14 Feb

WHAT’S AN ACCEPTABLE DOWN PAYMENT FOR A HOUSE?

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Jennifer Koop

WHAT’S AN ACCEPTABLE DOWN PAYMENT FOR A HOUSE?

Ask people this question and you will get a variety of answers.  Most home owners will say 10% is what you should put down. However, if you speak with your grandparents, they are likely to suggest that 20% is what you need for a down payment.

The truth is 5% is the minimum down payment that you can make on a home in Canada. If you are planning on buying a $200,000 home then you need $10,000.

It all can be explained by the creation of the Canadian Mortgage and Housing corporation (CMHC) by the Canadian government on January 1st, 1946. Before this time, you needed to have 20% down payment to purchase a home . This made home ownership difficult for many Canadians. CMHC  was created to ease home ownership. This was done by offering mortgage default insurance. Basically what CMHC does is it guarantees that you will not default on your mortgage payments. If you do, they will reimburse the lender who gave you the mortgage up to 100% of what the homeowner borrowed. In return lenders allow you to purchase a home with a smaller down payment and a lower interest rate.

CMHC charges an insurance premium for this service to cover any losses that may occur from defaulted mortgages. This program was so successful that CMHC lowered the minimum down payment to 5% in the 1980’s.

However, if you have little credit history or some late payments in the past they may ask you to provide 10% instead of the tradition 5% if they feel there is a risk that you may default at some time.

You should also be aware that the more money you put down, the lower your monthly mortgage payments will be. You also can save thousands in mortgage default insurance premiums by putting 20% down.  At this time,  home buyers who put 5% down have to pay a fee of 4% to CMHC or one of the other mortgage default insurers to obtain home financing. On a $400,000 home this is close to $16,000.

If you can provide a 10% down payment the insurance premium falls to 3.10% and if you can provide 20% it drops to zero.  While 20% can seem like an impossible amount to save, you can use a combination of savings, a gift from family and/or a portion of your RRSP savings to achieve this figure. The best recommendation that I can make is to speak with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to discuss your options and where to start on your home buying adventure.

Thank you David Cooke, Dominion Lending Centres, for writing this article.

30 Jan

8 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO GET THE BEST RENEWAL

Latest News

Posted by: Jennifer Koop

8 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO GET THE BEST RENEWAL

With 47 per cent of homeowners scheduled to renew their mortgages this year, 2018 is a year of change for lots of Canadians.
Here are the top 8 things you can do to get the best renewal:

1. Pull out your mortgage renewal now, and start early. When you are proactive instead of reactive you can see if there is anything on your credit score or lifestyle that we can modify to ensure you are positioned for the best renewal. You are only in a position to do this when you start early- in the last year of your mortgage you will have the most amount of options available. For example, there can be an inaccuracy in your credit report or you may be considering an income/job change that would impact your options. We can look at timing accordingly for you.

2. Do not just sign the renewal offered. Lenders can change the terms of your mortgage, and the renewal you are signing can cost you up to four per cent of your equity if you are with the wrong lender for your current life stage.

3. Most people think the best rate is the best renewal – WRONG. The terms are most important and with all terms moving or selling is the only reason most people think they would ever break a mortgage- THIS is simply not the case, a change in the interest rate market, divorce, health, job change, investment opportunity and many other reasons would contribute to a future modification being beneficial for a consumer.

4. Take into consideration lender history. The lender can have a higher prime then anyone because they know the cost to leave outweighs staying the course. The lenders are very smart with their calculated risks- and this is not something they have an obligation to disclose.

5. Remember your lender has a bias – their job is to handcuff you so they can make as much profit off you as possible- don’t be a victim.

6. Do not shop each lender on your own, it takes points off of your credit score. All lenders have different rates based on your score and you want to position yourself to get the best. By using a mortgage professional, they can shop multiple lenders protecting your credit using only one application, while the rate variation can be on average a half a percent!

7. Don’t get sucked into the online rate shopping- any monkey can post a rate online and you can drive yourself crazy looking at something that does not exists. In today’s complex mortgage market there are significantly different rates based on – insured mortgage vs uninsured mortgage, switch vs refinance, purchase or renewal, principal residence vs rental, salary or self-employed, 600 credit score or 700 credit score, amortization of 20 years to 30 years, type of property condo vs house, and leased land or freehold. The variations can mean a difference in thousands of dollars. Like diagnosing a medical condition, you can’t go online, you do have to put in the appropriate application and supporting documents to verify which options are available to you that will result in the lowest cost in borrowing.

8. Remember your mortgage is the largest debt and investment most of us have, when you contact an independent mortgage professional, we are going to invest all the work and expertise and advise you in your best interest regardless if we get your business. We may after our review advise you to stick with your existing lender, or make another recommendation for you. We are only here to enhance your finances and save you money, and there is no cost for our service.

Thank you Angela Calla, Dominion Lending Centres, for writing this article.

18 Dec

Why So Many Mortgage Documents?

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Jennifer Koop

WHY SO MANY MORTGAGE DOCUMENTS?

Documents, documents and more documents. Yes that’s right you will need to provide your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker with as many documents that we request upfront as possible. Why? Because the more supporting documentation you have available will help us as brokers to find you your best mortgage options. If you don’t have everything on hand e-mail a PDF of what you have and start digging up the rest as soon as possible.

Why so many documents you ask? While the lending market isn’t what it used to be, it is now much more strict and complex then a few years ago. Lenders are asking for WAY more documentation before they will lend you money. Yes, there have been instances of mortgage fraud that likely led to more scrutinized lending and Government regulations that lenders have to abide by are always changing. Mortgage lenders need to protect their investors and help ensure our Canadian housing market remains strong.

It may seem like a pain but ask yourself this if you had a large amount of money would you lend it out to somebody without proof they have income stability and/or the means to pay it back? Pretty sure your answer is no (at least mine is).

Below is a list of typical documents lender and mortgage insurers request. If you would like a tailored list please contact your DLC Mortgage Professional to discuss your application.

Income – lenders are looking for proof of income stability.

Self-employed Income

* 2 years of Income Tax Returns, Business Financials, CRA Notice of Assessments. Often it’s best to have your accountant e-mail them to us so no pages are missing.

Rental income

* Lease agreements

* T1-General tax returns with the Statement of Real Estate Activities. If you don’t claim your rental income let us know as this may affect how your mortgage is approved.

* Proof of the rental income being deposit on a regular basis into your bank account.

Guaranteed Employment Income

* A couple of recent pay stubs

* A job letter confirming your position, guaranteed pay and hours, if you are seasonal, contract or any specific information that relates to your income stability. Lenders will call your employer to verify the letter and ask for more information as possible. (Sample Job Letter)

* 2 Years of CRA Notice of Assessments

* 2 Years T1-Generals

Commission, Overtime, Seasonal, Contact or Bonus Income.

* A couple of recent pay stubs

* Job letter

* 2 years of T1-General Income tax returns

* 2 years of CRA Notice of Assessments

Liabilities – We will see most of your consumer credit accounts on your credit report however we may require some additional paperwork

* Current mortgage statements

* Property tax statements and proof of payment

* Child Support Payments proof via court orders and bank statements

* Alimony via Separation Agreements

* Proof your income tax has been paid. This is the most important item to pay because the Government has more power than the lenders. If you are wanting to refinance your mortgage to pay CRA contact us to discuss your options.

* Proof debts have been paid. If a zero balance is require you must show the account at a zero balance or the current balance and the proof of payment

Down Payment & Closing Costs

* The last 90 days of savings history. Any larger deposits have to be sourced.

* Gift Letter (some lenders have prescribed forms)

* Statement showing gift deposited into your account

* Property sale contracts and mortgage statements

About Documentation from Financial Institute

* Must have account ownership proof. For example e-statements are the best as they typically have your name, account number and the providers details already on the statement

* Screenshots work if the providers logo/name are clearly shown on them as well as the account holders name. If the account number only shows then you will have to provide an additional document from the provider with both your account number and name.

* If you are having your account history printed at a Teller please have the Teller stamp the paperwork

Documentation varies by applicant and lender. Be prepared by contacting your mortgage professional today for your tailored documents list.

Thank you to Kathleen Dediluke from Dominion Lending Centres for writing this article.

13 Dec

RETURNING TO THE ‘A-SIDE’ OF MORTGAGE FINANCING

General

Posted by: Jennifer Koop

 

 

RETURNING TO THE ‘A-SIDE’ OF MORTGAGE FINANCING

Every year Canadian families are caught in unexpected bad circumstances only to find out that in most cases the banks and the credit unions are there (to lend you money) only in the good times, not so much during the bad times.

This is where thousands of families have benefited over the years from the services of a skilled mortgage broker that has access to dozens of different lending solutions including trust companies and private lending corporations. These short-term solutions can help a family bridge the gap through business challenges, employment challenges, health challenges, etc.

The key to taking on these sorts of mortgages is always in having a clear exit strategy, which in some cases may be a simple as a sale deferred to the Spring market. Most times the exit strategy involves cleaning up credit challenges, getting consistent income back in place and moving the mortgage debt back to a mainstream lender. Or as we would say in the business an ‘A-lender’.

The challenge for our clients, and for us as mortgage brokers, over the past few years, arguably over the past nine years, has been the constant tinkering with lending guidelines by the federal government. And the upcoming changes of Jan. 1, 2018 represent far more than just ‘tinkering’.

This next set of changes are significant, and will effectively move the goal posts well out of reach for many clients currently in ‘B’ or private mortgages. Clients who have made strides in improving their credit or increasing their income will find that the new standards taking effect will put that A-lender mortgage just a little bit out of reach as of the New Year.

There is concern that the new rules will create far more problems than they solve, especially when it seems quite clear to all involved that there are no current problems with mortgage repayment to be solved.

Yet these changes are coming our way fast.

Are you expecting to make a move to the A-Side in 2018?

It just might be worth your time to pick up the phone and give your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist a call today.

We’re here and ready to help.

Thank you to Dominion Lending Centre’s Dustan Woodhouse for writing this article

1 Dec

Documents You Need to Qualify for a Mortgage

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Jennifer Koop

DOCUMENTS YOU NEED TO QUALIFY FOR A MORTGAGE

Being fully pre-approved means that the lender has agreed to have you as a client (you have a pre-approval certificate) and the lender has reviewed, approved ALL your income and down payment documents (as listed below) prior to you going house hunting. Many bankers will say you’re approved, you go out shopping and then they sorry you’re not approved due to some factor. Get a pre-approval in writing! It should have your amount, rate, term, payment and date it expires.

Excited! Of course you are, you are venturing into your first or possibly your next biggest loan application and investment of you life.

What documents are required to APPROVE your mortgage?

Being prepared with the RIGHT DOCUMENTS when you want to qualify your mortgage is HUGE; just like applying for a job or going for a job interview. Come prepared or don’t get hired (or in this case, declined).

Why is this important?

You can have a leg up against the competition when buying your dream home as you can have very short timeline (ie: 1 day to confirm vs 5-7 days) for “financing subjects.”
Think? You’re the seller and you know the buyer doesn’t have to run around finding financing and the deal may fall apart? This is the #1 reason deals DO fall apart. You will likely get the home over someone who isn’t fully approved and has to have financing subjects. The home is yours and nobody’s time is wasted.

If you just walked into the bank, filled an application and gave little or no documents, and got a rate – you have a RATEHOLD. This is NOT a pre-approval. This guarantees nothing and you will be super stressed out when you put an offer in, have 5-7 days to remove financing subjects and you need to get any or all of the below documents. That’s not fun is it? Use a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist ALWAYS. We don’t cost you anything!

When you get a full pre-approval, you as a person(s) are approved; ie: the bank’s done their work of reviewing (takes a few days) to call your employer, review your documents, etc. All we have to do is get the property approved, which takes a day or two. Much less stress, fastest approval…faster into your home!

Here is exactly the documents you MUST have (there is NO negotiation on these) to get your mortgage approved with ease. Key word here is EASE. Banks/Lenders have to adhere to rules, audit files and if you don’t have any of these or haven’t been requested to supply them…a big FLAG that your mortgage approval might be in jeopardy and you will be running around like a crazy person two days before your financing subject removal.

Read carefully and note the details of each requirement to prevent you from pulling your hair out later.

Here is the list for the “average” T4 full-time working person with 5-15% as their down payment (there is more for self employed, and part-time noted below):

Are you a Full-time Employee?

  1. Letter of Employment from your employer, on company letterhead, that states: when you started, how much you make per hour or salary, how many guaranteed hours per week and, if you’re new, is there a probation. You can request this from your manager or HR department. This is very normal request that HR gets for mortgages.
  2. Last 2 paystubs: must show all tax deductions, name of company and have your name on it.
  3. Any other income? Child Support, Long Term Disability, EI, Foster Care, part-time income? Bring anything that supports it. NOTE: if you are divorced/separated and paying support, bring your finalized separation/divorce agreement. With some lenders, we can request a statutory declaration from lawyer.
  4. Notice of Assessment from Canada Revenue Agency for the previous tax filed year. Can’t find it? You can request it from the CA to send it to you by mail (give 4-6 weeks for it though) or get it online from your CRA account.
  5. T4’s for you previous year.
  6. 90 day history of bank statement showing the money you are using to put down on your purchase. Why 90 days? Unless you can prove you got the money either from a sale of a house, car or other immediate forms of money (receipt required)…saved money takes time and the rules from the banks/government is 90 days. They just want to make sure you aren’t a drug dealer, borrowed the money and put it in your account or other fraud issues. OWN SOURCES = 90 days. BORROWED is fine, but must be disclosed. GIFT is when mom/dad give you money. Once you have an approval for “own sources” you can’t decide to change your mind and do gifted or borrowed. That’s a whole new approval.

Down payments
Own Sources: For example for “own sources”: if you are a first time buyer and your money is in RRSP’s then, have your last quarterly statement for the RRSP money. If your money is in three different savings account, you need to print off three months history with the beginning balance and end balance as of current. The account statements MUST have your NAME ON IT or it could be anyone’s account. I see this all the time. If it doesn’t print out with your name, print the summary page of your accounts. This usually has your name on it, list of your accounts and balances. Just think, the bank needs to see YOU have money in your (not your mom’s or grandparents) account.

GIFT: If mom/dad/grandparents are giving you money…then the bank needs to know this as the mortgage is submitted differently (this is called a GIFT).

If you are PART-TIME employee?
All of the above, except you will need to bring 3 years of Notice of Assessments. You need to be working for 2 years in the same job to use part-time income. You can have your Full-time job and have another part-time gig…you can use that income too (as long as it’s been 2 years).

If you are Self Employed?

  • 2 years of your T1 Generals with Statement of Business Activities
  • Statement of Business Activities.
  • 3 years of CRA Notice of Assessments
  • if incorporated: your incorporation license, articles of incorporation
  • 90 day history of bank statement showing the money you are using to put down on your purchase

Going to the bank direct is such a big disservice to you. That is like walking into Ford and asking for a Mercedes or Toyota. As a broker: I am FREE! I work with ALL the banks and know ALL the rules. The bank you choose pays me to give you great service and a fantastic product. There are over 300 of them…so don’t sell yourself short.

 

Thank you to Kiki Berg, Dominion Lending Centres for writing this article

15 Nov

You’re in Control with Mortgage Advice and Options

General

Posted by: Jennifer Koop

ADVICE AND OPTIONS MEAN YOU’RE IN CONTROL

Today, you and your spouse go looking for a new home. You’re excited because after years of scrimping and saving, you can finally afford your own place.

You’ve engaged a realtor and he’s called you to say that he’s found your new home. You visit the property and while its not perfect, your realtor insists that this is the home for you. He says there’s nothing else available that’s better suited and urges you to make an offer. He mentions at one point that he’s actually the owner of the property he’s showed you. You make an offer at the price he suggests and, hey presto, the offer is accepted!

You move in at the end of the month, happy that you’ve at least got a roof over your head.

It all sounds pretty unbelievable, doesn’t it? You can’t really imagine doing that, can you?

Let’s look at a similar scenario; one where you make a very similar choice.

A month or two earlier, you casually mention to your mum and dad that you’re going to start looking for a home. They’re both pleased and proud – they ask about your mortgage financing – and recommend you go see their account manager at Big Blue Blank.

Like most Canadians, you prefer going to the dentist over applying for credit, so after you meet with Cal from Big Blue, you’re pleased and relieved when he calls you later that day to say you’ve been pre approved for financing at a fixed rate. He’s even guaranteed the rate for 90 days! When you end up buying that not so perfect home, the mortgage is in place in a blink of an eye.

This time, the whole scenario is way more familiar, isn’t it? Why is the second scenario any more acceptable than the first?

A Mortgage Brokers’ value proposition is based upon the ability to offer independent advice about multiple products provided by multiple lending partners.

How we demonstrate that proposition is by providing both advice and options; advice on not only obtaining the right financing, but also repayment strategies and strategies to handle a changing interested rate environment.

By combining options on rates, terms, repayment privileges and to minimize penalties, we provide you with the one thing you didn’t get in either of the two scenarios – informed choice.

Dealing with a broker, any broker, gives each of us back something we are always looking for; control.

As always, if you have any questions or need help contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist.

 

Thank you to our own Jonathan Barlow, Dominion Lending Centres, Mortgage Professional for writing this article

27 Oct

TIME TO LOCK IN A VARIABLE RATE MORTGAGE?

Latest News

Posted by: Jennifer Koop

TIME TO LOCK IN A VARIABLE RATE MORTGAGE?

Approximately 32 per cent of Canadians are in a variable rate mortgage, which with rates effectively declining steadily for the better part of the last ten years has worked well.

Recent increases triggers questions and concerns, and these questions and concerns are best expressed verbally with a direct call to your independent mortgage expert – not directly with the lender. There are nuances you may not think to consider before you lock in, and that almost certainly will not be primary topics for your lender.

Over the last several years there have been headlines warning us of impending doom with both house price implosion, and interest rate explosion, very little of which has come to fruition other than in a very few localized spots and for short periods of time thus far.

Before accepting what a lender may offer as a lock in rate, especially if you are considering freeing up cash for such things as renovations, travel or putting towards your children’s education, it is best to have your mortgage agent review all your options.

And even if you simply wanted to lock in the existing balance, again the conversation is crucial to have with the right person, as one of the key topics should be prepayment penalties.

In many fixed rate mortgage, the penalty can be quite substantial even when you aren’t very far into your mortgage term. People often assume the penalty for breaking a mortgage amounts to three months’ interest payments, which in the case of 90% of variable rate mortgages is correct. However, in a fixed rate mortgage, the penalty is the greater of three months’ interest or the interest rate differential (IRD).

The ‘IRD’ calculation is a byzantine formula. One designed by people working specifically in the best interests of shareholders, not the best interests of the client (you). The difference in penalties from a variable to a fixed rate product can be as much as a 900 per cent increase.

The massive penalties are designed for banks to recuperate any losses incurred by clients (you) breaking and renegotiating the mortgage at a lower rate. And so locking into a fixed rate product without careful planning can mean significant downside.

Keep in mind that penalties vary from lender to lender and there are different penalties for different types of mortgages. In addition, things like opting for a “cash back” mortgage can influence penalties even more to the negative, with a claw-back of that cash received way back when.

Another consideration is that certain lenders, and thus certain clients, have ‘fixed payment’ variable rate mortgages. Which means that the payment may at this point be artificially low, and locking into a fixed rate may trigger a more significant increase in the payment than expected.

There is no generally ‘correct’ answer to the question of locking in, the type of variable rate mortgage you hold and the potential changes coming up in your life are all important considerations. There is only a ‘specific-to-you’ answer, and even then – it is a decision made with the best information at hand at the time that it is made. Having a detailed conversation with the right people is crucial.

It should also be said that a poll of 33 economists just before the recent Bank of Canada rate increase had 27 advising against another increase. This would suggest that things may have moved too fast too soon as it is, and we may see another period of zero movement. The last time the Bank of Canada pushed the rate to the current level it sat at this level for nearly five full years.

Life is variable, perhaps your mortgage should be too.

As always, if you have questions about locking in your variable mortgage, or breaking your mortgage to secure a lower rate, or any general mortgage questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist.

We would like to thank Tracy Valko – Dominion Lending Centres for writing this piece.