20 Apr

The Role of a Mortgage Broker

General

Posted by: Diana Diamond

Buying a home is a big step – a big, very exciting, potentially stressful step! How can you take the hassle out of the equation and keep your buying experience super positive? Easy… Surround yourself with a team of experienced professionals!

Many experienced realtors insist on starting your financing first, that’s where your Mortgage Broker comes in.

What is a Mortgage Broker?

A Mortgage Broker is an expert in real estate loans that acts as a match-maker between home buyers looking for money and lenders with funds available to borrow. A broker will collect information from you about your employment, income, assets, loans and other financial obligations as well discuss your current budget, spending patterns and goals in order to get a thorough understanding of where you’re at and where you’d like to be. From here they assess the strengths and any weaknesses in your application and can advise on potential suitable financing options and any next steps you might need to take in preparing yourself for loan approval.

Talking with a Mortgage Broker before you start shopping is helpful for a number of reasons:

  • You’ll develop a well-founded expectation of the price range and payments that you can afford.
  • You’ll have a chance to address any potential gaps in your application for financing BEFORE you’re in a time crunch to meet deadlines for closing.
  • Sellers may take your offer more seriously when you tell them you’ve been pre-approved for your financing putting you in a better position to negotiate (price, possession date, inclusions, other terms, etc).
  • You and your Mortgage Broker will begin to compile your documentation so that your application is ready to go when you find the perfect home, leaving your mind free to start arranging furniture in your new place.

So why use a Mortgage Broker rather than your bank?

A Mortgage Broker has access to loans from a wide range of lenders. That means that you have more potential places to get approved, AND can take advantage of best products, top programs and lowest pricing!

A Mortgage Broker working with multiple lender options means that they truly SHOP for the best programs and rates for you based on comparisons and choices and don’t simply sell you the limited products they have to offer through a single bank source.

Mortgage Brokers work EXCLUSIVELY in mortgages so they are mortgage product specialists rather than banking generalists. Brokers deal with real estate transactions involving deadlines and conditions everyday as part of their job. They understand the urgency of meeting these commitments to ensure a successful transaction for everyone involved.

Learn more by contacting your us today!

2 Feb

10 FIRST TIME HOMEBUYER MISTAKES

General

Posted by: Diana Diamond

If you’re on the hunt for your first home and want to have a smooth and successful home purchasing experience avoid these common first-time homebuying mistakes.

1. Thinking you don’t need a real estate agent

You might be able to find a house on your own but there are still many aspects of buying real estate that can confuse a first-time buyer. Rely on your agent to negotiate offers, inspections, financing and other details. The money you save on commission can be quickly gobbled up by a botched offer or overlooked repairs

2. Getting your heart set on a home before you do your homework

The house that’s love at first sight may not always be what it seems, so keep an open mind. Plus, you may be too quick to go over budget or may overlook a potential pitfall if you jump in too fast.

3. Picking a fixer-upper because the listing price is cheaper

That old classic may have loads of potential, but be extra diligent in the inspection period. What will it really cost to get your home where it needs to be? Negotiating a long due-diligence period will give you time to get estimates from contractors in case you need to back out.

4. Committing to more than you can afford

Don’t sacrifice retirement savings or an emergency fund for mortgage payments. You need to stay nimble to life’s changes, and overextending yourself could put your investments – including your house – on the line.

5. Going with the first agent who finds you

Don’t get halfway into house hunting before you realize your agent isn’t right for you. The best source: a referral from friends. Ask around and take the time to speak with your potential choices before you commit.

6. Diving into renovations as soon as you buy

Yes, renos may increase the value of your home, but don’t rush. Overextending your credit to get it all done fast doesn’t always pay off. Take time to make a solid plan and the best financial decisions. Living in your home for a while will also help you plan the best functional changes to the layout.

7. Choosing a house without researching the neighbourhood

It may be the house of your dreams, but annoying neighbours or a nearby industrial zone can be a rude awakening. Spend time in the area before you make an offer – talk to local business owners and residents to determine the pros and cons of living there.

8. Researching your broker and agent, but not your lawyer

New buyers often put all their energy into learning about mortgage rates and offers, but don’t forget that the final word in any deal comes from your lawyer. As with finding agents, your best source for referrals will be friends and business associates.

9. Fixating on the lowest interest rate

Yes, a reasonable rate is important, but not at the expense of heavy restrictions and penalties. Make a solid long-term plan to pay off your mortgage and then find one that’s flexible enough to accommodate life changes, both planned and unexpected. Be sure to talk your your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to learn more.

10. Opting out of mortgage insurance

Your home is your largest investment so be sure to protect it. Mortgage insurance not only buys you peace of mind, it also allows for more flexible financing options. Plus, it allows you to take advantage of available equity to pay down debts or make financial investments.

19 Jan

CHIP Reverse Mortgage

General

Posted by: Diana Diamond

CHIP is a reverse mortgage, a loan secured against the value of your home. It let’s you unlock the value in your home without having to sell or move.

The money you receive is tax-free and yours to use as you wish!

– Pay off debt

– Improve your home

– Handle unexpected expenses

– Help your children or grandchildren

– Improve your day-to-day standard of living

– Make a special trip or purchase

 

Benefits of CHIP:

Keep your home and stay in your community

No payments until you no longer live in your home

Relieve financial stress – use up to 55% of the equity in your home to pay off debt or handle unforeseen expenses

Enjoy retirement – the money you access is tax-free

Take Control! Get your finances under control and gain the freedom to set your own plans and priorities.

 

Who can Qualify?

Canadian homeowner

Age 55 or older

Own your home

It is your primary residence

NO health check required

 

Call or email for more information about the CHIP Reverse Mortgage or any other mortgage products!

 

7 Jan

A breakdown of the new Canadian Mortgage rules

General

Posted by: Diana Diamond

The Minister of Finance announced on Monday new Canadian mortgage rules effective October 17,2016. The new rules will impact high ratio buyers – those with less than 20% down payment. Other rule changes are expected to follow so stay tuned for details as they unfold. The important thing to remember is that this is not the end of the world! Rather, it is the time when you really need the voice of reason from an experienced Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

Currently a home buyer with less than 20% (high ratio) requires mortgage insurance through CMHC or one of the private insurers. The financing rules for this purchase differ from those buying a home with 20% or more down payment. However, both types of buyers have one rule in common – to access short term fixed rates (1-4 years) or a variable rate mortgage they must qualify at the benchmark rate (currently 4.64%). They don’t pay that rate, but it is a metric used to qualify for access to the variable or short term rate products.

Effective October 17th all high ratio buyers will have to qualify at the benchmark rate for all terms.

For example a home buyer currently qualified to purchase with 10% down for a mortgage of $527,000. After October 17th, this home buyer would qualify for a $420,000 mortgage. This equates to a 20% drop in buying power. (All things being equal in terms of property taxes, income, debts, etc).

Buyers in this situation would have the option to make up the shortfall with more money down or add another person to the mortgage to help qualify or purchase a lower priced property. For detached homes with a suite the use of rental income could help the buyer make up some or all of that difference in qualifying.

Any buyers with an accepted offer in place will have till October 16th to have a firm financing approval in place. Buyers who secure an accepted offer who do not have a firm agreement from their lender (and the respective mortgage insurer) in place by October 16th will be subject to the rule change October 17th.

This is crucial timing so talk with your realtor and Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional in detail if you are ready to make an offer or have an accepted offer with no current financing in place.

There are no specific deadlines in place by the Minister of Finance regarding pre-sale purchases set to close in 2017. So discuss a strategy with your DLC mortgage broker and realtor if you are a buyer in this situation.

The announcement also indicated a change later this year to mortgages for conventional borrowers with financing that is bulk-insured. This represents a number of banks and other lenders who choose this as a strategy for their portfolio. This could impact all borrowers (those buying or refinancing). We will gain more details on this specific outcome within our industry channels and provide an update as soon as possible.

Note – when watching the news on this subject always remember to do your due diligence and consult with your professional mortgage broker. The media does not always get the details correct and can provide information that can be confusing.

To read the news release http://www.fin.gc.ca/n16/16-117-eng.asp

If you have any questions on your specific situation feel free to contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional. We’re here to help you navigate these changing – and sometimes confusing – new mortgage rules.

3 Jan

5 COMMON MYTHS ABOUT CREDIT SCORES

General

Posted by: Diana Diamond

1. TOO MANY CREDIT CARDS WILL HURT MY CREDIT SCORE

Actually, cancelling healthy active cards or accounts hurts more as all of the payment history is lost along with the type of credit granted. The average Canadian has 10 credit sources, having more does not hurt as long as you pay on-time. Along with paying on-time you should observe the rule of maintaining a balance at no more than 75% of the limit, but less is best. Applying for new credit every week will lower your score more.

2. USING CREDIT TO BUILD A CREDIT SCORE

Remember to keep your balances low and manageable. The credit bureau only receives reports regarding your balances and payments. Making your payments on-time builds your credit history strength and score.

3. MY UTILITIES AND INTERNET ARE PAID ON-TIME EVERY MONTH

These providers only check your credit to determine creditworthiness. They don’t report your payment history to the bureau. On the flipside, they only report when you DON’T pay. The other organizations that only report upon default are municipalities and ICBC. Pay your traffic tickets and bylaw infractions.

4. CHECKING MY SCORE WILL DECREASE IT

There are two types of inquiries, soft and hard. A soft inquiry occurs when you pull your own credit report. Credit card companies also pull soft inquiries when marketing pre-approval offers. A hard inquiry happens when submitting a loan or credit card application. A hard inquiry is one that is triggered by the applicant. Soft inquires do not affect the credit score. A consumer can pull their own credit score as many times as they wish without repercussions. Hard inquires affect the score slightly. These inquires are included in the calculation done for credit scoring. Recording the number of inquires a consumer has on the credit report allows potential lenders to see how often a consumer has applied for new credit. This can be a precursor to someone facing credit difficulty.

Too many inquiries could mean that a consumer is deeply in debt and is looking for loans or new credit cards to bail themselves out. Another reason for recording inquires is identity theft. Hard inquires not made by you could possibly be an identity thief opening accounts in your name. Inquires are required to remain on the credit report for at least a year. Hard inquires remain on the report for two years. Soft inquires only appear on the report that you request from the credit bureaus and will not be visible to potential creditors. Hard inquires appear on all credit reports. All inquires disappear from the report after two years. Only individuals with a specific business purpose can check your score. Creditors, lenders, employers and landlords are some examples of approved business people. The inquiry only appears on the credit report that was checked.

5. THERE IS NOTHING I CAN DO ONCE A PAYMENT IS LATE

Creditors are always willing to work with you if there is a late payment. If notified in a timely manner a late payment can be easily removed, just don’t make a habit of it. Some is better than none.

 

Give us a call to chat if you have any questions regarding your current or future credit!

28 Dec

6 TIPS ON HOW TO REPAIR, INCREASE AND MAINTAIN YOUR CREDIT

General

Posted by: Diana Diamond

Credit scores are like report cards for grown‐ups. The score you get ranges from 300 to 900. Your score indicates your creditworthiness to potential lenders, banks, landlords, insurance companies, and even to some employers. The higher your score the better.

1. GET A COPY OF YOUR CREDIT REPORT

Make an inquiry once a year, twice is much better. If you are planning on purchasing anything that requires a credit check, keep track of your credit. This is something that is 100% in your control. As a consumer you have ability to make a soft/consumer inquiry to Equifax as many times as you want without it affecting your score. Here is a link to Equifax. If something doesn’t look right, contact the creditor immediately. Don’t wait to report an incorrect or fraudulent transaction. Is there an outstanding collection? If so, deal with it immediately, and by that I mean pay it. Then argue to get your money back. Do not leave this on your credit report hoping that it will disappear. No matter what, the collection will not be removed until it’s paid unless taken to litigation. Once dealt with, it will still take months to recover the points lost and 6 years to fall off your credit report.

2. NEVER MISS A MINIMUM PAYMENT

Because this attributes to 35% of your overall score, delinquencies have the biggest negative effect on your credit score. If you have overdue bills, make the necessary arrangements with your creditors. They would much rather work with you than file collections against you. If you can’t pay it all back, it’s better to pay some.

3. DON’T CLOSE UNUSED CREDIT CARD ACCOUNTS

Got a credit card that you have had ten years and hardly use? Keep it. It takes 12 years of history with the same specific card in good standing to crack 800 and enter that top 2% tier of quality credit. Cancelling a card can actually lower your score. Keep the old cards and only use them occasionally so the issuer doesn’t stop reporting your information to the credit bureaus. Having a long credit history helps increase your score. Don’t jump around to credit providers. Most ‘large’ providers have several different products. There is likely one that will fit your needs.

4. NEVER MAX OUT YOUR CREDIT CARDS

A good rule of thumb when considering building your credit is to keep the balance at or below 30% of the limit. Furthermore, a balance of 50% of the limit will maintain existing levels and over 75% will start to decrease it. NEVER exceed the limit, by even a $1.

5. DON’T LOOK FOR MORE CREDIT

Don’t shop around for credit or open several credit accounts in a short period of time. It raises alarms at credit bureaus and financial institutions, especially when you don’t have a long‐established credit history. Work with your existing creditors, as there is more relevant history. They are more likely to work with you, especially if you are looking to resolve some credit hardship(s). Always ensure you give your permission before allowing a credit check.

6. RULE OF 2

Ideally, you want to have 2 sources of credit solely in your own name for a minimum of 2 years with at least a $2,500 credit limit. This would be either 2 credit cards or one credit card and a line of credit. Ensure this is in addition to any joint accounts. Joint credit is only reported to the primary credit holders credit bureau and will not have any positive effect on the co-account holder.

If you ever have questions about your financial situation or want to discuss your credit score, please contact Dominion Lending Centres.

28 Dec

Stop blindly signing your mortgage renewal! Here are the facts

General

Posted by: Diana Diamond

Well folks I just do not get it. I do not understand why smart person after smart person continues to sign on the dotted line for the first offer they are given upon mortgage renewal. Case in point that has brought this to a head for me was just a couple weeks ago. The mortgage was with one of the beloved big 5 banks whom we Canadians seem to hold in great awe and respect. Here is what it looked like:

Mortgage amount $259,997 in a new 5 year fixed rate term with a 20-year amortization at 4.10% making the monthly payment $1584.51 and the balance after 5 years $213,266.26.

I know for a fact that the SAME bank and many others were offering 2.59% for the exact same term. This is how that would have shaken out:

Mortgage amount with a rate of 2.59% in a 20-year amortization would have had a monthly payment of $1,387.40 and the balance at the end would have been $206,956.55.

That means that the client could have saved $197.11/month or $11,826.60 over the 5 years. On top of that is the crazy fact that they would have also owed $6,309.71 LESS at term maturity. $18,136.31 is the amount that this one person could have saved. That is one person out of a very large number of people doing the exact same thing so I must loudly repeat – Stop it!!

Let us examine the facts for a moment shall we?

1. Banks are a business and they are mandated to generate a profit for their shareholders and investors. Though success seems to have become a dirty word, this is actually a good thing for our economy. Our banks are strong and continue to report profits. A secret of the banking world that you need to be aware of is that the person you are sitting down with may receive a commission or a bonus based on how many mortgages they sign at the higher rates. I repeat that I do not have any problem with profit. I myself am commissioned based. What does concern me is the fact that the average consumer does not know this may be occurring on their transaction which may lead a them to make a choice without questioning their options.

2. The average consumer will shop 3 stores and visit many websites to save on big ticket purchase such as a TV or a car. Once they get to the dealership they will negotiate and play the game to get the best price so why do we not when it comes to our largest asset? Why are we not ensuring that we are not overspending $18,136.31?

3. There are a large number of lenders and banks in our country to choose from. They are solid institutions offering great mortgages to consumers. Research them and make an informed decision before dismissing them as unreliable. They too are watched over by the powers that be who work diligently to protect your rights as consumers.

4. There are so many well qualified mortgage professionals from Dominion Lending Centres who live and work in your community. Find one you like and have them find your best option if the whole thing seems like too much work.

Did you know that to switch your mortgage to a new lender at renewal, you will not incur a penalty, or pay legal fees or appraisal fees? It will probably take about 4 hours all together, which in the examples I used, works out to $4,534.08/hour. That is pretty substantial hourly wage and certainly worth your time.

So stop it and save your money.

Author: 

PAM PIKKERT

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Pam is part of DLC Regional Mortgage Group based in Red Deer, AB.