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

26 Apr

Subject to Financing – A Must!!!

General

Posted by: Charla Adrian

25 APR 2018

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 some times 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 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 allow 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.

Ryan Oake

RYAN OAKE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

17 Apr

Breaking A Mortgage – Can You Do It?

General

Posted by: Charla Adrian

17 APR 2018

BREAKING A MORTGAGE – CAN YOU DO IT?

Do you have a mortgage? So do I! Looks like we have something in common. Did you know that 6 out of 10 consumers break their mortgage 38 months into a 5-year term? That means that 60% of consumers break a 5-year term mortgage well before it’s due…but do you also know what the implications are of this? Let’s take a look!

People need to break a mortgage for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common include:

· Sale and purchase of a new home *without a portable mortgage
· To take equity out/refinance
· Relationship changes (ex. Divorce)
· Health challenges or life circumstances are altered

And a whole other variety of reasons. So what happens if you have one of the above reasons, or one of your own occur and you have to break your mortgage? Here is an example of what would happen:

Jane and John Smith have lived in their home for 2 years now. When they bought the home, they recognized that it would need some major renovations down the road, but they loved the location and the layout of the home. They purchased it for $300,000 and have 3 years left but would like to access some of the equity in their home and refinance the mortgage to afford some of the bigger home renovations. This refinancing would be with 3 years left on their current mortgage. So, what are Jane and John looking at for cost? There are two methods that are used to calculate the penalty:

POSTED RATE METHOD (used by major banks and some credit unions)
With this method, the Bank of Canada 5 year posted rate is used to calculate the penalty for Jane and John. 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: 5.14%
Bank Discount given: 2% (estimated amount given*)
Contract Rate: 3.14%

Exiting at the 2-year mark leaves 3 years left. For a 3-year term, the lenders posted rate. 3 year posted rate=3.44% less your discount of 2% gives you 1.44% From there, the interest rate differential is calculated.

Contract Rate: 3.14%
LESS 3-year term rate MINUS discount given: 1.45%
IRD Difference = 1.7%
MULTIPLE that by 3 years (term remaining)
5.07% of your mortgage balance remaining. = 5.1%

For the Smith’s $300,000 mortgage, that gives them a penalty of $15,300. YIKES!

Now, Jane and John were smart though and used their Dominion Lending Centres broker to get their mortgage. Because of this, a different method is used.

PUBLISHED RATE METHOD (used by broker lenders and most credit unions)

This method uses the lender published rates, which are generally 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: 3.54%
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
MULTIPLE that by 3 years (term remaining)
0.90% of your mortgage balance

That would mean that the Smith’s would have a penalty of $2,700 on their $300,000 mortgage

A much more favourable and workable outcome! Keep in mind that with the above example is one that works only if the borrower has:
· Good credit
· Documented income
· Normal residential type property
· Fixed rate mortgage

For Variable rates mortgages, generally the penalty will be 3 months interest (no IRD applies).

If you find yourself in one of the scenarios that we listed at the start of this blog, or if you just need to get out of your mortgage early, be smart like Jane and John—review your options with a DLC Broker! In the example above, it saved them $12,600 to work with a broker! It really does pay to have a Mortgage Broker working for you.

Geoff Lee

GEOFF LEE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

6 Apr

3 MORTGAGE TERMS YOU NEED TO KNOW

General

Posted by: Charla Adrian

 

3 MORTGAGE TERMS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Prepayment, Portability and Assumability

Prepayments

One of the most common questions we get is about mortgage prepayments. The conditions vary from lender to lender but the nice thing about prepayments is that you can pay a little more every year if you want to pay off your mortage faster. A great way to do this is through prepayments.

They’re always something to ask your broker about because each lender is very different. You can always do an increase on your payments and that means that you pay a little bit more each week or each month when you make your mortgage payment. You can also make a lump sum payment. Perhaps you get a bonus every year or you get a lot of Christmas money. You can just throw that on your mortgage. It goes right on the principle so you’re not paying interest on those extra funds. Paying a big chunk at once also means that a higher percentage of future payments will also go towards the principle.

Portability

Portability means that if you sell your house and you want to take your current mortgage and move it to your new house you can. The one thing about portability that we always have to keep in mind is that we can’t decrease the mortgage amount but we can do a little bit of an increase often through a second mortgage or an increase we call a blend and extend. It just gives you the flexibility of moving the mortgage from one property to the next property. It also gives you the flexibility of being in control of where you mortgage is going and not having to break your mortgage every time you decide to move.

Moving a mortgage to a new property avoids things like discharge fees, the legal cost of registering a new mortgage and the possibly of a higher interest rate. It’s great to be able to keep that rate for the full term rather than having to break and pay those penalties half way through.

Assumability

Assuming a mortgage comes into play more often where there are family ties. Say your parents have a mortgage and you move into that house. Rather than you going out and getting a new mortgage and your parents having to pay those discharge fees, you have the ability to assume their existing mortgage at that current rate. All you have to do is apply and make sure you can actually afford the mortgage at what they’re paying. You have to be able to be approved on the remaining balance on the mortgage just like you would on any other mortgage. Just because your parents have an eight hundred thousand dollar mortgage doesn’t mean you’ll be able to take that over.

If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist for help.

Tracy Valko

TRACY VALKO

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Tracy is part of DLC Forest City Funding based in London, ON.