12 Feb

Double Income Families Driving Housing Market


Posted by: Darick Battaglia

No doubt you have thought about the affordability of the current Canadian housing market and chances are you have even thought about where houses prices will go in the future! Maybe you have parents that tell you stories of a different time when they bought their first house for less than you paid for your first car. Inflation accounts for some of the increase in prices, but there has to be something else (most likely lots of something elses).

In a recent study completed by Statistics Canada called: Employment patterns of families with children, 1976 to 2014, the study noted that…

“In 2014, 69% of couple families with at least one child under 16 years of age had two working parents, up from 36% in 1976.”

Said in another way (as it relates to affordability of housing)

In 1976, 36% of couple families with at least one child under 16 years of age had two working parents contributing to household income (including the mortgage). In 2014, this number jumped to 69%.

With almost 7 out of every 10 families having the ability to qualify for their mortgages using two incomes, it is no wonder that over the last 30 years house prices have increased significantly. As income is the main driver in affordability, double income families have more income than most single income families, so they can afford to spend more on housing.

So what does all this mean to you?

Well… if you are a single person or one half of a double income family, housing prices continue to go up, making housing less affordable. If you are considering getting into the market, making sure you look at all the mortgage options available to you and having a plan to pay off your mortgage is essential.

We here at Dominion Lending Centres would love to discuss your specific financial situation in order to help you arrange financing to purchase a home that suits your personal and family needs.

Contact us anytime!

Here is the complete study from Statistics Canada for your reading pleasure

Study: Employment patterns of families withchildren, 1976 to 2014
Released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time in The Daily, Wednesday, June 24, 2015 
In 2014, 69% of couple families with at least one child under 16 years of age had two working parents, up from 36%in 1976. This proportion increased in every province, but not equally among provinces.There were 2.8 million couple families with at least one child under 16 in 2014—the same number as in 1976.However, the number of such families with two earning parents rose from 1.0 million in 1976 to 1.9 million in 2014.Three-quarters of dual-earner families had two parents working on a full-time basis in 2014. This compared withtwo-thirds of dual-earner families in 1976.The share of couple families who had one working parent—single-earner families—declined from 59%in 1976 to 27% of couple families with children in 2014.The proportion of couple families with no working parents was 4% in 2014. This compared with less than 6%in 1976.
The number of families with a stay-at-home parent declines
Among single-earner families, some had a working parent, and a parent that was unemployed, going to school or permanently unable to work. Others had a working parent and a stay-at-home parent.Between 1976 and 2014, the number of single-earner families with a stay-at-home parent declined from 1.5 millionto 500,000. In other words, couple families with one stay-at-home parent represented less than one-fifth of couplefamilies with children in 2014, down from more than half in 1976.In 11% of cases, the stay-at-home parent was the father in 2014. This was the case with less than 2% of couplefamilies with a stay-at-home parent in 1976.
Provincial differences in dual-earner families and families with a stay-at-home parent
Both the proportion of dual-earner families and families with a stay-at-home parent varied among provinces.In 2014, Saskatchewan (74%) and Quebec (73%) had the highest proportions of dual-earning families amongcouple families with children. In 1976, the corresponding proportions were 40% for Saskatchewan and 29% for Quebec.The lowest proportion of dual-earner families was in Alberta, with 65% in 2014. Alberta, however, had the highestproportion of dual-earner families in 1976 (with 43%), which suggests that the proportion of dual-earner familiesrose less rapidly in this province.

Courtesy of Joe Tomkins, AMP – DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts 

11 Feb

5 Steps To Obtaining the RIGHT Mortgage


Posted by: Darick Battaglia

Here are the steps you need to follow to ensure you get a mortgage that’s right for you!

Step One: Pre-Qualify & Strategize!

Step one is to get pre-qualified, which should not be confused with the term pre-approved. The big difference is that no approval is ever given by a lender until they have an opportunity to examine the property that you wish to purchase. Obviously that can’t happen before you actually go home shopping. Pre-qualifying will first focus on your credit, your debt load, your income, and what type of mortgage you are looking for. The best part is that an independent mortgage broker can do this in person at your house or our office, over the phone, or online through a secure mortgage application.

Once your mortgage broker has all the basic information, it’s time to find out what you’re financial and homeownership goals are. As mortgage brokers that ‘custom build’ mortgages to your specifications, this information is imperative in allowing them to seek out a lender and a mortgage product that will help you meet your goals. You’ll want to be sure you are getting a great rate, but just as important as rate are the other features of your mortgage such as pay down strategies, pre-payment privileges, and exit strategies. There’s a lot more to a mortgage than rate! Once you have selected the lender, product and strategies that meet your needs, you will know exactly what price range and quality of home you can look for!

Step Two: Find the Right Property

Once you have been pre-qualified, you can go house hunting! If you need a Realtor to help you with this, your mortgage broker can recommend a few for you to choose from.

Step Three: Approval

As soon as you have decided on the property you wish to buy, your mortgage broker will send your application and property information to the lender of your choice for approval. Once the lender has an opportunity to look at your application and the property you wish to buy, the lender will issue a “commitment” letter outlining the terms of the mortgage and any further documents they wish to see to verify your application information. Your mortgage broker will discuss the commitment from the lender with you and then forward any requested information to the lender for their review.

Step Four: The Lawyer’s Turn

At this point, the lender will have reviewed your supporting documents and notified your lawyer. Your lawyer will process all the necessary title changes and set up a time for you to meet with him to sign the mortgage documents and go over the fine print.

Step 5: Get the Keys!

By the day of your closing the mortgage lender will have sent the funds to your lawyer’s trust account. Your lawyer will communicate with the seller’s lawyer regarding an exchange of cash for keys and you are then the proud owner of your own home.

Understanding the mortgage process can help you see and understand how your entire team of professionals at Dominion Lending Centres work together to help you start your life in your new dream home!

Courtesy of Doug Cooper, AMP – DLC Key Financial 

10 Feb

Reverse Mortgage vs. Home Equity Loan


Posted by: Darick Battaglia

More and more Canadians are going into their retirement years without a lot of money saved in the bank. It is suggested that in order to live a financially comfortable retirement, couples should have saved 50-60% of their peak pre-retirement income, which equates to roughly $42,000 to $72,000 a year or $275,000 to $1,025,000. Singles should have saved 60-70% of their peak pre-retirement income, roughly $30,000 to $50,000 per year or $350,000 to $850,000. (Assuming mortgage is paid off and children are financially independent. All amounts based on 2014 dollars).

In a 2013 survey of 1,500 Canadians over the age of 50, only 2 out of ten households said they would have more than $250,000 saved for retirement. 50% of the households surveyed felt that they would consume their retirement savings within the first 10 years of retirement.

Because of these financial woes, many Canadian homeowners in their later years have considered taking out a home-equity loan or the option of a reverse mortgage to access the equity in their home.

Home-Equity Loan

Like a primary mortgage, a home equity loan lets you convert your home equity into cash. In fact, many refer to a home equity loan as a second mortgage, where you would receive the loan as a single lump-sum payment, and then you would make regular payments to pay off the principal and interest.

Another form of home-equity loan is the home equity line of credit (HELOC). A HELOC gives you the option to borrow up to a pre-approved credit limit, on an as needed basis. Therefore, with a home-equity loan, you would pay interest on the entire loan amount, whereas with a HELOC, you pay interest only on the money you withdraw. Since a HELOC is an adjustable loan, the payment changes as the interest rates fluctuate.

It is important to keep in mind that your home acts as collateral in a home-equity loan. So if you default on the loan, you risk losing your home to foreclosure.

Reverse Mortgage

With a reverse mortgage, instead of making payments to a lender, the lender will pay you, based on a percentage of the appraised value of the home, as well as factors such as your age and the age and the condition of the house.

You will continue to hold title to your home, but as soon as you become delinquent on the property taxes and/or insurance, the condition of the home is in disrepair, you move/sell the home or you pass away, the loan is then due for repayment.

Home Equity Loans, HELOCs and Reverse Mortgages are all options, which allow you to convert the home equity into cash, however, they differ in terms of credit, income, repayment, disbursement, age and equity requirements. Before you make any decisions, find out how to tailor your needs and requirements with the best product for your situation.

For more information on a reverse mortgage loan, contact a mortgage professional at Dominion Lending Centres.

Courtesy of Yvonne Ziomecki, Home Equity Bank – Senior Vice President – Marketing and Sales

9 Feb

New Credit Reporting and What It Says About You


Posted by: Darick Battaglia

New credit reporting and what it says about you and your spending habits may make all the difference between you buying a home now or later.

When home buyers contact me to apply for a mortgage, I always review their credit report with them along with the rest of their application, before they start looking at homes with a Realtor. If there are any issues with the credit history we can determine the reason, the next course of action and how it will impact financing a purchase.

There is a lot of valuable information in a credit report which provides an overview for lenders about your ability to borrow money. Consistent late payments, collections and bankruptcy have the biggest impact on lowering your score. Running a high balance or over your limit on your credit cards will also drive your credit score down. Scores range from 300-900 and a difference in score by as little as 50 points says a lot to a lender about you as the borrower. For example, a score of 550-599 represents 21% of delinquencies while a score of 600-649 only 11%. Delinquency rates are defined as those who have late payments beyond 90 days. If your score falls from one bracket to the lower bracket with late payments or collections, the difference can affect the interest rate you can receive or, worse yet, if you can qualify for the mortgage amount you need.

The most recent software update for the credit bureau reporting system has added some features which could have a significant impact on reporting. The new reports, which were released in early 2015, show three credit scores and one overall score.

The first score ranks based on open credit and balance to limit ratio. So if you have lots of open credit and your balances are low or reasonable the score is higher. High balances or over limit on all credit cards will drop your score.

The second score ranks based on late payments and collections over $250. If your late payments are beyond 90 days, your score will drop dramatically.

The third score ranks based on the number of third party collections in the last 3 years and the oldest revolving credit. So if you have outstanding parking tickets or an unpaid gym membership that you forgot about — they will come back to haunt you.

These individual scores were created to show specific behaviour by a borrower and if the credit score is trending up or down. This can give the lender an indication of a chronic issues with a potential borrower or if they are consistent with their credit usage.

With mortgage payments, lines of credit, auto loans, credit cards and even cell phone bills now reporting on the credit report,  consumers have to be diligent with spending and paying bills on time.

I recommend to all my clients to keep your credit report clean — after all, it is your identity.

Establish at least two trade lines of a minimum of $2,000. One credit card and one personal line of credit for example.

Maintain lower balances (< 65%) on all lines of credit or credit cards.

Make payments a few days before they are due to ensure you are always on time

If you get a parking ticket, fight it and lose – pay the bill and don’t let it go to collection.

Look at your credit report annually and certainly 3-6 months before making any major purchase such as a car or home. To view your own credit report visit www.equifax.ca.

Courtesy of Pauline Tonkin, AMP – DLC Innovative Mortgage Solutions 

8 Feb

Top 8 Benefits of Using a Mortgage Broker


Posted by: Darick Battaglia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of Geoff Lee, AMP – DLC GLM Mortgage Group 

5 Feb

The Real Value of Title Insurance


Posted by: Darick Battaglia

I am often asked by clients about the real value of title insurance, why they need to have and pay for it.  Whether you are a home buyer or a home owner simply refinancing the mortgage on your home, you will need title insurance.  Once I explain the reason and need for title insurance, the majority of home owners accept the cost and see the real value of title insurance.

Title insurance includes a lender portion policy and the homeowner has the option to add a Homeowner Policy portion.

Lenders request the insurance to protect against title fraud and the high costs associated with this growing crime. However, there are more benefits to this insurance for the homeowner.

1. The policy transfers risks related to title of the property from the home buyer to title insurance provider. So if any delays or issues occur on title during the purchase, the insurance provider will resolve it and the associated costs.

2. The Homeowner Policy also covers losses associated with survey issues and title defects that existed prior to the home purchase as well as title fraud occurring after the policy is issued. Coverage continues after the purchase for as long as the owners own the home. Title insurance covers losses resulting from many risks not directly related to title, such as: structures or renovations previously completed without required permits, unknown work orders, encroachments, liens, zoning and by-law violations.

3. The policy protects the homeowner against any future title fraud on the property. For properties that are clear title with no mortgage, there is a risk that a criminal can assign a mortgage against that property without the owner’s knowledge. They take the money and run leaving the homeowner with a mortgage and payments.

Who is at risk?

The easiest target is the homeowner with no existing mortgage. However, even a property owner with a mortgage can become a victim. In both cases, mortgage funds are usually sent to a third party and are often unrecoverable. For this reason, lenders want homeowners to acquire title insurance to transfer the cost to fight the case and cover the costs to the title insurance provider.

What can the homeowner expect if they are a victim of title fraud?

The immediate issue for homeowners in a real estate title fraud situation is the homeowner is responsible to prove the crime occurred. During that time they could be responsible for a mortgage and the payments. If unpaid, this can result in foreclosure by the lender and a record of the late payments on the owner’s credit report.

If you become a victim in a real estate title fraud, it can take considerable time and money such as:

* Costs for legal fees to show proof you are the victim
* Lost opportunities to sell or buy another property
* Mental distress
* Possibility of losing your home to foreclosure by the lender
Title insurance covers the legal expenses and many other costs related to restoring title in cases of real estate title fraud.

For homeowners who did not obtain title insurance when they bought their home, the protection title insurance can be purchased any time.

If you are buying a home, your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional and your lawyer will discuss title insurance with you. If you are a current homeowner who wishes to obtain title insurance, contact your lawyer or a title insurance company. I have provided some links below for your reference. Fees range depending on the value of the property.

The first link below outlines costs.

Have a great day!

Courtesy of Pauline Tonkin, AMP – DLC Innovative Mortgage Solutions 

4 Feb

Property Assessments vs. Market Value


Posted by: Darick Battaglia

Short Version:

Do not rely on BC assessment for a value.

Do not rely on a buyer in a private transaction for a value.

Do not rely on your neighbours, friends, or family members for a value.

Do consider a marketing appraisal, but do not rely on it 100%.

Do consider the evaluation by an experienced, active, local Realtor or two, ideally in combination with a marketing appraisal.

Gather professional opinions from people with their feet on the ground and their heads in the game.

Thank you.

Long Version:

Provincial Property Assessment notices have arrived in the mail, giving some homeowners a big smile and a bit more spring in their step (increased property taxes aside), while others wilt and lament at a modest gain or decrease in assessed value.

Hold on, though. Neither party’s emotions are tied to a true market value, and in fact, provincial property assessments can be significantly too high or too low. Values are determined in July of the previous year, and properties are rarely visited in person by provincial appraisers.

For this reason, provincial property assessments should never be relied upon as any sort of relevant indicator of true market value for the purposes of purchase, sale, or financing.

Think of the assessed value instead as something akin to a weather forecast, spanning far larger and more diverse areas than the unique ecosystem that is your neighbourhood, street, and specific property.

With that in mind though, the BC Assessment Authority does offer some useful tools for getting a high-level view of the market. Go to http://evaluebc.bcassessment.ca/ and start typing an address. You’ll get a drop-down window where you can click on the address you want. Here’s what you can find out:

Details on one address

These come up on the first screen and include: current and last year’s assessed value; size and rooms; legal description; sales history, and further details if the property is a manufactured home or multifamily building. There’s also an interactive map as well as links to information on neighbouring properties and sample comparative sold properties.

Neighbouring properties

Here you can compare the assessed value of houses in the immediate neighbourhood. Clicking on any property brings up further details.

Sample sold properties

Find comparable properties and see what they sold for and how their sold price compares to their assessed value. This is a great research tool for owners, sellers and buyers.

These tools can be a starting point, but if you’re looking to set a selling price on your own property, always enlist a professional, and ideally in a transactional situation, order an appraisal, which is a much more accurate reflection of current market values. It is timely and reflects value for zoning, renovations and/or other features unique to the property. An appraiser is an educated, licensed, and heavily regulated third party offering an unbiased valuation of the property in question.

What’s my home really worth?

Usually, market value is determined by what a buyer is willing to pay for a home, and what the seller is willing to accept.

A quick survey of recent sales and their relation to assessed values will tell you that there seems, in fact, to be no clear relationship between sale price and assessed value. It’s all over the map.

Ideally, turn to an experienced Realtor to help you determine the selling price of your home. A busy, local Realtor will have a far better handle on what is happening in your area for prices, and in many instances will save you from yourself.

In theory, a comprehensive current market review completed by a Realtor should not differ radically from the value determined by a professional appraiser.

Professional appraisers spend all day every day appraising properties, and, unlike a Realtor, they are paid for the work they do, and their reports are often seen (by buyers) as less biased. Imagine your reaction, as a buyer, to the following statements…

  1. The seller says their house is worth $500,000.
  2. The sellers’ Realtor says it’s worth $500,000.
  3. This house is listed at $500,000 based on a professional (marketing) appraisal.

Most buyers would consider #3 the most reliable. However, they will be ordering their own independent appraisal anyways.

In practice, Realtors are relied upon for listing price estimates. Most buyers don’t care much about what anybody else thinks the house is worth; they care what they think it is worth. It matters little what the professional appraisal says. This is why we say that market value is ultimately determined by what a buyer is willing to pay for the home, aligned with what is acceptable to the seller.

It is important to note that there are two kinds of professional appraisals. There is the marketing appraisal, such as one ordered by a seller. And there is the financing appraisal, which is done so the bank is satisfied the house is worth what the buyer and seller have agreed it’s worth. The financing appraisal is a less in depth review and is essentially answering the question; is this property worth the agreed upon purchase/sale price.

A marketing appraisal goes deeper (and costs more) but a lender is not concerned with the actual market value over and above the purchase/sale price. A lender just wants the simple question answered. It is a rare day that the appraisal for financing has a value that differs significantly, if it all, from the sale price. Therefore I don’t think one should be surprised if, when buying a home, they find that the appraisal comes in bang on at the purchase price. They usually do.

In summation

Do not rely on BC assessment for a value.

Do not rely on a buyer in a private transaction for a value.

Do not rely on your neighbours, friends, or family members for a value.

Do consider a marketing appraisal, but do not rely on it 100%

Do consider the evaluation by an experienced, active, local Realtor or two, ideally in combination with a marketing appraisal.

Gather professional opinions from people with their feet on the ground and their heads in the game – like the mortgage professionals at Dominion Lending Centres.

Courtesy of Dustan Woodhouse, AMP – DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts 

3 Feb

All Things Credit Report


Posted by: Darick Battaglia

Any time you apply for credit in the form of a credit card, personal loan, auto loan, or cell phone, the company lending you money will want to access your credit report first. Your credit report is a snapshot of how you have repaid your financial obligations in your past. Lenders will use this information to verify details about you, see your borrowing activities, credit applications and repayment history. Part of this information is used to make up your credit score.


Based on the information contained in your credit report, you will be assigned a credit score. What is my credit score, you ask? Your credit score is used by lenders to predict the probability that you will repay your future debt. Your credit score can change frequently based on multiple credit applications in a short time, missing payments and maxing out your available funds.


Depending on which company is calculating your credit score, you can expect a range anywhere from 300 at the lowest end up to 900 at the highest end. The higher your score, the better the probability you will repay your loan.

As far as mortgages are concerned, each lender has their own criteria for what scores they deem acceptable. Generally speaking, anything over 680 is considered good in most lender’s eyes and will give you access to the most lenders and the best rates. A score between 600-679 will give you a limited number of options and might not be the best rates. Anything below 600 will leave you with very few lenders and higher interest rates to account for added risk.


A number of different factors go into calculating your credit score. These factors are based on what someone does or doesn’t do with the credit they already have available. That is why the score changes frequently. Here are the 5 factors that determine your credit score:

The most important factor when calculating your credit score is your payment history. Creditors want to know if you will pay them back the money you are asking them to loan you.

Payment history reflects all the re-payments you make on your consumer debts. Your creditors will report (monthly) every time you make a payment to your credit cards, lines of credit, auto loans, personal loans, student loans, cell phone bills on contract and any other debts you may have. Interestingly enough, mortgage payments are not reflected on your credit report.

Your payment history shows information about whether or not you have re-paid your debts as agreed, have deferred or missed payments, any past due payments, a history of late payments and if you have any debts in collection as well as any bankruptcy, judgments, or liens, etc.

Your score also reflects how recent any late payments or collection activities are. The older the information gets, the less it will impact your score.

When applying for new credit, how much you already owe is a big factor in determining your approved limit. Your current payments and debt obligations will help creditors access your level of debt and your ability to repay your debt obligations.

If you show multiple credit lines maxed out, say three credit cards and a line of credit, in the eyes of a lender the chances of you repaying new debt is low and thus you would be considered a high risk to default.

The amount of credit you use on an ongoing basis is considered as well. If you continually use 75% of your limit on your credit cards and lines of credit, this will affect your credit score negatively. Try to carry no more than 30% of your available credit on a month to month basis if practical.

If you’ve used credit for many years, your credit report should provide an accurate picture of how you use credit. For someone who has not used credit for a very long time, it is difficult to tell if they really know how to use credit responsibly.

Good or bad, most information will be automatically removed from someone’s credit report after 6 – 7 years, so the only way to keep a credit report active, is to use credit, at least very minimally, on an ongoing basis.

Time is needed to get a true picture of how responsible someone is with credit. This is why the length of your credit history is the third most important factor in your credit score calculation.

If you have recently obtained credit for the first time, your credit score will not be very strong. However, if you have been using credit responsibly for many years, this factor can work in your favour. If you need to apply for a low interest credit card to build your credit, apply online here.

Applying for new credit in a short time span can signify financial stress. If you are a smart consumer, you should always shop around to get the best deal. You might walk into seven different banks and credit unions to shop your mortgage and hear what they can offer you. Smart move, right? – wrong!

Every bank will want to run your credit report to access your creditworthiness and having multiple “hits” to you credit report in a short period will reflect negatively. One of the benefits of using a Mortgage Broker is we use one credit report and shop your business to multiple lenders.

This part of your credit score takes into account the number of times your credit has been checked in the last 5 years, the number of credit accounts you have recently opened, how much time has passed since you opened any new accounts and the time since your most recent credit inquiries. This part of your credit score will also evaluate whether or not you are re-establishing your credit history following past payment problems.

Different types of credit shed light on how you manage your money overall. For example, deferred interest or payment plans can indicate that you aren’t able to save up for purchases ahead of time. Consolidation loans mean that you’ve had difficulty paying your debts in the past. A line of credit is a revolving form of credit, like a credit card, and it’s easier to get into trouble with a revolving form of credit than with an installment loan where you make payments for a set amount of years and then it’s paid in full.

If you focus on managing your finances wisely and only apply for credit as you need it, this part of your score should take care of itself.


You may contact Equifax and Trans Union to access your credit report. They may charge you a fee.

Courtesy of Brent Shepheard, AMP – DLC Canadian Mortgage Evolution 

2 Feb

Tips to Painlessly Have Your Best Financial Year Ever


Posted by: Darick Battaglia

Welcome to the second month of 2016! We have all had a few weeks to settle in now and get back to reality and, as always, getting our finances in order is at the top of mind for many of us. Today we are going to look at a few tricks to help you navigate this as easily as possible.

1. Do you feel bogged down by the little payments? Consider refinancing your home to include all the little payments such as credit cards and smaller loans. Your overall monthly payment obligations can drop dramatically which in turn frees up your cash for your TFSA or other savings vessels.

2. Consider changing your payment frequency on your mortgage. Going from a biweekly payment to a biweekly accelerated will save you 2.4 years off your mortgage and thousands of dollars in interest. Failing that, consider the power of adding even $25 extra to each mortgage payment. In a year that is $300 if applied monthly which is $1,500 over five years. This cuts your mortgage down by three months way down the road. Small changes really add up.

3. Saving money is a discipline which is not contingent upon your level of income. If only the very wealthy could afford to save, then you would never hear of NBA players going bankrupt. I have seen clients making minimum wage with investment portfolios which greatly exceed those earning six figures a year. So all that being said, find yourself a professional financial planner and set a monthly automatic withdrawal. It’s way easier to save when it does not feel like a horrible and painful choice.

4. Call your credit card companies and get the best card you can. The annual fees on some cards can be quite high so you need to ensure you actually need the ‘perks’ the card gives you. If you carry a balance then you should make sure to ask for the lowest rate available. The difference between 19.99% and 12.99% adds up really quickly. While you have them on the phone and are negotiating like a boss for the best card possible, opt out of paper statements. Most companies charge you $2.00/month and it’s a nice little step you can take for the environment.

5. Get realistic with your spending. There is a terrific app brought to you by the makers of Quick Tax called MINT.com. You enter you banking and credit card info into this very secure and very free site and every time you make a purchase this app tracks it and allocates it to the proper category such as food etc. You can set a budget for every part of your life and receive notifications when you are nearing the limit you have set. It can be very eye opening to come face to face with your spending reality.

6. It’s a great idea annually to make sure your will is up to date. Life changes quickly and the last thing you want to deal with during this time is an incorrect will.

7. Another item for annual review is your insurance. Do you have enough or too much coverage? Are the beneficiaries reflected correctly? Are your homeowner and auto policies up to date and do they give you the coverage you want? One hour a year should be enough to give you piece of mind.

8. And finally, where could you save even more? Is your bank offering a better, all-inclusive plan to cut down on monthly fees? If not then maybe it’s time to look at your options. $25 a month per account really adds up. Is your cable cost efficient? Your cell phone provider remaining competitive? Are you opting for paperless statements to avoid unnecessary fees? If you saved even $50 between all of the above, that my friends adds up to $600 a year which you could put right against your mortgage in fact!

And there you have it, some pain free ways to keep your money. I mean it is your money after all. Have a great week!

Courtesy of Pam Pikkert, AMP – DLC Regional Mortgage Group 

1 Feb

Dream Big But Spend Less?


Posted by: Darick Battaglia

The bigger the better, right? We dream about our castle having an indoor swimming pool, a three car garage and a fully stocked wine cellar.

The reality for most of us is something much more modest and there’s nothing wrong with that. Why have the castle if you’re worried about next month’s mortgage payment? All the space in the world won’t allow you to hide from your monthly financial commitments.

It’s easy to bite off a bigger home than planned. You have a price limit when shopping for a home, but the house you saw two nights ago with your realtor is just slightly over your budget. The one you saw last night is just slightly more expensive then the last house. And on it goes.

Thankfully, financial institutions have checks in place to measure how much of your income is being spent on such things as credit cards, car payments, utilities and mortgage payments. That formula will tell you how much of a house you can afford. But what it doesn’t consider is future maintenance costs, unforeseen expenses and your lifestyle.

Ask yourself, if you buy to your limit are you prepared if something goes wrong with your home? Do you have the financial resources to replace the roof in two years? How about if the bathtub overflows and ruins your finished basement? And what about that trip to Europe or Mexico you like taking every year? You don’t want to be mortgage poor. You want life balance.

When buying a home, it’s not as simple as saying you can afford it then everything is great. Financial Institutions will tell you how expensive the house can be but only you can decide if it’s the best for you.

If you decide your dream home is not in your budget now, then look at something smaller. Maybe you can use the equity you build up in that home to put towards a bigger home down the road. Plan to make your dreams come true – and at Dominion Lending Centres, we can help.

Having the home of your dreams is great, but so is enjoying your life. There will always be a castle out there waiting for you!

Courtesy of Kevin Babin, AMP – DLC Canadian National