16 Jun

THE 5 MORTGAGE ELEMENTS- DECISIONS YOU NEED TO MAKE BEFORE YOU SIGN!

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Posted by: Sangeeta Sangeeta

THE 5 MORTGAGE ELEMENTS- DECISIONS YOU NEED TO MAKE BEFORE YOU SIGN!

Before you buy a home there are a couple things you need to figure out first. One of the very first decisions you need to make is whether you want to work with a mortgage broker who is independent of the bank, or if you prefer, work with a financial representative from a specific bank. Next, you want to find a realtor that best understands your needs and wants.

From there, you and your realtor go through the laundry list of pros and cons as they relate to; type of neighborhood, type of building whether detached or attached, one, two, or three bedrooms, strata operated, resale potential, upgrades needed, local amenities, previous owners, the list goes on. Once you get an idea of the homes that tick the most boxes possible, writing an offer to purchase comes quick.

But what about your mortgage?

Unlike the list of requirements when it comes to someone’s potential home, a lot of people are only concerned about what the interest rate is when looking at their potential mortgage. If your price range was $500,000 for a 2 bedroom and you found one for $480,000, would you write an offer to buy without looking at those other requirements such as neighbourhood, resale potential, upgrades needed, inspections, and previous owners?

There is a lot more that goes into a mortgage and understanding what differentiates one mortgage from another is very important for future borrowers to understand. The following are the 5 key elements borrowers need to be aware of before they sign up and commit themselves to a lender and their mortgage product:

Privileges
Virtually every mortgage with every lender has some sort of privilege attached to it. A lot of the time it relates to pre-payment privileges. This can be extremely important because it allows you to increase your monthly payments, make lump sum payments, and change the frequency of your payments- all helping to pay down the principal portion of your mortgage and shave years off of unwanted interest. Why this is important to look at is because some lenders may only offer 10% pre-payment capabilities, while other’s 15%, and some 20%. With a $1,800 monthly payment that’s the difference between $180 against principle or $360. With an outstanding balance of $300,000, that’s the difference between a $30,000 lump sum payment against your principle or $60,000- a massive chunk that will take years and thousands of dollars more off your mortgage. Some lenders even offer the ability to skip a payment and double up on a payment.

Penalties
Nobody wants to pay a penalty for breaking their mortgage early (something 2/3 of people do in a 5-year fixed after the 2-year mark). That is why it is crucial for you to understand what your penalty will be IF you had to pay one. Some lenders use an IRD (Interest Rate Differential) penalty that takes into consideration term, outstanding balance, current rates, previous rates, and blends it all together into a formula. Other’s use three month’s interest and as you can probably guess, the IRD penalty is the more expensive one 99% of the time. IRD is usually applied to fixed-term mortgages, variable rates more with a three-months interest penalty. Big banks will almost always have a higher IRD penalty than monoline lenders because their formula accounts for posted rates, something usually much lower and offsetting with a monoline. A $12,000 IRD penalty with a big bank can be only $4,000 with a monoline for the same sized mortgage.

Interest Rate
The lower the rate, the lower than payment (assuming same amortization). What it really comes down to is picking the right term and choosing between fixed or variable, something a mortgage broker can be very helpful in explaining as it relates to your specific situation.

Portable Mortgage
This relates to a borrower’s ability to move their mortgage from one property to another, even across provincial borders. Some lenders like those big banks across Canada allow for this while it is harder when it comes to credit unions. If your job requires relocating and constant moving or travelling, this can be a very important factor.

Assumable Mortgage
Similar to portability, an assumable mortgage allows the person buying your home to take it over. This can result in avoiding pre-payment penalties or avoiding increased costs if downsizing. Not a feature commonly used but extremely beneficial when it is available, and you need it.

Connect with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional today to see which of these 5 topics most affects you and what lender offers the best solutions!

8 Jun

WHAT IS A REFINANCE?

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Posted by: Sangeeta Sangeeta

WHAT IS A REFINANCE?

Refinancing a home is one of those things where people understand what it is but have trouble explaining how it works. To put it simply, refinancing your home allows you to access the equity you have built up, by changing the mortgage amount.

Let’s say you bought a $300,000 condo and you paid 20% ($60,000) as your down payment and had a mortgage of $240,000. Over the next 4 years, you continue making payments and pay down the $240,000 you owed and now that amount is only $230,000. Your mortgage is up for renewal in a year, but you want to do some renovations and you need to access the equity in your home- this is where a refinance could come into play.

What this means is you will get an appraisal of your current home and submit that to a lender. Let’s say your $300,000 condo is now worth $350,000 and you owe $230,000. You have built up an additional $60,000 in equity ($350,000 – $230,000 owing – $60,000 initial down payment= $60,000). You have a mortgage of $230,000 on a home worth $350,000, therefore your equity in the home is $120,000.

To access that $120,000, you can refinance your mortgage. So let’s say you want to go back and take $50,000 from the $120,000 you have built up. Your new mortgage would go from $230,000 to $280,000, and that $50,000 is going to go from the lender to you. You are borrowing money from the lender, but adding that money back on top of your mortgage.

This is why people will refinance their home to make larger purchases. The bank will lend you the money now and get it back in the future, plus interest because it is being added to the mortgage.

This is just one-way people are able to use their home to access cash. Other ways people can do this, especially if they are looking to complete renovations, is through home equity lines of credit, collateral charges, and purchase plus mortgages. Knowing this before you buy can be extremely beneficial, that is why it is important to work with a qualified Dominion Lending Centres broker!

1 Jun

5 WAYS YOU CAN KILL YOUR MORTGAGE APPROVAL

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Posted by: Sangeeta Sangeeta

5 WAYS YOU CAN KILL YOUR MORTGAGE APPROVAL

So, you found your dream home, negotiated a fair price which was accepted. You supplied all the needed documentation to your mortgage broker and you are waiting for the day that you go to the lawyer’s to sign the final paperwork and pick up the keys.

All of a sudden your broker or the lawyer calls to say that there’s a problem. How could this be? Everything has been signed and conditions have been removed. What many home buyers do not realize is that your financing approval is based on the information the lender was provided at the time of the application. If there have been any changes to your financial situation, the lender is within their rights to cancel your mortgage approval. There are 5 things that can make home financing go sideways.

1 Employment – You were working for ABC company as a clerk for 5 years making $50,000 a year and just before home possession, you change jobs. The lender will now ask for proof that probation for this new job is waived and new job letters and pay stubs at the very least. If you change industries they will want to see more proof that you are capable of keeping this job.
If your new job involves overtime or bonuses of any kind that varies over time, they will ask for a 2-year average which you will not be able to provide.
Another item that could ruin your chances of getting the mortgage is if you decide to change from an employee to a self-employed contractor just before possession day. Even though you are in the same industry, your employment status has changed. This is a big deal killer.

2. Debt – A week or two before your possession date, the lender will obtain a copy of your credit report and look for any changes to your debt load. Your approval was based on how much you owed on that particular date. Buying a new car or items for the new home need to be postponed until after possession of your new home.
Don’t be fooled by “Do not pay for 12 months” sales campaigns. You now owe this money regardless of when the payments start. Don’t buy a new car and don’t buy furniture for the new home. This will increase your debt ratio and can nullify your financing.

3. Down payment source – And yet again I reiterate that the approval is based on the initial information you have provided. You will be asked at the lawyer’s office to verify the source of the down payment and if it is different than what the lender has approved, then you may be in trouble. For example, you said that you were going to save the funds and then at the last minute Mom and Dad offer you the funds as a gift. There’s no problem accepting the gift if the lender knows about it in advance and has included this in their risk assessment, but it can end a deal.

4. Credit – Don’t forget to make your regular credit card payments. If your credit score falls due to late payments, this can kill your financing. If you have a high ratio mortgage in place which required CMHC insurance, a lower credit score could mean a withdrawal of their insurance once again, killing the deal.

5-Identity Documents – This can be a deal killer at the lawyer’s office. The lawyer is required to verify your identity documents and see that they match the mortgage documents. Many Canadians use their middle names if they have the same name as their parent. Lots of new Canadians adopt a more Canadian sounding name for their day-to-day lives but their passports and other documents show another name.

Be sure to use your legal name when you apply for a mortgage to avoid this catastrophe. Finally, keep in touch with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional right up to possession day. Make this a happy experience rather than a heartbreaking one.

25 May

A FEW REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER A VARIABLE RATE MORTGAGE

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Posted by: Sangeeta Sangeeta

A FEW REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER A VARIABLE RATE MORTGAGE

Five-year fixed mortgage rates continued their upward march last week as the five-year Government of Canada (GoC) bond yield they are priced on hit its highest level in seven years. Meanwhile, five-year variable-rate discounts deepened, further widening the gap between five-year fixed and variable rates.

When I started working in the mortgage industry in 2005, variable rate mortgages saved you more money than fixed-rate mortgages 95 out of the past 100 years. First time home buyers were worried about what their home costs would be and avoided variable rate mortgages (VRM’s) because of the risk of rates going up higher than the fixed rate, but experienced homeowners often took a VRM at mortgage renewal time.

However, in the past 5 years, most people have gravitated towards fixed rates because the gap between fixed and variable rates was small enough that the cost of uncertainty outweighed the potential reward for most borrowers.

Once again, the gap is widening. While fixed-rate mortgages are going up due to the bond yield, variable rate mortgages have moved in the other direction.  Two years ago a VRM would be offered at Prime rate + .20%,  but later it reverted to Prime–.30 %. In recent months, rates have dropped even further with some lenders offering Prime -1.0 %!  You now have a choice between a 5-year fixed rate of 3.44-3.59% depending on the lender and a variable rate with a discount that calculates out to 2.45 %. With a gap this large, it’s worth considering if you are risk tolerant enough to have a VRM.

Even if you are skittish, you can ask your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker to notify you if rates are going up and switch you to a fixed rate if they go above a certain percentage. Will your bank do that for you? I don’t think so. Be sure to have this discussion with your broker when your mortgage comes up for renewal or if you are considering a home purchase.

18 May

BROKERS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER

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Posted by: Sangeeta Sangeeta

BROKERS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER

Nearly half of all existing mortgage in Canada will be up for renewal in 2018. Stated in a Financial Post article by Armina Ligaya, CIBC Capital Markets estimates 47% of all existing mortgages will need to be refinanced in 2018. All of this coming on the heels of rising interest rates and changes to key mortgage regulations.

With this renewal number hovering around 50%, almost double from previous years, big banks will be fighting hard to keep their clients and handle their mortgage- as they should. However, is staying with the bank you got your mortgage with 1, 2, 3, even 5-years ago in your best interest?

Think of the rising housing prices, the rule changes to back-end insured mortgages, the multiple stress tests as well as the implementing and removing of programs such as the B.C. Home Partnership Program. All of which has just happened in the past couple of years.

With all these changes, should you not be speaking with a licensed mortgage broker to determine what is in your best interest?

The options that are available through other lenders can be quite advantageous. From opening up Home Equity Line Credits with a big bank, to Manulife One Account access and the lowest interest rates available on Switch Mortgages where lenders will help compensate the administrative costs.

One of the more common scenarios we are seeing is people upgrading their homes with marriage, children, or promotions/relocation with work. Clients know it is happening in the near future but do not have an exact timeline. Wanting a 5-year fixed mortgage but worried about the possibility of upgrading after just 2-years, we usually suggest working with a Monoline Lender. Sticking with a Big Bank like CIBC or RBC and having this scenario happen could potentially result in penalties of $10,000-$15,000 where that same penalty might only be $3,000 with a Monoline Lender.

It is always best to consult with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker before signing your bank’s renewal letter. We offer free pre-qualifications, no client-relationship contracts, and credit assessments to see your eligibility on receive A-Rates, all without your credit score taking a hit.

11 May

5 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE BUYING A RURAL PROPERTY

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Posted by: Sangeeta Sangeeta

5 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE BUYING A RURAL PROPERTY

After several years as a homeowner, my friend was set to buy the home of his dreams. He always wanted to own an acreage outside of town. He had visions of having a few animals, a small tractor and lots of space.
As a person with experience buying homes, he felt that he was ready and that he knew what he was getting into. Wrong. As soon as you consider buying a home outside of a municipality there are a number of things to consider, not the least being how different it is to get a mortgage.

Zoning – is the property zoned “residential”, “agricultural” or perhaps “country residential”?

Some lenders will not mortgage properties that are zoned agricultural. They may even dislike country residential properties. Why? If you default on your mortgage the process of foreclosing on an agricultural property is very different and difficult for lenders. Taking a farm away from a farmer means taking their livelihood away so there are many obstacles to this.
If you are buying a hobby farm, some lenders will object to you having more than two horses or even making money selling hay.

Water and Sewerage – if you are far from a city your water may come from a well and your sewerage may be in a septic tank. A good country realtor will recommend an inspection of the septic tank as a condition of the purchase offer. Be prepared for the inspection to cost more than it cost you in the city. Many lenders will also ask for a portability and flow test for the well. A house without water is very hard to sell.

Land – most lenders will mortgage a house, one outbuilding and up to 10 acres of land. Anything above this amount and it will not be considered in the mortgage. In other words, besides paying a minimum of 5% down payment you could end up having to pay out more cash to cover the second outbuilding and the extra land being sold.

Appraisal – your appraisal will cost you more as the appraiser needs to travel farther to see the property. It may also come in low as rural properties do not turn over as quickly as city properties. Be prepared to have to come up with the difference between the selling price and the appraised value of the property.

Fire Insurance – living in the country can be nice but you are also far from fire hydrants and fire stations. Expect to pay more for home insurance.

Finally, if you are thinking about purchasing a home in a rural area, be sure to speak to a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker before you do anything. They can often recommend a realtor who specializes in rural properties and knows the areas better than the #1 top producer in your city or town.

10 May

Bank of Canada’s mortgage ‘stress test’ rate climbs higher

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Posted by: Sangeeta Sangeeta

Bank of Canada’s mortgage ‘stress test’ rate climbs higher

Central bank’s rate for deciding if you can afford a mortgage is raised 20 points to 5.34%

A key interest rate used for mortgage stress testing moved higher on Wednesday, meaning it could make getting a mortgage tougher for some borrowers. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

As mortgages get more expensive with interest rates rising in Canada, the hurdle that some borrowers must pass is also getting higher.

The interest rate used by the Bank of Canada for mortgage stress-testing went up by 20 basis points Wednesday to 5.34 percent from 5.14 percent, where it had been since mid-January of this year.

The rate used has now gone up five times since last May when it stood at 4.64 percent.

The central bank’s rate is based on a survey of conventional five-year rates available at the big banks.

“The change in the Bank of Canada five-year benchmark rate not only means Canadians will pay more per month for their mortgage, it also means the amount Canadians can qualify for has diminished,” James Laird, co-founder of Ratehub Inc. and president of CanWise Financial, said in a release.

“This increase will put pressure on first-time homebuyers, who are the most financially strained Canadians entering the housing market,” he said.

Under new rules that came in force on Jan. 1, all home buyers with high-ratio mortgages — those with a down payment of less than 20 percent of the price of the home — or an uninsured mortgage have to go through the mortgage stress test.

The test is based on qualifying for the greater of either the Bank of Canada qualifying rate or the buyer’s contracted interest rate plus two percentage points.

“The idea behind [the test] is to make sure you can afford your mortgage at a time when interest rates are going up,” Cynthia Holmes, an associate professor and chair of the real estate management department at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University, told CBC News in an interview.

“They want to make sure you can afford your mortgage with a good solid rate in place, not that you can only afford it if rates are really really low,” Holmes said.

4 May

FIXED RATES ARE ON THE RISE. ARE YOU READY?

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Posted by: Sangeeta Sangeeta

FIXED RATES ARE ON THE RISE. ARE YOU READY?

With the Bank of Canada held rates steady this April, the same is not the case for the bond market, which impacts fixed rates.
In every interest-rate market, there are many factors leading to an increase and we are hoping to provide a little bit of clarity on what is happening and what it means to you and your loved ones.
At this time, we see fixed rates increasing as the bond market increases, and our economists anticipate two more Bank of Canada increases of the prime rate by the end of 2018.
Why do we note this information and how does it relate to you?

If you are at a variable rate, you will want to:
1. Review your lock-in options. Knowing it’s unlikely the prime rate will reduce and fixed rates are on the rise, there could be a sweet spot to review your options now.
2. If you decide not to lock in, it’s time to review your discount to see if a higher one can be obtained elsewhere.

Locking in won’t be for everyone, especially if you are making higher payments and your mortgage is below $300,000, which most people fit and will continue on that path. Locking in will be up to a 1% higher rate than you are likely presently paying.
If however rates raising another 50 basis points this year and knowing you can likely lock in below 4% now is most attractive to you, this may be your time. The next announcement from the BOC on Prime Rates is May 30th, 2018

If you are at a fixed rate:
1. If you obtained your mortgage in the last year, stay put.
2. If you are looking to move up the property ladder or consolidate debt, get your application to us ASAP so we can hold options for up to 120 days.
3. If you are up for renewal this year or know someone who is, secure your options now with us as we keep a watchful eye on the market.

Please reach out to a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional so we can help ensure you or a loved is on the right path in our ever-changing market.

27 Apr

SUBJECT TO FINANCING- A MUST!

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Posted by: Sangeeta Sangeeta

SUBJECT TO FINANCING- A MUST!

With most people who are new to real estate and looking for their first home (or possibly second), one of the most significant times is when your offer to buy is accepted by a seller. Unfortunately, that moment is quickly followed by stress, as not many people know what comes next- securing financing. 99% of the time a realtor will ask you if you have been qualified by a bank or a mortgage broker before they write an offer on your behalf. What should be told to you, the client, by the realtor and your mortgage broker is that you need to have a subject to financing condition in your offer.

In order for someone to receive a mortgage from a lender, they need to meet the lender’s (and sometimes the insurer’s) conditions. Usually, these all revolve around a borrower’s down payment money, their income as well as employment, and the property they are making an offer on. If you make an offer on a home and it is accepted, but for example, the lender doesn’t like the property because the strata board doesn’t have enough money in their contingency fund to fix the leaking roof in the next 12 months, they could turn down your application and not lend you money.

If you don’t have the money, you don’t get the home. That is why you have a subject to a financing condition, so if for any reason, you can’t meet the lender’s requirements with your income, down payment, or if the property is unacceptable to them or the insurer, you can cancel your offer without any hassle or loss of deposit.

What happens if you make a subject free offer? If you make an offer on a home and it doesn’t have a subject to financing condition in it, that house is now yours once the offer is accepted. Your deposit is no longer yours, and you have to come up with the remaining money. If you cannot and are unable to complete the purchase, the seller may file a lawsuit against you for damages as they have now taken their home off the market potentially losing out on the ability to sell their home to someone else while they waited for you to get financing.

Always, always, always have a condition in your offer that states subject to financing and allows yourself 3 to 5 business days. If you go in without that fail-safe and it turns out you really need it, you will potentially be on the hook and if the seller wishes, he or she can sue you for any potential losses. Subject to financing is a must! If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

20 Apr

THE FLEXIBLE DOWN PAYMENT PROGRAM !!

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Posted by: Sangeeta Sangeeta

THE FLEXIBLE DOWN PAYMENT PROGRAM

One of the toughest challenges for homebuyers is being able to save money at the rate of property price increases.
We know many high-income renters would like to be homeowners, but they’re just unaware of how to make the transition and are unable to save fast enough.
There are several options which are great for a down payment if you can use a combination or one of the traditional methods
1. Savings
2. Gift from parents
3. RRSPs
4. Selling an asset
5. Inheritance

Kindly keep in mind this option won’t be for everyone as the following criteria must be met; it’s simply to illustrate the opportunity to go from renter to owner as soon as possible.
The Flexible Down Payment program allows homebuyers to use existing credit facilities as their down payment.

DETAILS:
Minimum household income required is $200,000 combined
• Minimum 650+ beacon score
• Minimum two years history reporting on Credit Bureau
• Sources of down payment: line of credit, credit card, Personal Loan
• Include borrowed down payment in the debt servicing of the deal. Example: Unsecured LOC at 3%, Credit Card at 3%, store brand Credit Card at 5%, Personal Loan at actual payments.
• No late payments in the past 36 months
• High Ratio Deals only: 90.01-95% LTV
• 25-year amortization
• Strong Employment History
• No previous bankruptcy or consumer proposal

We can walk you through the details, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional today!