more with higher mortgage payments, higher maintenance, energy and tax costs.

Prioritize your housing wish list. They say that the 3 most important things to think about when buying are home are location, location, location. In Greater Vancouver your first choice for location i.e. Kitsilano or Yaletown may not be within your means. You also need to think about how the new home space will be used and whether it will fit your lifestyle now and in the future.

5. Build a savings account.

Start now to build a healthy savings account. To avoid paying CMHC Mortgage Default Insurance you need to prove you have a 20% down payment.

Building your savings account, over and above the money, you will require for the down payment and closing costs. Lenders want to see that you’re not living paycheck to paycheck. If you have three to five months’ worth of mortgage payments in your savings, that makes you a much better loan candidate.

6. Remember closing costs.

While you’re saving your down payment, you need to save for closing costs too. They’re typically 1% to 3% of the purchase price and due on the completion date.

In B.C. you need to also pay Property Transfer Tax (PPT). The amount of tax you pay is based on the fair market value of the land and improvements (e.g. buildings) on the date of registration unless you purchase a pre-sold strata unit. The tax is charged at a rate of 1% for the first $200,000 and 2% for the portion of the fair market value that is greater than $200,000. 3% on the portion over $2,000,000 and if the property is residential, a further 2% on the portion greater than $3,000,000

7. Shop for a Realtor that has your best interests in mind.

Interview at least three Realtors. Get referrals from people you trust who have recently bought or sold, including me, your mortgage broker. I work with a lot of realtors, some of whom are outstanding in their field. Once you’ve decided which Realtor is the best fit for you, they can help you focus your search to find your perfect home. There is no cost for the Realtor for the home buyer since the home seller pays the commission.

Besides the 7 tips I’ve listed above, there are many other things you should need to be aware of prior to buying your first home.

Mortgages are complicated… BUT they don’t have to be! Engage an expert!

20 Oct

LEGALIZED MARIJUANA AND THE CANADIAN HOUSING MARKET

General

Posted by: Sangeeta Sangeeta

LEGALIZED MARIJUANA AND THE CANADIAN HOUSING MARKET

October 17th will be an important day in Canada’s social history. It’s the day when we are going to have legalized marijuana across the country. We will be the second major country in the world to do this. How does this affect mortgage brokers like myself? When someone comes to me to obtain financing for a home purchase and the sellers have disclosed that they smoked pot in the house or grew a few plants, how will this affect their home purchase?

A few years ago, someone disclosed that their home had been a grow-op six years previously and their home insurance company cancelled their policy citing safety issues. I could see this happening with both lenders and mortgage default insurers like CMHC, Genworth and Canada Guaranty. A recent article by a member of the Canadian Real Estate Association suggested that both lenders and insurers might ask for a complete home inspection. It was suggested that sellers who have grown a few plants might want to get ahead of a problem and have an inspection before they list the property. If there are any issues of mold or electrical systems that are not up to code, they can remedy this and have a quick sale.

I contacted both CMHC and Genworth Canada to find out if any policy changes are in the works. CMHC told me that there’s nothing planned beyond what is already on the books. If there’s been a growing operation it needs to be inspected and remediation is done before they will insure. Genworth says that nothing has been announced as of yet. Any changes will result in an official announcement to all brokers.
Mortgage brokers may want to call their realtor referral partners and discuss this with them to see if local real estate authorities have any changes planned. If nothing else it will be good to touch base with your realtors to find out how the market is in your area.

If you are thinking about smoking pot in your home or want to grow a few plants, contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional first to find out if this could affect your house value or sale in the future.

12 Oct

FIXED-RATE MORTGAGE: WHAT LENDERS YOU SHOULD DO IT WITH AND WHY

General

Posted by: Sangeeta Sangeeta

FIXED-RATE MORTGAGE: WHAT LENDERS YOU SHOULD DO IT WITH AND WHY

25-year amortization or 30 years? Insured or Uninsured? With an A Lender or B Lender? These are just a few of the questions people have to decide on when they are pursuing a mortgage. But the biggest question of all: Fixed Rate or Variable Rate?

With the instability of the market, and the Bank of Canada’s continuous rate hikes, many people now are flocking towards a fixed rate mortgage over a variable rate. What this means is that they are choosing to essentially “lock in” at a rate for the term of their mortgage (5 years, 10 years, 1 year…you name it). Now there are benefits to this…but there are also disadvantages too.

For example, did you know that 60% of people will break their mortgage by 36 months into a 5 year term? Whether it’s due to career changes, deciding to have kids, wanting to refinance, or another reason entirely, 60% of mortgage holders will break it.

And just like any other contract out there, if you break it, there is a penalty associated with it. However, there is a way to avoid paying more than is necessary. This applies directly to a fixed rate mortgage and we can help you decide what lenders you should go with.

If you have a FIXED RATE MORTGAGE:
There are two ways your penalty will be calculated.

Method #1. If you are funded by one of the Big 6 Banks (ex. Scotia, TD, etc.) or some Credit Unions, your penalty will be based on the bank of Canada Posted Rate (Posted Rate Method) To give you an example:

With this method, the Bank of Canada 5 year posted rate is used to calculate the penalty. Under this method, let’s assume that they were given a 2% discount at their bank thus giving us these numbers:

Bank of Canada Posted Rate for 5-year term: 5.59%
Bank Discount given: 2% (estimated amount given*)
Contract Rate: 3.59%

Exiting at the 2-year mark leaves 3 years left. For a 3-year term, the lenders posted rate. 3 year posted rate=3.69% less your discount of 2% gives you 1.44%. From there, the interest rate differential is calculated.

Contract Rate: 3.59%
LESS 3-year term rate MINUS discount given: 1.69%
IRD Difference = 1.9%
MULTIPLE that by 3 years (term remaining)
5.07% of your mortgage balance remaining. = 5.7%

For that mortgage $300,000 mortgage, that gives a penalty of $17,100. YIKES!

Now let’s look at the other method (one used by most monoline lenders)

Method #2:
This method uses the lender published rates, which are much more in tune with what you will see on lender websites (and are * generally * much more reasonable). Here is the breakdown using this method:

Rate when you initially signed: 3.24%
Published Rate: 3.34%
Time left on contract: 3 years

To calculate the IRD on the remaining term left in the mortgage, the broker would do as follows:

Rate when you initially signed: 3.24%
LESS Published Rate: 3.54%
=0.30% IRD
MULTIPLY that by 3 years (term remaining)
0.90% of your mortgage balance

That would mean that you would have a penalty of $2,700 on a $300,000 mortgage.

That’s a HUGE difference in numbers, just by choosing to go with a different lender! Knowing what you know about fixed-rate mortgages now, let a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker help you make the RIGHT choice for your lender. We are here to help and guide you through the mortgage process from pre-approval onward!