24 Feb

OVERCOMING THE CHALLENGE OF INCOME QUALIFYING

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

Overcoming the Challenge of Income Qualifying

When 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 a 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.

Please 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 us today!

23 Feb

GETTING STRICT ON DOCUMENTATION

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

Getting Strict On Documentation

With an increase in concern about fraud, lending institutions are getting strict on documentation for mortgage approval.

As part of the mortgage approval process, your mortgage broker will ask for documents to show proof of your income, down payment and possibly other items such as proof of permanent residency and other identification. Since most of that paperwork is in your home in hard copy many people simply take a photo on their phone and send it over by email. As lenders are getting strict on documentation they are not accepting photograph copies and some lenders are not accepting a JPEG file or other formats. They will want a PDF copy of the document.

So I suggest to clients –keep it simple—and make a digital file of all of your important documents stored in a safe — place such as an external hard drive or offsite server location.

1. Your passport or other important forms of identification

2. PDF copies of your T1 General tax returns and Notice of Assessment from CRA.

3. If you need to make a copy of a bank statement get it scanned and copied to a PDF

DO NOT take a photo of your documents and keep them on your phone OR consider those as good forms for lender financing purposes.

When in doubt ask your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

Remember – these extra steps may be frustrating but this level of security are in place to protect all of us from fraudulent practices by criminals.

23 Feb

SO YOU WANT TO PORT YOUR MORTGAGE?

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

So You Want To Port Your Mortgage?

Recently a video appeared on Linkedin and a few other places singing the praises of porting your mortgage and making it seem like a walk in the park. If you have ever done one, then you would know that it is anything but that scenario.

Porting is not much different than qualifying for a new mortgage, the video talks about the client moving to a new town and just porting their mortgage along with them. Truth is if that you are moving to a new town and a new job you may be on probation and not qualify for the mortgage. The lenders also have to approve the new property as well so a lot more factors that need to be considered.

If you are porting the mortgage and don’t need any more money as in the new house is the same value, then there isn’t much issue. What if the new home is more money and you need to increase the mortgage then the lender has an opportunity to blend the two rates and your mortgage payment could go up. If you need to reduce the mortgage amount, then you may also face a penalty on the amount reduced.

Another factor not talked about is that you still need a down payment for the new home it’s not just going to be a simple move over and continue on with your mortgage. The other thing that happens is that your lender will usually take the full penalty out of the sales proceeds and refund it to you after the sale has completed. In some cases, this process could take up to a month meaning you need to cover the short fall at closing and wait for it to come back to you.

And last but not least how long of a period do you have to port your mortgage, did you know they range from 1 day to 120 day’s maximums? In the case of one day that mean the lawyer has to close both sales in that time frame.

Overall its prudent to get professional advice from your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

23 Feb

New Mortgage Regulations Weigh On Home Sales

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

New Mortgage Regulations Weigh On Home Sales

This morning, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) released its January national real estate statistics showing home sales declined 1.3% month-over-month in the first month of this year. This down draft put resales at their second lowest monthly level since the fall of 2015 and only  a bit above levels recorded last November when new tighter mortgage regulations were first put in place.

Activity was down in about 50% of all local markets, led by the three largest urban markets–The Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Greater Vancouver and Montreal.

For the year as a whole, the number of homes changing hands was up 1.9%. Sales slowed in the second half of 2016 and the newly released data show that the slowdown continues. Notably, year-over-year sales were down significantly in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia (BC). This slowdown was exacerbated by the August introduction of the 15% land transfer tax on foreign nonresident purchasers. The October tightening of mortgage regulations dampened activity further.

Housing activity will not provide the boost to overall economic growth in 2017 that it did in 2015 and the first half of 2016. as first-time homebuyers will find it more difficult to qualify for a mortgage and credit availability is diminished by the disproportionate impact of the new regulations on nonbank lenders.

Sales activity was down from the previous month in about half of all local markets, led by three of Canada’s largest urban centres: the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Greater Vancouver and Montreal.

Supply shortages are a major issue depressing sales activity and raising prices, especially in and around Toronto and parts of BC. Price pressures will continue in these markets unless demand declines significantly.

New Listings Continue To Decline

The number of newly listed homes fell 6.7% in January, the second consecutive monthly decline. New listings were down in about two-thirds of all local markets, led by the GTA and environs across Vancouver Island.

The monthly decline in new listings dwarfed the decline in sales so the national sales-to-new listings ratio jumped to 67.7% last month compared to 64.0% in December and 60.2% in November. The ratio in the range of 40%-to-60% is considered generally consistent with balanced housing market conditions. Above 60% is considered a sellers’ market and below 40%, a buyers’ market. 

The sales-to-new-listings ratio was above 60% in half of all local housing markets again last month–the vast majority of which continued to be in British Columbia, in and around the Greater Toronto Area and across Southwestern Ontario. There were sellers markets already in these regions.

Number of Months of Inventory

The number of months of inventory is another important measure of the balance between housing supply and demand. It represents the number of months it would take to completely liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

There were 4.6 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of January–unchanged from December and a six-year low for this measure. Clearly government efforts to increase supply is warranted.

The imbalance between limited housing supply and relatively strong demand in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe region is without precedent (the region includes the GTA, Hamilton-Burlington, Oakville-Milton, Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Brantford, the Niagara Region, Barrie and nearby cottage country). The number of months of inventory in January is now at or below one month of sales in the GTA, Hamilton-Burlington, Oakville-Milton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Brantford and Guelph.

Prices Continue to Rise

The Aggregate Composite MLS House Price Index (HPI) rose 15.0% y-o-y last month. This was up a bit from December’s gain, reflecting an acceleration in condo and townhouse unit price increases.

This price index, unlike those provided by local real estate boards and other data sources, provides the best gauge of price trends because it corrects for changes in the mix of sales activity (between types and sizes of housing) from one month to the next.

Prices for two-storey single family homes posted the strongest year-over-year gains (+16.8%), followed closely by townhouse/row units (+15.8%), one-storey single family homes (+14.4%) and apartment units (+13.3%). In many of these regions, the supply of new single-family homes is so limited, you practically need to knock down a house to build a new one.

Price trends continued to vary widely by location. In the Fraser Valley and Greater Vancouver, prices continued to recede from their peaks reached in August 2016 but remained above year-ago levels (+24.9% y-o-y and +15.6% y-o-y respectively). Meanwhile, benchmark prices climbed to new heights in Victoria and elsewhere on Vancouver Island as well as in the Oakville-Milton, Guelph, and the GTA. Year-over-year price gains in these five markets ranged from about 18% to 26% in January. By comparison, home prices were down 2.9% y-o-y in Calgary and edged lower by 1.0% y-o-y in Saskatoon, continuing their retreat from peaks reached in 2015. Prices in these two markets are down 5.9% in Calgary and 4.3% in Saskatoon relative to their 2015 peak levels.

Home prices were up modestly from year-ago levels in Regina (+3.8%), Ottawa (+3.7%), Greater Montreal (+3.1%). In Greater Moncton, prices held steady. Monthly trends suggest that prices have continued to stabilize in these markets.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in January 2017 was $470,253 about in line with where it stood one year earlier. This marks the smallest y-o-y increase in nearly two years.

The national average price continues to be pulled upward by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and the GTA, which remain two of Canada’s tightest, most active and expensive housing markets. That said, Greater Vancouver’s share of national sales activity has diminished considerably over the last year, giving it less upward influence on the national average price. The average price is reduced by almost $120,000 to $351,998 if Greater Vancouver and GTA sales are excluded from calculations.

22 Feb

READING THIS COULD SAVE YOU THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS!! (AKA HOW TO RENEW YOUR MORTGAGE IN 5 EASY STEPS)

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

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.

22 Feb

FINANCING SOLUTION – HOME EQUITY LINE OF CREDIT

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

Financing Solution – Home Equity Line Of Credit

The Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) lets you split up your mortgage debt and borrow against your equity at low rates.

The unique feature of this mortgage product is that you can slice the pie (the mortgage balance) into various segments. All of it is registered against the subject property title as just one charge. This gives you the ability to diversify your risk in the marketplace.

If you had a $480,000 outstanding mortgage against a property (with 20% equity or a value of $600,000) you could divide it up into different segments. For example, you might place $200,000 in a variable-rate mortgage, $200,000 as fixed term and $80,000 line of credit.

Spreading the risk across different markets helps you plan for the future, as there are different governing bodies controlling different aspects of the marketplace.

Variable-rate mortgages and lines of credit (LOCs) are based on the prime lending rate and controlled by the Bank of Canada. Fixed rates are based on bond yields and dictated by the lenders themselves. Most other lenders follow the trends of the major chartered banks in Canada.

There are two types of line of credit in Canada: secured (registered against real estate) and unsecured (guaranteed by one’s promise to repay). I can only assist with secured LOCs. The secured LOC means less risk for the lender as it is based on the market value of the home to a maximum of 80% loan-to-value. Therefor the rate is lower and the borrowing ceiling is higher.  On secured LOCs the rate is Prime (2.70%) +0.50% which is 3.20%.  This means that if you had a primary residence with a market value of $500,000 free and clear of any other type of mortgage then you could secure a $400,000 HELOC against it at 3.20%.

Unsecured LOC rates vary depending on lender, but a safe starting range is 5-7%. And on unsecured LOCs, lenders tend to forward much less than secured LOCs; they range from $5,000-$40,000.

Here is an example of a client I recently assisted. We were able to obtain a HELOC mortgage product from a Canadian charter bank.

  • Current residence (located in the Greater Vancouver area) appraised at $1.15MM.
  • Current mortgage balance, $445,000.
    Maximum loan limit, $920,000 (80% of market value: 1,150,000 x 80%).
    They opted to secure the current outstanding balance of $445,000 into a variable-rate mortgage at Prime-0.45% or 2.25%.
    The additional equity of $475,000 was set up for access across 3 different LOCs; one at $159,000 and two at $158,000.
    These clients now have access to $475,000 for any future needs: renos, emergency, investment opportunities, post-secondary education for their children.

But while a HELOC  allows for product diversification and long-term planning, it is not for everyone. It can be a bad idea if it’s just used as access to easy cash. One needs to possess high self-discipline, as the funds are extremely accessible. Using the home as a piggybank can backfire disastrously.

A HELOC is also not available to all homeowners. There must be enough equity in the home before a lender will consider it.

Please contact your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to discuss the potential of structuring a HELOC mortgage product against your home.

22 Feb

BE THE SUNSHINE FOR A SENIOR THIS MONTH

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

Be the Sunshine For a Senior This Month

As Canadians, February can be one of the hardest months. It’s when the wounds of the holiday credit card bills are still fresh and taxes for the upcoming season need to be prepared. Financial stress may be at its peak. According to Statistics Canada, over 1.4 million senior Canadians reported feeling lonely. The loneliness and depression in seniors can lead to other health problems such as an increased risk of depression, cognitive decline and illnesses like coronary artery disease.

This is the perfect time to reach out to the seniors in your life. During these cold months, many seniors may remain indoors to avoid the bitter cold. The days are long and dark and seniors may have less family visiting, which also adds to their loneliness. Add the financial stress and February can become a very depressing and tough time for seniors.

So how can you help?

Many seniors are still not fully versed on a CHIP Reverse Mortgage, and in fact they continually have the wrong impression of the product. The CHIP Reverse Mortgage through Dominion Lending Centres, allows Canadian seniors to do the things they love to do, like travel with family or entertain more often at home.

In fact, data from a recent report on the use of funds of reverse mortgages in Canada shows that the top reasons for a reverse mortgage, are as follows:

  • Debt – Debt relief or debt consolidation
  • Health Care – Health care expenses, medical emergency or support work to pay off debt related to health care.
  • Renovations – Home retrofitting or home renovations to help improve standard of living.
  • Income Supplement – Clients use reverse mortgage funds to supplement their income. Whether they are still working or already retired, savings may not be sufficient to ease financial insecurities.
  • Living Expenses – Daily living expenses such as groceries and household bills such as phone and hydro.

The cold months don’t need to be long and depressing, it can be a time of change and opportunity and a time to uplift seniors introducing them and educating them about the CHIP Reverse Mortgage solution. If not, simply lending an ear to listen to them can make all the difference in uplifting their spirits.

We all have the power to be the helpful hand so be the sunshine for other during these colder months!

22 Feb

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT NO FRILLS MORTGAGES

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

What you Need to Know About No Frills Mortgages

You’ve been offered an amazing rate and you just can’t believe how much you will save. You’re super excited and getting ready to go sign off on the papers when you randomly run into a mortgage broker and mention the deal you scored. The broker says to you that’s an awesome rate, any idea what the penalty calculation is if you need to refinance in the future?. Wait what…is that not the same as the last mortgage I had?

Maybe but maybe not. There are a lot of new mortgage products available on the market that offer lower rates while giving up other benefits. These mortgage options may have higher penalties, lower prepayment privileges or even worse they could have a bonafide sale clause.

I don’t blame a consumer for always thinking rate first. The industry as a whole is guilty of shoving rates in our face anytime they possibly can. It’s the easiest part of a mortgage to compare and easiest to advertise. But definitely not the most important part.

Being aware of all the terms and conditions is the key to finding your best mortgage option. You should be aware that there are mortgages that may come with one or more of the following terms:

* Sales only clause, meaning you may not be able to refinance your mortgage until your term is up

* A higher set payout penalty. Meaning you may have to pay more than the standard 3 months interest or Interest Rate Differential penalty.

* Smaller prepayment options

* and more!

Always ask these 5 Questions when offered a mortgage:

1. How is the payout penalty calculated if I break the mortgage?

2. Can I refinance with another lender before my term is up?

3. Is the mortgage registered as a Standard or Collateral charge on my land title?

4. What are my prepayment privileges?

5. Is the mortgage portable and assumable?

Bottom line is that knowing all the fine print is essential in making an educated mortgage decision. We never know what is going to happen in life and saving a little bit on your mortgage rate may cost you more in the long run.

Contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional today to discuss your mortgage options!

22 Feb

TOP FIVE HOME RENOVATIONS THAT INCREASE PROPERTY VALUE

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

Purchase Plus Improvements

Looking to increase your homes property value? Here are five of the best renovations you can do to your home to increase property value. These five renovations can sometimes have a return on investment 5-6x what they cost.

# 5 Flooring

Flooring is one of the most important aspects of your house. You will see an immediate rise in property valuation with the installation of hardwood floors. Existing hardwood floors that you can refinish are ideal as they are less costly to restore and in higher demand than new flooring materials. For the bathroom, tile will always be in demand and retain value exceptionally well.

# 4 Fixtures

Kitchens often look tired and dated, in large part due to old fixtures. Replacing or updating cabinet hardware, light fixtures, countertops and faucets will result in an immediate increase in your home’s value. This small, but effective upgrade will also revitalize the entire home. Pot lights are in high demand in open concept style homes.

# 3 Bathroom

The bathroom is the second most important room in the home in terms of valuation. If you can add a three-piece bathroom to a home with only one full bathroom, you will see a dramatic rise in the market value of your home. While you should never compromise bedroom space for a bathroom, try sneaking one in dead space in the home. Scott managed to fit in a 3-piece bathroom under a staircase – the width of the room measured just 44 inches. As an added tip, use glass for the shower to make the bathroom feel more spacious.

#2 Kitchen

Kitchens are the single most important room in the home relating to valuation. The kitchen can make a significant difference in the value of your home. As such, it is crucial that you invest in having a modern, fresh and desirable kitchen. Modern cabinetry, under cabinet lighting and new appliances will all significantly increase the value of your home on the market. To save on cost without compromising construction and desirability, look at options like Ikea cabinets as opposed to custom cabinetry.

#1 An Income Suite

No surprise, but the single biggest way to increase the value of your home is to build an income suite within the property. Whether this is converting your basement into a rental, or another floor in the home, an income property will increase your home’s worth. The main reason for this is that it covers a portion, or sometimes all of your mortgage payments, and results in your home being cash flow positive – which creates real wealth that can supplement your income.

Speak with any Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional about how Genworth Canada can help qualified home buyers make their new home just right for them, with tailored improvements, immediately after taking possession of the purchased property.

Check out this video for more information.

13 Feb

GET IN FRONT OF A BAD SITUATION

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

Financial difficulty can happen. Marital breakdown, economic downturn / job loss, health issues are all reality.

If I can give one piece of advice it’s this – in the face of financial difficulty the worst thing that a person can do is to go dark on their creditors.

In my experience, being 100% upfront and honest with creditors is by far the best 1st step in face of a cash crunch. CALL YOUR CREDITORS. EXPLAIN YOUR SITUATION. ASK FOR A TEMPORARY REPRIEVE. BE PROACTIVE WITH LOOKING AT A SOLUTION EARLY.

Trust me – most creditors DO NOT want to foreclose on homes, send you to collections or push you over the brink of financial ruin. Many will actually work to help you get back on your feet if you let them know early on that you are in a crunch. I have seen some of our lenders make amazing concessions for customers who hit a stumbling block financially when they have gotten in touch BEFORE they fall behind.

It’s when a person stops making minimum payments, avoids calls from creditors and just gives up on their situation / assumes they are up the creek or are too embarrassed to admit that they may not be able to meet obligations.

This looks to creditors that the person has abandoned the debt and is now looking to stick it to them.

Unfortunately, many times people call us at Dominion Lending Centres when they are already months behind and been served with collections / seizure notices and credit is ruined. At that time, they are too far gone and lenders/creditors are normally not able to help.

Any time a person calls to advise that they are looking for a solution to help with a cash crunch, the first question I ask is “Have you spoken to your creditors?”

Don’t be embarrassed, be proactive!! Save your credit standing, your assets and your future. Short term pain is much better than long term ruin any day.

We have seen it all at DLC and are here to help.