CMHC CHANGES TO ASSIST SELF-EMPLOYED BORROWERS

General Kristine Rosalin 4 Aug

CMHC CHANGES TO ASSIST SELF-EMPLOYED BORROWERS

As a self-employed person myself, I was happy to hear that CMHC is willing to make some changes that will make it easier for us to qualify for a mortgage.
In an announcement on July 19, 2018, the CMHC has said “Self-employed Canadians represent a significant part of the Canadian workforce. These policy changes respond to that reality by making it easier for self-employed borrowers to obtain CMHC mortgage loan insurance and benefit from competitive interest rates.” — Romy Bowers, Chief Commercial Officer, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. These policy changes are to take effect Oct. 1, 2018.

Traditionally self-employed borrowers will write as many expenses as they can to minimize the income tax they pay each year. While this is a good tax-saving technique it means that often a realistic annual income can not be established high enough to meet mortgage qualification guidelines.
Plain speak, we don’t look good on paper.

Normally CMHC wants to see two years established business history to be able to determine an average income. But the agency said it will now make allowances for people who acquire existing businesses, can demonstrate sufficient cash reserves, who will be expecting predictable earnings and have previous training and education.
Take for example a borrower that has been an interior designer with a firm for the past eight years and in the same industry for the past 30 years, but just struck out on his own last year. His main work contract is with the firm he used to work for, but now he has the ability to pick up additional contracts from the industry in which he has vast connections.
Where previously he would have had to entertain a mortgage with an interest rate at least 1% higher than the best on the market and have to pay a fee, now he would be able to meet insurance requirements and get preferred rates.

The other change that CMHC has made is to allow for more flexible documentation of income and the ability to look at Statements of Business Professional Activity from a sole-proprietor’s income tax submission to support Add Backs of certain write-offs to support a grossing-up of income. Basically, recognizing that many write-offs are simply for tax-saving purposes and are not a reduction of actual income. This could mean a significant increase in income and buying power.

It is refreshing after years of government claw-backs and conservative policy changes to finally see the swing back in the other direction. Self-employed Canadians have taken on the burden of an often fluctuating income and responsible income tax management all for the ability to work for themselves. These measures will help them with the reward of being able to own their own home as well.

4 KEY THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT A SECOND MORTGAGE

General Kristine Rosalin 4 Aug

4 KEY THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT A SECOND MORTGAGE

Many homeowners are vaguely aware of the fact that you can take out a second loan on your home. You hear your friends mention it or perhaps a family member close to you has gone through the process—but do you truly know what it means to take out a second mortgage? We have taken all the questions we get asked about second mortgages and compiled it into four key points.

A SECOND MORTGAGE IS BASED ON THE EQUITY IN YOUR HOME
The total loan amount that the second mortgage lender will offer you will depend on the equity that has been built up in your home. Second mortgages allow you to access up to 95% of the equity you have in your property. For instance:

House Value $850,000
95% LTV (maximum mortgage amount) $807,500.00
First Mortgage $550,000.00
Amount Available Through Second $257,500.00

INTEREST RATES WILL VARY AND BE HIGHER THAN YOUR FIRST MORTGAGE
This is because when a lender agrees to a second mortgage, they are taking a higher risk as he gets second priority in case of default. With that being said, we have options and solutions such as working with private lenders that can help you obtain a reduced rate and the right product for your mortgage situation. Typically, you can expect an interest rate of 6.95%-19.95% with lender and broker fees included.

YOUR PAYMENT CAN BE AS LOW AS INTEREST ONLY PAYMENTS
One of the advantages of selecting to use a second mortgage is the fact that the payments are attractive. You can pay interest only payments or you can also select to pay the interest plus the principle loan amount. You can work with your mortgage broker to discuss options and what would work best with your situation.

THERE ARE ADDITIONAL FEES TO CONSIDER
Since we want to have you understand ALL the fees associated, it is important to know that setting up a second mortgage will require you to pay: *note dollar amounts are approximations

An appraisal fee to assess the value of your home: $300
Legal fees to set it up: $2,000
Lenders & Broker fees: 1-5%

Second mortgages are a great option for many and may be a better solution than a refinance or a Home Equity Loan (HELOC). If you are interested in learning more or want to find out if a second mortgage is right for you, talk to your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker. We can guarantee they can guide you the process from start to finish!

5 REASONS WHY EVERY REALTOR NEEDS A MORTGAGE BROKER AT THEIR OPEN HOUSES

General Kristine Rosalin 23 Jul

5 REASONS WHY EVERY REALTOR NEEDS A MORTGAGE BROKER AT THEIR OPEN HOUSES

Realtor Safety – While we do not have the safety issues that realtors experience south of the border, there have been incidents involving female realtors being assaulted or feeling uncomfortable being alone with strangers walking around the house.

Property Safety – Did you know that when a realtor is holding an open house they are liable for any losses or damage to the property? It’s pretty easy to have one person distract the agent upstairs while their partner runs off with the flat screen TV or the silverware. Another person in the property discourages theft and can make the realtor feel safer.

Snagging new clients – sometimes people show up at open houses without any preparation. They may like a home but they have no idea whether they could afford it. Enter the mortgage broker- by being on the premises you can quickly pre-approve these prospective buyers giving the realtor an opportunity for a quick sale and to double end the deal.

Third Party Feedback – sometimes visitors are reluctant to say anything negative about a property to a realtor but are more open with their financial partner. The realtor can benefit from both the mortgage broker’s opinion and anything that they hear from visitors.

Programs that can help sell a home – some municipalities offer subsidized down payments for first time home buyers, others offer tax incentives . If a prospective buyer comments on the worn carpeting or the lack of a garage, it’s a good time for the mortgage broker to mention Purchase Plus Improvements programs available. The realtor may be aware of the programs but unaware of the program rules. The realtor will be really happy to have a mortgage broker find a solution to one sales objection and help them sell the house.

IS YOUR LINE OF CREDIT KILLING YOUR MORTGAGE APPLICATION?

General Kristine Rosalin 6 Jul

IS YOUR LINE OF CREDIT KILLING YOUR MORTGAGE APPLICATION?

Some of the last round of changes from the government regarding qualifying for a mortgage were that if you have a balance on your unsecured line of credit, then to qualify for mortgage the lenders require that we use a 3% payment of the balance of the line of credit.

Simple math is,  if you owe $10,000 we have to use $300 as your monthly payment regardless of what the bank requires as a minimum. Given that the banks hand out lines of credit on a regular basis it is not uncommon for us to see $50,000 lines of credit with balances in the $40,000 range. That amount then means we have to use $1,200 a month as a payment even though the bank may require considerably less.

So what if it is a secured line of credit? Again we have clients telling us that they don’t have a mortgage only to realize they do have a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). A home equity line of credit by all definition is a loan secured by property, the actual definition of a mortgage.

Again, it’s something the bank will require little more than interest payment on because it is secured. The calculation here can also upset the calculation for your next mortgage, as what is required by many lenders is to take the balance of the HELOC. Let’s say the balance is $200,000 and you convert it to a mortgage at the bench mark rate, which today is 5.34% with a 25-year amortization. That without any fees today is equal to $1202.22 per month, so what in the client’s mind may be a $400 or $500 dollar interest payment for the purpose of qualifying will be almost three times higher.

This one change to supposedly safe guard the Canadian consumer has lately been the thing we have seen stop more mortgages than just about anything else. If you have any question, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional for answers.

THE 5 MORTGAGE ELEMENTS- DECISIONS YOU NEED TO MAKE BEFORE YOU SIGN!

General Kristine Rosalin 14 Jun

THE 5 MORTGAGE ELEMENTS- DECISIONS YOU NEED TO MAKE BEFORE YOU SIGN!

Before you buy a home there are a couple things you need to figure out first. One of the very first decisions you need to make is whether you want to work with a mortgage broker who is independent from the bank, or if you prefer, work with a financial representative from a specific bank. Next, you want to find a realtor that best understands your needs and wants.

From there, you and your realtor go through the laundry list of pros and cons as they relate to; type of neighborhood, type of building whether detached or attached, one, two, or three bedrooms, strata operated, resale potential, upgrades needed, local amenities, previous owners, the list goes on. Once you get an idea of the homes that tick the most boxes possible, writing an offer to purchase comes quick.

But what about your mortgage?

Unlike the list of requirements when it comes to someone’s potential home, a lot of people are only concerned about what the interest rate is when looking at their potential mortgage. If your price range was $500,000 for a 2 bedroom and you found one for $480,000, would you write an offer to buy without looking at those other requirements such as neighborhood, resale potential, upgrades needed, inspections, and previous owners?

There is a lot more that goes into a mortgage and understanding what differentiate one mortgage from another is very important for future borrowers to understand. The following are the 5 key elements borrowers need to be aware of before they sign and commit themselves to a lender and their mortgage product:

Privileges
Virtually every mortgage with every lender has some sort of privilege attached to it. A lot of the time it relates to pre-payment privileges. This can be extremely important because it allows you to increase your monthly payments, make lump sum payments, and change the frequency of your payments- all helping to pay down the principle portion of your mortgage and shave years off of unwanted interest. Why this is important to look at is because some lenders may only offer 10% pre-payment capabilities, while other’s 15%, and some 20%. With a $1,800 monthly payment that’s the difference between $180 against principle or $360. With an outstanding balance of $300,000 that’s the difference between a $30,000 lump sum payment against your principle or $60,000- a massive chunk that will take years and thousands of dollars more off your mortgage. Some lenders even offer the ability to skip a payment and double up on a payment.

Penalties
Nobody wants to pay a penalty for breaking their mortgage early (something 2/3 of people do in a 5-year fixed after the 2 year mark). That is why it is crucial for you to understand what your penalty will be IF you had to pay one. Some lenders use an IRD (Interest Rate Differential) penalty that takes into consideration term, outstanding balance, current rates, previous rates, and blends it all together into a formula. Other’s use three month’s interest and as you can probably guess, the IRD penalty is the more expensive one 99% of the time. IRD is usually applied to fixed term mortgages, variable rates more with three-month’s interest penalty. Big banks will almost always have a higher IRD penalty than monoline lenders because their formula accounts for posted rates, something usually much lower and offsetting with a monoline. A $12,000 IRD penalty with a big bank can be only $4,000 with a monoline for the same sized mortgage.

Interest Rate
The lower the rate, the lower than payment (assuming same amortization). What it really comes down to is picking the right term and choosing between fixed or variable, something a mortgage broker can be very helpful in explaining as it relates to your specific situation.

Portable Mortgage
This relates to a borrower’s ability to move their mortgage from one property, to another, even across provincial boarders. Some lenders like those big banks across Canada allow for this while it is harder when it comes to credit unions. If your job requires relocating and constant moving or travelling, this can be a very important factor.

Assumable Mortgage
Similar to portability, an assumable mortgage allows the person buying your home to take it over. This can result in avoiding pre-payment penalties or avoiding increased costs if downsizing. Not a feature commonly used but extremely beneficial when it is available, and you need it.

Connect with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional today to see which of these 5 topics most affects you and what lender offers the best solutions!

LAST MINUTE CREDIT CHECK

General Kristine Rosalin 13 Jun

LAST MINUTE CREDIT CHECK

 

 

 

 

 

As I’ve said many times, one of the single greatest determining factors in whether you can become qualified for a mortgage and the interest rate at which you do, is your credit history. Many people unfortunately don’t know this, and can be completely blind-sided when it comes time to qualifying.

However, the truly unsettling idea about credit scores and their relation to home financing is the fact that most people do not even know they are extremely important even after you have been approved…

Once your offer on a home is accepted and you remove financing conditions, it is your obligation to secure the money needed to close the sale. There are usually a list of conditions one must meet and satisfy in order to obtain the financing they need from a lender. Once that is done, the mortgage will be sent to a real estate lawyer where they will be instructed to finalize everything. This is where all closing costs will be paid and all corresponding money will be sent to the proper parties involved.

However, before any of this is done, one more thing must happen…

Your credit report can be reviewed once again in order to verify your credit history is the same as it was when you were first qualified for a mortgage, sometimes months earlier.

So what happens if you made an offer on a home, got approved for financing, lifted all conditions, and because you also met all the lenders conditions, went out and bought new furniture for your home on a credit card? Well, you may not be able to receive your loan anymore…

If you increase the amount of money you are borrowing through any credit card or bank, miss payments on existing debt, or for any reason alter your credit history from the day you are approved until the final closing day at the lawyer’s office, you run the risk of not being able to complete your purchase.

If you plan on spending any money that isn’t cash and isn’t in a separate account needed for your down payment or closing costs, you need to talk to your broker because it could end horribly for all parties involved and potentially result in legal disputes.

This is the most important purchase and decision you may ever make, why things like this have never been explained in schooling or anything like that is beyond me. That is why it is important to work with an experienced, knowledgeable Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker and make sure you fully understand the process you are about to embark upon.

HOW TO NAVIGATE THE MORTGAGE RATE WARS

General Kristine Rosalin 31 May

You may have heard that rates are changing, and that is true. They don’t call it war for nothing and you need an expert by your side!

Think of mortgage brokers as your loyal soldiers. What we are seeing is exactly what we anticipated when prime rate goes up and discounts go down. Confused? Don’t be, variable rates are based on prime and both Bank of Canada Prime and Bank Prime are different.

What the new discount means is what it means – they anticipate prime to go up higher.

With current regulations, borrowers qualify for more mortgages on a variable rates! This is a shift from the previous policy where more Canadians were having to take fixed rates to qualify for the most.

These new discounts on new mortgages getting taken out there discount is lower off of the bank’s prime rate- this does not apply to an existing mortgage

Did you notice earlier I said the bank’s prime rate, you would think they are all the same… right?

This is not the case. In November of 2016 one Canadian lender broke the trend of their counterparts and raised their internal prime to immediately impact their existing customers by adding to their amortization. This discount below was for new clients they increased the discount so it looked bigger.

It’s important to note – each lender has unique criteria to be met to get these offers: some only for purchases, some only with switches, some only certain amortizations, and some only certain property types. The list goes on!

Remember your broker shops all these lenders without bias, while protecting your credit score to assist you in finding the best one. It’s important that we evaluate the following criteria with these lenders- here is an example of three lenders:

Lender one

  • Bank has a higher Prime than anyone else
  • No change to payment
  • Increases amortization  which can put into effect a trigger clause- cash call in on mortgage or forced pre-payment and other costs such as appraisal at your expense
  • Not portable
  • Does have a 12 month penalty payback if getting a larger mortgage at new rates! Best one!
  • Have to go to branch to lock in and then be subject to their IRD (usually 3-5% of balance pending where you are in your term).
  • Based on history this lender is generally the first to raise their rates and last to decrease

 

Lender two

  • Prime rate consistent with all lenders
  • Change to payment so amortization doesn’t increase
  • NO trigger clause
  • Have to go to branch to lock in and face large IRD between 3-5%
  • Not portable but will refund you within 6 months if the mortgage is larger and will get rate available at that time

 

Lender three

  • Prime consistent with all lenders
  • Change to payment so amortization doesn’t increase
  • NO trigger clause
  • lender will pay back penalty within 3 months of getting a larger mortgage with them
  • your mortgage expert can assist you with lock in
  • If you lock in they have the lowest penalties in the country to break your mortgage in the future, generally 1-1.5% of the balance

With seven-in-10 mortgages breaking before the term is over, this should be weighted very carefully.

Let me demonstrate the following:

A mortgage that gets locked in with first or second lender above at $500,000, by the third year the cost to break a mortgage will be between $15,000 and $25,000. With the third lender the cost would be between $5,000 and $7,500.

What to do with this info?

These new wars apply to new mortgages. If you have a mortgage with a discount less than .50, a renewal upcoming, looking at accessing your equity for home renovations or to consolidate debt and you have a variable rate, it may be time to run the numbers to see if taking a new variable rate mortgage is beneficial for you. One of the significant benefits of having a VRM is to get out at any time with only three months interest penalty (unless a restrictive product was taken for a better rate or had a sale only clause).

As you can see we have only scratched the surface in terms of the differences. There are many other differences and mainly you have to consider as a consumer, do you want to be calling a bank branch and play Russian roulette with the education level and sales goals of the person who guides you through deciding what to do with your biggest asset? Or would you rather have a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional who is in the front lines proactively guiding you and assessing the economic factors to give you personalized advice based on their experience and knowledge of the mortgage industry.

Depends on what you value most!

FIXED VERSUS VARIABLE INTEREST!

General Kristine Rosalin 25 May

Fixed Interest Rates

This is usually the more popular choice for clients when it comes to deciding on which type of interest rate they want.

There are many reasons why, but the most unsurprising answer is always safety. With a fixed interest rate, you know exactly what you are paying every month and you know that the amount of interest being charged for the term of your mortgage will not increase and it will not decrease.

Fixed interest rates can be taken on 1-year, 2-year, 3-year, 5-year, as well as 7 and 10-year terms. Please note, term is not meant to be confused with amortization. When you have a 5-year term but a 25-year amortization- the term is when your mortgage is up for renewal, but it will still take you the 25 years to pay off the entire debt.

The biggest knock on fixed interest rates when it comes to mortgages, especially 5-year terms, is the potential penalty. If you want to break your mortgage and pay it out, switch lenders, take advantage of a lower rate, or anything like this and your term is not over, there will be a penalty. With a 5-year term a fixed rate penalty can be anywhere from $1,000- $20,000 or more.

It all depends on the lender’s current rates, what yours currently is, the length of time remaining on your term, and the balance outstanding. The formula used is called an IRD (interest rate differential) and the penalty owed will either be the amount this formula produces or three month’s interest- which ever is greater.

Fixed interest rates, especially 5-year terms can be the most favourable. They are safe, competitive interest rates that you will not need to worry about changing for the term of your mortgage. However, if you do not have your mortgage for the entire term, it could hurt you.

Variable Rate Interest

The Bank of Canada sets what they call a target overnight rate and that interest rate influences the prime rate a lender offers consumers. A variable rate, is either the lender’s prime lending rate plus or minus another number.

For example, let us say someone has a variable interest rate of prime minus 0.70. If their lender’s prime lending rate is 5.00% in this example, they have an effective interest rate of 4.30%. However, if for example the prime rate changed to 6.00%, the same person’s interest rate would now be 5.30%. Written on a mortgage, these interest rates would look like P-0.7.

Variable interest rates are usually only available on 5-year terms with some lenders offering the possibility of taking a 3-year variable interest rate.

When it comes to penalties, variable interest rates are almost always calculated using 3-months interest, NOT the IRD formula used to calculate the penalty on a fixed term mortgage. This ends up being significantly less expensive as breaking a 5-year term mortgage at a fixed rate of 3.49% with a balance of $500,000 will cost approximately $15,000. That is if you use the current progression of interest rates and broke it at the beginning of year 3. A variable interest rate of Prime Minus 0.5% with prime rate at 3.45% will only cost $3,800. That is a difference of $11,200.

You can expect to pay this kind of amount for the safety of a fixed rate mortgage over 5-years if you break it early.

Which one is best?

It completely depends on the person. Your loan’s term (length of time before it either expires or is up for renewal) can be anywhere from a year to 5 years, or longer. A first-time home buyer typically has a mortgage term of 5 years. Within those 5 years, the prime rate could move up or down, but you won’t know by how much or when until it happens.

Recently, variable rates have been lower than fixed rates, however, they run the risk of changing. With fixed interest rates, you know exactly what your payments will be and what it will cost you every month regardless of a lender’s prime rate changing.

If you go to the site www.tradingeconomics.com/canada/bank-lending-rate you can see the 10-year history of lender’s prime lending rate. Because lenders usually change their prime lending rate together to match one another (except for TD), this graph is a good representation.

As you can see, from 2008 to 2018, the interest rate has dropped from 5.75% to 2.25% all the way back up to 3.45%.

Canada has had this prime lending rate since 1960, and in that time it has seen an all-time high of 22.75% (1981) and all-time low of 2.25% (2010) (tradingeconomics.com). Whether you want the risk of variable or the stability of a fixed rate is up to you, but allow this information to be the basis of your decision based on your own personal needs. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker.

A FEW REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER A VARIABLE RATE MORTGAGE

General Kristine Rosalin 23 May

Five-year fixed mortgage rates continued their upward march last week as the five-year Government of Canada (GoC) bond yield they are priced on hit its highest level in seven years. Meanwhile, five-year variable-rate discounts deepened, further widening the gap between five-year fixed and variable rates.

When I started working in the mortgage industry in 2005, variable rate mortgages saved you more money than fixed rate mortgages 95 out of the past 100 years. First time home buyers were worried about what their home costs would be and avoided variable rate mortgages (VRM’s) because of the risk of rates going up higher than the fixed rate, but experienced home owners often took a VRM at mortgage renewal time.

However, in the past 5 years, most people have gravitated towards fixed rates because the gap between fixed and variable rates was small enough that the cost of uncertainty outweighed the potential reward for most borrowers.

Once again , the gap is widening. While fixed rate mortgages are going up due to the bond yield, variable rate mortgages have moved in the other direction.  Two years ago a VRM would be offered at Prime rate + .20%,  but later it reverted to Prime – .30% . In recent months, rates have dropped even further with some lenders offering Prime -1.0% !  You now have a choice between a 5-year fixed rate of 3.44-3.59% depending on the lender and a variable rate with a discount that calculates out to 2.45% . With a gap this large, it’s worth considering if you are risk tolerant enough to have a VRM.

Even if you are skittish, you can ask your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker to notify you if rates are going up and switch you to a fixed rate if they go above a certain percentage. Will your bank do that for you? I don’t think so. Be sure to have this discussion with your broker when your mortgage comes up for renewal or if you are considering a home purchase.

5 WAYS YOU CAN KILL YOUR MORTGAGE APPROVAL

General Kristine Rosalin 17 May

So, you found your dream home, negotiated a fair price which was accepted. You supplied all the needed documentation to your mortgage broker and you are waiting for the day that you go to the lawyer’s to sign the final paperwork and pick up the keys.

All of a sudden your broker or the lawyer calls to say that there’s a problem. How could this be? Everything has been signed and conditions have been removed. What many home buyers do not realize is that your financing approval is based on the information the lender was provided at the time of the application. If there have been any changes to your financial situation, the lender is within their rights to cancel your mortgage approval. There are 5 things that can make home financing go sideways.

1 Employment – You were working for ABC company as a clerk for 5 years making $50,000 a year and just before home possession you change jobs. The lender will now ask for proof that probation for this new job is waived and new job letters and pay stubs at the very least. If you change industries they will want to see more proof that you are capable of keeping this job.
If your new job involves overtime or bonuses of any kind that vary over time, they will ask for a 2 year average which you will not be able to provide.
Another item that could ruin your chances of getting the mortgage is if you decide to change from an employee to a self-employed contractor just before possession day. Even though you are in the same industry, your employment status has changed . This is a big deal killer.

2. Debt – A week or two before your possession date, the lender will obtain a copy of your credit report and look for any changes to your debt load. Your approval was based on how much you owed on that particular date. Buying a new car or items for the new home need to be postponed until after possession of your new home.
Don’t be fooled by “Do not pay for 12 months” sales campaigns. You now owe this money regardless of when the payments start. Don’t buy a new car and don’t buy furniture for the new home. This will increase your debt ratio and can nullify your financing.

3. Down payment source – And yet again I reiterate that the approval is based on the initial information you have provided. You will be asked at the lawyer’s office to verify the source of the down payment and if it is different than what the lender has approved, then you may be in trouble. For example, you said that you were going to save the funds and then at the last minute Mom and Dad offer you the funds as a gift. There’s no problem accepting the gift if the lender knows about it in advance and has included this in their risk assessment, but it can end a deal.

4. Credit – Don’t forget to make your regular credit card payments. If your credit score falls due to late payments, this can kill your financing. If you have a high ratio mortgage in place which required CMHC insurance, a lower credit score could mean a withdrawal of their insurance once again , killing the deal.

5-Identity Documents – This can be a deal killer at the lawyer’s office. The lawyer is required to verify your identity documents and see that they match the mortgage documents. Many Canadians use their middle names if they have the same name as their parent. Lots of new Canadians adopt a more Canadian sounding name for their day-to-day lives but their passports and other documents show another name.

Be sure to use your legal name when you apply for a mortgage to avoid this catastrophe . Finally, keep in touch with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional right up to possession day. Make this a happy experience rather than a heartbreaking one.