9 Jan

Post Holiday Debt? Consolidate today!

General

Posted by: Tyler Cowle

The holidays are a season of giving and often times, households can often find themselves carrying some extra debt as we enter the New Year.

If you happen to be someone currently struggling with some post-holiday debt, that’s okay! Whether you’ve accumulated multiple points of debt from credit cards or are dealing with other loans (such as car loans, personal loans, etc.), you are likely looking for a way to simplify your payments – and reduce them. Rolling them into your mortgage could be the perfect solution.

Consolidating other forms of debt into your mortgage has multiple benefits. For starters, this process can help you to pay off your loans over a longer period of time with smaller payments per month, and often at a reduced interest rate when compared to a credit card.

By freeing yourself from these high interest rates and gouging interest payments, you will not only have more money each month but have a better chance of taking back your financial control and getting your loans completely paid off!

If you’re still not sure if this is the right solution for you, here is an example… if you have $30,000 of credit card debt, you are probably paying AT LEAST $600 per month and $500 per month of that is likely going directly to interest. If you let me help you to roll that debt into your home equity and monthly mortgage, your payment to this $30,000 portion would drop down around $175 per month, with interest charges closer to $140 per month. That is huge savings!

Not only does debt consolidation into your mortgage help with reducing interest charges and making your loan more manageable, but it is also much easier to keep track of and pay a single monthly installment versus managing a dozen different loans or bills.

While debt consolidation through refinancing will increase your mortgage since you have to add the debt into your existing mortgage amount, the benefits to lowering your overall payments and management can be well worth it when it comes to cost savings, time and stress. Keep in mind, you need at least 20 percent equity in your home to qualify for this adjustment.

If you are looking for a way to simplify (or get out of) debt, reach out today! I would be happy to take a look at your financial portfolio and current mortgage and help you come up with the best option to suit your needs.

Published by the DLC Marketing Team!

22 Dec

5 House Hunting Mistakes To Avoid

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Tyler Cowle

Buying a home is one of the largest investments you will ever make! In order to make your home hunting experience the best it can be, there are a few key mistakes to avoid and be aware of before you start your journey:

  1. Not Getting Pre-Approved: One of the most important aspects of buying a home is the mortgage application and approval process. No matter what type of home you are looking for, you will need a mortgage. One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to the home-buying process is NOT getting pre-approved prior to starting your search. Getting pre-approved determines the actual home price you can afford as it requires submission and verification of your financial history to ensure the most accurate budget to fit your needs.
  2. Not Setting or Following a Pre-Determined Budget: Another mistake that people make when home-hunting is not setting, or following, a pre-determined budget. It can be tempting to start looking at the top of your budget, or even slightly over, but when you consider closing costs and the long-term financial responsibility of home ownership, it is best to avoid maxing yourself out. Getting pre-approved will help determine what you can afford, as well as making an appointment with your mortgage broker to determine your financial situation and the best options for you now, and in the future.
  3. Not Hiring a Real Estate Agent: Your mortgage broker and your real estate agent are two of the most important members of your homebuying A-Team! In today’s competitive real estate market, it can be very difficult to acquire property without the help of a realtor. One reason is that realtors can provide access to properties that never even make it to the MLS website! They can also gain access to information about homes that may come onto the market, before a listing is even signed. Most importantly though, a realtor understands the ins-and-outs of the home buying process and can tell you how to be successful in your endeavors to purchase a home by guiding you through the process from the first viewing to having your bid accepted.
  4. Focusing Too Much on Aesthetics: While we understand that bad interior design can really affect the perception of the home, you don’t want to be blindsided by it. At the end of the day, aesthetics can always be updated! Giving up the perfect price or location or size for a few aesthetic details (such as paint color, flooring, or even outdated appliances or light fixtures) is one of the biggest mistakes people make! Most homes have incredible bones that only need some minor tweaks to become your perfect space.
  5. Not Thinking Ahead: What you want and need in a house today, could be very different from what you want and need in a house in the future. It is important to be able to look ahead – are you planning on having children? Are your parents getting older and in need of a retirement space? These are things that are good to take into consideration when buying a new home. Buying a home isn’t a permanent decision as you can always sell your home later on if it doesn’t work for you in the future, but it is almost always easier to plan ahead so you can grow with—and not out of—your home whenever possible.

If you are looking to purchase a new home, whether your first space or a step-up from your current living situation, I would be happy to help! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to set up a virtual appointment and discuss your mortgage options, pre-approvals and everything you need to know BEFORE you get started.

Published by the DLC marketing team!

14 Nov

So, You Want To Be A Landlord?.

General

Posted by: Tyler Cowle

Are you dreaming about owning a rental property and making some extra income each month? Before diving into becoming a landlord, there are some things you should know from the advantages and disadvantages to some tips when it comes to buying a rental property.

Advantages of Owning a Rental Property

If you’re looking to purchase a property for rental and become a landlord, you are likely already aware of some of these advantages, but just in case, some benefits to this include:

  • Earning additional regularly monthly income
  • Allows you to continue to build home equity in the property(s) that you rent
  • Ability to deduct certain items from your gross rental income such as mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance, maintenance costs, property management fees and utilities.

Disadvantages of Owning a Rental Property

As with any investment, there are also some disadvantages to owning a rental property, which are important to consider before you make the leap. These can include:

  • Responsibility of maintaining the rental property and managing your tenant(s)
  • Rental income is taxable and must be included on your income tax. Depending on the value of the extra income, it may push you into a higher tax bracket.
  • Unexpected expenses and issues may crop up over time. It is ideal to budget 2% of the purchase price of your property for potential repairs. You’ll also want to keep some money aside should your tenant leave and you need to cover a few months to find a new tenant.
  • If you choose to sell the rental property in the future, it will be subject to capital gains tax.

What to Know BEFORE You Buy

Before getting started, it is important to calculate the cost of your investment (purchase price and closing costs), as well as consider maintenance amounts (approximately 1% of the property value for the year) and compare to current rental prices to be sure it is a profitable investment before purchasing. In addition, note the following:

  • 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. Another option is to utilize existing equity in your primary residence and refinance for the cash to purchase your rental or investment property. Be sure to factor in funds for closing costs, potential repairs and maintenance in your amount.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Final Tips on Becoming a Landlord

If you’ve decided to move forward with getting a rental property and becoming a landlord, here are some tips to consider:

  • Don’t forget about insurance! Ensure you have proper coverage for a rental situation and to cover any unforeseen events.
  • Educate yourself on what it means to be a landlord in your province from tenant laws to rental responsibilities.
  • Do your research on rental rates and locations before you choose to buy so that you are aware of where the market is at when it comes to potential earning power.
  • Choose the right mortgage for your rental property. Your mortgage broker can help you with this!
  • If you’re looking to run multiple rental properties, consider hiring a property manager who can be a go-between with you and the tenants.

With the right purchase price and rental costs per month, a rental property can be a great way to supplement income. If you’re looking to purchase an investment property, be sure to reach out to me to discuss your options and understand what is required.

16 Jun

Insurance Products

General

Posted by: Tyler Cowle

People don’t always want to talk about home insurance, but when it comes to your house there is no better investment than insurance. But, with the number of insurance products available, it can be hard to know where to start! While it can seem overwhelming, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the basics of some of the required and optional insurance coverage when it comes to your home.

Default Insurance

The first and perhaps most common form of insurance when discussing the mortgage space is known as “default insurance”. The purpose of mortgage default insurance is to protect the lenders, allowing them to lend money more aggressively.

This type of insurance is mandatory for any homes where the buyer puts less than 20 percent down on the purchase. In fact, default insurance is the reason that lenders accept lower down payments, such as 5 percent minimum, and actually helps these buyers access comparable interest rates typically offered with larger down payments.

In Canada, there are only three companies that offer default insurance: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which is run by the federal government and two private companies: Sagen and Canada Guaranty.

Default insurance typically requires a premium, which is based on the loan-to-value ratio (mortgage loan amount divided by the purchase price). This premium can be paid in a single lump sum or it can be added to your mortgage and included in your monthly payments.

According to CMHC, the minimum down payment required for mortgage loan insurance depends on the purchase price of the home:

  • For a purchase price of $500,000 or less, the minimum down payment is 5 percent.
  • When the purchase price is above $500,000, the minimum down payment is 5 percent for the first $500,000 and 10 percent for the remaining portion.

It is also important to note that default insurance (or mortgage loan insurance) is available only for properties with a purchase price or an improved/renovated value below $1 million.

Title Insurance

Another insurance policy that potential homeowners may encounter is known as “title insurance”. This is an insurance policy that protects residential or commercial property owners and their lenders against losses relating to the property’s title or ownership. In fact, it is so important to lenders that every single lender in Canada requires you to purchase title insurance on their behalf. It is not a requirement to have coverage for yourself, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss it outright.

Title insurance can protect you from existing liens on the property’s title, but the most common benefit is protection against title fraud. Title fraud typically involves someone using stolen personal information, or forged documents to transfer your home’s title to him or herself – without your knowledge. The fraudster then gets a mortgage on your home and disappears with the money. As the old adage goes: “It’s better to be safe than sorry” and the same goes for insurance.

Similar to default insurance, title insurance is charged as a one-time fee or a premium with the cost based on the value of your property. Title insurance for the lender is typically $250 to $300, while title insurance for yourself runs around $125 to $150. You can purchase title insurance through your lawyer or title insurance company, such as First Canadian Title (FCT).

Mortgage Protection Insurance

Before you sign off on your mortgage, there is one more type of insurance your mortgage broker should tell you about – Mortgage Protection Insurance. Despite being optional, it should still be considered. Almost every mortgage broker in the business has a story of someone who passed on the extra coverage and tragedy hit.

Unfortunately, life happens but it doesn’t have to happen to your home. While you may not want to spend the money now, or maybe you already have some type of life insurance policy through work, don’t discount this option as it is often a blessing in disguise – especially when it comes to homeowners with a spouse and children. Can they carry on with the mortgage payment? If not, they would be forced to sell on top of everything else. For a few extra dollars a month, mortgage protection insurance provides that safety net in the event it is ever needed.

When it comes to choosing a mortgage protection plan, there are a number of different policies available depending on your budget. Manulife’s Mortgage Protection Plan offers immediate insurance and can be canceled at any given time. If you think you may be covered through your work, it can’t hurt to take a closer look at the policy.

Mortgage insurance is what we consider “debt replacement” and life insurance is more fitting as an “income replacement”. This is an important distinction and you should understand the difference. You also need to see just how much you’re going to get through your life insurance policy; you may be surprised just how little it amounts to.

Property + Fire Insurance

Lastly, after you’ve signed off on your mortgage you need to close on the home. Before you do this, your lender is going to require home insurance. When it comes to home insurance, there are many different types of coverage however it generally protects you from damage to the home that is accidental or unexpected, such as a fire.

Home insurance can also cover the contents of your home, depending on your insurance package. For individuals looking at purchasing condos or townhouses, this is especially important! The insurance from strata typically protects the building itself and common areas, as well as your suite “as is”, but it will not account for your personal belongings or any upgrades you made. Be sure to cross-check your strata insurance policy and take out an individual one on your unit to cover the difference.

One final thing to consider with regards to home insurance is that, just because you have home insurance you’re not necessarily covered in the event of a flood or earthquake. Depending on where you live, you may need to purchase additional coverage to be protected from a natural disaster. It’s best to talk to your insurance provider to confirm that you are covered.

At the end of the day, purchasing a home is a huge investment. Why risk it when there are so many great insurance products to ensure your investment – and family – remain protected?

Published by the DLC Marketing Team

31 May

9 Reasons People Break Their Mortgage

General

Posted by: Tyler Cowle

Did you know, approximately 60 percent of people break their mortgage before their mortgage term matures? While this is not necessarily avoidable, most homeowners are blissfully unaware of the penalties that can be incurred when you break your mortgage contract – and sometimes, these penalties can be painfully expensive.

Below are some of the most common reasons that individuals break their mortgage. Being aware of these might help you avoid them (and those troublesome penalties), or at least help you plan ahead!

Sale and purchase of a new home

If you already know that you will be looking at moving within the next 5 years, it is important to consider a portable mortgage. Not all mortgages are portable, so if this is a possibility in your near future, it is best to seek out a mortgage product that allows this. However, be aware that some lenders may purposefully provide lower interest rates on non-portable mortgages but don’t be fooled. Knowing your future plans will help you avoid expensive penalties from having to move your mortgage.

Important Note: Whenever a mortgage is ported, the borrower will need to re-qualify under current rules to ensure you can afford the “ported” mortgage based on your income and the necessary qualifications.

To utilize equity

Another reason to break your mortgage is to obtain the valuable equity you have built up over the years. In some areas, such as Toronto and Vancouver, homeowners have seen a huge increase in their home values. Taking out equity can help individuals with paying off debt, expand their investment portfolio, buy a second home, help out elderly parents or send their kids to college.

This is best done when your mortgage is at the end of its term, but if you cannot wait, be sure you are aware of the penalties associated with your mortgage contract.

To pay off debt

Life happens and so can debt. If you have accumulated multiple credit cards and other debt (car loan, personal loan, etc.), rolling these into your mortgage can help you pay them off over a longer period of time at a much lower interest rate than credit cards. In addition, it is much easier to manage a single monthly payment than half a dozen! When you are no longer paying the high interest rates on credit cards, it can provide the opportunity to get your finances in order.

Again, be aware that if you do this during your mortgage term, the penalties could be steep and you won’t end up further ahead. It is best to plan to consolidate debt and organize your finances when your mortgage term is up and you are able to renew and renegotiate.

Cohabitation, marriage and/or children

As we grow up, our life changes. Perhaps you have a partner you have been with a long time, and now you’ve decided to move in together. If you both own a home and cannot afford to keep two, or if neither has a rental clause, then you will need to sell one of the homes which could break the mortgage.

Divorce or separation

A large number of Canadian marriages are expected to end in divorce. Unfortunately, when couples separate it can mean breaking the mortgage to divide the equity in the home. In cases where one partner wants to buy the other out, they will need to refinance the home. Both of these break the mortgage, so be aware of the penalties which should be paid out of any sale profit before the funds are split.

Major life events

There are some cases where things happen unexpectedly and out of our control, including: illness, unemployment, death of a partner or someone on the title. These circumstances may result in the home having to be refinanced, or even sold, which could come with penalties for breaking the mortgage.

Removing someone from title

Did you know that roughly 20% of parents help their children purchase a home? Often in these situations, the parents remain on the title. Once their son or daughter is financially stable, secure and can qualify on their own, then it is time to remove the parents from the title.

Some lenders will allow parents to be removed from title with an administration and legal fees. However, other lenders may say that changing the people on Title equates to breaking your mortgage resulting in penalties. If you are buying a home for your child and will be on the deed, it is a good idea to see what the mortgage terms state about removing someone from title to help avoid future costs.

To get a lower interest rate

Another reason for breaking your mortgage could be to obtain a lower interest rate. Perhaps interest rates have plummeted since you bought your home and you want to be able to put more down on the principle, versus paying high interest rates. The first step before proceeding in this case is to work with me to crunch the numbers to see if it’s worthwhile to break your mortgage for the lower interest rate – especially if you might incur penalties along the way.

Pay off the mortgage

Wahoo!!! You’ve won the lottery, got an inheritance, scored the world’s best job or had some other windfall of cash leaving you with the ability to pay off your mortgage early. While it may be tempting to use a windfall for an expensive trip, paying off your mortgage today will save you THOUSANDS in the long run – enough for 10 vacations! With a good mortgage, you should be able to pay it off in 5 years, thereby avoiding penalties but it is always good to confirm.

Some of these reasons are avoidable, others are not. Unfortunately, life happens. That’s why it is best to seek the advice of an expert. I want to be part of your journey and help you get the best mortgage for YOU.

Published by the DLC Marketing Team!

19 May

Changing Your Financial Direction!

General

Posted by: Tyler Cowle

Did You Know? The average Canadian owes $23,000 in consumer debt and has at least 2 credit cards. Source: CBC.ca

If you live paycheque to paycheque, the idea of somehow having enough money to invest and eventually have financial freedom seems about the furthest thing possible.

But experts in financial education like to point out, no matter your income and place in life, a few changes to the way you’re living life can make all the difference. It’s never too late to start learning and reverse course. If you’re still not convinced, here are a few simple ideas to get you started:

PRETEND YOU EARN LESS THAN YOU DO

Give yourself a cut in pay. The goal is to put 10% in savings from each paycheque into your savings account. The easiest way is to do an automatic direct transfer from your chequing account to your savings every pay day.

CREATE A BUDGET

In order to stop living paycheck to paycheck, you need to know where that paycheck is going. Creating a budget is simple with Google docs, or look into other online tools and sites to get started.

BUILD AN EMERGENCY FUND

Once you have your budget in place, review it and break it down into non-discretionary expenses (rent, groceries, utilities, etc.) and discretionary expenses (eating out, entertainment, clothes, etc.). See where you could cut down on discretionary spending and put that money towards your emergency fund. Even starting with just a little amount is great and helps you build the habit of saving.

CONSIDER DOWNSIZING

It may be time to consider a lifestyle change. Consider moving to a smaller place. Get rid of that cost of going to that expensive gym with a trip to the local park. Think about if you really need that brand new car or if a used one would work just as well.

PAY DOWN DEBT

If you have a lot of credit card or unsecured debt, try paying the minimum on all but one of them and aggressively pay down that one card. Once it’s paid off, attack the next one. If you’re so deep in debt that you can’t fight your way out, consider consulting with a company who specializes in debt consolidation. They will help you negotiate your debt into smaller amounts that you can begin to pay off.

DON’T FORGET YOUR FUTURE

Putting at least 3% of your paycheck into a retirement fund is a great idea, or maybe when you get your first raise instead of thinking of it as free money, simply put it into a fund and forget about it. You’ll be glad it’s there when you need it in the future.

Published by the DLC Marketing Team

3 May

Benefits Of Home Ownership

General

Posted by: Tyler Cowle

So, you have decided to utilize your buying power in the Canadian retail market and are looking to purchase a home – congratulations! This is a great step towards ensuring your future.

As a potential homeowner, there are some amazing benefits that we think you should be aware of right out of the gate:

  1. Homeownership is the single largest source of savings for Canadian households.
  2. Your payments build equity (as opposed to renting, where your money goes to the building owner).
  3. Equity you build in your home can be used as security for other loans.
  4. The return on investment is substantial – in fact, the average price of a house for sale on the Canadian real estate market has increased every year since 1998.
  5. While other investments can prove volatile, investing in real estate is a solid use of your hard earned money.

Buying a home is not just about equity and investments, but it is about the future. While it is important to know what a mortgage is and how much you qualify for (and can afford), ensuring your new home is so much more than numbers. In these changing times with the cost of living constantly increasing, having home equity to fall back on can have a huge impact on your quality of life. Not only that, but owning your own home gives you a sense of pride, a feeling of security and the freedom to design the perfect living space for yourself – without having to ask permission from strata or a landlord! Moving into your first apartment or moving on up to your first house is an incredible step in the journey of life!

Now, as excited as you are to get started, you probably have some questions! Let us take you through some of the most important things to know when it comes to home ownership to ensure your experience is as smooth as possible – and provides the best possible outcome for you!

WHAT EXACTLY IS A MORTGAGE?

It is amazing how many people really don’t know what a mortgage is. Maybe you weren’t sure you would be in a position to have one or maybe you just never asked! Never fear – we have the answers.

To keep it simple, a mortgage is a loan that is specific to properties and homes. This type of loan uses the home or land you purchase as security in the event the loan cannot be paid. Mortgages are registered as legal documents and can be obtained through a variety of sources (or lenders) including banks, credit unions and alternative lenders or through the use of a mortgage broker!

MORTGAGE TERMS TO KNOW:

Principal The principal is the amount of the loan that is actually borrowed.
Interest Rates As with any loans (credit cards, lines of credit, etc) interest will be incurred. This is the amount that the lender charges for the privilege of funds borrowed. The amount of your interest payment will depend on the interest rates, which vary depending on terms and conditions of the mortgage and the borrower’s credit history.
Mortgage Payments These can occur monthly, semi-monthly (twice a month), bi-weekly (every other week), accelerated bi-weekly or weekly and are made to the lender. These payments encompass both payments to the principal amount borrowed, as well as interest charges.
Amortization Period This is the number of years it will take to repay the entire mortgage in full and is determined when you are approved. A longer amortization period will result in lower payments but more interest overall as it will take longer to pay off. The typical range is 15 to 30 years.
Term Term is the length of time that a mortgage agreement exists between you and the lender. Rates and payments vary with the length of the term. The most common term is a 5-year, but they can be anywhere from 1 to 10 years. Generally a longer term will come at a higher rate due to the added security. A “Fixed Mortgage” means you are locked in at the interest rate agreed for a longer length of time.A “Variable Mortgage” features an interest rate that is adjusted periodically to reflect market conditions.
Maturity Date The maturity date marks the end of the term. At this time, you can repay the balance of the principle or renegotiate the mortgage at the current rates. Note: If you choose to repay or renegotiate the mortgage before the term is up, penalties may be charged.

HOW MUCH DO I QUALIFY FOR AND WHAT CAN I AFFORD?

One of the biggest factors to purchasing a home is knowing how much you qualify for when it comes to a mortgage – and how much you can afford!

To determine the amount of the mortgage you qualify for, banks will utilize a set of ratios which determine the amount of your income that will be used to pay down the debt. These ratios are Gross Debt Servicing (GDS) and Total Debt Servicing (TDS).

It sounds confusing, but let us help break this down for you!

GROSS DEBT SERVICING (GDS) RATIO

The first ratio, Gross Debt Servicing (GDS) is the percentage of gross income that is required to cover housing costs. If you are looking at getting an insured mortgage (less than 20 percent down payment on the purchase price) the limit is 32% GDS. For uninsured mortgages (20 per cent or more down payment) the limit is 39% GDS.

To calculate this, you would take any home-related expenses (mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities and strata fees when applicable) and divide them by gross monthly income to get your GDS percentage.

Gross Monthly Income $4,500.00
Mortgage Payment $1,000.00
Property Taxes $200.00
Heating Expenses $150.00
Total Expenses $1,350.00
Gross Debt Servicing (GDS) 30%

 

The rate of 30% GDS is well within the requirements and would be approved.

TOTAL DEBT SERVICING (GDS) RATIO

The other ratio banks use is known as Total Debt Servicing (TDS). This is the percentage of your gross income required to cover housing costs (same as with the GDS) but also any other debts. The guidelines for an insured mortgage (less than 20 percent down) has a limit of 40% TDS while an uninsured mortgage (20 per cent or more down) is 44% TDS.

To calculate this, you would take all home-related expenses (mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities and strata fees when applicable) and other debts (credit cards, personal loans, student loans, car payment or a line of credit) and divide them by gross monthly income to get your TDS percentage.

Gross Monthly Income $4,500.00
Mortgage Payment $1,000.00
Property Taxes $200.00
Heating Expenses $150.00
Student Loan Payment $100.00
Car Payment $300.00
Total Expenses $1,750.00
Total Debt Servicing (TDS) 39%

The rate of 39% TDS is well within the requirements and would be approved.

DECLARING YOUR INCOME

In order to get approved for the mortgage, you need to declare your income so the bank can compare it to your expenses and determine the ratios noted above.

If you are employed with a company, you would provide an employee statement declaring minimum guaranteed gross wage OR last two-year average if there were bonuses or commissions that put your income above your guaranteed wages. If the most recent year was lower, that year will be used instead of the average.

If you are self-employed, you would provide the average of your last two years of income based on line 150 of your tax returns. It is important to know that there are programs available for self-employed borrowers in cases where the two-year average does not qualify them for a mortgage. Just ask your mortgage broker!

BE SMART!

There are many cases where buyers will qualify for more than they intend on spending – but don’t get greedy! It is vastly more important, especially for your first home, to stay within a budget that you can afford each month instead of overextending yourself simply because it is available to you. The most important aspect is that your payments are reasonable and affordable. There are always options to move to a larger home in the future!

Published by the DLC Marketing Team!

25 Apr

Why You Need A Home Inspection!

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Tyler Cowle

Why you need a home inspection.

A home inspection isn’t a legal requirement when you buy a home in Canada. Yet, it’s certainly a wise decision for the largest purchase you will likely ever make.

Here are five reasons why you should opt for a home inspection when buying a home, even if it is a brand-new build.

  1. Things unseen

The home you want to buy may have a gorgeous skylight, cathedral ceilings and a huge master bedroom.  But the home’s aesthetics can hide big problems.

When you tour a house, you aren’t climbing into the crawl space or looking at the furnace. A home inspector isn’t wowed by beautiful staging. He or she will look at what’s in your walls, not what’s on them.

  1. Realistic budget for home maintenance

Many home inspections include the items that will need to be replaced within the next five years.

Paying for a home inspection can help you come up with a realistic home maintenance budget. If you know that the windows and roof are nearing the end of their lifespan, you can plan for that.

  1. A solid negotiation tool

Getting a home inspection gives you a huge amount of leverage. You can ask the sellers to fix some or all of the issues found during the inspection. Or you can renegotiate the sale price or ask the seller to contribute more towards closing costs.

With a home inspection, you have the upper hand in the deal. This gives you a lot of power to get a better deal on the purchase. Of course, you can also choose to back out of the sale if there are big, expensive issues that you’d rather not deal with.

  1. Can be an eye-opener

A home inspection will reveal the big picture when you might be focused on the location and the open kitchen plan. You don’t want to be blind to the potentially big issues like foundation cracks or electrical problems that can lurk unseen.

  1. Peace of mind

Lastly, and most importantly, a home inspection gives you peace of mind. You’ll be able to finalize the sale of a home knowing exactly what you’re getting yourself into. That way, you don’t uncover any major surprises shortly after moving in—even new builds are subject to issues.

Published by FCT

29 Mar

Understanding The Mortgage Rate!

General

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, 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.

Refinancing

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!

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