26 Feb

TRANSFERS AND SWITCHES

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Transfer/Switches are when you opt to transfer your mortgage to a new lender in order to take advantage of a lower rate. A transfer/switch does not include additional money to the existing mortgage balance owing, your mortgage amount will remain the same, however lenders will allow you to increase the mortgage up to $3,000 to cover legal costs, possible appraisal fees and if applicable, penalty fees – more on that below.

*Note: If you do require new money or funds (more than $3,000.00) this would then be considered a refinance.

There are two scenarios where you would utilize a Transfer Switch:

1. When your mortgage term is up, and the mortgage is renewing with your existing lender. If you choose to transfer/switch your mortgage at renewal you will not have to pay a penalty. You will still need to qualify and there may be legal and appraisal costs associated with the transfer/switch, just as you would with a new mortgage. However, many lenders offer you the option to include the legal and appraisal fees into you new mortgage and some lenders may cover these costs for you.
2. The second scenario you may choose to do a transfer/switch is when you are in the middle of the term of your mortgage. The only reason you would do this is to take advantage of a lower rate which means a lower monthly payment. This would have to make sense financially for you to do as you will have a penalty associated with breaking the current mortgage.

If your mortgage is up for renewal, or if you are considering a transfer/switch in light of recent rate changes, a mortgage broker can assist you in making the right decision. Similar to when you first financed your mortgage, having a broker assist you gives you:

A DEDICATED INDIVIDUAL SHOPPING FOR YOU:
Reputable brokers have your best interest in mind first!

Your mortgage professional will shop the market to find the best overall cost of borrowing for the client. Broker’s will look at all angles of the product to ensure that the client is getting one that will suit their unique and specific needs. Not once will the client be expected to shop their mortgage around or to speak to the lender.

ACCESS TO THE BEST RATES & PRODUCTS
A mortgage professional has access to:
• Tier 1 banks in Canada
• Credit Unions
• Monoline Lenders
• Alternative Lenders
• Private Lenders

This extensive network of lender options allows brokers to ensure that you are not only getting the sharpest rate, but that the mortgage product is also aligned with the client’s needs.
Now, a few details that you should know before you transfer/switch your mortgage:

YOU WILL HAVE TO SUPPLY DOCUMENTS
Just like when you went through the process the first time, you will have to supply documents to the new lender in order to transfer/switch.

YOU MAY HAVE TO PAY OUT CERTAIN COSTS
As mentioned above, there costs associated with your transfer/switch. If your mortgage is up for renewal and you are opting to transfer/switch these may include admin and legal fees. If you are opting to transfer mid-term to take advantage of a lower rate with a different lender, these may include your penalty and legal/admin fees. However, many lenders will offer up to $3,000 financed into your mortgage to assist in covering these if applicable

YOU WILL HAVE TO QUALIFY UNDER CURRENT REGULATIONS
With a transfer/switch, you are required to pass any and all regulations and stress testing measures may be applicable, however If you are looking at a transfer/switch and your previous mortgage funded prior to November 30, 2016 old mortgage rules apply (no stress test is required). This means
• You are grandfathered in previous under mortgage rules
• You can qualify at the contract rate rather than the stress test of contract rate plus 2% or the benchmark rate (currently at 5.34%)
• In simple terms: no stress testing required.

Before you consider moving, you should run through the numbers with a broker and ensure you qualify. To find out more about stress testing measure, click here.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR PENALTY
If you are switching/transferring mid-term a penalty will apply to your mortgage. To find out what that penalty will look like, you can check out our article here, but we also encourage you to speak to your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker and have a clear understanding of what you will be paying out. If you are up for renewal and are looking to transfer, you will not have to pay a penalty and may or may not have the aforementioned fees associated with setting up the new mortgage with a new lender.

Remember, a broker is there to work with you to determine if a transfer/switch is right for you and to help you establish which lender will give you not only the best rate, but the most suitable mortgage product too!

Great article written by Geoff Lee of DLC GLM Mortgage Group based in Vancouver, BC.

22 Feb

MINIMUM DOWN PAYMENTS

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Are you looking for that new dream home, or anything that will get you out of your current rental property so you can officially become a homeowner?

If so, what is the minimum amount you are required to put down?

Below are three different purchase price categories. Each one has their own minimum down payment requirements and we have included some important notes to also consider at those prices.

| $1-$500,000 | Minimum 5% Down Payment |

  • The lowest amount you need as a cash down payment for a purchase up to $500,000 is only 5% of the purchase price.
  • For a $300,000 home, this would be $15,000.

| $500,001 – $999,999 | Blended Down Payment |

  • The minimum down payment if your purchase price falls in this category is 5% on the first $500,000 and 10% on the remainder up to a million dollars.
  • For a $650,000 purchase price, you would be required to put down $25,000 (5% on amount up to $500,000) and $15,000 (10% of the amount above $500,000 [$150,000 in this case]) for a total minimum down payment of $40,000. This would be a 6.15% down payment.

| $1,000,000 + | Sliding Scale |

  • 20% requirement on entire amount up to $1,250,000 and 50% down payment on amount over $1,250,000 subject to a 75% loan to value.
  • A $1,100,000 purchase price would be a minimum down payment of $220,000 (20%).
  • $1,350,000 purchase price would require $250,000 (20% on $1,250,000) plus an additional $50,000 (50% of amount above $1,250,000 [$100,000 in this case]).
  • Some lenders may make different exceptions depending on the strength of an application but, for the most part, the sliding scale information above is quite accurate.

There you have it! The three most common sized purchase prices and their required minimum down payment. Please keep in mind that almost all lenders will require you to have an additional 1.5% of the property value available in cash to cover all closing costs which may include, for example, lawyer fees, property transfer tax, and insurance. If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional near you.

Great information provided by Ryan Oake of DLC Producers West Financial based in Langley, BC.  Thanks Ryan!

21 Feb

5 REASONS WHY YOU DON’T QUALIFY FOR A MORTGAGE

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It’s not just because of finances.

As a mortgage broker I receive calls from people who want to know how to qualify for a mortgage. Most of the time it comes down to finances but there are other reasons as well.
Here are the 5 most common reasons why your home mortgage loan application could be denied:

1. Too Much Debt

When home buyers seek a mortgage, the words “debt-to-income ratio” quickly enters into the vocabulary, and it’s not without reason. Too much debt is a red flag to lenders, signifying you may not be able to handle credit responsibly.
Lenders will analyze how much debt you carry and what percentage of your income it takes to pay your debt. Debt ration is just as important as your credit score and payment history.
Two affordability ratios you need to be aware of:
• Rule #1 – GROSS DEBT SERVICE (GDS) Your monthly housing costs are generally not supposed to exceed 32% of your gross monthly income.
• Rule #2 – TOTAL DEBT SERVICE (TDS) Your entire monthly debt payments should not exceed 42% of your gross monthly income.

If you don’t have a good debt to income ratio, don’t give up hope. You have options available including lowering your current debt levels and working with your Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker.

2. Poor Credit History

Some people don’t realize if they are late on their credit card/loan/mortgage payments the lender sends that information to the credit bureaus.
• Late/non payments on your credit report will make your score drop like a rock
• Exceeding your credit card limit, applying for more credit cards/loans will lower your score.
• Bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal will significantly impact your score, and stay on your credit report for up to 7 years.
Your credit history is a great way for a lender to tell whether you’re a risky investment or not. Lenders look not only at your minimum credit score, but also at whether you have a significant amount of late payments on your credit report.
Your Mortgage Broker will run your credit bureau to see if there are any challenges you need to be aware of.

3. Insufficient Income and Assets

With the high price of homes in the Vancouver & Toronto area, sometimes people simply don’t earn enough money to afford: mortgage payments, property taxes and strata fees along with their existing debt (credit cards, loans, lines of credit etc.).
You need to prove your previous 2 years’ income on your taxes with your Notice of Assessments (NOA). This is the summary form that the Federal Government sends back to you after you file your taxes, showing how much you filed for income and if you either owe money or received a refund.
If you can’t provide documentation to prove your income, then you will likely get denied for a home mortgage loan.
Some home buyers will need to provide more money for a down payment (perhaps a gift from their family) or try to purchase a home with suite income. In some cases, home buyers will need to add someone else on title of the home, in order to add their income to the mortgage application.

4. Down Payment is Too Small

A lender looks at the down payment as how much of an investment a buyer will be putting in their future home. Therefore, bigger is always better when it comes a down payment to satisfy your home mortgage loan application. Start saving now.
To qualify for a mortgage in Canada the minimum down payment is 5% for the purchase of an owner-occupied home and 20% for a rental property.
In Canada if you have less than 20% down payment, the federal government dictates that the home buyer must purchase CMHC Mortgage Default Insurance which is calculated as a percentage of the loan and is based on the size of your down payment. The more you borrow the higher percentage you will pay in insurance premiums.
For those with less than 20% down payment, the maximum amortization is 25 years, with more than 20% down payment 30-35 years (depending on the lender).

5. Inadequate Employment History

Most lenders will want to see a consistent employment history of 2 years when applying for a mortgage, because they want to know you’re able to hold down a job long enough to pay back the money they’ve loaned you.
To prove your employment, you will need to prove a Job Letter with salary details.

If you’ve been denied a mortgage, chances are it was because of one of the above five reasons. Don’t be deterred, with a little patience and some work on your end, you can put yourself in a position to get approved the next time you apply.

This is great information provided by Kelly Hudson of our Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Experts office in Richmond, BC.  Thanks to Kelly for helping break this information down.

20 Feb

Bank of Canada Hike Next Monthly Not Likely – Dr. Sherry Cooper DLC

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Taking into account the current economic burdens presented by weaknesses in housing, oil, and trade, the Bank of Canada is unlikely to hike interest rates in its next meeting in March, Dominion Lending Centres chief economist Sherry Cooper predicted.

“Although job growth has been stronger than expected, wage gains have moderated and inflation pressures are muted,” Cooper wrote.

And while the most in-demand markets will continue to see housing price growth, such increases will be relatively muted compared to the highs achieved in previous years – and will actually be somewhat offset by pronounced slowdown elsewhere.

“We are likely in store for a prolonged period of modest housing gains in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, stability or softening in much of British Columbia and further weakening in the Prairies, Alberta, and Newfoundland & Labrador.”

The running theme this year would be sluggish sales and glacial-pace price growth, Cooper stated.

“While there will still be some significant regional divergences, there is no need for further policy actions to affect demand. Indeed, a growing chorus has been calling for lowering the mortgage qualification rate from the posted five-year fixed rate, currently 5.34%, to closer to the actual conventional rate, about 200 basis points lower.”

Read more: Rate hikes will impede many Canadians’ home-buying plans

In early January, money manager BlackRock Inc. noted that the BoC will almost certainly keep its interest rates flat until at least next year, “given increased market volatility and more restrictive financial conditions.”

“The bank has latitude to go on an extended pause,” BlackRock head of Canadian fixed income Aubrey Basdeo told BNN Bloomberg. “What’s the rush to get to neutral if inflation’s not an issue?”

Reduced inflationary pressure stemming from lower petroleum prices will also play a major role.

“With some of the volatility we’ve seen in the financial markets and the lower oil prices’ impact on economic activity in Western Canada, the Bank of Canada can afford to be cautious and will be in no rush to their next rate hike,” TD Bank senior economist James Marple said in late December.

19 Feb

GET TO KNOW TITLE INSURANCE

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Geoff Lee of Dominion Lending Centres – Vancouver, has some great information below on Title Insurance and the need for it!

Are you officially Mortgage Free? CONGRATULATIONS! That is a monumental milestone to achieve!

With that significant accomplishment, you should look at obtaining a Title Insurance Policy. What most people don’t realize is that when you had a mortgage, the lender will likely have had this in place for you. Once your mortgage is paid out in full the insurance is no longer in place. It is crucial that once your final payment is made that you, as a home owner, now get a policy.

What is Title Insurance? Good question!

Title Insurance protects you, the homeowner. It’s not like traditional insurance in that it does not ONLY cover things that might happen, but it also covers things such as property defects that have already occurred in the past.

A title insurance homeowner policy will cover:

  • Forgery – If someone forges your signature on a registered document that entitles them to sell or mortgage your home.
  • Duty To Defend – If you experience title risk, the policy will cover the legal fees and costs associated with restoring and protecting your title.
  • Lack of Building Permits – Prior to purchasing the home, if there were renovations performed without the proper building permits you may be required to remove or fix the structure.
  • Fraud – If someone fraudulently transfers your property without your consent.
  • Encroachments – If a structure built by a previous owner is outside the property boundaries, or if a neighbour builds a structure that is on your property.

Title Insurance offers you peace of mind if anything should happen to your property once you are the owner. It is relatively low cost, on average coming in at $200-$400. It is a one-time purchase and does not need to be purchased each year. More than reasonable right?

If you are still on the fence about obtaining title insurance, we’ve recently had a client who experienced title fraud:

A woman went to her bank to make a payment on a line of credit that was secured by a mortgage on her property. When she arrived, she was told that her $30,000 line of credit had been paid in full and that according to the lawyer who sent the funds, her house had been sold.

This left her quite perplexed, so she followed up with the land registry office. They confirmed the sale of the property for $350,000 and that a new mortgage was registered on the property for $325,000. The woman was stunned to find out that she had been the victim of a title fraud scheme—and that the fraudsters had collected $350,000 on the deal.

Thankfully, in the above case the woman was covered by a Title Insurance Policy which fully covered all her legal fees to remove the mortgage from title and rightfully transfer it back to her. Having the coverage saved her approximately $12,000 in legal fees, time, and stress.

Your home is a sizable investment and one you worked hard to purchase! Title Insurance can protect you and your property should there be anything that comes up. For the $200-$400 it costs, we feel that’s a low-price tag for peace of mind. Ready to get a quote? Let us help you by contacting Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to set up your Title Insurance Policy!