7 Jan

HOW TO RENEW YOUR MORTGAGE IN 5 SIMPLE STEPS!

General

Posted by: Charla Adrian

7 JAN 2019

HOW TO RENEW YOUR MORTGAGE IN 5 SIMPLE STEPS!

If you have a mortgage, you’ll be completing a mortgage renewal when your current term has finished.
While most Canadians spend a lot of time and expend tons of effort shopping for an initial mortgage, the same is generally not the case when looking at mortgage renewals.

So what is a mortgage renewal?

Mortgages terms are locked in rates that are *over a set term* which can vary from 1-10 years.

About 3 months before the end of your term, your current lender will suddenly become your best friend showering you with attention and trying to entice you with early renewal offers…And the first offer is never their best. It really shows how they value the relationship.
“Please, please sign here on the dotted line to renew… it’s sooo easy!!”

You have 3 options

1. Sign and send back with no alterations or changes (don’t do it, really I mean it… don’t do it!!)
2. Check the market to make sure you are getting the best rate and renegotiate with your current lender
3. Talk to a mortgage expert and together we can discuss the best options available for your situation

Lenders know that 80% of people will sign their renewal forms because it’s fast, easy and convenient. Banks & lenders push this “take it as it is” tactic to borrowers to ensure they make the highest profits to keep their shareholders happy. As an educated consumer, you need to take the time to ensure you are being offered the best possible rate & terms you can get.
Remember all those hours of research you did regarding lenders and mortgage rates when you were buying your first home… don’t forget!
It is true that signing the renewal document is easy, however it is in your best interest to take a more proactive approach. Money in the lenders pocket comes directly out of your pocket.

5 steps to save you money on your mortgage renewal

1. Receive the renewal offer from your current mortgage lender and examine immediately. This gives you enough time to make an informed decision
2. Do your online research about the best current rates for you
3. Call your current lender and negotiate!
4. If your lender will not offer you a better rate then it is time to move your mortgage. You will have to complete a mortgage application and gather applicable documentation just like you did for your original mortgage, but we will help with most of the work!
5. Take a look at your budget and see if you can increase the amount of your mortgage payments. This will eventually save you money by paying off your mortgage faster

Your mortgage is one of your biggest expenses. For this reason, it is so important to find the best interest rates and mortgage terms you possibly can.
As you can tell there is lots to discuss about mortgage renewals. We can help. Contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional today!

Chris Cabel

CHRIS CABEL

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

12 Dec

7 Sure Fire Ways to Grow Your Credit Score

General

Posted by: Charla Adrian

7 SURE-FIRE WAYS TO GROW YOUR CREDIT SCORE

Have you ever wished for a simplified guide on how to actually GROW your credit score? Well today is your lucky day! We have had years of experience working with individuals who come to us with poor or damaged credit and we have found 7 steps that prove to be tried and true in fixing it.

First off though—why are we so focused in on credit scores? Simply put, your credit score details your history of borrowing money. It shows how timely you are on payments; how responsible you are with it and how you manage it.

In a Nutshell: Your credit score represents to the lender that you have proven yourself capable of paying your bills on time and are responsible when managing credit. You credit score will also impact the interest rate that you receive. So, when we are talking about mortgages, your credit score=very important.

Now that we have that covered, here are our 7 sure-fire ways to grow your credit and make the mortgage application process, a breeze:

1. Have at least 2 credit lines at all times
This means that you should always have 2 “tradelines” going. Whether this be 2 credit cards, a credit card and a line of credit and a car loan etc. You want to show that you can manage credit, and this is one easy way to do it. As an added note, the limit on the credit lines will need to be set at a minimum $2,000.

2. Make your payments on time each and every month
No skipped payments! You should ALWAYS make the minimum payment required on all your lines of credit each month.

3. Do not let your credit be pulled too often.
This one is something people often forget about. Having your credit pulled for new credit cards, car loans, and other things frequently raises a red flag for lenders and can significantly lower your credit score

4. Do not exceed 50% of the available credit limit on your credit card or credit line.
We know this one can be hard to do. One easy way to monitor this is to only use a credit card for certain fixed bills such as a cable/internet bill, cell-phone bill, etc. This way you can easily keep track of what credit you have used and what is available still.

5. If you have missed a payment, get back on track right away.
If you did, by chance, miss a payment, do not fret. Instead, get back on track with your month by month payments. Lenders would look at the one missed payment as an abnormality versus a normal occurrence if you are back on track by the following month.

6. Make sure each partner has their own credit.
We cannot tell you how frustrating it can be for couples when they realize that all their credit cards and lines of credit are only under one name…leaving the other person with no proven track record of managing credit! We advise clients to both grow their credit by making sure all joint accounts report for you both.

7. Do not exceed the Credit limit.
It is important to not go over or exceed the credit limit you have been given. Having overdrawn credit, shows the lender that you are not able to responsibly manage credit.

If you follow these 7 steps and are responsible with your credit, you will have no problem when it comes time to purchase a home! In need of more advice? Contact a Dominion Lending Centres Broker-they will be more than happy to help you.

Geoff Lee

GEOFF LEE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

3 Dec

The #1 Misconception About Mortgage Financing

General

Posted by: Charla Adrian

3 DEC 2018

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 by 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!

Chris Cabel

CHRIS CABEL

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

19 Sep

FIRST TIME MORTGAGES: EXPECTATIONS VS. REALITY

General

Posted by: Charla Adrian

19 SEP 2018

FIRST TIME MORTGAGES: EXPECTATIONS VS. REALITY

First-time homebuyers are one of our favourite clients! It’s great to work alongside them and teach them the in’s and out’s about real estate, owning a home, and helping them cross “homeownership” off their bucket list. One thing that we find though, their expectations are often not aligned with reality. We are always honest with our clients about the reality of the situation, but we thought it would be helpful to clear up a few of those “expectations”.

1. Expectation: They have enough saved for their down payment

Reality: This seems to be the first “shocking” point to many first-timers. It’s also one of the most heartbreaking ones to explain to them too. Many times, they have saved for several years and come in with what they think is a sizable down payment…but, in reality, it’s less than what is needed. They will often have their sights set on a home that is well out of their price range. They have also potentially failed to account for stress-testing measures. As a general rule of thumb, 5% is the minimum on a property with a purchase price of less than $500,000. However, 20% or more is the ideal in order to avoid your mortgage being classified as a high-ratio mortgage and require mortgage insurance.

2. Expectation: Once you have the down payment you are all set!

Reality: There are many different costs associated with moving, buying a home, and other fees that many first-time buyers may not be aware of. A few fees to consider include:

• Legal Fees
• Property Transfer Fees
• Moving Costs (moving van, moving crew)
• Appraisal fee
• Searches and Title Insurance
These will total approximately 1.5-2% of purchase price.

3. Expectation: Costs will stay the same when going from renting to owning a home.

Reality: This is not true in most cases. Many people forget to account for the day-to-day and general upkeep associated with home ownership. These can include repairs on the home, insurance, property taxes, extra utility costs, etc. This is why we always encourage first-time buyers to sit down and look at their budget and “practice” the strains and additional costs. This allows you to see if you are truly ready financially for home ownership and also alleviates stress down the road.

4.Expectation: We qualified for (blank) amount of dollars—let’s use all of it.

Reality: This is rarely a recommended or smart decision. Pick a price range that you are comfortable house shopping for that would allow you to accommodate things like home renovations, upgrades, and updates. Looking at homes that still fit your needs but may just need a little more work can significantly decrease the amount you are borrowing. If you are open to different options when house-hunting, you can save money in the long run.

These are just four examples of how a first-time mortgage holders’ expectation are rarely the reality. However, there are other areas that we find they may have questions in or not be aware of. The mortgage industry is one that is forever changing, and it can be difficult to stay on top of all of the changes! If you have a question, concern, or just want to know about what to really expect when you are going through the mortgage process, consider meeting with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker.

Geoff Lee

GEOFF LEE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

21 Aug

Mortgage Brokers Have Solutions

General

Posted by: Charla Adrian

20 AUG 2018

MORTGAGE BROKERS HAVE SOLUTIONS

A lot of people are getting stressed out by Canada’s new mortgage stress test. In the past, if you had a good sized down payment (ie 20%) someone with a low income could purchase a home even if they did not meet the debt level guidelines for insured mortgages of 32/40 . Later this was changed to 35/44 which made life even easier but – no more.

What is a person with a low income, good credit and a good down payment supposed to do now?

Here’s a solution – get a roommate. If you purchase a home with a friend who is going to share the other bedroom of your condo or take over the basement, the rules do not allow you to include the rent. But there are plenty of homes out in the market with a legal basement suite, a duplex or perhaps a granny suite over the garage. As long as the income portion of your property is zoned for a rental portion, you can claim a portion of the rent as income and qualify for more house.

There are certain minimum guidelines for lenders  – they usually want a separate entrance, kitchen and washroom. They may ask for a separate hot water tank as well. Lenders will credit 50% -85% of the rent towards your annual income. Don’t worry , your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker knows the rules and can guide you through the process.  Calling us can get you into a home faster than you thought possible.

David Cooke

DAVID COOKE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

4 Jul

5 TIPS ON HOW TO GET OUT OF DEBT AND INTO YOUR HOME

General

Posted by: Charla Adrian

5 TIPS ON HOW TO GET OUT OF DEBT AND INTO YOUR OWN HOME

To get out of debt, you need a plan and you need to execute that plan. That’s why I’ve created this simple, five-step, get-out-of-debt checklist that can help you leave that financial burden behind you.

As you work on your plan, you’ll need to make all necessary adjustments to your budget along the way so you don’t overspend and slide back into debt. Plus, if you don’t have an emergency fund, consider setting some money aside in savings beforehand.

Keep this checklist someplace where you’ll see it often (like your refrigerator door ), and make it your goal to check a task off the list each day (or each week), depending on how quickly you want to become debt-free.

1- Make a list
Take all your bills and put them in a chart that includes: the name of creditor, interest rate, balance, minimum monthly payment. Figure out how long it will take you to pay the balance down to zero. Many credit card statements now feature this.

2. Lower your rates
This is easier than you think. Call up each of your credit card companies starting with the ones with the highest interest rates and ASK them to lower your interest rate. You can tell them that other credit cards are offering lower rates and you wanted to let them keep your business. They won’t give you an answer on the phone but you should receive a letter with a new lower rate within a couple of weeks. Another possible solution is a balance transfer. Often a credit card company will allow you to transfer your balance from another card to theirs and they charge you 0% for 6 months. They assume that you will see zero being added and will spend more. Show them that you are disciplined and keep paying the balance down as if it was still at 19%. Consider getting a debt consolidation loan. If you have a home with equity you can often get a very good rate and clear up all your debts. Often you can get these loans at considerably less than your credit cards. Once again, keep your monthly payments up as if you were still paying a credit card of 19% interest and your balance will go down quickly.
Next contact your car loan company. If you have been paying your loan on time they may lower your rates. Now you are ready to tackle the utility companies. In Alberta the gas/electric companies really want your business. You can often get a better rate just by threatening to switch. This also works with cellphone companies. They often have better plans than the one you are on but will only offer it when you say you are going to leave.

3. Get your Number
What is the amount you need to pay off all your debts? Now that you have a number in mind you can set a goal. Can you pay this off in six months? 12 months? two years?
Get your credit score number. How much does it have to improve before you can qualify to buy a house? Check with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker for help getting this.

4. Make a plan
What will be your target debt? Is it the credit card balance with the highest interest rate? The lowest balance? Set a short term goal to pay one card off in a manageable amount of time. One down and three to go sounds better than tackling all the debt at once. Pay each debt off one by one. Does your community library offer debt counselling financing planning courses? Consider signing up for one.

5 – Monitor your progress
How quickly are the debts coming down? Is your credit score going up? It should if the debts are coming down.
Do you have to adjust your plan to make your deadlines? Don’t be discouraged. Large companies make plans and set budgets and then adjust them quarterly based on how the previous three months performance was.
Stick with your plan and if you show some self-discipline you can achieve your goals in time. Finally, tell your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker what your goal is and what your timeline is. They will be happy to help you along the way. Nothing makes them happier than to tell people like you that they are approved for home financing.

David Cooke

DAVID COOKE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
David is part of DLC Clarity Mortgages in Calgary, AB.

11 Jun

MAKING SMARTER DOWN PAYMENTS

General

Posted by: Charla Adrian

6 MAR 2018

MAKING SMARTER DOWN PAYMENTS

Mortgage Insurance Premiums. Many people know what they are- an extra cost to you the borrower. But not many people realize how they are calculated. Understanding the premium charges and how they are calculated will help lead you to making smarter down payments.

  • 5%- 9.99% down payment of a purchase price is a 4% premium
  • 10%- 14.99% down payment of a purchase price is a 3.10% premium
  • 15%- 19.99% down payment of a purchase price is a 2.8% premium

So, that means with a $300,000 purchase price and a $30,000 down payment (10%), you would have a 3.10% premium added to your mortgage, making your total mortgage amount $270,000 + $8,370 for $278,370 total. The $8,370 being 3.10% of your original $270,000 mortgage.

Now let’s say you have a down payment potential of $60,000 and have the income to afford a $350,000 purchase price but you found one for $325,000. Using your entire $60,000 down payment (18.46%), your new mortgage amount would be $272,420, where $7,420 of it represents the mortgage insurance premium.

But what if you change that $60,000 (18.46% down payment) to say $48,750 and have a down payment of exactly 15%? Well, your premium is still the exact same as it would be with an 18.46% down payment because your premium is still 2.8% of the mortgage amount. That means you will now save $11,250 (difference in down payments), while only paying $7,735 in premiums (an increase of $315).

I don’t know about you, but if someone told me I could put $11,250 less down and it would only change my insurance premium by $315, I am holding onto that money. You now have more cash for unexpected expenses, moving allowance, furniture, anything you want. You can even apply it to your first pre-payment against your mortgage and pay the interest down while taking time off your loan. Obviously if cash is not an issue, putting the full $60,000 would be better seeing as you are borrowing less and paying less interest. However, if cash is tight, why not hold onto it and pay that difference over the course of 25 years?

Consult with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional when it comes to structuring your mortgage request with a bank. It is small little things like this that make all the difference.

Ryan Oake

RYAN OAKE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

1 Jun

4 Signs You’re Ready For Homeownership

General

Posted by: Charla Adrian

1 MAR 2018

4 SIGNS YOU’RE READY FOR HOMEOWNERSHIP

While most people know the main things they need to buy a home, such as stable employment and enough money for a down payment, there are a few other factors that may help you realize you’re ready, perhaps even earlier than you thought!

As a mortgage broker, it is my job to ensure that each one of my clients is getting the best service I can provide. Part of this means educating as much as possible when it comes to buying a home, which is why I’ve put together a list of 4 signs that may tell you that you are ready to become a homeowner.

You should have more funds available than the minimum of a down payment
This one may seem obvious, but it’s something that people may not realize until they actually think about it. It’s very difficult to afford a home if you only have enough money for a down payment and then find yourself scrambling for day-to-day living after that.

If you have enough money saved up (more than the minimum needed for a down payment), you may be ready to start house-hunting.

Your credit score is good
This might seem obvious at first glance, however, if you don’t have a good credit score, chances increase that you could be declined altogether or stuck with a higher interest rate and thus end up paying higher mortgage payments. If you have a less-than-optimal credit score, working with a mortgage professional can help you get on the right track in the shortest time possible. Sometimes a few subtle changes can bump a credit score from “meh” to “yahoo” in a few short months.

Breaking the bank isn’t in your future plans
Do you plan on buying two new vehicles in the next two years? Are you thinking of starting a family? Are you considering going back to school?

Although you may think you can afford to purchase a home right now, it’s extremely important to think about one, two, and five years down the road. If you know that you aren’t planning on incurring big expenses that you need to factor into your budget anytime soon, then that’s something that may help you decide to buy a home.

You are disciplined
It’s easy to say, “it’s a home, I’m going to have it for a long time so I may as well go all-in!”. While that would be nice, that’s rarely the case!

You must have a limit that you’re willing to spend. Sitting down with a mortgage broker or real estate agent and analyzing your finances is crucial. It’s important that you know costs associated with buying a home and what the maximum amount is that you can afford without experiencing financial struggles. IMPORTANT: This is not the amount that you are told is your max!

This is the amount that you calculate as your max based on your current monthly budget and savings plan. It’s quite frequent where I have clients tell me that their max budget is, say, $1200 and then when I run the numbers they could actually be approved for much more. Low and behold suddenly these guys are looking at homes that are hundreds of dollars a month higher than their initial perceived budget. It is up to you (with my help or pleading, when necessary) to reel things back in and make sure that you aren’t getting into something that affects the long-term livelihood of a well thought out budget or savings plan.

Conclusion

These are just four signs that you may be ready to purchase a home. If you’re seriously considering buying or selling, talking with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker, such as myself, can help put you on the right path to a successful real estate transaction.

SHAUN SERAFINI

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

3 May

FIXED RATES ARE ON THE RISE. ARE YOU READY?

General

Posted by: Charla Adrian

1 MAY 2018

FIXED RATES ARE ON THE RISE. ARE YOU READY?

With the Bank of Canada holding 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 and 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 prime rate by the end of 2018.
Why do we note this information and how does it relate to you?

If you are in 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 in 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 in 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.

Angela Calla

ANGELA CALLA

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

2 May

WHAT DOES A “RATE HIKE” ACTUALLY MEAN?

General

Posted by: Charla Adrian

2 MAY 2018

WHAT DOES A “RATE HIKE” ACTUALLY MEAN?

TD Bank has increased it’s posted rates and RBC did the same on Monday. This increase, from 5.14% to 5.59% at TD, is the “biggest move in years.” The change came because of the bond yields increasing. We do expect every other lender to follow suit.

But, actual interest rates have not changed… so what exactly is going on?

The banks have specifically increased something called the “posted” rate.

A “posted” rate is used for three purposes:

  • Fools clients into thinking rates are higher than they are by being displayed in the “Rates” section of a bank’s website.
  • A ~5% decrease in affordability for many borrowers. The posted rate is the benchmark rate that lenders use for qualifying a mortgage (a bank’s “stress test”).
  • It is used to calculate the bank’s mortgage penalty.

First, let’s address the clients who renew their mortgages when the banks send out renewal letters…

Did you know that 80% of homeowners renew with their current mortgage lender? Did you also know that the Bank of Canada published a study that says:

“Lenders have improved their ability to price discriminate… offering discount rates to different sets of consumers, based on their willingness to pay.”

Lenders know that at renewal, most clients do not shop around as they did when they obtained their initial mortgage, and are therefore less likely to offer their best rate to current borrowers.

So, this higher rate is for people who don’t know better. Please remember that the banks are not there for your client. A recent CBC article shows that the banks are there to make money first and provide advice second.

Second, for qualification, the lenders go by their “posted rate” to qualify a mortgage. If a client gets a variable at 3%, the lender is required to qualify them at the higher rate of posted/benchmark and 2% above their contract rate (in this case, 3%). However, with lenders increasing their posted rates, the client will have to be approved at 5.59% instead of 5.14%. This will affect home buyers and decrease affordability by about 5%.

Third, banks use the posted rate for their penalty calculations. The higher the posted rate, the higher someone’s potential penalty is when they pay out their mortgage. This increase in the posted rate will increase people’s penalties quite substantially for Bank Interest Rate Differential (IRD) penalties. This is definitely not in the clients’ best interests. A borrower could do much better by going with a variable rate penalty or a monoline IRD penalty.

BONUS: OK, so we now know that the Posted Rates have increased. What we don’t know is why…

The first reason for a lender to increase their rates would be when the bond yields increase. We have seen a slight increase but not that much, and definitely not enough to warrant such a high increase in a bank’s posted rate. Generally, when the bond market changes, the discounted rates will change. Discounted rates are the rates that clients actually see when they get their mortgages.

One sentiment is that TD and RBC are trying to warn people to lock in now so they can make more money and have greater “spreads” between the bond yields and mortgage rates.

If I had a crystal ball, or if I was a portfolio manager, I may have more info for you here… Alas, this is all I can say on this matter. If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional who can help.

Eitan Pinsky

EITAN PINSKY

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Eitan is part of DLC Origin Mortgages based in Vancouver, BC