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4 Mar

Bank of Canada Rate Cut

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Posted by: Cheryl Johns

INTEREST RATES NOSEDIVE AS BANK OF CANADA CUTS RATES 50 BPS

The Bank of Canada Brings Out The Big Guns

Following yesterday’s surprise emergency 50 basis point (bp) rate cut by the Fed, the Bank of Canada followed suit today and signalled it is poised to do more if necessary. The BoC lowered its target for the overnight rate by 50 bps to 1.25%, suggesting that “the COVID-19 virus is a material negative shock to the Canadian and global outlooks.” This is the first time the Bank has eased monetary policy in four years.

According to the BoC’s press release, “COVID-19 represents a significant health threat to people in a growing number of countries. In consequence, business activity in some regions has fallen sharply, and supply chains have been disrupted. This has pulled down commodity prices, and the Canadian dollar has depreciated. Global markets are reacting to the spread of the virus by repricing risk across a broad set of assets, making financial conditions less accommodative. It is likely that as the virus spreads, business and consumer confidence will deteriorate, further depressing activity.” The press release went on to promise that “as the situation evolves, the Governing Council stands ready to adjust monetary policy further if required to support economic growth and keep inflation on target.”

Moving the full 50 basis points is a powerful message from the Bank of Canada. Particularly given that Governor Poloz has long been bucking the tide of monetary easing by more than 30 central banks around the world, concerned about adding fuel to a red hot housing market, especially in Toronto. Other central banks will no doubt follow, although already-negative interest rates hamper the euro-area and Japan.

Canadian interest rates, which have been falling rapidly since mid-February, nosedived in response to the Bank’s announcement. The 5-year Government of Canada bond yield plunged to a mere 0.82% (see chart below), about half its level at the start of the year.

Fixed-rate mortgage rates have fallen as well, although not as much as government bond yields. The prime rate, which has been stuck at 3.95% since October 2018 when the Bank of Canada last changed (hiked) its overnight rate, is going to fall, but not by the full 50 bps as the cost of funds for banks has risen with the surge in credit spreads. A cut in the prime rate will lower variable-rate mortgage rates.

Many expect the Fed to cut rates again when it meets later this month at its regularly scheduled policy meeting, and the Canadian central bank is now expected to cut interest rates again in April. Of course, monetary easing does not address supply-chain disruptions or travel cancellations. Easing is meant to flood the system with liquidity and improve consumer and business confidence–just as happened in response to the financial crisis. Expect fiscal stimulus as well in the upcoming federal budget.

All of this will boost housing demand even though reduced travel from China might crimp sales in Vancouver. A potential recession is not good for housing, but lower interest rates certainly fuel what was already a hot spring sales market. Data released today by the Toronto Real Estate Board show that Toronto home prices soared in February, and sales jumped despite low inventories. The number of transactions jumped 46% from February 2019, which was a 10-year sales low as the market struggled with tougher mortgage rules and higher interest rates. February sales were up by about 15% compared to January.

Dr. Sherry Cooper

DR. SHERRY COOPER

Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres

19 Feb

New Benchmark Rate for Qualifying For Insured Mortgages

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Posted by: Cheryl Johns

Minister Morneau Announces New Benchmark Rate for Qualifying For Insured Mortgages

The new qualifying rate will be the mortgage contract rate or a newly created benchmark very close to it plus 200 basis points, in either case. The News Release from the Department of Finance Canada states, “the Government of Canada has introduced measures to help more Canadians achieve their housing needs while also taking measured actions to contain risks in the housing market. A stable and healthy housing market is part of a strong economy, which is vital to building and supporting a strong middle class.”

These changes will come into effect on April 6, 2020. The new benchmark rate will be the weekly median 5-year fixed insured mortgage rate from mortgage insurance applications, plus 2%.

This follows a recent review by federal financial agencies, which concluded that the minimum qualifying rate should be more dynamic to reflect the evolution of market conditions better. Overall, the review concluded that the mortgage stress test is working to ensure that home buyers are able to afford their homes even if interest rates rise, incomes change, or families are faced with unforeseen expenses.

This adjustment to the stress test will allow it to be more representative of the mortgage rates offered by lenders and more responsive to market conditions.

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) also announced today that it is considering the same new benchmark rate to determine the minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages.

The existing qualification rule, which was introduced in 2016 for insured mortgages and in 2018 for uninsured mortgages, wasn’t responsive enough to the recent drop in lending interest rates — effectively making the stress test too tight. The earlier rule established the big-six bank posted rate plus 2 percentage points as the qualifying rate. Banks have increasingly held back from adjusting their posted rates when 5-year market yields moved downward. With rates falling sharply in recent weeks, especially since the coronavirus scare, the gap between posted and contract mortgage rates has widened even more than what was already evident in the past two years.

This move, effective April 6, should reduce the qualifying rate by about 30 basis points if contract rates remain at roughly today’s levels. According to a Department of Finance official, “As of February 18, 2020, based on the weekly median 5-year fixed insured mortgage rate from insured mortgage applications received by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the new benchmark rate would be roughly 4.89%.”  That’s 30 basis points less than today’s benchmark rate of 5.19%.

The Bank of Canada will calculate this new benchmark weekly, based on actual rates from mortgage insurance applications, as underwritten by Canada’s three default insurers.

OSFI confirmed today that it, too, is considering the new benchmark rate for its minimum stress test rate on uninsured mortgages (mortgages with at least 20% equity).

“The proposed new benchmark for uninsured mortgages is based on rates from mortgage applications submitted by a wide variety of lenders, which makes it more representative of both the broader market and fluctuations in actual contract rates,” OSFI said in its release.

“In addition to introducing a more accurate floor, OSFI’s proposal maintains cohesion between the benchmarks used to qualify both uninsured and insured mortgages.” (Thank goodness, as the last thing the mortgage market needs is more complexity.)

The new rules will certainly add to what was already likely to be a buoyant spring housing market. While it might boost buying power by just 3% (depending on what the new benchmark turns out to be on April 6), the psychological boost will be positive. Homebuyers—particularly first-time buyers—are already worried about affordability, given the double-digit gains of the last 12 months.

Written by:

DR. SHERRY COOPER

Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres
Sherry is an award-winning authority on finance and economics with over 30 years of bringing economic insights and clarity to Canadians.

17 Oct

Mortgage Renewals

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Posted by: Cheryl Johns

17 OCT 2019

MORTGAGE RENEWALS WITH THE SAME LENDER ARE ON THE RISE, BUT SHOULD YOU JUST SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE?

If you’re in a mortgage that’s coming up for renewal in the coming months and you’re considering just staying with your current lender, you wouldn’t be alone.
According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) Residential Mortgage Industry Report released in the summer, in 2018, the number of mortgage renewals with the same lender increased by 16 per cent over the previous year.
The report suggested one of the factors that may have contributed to large increases in loan renewals with the same institution are the tighter approval criteria. In other words, people are worried they may not qualify for a new mortgage if they switch lenders, so they’re staying put.
You’ll remember in the fall of 2017, OSFI, (the Office of Superintendent of Financial Institutions) the agency that regulates the financial industry, announced tighter rules on mortgages. The biggest change related to uninsured mortgages, or homebuyers with 20 per cent or more for a down payment. These people are now required to go through a “stress test” or qualify using a minimum qualifying rate.
The changes came a year after a similar stress test was introduced for insured mortgages.
If the tighter mortgage rules still have you stressed as you face a mortgage renewal, the CMHC report noted the approval rate for same lender renewals remained stable at 99 per cent. Renewals are not specifically subject to the new stress test and are more likely to meet current lender criteria, the reported noted.
So, does that mean you should just automatically renew your mortgage with the same lender when your term is up? Not necessarily. You need to reach out to a mortgage professional to get the best advice.
For starters, most lenders, especially the big banks, will send you a renewal letter when there’s about three months left on the term. Sometimes that letter could come with six months left. Typically, the lender will offer you a rate at that time and all you’ll have to do is sign at the bottom line to roll over your mortgage.
But beware, lenders often offer a higher rate than a new client because they’re hoping the ease of renewal will keep you from seeking out a new lender and lower rate.
In some cases, it may be best to just sign and roll over your mortgage. There are a few things to consider. If you decide to change lenders, you’ll basically have to go through an approval process again. That entails getting all your documents, lawyer’s fees and appraisals.
You’ll have to ask yourself, is it worth the effort to save a few basis points off your rate, or a few hundred dollars over a term to make the switch?
For some it won’t be. But, if a switch can lead to saving thousands of dollars, it would certainly be something to consider. While everyone’s situation is different, the larger the mortgage, the bigger the savings will be if you can find a lower rate.
Often, homeowners will just use a bank their parents recommend for their first mortgage. But they might find themselves not happy with the service or terms of the mortgage and may just want to switch to a different lender as the mortgage comes up for renewal.
If that’s a situation you find yourself in, you have options, and a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker can help you make the best decision.

The blog post was written by Jeremy Deutsch
19 Jun

Debt: To consolidate or not is the question.

General

Posted by: Cheryl Johns

DEBT: TO CONSOLIDATE OR NOT TO CONSOLIDATE? THAT IS THE QUESTION

If you are a Canadian living in debt, you are not alone. According to Statistics Canada, household debt grew faster than income last year, with Canadians owing $1.79 for every dollar of household disposable income to debt(1).

• Canadian households use almost 15% of income for debt re-payment(1).
• 7.3% of this re-payment goes towards interest charges (1)
• Interest charges are at their highest level in 9 years(1).
• The cost of living is projected to increase in 2020 (2)

So how can one ever get out of debt? Debt consolidation.

What is debt consolidation?
Debt consolidation means paying off smaller loans with a larger loan at a lower interest rate. For example, a credit card bill debt with interest of 19.99% can be paid off by a 5-year Reverse Mortgage with an interest rate of 5.74%* from HomeEquity Bank. (*rate as of May 2, 2019. For current rates, please contact your DLC Mortgage Broker).

A lot of confusion surrounds debt consolidation; many of us just don’t know enough about it. Consider the two sides:

The pros
• The lower the interest rate, the sooner you get out of debt. A lower monthly interest allows you to pay more towards your actual loan, getting you debt-free faster.
• You only have to make one monthly debt payment. This is more manageable than keeping track of multiple debt payments with different interest rates.
• Your credit score remains untarnished because your higher interest loans, such as a credit card, are paid off.

The cons
• Consolidating your debt doesn’t give you the green light to continue spending.
Consolidating helps you get out of debt; continuing to spend as you did before puts you even further into debt.
• A larger loan with a financial institution will require prompt payments. If you were struggling to pay your debts before, you may be still be challenged with payments. A CHIP Reverse Mortgage may be a better option; it doesn’t require any payments until you decide to move or sell your home.
• You may require a co-signer who will have to pay the loan, if you’re unable. Note that a Reverse Mortgage does not require a co-signer, as long as you qualify for it and are on the property title.

So how do you know if debt consolidation is the option for you? Start by contacting your mortgage broker and asking if the CHIP Reverse Mortgage could be the right solution for you.

SOURCES:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/household-debt-income-1.5056159

https://www.statista.com/statistics/271247/inflation-rate-in-canada/

https://www.bankofcanada.ca/2019/03/spending-shifts-and-consumer-caution/

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/consumer-spending-consumption-canada-1.5006343

Written By: Andrea Twizell

HomeEquity Bank – National Partnership Director, Mortgage Brokers 

7 Sep

Subject Free Offers; Still Risky!

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Posted by: Cheryl Johns

SUBJECT FREE OFFERS; STILL RISKY!

The majority of my clients have stellar qualifications: established careers and businesses, excellent credit ratings, solid down payment funds, etc. They are truly awesome individuals who will almost certainly receive mortgage financing without a hitch.

Almost certainly.

With multiple offers, bidding wars, and over-asking-price bids now common as far afield from Vancouver proper as Port Coquitlam and beyond, clients find themselves, in the heat of the experience, contemplating a subject-free offer.

But there’s often an unanticipated hitch: the property itself.

A client would be hard pressed to find a Realtor to write an offer without a ‘subject to inspection‘clause, and for good reason. Similarly, a client should be hard pressed to find a Mortgage Broker advising an offer without a ‘subject to financing‘ clause.

This is because no banker or Broker can give a client 100% assurance of financing without factoring in the actual specific property details. Until an appraisal is reviewed and approved, the application is not complete. And there are some properties that some lenders simply will not lend against.

There are the obvious examples that lenders tend to exclude;

  • Properties containing Asbestos, Aluminium wiring, Underground Oil tanks
  • Re-mediated former grow-ops
  • Re-mediated drug labs.

There are also less obvious ones;

  • live-work units
  • row-homes (attached non-strata properties)
  • properties smaller than 450 sq ft
  • properties on lease land, Government, First Nations, or Private.

Regarding the appraisal process, there is more than simply the valuation question to be answered. In fact, valuation is rarely the challenge in our market, as many properties ‘auto-approve’ when the value is below $750,000. (This is not true of ALL properties below $750,000 by a long shot; many lenders condition all strata properties for instance for a full appraisal no matter the purchase price.)

What is being looked at other than value in the appraisal report?

A key complication is a little thing called ‘Remaining Economic Life or REL’ (as opposed to the ‘physical life’) of the home. This refers to how long this specific house is likely to remain standing on this property under the current care it is receiving.

Perhaps we have an otherwise perfectly habitable home for decades to come ─ lots of remaining ‘physical life’. The problem is that lenders are looking for remaining ECONOMIC life rather than the remaining physical life. The question is not “How long can that house be standing there?” it is “How long does it make economic sense for that house to be standing there given current market conditions?”

There may be a problem if it is located in a neighbourhood where many of the older homes are being purchased to be demolished and replaced with multimillion dollar homes. That leaves the purchase looking like a speculative land play or potential knock-down. As such, the remaining economic life is perhaps 15 years or less stated in the appraisal report.

Or maybe the property is a ramshackle house in a state of disrepair. It looks like the bargain of the age on paper, and perhaps the purchaser is a contractor planning to bring the home back into a wonderful state of repair. However, the appraisal must view the current remaining economic life of the home ‘as-it-sits’ not ‘as-is-planned’. We have seen homes like this with REL as short as five years.

What is this ‘Remaining Economic Life’ exactly?

Economic life is the total period of time which the improvements (house/buildings) contribute to the overall property value. The total economic life of a typical Lower Mainland home is generally accepted to be 65 years. Economic life and physical life can differ widely and physical life usually exceeds economic life. Renovations and updates can increase a property’s physical and economic life, and poor maintenance can shorten it. Increases in land value can also have a negative impact on remaining economic life. As older homes are torn down to make way for new ones, it makes less economic sense to keep the older one standing.

REL is the estimated time period which the improvements continue to contribute to property value. An appraiser estimates REL in part by interpreting the economic conditions, attitudes, and reactions of buyers in the market.

The REL is calculated by subtracting the Effective Age from the Total Economic Life.

Economic Life – Effective Age = Remaining Economic Life

For example:

A 40-year-old home that has had substantial renovations may have an effective age of 30 years.

65 years – 30 years = 35 years Remaining Economic Life (REL)

How lenders view Remaining Economic Life (REL)

Few lenders will lend on a home with a remaining REL of less than 15 years. Also, the effective amortization will be set at the REL minus five years, which drives payments sky high, and often leaves client unable to qualify for such large mortgage payments should they even want to sign on for them.

Clients can run the risk at this point of their own awesomeness being part of the undoing of the mortgage approval. Clients with significant liquid assets and strong incomes buying a smaller, older home on the street of newly built monoliths will be viewed as most likely planning to knock the home down and build a new one.

The immediate thought: ‘But the land value alone… ’

Lenders are not in the business of writing conventional AAA-rate mortgages on properties that will be torn down. Instead, this is viewed as ‘speculative’ or ‘investment/business’ lending with which come undeniably greater risks. Wherever one finds greater profits there are greater risks. Lenders price accordingly, which is why land/construction financing carries higher rates and additional fees.

A property with a habitable home standing on it is unquestionably easier to market and sell ─ and thus recover the loan balance from ─ should the lender have to step in and take over. And foreclosure is the last thing any Canadian lender wants to contemplate.

It will take on average 18 months of no payments before a lender has gained control of and sold a property through the foreclosure process. And at the end of it said lender must seek out the defaulting client and write them a cheque for the remaining equity that was in the property, all the while honoring the original interest rate in most cases.

It is nothing like the US system at all. (which is a wonderful thing for us)

So lenders avoid any whisp of risk, preferring security. Ideally in the form of a habitable home on a lot that is going to look decades from now much as it does today.

Clients would be wise to also minimize risk, by either writing offers that contain a ‘subject to inspection’ and a ‘subject to financing’ clause, or by having a detailed conversation with a skilled Broker well in advance of writing a subject-free offer.

If you have any questions, please contact me at 250-216-2230.

Blog Post Written by:
Dustan Woodhouse
Dominion Lending Centres

10 Aug

Interest only mortgage option

General

Posted by: Cheryl Johns

A TAILOR-MADE SOLUTION FOR SOME BORROWERS

Recently, two of my lenders came out with new products – Interest only mortgages. We have had these available from private lenders for many years but at much higher interest rates. They are useful for real estate investors and people who have consolidated debts and need six months to a year to get back on their feet. These new mortgages are not meant to be short term solutions but they are meant to be used for a minimum of two years and preferably for five years.
So who in their right mind would want a mortgage for five years where the principal doesn’t go down?

1- real estate investors- some investors are looking for cash flow; this is a perfect product for them. They want to keep monthly payments to a minimum so that they ca use the extra cash to buy other properties, or for income to live on. They will eventually sell the properties for a lot more cash when they are ready to retire.

2- Seasonal workers- Lobster fisherman, lumberjacks , oil patch workers and workers in the trades who have to go back to school every year for three years are the people who this product works for. During spring break-up when the oil patch closes for several weeks , the bills don’t stop coming. Working with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker you can design a mortgage to help you through the periods when there’s no income coming in. The best strategy for you may be to step up the mortgage as interest only and then have the broker calculate what a normal amortizing mortgage payment for you would be. During your period of no income, you pay the minimum payments and then when you get back to work, you bump your payment up to normal or even slightly higher to make up for the shortfall.

These interest only mortgages are available with a variable rate, a fixed rate , a variable interest only plus a fixed amortized rate or a combination of any of the above rates. This allows you and your broker to customize mortgage payments to make the best mortgage for your particular situation. It’s like a tailor-made suit. It’s exactly what you need. Contact your local DLC mortgage broker for more information .

Written by David Cooke

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
David is part of DLC Clarity Mortgages in Calgary, AB.

24 Feb

Overcoming the Challenge of Income Qualifying

General

Posted by: Cheryl Johns

Overcoming the Challenge of Income Qualifying

Overcoming the Challenge of Income QualifyingWhen it comes time to get your mortgage, or perhaps look at investing in an investment property, income qualifying is one of the first steps you will have to take. This first step though can also be the most challenging. Let’s walk through the steps you should take:

1. What is your Employment?

Are you employed by a company and receive a consistent paycheck with a T4 slip? OR

Are you self-employed—a sole proprietor, incorporation, or a limited company (same as incorporation)?

If you are employed, you may need the following documents to provide to your broker/lender:

2 most current years T4’s

2 most current Notices of Assessment

Most recent pay stub

Letter of employment

Up to 90 days of bank history to show you have the down payment and closing cost (usually 1.5%)

If you are a proprietorship, you may need the following documents to provide to your broker/lender:

T1 Generals for the most recent last 2 years – all pages

2 most current Notices of Assessment (proof that no personal taxes are owing)

Verification of Business for Self

Business Licences

Registration of your proprietorship

Last 2 years GST/HST remittance forms

Etc

Up to 90 days of bank history to show you have the down payment and closing costs necessary

If you are incorporate/a corporation, you may need the following documents to provide to your broker/lender:

2 most current Notices of Assessment-You need to show you HAVE AN INCOME!

Up to 90 days of bank history to show you have the down payment and closing costs

Verification of Business for Self:

Last 2 years business licences

Articles of incorporation

Last 2 years GST/HST remittance forms

Last 2 years of Financial Statements

Business Registration Form

Etc

2. Work with a good Accountant or use Stated Income

Make sure you are working with a good accountant who knows what you plan to accomplish in the future and sets up your business accordingly so that you can show at least an average income on your notice of assessment (NOA).

You can also use “Stated Income” which is simply stating your income to be REASONABLE and to reflect the time you have been working within that industry instead of what you are personally reporting to Revenue Canada and paying taxes on.

For stated income be aware that you can only use this on refinancing, or purchasing primary residence, purchase plus improvements of primary residence, Second Homes, and investment properties.

3. Insurance considerations

For stated incomes, there are insurance guidelines that you need to be aware of.

Genworth and Canada Guaranty:

GDS (Gross Debt Service) and TDS (Total Debt Service) Ratio:

Credit Score of >680 and GDS/TDS ratios of 39/44

Credit score of <680 and GDS/TDS ratios of 35/42

Also, make sure that there are no personal taxes owing

Finally you will need to ensure that you are following the 2-2-2 rule. Check out our article for more information on this.

Plese note that CMHC does not have a STATED INCOME program.

Insurers give the following rate premiums for Business For Self (BFS):

As always we are here at Dominion Lending Centres to help. Contact me today! Cheryl Johns 250.216.2230 Cheryl@modernmortgagegroup.ca

This Blog post was written by Geoff Lee

Geoff is part of DLC GLM Mortgage Group based in Vancouver, BC.

20 Feb

How to renew your mortgage if 5 easy steps.

General

Posted by: Cheryl Johns

20 Feb 2017

Reading This Could Save You Thousands of Dollars!! (AKA How to renew your mortgage in 5 easy steps)

Reading This Could Save You Thousands of Dollars!!  (AKA How to renew your mortgage in 5 easy steps)What is a mortgage renewal you ask?

Each mortgage has a set term which can vary from 1-10 years. Just before the end of your term you will receive an offer from your current lender and you have 3 options:

  1. Sign and send back as is.
  2. Check the market to make sure you are getting the best rate and renegotiate with your current lender
  3. Move the mortgage to a new lender.

Option 1 is not a very good idea in my opinion. The onus is on you to make sure you are being offered the best rate. Banks are a business like any other and they are seeking to make the highest profits they are able as to keep their shareholders happy. There is nothing wrong with that. That does mean however that you as a savvy consumer should take a few minutes to ensure you are being offered the best possible rate you can get.

Think of it as the sticker price on a vehicle at a dealership. The rate you are being offered is a starting point for discussion, not the final price. Let’s look at an example:

  • Mortgage of $300,000 with an amortization of 25 years.
  • Your offer is for 3.19% for a 5 year fixed = $1449.14/month and you will owe $257,353.34 at the end of the term
  • Best rate is 2.59% for a 5 year fixed = $1357.38/month and you will owe $254,372.59 at the end of the term

You would pay $91.76 less each month or $5505.60 over all 60 months and still owe $2,980.75 less.

So you need to ask yourself if you are OK handing that money over to the mortgage provider or if you would prefer to keep it yourself and I am pretty sure I know what your answer will be.

So here are the steps I mentioned to save yourself all that money.

  1. Receive the offer from the mortgage lender and actually look at ASAP so that you have enough time to make an informed decision.
  2. Research via the internet and phone calls to find out what the best rate even is.
  3. Phone your current lender and negotiate! OK, you are going to have to get downright assertive and that may be uncomfortable but when you compare your comfort to the thousands of dollars you could save, you will see that it’s worth it.
  4. If said lender will not offer you the rate then move the mortgage. You will have to provide paperwork and complete the application but if you keep in mind the example from above then I repeat, it’s worth it.
  5. Take a look at your budget and see if you can increase the payments to decrease the mortgage and save yourself even more as the overall interest costs decrease.

Keep in mind when that renewal notice arrives that you literally have the power to save yourself money and you are not obligated to accept the first offer which is presented to you and I truly hope you do not. If you need some more information, please do not hesitate to contact your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

Blog post written by Pam Pikkert 

6 Feb

10 First Time Homebuyer Mistakes

General

Posted by: Cheryl Johns

10 First Time Homebuyer Mistakes

Ten Things In a Real Estate Transaction That Can Affect Your MortgageIf you’re on the hunt for your first home and want to have a smooth and successful home purchasing experience avoid these common first-time homebuying mistakes.

1. Thinking you don’t need a real estate agent

You might be able to find a house on your own but there are still many aspects of buying real estate that can confuse a first-time buyer. Rely on your agent to negotiate offers, inspections, financing and other details. The money you save on commission can be quickly gobbled up by a botched offer or overlooked repairs

2. Getting your heart set on a home before you do your homework

The house that’s love at first sight may not always be what it seems, so keep an open mind. Plus, you may be too quick to go over budget or may overlook a potential pitfall if you jump in too fast.

3. Picking a fixer-upper because the listing price is cheaper

That old classic may have loads of potential, but be extra diligent in the inspection period. What will it really cost to get your home where it needs to be? Negotiating a long due-diligence period will give you time to get estimates from contractors in case you need to back out.

4. Committing to more than you can afford

Don’t sacrifice retirement savings or an emergency fund for mortgage payments. You need to stay nimble to life’s changes, and overextending yourself could put your investments – including your house – on the line.

5. Going with the first agent who finds you

Don’t get halfway into house hunting before you realize your agent isn’t right for you. The best source: a referral from friends. Ask around and take the time to speak with your potential choices before you commit.

6. Diving into renovations as soon as you buy

Yes, renos may increase the value of your home, but don’t rush. Overextending your credit to get it all done fast doesn’t always pay off. Take time to make a solid plan and the best financial decisions. Living in your home for a while will also help you plan the best functional changes to the layout.

7. Choosing a house without researching the neighbourhood

It may be the house of your dreams, but annoying neighbours or a nearby industrial zone can be a rude awakening. Spend time in the area before you make an offer – talk to local business owners and residents to determine the pros and cons of living there.

8. Researching your broker and agent, but not your lawyer

New buyers often put all their energy into learning about mortgage rates and offers, but don’t forget that the final word in any deal comes from your lawyer. As with finding agents, your best source for referrals will be friends and business associates.

9. Fixating on the lowest interest rate

Yes, a reasonable rate is important, but not at the expense of heavy restrictions and penalties. Make a solid long-term plan to pay off your mortgage and then find one that’s flexible enough to accommodate life changes, both planned and unexpected. Be sure to talk your your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to learn more.

10. Opting out of mortgage insurance

Your home is your largest investment so be sure to protect it. Mortgage insurance not only buys you peace of mind, it also allows for more flexible financing options. Plus, it allows you to take advantage of available equity to pay down debts or make financial investments.

Blog Post written by:
Marc Shendale

Genworth Canada – Vice President Business Development

6 Feb

A Conversation About Mortgage Pre-approvals

General

Posted by: Cheryl Johns

A Conversation About Mortgage Pre-approvals

A Conversation About Mortgage Pre-approvals

Thinking of buying a property, but don’t know where to start? Well… that’s where a mortgage pre-approval comes in. Start here. Just like you wouldn’t go into a restaurant without having enough money to buy your meal, so you shouldn’t start shopping for a home without an understanding of how much you can afford. So let’s have a conversation about a mortgage pre-approvals so you can get this house hunting party started.

Although a pre-approval is the best way to get started, we have to be honest about what a pre-approval is and what it’s not.

Not Magic. Not Binding.

Let’s start at the beginning and dissect the word pre-approval. Pre means before, in advance of, or prior to, and in this case means before the approval. A pre-approval is not an approval, let me say that again (in italics) for emphasis, a pre-approval is not the same as an approval. It’s not a guarantee of financing. it’s not magic, and unfortunately it’s not binding. There are a number of factors that come into play after the pre-approval is in place that can derail your dreams of homeownership.

  • as a mortgage approval requires a property to be scrutinized, and a pre-approval doesn’t look at any property, it can’t be guaranteed.
  • as your employment status can change after a pre-approval, all employment documents have to be verified as part of the approval process.
  • a secondary credit report can be pulled by the lender or insurer after the pre-approval is in place, if there are discrepancies, they could decide not to proceed with financing
  • mortgage rules can change and sometimes come into effect with no grandfathering.

So What Good is a Pre-Approval Then…

A pre-approval is simply a formalized gathering of your ducks, and putting them in a row. It won’t guarantee you will get the mortgage, but it will certainly uncover any major obstacles that might be in your way. Consider a pre-approval a pre-screening, where we take a look at your employment, credit history, and your downpayment, and figure out the maximum mortgage amount you can qualify for. We will also have a look at all the mortgage options available to you on the market, so you can decide in advance what product meets your financing needs.

Obstacles, like what? Well, the truth is, you only know what you know, said in another way, you don’t know what you don’t know. Did you know that they figure about 10-20% of credit reports have some kind of error on them. By taking a look at your credit report as part of the pre-approval process (instead of when you have already found the house of your dreams), you have time to fix any errors before hand. This might not sound like that big of a deal, but it could be the difference between getting financing or not.

A pre-approval usually comes with a rate-hold, this is a good thing. Rates are like gas prices, they fluctuate and go up and down from time to time. As part of taking a preliminary look at your mortgage application, lenders will typically offer a rate hold for 90-120 days on a specific mortgage term. This means that if you find a property to buy in the allotted time, even if rates have gone up in the mean time, you will get the rate that was guaranteed. What happens if rates go down, well… you get the lower rate. It’s a win win.

It’s a Process

Buying a home is a process, a process that has a lot of steps that come into play. A pre-approval is one of the first steps you take. A pre-approval allows you to collect all your documentation ahead of time, handle any obstacles that may come up, have a look at your mortgage options, secure a rate hold, and will give you piece of mind as to the next steps in the process. Regardless if this is your first time buying a place or your twentieth, a pre-approval is the best place to start. Even if it doesn’t guarantee you will get the mortgage in the end.

So if you are thinking about buying a home, let’s get started, as we would love to help you secure a pre-approval. And if for some reason you are faced with some obstacles, we will help you get on track. Contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional today!

Blog post written by:
Michael Hallett
Michael is part of DLC Producers West Financial based in Coquitlam, BC