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Making Smarter Down Payments

Mortgage Insurance Premiums. Many people know what they are- an extra cost to you the borrower. But not many people realize how they are calculated. Understanding the premium charges and how they are calculated will help lead you to making smarter down payments.

  • 5%- 9.99% down payment of a purchase price is a 4% premium
  • 10%- 14.99% down payment of a purchase price is a 3.10% premium
  • 15%- 19.99% down payment of a purchase price is a 2.8% premium

So, that means with a $300,000 purchase price and a $30,000 down payment (10%), you would have a 3.10% premium added to your mortgage, making your total mortgage amount $270,000 + $8,370 for $278,370 total. The $8,370 being 3.10% of your original $270,000 mortgage.

Now let’s say you have a down payment potential of $60,000 and have the income to afford a $350,000 purchase price but you found one for $325,000. Using your entire $60,000 down payment (18.46%), your new mortgage amount would be $272,420, where $7,420 of it represents the mortgage insurance premium.

But what if you change that $60,000 (18.46% down payment) to say $48,750 and have a down payment of exactly 15%? Well, your premium is still the exact same as it would be with an 18.46% down payment because your premium is still 2.8% of the mortgage amount. That means you will now save $11,250 (difference in down payments), while only paying $7,735 in premiums (an increase of $315).

I don’t know about you, but if someone told me I could put $11,250 less down and it would only change my insurance premium by $315, I am holding onto that money. You now have more cash for unexpected expenses, moving allowance, furniture, anything you want. You can even apply it to your first pre-payment against your mortgage and pay the interest down while taking time off your loan. Obviously if cash is not an issue, putting the full $60,000 would be better seeing as you are borrowing less and paying less interest. However, if cash is tight, why not hold onto it and pay that difference over the course of 25 years?

Consult with a mortgage professional when it comes to structuring your mortgage, it is the small details like this that can make all the difference!

 

Tips for your variable rate mortgage that could save you thousands

With changes to mortgage rules and interest rates on the rise here are some tips for your variable rate mortgage that could save you thousands.

Since 2009 the prime lending rate has shifted from a high of 6% down to 2% range remaining fairly level for the past few years before rising to a present day level of 3.45%. During that time, lenders have offered consumers high discount variable mortgage as low as 1.2% when rates were at their lowest, to current rates of 2.45 (depending on the lender and if the mortgage is insured or not).

Historically the choice of a variable rate mortgage over a fixed term has allowed borrowers to save in interest costs.

We recommend if our clients can qualify and it makes sense for their specific situation to choose variable only if they will take full advantage of the lower rate. By setting their payment to the equivalent of the 5 year fixed rate at the time, the difference in payment goes directly to principal pay down.

Every 10% increase in payment shaves three years off the amortization of a five-year term so every bit extra matters and can make a difference.

If your mortgage is maturing in the next 90-180 days, it is time to talk to a mortgage professional for tips for your variable rate mortgage that could save you thousands.

You may feel the pressure to lock in to a fixed rate after the recent increases in the prime lending rate. For some this may be an option. However, I have the same advice every time someone asks us this question: It depends on your situation and we need to do a review. Take the extra time to review the current rate, remaining term of the mortgage, the new offer, how that will impact payments and your plans for staying in your home, moving and/or if this is an investment property.

For example; a couple have a current balance of $300,000 on their mortgage with a variable rate at Prime minus .80% (2.65%). Current payments set at $703 bi-weekly. The mortgage matures in 24 months but they are considering to lock in for a new five-year term offered at 3.34%. New payments would be $739. They love their condo but not sure if they will stay or move in two years or not.

After a review of their mortgage we offer a second option. Keep the remaining variable rate mortgage in place for the remaining two years. Set payments at 3.34% or $739 bi-weekly.

They decided on this second option because:

  • In 24 months the savings on interest is $4,000 and their outstanding balance is $4,000 less than by staying in the fixed rate
  • They won’t be locked into a mortgage for another five years
  • If they choose to sell before the maturity date, the penalty on a variable mortgage is only three months interest, rather than interest differential being a much more expensive possibility with a fixed rate mortgage.
  • In two years they can either choose to stay with the same lender or move to another lender without penalty

With this strategy they don’t have to feel pressured into locking in today and they can continue to take advantage of the lower variable rate.

So if you are in a variable rate mortgage and not sure what to do, contact us for a free, no-obligation review to help you make the best decision to suit your needs.

   

What is a Collateral Mortgage?

A collateral mortgage is a way of registering your mortgage on title. This type of registration is sometimes used by banks and credit unions. Monoline lenders, on the other hand, rarely register your mortgage as a collateral charge – which is an all-indebtedness charge that allows you to access the equity in the home over and above your mortgage, up to the total charge registered.

What this means is that you may be able to get a home equity line of credit and/or a re-advanceable mortgage, or increase your mortgage without having to re-register a mortgage. This is a real benefit to you in some cases because re-registering your mortgage can cost up to a thousand dollars.

However, there are some negatives to having a collateral mortgage.

  • First and most glaring – because it is an “all indebtedness” mortgage – it brings into account all other debts held by that lender into an umbrella registered against your home. This means that your credit cards, car loans, or any related debt at your mortgage’s institution can be held against your home, even if you’re up to date with your mortgage payments.
  • Secondly, if you want to switch your mortgage over to a different lender at maturity, they may not accept the transfer of your specific collateral mortgage. This means you’ll need to pay additional fees to discharge the mortgage and register a new one or simply take whatever rate that your current lender is offering you!
  • And lastly, collateral mortgages make it more difficult to have flexibility to get a second mortgage, obtain a home equity line of credit from a different institution, or use a different financial instrument on your home. This is because your collateral mortgage is often registered for the whole amount of your property.

To recap, collateral mortgages give you the flexibility to combine multiple mortgage products under one umbrella mortgage product while tying you up with that one lender. While this type of mortgage can be a great tool when used correctly, it does have its drawbacks. If you have any questions we encourage you to give us a call, our expert advice is always free, with no obligation.

   

For Rental Properties, Cash (Flow) is King

 

Ask pretty much anybody about mortgages and the first, sometimes only thing they want to talk about is the interest rate. As mortgage professionals, our job is to educate clients that while interest rate is definitely a cornerstone of your mortgage decision, it is not the only factor to consider when agreeing to sign a mortgage commitment. In many cases, the lowest interest rate does not represent an ideal fit, especially when the actual mortgage isn’t aligned with customer’s stage of life, priorities, or long-term outlook. Rental properties are a prime example of mortgage situations where basing a decision solely on the rate is often short-sighted and in some cases detrimental to the long term viability of one’s investment.

Rental properties can be a lucrative way to diversify investments, build passive income and long term net worth. They can also be costly, rigid and very problematic if you don’t choose the right property, area, tenants and MORTGAGE PRODUCT. Like any investment you are going to do your research before buying – RIGHT? And you are going to take your time and screen potential tenants vs taking the first Kijiji reply from @fraudster.com offering a cash deposit higher than you have specified – RIGHT? I’ll leave that part up to you. Where I come in is ensuring that the mortgage product you are using allows you the most flexibility on your payments and overall investment. The best way to ensure that your rental investment does not become a sucking vampire on your personal bank account is to minimize the cash outlays you are obligated to make.

Enter the Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC).
In my 10-plus years of doing mortgages and owning investment property, the HELOC is far and away my favourite product for investment properties.

First & foremost – CASH-FLOW. HELOC’s allow you the option of making interest-only payments monthly. The monthly payments on a standard $200K mortgage using current 5 yr fixed rate of 3.39% for example are $987. Interest only payments would be about $650. That’s a cash flow difference of $340. Think of a vacancy – they happen. That’s $340 of your own money that you don’t have to pull out of personal savings to cover while your investment income is stalled.

Having the ability to scale back or minimize your cash outlays can be the difference between good and bad when it comes to an extended vacancy, renovation or unforeseen expense such as a repair or insurance claim. This feature will allowed you to take the time needed to properly screen potential tenants when you have a vacancy and not rush into leasing to the very first interested reply. We can tell you that one of the worst mistakes that can be made with a rental is to scramble to get tenants in so they can start paying rent only to find out you picked the wrong people.

HELOC’s also offer a number of additional features:

Fully open – imagine somebody comes along offering you top dollar for your investment property. A HELOC is fully open meaning it can be paid off immediately without restriction or early payout charges. You can accept the offer and cash out immediately without seeing profits eroded by penalty charges and fees. With a standard mortgage you may have a payout penalty ranging from 3 months interest into the tens of thousands depending on mortgage type & institution (cringe if you have a fixed mortgage with one of the Big 5 Canadian banks).

Revolving – so you’re an investment property wizard and the cash you are making has allowed you to pay down the HELOC we set-up dramatically. You can use the available space on your current HELOC towards the purchase of another property. Keep your personal savings and investments in tact and don’t have to ask permission to access the equity. That’s the benefit of revolving credit.

The main (only) drawback to a HELOC over a standard, amortizing mortgage is that the interest rate tends to be slightly higher (about .50%). In this situation this argument rings hollow. Since your rental property is essentially a business, the interest that you pay on a mortgage is eligible to be written off for tax purposes. Given the strict criteria involved in qualifying for mortgages these days, its a safe bet that most people with rental properties are already showing income that has them in an elevated tax bracket. That means that every extra dollar of profit reported on tax returns gets annihilated by CRA. Sometimes increasing an individual’s interest expense actually helps them bring their reported profits on rentals close to breaking even and honestly that’s why we have accountants (SIDE NOTE: please use an accountant if you are going to play in the investment game).

Finding lenders who offer HELOCs on rentals isn’t easy, especially if you are wanting only 20% down payment (80% LTV). Most lenders these days want more skin in the game (equity) for rental properties. There are definitely good lenders out there doing rental HELOCs at 80% LTV. That’s where a call to a mortgage professional and the proper strategy can really pay off!

   

8 Things You Can Do To Get The Best Renewal

With 47 per cent of homeowners scheduled to renew their mortgages this year, 2018 is a year of change for lots of Canadians.
Here are the top 8 things you can do to get the best renewal:

1. Pull out your mortgage renewal now, and start early. When you are proactive instead of reactive you can see if there is anything on your credit score or lifestyle that we can modify to ensure you are positioned for the best renewal. You are only in a position to do this when you start early- in the last year of your mortgage you will have the most amount of options available. For example, there can be an inaccuracy in your credit report or you may be considering an income/job change that would impact your options. We can look at timing accordingly for you.

2. Do not just sign the renewal offered. Lenders can change the terms of your mortgage, and the renewal you are signing can cost you up to four per cent of your equity if you are with the wrong lender for your current life stage.

3. Most people think the best rate is the best renewal – WRONG. The terms are most important and with all terms moving or selling is the only reason most people think they would ever break a mortgage- THIS is simply not the case, a change in the interest rate market, divorce, health, job change, investment opportunity and many other reasons would contribute to a future modification being beneficial for a consumer.

4. Take into consideration lender history. The lender can have a higher prime then anyone because they know the cost to leave outweighs staying the course. The lenders are very smart with their calculated risks- and this is not something they have an obligation to disclose.

5. Remember your lender has a bias – their job is to handcuff you so they can make as much profit off you as possible- don’t be a victim.

6. Do not shop each lender on your own, it takes points off of your credit score. All lenders have different rates based on your score and you want to position yourself to get the best. By using a mortgage professional, they can shop multiple lenders protecting your credit using only one application, while the rate variation can be on average a half a percent!

7. Don’t get sucked into the online rate shopping- any monkey can post a rate online and you can drive yourself crazy looking at something that does not exists. In today’s complex mortgage market there are significantly different rates based on – insured mortgage vs uninsured mortgage, switch vs refinance, purchase or renewal, principal residence vs rental, salary or self-employed, 600 credit score or 700 credit score, amortization of 20 years to 30 years, type of property condo vs house, and leased land or freehold. The variations can mean a difference in thousands of dollars. Like diagnosing a medical condition, you can’t go online, you do have to put in the appropriate application and supporting documents to verify which options are available to you that will result in the lowest cost in borrowing.

8. Remember your mortgage is the largest debt and investment most of us have, when you contact an independent mortgage professional, we are going to invest all the work and expertise and advise you in your best interest regardless if we get your business. We may after our review advise you to stick with your existing lender, or make another recommendation for you. We are only here to enhance your finances and save you money, and there is no cost for our service.

   

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