Versus (vs) – as compared to or as one of two choices; in contrast with.
At least once a day I get asked, what’s the difference between ‘this’ and ‘that’? With this in mind I put together some content that will hopefully provide some clarity in regards to a few of the more commonly asked questions.
Lawyer vs Notary
Most real estate deals are fairly straightforward, both a lawyer and notary can and will prepare the documents for you. If you are buying a home, they will: conduct a title search, obtain tax information and any additional information to prepare the Statement of Adjustments. Then they will prepare closing documents, including a title transfer, mortgage, property transfer tax forms and forward them to the seller’s lawyer/notary for execution. After you sign your papers, the lawyer or notary will register the transfer, mortgage documents and transfer funds to the seller’s lawyer/notary. Sometimes there are more complicated transactions, at this point one would need to decide LAWYER or NOTARY?
If something were to go wrong with your transaction, a notary cannot represent you in court of law, unlike a lawyer. Nor can the notaries represent and guide you through a dispute process. Notary also cannot advise you on legal matters, for example, if you go to a notary to convey a real estate file and you were to ask a legal question, such as, “I think my neighbour’s fence is on my land, what should I do?” the notary cannot give you advice on what your recourse is.
With regard to the fee structure, there isn’t much of a different these days. If you are unsure of which one to use, it’s always a good idea to phone a notary and a lawyer to describe the services you need and then decide from there.
Guarantor vs Co-signer
A co-signer is a co-owner that is registered on the title and is equally accountable for payments, while a guarantor personally guarantees the payments will be made if the original applicant defaults. However, the guarantor has no claim to the property as they’re not registered on the title. Typically a co-signer is added to a mortgage application to increase the income, which will assist with reducing the debt service ratios. Whereas a guarantor will be utilized if the applicant(s) has received past credit blemishes and needs to strengthen the file.
Title Insurance vs Survey Certificate
These two are slightly different but work in conjunction with one another. Title insurance is an assurance as to the state of title of any given property. In practical terms, it protects lenders and purchasers against loss or damage suffered due to survey problems, defects in title and other matters relating to title fraud. A survey certificate will typically show the lot boundaries, improvement locations and often the locations of any rights of ways or easements registered against the property. This will also assist a purchaser in determining whether any of the improvements on the property encroach on a neighbouring property or if there are improvements from an adjacent property that encroach on the subject property.
Joint Tenant vs Tenant in Common
When a property is held in joint tenancy, the situation is what I refer to as “the last man standing.” When one joint tenant dies, the entire property belongs to the remaining, surviving joint tenant(s). Only that last person can use his or her Will to give the property to someone else. Tenants in common is a different story. In this arrangement, each person owns a percentage that is registered in their name. They can then leave their share to someone in their Will or sell it (never mind the logistical problems of trying to sell one third of a house).
Switch/Transfer vs Re-finance
To switch/transfer one’s mortgage, it involves moving your current mortgage from one lender to another without changing anything except for the term and interest rate, amortization remains the same. If switching lenders within the term, there will likely be a penalty for breaking the mortgage, though often the savings in moving to another lender with a better rate will substantially outweigh the penalty. Doing a switch at the end of your mortgage term will allow you to completely avoid the penalty.
In re-financing a mortgage, the borrower is also likely taking advantage of lower rates whilst at the same time accessing equity. The reasons for this could range from; debt consolidation, renovation, purchasing a vacation home, post-secondary education, investment planning and so on… Two other major differences are when one wants to re-finance, the maximum loan is 80% of the market value whereas a switch/transfer lender can surpass the 80% mark as the mortgage amount does not change. And finally, with re-financing the mortgage will need to be disbursed and re-registered with the lender (or new lender) therefore a fee will be charged. With a switch/transfer, there is a possibility that there will be no extra fees charged.
Accelerated Bi-weekly vs Bi-weekly Payment Frequency
Nobody wants a mortgage and everyone that has one wants to pay it off faster, or at least they should. Payments are income streams that lenders blend a principal and interest amount into one payment with the goal to pay more principal than interest. As one gets further through the term the inevitable shift happens from paying more interest to paying more principal (P&I).
The bi-weekly payment is basically 12 monthly payments spread out over 26 installments or every other week. For example, if your monthly payment is $2,000 your total yearly mortgage payment will be $24,000. The bi-weekly or 26 payment equivalent is $923.08 ($24,000.08), the net amount remaining unchanged. To speed up the inevitable P&I shift, one might want to opt for accelerated bi-weekly payment frequency. This is the key to shortening or reducing the life of the mortgage (amortization). The accelerated repayment plan takes a 24 payment cycle and adds on 2 more payments of the same size, for a total of 26 payments or 1 extra payment every 12 months to total 13 payments. So you are paying slightly more each year, thus reducing the life of the mortgage. Using the same example from above, if your monthly payment was $2,000, adding two extra payments to the grand total, one’s yearly mortgage payment would be $28,000, with each payment now being $1,076.92.
Obviously if you have questions, we here at Dominion Lending Centres would love to answer them for you.
Courtesy of Michael Hallett, AMP – DLC Producers West Financial