25 Aug

MANAGING YOUR MORTGAGE

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Kulwinder Singh Toor

25 AUG 2017

MANAGING YOUR MORTGAGE

Why is it important for you to have a mortgage manager? Reaching your financial goals is attainable!

There are some things to consider before securing your mortgage:
Is there a potential of you buying an investment property or a vacation home? Are you considering scaling up or downsizing? Do you think you might move or port your mortgage or retire within the next five years? All these scenarios come into play when setting up your mortgage.

If you had $500,000 cash to invest, how often would want your financial advisor to review your investments?

Why is it different when you are $500,000 in debt with your mortgage?

Why not have an active mortgage broker looking after your $500,000 debt?

Active financial advisors aim to grow your net worth by investing wisely.
Active Mortgage brokers will help you grow your net worth by reducing your debt and growing your asset base. You will cover only half of the prosperity equation without a mortgage broker.

Consider this: your bank’s main goal is to make money for the bank. This is understandable as they are in business to make money. As reported, banks make billions of dollars every quarter, in part, thanks to you. On the flip side, a mortgage brokers is an advocate for you and their main goal is to get you the best mortgage to meet your goals. This comes in many forms, not just the interest rate, although it is important there are other areas that could cost you more money in the long run.
An active mortgage broker can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage.
Most mortgages are set up on a five-year term. A lot can happen in five years.

Changes in life happen. You are forced to move, or you would like to move to a bigger home, down size, buy an investment home a recreational property, or take equity out to buy a business or perhaps retire.
Mortgage rules continually to change. What worked last year may not work this year. It is important to review your situation with your mortgage broker before making any major decisions with your current mortgage.
Being in the right mortgage may be the difference between being able to buy that investment property or recreational property. It may be the difference of paying a $3,000 penalty or an $18,000 penalty to close out you mortgage.

Remember, it is not getting a mortgage that is important, it is getting the right mortgage that will help you meet your future goals.
When it comes to your renewal time it is important to once again review your options with your mortgage broker.
Your current lender may not have the best rate or option for you at renewal time as there are many lenders and there are many options to choose from. At renewal time, you can change lenders with no penalty. Renewal time is also a good time to take extra equity out of your home to pay off debt, for investment purposes or to pay for that new kitchen you wanted.

I have called many clients well before their mortgage is due when I recognized it would save them thousands of dollars to refinance early. Moves like this help clients pay down their mortgage faster, provide extra cash flow for investments, and provide funds for renovations or a down payment on an investment property.
Having someone manage your mortgage can be a great benefit for you and your family.
If you currently do not have an active mortgage manager, a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker would be happy to become your mortgage manager.

Kevin Bay

KEVIN BAY

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

23 Aug

HOW TO RENEW YOUR MORTGAGE IN 5 EASY STEPS

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Kulwinder Singh Toor

HOW TO RENEW YOUR MORTGAGE IN 5 EASY STEPS

If you have a mortgage, chances are unless you win a lottery (cha-ching $$$) you’ll be doing a mortgage renewal when your current term has finished.

While most Canadians spend a lot of time, and expend a lot of effort, in shopping for an initial mortgage, the same is generally not the case when looking at mortgage renewals.

So what is a mortgage renewal?

Mortgages are amortized* over a set term* which can vary from 1-10 years.

About 6 months before the end of your term, your current lender will suddenly become your “Best Friend” showering you with attention and trying to entice you with early renewal offers… Please, please, please Mortgage borrower, sign here on the dotted line to renew… it’s sooo easy!!   

You have 3 options

  1. Sign and send back as is (don’t do it, really I mean it… don’t do it!!)
  2. Check the market to make sure you are getting the best rate and renegotiate with your current lender
  3. Talk to a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Expert and together we can discuss the best options available for your situation.

Lenders know that 80% of people will sign their renewal forms, because it’s easy.  Banks & Lenders are a business and as such they want to make the highest profits to keep their shareholders happy. As an educated consumer, you need to take the time to ensure you are being offered the best possible rate & terms you can get.   Remember all those hours of research you did regarding lenders and mortgage rates when you were buying your first home?

Yes, signing the renewal document is easy, however, it’s in your best interest to take a more proactive approach.  Money in the lenders pocket comes directly out of your pocket… so its time to get to work!

5 steps to save you money on your mortgage renewal

  1. Receive the renewal offer from your current mortgage lender and examine immediately, which gives you enough time to make an informed decision.
  2. Do your research via the internet and phone calls to find out about current rates.
  3. Phone your current lender and negotiate!
  4. If your lender will not offer you a better rate then it’s time to move your mortgage. YES, you will have to complete a mortgage application and gather documentation, just like you did for your original mortgage.
  5. Take a look at your budget and see if you can increase the amount of your mortgage payments above the mandatory payments and save money by paying off your mortgage quicker.

Your mortgage is one of your biggest expenses.   For this reason, it is imperative to find the best interest rates and mortgage terms you possibly can.

As you can tell there is lots to discuss about mortgage renewals.

Kelly Hudson

KELLY HUDSON

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

17 Jul

HOW TO SHOP FOR A MORTGAGE

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Kulwinder Singh Toor

HOW TO SHOP FOR A MORTGAGE

For many people, a home will be the largest purchase of their life. It stands to reason then, that when you are shopping around for your mortgage you will want to take certain steps to ensure you are getting the sharpest rate and best product. We have a few pointers to make you a savvy shopper when you are out looking at different mortgages—get ready to take a few notes.

1. Do not always rely on the bank for the sharpest rates
Mortgage Brokers can often beat the bank rates by using different lenders. They can also often get you a SHARPER rate at your own bank simply because of the high volume that they do with them. Brokers have access to a number of different lenders giving you more options for not only the best rate, but also the best product for YOU.

2. Know your credit score
Your credit score is a large factor in your mortgage application. You need to know where you stand with your credit BEFORE you begin the process of shopping. All lenders will look at your credit history and score first then they build a file around that. A mortgage broker can obtain your credit score in mere minutes-all you have to do is ask.

3. Make it a one-stop shop
Avoid shopping from institution to institution. You may think that more options lead to better rates, but in fact lenders will frown upon you having your credit score pulled multiple times. This is where the benefits of using a broker come into play. They will pull your score ONE time only and use that to shop around with lenders for you. Really, it’s like having your own personal shopper!

4. Understand that the market will change.
Starting the shopping process knowing that the market you qualify in TODAY will adjust is key. Rates might be low right now, but new rules and implications can change things when you are up for renewal. Understand that you MUST be able to carry your mortgage payment on at a higher rate if new laws are put in place.

Keeping these 4 Savvy Shopper tips in mind when you are shopping for a mortgage can help set you up for success not only today, but for the future as well. Mortgages are not only about finding the best rate-but finding the best product too. A Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist can work with you and your unique situation to find you the best product for you—and as an added benefit do the shopping for you!

Geoff Lee

GEOFF LEE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

22 Jun

THINGS MORTGAGE PROFESSIONALS WISHED THE SELF EMPLOYED KNEW.

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Kulwinder Singh Toor

THINGS MORTGAGE PROFESSIONALS WISHED THE SELF EMPLOYED KNEW

This is the third part of a series by Pam Pikkert of things the average mortgage professional wished people knew so that they would not be held back by inadvertent missteps.

The next installment in the things we wished people knew series is targeted at the self-employed. This intrepid group of risk takers are entrepreneurial and help keep the economy moving but all too often we meet with these people and have to give news we would rather not give. So let’s look at what we wish they knew.

1. Surround yourself with professionals. You are the expert in your field without a doubt, but that doesn’t translate to being able to do it all.
Having a knowledgeable book keeper and a well-qualified accountant can save you a fortune in tax deductions and time lost. They are in your corner come tax time and heaven forbid through an audit by the CRA. Their job is to know the ins and outs of taxes so that you can put your focus on growing your business.
A lawyer is also invaluable. They will protect you against loopholes you didn’t know to look for in contracts.
Mortgage professionals are also a must. A Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage professional can help you with your home, a rental portfolio if you plan to diversify and commercial lending when you are ready.

2. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. The lending landscape in Canada has totally shifted in the past few years. Long gone are the days of simply stating what you earn without any verification of such and being offered a mortgage with little money down and low rates. If you choose to write off as much of your income as possible to avoid as much taxes as possible, then you will pay a higher interest rate on your mortgage

3. You have to keep your affairs up to date. That means getting the accountant prepared financials, filing your annual returns and most importantly paying your taxes. If you have a large outstanding tax balance, you are going to find it nearly impossible to get a mortgage. Taxes trump mortgage in order of who gets paid first so there are no prime or near prime lenders out there who will lend to you until these are paid.

4. The magical number in the mortgage world is 2. You have to have a 2-year history of self-employment with accompanying documentation to be able to proceed with the mainstream lenders in most cases. You also need 2 types of credit each with at least a $2,000 limit to keep your credit strong. Be aware of how debt may affect your purchasing ability. A large credit balance and a high vehicle payment will dramatically affect your ability to purchase a home. That $13,000 line of credit or a $400 vehicle payment will each decrease your purchasing power by $100,000.

The bottom line is this, make sure that you use your whole team. If you are wanting to buy a home within a couple of years then before you go fully self-employed or purchase that new truck or write off all the income you can, talk to your mortgage professional to ensure you are not inadvertently putting your home ownership goals on hold.

PAM PIKKERT

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

24 May

SELF EMPLOYED? 8 TIPS TO HELP YOU QUALIFY FOR A MORTGAGE

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Kulwinder Singh Toor

SELF EMPLOYED? 8 TIPS TO HELP YOU QUALIFY FOR A MORTGAGE

Self Employed? 8 Tips to help you qualify for a mortgageSince 2012, it’s become the wild west of mortgage options out there for those folks who are living the Canadian dream of being Self Employed (also known as BFS, Business for Self). 

In 2012, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions introduced Guideline B-20, which required federally regulated banks to tighten the rules for approving mortgages. Without boring you with what that mortgage jargon translates to you, the bottom line means you “generally” have to qualify now from your Line 150 of your tax return. That’s NET income, not GROSS income.

Don’t freak out yet! There is good new below…

As BFS folks, one of the perks of being self-employed is we don’t pay as much in taxes as we have business write offs we can use to lower our GROSS income. We are now being penalized with many lenders with higher rates and fees with these new rules.

I wish there was a simple book with straight up rules for the BFS mortgages, but there really isn’t.
Why?
• It depends on your credit
• It depends on where your income is coming from and how long. Is it commissioned, contract, invoiced, under the table or under your mattress?
• It depends on your down payment.
• It depends on so many factors…hence you really need a mortgage consultant who really understands BFS mortgage programs.
There are a few programs you may fit under: Stated Income, BFS Conventional, or Alternative or Private lender. All of them are slightly different, but you will fit somewhere with someone.

Not to pick favourites, but here are a few lenders and their programs (through your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional):
B2B Bank has a fantastic BFS Expanded Program (actually nine in total) that allows 12 months of bank statements showing income vs those Notice of Assessments. They also don’t charge any mortgage premiums or fees!
Street Capital has an insured Stated Income to 90% (i.e. 10% down payment) program. You have to be two years in business filed, 5% of your down payment has to come from your own savings, and no “commissioned sales” folks here.

Common Questions I get:

Q: I was working with a company as a computer systems analyst for the past three years. Now I am self employed as a computer systems analyst. Can I still qualify for a mortgage with less than two years as filed self employed?
A: Yes, as long as you are in the same job role, you should have no issues.

Q: I heard you need 20% down to qualify for Self Employed Mortgage.
A: There are a few lenders that allow for 10% down now.

Q: I am a waitress and make most of my money in tips. How can I use this to qualify for a mortgage.
A: If you’re not declaring your tips on your taxes, then some lenders will look at 6 months deposits into your account.

Q: Can I refinance to pay off my Canada Revenue debt I owe:
A: Yes, very common practice.

Kiki’s Korner of Self Employed mortgage tips:
1. Keep your business money deposited in one account. Separate your expenses and your income accounts.
2. Leases or Loans on vehicles for business should come out of your BUSINESS account.
3. If your company is paying you a “stipend” or “allowance” for you vehicle, make sure it’s taxable income. You will need two years to use this as income.
4. Make sure your invoices match your deposits.
5. When depositing “other monies” i.e.: tips, tag it on your deposit slip so it shows up online with your deposit.
6. Keep important documents such as articles of incorporation, GST/HST registration or business licence in one folder with all your tax returns. Keep records for three years from the date you filed your original return or two years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later, if you file a claim for credit or refund after you file your return. Keep records for seven years if you file a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction. Be organized.
7. If you’re not filing business financials, file T2’s if you are incorporated. Filing business financials may be more expensive, but worth it for mortgage qualifying with more lenders.
8. If you pay yourself dividend income, you will need two years of this form of income.

If you’re in business for yourself, congratulations! Keep up the good work. There are many moving parts to planning and qualifying for a self-employed mortgage, so if you’re just starting to look at the idea of a mortgage – plan NOW!

I too am self-employed and work with many professionals such as lawyers, doctors, pharmacists, management consultants and self-employed folks such as truck drivers and waitresses. You’re all important and have different incomes we can use to make your dream come true.

KIKI BERG

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

23 May

MORTGAGE FACTS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY THIS SPRING

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Kulwinder Singh Toor

MORTGAGE FACTS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY THIS SPRING

Mortgage facts to know before you buyBuying a home can be a really exciting time, so the last thing we want is for you to be hit by any surprises. Let’s take a look at five things to keep in mind before you write an offer.

  1. 1. Get your mortgage in place before you write an offer. Meeting or speaking to an actual person who will take your application and pull your credit is the best strategy. You will get a firm amount of how much of a mortgage you may qualify for. This is also a great time to make some decisions like if you want a fixed rate or variable rate, if you want a monthly or biweekly payment. You are far removed from stress of meeting any condition of financing dates at this time so you have the luxury of time to ask your questions.
  2. 2.  Be ready to provide the necessary paperwork. If I was lending someone $300,000 I would want to know that they could pay me back and so would you I’m sure. You are going to be required to provide a lot of paperwork. Getting a complete list ahead of time and starting to gather it really makes it less stressful for you once the offer is accepted.
  3.  There are extra costs. It is not just a matter of having the down payment. You will also have to pay for legal fees, title insurance, property tax adjustment if necessary, mortgage default premiums and on and on. That is why you have to have at least five per cent down and an additional 1.5 per cent of the purchase price in your account to cover these costs. The banks also really like to see that you have a fallback position of extra cash in case you get sick or downsized.
  4.  You can get extra funds for improvements to the new home added to your mortgage. Most lenders allow up to $40,000 for upgrades. These have to be things such as flooring, windows, exterior, kitchen, bathroom or any other manner of upgrade which will stay with the property. The funds are held at the lawyer’s office until an appraiser verifies the work is complete so you will have to be able to cover any costs in the short term.
  5.  Here is how the process goes.

• You get the mortgage pre-approval
• Find a home and place an offer with a condition of financing date and likely a home inspection one as well
• The application is sent off for approval based on both you and the property and you provide all the necessary paperwork
• The bank says they are 100% happy with you and you say you are 100% happy with the offer of financing and you remove the financing condition. Do not make any changes to your financial picture after you remove the condition. It can be cancelled if you leave your job, take on more debt or rack up the credit cards.
• You meet with the lawyer to provide the balance of the down payment, cover the other costs
• Day of possession you are given the keys once it is confirmed that the funds have transferred to the seller
• Congrats! You own an home

This has been a crash course in buying a home, but there are so many resources online or available to you for free over the phone that it shouldn’t be too awful. Happy house hunting and we look forward to helping you at Dominion Lending Centres!

PAM PIKKERT

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

2 May

SPOUSAL BUYOUT MORTGAGE?

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Kulwinder Singh Toor

SPOUSAL BUYOUT MORTGAGE?

Spousal Buyout Mortgage?
If you happen to be going through, or considering a divorce or separation, you might not be aware that there are mortgage products designed to allow you to refinance your property in order to buyout your ex-spouse.

For most couples, their property is their largest asset and where the majority of their equity has been saved. In the case of a separation, it is possible to structure a new mortgage that allows you to purchase the property from your ex-spouse for up to 95% of the property’s value. Alternatively, if your ex-spouse wants to keep the property, they can buy you out using the same program.

Here are some common questions about the spousal buyout program:

  • Is a finalized separation agreement required?

Yes. In order to qualify, you will be required to provide the lender with a copy of the signed separation agreement. The details of asset allocation must be clearly outlined.

  • Can the net proceeds be used for home renovations or to pay out loans? 

No. The net proceeds can only be used to buy out the other owner’s share of equity and/or to pay off joint debt as explicitly agreed upon in the finalized separation agreement.

  • What is the maximum amount that can be withdrawn?

The maximum equity that can be withdrawn is the amount agreed upon in the separation agreement to buy out the other owner’s share of property and/or to retire joint debts (if any), not to exceed 95% loan to value (LTV).

  • What is the maximum permitted LTV?

Max. LTV is the lesser of 95% or Remaining Mortgage + Equity required to buy out other owner and/or pay off joint debt (which, in some cases, can total < 95% LTV). The property must be the primary owner occupied residence.

  • Do all parties have to be on title?

Yes. All parties to the transaction have to be current registered owners on title. Solicitor is required to do a search of title to confirm.

  • Do the parties have to be a married or common law couple?

No. The current owners can be friends or siblings. This is considered on exception with insurer approval. In this case, as there won’t be a separation agreement, there is a standard clause that can be included in the purchase contract that outlines the buyout.

  • Is a full appraisal required?

Yes. When considering this type of a mortgage, it is similar to a private sale and a physical appraisal of the property is necessary.

If you have any questions about how a spousal buyout mortgage works, please contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional. Be assured that our communication will be held in the strictest of confidence.

Michael Hallett

MICHAEL HALLETT

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

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