24 Aug

7 Sure-Fire Ways to Grow Your Credit Score

Credit Score

Posted by: Diana Diamond

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.

So now 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 me anytime to have a confidential discussion.

Diana Diamond

DLC Smarter Choice Mortgages

709-727-9976

dianadiamond@dominionlending.ca

26 Mar

New Home Purchase Program

General

Posted by: Diana Diamond

Big news in NL! The Newfoundland and Labrador Government announces the New Home Purchase Program today.

This program will allow first time home buyers to apply for a loan to be used as down-payment on their first home. The government also announced that a small part of that loan will now be in the form of a grant. (Free money!)

Eligible households can receive 5% of the purchase price of up to $250,000 for a new or existing home. If the home is more than $250,000, the buyer can make up the difference of course with their own resources. Click here to read the government’s news release. There will be more information released on April 1st on the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation’s (NLHC) website – I will update ASAP.

This is a fantastic initiative since the biggest hurdle for first time home buyers is saving enough money for a down-payment.

We are sending applications for pre-approval right now! The program opens April 1st and there is only a certain amount of funds available. Don’t hesitate! Call today for a confidential discussion of your mortgage options.

Diana Diamond

Mortgage Professional, DLC Smarter Choice Mortgages

dianadiamond@dominionlending.ca

709-727-9976

19 Jan

9 Reasons Why People Break Their Mortgage

General

Posted by: Diana Diamond

Did you know that 60 per cent of people break their mortgage before their mortgage term matures?

Most homeowners are blissfully unaware that when you break your mortgage with your lender, you will incur penalties and those penalties can be painfully expensive.

Many homeowners are so focused on the rate that they are ignorant about the terms of their mortgage.

Is it sensible to save $15/month on a lower interest rate only to find out that, two years down the road you need to break your mortgage and that “safe” 5-year fixed rate could cost you over $20,000 in penalties?

There are a variety of different mortgage choices available. Knowing my 9 reasons for a possible break in your mortgage might help you avoid them (and those troublesome penalties)!

9 reasons why people break their mortgages:

1. Sale and purchase of a home
• If you are considering moving within the next 5 years you need to consider a portable mortgage.
• Not all of mortgages are portable. Some lenders avoid portable mortgages by giving a slightly lower interest rate.
• Please note: when you port a mortgage, you will need to requalify to ensure you can afford the “ported” mortgage based on your current income and any the current mortgage rules.

2. To take equity out
• In the last 3 years many home owners (especially in Vancouver & Toronto) have seen a huge increase in their home values. Some home owners will want to take out the available equity from their homes for investment purposes, such as buying a rental property.

3. To pay off debt
• Life happens, and you may have accumulated some debt. By rolling your debts into your mortgage, you can pay off the debts over a long period of time at a much lower interest rate than credit cards. Now that you are no longer paying the high interest rates on credit cards, it gives you the opportunity to get your finances in order.

4. Cohabitation & marriage & children
• You and your partner decide it’s time to live together… you both have a home and can’t afford to keep both homes, or you both have a no rental clause. The reality is that you have one home too many and may need to sell one of the homes.
• You’re bursting at the seams in your 1-bedroom condo with baby #2 on the way.

5. Relationship/marriage break up
• 43% of Canadian marriages are now expected to end in divorce. When a couple separates, typically the equity in the home will be split between both parties.
• If one partner wants to buy out the other partner, they will need to refinance the home

6. Health challenges & life circumstances
• Major life events such as illness, unemployment, death of a partner (or someone on title), etc. may require the home to be refinanced or even sold.

7. Remove a person from Title
• 20% of parents help their children purchase a home. Once the kids are financially secure and can qualify on their own, many parents want to be removed from Title.
o Some lenders allow parents to be removed from Title with an administration fee & legal fees.
o Other lenders say that changing the people on Title equates to breaking your mortgage – yup… there will be penalties.

8. To save money, with a lower interest rate
• Mortgage interest rates may be lower now than when you originally got your mortgage.
• Work with your mortgage broker to crunch the numbers to see if it’s worthwhile to break your mortgage for the lower interest rate.

9. Pay the mortgage off before the maturity date
• YIPEE – you’ve won the lottery, got an inheritance, scored the world’s best job or some other windfall of cash!! Some people will have the funds to pay off their mortgage early.
• With a good mortgage, you should be able to pay off your mortgage in 5 years, there by avoiding penalties.

Some of these 9 reasons are avoidable, others are not…

Mortgages are complicated… Therefore, you need a mortgage expert!

Give a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist a call and let’s discuss the best mortgage for you, not your bank!

Diana Diamond

Mortgage Professional, DLC Smarter Choice Mortgages

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.