29 Mar

Understanding The Mortgage Rate!


Posted by: Tyler Cowle

When it comes to mortgages, one of the most important influencers is interest rate but do you know how this rate is determined? It might surprise you to find out that there are 10 major factors that affect the interest you will pay on your home loan!

Knowing these factors will not only prepare you for the mortgage process, but will also help you to better understand the mortgage rates available to you.

Credit Score

Not surprisingly, your credit score is one of the most influential factors when it comes to your interest rate. In fact, your credit score determines if you are able to qualify for financing at all – as well as how much. In order to qualify, a minimum credit score of 680 is required for at least one borrower. Having higher credit will further showcase that you are a reliable borrower and may lead to better rates.

Loan-to-Value (LTV) Ratio

This ratio refers to the value of the amount being borrowed as a percentage of the overall home value. The main factors that impact LTV ratios include the sales price, appraised value of the property and the amount of the down payment. Putting down more on a home, especially one with a lower purchase price, will result in a lower LTV and be more appealing to lenders. As an example, if you were to buy a home appraised at $500,000 and are able to make a down payment of $100,000 (20%), then you would be borrowing $400,000. For this transaction, the LTV is 80%.

Insured vs. Uninsured

Depending on how much you are able to save for a down payment, you will either have an insured or uninsured mortgage. Typically, if you put less than 20% down, you will require insurance on the property. Depending on the insurer, this can affect your borrowing power as well as the interest rates.

Fixed vs. Variable Rate

The type of rate you are looking for will also affect how much interest you will pay. While there are benefits to both fixed and variable mortgages, it is more important to understand how they affect interest rates.  Fixed rates are based on the bond market, which depends on the amount that global investors demand to be paid for long-term lending. Variable rates, on the other hand, are based on the Bank of Canada’s overnight lending rate. This ties variable rates directly to the economic state at-home, versus fixed which are influenced on a global scale.


Location, location, location! This is not just true for where you want to LIVE, but it also can affect how much interest you will pay. Homes located in provinces with more competitive housing markets will typically see lower interest rates, simply due to supply and demand. On the other hand, with less movement and competition will most likely have higher rates.

Rate Hold

A rate hold is a guarantee offered by a lender to ‘hold’ the interest rate you were offered for up to 120 days (depending on the lender). The purpose of a rate hold is to protect you from any rate increases while you are house-hunting. It also gives you the opportunity to take advantage of any decreases to your benefit. This means that, if you were pre-approved for your mortgage and worked with a mortgage broker to obtain a ‘rate hold’, you may receive a different interest rate than someone just entering the market.


The act of refinancing your mortgage basically means that you are restructuring your current mortgage (typically when the term is up). Whether you are changing from fixed to variable, refinancing to consolidate debt, or just seeking access to built up equity, any change to your mortgage can affect the interest rate you are offered. In most cases, new buyers will be offered lower rates than refinancing, but refinancing clients will receive better rates than mortgage transfers. Regardless of why you are refinancing, it is always best to discuss your options with a mortgage broker to ensure you are making the best choice for your unique situation.

Home Type

Among other things, lenders assess the risk associated with your home type. Some properties are viewed as higher risk than others. If the subject property is considered higher risk, the lender may require higher rates.

Secondary Property (Income Property/Vacation Home)

Any secondary properties or those bought for the purpose of being an income property or vacation home, will be assessed as such. The lender may deem these as high risk investments, and you may be required to pay higher interest rates than you would on a principal residence. This is another area where a mortgage broker can help. Since they have access to a variety of lenders and various rates, they can help you find the best option.

Income Level

The final factor is income level. While this does not have a direct affect on the interest rate you are able to obtain, it does dictate your purchasing power as well as how much you are able to put down on a home.

It is important to understand that obtaining financing for a mortgage is a complex process that looks at many factors to ensure the lender is not putting themselves at risk of default. To ensure that you – the borrower – is getting the best mortgage product for your needs, don’t hesitate to reach out to a me today! Mortgage brokers are licensed professionals that live and breathe mortgages, and who have access to a variety of lenders to ensure you are getting the best rates. Mortgage brokers can also assess your unique situation and find the right mortgage for you. Their goal is to see you successfully find and afford the home of your dreams and set you up for future success!

22 Mar

The Credit Challenge

Credit Score

Posted by: Tyler Cowle

The Credit Challenge.

For most people, credit score isn’t something you spend much time thinking about. Especially if you are someone who is making good money and paying all your bills on time. When you are in that boat, it feels pretty good! But, when you miss a payment or you struggle to pay all those credit cards, lines of credit and even your mortgage, it can feel like a sinking ship.

This is especially true if you’re credit challenged, but are looking to get into the housing market. Improving your credit is the best first step to getting a lender to give you a chance and fortunately, it is very doable!

Why does credit score matter?

The reason your credit score is so important is because it tells lenders the basic story surrounding your credit. It essentially indicates whether or not you are a “good investment” by relaying how long you’ve had credit, your ability to pay back that credit and how much you currently owe. Your credit score is affected by how much debt you’re carrying in relation to limits, how many cards or tradelines you have and your history of repayment.

If you are considering getting your first mortgage, keep in mind that a credit score above 680 puts you in a good position to get financing, while a score below that will make it tough and improvement is needed.


To ensure your credit score remains in good form, it is important to take a hard look at your credit report and review your credit score for any old or incorrect information. If you find any errors, contact Equifax to have them corrected or removed. Another big factor includes paying off any collections (such as parking tickets or overdue bills).


If you’re a young person and new to the world of credit, consider the 2-2-2 rule to help build up your credit. Lenders typically like to see 2 forms of revolving credit (i.e. credit cards) with a limit of no less than $2,000 and a clean history of payment for 2 years.

It is important to note, a great credit score means keeping a balance on all those cards at any given time, below 30 percent of the overall limit. For a card with a limit of $2,000, this means having no more than $600 of it in use. It is also a good idea to check if your credit card requires an annual fee and make sure you are paying that off too.

If you’ve been advised to get a couple credit cards but have locked them in a vault where only a sorcerer’s spell can access them, you’re going down the wrong path. The goal is not just to have credit but to show potential lenders that you know how to use it responsibly!

Rock bottom credit

When things get really bad, there is a tendency for clients to consider declaring bankruptcy or a consumer proposal. Bankruptcy is a legal process where an individual or entity can seek relief from some or all of their debts when unable to repay them. A consumer proposal is a formal, legally binding process to pay creditors a percentage of what is owed to them.

The truth is, it is best to avoid these two options. Instead, there are companies out there that will perform the same function with regards to negotiating your debts – but it won’t impact your credit or carry the stigma of bankruptcy or a consumer proposal.


If you already own a home and have some equity, but you are still drowning in credit debt, consider refinancing your mortgage. While you might not get the same great rate you have now, or might get dinged for breaking your mortgage early, using the equity in your home can be a great way to get rid of high-interest credit card payments and consolidate debt to keep more money in your pocket at the end of the day.

Keeping your score in-tact

Once you have your credit score where you want it, it is important to maintain that score. You can do this by ensuring you never use more than 30% of your available credit and that you pay your bills each month, and on time. Even if you can only pay the minimum amount due, it is important to be making those payments and recognizing the requirements.

Published by the DLC Marketing Team!

14 Mar

Mortgage Monday – New To Canada Mortgage!

New To Canada

Posted by: Tyler Cowle

Immigrating to a new country is a big step with many challenges that one must go through before starting their new life there.  For this reason; many Canadian Banks, Lenders and Insurers have introduced New To Canada Mortgage Programs; aimed at assisting new immigrants through the home ownership journey here in Canada!

Many of the New To Canada Programs are offered to those who have immigrated to Canada within the last 5 years and have obtained a valid Work Permit or Permanent Residency.  Depending on the lender or insurer there may be limits on the type of property allowed under the program (Owner Occupied with 1 rental unit); maximum mortgage amount or amortization limits.  Each lender will have their own terms and conditions for their specific products; as do the mortgage insurers – CMHCSagen; and Canada Guaranty.

The New To Canada Mortgage Programs are more lenient in some aspects of the application process; in order to make home ownership possible for those with limited Canadian credit history; or work history here in Canada.

When it comes to employment; many New To Canada Programs will look for a minimum of 3 months employment history with their new employer here; which is similar to traditional mortgage requirements; however, the standard 2 years of income in the field does not always apply.  Even if a new immigrant is employed with an International company and is transferred to a Canadian location; verification of the employment may present challenges; so, leniency in this requirement can help with the approval process.

In terms of credit history; traditional approval requirements look for a minimum of 2 years credit bureau history (Equifax or Trans-Union) with at least 2 trade lines displaying responsible use of credit.  Someone New To Canada may not have this history; therefore, many programs offer the option of providing either an International Credit Report or alternative sources of credit demonstrating timely payments and no arrears or NSFs.  Some alternative sources that may be applicable would be


  • Rent Payments
  • Utility Bills (Cell Phone, Heat, Hydro, Insurance etc.)
  • Letter of reference from the applicants bank


When it comes to down payment; the process is quite similar to a traditional mortgage; the applicant can have as little as 5% down and it can come from traditional sources like personal savings and sale of property.  Non-repayable gifts from an immediate family member can also be used for down payments of more than 5% (5% must be from the applicants own resources)

Applicants for the New To Canada Mortgage Programs would also be eligible to the same First Time Home Buyer Programs and rebates offered on a traditional mortgage product or home purchase; like using the RRSP Home Buyers Program and the Land Transfer Tax Rebate; which can be calculated on Tyler’s Mortgage Toolbox App!

 Check in next week for our next topic!

Published by Tyler Cowle

10 Mar

Investment Properties!


Posted by: Tyler Cowle

So, you are looking to purchase a second property! Congratulations! This is a great opportunity for you to expand your financial portfolio and ensure stability for the future. However, before you launch into this purchase there are a few things you should know, depending on which type of second property you are looking to purchase.


Buying a property for the purpose of renting it out to someone else comes with different qualifying criteria and mortgage product options than traditional home purchases. Before you look at purchasing a rental property, there are a few things to consider:

  1. The minimum down payment required is 20% of the purchase price, and the funds must come from your own savings; you cannot use a gift from someone else.
  2. Only a portion of the rental income can be used to qualify and determine how much you can afford to borrow. Some lenders will only allow you to use 50% of the income added to yours, while other lenders may allow up to 80% of the rental income and subtract your expenses.
  3. Interest rates usually have a premium when the mortgage is for a rental property versus a mortgage for a home someone intends on living in. The premium can be anywhere from 0.10% to 0.20% on a regular 5-year fixed rate.

Rental income from the property can be used to debt service the mortgage application, but do bear in mind that some lenders will have a minimum liquid net worth requirement outside of the property. Also, if you do eventually want to sell this property it will be subject to capital gains tax. Your accountant will be able to help you with that aspect if you do decide to sell in the future.


While vacation properties are not always the perfect investment, they are popular options for people who want to get away from it all and build memories in! If you’re motivated to head down that road, buying a vacation property is essentially like purchasing a second home.

If you are considering buying a unit within a hotel as a vacation spot (known as “fractional ownership”), it is important to note that if there is any mention of using your vacation home to provide rental income it will be treated like an investment property.


Most people are trained to stay out of debt and don’t tend to consider using the equity in their home to buy an investment property, but they haven’t realized the art of leveraging. If you’re using equity from your primary residence to buy a secondary property, keep in mind that the interest you’re using is tax deductible. Consider that you’re buying an appreciating asset, and if you put a real estate portfolio and a stock portfolio side-by-side, they don’t compare.


You might be surprised to learn that you don’t need to make six figures to get in the game. Essentially, you just have to be someone who wants to be a little smarter with their down payment. Before taking on a secondary property remember that the minimum down payment is 5% of the purchase price – unless you are intending to rent, in which case it is 20% down.

When it comes to purchasing a secondary property, whether for investment or rental or vacation, it can be a great opportunity! As your mortgage broker I can work with to find the best solution for your unique needs.


More and More Canadians are hopping on the short-term rental train as Air bnb’s popularity has sky-rocketed over the last few years. It’s not a bad way to earn extra money, but don’t forget there are a few things to consider:

  • Check strata/city bylaws
  • Contact your insurance provider to get correct coverage
  • Talk to your mortgage broker to see if a short-term income property can affect your approval
  • Consider tax implications, and talk to an accountant.

The more services you provide as a host, the greater the chance that your rental operation will be considered a business.

Published by the DLC Marketing Team

7 Mar

Mortgage Monday – Closing Costs

Mortgage Monday

Posted by: Tyler Cowle

This weeks industry term which is used all the time, is the Closing Costs.  What are they and what do they mean for your mortgage?

Closing Costs are legal and administrative fees that are payable by the buyer in a real estate transaction and are due prior to the transfer of the property title.  These costs are usually payable to different parties in the transaction; therefore, the payments are handled by the lawyer that is ‘Closing’ the property.  Prior to the closing date; the lawyer will supply a statement showing which Closing Costs are due and payable so that the purchaser can ensure to have the funds paid ahead of time; usually along with the down payment.  It is important not to overlook the Closing Costs throughout the homebuying journey; even though they may be a small portion (usually between 1.5% and 4%) of the overall transaction; they are necessary to facilitate a smooth closing and the absence of them can risk the property closing; resulting on other fees!

Closing Costs differ based on many factors; such as location, property, mortgage type, mortgage conditions, property taxes and utilities paid etc.  Tyler’s My Mortgage Toolbox App can be used to help estimate the closing costs for your particular transaction; further to this, he will be able to assist with a more accurate estimation when consider all aspects of the file.

Some of the most common Closing Costs are:


Land Transfer Tax (LTT) – Provinces may have a LTT payable whenever a property changes ownership.  Ontario, for instance, has a tiered LTT based on the property value in an arm’s length transaction.  It should be noted that the LTT is higher when purchasing a property in the City Of Toronto.  First Time Homebuyers are able to take advantage of a LTT Rebate (up to $4,000) in order to make their first home purchase more affordable; the rebate is greater for purchases in the City of Toronto as well (up to an additional $4,475).  Example – a home purchased in the Durham Region for $800,000 would be subject to a LTT of $12,475; or $8,475 for a First Time Home Buyer.

PST on Mortgage Default Insurance – If the mortgage is an insured mortgage (less than 20% down payment) then the mortgage default insurance premium is added onto the mortgage; however, the PST (8%) is payable upon closing.

Legal Fees and disbursements – These are the fees charged by your lawyer to handle the transaction on behalf of yourself and the lender for the preparation and recording of the legal documents as well as registration.

Title Insurance – Although this is not a mandatory cost in Ontario; almost every lender will require that Title Insurance is acquired for the property in order to protect against losses in the event of an ownership dispute.  On top of the lender required Title Insurance; the purchaser is able to acquire additional insurance to protect themselves as well; this is recommended!

Prepaid taxes and utilities – If the seller of the property has already prepaid for property tax and some utilities; the portion for the amount not yet consumed will be reimbursed to the seller by the buyer on the closing date.


Other closing costs that may be payable may be specific to the mortgage (lender or broker fees), lender conditions (appraisal cost) or property (water tests, Estoppel Certificate, inspection).

As mentioned; Closing Costs are extremely important and mismanagement of the availability of these funds may lead to the purchase not closing in time; or at all!  It is best to account for these funds separately from your down payment funds to ensure no issues will arise!

Download My Mortgage Toolbox App here to assist with the calculation of these; as well as other costs!

Check in next week for our next topic!

Published by Tyler Cowle!

2 Mar

When the Future Becomes the Present.


Posted by: Tyler Cowle

Thinking about retirement before it happens is just common sense. But what questions should you be asking yourself? While seeking the advice of a professional like a retirement advisor can be helpful, there are a few questions to start thinking about as you begin to plan.

Deciding early what your wants and priorities will be in your golden years will determine the steps you need to take now. Will travel be more important to you than having a house big enough for the whole family to visit? Will you want to live simply and not have several cars and a large house? Of course, wants and desires will change over the years, but having a set plan to begin with is a good idea.

What are your liabilities, income, and expenses? These will be considered when planning your retirement. You need to identify how much money you will need and where it will have to come from.

It is important to identify all possible income sources that will be available to you on the day you retire. Those could include pensions, RRSPs, savings accounts, government benefits, investment property you own, and your home. Keep in mind you don’t want to rely on the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP). The average payout is $20,000 or around $1,300, and is taxable.

If you think you’ve done everything right, life can bring surprises.


About 20% of retirees are found to be still paying for mortgages, while 66% are carrying credit card debt.


Had to retire early due to a health issue.

A heart attack or a bad back or hip can force people into early retirement. It doesn’t even have to happen to you…it could happen to a spouse and have the same devastating effect. There are a number of health reasons that could keep someone from continuing to work. Don’t rely on disability from the government to cover all your expenses. Make sure you are paying into a RRSP or other investment from an early age so that unexpected illnesses won’t keep you from the retirement you deserve.

Still had unsecured debt.

If you are not aware of your credit card balances, you just might carry that debt into your retirement where you weren’t counting on it still being an expense. It might not have even been a frivolous vacation or an out-of-control spending habit. It’s just the longer you have credit, the more the credit companies will throw at you, so it is best to pay off your balances every month as often as you can.

Still owed on a house and/or investment properties.

Again, retirement can sneak up on you or be forced upon you. When investing in property or managing the mortgage on your primary residence, keep this in mind. A 2nd mortgage might sound fine to pay for an elaborate vacation or to fund a grandkid’s wedding, but you will have to pay it back eventually.

Spent more money before retiring or after retiring than you should have.

People get excited at the prospect of not having to go to work anymore. They see a healthy sum of money in their retirement portfolio and decide they’ve earned a little fun. New cars, expensive vacations, purchasing vacation homes, etc. all will hit your retirement money in a big way. Stick to your retirement plan so your retirement can work for you.

Published by the DLC Marketing Team