General Peter Paley 28 Jun

Having built our home in 2014, these tips will help any propective client wanting to build their home. If you are doing a construction draw mortgage, call me. I have done 100s of mortgages and have gone through the process myself.

enjoy today’s blog!

TOP 5 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUILDING YOUR NEW HOME
Building a new home – It’s something that many couples dream of. It can be an exciting, stressful, joyful, crazy time period that many walk away from saying “never again” or “bring on the next one!” We scoured the internet and sorted through our own experiences to bring you the Top 5 things to consider when you are building a new home.

1) It’s All In The Numbers

Just like house-shopping, building a home from the ground up requires you to know what you can afford. Most house plans offer a cost to build tool (usually for a nominal fee) to give you an accurate estimate of construction costs based on where you’re building. The numbers include the costs of construction, tax benefits, funds for the down payment and slush account, and other related calculations.

Once you have determined what you can and are willing to spend, meet with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker to discuss how much you wish to borrow for your home.

Renovations and the actual building portion aside, we often are asked on what a mortgage looks like for an unbuilt home. This is where a “construction” mortgage comes into play. The budget you give your broker should include your hard and soft costs as well as the reserve of money you plan to have set aside in case you run into unexpected events.

It’s this initial budget that a lender will determine how much you qualify for.

For example, based on the lender loaning up to 75% of the total cost (with 25% down):

Land purchase price (as is) Total soft and hard costs Total Cost (as complete)

$200,000

$400,000

$600,000 x 75% = $450,000 available to loan

Keep in mind, the lender will also consider the appraised value of the finished product. In this example, the completed appraised value of the home would have to be at least $600,000 to qualify for the amount available to loan. The appraised value is determined before the project begins.

As well, the client will have to come up with the initial $150,000 to be able to finance the total cost of $600,000. A down payment of $150,000 plus the loan amount of $450,000 = the total cost of $600,000.

2) Choose a Reputable Builder

Builders are a dime a dozen, but not all of them are qualified or will be the right one for your project. Careful research is needed when determining who will be the head contractor of your home-building project. Alternatively, one of the best ways to find your perfect contractor is by asking friends and family who have gone through the process. Another great source is your mortgage broker! They often have many industry connections to some of the most qualified contractors and builders. Ask them if they know of anyone—we can almost guarantee they can will have at least one or more referrals for you.

3) Build a Home for Tomorrow

It can be tempting to personalize your home to the tenth degree—after all you are building it to meet your unique, customized wants and needs. However, keep resale value and practicality at the back of your mind at all times. Life can often throw a few curve balls that lead to you-for one reason or another-having to place the home for sale. If that time should ever come, you want to be able to appeal to all buyers easily and not have to hold the house longer than necessary. Ask yourself if the features you are putting into your home will appeal to others and if the features suit the neighborhood you are building in as well.

4) Go Green!

Now more than ever before energy efficient upgrades are easy to add to your home. When you are in the design stages, selecting energy efficient appliances, windows, HVAC systems, and more can save you money in the long run and may also make you eligible for certain grants and discounts. For example, the CMHC green building program rewards those who select energy efficient and environment friendly options.

5) Understand the Loan

As a final note, once construction is done it’s crucial to understand how a Construction Mortgage Loan repayment works. To make it easier, we have a list of points that you should know:

Construction loans are usually fully opened and can be repaid at any time.
Interest is charged only on amounts drawn. There are no “unused funds.”
Once construction is complete and project completion has been verified by the lender, the construction mortgage is “moved over” to a normal mortgage.
A lender will always take into consideration the marketability of a property. They will look at
not only the location based on demographic but also the location based on geography. For instance, a lot that is in a secluded area where no sales of lots have occurred in the last five years and mostly consisting of rock face may not be a property that they are willing to lend on.

Depending on the lender, you may have a time frame within which you need to complete construction (typically between 6 and 12 months).
There are a lot of things to consider when you build a home but a few things that can keep you on track and on budget are to have a solid plan in place, work with a builder you trust, build a strong team around you that can be there from start to finish, and to do your research. Once you have decided to build, call your DLC agent—they can help you get the ball rolling and can guide you to the first step of breaking ground on your new home

Geoff Lee
GEOFF LEE
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

IS YOUR LINE OF CREDIT KILLING YOUR MORTGAGE APPLICATION?

General Peter Paley 22 Jun

As you may have heard me harping before. The new mortgage rules are hurting Canadians purchasing power and not-to-mention their home ownership dreams. Credit managements is paramount when do in a mortgage application. Lender like to see small amounts owed, good credit tenure as well as excellent credit managements. Today’s blog talks about what the approval criteria is and how debt affects your mortgage application.

Enjoy the blog…

IS YOUR LINE OF CREDIT KILLING YOUR MORTGAGE APPLICATION?
Some of the last round of changes from the government regarding qualifying for a mortgage were that if you have a balance on your unsecured line of credit, then to qualify for mortgage the lenders require that we use a 3% payment of the balance of the line of credit.

Simple math is, if you owe $10,000 we have to use $300 as your monthly payment regardless of what the bank requires as a minimum. Given that the banks hand out lines of credit on a regular basis it is not uncommon for us to see $50,000 lines of credit with balances in the $40,000 range. That amount then means we have to use $1,200 a month as a payment even though the bank may require considerably less.

So what if it is a secured line of credit? Again we have clients telling us that they don’t have a mortgage only to realize they do have a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). A home equity line of credit by all definition is a loan secured by property, the actual definition of a mortgage.

Again, it’s something the bank will require little more than interest payment on because it is secured. The calculation here can also upset the calculation for your next mortgage, as what is required by many lenders is to take the balance of the HELOC. Let’s say the balance is $200,000 and you convert it to a mortgage at the bench mark rate, which today is 5.34% with a 25-year amortization. That without any fees today is equal to $1202.22 per month, so what in the client’s mind may be a $400 or $500 dollar interest payment for the purpose of qualifying will be almost three times higher.

This one change to supposedly safe guard the Canadian consumer has lately been the thing we have seen stop more mortgages than just about anything else. If you have any question, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional for answers.

Len Lane
LEN LANE
Dominion Lending Centres – Mortgage Professional

7 QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU DECIDE IF YOU SHOULD PURSUE A HELOC, REFINANCE OR SECOND MORTGAGE

General Peter Paley 19 Jun

With Canadian’s household debt at an all time high, and mortgage financing rules the most difficult since I have been in the industry it is really important that now, more than ever, that Canadians take a hard look at their finances and house hold budgets. There are still many tools at your mortgage broker’s disposal to help you get back on track and make recommendations to help secure your financial freedom at retirment.

Please enjoy today’s blog.

7 QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU DECIDE IF YOU SHOULD PURSUE A HELOC, REFINANCE OR SECOND MORTGAGE
HELOC, Refinance or Second/Third Mortgages? Which one should you choose to go with? If you have decided to tap into the equity in your home, the three can seem to be interchangeable at times and for many consumers can be a difficult decision on which one to select. We have laid out seven questions to guide you through the decision, for your unique situation. We’ve also broken this down into three categories, Equity, Payment and Availability.

PAYMENT

1. HOW WILL I RECEIVE THE MONEY?
• HELOC: Home Equity Line of Credit-withdraw as needed
• Refinance: Lump Sum
• Private Second/Third Mortgages: Lump Sum

2. WHAT IS THE INTEREST RATE?
• HELOC: Prime Rate + premium 0.5%-1.5%
• Refinance: Best fixed or variable rate (dependent on what you and your broker decide)
• Private Second/Third Mortgages: 6.95%-19.95% typically with lender/broker fees

HOW IS THE INTEREST CALCULATED?
• HELOC: interest accrues on what you withdraw from your home’s equity.
• Refinance: interest accrues on the full loan amount that was taken out.
• Private Second/Third Mortgages: interest accrues on the full loan amount that was taken out.

3. WHAT IS MY PAYMENT?
• HELOC: You pay back the interest only, however, most banks will have a minimum rule so even if your HELOC value is $0 you will still have to pay a nominal fee each month.
• Refinance: You will pay the interest, plus the principle principal loan amount.
• Private Second/Third Mortgages: You can pay interest only payment or pay the interest plus the principle principal loan amount.

EQUITY

4. HOW MUCH EQUITY DO I NEED TO HAVE IN MY HOME IN ORDER TO ACCESS IT?
• HELOC: 20% minimum
• Refinance: 20% minimum
• Private Second/Third Mortgages: 5-10% minimum

5. HOW MUCH EQUITY CAN ACCESS?
• HELOC: You can access up to 80%
• Refinance: 80% of your home’s equity is accessible
o HELOC portion can be up to 65% of your home’s equity
o Mortgage portion must be 15% – as per Bank of Canada guidelines
• Private Second/Third Mortgages: 1st mortgage + 2nd/3rd mortgages up to 95% of home value

AVAILABILITY

6. ARE THERE FEES ASSOCIATED WITH IT?
• HELOC: No fees associated with it
o At times
 Appraisal fees
 Legal fees
• Refinance: Prepayment penalty of Interest Rate Differential or 3 months interest* depends on your current mortgage terms.
o At times
 Appraisal fees
 Legal fees
• Second/Third Mortgage: There are several fees associated with a second mortgage including:
• Appraisal fees
• Legal fees
• Lenders fees
• Broker Fees

***One final note on refinancing: With the new stress-testing you will have to qualify at a higher rate and you will also have to consider that lenders can no longer insure the product… meaning there are many different rates with different lenders.

Once you answer each of these questions and review your options, you can decide which one is best suited for your needs. You can also always call a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker and discuss it. DLC brokers are well versed in each of these options and can direct you towards the best option for your situation. We’ve seen a variety of situations with our clients and have helped each of them reach their goals.

Geoff Lee
GEOFF LEE
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

REFINANCING IN 2018

General Peter Paley 15 Jun

REFINANCING IN 2018
Recently there were changes to the mortgage rules yet again, and one of the rule changes was regarding refinancing your home. At one point in the last 10 years you could refinance your home all the way back up to 95% of its current value, which in many cases has put that property what we call under water or upside down. Basically, real estate markets ebb and flow and if you refinanced to 95% when we were at the crest of a market wave then as markets rolled back you were underwater… clever huh.

Fast forward a few years and the government said ‘what a minute, that is dangerous’, and it was. Clients now had no options for that property except to keep it, hoping values came back or turn it into a rental and hope to break even. At this point the government now said you can only refinance your home to 80% of the value which of course meant you needed to have equity in the property of at least 20% to make a change. This was an insurable product for many of our monoline lenders at this point, so it was something that was competitive in the market.

Welcome to 2018 and today you can still refinance your home to 80% but the Office of the Superintendents of Financial Institutions (OSFI) and CMHC now say that as a lender you can no longer insure this product. What does that mean for the average consumer? First off, it means that lenders across the board are not offering the same rate for insured mortgages as they are for refinances. The point spread between insured and uninsured mortgages has grown to, on average, .30% higher for 5-year fixed rates and it is .55% higher for variable rates.

To add to this extra cost, the new rules of qualifying at 5.14% which is currently the benchmark rate, applies to all mortgages including refinancing. Overall, the changes make it tougher to refinance and forces Canadians to seek alternative options to take equity out of their homes. In many cases this will mean looking to the private sector at higher rates when they need that money. If you have any questions about refinancing, contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

Len Lane
LEN LANE
Dominion Lending Centres – Mortgage Professional

WHAT ARE ACCELERATED PAYMENTS?

General Peter Paley 13 Jun

WHAT ARE ACCELERATED PAYMENTS?
An accelerated payment is a mortgage payment that is increased slightly so that you can pay off your mortgage faster. There are two common types of accelerated payments: bi-weekly and weekly. Of the two, bi-weekly is the much more common choice because it matches with pay dates more often.

An accelerated payment works by increasing your weekly or bi-weekly payment by an amount that would have you pay one full month’s payment extra per year.

Accelerated payments are a great way to start paying off your mortgage, but they actually do not have much of an impact on the interest you will pay. Banks and mortgage professionals use this term to make borrowers think they are paying off their mortgage faster, but the amount of interest saved over the course of your term is minescule.

There’s nothing wrong with accelerated payments, but they are only part of the puzzle. Please contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to learn more.

Illustration:
If your payment is $1,000 per month, you pay 12 months per year, which will equal $12,000 of payments that year.

Now, if you pay semi-monthly, or every half month, you pay $500 per payment, for a total of $12,000 per year at 24 payments.

Bi-weekly payments are 26 payments per year with $461.50 per payment.

However, accelerated bi-weekly payments use the semi-monthly payments of $500, 26 times. This means that you end up paying $13,000 over the course of the year, or one extra monthly payment.

The Bare Bones

If all you do is an accelerated payment, your mortgage payoff is stunted compared to what is available. Across Canada, due to the fact that mortgage sizes are now very high, paying off a mortgage should be more of a priority.

Eitan Pinsky
EITAN PINSKY
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

MAKING SMARTER DOWN PAYMENTS

General Peter Paley 11 Jun

MAKING SMARTER DOWN PAYMENTS
Mortgage Insurance Premiums. Many people know what they are- an extra cost to you the borrower. But not many people realize how they are calculated. Understanding the premium charges and how they are calculated will help lead you to making smarter down payments.

5%- 9.99% down payment of a purchase price is a 4% premium
10%- 14.99% down payment of a purchase price is a 3.10% premium
15%- 19.99% down payment of a purchase price is a 2.8% premium
So, that means with a $300,000 purchase price and a $30,000 down payment (10%), you would have a 3.10% premium added to your mortgage, making your total mortgage amount $270,000 + $8,370 for $278,370 total. The $8,370 being 3.10% of your original $270,000 mortgage.

Now let’s say you have a down payment potential of $60,000 and have the income to afford a $350,000 purchase price but you found one for $325,000. Using your entire $60,000 down payment (18.46%), your new mortgage amount would be $272,420, where $7,420 of it represents the mortgage insurance premium.

But what if you change that $60,000 (18.46% down payment) to say $48,750 and have a down payment of exactly 15%? Well, your premium is still the exact same as it would be with an 18.46% down payment because your premium is still 2.8% of the mortgage amount. That means you will now save $11,250 (difference in down payments), while only paying $7,735 in premiums (an increase of $315).

I don’t know about you, but if someone told me I could put $11,250 less down and it would only change my insurance premium by $315, I am holding onto that money. You now have more cash for unexpected expenses, moving allowance, furniture, anything you want. You can even apply it to your first pre-payment against your mortgage and pay the interest down while taking time off your loan. Obviously if cash is not an issue, putting the full $60,000 would be better seeing as you are borrowing less and paying less interest. However, if cash is tight, why not hold onto it and pay that difference over the course of 25 years?

Consult with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional when it comes to structuring your mortgage request with a bank. It is small little things like this that make all the difference.

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

4 SIGNS YOU’RE READY FOR HOMEOWNERSHIP

General Peter Paley 2 Jun

4 SIGNS YOU’RE READY FOR HOMEOWNERSHIP
While most people know the main things they need to buy a home, such as stable employment and enough money for a down payment, there are a few other factors that may help you realize you’re ready, perhaps even earlier than you thought!

As a mortgage broker, it is my job to ensure that each one of my clients is getting the best service I can provide. Part of this means educating as much as possible when it comes to buying a home, which is why I’ve put together a list of 4 signs that may tell you that you are ready to become a homeowner.

You should have more funds available than the minimum of a down payment
This one may seem obvious, but it’s something that people may not realize until they actually think about it. It’s very difficult to afford a home if you only have enough money for a down payment and then find yourself scrambling for day-to-day living after that.

If you have enough money saved up (more than the minimum needed for a down payment), you may be ready to start house-hunting.

Your credit score is good
This might seem obvious at first glance, however, if you don’t have a good credit score, chances increase that you could be declined altogether or stuck with a higher interest rate and thus end up paying higher mortgage payments. If you have a less-than-optimal credit score, working with a mortgage professional can help you get on the right track in the shortest time possible. Sometimes a few subtle changes can bump a credit score from “meh” to “yahoo” in a few short months.

Breaking the bank isn’t in your future plans
Do you plan on buying two new vehicles in the next two years? Are you thinking of starting a family? Are you considering going back to school?

Although you may think you can afford to purchase a home right now, it’s extremely important to think about one, two, and five years down the road. If you know that you aren’t planning on incurring big expenses that you need to factor into your budget anytime soon, then that’s something that may help you decide to buy a home.

You are disciplined
It’s easy to say, “it’s a home, I’m going to have it for a long time so I may as well go all-in!”. While that would be nice, that’s rarely the case!

You must have a limit that you’re willing to spend. Sitting down with a mortgage broker or real estate agent and analyzing your finances is crucial. It’s important that you know costs associated with buying a home and what the maximum amount is that you can afford without experiencing financial struggles. IMPORTANT: This is not the amount that you are told is your max!

This is the amount that you calculate as your max based on your current monthly budget and savings plan. It’s quite frequent where I have clients tell me that their max budget is, say, $1200 and then when I run the numbers they could actually be approved for much more. Low and behold suddenly these guys are looking at homes that are hundreds of dollars a month higher than their initial perceived budget. It is up to you (with my help or pleading, when necessary) to reel things back in and make sure that you aren’t getting into something that affects the long-term livelihood of a well thought out budget or savings plan.

Conclusion

These are just four signs that you may be ready to purchase a home. If you’re seriously considering buying or selling, talking with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker, such as myself, can help put you on the right path to a successful real estate transaction.

SHAUN SERAFINI
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS

General Peter Paley 1 Jun

As a preamble to todays blog, I wanted to add the importance of making sure that YOU are WELL INSURED. We always hear, I have insurance through work, or my brother-in-law will get me insurance. Life can give you lemons at any time. I mean, you insure your house, car, and your electronics purchase, why the heck wouldn’t you insure your life and your health? For only a couple of dollars more you and your family can have the peace-of-mind they deserve and when life gives you those lemons, your lemonade will already be chilled and ready to go in the fridge.

Enjoy today’s blog by Geoff Lee 🙂

MORTGAGE MOMENT: WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS…
We all do it. Even I fall guilty to it at times. It’s really a part of Human Nature…and really what fun is life without it?

What exactly are we talking about? Dreaming. We make grand plans and lay them out with the utmost care. We write them out, daydream about them, and (hopefully) we make them come true! There is nothing wrong with doing this…not a single thing! However, as many of you know, rarely do the dreams and plans we lay out stay on course as we would like them to.

This holds true many times for mortgage clients. We find that many times, what they initially come to us with when they are being pre-approved, rarely is the same less than 3 years later (There’s a reason 6 out of 10 Canadians break their 5-year term mortgage early).

Recently, we had just this happen with one of our clients. A young, working professional couple, found themselves in a difficult situation when one of them was injured and went on long-term disability leave.

Their income took a significant drop due to this and their cash flow was of course, negatively impacted. They relied (as many people do) on credit cards and at one point also took out a line of credit. They were able to make minimum payments each month on their loans and debts, but the problem sat with the interest rates. They kept getting higher and the debt they carried wasn’t being reduced.

Basically, life had handed them some lemons.

At this point, they felt they were left with one option: seek private funding. The problem with this was fear of losing their home if they approached their lender. The interest rate quoted by the private lender was less than that on their credit cards, but still higher than what was reasonable. The couple felt that seeking to obtain a second mortgage would be the best-case scenario. However, with a rate of 10% plus a lender fee of up to 6% of the loan amount and a 1 year term with renewal fee of 1% for total amount borrowed, this was not at all ideal!

This is where we stepped in and decided to make some lemonade! Here is how the story played out once they came to see us:

We were able to use the income received from disability and refinanced their existing mortgage
We consolidated the credit card and line of credit debt at a rate of 2.35% in doing so we reduced their current monthly payments by $1500 with an annual savings of $18,000! Or $90,000 over five years!
Here is a brief number summary to give you the full recap:

Value of the Home: $525,000

Requested Mortgage Amount: $420,000

Loan to Value: 80%

Income Documentation:

Letter of employment and pay stub
Letter from insurance company detailing disability payments and confirmation of deposit into current bank account.
Credit Score: 746 & 676

Total Debt Service Ratios: 41%

Mortgage Solution: All debts were paid with proceeds from their 5-year variable-rate mortgage with a 30-year amortization. The annual savings was MORE THAN $18,000!

We helped this couple get back on track and allowed them to keep on dreaming! We understand that life rarely will stay on course and go just as you picture it, but there is often a creative solution that can help you get back on track. If life has handed you a few lemons and you aren’t sure where to start, visit a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker—they can make some of the best lemonade!

Geoff Lee
GEOFF LEE
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional