24 Apr



Posted by: Peter Paley

This article appears in the April issue of Our House Magazine

Looking for an escape from her daily job, one B.C.-based custom cake maker has found the perfect recipe for success.

Working inside a prison can be one of the most stressful jobs out there. And when you spend hours in a bleak environment where no one really wants to be, you need to find an outlet, a way to balance out the negative.

For Cheryl Arsenault, that escape came in the form of a food everyone loves: cake.
The Chilliwack B.C. resident and Corrections Canada employee wanted to find a hobby to fill her time away from work. A friend suggested they try a cake decorating class. It turned out to be a recipe for business success. She started bringing her tasty creations to work, and very quickly began getting requests.

“I went from just taking a couple of classes to a business in a very short period of time,” Arsenault told Our House Magazine.

Mostly through word of mouth, the baker and her business Mad Batters, has kept her busy. From a Super Mario design featuring a bubble gum machine to a Star Wars Stormtrooper mask, the majority of Arsenault’s cakes are for birthdays and anniversaries, but weddings also keep her on her toes.

Though her side business was taking off, it did bring an unexpected problem. Arsenault quickly realized her dining room table was no place for her edible works of art. And she was also going to need some heavy duty equipment if she was going to go to take her creations to the next level. She originally used a spare room in her townhouse, but last year she bought a home. And besides making room for her parents, she needed a home that could accommodate a commercial baking space.

So Arsenault turned her garage into that space, spending a few thousand dollars for things like commercial sinks, tables and an oven. She now spends up to 20 hours a week during the busy season working from home, pointing out the convenience of doing so means she can make her own hours.

“It’s a good business, I really enjoy having it at home!”

Looking to create your own home based business?

Dominion Lending Centres can help! Cheryl Arsenault somewhat stumbled on a side career making custom cakes for special occasions. While Mad Batters keeps her busy, the home-based business owner does have some advice for the novice entrepreneur.

Whether it be cooking or crafting, she suggested you’ll need to have the space in your home, don’t try to start it in your living room. And be prepared to spend a little money, especially if you need equipment. And that’s where Dominion Lending Centres Leasing can help.

The leasing division can fund all types of home businesses and the supplies that are needed to get started.

As Jennifer Okkerse, director of operations for DLC’s leasing division, explained, a $5,000 lease over a four-year term would be about $150 a month. She noted DLC Leasing would help arrange payments with vendors, all while building credit for the business. And if you wanted to expand to a store front operation, you would now be established among lenders for a small business loan. For more information about DLC’s leasing options, visit dominionlending.ca or email credit@dominionlending.ca.

Communications Advisor

21 Apr

Mortgage Broker Value.


Posted by: Peter Paley

Today’s blog comes from our colleague Allan Jenson. It’s hard to believe that 100% of home buyers are using a mortgage broker, or at least getting a 2nd opinion about their mortgage. We typically don’t charge for our time, we can almost always get a better rate and term than the bank and we can almost promise beyond a shadow of a doubt that our penalties to break a mortgage a much smaller than the bank’s. Enjoy the blog.

Not surprisingly, borrowers often default to their own Banker. And why not? It’s an established and comfortable relationship. Perhaps it’s viewed as the path of least resistance. But is it the right lender for the borrower’s current specific needs? Perhaps not.

More sophisticated borrowers may be of a size or scale that they have their own internal resources in finance, quite capable of securing the required financing. They are likely only in the market infrequently however, and almost certainly not fully knowledgeable as to all of the financing sources available.

Aren’t all Lenders pretty much the same?
Borrower’s may think that all institutional lenders are pretty much the same. Offering comparable rates, and standardized borrowing terms. This is rarely the case. Lender’s often prefer one asset class over another. They may have a particular need for one type of loan. A specific length of loan term may be desirable, for funds matching purposes. Real Estate risk is a fact for real estate lenders. How they mitigate this risk differs however. It may be stress testing interest rates during the approval process. Sophisticated risk pricing models may be used, having regard to previous loss experiences. The lender may rely significantly on collateral value, or guarantees. The conditions precedent to funding will often differ from lender to lender.

A real world example
I had the pleasure last year in advising a client who had 3 sizable real estate assets, in 3 quite distinct asset classes. The borrower’s loan amount requirements were significant, however they were flexible on loan structure. Accordingly, I sought out competitive, but differing deal structures. My goal was to provide a competitive array of options. A number of “A” class lenders were approached, several/most of whom this particular borrower had no previous experience with. I shortened the list to 5 lenders, and received Term Sheets from each.

Each Offer was competitive on a stand alone basis, but they differed quite substantially, in the following ways:

Loans were either stand alone, or blanket loans, or some combination.
Length of terms offered, differed by asset class.
There was as much as a 75 bps rate difference, from highest to lowest Offer.
The amortization period depending upon asset class, ranged from 15 to 25 years.
Loan amounts on individual assets differed as much as 20%.
Third party reporting requirements differed between lenders.
There were a combination of fixed vs. floating rate loan structures.
Recourse was limited by some lenders, on select assets, or waived entirely, upon a higher rate structure.
Leverage Your Knowledge
These variances are striking, yet each of the 5 lenders were considering the precise same asset, at the same time, with common supporting information from which to base their analysis. How was the borrower to know which Offer to exercise? As a Broker, I can add value by helping the borrower to consider both their immediate and longer term strategic requirements, in the context of their overall real estate portfolio needs. This was precisely how this borrower landed on the most appropriate Offer for their particular circumstances. In this particular case we presented different, yet competitive, and uniquely structured options for the borrower’s consideration.

Consider a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker when next in the market for financing. Leveraging a Broker’s knowledge is a tremendous value proposition.

Allan Jensen
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

18 Apr

Closing Costs


Posted by: Peter Paley

Closing costs are a necessity when it comes to purchasing a home. They are not included in down payments, they are not included in monthly mortgage payments, nor are they included in the purchase price of a home, but you are still responsible for paying them, in full. Knowing they exist is half the battle, and correctly budgeting yourself to pay them when the time comes can be a huge weight off your shoulders, especially when the alternative is finding out a week before you close on the purchase of a home that you still owe thousands of dollars.

Lenders will require you to have 1.5% of a property’s purchase price available in cash to be able to cover closing costs. This amount is on top of the 5% minimum required for a down payment. Closing costs that you may be expected to pay, depending what province you live in, when purchasing a home in are as follows:

Appraisal- determining the value of a home.
Interest Adjustment- amount of interest due between your mortgage start date and the date the first mortgage payment is calculated from.
Property Transfer Tax- a tax paid to the provincial government when a property changes hands.
Legal Fees- costs associated with finalizing the sale or purchase of a property.
Prepaid Property Tax & Utility Adjustments- amount you will owe if the person selling you the home has prepaid any property taxes or utility bills.
Property Survey- legal description of the property you are purchasing including it’s location and dimension.
Sales Taxes- some properties are sales tax exempt (GST and/or PST), and some are not. Always ask before signing an offer.
As you can see, many factors go into determining the size of these costs. That is why it is also important to speak with a mortgage broker prior to making an offer on a home. Also, some costs may be exempt, such as the property transfer tax for first-time home buyers. Contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to find out if you would qualify to have these costs covered.

Ryan Oake
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

16 Apr

9 Reasons Why People Break Their Mortgages


Posted by: Peter Paley

Today’s blog discusses a really important topic. In fact, I think it is one of the most important things you will read when deterining who you want to help you with your next mortgage. 5 year fixed rate mortgages are the norm in Canada and at the time of signing your mortgage documents you never ever would think of making any changes in the first 5 years. Yet 60% of people do. Enjoy today’s blog 🙂

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!

Kelly Hudson
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

13 Apr

The Flexible Down Payment Program


Posted by: Peter Paley

The best part about being a mortgage broker is having access to many programs that banks and credit union may not participate in. The Flex-down program is just such a program. It is a great way for home buyers who are having a hard time saving up for their down payments and closing costs. Closing costs alone can be so expensive with land transfer tax, legal fees, pst, home inspection, title insurance and sometimes even property tax adjustments. A small loan for $10,000 or $15,000 can make all the difference in qualifying your for a home that will suit you and your family.

Enjoy today’s blog below!

One of the toughest challenges for homebuyers is being able to save money at the rate of property price increases.
We know many high-income renters would like to be homeowners, but they’re just unaware of how to make the transition and are unable to save fast enough.
There are several options which are great for a down payment if you can use a combination or one of the traditional methods
1. Savings
2. Gift from parents
3. RRSPs
4. Selling an asset
5. Inheritance

Kindly keep in mind this option won’t be for everyone as the following criteria must be met; it’s simply to illustrate the opportunity to go from renter to owner as soon as possible.
The Flexible Down Payment program allows homebuyers to use existing credit facilities as their down payment.

Minimum household income required is $200,000 combined
• Minimum 650+ beacon score
• Minimum two years history reporting on Credit Bureau
• Sources of down payment: line of credit, credit card, personal Loan
• Include borrowed down payment in the debt servicing of the deal. Example: Unsecured LOC at 3%, Credit Card at 3%, store brand Credit Card at 5%, Personal Loan at actual payments.
• No late payments in the past 36 months
• High Ratio Deals only: 90.01-95% LTV
• 25 year amortization
• Strong Employment History
• No previous bankruptcy or consumer proposal

We can walk you through the details, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional today!

Angela Calla
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

11 Apr

The Mortgage Insurance Market & Wholesale Lenders


Posted by: Peter Paley

The Canadian mortgage market used to be very simple. We had the big banks, credit unions, and trust companies.

However, almost 20 years ago, the Canadian government made three major changes to the Canadian mortgage industry. First, the government and CMHC put their weight behind Canadian mortgages by guaranteeing an insurance payout to lenders in the event that a borrower does not pay. Yes, the Canadian taxpayers are on the hook if CMHC goes under.

Second, Canada also began to allow lenders to pay for mortgage insurance for their borrowers, even though the insurance was not required. Borrowers would not know that their mortgage is insured, rather the lender would pay for, and insure the mortgage on the “back end” in order to make the mortgage less risky. I.E: if the borrower did not pay, the insurer would pay the lender (just as they would pay if the borrower had less than 20% down payment and was charged for insurance themselves).

And third, Canada allowed its lenders to bundle up their mortgages and sell them to investors. The securitization of mortgages (the process of taking the mortgages and transforming them into a sellable asset) allowed investors to purchase many mortgages at once, knowing there would be a specific return. The return here would be just less than the interest rate on the various mortgages (less because the lender has to make a little bit of money for creating the mortgage bundle or security).

Now, mortgage investors are looking at two things: investment return and mortgage risk. The lower the risk of an investment, the lower the return an investor may be willing to see. Because Canadian lenders can insure their mortgages against default (non-payment), investors are very keen on purchasing these mortgages. Thus, investors provide lenders with a lot of inexpensive money to lend out, which in turn, provided for better interest rates for borrowers.

As an aside, an example of investors may be one of Canada’s large banks, an American bank, pension funds, and/or other financial institutions.

The result was the emergence and major growth of mortgage finance companies, called wholesale lenders or monoline lenders.

Monoline lenders, encouraged by access to cheap capital, set up efficient mortgage underwriting (approval) operations and were able to provide flexible mortgage products and better-than-the-banks interest rates for their clients.

The overwhelming majority of wholesale lender mortgages are back-end insured by the lender, packaged up, and sold to investors.

What is interesting here is that wholesale lenders will insure mortgages transferred from one institution to another – something that banks do not do. This allows for better interest rates when renewing with a wholesale lender than if renewing with your current bank lender.

If you have any questions related to mortgages, contact your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional today.

Eitan Pinsky
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

5 Apr

Which REALTOR Should You Use?


Posted by: Peter Paley

Having been in this industry for about 20 years, I can honestly say I don’t know what I would have done personally without all of the excellent REALTORs I have had in my life. Leigh Nanton patiently helped me with my first home in 1998, then Karen Machut with my condo purchase, duplex purchase, and home purchase and sale and my best friend Susan Joshi with the construction of our current home.

Realtors are a very hard working group of professionals. Countless hours of work, driving and counseling their clients. We refer about 40-60 clients each year to our REALTOR partners and absolutely love the service and level of professionalism we receive from them. Today’s blog will give you some information about choosing a REALTOR to help you.

Enjoy the blog…


Finding the best realtor for you involves doing some leg work. It can be overwhelming, kind of like choosing which ice cream you want to try! You go to the ice cream store and they have over 50 flavours and after you have contemplated, you opt for vanilla, just because it was easy.

Finding the best realtor for you is not “vanilla.”

Here are five questions you should always ask your potential real estate agent:

1. How does your experience benefit my real estate transaction? Where the agent just completed a course on negotiation skills or sold a home in your neighbourhood, they should be able to bring a unique edge to the table.

2. If you were buying or selling your home, what would you look for in an agent?
This question is a great way of getting the inside scoop on the industry. What do industry professionals see as an essential asset? How does each agent vary in those priorities?

3. Tell me about a recent work success. Give the agent a chance to discuss their latest win, and you’ll learn what they’re passionate about and how they’ll turn your home search or sell into their newest achievement.

4. What are your most effective approaches to marketing a home? Rather than the standard ‘how will you market my home,’ ask which methods are delivering results. If your agent is particularly successful with new school social media or tired and true networking, you’ll have expectations on how they’ll tackle selling your home.

5. Give the rundown of the conditions, commission fees and agreements. These basics will play a major role in how you choose your real estate agent. Ask for the specifics at each interview, and you can see how each partnership measure up.

And if you have any questions, contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

Karen Penner
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional