Month: April 2018

REVERSE MORTGAGE – THE PROS AND CONS

General Kristine Rosalin 30 Apr

You may be seeing and hearing a lot more regarding the Reverse Mortgage in today’s marketplace. I have taken the time to get familiar with the program here in Canada and have been quite surprised by how it’s changed and how different it is to its counterpart in the U.S. and how relevant it has become given our aging population in Canada.

Who are they best suited for? People age 55+ that own a house, townhouse, or condo and want to either increase their cash flow, or access equity without making a monthly payment. The older the client, the higher the approved limit.

Here is a list of PROS and CONS of the Reverse Mortgage.

Pros

  • Funds can be advanced as needed such as a line of credit with interest only accruing on the money advanced.
  • No income debt servicing like other ‘standard’ mortgages. Retirees with fixed incomes can qualify for much more money as our approvals are based on age and property.
  • No payments required. Borrower can retain more of their income and never worry about default or foreclosure.
  • Changes in interest rates don’t affect the client’s monthly cash flow since there no payment required.
  • Clients can pay up to 10% towards the loan if they choose each year, but there is no obligation.
  • Prepayment penalties are waived upon death and reduced by 50% if the borrower(s) are moving into a care home.
  • Borrowers will never owe more than the fair market value of the home at the time it is sold
  • There are no changes to the mortgage amount and no payments required if one spouse passes or moves into a care home.
  • With conservative house appreciation of just 2.5% to 3% per year over time will typically make up for the accruing interest on the reverse mortgage leaving clients with plenty of equity in the end.

Cons

  • Client are choosing to have more income/cash flow TODAY, in return for having less savings in the home TOMORROW.
  • All clients are required to obtain independent legal advice, which is a good thing. But there is a small extra cost. Total one-time set up and legal fees run approximately $2,500.
  • Rates are approximately 1.5% to 2% higher than a best rate secured line of credit.
  • If the housing market never goes up, and the client lives in the home long enough, there is a chance the client could exhaust all the equity in the home to fund their retirement.

If you, a family member, or a contact of yours could benefit from a reverse mortgage or want to learn more, please contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional who can walk you through the entire process.

SUBJECT TO FINANCING- A MUST!

General Kristine Rosalin 26 Apr

With most people who are new to real estate and looking for their first home (or possibly second), one of the most significant times is when your offer to buy is accepted by a seller. Unfortunately, that moment is quickly followed by stress, as not many people know what comes next- securing financing. 99% of the time a realtor will ask you if you have been qualified by a bank or a mortgage broker before they write an offer on your behalf. What should be told to you, the client, by the realtor and your mortgage broker is that you need to have a subject to financing condition in your offer.

In order for someone to receive a mortgage from a lender, they need to meet the lender’s (and some times the insurer’s) conditions. Usually, these all revolve around a borrower’s down payment money, their income as well as employment, and the property they are making an offer on. If you make an offer on a home and it is accepted, but for example the lender doesn’t like the property because the strata board doesn’t have enough money in their contingency fund to fix the leaking roof in the next 12 months, they could turn down your application and not lend you money.

If you don’t have the money, you don’t get the home. That is why you have a subject to financing condition, so if for any reason, you can’t meet the lender’s requirements with your income, down payment, or if the property is unacceptable to them or the insurer, you can cancel your offer without any hassle or loss of deposit.

What happens if you make a subject free offer? If you make an offer on a home and it doesn’t have a subject to financing condition in it, that house is now yours once the offer is accepted. Your deposit is no longer yours, and you have to come up with the remaining money. If you cannot and are unable to complete the purchase, the seller may file a lawsuit against you for damages as they have now taken their home off the market potentially losing out on the ability to sell their home to someone else while they waited for you to get financing.

Always, always, always have a condition in your offer that states subject to financing and allow yourself 3 to 5 business days. If you go in without that fail safe and it turns out you really need it, you will potentially be on the hook and if the seller wishes, he or she can sue you for any potential losses. Subject to financing is a must! If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

ARE MORTGAGE TERMS MORE IMPORTANT THAN RATE?

General Kristine Rosalin 23 Apr

Why are the terms more important than rate when it comes to a mortgage?

Simple. Seven out of 10 Canadians break their mortgages prior to the renewal date. Taking the wrong mortgage when you could have qualified for a better one- is a costly mistake.

The biggest mistake anyone can make is they don’t think they need to make a change, or they’re the three-in 10 that won’t break a mortgage.

For those people I give you a short list of potential reasons why you might need to get out of a mortgage early.

1. Sale and purchase – maybe you get an offer you can’t refuse, either work or real estate related, maybe the zoning has changed, your neighbours or strata are unmanageable or maybe you want to grow your family
2. Take Equity out – get renovations done, help family members or buy another investment, pay CRA, or assessments on property
3. Pay off debt – maybe you are like the over 60% of Canadians living paycheque to paycheque and paying over 5% on credit cards or lines of credit. There are much more savings in interest and cash flow for you utilizing your equity.
4. Relationship changes – moving in together, divorce is at a 50% rate these days, kids (needing more space or need to move in together).
5. Health or life challenges – huge illness, unemployment or death of someone on title can be a burden enough.
6. Removing someone from title – a co-signer (3/10 homebuyers get help from a family member) or an ex-spouse.
7. Save money with a lower rate – the market is always changing. It may make sense to break early and go with a different term as the market changes.
8. Pay it off – maybe you won the lottery or got an inheritance.

Some of the above is not avoidable, but the one thing you totally can control is who you align yourself with when shopping for a mortgage. A Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker will always be looking at all the factors involved in a mortgage without bias to help you make an educated decision on what best suits you.

WHAT IS A “MONOLINE” LENDER?

General Kristine Rosalin 20 Apr

 

What usually follows once someone hears the term “Monoline Lender” for the first time is a feeling of suspicion and lack of trust. It’s understandable, I mean why is this “bank” you’ve never heard of willing to loan you money when you’ve never banked with them before?

In an effort to help you see the benefits of working with a Monoline Lender, here is some basic information that will help you understand why you’ve never heard of them, why you want to, and the reason they are referred to as lenders, not banks.

Monoline Lenders only operate in the mortgage space. They do not offer chequing or savings accounts, nor do they offer investments through RRSPs, GICs, or Tax-Free Savings Accounts. They are called Monoline because they have one line of business- mortgages.

This also plays into the reasons you never see their name or locations anywhere. There is no need for them to market on bus stop benches or billboards as they are only accessible through mortgage brokers, making their need to market to you unnecessary. The branch locations are also unnecessary because you do not have day-to-day banking, savings accounts, investment accounts, or credit cards through them. All your banking stays the exact same, with the only difference of a pre-authorized payments coming from your account for the monthly mortgage payment. Any questions or concerns, they have a phone number and communicate documents through e-mail.

Would it help Monoline Lenders to advertise and create brand awareness with the public? Absolutely. Is it necessary for them to remain in business? No.

Monoline Lenders also have some of the lowest interest rates on the market, the most attractive pre-payment privileges, and the lowest pre-payment penalties, especially when compared to a bigger bank like CIBC or RBC. If you don’t think these points are important, ask someone whose had a mortgage with one of these bigger banks and sold their property before their term was up and paid upwards of $12,000 in penalty fees. An equivalent amount with a Monoline Lender would be anywhere from $2,000-$4,000 in fees.

Monoline Lenders are not to be feared, they should be welcomed, as they are some of the most accommodating and client service-oriented lenders around! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

CLOSING COSTS

General Kristine Rosalin 19 Apr

Closing costs are a necessity when it comes to purchasing a home. They are not included in down payments, they are not included in monthly mortgage payments, nor are they included in the purchase price of a home, but you are still responsible for paying them, in full. Knowing they exist is half the battle, and correctly budgeting yourself to pay them when the time comes can be a huge weight off your shoulders, especially when the alternative is finding out a week before you close on the purchase of a home that you still owe thousands of dollars.

Lenders will require you to have 1.5% of a property’s purchase price available in cash to be able to cover closing costs. This amount is on top of the 5% minimum required for a down payment. Closing costs that you may be expected to pay, depending what province you live in, when purchasing a home in are as follows:

  1. Appraisal- determining the value of a home.
  2. Interest Adjustment- amount of interest due between your mortgage start date and the date the first mortgage payment is calculated from.
  3. Property Transfer Tax- a tax paid to the provincial government when a property changes hands.
  4. Legal Fees- costs associated with finalizing the sale or purchase of a property.
  5. Prepaid Property Tax & Utility Adjustments- amount you will owe if the person selling you the home has prepaid any property taxes or utility bills.
  6. Property Survey- legal description of the property you are purchasing including it’s location and dimension.
  7. Sales Taxes- some properties are sales tax exempt (GST and/or PST), and some are not. Always ask before signing an offer.

As you can see, many factors go into determining the size of these costs. That is why it is also important to speak with a mortgage broker/agent prior to making an offer on a home. Also, some costs may be exempt, such as the property transfer tax for first-time home buyers. Contact me to find out if you would qualify to have these costs covered.

BREAKING A MORTGAGE – CAN YOU DO IT?

General Kristine Rosalin 17 Apr

Do you have a mortgage? So do I! Looks like we have something in common. Did you know that 6 out of 10 consumers break their mortgage 38 months into a 5-year term? That means that 60% of consumers break a 5-year term mortgage well before it’s due…but do you also know what the implications are of this? Let’s take a look!

People need to break a mortgage for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common include:

· Sale and purchase of a new home *without a portable mortgage
· To take equity out/refinance
· Relationship changes (ex. Divorce)
· Health challenges or life circumstances are altered

And a whole other variety of reasons. So what happens if you have one of the above reasons, or one of your own occur and you have to break your mortgage? Here is an example of what would happen:

Jane and John Smith have lived in their home for 2 years now. When they bought the home, they recognized that it would need some major renovations down the road, but they loved the location and the layout of the home. They purchased it for $300,000 and have 3 years left but would like to access some of the equity in their home and refinance the mortgage to afford some of the bigger home renovations. This refinancing would be with 3 years left on their current mortgage. So, what are Jane and John looking at for cost? There are two methods that are used to calculate the penalty:

POSTED RATE METHOD (used by major banks and some credit unions)
With this method, the Bank of Canada 5 year posted rate is used to calculate the penalty for Jane and John. Under this method, let’s assume that they were given a 2% discount at their bank thus giving us these numbers:

Bank of Canada Posted Rate for 5-year term: 5.14%
Bank Discount given: 2% (estimated amount given*)
Contract Rate: 3.14%

Exiting at the 2-year mark leaves 3 years left. For a 3-year term, the lenders posted rate. 3 year posted rate=3.44% less your discount of 2% gives you 1.44% From there, the interest rate differential is calculated.

Contract Rate: 3.14%
LESS 3-year term rate MINUS discount given: 1.45%
IRD Difference = 1.7%
MULTIPLE that by 3 years (term remaining)
5.07% of your mortgage balance remaining. = 5.1%

For the Smith’s $300,000 mortgage, that gives them a penalty of $15,300. YIKES!

Now, Jane and John were smart though and used their Dominion Lending Centres broker to get their mortgage. Because of this, a different method is used.

PUBLISHED RATE METHOD (used by broker lenders and most credit unions)

This method uses the lender published rates, which are generally much more in tune with what you will see on lender websites (and are generally much more reasonable). Here is the breakdown using this method:

Rate when you initially signed: 3.24%
Published Rate: 3.54%
Time left on contract: 3 years

To calculate the IRD on the remaining term left in the mortgage, the broker would do as follows:

Rate when you initially signed: 3.24%
LESS Published Rate: 3.54%
=0.30% IRD
MULTIPLE that by 3 years (term remaining)
0.90% of your mortgage balance

That would mean that the Smith’s would have a penalty of $2,700 on their $300,000 mortgage

A much more favourable and workable outcome! Keep in mind that with the above example is one that works only if the borrower has:
· Good credit
· Documented income
· Normal residential type property
· Fixed rate mortgage

For Variable rates mortgages, generally the penalty will be 3 months interest (no IRD applies).

If you find yourself in one of the scenarios that we listed at the start of this blog, or if you just need to get out of your mortgage early, be smart like Jane and John—review your options with a DLC Broker! In the example above, it saved them $12,600 to work with a broker! It really does pay to have a Mortgage Broker working for you.

THE FLEXIBLE DOWN PAYMENT PROGRAM

General Kristine Rosalin 16 Apr

One of the toughest challenges for homebuyers is being able to save money at the rate of property price increases.
We know many high-income renters would like to be homeowners, but they’re just unaware of how to make the transition and are unable to save fast enough.
There are several options which are great for a down payment if you can use a combination or one of the traditional methods
1. Savings
2. Gift from parents
3. RRSPs
4. Selling an asset
5. Inheritance

Kindly keep in mind this option won’t be for everyone as the following criteria must be met; it’s simply to illustrate the opportunity to go from renter to owner as soon as possible.
The Flexible Down Payment program allows homebuyers to use existing credit facilities as their down payment.

DETAILS:
Minimum household income required is $200,000 combined
• Minimum 650+ beacon score
• Minimum two years history reporting on Credit Bureau
• Sources of down payment: line of credit, credit card, personal Loan
• Include borrowed down payment in the debt servicing of the deal. Example: Unsecured LOC at 3%, Credit Card at 3%, store brand Credit Card at 5%, Personal Loan at actual payments.
• No late payments in the past 36 months
• High Ratio Deals only: 90.01-95% LTV
• 25 year amortization
• Strong Employment History
• No previous bankruptcy or consumer proposal

We can walk you through the details, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional today!

TIME FOR A MORTGAGE RENEWAL

General Kristine Rosalin 12 Apr

Is your mortgage coming up for renewal this year?

There is a good chance that you or someone you know has a mortgage coming due. Some 47% of Canadians, almost one out of every two households, that currently have financing in place will mature within the next 12 months with a major lender in Canada.

Here are a couple simple rules to follow if you, a friend, a family member or colleague are renewing your mortgage this year.

  • DO NOT just simply sign the renewal letter that comes in the mail.
  • INVESTIGATE your options.

70% of all mortgagors simply sign the renewal letter that comes in the mail. You would think that because you have been with the current lender for so long that you would receive the BEST rate out there. NEWS FLASH, that is 100% false. Remember, lenders are in business of making money for their shareholders. Your current lender has done their homework, you should do yours. They know that most of the borrowers will sign and send back the form for ease and convenience. We are lazy by nature and we possess too much trust. As finance consumers, there are scenarios I’ve seen where we are leaving 20-40 (0.20% – 0.40%) basis points on the table.

I recently read an article online that indicated the average mortgage amount in the Metro Vancouver area was $438,716 for 2016. Let’s round that amount to $450,000 for ease of calculation. For every 0.25% difference the mortgage payment increases (or decreases) $13 per every $100,000 extended. If your current lender offered you a rate 0.25% higher than another lender then this scenario would yield an annual increase of $936. Are you able to invest 4-5 hours of your time to save that kind of money? Heck ya you can! That is $187.20 – $234 per hour.

Renewing with your existing lender may or may not be your only option. When 47% of you out there receive the renewal letter in the mail this year, call me to discuss ALL your options – switching lenders to save money and/or leveraging equity for financial planning purposes.

Here is an example of how to re-financed your home to access equity. Obtaining a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) mortgage product from a major Canadian charter bank.

  • Current residence appraised at $1.15MM.
  • Current mortgage balance, $445,000.
  • Maximum loan limit, $920,000 (80% of market value: 1,150,000 x 80%).
  • Opted to secure the current balance into a variable rate mortgage
  • The equity of $475,000 was set-up access from a line of credit
  • These clients now have access to funds for any future needs: renos, emergency, investment opportunities, post-secondary education for their children.

But while a HELOC allows for product diversification and long-term planning, it is not for everyone. It can be a bad idea if it’s just used as access to easy cash. One needs to possess high self-discipline, as the funds are extremely accessible. A HELOC is also not available to all homeowners as there must be greater than 20% equity in the home before a lender will consider it.

With 13 modifications to the lending policies since 2006 the time to plan is now. If I were to attempt the same re-financing maneuver today to leverage equity I would qualify for 20% less ($95,000) or $380,000. This would be one less rental property added to the portfolio. Before anymore changes happen, you should consider accessing your money today.

SETTING UP YOUR HELOC

General Kristine Rosalin 11 Apr

A HELOC, or, Home Equity Line of Credit, can be one of the greatest gifts you give yourself. Borrowing money against your home as you accumulate equity through a shrinking mortgage or an increasing property value- something almost many people in the Vancouver and Toronto markets can relate to.

With all this increasing value and home appreciation, people are looking to cash in and utilize this new-found money. Unfortunately, one of the first things people think to do is sell! This can be counter-intuitive because you may of just sold your house for $150,000 more than what you bought it for last year, but you are now stuck buying a house that has gone up $100,000, $150,000, possibly $200,000 in the same amount of time.

So what can you do?

Open up a HELOC. You can do this separately through a second lender, move your mortgage over to one of the big banks like Scotia and enter a STEP, or utilize Manulife’s new Manulife One mortgage product. As you pay down your mortgage and accumulate equity in your home, you unlock the ability to spend money on a line of credit that is secured against that same equity you have built up in your home.

Let’s say you bought a pre-sale condo for $225,000. Two-years later it is worth $375,000. If you have that mortgage set-up with a HELOC component, you could potentially have $100,000 available to you on a line of credit if you qualify. What could you do with $100,000 where you are making interest only payments? Buy a rental property that breaks even or better yet has positive cash flow. You can build equity in a second home while someone else pays the mortgage through rent.

Don’t want to buy an investment property? Maybe you want to invest in stocks or funds where the expected return is more than the interest you are paying? Maybe you need to do renovations? Planning a wedding? Travelling? The list goes on.

Setting up a HELOC for yourself can open up many doors, all without having to give up your property and pigeon hole yourself into over-paying for someone else’s! Call me today to see if you qualify for a Home Equity Line of Credit.

TOP 5 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUILDING YOUR NEW HOME

General Kristine Rosalin 9 Apr

TOP 5 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUILDING YOUR NEW HOME

Building a new home – It’s something that many couples dream of. It can be an exciting, stressful, joyful, crazy time period that many walk away from saying “never again” or “bring on the next one!” We scoured the internet and sorted through our own experiences to bring you the Top 5 things to consider when you are building a new home.

1) It’s All In The Numbers

Just like house-shopping, building a home from the ground up requires you to know what you can afford. Most house plans offer a cost to build tool (usually for a nominal fee) to give you an accurate estimate of construction costs based on where you’re building. The numbers include the costs of construction, tax benefits, funds for the down payment and slush account, and other related calculations.

Once you have determined what you can and are willing to spend, meet with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker to discuss how much you wish to borrow for your home.

Renovations and the actual building portion aside, we often are asked on what a mortgage looks like for an unbuilt home. This is where a “construction” mortgage comes into play. The budget you give your broker should include your hard and soft costs as well as the reserve of money you plan to have set aside in case you run into unexpected events.

It’s this initial budget that a lender will determine how much you qualify for.

For example, based on the lender loaning up to 75% of the total cost (with 25% down):

Land purchase price (as is) Total soft and hard costs Total Cost (as complete)

$200,000

$400,000

$600,000 x 75% = $450,000 available to loan

Keep in mind, the lender will also consider the appraised value of the finished product. In this example, the completed appraised value of the home would have to be at least $600,000 to qualify for the amount available to loan. The appraised value is determined before the project begins.

As well, the client will have to come up with the initial $150,000 to be able to finance the total cost of $600,000. A down payment of $150,000 plus the loan amount of $450,000 = the total cost of $600,000.

2) Choose a Reputable Builder

Builders are a dime a dozen, but not all of them are qualified or will be the right one for your project. Careful research is needed when determining who will be the head contractor of your home-building project. Alternatively, one of the best ways to find your perfect contractor is by asking friends and family who have gone through the process. Another great source is your mortgage broker! They often have many industry connections to some of the most qualified contractors and builders. Ask them if they know of anyone—we can almost guarantee they can will have at least one or more referrals for you.

3) Build a Home for Tomorrow

It can be tempting to personalize your home to the tenth degree—after all you are building it to meet your unique, customized wants and needs. However, keep resale value and practicality at the back of your mind at all times. Life can often throw a few curve balls that lead to you-for one reason or another-having to place the home for sale. If that time should ever come, you want to be able to appeal to all buyers easily and not have to hold the house longer than necessary. Ask yourself if the features you are putting into your home will appeal to others and if the features suit the neighborhood you are building in as well.

4) Go Green!

Now more than ever before energy efficient upgrades are easy to add to your home. When you are in the design stages, selecting energy efficient appliances, windows, HVAC systems, and more can save you money in the long run and may also make you eligible for certain grants and discounts. For example, the CMHC green building program rewards those who select energy efficient and environment friendly options.

5) Understand the Loan

As a final note, once construction is done it’s crucial to understand how a Construction Mortgage Loan repayment works. To make it easier, we have a list of points that you should know:

  • Construction loans are usually fully opened and can be repaid at any time.
  • Interest is charged only on amounts drawn. There are no “unused funds.”
  • Once construction is complete and project completion has been verified by the lender, the construction mortgage is “moved over” to a normal mortgage.

A lender will always take into consideration the marketability of a property. They will look at
not only the location based on demographic but also the location based on geography. For instance, a lot that is in a secluded area where no sales of lots have occurred in the last five years and mostly consisting of rock face may not be a property that they are willing to lend on.

  • Depending on the lender, you may have a time frame within which you need to complete construction (typically between 6 and 12 months).

There are a lot of things to consider when you build a home but a few things that can keep you on track and on budget are to have a solid plan in place, work with a builder you trust, build a strong team around you that can be there from start to finish, and to do your research. Once you have decided to build, call your DLC agent—they can help you get the ball rolling and can guide you to the first step of breaking ground on your new home

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