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31 Oct

What the Election Results Mean for Your Mortgage

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Posted by: Sarah Boudreau

By Angela Calla Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

WHAT THE ELECTION RESULTS MEAN FOR YOUR MORTGAGE

With all the news we have seen on the election, I thought I would sum it up from a mortgage industry perspective.

What the liberal win means for your mortgage:

1. We will see the continuation of the First Time Home Buyers’ Incentive. Check out the link for more information here

2. Property Transfer Tax modifications were on the platform, so we will await the date that change is applicable.

3. Consumers will still be able to withdraw up to $35,000 from their RRSPs as part of the government’s Home Buyers’ plan.

4. Bank of Canada Rates may not decrease as expected this year – unless there is a significant downtown in the market suddenly- based on the snapshot of recent activity that doesn’t appear as likely. It certainly makes it easier for the lenders not to pass the decrease down the line to the consumer.

5. We will likely see a national housing tax implemented in addition to the provincial ones already in place.
For items 1, 2 & 5, here is a link.

It doesn’t appear we will see any of the changes to the stress test or amortization hoped for by many.

While the constant in our market will always be change, mortgage professionals are here at the frontlines to help you navigate the market to your advantage and save you money. Please reach out to me with any mortgage questions on how we can help you or those you care most about.

24 Oct

6 Things all Co-Signors Should Consider

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Posted by: Sarah Boudreau

By Geoff Lee DLC GLM Mortgage Group

Co-signing on a loan may seem like an easy way to help a loved one (child, family member, friend, etc. ) live out their dream of owning a home. In today’s market conditions, a co-signor can offer a solution to overcome the high market prices and stress testing measure. For example, if you have a damaged credit score, not enough income, or another reason that a lender will not approve the mortgage loan, a co-signor addition on the loan can satisfy the lenders needs and lessen the risk associated with the loan. However, as a co-signor there are considerations.

  1. If you act as a co-signor or guarantor, you are entrusting your entire credit history to the borrowers. What this mean is that late payments on the loan will not only hurt them, but it will also impact you.
  2. Understand your current situations—taxes, legal, and estate. Co-signing is a large obligation that could harm you financially if the primary borrowers cannot pay.
  3. Try to understand, upfront, how many years the co-borrower agreement will be in place and know if you can make changes to things mid-term if the borrower becomes able to assume the original mortgage on their own.
  4. Consider the implications this will have regarding your personal income taxes. You may have an obligation to pay capital gains taxes and we would highly recommend talking to an accountant prior to signing off.
  5. Co-signors should seek independent legal advice to ensure they fully understand their rights, obligations and the implications. A lawyer can lay it out clearly for you as well as help to point out any things you should take note of.
  6. Carefully think about the character and stability of the people that you are being asked to co-sign for. Do you trust them? Are you aware of their financial situation to some degree? Are you willing to put yourself at risk potentially to take on this responsibility? Another consideration is to think about your finances down the road and determine how much flexibility will be needed for yourself and your family too! If you have plans of your own that will require a loan, refinancing your home, etc. being a co-signor can have an impact.

Co-signing for a loan is a large responsibility but when it is set-up correctly and all options are considered, it can be an excellent way to help a family member, child, or friend reach their dream of homeownership. If you are considering being a co-signor or wondering if you will require a co-signor on your mortgage, feel free to reach out. I am always happy to answer any questions and guide you through processes like this.

22 Aug

Stress Test Rate & Recent Decrease

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Posted by: Sarah Boudreau

By  Ryan Oake DLC

Currently, all borrowers in Canada need to qualify for a new mortgage at the current Bank of Canada Benchmark Qualifying Rate or at their approved mortgage interest rate plus 2.0%, whichever is higher.

For more than a year, this Bank of Canada Benchmark Qualifying Rate has been 5.34%. Now, for the first time in 3-years, the Bank of Canada has decreased that Qualifying Rate to 5.19%, a 0.15% decrease.

What does this mean?

Well, this Bank of Canada Qualifying Rate is essentially a bank’s Stress Test Rate. If a borrower has an annual gross income of $60,000, they can qualify for a $265,000 purchase price with a 10% down payment at a 5.34% qualifying rate.

Change that qualifying rate to 5.19%, that same borrower qualifies for a $269,000 purchase price at 10% down payment. This is a $3,700 increase in borrowing ability.

A borrower with $80,000 of gross annual income and a 20% down payment qualifies for a $455,000 purchase price at a 5.34% Bank of Canada Qualifying Rate. Change it to 5.19%, it increases to $462,000. A $5,600 increase in borrowing ability.

1.5%. That is the increase borrowers now have in their borrowing ability.

Ironic part of all these calculations, the stress test was implemented to protect consumers against rising interest rates. Their concern was that borrowers would not be able to cover their monthly payments when they came up for renewal.

Highest 5-year interest rate since January 2010? 3.79%.

Highest 5-year fixed interest rate in the past 5-years? 3.24%.

Last time someone had to pay an interest rate above 5%? For one month in 2009 and before that, summer of 2008.

Food for thought! If you have any other questions regarding the Bank of Canada and mortgage Stress Test rules, please let me know!

15 Aug

Mortgages Are Like Coffee

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Posted by: Sarah Boudreau

By Todd Skene- DLC Home Smart Mortgage

The most common question we get for mortgages is “what is your best rate?” Now imagine we walked into our local coffee shop and asked “what is your best price?” Doesn’t happen. There are all kinds of different coffees and lots of ways to make them. The same goes for mortgages.

Getting a coffee at the lowest price is usually not going to get you the coffee that meets your needs. You want quality beans, flavour, extra features like a shot of caramel, maybe make it a macchiato, froth on the top, an alternative milk option, and the list goes on.

The same goes for mortgages. Lowest rate mortgages may come with a lack of portability, the inability to make extra payments, and they may lock you into a good rate today without the flexibility for better rates in the future. They may be the lowest rate without the lowest monthly payment amount, they may be for term lengths that are too long and have significant penalties when the mortgage needs to be broken.

The lowest rate mortgage may be collateral charge mortgages that allow a bank to foreclose on your property because you were delinquent on your credit card payments while you went on an extended vacation in Europe and forgot to keep track while you were having so much fun drinking coffee at a popular little hole in the wall café in some small ancient village. The 4 strategic priorities that every mortgage needs to balance are lowest cost, lowest payment, maximum flexibility, and lowest risk.

So the next time you need a mortgage, treat it like your coffee order, don’t ask for the best rate, ask how you can get the best mortgage that meets your needs.

25 Jul

Copious Amounts of Paperwork Required for Mortgage Financing

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Posted by: Sarah Boudreau

I often have people ask why so much documentation is required for mortgage financing. Along with an employment letter, you are asked to provide a copy of the offer to purchase/sale agreement, MLS feature sheet, a pay stub, your most recent Personal Tax Notice of Assessments (NOA), T4’s, confirmation of down payment, etc. “Why is this required, doesn’t the employment letter satisfy this condition”? Unfortunately the employment letter is not sufficient.

A pay stub confirms what was written in the employment letter along with year to date earnings, overtime, special allowances/bonus/commissions received, etc. T4’s confirm previous years earnings and Personal Tax Notice of Assessments (also know as NOA’S) confirm taxes have been filed for previous years income and no personal taxes are owing to Revenue Canada. No taxes owing to Revenue Canada is important as Revenue Canada can place a lien on a property for taxes in arrears, ahead of the mortgage claim on title.

A realtor will provide an offer to purchase/sale agreement and MLS feature sheet. The purchase agreement confirms the financial agreement and what is included with the house while the MLS provides property details required by the lender; this enables the lender to establish whether or not one has paid fair market value for the property.

Finally, a lender will ask for a 30-90 day (depending on whether or not the mortgage is insured or uninsured) history of where down payment has originated to confirm it is from own sources and not borrowed. This process is required by the government due to anti money laundering laws, which require the confirmation of the source for all funds used for down payment.

Before shopping for a home contact me to have yourself pre-approved so that you can go out shopping, search for the home of your dreams and confidently make an offer: sarah.boudreau@jencormortgage.com

403-245-3636 Ext 5703

 

18 Jul

20 Terms that Homebuyers Need to Know

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Posted by: Sarah Boudreau

By Debra Carlson DLC Jencor Mortgage

It’s common for a first-time homebuyer to be overwhelmed when it comes to real estate industry jargon, so this BLOG is to help make some of the jargon understandable.

To help you understand the process and have confidence in your choices, check out the following common terms you will encounter during the homebuying process.

  1. Amortization – “Life of the mortgage” The process of paying off a debt by making regular installment payments over a set period of time, at the end of which the loan balance is zero. Typical amortizations are 25 years or if you have over 20% down payment – 30 years.
  2. Appraisal – An estimate of the current market value of a home. A property is appraised to know the amount of money that a lender is willing to lend for a buyer to buy a particular property. If the appraised amount is less than the asking price for the property, then that piece of real estate might be overpriced. In this case, the lender will refuse to finance the purchase. Appraisals are designed to protect both the lender and buyer. The lender will not get stuck with a property that is less than the money lent, and the buyer will avoid paying too much for the property.
  3. Closing Costs – Costs you need to have available in addition to the purchase price of your home. Closing costs can include: legal fees, taxes (GST, HST, Property Transfer Tax (PTT) etc.), transfer fees, disbursements and are payable on closing day. They can range from 1.5% to 4% of a home’s selling price.
  4. Co-Signer – A person that signs a credit application with another person, agreeing to be equally responsible for the repayment of the loan.
  5. Down Payment – The portion of the home price that is NOT financed by the mortgage loan. The buying typically pays the down payment from their own resources (or other eligible sources) to secure a mortgage.
  6. Equity – The difference between the price a home could be sold for and the total debts registered against it (i.e. mortgage). Equity usually increases as the mortgage is reduced by regular payments. Rising home prices and home improvements may also increase the equity in the property.
  7. Fixed Interest Rate – a fixed mortgage interest rate is locked-in and will not increase for the term of the mortgage.
  8. Gross Debt Service Ratio (GDS) and Total Debt Service Ratio (TDS)
    a) GDS – Typically mortgage lenders only want you spending a maximum 35-39% of your gross income on your mortgage (principle & interest), property taxes, heat and 50% of your strata fees.
    b) TDS – typically, lenders want you spending a maximum 39-44% of your gross income on your GDS – PLUS any other debt obligations you have (credit card debt, car payments, lines of credit & loans).
  9. High-ratio mortgage / Conventional Mortgage – a high ratio mortgage is a mortgage loan higher than 80% of the lending value of the home. A conventional mortgage is when you have more than 20% down payment. In Canada, if you put less than 20% down payment, you must have Mortgage Default Insurance (see below) and your mortgage affordability (GDS & TDS) is “stress tested” with the Bank of Canada’s qualifying rate (currently 4.64%).
  10. Interest Rate – This is the monthly principal and interest payment rate.
  11. Mortgage – A legal document that pledges property to a lender as security for the repayment of the loan. The term is also used to refer to the loan itself.
  12. Mortgage Broker – A professional who works with many different lenders to find a mortgage that best suits the needs of the borrower.
  13. Mortgage Default Insurance – Is required for mortgage loans with less than a 20% down payment and is available from Canadian Mortgage & Housing Corp. (CMHC) or 2 other private companies. This insurance protects the lender in case you are unable to fulfill your financial obligations regarding the mortgage.
  14. Open / Closed Mortgage
    a) An open mortgage is a flexible mortgage that allows you to pay off your mortgage in part or in full before the end of its term, because of the flexibility the interest rates are higher.
    b) Closed mortgages typically cannot be paid off in whole or in part before the end of its term. Some lenders allow for a partial prepayment of a closed mortgage by increasing the mortgage payment or a lump sum prepayment. If you try and “break your mortgage” or if any prepayments are made above the stipulated allowance the lender allows, a penalty will be charged.
  15. Pre-Approval – A lender commits to lend to a potential borrower a fixed loan amount based on a completed loan application, credit reports, debt, savings and has been reviewed by an underwriter. The commitment remains as long as the borrower still meets the qualification requirements at the time of purchase. This does not guaranty a loan until the property has passed inspections underwriting guidelines.
  16. Refinance – Refinancing is the process of replacing an existing mortgage with a new one by paying off the existing debt with a new, loan under different terms.
  17. Term (Mortgage) – Length of time that the contract with your mortgage including interest rate is fixed (typically 5 years).
  18. Title – The documented evidence that a person or organization has legal ownership of real property.
  19. Title Insurance – Insurance against losses or damages that could occur because of anything that affects the title to a property. Insurance Title insurance is issued by a Title Company to insure the borrower against errors in the title to your property.
  20. Variable Rate Mortgage or Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) – A variable mortgage interest rate is based on the Bank of Canada rate and can fluctuate based on market conditions, the Canadian economy. A mortgage loan with an interest rate that is subject to change and is not fixed at the same level for the life of the loan. These types of loans usually start off with a lower interest rate but can subject the borrower to payment uncertainty.

Any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me anytime!

20 Jun

Who Really Sets Interest Rates?

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Posted by: Sarah Boudreau

By Pauline Tokin,  DLC Canada Inc.

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

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

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

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

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

13 Jun

What is an Uninsurable Mortgage?

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Posted by: Sarah Boudreau

By Kristin Woolard DLC National

WHAT IS AN UNINSURABLE MORTGAGE?

With the mortgage rule changes in recent years, lenders have had to make some adjustments to their rate offerings.

There are different tiers and rate pricing based on the following 3 categories:
1) Insured – a mortgage that is insured with mortgage default insurance through one of Canada’s mortgage insurers, CMHC, Genworth or Canada Guaranty. A mortgage insurance premium based on a percentage of the loan amount is added to and paid along with the mortgage
2) Insurable – a mortgage that may not need mortgage insurance (20% or more down payment) but would qualify under the mortgage insurers rules. The client doesn’t have to pay an insurance premium but the lender has the option to if they choose.
3) Uninsurable – a mortgage that does not meet mortgage insurer rules such as refinances or mortgages with an amortization longer than 25-years. No insurance premium required.

Insured mortgages are the safest type of mortgage loan for the banks and the most cost-effective way of lending mortgage money, so clients seeking or in need of an insured mortgage will get the best rate offering on the market.
Insured as well as Insurable mortgages can be bundled and sold as Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) meaning banks can get that money back quickly so they can lend more out. While Insured mortgages get the best rates, Insurable mortgages are typically a close second.

If a mortgage is Uninsurable that means the banks have to lend their own money and have to commit to that loan for the full term at least. This makes it a more expensive loan for the bank, so they pass the cost on to the consumer as a premium on the rate – typically 10-20 basis-points.

While there are rumours that the Government may start to allow refinances and 30-year amortizations to be insured again, no formal announcements are expected in the next few months.
In the meantime, consumers looking to tap into the equity they’ve built (consolidation, investment, home renovations) or wanting to keep their payments as low as they can (30-year amortization) are paying the price.
If either a refinance or a longer amortization is something you are considering, it’s wise to have a free analysis of your mortgage done so you can make an informed decision. If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres broker near you.

30 May

6 Ways to Get a Down Payment

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Posted by: Sarah Boudreau

By David Cooke AMP DLC Jencor Mortgage

6 WAYS TO GET A DOWN PAYMENT

When is it time to think about saving for a down payment? I would say about a year before you think about buying a home. While that’s ideal in today’s world, we often do not have much time to save for a down payment. Sometimes your landlord is planning on retiring and wants to sell the property. How do you get a down payment?

Here are a few ways to get a down payment for your home:

  1. Save – it’s old fashioned but it works. Open a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) and put a set amount into it. If you don’t have the discipline arrange for automatic deposits from your bank account. How much can you save $50 a week? That’s $2,600 in a year. Not enough. How about $200 a week?
    Stay at the Mom & Dad Hotel – while your parents may not be able to help you with a down payment they often have a spare room that you can stay in. One year of not paying rent would make a good down payment even if you chip in for groceries.
  2. Extra Income – get a second job and bank every cent from it. I know of many young people who have a day job and are servers on the weekends.
  3. Home Buyer’s Plan – the federal government will allow you to pull up to $35,000 from your RRSP account. This goes for your partner. You could put down $70,000 between the two of you. These funds need to be returned to your RRSP over the next 15 years. This is a great quick source for a down payment.
  4. Take out an RRSP Loan – borrow an amount that you need for a down payment as an RRSP. Hold the funds for 90 + 1 days and you can withdraw the funds. The cons are that you now have more debt and you have to wait for 90 days. Most sellers want a possession day sooner than that.
  5. Sell an asset. I had a client sell his vintage Cadillac Fleetwood for a down payment. Be sure to get a receipt or to sign a bill of sale with the purchaser to show where the funds came from. Rare stamps or coins, another property or vehicle are all acceptable assets.
  6. The Bank of Mom and Dad – This may be the easiest way to get a down payment or it may not. Most parents are nearing retirement and trying to save funds. There can be creative ways to get a down payment. They might set up a a secured line of credit and use the equity in their home. You could make the payments over the next few years. Note: these payments must be included in your debt ratios. If they decide to gift you the funds and make the payments themselves a gift letter is all that’s needed. They could sell their home and move into a granny suite in the basement or over the garage.

Before you start it’s always a good idea to speak to your favourite Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

9 May

Sole Proprietors

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Posted by: Sarah Boudreau

Sole proprietors are individuals who run their own business and do not have it set up as a corporation or partnership. The biggest difference between them and a corporation is that a sole proprietor does not have separation between their business and themselves. This means that when taxes are filed, all costs that are essential to the operation of the business are tax deductible on the individuals tax return. For example, an electrician who operates as a sole proprietor may earn $80,000 a year in income. However, costs such as materials, vehicle expenses, office space, or marketing (to name a few), are subtracted from the gross income- $80,000 in this case.

If those costs added up to $15,000 in a fiscal year, that sole proprietor really only earns $65,000 of income in the eyes of the lender. That is because the amount they are taxed on is the net income of $65,000 not the gross business income of $80,000. When submitting an application for a sole proprietor, you can either use a 2-year average of the net business income (income qualified) or state the income (stated files) based on history of earnings and the businesses write offs/expenses.

Majority of the time, we take the previous two years of income reported on line 236 of the T1 Generals, add them together, and divide that by two. If a business earned $80,000 of gross income and $65,000 of net income in year 1, and then $90,000 of gross income and $70,000 of net income in year 2, their income in the eyes of the lender is $67,500 ($65,000 + $70,000 = $135,000/2 = $67,500). There is an opportunity to “gross up” the 2-year average by 15%, but that requires a closer look at what the business has claimed as write offs for their business expenses. A gross up of 15% on $67,500 of income would equal $77,625.

Operating a business as a sole proprietor is a small cost when comparing it to a corporation, main reason being there is only one tax return prepared for both the business and the individual. The down side, an individual must pay income tax at the personal tax rate on the entire net income, whether they required all that income or not.

A corporation on the other hand, pays income tax at a different tax rate lower than the personal tax rate. That way, an individual only needs to take the income out of the corporation that they need, decreasing the amount of income tax they pay on their personal tax return (if money is left inside the corporation).

If you have any questions, give me a call.