HOW TO SHOP FOR A MORTGAGE

Mortgage Tips Barb Horvat 24 Jul

For many people, a home will be the largest purchase of their life. It stands to reason then, that when you are shopping around for your mortgage you will want to take certain steps to ensure you are getting the sharpest rate and best product. We have a few pointers to make you a savvy shopper when you are out looking at different mortgages—get ready to take a few notes.

1. Do not always rely on the bank for the sharpest rates
Mortgage Brokers can often beat the bank rates by using different lenders. They can also often get you a SHARPER rate at your own bank simply because of the high volume that they do with them. Brokers have access to a number of different lenders giving you more options for not only the best rate, but also the best product for YOU.

2. Know your credit score
Your credit score is a large factor in your mortgage application. You need to know where you stand with your credit BEFORE you begin the process of shopping. All lenders will look at your credit history and score first then they build a file around that. A mortgage broker can obtain your credit score in mere minutes-all you have to do is ask.

3. Make it a one-stop shop
Avoid shopping from institution to institution. You may think that more options lead to better rates, but in fact lenders will frown upon you having your credit score pulled multiple times. This is where the benefits of using a broker come into play. They will pull your score ONE time only and use that to shop around with lenders for you. Really, it’s like having your own personal shopper!

4. Understand that the market will change.
Starting the shopping process knowing that the market you qualify in TODAY will adjust is key. Rates might be low right now, but new rules and implications can change things when you are up for renewal. Understand that you MUST be able to carry your mortgage payment on at a higher rate if new laws are put in place.

Keeping these 4 Savvy Shopper tips in mind when you are shopping for a mortgage can help set you up for success not only today, but for the future as well. Mortgages are not only about finding the best rate-but finding the best product too. A Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist can work with you and your unique situation to find you the best product for you—and as an added benefit do the shopping for you!

GEOFF LEE

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

GO LONG OR SHORT WITH YOUR RATE

Mortgage Tips Barb Horvat 9 Jun

With all the news about interest rates rising do you go long or short with your rate when you set up your mortgage?

After discussing your current life situation and answering some key questions with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker you can make some decisions and set your mortgage rate and term to best fit your needs. There are many interest rate terms to choose from (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10 year fixed and 3 and 5 year variable). If you are looking to lock in to a short or long term fixed rate, consider this:

A long-term mortgage makes sense if:

• If rates were on the rise and you could not take the hit. A long term rate gives you peace of mind.
• You don’t have a nest egg of savings or investments to fall back on
• You have little equity or net worth
• Your income could change based on a growing family or retirement for example

A short-term mortgage may be the way to go if:

• You expect to pay off large chunks of your mortgage or sell your home within the next three years
• You have a short remaining amortization (e.g. 5-6 years or less)
• Your credit is impaired and you need alternative lending till you repair your credit so you can qualify at a better rate in one year.
• You need to refinance in coming years to access your equity for education, investment purposes, etc
• You believe rates won’t rise soon and you have a short-term rate where you can make higher-than-required payments to maximize the reduction of your mortgage

With two year rates in the low two per cent, five-year fixed rates under three per cent and 10 year terms under four per cent there is enough of a spread that some borrowers can decide easily to go long or short with your rate. If you want flexibility go short. If you have little equity and want to play it safe maybe the long term rate for 5,7 or 10 years is for you. As rates shift upwards and the spread between the five and 10 year shortens you have to consider if a difference of .5 per cent in a rate may be so insignificant that locking in to a long term rate may make sense for some, while others will take the risk and continue to play the short game. We have seen the spread between the short and long term rates become slim which creates the opportunity for discussion. These are decisions you can only make once you run the numbers with your DLC mortgage broker.

Maybe it is time to add a call to your mortgage broker to review your mortgage plan.

PAULINE TONKIN

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Pauline is part of DLC Innovative Mortgage Solutions based in Coquitlam, BC.

 

SHOULD YOU RENEW OR SWITCH LENDERS?

Mortgage Tips Barb Horvat 8 Jun

Renew (the mortgage industry meaning): to remain with the current lender by simply signing the renewal letter that comes in the (e)mail.

Switch (again, the mortgage industry meaning): to move from the existing lender to a different lender without leveraging any additional funds/equity; the outstanding balance remains the same.

Is renewing your mortgage with the current lender the best option, or should you consider switching to a new lender? The answer is provided with some simple math. As mortgage consumers, we want to save as much money as possible, plain and simple.

Seventy percent of borrowers that currently hold a mortgage simply sign the renewal letter they get. Most of the time they are leaving 20 – 40 basis points or 0.20% – 0.40% on the table. This puts millions of dollars back into the pockets of the lenders and their shareholders.

There are times when the current lender does not offer the best market rate or product for your situation. How will you know you are getting the best rate for your scenario? By contacting Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional who works for you… not the lender.

So first things first: contact your DLC Mortgage Broker four months before the term matures to discuss the next term’s strategy. What do the next two, three or even five years look like? This will then lead to an interest-rate discussion. Can there be some money saved?

I have been working with a client over the past couple of weeks as her current mortgage is coming to maturity. Had she just signed at the bottom of the renewal letter she would have been overpaying by 30 basis points.

Current lender offered 2.84% for a 5-year Fixed term (Renew)

New lender offered 2.54% for a 5-year Fixed term (Switch)

Here’s what that looks like. Note the mortgage balance used was $330,000 (25-year amortization). This just happens to be the average mortgage amount in British Columbia.

Monthly Payment Annual Payment Payments Over 5 Yrs O/S Balance After 5 Yrs Interest Paid
2.84% $1,534.74 $18,416.88 $92,084.40 $281,194.12 $43,278.52
2.54% $1,484.87 $17,818.44 $89,092.20 $279,529.82 $38,622.02
Total Savings $49.87 $598.44 $2,992.20 $1,664.30 $4,656.50

The biggest saving is in the total interest saved over 5 years. At the end of the day this borrower saved $4,656.50. Guess what she decided to do? Yes, SWITCH lenders.

In this scenario, it will cost the borrower $0 to make a switch. Would you put four 1000-dollar bills, six 100-hundred-dollar bills, one 50-dollar bill, one five-dollar bill, one loonie and two quarters in the fire? No, you would not.

Bottom line, make sure you have a discussion with your independent Mortgage Broker before (potentially) burning thousands of dollars.

MICHAEL HALLETT

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Michael is part of DLC Producers West Financial based in Coquitlam, BC.

FIND YOUR PERFECT HOME TYPE

Mortgage Tips Barb Horvat 1 Jun

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

MARC SHENDALE

Genworth Canada – Vice President Business Development

MORTGAGE FACTS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY THIS SPRING

Mortgage Tips Barb Horvat 29 May

Buying a home can be a really exciting time, so the last thing we want is for you to be hit by any surprises. Let’s take a look at five things to keep in mind before you write an offer.

  1. Get your mortgage in place before you write an offer. Meeting or speaking to an actual person who will take your application and pull your credit is the best strategy. You will get a firm amount of how much of a mortgage you may qualify for. This is also a great time to make some decisions like if you want a fixed rate or variable rate, if you want a monthly or biweekly payment. You are far removed from stress of meeting any condition of financing dates at this time so you have the luxury of time to ask your questions.
  2.  Be ready to provide the necessary paperwork. If I was lending someone $300,000 I would want to know that they could pay me back and so would you I’m sure. You are going to be required to provide a lot of paperwork. Getting a complete list ahead of time and starting to gather it really makes it less stressful for you once the offer is accepted.
  3.  There are extra costs. It is not just a matter of having the down payment. You will also have to pay for legal fees, title insurance, property tax adjustment if necessary, mortgage default premiums and on and on. That is why you have to have at least five per cent down and an additional 1.5 per cent of the purchase price in your account to cover these costs. The banks also really like to see that you have a fallback position of extra cash in case you get sick or downsized.
  4.  You can get extra funds for improvements to the new home added to your mortgage. Most lenders allow up to $40,000 for upgrades. These have to be things such as flooring, windows, exterior, kitchen, bathroom or any other manner of upgrade which will stay with the property. The funds are held at the lawyer’s office until an appraiser verifies the work is complete so you will have to be able to cover any costs in the short term.
  5.  Here is how the process goes.

• You get the mortgage pre-approval
• Find a home and place an offer with a condition of financing date and likely a home inspection one as well
• The application is sent off for approval based on both you and the property and you provide all the necessary paperwork
• The bank says they are 100% happy with you and you say you are 100% happy with the offer of financing and you remove the financing condition. Do not make any changes to your financial picture after you remove the condition. It can be cancelled if you leave your job, take on more debt or rack up the credit cards.
• You meet with the lawyer to provide the balance of the down payment, cover the other costs
• Day of possession you are given the keys once it is confirmed that the funds have transferred to the seller
• Congrats! You own an home

This has been a crash course in buying a home, but there are so many resources online or available to you for free over the phone that it shouldn’t be too awful. Happy house hunting and we look forward to helping you at Dominion Lending Centres!

PAM PIKKERT

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Pam is part of DLC Regional Mortgage Group based in Red Deer, AB.