What a Month for Bullying Ends Here!

General Darick Battaglia 29 Apr

Hello again my Friends. Always a pleasure to update you on the happenings of Bullying Ends Here.

The last month has really been focused on presentations and the outreach to our youth. The emails continue to come in and compliments made. The opportunities continue to grow for us as well.

As always, there is much to share from the last 30 days.

On March 23rd, I found myself in Ottawa yet again with some of my DLC Family. The Trevor Watter’s Group worked so hard to put together a couple of presentations at St. Michael High School. It was a phenomenal day followed by a lovely home cooked meal at the Watter’s household. This was the first time I had given any school presentations in the Ottawa area as I have always felt that it was ‘too close to home’ as this is where Jamie Hubley lived before passing in 2011. I suspect that Bullying Ends Here will return again in the near future!

On April 11th, MLA Jane Thornthwaite took time to recognize Bullying Ends Here in the British Columbia Legislature. You can see this at below, and now it looks like the Government is looking at ways to get the book to every social worker in B.C.!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lu8bkILW9U

On April 13th, I was invited to speak to a group of employees for the Bank Of Montreal in downtown Calgary. This was to celebrate the ‘Day of Pink’. I was proud to stand there in my DLC Pink Shirt as I do everyday. The media was also impressed to know that Bullying Ends Here is taking the message of acceptance and understanding to a new level by ensuring that our pink shirt is worn daily throughout the year. While ‘Pink Shirt Day’ and ‘Day of Pink’ are meant to start a conversation that continues throughout the year, I decided to ensure it does just that by wearing pink daily. The staff turned out in such high numbers that we needed to add more chairs!

April 15th had me in Banff Alberta as the keynote speaker to 750 Victim Services Delegates from all over Canada. To be able to stand in front of an audience full of passionate volunteers was an honour in itself. To be able to share my own story and show them how one person really can make a difference was a very defining moment for me. These incredible volunteers see and hear about tragedy each day. What they do for society is simply unreal. I am so proud to work alongside them on many calls and call many of them my friend.

While I write this, I am on my way to Ottawa for a few days which will then be followed by a week of presentations in Toronto, Vaughan, Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and also in Beamsville where DLC family member, Donna Thornton, is working hard to put together a large community event along with a couple of schools. All in all, this last major tour of the current school year should have me speaking to around 15,000 more young people. Good thing I am not shy (or AS shy) as I used to be!

With the summer drawing closer, I am going to take a few months to focus on work and ‘Tad Time’ where I plan how the next year will look and where I want the program to go. My goal is to reach 100,000 youth in 2016 which I suspect we will reach in no time at all at this rate. I have found a happy balance between my full time job and the presentations on my days off/vacation. I’m very proud of all of the hard work everyone is doing to put together these tours and for their belief in me. This is truly team work at its finest.

I can also share that Bullying Ends Here will be on the Global stage in August as I have been invited to share my story in Amsterdam Netherlands. I know that there will be even more great things ahead.

Lastly, my book is thriving with sales now well over 1,000 in the last month. We have also found a way to personalize the books with a Corporate Logo on the front to share partnerships between the Company and Charity. Northland Volkswagen in Calgary Alberta will be the first to purchase 300 copies and hand them out to their clients. I will be sharing some exciting news with this new partnership in the coming month. VERY EXCITING!

I hope you all have a wonderful month and I look forward to sharing the coming weeks adventures ahead with you in May. Together we are not only changing lives, but SAVING them!

Courtesy of Tad Milmine, Founder – Bullying Ends Here

First Time Home Buyers – Planning and Negotiations Will Save You Time and Money

General Darick Battaglia 28 Apr

Every mortgage is unique. Would the advertised/online RATE work for everybody? It’s hard to say, until your documents fulfill all the conditions for that rate. Sometimes there are challenges to getting the approval of the mortgage. Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professionals try their best to find solutions to those challenges because they have a business relationship with more than ONE lender, they WORK FOR YOU, and they try their best to earn your business.

I want to share my experience when I bought my first existing home two decades ago and how a Real Estate agent helped me at that time. We decided to have a newly built home and at one “show home”, a Real Estate agent gave me his business card. After a couple of days, I phoned that Real Estate agent to get more guidance to sign a contract with a builder.

We met with him and discussed our priorities. He provided us the price and compared features of “show homes” in different neighbourhoods in the city. Also, he mentioned about the future growth of the particular vicinity in our area. After our first meeting with him, we were so impressed that he would negotiate on behalf of us, and he assured us that he would bring the price down as much as he could.

We started going with him to see more “show homes” and we liked one that was within our price range. He started “negotiating” with the representative of a builder. He went back and forth, and finally, our offer got accepted, and that Real Estate agent saved us $3,500.

If that Realtor  did not meet us at the “show home” we wouldn’t have had the chance to negotiate or signed the contract with a builder at the asking price and saved $3,500 at that time.

I had to pay a 10% down payment at that time since I did not PLAN my mortgage and did not realize that my income would be an issue. Always check with a mortgage professional to receive unbiased advice for your mortgage financing needs. If you are a “First Time Home Buyer” and thinking of buying a home in the very near future, START PLANNING your mortgage with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional. By doing this, you will have knowledge of allowable income and down payment for the mortgage financing. You will also realize what credit is and why it is so important in this process.

At Dominion Lending Centres, we will plan your mortgage by focussing your short and long term goals and also show you how to pay off your mortgage faster than you think. You will have access to the very best products and rates available across Canada. I look forward to hearing from you 

Courtesy of Gurcharan Singh, AMP – DLC Canadian Anderson Financial Mortgage Team

Renovating May Make More Sense Than Buying

General Darick Battaglia 27 Apr

If you’re finding your family has grown out of your current home or your house could use a makeover to better fit your changing needs, renovating is a great option to examine. Instead of putting your home on the selling block and heading out shopping for a new home right away, it may be worth considering using some of your home equity to renovate so you can remain at your current address.

The first consideration is whether your home can be adjusted to meet your needs. Is your lot big enough for an addition? Will your foundation handle the weight of an extra floor? Does the tired look of your home require a major overhaul? Will the renovations add value to the home?

Plan out the changes you’d like to make and speak to professional renovators to seek several quotes before making your decision.

Next, depending on the complexity of the project, you have to decide if it’s worthwhile for you and your family to live in a construction zone for several weeks or even months while improvements are being made to your home.

Finally, unless you have a lot of money saved up, you have to weigh your finances to determine what makes the most financial sense to you and your family in the long run.

Weighing your finances

Now is a great time to think about making renovations to your existing home to create your dream home. With mortgage rates still sitting at historic lows, it makes sense to use some of your home equity to put towards renovations that could help you remain in the house you love, in the neighbourhood you desire that’s close to work, school and amenities to which you’ve grown accustomed.

Other possibilities include a home equity line of credit (HELOC) – where you can access money as required for each stage of your renovation – or even a construction mortgage may be your best bet. The key is to talk to your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional who has access to multiple financial institutions and products to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.

It’s important to weigh the renovation costs with the potential for your home to increase in value as well.

Moving can also be quite expensive. Possible costs to consider when moving include:

* real estate fees (upon selling your existing home)

* legal fees

* property transfer tax

* moving expenses

* decorating the new home

* mortgage penalty

Other considerations

The decision between renovating and upgrading to a new house is not solely financial. You should also consider your time, energy and peace of mind.

Each choice has advantages and disadvantages. When determining the best option for you and your family, consider the pros and cons of both renovating your existing home and moving to a new home.

By taking into account what you want to do, why you want to do it, the costs of the renovations and upgrades, and the value of your renovated home in relation to other homes in your neighbourhood versus the costs of buying a new home, you can determine which option is best for you.

Courrtesy of Alisa Aragon, AMP – DLC Canadian Mountain View 

Dr. Sherry Cooper: Housing still within reach for first-time buyers

General Darick Battaglia 26 Apr

Despite headline-grabbing stories about million-dollar houses pushing home ownership out of reach in Canada’s large cities, there’s still plenty of opportunity for first-time buyers in certain segments of the Canadian real estate market, says Dominion Lending Centres Chief Economist Sherry Cooper.

Single-family home prices have been surging in cities like Toronto and Vancouver, but that’s driven largely by a shortage of land: You practically need to knock down an older home in order to build a new one. It’s the supply-demand story, Cooper says. Land for single-family homes is in short supply while demand is strong, driving double-digit price increases.

But that’s not the case in the condo market, where prices have not been escalating as quickly. Condos, and housing in those parts of Canada where the land supply is not an issue, are still an affordable option.

“There are differences in the housing market depending on the sector and the region,” she says. “For example, condo prices in Toronto are rising at single-digit rates. Part of that is because there has been a dramatic increase in construction, so that the supply of condos is increasing very sharply.”

At the same time, retiring boomers are often helping their children buy homes. Aid from mom and dad coupled with the increase in supply, has resulted in the rate of home ownership rising.

“We are in a sweet spot in demand for housing right now because in Canada, the growth in the number of first-time buyers — roughly aged 25 to 35 — is at a relatively high level. It’s stronger than what we have seen since the baby boomers came of age. First-time homeowners are still out there buying and in fact they represent roughly 30 per cent of new home sales, even in Toronto and Vancouver,” she says.

“What’s different is that it now takes two incomes to buy a home rather than one, as it was way back when, and also your first home may well be a condo and it may well be far from the city centre and it may well be quite small.” But the reality is that low interest rates have helped to make housing more affordable.

“But once you get in the door, there’s the whole notion that house prices will rise and you will have greater equity to move up next time around,” she adds.

These differences between single-family housing markets and multi-family housing markets need to be recognized by governments in their attempts to make housing more affordable, Cooper says. Housing and construction are key strengths in the Canadian economy right now, and government intervention — like the B.C. government’s move to increase the property tax for expensive homes — needs to be carefully weighed.

“You don’t want to dampen what has been a very significant component of economic growth.”

Courtesy of Gordon Hamilton, Writer 

What Exactly Is a “Reverse Mortgage”?

General Darick Battaglia 25 Apr

In a nutshell, a CHIP mortgage or “reverse” mortgage is a mortgage that is secured by the client’s principal residence and as long as one of the client’s lives in the house, it never has to be repaid, not even the interest. “CHIP” stands for “Canadian Home Income Plan” by the way; however the lender who does these types of mortgage in Canada is called Homequity Bank.

It is probably easiest to explain using an example: Let’s assume a husband and wife aged 70 and 69 respectively live in a home that has been appraised at $500 000 and has no mortgage on it right now. Based on the value and their ages, CHIP would allow them to borrow up to $195 495 against the house. They do not have to take the full amount and can in fact choose a monthly income supplement. For example they could choose $50 000 in a lump sum and then $1 000 per month for the next 140 months.

So long as one of the applicants remains in the house, they never have to make a payment. If one of the spouses moves to a retirement home and the other stays in the house, they still don’t have to make any payments. Snowbirds also qualify……so long as the house remains your primary residence.

Here are some of the “requirements”:

  • Minimum age 55 for all applicants
  • Must be principal residence (no rentals)
  • All persons on title must be on mortgage

Two GREAT features of CHIP MORTGAGES:

1. NO INCOME VERIFICATION: Since the mortgage is not expected to be repaid until the house is sold or until the last homeowner leaves the property, no income verification is necessary. This is a great advantage to those who are “asset rich” but don’t show much income

2. NO CREDIT REQUIREMENTS: Many retirees have little or no credit history which makes it very difficult to get a loan or mortgage. With the CHIP mortgage no credit is no problem!

Common questions:

1. Does the bank own my house? No, this is registered against the title of the home the same as any other mortgage. The “bank” cannot force the sale of your home provided one of the applicants still resides in it.

2. Will the equity disappear in my house? CHIP mortgages are designed to limit the risk of the mortgage amount exceeding the value of the home. Your home is still increasing in value and the CHIP mortgage is only a portion of the value of your home so in most cases, the equity in your home continues to increase.

3. What is the cost to set up a CHIP mortgage? There is a fee ranging from $995 to $1495 to set up the original mortgage, plus you must pay for an appraisal and a lawyer to register the mortgage. This is clearly explained in the application process so you will be fully aware of all costs prior to setting up the mortgage.

4. What if I have an existing mortgage? A CHIP mortgage can still be set up however you must pay off the existing mortgage with the funds advanced. This is a common strategy for those who are about to retire and don’t want to make mortgage payments anymore.

If you have any other questions, please contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

Courtesy of Brian Mill, AMP – Neighbourhood DLC 

What to Do After Your Credit Has Gone Bad

General Darick Battaglia 22 Apr

It is matter of fact that life can be much unexpected. Perhaps you have been hit hard by this economic downturn or maybe an illness or even just plain old mismanagement has left you with a series of late payments on your credit. No use crying over spilt milk so to speak. So, let’s look at what to do to repair your credit after such an event.

There are three main scenarios we most often see in conjunction with damaged credit:

1. Regular late payments. All types of credit providers report to the credit agencies about you and your repayment history. Cell phones, credit cards, student loans, vehicle or personal loans, lines of credit, and of course your mortgage. You are assigned a credit rating based on if your payments are made on time, if you are at or near limit on your credit cards and a variety of other things. Often the descent into bruised credit starts by missing a payment here and there. Of course the more late payments you have, the more leery a new lender will be to extend you additional credit. If you had a rough patch like this, then the best thing to do is catch up ASAP and do not let it happen again. Lenders will want to see that you have recovered financially and you now mange yourself well. The magic number is 2. They want to see 2 years of perfect repayment on at least 2 credit facilities. After the damage was done, it is imperative that you not have another late payment on anything including your cell phone. It is also a good idea to save some money so they can see you have a fallback position if you lose your job. Finally, keep your credit cards at no higher than 75% of the available credit. It can be a sign of financial distress if you are maxed out.

2. Orderly payment of debts (OPD) – This program is entered into voluntarily by people who need further help. These agencies will meet with you to assess your situation and determine a repayment plan with your creditors. They make calls on your behalf and negotiate for you which will stop the collection calls you may have been receiving. Interest rates are negotiated down and you are set up on a repayment plan to pay your creditors every cent you owe based on your income. Your credit bureau will reflect that you have opted for the OPD which means you have to do some work to be considered for lending later on. Again, the magic number is 2. You need to have 2 credit facilities reporting pristine for 2 years once the OPD reports as complete. At that point many lenders will consider you for mainstream lending. You may have to start with a secured credit card or 2 or a vehicle with a higher interest rate to get back on track.

3. Bankruptcy – In this scenario, you have gone through the formal bankruptcy process which involves a trustee and the court system. Your debt obligations were negotiated down to a fraction of what they were and you have paid out that amount as per your agreement. Two years after you show as formally discharged with 2 years of established credit on 2 credit facilities you will once again be eligible for mainstream lending. Without those criteria you may find yourself paying a higher rate for a mortgage or other loan.

A few extras I would like to point out: If you have ANY late payments after the OPD or bankruptcy, you will likely be turned down for a mortgage at best rates. The lenders will allow that life threw you sideways, but it is up to you to show them it will not happen again. If there was a foreclosure in your past, you are not likely to get any financing for a mortgage unless you are willing to pay some very high interest. Finally, there are companies out there who advertise that they can fix your credit for a fee. Be very cautious in your dealings with them. They can be very expensive and the credit reporting agencies are on record reporting there is NO quick fix for credit issues. Do your due diligence before entering into an agreement with anyone telling you they can fix your credit.

Courtesy of Pam Pikkert, DLC Regional 

The True Cost of Mortgage Penalties

General Darick Battaglia 21 Apr

The true cost of mortgage penalties is a common concern and complaint among homeowners so it seems reasonable to review it once again.

Due to the sometimes complex calculations the banks use to determine this amount – consumers have been left in the dark when trying to make a decision on whether the cost of refinancing early is worth it or not. Recent changes and more to come will regulate the banks to provide more information up front and over the life of your mortgage on penalty costs. As a broker I always discuss the true cost of mortgage penalties with my clients to ensure we work with lenders that have best options for penalties if ending the term is a possibility for any reason.

I recently discussed the true cost of mortgage penalties, blending rates and provided comparisons in one of my To Finance and Protect video blogs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXjdoEN9y1o

In the example I provided the three possible options for a penalty.  First, three months interest.  Second, interest rate differential (IRD).  Third, the difference between IRD calculations by the bank and other lenders.  Almost all of the major banks have a different IRD calculation than other lenders which can more than double and in some cases triple the penalty.  Knowing the exit cost of your mortgage is an important part of the decision in choosing a lender and many people don’t realize this until it is too late.

The majority of long-term fixed-rate mortgage holders terminate or change their mortgage before their term is up. In fact, the average five-year mortgage lasts only three to four years. Penalties apply in only a minority of these cases, but for those who are affected, they can substantially raise your overall borrowing costs

Note: The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (http://www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/eng/resources/publications/mortgageLoan/RenewMortgage/RenewMortgage-3-eng.asp#Breaking) is doing a noble job encouraging clarity with mortgage penalties. In 2013, I went a step further by requiring banks to provide: annual information to help consumers calculate their penalty, written penalty statements upon request with clear calculation explanations, and access to exact prepayment penalty quotes by phone.

To discuss your early renewal or refinance options, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

Courtesy of Pauline Tonkin, AMP – DLC Innovative Mortgage Solutions 

What’s the Cost of Laziness?

General Darick Battaglia 20 Apr

I’ve actually had clients ask me that question! The business of life often gets in the way and we don’t always do our homework when it comes to our financial obligations. Before they know it, clients start getting e-mails from their lender and their broker reminding them that it’s time to renew their mortgage… “Wow, dear, has it been 5 years already? Our bank is offering us 2.99% for 5 years! What a difference from our old mortgage at 3.79%. Let’s sign now and lock it in because who knows what the future holds.”

The friendly mortgage broker they had dealt with five years ago calls to remind them that she may be able to get them a better rate than what their bank is offering and also review their financial situation and help them make some adjustments. Yes, time is of the essence and there’s paperwork involved which is a pain but consulting their mortgage broker may save them a lot of money in the long run.

I had a client recently who not only saved a whopping $8,000 on a new 5-year term but also lowered his monthly payments. And the moral of the story? You snooze, you lose. So don’t snooze (or lose!) – contact your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional today!

Courtesy of Marie-France Lavigne, AMP – DLC The Mortgage Source

Top 8 Benefits of Using a Mortgage Broker

General Darick Battaglia 19 Apr

When shopping for a mortgage, many home buyers enlist the services of a Mortgage Professional. There are several benefits to using a Mortgage Broker and I have compiled a list of the top 8:

1. Saves you time – Mortgage Brokers have access to multiple lenders (over 50!). They work with lenders you have heard of and lenders you probably haven’t heard of. Because their relationship with lenders is ongoing, Mortgage Brokers know what is available in mortgage financing and will be able to advise you on what your lending options are without all the leg work that you would have to do in order to find a small percentage of information that a Mortgage Broker already has in hand.

2. Saves you money – Mortgage Brokers, if they are successful, have access to discounted rates. Because of the high volume that they do, lenders make available discounted rates that are not available directly through the branch of the lender that you go to.

3. Saves you from becoming stressed out! – It can be very daunting to find a mortgage. A Mortgage Broker takes on that stress for you. Your Mortgage Broker will make sure all the paperwork is in place. They will keep in good communication with you so that you know what is going on with your mortgage and will keep you up to date with any complications so that there are no surprises.

4. Gives you access to lenders that are otherwise not available to you – Some lenders work exclusively with Mortgage Brokers. In these circumstances, the layman does not have access to these lenders and, therefore, does not have the option to use discounted rates and mortgage products that these lenders offer.

5. Services are free – Mortgage Professionals are paid by the lender and not by you. This is not a disadvantage to you. A good Mortgage Broker will ALWAYS have the best interest of the client in mind because if you, as a client, are happy, you will go tell your friends about the service you’ve received from the Mortgage Professional you work with. Mortgage Professionals rely on referrals, which means that if you are a happy customer, and you got the best deal available, you will tell your friends and family about them which will result in referrals and potential future business.

6. Take on every challenge – As Mortgage Professionals, we see every scenario out there and work to make sure that every client knows what is available to them for financing options for a mortgage. Damaged credit and low household income might be a deterrent for the bank, but a Mortgage Professional knows how to approach the lender and has the relationship to make sure every client has a plan and strategy in place to make sure there is a mortgage in their future.

7. The Mortgage Brokerage industry is monitored by governing bodies – Nowadays, as Mortgage Brokers, it is extremely important to have principles and values that are based on the best interest of the client. In fact, in order to become licensed, the Mortgage Professionals need to be well versed in the ethical and upstanding values that are outlined through the Financial Institutes Commission, a provincial governing body that is a watchman for this industry. FICOM’s mandate is to make sure every Mortgage Broker walks in integrity and in the best interest of their client.

8. The Mortgage Broker has a better understanding of what mortgage products are available than your bank – Interestingly, a Mortgage Broker has to be licensed and cannot discuss mortgages with you unless they are licensed. This is unlike the bank who can “internally train” their staff to sell the specific products available from their bank. The staff at your bank do not have to be licensed Mortgage Professionals.

While this is not an exhaustive list on the benefits of using a Mortgage Professional, it is compelling to see the benefits of using a Mortgage Professional rather than putting a mortgage together on your own.

At Dominion Lending Centres, we have an excellent rapport with the lenders we introduce our clients to. Our customer service is reflective of our relationship with our lenders. We are always professional and we always make sure our clients know every viable option they have for mortgage financing.

Courtesy of Geoff Lee, AMP – GLM Mortgage Group 

The Amortization Effect

General Darick Battaglia 18 Apr

Each year from 2008 through 2010 the Federal Government reduced the maximum amortization as follows:

Purchases with less than 20% down –from 40–35 years, then 35- 30 and finally 30–25 years where it remains today.

Purchases with 20% or more down were cut from 40–35 years, and then from 35 – 30 (*certain lenders still offer 35 years to specific applicants).

Any risk within the real estate sector can most accurately be measured by the amount of equity in a property. Thus the focus on the purchases with less than 20% was more extreme, and logical.

The following table demonstrates the effect reducing the amortization by five years had at each point, an increasingly powerful effect. It essentially cancelled out the interest rate drops.

Today’s buyers do not qualify for radically higher mortgages thanks to lower rates, anyone who suggests otherwise has perhaps forgotten about the amortization effect. The final move from 30 years to 25 years has the same effective impact as a 1% interest rate increase.

Mortgage          Rate      AM                      Payment

$100,000              4.49        40                           446.26
$100,000              4.14        35                           449.08
$100,000              3.49        30                           447.09
$100,000              2.49        25                           447.47

Today’s buyers putting less than 20% down with a maximum amortization of 25 years at 2.49% basically qualify for the same amount of money as they did back in 2008 at 4.49% with a 40 year amortization.

Few clients are aware of this, and many Brokers are not either.

The next time you hear somebody saying that ‘today’s low rates have allowed borrowers to qualify for too much debt’ you will know better.

Interest rates are not quite the key driver behind the current boom in prices; interest rates play a role, but it is a much smaller one that people realize as the lower rates have been largely neutralized by shorter amortizations.

Perhaps the most important point of all to take away from this is that as interest rates rise the Federal Government will almost certainly extend amortizations back out, in turn negating the impact of rising rates.

Food for thought.

Courtesy of Dustan Woodhouse, AMP – DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts 

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