REVERSE MORTGAGE – THE PROS AND CONS

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 27 Apr

You may be seeing and hearing a lot more regarding the Reverse Mortgage in today’s marketplace. I have taken the time to get familiar with the program here in Canada and have been quite surprised by how it’s changed and how different it is to its counterpart in the U.S. and how relevant it has become given our aging population in Canada.

Who are they best suited for? People age 55+ that own a house, townhouse, or condo and want to either increase their cash flow, or access equity without making a monthly payment. The older the client, the higher the approved limit.

Here is a list of PROS and CONS of the Reverse Mortgage.

Pros

Funds can be advanced as needed such as a line of credit with interest only accruing on the money advanced.
No income debt servicing like other ‘standard’ mortgages. Retirees with fixed incomes can qualify for much more money as our approvals are based on age and property.
No payments required. Borrower can retain more of their income and never worry about default or foreclosure.
Changes in interest rates don’t affect the client’s monthly cash flow since there no payment required.
Clients can pay up to 10% towards the loan if they choose each year, but there is no obligation.
Prepayment penalties are waived upon death and reduced by 50% if the borrower(s) are moving into a care home.
Borrowers will never owe more than the fair market value of the home at the time it is sold
There are no changes to the mortgage amount and no payments required if one spouse passes or moves into a care home.
With conservative house appreciation of just 2.5% to 3% per year over time will typically make up for the accruing interest on the reverse mortgage leaving clients with plenty of equity in the end.
Cons

Client are choosing to have more income/cash flow TODAY, in return for having less savings in the home TOMORROW.
All clients are required to obtain independent legal advice, which is a good thing. But there is a small extra cost. Total one-time set up and legal fees run approximately $2,500.
Rates are approximately 1.5% to 2% higher than a best rate secured line of credit.
If the housing market never goes up, and the client lives in the home long enough, there is a chance the client could exhaust all the equity in the home to fund their retirement.

If you, a family member, or a contact of yours could benefit from a reverse mortgage or want to learn more, please contact me.

Courtesy of Michael Hallett, AMP – DLC Producers West Financial

SUBJECT TO FINANCING- A MUST!

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 25 Apr

With most people who are new to real estate and looking for their first home (or possibly second), one of the most significant times is when your offer to buy is accepted by a seller. Unfortunately, that moment is quickly followed by stress, as not many people know what comes next- securing financing. 99% of the time a realtor will ask you if you have been qualified by a bank or a mortgage broker before they write an offer on your behalf. What should be told to you, the client, by the realtor and your mortgage broker is that you need to have a subject to financing condition in your offer.

In order for someone to receive a mortgage from a lender, they need to meet the lender’s (and some times the insurer’s) conditions. Usually, these all revolve around a borrower’s down payment money, their income as well as employment, and the property they are making an offer on. If you make an offer on a home and it is accepted, but for example the lender doesn’t like the property because the strata board doesn’t have enough money in their contingency fund to fix the leaking roof in the next 12 months, they could turn down your application and not lend you money.

If you don’t have the money, you don’t get the home. That is why you have a subject to financing condition, so if for any reason, you can’t meet the lender’s requirements with your income, down payment, or if the property is unacceptable to them or the insurer, you can cancel your offer without any hassle or loss of deposit.

What happens if you make a subject free offer? If you make an offer on a home and it doesn’t have a subject to financing condition in it, that house is now yours once the offer is accepted. Your deposit is no longer yours, and you have to come up with the remaining money. If you cannot and are unable to complete the purchase, the seller may file a lawsuit against you for damages as they have now taken their home off the market potentially losing out on the ability to sell their home to someone else while they waited for you to get financing.

Always, always, always have a condition in your offer that states subject to financing and allow yourself 3 to 5 business days. If you go in without that fail safe and it turns out you really need it, you will potentially be on the hook and if the seller wishes, he or she can sue you for any potential losses. Subject to financing is a must!

Courtesy of Ryan Oake, AMP – DLC Producers West Financial

HAVING YOUR CAKE AND EATING IT TOO – OUR HOUSE MAGAZINE

General Darick Battaglia 24 Apr

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.

Courtesy of Jeremy Deutsch, Lead Writer – Dominion Lending Centres

THE FLEXIBLE DOWN PAYMENT PROGRAM

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 13 Apr

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.

DETAILS:
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

Courtesy of Angela Calla, AMP – DLC Angela Calla Mortgage Team

VACANT POSSESSION

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 12 Apr

DISCLAIMER: This post is written for buyers, in other words people who do not currently own a tenanted property.
This post is not suggesting in any way that the rights of an existing tenant be infringed upon

Purchasing a residential property?

Two words that matter this Spring; Vacant Possession

Your contract had best contain a ‘Vacant Possession’ clause.

Why?

Mortgage lenders will not concern themselves with your best intentions; it is not about what will be – it is purely about what is.

And if the property is tenanted at the time of possession, then you are effectively applying for a rental mortgage. This means a minimum 20% down payment, higher interest rates, and far more stringent qualifying criteria.

‘But wait, we only have 5% down and we plan to give notice and move in 60 days after we take possession’

There is virtually no lender that will approve this under any circumstances, and this has to do with the recent changes made by our federal government. The lenders want to trust you, the lender wants to help you, the lender wants to approve you, but the new government guidelines eliminate lenders’ ability to be flexible. Lenders must answer to Big Brother, and Big Brother is very rigid.

Vacant Possession – demand it.

‘But wait, we’re buying the property as a rental anyways, so it’s a good thing that it already has a tenant… right?’

No, an existing tenant is rarely a good thing.

How is their lease written?
Does it protect you?
Are rents reflective of current market rents?
Is there a provision for annual rent increases?
Your costs will be increasing every year, cover yourself.
What is your duty for notice to evict the tenant?
Why is the seller refusing to give simple notice?

Don’t risk inheriting the seller’s errors and/or headaches.

Whether your new purchase is meant to be owner occupied, or an investment property, demand vacant possession or walk away.

Courtesy of Dustan Woodhouse, AMP – DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts

THE MORTGAGE INSURANCE MARKET & WHOLESALE LENDERS

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 11 Apr

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.

Courtesy of Eitan Pinsky, AMP – DLC Origin Mortgages

SETTING UP YOUR HELOC

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 10 Apr

A HELOC, or, Home Equity Line of Credit, can be one of the greatest gifts you give yourself. Borrowing money against your home as you accumulate equity through a shrinking mortgage or an increasing property value- something almost many people in the Vancouver and Toronto markets can relate to.

With all this increasing value and home appreciation, people are looking to cash in and utilize this new-found money. Unfortunately, one of the first things people think to do is sell! This can be counter-intuitive because you may of just sold your house for $150,000 more than what you bought it for last year, but you are now stuck buying a house that has gone up $100,000, $150,000, possibly $200,000 in the same amount of time.

So what can you do?

Open up a HELOC. You can do this separately through a second lender, move your mortgage over to one of the big banks like Scotia and enter a STEP, or utilize Manulife’s new Manulife One mortgage product. As you pay down your mortgage and accumulate equity in your home, you unlock the ability to spend money on a line of credit that is secured against that same equity you have built up in your home.

Let’s say you bought a pre-sale condo for $225,000. Two-years later it is worth $375,000. If you have that mortgage set-up with a HELOC component, you could potentially have $100,000 available to you on a line of credit if you qualify. What could you do with $100,000 where you are making interest only payments? Buy a rental property that breaks even or better yet has positive cash flow. You can build equity in a second home while someone else pays the mortgage through rent.

Don’t want to buy an investment property? Maybe you want to invest in stocks or funds where the expected return is more than the interest you are paying? Maybe you need to do renovations? Planning a wedding? Travelling? The list goes on.

Setting up a HELOC for yourself can open up many doors, all without having to give up your property and pigeon hole yourself into over-paying for someone else’s!

Courtesy of Ryan Oake, AMP – DLC Producers West Financial

TOP 5 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUILDING YOUR NEW HOME

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 9 Apr

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.

Courtesy of Geoff Lee, AMP – DLC GLM Mortgage Group

UNIQUE HOMES HAVE SPECIAL PROBLEMS

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 6 Apr

Recently one of the former members of the boy band New Kids on the Block expressed an interest in buying this lighthouse off the coast of Virginia in the U.S. Unique homes can be a lot of fun to own and to live in. However, there are some things you should be aware of before you make an offer on a unique property. He probably paid cash for this property because unique properties can be difficult to find financing for.

While we don’t have lighthouses in Western Canada, another type of property does come onto the market from time to time; church conversions.
I had a client last year who owned a church conversion in a small town in Saskatchewan. The building was great. It had lots of room, and it was on a large lot.

The problem was trying to find a lender who would lend on a church conversion. I found out that the big banks would lend but only in larger cities and towns. They would lend on homes in small towns in Saskatchewan and Alberta but not both. The only solution was to go to a local credit union that knew the property and the town.

Why won’t big banks do unique homes like this in smaller centres? Marketability – if the borrower doesn’t keep up their payments it would take months to find a buyer who wanted something like this and it would cost the bank a lot to keep the property until a buyer could be found.
Another lesson to be learned.

Courtesy of David Cooke, AMP – DLC Clarity Mortgage

WHICH REALTOR SHOULD YOU USE?

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 5 Apr

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.

Courtesy of Karen Penner, AMP – DLC Jencor Corporation

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