Refinances, Renewals & Transfers

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 24 Jul

After you have purchased your new home, closed on your new mortgage, and are all moved in, what comes next?

Well, when it comes to your mortgage, the next step is to either refinance, renew, or transfer your mortgage. This decision can be made one month into your new mortgage or one month before your new mortgage is set to mature. Below is a break-down on what a refinance, renewal, and transfer mean.

Refinance
Refinances are when you decide to access the equity in your home. When your home rises in value, say $400,000 in 2016 to $500,000 in 2021, you can request your current lender, or a new lender, to pay you a portion of that increase in cash and they will in turn add that same portion to your mortgage for you to pay back- with interest.

There are many reasons to refinance; for home repairs, purchasing second properties, financial assistance with other outstanding loans or to have access to cash for larger purchases. It is only a refinance when you change the amount of your mortgage and borrow against the equity you have in your home.

Renewal
Renewals are quite straight forward. At the end of your mortgage term, your lender will offer you a renewal letter stating the remaining balance on your mortgage, what the remaining amortization is, and what interest rate options they can offer you.

The term can be 5-years for example, but most mortgages are on what’s called a 25-year amortization- the length of time it takes to pay off the entire mortgage. The 5-year term is just a length of time you are guaranteed a certain rate before you need to renew it. Renewals generally do not require any re-approval, documents, or applications as no new money is being added, the property is the same, and so is the lender. It is straight forward and allows you to continue paying your mortgage, just on a different interest rate.

Transfers
Transfers are a lot like renewals, the one difference is you are switching lenders. You are not adding more money, selling or buying a new home, everything is remaining the same except who you are paying interest to. One reason someone may want to transfer their mortgage from one lender to another is bad customer experience. Another could be to take advantage of a lower interest rate. Another reason could also be to take advantage of a lender’s product like a Home Equity Line of Credit or high pre-payment privileges.

Transfers are becoming more and more common as lenders are constantly looking to add clients and customers to their brand, being able to take advantage of interest payments as well as offer other products.

Courtesy of Ryan Oake – AMP – DLC Producers West Financial based in Langley, BC.

5 Reasons why every realtor needs a mortgage broker at their open houses

General Darick Battaglia 23 Jul

Realtor Safety – While we do not have the safety issues that realtors experience south of the border, there have been incidents involving female realtors being assaulted or feeling uncomfortable being alone with strangers walking around the house.

Property Safety – Did you know that when a realtor is holding an open house they are liable for any losses or damage to the property? It’s pretty easy to have one person distract the agent upstairs while their partner runs off with the flat screen TV or the silverware. Another person in the property discourages theft and can make the realtor feel safer.

Snagging new clients – sometimes people show up at open houses without any preparation. They may like a home but they have no idea whether they could afford it. Enter the mortgage broker- by being on the premises you can quickly pre-approve these prospective buyers giving the realtor an opportunity for a quick sale and to double end the deal.

Third Party Feedback – sometimes visitors are reluctant to say anything negative about a property to a realtor but are more open with their financial partner. The realtor can benefit from both the mortgage broker’s opinion and anything that they hear from visitors.

Programs that can help sell a home – some municipalities offer subsidized down payments for first time home buyers, others offer tax incentives . If a prospective buyer comments on the worn carpeting or the lack of a garage, it’s a good time for the mortgage broker to mention Purchase Plus Improvements programs available. The realtor may be aware of the programs but unaware of the program rules. The realtor will be really happy to have a mortgage broker find a solution to one sales objection and help them sell the house.

Courtesy of David Cooke – AMP – DLC Clarity Mortgages in Calgary, AB.

Porting a Mortgage?

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 19 Jul

Porting a mortgage is something similar to transferring a mortgage. Transfers are when you move your current mortgage to a different lender in order to take advantage of different interest rates or mortgage products.

Porting a mortgage is when you keep your lender, but move your mortgage to a different property. Now, not every lender allows you to port a mortgage, and not every property can qualify for a port.

One of the other things to keep in mind with porting a mortgage, you are generally only porting the balance remaining on your mortgage. If you need more money, you will need to re-qualify to blend your mortgage. If you do not want to blend and extend your mortgage term, you will need to come up with the additional funds on your own.

The ability to port a mortgage is really important, especially if you are in a fixed mortgage with a big bank, as it can be used to avoid paying a pre-payment penalty to break your mortgage early.

Courtesy of Ryan Oake – AMP – DLC Producers West Financial based in Langley, BC.

Remodeling Your Home This Summer

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 18 Jul

With most of the summer still ahead, it seems like the best time for rest and relaxation. Or… it could mean the perfect opportunity to make those changes around the house that they have been waiting to do since the Spring!

A renovation or remodel on your home could mean excellent returns on your investment. We’ve all seen the TV shows, like Fixer Upper or Love It or List It on HGTV, that demonstrate just how far a fresh coat of paint and decluttering can go to help raise the value of your home when trying to sell it. Sometimes a renovation budget can be as easy as a can of paint but there are other times that you need to add an extra bathroom or bedroom which cost substantially more.

Whatever the reason for your renovation, the question remains: how do everyday people get the money for these fixer-upper projects?

CASH OR CREDIT

For renovations under $5,000, you could probably pay cash or with your credit card. Saving up for these smaller renovation projects can prove very lucrative over the long term, especially if you want to make your everyday living experience a little more comfortable and/or are trying to increase your property value. As we’ve seen on the home renovation shows, the money that is invested in the renovations is likely going to see returns when selling a home.

For projects over $5,000, the projects are more elaborate and may or may not see the types of returns the smaller upgrades can. (Here’s an article with examples of renos that add value, and those that don’t.) However, they mean a lot for your living conditions. When considering these larger projects, there are a number of ways you could find the means to pay for them.

PERSONAL LOANS

The banks will likely suggest a Personal Line of Credit for these types of projects, however, you could also apply for a personal loan from the bank. The personal loan usually has a lower interest and can be paid off through regular payments in a few years. The line of credit may be better suited for ongoing or long-term projects, where you can access funds as you need them, and pay interest only on the amount used.

SECURED LINE OF CREDIT & HOME EQUITY LOANS

A secured line of credit is another option for bigger renovation projects. To secure one, you will likely need a credit score at or above 700 and have a good history of repaying debts in a timely fashion. They offer the advantages of regular lines of credit and loans, plus they often come with preferred interest rates. Since they will likely be secured by your home’s equity, they will require some set-up costs, such as legal fees.

For seniors looking to make adjustments to their home, they can apply for SHARP, the Seniors Home Adaptation and Repair Program. It provides low-interest home equity loans to help seniors with the necessary repairs, adaptations and renovations to their homes, up to a maximum loan of $40,000. In order to qualify, seniors need to have an annual total income of $75,000 (or less) and a minimum of 25% home equity in their primary residence.

MORTGAGE REFINANCING

Refinancing your mortgage may offer some advantages when looking to complete larger-scale renovations to your home. With mortgage interest rates still relatively low, much lower than those on a credit card or loan, refinancing may be an advantageous option. When refinancing, you will likely receive a lower mortgage rate that reduces the overall cost of the loan, ultimately resulting in savings. Refinancing at a lower rate could allow a homeowner to “cash out” with enough funds for the planned home repairs – without an increase in mortgage payments. The additional funds for the renovation are added to the total mortgage and spread out over a longer period of time.

RENOVATING A NEW HOME PURCHASE

If your planned renovations are for a new home you’re thinking about buying, you can also add that cost to your mortgage. If the price of the home (or condo) is $250,000, you can add the $10,000 (for example) renovation budget and secure the mortgage for $260,000, with the same amortization rate. This results in a lower interest rate, compared to a credit card or loan, and allows you to spread repayment over a longer period of time.

GRANTS & REBATES

In good Canadian fashion, the federal, provincial and municipal governments along with local utilities offer grants and rebates for energy-saving renovations. For example, CMHC Green Home offers a premium refund of up to 25%. You may be eligible if you buy, build or renovate for energy efficiency using CMHC-insured financing. Below is a list of other available financial options to help with your environmentally friendly home improvements.

CMHC Green Home premium refund
Environmental incentives (Alberta)
ENERGY STAR® rebates and incentives
Energy Efficiency Alberta (Home Improvement Rebates)

REMEMBER!

Whenever you decide to embark on a renovation project, remember to set money aside for any unexpected costs that may come up. By having this buffer, you are able to adjust your plans without renegotiating your finances or having to reapply for new funds.

Also, every homeowner’s financial needs are unique, so it’s best to meet a qualified professional to explore your options.

Courtesy of Max Omar – AMP – DLC Capital Region based in Edmonton, AB.0

Rising Interest Rates and the Impact on Real Estate Values

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 17 Jul

Rising Interest Rates and the Impact on Real Estate Values. Is there a direct connection? In a post entitled Interest Rates and Property Values. What’s the Connection?, I suggested that there was. An example was given which suggested that mortgage lenders would be directly impacted by a rise in rates, as their underwriting parameters, most notably debt service coverage requirements, are directly impacted. An inability for a buyer to secure the required financing amount, in an environment of increasing interest rates will, I argue, impact their willingness to offer as high a purchase price. Arguably a lower debt level will necessitate a greater amount of equity. This directly diminishes an investors cash-on-cash return. The inevitable result will be a softening of values, since buyers will want to offer less.

Are there Other Factors?
The above noted rationale, for establishing the link between interest rates and values, does however ignore other factors which may impact market sentiment.

A recent study by Manulife Asset Management raises some interesting observations. In their March 2018 report entitled Canadian Commercial Real Estate Outlook, Manulife’s study observed that in fact there was no consistent relationship between real estate values and interest rates. One of their important findings was that although interest rates have been rising since November 2016, largely as a result of economic growth and higher inflationary pressure, capitalization rates actually declined. Why? Well apart from the sentiments of an individual buyer and lender, which is what I referenced in my earlier post, Canadian investors enjoyed improving real estate fundamentals. Yields were seen to be attractive in comparison to other investments, and there was a rise in foreign investment. All contributed to a support for commercial real estate fundamentals and stable or enhanced values.

Capitalization Rate Refresher
You may recall that capitalization rates are comprised of a nominal “risk-free” rate (often associated with a Government of Canada benchmark bond yield), plus a risk premium attributed to a specific property type or asset. If, as it appears, overall capitalization rates have declined, could it be that the “risk-free” rate is falling as well? I will encourage you to take a look at the Manulife report and come to your own conclusions. From a lender’s perspective, I do not doubt that rising rates have a bearing on what a buyer will pay for a property. I suspect real estate appraisers will be like-minded. The Manulife study does however caution us that there are macro-factors at play as well, and a strong economy is supportive of longer term stability, and indeed growth, in the Canadian Commercial real estate market.

Courtesy of Allan Jensen – AMP – DLC The Mortgage Source based in Ottawa, ON.

Rate Holds Explained

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 16 Jul

Have you ever heard of the term rate hold? If you have ever worked with a mortgage broker, chances are, you have!

Rate holds are something that the majority of lenders offer to potential clients purchasing a new home who need a mortgage. Rate holds are generally not given out for people refinancing their mortgage or looking to transfer it from one lender to another.

120 days is the longest rate hold available with lenders. Once you have created an application with a mortgage broker, they can submit it to an available lender offering rate holds on an interest rate you want to take advantage of- all without a property attached.

This rate hold does not commit you to working with a lender, does not commit you to working with the mortgage broker who submitted it, and does not hurt your chances of receiving an approval down the road (assuming you and your mortgage broker have not submitted multiple rate holds and plan to use a third or fourth lender).

For example, day one you submit your application to a lender for a fixed interest rate of 3.24% for 5-years, and on day 60 that interest rate moves to 3.54%, as long as your mortgage closes in the next 60 days, you are protected and can keep your 3.24% rate. If rates go down, not up, you can also take advantage of the lower interest rate.

Once the 120 days expires, there is nothing stopping you from submitting another rate hold, it will just be subject to current interest rates the day of submission.

Courtesy of Ryan Oake – AMP – DLC Producers West Financial based in Langley, BC.

0 SECRET “To-Do’s” After you file Consumer Proposal or Bankruptcy

General Darick Battaglia 13 Jul

Many people go through challenges in life that affect their finances. Divorce, job loss, health issues top the most common reasons. I commend you on getting your finances sorted out and back on track. The moment you FILE that consumer proposal or bankruptcy is the time to start rebuilding your credit history. YES, there are companies that can help with that. Too often I see people waiting YEARS to pay off their debt program before getting credit again, which sets you back two years.

Mortgage Lenders/Banks view Bankruptcy, Consumer Proposal and Debt Programs all the same…bad credit management.

When will it come off my Credit Bureau?

Consumer Proposal Programs:
Transunion and Equifax state that it will take three years for a consumer proposal to fall off your credit score after it has been completed. So if your proposal takes you four years to pay, then your score will be damaged for seven years in total. If you are able to pay off your proposal quicker than your credit rating after a consumer proposal will get better faster. The key is that it will stay on your credit bureau for three years from completion.

Bankruptcy

A first bankruptcy for six years from the date of your discharge
A second bankruptcy for 15 years

TEN SECRET “To-Do’s” you must adhere too:
A mortgage is something most people will have for a very long time. The rules for mortgages have tightened up in the past few years. A LOT.
Once you have filed a debt program…you MUST adhere to these 10 rules.
Excuses don’t fly with Lenders.
You need to prove to THEM you are financially capable.
They owe you nothing.

1.If you go bankrupt or file a consumer proposal while you have a mortgage, the Lender will see this when they review for your renewal and could deny your renewal and you will need to prepare to look for another lender/bank or they charge super high renewal rates. If you are considering either option or are currently in a proposal, please contact me to review your options far in advance of your renewal.
2. No NSF charges on your bank accounts. Get yourself an overdraft to protect yourself.
3. No missed mortgage payments – EVER
4. No late payments on anything that reports to your Credit Bureau; credit cards, car loans, student loans or cell phone bills.
5. No collections for any reason. Pay that issue and sort it out later.
6. Double Bankruptcies or one Consumer Proposal and a Bankruptcy will make it difficult to get a mortgage. You can’t get around this anymore. It would be mortgage fraud. Lenders can look this up easily via the Bankruptcy Records Search.
7. If you have a Bankruptcy that has property included, it will be VERY difficult for you to get a mortgage without at least 25% down payment (for a purchase) or equity (refinance). On top, you will likely be in an Alternative mortgage for a very long time with higher rates and fees.
8. Get two tradelines. Credit Card, Car Loan or Line of Credit. You need to have two years of history and two of them with spending limits of at least $2,500.
9. Don’t spend to the limits. Only use a max 50% of available credit. Use a Mortgage Broker who specializes in Credit Repair; who can review your file with you on a semi-annual basis to keep you on track as mortgage rules change.
10. You need to look “squeaky clean” until your Bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal is removed from your credit bureau.

Courtesy of Kiki Berg, A.M.P – DLC Hilltop Financial based in Langley, BC.

Delivering Fashion-Our House Magazine

General Darick Battaglia 12 Jul

We all know food trucks are now a staple in the diet of any big city. They’ve revolutionized how many of us eat and they’ve put brick and mortar restaurants on notice. So, could the business model work for another favourite pastime: shopping?

Ashley Mitobe is the owner and operator of Fashiontruck Canada, one of the country’s first mobile boutique shopping trucks located in the Greater Toronto Area. A stylist by trade, she teamed up with her friend Emily in 2014 to create and eventually start up their fashion truck. The vehicle, a 2010 Budget delivery van nicknamed Eve, is 270-square feet of mobile fashion eye candy. It’s filled with the latest designs and biggest names in women’s fashion from Canada and around the world.

But, like any new idea, getting this mobile business up and running wasn’t without its challenges. Originally, the pair assumed the perfect place for their fashion truck would be the myriad music and food festivals in the Toronto area. But they quickly discovered that wasn’t the case. People who were coming out for music or food weren’t prepared to drop cash on clothes shopping. Meanwhile, the best parking spots in Toronto were either too expensive or simply not available.

“It was really hard to find a place to make a business like this work,” Mitobe told Our House Magazine.

By 2016, her business partner had split, and the fashion truck was struggling. That was until a client of Mitobe’s asked if she’d ever consider bringing the truck to her house to have of group of girls come over and drink wine and shop. That was the light-bulb moment Mitobe needed.

“This is where this business is going to succeed,” she said.

Since she changed focus, about 80 per cent of her business comes from private shopping parties. From April to November, Fashiontruck Canada is booked five-to-seven nights a week. And Mitobe is willing to accommodate an eager clientele by taking the truck around the region including bookings in Ottawa and Montreal. She doesn’t charge to show up, suggesting a charge could be a barrier for anyone thinking about trying something new – but she also gets very few cancellations.

Clients can book the truck to come to their home in three to four-hour blocks. Mitobe explained during a typical outing, the host will provide some food and drinks, while friends come and go from the truck to shop.

“It’s a real intimate space, so it’s great for groups of girlfriends to come in and laugh and have some fun,” she said, noting a mobile shopping option is perfect for busy moms who can’t find the time to shop. “If you’re a mom, you’re always looking for a night out or an excuse to take a break and go out and relax and laugh with your friends.”

While Mitobe believes there are some advantages to being a mobile business, it’s not as easy as it may look. The truck operates off a generator that can occasionally give out, and she’s had to learn how to change her own oil. There was also the initial cost of tens of thousands of dollars to get the truck stocked and running.

Despite the grind, when the truck shows up at a doorstep, Mitobe said the women are prepared to shop and drop some serious money. To learn more about the fashion truck, go to fashiontruckcanada.com.

Courtesy of Jeremy Deutsch, Communications Advisor

Construction Mortgages

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 11 Jul

In case you didn’t know, construction mortgages are available through mortgage brokers! Even though the options for lenders are slim, it can still be accomplished.

Unlike regular purchase mortgages where the funds are released on closing, the funds for construction mortgages are released in stages. With typically 15-month construction periods, here are the following advances:

1.) Optional First Advance Prior to Start (Uninsured Mortgages Only)- 65% of vacant land value.

2.) Optional First Advance at 15% Complete (Insured Mortgages Only)- Excavation and foundation complete.

3.) First Advance Received at 40% Complete- Roof on, building is weather protected, access secured.

4.) Second Advance Received at 65% Complete- Plumbing, drywall complete, furnace installed, etc.

5.) Third Advance Received at 85% Complete- Kitchen cupboards installed, bathroom completed, doors hung, etc.

6.) Fourth Advance Received at 100% complete.

Appraisals are done at every stage and the cost of each is deducted from each advance from the lender.

Courtesy of Ryan Oake – AMP, DLC Producers West Financial based in Langley, BC.

It’s all about the property

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 9 Jul

With all of the rule changes imposed by the federal and provincial governments around mortgage financing and real estate it may be more difficult to access financing. But don’t take it personally – sometimes it’s not you it’s the property.
When lenders underwrite your application for approval they look at you as a borrower but they also evaluate the property.

Here are some things to consider before you purchase.
The type of property — house, condo, duplex, heritage, etc.
1. Especially for condo properties the lender (and insurer if required) will look at the age of the building, the history of maintenance or lack there of and the location for marketability. Some lenders will limit their exposure with a maximum number of units in a building or avoid lending on buildings after a certain age for the property.
2. Properties with more than 4 units in them such as a 5-plex will be considered commercial real estate and the lender will evaluate on that basis.
3. Heritage homes (registered or designated) require a more detailed review and special consideration for financing.
4. Leasehold and co-op properties also have specific requirements for the maximum loan to value so more down payment may be required. More documentation will be required and interest rates will vary.

The location of the property— lenders always consider their risk in each market.
1. If the location limits the potential resale value for the building in the event of default by the borrower they may not lend on that property. Some lenders will reduce the loan amount for a building located out of major market areas or add a premium to the interest rate.
2. For properties with water access only or with no access to municipal utilities (water, heat, light and sewer) more details are required to assess the lender risk. Insurance coverage, water testing, seasonal access and condition of the property will be strong considerations.

The use for the property— personal or investment, recreational, previous activities.
1. If the owner occupied house has a suite then rental income may be considered.
2. If the house is purchased for investment then rental income is considered and the interest rate for rental rather than owner occupied is assigned. In these cases the rental income can increase the resale value of the property. However, the appraisal of the property will be reviewed to ensure the condition of the property and if any renovations were completed to add value.
3. There are lending options for a previous grow-op that come with higher interest rates and costs
4. In the case of a condo the property may have a commercial component in the building (shops below) or allowable space in the unit for business (live/work designation). In these cases some lenders may not have an appetite for financing. In some cases the lender may allow with approval by the insurer (CMHC, etc).
5. Purchasing a second home for recreational use will require a review if it is seasonal or year-round access.
6. If the property requires renovations the extent and cost to value of the property will be considered.

It is very important before you start looking at any property to talk with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker. This allows you to discuss the specific requirements for any variation in the type of property you may want to purchase and allow ample time for a full financing review before subject removal on a purchase.

For example:
If you shift from a standard condo to a lease-hold property your down payment amount will likely change.
If you want to move to a small rural town or to a small island you may have to pay a higher rate or have less options and more documentation required on the property.
If you buy a home in one province but may be transferred to another province, some lenders such as credit unions are provincially based so you can’t port the mortgage.
If the condo you wish to buy has no deprecation report, a low contingency fund or big special levies pending, these will all be a red flag for the lender and should be a strong consideration for you as a buyer. A more thorough review will be required.

Courtesy of Pauline Tonkin, AMP – DLC Innovative Mortgage Solutions based in Coquitlam, BC.

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