29 Nov

Bridge Financing: A Recap


Posted by: Brad Lockey

The fast pace of buying and selling real estate is daunting. Throw in trying to manage closing dates, possession dates and access to the proceeds for the purchase and you have a recipe for disaster.

I recently received an email from a potential client asking these very questions:

“I was wondering how the process usually goes, for looking at a new place. We had planned to use our equity in this home as the down payment for a new place. But if we can’t unlock that equity until the closing date, what usually happens in the interim?  Do we have to find a place to rent?…a month or longer? When we bought this place, it was our first home purchase, so moving to a new one is new to us. I don’t understand how we are supposed to start looking for a place after subject removal (which is 30 days after tomorrow), when we can’t access the equity to make a down payment.”

This scenario happens much more often than one thinks. In order for sellers to access their equity to become buyers they are required to utilize a bridge loan to transition into their “next” home. The bridge loan allows you to purchase a new property before the sale completes on the existing or current residence.

Most lenders have a 45 – 60-day window to exercise this option, with a range of daily rates and admin fees. The four vital components to a mortgage application are incomecredit worthiness, the subject property and down payment.

The first three have been approved; now how does one unlock the down payment? Easy. The borrower is required to supply the fully executed purchase and sale contract, subject removal addendum and the current mortgage statement for the existing property. This provides confirmation that you have sold the property on X date as well it confirming the sale price less the possible real estate commission fees and closing costs. Once the current mortgage amount is subtracted the net proceeds are yielded, leaving you your down payment amount.

As mentioned above, there are fees to access bridge financing, as well as a daily interest rate. If the purchase of the next property completes the same day as the sale, then it is handled at the lawyer’s office internally and the funds are transferred accordingly.

The equity is yours to access right now. The lenders verify your equity with the conditions provided.

Here is an example of the timeline and fees of how the bridge loan scenario can be utilized:

Existing home sold, completing December 14, 2016 $600,000

Current outstanding balance $400,000

Equity remaining $200,000

New home purchase, completing November 30, 2016

The lender has approved the down-payment amount. Because the proceeds are still secured against the existing home we had to provide confirmation that the funds were available. We determined there was $200,000 by way of sales contract, subject removal addendum and the current mortgage statement.

The second layer to the bridge loan is the cost of borrowing the $200,000. Bear in mind the funds are still tied up in the existing property. The cost to borrow the $200,000 temporarily is Prime + 2% (daily rate) plus an administration fee of $250.

$200,000 x 4.70% / 365 (days) = $25.76 per day to borrow $200,000

There is a 14-day completion difference. The total cost to utilize a bridge loan is $360.64 (in interest) + $250 (admin fee) = $610.64.

All-in-all this is a very inexpensive and easy way to access the equity you have built up in your current home. Remember, lenders are in business of making money…this is simply a cost of doing business.

Be sure to surround yourself with industry professionals (like the mortgage brokers at Dominion Lending Centres) to make sure nothing is overlooked or miscalculated.

28 Nov

Why You Should Not Trust Mortgage Calculators


Posted by: Brad Lockey

Why You Shouldn't Trust "What Can I Afford Calculators"

Your maximum mortgage amount is determined by your credit profile, your usable income (which is determined by each lender), your down payment among other requirements. Not all applicants fit into one box and this is why you should never trust the “What do I Qualify for Mortgage Calculators”.

Let me tell you a story about Jack and Jill who want to buy a home with city water for their growing family (yes, I have been reading a lot of nursery rhymes lately with my toddlers and have always thought they were a couple).

Jack has a long-term $65,000 per year salaried job with guaranteed pay. Jill is just out of nursing school and has been working as a temporary part-time employee making $25 per hour. They have one child and earn Child Tax Benefit income of $350 per month. They figure because Jill typically works 20 hours a week that they should be able to use all their income of $7,933 per month to qualify.

They decide to check out their bank’s online mortgage qualifying calculator. They are excited as they have $25,000 saved to cover the down payment and closing costs and their bank’s calculator says their “income” is sufficient to buy a $375,000 home.

After getting an accepted offer on a home they head to their bank to get a mortgage. The banker checks their credit, runs some numbers and determines shelter costs (mortgage payment, property taxes and heat) at today’s rates will be $1,993 per month for the property.

It turns out that with Jack and Jill’s credit report results, both with a credit rating of 650 (an average rating but not excellent) that they cannot go over 35% of their usable gross income for shelter expenses. The key words here are “usable income”. The banker then explains that though Jill is now earning income that they would not consider this temporary positions income in calculations until she has at least 2 years from the same employer to show income stability. The bank also does not use Child Tax Benefit income. The 35% of their usable income (Jack’s salary only) works out to $1,895, which is not enough to cover the shelter expenses for the purchase . They do not qualify for the purchase with their bank.

Jack and Jill thought it would be no problem. They are upset and confused so they contact a Mortgage Broker recommended by The Old Woman who just moved out of the shoe. The broker reviews their application and reconfirms that their application doesn’t fit with their current bank (which the broker also works with).

However, the broker has a relationship with many lenders including one that helped the Old Woman move out of the shoe. This lender will uses the Child Tax Benefit income. This means with the brokers connections that their usable income will increase by $350 per month putting them at $2,018 of income allowed to be used towards shelter expenses and above the $1,993 required to buy the home. They have now been approved to buy their dream home and are looking forward to running water.

This is just one example of why the “What can I afford calculators” may give you false results which ultimately could result in disappointment.

Never trust the calculators and always place a subject to financing clause if you make an offer on a home. More importantly consult with a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker before you start your home search so you know your buying power.

22 Nov

The Personality of Your Mortgage


Posted by: Brad Lockey

The Personality of Your Mortgage

Everyone knows that Mortgages come with a rate attached to them. But few know that each Mortgage Product has a PERSONALITY too!

The Personality of a mortgage product is a key component in selecting the right mortgage for you and your unique needs. So sit back, take some notes, and take your mortgage on a little coffee date—lets get to know it a bit better shall we?

8 Questions You Should Ask:

1. What is the penalty to break my mortgage, if I want to upgrade, refinance or sell?

Just how flexible is your mortgage? A no frills approach would be along the lines of a 12-month principle and interest penalty to break the mortgage —which means you may be stuck with the Lender and the terms that they give!

2. What are my prepayment privileges?

You will want to know how much extra you can put toward your mortgage principle-be it monthly or annually. This could mean a basic 0-20% monthly payment with or without an anniversary or lump sum payments. But this begs the question: How much do you REALLY need? Statistics show that 17% make lump sum payments, and 23% of us make additional monthly payments. Statistics show us that most BUT not all of us do not need more than 10% when looking for prepayment privileges but it’s always important to have the additional room when needed.

3. Is my mortgage portable?

This may seem like an odd question, but you will want to be able to bring your mortgage with you with NO penalty and keep your interest rate intact if you sell your current residence and buy another (portable). Often the case may be with a “no frills” mortgage, that you either can’t or you have restrictions placed on it. Also, it’s important to know that if you are in a Variable Rate Mortgage (AVRM) most lenders will not allow you to have a portable mortgage at all.

4. Can I Blend & Extend or Assume my mortgage?

You will want to ask your broker/lender if your rate can be blended or if the additional monies that you want to borrow for purchase can be extended. In addition, finding out if you sell your home, and someone can take over the remaining terms is a key question to ask—with a “no frills” you are out of luck with that one!

5. How long can my Amortization be?

We all want to know: how long will it take to pay off my mortgage (amortization) at the contract rate?? This question is an important one to ask as this impacts debt servicing and monthly payment. With your no frills you have a max of 25 years!

6. Does the mortgage that I am looking for apply to an investment property?

Looking to get into the real estate investment biz? Make sure you get a good broker/lender on your side! A no-frills mortgage won’t let the mortgage you are looking at apply to investment property’s (rental) – leaving you with a higher rate and unlikable terms.

7. What will my rate be if I go from a Variable Rate Mortgage (AVRM) to a Fixed Rate?

Asking this simple question at the start of your mortgage product search, can save you a lot of heartache. With a no frills mortgage you get the Standard Rate, not the best rate—which means you may be paying a lot more than necessary!

8. How is my mortgage going to be registered? Standard or Collateral charge?

A mortgage that is being registered as a standard charge can be transferred/switched at no costs at the time of renewal. A mortgage that is being registered as a Collateral Charge will typically incur a cost in renewing your mortgage that you must pay for.

These 8 questions are the ones you should always ask before signing on the dotted line of a mortgage. They make up the mortgage personality, and help to establish your future! All Dominion Lending Centres mortgage brokers are committed to finding you the best product to meet your unique circumstances. So remember, before you sign make a date with your mortgage and get to know each other a bit better.

14 Nov

The Purchase Plus Improvements Program


Posted by: Brad Lockey

With 80% loan-to-value being the maximum you are now able to refinance your propertyand 25 years being the maximum amortization on high ratio deals, it’s not as easy as it once was to simply refinance and pull some money out of a home when it’s time for some upgrades.

In addition to the above, it seems that many of the new homes being developed lack a decent sized yard for the average family to live in and enjoy. Many of my clients are facing the dilemma of buying a new home with all the bells and whistles, but a lackluster yard or, purchase an older home with a yard that their family can enjoy, but face the reality of having to upgrade or renovate the home they purchase.

The Purchase Plus Improvements mortgage is a great option for many people in this situation. They get credit for the increased home value right off the bat, they get their money at a great interest rate, and they get to complete the upgrades right away and live in the home they really want!

Here’s how the program works:

* The amount allowed for improvements is typically 10% – 20% of the purchase price, or up to $40,000 maximum (all case specific, so be sure to talk to me to determine the amount). The money is to be used for “improvements” or “upgrades”, not necessary repairs like leaks or structure issues. It also must be for something that adds value to the home, not a chattel like appliances.

* You need to get quotes for the cost of the improvements that you wish to complete. Add the amount of the quote(s) to the purchase price, and this becomes the “value” of the home that the lender considers. The down payment is now based on this new higher value as well.

* The mortgage is funded based on the contractual price, but the money to be used for improvements is held at the solicitor’s office until the work is complete.

* The work can be done by yourself or a company/contractor, but sweat labor is not something that can be reimbursed for. If you do the work yourself, only the cost of the materials is released. If a contractor or company does the work, simply provide the invoice and they will be reimbursed directly for the full amount.

* An inspection report from an appraiser is required when all is done so the lender can confirm that the said work was completed and is of good quality.

* If the final costs end up being less than expected, the left over money is applied back against the mortgage.

For example, Purchase Plus Improvements program lets qualified buyers borrow up to 10% – 20% of the post-renovation value of a house and use that money to cover the cost of renovations. Let’s say the house’s purchase price is $420,000 and the renovations you have in mind would increase its value by $70,000. That means the post-renovation value would be $490,000 so you could borrow $49,000 – $99,000 (case specific) to cover the renovations.


Monthly Savings


Straight mortgage with $70,000 line of credit:


  • Purchase price = $420,000;
  • 5% Down payment = $21,000;
  • Mortgage Insurance Premium = $14,364;
  • Total Mortgage = $413,364;
  • Mortgage Payment amortized over 25 years @ 2.44%, 5 year fixed rate = $1,839.40 monthly;
  • Improvements using line of credit $70,000
  • Line of credit interest only payment at 7.5% = $430.82 monthly;
  • Total monthly payments: $2,270.22 monthly;
  • Total debt load in 5 years = $419,439.29


Purchase plus improvements:


  • Purchase price $490,000
  • 5% Down payment $24,500    
  • Mortgage Insurance Premium = $16,758
  • Total Mortgage = $482,258;
  • Mortgage Payment amortized over 25 years @ 2.44%, 5 year fixed rate = $2,145.97 monthly;
  • Improved cash flow and lower interest costs;
  • Living in your dream home;
  • Total debt load in 5 years = $407,678.88


To qualify, you have to provide a quote from a contractor at the time of submitting the application to the lender. Once the mortgage insurer and your lender approve the renovation amount, it’s then added to your mortgage loan. However, you don’t receive the funds until the renovation is complete and has been appraised or inspected. This usually means you will need a short-term line of credit or to come up with the funds ahead of time.


Do you think this program might work for you or someone you know?
Call me for further details.

Brad Lockey

4 Nov



Posted by: Brad Lockey


Bank or Mortgage Broker?

Mortgages are like vehicles. A bank is similar to the brand, Ford or Toyota for example. How long you have a mortgage before it’s time to renew is like the model, a Fusion or Camry. The rate is similar to the car’s paint color, and the mortgage benefits such as prepayment privileges and portability are like the car’s benefits; 4-wheel drive, hatchback, four doors instead of two, etc.

A bank is like a sales person at a Ford or Toyota dealership. He or she know everything about every car on their lot; engine size, warranty, all available colors, and their fuel ratings. He or she can match any car to your needs and lifestyle, as long as it’s sold at their lot.

But what if they don’t have the most fuel efficient car? What if you don’t like the design or you need four doors and a trunk and all they have is two doors and a hatchback? Are you still going to buy from that dealership just because you went there first? No, you’re going down the street to check out the Chevrolet, maybe even BMW, Mazda, or the new Chrysler dealership. That sales person doesn’t want you to go buy from another lot down the street, but you are buying to satisfy your needs, not the dealership’s needs of selling their own cars.

Now imagine a dealership that sold every single make and model of vehicle. Imagine you could choose one of their sales people, and have them work only for you. They know just as much or even more about every make and model, they do all the research for you and tell you what you need to look for, they ask you the important questions; they have your best interest. That is a mortgage broker, your own personal expert.

Now, you may not need a personal expert to buy a car. But what about mortgages? Is a 0.10% lower interest rate a lot? Or will a 20% prepayment privilege instead of 10% be more advantageous? Can you switch lenders and move your mortgage? $15,000 or $5,000 penalty? How is it calculated? Fixed or variable? Is a collateral charge good or bad? 2-year term or 5-year? Big bank or monoline lender? How about credit unions? The list goes on.

So, a bank or Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker? Put it this way; would you buy from the first dealership you visit or hire an expert?

2 Nov



Posted by: Brad Lockey

Is Being Mortgage Free My Plan For Retirement?

Most people believe that being mortgage free is their plan for retirement. That means paying off your mortgage as fast as possible becomes the priority and having other forms of investments are considered only after your property is paid off.

It is important to decide what option will give you the balanced diversification and protect you from the real estate market and economic fluctuations.

One strategy to be mortgage free is that you will have minimal property expenses when you retire and have 100% of the value of your home in equity. You will then have extra funds when you decide to downsize to a smaller home. But by putting all of your eggs in one basket you could be limiting the ability to use other investment options that could give you a higher return on investment and would help you achieve your retirement goals faster.

By focusing on making extra payments towards your mortgage and making lump sum payments on your mortgage or increasing your payments regularly, you would shorten the life of your mortgage, yet you are not investing into your RRSP’s.

Here is the best of both worlds: By investing in your RRSP’s, you pay less tax and get a refund. With that money you could make a lump sum payment on your mortgage every year.

Another option would be to put the equity in your home to work for you by using a HELOC (a home equity line of credit). This will give you access to your equity whenever you need it and would be a perfect investment vehicle.

Having a HELOC separate from your actual mortgage gives you the flexibility to use it for investment purposes. This way the interest you pay on funds that are drawn from the home equity line of credit are tax deductible.

Here are some investment ideas: Use the funds from the HELOC to purchase an investment property and with the rental income you could cover the mortgage payments and property costs. The rental property would then pay for itself and you have vehicle to help with your retirement goal.

Another idea is doing the Smith Manoeuvre. This means using the HELOC for short and long term investments. If you do short-term, high return investments that when cashed, help you pay off the line of credit. Any extra money you have made will allow you to make a lump sum payment on your original mortgage.

Many Canadians think of retirement as time filled with traveling, spending more time on hobbies and interest. However, in order to be able to do that, there are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration when planning for your retirement. More Canadians are thinking of their current needs and not as much about retirement until the later years.

There has been an increase in life expectancy as health care technology is advancing. Canadians are more aware about their health and are taking better care of themselves, which means seniors are living longer. According to Statistics Canada, males have an average life expectancy of 79 and females of 83. On average, there is an increase of 2-3 years of life expectancy for males and females every decade.

As a result, seniors now have to save more for their retirement than their predecessors. 4 in 10 Canadians age 55+ say there is a serious risk that they will outlive their retirement savings. An additional 40% of seniors will still be in debt after the age of 65, according to The Vanier Institute of the Family.

The cost of long-term care is significant. Benefitscanada.com, reports that baby boomers currently account for 33% of the population and 14% are over the age of 65. Based on today’s trends and demographics, by 2036, 25% of the population will be over the age of 65. In 2036, Statistics Canada reported that one in ten Canadians will require long term care by the age of 55, three in ten by the age of 65 and five in ten by the age of 75.

Since life expectancy has increased, long term care costs need to be taken into consideration. Pensions are low and most people are not saving enough for retirement. It is important to have a retirement strategy that works for you by exploring different ways that work with your lifestyle and goals. A comprehensive strategy can be put in place by working with your Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional, Financial Adviser and Accountant.