20 Jun

THE RIGHT KIND OF DEBT

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

Put yourself in a bank or lender’s shoes. Someone comes into your branch and asks you to politely loan them $300,000. You are a big bank, but $300,000 is still a lot of money. How do you ensure this person is going to pay back the money you loan them, on time, and in the right amount? Look at their record for borrowing other people’s money.

This is why taking on different kinds of debt when you are young is a good thing, but it must be within reason.

Credit Cards
Lenders want to see a minimum credit limit of $2,000 as well as the fact that you use your credit and pay it back on time. Don’t go overboard, even just purchasing your car’s monthly gasoline on your credit card and paying it off when your statement comes out should be enough, and the longer you do this, the better.

Car Loan
Banks love giving loans through car dealerships to first-time borrowers. Why? Because if they treat you right, guess who you are going to go to when you are ready to ask for a mortgage loan. Getting an auto loan for a reasonable amount will truly help showcase your ability to a lender. Just try and make sure any car loans are completely paid off before applying for a mortgage!

Lines of Credit
Almost like leveling up from a credit card. You will get a much bigger credit limit, and have a much lower interest rate. Plus, the minimum payments are usually, interest-only, making it easier to manage. Using this to make a bigger purchase and making monthly payments can show your ability to manage debt.

I bet you’d feel a lot more comfortable loaning someone $300,000 if they have successfully managed debt on all three of these levels, rather than someone who came to you with only a chequing account to their name. If you have any questions, a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional near you.

14 Jun

DON’T FORGET THE CLOSING COSTS WHEN YOU PURCHASE A HOME

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

The purchase price you negotiate when buying or selling a home is just one part of the total cost of buying a home. In addition to the purchase price, there are several other fees – known as closing costs – all of which you need to factor into your purchase price.

Closing costs tend to be hidden costs when buying a home. It’s not a set number, but a compilation of various administrative, legal fees and other one-time expenses associated with the purchase of a home that is due on the completion date.

These costs can add up, so you’ll need to factor these costs into your cash-on-hand budget.

Many first-time home buyers underestimate the amount of cash they will need for closing costs. Typically, you’ll want to budget between 1.5% and 4% of the purchase price of a resale home to cover closing costs.

Of course, these are estimates — the actual amount you will need could be higher or lower, depending on factors like where you live, the type of home you’re buying, or if it’s a new construction (+5% GST).

To help you plan the purchase of your property, here’s a snapshot of the extra fees you can expect to pay once you’ve settled on the price of your home.
o Legal Fees
o Title Insurance
o Fire Insurance
o Adjustments
o Property Transfer Tax (PTT)
o GST
o and more…

Here’s an overview of what you can expect.

Legal Fees: Legal/Notarial Fees and Disbursements. The lawyer/notary is the person who goes through all the paperwork and makes sure that everything is legitimate and binding. They confirm that all the items that were agreed to by the buyer, seller/builder, and lender are written and worded correctly. Your legal representative should also be able to walk you through each document that you sign so that you understand what you’re agreeing to. Legal fees range from $500 to $2,500. You will also need to reimburse them for the out-of-pocket costs that they incurred while handling the various searches and registrations, including title insurance (see below), property and execution searches, and the registration of the mortgage and deed. These disbursements are repaid to the lawyer on the closing date, as well as incidentals such as couriers, certified cheques, and photocopying, the land transfer tax, the down payment, and any interest adjustments.

Title Insurance: Title refers to the legal ownership of the property. The deed is the physical legal document that transfers the title from one person(s) to another. Both the title and deed of the home must be registered with a land registrar.

Most lenders require title insurance as a condition of granting you a mortgage. Your lawyer or notary helps you purchase this.

Title insurance protects you from title fraud, identity theft and forgery, municipal work orders, zoning violations and other property defects. It can also protect you against fees and costs that were not caught in the searches your lawyer conducted prior to the sale (Yes this can happen!).

Title insurance premiums range from $150-$500 depending on the value of the property.

Fire/Home Insurance: Mortgage lenders require that you have fire/home insurance in place by the time you complete the purchase of your home.

Property insurance protects you in case of fire, windstorms or other disasters. It covers your home’s replacement value. The amount required is at least the amount of the mortgage or the replacement cost of the home. This cost can vary on the property size and extras being insured, as well as the insurance company and the municipality. Home insurance can vary anywhere from $400 per year for condos to $2,000 for large homes.

Adjustments: An adjustment is a cost to you to pay the seller for the seller prepaying for something related to the house including property taxes, condo fees, heat etc. on your behalf.

Simply put, if you take possession in the middle of a month, the seller has already paid for the whole month and you must pay the seller back for what they’re not using. These adjustments are prorated based on the date you complete your purchase of the home. The most common adjustments are for property taxes, utility bills and condo fees that have been prepaid.

Property transfer tax (PTT) in British Columbia, is a tax charged to you by the province. First-time home buyers are exempt from this fee if they are purchasing a property under $500,000. All home buyers are exempt if they are purchasing a new property under $750,000.
• In British Columbia, the PTT is 1% on the first $200,000 of purchase, 2% over $200,000 & 3% on any value over $2,000,000.

GST is a federal value-added tax 5% on the purchase price of a new home. If someone has lived in the home, the home isn’t subject to GST.
• There is a partial GST rebate on new properties under $450,000.

Interest Adjustment Costs: Most lenders expect the first mortgage payment one month after completing the purchase of a home. If you close mid-month, please note some lenders expect the first payment, or at least the interest accrued during that time, on the 1st day of the next month. When arranging your mortgage, ask how interest is collected to the interest adjustment date.

Other closing costs:
Will your new home need furniture?
Carpets?
Lighting?
Window coverings?
Appliances?
Do you have the equipment you need to maintain the lawn and gardens?
Are you hiring movers or renting a truck?
Will you need boxes, bubble wrap and tape for the move?

While these and other out-of-pocket costs aren’t part of the real estate transaction, you still need to budget for them. Plan your expenses as much as possible. If necessary, decide what you can put off buying until later, after you move in and get settled.

If you have any questions, a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional can help you out.

13 Jun

WHAT ARE ACCELERATED PAYMENTS?

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

An accelerated payment is a mortgage payment that is increased slightly so that you can pay off your mortgage faster. There are two common types of accelerated payments: bi-weekly and weekly. Of the two, bi-weekly is the much more common choice because it matches with pay dates more often.

An accelerated payment works by increasing your weekly or bi-weekly payment by an amount that would have you pay one full month’s payment extra per year.

Accelerated payments are a great way to start paying off your mortgage, but they actually do not have much of an impact on the interest you will pay. Banks and mortgage professionals use this term to make borrowers think they are paying off their mortgage faster, but the amount of interest saved over the course of your term is minuscule.

There’s nothing wrong with accelerated payments, but they are only part of the puzzle. Please contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to learn more.

Illustration:
If your payment is $1,000 per month, you pay 12 months per year, which will equal $12,000 of payments that year.

Now, if you pay semi-monthly or every half month, you pay $500 per payment, for a total of $12,000 per year at 24 payments.

Bi-weekly payments are 26 payments per year with $461.50 per payment.

However, accelerated bi-weekly payments use the semi-monthly payments of $500, 26 times. This means that you end up paying $13,000 over the course of the year, or one extra monthly payment.

The Bare Bones

If all you do is an accelerated payment, your mortgage payoff is stunted compared to what is available. Across Canada, due to the fact that mortgage sizes are now very high, paying off a mortgage should be more of a priority.

6 Jun

LAST MINUTE CREDIT CHECK

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

As I’ve said many times, one of the single greatest determining factors in whether you can become qualified for a mortgage and the interest rate at which you do, is your credit history. Many people, unfortunately, don’t know this and can be completely blindsided when it comes time to qualifying.

However, the truly unsettling idea about credit scores and their relation to home financing is the fact that most people do not even know they are extremely important even after you have been approved…

Once your offer on a home is accepted and you remove financing conditions, it is your obligation to secure the money needed to close the sale. There is usually a list of conditions one must meet and satisfy in order to obtain the financing they need from a lender. Once that is done, the mortgage will be sent to a real estate lawyer where they will be instructed to finalize everything. This is where all closing costs will be paid and all corresponding money will be sent to the proper parties involved.

However, before any of this is done, one more thing must happen…

Your credit report can be reviewed once again in order to verify your credit history is the same as it was when you were first qualified for a mortgage, sometimes months earlier.

So what happens if you made an offer on a home, got approved for financing, lifted all conditions, and because you also met all the lender’s conditions, went out and bought new furniture for your home on a credit card? Well, you may not be able to receive your loan anymore…

If you increase the amount of money you are borrowing through any credit card or bank, miss payments on existing debt, or for any reason alter your credit history from the day you are approved until the final closing day at the lawyer’s office, you run the risk of not being able to complete your purchase.

If you plan on spending any money that isn’t cash and isn’t in a separate account needed for your down payment or closing costs, you need to talk to your broker because it could end horribly for all parties involved and potentially result in legal disputes.

This is the most important purchase and decision you may ever make, why things like this have never been explained in schooling or anything like that is beyond me. That is why it is important to work with an experienced, knowledgeable Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker and make sure you fully understand the process you are about to embark upon.

1 Jun

4 SIGNS YOU’RE READY FOR HOMEOWNERSHIP

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

While most people know the main things they need to buy a home, such as stable employment and enough money for a down payment, there are a few other factors that may help you realize you’re ready, perhaps even earlier than you thought!

As a mortgage broker, it is my job to ensure that each one of my clients is getting the best service I can provide. Part of this means educating as much as possible when it comes to buying a home, which is why I’ve put together a list of 4 signs that may tell you that you are ready to become a homeowner.

You should have more funds available than the minimum of a down payment
This one may seem obvious, but it’s something that people may not realize until they actually think about it. It’s very difficult to afford a home if you only have enough money for a down payment and then find yourself scrambling for the day-to-day living after that.

If you have enough money saved up (more than the minimum needed for a down payment), you may be ready to start house-hunting.

Your credit score is good
This might seem obvious at first glance, however, if you don’t have a good credit score, chances increase that you could be declined altogether or stuck with a higher interest rate and thus end up paying higher mortgage payments. If you have a less-than-optimal credit score, working with a mortgage professional can help you get on the right track in the shortest time possible. Sometimes a few subtle changes can bump a credit score from “meh” to “yahoo” in a few short months.

Breaking the bank isn’t in your future plans
Do you plan on buying two new vehicles in the next two years? Are you thinking of starting a family? Are you considering going back to school?

Although you may think you can afford to purchase a home right now, it’s extremely important to think about one, two, and five years down the road. If you know that you aren’t planning on incurring big expenses that you need to factor into your budget anytime soon, then that’s something that may help you decide to buy a home.

You are disciplined
It’s easy to say, “it’s a home, I’m going to have it for a long time so I may as well go all-in!”. While that would be nice, that’s rarely the case!

You must have a limit that you’re willing to spend. Sitting down with a mortgage broker or real estate agent and analyzing your finances is crucial. It’s important that you know costs associated with buying a home and what the maximum amount is that you can afford without experiencing financial struggles. IMPORTANT: This is not the amount that you are told is your max!

This is the amount that you calculate as your max based on your current monthly budget and savings plan. It’s quite frequent where I have clients tell me that their max budget is, say, $1200 and then when I run the numbers they could actually be approved for much more. Low and behold suddenly these guys are looking at homes that are hundreds of dollars a month higher than their initial perceived budget. It is up to you (with my help or pleading, when necessary) to reel things back in and make sure that you aren’t getting into something that affects the long-term livelihood of a well thought out budget or savings plan.

Conclusion

These are just four signs that you may be ready to purchase a home. If you’re seriously considering buying or selling, talking with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker, such as myself, can help put you on the right path to a successful real estate transaction.