24 Apr

DETERMINING THE BEST MORTGAGE…FOR YOU!

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Kulwinder Singh Toor

DETERMINING THE BEST MORTGAGE…FOR YOU!

Determining the Best Mortgage…For YOU!So you have saved, and saved and you are finally ready to start house hunting…but before you do, there are a few things that you should be looking into BEFORE you start buying. Namely, your mortgage options. Did you know that there are various mortgage products? Or that each mortgage product has it own personality? They all do, and there is a mortgage product that is just right for you…we just have to find it first!

1. Understand your Expenses.

a. Do you know what you spend in a month? Do you have a monthly budget? With buying your new home, there are several associated costs that you should consider. These include the down payment, closing expenses, ongoing maintenance, taxes and utilities. If you have a budget, revamp it to maximize your saving. If you don’t have one, it is a simple thing to do! Track your spending by listing your household income and your expenses. This will give you what you spend in a month, how much you can save, and a guideline to follow.

2. Knowing your Job Stability

a. This is key to understanding and finding the right mortgage. You need to if you are in an in-demand occupation, or if your position maybe obsolete in a few years. You should also consider the length and term of your position—how long have you been there and how long are you planning to be there?

3. Consider your Limits

a. You and your Dominion Lending Centres broker need to understand what your payment and price limits are. This will determine if a fixed or variable rate mortgage is better for you.

b. You also need to know your amortization. This is the length of time that it will take for you to pay off your mortgage, based on the factors we previously discussed.

4. Know what you want in your home

a. To ensure that your home will grow with you consider these 4 questions:

i. Location: Are you close to the amenities you desire?

ii. Size: Can you comfortably accommodate your family and daily activities?

iii. Special Features: What do you want for added comfort & convenience in your home

iv. Lifestyle: Are you planning on adding to your family, or moving away soon?

Finally, and this is CRITICAL! Get PRE-APPROVED before you begin shopping for your new home. Know your financing, and what is available for you—this way you can shop stress free and you can negotiate for the home of your dreams!

Geoff Lee

GEOFF LEE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

20 Apr

DOWN PAYMENT VERIFICATION – 5 KEY POINTS

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Kulwinder Singh Toor

DOWN PAYMENT VERIFICATION – 5 KEY POINTS

Down Payment Verification - 5 Key PointsOne of the essential aspects of every mortgage application is the discussion pertaining to your down payment. Home purchases in Canada require a minimum down payment of your own funds to be put towards the deal. Your stake in the purchase. It is important that during the discussions with your Mortgage Broker that all the cards are on the table pertaining to your down payment. Be upfront about your down payment and where it is coming from. Doing so can save you time and stress later on in the process.

Most home buyers are aware that they will require a certain amount of money for a down payment. What many do not realize is that lenders are required to verify the source of the funds to ensure that they are coming from an acceptable source. Here are a few facts to keep in mind:

1. Lenders require a 90-day bank account history for the bank account holding the down payment funds. The statements must include your name, account number and statement dates.

2. A common hesitation that we often hear from clients is that their bank statements include a lot of personal details. As professionals, we completely understand our clients concerns pertaining to your personal information and we always ensure that information is protected. Statements provided with blacked out names, account numbers or any other details are not acceptable. Unaltered documents are a requirement of confirming the down payment funds.

3. All large or unusual deposits need to be verified to ensure the source of those large deposits can be confirmed and can be used towards the down payment.

• Received a gift from an immediate family member? Easy, Gift Letter signed.
• Sold a vehicle? Easy, provide receipt of sale.
• CRA Tax Return? Easy, Notice of Assessment confirming the return amount.
• Transfer of funds from your TFSA? Easy provide the 90-day history for the TFSA showing the withdrawal.
• Friend lent you money for the house purchase…. Deal Breaker.
• A large deposit into your account that you cannot provide confirmation for…. Deal Breaker!

4. You were told that your minimum down payment was 5%, great! However, did you know that you are also required to show that you have an additional 1.5% of the purchase price saved to cover closing costs like legal fees?

5. Ensure that the funds for the down payment and closing costs stay in your bank account once you’ve provided confirmation. Those funds should only leave your account when they are provided to your lawyer to complete the purchase. Lenders have the right to request updated statements closer to closing to ensure that the down payment is still there. If money is moved around, spent or if there are more large deposits into your account, those will all have to be confirmed.

The last thing that anyone wants when purchasing a property is added stress or for something to go wrong late in the process. Be open with you Mortgage Broker, we are here to help and to guide you through the process. Not sure about something pertaining to your down payment funds? Ask us. We are here to work you through the buying process by making sure you know exactly what you need to do.

Thinking about buying a home, rental or vacation property? Talk to a dedicated Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional in your area to find out about what your down payment requirements will be.

Nathan Lawrence

NATHAN LAWRENCE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

18 Apr

INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVICE – DO YOU KNOW WHO CAN GIVE IT TO YOU?

General

Posted by: Kulwinder Singh Toor

Independent Legal Advice - Do You Know Who Can Give It To You?First off, I’m sure some are saying what is Independent Legal Advice? ILA is just as it sounds – the need to seek independent legal advice. At Dominion Lending Centres, we always suggest that clients get ILA.

Many times especially, in private deals and builder mortgages, you will see that there is only one lawyer working for both parties. This means that the lawyer at some point must say to one of them, please be advised that should there be an issue with this file that I represent client A. Client B should then be aware that if he wants to make sure that he is being protected that he talk to another lawyer.

What is the difference between a Lawyer a Paralegal and a Notary Public?

First let’s look at the difference, first off, a lawyer is able to deal in all things pertaining to the laws of Canada in the province in which they are licensed. In real estate, they can do all the necessary steps including assisting a client in writing a real estate contract to representing them in court.

Paralegals do independent legal work under the general supervision of lawyers and that is the key difference, they can assist in just about every process that a lawyer might find themselves involved with but they are there to assist and not give legal advice.

BC Notaries are governed by the Notaries Act of BC and the discipline of their professional society. Today, the position of Notary as a member of one of the branches of the legal profession is sanctioned and safeguarded by law. BC Notaries are unique in North America, providing non-contentious legal services to the public. The definition of non-contentious is that it is legal work that relates to transactions occurring between one or more parties ie real estate. They are insured as we have learned lately from the case in BC but they cannot represent you in court as a lawyer would.

As you can see while there are several people who look like they can give Independent Legal Advice in the end only a lawyer can actually do that for you.

Len Lane

LEN LANE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

17 Apr

THE TWO TYPES OF MORTGAGE PENALTY CALCULATIONS

General

Posted by: Kulwinder Singh Toor

The Two Types of Mortgage Penalty CalculationsWe have all heard the horror stories about huge mortgage penalties. Like the time your friend wanted to refinance her home so that she could open a small business only to find out that it was going to cost her a $13,000 penalty to break her mortgage. This should not come as a surprise. It would have been in the initial paperwork from the mortgage lender and seen again at the lawyer’s office. A mortgage is a contract and when it is broken there is a penalty assessed and charged. You will have agreed to this. The institution that lent the money did so with the expectation that they would see a return on that investment so when the contract is broken there is a penalty to protect their interests. If you think about it, there is even a penalty to break a cell phone contract so the provider can recoup the costs they incurred so it stands to follow that of course there would be a penalty on a mortgage.

The terms of the penalty are clearly outlined in the mortgage approval which you will sign. The onus is on you to ask questions and to make sure you are comfortable with the terms of the mortgage offer. With so many mortgage lenders in Canada, you can very easily seek out other options if needed.

There are two ways the mortgage penalty can be calculated.

1. Three months interest – This is a very simple one to figure out. You take the interest portion of the mortgage payment and multiply it by three.

For instance: Mortgage balance of $300,000 at 2.79% = $693.48/month interest x 3 months or $2080.44 penalty.

OR

2. The IRD or Interest Rate Differential – This is where things get trickier. The IRD is based on:

  • The amount you are pre-paying; and,
  • An interest rate that equals the difference between your original mortgage interest rate and the interest rate that the lender can charge today when re-lending the funds for the remaining term of the mortgage.

In Canada there is no one size fits all in how the IRD is calculated and it can vary greatly from lender to lender. There can be a very big difference depending on the comparison rate that is used. I have seen this vary from $2,850 to $12,345 when all else was equal but the lender.

Things to note:

  • You will be assessed the GREATER of the 2 penalties.
  • You should always call your lender directly to get the penalty amount and do not rely on online calculators
  • You can avoid the penalty by porting the current mortgage if you are moving or waiting until the end of the term
  • A variable rate mortgage is usually accompanied by only the 3 month interest penalty

Given that 6/10 mortgages in Canada are broken around the 36 month mark, wouldn’t it be better to find out before you sign how your mortgage lender calculates their penalty just in case??…and the best way to get more information is to contact you local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

PAM PIKKERT

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

4 Apr

ADVICE FOR SINGLE HOMEBUYERS

General

Posted by: Kulwinder Singh Toor

More than a third of first-time homebuyers in Canada are single. If you’re thinking of joining this group, here’s what you need to do and know before jumping into homeownership.

Study the market.

Identify neighbourhoods you want to live in and check to see how much properties in that area are selling for.

Next, figure out how much you can afford. Remember to include estimates for property tax, utilities, insurance and any other expenses you don’t pay as a renter (condo fees, for example). Start with this calculator.

Assemble your team.

A home purchase should involve financial, legal and real estate professionals. Before first-time homebuyers start exploring properties, they should get a copy of their credit report (www.equifax.ca) and examine it closely.

If there is a history of missed or late payments, both of which can bring your number down, start a plan to change your standing by making regular payments on time. (Caution: there is no quick fix for a credit report; beware of companies that offer to change or “fix” yours for a fee.)

If you don’t already work with a financial advisor, consider booking a meeting with one. Reviewing your entire financial picture—debts and assets, insurance and investments, as well as budgets—is something that a professional can help you understand and offer strategies to improve.

Ramp-up savings.

Pare back expenses before making a home purchase. Why? Finalizing the deal on homeownership will include one-time expenses (closing costs and land transfer taxes, for starters) that need to be paid before move-in day. Homeownership will also bring new on-going expenses (such as property tax and utilities).

Subtract what you currently pay for housing from the estimated cost of living in the new home. Put the difference in a high-interest savings account. Here is a test: if you can make that payment every month, then you likely can afford the home you have your eye on. For tips on creative ways to save for a down payment go to read:

Consider help from family.

According to a recent Genworth Canada First-Time Homeownership Survey, first-time homebuyers in Toronto and Vancouver tend to have higher down payments than buyers in other parts of the country. That is due partly to larger savings of buyers in those areas, but also to larger gifts and loans from family.

A gift or loan from family can be a great help, but this is an arrangement that shouldn’t depend only on a hug and a handshake. Consider drawing up a contract spelling out the specifics of the deal.

How much money is being provided? Does it need to be paid back and, if so, when? If your family member will be sharing the home with you, how much will each of you be putting towards regular expenses, the down payment, or the closing costs? In whose names will the utility bills be set up, and whose name will be on the property title?

Hire a lawyer to do this paper work. That doesn’t have to involve many billable hours, especially if, before meeting the lawyer, you have an open conversation with your family and agree on answers to the above.

Another avenue worth exploring is the Genworth Canada Family Plan, which is meant to help another family member get into a home for a variety of reasons, including a parent who wishes to help an adult entrepreneurial child buy a home, or a parent helping to buy a home for an adult child at a post-secondary educational facility. With the Family Plan it’s important to note that the individual occupying the home must be on title to the property along with the co-applicant. This is not intended for use as a secondary dwelling. The down payment must be from their own resources, so gifts are ineligible.

Protect yourself

Although 35% of first-time homebuyers are buying on their own, many will partner up later.

If you start a relationship and allow another person to move into your home, that person may eventually have legal rights in relation to your home. How does that happen? If you live together long enough, you and your partner may become common-law spouses and that may trigger rights and responsibilities for you both.

When do you and your partner go from couple to common-law? The amount of time you spend living together is the main determining factor and varies from province to province.

How can first-time homeowners protect themselves? With an honest conversation about expectations and specific responsibilities. The main question is what will happen to the home if you split up? Consider a cohabitation agreement (again, with the help of a lawyer) to cover everything you agree to verbally.

Make sure to also outline the nitty-gritty details of day-to-day finances: how will you split the regular bills and when will they be paid? Which one of you will be responsible for making sure those payments are made on time? If there is a major expense, such as a roof repair or furnace replacement, will you both contribute?

For more tips on creative ways to save for a down payment go to www.homeownership.ca and speak with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

MARC SHENDALE
Genworth Canada – Vice President Business Development