30 Jul

How Credit Affects Your Loan Approval

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Sharlene Scott

HOW CREDIT AFFECTS YOUR LOAN APPROVAL

When you apply for a loan, lenders assess your credit risk based on a number of factors. Your credit score, as well as the information on your credit report, are key ingredients in determining whether you’ll be able to get financing and the rate you’ll pay. To get approved for a loan and to pay a lower interest rate it’s important that your credit report reflects that you’re a responsible borrower who pays their debts on time with a low risk of defaulting.

Credit Report vs. Credit Score
To start with, it’s important to understand that your credit report and your credit score are two separate things.

Credit Report – Your credit report contains information detailing your credit history. Sources include lenders, utility companies and landlords. This information is compiled by one of two major credit-reporting agencies (Equifax and TransUnion) that try to create an accurate picture of your financial history. Credit files include information such as:
• Name, address and social insurance number
• Types of credit you use
• When you opened a loan or line of credit
• The balances and available credit on your credit cards and other lines of credit
• Information about whether you pay your bills on time
• Information about any accounts passed to a collection’s agency
• How much new credit you’ve opened recently
• Records related to bankruptcy, tax liens or court judgments
Errors on your credit report can reduce your score artificially. In fact, 1 in 4 consumers have damaging credit report errors. Therefore, it’s important to stay up-to-date on your credit report history. If there is an error, you should dispute it and get it removed as soon as possible. Last year, 4 out of 5 consumers who filed a dispute got their credit report modified, according to a U.S. study by the Federal Trade Commission.

Credit Score – Your credit score is the actual numeric value extrapolated from the information in your credit report. A credit-reporting bureau applies a complex mathematical algorithm to the information in your credit file to create your numerical credit score.
Beacon is the most widely known credit scoring formula in Canada and is used by many creditors. Your FICO score can range from 300 to 850, with under 400 being very low and 700+ putting you in the healthy range. Your credit score is meant to give potential lenders an idea of how big of a financial risk you are. The higher your score, the less likely you are to default or make late payments and the more likely you are to be approved for financing.
Your score is based most strongly on three factors: your payment history (35% of your score), the amounts owed on credit cards and other debt (30%) and how long you’ve had credit (15%).

What Are They Used For?
Lenders glance at your credit score to determine your credit risk. Most traditional lenders have pre-set standards. If your credit score is within a certain range, they’ll offer you certain credit terms. If you don’t fall within their approved range, then you may be denied. Most banking institutions will only approve a loan if the client has a credit score of at least 640. A score of 700, however, gives you a much better chance at gaining approval at most lending institutions and at reasonable rates.
As far as interest rates are concerned, banks use an array of factors to set them. The truth is they are looking to maximize profits for themselves and shareholders. On the other hand, consumers and businesses seek the lowest rate possible. A commonsense approach for getting a good rate would be having the highest credit score possible.
It’s important to note that if you apply for a loan, the lender will most likely pull your credit score through what is commonly called a “hard inquiry” on your credit, which slightly lowers your credit score. Therefore, it’s important to know your credit score ahead of time, fix any errors, and apply for loans which you have a good chance of being approved for.

Things You Can Do to Improve Your Credit Score

1. Check your credit report for errors – While the credit agencies do their best to keep your record free of errors, they can make mistakes. It’s important to check your credit report at least once a year — consumers are entitled to one free credit report every 12 months — to ensure all of the information is correct. Each agency may have slightly different information and, consequently, may have errors another credit report doesn’t.
2. Set up payment reminders – Making credit payments on time is one of the biggest contributing factors of your credit score. It may be helpful to set up automatic payments through credit card or loan providers so you don’t forget to pay when payment is due.
3. Reduce the amount of debt you owe – Stop using your credit cards. Use your credit report to make a list of all your accounts and check recent statements to determine how much you owe on each account and what interest rate they’re charging you. Then create a payment plan to lower or eliminate the debt you still owe.

How Dominion Lending Centres Can Help
Many businesses need financing to start or expand. Although your credit score is only one component of your lender’s decision, it’s an important one. If you have a low credit score and are unable to secure financing through a traditional bank, DLC Leasing will be able to get you approved with our team of lenders. When the bank says no, our team will still say yes with flexible terms and interest rates.

Written by Jennifer Okkerse, Dominion Lending Centres – Director of Operations, Leasing Division

16 Jul

Top 3 Misconceptions About Reverse Mortgages In Canada

General

Posted by: Sharlene Scott

TOP 3 MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT REVERSE MORTGAGES IN CANADA

I recently read an article by Jamie Hopkins in Forbes magazine, entitled “Americans Don’t Even Know What Their Most Important Retirement Asset Is.”
The article highlighted three common misconceptions about reverse mortgages and unsurprisingly, they are prevalent in Canada as well as in the U.S.
Top 3 misconceptions about Reverse Mortgages:
1. The bank owns your home.
2. Your estate can owe more than your home
3. The best time to take a Reverse Mortgage is at the end of your retirement

Let’s examine each misconception in more detail.

1. The bank owns your home.
Over 50% of Canadian homeowners over the age of 65, believe the bank owns your home once you’ve taken a reverse mortgage. Not true! We simply register our position on the title of the home, exactly the same as any other mortgage instrument, with the main difference in the flexibility of not having to make P&I payments on the reverse mortgage.
2. Your estate can owe more than your home.
A reverse mortgage, unlike most traditional mortgages in Canada, is a non-recourse debt. Non-recourse means if a borrower defaults on the loan, the issuer can seize the home asset, but cannot seek any further compensation from the borrower – even if the collateral asset does not fully cover the full value of the loan. Therefore, when the last homeowner dies (and the reverse mortgage is due), the estate will never be responsible for paying back more than the fair market value of the home. The estate is fully protected – this is not the case for almost any other mortgage loan in Canada, which is full recourse debt. So read the fine print the next time you offer to co-sign for a loan for mom!
3. The best time to take a Reverse Mortgage is at the end of your retirement.
This is a common mistake that reflects an “old-school” financial planning mentality. For the majority of Canadians (without a nice government pension), the old school financial planning mentality is about cash-flow, and is as follows:
a) Begin drawing down non-taxable assets to supplement your retirement income.
b) Once your non-taxable assets are depleted, begin drawing down more of your registered assets (RSP/RIF) to supplement retirement income.
c) Once your registered assets are depleted, sell your home, downsize and re-invest to generate enough cash-flow to last you until you die.
The problem with the “old-school” financial planning model is two-fold:
1. 91% of Canadian seniors have no plans to sell their home (CBC News “Canadian Boomers Want To Stay In Their Homes As They Age).
2. You are missing out on a huge tax-saving opportunity by not taking out a reverse mortgage in the beginning of your retirement.
“Research has consistently shown that strategic uses of reverse mortgages can be used to improve a retiree’s financial situation, and that reverse mortgages generally provide more strategic benefits when used early in retirement as opposed to being used as a last resort.” – Jamie Hopkins, Forbes
In Canada, a reverse mortgage can be set-up to provide homeowners with a monthly draw out of the approved amount. For example: client is approved for $240,000 and decides to take $1,000/month. This is deposited into the clients’ bank account over the next 20-years. Interest accumulates only on the amount drawn (ie: not on the full dollar amount at the onset).
This strategy allows clients to draw down less income from their registered assets to support their retirement lifestyle. In turn, this can create some excellent tax savings, since home equity is non-taxable. Imagine lowering your nominal tax bracket by 5 – 10% each and every year over a 20 year period? The tax savings can be huge. You are also able to preserve your investable assets, which historically, can generate a higher rate of return when invested over a greater period of time.
In summary, Canada and the U.S. both have aging populations and both have misconceptions about reverse mortgages. Learning about these misconceptions will allow you to offer your clients the best advice on how to balance retirement lifestyle and cash-flow, with the desire for retirees to age gracefully within their own homes. If you have any questions, please contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist.

written by Roland Mackintosh, Business Development Manager with HomEquity Bank

7 Jul

But I’m Only a Co-Signor!

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Sharlene Scott

BUT I’M ONLY A CO-SIGNOR!

You have a family member that doesn’t qualify for a mortgage on their own and needs a co-signor. Since you’re a nice person, and of course would like to see your son/daughter/parent/sibling in a better position, you agree to co-sign for the mortgage.

If I had a dollar for anytime I’ve heard the phrase “but I’m only co-signing right, they can’t come after me for the money or touch my house?” I’d be rich!

There are many common myths around co-signing. Here’s only a few and the truths associated with each one…

  • I’m only co-signing for my family member to get the mortgage and that I won’t have to ever make payments. False: You are equally responsible for making the payment on the mortgage. If the borrowers default, you will be required to pay.
  • I can’t be sued for non-payment since it’s not my mortgage. False: The lender has all legal collection methods available to them to collect payment from you, including obtaining judgment in court and possible garnishment of wages and bank accounts.
  • The bank can’t take my house if the borrower loses theirs. False: As per the second myth above, judgment action can also involve seizure and sale of any of your assets including and not limited to your own home.
  • I’m only a co-signor or a guarantor so I’m protected from not having to pay. False: Whether you are the borrower, co-signor, or guarantor, you are fully responsible for the debt.
  • Co-signing on this debt won’t affect my ability to obtain credit in the future. False: Not only will you legally have to declare the co-signed debt when you apply for credit, but also most lenders in Canada are now reporting to the credit bureau and it will appear when you apply. Either way, the mortgage payment must be factored into your debt service ratio.
  • Since this is only a five-year term, I am automatically released from this mortgage in five years. False: Regardless of term, you remain on the mortgage until it is paid in full or released only with approval from the lender.

Here’s a few tips and questions to ask before agreeing to co-sign on a mortgage…

  • Know the borrowers’ situation. What is there credit like? Are they drowning in debt? Why exactly is a co-signor required?
  • Is there an exit strategy to have your name released and how long will that take?
  • Add your name to title of the property so that the borrower cannot add a second mortgage to it. This is an asset that you have an interest in and therefore should protect it.
  • Get independent legal advice about your obligations as a consignor.
  • Be prepared to make the mortgage payments of the borrower doesn’t.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no to co-signing if it doesn’t feel right.

 

Knowledge of the borrowers situation, your obligations, and potential ways to protect yourself (and of course setting emotions aside) is the best advice for anyone co-signing. And if you have any questions, please contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist.

written by Sean Binkley Dominion Lending Centres

5 Jul

5 Ways To Boost Your Financial Fitness

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Sharlene Scott

5 JUL 2017

5 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR FINANCIAL FITNESS

Thinking about buying your first home?

The race to home ownership is more like a marathon than a sprint: diligent planning, pacing and strategy are the keys to success. Are you ready to approach the starting line? Here are five ways to shape up and boost your financial fitness so you’re set for success.

1. Check your credit score
First things first: order a copy of your credit report and credit score. Your credit score, which is calculated using the information in your credit report, is what lenders look at when considering you for a mortgage. Your score impacts whether or not you get approved and what interest rates you’re offered.

2. Reduce (or eliminate) credit card debt
Ideally, your credit card balance should be zero. But if, like 46% of Canadians, you carry a balance each month, make it your priority to chip away at it. You’ll boost your credit score while reducing the amount you’re paying in interest, freeing up more cash for saving and investing.

Use one – or, better yet, both – of the following strategies to make a dent in your debt:

• Make more money (i.e., take on a side gig, work overtime hours, pick up odd jobs)
• Save more money (i.e., sacrifice your satellite TV package, swap your gym membership for running outdoors, cut back on eating out)

3. Bulk up your savings

Now’s the time to save aggressively, stashing that cash in a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) or tax-free savings account (TFSA). Use automated savings to ensure that money goes straight from your checking account to your savings, investment accounts or both.

Remember: As a first-time homebuyer, you can withdraw money from your RRSP to put toward a down payment. (Generally, you’ll have up to 15 years to pay it back into your RRSP.)

4. Stick to a budget

As points 2 and 3 illustrate, getting financially fit takes determination and commitment. It can feel less overwhelming when you’ve got a snapshot of goals and actions right at your fingertips. Sit down with your partner to create a monthly budget. And stick to it.

A smartphone app can be a game changer in keeping you organized, accountable and on track with your financial fitness plan.
5. Keep your eyes on the prize

Stay inspired, motivated and positive by remembering why you’re working so hard to boost your financial fitness: to buy your first home!
Crunch preliminary figures online to come up with ballpark estimates on how much home you can afford.
Raise your real estate IQ by watching HGTV shows, researching neighbourhoods, perusing listings and attending open houses.
That will make you a more educated shopper once you’re ready to enter the market qualified with a mortgage pre-approval. Do your research now, so you can hit the ground running when you’re ready to buy. And if you have any questions, please contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist.

Marc Shendale
Genworth Canada – Vice President Business Development