The Downside to Downsizing

General 12 Nov

On the surface, downsizing can seem like a logical financial move.

However, when we asked Canadian homeowners aged 55 and older what their thoughts on downsizing are, we learned that while many are faced with the downsizing dilemma they are considering other options.

Below we outline some of our key findings from the survey we commissioned from Ipsos.

In short, downsizing does not guarantee financial freedom.

Largely why this dilemma exists is because Canadians aged 55 and older are not aware of all of the financial products available to them – most notably, the CHIP Reverse Mortgage.

Best Regards,
Andrea Twizell
National Partnership Director, Mortgage Brokers

If you would like to learn more about how a reverse mortgage can be an alternative to downsizing, please contact us at HT Mortgage Group here in Grande Prairie, and ask to speak to one of our mortgage brokers at 780-513-6611 or 1-800-513-6611

 

WHY WE CHOSE A MORTGAGE BROKER – OUR HOUSE MAGAZINE

Mortgage basic's 15 Oct

WHY WE CHOSE A MORTGAGE BROKER – OUR HOUSE MAGAZINE

Spent months searching for a house
Lindsay Austin and her husband never imagined they could get a home with a lakefront view. Their real estate journey began in 2012, when the couple purchased their first place, a townhome in Kelowna B.C. with the help of a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage broker. By 2017, they were ready for something bigger and better. So the couple reached out again to their mortgage broker, who was there to lend a hand. After months of searching, the couple found their home. A one-acre property just outside the city overlooking Okanagan Lake. They purchased the home for $618,000 and moved in just before the summer.
“It’s rural, a little out of town. It’s exactly what we need,” Austin said, noting her mortgage broker was patient and right by their side as they spent months searching for the right place.

Q: Why did you choose a mortgage broker?

A: We got connected with our broker in 2011. At the time, being our first home, we were financially lost. We were new to the market and my mom said reach out and try. And it just made the process so simple. She’s a one-stop-shop. She collects all of our information once, and I have this touch point and this person who I can trust. My brother and sister-in-law just went through the process, and they had appointments at all sorts of banks, and they sit down and do this and that, and then they do it again with another stranger. Our broker was able to get our information streamlined and out to all of the available lenders and get us the best rates and just simplify it for us. I think that was so key. She made the first process in 2012 so smooth and so easy for us. It wasn’t even a question that we would go with her again because it was so easy the first time.

Q: How was it working with a mortgage broker?

A: It was fantastic. I can say her customer service was so high, and she was always looking at every option. Even with the changes (to mortgage rules) in the last couple years, I’m sure mortgage brokers have had to learn a bunch of new things. She was such a good communicator, and it’s so easy having just one touch point.

Q: What advice would you give someone in your situation?

A: Ask lots of questions, and your mortgage broker will have all the answers. That’s their job and that’s why they make it so nice and easy. Ask lots of questions and be totally honest. Those, along with communication, and you’ll have a very pleasant experience.

Jeremy Deutsch
JEREMY DEUTSCH
Communications Advisor –  Dominion Lending Centres

 

CASH BACK AND DECORATING ALLOWANCES ON NEW BUILD OR PRE-SALE PURCHASES

Mortgage basic's 9 Oct

CASH BACK AND DECORATING ALLOWANCES ON NEW BUILD OR PRE-SALE PURCHASES

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.

Pauline Tonkin

PAULINE TONKIN

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

WHAT SHOULD COME FIRST, THE HOUSE OR THE CAR?

Mortgage basic's 5 Oct

WHAT SHOULD COME FIRST, THE HOUSE OR THE CAR?

So you just got a shiny new car, and now you want a shiny new home to go with it. Will that new car payment affect your mortgage pre- approval? The short answer… absolutely it will.
Recently, I have encountered many people looking to pre-approve for a home purchase that do not qualify. While it may be in part because of the mortgage “Stress Test” rules, a good portion is due to large debt obligations such as car loans. I have witnessed applicants that have brand new car loans/leases with huge payments and not one gave thought as to whether it would affect their ability to qualify for a mortgage.
Unless you have already done your home work with your mortgage broker by getting a mortgage pre-approval that factors the new car payment into it and your budget, you may be in for disappointment.
However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be one or the other. Here are some tips to get set for mortgage approval success.

1. Get pre-approved. Seek the guidance of your mortgage broker to know exactly what you qualify for before you start the house hunting process. Knowing what your maximum purchase price is, helps you and your realtor.
2. Be realistic with what you can afford. Start by looking at what you pay in rent now. That’s a good starting place to figure out what you can pay on a mortgage. However, you also must consider what you can get approved for.
3. Remember to save and budget for more than the mortgage payment. When you own a home, your monthly payment consists of more than just the mortgage payment. You will also pay property taxes, home owner insurance, and utilities on top of your other monthly debt obligations. Having emergency savings can help alleviate the stress of taking on the financial responsibility of a owning a home.
4. Clean up your credit. Paying off credit balances can not only help improve your credit score, it can also increase your buying power.
5. Avoid making big financial changes. This is the big one. Most lenders want to see that you’re a stable applicant. Doing things like buying a new car before you buy a new house does not establish you as stable. Similarly, opening new credit cards, or making a drastic change to your employment can also be detrimental to getting approved for a mortgage.

When in doubt always seek the advice of your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

Lynn Nequest

LYNN NEQUEST

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Lynn is part of DLC Forest City Funding based in Kitchener, ONT.

The Pros and Cons of Co-signing for a Mortgage

Mortgage basic's 2 Oct

THE PROS AND CONS OF CO-SIGNING FOR A MORTGAGE

If you keep up on the news you know that qualifying for a mortgage is getting tougher and tougher. Someone who would have sailed through the application process 10 years ago could find themselves declined for a mortgage today.
Often I find applicants can afford the monthly payments but they can’t prove that their income is stable. If they waited another 6 months to a year, they could but they would miss out on a great opportunity to buy a home now. Buyers who have recently switched jobs, receive overtime or get a portion of their income from tips are the people who need co-signers to make the deal work. A strong co-signer can be more persuasive to a lender than offering to put more money down.

I also have found that people with “thin” credit are being asked for co-signers. These are applicants who have one credit card but no car loans or other credit facilities showing on their credit bureau report. Often they are recent university graduates who recently started work.
Rick Bossom, an accredited mortgage professional with Bayfield Mortgage Professionals in Courtenay, British Columbia, says that it’s an alternative to lenders just turning the deal down in cases where the borrowers are just on the edge of qualifying.

“They’re close but they just need a little bit more and that’s why the co-signing thing would come up. It’s not like they’re really, really bad, they’re just not quite there.”

What does a co-signer do? Their job is to continue payments in the event that the main applicant(s) default on the mortgage. In essence, they are saying that if you skip out on the payments, they will take up the slack.
As a result, lenders want to have co-signers on the application just as if they would be living in the home and making the mortgage payments. If they have mortgage payments of their own, they have to show that they can financially afford to pay both mortgages and any other monthly obligations that they may have like car payments.

One thing that surprises primary applicants as well as their co-signers is the amount of information required from the co-signers. They will have to provide an employment letter, recent pay stub, a credit bureau report at a minimum. If they are self-employed company income documents will also be required.
It’s always best for the primary applicant to have a conversation with the co-signer or co-signers to inform them of this in advance. The co-signers should also be aware that this will tie up their credit for the term of the mortgage. If they are planning on buying a vacation home or making a large purchase, they may be declined based on their financial obligation to your mortgage.

However, there is one feature that banks don’t tell you about but your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional will tell you. There’s the ability to remove the co-signer from the mortgage after 12 months of successful on time mortgage payments. Co-signers don’t have to stay on the mortgage for the whole term.

Make sure that you mention that you are interested in taking your co-signer off the mortgage in a year and your mortgage broker can pick a lender who will allow this. It’s really nice to be able to remove your co-signer and thank them for their help without tying up their credit capacity for 5 years.

 

David Cooke

DAVID COOKE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
David is part of DLC Clarity Mortgages in Calgary, AB.

Rent, Own, Or Do Both?

Mortgage basic's 27 Sep

Grande Prairie’s Rental Market is hot: will you rent, own or do both?

Grande Prairie’s Rental market has very low vacancy rates right now. When a home goes up for rent, it can rent very quickly and sometimes the price isn’t cheap. Dominion’s Ryan Oake talk’s a little about what to consider when your making home buying decisions.

RENT, OWN, OR DO BOTH?

There are generally three different situations you can find yourself in when it comes to living situations; living with parents, renting, or owning.

A lot of the times the first decision someone will need to make is whether they buy a home to live in, buy a home to rent to someone else, or buy a home to live in while also renting out a portion of it. There are lots of pro’s and con’s to both. Below are some of the numbers and things to consider when looking at each of them.

Buying with The Intention to Rent

Buying a property for the purposes of renting it out to someone else comes with different qualifying criteria and different mortgage product options. The following are some of the important points to consider:

  • The minimum down payment required is 20% of the property price and this down payment must be from your own savings. It cannot be gifted from someone else.
  • Only a portion of the rental income can be used for the qualifying of how much of a mortgage you can afford to borrow. Some lenders only use 50% of the income and add it to yours. Others may look at taking 80% of the rental income and subtracting your expenses which can have a much higher impact on how much you can afford.
  • Interest rates usually have a premium on them when the mortgage is for a rental property compared to a mortgage being requested for a property someone plans on living in. This premium can be anywhere from 0.10% to 0.20% on a regular 5-year fixed rate.

The following is a typical scenario you can expect to qualify for in a rental situation:

$450,000 purchase price
$90,000 down payment (20%)
$360,000 mortgage
$1,665 monthly mortgage payment

$1,400 in monthly rental income
$66,500 a year in income
$0 month in consumer debt payments

Buying with The Intention to Own

Buying with the intention of living in the property as your primary residence is the most common and the guidelines are well known:

  • 5% minimum down payment from own resources or from gifted funds coming from an immediate family member.
  • Insurance premium for having less than 20% as a down payment
  • Lowest interest rates available for high ration purchases of home becoming owner occupied (Loan-to-value of more than 80%)
  • If first time home buyers, you may be able to utilize grants and avoid property transfer taxes which you will not receive on the purchase of a rental.

The following is a typical scenario you can expect to qualify for in an owner-occupied situation:

$450,000 purchase price
$22,500 down payment (5%)
$444,600 mortgage
$2,039.63 monthly mortgage payment

$97,000 a year in income
$300 in monthly debt payments

Buying with The Intention of Both

Owner-occupied properties with a rental are really the best of both worlds. Only issue is, it needs to be a self-contained suite. Therefore, second bedrooms in town-homes or condos do not qualify. It is typically only detached homes with rental suites that are allowed but the rate premiums and minimum down payments fall under the owner-occupied side. Below is a typical scenario you could expect with this kind of purchase:

$1,000,000 purchase price
$100,000 down payment (10%)
$927,900 mortgage
$4,256 monthly mortgage payment

$1,200 in monthly rental income
$175,000 a year in income
$750 month in consumer debt payments

Please reach out to a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional in Grande Prairie today if you would like to discuss the different options that are available to you and whether or not any one of these scenarios could potentially work for you given our local market.

 

 

Ryan Oake

RYAN OAKE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Ryan is part of DLC Producers West Financial based in Langley, BC

Mortgage Protection Plans

Mortgage basic's 14 Sep

MORTGAGE PROTECTION PLANS

Insurance coverage is something that everyone is “pitched” at some point or another in their life, even if you live in the little city of Grande Prairie or far up north. Unfortunately, a lot of us have a negative attitude towards insurance or warranty as it is perceived as being a cash grab. Yes, if you are purchasing a flat screen T.V., that extra 2-year warranty for $100 might be a little excessive. However, when it comes to covering monthly mortgage payments or the outstanding balance of your mortgage upon death or injury, yes, it is important to have.

Every single person is offered life and disability insurance when applying for a new mortgage. As a mortgage broker, it is our obligation to offer you a Mortgage Protection Plan, most of the time here in Grande Prairie it will be from Manulife. Even if it is something you do not want or do not have a need for- we still require a signature confirming it was offered. Reason being, is when John Smith breaks his foot two years down the road and can’t work to cover his mortgage payments, Manulife needs to confirm that the client passed on the opportunity to have their payments covered.

Now, is Manulife’s mortgage Protection Plan, or, MPP as it is known, the most comprehensive coverage out there? No.

Is MPP better than any coverage you are ever going to receive from a bank directly? Yes.

Manulife’s MPP is a 60-day money back guarantee, with coverage that follows you lender to lender. It will cover disability injuries preventing you from work, and is underwritten before your coverage begins, not when a claim is made.

Most banks do not allow you to take their mortgage insurance to another lender. So, if after 10-years of paying your premiums you decide to leave your bank and go to a credit union, your coverage is no longer in affect and all that money you spent on your monthly premiums is now worth nothing. Scariest part about bank coverage, is the health evaluation is done when a claim is made, not when you sign up. Can you imagine not making a claim for 20-years and then being declined on coverage because you have developed health issues not relevant when you signed up in your 20’s?

If Manulife Mortgage Protection Plan is not for you, there are insurance brokers out there we have access to who can offer alternative solutions. The biggest thing though is to make sure you have SOME coverage, because you won’t know you need it until you do. If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional in Grande Prairie for help.

Ryan Oake

RYAN OAKE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Ryan is part of DLC Producers West Financial based in Langley, BC

All About Pre-Approvals

Mortgage basic's 3 Sep

ALL ABOUT PRE-APPROVALS

Why is a pre-approval important to people who live in Grande Prairie? Well why wouldn’t you want to make your home buying process simpler?

If your in the market for a new home, that’s great – but if you’re not already pre-approved from your mortgage broker, be sure to read on.

Pre-approvals are very important for two reasons.

They give you confidence in knowing that a specific amount of financing is available for you.
A pre-approval can put you in a positive negotiating position against other home buyers who aren’t pre-approved.
Not all pre-approvals are the same, though. There are essentially three different kinds.

  • The first occurs when you meet with a mortgage professional and tell them how much you make. They’ll say something along the lines of “Great, you’re pre-approved.” The mortgage professional has only looked at your income. There is no real pre-approval.
  • The second kind is when a mortgage professional asks you how much you make and then pulls your credit bureau. This allows a mortgage professional to lock in your mortgage rate for up to four months. This pre-approval still isn’t a sure thing.
  • The third kind of pre-approval – and the one that we do – is a lot more encompassing. We get all of your papers prepared right off the bat, which allows us to eliminate any unforeseen issues with your approval. Sure, it’s more work up front – but we do this because it’s the right thing to do.

If you’d like to get a pre-approval, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional! We’re here to help.

Eitan Pinsky

EITAN PINSKY

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Eitan is part of DLC Origin Mortgages based in Vancouver, BC.

7 SURE-FIRE WAYS TO GROW YOUR CREDIT SCORE

Mortgage basic's 22 Aug

7 SURE-FIRE WAYS TO GROW YOUR CREDIT SCORE

Have you ever wished for a simplified guide on how to actually GROW your credit score? Well today is your lucky day! We have had years of experience working with individuals who come to us with poor or damaged credit and we have found 7 steps that prove to be tried and true in fixing it.

First off though—why are we so focused in on credit scores? Simply put, your credit score details your history of borrowing money. It shows how timely you are on payments; how responsible you are with it and how you manage it.

In a Nutshell: Your credit score represents to the lender that you have proven yourself capable of paying your bills on time and are responsible when managing credit. You credit score will also impact the interest rate that you receive. So, when we are talking about mortgages, your credit score=very important.

Now that we have that covered, here are our 7 sure-fire ways to grow your credit and make the mortgage application process, a breeze:

1. Have at least 2 credit lines at all times
This means that you should always have 2 “tradelines” going. Whether this be 2 credit cards, a credit card and a line of credit and a car loan etc. You want to show that you can manage credit, and this is one easy way to do it. As an added note, the limit on the credit lines will need to be set at a minimum $2,000.

2. Make your payments on time each and every month
No skipped payments! You should ALWAYS make the minimum payment required on all your lines of credit each month.

3. Do not let your credit be pulled too often.
This one is something people often forget about. Having your credit pulled for new credit cards, car loans, and other things frequently raises a red flag for lenders and can significantly lower your credit score

4. Do not exceed 50% of the available credit limit on your credit card or credit line.
We know this one can be hard to do. One easy way to monitor this is to only use a credit card for certain fixed bills such as a cable/internet bill, cell-phone bill, etc. This way you can easily keep track of what credit you have used and what is available still.

5. If you have missed a payment, get back on track right away.
If you did, by chance, miss a payment, do not fret. Instead, get back on track with your month by month payments. Lenders would look at the one missed payment as an abnormality versus a normal occurrence if you are back on track by the following month.

6. Make sure each partner has their own credit.
We cannot tell you how frustrating it can be for couples when they realize that all their credit cards and lines of credit are only under one name…leaving the other person with no proven track record of managing credit! We advise clients to both grow their credit by making sure all joint accounts report for you both.

7. Do not exceed the Credit limit.
It is important to not go over or exceed the credit limit you have been given. Having overdrawn credit, shows the lender that you are not able to responsibly manage credit.

If you follow these 7 steps and are responsible with your credit, you will have no problem when it comes time to purchase a home! In need of more advice? Contact a Dominion Lending Centres Broker-they will be more than happy to help you.

Geoff Lee

GEOFF LEE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Geoff is part of DLC GLM Mortgage Group based in Vancouver, BC.

Pam offers free homebuyer education

First Time Homebuyer 28 May

Pam Lobban offers free homebuyer education

I love working with first time homebuyers because I enjoy taking the time to educate clients on the process. I’ve been licensed to do mortgages since May 1999, so I’ve built up a lot of knowledge to help homebuyers.  Sometimes working in this industry it’s easy to forget that most people don’t know the basics when it comes to mortgage financing; that’s where I come in. I do a free class on Grande Prairie Mortgage Basic’s.

Book a time to learn

If you think you might want to buy your first home in the future call me so we can set up a mutual time to get you pre-approved!  You’ll have a completely free lesson in steps you can take now to be prepared to buy the home of your dreams in the future.

There is really not a reason to wait, it’s a no pressure, free and educational process.  I would love to meet you!