1 Feb

Staying Out of the Penalty Box!

Refinance

Posted by: Tyler Cowle

When it comes to mortgages, it is easy to focus on the rates and your current situation, but the reality is that life happens and when it does, rates won’t be the only thing that matters.

First and foremost, the most important thing to remember is that a mortgage is a contract. That means that there is a penalty involved if the contract is ever broken. This is something that every homeowner agrees to when you sign mortgage paperwork, but it can be easy to forget – until you’re paying the price.

Why break your mortgage?

You’re probably wondering why you would ever break your mortgage contract? Well, you might be surprised to find out that 6 out of 10 mortgages in Canada are broken within 3 years and there are typically nine common reasons that this happens:

  • Sale and purchase of a new home
  • To utilize equity
  • To pay off debt
  • Cohabitation, marriage and/or children
  • Divorce or separation
  • Major life events (illness, unemployment, death of a partner)
  • Removing someone from title
  • To get a lower interest rate
  • To pay off the mortgage

It is always important to think ahead when signing a mortgage agreement, but not everything can be planned for. In that event, it is important to understand the next steps if you do indeed need to break your mortgage.

Calculating penalties

Typically, the penalty for breaking a mortgage is calculated in two different ways. Lenders generally use an Interest Rate Differential calculation or the sum of three months interest to determine the penalty. You will typically be assessed the greater of the two penalties, unless your contract states otherwise.

INTEREST RATE DIFFERENTIAL (IRD)

In Canada there is no one-size-fits-all rule for how the Interest Rate Differential (IRD) is calculated and it can vary greatly from lender to lender. This is due to the various comparison rates that are used.

However, typically the IRD is based on the following:

  • The amount remaining on the loan
  • The difference between the original mortgage interest rate you signed at and the current interest rate a lender can charge today

In this case, these penalties vary greatly as they are based on the borrower’s specific mortgage and the specific rates on the agreement, and in the market today. However, let’s assume you have a balance of $200,000 on your mortgage, an annual interest rate of 6%, 36 months remaining in your 5-year term and the current rate is 4%. This would mean an IRD penalty of $12,000 if you break the contract.

Ideally, you will want to be aware of what your IRD penalty would be before you decide to break your mortgage as it is not always the most viable option.

THREE MONTHS DIFFERENCE

In some cases, the penalty for breaking your mortgage is simply equivalent to three months of interest. Using the same example as above – balance of $200,000 on your mortgage, an annual interest rate of 6% – then three months interest would be a $3,000 penalty. A variable-rate mortgage is typically accompanied by only the three-month interest penalty.

Paying the penalty

When it comes to making the payment, some lenders may allow you to add this penalty to your new mortgage balance (meaning you would pay interest on it). You can also pay your penalty up front.

Whenever possible, if you can wait out your current mortgage term before making a change to your mortgage, it is the best way to avoid being stuck in the penalty box. If you cannot avoid a penalty, do note that, while only calculators can be great tools for estimates, it is best to call your lender or mortgage broker directly for the accurate number in the case of determining penalties.

If you are unsure about getting the best penalty terms, reach out to a me today! I can help you find the best mortgage product for you and your family!

14 Jan

Get Your Home Equity Working for You with a Reverse Mortgage.

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Tyler Cowle

The notion that we should be mortgage-free is a focus many of us strive to achieve the moment we realize the dream of homeownership. But, the fact is, many outstanding expenses and debts could be powered down faster – and more economically – by tapping into your home equity with a CHIP Reverse Mortgage.

There’s no time like the present to take charge of your finances and ensure you have enough cashflow to live comfortably while also using your money how you see fit – whether that involves helping out family members, spending money on your home or making a special trip or other large purchase.

Give yourself a fresh start and plan ahead

Taking advantage of your home equity through a CHIP Reverse Mortgage and freeing up some money to pay off unsecured high-interest debt on your credit cards, line of credit and/or loan, can be a very liberating move.

You’ll find that taking equity out of your home to pay off debt will also keep more money in your bank account each month – funds that would otherwise be put towards debt payments and interest.

With access to more money, you’ll not only be better able to manage your current debt, but you can also plan ahead by taking out equity to complete some home renovations or even help your children and grandchildren with their home and/or education needs.

As a Canadian 55 years or older, you may be eligible to access up to 55% of your home equity tax-free – and without impacting your CPP or OAS income. A CHIP Reverse Mortgage is a loan secured against the value of your home and, unlike a traditional loan or mortgage, you’re not required to make regular mortgage payments. The loan is repaid only when you no longer live in your home.

By paying off your debt now and/or helping a family member when they need it most, you can put yourself and your family in a better financial position moving forward. Have questions about unlocking some of your home equity through a CHIP Reverse Mortgage?  Let’s discuss how this solution may benefit you!

Published by Home Equity Bank!

5 Jan

Refinancing Your Home.

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Tyler Cowle

One of the best parts about life is that it is ever-changing. This is one of the reasons that mortgages are available on short-term contracts (such as the standard 5-year) so that you can adjust your mortgage over time to best suit your needs. However, in some cases you cannot wait until the term is up. In fact, roughly six out of ten homeowners with the standard five-year fixed rate mortgage break their terms within three years.

There are a variety of reasons to refinance your mortgage such as wanting to leverage large increases in property value or get equity out of the home for renovations. In some cases, you may be unable to wait until the term is up due to life events such as divorce, a new relationship, kids going off to college or needing to consolidate debt.

Before you refinance, it is important to understand that if you do this during your term you will be breaking your mortgage agreement and there are penalties that come with that. If at all possible, it is best to wait until the end of the mortgage term before refinancing.

If you cannot wait, it is important to understand how your lender is going to calculate the penalty if you break a fixed-rate mortgage. Canada’s big banks calculate mortgage penalties based on the discount you were given from the posted rate at the time that you signed your mortgage agreement. The bank firstly takes their new posted rate for whatever time you have left in your mortgage – if you break a five year contract on year three, this would be two years – and apply the same discount they first gave you. The difference between the two shows them the amount of interest they would lose for the rest of the term based on your current balance. This is what then becomes the penalty for breaking your fixed-year term and, in many cases, can be quite hefty. Other lenders such as credit unions and monolines will use the interest rate differential or a flat three-month interest penalty.

Beyond the penalties, there are a few other points to consider before refinancing:

  • You can tap into 80 per cent of the value of your home
  • You cannot qualify for default insurance which can limit your lender choice
  • You would have to re-qualify under the current rates and rules – including passing the “stress test” again

So what can you do? There is an option to sign a fixed rate for a shorter term, such as three years, or you can also consider a variable rate as the penalties for breaking these mortgages are much lower.

Talking to a mortgage broker about refinancing can provide you access to even greater rates and mortgage plans to best suit your needs and what you are trying to accomplish through your refinancing strategy.

BENEFITS OF REFINANCING

Regardless of why you are looking to refinance, it can come with a host of great benefits when done properly!

1.   A Lower Interest Rate

Depending on where you are in your mortgage term, you could refinance to get a better rate – especially when done through a mortgage broker. On average, a mortgage broker has access to 90 lenders and is able to find you the best rate versus traditional banks which only have access to their own rate.

2.   Consolidating Your Debt

When it comes to debt, there are many different types from credit cards to lines of credit to school loans to mortgages. However, many types of consumer debt have much higher interest rates than those you would pay on a mortgage. Refinancing can free up cash to help you pay out these debts. While it may increase your mortgage, your overall payments could be far lower and would be a single payment versus multiple sources. Keep in mind, you need at least 20 percent equity in your home to qualify.

3.   Modifying Your Mortgage

The beauty of life is that it is ever-changing and sometimes you need to pay off your mortgage faster or change your mortgage type. Maybe you came into some extra money and want to put it towards your mortgage or maybe you are weary of the market and want to lock in at a fixed-rate for security. It is always best to do this when your mortgage term is up, but talk to a mortgage specialist about potential penalties if waiting is not possible.

4.   Utilize Your Home Equity
One of the biggest reasons to buy in the first place is to build up equity in your home. Consider your home equity as the difference between your property’s market value and the balance of your mortgage. If you need funds, you can refinance your mortgage to access up to 80% of your home’s appraised value in cash!

If you are considering refinancing your home, or wondering if it is the best option for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me today for expert advice!

Published by the DLC Marketing Team!