20 Jun

Who Really Sets Interest Rates?

General

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?

General

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

General

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

General

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.

2 May

What’s Your Best Rate?

General

Posted by: Sarah Boudreau

By Len Lane- DLC Brokers for Life

 

You know, at one time I could give you a quote over the phone and not worry that I would be too far out. Today is a totally different story, here are some of the variables that come into play:

 

1. What’s your credit score? A 700 FICO score is the new 650 for many lenders as their investors demand better quality borrowers.

2. Where is the property located? Rural areas are getting harder to finance.

3. Is it an insured file, are you putting less than 20% down payment?

4. Is it insurable? Are you putting down more than 20% on the purchase but it can qualify under the stress test, currently 5.34%?

5. Is the loan to value going to be 65% or less? You get the same rate as the guy with 5% down and have to qualify with the same criteria.

6. Are you looking to refinance or buy a rental? Sorry both are uninsurable and have to qualify at 5.34% but you have to pay a higher interest rate.

7. So how about your employment; have you been on your job or at least in the same industry for the last 2 or more years?

8. Down payment requires a 90-day statement of where it has been kept, please be sure that it was in a bank as anything else seems to be picked to death. Larger gifts lately have required the giftor to show the money was in their account. God forbid they should have won it at a casino as they will want the print out from the cage boss, especially in B.C.

9. How fast is your deal closing, as there are quick close rates usually for insured deals.

10. While supposedly everyone is to be able to qualify at 44%TDS and 39% GDS, it’s not always the case as CMHC is still in some instances lower than a 680 FICO score and is wanting the client to be qualified at the old standard of 42% and 35%, which again cuts back the qualifying amounts.

 

As you can see, what’s your best rate has a lot of things come into play today and anyone who gives you a rate over the phone has hopefully asked you at least some of these questions. The best rate today is more about what fits your situation but the old adage of who, what, where and how still apply. Once we have asked the questions, we have to audit the answers to make sure it’s the best fit for your situation. If you have any questions, contact me anytime.

11 Apr

A Shifting Market….. Again

General

Posted by: Sarah Boudreau

By Angela Calla- Dominion Lending Centres AMP

The recent data sure has changed the tone of rates in the coming months.

The prime rate – what variable rates are based on, while a few short weeks ago was expected to rise three times in the next 18 months now with the data on the slowing of the market and uncertainty in projects moving forward as expected, there are signs increases could be delayed until next spring.

The bond market– what fixed rates are based on, has dropped, which means rates (after the banks have hung on as much as possible ) should come down slightly.

What does his mean for borrowers? Let’s break it down per segment

  1.  Homebuyers – more affordability due to the recent dip in prices – pending price category anywhere from 10-30%. Remember, working with an unbiased mortgage professional we do a full look back upon closing to ensure the lowest cost of borrowing.
  2.  Home sellers – price sharp if you want to sell or else no point in being on the market
  3.  Renewals rejoice – payment shock shall be reduced upon renewal.
  4. Those carrying debt outside of a mortgage ex: credit cards, car payments, lines of credit – now is your time to see how much money moving that debt into a new restructured mortgage will  improve your cash flow. It’s the most effective strategy for protecting your credit.

The most constant theme in everything above: The market is always changing, yesterday’s news is exactly that. Aligning yourself with the frontline experts who will help you with clarity in the ever-changing market. This is why while experts can give you the data on the current market – it’s always subject to change. The decisions a borrower makes is their responsibility to adapt to. If you have any questions, contact me directly.

4 Apr

When Death Strikes Suddenly

General

Posted by: Sarah Boudreau

By David Cooke AMP Dominion Lending Centres

Recently I was finishing up a mortgage with a young couple who had just had a beautiful baby girl. I brought up the topic of mortgage and life insurance as well as getting a will written up. The response from the husband was that it was such a morbid topic and a real downer when they were excited about their new home.

The fact is that people, even young people die from car accidents, cancer, and even accidental drownings while on vacation. It’s a topic everyone avoids but it needs to be addressed, particularly when you are taking a major financial step like buying a home. What would happen to your spouse if you died suddenly with your mortgage not paid off?

I spoke to a major Canadian mortgage company about this topic.
I asked if the surviving spouse would be kicked out of the house. “ When someone dies who was on our mortgage we want to know right away . We ask for a copy of the death certificate so that we can take them off title. We will let the mortgage run it’s term if payments are being made on time. Many surviving spouses receive a life insurance policy and can pay off the mortgage or at least keep up the payments. We will renew the mortgage if payments are up to date. However, should the surviving spouse want to refinance the mortgage they would have to re-qualify for it.”

So what can you do to make life easier for your family should you die with a mortgage on your home? The easiest option is to have sufficient life insurance to ensure that they can keep up payments or to pay off the mortgage. Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professionals all offer MPP (Mortgage Protection Plan), a life insurance policy that pays off the mortgage in full in case of the death of the policy holder. The payments never go up because the mortgage balance is going down as the insured person gets older.

Another option is term insurance or whole life insurance. Speak to your favourite insurance broker about this.
Finally, if the surviving spouse is 55 or older, and they can’t afford to maintain the mortgage, a reverse mortgage may be the solution. No payments are made on the principal unless you decide you want to. When the widow(er) moves out the sale of the home pays off the mortgage and interest.

While it can be a “downer” to talk about death and disability, a responsible home purchaser needs to have the conversation with their Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional at the time of their purchase, refinance or renewal. The sudden death of a family member causes enough grief for the survivors, why add to their misery. As the old commercial used to say “Why wait for spring, do it now”.

28 Mar

The #1 Misconception About Mortgage Financing

General

Posted by: Sarah Boudreau

By Chris Cabel – Dominion Lending Centres – AMP

 

It is a reoccurring but common misconception that you will qualify for a mortgage in the future because you have qualified for a mortgage in the past.

This is not accurate!

Do. Not. Assume. Anything.

Even if your financial situation has remained the same or has improved, securing mortgage financing is more difficult now than it has in recent years.
The latest changes to mortgage qualification by the federal government has left Canadians qualifying 20-25% less. On top of that, guidelines that lenders would use in determining your suitability have been replaced with non-negotiable rules and declarations.

As mortgage professionals, we keep up to date with the latest trends going on in the mortgage world by understanding lender products and staying attentive to evolving changes.

From experience, we can tell you that having a plan is crucial to a successful mortgage application. Making assumptions about your qualification or just “winging it” is a recipe for disaster. Here are a few points on why a mortgage broker is a must for the first time home-buyer.

1. We have access to over 40 different lenders, not just one
2. We work for you, not for the lender
3. We will guide you through the application process
4. We save you valuable time by shopping for you
5. We pull your credit once — if you go to multiple banks, you will have multiple credit pulls

If you are thinking about buying a property, please feel free to contact me and I can help you devise a full-proof plan!

21 Mar

NUTS & BOLTS OF THE FEDERAL 2019 BUDGET | WHAT YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW!

General

Posted by: Sarah Boudreau

By Geoff Lee – Dominion Lending Centres, AMP

On March 19, the Federal Government announced the official 2019 budget. One major topic on the discussion table (and one we were all holding our breath for) was the discussion of affordable housing in Canada. So just what happened on “Budget Day?” Here are the highlights of the 2019 Federal Budget:

MORTGAGE INDUSTRY RELATED:

CMHC First Time Home Buyers Incentive Plan

-This would give first time home buyers the ability to share the cost of buying a home with CMHC
-For existing homes – the incentive would provide up to 5% (funding/equity sharing) of the PURCHASE PRICE
-For newly constructed homes the incentive would provide up to 10% (funding/equity sharing) of the PURCHASE PRICE
-Funding/Equity sharing means that CMHC would cover a percentage of the purchase price

Example:

  • 400K purchase price, 5% down payment (20K), AND 5% CHMC shared equity mortgage (20K), the size of the insured mortgage would be reduced from 380K down to 360K, which would lower the monthly payment amount for the first time home buyer

To qualify for the program:

  • 120K max household income
  • Cannot borrow more than 4x their annual household income – making max purchase price approx. 505K
  • 100k household income would mean max 400K mortgage in order to use this program.

HOME BUYERS PLAN RRSP INCREASE

An increase of the previous $25,000 for RRSP withdrawal amount through the Home Buyers Plan to $35,000
These were the only two key changes that came out of the Federal Budget (so far). It provides minimal assistance for First Time Home Buyers, especially in a market like Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, who have home prices well above the 505k purchase price limit. However, it could provide assistance to those looking to purchase condos or townhomes ore in more rural areas. One area that will remain the same for the mortgage industry is the continued B-20 stress testing measures (which have recently come under fire)

The predicted start time is Fall 2019 for these guidelines. We will keep you updated on any new additions or changes as the information becomes available. If you have any mortgage related questions, contact me anytime.

21 Feb

Tax Rebates for Homeowners

General

Posted by: Sarah Boudreau

By David Cook AMP

Dominion Lending Centres Jencor Mortgage.

 

It’s getting to be that time of year when we are collecting our tax receipts to file taxes and hopefully get a nice cheque back from CRA:

 

1st Time Homebuyer’s Tax Credit
If you purchases a home in 2018 don’t forget to apply for the $5,000 tax credit. This could result in up to $750 in cash back in your pocket. In order to qualify you must have purchased a home in 2018. It must be registered in your name or your spouse’s. You and your spouse can not have owned a home in the previous four years. What that means is if you owned a home 5 or 6 years ago you would qualify as a first time homebuyer because of the amount of time you had been renting and not a homeowner. Homes include mobile homes, modular and floating homes.

GST/HST New Housing Rebate
This rebate is for people who built a home during 2018 and they can apply for a tax rebate. However, they can also qualify if they owned a home and did major renovations such as adding an addition to a home.
Granny Suites – you may also qualify for this rebate if you converted a non-residential building into a residential property. That means that if you turned your garage or barn into a granny suite for you or a family member you can claim the rebate.
Co-op Shares – if you purchased shares in a housing co-op for you or a relation to live in as your primary residence , the rebate can also be claimed.

Land Transfer Tax Rebate
If you live in Ontario, B.C. or PEI you also may qualify for a fist time homebuyers rebate on the land transfer tax and for the city of Toronto you can apply for a $3,725 municipal land transfer tax rebate. Put it all together and there’s a lot of money available for first time homebuyers if they know they qualify. Be sure to check with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to see if you do qualify.