9 Jan

Mortgage brokers are superheroes

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

Mortgage brokers have a reputation as superheroes. Although we cannot leap tall buildings in a single bound we can do extraordinary things.
Is the down payment money coming from outside of Canada? I had a client who had a joint account with her father in Japan. She showed me bank statements with the money in the account and leaving Japan. I had another bank statement showing the funds coming into her Canadian account. Finally, I showed the foreign exchange rate for that day from Yen to CAD. The bank accepted this as a suitable paper trail.
An unusual down payment source? I had a client who sold his vintage Cadillac for his down payment. A copy of the registration, the bill of sale and a bank statement showing the funds going into his account was deemed fine by the bank.
Is your down payment coming from multiple sources? I recently had two brothers purchasing a home together. They both had their money in RRSP’s and TFSAs. It took some explaining but we were able to show all the down payment and closing costs coming from four different sources.
Several years ago I had a client defaulting on two mortgages. Foreclosure was just days away.
I was able to consolidate the two mortgages, pay them out and get a reasonable payment schedule for one year. After the year, I moved him to a regular lender and arranged for a line of credit so that he could pay for some home renovations with a low-interest rate secured against his home.
I had a couple who wanted to buy a home. The husband had had a business failure and it had affected his credit. I could only use the wife’s credit and her income for this purchase. She was a foster mother with six children. Her income was good but not high enough. I was able to get the lender to gross up her income by 25%, as her income was tax-free. This was enough for them to buy a large home for the couple and their foster children.
Small towns can also pose unique problems. I had a client who wanted to refinance his home. I checked his credit report and found a credit card that he did not have. He told me that there were five people with his name in this small town. He also revealed that he had an account at Home Hardware that was not reporting on the credit bureau. The manager was a friend and thought that the loan would hurt his credit so they made an informal arrangement to pay it off.
Did I mention that he had three jobs? He worked as a tire installer and invoiced the company from his firm. I was able to get a lender to accept this client his varied income and got the mortgage. Come to think of it, perhaps mortgage brokers are superheroes. If you have a difficult situation the best person to speak to is a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional, if it can be done legally, a broker can do it.

28 Dec

2016 PROPERTY ASSESSMENTS VS. MARKET VALUE (long post)

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

SHORT VERSION:

Do not rely on your provincial assessment for a fair market value of your property.

The value printed on that document was arrived at during a time in the previous year, the market may have changed a bit since then, and not in the direction you might think.

Do not rely entirely on the buyer’s opinion or the seller’s opinion in an unlisted private transaction for a fair market value.

Do not rely entirely on your neighbours, friends, or family members opinions for a fair market value of a property.

Do consider ordering a marketing appraisal, but do not rely on it 100%… maybe 98% though.

Do consider an evaluation by an experienced, active, local Realtor or two. This in combination with a marketing appraisal is the best indicator of current fair market value.

Gather professional opinions from Realtor(s) and an Appraiser – these are the people with their feet on the ground and their heads in the game.

Thank you.

LONG VERSION:

Provincial Property Assessment notices have arrived in the mail for BC residents (and other provinces), giving some homeowners a big smile and a bit more spring in their step (increased property taxes aside), while others wilt and lament at a modest gain or decrease in assessed value.

Hold on a sec, neither this assessment document nor either parties’ emotions, are tied to a current true market value. In fact, provincial property assessments can be significantly too high or too low. In BC, values are determined in July of the previous year, and properties are rarely visited in person by provincial appraisers.

For this reason, provincial property assessments should never be solely relied upon as any sort of relevant indicator of true market value for the purposes of purchase, sale, or financing.

Think of the assessed value instead as something akin to a weather forecast, spanning far larger and more diverse areas than the unique ecosystem that is your neighbourhood, your specific street, or your specific property. A weather forecast made the previous July, not the previous week. As this is when assessed values are locked in, a full six months prior to the notices being mailed out.

The BC Assessment Authority does offer some useful tools for a high-level view of the market. Go to http://evaluebc.bcassessment.ca/ and start typing an address. You’ll get a drop-down window where you can click on the address you want. Here’s what you can find out:

DETAILS ON ONE ADDRESS

These come up on the first screen and include: current and last year’s assessed value; size and rooms; legal description; sales history, and further details if the property is a manufactured home or multifamily building. There’s also an interactive map as well as links to information on neighbouring properties and sample comparative sold properties.

NEIGHBOURING PROPERTIES

Here you can compare the assessed value of houses in the immediate neighbourhood. Clicking on any property brings up further details.

SAMPLE SOLD PROPERTIES

Find comparable properties and see what they sold for and how their sold price compares to their assessed value. This is a great research tool for owners, sellers and buyers.

These tools can be a starting point, but if you’re looking to set a selling price on your own property, always enlist a professional. Valuing your own property is not a do-it-yourself project. In a buying/selling transaction, you are best to order an appraisal, which is a much more accurate reflection of current market value. It is timely and reflects value for zoning, renovations and/or other features unique to the property. An appraiser is an educated, licensed, and heavily regulated third-party offering an unbiased valuation of the property in question.

WHAT’S MY HOME REALLY WORTH?

Usually, market value is determined by what a buyer is willing to pay for a home, and what the seller is willing to accept.

A quick survey of recent sales and their relation to assessed values will often demonstrate no clear relationship between sale price and assessed value. It’s often all over the map. Some properties selling well below assessment, and others well above.

You also want an experienced and local Realtor to help you determine the selling price of your home. A (busy &  local) Realtor will have a far better handle on what is happening in your area for prices than does a government document, and in many instances will save you from yourself.

In theory, a comprehensive current market review completed by a Realtor should not differ radically from the value determined by a professional appraiser.

Professional appraisers spend all day every day appraising properties, and their reports are often seen as less biased. Imagine your reaction, as a buyer, to the following statements…

  1. The seller says their house is worth $500,000.
  2. The sellers’ Realtor says it’s worth $500,000.
  3. This house is listed at $500,000 based on a professional (marketing) appraisal.

Most buyers would consider #3 the most reliable of the above statements. And most buyers requiring financing will have the benefit of the lender ordering their own independent appraisal to confirm fair market value. Sellers rarely order an appraisal in advance, which can create some interesting situations.

In practice, Realtors are relied upon for listing price estimates. Most buyers don’t care much about what anybody else thinks the house is worth. Buyers care what they think it is worth. This is why we say that market value is ultimately determined by what a buyer is willing to pay for the home, aligned with what is acceptable to the seller.

It is important to note that there are two kinds of professional appraisals. There is the marketing appraisal, such as one ordered by a seller. And there is the financing appraisal, which is done so the bank is satisfied the house is worth what the buyer and seller have agreed it’s worth. The financing appraisal is a less iin-depthreview and is essentially answering the question; is this property worth the agreed upon purchase/sale price.

marketing appraisal goes deeper (and costs more) but a lender is not concerned with the actual market value over and above the purchase/sale price. A lender just wants the simple question answered. It is a rare day that the appraisal for financing has a value that differs significantly, if it all, from the sale price. Therefore one should not be surprised if, when buying a home, they find that the appraisal comes in bang on at the purchase price. As they do 99% of the time.

The 1% of the time that the value is off it is almost always a private transaction where the seller has had no professional guidance at all and has inadvertently set their price below market by relying on something as inaccurate as their BC Assessment document.

IN SUMMATION

Do not rely on your property assessment for a fair market value of your property.

The value printed on that document was arrived at during a point of time during the previous year, the market may have changed a bit since then, and not in the direction you might think.

Do not rely entirely on the buyer’s opinion or the seller’s opinion in an unlisted private transaction for a fair market value.

Do not rely entirely on your neighbours, friends, or family members opinions for a fair market value of a property.

Do consider ordering a marketing appraisal, but do not rely on it 100%… maybe 98% though.

Do consider an evaluation by an experienced, active, local Realtor or two. This in combination with a marketing appraisal is the best indicator of current fair market value.

Gather professional opinions from Realtor(s) and an Appraiser – these are the people with their feet on the ground and their heads in the game.

…and of course, when it comes time for your mortgage, visit a mortgage professional at Dominion Lending Centres!

27 Dec

SUMMARY OF THE NEW MORTGAGE MARKET

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

There have been a lot of changes in the mortgage market over the past few months so many Canadian’s plans regarding homeownership may have shifted quite a bit from last year.

First, new qualification rules came to pass in October where even though actual contract rates are sitting at about 2.79% all Canadians have to now qualify at the Bank of Canada Benchmark rate of 4.64% to prove payments can still be met when rates go up in the future. That has taken about 20% of people’s purchase power out of the equation.

The second round of rules were implemented at the end of November with the government requiring banks to carry more of the cost or lending having to do with how they utilize mortgage insurance and the level of capital they have to have on reserve. This means it is more costly for banks to lend so they are passing some of that cost to Canadians.

We now have a tiered rate pricing system based on whether you are “insurable” and meet new insurer requirement to qualify at 4.64% with a maximum 25-year amortization (CMHC, Genworth, Canada Guaranty are the 3 insurers in Canada) or are “uninsurable” where you may have more than 20% down but can’t qualify at the Benchmark rate or need an amortization longer than 25-years to qualify or are self-employed so can’t meet traditional income qualification requirements. Canadians who are uninsurable will be charged a premium to their rate of anywhere from 15-40bps. So your rate would go from 2.79% to 2.94% at the very least.

Then in BC there was the announcement of the BC HOME Partnership Program (BCHPP) in January. We have finally had some clarification on how this works but the benefits are not as grand as the BC Government would like them to appear.

The BCHPP is a tool to assist First Time Homebuyers to supplement their down payment by the government matching what they have saved up to 5% of the purchase price. While this may help some clients bring more money to the table we have to factor a payment on that “loan” into the debt-servicing mix so they will actually qualify for less by way of a mortgage. They have more down payment, but cannot get as high a mortgage so it’s very close to a wash.

Lastly, as of mid-January, CMHC announced they are increasing mortgage insurance premiums on March 17th. Genworth and Canada Guaranty are likely to follow. The insurance premiums are based on a percentage of the mortgage amount requested and how much you have to put down. For people with 5% down the premium will go from 3.60% to 4.00% and if you want to take advantage of the BCHPP program the premium will go from 3.85% up to 4.5%

What does this all mean? Overall it is more costly and more confusing to get a mortgage today than we have seen in many years. With the complexity of the new mortgage market, now more than ever buyers need someone with extensive knowledge to help them sort through their options – such as your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

If we can be of assistance to you or someone you know, please do not hesitate to contact us.

1 Dec

GETTING ON THE PROPERTY LADDER

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

As property prices continue to rise across Canada, the conversation around “how to climb the property ladder” has made a subtle shift to “how to get on the property ladder in the first place.” Especially if you’re single.

Whereas before it was assumed anyone would qualify to buy a starter home (or condo), nowadays with increased housing prices and the government making it tougher to qualify for a mortgage through a financial stress test, becoming a homeowner isn’t a walk in the park. Qualifying for a mortgage on a single income is becoming increasingly difficult.

Unfortunately, just because you have a proven ability to pay rent on time doesn’t mean you will qualify to make mortgage payments in the same amount. So if you are looking to get into the housing market, but don’t qualify on your own, maybe you should consider co-ownership as an option!

So what is co-ownership anyway? Well, co-ownership is when more than one applicant takes on the financial responsibility of owning a property together. Co-ownership can take on many forms. Obviously owning a home with your spouse or life partner is the most common form of co-ownership, while having your parents co-sign on a mortgage is another. But for the sake of this article, let’s think past these arrangements.

Did you know that there are really no limitations with whom you can purchase a property? This is assuming they meet the lending criteria.
Maybe a brother, sister, cousin, neighbour, co-worker, friend, your mechanic, financial advisor, or some distant relative just happens to be looking to get into the housing market as well? There is a good chance that by combining your incomes together, you will qualify for a mortgage that neither of you would qualify on your own. Bringing someone else into the picture, or even a group of people, can significantly increase the amount you qualify to borrow on a mortgage. Most lenders will accept up to four applicants on a mortgage, while some lenders have even gone as far as launching products designed to make buying with friends and family easier. Buying a property with someone(s) in a co-ownership arrangement is becoming way more commonplace.

However, before making the decision to buy a house with someone, there is no doubt going to be a list of things you are going to want to work through. You will want to get everything out in the open and ask yourself questions like…

  • Do I trust this person?
  • Can I live with this person?
  • Am I comfortable making decisions about the home with this person?
  • How will conflict be managed when it arises?
  • What happens if either party runs into financial trouble?
  • What is the exit plan?

The more you work through ahead of time, the better chance you have at successfully co-owning a house with someone. A lot of people who purchase a property in a co-ownership agreement treat it like a business arrangement.
If you’d like to talk more about what this would look like for you personally, please don’t hesitate to contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist. They can walk you through the process step by step and get you (and your partner in real estate) the best mortgage available to you!

29 Nov

MORTGAGE PRE-APPROVAL IS NOT WHAT YOU EXPECT (I CALL IT A “RATE HOLD”)

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

Although going through the pre-approval process is more important than ever, the actual term ‘pre-approval’ is often misleading. It really addresses just a few variables that may arise once in the middle of an actual offer.

The pressure in many markets has never been greater to write a condition-free offer, yet due to recent changes to lending guidelines by the federal government, the importance of a clause in the contract along the lines of ‘subject to receiving and approving satisfactory financing’ has also never been greater. (There are variations to be discussed with your Realtor around the specific wording of such clauses.)

Often clients are reluctant to write the initial offer on a property without feeling like they are 100 percent pre-approved, an understandable desire. The risk is that many clients then falsely believe they have a 100 percent guarantee of financing, and this is not at all what a pre-approval is.

A lender must review all related documents, not just the client’s personal documents, but also those from the appraiser and the realtor as the property itself must meet certain standards and guidelines.

The pre-approval process should be considered a pre-screening process. It does involve review and analysis of the client’s current credit report, it should also include a list for the client of all documents that will be required in the event that an offer is written and accepted. Ideally, your Mortgage Broker will review all required documents in advance, but few lenders will review documents until there is an accepted offer in place.

Clients should come away from the initial process with a clear understanding of the maximum mortgage amount they qualify for along with the various related costs involved in their specific real estate transaction. Equally as important; a completed application allows the Mortgage Broker to lock in rates for up to 120 days.

Why won’t a lender fully review and underwrite a pre-approval?

  • Lenders do not have the staff resources to review ‘maybe’ applications – they have a hard enough time keeping up with ‘live’ transactions.
  • The job you have today may well not be the job you have by the time you write your offer. (ideally, you do not want to change jobs while house-shopping)
  • If more than four weeks pass then most of the documents are out of date by lender standards, and a fresh batch needs to be ordered and reviewed with the accepted offer.
  • The conversion rate of pre-approvals to ‘live transactions’ is less than 10 percent, and this alone prevents lenders from allocating resources to reviewing pre-approvals.

It is this last point in particular that makes it so difficult to get an underwriter to completely review a pre-approval application as a special exception. Nine out of ten times that underwriter is spending their time on something that will never actually happen.

The bottom line is that a client’s best bet for confidence before writing an offer is the educated and experienced opinion of the front-line individual with whom they are directly speaking, Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker. Although this individual will not be the same person that underwrites and formally approves the live transaction when the time comes, they likely have hundreds of files worth of experience behind them. That experience is valuable.

It is due to the disconnect between intake of application and actual lender underwriting a live file that having a ‘subject to receiving and approving satisfactory financing’ clause in the purchase sale agreement is so very important.

Without a doubt, the most significant factor in recent years which has undermined clients preapprovals is the relentless pace of government changes in lending guidelines and policies. Change implemented not only by the Government also by the lenders themselves. It is very easy to have a pre-approval for a certain mortgage amount rendered meaningless just a few days later through changes to internal underwriting guidelines. Often these changes arrive with no warning and existing pre-approvals are not grandfathered.

So, while it is absolutely worthwhile going through the pre-approval process before writing offers, and in particular, before listing your current property for sale it is most important to stay in constant contact with your Mortgage Broker during the shopping process.

Be aware that aside from the key advantage of catching small issues early and securing rates a pre-approval is NOT a 100 percent guarantee of financing.

If more than four weeks pass then most of the documents are out of date by lender standards, and a fresh batch needs to be ordered and reviewed with the accepted offer. The conversion rate of pre-approvals to ‘live transactions’ is less than 10 percent, and this alone prevents lenders from allocating resources to reviewing pre-approvals.

24 Nov

MORTGAGES AND PAPERWORK

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

Paperwork-it’s a fact of life. You need it and we as mortgage professionals also need it. Below is a list of must-have documentation BEFORE you start going through the mortgage approval process.

Personal Information
This will be the basic information we require to start your mortgage process. It will include your age, marital status, and number and age of kids. For this first step, a divorce/separation agreement if you are going through a divorce or were previously divorced will also be required.

Employment Details
Your employment details will require more paperwork than your basic details. This will include:

  • Proof of income (T4 slips, job letter, paystubs, and/or personal income tax returns – T1 Generals)
  • Notice of Assessments from the last two years

If you are self-employed then you will also need to provide any incorporation documents, financial statements and submit full personal tax returns (T1 Generals) as well as a CRA Notice of Assessment (NOA) for both the corporation as well as you personally. If you don’t have these documents on hand or can’t find them, we highly recommend using a document service like Easy NOA. We have had clients use them with fantastic results and no hassle on your end. Check them out by visiting their website – easynoa.ca.

Other Income Sources

  • Typically, this is a statement on your part, but the lender might ask for more documentation.
    This may include:
  • Pension documentation and information
  • Rental income property income documentation
  • Part-time work paystub with job letter
  • Child Tax Benefit documentation
  • Child/Spousal support documentation
  • Investment Income documentation
  • Disability income documentation

Documentation of current property
If you already own a property, you will need to have a copy of your current mortgage statement on your current property and a copy of last year’s property tax statement. You may also be asked to provide the current year, up to date property tax statement.

Keep in mind that every person’s situation is unique and this list only outlines the traditional documents required to pursue your mortgage. For example, if you receive child support you will need to have proof of that (i.e. copy of your separation/divorce agreement and the last three months bank statements showing the payment of the child support to you) or if you have experienced bankruptcy you will need to provide a list of debts paid off with a copy of your bankruptcies discharge papers.

Again, we know that sometimes things get lost or misplaced (we have been there too!). If you find yourself scrambling to find one of these documents or another document that your mortgage broker has requested, a service like Easy NOA can have it delivered to your inbox within 24 hours. Having these documents on hand in preparation for going through the mortgage approval process will make the entire experience run much smoother—and make it an enjoyable one! If you have any questions, give your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist a call.

22 Nov

DOCUMENTS YOU NEED TO QUALIFY FOR A MORTGAGE

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

Being fully pre-approved means that the lender has agreed to have you as a client (you have a pre-approval certificate) and the lender has reviewed, approved ALL your income and down payment documents (as listed below) prior to you going house hunting. Many bankers will say you’re approved, you go out shopping and then they sorry you’re not approved due to some factor. Get a pre-approval in writing! It should have your amount, rate, term, payment and date it expires.

Excited!
Of course you are, you are venturing into your first or possibly your next biggest loan application and investment of your life.

What documents are required to APPROVE your mortgage?

Being prepared with the RIGHT DOCUMENTS when you want to qualify your mortgage is HUGE; just like applying for a job or going for a job interview. Come prepared or don’t get hired (or in this case, declined).

Why is this important?

You can have a leg up on the competition when buying your dream home as you can have a very short timeline (ie: 1 day to confirm vs 5-7 days) for “financing subjects.”
Think? You’re the seller and you know the buyer doesn’t have to run around finding financing and the deal may fall apart? This is the #1 reason deals DO fall apart. You will likely get the home over someone who isn’t fully approved and has to have financing subjects. The home is yours and nobody’s time is wasted.

If you just walked into the bank, filled an application and gave little or no documents, and got a rate – you have a RATE HOLD. This is NOT a pre-approval. This guarantees nothing and you will be super stressed out when you put an offer in, have 5-7 days to remove financing subjects and you need to get any or all of the below documents. That’s not fun, is it? Use a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist ALWAYS. We don’t cost you anything!

When you get a full pre-approval, you as a person(s) are approved; ie: the bank’s done their work of reviewing (takes a few days) to call your employer, review your documents, etc. All we have to do is get the property approved, which takes a day or two. Much less stress, fastest approval…faster into your home!

Here are exactly the documents you MUST have (there is NO negotiation on these) to get your mortgage approved with ease.
The keyword here is EASE.
Banks/Lenders have to adhere to rules, audit files and if you don’t have any of these or haven’t been requested to supply them…a big FLAG that your mortgage approval might be in jeopardy and you will be running around like a crazy person two days before your financing subject removal.

Read carefully and note the details of each requirement to prevent you from pulling your hair out later.

Here is the list for the “average” T4 full-time working person with 5-15% as their down payment (there is more for self-employed, and part-time noted below):

Are you a Full-time Employee?

  1. Letter of Employment from your employer, on company letterhead, that states: when you started, how much you make per hour or salary, how many guaranteed hours per week and, if you’re new, is there a probation. You can request this from your manager or HR department. This is very normal request that HR gets for mortgages.
  2. Last 2 paystubs: must show all tax deductions, name of company and have your name on it.
  3. Any other income? Child Support, Long Term Disability, EI, Foster Care, part-time income? Bring anything that supports it. NOTE: if you are divorced/separated and paying support, bring your finalized separation/divorce agreement. With some lenders, we can request a statutory declaration from lawyer.
  4. Notice of Assessment from Canada Revenue Agency for the previous tax filed year. Can’t find it? You can request it from the CRA to send it to you by mail (give 4-6 weeks for it though) or get it online from your CRA account.
  5. T4’s for your previous year.
  6. 90-day history of bank statement showing the money you are using to put down on your purchase. Why 90 days? Unless you can prove you got the money either from a sale of a house, car or other immediate forms of money (receipt required)…saved money takes time and the rules from the banks/government is 90 days. They just want to make sure you aren’t a drug dealer, borrowed the money and put it in your account or other fraud issues. OWN SOURCES = 90 days. BORROWED is fine, but must be disclosed. GIFT is when mom/dad give you money. Once you have an approval for “own sources” you can’t decide to change your mind and do gifted or borrowed. That’s a whole new approval.

Down payments
Own Sources: For example for “own sources”: if you are a first-time buyer and your money is in RRSP’s then, have your last quarterly statement for the RRSP money. If your money is in three different savings account, you need to print off three months history with the beginning balance and end balance as of current. The account statements MUST have your NAME ON IT or it could be anyone’s account. I see this all the time. If it doesn’t print out with your name, print the summary page of your accounts. This usually has your name on it, list of your accounts and balances. Just think, the bank needs to see YOU have money in your (not your mom’s or grandparents) account.

GIFT: If mom/dad/grandparents are giving you money…then the bank needs to know this as the mortgage is submitted differently (this is called a GIFT).

If you are PART-TIME employee?
All of the above, except you will need to bring 3 years of Notice of Assessments. You need to be working for 2 years in the same job to use part-time income. You can have your Full-time job and have another part-time gig…you can use that income too (as long as it’s been 2 years).

If you are Self Employed?

  • 2 years of your T1 Generals with Statement of Business Activities
  • Statement of Business Activities.
  • 3 years of CRA Notice of Assessments
  • if incorporated: your incorporation license, articles of incorporation
  • 90-day history of bank statement showing the money you are using to put down on your purchase

Going to the bank direct is such a big disservice to you. That is like walking into Ford and asking for a Mercedes or Toyota. As a broker: I am FREE! I work with ALL the banks and know ALL the rules. The bank you choose pays me to give you great service and a fantastic product. There are over 300 of them…so don’t sell yourself short.

15 Nov

I’VE NEVER HEARD OF THAT LENDER BEFORE

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

One of the benefits of working with an independent mortgage professional; compared to getting your mortgage through a single institution, is choice. And as there are even more mortgage rules coming into place January 1st 2018, now more than ever, having access to a wide variety of mortgage products is going to ensure you get the mortgage that best suits your needs.

Working with an independent mortgage professional will give you access to varying products from many different lenders, some of these lenders you may have never even heard of, but that’s okay. Sure, RBC, BMO, and CIBC, are more household names compared to say, MCAP, RMG, or Merix Financial, but as each lender has a different appetite for risk (there is always a risk when lending money) how do you know which lender is going to have the products that are going to be the best fit for you?

Typically the conversation develops into something like this: “I’ve never heard of this lender before, are they safe, I mean… I have no idea who they are”? And although that is a valid question, there is a simple answer. Yes.
Yes they are safe. All the lenders we work with are reputable and governed by the same regulator as the big banks. Ultimately, you have their money, they don’t have yours!
But let’s answer a few of the common questions often asked about these lenders accessed only through an independent mortgage professional.

Why haven’t I heard of any of these lenders?
Instead of spending all their money on huge marketing campaigns (like the Canadian big banks) which drives up the cost of their product, broker channel lenders rely on competitive products and independent mortgage professionals to secure new clients.

What happens if my lender gets purchased by another lender?
This actually happens quite a bit, however, it’s business as usual for you. Even if your mortgage contract gets sold, the terms of your mortgage stay intact and nothing changes for you.

What happens if my lender goes bankrupt or is no longer lending at the end of my term?
This would be the same as if the lender was purchased by another lender. The only difference is, at the end of your term, we would have to find another lender to place your next term. And as this is already good practice, it’s business as usual. Again, you have their money, they don’t have yours. The contract would stay in force.

Why don’t these lenders have physical locations?
Much like why you haven’t heard of these lenders, they save the money on advertising and infrastructure and instead focus on creating unique products to give their clients more choice. These lenders rely on independent mortgage professionals for awareness and compete on product, not public awareness.

Do they really have better products?
Yes. Well, I guess we have to define what is meant by better products. If by better products you mean a variety of products that suit different individuals differently, then yes. Across the board, each lender has a different appetite for a different kind of risk. For example, while one lender might not include child tax income as part of your regular income, another might. While one lender might look favourably on a certain condo development, another might not. Each lender sees things a little differently. Knowing the products and preferences of each lender is what we do!

When it comes to mortgage qualification, some broker channel lenders are more flexible than others (or the banks) and offer different programs that cater to self-employed, people who are retired, own multiple properties, or rely on disability income. While as it relates to the features of the mortgage, different lenders offer many different features.

Some mortgages can be paid off at an accelerated pace with little to no penalty, some accommodate different payment structure, some products are set at a lower rate, but sacrifice flexibility.

At the end of the day, the goal should be to qualify for a mortgage that has the features that suit your individual needs. Regardless of which lender that is. If you would like to talk about your financial situation and see which lender best suits your needs, please don’t hesitate to contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist.

14 Nov

UNDERSTANDING HOW BRIDGE FINANCING WORKS

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

Sometimes in life, things don’t always go as planned. This could not be truer than in the world of Real Estate.
For instance, let’s say that you have just sold your home and purchased a new home. The thought was to use the proceeds of the sale of your house as the down payment for the new purchase. However, your new purchase closes on June 30th and the sale of your existing house doesn’t close until July 15th—Uh-Oh! This is where Bridge Financing can be used to ‘bridge the gap’.

Bridge Financing is a short-term financing on the down payment that assists purchases to ‘bridge’ the gap between an old mortgage and a new mortgage. It helps to get you out of a sticky situation like the one above and has a few minimal fees associated with it.

The cost of a Bridge Loan is comprised of two parts. The first is the interest rate that you will be charged on the amount of funds that you are borrowing. This will be based on the Prime Rate and will vary from lender to lender. As a rule, you can expect to pay Prime plus 2.5%. The second cost to consider is an administration fee. Again, this will vary depending on the lender and can range from $200-$695.

The amount that you are able to borrow is easily calculated. The calculation looks like this:

Sale price
(less) estimated closing costs of 7%
(less) new mortgage of the purchase property

=Bridge Financing.

*Note: the closing costs included the expense of realtor commissions, property transfer tax, title insurance, legal fees and appraisal costs if applicable*

So that’s the cost side of things, now the next question is: how long? The length of time that you can have Bridge Financing is going to vary again from lender to lender as well as with what province you are in. For most, it is in the range of 30-90 days but there are some lenders that will go up to 120 days in certain cases.

Before applying for Bridge Financing, you must also have certain documents at the ready to present. These documents include the following:

1. A firm contract of purchase and sale with a copy of the signed and dated subject removal on the property that you are selling and the property that you are purchasing.
2. An MLS listing of the property being sold and purchased.
3. A copy of your current mortgage statement.
4. All other lender requested docs to satisfy the new mortgage on the upcoming purchase.

Once you have those documents, you can work with a qualified mortgage broker to apply for bridge financing. It is an important tool to understand and a great one to have in your back pocket for when life throws you one of those ‘curve balls’. You can have peace of mind knowing that if/when that situation arises, you are not without a strong option that can provide you with interim financing for minimal cost.

As always, if you have any questions about Bridge Financing or any questions about your mortgage (be it new or old) contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker. We are well-versed in all things mortgage-related and can help come up with creative, cost-effective solutions for you.

5 Nov

As a Mortgage Expert …

General

Posted by: Brad Lockey

As a Mortgage Expert, I have historically built “Mortgage Plans” around every client’s “personal stress-test“, rather than by how an institution simply wants to lend our clients. How much the institution will lend a borrower may not always be a reflection of what my client’s budget can truly manage.
I feel it is very important to understand a borrowers personal financial ambition, expectations, obligations, and future goals first, before determining the appropriate budget or cash flow that resonates with them and their families.

As of January 1, 2018, the federal mortgage regulators are chiming in and are setting a new minimum qualifying interest rate for uninsured mortgages. This effectively means that any mortgage at 80% of the properties value or less, will now be subject to a new stress test. This new federal requirement is a personal budget hedge in the event that mortgage rates were to rise by about 2% in the next 3-5 years, which I personally feel is highly unlikely. If they did increase that dramatically, we would have much larger economic challenges to deal with, compared to simply making monthly mortgage payments.

Despite the fact that you may have 20% down payment or are refinancing to 80% loan to value or less, lenders will now have to calculate your mortgage payment as if your interest rate was at approximately 5%-6%, (even though today’s actual 5 year fixed mortgage rate can be as low as 2.99% on qualified, insurable purchases). Similar rules were already introduced in October 2016 for all buyers who did not have 20% downpayment. Simply put, this now means that there are no longer any mortgage underwriting advantages for buyers with a 20% down payment.

Now, moving forward, when applying for a mortgage, assets or cash wealth/equity really mean nothing. One must clearly demonstrate they can manage all of their monthly obligations should interest rates rise by about 2%, regardless of how large their down payment or equity position may be.
No exceptions.

I have estimated that in the GTA these new rules will affect 1-in-6 homebuyers.
For example, let’s look at a household with an annual income of $150,000 combined, annual property taxes of $5000, a heating cost of $100 monthly, amortized over 30 years with $0 unsecured debt and using a 5 year fixed rate of 3.59% for a refinance.
On November 5, 2017 that household can qualify for a maximum mortgage of $769,638.42.
As of January 1, 2018 that household can qualify for a maximum mortgage of $611,732.79.
Essentially, a haircut of $157,914.63 or a decrease of 20.51%.

Again, as your personal Mortgage Expert, my top priority is that my borrowers are 100% comfortable with their own “personal stress test” despite any federal mortgage rule changes.
Please remember that a mortgage lender is the supplier of funds, and not necessarily a neutral advisor. In general, they want to lend out as much money as possible rather than to address your “personal stress test“.

Plase feel free to reach out to me anytime to learn more about how to design the right mortgage plan for your own personal financial tolerance.

Chat soon,
Brad Lockey, Mortgage Expert
416-518-7476
mortgages@bradlockey.ca