21 Jun

HOW TO GET A 5% DOWN PAYMENT FOR A $500,000 PURCHASE

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Robert McCaw

We have seen a return of the buyers’ market and many people are asking, how long will this last? While some renters without a down payment might be asking, how can o put a plan in place to own?

With the cost of living so high, and student debts coming out of school, many consumers question how they’re going to come up with a down payment for a home.

Here are some ways you can get it done.

  • Decide how much you can save and pick a plan that works for you:  a) A 36-month plan saving $700/month will get you $25,200 (you will need about $2,000 for closing costs if you qualify as a first-time homebuyer) b) A 24-month plan savings $600/month for $14,400
  • Get a gift from a family member
  • Borrow the down payment, or a portion (which may also help with credit building)
  • A combination of all of the above

For those of you that want to partner with government for down payment and profit of home ownership, a new government program can be a helpful tool provided it stays past the October election. https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/nhs/shared-equity-mortgage-provider-fund

You might me reading this and thinking, ‘yeah right, that is not reality.’ Or for some people, you know it might just be exactly what will help them move forward.

Perhaps you have graduated from school and your parents don’t charge you rent. Imagine if you could put one of your paycheques every month aside and try living within those means and budgeting accordingly.

Or say you have a partner and one of you just started work in a specific trade and the other’s paycheque went towards the “home purchase plan.”

Also, if you are within the qualifications to buy, you will be earning a combined household income of $125,000-plus per year, so taking those funds right from your paycheque into your RRSP will have additional tax benefits too where you can use the refund for closing costs or amp up your down payment.

Here’s an example of how this worked for a lab technician and chef with a two-year old daughter.

They did a combination plan as they moved up to Canada from the U.S. two years ago, both got stable jobs and had no outside debt. They were paying $1700 a month rent. They used a $10,000 line of credit they took to put into investment to help establish Canadian credit. After getting the line of credit and placing it into a safe investment, they:

  1. Set up an RRSP and placed $600 a month on the loan and $700 a month into their RRSP.
  2. Now this family is used to having a cash outlay of $3,000 per month which will be the actual expectation they have for when they buy a home.
  3. With this plan, they take a mortgage for a test drive, save money on taxes, establish a great credit score and worked away toward their goal.

Are there holes in the plan? Yes, home prices may go up, there was interest on the loan they paid and they may have to adjust or modify their plan. Their employment can change, however, this practice will only benefit them no matter what life brings their way and there is a sense of empowerment when you have a plan and can see how you can get there.

Do you or someone you care about want to know how they can be set up with a multifaceted plan to help them move forward with a goal of owning a home?

 

Courtesy of Angela Calla – AMP – DLC Angela Calla Mortgage Team based in Port Coquitlam, BC.

20 Jun

MORTGAGE BROKER HISTORY AND MORTGAGE APPLICATIONS

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Robert McCaw

In the past, we had banks (bank as a catch all for credit unions and trust companies) and Mortgage Brokers.

Writing mortgage applications is extremely difficult; there are a lot of moving parts in a mortgage. Because of this, banks employ mortgage specialists whose sole role is to provide mortgage advice.

On the other hand, previous to 20 years ago, a Mortgage Broker’s main job was to get financing when a bank declined a borrower’s application. Basically, Mortgage Brokers were a borrower’s last resort: “if you can’t get financing from the bank (RBC, TD, Scotia, etc.), come speak to me.” This is generally why we see older generations having never used mortgage brokers – they didn’t have a need.

But, there have been many changes over the decades. In most cases, Mortgage Brokers can provide better interest rates for most mortgage applications. This is specifically due to wholesale lenders.

But, when it comes to prime (bank or Monoline Lenders) financing, Mortgage Brokers find they are sometimes at a disadvantage when banks make “exceptions” to regulatory mortgage rules. Mortgage Brokers are sometimes held to a higher standard because all of our files are picked at with a fine-toothed comb.

For example: in 2016/7 CIBC, which does not procure mortgages from Mortgage Brokers, underwent a mortgage audit. The regulator found that every single one of the 50 mortgages audited failed their audit… and CIBC hardly even got a slap on the wrist. As an side, remember when banks would provide financing for foreign students with no income? Yeah… that was primarily CIBC!

Notwithstanding, Mortgage Brokers (by definition) have access to many different types of lenders and are not beholden to the employer institution. Non-prime lenders can lean more heavily on a specific property and less so on the strict guidelines that the government requires.

Long story short, Mortgages Brokers have access to many different lenders, but in come cases, a bank specialist can get something done that a Mortgage Broker cannot do due to the bending mortgage rules. Notwithstanding, in 99% of cases, if all rules are followed (which are being more strictly enforced since 2018), Mortgage Brokers have more access and more complete solutions to bank specialists.

Courtesy of Eitan Pinsky – AMP – DLC Origin Mortgages based in Vancouver, BC

13 Jun

99 YEAR MORTGAGES AND THE POWER OF AMORTIZATION

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Robert McCaw

Back in the late 80’s, the Japanese housing market came to a grinding halt. Homes were no longer affordable for your average Japanese consumer. The government came to the rescue with a novel idea: 99 year mortgages. You could buy a house, pay lower more affordable payments, your son or daughter would take over and pay the mortgage down and finally your grandchild at some time close to retirement age would finally pay off your mortgage.

Who would want to do this? This was a short term solution. In 2007, we had 40-year amortized mortgages which allowed a great number of people to buy homes who normally would have continued to rent. This created a housing boom, but it made the banks nervous and terms were cut back to 35 years, then 30 and finally back to where they were in 2005 at 25 years. While longer amortizations mean lower monthly payments, the flip side is that you end up paying a lot more interest over time.

Mortgage professionals use amortization as a tool to help their clients at various stages in their lives. Often we use the maximum 25 years to help people get into their first homes. The idea is to get them into home ownership regardless of the cost. Later when they renew we often suggest a shorter amortization if it’s possible.
For example, after paying down a mortgage for 5 years, a couple with a $300,000 mortgage renewing today would be offered a 20-year amortized mortgage with monthly payments of $1659. In 5 years the couple will have paid $40,356 in interest $59,214 in principal and have a balance of $240,785 left on the mortgage.
If the amortization was shortened to 17 years the payment would go up to $1,874.95, an increase of $215.95. but at the end of 5 years they would have paid  $39,365 in interest, $73,131 in principal and have a balance of $226,868.11. In addition, they would now only have 12 years instead of 13 years on their mortgage.

Now, if they are at a stage in life where their twins are going to be going to university or if they need to build a granny suite for aging parents, they may need to lower monthly payments in order to pay for renovations. If they have 20% equity in their home, they could extend their amortization to 30 or even 35 years with some lenders.
Now their monthly payment drops to $1,260 with a 30 year amortization.
And it drops to $1,149 with a 35 year amortization.

Amortization is only one tool that your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional can use to save you interest, help you to pay off your mortgage quicker or to lower your mortgage payments. Be sure to call and ask them for help.

 

Courtesy of David Cooke – AMP – DLC Jencor Mortgages in Calgary, AB.

12 Jun

WHO REALLY SETS INTEREST RATES?

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Robert McCaw

A recent article in the Huffington Post addressed the pricing strategy for the Big Six Banks, BMO, CIBC, National Bank, RBC, Scotia and TD and who really sets interest rates.  RBC announcing a rate drop in January and the other banks soon followed.  For consumers the banks are seen as leaders of the pack and everyone waits to see what else they will do.  The reality is the bank rates were higher than the market for some time.

The Huffington article states “Canadians pay attention to the big guys, however, because they’re either too comfortable to make a change or simply not aware they’re being taken for a ride. The banks have a 90-per-cent stranglehold on the Canadian mortgage market and we’ve been slow to start paying attention to the alternative — often cheaper — options out there.”

The drop in rates was a measure to bring bank rates in line with the non-bank lenders who have already been offering lower pricing. The only difference is the banks have high market share of the business and more profit each year so they can afford to spend money on media and other forms of advertising. The media attention helps them to capture more business with a rate drop after a lag time of passing on higher rates to consumers. The informed consumer working with an independent mortgage broker will already know the market and what mortgage product is best for their needs.

However, interest rates are not the only consideration when choosing a mortgage. Each time you make a purchase, renew your mortgage or take equity out to renovate, invest or other reasons, it is always best to consult with your mortgage broker for a review.

One of the big factors is the cost to exit that mortgage before maturity. Life happens. There are costs to breaking the contract early in the event of sale, marital break-up, death or need to consolidate other debts. Bank penalties for early payout are higher than non-bank penalties by a factor of 4 times. By reviewing your needs with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker, we can discuss all of the options available from lenders including bank and non-bank, to ensure you are making an informed decision.

 

Courtesy of Pauline Tonkin – AMP – DLC Innovative Mortgage Solutions based in Coquitlam, BC.

11 Jun

3 STEPS TO TAKE YOU FROM PRE-APPROVAL TO GETTING THE KEYS

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Robert McCaw

Picture this: You’ve finally been able to put away enough for a down-payment on your dream home. It’s taken you five years of diligent saving, but you did it! You have also been diligently working on improving your credit score and paying off debts and are at a place of financial stability. So, first of all, KUDOS TO YOU! Second…now what do you do? Here are the three steps that will take you from browsing new homes to getting the keys to your new place.

STEP 1: PRE-APPROVAL
This should actually be the step BEFORE house hunting. Visiting your mortgage broker to get pre-approved is the first step anyone looking to buy a home should do. When you meet with your broker for the first time they will:
• Have you fill out an application (or you might be able to fill out one online)
• Pull your credit
• Determine what your maximum purchase price will be.

Be aware that you will also be asked for additional information when you visit your broker to apply, including a letter of employment/pay stub, down payment verification, two years notice of assessment and/or T4’s, a void cheque, and a number of other potential documents.
Once you are pre-approved it’s house hunting time for you! The benefit of having this done BEFORE you start looking is that you can work with your realtor to find properties within that price range.
When you do find just the right home for you, it’s on to step two.

STEP 2: APPROVAL
If you were able to provide the bulk of the paperwork for your pre-approval, then it will be smooth sailing from here. You may have to supply a few pieces of updated information but otherwise, it’s up to the lender to do the hard work at this point.
Your application will be re-assessed, and the lender will take a look at the property you are purchasing. Once they confirm that it aligns with the guidelines they have laid out for your loan, then it is sent off to the mortgage default insurer for approval. At this point, make sure that you do not remove the financing condition until all the lender conditions are met.
Now that you have final sign-off and are waiting for the final conditions to be met, it’s on to step three.

STEP 3: FINAL STEPS
Your broker will notify you once the conditions have all been met, and the lender will send the paperwork over to the Lawyer’s office. The lawyer will take a few days to go through the mortgage and prepare it for your final sign off. When you go, you will be asked to present:
• Void Cheque
• Two forms of identification
• Balance of the down payment in the form of a bank draft

On the day of funding, the lender will send the funds to the lawyer who sends them to the seller’s lawyer who upon receiving the funds will give you the all clear.
All that’s left is to hand you the keys to your new home!
As one final step, keep asking questions at each stage of the mortgage process. You should check in with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker if you have any questions along the way. They are happy to guide you through the process of not only getting a mortgage but also having a mortgage too!

 

Courtesy of Geoff Lee – AMP – DLC GLM Mortgage Group based in Vancouver, BC.

6 Jun

WHICH MORTGAGE LENDER IS BEST FOR YOU?

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Robert McCaw

The following is a summary of the choices available for clients when looking at the four different types of lending groups.

So what exactly is a lender? By simple definition, a mortgage lender provides financing for a real estate purchase hence the word lend.

Which lender is best for you will all depend on who you are as a borrower, what your current situation is and what your situation will look like in the future.

Big Banks

Currently, mortgage brokers have access to TD Canada Trust and Scotiabank. Big banks are especially appealing to first-time home buyers as it offers a sense of comfort knowing your mortgage is being dealt with a nationally recognized financial institution.

TD offers very fast review of documents with the ability for collateral charges, multiple branch locations and competitive privileges such as pre-payment abilities.

Scotiabank is also an advantageous option for homeowners as they have one of the most comprehensive and easy-to-use home equity lines of credit, referred to as their Scotia-Step.

Being able to access a Home Equity Line Of Credit (HELOC) and roll it into your mortgage offers simplicity and efficient methods of borrowing for homeowners. The drawback with both banks is that they are chartered banks. When a client decides to use them for fixed rate mortgages, specifically the 5-year terms, they can potentially be on the hook for penalties north of $10,000 due to breaking their mortgage early. Career changes, moving from different neighbourhoods or cities, upgrading or downgrading home sizes, marital issues – these are all reasons why someone may need to break their mortgage early. Being in a long term fixed rate mortgage with a chartered bank can be unpleasant.

Credit Unions

One of the biggest benefits of credit unions such as Westminster Savings or Coast Capital is that they are not federally regulated, they are provincially regulated. They are not required to adopt federal mortgage rule changes unless they want to. This can be an extreme benefit to those considering rental properties, those with unique income/employment situations or complex transactions that chartered banks do not or cannot work with.

Some of the negative attributes are, however, a reputation for slow review times of documents and mortgage applications, as well as portability. If you work for a company or in an industry that is known for relocation and re-assignment across provinces, you will pay a penalty to a credit union every time. This is something that is likely not to happen when working with charted banks or monoline lenders as they will have more flexibility in allowing you to port your mortgage to a new property in other provinces.

Monoline Lenders

Monoline Lenders are supported by mortgage brokers, and in turn, mortgage brokers are supported by monoline lenders. You cannot access mortgage products that a monoline lender offers without using a broker as they typically do not have physical branches or locations. They are funded by private investors dealing only in mortgage transactions, allowing their products to be more customized based on the investors’ risk tolerance. The benefits? – Extremely low-interest rates, very competitive privileges with pre-payment and portability, fast turnaround-times, and the best part, significantly lower penalties for breaking a mortgage.

With a big bank, a $10,000 penalty for breaking mortgage early may only cost you $3,000 with a monoline lender. This is highly advantageous to someone who wants the security of a long term fixed rate but isn’t 100% certain they will be carrying out their mortgage at that property for the full five years. The disadvantage is the almost blind trust a client must have. These monoline lenders do not have much brand recognition with the public, limited direct access with clients and usually do not have any physical locations to visit. This makes it hard for some people to feel comfortable using them as their mortgage provider.

Private Lenders

The benefit of a private lender is that anyone who has inconsistent income, unique properties, poor credit history or any type of severe risk in their application can get an approval. When a chartered bank says no, a credit union says no and a monoline lender says no, a private lender can say yes. The disadvantage? – your interest rate is going to be significantly higher and the privileges such as prepayment and portability are going to be significantly less. As well, with most lenders, they will pay the mortgage brokers commission themselves. In this case, you the borrower will be paying a fee to the broker.

This information is extremely powerful to you as a homebuyer and even as a current homeowner.

Courtesy of Chris Cabel – AMP – DLC HomeHow Mortgage based in Calgary, AB

4 Jun

CREDIT CARDS FOR THE CREDIT CHALLENGED

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Robert McCaw

If you want to buy a home and don’t have a bucket load of cash – you are going to need a mortgage.

In order to get a mortgage, you are going to need credit…

When you get a mortgage, banks lend you “their” money and secure the loan against the property you are buying. Therefore they want to know how you’ve handled credit in the past.

Bad credit = high interest rates
Really bad credit = NO mortgage
If you have bad credit, you need to improve your credit to get a mortgage/better interest rates.

When you have had credit challenges – you are going to be limited with the number of credit card companies willing to offer you credit.

In order to buy something on credit, most lenders follow the Rule of 2:

2 lines of credit (credit card, line of credit, loan etc.)
Minimum credit limit $2000
2+ years (24+ months) history
One of the quickest ways to rebuild your credit is to get 2 credit cards.

Since you’ve had credit blemishes in the past, many credit card companies aren’t interested in giving you more credit.

If you have had any files that have gone to collections, you MUST pay those off ASAP.
One way to get a credit card for the credit challenged, is to get a secured credit card.

DEFINITION of Secured Credit Card

A secured credit card is a credit card that requires a security deposit. Secured credit cards are generally for individuals whose credit is damaged or who have no credit history at all.
A secured credit card works just like a traditional credit card. A secured credit card can help you establish or rebuild your credit.
The security deposit will depend on your previous credit history and the amount deposited in the account.
Security deposits for secured credit cards tend to range between 50% and 100%.
The security deposit cannot be used to pay off the balance on the credit card.
Typically, secured credit card companies will increase the limit on your card once you have proved you are a good credit risk. This takes time. With continued good credit history over a few years, they will refund your security deposit and issue you a regular credit card.
Five Tips for Wisely Using a Secured Credit Card

Use for small purchases you can pay off each month.
The point of using a secured credit card is to show your ability to responsibly charge and then pay off your balance. To do this, make a few purchases each month and pay your bill in full. By NOT carrying a balance you avoid paying interest & build your credit.

Pay on time, and more than the minimum payment.
To get a healthy credit score – it is essential that you pay on time. Ideally you want to pay off your balance in full. If you can’t pay the full amount, pay down as much as you can, so you are reducing your credit utilization (the amount you owe compared to your credit limit).

Make Multiple Payments every month.
Making more than one monthly payment can help keep your balance low. A large balance reduces your overall credit which can negatively affect your credit score. If you make a large purchase, pay it off quickly to keep your credit utilization low.

Set Payment Alerts.
Even the most organized person misses a payment now and then… That’s OK for people with good credit… if you have credit blemishes you’ve lost your “get out of jail free” privilege. One missed payment is one time too many! Set up payment reminders 1 week before your payment is due.

Enroll in Autopay.
If you are concerned about making your payments on time? The easiest plan is to enroll in autopay, which allows your credit issuer to automatically deduct the monthly balance form your bank account, so you don’t have to keep track of bills. This assumes you have the money in the account to pay off the credit card.

Please note: Prepaid Credit Cards do NOT help you build credit. You’ve prepaid the amount on the card, so no one is actually offering you any credit.

Courtesy of Kelly Hudson – AMP – DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts based in Richmond, BC