3 Aug

Adapt Your Finances

Budget

Posted by: Tyler Cowle

The latest news has been focused on rising interest rates, surging inflation, and economic uncertainty with suggestions that the Canadian economy could be tripped into recession.

With all this information circulating, now is a good time to discuss ways to adapt your finances and protect your future.

Fortunately, there are a few key things you can do to get started today!

1. Set a budget and reduce monthly expenses and overall debt by including the following:

Review your income and expenses and identify areas for reduction – such as getting a cheaper cell phone plan, reducing streaming service subscriptions, reviewing transport costs, etc.

Make a list of your current high-interest loans (such as credit card balances). If your mortgage is up for renewal, you may be able to benefit by consolidating debt into your mortgage to save on interest and free up cash flow with one payment. Refinancing your mortgage before the renewal is also an option, but a review of the penalty cost versus your debt consolidation goal should be considered. As your mortgage professional, I can assist you with this analysis.

Allot a percentage of your income towards savings such as an emergency fund. Your goal should be to have the equivalent of 3 to 6 months of earnings in this fund to provide breathing room should you lose your job or face any unexpected expenses. Another form of emergency funds could also be a line-of-credit. Once set-up, these generally have no cost to you unless you use it in the event of an emergency.

Having a healthy and realistic budget will give you peace of mind and allow you to properly allocate your monthly cash flow between debt, expenses, and savings.

2. Evaluate your investment portfolio:

While you will want to avoid making any knee-jerk reactions, it maybe a good time to diversify your portfolio to help reduce risk. Consider rerouting your investment to real estate or other areas to ensure you have various sources of income and always talk to an expert.

3. Find additional income sources!

Many people have found innovative ways to increase their income by asking the following three questions:

– Are you a fit for a potential promotion?

– Do you have a review coming up?

– Do you have transferable skills that you can apply to consulting or additional contract work?

One final reminder – don’t panic. I know the word “recession” can be stressful but understanding what is happening and making appropriate adjustments will help you stay financially secure.

If you have any additional questions, I would be happy to chat with you anytime! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you want to discuss the impact on your mortgage, or how to make changes.

8 Jun

How Bridge Financing Works

Bridge Financing

Posted by: Tyler Cowle

How Bridge Financing Works.

In life, things rarely go as planned. This is especially true when it comes to real estate! When it comes to buying a new home, in a perfect world, most of us would like to take possession of their new residence before having to move out of the old one. This makes moving a lot easier and allows you time for painting or renovations prior to moving into your new digs. Unfortunately, this is where things get complicated.

Most people need the money from the sale of their existing property to come up with the down payment for the new house. This is where bridge financing comes in. Essentially, bridge financing allows you to ‘bridge’ the financial gap between the firm sale of your current home and the firm commitment to purchasing your new home.

WHAT ARE BRIDGE LOANS?

Bridge loans are short-term solutions that range from 90 days to 12 months, with an average of six months in length. This type of financing allows you to access some of the equity in your existing property, to put towards the down payment of your new home. However, to be eligible for a bridge loan, a firm sale agreement MUST be in place on your existing home, meaning all subjects have been removed. You will also require a purchase agreement for the new home to verify the amount required.

If you have not yet sold your home, you will not be eligible for bridge financing as the lender needs that to accurately calculate how much equity you have available and if you can afford your new home.

If you are currently looking to sell, or are in the midst of selling your home and considering bridge financing, it is important to understand that unless you can qualify and pay for two mortgages, you should always sell your existing home before purchasing a new one. There are a couple reasons for this:

  • Property values are constantly changing. You won’t know how much money you have until you sell your home as a home is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it NOW. Past sales and future guesses don’t count!
  • You need the proceeds from your existing home to help pay for the down payment on your new home, as well as renovations, moving costs and (if required) the size of mortgage you qualify for.

However, if you have firm sale and purchase agreements in place and are adamant about bridge financing, there are some things you should know.

GETTING BRIDGE FINANCING

If you have sold your existing home but the closing date comes after the closing date of the new property you just purchased, then bridge financing will likely be your best option.

Remember – in order to qualify you must have a firm sale agreement for your current home and a purchase agreement for the new home. If you don’t have a firm selling date you may need to consider a private lender for the bridge loan.

If you do have firm sale and purchase agreements and want to move forward with bridge financing, you also need to consider the lender. Your new lender may not allow for bridge financing as not all lenders do. It is important to consider whether or not you think you need bridge financing so you can ensure you sign with the appropriate lender. Utilizing a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker can help you find a lender that provides the options you need.

COSTS OF BRIDGE FINANCING

It is important to mention that bridge financing typically costs MORE than your traditional mortgage. It is best to expect the Prime Rate plus 2, 3 or 4 percent, as well as an administration fee.

Also, in some cases, if you require a loan over $200,000 or a loan for more than 120 days, your lender may register a lien on the property until the loan is repaid. In order to remove this lien, you will need to consider the added costs of paying for a real estate lawyer.

PRIVATE FINANCING

If you have purchased your new home and are closing the deal, but your existing home has not yet sold, you would not qualify for bridge financing and would therefore need to consider a private loan.

Private financing is expensive, but it is generally a more affordable option versus lowering the asking price of your existing home and losing out on tens of thousands just to sell quickly. Seeking out a specialized mortgage broker who has access to individuals that lend money out privately to get the best rate and terms available to you.

COSTS OF PRIVATE FINANCING

Private loans are dependent on having enough equity in your current property to qualify and are more expensive than traditional mortgages. Private loans have a much higher interest rate than traditional mortgages, which averages anywhere from 7-15 percent. The costs associated with a higher interest rate is in addition to an up-front lender fee and potential broker fee. These amounts will vary based on your specific situation with consideration to: time required for the loan, the loan amount, loan-to-value ratio, credit bureau, property location, etc.

When it comes to bridge financing and selling and buying of your home, don’t waste your time trying to figure it out on your own. Give Tyler a call and he can help you determine your best option!

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!

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

19 Apr

Process In The Paperwork.

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Tyler Cowle

Documents Required to Qualify for a Mortgage

Mortgages can sometimes feel like endless stacks of paperwork, but being prepared in advance can save you time and stress! Getting your mortgage pre-approved is part of this prep-process, and will make things easy in the long run.

In order to get pre-approved, the lender must have taken you on as a client and reviewed all your documents before you begin house-hunting. It is important to ensure you have your pre-approval certificate before moving ahead and your pre-approval agreement in writing. This should include the pre-approved mortgage amount, the mortgage term, interest rate, payment information and the expiry for the pre-approval. Typically, they are valid for up to 120 days.

To prepare for the mortgage pre-approval process, there are a few must have documents that you will need to organize and have available prior to submission.

  1. Letter of Employment: One of the key aspects for financing approval is employment stability. Lenders want to see a letter from your employer (on a company letterhead) that details when you started working at this company, how much you make per hour or your annual salary, your guaranteed hours per week, and any probation if you are new. This can be done by your direct manager or the company HR department – they will be used to this type of request.
    1. Previous Two Pay Stubs: In addition to the employment letter, you must also have your previous two pay stubs. These must indicate the company name, your name and all tax deductions.
  2. Supporting Documents for Additional Income: If you have any other income, such as child support, long-term disability, EI, part-time income, etc., the lender will want to see any and all supporting documentation.
    1. NOTE: If you are divorced or separated and paying child support, it is important to also bring your finalized separation or divorce agreement. In some cases, they may request a statutory declaration from your lawyer.
  3. Notice of Assessment from Canada Revenue Agency: Lenders will also want to see your tax assessment for the previous year. If you do not have a copy, you can request one from the CRA by mail (4-6 weeks) or you can login to your online CRA account to access it.
    1. Your Previous Years T4: Along with your tax filing and assessment notice, lenders will also want to see your previous years T4 slip to confirm income.
  4. 3-Month (90 day) Bank Account History: Lastly, it is important for lenders to see 90 days history of bank statements for any funds that you are using towards the down payment. As saving up for a down payment takes time, there should be no issues providing these documents. If you received the money from the sale of a house or car, or as a gift from your family, you will need proof of that in the form of sales documents or a letter.

The above documents are required for any potential buyer who is a typical, full-time employee. But what if you only work part-time? Or maybe you are self-employed? Here is what you will need:

Part-time employee

You will still require all of the above documents (letter of employment, previous pay stubs, supporting documents for any additional income and 90 days of bank history).

However, the difference between a full-time employee and a part-time employee, is that if you only work part-time, you will need to supply THREE years worth of Notice of Assessments, versus just one. You will also need to have been working for at least two years in the same job to use part-time income.

If you have both a full-time and a part-time job, you can use that income too, assuming it has been at least two years.

Self-employed

If you are self-employed, the requirements for documents to lenders is slightly different. You will need to provide them:

  1. T1 Generals: Also known as the Income Tax and Benefit Return
  2. Statement of Business Activities: This is used to illustrate the business income versus expenses and should include financial statements for your business.
  3. Notice of Assessment from Canada Revenue Agency: Similarly to part-time income, if you are self-employed you will also need to provide the previous three years of assessments.
  4. If Incorporated: You will need to supply your incorporation license and articles of incorporation.

When it comes to mortgages, preparation is key. By having a pre-approval in hand, it can prevent any delays or issues with subject-to-financing clauses in the mortgage agreement. While you can walk into a bank, fill in an application and get a rate for a potential mortgage, this is just a ‘rate hold’ meaning it is a quote on the rate so you can qualify for the same rate later. This is not a pre-approval and does not guarantee financing.

To save yourself the headache down the line, contact me today to start the pre-approval process! Plus, my services are free to you. Why wait? Get fully pre-approved today to make closing the deal that much faster when you do find that perfect home.

Published by the DLC Marketing Team!

14 Apr

Industry Jargon Explained

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Tyler Cowle

Baffled by some of the phrases realtors and bankers throw at you? Here are some commonly used—but not always understood—words to describe mortgages:

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 amortization range is 15 to 30 years.

Closed Mortgage

This is any mortgage where you have agreed to pay the lender for a specified period of time. This means that you cannot pay it off, refinance or renegotiate before the mortgage term ends without incurring a penalty. Depending on the lender, there may be options for accelerated payments but it depends on your particular mortgage contract. While these mortgages tend to be a lot stricter, they can often provide lower interest rates.

Conventional Mortgage

In the case of a conventional mortgage, the loan covers no more than 80% of the purchase price on the property. This means, the buyer has put 20% (or more) down on the property. These mortgages do not require default insurance due to the amount down.

Default

Failure to pay your mortgage on time will result in defaulting on the loan.

Derogs

Short for ‘derogatory’, derogs refers to an overdue account or late payments on your credit report.

Down

Short for down payment. In Canada, the minimum down payment is 5% on any home purchase.

Fixed

A fixed-rate mortgage means you are locked in at the interest rate agreed for a longer length of time.

Flex Down

This refers to a borrowed down payment program, which allows homeowners to “borrow” money for the down payment from a credit card, line of credit or other loan. In this case, the repayment of the loan is included in the debt calculations.

Foreclosure

This refers to the possession of a mortgaged property by the bank or lender if a borrower fails to keep up their mortgage payments.

High-Ratio Mortgage

A high-ratio mortgage is where the buyer has provided a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price and needs to pay Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) to insure the mortgage against default.

MIC

Short for a Mortgage Investment Corporation, this is a group of investors who will lend you the money for a mortgage if a traditional lender will not due to unusual circumstances.

Open Mortgage

An open mortgage means you can pay out the balance at any time, without incurring a penalty.

PIT

Principal, interest and taxes— a calculation representing the amount you can afford to pay monthly on your home. Heating costs are often included in this calculation (PITH).

Pull

Also known as a ‘credit check’ or ‘credit inquiry’ a ‘credit pull’ refers to the act of checking a credit report to determine if the borrower is a viable investment prior to approval of the mortgage.

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.

Trade Lines

This refers to any credit cards, loans, wireless phone accounts, or mortgages that appear on your credit report.

Underwriting

This refers to the process of determining any risks relating to a particular loan and establishing suitable terms and conditions for that loan.

Variable

A variable-rate refers to an interest rate that is adjusted periodically to reflect market conditions.

20/20

A condition that refers to repaying 20% of the mortgage balance OR increasing your payment by 20%, without incurring a penalty.

If you are looking into getting a mortgage don’t be afraid to ask questions! At the end of the day, the mortgage contract has your signature on it and it is important to understand any contract you are signing. Contact me today and I would be happy to discuss your situation and answer any questions surrounding mortgage conditions or jargon to ensure the best result for YOU!

Published by the DLC Marketing Team!

8 Apr

Federal Budget 2022 – Economic Insights with Dr. Sherry Cooper

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Tyler Cowle

 

Affordable Housing Is A Key Theme In Federal Budget 2022

Today’s budget announced a $10 billion package of proposals intended to reduce the cost of housing in Canada (see box below). The fundamental problem is insufficient supply to meet the demands of a rapidly growing population base. Thanks to the federal government’s policy to rapidly increase immigration since 2015, new household formation has risen far faster than housing completions, both for rent and purchase. This excess demand has markedly pushed home prices to levels beyond average-income Canadians’ means.

The measures announced in today’s budget to increase housing construction, though welcome, are underwhelming. The Feds can control the construction of lower-cost housing through CMHC. Still, most home building is under the auspices of the municipal governments, where the red tape, zoning restrictions and delays abound. The federal government increased funds to help local governments address these issues, but NIMBY thinking still prevents increased housing density in many neighbourhoods.

The headline policy announcement for a two-year ban on foreign residential property purchases may sound reasonable. Still, according to Phil Soper, chief executive of Royal LePage, “It will have a negligible impact on home prices. We know from the pandemic period, when home prices escalated with virtually no foreign money, that our problem is made-in-Canada.”

According to the Financial Post, Soper added that measures like the tax-free savings account for young Canadians would be encouraged to help them achieve their dreams of homeownership in a typical real estate market. However, in a low-supply environment with pandemic-fuelled price gains, these measures would only add more demand without addressing the supply issue. Only a few first-time buyers would be able to take advantage of it.

The Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights that would end blind bidding and assures the right to a home inspection and transparent historical sales prices on title searches is also long overdue.

The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive has been extended to March 2025. This program has been a bust. Buyers do not want to share the equity in their homes with CMHC. The Feds are taking another kick at the can, “exploring options to make the program more flexible and responsive to the needs of first-time homebuyers, including single-led households.” To date, the limits on the program have made them useless in high-priced markets such as the GTA and the GVA.

Budget 2022 Measures To Improve Housing Affordability

Tax-Free Home Savings Account

Introduce the Tax-Free First Home Savings Account that would give prospective first-time home buyers the ability to save up to $40,000. Like an RRSP, contributions would be tax-deductible, and withdrawals to purchase a first home—including investment income—would be non-taxable, like a TFSA.

New Housing Accelerator Fund

With the target of creating 100,000 net new housing units over five years, proposes to provide $4 billion over five years, starting in 2022-23, to launch a new Housing Accelerator Fund that is flexible to the needs and realities of cities and communities, while providing them support such as an annual per-door incentive or up-front funding for investments in municipal housing planning and delivery processes that will speed up housing development.

New Affordable Housing

To ensure that more affordable housing can be built quickly, Budget 2022 proposes to provide $1.5 billion over two years, starting in 2022-23, to extend the Rapid Housing Initiative. This new funding is expected to create at least 6,000 new affordable housing units, with at least 25% of funding going towards women-focused housing projects.

An Extended and More Flexible First-Time Home Buyer Incentive

Extension of the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive–which allows eligible first-time homebuyers to lower their borrowing costs by sharing the cost of buying a home with the government–to March 31, 2025. Explore options to make the program more flexible and responsive to the needs of first-time homebuyers, including single-led households.

A Ban on Foreign Investment in Canadian Housing

Proposes restrictions that would prohibit foreign commercial enterprises and people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents from acquiring non-recreational, residential property in Canada for a two-year period.

 Property Flippers Pay Their Fair Share

Introduce new rules so that any person who sells a property they have held for less than 12 months would be subject to full taxation on their profits as business income, applying to residential properties sold on or after January 1, 2023. Exemptions would apply to Canadians who sell their home due to certain life circumstances, such as a death, disability, the birth of a child, a new job, or a divorce.

Rent-to-Own Projects

Provide $200 million in dedicated support under the existing Affordable Housing Innovation Fund. This will include $100 million to support non-profits, co-ops, developers, and rent-to-own companies building new rent-to-own units.

Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights

Bring forward a national plan to end blind bidding. Among other things, the Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights could also include ensuring a legal right to a home inspection and ensuring transparency on the history of sales prices on title searches.

Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit

Provide up to $7,500 in support for constructing a secondary suite for a senior or an adult with a disability, starting in 2023.

Doubling the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit

Double the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit amount to $10,000, providing up to $1,500 in direct support to home buyers, applying to homes purchased on or after January 1, 2022.

Co-Operative Housing Development

Reallocate funding of $500 million to a new Co-Operative Housing Development Program to expand co-op housing in Canada. Provide an additional $1 billion in loans to be reallocated from the Rental Construction Financing Initiative to support co-op housing projects.

There is also a laundry list of other programs to create additional affordable housing for Indigenous Peoples, Northern Communities, and vulnerable Canadians. Enhanced tax credits for renovations to allow seniors or disabled family members to move in; and for seniors to improve accessibility in their homes. As well, money is provided for long-term efforts to end homelessness.

To combat money laundering, the government said it would extend anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing requirements to all mortgage-lending businesses within the next year.

For greener housing initiatives, the government is planning to provide $150 million over five years starting this year to drive building code reform to focus on building low-carbon construction projects and $200 million over the same timeline for building retrofits large development projects.

Bottom Line

Nothing the federal government has done in today’s budget will make much of a difference in the housing market. What does make a difference is the spike in interest rates that is already in train. Fixed mortgage rates are up to around 4%, and variable mortgage rates have begun their ascent. There is still a record gap between the two, but the Bank of Canada will likely hike the policy rate by 50 bps next week. The Bank will probably hike interest rates at every meeting for the remainder of the year and continue into the first half of next year.

It is also noteworthy what Budget 2022 did not do. It did not address REITs or investment activity by domestic non-flipping purchasers. Some were expecting a rise in minimum downpayment on investor purchases or restrictions on using HELOCs for their funding.

Budget 2022 did not raise the cap of $1 million on insurable mortgages. It did not reinstate 30-year amortization, a favourite of the NDP. And, it did not follow the BC provincial government in allowing a “cooling-off” period after a bid has been accepted, technically giving would-be buyers more time to secure financing.

Published by Dr. Sherry Cooper – Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres

 

4 Apr

How to protect yourself from real estate fraud and schemes.

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Tyler Cowle

As online-based transactions become more prevalent, cybercriminals are finding new and creative ways to steal your money.

So, what can you do to make sure you don’t fall prey to these malicious attacks? Here are the most common types of real estate fraud schemes and some ways that you can safeguard yourself.

WIRE FRAUD

One of the most common types of real estate fraud is wire fraud. Fraudsters send you an email or text that outlines instructions on where to wire your deposit funds to be held in trust.

These cybercriminals may even set up a fake website that looks similar to your lending company’s site. The phone number, URL and email addresses will typically look familiar. They might just be one letter or number off. It’s an easy thing to miss if you aren’t looking closely.

If you send the money this way, the scammers can withdraw your money from some offshore account and you are left a victim of fraud.

LOAN FRAUD

You get an email telling you that you are pre-approved for a special mortgage loan with a super-low interest rate. Often, these “mortgage agencies” are fraudulent loan companies that offer a steep discount on loans if you pay an upfront fee.

Be wary of any service that asks for your banking information or other sensitive information. Do your research on the company before moving forward. Ask for a list of referrals you can contact.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

TITLE FRAUD

One of the most devastating real estate fraud schemes for property owners is title fraud.

Title fraud usually starts with identity theft. Scammers get a hold of your online passwords and sensitive information. Then, they use fake documents to pose as the property owner and transfer the property to his or her name. They typically take out a mortgage or line of credit against the property. The criminal then takes the cash and runs, leaving you stuck with the payments.

How to protect yourself from real estate fraud schemes

As alarming as these types of fraud are, there are many things you can do to protect yourself from becoming a victim to these schemes.

PROTECT YOUR PERSONAL DATA

Use a unique password for each login account. It’s wise to keep your antivirus and security software installed and up to date. And avoid sensitive transactions such as online banking or shopping when you’re using public Wi-Fi.

When conducting online transactions that involve money or personal data, use password-protected emails.

CONFIRM VALIDITY

Before you send money or give out sensitive information to a third party, verify that you are dealing with the legitimate company or person.

Make sure you check the original documents from your lender and call the listed phone number to verify the payment instructions.

GET TITLE INSURANCE

If you’re buying property, make sure that you get title insurance. Title insurance is your best protection against title fraud. It also protects you from existing liens on the title, encroachment issues and errors in surveys and public records.

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!