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TOP 5 COSTLY FINANCIAL MISTAKES HOMEOWNERS MAKE WITH THEIR MORTGAGE

1. Not consolidating high interest debt into low interest mortgage.
2. Paying “fees” to get the lower rate
3. Not looking at their long term forecast
4. Taking a 5 year rate when 3-4 years can be cheaper
5. Having their mortgage with a lender that has high penalties and restrictive clauses.

Not consolidating high interest credit or vehicle loans in their mortgage. I hear this often “I don’t want to use the equity in my home” or “I can pay it off”. Many times when people end up with debts is due to inefficient budgeting and understanding what your income is and your debt payments are. There are many folks where monthly payment is the driving factor in their monthly budget. Making minimum payments can take you YEARS to pay off. Soon after people get mortgages, they are buying that new car at 0% interest and $600 month payments, then the roof or hot water tank goes and they put another $15,000 on credit, then someone gets laid off and boom…can’t make all the payments on all those debts that it took a 2 income family to make. It’s a true reality. Let’s look at an example:

Paying Fees to get the lower rate.
Dear rate chasers…they catch up with you somewhere. Nothing comes for free. Let’s face it, you go to the bank and their goal is to make money! A lender that offers you a 4.49% with a $2500 vs a 4.64% with no fee and you think “yes, score what a great rate!” Hold your coins… as you could be walking away poorer as the banker didn’t run the bottom line numbers for you. Chasing rates can cost you more money in the long run.

Your $500,000 mortgage was offered with two rates for the business for self guy who needed a mortgage where they didn’t look at the income so much: 4.49% and $2500 fee and $4.64% no fee. Lets see what it really looks like for a 2 year mortgage.

$502,500 (built in th $2500 feel) 4.49% – payments $2778 per month – $479563 owing in 2 years
Total payments: $66672
$500,000 (no fee) 4.64% – payments $2806 per month – $477634 owing in 2 years
Total payments: $67344.

Wait? So by taking the lower rate with the fee means I owe $1929 MORE in 2 years and only saved $672 in overall payments?

The long term financial planning side.
I counsel many of my clients to take 2-3 year year terms for a variety of reasons. Better rates, lower payments, capitalizing on the equity in your home to pay off a car loan or upcoming wedding. Did you know the average homeowner refinances every 3 years of a 5 year term and pays a penalty?

Taking a 5 year when 3 and 4 year rates might be a better option. Many times the 2-4 year rates can be significantly lower than the 5 year rates. Remember, the bank wants money and the longer you take the term, the more they make. True, many folks prefer or fit the 5 year terms, but many don’t. Worrying about where rates will be in 3-5 years from now should be a question, but not always the guiding factor in you “today” budget.
Here is an example of a $450,000 mortgage and what the difference in what you will owe on a 3 year term.

2.34% – payments are $990 every two weeks = $402,578 owing in 3 years
2.59% – payments are $1018 ever two weeks = $403,604 owing in 3 years.
Your paying $28 MORE every two weeks ($2184 total) and owe $1026 MORE in 3 years. Total LOSS $3210! Planning is key. Stop giving away your hard earned money!

Mortgage monster is in the penalties you pay when you fail to plan.
Since many families today are getting in with 5-10% as their downpayment.
If you got your mortgage with many of the traditional banks you know and your current mortgage is $403,750 and you need to break your mortgage (ie refinance to pay off debts) 3 years into the contract you potential penalty could be $12,672! Ouch. vs going with a mortgage broker who can put you with a lender that has similar rate you penalty would be significantly different – almost $10,000 dollars different!

Get a plan today! If you have any questions, please contact Donna direct @ 613-612-2111 or Mike @ 613-203-2030

 

10 THINGS NOT TO DO WHEN APPLYING FOR A MORTGAGE – BUYING A HOME OR REFINANCING

Have you been approved for a mortgage and waiting for the completion date to come? Well, it is not smooth sailing until AFTER the solicitor has registered the new mortgage. Be sure to avoid these 10 things below or your approval status can risk being reversed!

1. Don’t change employers or job positions
Any career changes can affect qualifying for a mortgage. Banks like to see a long tenure with your employer as it shows stability. When applying for a mortgage, it is not the time to become self employed!

2. Don’t apply for any other loans
This will drastically affect how much you qualify for and also jeopardize your credit rating. Save the new car shopping until after your mortgage funds.

3. Don’t decide to furnish your new home or renovations on credit before the completion date of your mortgage
This, as well, will affect how much you qualify for. Even if you are already approved for a mortgage, a bank or mortgage insurance company can, and in many cases do, run a new credit report before completion to confirm your financial status and debts have not changed.

4. Do not go over limit or miss any re-payments on your credit cards or line of credits
This will affect your credit score, and the bank will be concerned with the ability to be responsible with credit. Showing the ability to be responsible with credit and re-payment is critical for a mortgage approval

5. Don’t deposit “mattress” money into your bank account
Banks require a three-month history of all down payment being used when purchasing a property. Any deposits outside of your employment or pension income, will need to be verified with a paper trail. If you sell a vehicle, keep a bill of sale, if you receive an income tax credit, you will be expected to provide the proof. Any unexplained deposits into your banking will be questioned.

6. Don’t co-sign for someone else’s loan
Although you may want to do someone else a favour, this debt will be 100% your responsibility when you go to apply for a mortgage. Even as a co-signor you are just as a responsible for the loan, and since it shows up on your credit report, it is a liability on your application, and therefore lowering your qualifying amount.

7. Don’t try to beef up your application, tell it how it is!
Be honest on your mortgage application, your mortgage broker is trying to assist you so it is critical the information is accurate. Income details, properties owned, debts, assets and your financial past. IF you have been through a foreclosure, bankruptcy, consumer proposal, please disclose this info right away.

8. Don’t close out existing credit cards
Although this sounds like something a bank would favour, an application with less debt available to use, however credit scores actually increase the longer a card is open and in good standing. If you lower the level of your available credit, your debt to credit ratio could increase and lowering the credit score. Having the unused available credit, and cards open for a long duration with good re-payment is GOOD!

9. Don’t Marry someone with poor credit (or at lease be prepared for the consequences that may come from it)

So you’re getting married, have you had the financial talk yet? Your partner’s credit can affect your ability to get approved for a mortgage. If there are unexpected financial history issues with your partner’s credit, make sure to have a discussion with your mortgage broker before you start shopping for a new home.

10. Don’t forget to get a pre-approval!
With all the changes in mortgage qualifying, assuming you would be approved is a HUGE mistake. There could also be unknown changes to your credit report, mortgage product or rate changes, all which influence how much you qualify for. Thinking a pre-approval from several months ago or longer is valid now, would also be a mistake. Most banks allow a pre-approval to be valid for 4 months, be sure to communicate with your mortgage broker if you need an extension on a pre-approval.

   

MORTGAGE INSURANCE 101

When you purchase a property, you may be a little overwhelmed by all the insurance offers related to the purchase of said property. Mortgage Insurance, Condo Insurance, Mortgage Default Insurance, Earthquake Insurance; the list goes on and on. It can be confusing, and it is important to know what insurance covers what.

For instance, Mortgage Default Insurance (there are three mortgage default insurers in Canada – CMHC, Genworth, and Canada Guaranty) is solely for the lender and not to be confused as mortgage default insurance for the consumer. Yet, you, the consumer, are responsible for the cost. If you put less than 20% down on a property purchase, you are responsible to pay for Mortgage Default Insurance which covers the lender if you should default on the payment of your mortgage. As well, conditions of the mortgage may require that House/Condo Insurance needs to be purchased to fund the mortgage as to protect the consumer and ultimately the lender from severe losses. This kind of insurance may or may not be mandatory.

Alternatively, Mortgage Life Insurance is not mandatory and is purchased to cover the mortgage if the consumer becomes seriously ill or even dies unexpectedly during the term of the mortgage. Usually, this is purchased when the owner of the house has a family or dependents that will inherit the property and would not be able to financially carry the property without the primary owner’s income. The only difference between Term Life Insurance and Mortgage Life Insurance is that the Mortgage Life Insurance is meant to pay off the consumer’s mortgage. But, depending on the policy, the money that is issued on the Mortgage Life Insurance can be designated for the mortgage only. Or, it may be available for other, more necessary expenditures. It all depends on the policy.

Mortgage Life Insurance is certainly a recommendation for those that have not yet saved up enough to be able to secure themselves with savings such as RRSPs or Pensions. Whether the consumer purchases it through a referral from their Mortgage Broker or perhaps has it already through their employment, Mortgage Life Insurance is a wise choice for anyone who wants to set their future up securely.

Top 8 Benefits of using Mortgage Life Insurance

  1. Peace of Mind – having Mortgage Life Insurance creates a sense of security that your loved ones will be well taken care of if you pass on.
  2. Mortgage Paid Off in the Case of Death – having Mortgage Life Insurance ensures an extra level of coverage, whereby any other policies that are held will be able to assist with other needs.
  3. Family can Stay in their Home – if there is the unfortunate life event that is the death of the Mortgage Life Insurance policy holder, the mortgage will be paid off which will allow the family to stay in their home and not become displaced, causing more despair than needed.
  4. It Protects your Family’s Finances – Mortgage Life Insurance pays off the mortgage, which means that your family’s finances stay intact.
  5. Lost Wages – if you become seriously ill, Mortgage Life Insurance can cover your mortgage payments for a specified time (ex. up to 3 years). Unexpected life events such as a serious car accident can result in missed mortgage payments because of loss of wages as you need to recover from injuries.
  6. Portability –certain Mortgage Life Insurance policies are portable. Which means that if you buy a new property, you will be able to transfer your Mortgage Life Insurance to a new property. Make sure you ask your Insurance Provider if the insurance they are recommending is portable. Take note that when the bank offers you Mortgage Life Insurance you will not likely be able to transfer your Mortgage Life Insurance to a new lender, thereby limiting your future financing options.
  7. The Younger you are, the Less Expensive– Which means that this insurance is extremely affordable for a young, and likely, first time home buyer.
  8. Good Health = Coverage for Unexpected Illness Later on –After illness strikes, it is more difficult to acquire life insurance.

Mortgage Life Insurance is an option that anyone with a mortgage can consider. However, it is important to know what your options are regarding the Mortgage Life Insurance itself. Asking your Mortgage Broker for a referral to a reputable and credible Insurance Representative is paramount in finding an Insurance Broker that knows available products, that specifically fits your needs. Every individual is unique and needs an insurance product that is fashioned for their individual situation. A good Insurance Representative will be a Broker that knows what insurance products are out there as well as knows what you, the consumer, needs. The great thing about taking on Mortgage Life Insurance is that you can cancel anytime if later you find an insurance product that suits you better.

Remember to take inventory of insurance products you are already signed up with. If your employer provides you with a benefits package, make sure you find out exactly how much coverage you have and if that coverage will adequately provide for your financial needs. If it does, then maybe you don’t need any Mortgage Life Insurance. On the other hand, if your current coverage won’t be enough, then maybe a good Mortgage Life Insurance policy is something to consider.

For more information regarding Mortgage Life Insurance contact us and we’ll put you in contact with an Insurance Representative that will provide you with viable Mortgage Life Insurance options.

   

THE NEW NORMAL

’Tis the season… this was no surprise here! The latest round of mortgage guidelines has been announced by OSFI, or Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions. As of January 1, 2018, all conventional or uninsured mortgages will have to qualify at the Bank of Canada 5-year fixed rate or the contractual rate + 2%, whatever is greater.
What does this mean? Nothing for anyone wanting to renew or buy real estate with less than 20% down.
But anyone wanting to access their equity might just have to consider a slightly lower amount. And those wanting to purchase real estate with 20%+ down may need to adjust their expectations or relocate their search area.
Regardless of your scenario, there will still be options to exercise.
Next question on many people’s minds is how this will affect prices. Based historical data, I predict that there will be very little decrease in prices. Most people thought the ‘bubble’ was going to explode. Most comments were, “It just has to, how can prices continue to increase?” Well guess what… prices have continued to increase. Some market segments will experience a slight softening, but nothing drastic.
Here is a list of changes issued by OSFI since 2006. Did any of them bring prices down?

2006
Maximum amortization 40 years
100% financing, 0% down payment

2008
Maximum amortization 35 years
Maximum 95% financing, minimum 5% down payment required

2011
Maximum amortization 30 years
Refinance maximum 85% of the market value

2012
Maximum amortization 25 years
Refinance maximum 80% of the market value
If mortgage insurance is required, then the maximum purchase price of the owner-occupied home is $1,000,000

2015
Minimum down payment – 5% of the first $500,000 and 10% on the portion remaining

2016
Qualification rate increases to Bank of Canada benchmark rate for all insurable files (less than 20% down)

2017
Conventional (20% down or greater) stress test increases to contract rate plus 200 basis points (2%) or the Bank of Canada benchmark rate, whatever is greater

2018
What will happen in 2018?

There is no need to slam your fist on the panic button. This is simply the new normal for mortgage finance consumers. The sun will still rise in the east and set in the west. The earth will continue to rotate in a counterclockwise direction. People will still buy and sell real estate. Those consumers with available equity will still have access to it and borrowers will still renew existing mortgages. If you are receiving or buying into “the world is ending” type information, please look away… it’s wrong and misleading.
Nothing changes.
If you are worried about things you cannot control, stop it! If you are going to put any energy into something, I would recommend building a bulletproof personal borrowing profile. More than ever it’s vitally important to have AAA credit, minimal-to-zero consumer debt and strong reliable income and savings. If you start with that, I can assure you everything will be OK!
If you have any plans to become an active mortgage consumer, start looking at your options now as some lenders will adopt the new rules before January 1, 2018. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us today!

   

HOW TO GET A MORTGAGE AFTER BANKRUPTCY

Bankruptcy is always the last resort-and it’s never easy or comfortable. However, sometimes it is the only option to turn to when life throws you something unexpected. The lasting impression it can have on one’s financial profile though can be overwhelming.

If you have bankruptcy in your past, don’t fear-we have 6 steps to take to help get you back on track and qualifying for your mortgage!

Step 1: Get official discharge quickly.
The quicker you are discharged from your bankruptcy, the quicker you can start rebuilding your credit. This starts with finding a good bankruptcy trustee. You can contact the BBB or Chamber of Commerce to find out recommendations, but we can also provide you with connections to complete your discharge in the shortest time possible.

Step 2: Review your most recent credit score.
You will need to pull from Equifax and TransUnion Canada. They are the two governing credit bureau organizations that manage credit reports in Canada. Look over both reports carefully and make sure there are no surprises and that your debts have been paid off completely. As a general guideline, getting a credit report yearly is a good rule of thumb. You’re managing your credit-if you see a mistake on the report it is up to you to follow the steps to get the mistake corrected.
If you find a mistake, you do have the right to dispute or explain ‘situations or mistakes’ to your bureau. Contact the credit reporting agency immediately and ask about their dispute resolution process. If you still do not agree with an item following the agency’s investigation, visit this link for TransUnion or this link for Equifax to find out how you can add an explanation statement to your report.

Step 3: Re-establish your credit
Mortgages are much easier to get with good credit. You will want to start to rebuild your credit as soon as you possibly can. To do this you will want to open up 2 tradelines (credit cards) through a secured institution such as Capital One, Home Trust, Peoples Trust, etc. They start with putting as little as $500 down with your credit being based on your deposit. Next, follow the 2-2-2 rule. This means you will want to keep those 2 lines of credit with a max limit of $2000 for 2 years. Keeping in mind that you must pay your bill on time each month (even if it is just the minimum payments).

Step 4: Pay any outstanding taxes to revenue Canada
This is probably one of the most important things to remember when you are getting a mortgage! If your taxes are unpaid then there is nothing we can do to help! You won’t qualify for any mortgage until any owing debts to Revenue Canada are paid off.

Step 5: Start Saving!
With all of the mortgage regulations in place now it is important to understand how much you will need to save to put down on a home. This will vary from person to person and situation to situation. Your personal history, credit score, etc. will have an effect on this as well. There are literally 100’s of ways that you can start saving money. Remember, every little bit helps!

Step 6: Put budgeted savings into an RRSP for the down payment
One of the easiest ways to make money on your savings, is to keep them in an RRSP fund. If you are a first-time home buyer in Canada you can borrow up to $25,000 from your RRSP’s to use towards the down payment on your new home. The beautiful thing about keeping it in an RRSP fund is the larger tax refund you will receive—for every $1,000-dollar contribution you will get $400 back! Now that’s smart saving!

In addition to these 6 steps, we recommend that you keep all bankruptcy documents on hand. Even though your bankruptcy has been discharged, the lender which you are applying for a mortgage with may ask you to provide a copy of the statement of discharge, along with copies of the bankruptcy papers. Keep them safe and on hand as this is a key piece of information to help you get a mortgage faster and easier.

Declaring bankruptcy is one of the life events that no one wants to face. But if that is part of your history, we will walk you through the mortgage process and go above and beyond to make sure that you acquire the mortgage you are looking for!

   

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