JIDD HAPPENS

General Darick Battaglia 27 Feb

You may have heard people say “s@@t happens. In the mortgage broker world, JIDD happens. These are unexpected events that can turn a happy homeowners’ life upside down. JIDD consists of:

Job Loss – often unexpected and with no time to save for emergencies, things get ugly pretty quick. E.I. payments can run out leaving you with the option of buying food for the family or paying your mortgage.

Illness – Cancer treatments can be so hard on a person that even if it’s only a 5 minute radiation treatment, you are left feeling unable to work for the rest of the day. Short term disability plans usually top out a 75 per cent of your average salary. However, when you’re ill, your bills don’t drop by 25 per cent. In fact, they often increase due to extra medication, medical equipment rentals etc.

Death – one of the borrowers dies leaving the other person to pay out the mortgage by themselves on one income.

Divorce – once again one income where there were two and often expensive legal fees and bills that get forgotten in a tangle of emotions and a spouse moving out.
While you can find a job again or get over an illness, often there’s a period of time when you need to catch up on your bills and this is when people fall behind in their mortgage payments.

What should you do if you are in one of these situations?
Call all your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional and tell them what has happened. Let them know as soon as possible. They will look up your mortgage and let you know who the lender is and who your mortgage was insured with. They can guide you through the process of contacting the lender and insurer to see how they can help you out.
What can CMHC, Genworth or Canada Guaranty do for you? Depending on your circumstances they will allow you a forbearance which is a temporary mortgage payment deferral. They also may change your mortgage amortization lengthening it to lower your payments. They may also take your missed payments and just tack them on to your mortgage balance without a penalty. All these options are available but you have to contact your mortgage professional in order to get the ball rolling. JIDD happens but you’re not alone.

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

TRANSFERS AND SWITCHES

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 26 Feb

Transfer/Switches are when you opt to transfer your mortgage to a new lender in order to take advantage of a lower rate. A transfer/switch does not include additional money to the existing mortgage balance owing, your mortgage amount will remain the same, however lenders will allow you to increase the mortgage up to $3,000 to cover legal costs, possible appraisal fees and if applicable, penalty fees – more on that below.

*Note: If you do require new money or funds (more than $3,000.00) this would then be considered a refinance.

There are two scenarios where you would utilize a Transfer Switch:

1. When your mortgage term is up, and the mortgage is renewing with your existing lender. If you choose to transfer/switch your mortgage at renewal you will not have to pay a penalty. You will still need to qualify and there may be legal and appraisal costs associated with the transfer/switch, just as you would with a new mortgage. However, many lenders offer you the option to include the legal and appraisal fees into you new mortgage and some lenders may cover these costs for you.
2. The second scenario you may choose to do a transfer/switch is when you are in the middle of the term of your mortgage. The only reason you would do this is to take advantage of a lower rate which means a lower monthly payment. This would have to make sense financially for you to do as you will have a penalty associated with breaking the current mortgage.

If your mortgage is up for renewal, or if you are considering a transfer/switch in light of recent rate changes, a mortgage broker can assist you in making the right decision. Similar to when you first financed your mortgage, having a broker assist you gives you:

A DEDICATED INDIVIDUAL SHOPPING FOR YOU:
Reputable brokers have your best interest in mind first!

Your mortgage professional will shop the market to find the best overall cost of borrowing for the client. Broker’s will look at all angles of the product to ensure that the client is getting one that will suit their unique and specific needs. Not once will the client be expected to shop their mortgage around or to speak to the lender.

ACCESS TO THE BEST RATES & PRODUCTS
A mortgage professional has access to:
• Tier 1 banks in Canada
• Credit Unions
• Monoline Lenders
• Alternative Lenders
• Private Lenders

This extensive network of lender options allows brokers to ensure that you are not only getting the sharpest rate, but that the mortgage product is also aligned with the client’s needs.
Now, a few details that you should know before you transfer/switch your mortgage:

YOU WILL HAVE TO SUPPLY DOCUMENTS
Just like when you went through the process the first time, you will have to supply documents to the new lender in order to transfer/switch.

YOU MAY HAVE TO PAY OUT CERTAIN COSTS
As mentioned above, there costs associated with your transfer/switch. If your mortgage is up for renewal and you are opting to transfer/switch these may include admin and legal fees. If you are opting to transfer mid-term to take advantage of a lower rate with a different lender, these may include your penalty and legal/admin fees. However, many lenders will offer up to $3,000 financed into your mortgage to assist in covering these if applicable

YOU WILL HAVE TO QUALIFY UNDER CURRENT REGULATIONS
With a transfer/switch, you are required to pass any and all regulations and stress testing measures may be applicable, however If you are looking at a transfer/switch and your previous mortgage funded prior to November 30, 2016 old mortgage rules apply (no stress test is required). This means
• You are grandfathered in previous under mortgage rules
• You can qualify at the contract rate rather than the stress test of contract rate plus 2% or the benchmark rate (currently at 5.34%)
• In simple terms: no stress testing required.

Before you consider moving, you should run through the numbers with a broker and ensure you qualify. To find out more about stress testing measure, click here.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR PENALTY
If you are switching/transferring mid-term a penalty will apply to your mortgage. To find out what that penalty will look like, you can check out our article here, but we also encourage you to speak to your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker and have a clear understanding of what you will be paying out. If you are up for renewal and are looking to transfer, you will not have to pay a penalty and may or may not have the aforementioned fees associated with setting up the new mortgage with a new lender.

Remember, a broker is there to work with you to determine if a transfer/switch is right for you and to help you establish which lender will give you not only the best rate, but the most suitable mortgage product too!

Courtesy of Geoff Lee – AMP – DLC GLM Mortgage Group based in Vancouver, BC

MINIMUM DOWN PAYMENTS

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 22 Feb

Are you looking for that new dream home, or anything that will get you out of your current rental property so you can officially become a homeowner?

If so, what is the minimum amount you are required to put down?

Below are three different purchase price categories. Each one has their own minimum down payment requirements and we have included some important notes to also consider at those prices.

| $1-$500,000 | Minimum 5% Down Payment |

The lowest amount you need as a cash down payment for a purchase up to $500,000 is only 5% of the purchase price.
For a $300,000 home, this would be $15,000.
| $500,001 – $999,999 | Blended Down Payment |

The minimum down payment if your purchase price falls in this category is 5% on the first $500,000 and 10% on the remainder up to a million dollars.
For a $650,000 purchase price, you would be required to put down $25,000 (5% on amount up to $500,000) and $15,000 (10% of the amount above $500,000 [$150,000 in this case]) for a total minimum down payment of $40,000. This would be a 6.15% down payment.
| $1,000,000 + | Sliding Scale |

20% requirement on entire amount up to $1,250,000 and 50% down payment on amount over $1,250,000 subject to a 75% loan to value.
A $1,100,000 purchase price would be a minimum down payment of $220,000 (20%).
$1,350,000 purchase price would require $250,000 (20% on $1,250,000) plus an additional $50,000 (50% of amount above $1,250,000 [$100,000 in this case]).
Some lenders may make different exceptions depending on the strength of an application but, for the most part, the sliding scale information above is quite accurate.
There you have it! The three most common sized purchase prices and their required minimum down payment. Please keep in mind that almost all lenders will require you to have an additional 1.5% of the property value available in cash to cover all closing costs which may include, for example, lawyer fees, property transfer tax, and insurance.

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

5 REASONS WHY YOU DON’T QUALIFY FOR A MORTGAGE

General Darick Battaglia 21 Feb

It’s not just because of finances.

As a mortgage broker I receive calls from people who want to know how to qualify for a mortgage. Most of the time it comes down to finances but there are other reasons as well.
Here are the 5 most common reasons why your home mortgage loan application could be denied:

1. Too Much Debt

When home buyers seek a mortgage, the words “debt-to-income ratio” quickly enters into the vocabulary, and it’s not without reason. Too much debt is a red flag to lenders, signifying you may not be able to handle credit responsibly.
Lenders will analyze how much debt you carry and what percentage of your income it takes to pay your debt. Debt ration is just as important as your credit score and payment history.
Two affordability ratios you need to be aware of:
• Rule #1 – GROSS DEBT SERVICE (GDS) Your monthly housing costs are generally not supposed to exceed 32% of your gross monthly income.
• Rule #2 – TOTAL DEBT SERVICE (TDS) Your entire monthly debt payments should not exceed 42% of your gross monthly income.

If you don’t have a good debt to income ratio, don’t give up hope. You have options available including lowering your current debt levels and working with your Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker.

2. Poor Credit History

Some people don’t realize if they are late on their credit card/loan/mortgage payments the lender sends that information to the credit bureaus.
• Late/non payments on your credit report will make your score drop like a rock
• Exceeding your credit card limit, applying for more credit cards/loans will lower your score.
• Bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal will significantly impact your score, and stay on your credit report for up to 7 years.
Your credit history is a great way for a lender to tell whether you’re a risky investment or not. Lenders look not only at your minimum credit score, but also at whether you have a significant amount of late payments on your credit report.
Your Mortgage Broker will run your credit bureau to see if there are any challenges you need to be aware of.

3. Insufficient Income and Assets

With the high price of homes in the Vancouver & Toronto area, sometimes people simply don’t earn enough money to afford: mortgage payments, property taxes and strata fees along with their existing debt (credit cards, loans, lines of credit etc.).
You need to prove your previous 2 years’ income on your taxes with your Notice of Assessments (NOA). This is the summary form that the Federal Government sends back to you after you file your taxes, showing how much you filed for income and if you either owe money or received a refund.
If you can’t provide documentation to prove your income, then you will likely get denied for a home mortgage loan.
Some home buyers will need to provide more money for a down payment (perhaps a gift from their family) or try to purchase a home with suite income. In some cases, home buyers will need to add someone else on title of the home, in order to add their income to the mortgage application.

4. Down Payment is Too Small

A lender looks at the down payment as how much of an investment a buyer will be putting in their future home. Therefore, bigger is always better when it comes a down payment to satisfy your home mortgage loan application. Start saving now.
To qualify for a mortgage in Canada the minimum down payment is 5% for the purchase of an owner-occupied home and 20% for a rental property.
In Canada if you have less than 20% down payment, the federal government dictates that the home buyer must purchase CMHC Mortgage Default Insurance which is calculated as a percentage of the loan and is based on the size of your down payment. The more you borrow the higher percentage you will pay in insurance premiums.
For those with less than 20% down payment, the maximum amortization is 25 years, with more than 20% down payment 30-35 years (depending on the lender).

5. Inadequate Employment History

Most lenders will want to see a consistent employment history of 2 years when applying for a mortgage, because they want to know you’re able to hold down a job long enough to pay back the money they’ve loaned you.
To prove your employment, you will need to prove a Job Letter with salary details.

If you’ve been denied a mortgage, chances are it was because of one of the above five reasons. Don’t be deterred, with a little patience and some work on your end, you can put yourself in a position to get approved the next time you apply.

Courtesy of Kelly Hudson – AMP – DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts based in Richmond, BC.

TAX REBATES FOR HOMEOWNERS

General Darick Battaglia 20 Feb

It’s getting to be that time of year when we are collecting our tax receipts to file taxes and hopefully get a nice cheque back from CRA.

1st time homebuyer’s Tax Credit
If you purchases a home in 2018 don’t forget to apply for the $5,000 tax credit. This could result in up to $750 in cash back in your pocket. In order to qualify you must have purchased a home in 2018. It must be registered in your name or your spouse’s. You and your spouse can not have owned a home in the previous four years. What that means is if you owned a home 5 or 6 years ago you would qualify as a first time homebuyer because of the amount of time you had been renting and not a homeowner. Homes include mobile homes, modular and floating homes.

GST/HST New Housing Rebate
This rebate is for people who built a home during 2018 and they can apply for a tax rebate. However, they can also qualify if they owned a home and did major renovations such as adding an addition to a home.
Granny Suites – you may also qualify for this rebate if you converted a non-residential building into a residential property. That means that if you turned your garage or barn into a granny suite for you or a family member you can claim the rebate.
Co-op Shares – if you purchased shares in a housing co-op for you or a relation to live in as your primary residence , the rebate can also be claimed.

Land Transfer Tax Rebate
If you live in Ontario, B.C. or PEI you also may qualify for a fist time homebuyers rebate on the land transfer tax and for the city of Toronto you can apply for a $3,725 municipal land transfer tax rebate. Put it all together and there’s a lot of money available for first time homebuyers if they know they qualify.

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

7 REASONS WHY YOU NEED A GARAGE

General Darick Battaglia 13 Feb

Besides the obvious advantage of not having to go lug your groceries into the house in the rain, sleet or snow, there are a number of less obvious but important reasons to consider buying a home with a garage or building it sooner rather than later.
2- I just had $3,200 worth of hail damage repair done to my car from leaving it out in the driveway for 5 minutes one day. A garage protects your car from damage due to falling branches, flying debris like garbage can lids, drones and other hazards. The average vehicle price in Canada is now $38,000. Don’t you want to protect your investment?
3- Your car is more comfortable to enter as a garage keeps the car from reaching high temperatures or bitterly cold ones. In fact, cars warm up faster in the winter when they are in a garage.
4- Your car will last longer and look nicer longer. In addition to flying debris, UV rays can crack the vinyl on your dashboard, dry and crack leather upholstery, and by having engine oil and coolant warmer prevents internal damage to your engine.
5- Insurance companies love garages. Besides keeping your car safe, they prevent falls from ice and you drive off with better visibility for driving. You will save on car insurance as a result.
6- As your car isn’t as hot in the summer or as cool in the winter, you will save on gas by not having to use the A/C or heating as much.
7. Curb appeal – realtors say that a house with no cars in the driveway look larger and cleaner than listings with vehicles. You can sell your home faster and for more money with a garage. A house with a parking pad in back just does not look as nice as one with a garage.
If you want a garage at the home you are considering purchasing, you can add this to your mortgage as a Purchase Plus Improvements mortgage. If you already own a home and want a garage, ask your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional about Refinance Plus Improvements. With all these reasons for having a garage, why not get one now?

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

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOU’RE READY TO BUY HOUSE?

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 12 Feb

Here are 7 signs that you’re ready to buy your first home…

1. You have saved enough for the down payment
Most people think the biggest hurdle to overcome when buying a house is saving up a down payment. You normally need to save at least 5% of the purchase price as a down payment. This down payment shows that you have some of your own money invested in the house which gives the lender some comfort that you will protect your investment. Having the ability to save money is a great first sign you might be a future homeowner.
2. You have good credit
Having perfect credit isn’t a requirement to get approved for a mortgage in Canada. However, if your credit score is at least 650, your odds of getting approved are much higher. If your score is at least 620, you may qualify for a mortgage with as low as a 5% down payment. Lenders look at more than just your credit score. If you have not missed a single missed payment in the past 12 months this is a great sign that you’re more likely to qualify.
3. You can afford the mortgage payment
The amount of home you qualify for is tied to your debt to income ratio. It’s typically recommended to keep you spend no higher than 35% of your monthly income on housing related expense (Mortage, property tax and heating). If you’re renting a home, chances are that your mortgage payment will be close to what you’re paying in rent. Use our calculator to find out what your mortgage payment will be and how much you can afford. How much house can you afford calculator
4. You have steady employment
If you have been in the same job with the same employer for at least 1 year, you’re financially stable enough to have a mortgage. Having steady employment history is a good indicator that you’re ready to buy a house.
5. You don’t plan on moving to a new city anytime soon
We all dream of living somewhere different. Buying a house is better financially than renting, but only if you plan on staying put for 3 years. If you don’t have any immediate plans on changing cities, then buying is a great option for you. There’s a chance that home you buy today will increase in value in a few years. Buying a home is a great investment.
6. You have kids, or kids on the way
If you already have children, you most likely want to settle down into a nice neighborhood. Kids don’t like moving away from their school and friends, so buying a home makes the most logical sense. If you don’t have kids this doesn’t mean you’re not ready to buy a home, not at all.
7. You’re tired of renting
Renting is financially exhausting. You are basically paying someone else mortgage payment. You’re hurting your bank account and helping theirs. You might want to spruce your place up but as a renter, what’s the point. If you feel the need/want to upgrade your home, now is the time to buy. You will feel proud and a sense of accomplishment taking care of and improving your home. So, get your DIY skills ready.

Courtesy of Chris Cabel – AMP – DLC HomeHow Mortgage based in Calgary, AB.

GET TO KNOW TITLE INSURANCE

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 7 Feb

Are you officially Mortgage Free? CONGRATULATIONS! That is a monumental milestone to achieve!

With that significant accomplishment, you should look at obtaining a Title Insurance Policy. What most people don’t realize is that when you had a mortgage, the lender will likely have had this in place for you. Once your mortgage is paid out in full the insurance is no longer in place. It is crucial that once your final payment is made that you, as a home owner, now get a policy.

What is Title Insurance? Good question!

Title Insurance protects you, the homeowner. It’s not like traditional insurance in that it does not ONLY cover things that might happen, but it also covers things such as property defects that have already occurred in the past.

A title insurance homeowner policy will cover:

Forgery – If someone forges your signature on a registered document that entitles them to sell or mortgage your home.
Duty To Defend – If you experience title risk, the policy will cover the legal fees and costs associated with restoring and protecting your title.
Lack of Building Permits – Prior to purchasing the home, if there were renovations performed without the proper building permits you may be required to remove or fix the structure.
Fraud – If someone fraudulently transfers your property without your consent.
Encroachments – If a structure built by a previous owner is outside the property boundaries, or if a neighbour builds a structure that is on your property.
Title Insurance offers you peace of mind if anything should happen to your property once you are the owner. It is relatively low cost, on average coming in at $200-$400. It is a one-time purchase and does not need to be purchased each year. More than reasonable right?

If you are still on the fence about obtaining title insurance, we’ve recently had a client who experienced title fraud:

A woman went to her bank to make a payment on a line of credit that was secured by a mortgage on her property. When she arrived, she was told that her $30,000 line of credit had been paid in full and that according to the lawyer who sent the funds, her house had been sold.

This left her quite perplexed, so she followed up with the land registry office. They confirmed the sale of the property for $350,000 and that a new mortgage was registered on the property for $325,000. The woman was stunned to find out that she had been the victim of a title fraud scheme—and that the fraudsters had collected $350,000 on the deal.

Thankfully, in the above case the woman was covered by a Title Insurance Policy which fully covered all her legal fees to remove the mortgage from title and rightfully transfer it back to her. Having the coverage saved her approximately $12,000 in legal fees, time, and stress.

Your home is a sizable investment and one you worked hard to purchase! Title Insurance can protect you and your property should there be anything that comes up. For the $200-$400 it costs, we feel that’s a low-price tag for peace of mind. Ready to get a quote? Let us help you by contacting Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to set up your Title Insurance Policy!

Courtesy of Geoff Lee – AMP – DLC GLM Mortgage Group based in Vancouver, BC

WHAT QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN CONSIDERING A REFINANCE

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 6 Feb

Many of my clients and friends regularly ask me when or if they should consider a refinance. Here are 4 quick questions that I ask of them. The answer they give me, will very quickly tell me if we should be taking a deeper look at the mortgage refinance options available to them.

What do you believe the current value of your home is and what is the outstanding balance on your mortgage?
Have you ever heard your mortgage broker or banker talk about “loan to value”(LTV)? They are looking to determine what your outstanding balance of your mortgage is as a percentage of your property value. The reason we look at your LTV is because there are limits in Canada with respect to how large your mortgage can be based on the current value of your home. This gives your mortgage broker insight into how much equity or money you have access in the event that you were to refinance your mortgage.

What is the maturity date of your mortgage and your current rate/term length?
Understanding who your current lender is, what your maturity date is, and what your rate/term details are, will help your mortgage broker determine what type of penalty you might have for breaking your current mortgage contract. Knowing your rate will also give them the details they require to calculate the interest savings that you would receive from a refinance. When looking to refinance, your mortgage broker should be factoring these potential costs and overall interest savings into their overall benefits analysis when trying to determine if refinancing is the right option for you.

How is your household monthly cash flow impacting your short and long term financial goals?
Budget, budget, budget… this is one of those tools that we all know we should do, but it often gets very little of our attention each month. By understanding how much net income you have coming in each month and where that cash is going (cash flow) we can look at how a restructured mortgage could help. If you are finding that all of your money is disappearing each month and you’re having trouble getting by, a new mortgage can help restructure your monthly debt payments giving you some added breathing room. It is important to note that sometimes it is not about debt payments and it can be about high household expenses. Taking the time to assess your spending and cutting it back if necessary, might be enough to get you back on track. Check out our blog post on basic budgeting tips and tricks.

Looking at your outstanding debt, what are the current interest rates that you are paying and are you only making the minimum payments each month?
A quick snap shot of your current debt load, respective interest rates and monthly payments can give us some insight into how a refinance can save you interest. By understanding what your financial picture looks like and the amount of interest that you are currently paying to service that current debt, we can very quickly estimate how much interest you could save with a refinance. If you take a number of those high interest rate credit cards and roll them into a new, low interest rate mortgage, the savings can very quickly become quite substantial.

In closing, a refinance is a financial tool that can make a significant difference in your current financial picture. If you have reviewed the questions above and would like to take a closer look at your situation, there is never a better time than the present to make a change that will have a positive impact on your future.

Take the time to have a conversation with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker who can give you some insight into how a new mortgage could help you with a brighter financial future.

Courtesy of Nathan Lawrence – AMP – DLC Lakehead Financial based in Thunder Bay, ON.

POSTPONEMENT & STANDSTILL AGREEMENTS. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Mortgage Tips Darick Battaglia 1 Feb

Multiple Lenders are typical

Borrowers often have to access funding from more than one lender, to finance their operational requirements. For example, an operating company might have a day-to-day operating lender. They may also have a senior secured lender, a subordinated lender, and any number of unsecured lenders.

Real estate owners or developers often secure project financing from various lenders, often for specific purposes. For example, a condominium developer may source construction financing for the bulk of their projected costs. They may also secure a secondary tranche of “mezzanine” financing. This typically fills the gap between debt and equity requirements, as referenced in our post entitled The Capital Stack. What You Need to Know.

Intercreditor Agreements

Where multiple lenders are involved, Intercreditor Agreements are required, setting out the relative rights and priorities between them. The key purpose being to set out what happens in the event of a borrower default.

Why is this important for commercial real estate owners? Your lenders need certainty as to their relative rights, in relation to the various circumstances which may arise over the course of the financing. And as a property owner, you too need to know what your obligations are. What lender actions or responses can be expected in various circumstances.

Postponement and Subordination
The main provisions in an InterCreditor Agreement involving a commercial real estate project are typically a Subordination and Postponement. Typically for a lender in top or senior position (i.e. the First Mortgagee) will require any junior lender(s) to acknowledge that they rank behind the prior lender’s security interest in the property.

By signing the Postponement provision, the junior lender is acknowledging that the prior lender (often the 1st Mortgagee) has the right to be repaid first. In other words, the junior lender is agreeing that it cannot be repaid on its loan, until the prior lender’s loan is repaid.

Standstill Agreement
Not only is a junior lender obligated to postpone their security, they are most often also restricted in taking action in the event of a borrower default, without the senior or prior lender’s approval. In other words, they need to “stand still” and await the prior lender’s actions. Why? In the case of borrower default, the prior lender (typically the 1st Mortgagee) wishes to be in complete control of the situation. They do not want the subsequent lenders to commence mortgage enforcement actions of their own.

Your Take-Away
The important take-away for commercial real estate owners is to understand that sourcing multiple lenders to provide financing for your project is not unusual. In so doing, your lenders will negotiate Postponement and Standstill Agreements between themselves, often requiring Borrower acknowledgement as well.

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