Month: June 2017

Inside and Outside the Box Mortgages in Today’s Market

Latest News & Economy DAZADA DIAMOND 30 Jun

Inside and Outside the Box Mortgages in Today’s Market

Inside and Outside the Box Mortgages in Today's MarketAs we truck along in 2017, Mortgage Brokers and Lenders are adjusting to the new risk based mortgage rate pricing that came into play after the Finance Minister changed Government backed mortgage default insurance regulations in late 2016.

Lenders often choose to pay for mortgage default insurance on mortgages where the borrower was not required to pay it themselves. This method protects a lenders book of business against credit loss, helps them package more secured mortgages together to sell to investors and reduces the amount of capital they are required to maintain. This method in the mortgage industry is called back-end insuring.

The changes have limited the mortgage profiles that lenders are allowed to insure using Government backed insurers. Essentially the Government is intentionally passing on the risk to Lenders by implementing stricter insurance qualifying guidelines and limiting mortgages that can be insured to what they consider lower risk “inside the box” mortgages.

The onus is now on the lender to absorb more costs if a borrower defaults. In the end costs are passed on to borrowers by lenders applying higher rates to less secured mortgages.

If you’re looking for a mortgage in today’s market your circumstances may not fit “inside the Box” and be an insurable mortgage profile and your mortgage rate may be higher. The following is a short list of what insurers have limited their guidelines to:

  • 25 year maximum amortizations
  • Must qualify by using a rate stress test
  • Maximum Gross Debt Service Ratio (GDS) of 39% (shelter expenses)
  • Maximum Total Debt Service Ratio (TDS )of 44% (all liabilities)
  • No refinances
  • No single unit rentals
  • Purchase price must be less than $1 Million

As you can see the insurer’s list is limited making Dominion Lending Centre’s lender connections and mortgage solutions more important than ever! Our Mortgage Brokers have a vast amount of mortgage options available to cover “outside the box” uninsurable mortgage profiles. Whether your refinancing, you need an amortization over 25 years, want to buy a single-unit rental or more we have a mortgage for that!

Contact a DLC Mortgage Broker to get started on your mortgage approval today!


Stuck In a High Rate 10 Year Fixed Mortgage?

Mortgage Tips DAZADA DIAMOND 29 Jun

Stuck In a High Rate 10 Year Fixed Mortgage?

Stuck In a High Rate 10 Year Fixed Mortgage?With low rate offerings over the past several years and a struggling economy, some homeowners chose to lock into a longer term mortgage even if the interest rate was a bit higher. If you are one of those people who feel stuck in a high rate 10 year fixed mortgage you may be wondering if you have options. The answer is YES.

Let’s consider the case of Dan and Anita who own a home and refinanced their mortgage 8 years ago into a 10 year term. They wanted to consolidate their high interest credit cards and their mortgage into one lower monthly payment and be secure with that monthly payment for as long as possible.

The news was painting a picture of doom and they wanted to take advantage of the “record low” rate of 5.25% for 10 years. Over the past few years they have watched the shorter term rates for 5 year term mortgages continue to drop to under 3% and they feel they may have made a poor decision. But since they feel they are stuck in a high rate 10 year fixed mortgage with the potential of a high penalty to get out of the mortgage they have chosen to stick it out. The monthly payments are $1,644 which they can afford but the potential of payments at under 3% for the remaining 5 years would be $1,304 (based on the remaining amortization) which is hard to pass on.

A friend told them to talk to her mortgage broker to see what real options they had. After talking to the broker they learned the penalty for terminating a 10 year mortgage after 5 years is only 3 months interest or $1,200 in their case (and legal fee of about $600). Dan and Anita were stunned they had missed this in the fine print of their mortgage agreement. And to top if off this policy is determined by law and not by the lender. This was great news for the happy couple. The broker also ran numbers to show them how they could further take advantage of the lower interest rate and increase their monthly payments to pay off their mortgage faster.

By increasing the payment by 20% – which was still lower than what they were paying before and paying bi-weekly instead of monthly, they lowered their interest costs by $20,000 over the next 5 years and reduced their amortization from 25 years to 12 years!

The morale of this story is, if you are stuck in a high rate 10 year fixed mortgage and you are close to the 5 year mark, you should talk with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker (I and see what options you have to save yourself some money on your mortgage. What would you do with a savings of over $20,000?


Things Mortgage Professionals Wished the Self Employed Knew

Mortgage Tips DAZADA DIAMOND 21 Jun

Things Mortgage Professionals Wished the Self Employed Knew

This is the third part of a series by Pam Pikkert of things the average mortgage professional wished people knew so that they would not be held back by inadvertent missteps.

The next installment in the things we wished people knew series is targeted at the self-employed. This intrepid group of risk takers are entrepreneurial and help keep the economy moving but all too often we meet with these people and have to give news we would rather not give. So let’s look at what we wish they knew.

1. Surround yourself with professionals. You are the expert in your field without a doubt, but that doesn’t translate to being able to do it all.
Having a knowledgeable book keeper and a well-qualified accountant can save you a fortune in tax deductions and time lost. They are in your corner come tax time and heaven forbid through an audit by the CRA. Their job is to know the ins and outs of taxes so that you can put your focus on growing your business.
A lawyer is also invaluable. They will protect you against loopholes you didn’t know to look for in contracts.
Mortgage professionals are also a must. A Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage professional can help you with your home, a rental portfolio if you plan to diversify and commercial lending when you are ready.

2. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. The lending landscape in Canada has totally shifted in the past few years. Long gone are the days of simply stating what you earn without any verification of such and being offered a mortgage with little money down and low rates. If you choose to write off as much of your income as possible to avoid as much taxes as possible, then you will pay a higher interest rate on your mortgage

3. You have to keep your affairs up to date. That means getting the accountant prepared financials, filing your annual returns and most importantly paying your taxes. If you have a large outstanding tax balance, you are going to find it nearly impossible to get a mortgage. Taxes trump mortgage in order of who gets paid first so there are no prime or near prime lenders out there who will lend to you until these are paid.

4. The magical number in the mortgage world is 2. You have to have a 2-year history of self-employment with accompanying documentation to be able to proceed with the mainstream lenders in most cases. You also need 2 types of credit each with at least a $2,000 limit to keep your credit strong. Be aware of how debt may affect your purchasing ability. A large credit balance and a high vehicle payment will dramatically affect your ability to purchase a home. That $13,000 line of credit or a $400 vehicle payment will each decrease your purchasing power by $100,000.

The bottom line is this, make sure that you use your whole team. If you are wanting to buy a home within a couple of years then before you go fully self-employed or purchase that new truck or write off all the income you can, talk to your mortgage professional to ensure you are not inadvertently putting your home ownership goals on hold.


Keeping your economic future on the right path


Keeping your economic future on the right path

Most working Canadians have an income range in the middle class.
This income class includes teachers, firefighters, plumbers, engineers, nurses, construction managers and chefs – workers from across the economic spectrum. They provide and consume the bulk of services that keep society afloat, driving economic growth and investment with every purchase.
The middle class also has great challenges. Wages have been stagnant and the cost of housing and everyday goods puts a squeeze on the average budget, leaving six out of 10 Canadians living paycheque-to-paycheque with most accumulating debt.
In part, this has to do with everyday life and the growing demands on our set of unique challenges. However, we need to “control the controllables” and be smart and strategic to get ahead.

Here are some tips to keep your economic future on the right path:
1. Spend within your means.
Most people keep a balance at months end on their credit cards and lines of credit – some out of necessity, but some by choice because they want to keep up with the Joneses or fill an emotional void. If you are trying to get ahead financially, ask yourself what your plan is to get rid of that debt? It should not be something that is with you to carry over a balance. It’s time to assess your lifestyle and how you are using your home equity and the market to your advantage if you own a home. Holding the debt is a costly mistake- most debts outside a mortgage range from more than five per cent to 19 per cent. Credit is an important part of life and you need it. The biggest life hack is to pay it in full every month with an auto setup payment – this one strategy saves costs, debt and stress.

2. Emergency fund is a must.
Ask yourself this, what would happen right now if your car broke down, your house need a new roof, or you lost your job? Most Canadians would have to go to credit cards or lines of credit.
You need six months of expenses put aside, period. If you don’t have this you will begin a cycle of debt. There are ways to do this automatic withdrawal into an account from your paycheque or when your mortgage renewal is up.

3. Giving your retirement a raise and start in high school.
Consider how long wages have felt stagnant while the cost of everything goes up. When you are young and your wages go up, increase your retirement contribution. Get compound interest working for you. Time is your friend. By saving a percentage automatically by paying yourself first, your investment grows your options. There are tax free savings accounts and RRSP’s that will begin the foundation of your financial future. It should start from the moment you get your first job, then when you fast forward through your 20s to 50s, your investment doesn’t have to be as large. Life will throw you enough challenges at that time to deal with, and you already have time and compound interest working for you, and you are in front of it, not chasing to catch up.

4. Relying on RRSP’s, OAS and CPP.
Contributing to tax advantaged products are one component of investing, but they have restrictions. Also, government future income plans are always going to be changing. Having a proactive mortgage and finance plan will allow you to get your assets working for you, so you can have multiple streams of income. Being self-sufficient is empowering, then if and when the other options are still available and advantageous, they are a bonus and you are in control based on your proactive abilities.
5. Spending too much on depreciating assets.
The average Canadian spends $570 a month on a new car payment. This can go up to as much as $1,400 per month- that’s just for the car, not insurance, gas, or maintenance. The problem is that it’s a depreciating asset. To put it into perspective, that range in payment takes away qualification for a whopping $150,000 to $400,000 in mortgage amount qualification. So for someone in the middle class who intends to buy a home, which is an appreciating asset, the car payment should be the absolute lowest priority, and should be avoided whenever possible. Think of the power you could have saving that kind of money or having it in an income-generating asset.

6. Having a will and keeping it current.
Your will should include your up-to-date investments, insurance policies, real estate and family gems. With life happening so quickly, it’s easy to have a few stages fly by, but then things can get messy. You don’t want your hard earned money in the hands of anyone but whom it’s intended for.

It’s never a bad idea to speak to a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist if you have a question.


Are you looking for a mortgage as if it were a commodity?

Mortgage Tips DAZADA DIAMOND 19 Jun

Are you looking for a mortgage as if it were a commodity?

I’ve heard brokers say more than once that mortgages are a commodity, by definition a commodity is a basic good used in commerce that is interchangeable with other commodities of the same type. That doesn’t sound like mortgages to me.

While the core product is always the same, money lent that is secured by real estate, the nuances of a mortgage can vary a lot. When we look at what the client is looking to do with that property and what their life style is composed of, we have to be sure that we aren’t just placing them for the sake of placing them in a mortgage. We have a duty to the client to make sure that even though they are looking for that lowest rate that it doesn’t tie them into a mortgage they can’t get out of in a reasonable manner. I recently had a client whose parent had gotten a mortgage on a property that the kids were living in with the idea that down the road when the kids had some money they would buy the house from Mom and Dad.  Problem was that when I read the original commitment the bank representative had not explained that the sale had to be arm’s length sale; sorry kids you need to move out.

By some standards the comparison for commodities that a barrel of oil is a barrel of oil, when as an Albertan I already know that the heavy crude from Fort McMurray sells for a discount because while it is needed to toughen up the Texas oils, they just don’t need as much of it. By mortgage standards the same applies, if the rate is lower than the market there has to be a reason. The reasons can range from as simple as the yearly buy down is only 10% instead of 20% and range up to the office doing it pays their staff a salary and they use the extra money to buy down the rate.  Regardless of the reason we still need to make sure the product we recommend to our clients fits their needs and plans for the future. And if you have any questions, please contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist.


Closing Bonuses Aren’t Real Bonuses

Mortgage Tips DAZADA DIAMOND 16 Jun

Closing Bonuses Aren’t Real Bonuses

You’ve seen the real estate shows that dramatize the buying of a home and the star TV Realtor says “hey, let’s offer this price and have them pay you a $5,000 closing cost bonus”. Or, the real estate listing that offers a “decorating bonus of $3,500”. In both examples, the vendor (seller) is offering additional money as an incentive to buy their home.
While at first, the bonuses and offers seem great, you should know that unless you are paying cash for the house (ie: not getting a mortgage for the purchase), they are worth nothing in the end.
Let’s use the following example of a purchase price of $300,000 with a “decorating bonus” of $5,000. The seller accepts your offer and written into the purchase and sale agreement is the bonus of $5,000. When you get a mortgage, your lender also gets a copy of your agreement. When the lender reviews it, they will adjust your purchase price to $295,000. The reason for the adjustment makes sense when you are actually paying a net price of $295,000 for the property ($300,000 minus the value of the bonus of $5,000 = $295,000). The lender cannot use a purchase price of $300,000 since you are not paying the full $300,000 for the house after receiving the bonus from the seller.
Many buyers are surprised when this happens and are not often told of this by their Realtor, and unless explained by their lender or Mortgage Broker, will have a big surprise on closing when they must come up with an additional $5,000 out of their own pocket (since the lender has reduced the value of the property) then will receive the money back from the vender on closing, thus making it a net zero gain.
When paying cash, the above example doesn’t apply as there is no mortgage lender involved and you would pay $300,000 for the house and receive $5,000 on closing. Whether you were arranging a mortgage or not, the net outlay of cash is $295,000. The only difference with a mortgage is that you must pay the difference on closing up front to get the bonus.
It should also be noted, that with purchases of homes that include items of value that wouldn’t normally be included with a home such as a boat, large riding lawn mower, or even furniture, your lender can request that the purchase price of the home be reduced by the value of the item (since lenders won’t mortgage boats or furniture).
So, the next time you hear “closing cost bonus”, “decorating bonus”, “early closing incentive”, be aware that if you are mortgaging the property, your initial down payment will be increased by the amount of the bonus. My advice: just make the purchase price what you want to pay for the property. Don’t make it complicated with closing bonuses.

It’s always best to talk to a dedicated Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional in your area.


Mortgage-Geek History


Mortgage-Geek History

The average person if stopped on the street and asked; Are today’s low interest rates driving up house prices? Would likely say ‘yes’.
They would be wrong.
And we can let their lack of understanding pass, after all we can agree that math mostly sucks.
However to ask a Realtor, banker, or your Mortgage Broker this question and get the same answer is another story, for them to say ‘yes’ to this question is a large red flag.
Following are some basic numbers that might surprise you, unless you are a Mortgage Broker.

A buyer with 10% Down and a $100,000 annual gross income.
At the time rates were ~4.99% and amortizations were capped at 40 years
Maximum mortgage amount?

Moving along…
A buyer with 10% Down and a $100,000 annual gross income.
At the time rates were ~2.49% and amortizations were capped at 25 years
Maximum mortgage amount?

But then something happened, in response to rising prices and an apparent lack of understanding as to basic math, our Federal Government changed the rules.
And our average person on the street that answered that first question, they were totally cool with things being tightened down, until they went to apply for a mortgage themselves…and found this new reality:
A buyer with 10% Down and a $100,000 annual gross income.
With rates still ~2.49% and amortizations still capped at 25 years.
Maximum mortgage amount?

The exact same household with $100,000 annual income, impeccable credit, a 10% down payment was told, in this very competitive market with a 0.27% arrears rate, a group of households that made it through the 2008/9 meltdown just fine, that now, in 2017, they needed to have their purchasing power cut back by ~$121,500.

If you have any questions, talk to a dedicated Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional in your area.



How to Interview a Mortgage Professional


How to Interview a Mortgage Professional

This is the second part of a series over the next few weeks of things the average mortgage professional wished people knew so that they would not be held back by inadvertent missteps.

There is so much information about everything these days and quite frankly it is overwhelming to say the least. You want to make the best decision possible when it comes to the loan you are taking for your home but how can you be sure you are choosing the right mortgage professional to help you? Here is a list of questions you should be sure to ask. Even if you are working with your own financial institution you should take the position of buyer beware.
Do some online research ahead of time. Check out feedback from other people and take a look at the website. You can see what the best rates are in the open market to know if you are being offered the best deal.
Ask questions!! Here are the ones I think are the most important:
Start by asking them a bit about themselves.
• Do you do mortgages full time?
• What other accreditations do you have in your field?
• How long have you been in this industry?
• Do you regularly attend training?

Then ask the following about the mortgage:
• Is it fully portable anywhere in Canada? What are the restrictions upon porting?
• How is the penalty calculated? Am I being offered a discounted rate which will come with a higher penalty if I end up breaking the mortgage?
• Will my pre-approval be fully reviewed or is it just a rate hold?
• Will you pull my credit prior to me writing an offer?
• Is this a collateral mortgage? Can you explain why that is in my best interest?
• How do you get paid? Are you a commissioned based position or a salaried one?
• What are the pre-payment privileges?
• Should I consider something besides the 5 year fixed rate?
• What other costs should I expect? Lender fee, appraisal, legal, title insurance
• Is life insurance mandatory with this loan?
• What paperwork will you require?
• What are your best rates?

Once you have taken the time to ask the above, you will be better educated and you will have taken the time to determine that this person is the right one for you. It is going to be hard and feel downright un-Canadian to be so forthright but you will be glad you did when the process is smooth and you avoid nasty surprises later on.

There are so many amazing Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professionals who are more than happy to answer your questions.


Industry initials explained


Industry initials explained

Many of us will remember the television show, Mork and Mindy.

Imagine that you have just moved to Canada and you overhear a conversation, “ I was watching NBC and they said that the FBI arrested a criminal at IGA.”

You probably wouldn’t understand what they said because we all use acronyms. We often replace the long descriptions for many organizations, institutions and government bodies with the initials or short forms in conversations. The show was based on Mork, an alien, misunderstanding terms, expressions and common traditions that we have in our society. It made for a funny show but it’s not so funny if you are new to Canada or want to make the largest purchase in your life.

Imagine this same person speaking to a realtor or a mortgage broker when they started using abbreviations for words used in their industry. As a public service to any of you who may have recently arrived from a foreign county or another planet, I am going to define a few expressions that we all take for granted.


AMORTIZATION – How long you have to pay off the mortgage on a home. Typically in Canada you have 25 years. In Japan it can be 99 years. Payments are spread out equally over the specified time period . If they were not, you would have huge payments in the first few years and very small ones in the last 6 months of your mortgage term.

DOWN –  short for down payment. A deposit of 5% minimum is required for a home purchase.

FLEX DOWN – a borrowed down payment program, where the repayment of the loan is included in the debt calculations.

PULL – “He pulled my credit before the loan approval “ – a pull is a credit bureau report inquiry.

TRADE LINES –  a trade line is a credit card or cellphone  account, a loan or mortgage that appears on your credit report.

DEROGS – short for derogatory , referring to late payments on your credit report.

20/20 – refer to your ability to repay 20% of the mortgage balance or increase your payment by 20% without incurring a penalty.

MIC – short for a Mortgage Investment Corporation – a group of investors who will lend you the money for a mortgage if a traditional lender will not due to unusual circumstances.

TERM – although mortgages have 25 year amortizations, Canadians traditionally take terms of 1- 5 years and then renegotiate their mortgages. 1-5 years is the TERM.

DEFAULT – failing to pay your mortgage on time puts your mortgage into DEFAULT

FORECLOSESURE – If your mortgage is in default you can make your payments up or the lender will put your home in FORECLOSEURE and you will lose your home.

OPEN MORTGAGE – a mortgage where you can pay out the mortgage at any time during the term.

CLOSED MORTGAGE –a mortgage where you have agreed to pay the lender for a specified period of time . If you wish to terminate the mortgage, a penalty will have to be paid.

PIT – principal, interest and taxes – an amount  used to calculate how much  you  can afford to pay monthly on your home.  Often heat is also included in this calculation (PITH) .

High Ratio – a mortgage where the buyer has less than 20% for the down payment and needs to pay CMHC fees to insure it.

CONVENTIONAL – a mortgage where the buyer has 20% or more down payment or equity in their home.

While I have not covered all the terms you may encounter I hope that I have covered most of them.

If you find yourself talking to a mortgage broker who is using business expressions you should feel free to remind them that you are not in the industry and would like to the terms explained. Any broker worth their salt will be very happy to explain these terms to you. There are many Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professionals who are more than happy to answer your questions.


Go long or short with your rate

Mortgage Tips DAZADA DIAMOND 9 Jun

9 Jun 2017

Go long or short with your rate

With all the news about interest rates rising do you go long or short with your rate when you set up your mortgage?

After discussing your current life situation and answering some key questions with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker you can make some decisions and set your mortgage rate and term to best fit your needs. There are many interest rate terms to choose from (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10 year fixed and 3 and 5 year variable). If you are looking to lock in to a short or long term fixed rate, consider this:

A long-term mortgage makes sense if:

• If rates were on the rise and you could not take the hit. A long term rate gives you peace of mind.
• You don’t have a nest egg of savings or investments to fall back on
• You have little equity or net worth
• Your income could change based on a growing family or retirement for example

A short-term mortgage may be the way to go if:

• You expect to pay off large chunks of your mortgage or sell your home within the next three years
• You have a short remaining amortization (e.g. 5-6 years or less)
• Your credit is impaired and you need alternative lending till you repair your credit so you can qualify at a better rate in one year.
• You need to refinance in coming years to access your equity for education, investment purposes, etc
• You believe rates won’t rise soon and you have a short-term rate where you can make higher-than-required payments to maximize the reduction of your mortgage

With two year rates in the low two per cent, five-year fixed rates under three per cent and 10 year terms under four per cent there is enough of a spread that some borrowers can decide easily to go long or short with your rate. If you want flexibility go short. If you have little equity and want to play it safe maybe the long term rate for 5,7 or 10 years is for you. As rates shift upwards and the spread between the five and 10 year shortens you have to consider if a difference of .5 per cent in a rate may be so insignificant that locking in to a long term rate may make sense for some, while others will take the risk and continue to play the short game. We have seen the spread between the short and long term rates become slim which creates the opportunity for discussion. These are decisions you can only make once you run the numbers with your DLC mortgage broker.

Maybe it is time to add a call to your mortgage broker to review your mortgage plan.