12 Oct

Cash Back and Decorating Allowances on New Build or Pre-Sale Purchases

Latest News

Posted by: Jordan Thomson

As the market shifts, developers will increase their incentives to buyers with cash back and decorating allowances on new build or pre-sale purchases. It is very important to review those options with your real estate agent representative and vital to consult with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker. Although these offers may seem attractive, they can impact your financing and could cost you thousands of dollars.

Before you write a contract on a new build or pre-sale, ensure you have set up your team including a real estate agent and mortgage broker. Always consult with them to ensure you have sound advice. Do not rely solely on the developer’s sales representative.

What happens when you sign a contract on a pre-sale?

When you visit the sales centre for the pre-sale and decide to write a contract you have a rescission period where you can back out of the purchase. The contract you sign is drafted by the sales centre and once you remove any conditions, you are locked into the purchase. Therefore it is essential you have your real estate agent with you at the time of signing or at a minimum, they review the contract. It is in your best interest you fully understand the terms, the disclosure statement, what you are buying, schedule to build, GST, deposit schedule and any incentives.

Once you remove any conditions, the deposit is paid to the developer and a schedule set for all other deposits till the building is complete. Those total deposits are typically 20% of the purchase price. That is money you will not receive back if for any reason you are unable to proceed with the purchase. Some contracts allow assignment to another buyer, but those must be approved by the developer and may come with restrictions. Your realtor can guide you on these matters.

How Will Cash Back or Decorating Allowances Impact Your Purchase?

When the market slows, developers will use incentives such as cash back and decorating allowances on new build or pre-sale purchases as a strategy to increase sales. Regardless if this is a cash back or a rebate for decorating, it will have an impact on the purchase price for the lender on the financing. This is a common misconception among buyers and even realtors who do not understand the process from a financing perspective.

For example: A purchase price plus GST is $800,000. The developer is offering a $20,000 decorating allowance. The lender will automatically deduct the $20,000 from the purchase price. Your new purchase price will be $780,000 for financing purposes. This does not change the actual purchase price. You still have to pay the developer $800,000 for the home. The lender will lend on the $780,000 only. Therefore you must pay in cash at the time of funding the $20,000 difference.

The developer has sold you the idea you are receiving decorating upgrades of $20,000. You are receiving the value of that allowance BUT make no mistake you are paying for it.

If the incentive is a cash back amount in the above example, you will receive the cash back from the developer at the time of completion. However, the lender will still only offer financing on the lower value minus the cash back amount.

Thanks to DLC’s Pauline Tonkin for this info.

10 Oct

Fixed Rate Mortgage: What Lenders You Should Do It With and Why

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Jordan Thomson


FIXED-RATE MORTGAGE: WHAT LENDERS YOU SHOULD DO IT WITH AND WHY

25-year amortization or 30 years? Insured or Uninsured? With an A Lender or B Lender? These are just a few of the questions people have to decide on when they are pursuing a mortgage. But the biggest question of all: Fixed Rate or Variable Rate?

With the instability of the market, and the Bank of Canada’s continuous rate hikes, many people now are flocking towards a fixed rate mortgage over a variable rate. What this means is that they are choosing to essentially “lock in” at a rate for the term of their mortgage (5 years, 10 years, 1 year…you name it). Now there are benefits to this…but there are also disadvantages too.

For example, did you know that 60% of people will break their mortgage by 36 months into a 5 year term? Whether it’s due to career changes, deciding to have kids, wanting to refinance, or another reason entirely, 60% of mortgage holders will break it.

And just like any other contract out there, if you break it, there is a penalty associated with it. However, there is a way to avoid paying more than is necessary. This applies directly to a fixed rate mortgage and we can help you decide what lenders you should go with.

If you have a FIXED RATE MORTGAGE:
There are two ways your penalty will be calculated.

Method #1. If you are funded by one of the Big 6 Banks (ex. Scotia, TD, etc.) or some Credit Unions, your penalty will be based on the bank of Canada Posted Rate (Posted Rate Method) To give you an example:

With this method, the Bank of Canada 5 year posted rate is used to calculate the penalty. Under this method, let’s assume that they were given a 2% discount at their bank thus giving us these numbers:

Bank of Canada Posted Rate for 5-year term: 5.59%
Bank Discount given: 2% (estimated amount given*)
Contract Rate: 3.59%

Exiting at the 2-year mark leaves 3 years left. For a 3-year term, the lenders posted rate. 3 year posted rate=3.69% less your discount of 2% gives you 1.44%. From there, the interest rate differential is calculated.

Contract Rate: 3.59%
LESS 3-year term rate MINUS discount given: 1.69%
IRD Difference = 1.9%
MULTIPLE that by 3 years (term remaining)
5.07% of your mortgage balance remaining. = 5.7%

For that mortgage $300,000 mortgage, that gives a penalty of $17,100. YIKES!

Now let’s look at the other method (one used by most monoline lenders)

Method #2:
This method uses the lender published rates, which are much more in tune with what you will see on lender websites (and are * generally * much more reasonable). Here is the breakdown using this method:

Rate when you initially signed: 3.24%
Published Rate: 3.34%
Time left on contract: 3 years

To calculate the IRD on the remaining term left in the mortgage, the broker would do as follows:

Rate when you initially signed: 3.24%
LESS Published Rate: 3.54%
=0.30% IRD
MULTIPLY that by 3 years (term remaining)
0.90% of your mortgage balance

That would mean that you would have a penalty of $2,700 on a $300,000 mortgage.

That’s a HUGE difference in numbers, just by choosing to go with a different lender! Knowing what you know about fixed rate mortgages now, let a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker help you make the RIGHT choice for your lender. We are here to help and guide you through the mortgage process from pre-approval onward!

Thanks to DLC’s Geoff Lee for this info

13 Sep

Fixed or Variable Rate- which is better?

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Jordan Thomson

Which is better, a fixed or variable rate? I get asked this question often, and it is my job as your mortgage broker to provide you with information and guidance in relation to your personal situation, to help you make the choice that is right for you.

There is no right answer as it depends on your own individual needs, financial goals and risk tolerance.

If you want to make an informed decision, I can help!

WATCH THIS VIDEO HERE

13 Sep

Mortgage Switches and Transfers

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Jordan Thomson

Mortgage switches and transfers are becoming one of the more popular sources of revenue for certain lenders which means great incentives for borrowers as the banks and financial institutions fight for your business.

When your mortgage is up for renewal, your lender will typically send you a letter either 6-months or 120 days before your mortgage matures. When it is up for renewal and matures, you will need to commit to a new term and commit to a new interest rate. Most of the time, the bank’s offer is in the letter they send, and you circle your choice and mail it back; simple and quick.

But what happens when your lender isn’t offering you their lowest rate? Or is hoping you just circle one of the options and don’t look into the other options that are out there and available to you?

Most lenders will allow you to finance up to $3,000 back into your mortgage balance for legal fees, admin fees, and costs associate with moving from your current lender to them. With the move being cash free, you can take advantage of very low rates offered to new potential clients in order to win their business.

The mortgage amount (other than the $3,000 for costs) will need to remain the same though. When you change the mortgage amount, you are refinancing your mortgage, which moves you into a new category and changes the process as well as the different interest rates that are available to you.

For more information on mortgage switches and transfers please reach out to a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional. We will be able to tell you what kind of low interest rates and new mortgage privileges we are able to give you access to!

Thank you to DLC’s Ryan Oake for this info!

27 Jun

4 SMART FEATURES THAT WILL BOOST THE VALUE OF YOUR PROPERTY

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Jordan Thomson

People have a lot of different ideas on how they want their home to look. Some want a modern look while others like traditional cottages. But one thing that more and more people want is smart technology in their homes. This adds value and desirability to your home making it easier to sell for the asking price.

In a recent survey, 35% of first time home buyers put smart technology as a priority in their home purchase.
What is a smart home? A smart home is a residence that uses internet-connected devices to enable the remote monitoring and management of appliances and systems, such as lighting and heating.

Smart thermostat – Is a thermostat that can be controlled remotely by your smart phone and will eventually learn your heating and cooling patterns. You can turn up the A/C in the summer from your office and the house will be cool by the time you get home. These features are convenient but they also help you save money on home heating and cooling costs.

Connected Lights – allow you to turn on or dim lights at different times of the day. Combined with a Smart thermostat they can help you to save half your average energy costs.

Smart Locks – these are really cool ! You can program your front door to unlock when guests arrive using Bluetooth or WiFi or some smart phones.

Wireless Security – We have all seen photos of burglars stealing packages from the front door of a home , or perhaps you have seen the TV ad of the lady at the spa who can see 2 unsavory looking guys at her front door and speaking to them and scaring them off. You may have seen the YouTube video of a house that caught fire in Ft. MacMurray and the firefighters extinguishing the blaze. The home owners were able to watch this from a hotel room in Edmonton. Check with your insurance company, you may qualify for a large discount in your rates by having this home security.

Finally, not only is your home more desirable and comfortable, but this is achievable in both new and existing homes. Speak to your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker about having these additions to your home added to your mortgage either with a Purchase/Refinance Plus Improvements or a HELOC. We can advise you on the best options for your particular needs.

Written by David Cooke

26 Jun

Reverse Mortgage- Some Common Misconceptions

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Jordan Thomson

The words reverse mortgage carry some negative connotation. What does it really mean? What makes reverse mortgage different than a regular or demand mortgage in Canada? There are no payments required if 1 applicant lives in the home. Payments can be made if they wish, they are truly optional.

No medical required and limited income and credit requirements.
Clients can receive up to 55% of the value of their home in tax free cash, depending primarily on their age, property type as well as location.

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS & OBJECTIONS:

I heard they were restrictive and bad for seniors.

Much of the negative press around reverse mortgages originated out of the U.S. The rates, fees, and restrictions are quite different from what is offered in Canada. The reverse mortgage providers in Canada follow the same chartered bank rules as other major lenders.

The bank will own my house.

This is only a mortgage; the title and deed remain in the client’s name. The owner will not be asked to move, sell, or make payments for as long as at least 1 applicant lives in the property.

I’ll lose all my equity.

The maximum the lender can finance is 55% of the value of the home. The average advance is more like 35% of the value, leaving ample equity to fall back on. If the real estate market increases at an average of about 2% to 2.5% per year over time, clients will find their home value increasing just as much over time as the balance owed.

The costs are too high.

The closing costs are the same as a regular mortgage, approximately $1,800, includes the appraisal and lawyer fee.

A line of credit is better and cheaper.

A line of credit is a great solution for someone with good credit, cash flow and most importantly someone with a regular income.

I paid off my mortgage, I don’t want more debt.

Leveraging money from your home is not debt. It’s the equity accrued over the duration of ownership. Only the interest is debt.

Why are the rates higher than a regular mortgage?

Other lenders can lend out money at lower costs. This is because they have other services to sell the client to help recoup their cost. The regular mortgages also require a regular repayment frequency; thus, the lender is constantly receiving funds back to re-lend.

I heard they have high penalties and you can’t get out very easily.

This is well suited for seniors looking to keep the reverse mortgage in place for 3 or more years. There might be other solutions for a timeline that is shorter. Penalties are always waived upon death of the last homeowner. Penalties are reduced by 50% if selling and moving into a care facility.

I don’t need money very much so it’s not worth it.

The newest program offered is called Income Advantage. It allows clients to access money on their own timeline, when they need it or a pre-determined auto-advance. Borrower only pays on the amount advanced. The minimum advance required is $25,000.

If you’d like to talk to see if a reverse mortgage is a good fit for you, I am a Certified Reverse Mortgage provider and would love to help answer your questions. Call or email me anytime!

Written by Michael Hallet

28 Mar

The Most Important Question this Spring

Latest News

Posted by: Jordan Thomson

Short Version:

The most important question a home-seller must ask their Broker or their banker this Spring:

‘Do I QUALIFY to port my mortgage?’

You must re-qualify to port your mortgage to a new property, and you must re-qualify under stringent new rules.

How stringent?

Long Version:

Let’s say you have impeccable credit, a $100,000 income, and bought a house with a basement suite last year – you may have a mortgage of ~ $675,000…which you qualified for in 2017.

In 2018, you new maximum mortgage amount is closer to ~$530,000.

And if rates were to move up another 0.50% you’d be capped at ~$490,000.

If rates were to move up a full percentage point ~$455,000

Either way, even with no further upward movement, the family in this example, were they to enter into a binding sale agreement without confirming their qualifications would not be able to re-enter the market at the same price point.

Key Point – Do not ask if your mortgage is ‘portable’ (99% are). Ask if you currently qualify to move your mortgage to a new property. This will require an actual application and full review.

Key Point – The federal government has created a dynamic in which qualifying rates have shifted radically, and more precisely the ground has shifted under tens of thousands of middle class Canadians feet. You have been protected from yourself, and you don’t even know it.

Key Point – Since Jan. 1, 2018, you’re subject to the new stress test. Even though you have impeccable credit, have never missed a payment, and even got a 3% raise last year – too bad.

Conclusion

Don’t list your home for sale without having something in writing from your current lender confirming that you QUALIFY to move your existing mortgage to a new property. If you have any questions, contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

And if you’ve personally been caught in this ‘portability trap’, by all means make your voice heard. Share your story with me directly and also here; www.tellyourmp.ca

Thanks to DLC’ Mortgage guru Dustan Woodhouse for this info!

15 Jan

Bank Broker Vs. Mortgage Brokers | Here’s the Scoop

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Jordan Thomson

Ask any mortgage broker and they can tell you that there are a handful of misconceptions that the public has about working with a mortgage broker. From questioning their credentials (we all are regulated and licensed with in our own province, and are constantly re-educating ourselves) to assuming that the broker does not have access to the same rate as the banks (we do in fact—plus access to even more lending options) mortgage brokers have heard it all!

With the recent changes to the B-20 guidelines taking full effect as of January 1, 2018 the mortgage landscape is changing and we firmly believe in keeping our clients educated and informed. With these changes, there have been a number of misconceptions that have come to light regarding mortgage professionals and their “limitations” and we felt it was time to address them:

Myth 1: Independent Broker’s don’t have access to the rates the banks do.

Fact: Not true. Brokers have access to MORE rates and lenders than the bank. The bank brokers only have access to their rates-no other ones. A mortgage professional has access to:

• Tier 1 banks in Canada
• Credit Unions
• Monoline Lenders
• Alternative Lenders
• Private Lenders

This extensive network of lender options allows brokers to ensure that you are not only getting the sharpest rate, but that the mortgage product is also aligned with the client’s needs.

Myth 2: The consumer has to negotiate a rate with a lender directly.

Fact: Not true at all! Your mortgage professional will shop the market to find the best overall cost of borrowing for the client. Broker’s will look at all angles of the product to ensure that the client is getting one that will suit their unique and specific needs. Not once will the client be expected to shop their mortgage around or to speak to the lender. This is different from the bank where you are limited to only their rates and are left to negotiate with the bank’s broker—who is paid by the bank! We don’t know about you, but we would much rather have a broker negotiate on our behalf. Plus, they are FREE to use (see myth #6)

Myth 3: A Broker’s goal is to move the mortgage on each renewal.

Fact: A Mortgage Broker’s goal is to present multiple options to consumers so they can secure the optimal product for their specific and unique needs. This entails the broker looking at more than just the rate. A broker will look at:
• Prepayment options
• Costs of borrowing
• Portability
• Penalty to break
• Mortgage charges

And more. If the Broker determines that the current lender is the most ideal for their client at the time of renewal, then they will advise them to remain with that lender. The end goal of renewal is simple: provide clients the best ongoing, current advice at the time of origination and at the time of renewal

Myth 4: The broker receives a trailer fee if the client remains with the same lender at renewal.

Fact: This is on a case-to-case basis. At times, there is a small fee given to the broker if a client opts to renew with their current lender. This allows for accountability between the lender, broker, and customer in most cases. However, this is not always the case and the details of each renewal will vary.

Myth 5: If a Broker moves a mortgage to a new lender upon time of renewal then the full mortgage commission is received by the broker, allowing the broker to obtain “passive income” by constantly switching clients over.

Fact: Let’s clarify: If a client chooses to move their mortgage at renewal after a broker presents them with the best options, then it is in fact a new deal. By being a new deal, this means that the broker has all the work associated with any new file at that time. It is the equivalent of a brand-new mortgage and the broker will have to do the correct steps and work associated with it.

A second point of clarification-although the broker will earn income on this switch, the income (in most cases) is paid by the financial institution receiving the mortgage, NOT the client.

Myth 6: It costs a client more to renew with a mortgage broker.

Fact: Completely false. Clients SAVE MONEY when they work with a mortgage broker at . A broker has access to a variety of lenders and can offer discounts that the bank can’t. Additionally, most mortgage brokers offer continuous advice and information to their clients. Working with a broker is not a “one and done” deal as it is a broker’s goal to keep their clients informed, educated, and well-versed as to what is happening in the industry and how it will affect them. When you work with a broker instead of the bank, you not only get the best mortgage for you, but you also have access to a wealth of industry knowledge continuously.

Mortgage Brokers are a dedicated group of individuals who work directly for the client, not the lenders or the bank. Brokers are problem-solvers, advisors and honourable individuals. We work hard to give our clients the best that we can in an industry that constantly is evolving and changing.

We encourage you to reach out to your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional if you have any misconceptions or questions about working with a broker-we are happy to answer them and help you with your mortgage, your renewal, and everything and anything in between.

Thanks to DLC’s Geoff Lee for this info!

12 Jan

Low Rate or Low Borrowing Cost?

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Jordan Thomson

Low Rate or Low Borrowing Cost?

Would you rather have the lowest mortgage rate or the lowest borrowing cost?

If you picked the latter, good for you. You’re mortgage savvy, and you’re in the minority.

Check out this chart from a recent Manulife survey. Its findings show that the “interest rate” dominates all other factors when consumers pick a mortgage. That’s great news for a rate comparison site like this one, but it’s not great news for borrowers.

 

According to respondents, “how much interest I’ll pay over the life of the mortgage” is far less important than the rate. That’s like judging the fastest sports car by horsepower alone. One metric doesn’t tell the whole story.

The interest rate reflects but one component of mortgage cost (the regular interest expense). It doesn’t reveal the other ways lenders “get ya” in the pocketbook.

The reason the interest rate is such a dominant consideration for borrowers is because most people can’t quantify what else a mortgage lender might charge them.

In fact, there’s a laundry list of extra costs. Many lenders, for example, have:

  • High mortgage penalties for refinancing or terminating early
  • High rates when existing customers try to refinance before maturity
  • High rates when existing customers try to convert a variable to a fixed
  • High rates when existing customers try to renew
  • Tight restrictions on how long you can port with no penalty
  • Penalties if you need to increase your mortgage before maturity
  • Prepayment restrictions
  • No ability to renew early (a potential problem in a rising rate environment)
  • More costly compounding on floating-rate mortgages
  • High discharge fees, reinvestment fees, and,
  • Less favourable registration methods — e.g., collateral charge mortgages, which are inappropriate for many.

If drawbacks like these never affect you, then selecting the lowest rate (for the most suitable term) will save you the most money. But the odds are against you not needing flexibility.

The statistical reality is that most people change their mortgage sooner than every five years. And that’s where the fine print in a lender’s contract can easily cost you the equivalent of 0.10% to 0.50% extra interest per year.

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to quantify the benefit of mortgage flexibility. In theory, if you wanted to evaluate the true “best” mortgage, you’d have to:

  1. make assumptions about what changes you might make to the mortgage
  2. predict when you might make those changes
  3. estimate future interest rates
  4. calculate the expected borrowing cost of each mortgage given these factors
  5. objectively compare all this information.

In practice, that’s near impossible for most consumers, and even for most bankers and brokers.

This is why so many borrowers focus on the rate instead of what they may actually pay.

At the Spy we’re developing technology to make this analysis process easier for you. It’s a ginormous programming undertaking, but it’s coming and we’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, don’t be afraid to pay a little extra for a highly flexible mortgage, especially if you’re locking into a 5-year fixed rate. Five basis points more on the rate could save you 20 after closing. True fact.

Posted originally by Rate Spy Staff.

12 Jan

Don’t Let Procrastination Get In Your Way of Homeownership

General

Posted by: Jordan Thomson

Every week I do a LIVE “Mortgage Minute” to keep you up to date on the current news and topics of the week relating to mortgages, real estate, homes and more!

Mortgage Minute Week of January 12th, 2018

Check it out LIVE here!

Don’t let procrastination, or the fear of rejection, failure and mistakes get in the way of taking the first step towards homeownership in 2018.
1) Commit
2) Make a plan- with me!!
3) Prepare

These things don’t happen overnight. It’s not as if you wake up one day and say, hey, I’m going to buy a home. At least not for the majority of us. So just taking the first step to find out what you can afford and what you may need to prepare for will get you on track and I promise, it’s not as scary as you think!!

Let’s do this!

Call me at 604.725.1607 or email me at jordan@citywidemortgage.ca for a free and confidential consultation.