WHAT IS A CASH BACK MORTGAGE?

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 12 Dec

Every once in a while, a bank will advertise a cash back mortgage. It sounds great but there are a few things to consider.
When you purchase a home, you may find that you need some extra cash. You may want to renovate, purchase some furniture, or start on building a fence or landscaping.. Fortunately, some Canadian lenders offer mortgages that give you a cash back rebate when you take out your mortgage.

With a cash back mortgage, your lender advances you a cash lump sum when your mortgage closes. The most common sum you receive is 5% of your mortgage amount, but it’s possible to get between 1% and 5% depending on the lender you choose. Note that you receive these funds when the mortgage closes. The funds cannot be used for your down payment, however if you borrowed your down payment you could use the funds to pay back the loan.
This sounds like a great idea but there are some down sides to this type of mortgage. First- you will pay about 1.5% higher interest rate for the duration of the mortgage term. Usually this is a five-year term and if you take a look at how much extra interest you are paying you will find that it takes you five years to pay this sum back to the lender.
Another point to consider is that Canadians move on average every three years. What if you have to break the mortgage? In that case, you owe the lender the usual three months interest or Interest Rate Differential (IRD) as well as the balance of the cash back balance. This could be a very pricey move. If your lender allows it , it’s best to port your mortgage to your new home to avoid the double hit of the penalty and paying the cash back.

A cash back mortgage is a great option but it’s not for everyone. Be sure to tell your mortgage broker if it’s at all possible that you will have to move before your mortgage term is over so that he or she can advise you on what your penalties would be.

Courtesy of David Cooke, AMP – DLC Clarity Mortgages

IS IT TIME TO LOCK IN A VARIABLE RATE MORTGAGE?

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 11 Dec

Approximately 32 per cent of Canadians are in a variable rate mortgage, which with rates effectively declining steadily for the better part of the last ten years has worked well.

Recent increases triggers questions and concerns, and these questions and concerns are best expressed verbally with a direct call to your independent mortgage expert – not directly with the lender. There are nuances you may not think to consider before you lock in, and that almost certainly will not be primary topics for your lender.

Over the last several years there have been headlines warning us of impending doom with both house price implosion, and interest rate explosion, very little of which has come to fruition other than in a very few localised spots and for short periods of time thus far.

Before accepting what a lender may offer as a lock in rate, especially if you are considering freeing up cash for such things as renovations, travel or putting towards your children’s education, it is best to have your mortgage agent review all your options.

And even if you simply wanted to lock in the existing balance, again the conversation is crucial to have with the right person, as one of the key topics should be prepayment penalties.

In many fixed rate mortgage, the penalty can be quite substantial even when you aren’t very far into your mortgage term. People often assume the penalty for breaking a mortgage amounts to three months’ interest payments, which in the case of 90% of variable rate mortgages is correct. However, in a fixed rate mortgage, the penalty is the greater of three months’ interest or the interest rate differential (IRD).

The ‘IRD’ calculation is a byzantine formula. One designed by people working specifically in the best interests of shareholders, not the best interests of the client (you). The difference in penalties from a variable to a fixed rate product can be as much as a 900 per cent increase.

The massive penalties are designed for banks to recuperate any losses incurred by clients (you) breaking and renegotiating the mortgage at a lower rate. And so locking into a fixed rate product without careful planning can mean significant downside.

Keep in mind that penalties vary from lender to lender and there are different penalties for different types of mortgages. In addition, things like opting for a “cash back” mortgage can influence penalties even more to the negative, with a claw-back of that cash received way back when.

Another consideration is that certain lenders, and thus certain clients, have ‘fixed payment’ variable rate mortgages. Which means that the payment may at this point be artificially low, and locking into a fixed rate may trigger a more significant increase in the payment than expected.

There is no generally ‘correct’ answer to the question of locking in, the type of variable rate mortgage you hold and the potential changes coming up in your life are all important considerations. There is only a ‘specific-to-you’ answer, and even then – it is a decision made with the best information at hand at the time that it is made. Having a detailed conversation with the right people is crucial.

It should also be said that a poll of 33 economists just before the recent Bank of Canada rate increase had 27 advising against another increase. This would suggest that things may have moved too fast too soon as it is, and we may see another period of zero movement. The last time the Bank of Canada pushed the rate to the current level it sat at this level for nearly five full years.

Life is variable, perhaps your mortgage should be too.

As always, if you have questions about locking in your variable mortgage, or breaking your mortgage to secure a lower rate, or any general mortgage, please give me a call, I’m happy to go over your questions.

Courtesy of Dustan Woodhouse, AMP – DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts

RETURNING TO THE ‘A-SIDE’

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 8 Dec

Every year Canadian families are caught in unexpected bad circumstances only to find out that in most cases the banks and the credit unions are there (to lend you money) only in the good times, not so much during the bad times.

This is where thousands of families have benefited over the years from the services of a skilled mortgage broker that has access to dozens of different lending solutions including trust companies and private lending corporations. These short-term solutions can help a family bridge the gap through business challenges, employment challenges, health challenges, etc.

The key to taking on these sorts of mortgages is always in having a clear exit strategy, which in some cases may be a simple as a sale deferred to the Spring market. Most times the exit strategy involves cleaning up credit challenges, getting consistent income back in place and moving the mortgage debt back to a mainstream lender. Or as we would say in the business an ‘A-lender’.

The challenge for our clients, and for us as mortgage brokers, over the past few years, arguably over the past nine years, has been the constant tinkering with lending guidelines by the federal government. And the upcoming changes of Jan. 1, 2018 represent far more than just ‘tinkering’.

This next set of changes are significant, and will effectively move the goal posts well out of reach for many clients currently in ‘B’ or private mortgages. Clients who have made strides in improving their credit or increasing their income will find that the new standards taking effect will put that A-lender mortgage just a little bit out of reach as of the New Year.

There is concern that the new rules will create far more problems than they solve, especially when it seems quite clear to all involved that there are no current problems with mortgage repayment to be solved.

Yet these changes are coming our way fast.

Are you expecting to make a move to the A-Side in 2018?

We’re here and ready to help.

Courtesy of Dustan Woodhouse, AMP – DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts

STRENGTH IN TURBULENT TIME – IMPACTS OF CANADA’S NEW MORTGAGE RULES

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 7 Dec

Mortgage brokers have become an integral part of Canada’s financial landscape. Rather than deal directly with banks, about 30 per cent of Canadians turn to independent brokers to help them secure the best terms for their loan.

But as residential real estate markets continue to power ahead at a time of economic uncertainty, government regulators have started to tap the brakes. And it’s understandable that many mortgage brokers are getting edgy about what lies ahead.

Consider.
Lending rules for homes worth more than $500,000 have been toughened, lowering the amortization period to 25 years for high-ratio insured mortgages and tightening processes for mortgage approvals based on income.
New mortgage “stress tests” from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) take effect on January 1. They’re designed to ensure that if interest rates begin to rise from historically low levels, Canadian homeowners will be able to withstand the resulting pressure. It’s not an altogether unreasonable move given the context: Canada has the highest level of private debt of all G-7 countries.

It’s all the more relevant because the Bank of Canada has raised its key interest rate target by a quarter of a percentage point twice this year. In turn, those increases have pushed up the big bank prime lending rates which are used to determine rates for variable-rate mortgages and lines of credit.

The new rules are expected to reduce the number of first-time homebuyers entering the market. Now, even with a top-up from the Bank of Mum and Dad that bumps them over the 20 per cent insurance threshold, borrowers still have to pass that stress test for higher rates.

Many mortgage brokers are rightly concerned about an immediate hit to the overall volume of their business.

After all, many Canadians will now need more income for the same amount of mortgage. Early estimates suggest that a potential buyer of a $1-million home putting down 20 per cent, would see about a 15 per cent reduction in purchasing power.

There’s another downside to the coming change as well: The rules will not apply to mortgage renewals with an existing lender which has the effect of entrenching existing relationships and reducing the incentive to shop around for a better deal – and new lender.

For the overwhelming majority of brokers, however, any short-term impact is offset by the promise of a more sustainably healthy residential real estate market.

Mortgage brokers with high standards, who have a practice rooted in robust verification, due diligence and KYC rules, will be nominally affected. That’s also true for those who already adhere to the industry “best practice” of thoroughly reviewing the sources of a down payment.

As it is in any sector, disruption of the status quo causes anxiety. But in the case of mortgage brokers, the changes that lie ahead will lead to a stronger business in turbulent times.

Courtesy of Steve Ranson, HomEquity Bank – President and CEO

THE EASY OPTION ISN’T ALWAYS THE BEST

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 6 Dec

For those of us looking for mortgage financing options for our first or next home, the prevailing attitude is, ‘easiest is best’.

For most of us, myself included, applying for any type of financing is a stressful event; its always easier to, when you’re in your local branch, to strike up a conversation with an account manager and when they say, “Sure, I can help you with that”, to just treat that help as your only option.

On the outside, most mortgages are pretty much the same ( they’re not, but that deserves a separate discussion ), right? Anyway, if you can just walk in and walk out with a pre-approval, why not just do that?

Well, lets look at what you really want to get out the financing;

Let’s say you’re self employed ( not a stretch, really) and have, a couple of years ago started your own small business. Your spouse is also self employed, but works as an independent contractor, in IT, for example.

Initially qualifying for financing might be a bit of a struggle, but you rely on your banks’ mortgage specialist to get you the financing option you need. Of course, they come through in the end and a few months later, you’re happy in your new home and you’re happy you’ve started a relationship with someone who can help.

On the business front, its good news as well. Your small business grows and grows and in about three years down the road, you’ve got a new contract that you won’t be able to fulfill without some financial help.

When you approach the bank, you’re told time and again that, in spite of your great ‘relationship’, what you need doesn’t meet their lending guidelines and they can’t or won’t help you grow your business.

You leave the financial institution thinking, “I deserve better than this” and you’re right, you absolutely do.

Part of my role as a Mortgage Professional is to not only find the right mortgage but also try and anticipate what you might need in the future. I always recommend a lender that you can have a meaningful relationship with, if that’s what is needed.

A Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist will give you options and recommendations, as well as a clear explanation of why they’re recommending one over another. That’s a promise.

Courtesy of Jonathan Barlow, DLC A Better Way

OSFI MORTGAGE CHANGES ARE COMING

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 5 Dec

As many of you may remember, this past October the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) issued a revision to Guideline B-20 . The changes will go into effect on January 1, 2018 but lenders are expecting to roll this rules out to their consumers between December 7th – 15th, and will require conventional mortgage applicants to qualify at the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate or the customer’s mortgage interest rate +2%, whichever is greater.

OSFI is implementing these changes for all federally regulated financial institutions. What this means is that certain clients looking to purchase a home or refinance their current mortgage could have their borrowing power reduced.

 What to expect

It is expected that the average Canadian’s home purchasing power for any given income bracket will see their borrowing power and/or buying power reduced 15-25%. Here is an example of the impact the new rules will have on buying a home and refinancing a home.

 Purchasing a new home

When purchasing a new home with these new guidelines, borrowing power is also restricted. Using the scenario of a dual income family making a combined annual income of $85,000 the borrowing amount would be:

 

Up To December 31 2017 After January 1 2018
Target Rate 3.34% 3.34%
Qualifying Rate 3.34% 5.34%
Maximum Mortgage Amout $560,000 $455,000
Available Down Payment $100,000 $100,000
Home Purchase Price $660,000 $555,000

 

Refinancing a mortgage

A dual-income family with a combined annual income of $85,000.00. The current value of their home is $700,000. They have a remaining mortgage balance of $415,000 and lenders will refinance to a maximum of 80% LTV. The maximum amount available is: $560,000 minus the existing mortgage gives you $145,000 available in the equity of the home, provided you qualify to borrow it.

 

Up to December 31, 2017 After January 1 2018
Target Rate 3.34% 3.34%
Qualifying Rate 3.34% 5.34%
Maximum Amount Available to Borrow $560,000 $560,000
Remaining Mortgage Balance $415,000 $415,000
Equity Able to Qualify For $145,000 $40,000

 

In transit purchase/refinance

If you have a current purchase or refinance in motion with a federally regulated institution you can expect something similar to the below. A note, these new guidelines are not being recognized by provincially regulated lenders (i.e credit unions) but are expected to follow these new guidelines in due time.

 

Timeline: Purchase Transactions or Refinances:
Before January 1, 2018 Approved applications closing before or beyond January 1st will remain valid; no re-adjudication is required as a result of the qualifying rate update. 
On and after January 1, 2018 Material changes to the request post January 1st may require re-adjudication using updated qualifying rate rules. 

 

Source (TD Canada Trust)

These changes are significant and they will have different implications for different people. Whether you are refinancing or purchasing, these changes could potentially impact you. We advise that if you do have any questions, concerns or want to know more that you contact me, I would be happy to explain the new rules and help you.

Courtesy of Geoff Lee, AMP – DLC GLM Mortgage Group

MORTGAGE TERMS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 4 Dec

Prepayment, Portability and Assumability

Prepayments

One of the most common questions we get is about mortgage prepayments. The conditions vary from lender to lender but the nice thing about prepayments is that you can pay a little more every year if you want to pay off your mortage faster. A great way to do this is through prepayments.

They’re always something to ask your broker about because each lender is very different. You can always do an increase on your payments and that means that you pay a little bit more each week or each month when you make your mortgage payment. You can also make a lump sum payment. Perhaps you get a bonus every year or you get a lot of Christmas money. You can just throw that on your mortgage. It goes right on the principle so you’re not paying interest on those extra funds. Paying a big chunk at once also means that a higher percentage of future payments will also go towards the principle.

Portability

Portability means that if you sell your house and you want to take your current mortgage and move it to your new house you can. The one thing about portability that we always have to keep in mind is that we can’t decrease the mortgage amount but we can do a little bit of an increase often through a second mortgage or an increase we call a blend and extend. It just gives you the flexibility of moving the mortgage from one property to the next property. It also gives you the flexibility of being in control of where you mortgage is going and not having to break your mortgage every time you decide to move.

Moving a mortgage to a new property avoids things like discharge fees, the legal cost of registering a new mortgage and the possibly of a higher interest rate. It’s great to be able to keep that rate for the full term rather than having to break and pay those penalties half way through.

Assumability

Assuming a mortgage comes into play more often where there are family ties. Say your parents have a mortgage and you move into that house. Rather than you going out and getting a new mortgage and your parents having to pay those discharge fees, you have the ability to assume their existing mortgage at that current rate. All you have to do is apply and make sure you can actually afford the mortgage at what they’re paying. You have to be able to be approved on the remaining balance on the mortgage just like you would on any other mortgage. Just because your parents have an eight hundred thousand dollar mortgage doesn’t mean you’ll be able to take that over.

Courtesy of Tracy Valko, AMP – DLC Forest City Funding

GETTING ON THE PROPERTY LADDER

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 1 Dec

As property prices continue to rise across Canada, the conversation around “how to climb the property ladder” has made a subtle shift to “how to get on the property ladder in the first place.” Especially if you’re single.

Whereas before it was assumed anyone would qualify to buy a starter home (or condo), nowadays with increased housing prices and the government making it tougher to qualify for a mortgage through a financial stress test, becoming a homeowner isn’t a walk in the park. Qualifying for a mortgage on a single income is becoming increasingly difficult.

Unfortunately, just because you have a proven ability to pay rent on time doesn’t mean you will qualify to make mortgage payments in the same amount. So if you are looking to get into the housing market, but don’t qualify on your own, maybe you should consider co-ownership as an option!

So what is co-ownership anyway? Well, co-ownership is when more than one applicant takes on the financial responsibility of owning a property together. Co-ownership can take on many forms. Obviously owning a home with your spouse or life partner is the most common form of co-ownership, while having your parents co-sign on a mortgage is another. But for the sake of this article, let’s think past these arrangements.

Did you know that there are really no limitations with whom you can purchase a property? This is assuming they meet the lending criteria.
Maybe a brother, sister, cousin, neighbour, co-worker, friend, your mechanic, financial advisor, or some distant relative just happens to be looking to get into the housing market as well? There is a good chance that by combining your incomes together, you will qualify for a mortgage that neither of you would qualify on your own. Bringing someone else into the picture, or even a group of people, can significantly increase the amount you qualify to borrow on a mortgage. Most lenders will accept up to four applicants on a mortgage, while some lenders have even gone as far as launching products designed to make buying with friends and family easier. Buying a property with someone(s) in a co-ownership arrangement is becoming way more commonplace.

However, before making the decision to buy a house with someone, there is no doubt going to be a list of things you are going to want to work through. You will want to get everything out in the open and ask yourself questions like…

  • Do I trust this person?
  • Can I live with this person?
  • Am I comfortable making decisions about the home with this person?
  • How will conflict be managed when it arises?
  • What happens if either party runs into financial trouble?
  • What is the exit plan?

The more you work through ahead of time, the better chance you have at successfully co-owning a house with someone. A lot of people who purchase a property in a co-ownership agreement treat it like a business arrangement.
If you’d like to talk more about what this would look like for you personally, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Courtesy of Kris Grasty, AMP – DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts