30 Sep

How are Canadian Reverse Mortgages different than their US counterparts!

General

Posted by: Jeannie Stace-Smith

Interesting article to debunk some of the myths around reverse mortgages!

REVERSE MORTGAGES IN CANADA DIFFER GREATLY FROM THOSE IN THE U.S.

How much do you really know about reverse mortgages? Maybe you know that reverse mortgages can help Canadians 55+ access the equity in their home, tax-free. But there are many people who mistakenly think that Canadian reverse mortgages are just like those offered in the U.S. As Canada’s leading provider of reverse mortgages, HomeEquity Bank can help set the record straight.

Canadian reverse mortgages are an increasingly popular borrowing option for homeowners 55+.

Unlike in the U.S. where features and rates can fluctuate greatly between the many providers, HomeEquity Bank, the leading provider of reverse mortgages in Canada, is a federally regulated Schedule 1 Bank. This means that HomeEquity Bank has the same oversight and regulatory obligations that the big 6 Canadian banks have. With a trusted and secure bank backing the CHIP Reverse Mortgage, it becomes a great alternative to selling your home, and may be a better-suited lending solution when compared to a second mortgage or a line of credit. Homeowners can retire stress-free, without the worry of monthly payments. Plus, funds are tax free and don’t impact your OAS or CPP.

Here are some key differences that set our reverse mortgages apart from those of our American neighbours.

In Canada:

  • Eligibility amount is up to 55% of your home’s value. Our conservative lending amount serves two purposes: Firstly, the amount you qualify for increases with age as the cost of living is expected to increase and other sources of retirement income deplete. Secondly, we provide a No Negative Equity Guarantee which ensures the loan balance doesn’t exceed the fair market value of your home.
  • Closing & administrative closing costs are $1,795. There are also standard legal and appraisal fees payable to third parties, as with any mortgage.
  • No monthly payments are required.

In the U.S.

  • Eligibility amount is up to 80% of your home’s value, according to the Federal Housing Authority.
  • Closing & administrative closing costs to a max of $6,000. A lender can charge the greater of $2,500 or 2% of the first $200,000 of your home’s value plus 1% of the amount over $200,000. HECM origination fees are capped at $6,000.
  • Monthly payments are required.

Tens of thousands of Canadians are already using the funds from a reverse mortgage to supplement their monthly income, pay off debt, travel, purchase a second property and more. To see how a reverse mortgage could work for you, contact you Dominion Lending Centres  Mortgage Broker today!

SUE PIMENTO
HomeEquity Bank – Vice President, Referred Sales, Eastern Canada
24 Sep

5 Mistakes First Time Home Buyers Should Avoid!!!!

General

Posted by: Jeannie Stace-Smith

5 MISTAKES FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS SHOULD AVOID

Buying a home might just be the biggest purchase of your life—it’s important to do your homework before jumping in! We have outlined the 5 mistakes first time homebuyers commonly make, and how you can avoid them and look like a Home Buying Champ.

1. Shopping Outside Your Budget
It’s always an excellent idea to get pre-approved prior to starting your house hunting. This can give you a clear idea of exactly what your finances are and what you can comfortably afford. Your Mortgage Broker will give you the maximum amount that you can spend on a house but that does not mean that you should spend that full amount. There are additional costs that you need to consider (Property Transfer Tax, Strata Fees, Legal Fees, Moving Costs) and leave room for in your budget. Stretching yourself too thin can lead to you being “House Rich and Cash Poor” something you will want to avoid. Instead, buying a home within your home-buying limit will allow you to be ready for any potential curveballs and to keep your savings on track.

2. Forgetting to Budget for Closing Costs
Most first-time buyers know about the down payment but fail to realize that there are a number of costs associated with closing on a home. These can be substantial and should not be overlooked. They include:
• Legal and Notary Fees
• Property Transfer Tax (though, as a First Time Home Buyer, you might be exempt from this cost).
• Home Inspection fees
There can also be other costs included depending on the type of mortgage and lender you work with (ex. Insurance premiums, broker/lender fees). Check with your broker and get an estimate of what the cost will be once you have your pre-approval completed.

3. Buying a Home on Looks Alone
It can be easy to fall in love with a home the minute you walk into it. Updated kitchen + bathrooms, beautifully redone flooring, new appliances…what’s not to like? But before putting in an offer on the home, be sure to look past the cosmetic upgrades. Ask questions such as:
• When was the roof last done?
• How old is the furnace?
• How old is the water heater?
• How old is the house itself? And what upgrades have been done to electrical, plumbing, etc.
• When were the windows last updated?

All of these things are necessary pieces to a home and are quite expensive to finance, especially as a first- time buyer. Look for a home that has solid, good bones. Cosmetic upgrades can be made later and are far less of a headache than these bigger upgrades.

4. Skipping the Home Inspection
In a red-hot housing market, a new trend is for homebuyers to skip the home inspection. This is one thing we recommend you do not skip! A home inspection can turn up so many unforeseen problems such as water damage, foundation cracks and other potential problems that would be expensive to have to repair down the road. The inspection report will provide you a handy checklist of all the things you should do to make sure your home is in great shape.

5. Not Using a Broker
We compare prices for everything: Cars, TV’s, Clothing…even groceries. So, it makes sense to shop around for your mortgage too! If you are relying solely on your bank to provide you with the best rate, you may be missing out on great opportunities that a mortgage broker can offer you. They can work with you to and multiple lenders to find the sharpest rate and the best product for your lifestyle.

Remember, when you are buying a home, you are not alone! The minute you decide to work with a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker you are bringing on a team of individuals who are there to help you through the process from start to finish.

GEOFF LEE
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Geoff is part of DLC GLM Mortgage Group based in Vancouver, BC.
20 Sep

Fixed rates lower than variable!!!!

General

Posted by: Jeannie Stace-Smith

FIXED RATES OUTWEIGHING VARIABLE

We are currently in a very unique situation when it comes to 5-year fixed and 5-year variable interest rates. For the first time in almost a decade, the lowest 5-year fixed interest rate is more than 0.30% lower than the lowest available variable interest rate for new mortgages. For some, their current variable rate is 0.80% higher than what a new 5-year fixed interest rate could be.

Why is this important?

Variable mortgage penalties are only equivalent to 3 month’s interest. On a $400,000 mortgage with a net variable rate of 3.10%, the penalty would only be $3,100 ($775 per $100,000 of mortgage debt).

What are the savings to switching to a lower rate?

The following is an excerpt from an email we have sent several clients recently. The numbers have been adjusted from their originals to protect clients.

$2,152.76 current monthly payment
$437,857.16 current outstanding balance
4 years and 0 months remaining on term and 24 years and 0 months remaining on amortization

$3,800 approximate penalty to break mortgage including discharge fee (legal fees and appraisal covered)

$2,061.88 new monthly payment on 5-year fixed rate
$437,857.16 new outstanding balance
4 years and 0 months remaining on term and 24 years and 0 months remaining on amortization

$90.88 savings per payment

Interest paid with current lender for remainder of term: $50,847.29
Principal paid with current lender for remainder of term: $52,485.19
Remaining balance at end of term: $385,371.97

Interest paid with new rate for remainder of term: $44,025.53
Principal paid with new rate for remainder of term: $54,944.71
Remaining balance at end of term with new rate: $382,912.45

For $3,800, this client has the potential to save almost $6,800 in interest, save $90.88 a month, while at the same time owing less on their total balance at the end of their term.

Now, this might not be for everyone. Variable, as you know, can go up and down. Locking into a 5-year fixed rate also takes away your ability to get out of your mortgage for only 3 months interest penalty compared to staying in a variable rate. For some people, maintaining the variable for an opportunity of having that rate drop below current 5-year fixed rates is worth waiting too.

There is no right or wrong decision. It is how you want your monthly payments structured and how much risk you want to allow for, both in rate variances and potential penalties.

To find out what kind of savings you could see with moving your variable rate into a fixed rate, please, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional today.

RYAN OAKE
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Ryan is part of DLC Producers West Financial based in Langley, BC
18 Sep

Find you Perfect Home!!!

General

Posted by: Jeannie Stace-Smith

Awesome article on the strengths and weaknesses of home types!

FIND YOUR PERFECT HOME TYPE

Single-family detached homes are the most popular choice of Canadian homeowners, but aspiring first-time homebuyers should consider all their options before starting their house hunt. Don’t overlook the perfect option for your family – you may be surprised by what’s out there, at or below your budget.

According to Statistics Canada, over half (55 per cent) of Canadian households have opted for the classic single-family detached house. While condos are a distant second with roughly a quarter of homeowners opting for them, they are significantly more popular in big metro areas like Toronto and Vancouver. Rounding out the homeowner choices at 17.8 per cent of households, are other housing options like row houses, semi-detached houses, mobile or modular homes, and other single-attached dwellings (such as urban infill homes).

What starter home is right for you? Read on for a look at the most common (and lesser known) home options. Consider all your options, so you can maximize your opportunity to find the perfect dwelling to call home sweet home.

SINGLE FAMILY DETACHED:
Definition: A single-family, standalone house that sits on its own lot
Strengths:
• Privacy
• Less noise from neighbours
• Consistent demand in established neighbourhoods
Considerations:
• Generally costs more to buy
• Maintenance costs
• Highly competitive market in large metro areas, which can include bidding wars and houses selling for well over asking price

SINGLE-FAMILY, SEMI-DETACHED:
Definition: A single-family house attached to another house on one side only
Strengths:
• More affordable to buy than a fully detached home
• Most of the privacy of a single family detached
• Can be more affordable to maintain than a fully detached home
Considerations:
• Less privacy than a detached home
• Some noise from neighbours through shared wall

DUPLEX:
Definition: A structure with two single-family units on separate levels
Strengths:
• Great way to reduce home purchase and carrying costs: live in one unit, rent the second one out
• Flexibility: move adult children or ageing parents into the second unit as needed down the road
Considerations:
• Less privacy than a single-family detached home
• Some noise from tenants through floor/ceiling

TOWNHOUSE OR ROWHOUSE:
Definition: A row of single-family homes, connected on both sides to the next home (except for the end units which are only connected on one side). All have their own separate yards. May be freehold or have condo-style shared ownership rights and responsibilities.
Strengths:
• More affordable to buy than a detached or demi-detached home
• Can be more affordable to maintain than a fully detached home
• Private yard
Considerations:
• Less privacy than a single-family detached home
• Some noise from neighbours through shared walls
• Condominium-style ownership include monthly condo fees/maintenance costs.

CONDOMINIUM:
Definition: Low- or high-rise buildings containing many apartment units. Units are individually owned, with shared ownership rights and responsibilities to the common areas and building.
Strengths:
• Affordable
• Swimming pool, fitness centre, party room and other shared amenities are standard
• Minimal maintenance work required
Considerations:
• Monthly condo/maintenance fees in addition to mortgage payments
• Less privacy/more noise with neighbours on all sides, plus shared common areas
• Typically smaller than detached or semi-detached homes

MODULAR or MOBILE HOME:
Definition: Factory-built homes delivered to a home-site for installation. The home is owned outright, while the land it sits on could be owned or rented.
Strengths:
• Affordable
• Flexibility: if you relocate, you could sell the mobile home in situ, or move it with you to a different home-site
• Useful in areas where it can be hard to build (due to climate or location)
Considerations:
• Less resale demand than other housing types
• Annual rent increases if renting land in a mobile home community

CARRIAGE HOUSE or URBAN INFILL:
Definition: A carriage house is located on the periphery of a single family detached house. Urban infill homes are a modern solution to crowded cities, re-purposing existing spaces in established residential or commercial areas to maximize use and reduce urban sprawl.
Strengths:
• Often located in interesting, urban environments
• Unique, character dwellings
• Often less expensive than a typical single-family detached house
Considerations:
• Limited inventory
• Potential for noise pollution in a busy location
• Limited or non-existent yard space
• Finding the right home for your needs means considering your lifestyle and budget now, as well as where you’ll be a few years down the road. Want more new-homeowner inspiration?

Contact Dominion Lending Centres to learn more about your options when it comes to buying and owning a home. Access more great articles and tips at www.homeownership.ca.

MARC SHENDALE
Genworth Canada – Vice President Business Development
16 Sep

Why Should You Use a Broker!!!

General

Posted by: Jeannie Stace-Smith

Great story from a broker here in Calgary.  Banks are not offering the best rates or solutions.  I am here to put you in the best solution for you and your family!  Call me if you are interested in a no obligation second opinion or just need some advise!!  Helping people with their homeownership dreams is my passion!!!

HELPING FAMILIES ONE AT A TIME

Every once in a while you get to help people out and make a real difference in their lives. Recently a couple was referred to me who wanted to renew their mortgage. The bank that they had been dealing with for over 20 years had offered them a 5 year fixed rate that was more than 1% higher than the going rate.

First I told them to accept the lender’s option for a 6 month open mortgage. While it had an interest rate twice as high as they usually pay, it’s open and we could switch them as soon as everything was done. I have had other lenders who automatically put people into a fixed rate 6 month mortgage if they did not hear back from the clients before the mortgage expired.

I was able to beat this rate without any difficulty, but I was wondering why they were offered such a high rate. On closer examination of their credit reports, I saw that in the three years since they had purchased their home, they had built up their credit card and line of credit debt up over $50,000. As a result, the debt ratios didn’t work with any lenders. Their lender knew this and decided to take advantage of the client and charge them a premium to renew.

What the bank was not counting on was a mortgage broker who doesn’t give up. Over the years, our brokerage has developed relationships with a variety of lenders. One of those lenders, a credit union, arranges RRSP loans for us. They were running a loan special with an interest rate of 4.95% for loans up to $50,000. I sent a copy of our application over to the credit union with my clients’ permission and they were able to consolidate $50,000 of the debt and lower the monthly payments by $500. In addition, they would be paying off all this debt in 5 years. Under the old 19% rate, it would take them 10-plus years to pay their credit cards.

Now I was able to arrange a loan and lower their payments by over $200 a month. As this took time to arrange the consolidation loan and then the mortgage switch approval, rates dropped again by another .10 basis points. I was able to get the mortgage rate lowered again saving the clients another $1080 over 60 months which paid for the higher interest rate they had for 2 months.
Now I have saved my clients $43,000 over the next 5 years. That was a good day. If you want to look at options for lowering your mortgage and credit debts be sure to speak to your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

DAVID COOKE
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
David is part of DLC Jencor Mortgages in Calgary, AB.

5 Sep

Bank of Canada Holds Rate Steady!

General

Posted by: Jeannie Stace-Smith

BANK OF CANADA HOLDS OVERNIGHT RATE STEADY AMID UNCERTAINTY

The Bank of Canada held the target overnight rate at steady at 1.75% for the seventh consecutive decision date but will monitor closely the impact of the US-China trade war on economic activity around the world and in Canada. The second-quarter growth–posted at 3.7%–exceeded the Bank’s forecast in the July Monetary Policy Report (MPR), but the Bank expects the economy to slow from that pace in the second half of the year.

Q2 was boosted by stronger energy production and robust export growth, both recovering from a weak Q1 performance. But evidence suggests that export growth slowed in July and could weaken further as the global economy slows. Canada bears the brunt of Chinese trade restrictions on Canadian agricultural imports. Housing activity also boosted the expansion in the second quarter as resales and housing starts picked up. Falling longer-term interest rates have driven down mortgage rates. The Bank asserted that “this could add to already-high household debt levels, although mortgage underwriting rules should help to contain the buildup of vulnerabilities.”

Wages picked up further last quarter, boosting labour income, yet consumption spending was unexpectedly soft. Canadian consumer confidence recorded its most significant monthly drop this year in August amid growing concerns about the global economic outlook. The setback reflects waning optimism about Canada’s economy and effectively reverses the pick-up in sentiment earlier this summer.

The deterioration in confidence coincides with the escalation of the U.S.-China trade war. Many Canadians increasingly worried they’ll soon feel a bigger impact. Consumers aren’t the only ones feeling the uncertainty as business investment weakened sharply in the second quarter. Trade tensions have hit farmers and manufacturers hardest. The U.S. implemented additional tariffs on China September 1 and have slated more on December 15. These include duties on clothing and electronics, will pinch US consumers where it hurts, in the pocketbooks. These moves will sideswipe Canada.

Despite all of this gloom, the central bank held off from signalling explicitly any immediate need to cut interest rates. While growth has been stronger than expected, inflation has remained on target.

“In sum, Canada’s economy is operating close to potential and inflation is on target. However, escalating trade conflicts and related uncertainty are taking a toll on the global and Canadian economies,” the central bank said in its statement. “In this context, the current degree of monetary policy stimulus remains appropriate.”

Market Interest Rates Are Tumbling

The Bank prefers to wait for more concrete evidence that the economy is in need of additional stimulus. Despite this, market interest rates have fallen to record lows in Canada and elsewhere and the yield curve is inverted. Government of Canada 5-year yields have slid from 1.85% to 1.15% this year, an incredible 38% decline. Ten-year returns are down from 1.92% to 1.13% (lower than the 5-year yield), and the 30-year bond yield has plunged from 2.13% to 1.40%.

Short-term interest rates are higher than longer-term yields. The overnight rate, controlled by the Bank of Canada, is 1.75%–well above all of these long-term yields. The 3-month bill rate is at 1.62%, almost 50 basis points higher than the 5-year yield.

The posted mortgage rate is the qualifying rate for mortgage borrowers. It has barely moved this year, down only 15 basis points to 5.19%. Its stickiness at elevated levels has prevented many borrowers from taking advantage of today’s low contract mortgage rates.

Mortgage Rates Have Fallen Even More Than Bond Yields

According to Rate Spy, the best high-ratio 5-year fixed mortgage rate is at 2.25%, down 94 basis points from the 3.24% rate posted at the beginning of the year. Conventional high-ratio 5-year fixed mortgage rates are down 95 bps and refinance 5-year fixed rates have fallen 118 bps. Much of this phenomenon might be lenders playing catch-up as they were slow to cut fixed rates when interest rates began to fall at the end of last year.

DR. SHERRY COOPER
Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres
Sherry is an award-winning authority on finance and economics with over 30 years of bringing economic insights and clarity to Canadians.
3 Sep

Mortgage Strategies: Take me out to the Ball Game!

General

Posted by: Jeannie Stace-Smith

Happy Tuesday after the long weekend…With the baseball season winding down and the playoffs starting soon, here are some mortgage strategies so you don’t strike out!!!!

MORTGAGE STRATEGIES: TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME!

While most people start off their mortgage search by going after the lowest rate, what they are really after is the mortgage with the lowest cost. Then again, the majority of borrowers in Canada end up with a mortgage that is not the lowest rate nor the lowest cost. Strike 1!

Whether borrowers realize it or not, what is often more important to them is a mortgage with the lowest risk. So they end up with 5-year fixed mortgage that has a constant payment, which is usually not the lowest risk mortgage at all. Strike 2! Time to bring in a mortgage broker like myself or your local Dominion Lending broker to be the pinch hitter and go to bat for you.

There are 4 and only 4 mortgage strategies, and everything fits within these 4 strategies: Lowest Cost, Lowest Risk, Maximum Flexibility, and Lowest Payment. Expert investors think about financial transactions in these terms, and you should think about your mortgage in these terms too. Consider them like the 4 bases of a baseball diamond, you need to touch on every one of them to complete a home run. A mortgage broker like me or your local Dominion Lending Centres broker can help you prioritize your mortgage strategy based on your current financial goals, life situation, and risk tolerance, and the potential for various scenarios that could affect you over the term of the mortgage. You can’t achieve all 4 mortgage strategies together, there are trade-offs, but through strategic mortgage planning we can help guide you through the strategic options, help you determine the best strategy for you, and find the best mortgage products that fit your strategy.

So next time you are planning your mortgage, make sure to cover all 4 bases by thinking about The 4 Mortgage Strategies: Lowest Cost, Lowest Risk, Maximum Flexibility, and Lowest Payment, and get a mortgage broker like myself or your local Dominion Lending Centres broker to help you. Now that’s a Grand Slam!

TODD SKENE
Dominion Lending Centres – Mortgage Professional
Todd Skene is the founder of DLC Home SMART Mortgage with DLC Pilot Mortgage Group based in Vancouver, BC.