27 Apr

REVERSE MORTGAGE – THE PROS AND CONS

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

You may be seeing and hearing a lot more regarding the Reverse Mortgage in today’s marketplace. I have taken the time to get familiar with the program here in Canada and have been quite surprised by how it’s changed and how different it is to its counterpart in the U.S. and how relevant it has become given our aging population in Canada.

Who are they best suited for? People aged 55+ that own a house, townhouse, or condo and want to either increase their cash flow or access equity without making a monthly payment. The older the client, the higher the approved limit.

Here is a list of PROS and CONS of the Reverse Mortgage.

Pros

  • Funds can be advanced as needed such as a line of credit with interest only accruing on the money advanced.
  • No income debt servicing like other ‘standard’ mortgages. Retirees with fixed incomes can qualify for much more money as our approvals are based on age and property.
  • No payments required. The borrower can retain more of their income and never worry about default or foreclosure.
  • Changes in interest rates don’t affect the client’s monthly cash flow since there no payment required.
  • Clients can pay up to 10% towards the loan if they choose each year, but there is no obligation.
  • Prepayment penalties are waived upon death and reduced by 50% if the borrower(s) are moving into a care home.
  • Borrowers will never owe more than the fair market value of the home at the time it is sold
  • There are no changes to the mortgage amount and no payments required if one spouse passes or moves into a care home.
  • With conservative house appreciation of just 2.5% to 3% per year over time will typically make up for the accruing interest on the reverse mortgage leaving clients with plenty of equity in the end.

Cons

  • Clients are choosing to have more income/cash flow TODAY, in return for having less savings in the home TOMORROW.
  • All clients are required to obtain independent legal advice, which is a good thing. But there is a small extra cost. Total one-time setup and legal fees run approximately $2,500.
  • Rates are approximately 1.5% to 2% higher than the best rate secured line of credit.
  • If the housing market never goes up, and the client lives in the home long enough, there is a chance the client could exhaust all the equity in the home to fund their retirement.

If you, a family member, or a contact of yours could benefit from a reverse mortgage or want to learn more, please contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional who can walk you through the entire process.

25 Apr

SUBJECT TO FINANCING- A MUST!

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

With most people who are new to real estate and looking for their first home (or possibly second), one of the most significant times is when your offer to buy is accepted by a seller. Unfortunately, that moment is quickly followed by stress, as not many people know what comes next- securing financing. 99% of the time a realtor will ask you if you have been qualified by a bank or a mortgage broker before they write an offer on your behalf. What should be told to you, the client, by the realtor and your mortgage broker is that you need to have a subject to financing condition in your offer.

In order for someone to receive a mortgage from a lender, they need to meet the lender’s (and sometimes the insurer’s) conditions. Usually, these all revolve around a borrower’s down payment money, their income as well as employment, and the property they are making an offer on. If you make an offer on a home and it is accepted, but for example, the lender doesn’t like the property because the strata board doesn’t have enough money in their contingency fund to fix the leaking roof in the next 12 months, they could turn down your application and not lend you money.

If you don’t have the money, you don’t get the home. That is why you have a subject to a financing condition, so if for any reason, you can’t meet the lender’s requirements with your income, down payment, or if the property is unacceptable to them or the insurer, you can cancel your offer without any hassle or loss of deposit.

What happens if you make a subject free offer? If you make an offer on a home and it doesn’t have a subject to financing condition in it, that house is now yours once the offer is accepted. Your deposit is no longer yours, and you have to come up with the remaining money. If you cannot and are unable to complete the purchase, the seller may file a lawsuit against you for damages as they have now taken their home off the market potentially losing out on the ability to sell their home to someone else while they waited for you to get financing.

Always, always, always have a condition in your offer that states subject to financing and allow yourself 3 to 5 business days. If you go in without that fail-safe and it turns out you really need it, you will potentially be on the hook and if the seller wishes, he or she can sue you for any potential losses. Subject to financing is a must! If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

23 Apr

ARE MORTGAGE TERMS MORE IMPORTANT THAN RATE?

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

Why are the terms more important than the rate when it comes to a mortgage?

Simple. Seven out of 10 Canadians break their mortgages prior to the renewal date.
Taking the wrong mortgage when you could have qualified for a better one- is a costly mistake.

The biggest mistake anyone can make is they don’t think they need to make a change, or they’re the three-in 10 that won’t break a mortgage.

For those people, I give you a short list of potential reasons why you might need to get out of a mortgage early.

1. Sale and purchase – maybe you get an offer you can’t refuse, either work or real estate related, maybe the zoning has changed, your neighbours or strata are unmanageable or maybe you want to grow your family
2. Take Equity out – get renovations done, help family members or buy another investment, pay CRA, or assessments on property
3. Pay off debt – maybe you are like the over 60% of Canadians living paycheque to paycheque and paying over 5% on credit cards or lines of credit. There are much more savings in interest and cash flow for you utilizing your equity.
4. Relationship changes – moving in together, divorce is at a 50% rate these days, kids (needing more space or need to move in together).
5. Health or life challenges – huge illness, unemployment or death of someone on title can be a burden enough.
6. Removing someone from title – a co-signer (3/10 homebuyers get help from a family member) or an ex-spouse.
7. Save money with a lower rate – the market is always changing. It may make sense to break early and go with a different term as the market changes.
8. Pay it off – maybe you won the lottery or got an inheritance.

Some of the above is not avoidable, but the one thing you totally can control is who you align yourself with when shopping for a mortgage. A Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker will always be looking at all the factors involved in a mortgage without bias to help you make an educated decision on what best suits you.

17 Apr

9 REASONS WHY PEOPLE BREAK THEIR MORTGAGES

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

Did you know that 60 percent of people break their mortgage before their mortgage term matures?
Most homeowners are blissfully unaware that when you break your mortgage with your lender, you will incur penalties and those penalties can be painfully expensive.
Many homeowners are so focused on the rate that they are ignorant of the terms of their mortgage.

Is it sensible to save $15/month on a lower interest rate only to find out that, two years down the road you need to break your mortgage and that “safe” 5-year fixed rate could cost you over $20,000 in penalties?

There are a variety of different mortgage choices available. Knowing my 9 reasons for a possible break in your mortgage might help you avoid them (and those troublesome penalties)!

9 reasons why people break their mortgages:

1. Sale and purchase of a home
• If you are considering moving within the next 5 years you need to consider a portable mortgage.
• Not all of mortgages are portable. Some lenders avoid portable mortgages by giving a slightly lower interest rate.
• Please note: when you port a mortgage, you will need to requalify to ensure you can afford the “ported” mortgage based on your current income and any the current mortgage rules.

2. To take equity out
• In the last 3 years many homeowners (especially in Vancouver & Toronto) have seen a huge increase in their home values. Some homeowners will want to take out the available equity from their homes for investment purposes, such as buying a rental property.

3. To pay off debt
• Life happens, and you may have accumulated some debt. By rolling your debts into your mortgage, you can pay off the debts over a long period of time at a much lower interest rate than credit cards. Now that you are no longer paying the high interest rates on credit cards, it gives you the opportunity to get your finances in order.

4. Cohabitation & marriage & children
• You and your partner decide it’s time to live together… you both have a home and can’t afford to keep both homes, or you both have a no rental clause. The reality is that you have one home too many and may need to sell one of the homes.
• You’re bursting at the seams in your 1-bedroom condo with baby #2 on the way.

5. Relationship/marriage break up
• 43% of Canadian marriages are now expected to end in divorce. When a couple separates, typically the equity in the home will be split between both parties.
• If one partner wants to buy out the other partner, they will need to refinance the home

6. Health challenges & life circumstances
• Major life events such as illness, unemployment, death of a partner (or someone on title), etc. may require the home to be refinanced or even sold.

7. Remove a person from Title
• 20% of parents help their children purchase a home. Once the kids are financially secure and can qualify on their own, many parents want to be removed from Title.
o Some lenders allow parents to be removed from Title with an administration fee & legal fees.
o Other lenders say that changing the people on Title equates to breaking your mortgage – yup… there will be penalties.

8. To save money, with a lower interest rate
• Mortgage interest rates may be lower now than when you originally got your mortgage.
• Work with your mortgage broker to crunch the numbers to see if it’s worthwhile to break your mortgage for the lower interest rate.

9. Pay the mortgage off before the maturity date
• YIPEE – you’ve won the lottery, got an inheritance, scored the world’s best job or some other windfall of cash!! Some people will have the funds to pay off their mortgage early.
• With a good mortgage, you should be able to pay off your mortgage in 5 years, thereby avoiding penalties.

Some of these 9 reasons are avoidable, others are not…

Mortgages are complicated… Therefore, you need a mortgage expert!

Give a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist a call and let’s discuss the best mortgage for you, not your bank!

17 Apr

Breaking a mortgage – can you do it?

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

Do you have a mortgage? So do I! Looks like we have something in common. Did you know that 6 out of 10 consumers break their mortgage 38 months into a 5-year term? That means that 60% of consumers break a 5-year term mortgage well before it’s due…but do you also know what the implications are of this? Let’s take a look!

People need to break a mortgage for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common include:

· Sale and purchase of a new home *without a portable mortgage
· To take equity out/refinance
· Relationship changes (ex. Divorce)
· Health challenges or life circumstances are altered

And a whole other variety of reasons. So what happens if you have one of the above reasons, or one of your own occur and you have to break your mortgage? Here is an example of what would happen:

Jane and John Smith have lived in their home for 2 years now. When they bought the home, they recognized that it would need some major renovations down the road, but they loved the location and the layout of the home. They purchased it for $300,000 and have 3 years left but would like to access some of the equity in their home and refinance the mortgage to afford some of the bigger home renovations. This refinancing would be with 3 years left on their current mortgage. So, what are Jane and John looking at for cost? There are two methods that are used to calculate the penalty:

POSTED RATE METHOD (used by major banks and some credit unions)
With this method, the Bank of Canada 5 year posted rate is used to calculate the penalty for Jane and John. Under this method, let’s assume that they were given a 2% discount at their bank thus giving us these numbers:

Bank of Canada Posted Rate for 5-year term: 5.14%
Bank Discount given: 2% (estimated amount given*)
Contract Rate: 3.14%

Exiting at the 2-year mark leaves 3 years left. For a 3-year term, the lenders posted rate. 3 year posted rate=3.44% less your discount of 2% gives you 1.44% From there, the interest rate differential is calculated.

Contract Rate: 3.14%
LESS 3-year term rate MINUS discount given: 1.45%
IRD Difference = 1.7%
MULTIPLE that by 3 years (term remaining)
5.07% of your mortgage balance remaining. = 5.1%

For the Smith’s $300,000 mortgage, that gives them a penalty of $15,300. YIKES!

Now, Jane and John were smart though and used their Dominion Lending Centres broker to get their mortgage. Because of this, a different method is used.

PUBLISHED RATE METHOD (used by broker lenders and most credit unions)

This method uses the lender published rates, which are generally much more in tune with what you will see on lender websites (and are generally much more reasonable). Here is the breakdown using this method:

Rate when you initially signed: 3.24%
Published Rate: 3.54%
Time left on contract: 3 years

To calculate the IRD on the remaining term left in the mortgage, the broker would do as follows:

Rate when you initially signed: 3.24%
LESS Published Rate: 3.54%
=0.30% IRD
MULTIPLE that by 3 years (term remaining)
0.90% of your mortgage balance

That would mean that the Smith’s would have a penalty of $2,700 on their $300,000 mortgage

A much more favourable and workable outcome! Keep in mind that with the above example is one that works only if the borrower has:
· Good credit
· Documented income
· Normal residential type property
· Fixed rate mortgage

For Variable rates mortgages, generally, the penalty will be 3 months interest (no IRD applies).

If you find yourself in one of the scenarios that we listed at the start of this blog, or if you just need to get out of your mortgage early, be smart like Jane and John—review your options with a DLC Broker! In the example above, it saved them $12,600 to work with a broker! It really does pay to have a Mortgage Broker working for you.

3 Apr

3 MORTGAGE TERMS YOU NEED TO KNOW

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

Prepayment, Portability, and Assumability

Prepayments

One of the most common questions we get is about mortgage prepayments. The conditions vary from lender to lender but the nice thing about prepayments is that you can pay a little more every year if you want to pay off your mortgage faster. A great way to do this is through prepayments.

They’re always something to ask your broker about because each lender is very different. You can always increase your payments (to a maximum annually) and that means that you pay a little bit more each week or each month when you make your mortgage payment. You can also make a lump sum payment. Perhaps you get a bonus every year or you get a lot of Christmas money. You can just throw that on your mortgage. It goes right on the principle so you’re not paying interest on those extra funds. Paying a big chunk at once also means that a higher percentage of future payments will also go towards the principle.

Portability

Portability means that if you sell your house and you want to take your current mortgage and move it to your new house you can. The one thing about portability that we always have to keep in mind is that we can’t decrease the mortgage amount but we can do a little bit of an increase often through a second mortgage or an increase we call a blend and extend. It just gives you the flexibility of moving the mortgage from one property to the next property. It also gives you the flexibility of being in control of where your mortgage is going and not having to break your mortgage every time you decide to move.

Moving a mortgage to a new property avoids things like discharge fees, the legal cost of registering a new mortgage and the possibility of a higher interest rate. It’s great to be able to keep that rate for the full term rather than having to break and pay those penalties halfway through.

Assumability

Assuming a mortgage comes into play more often where there are family ties. Say your parents have a mortgage and you move into that house. Rather than you going out and getting a new mortgage and your parents having to pay those discharge fees, you have the ability to assume their existing mortgage at that current rate. All you have to do is apply and make sure you can actually afford the mortgage at what they’re paying. You have to be able to be approved on the remaining balance on the mortgage just like you would on any other mortgage. Just because your parents have an eight hundred thousand dollar mortgage doesn’t mean you’ll be able to take that over.

If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist for help.