18 Mar

Mortgage Payment Options… Which Is The Best Option For Your Situation?

General

Posted by: Sharlene Scott

Once your mortgage has been funded by your lender, you need to decide on how frequently you want to make your mortgage payments.

Most people want to pay off their mortgage as quick as possible to save paying interest.

We’ll discuss various mortgage payment options and then do the math by crunching mortgage numbers, keeping in mind: the longer it takes to pay off your mortgage, the more interest you pay.

Monthly: Most people’s typical payment option. Monthly payments will have the lowest payments therefore your mortgage will be paid off the slowest. For many people this is the most comfortable option, since it’s only one payment a month to plan for.
Bi-Weekly: Take your monthly mortgage payment multiply by 12 for a year, then divide by 26.
• You will make a mortgage payment every 2 weeks for a total of 26 payments per year.
• This will not help to pay your mortgage off any sooner than regular monthly payments.
Semi-Monthly: You make payments twice a month for a total of 24 payments a year.
• This will not help to pay your mortgage off any sooner than regular monthly payments.
Weekly: Take your monthly payments, multiply by 12 for a year, then divide by 52 weeks.
• This will not pay down your mortgage any sooner than regular monthly payments.
Accelerated Bi-weekly: Your monthly payment divided by 2.
• This option creates 2 extra bi-weekly payments a year, meaning you would be making 13 monthly payments a year (instead of 12). The two extra payments go directly to paying down the principal on your mortgage.
Accelerated Weekly: Your monthly payment divided by 4.
• This option creates 4 extra weekly payments a year, meaning you would be making 13 monthly payments over a year (instead of 12). The 4 extra payments go directly to paying down the principal on your mortgage.

I’ve crunched mortgage numbers by putting together a table using:
• $250,000 mortgage
• Mortgage rate 2.99%
• 5-year term
• Compounded semi-annually
• 25-year amortization
You can see how choosing the accelerated option pays your balance down a lot faster than regular payments.

Mortgages are complicated…  Don’t try to sort all this out on your own.  Call a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist and let’s figure out what your best mortgage option will be!

 

Written By: Kelly Hudson, Dominion Lending Centres

12 Mar

What You Need To Know Before You Renew Your Mortgage

General

Posted by: Sharlene Scott

What you need to know before you renew your mortgage could save you thousands of dollars. Is your mortgage on your home or other properties maturing in 2018?

Typically you will receive your mortgage renewal notice from your current lender 3-4 months in advance of the renewal date. Sometimes you may receive an offer for early renewal. Either way, always reach out to your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker to find out your options and what you need to know before your renew your mortgage.

With the new mortgage rules in effect in October/November 2016 and subsequent changes January 1st 2018 it is more important than ever to know your options before you sign a renewal.

Did you know…?

  • If your current mortgage is funded before October 2016, regardless if you were a high ratio borrower or conventional borrower, the old rules for qualifying still apply
  • If you want to renew your mortgage at best rates you can transfer that mortgage to another lender without qualifying under the new rules
  • If you have any fees for transferring the mortgage they may be covered
  • Lenders are currently offering high renewal rates as they know 65%+ of borrowers will simply sign without doing any homework
  • Lenders are currently offering lower rates only after clients decline their first offer. Doesn’t seem fair does it?

Mortgage brokers have access to lots of great renewal programs from the banks, mortgage companies and credit unions.

Be informed before your mortgage renewal. Consult with an independent mortgage broker to review your financing needs for all of your properties and to set a plan well in advance of any mortgage renewal. If you are looking to make any large purchases such as investments, real estate, an automobile— know your options and the impact of these purchases on your financial situation.

Written By: Pauline Tonkin, Dominion Lending Centres

5 Mar

4 Signs You’re Ready For Home Ownership

General

Posted by: Sharlene Scott

While most people know the main things they need to buy a home, such as stable employment and enough money for a down payment, there are a few other factors that may help you realize you’re ready, perhaps even earlier than you thought!

As a mortgage broker, it is my job to ensure that each one of my clients is getting the best service I can provide. Part of this means educating as much as possible when it comes to buying a home, which is why I’ve put together a list of 4 signs that may tell you that you are ready to become a homeowner.

You should have more funds available than the minimum of a down payment
This one may seem obvious, but it’s something that people may not realize until they actually think about it. It’s very difficult to afford a home if you only have enough money for a down payment and then find yourself scrambling for day-to-day living after that.

If you have enough money saved up (more than the minimum needed for a down payment), you may be ready to start house-hunting.

Your credit score is good
This might seem obvious at first glance, however, if you don’t have a good credit score, chances increase that you could be declined altogether or stuck with a higher interest rate and thus end up paying higher mortgage payments. If you have a less-than-optimal credit score, working with a mortgage professional can help you get on the right track in the shortest time possible. Sometimes a few subtle changes can bump a credit score from “meh” to “yahoo” in a few short months.

Breaking the bank isn’t in your future plans
Do you plan on buying two new vehicles in the next two years? Are you thinking of starting a family? Are you considering going back to school?

Although you may think you can afford to purchase a home right now, it’s extremely important to think about one, two, and five years down the road. If you know that you aren’t planning on incurring big expenses that you need to factor into your budget anytime soon, then that’s something that may help you decide to buy a home.

You are disciplined
It’s easy to say, “it’s a home, I’m going to have it for a long time so I may as well go all-in!”. While that would be nice, that’s rarely the case!

You must have a limit that you’re willing to spend. Sitting down with a mortgage broker or real estate agent and analyzing your finances is crucial. It’s important that you know costs associated with buying a home and what the maximum amount is that you can afford without experiencing financial struggles. IMPORTANT: This is not the amount that you are told is your max!

This is the amount that you calculate as your max based on your current monthly budget and savings plan. It’s quite frequent where I have clients tell me that their max budget is, say, $1200 and then when I run the numbers they could actually be approved for much more. Low and behold suddenly these guys are looking at homes that are hundreds of dollars a month higher than their initial perceived budget. It is up to you (with my help or pleading, when necessary) to reel things back in and make sure that you aren’t getting into something that affects the long-term livelihood of a well thought out budget or savings plan.

Conclusion

These are just four signs that you may be ready to purchase a home. If you’re seriously considering buying or selling, talking with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker, such as myself, can help put you on the right path to a successful real estate transaction.

Written by: Shaun Serafini, Dominion Lending Centres

25 Feb

RRSP – Use Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) More Than Once

General

Posted by: Sharlene Scott

Under the home buyers’ plan, a participant and his or her spouse or common- law partner is allowed to withdraw up to $25,000 from his or her RRSP to buy a home. Before 1999, only the first- time home buyers are permitted to buy a home under this plan. Now a person can take an advantage of HBP plan more than one, two, three, four or more times as long as the participant in this plan fulfills all other conditions. The house can be existing or can be built.

Are you a first – time home buyer?
You are considered a first-time home buyer if, in the four year period, you did not occupy a home that you or your current spouse or common-law partner owned. The four-year period begins on January 1st of the fourth year before the year you withdraw funds and ends 31 days before the date you withdraw the funds.
For example, if you withdraw funds on March 31, 2018, the four-year period begins on January 1, 2014 and ends on February 28, 2018.
If you have previously participated in the HBP, you may be able to do so again if your repayable HBP balance on January 1st of the year of the withdrawal is zero and you meet all the other HBP eligibility conditions.
Qualifying home – a qualifying home is a housing unit located in Canada. This includes existing homes and those being constructed. Single-family homes, semi-detached homes, townhouses, mobile homes, condominium units, and apartments in duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, or apartment buildings all qualify. A share in a co-operative housing corporation that entitles you to possess, and gives you an equity interest in a housing unit located in Canada, also qualifies.

Repayment of withdrawal amount into RRSP
Generally, you have up to 15 years to repay to your RRSP, the amounts you withdrew from your RRSP(s) under the HBP. However, you can repay the full amount into your RRSP(s)
Each year, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will send you a Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) statement of account, with your notice of assessment or notice of reassessment.
The statement will include:
• the amount you have repaid so far (including any additional payments and amounts you included on your income tax and benefit return because they were not repaid);
• your remaining HBP balance; and
• the amount you have to contribute to your RRSP and designate as a repayment for the following year.

If you have any questions contact a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional near you.

 

Written by: Gurcharan Singh, Dominion Lending Centres

19 Feb

The Role Of The Insurer In A Mortgage

General

Posted by: Sharlene Scott

Any time a down payment for the mortgage is less than 20%, it is required that the mortgage must be insured thru an Insurer. Why does this mortgage need to be insured, who provides this type of insurance, what does this insurance mean, who is the beneficiary, how much does this insurance cost? All these questions need to be addressed when your down payment is less than 20%.
To start, we need to know certain terms.
High Ratio Mortgage – Also known as insured mortgage is any mortgage where the down payment is less than 20%, also defined where the loan to value ratio is more than 80%.
Conventional Mortgage – Any mortgage where the down payment or equity is 20% or more and in other words the loan to value ratio is less than 80%.
There are three companies in Canada that provide this type of insurance, Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation, Canada Capital and Genworth.
The insurance is needed to provide flexibility to buyers in Canada to purchase a property with as little as 5% down payment at the same time the lender is the beneficiary as it protects them in case the borrower defaults on the loan.
The insurance premium is paid once as a lump sum at the time of the purchase of the property and can be added to the mortgage. Premium amount depends upon the down payment and the insurer and can be anywhere from 1.8% to 4.5% of the borrowed amount.
Since insured mortgages are less risk to the lenders, they in turn can offer lesser and more attractive interest rates and mortgage terms.
Another thing to keep in mind is that this insurance is NOT the same as Mortgage Life Insurance. In your life insurance, the beneficiary is the person who you select to be; usually a family member so in case anything happens to you then your family is protected, and your mortgage loan is paid off. But in High Ratio Mortgage Insurance the lender is protected in case the loan defaults.

Written By: Asif Qureshi, Dominion Lending Centres

5 Feb

Banks vs Credit Union – A Who’s Who in Borrowing

General

Posted by: Sharlene Scott

Banks and Credit unions are often grouped together into one category under “financial institutions”. While they may have several similarities in terms of financial service offerings, in the world of mortgages the banks and credit unions have little in common. As mortgage professionals, we work with both of them and are well versed in the differences between the two. To start with, we will first need to look at the definition of each institution.

A BANK

A bank is a financial institution that accepts deposits, lends money and transfers funds. They are listed as public, licensed corporations and have declared earnings that are paid to stockholders. A key point: they are regulated by the federal government-Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.

A CREDIT UNION

Credit unions also deposit, lend and transfer funds. However, after that, we run into some differences between the two. Credit Unions have an elected Board of Directors that consist of elected members from their community. They are local and community-based organizations and unlike the banks, they are not federally but Provincially regulated.

Now that we have to clear definitions, we are going to focus on just one of the differences between the two: Who they are regulated by. Credit Unions are not regulated by OSFI therefore, they are not always subject to the mortgage lending rules imposed by the federal government (at least not right away). Take for example the recent changes to the B-20 guidelines. Since Credit Unions are not classified as a Federally Regulated Institution, they currently do not need to comply with the implications listed in the new rule changes. What does this mean for the consumer? Let’s walk through an example.

Say you have a dual income family with a combined annual income of $85,000. The current value of their home is listed at $700,000 and they have a mortgage balance of $415,000. Lenders have agreed to refinance to a maximum amount of 80% LTV (loan to value). That gives us a total of $560,000 minus the existing mortgage and you have $145,000 available provided you qualify to borrow it.

Now let’s put the Bank and the Credit Union toe-to-toe:

Difference between Bank and Credit Union when Refinancing

That means you are able to qualify for $105,000 LESS with the bank when refinancing!

Take the same scenario listed above and let’s apply it to purchasing:

Difference between Bank and Credit Union when Purchasing a Home

Again, you have a reduced amount of $105,000 towards the purchase of your new home.

A few disadvantages to Credit Unions that you should be aware of:

  • You cannot port your mortgage out of province
  • With the introduction of the new B-20 guidelines, there has been an increased demand for Credit Unions. This increasing demand has led to higher rates and sometimes these are not the most competitive for the client. Working with a broker can ensure that you receive the best rate and product for your situation.
  • Credit Unions also have a typically lower debt qualification ratio for how much house you can afford and how much debt you can carry

With those considerations, there are limitations to what Credit Unions are able to offer you. As always, working with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional is one of the best ways to ensure you are not only getting the sharpest rate, but also the best product for you and your unique situation. Give us a call today-we would love to talk to you about your options and how we can help you.

Written By: Geoff Lee, Dominion Mortgage Group

26 Jan

What is a Property Assessment vs a Home Appraisal?

General

Posted by: Sharlene Scott

It’s the time of year when many homeowners are getting their property assessments.

The real estate market is the single biggest influence on market values. Market forces vary from year to year and from property to property. The market value on an assessment notice may differ from that shown on a bank mortgage appraisal or a real estate appraisal because an assessment’s appraisal reflects the value at a different time of the year, while a private appraisal can be done at any time.

Use your Assessment as a starting point for the value of the property your planning your home purchase… Do not rely on a provincial assessment for the exact value of the property you’re considering purchasing. Markets can change quickly both increasing and decreasing in value depending on the area.

What is a Home Appraisal?
An appraisal is a document that gives an estimate of a property’s current fair market value.

Often there is no connection between a provincial assessment and appraised value. This is why lenders want an appraisal – an independent evaluation of the properties value at this moment in time.

Primarily home appraisals are completed at the request of a lender. Lenders want to know the value of a property in the current market before they are willing to lend against the home.

The appraisal is performed by an “appraiser” who is typically an educated, licensed, and heavily regulated third party offering an unbiased valuation of the property in question, trained to render expert opinions concerning property values.

When an appraisal is done, consideration is given to the property, the home, its location, amenities, as well as its physical condition.

Appraisals may also be required when an owner has less than 20% down payment and needs mortgage default insurance.

Who pays for the Home Appraisal?
Typically, the borrower pays the cost of the appraisal, and upon completion, the appraisal goes directly to the lender (does not go into the home buyer’s hands).

I know it sounds odd, but brokerages, lenders and appraisers cannot just show the buyer the appraisal on a property, even though the borrower paid for it.

Think of an appraisal as an administrative fee for finding today’s current value of the property
You need a Home Appraisal since the lender doesn’t want to lend on a poor investment and the appraisal helps the buyer decide if the property is worth what they offered (especially in hot markets like Vancouver & Toronto).

Why don’t you get a copy of the appraisal? The appraiser considers their client to be the lender (the reason the appraisal was ordered). The lender has guidelines for the appraisal, and the appraiser prepares his report according to those parameters.

The lender is free to share the appraisal with the borrower, but the appraiser cannot share it. This is because the lender is the client… NOT the borrower!! It doesn’t matter who pays for the appraisal.

Sometimes an appraisal can come in lower than the purchase price, causing angry calls to the Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC), and the answer they give is: the Brokerage or Lender is the client of the appraiser, and as such has ownership of the report.

One of the main reasons the buyer pays for the appraisal, is that if the mortgage doesn’t go through, the lender does not want to be on the hook for paying for the appraisal and not getting the business.

Lenders are also aware that home buyers could take the appraisal and shop it around with other Lenders to try and get a better deal.

It is rare for Lenders to share the report. With most appraisal companies, the appraisal is only provided after the closing of the mortgage transaction and must have the lender’s approval.

After the funding of your mortgage, some mortgage brokers will refund the appraisal fee or sometimes the lender may agree to reimburse the cost of the appraisal.

While a lender does not have to release the entire appraisal, there are some pieces of information that remain the personal property of the buyer, and PIPEDA legislation guarantees them access to that. However, any information on the report that does not relate to the property itself (such as the neighboring properties or other data about the community) would come off the report before the lender provided it.

Some other reasons for getting an Appraisal:

  • to establish a reasonable price when selling real estate
  • to establish the replacement cost (insurance purposes).
  • to contest high property taxes.
  • to settle a divorce.
  • to settle an estate.
  • to use as a negotiation tool (in real estate transactions).
  • because a government agency requires it.
  • lawsuit

Getting your home ready for an Appraisal:
The appraiser report involves a report including pictures of the home and property with the appraiser’s value of the property, along with a short summary of how that information was derived.

9 tips for high value home appraisals

Most lenders have an approved appraiser list which requires appraisers to have the appropriate designation. Lenders tend to reject appraisals that are ordered directly by property owners. Lenders want the appraisal to be ordered by the broker or the lender, primarily to avoid potential interference from the property owner.

Home Appraisal Costs
Appraisal costs do vary. Most home appraisals start around $350 (plus tax) but they can go much higher depending on how expensive the home is, complexity of the appraisal and how easily the appraiser can access comparable data.

Are you thinking of buying a home? As you can tell there is lots to discuss, call me today to have a chat!

Written by: Kelly Hudson, Dominion Lending Centres