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The questions most commonly asked when buying a house!

What’s the best rate I can get?

Your credit score plays a big part in the interest rate for which you will qualify, as the riskier you appear as a borrower, the higher your rate will be. Rate is definitely not the most important aspect of a mortgage, however, as many rock-bottom rates often come from no frills mortgage products. In other words, even if you qualify for the lowest rate, you often have to give up other things such as pre-payments and portability privileges when opting for the lowest-rate product.

What’s the maximum mortgage amount for which I can qualify?

To determine the amount for which you will qualify, there are two calculations you will need to complete. The first is your Gross Debt Service (GDS) ratio. GDS looks at your proposed new housing costs (mortgage payments, taxes, heating costs and strata/condo fees, if applicable). Generally speaking, this amount should be no more than 39% of your gross monthly income. For example, if your gross monthly income is $4,000, you should not be spending more than $1,560 in monthly housing expenses. Second, you will need to calculate your Total Debt Service (TDS) ratio. The TDS ratio measures your total debt obligations (including housing costs, loans, car payments and credit card bills). Generally speaking, your TDS ratio should be no more than 42% – 44% of your gross monthly income. The TDS will depend on your credit. Keep in mind that these numbers are prescribed maximums and that you should strive for lower ratios for a more affordable lifestyle. Before falling in love with a potential new home, you may want to get pre-qualified. This will help you stay within your price range and spend your time looking at homes you can reasonably afford.

How much money do I need for a down payment?

The minimum down payment required is 5% of the purchase price of the home. And in order to avoid paying mortgage default insurance, you need to have at least a 20% down payment.

What happens if I don’t have the full down payment amount?

There are programs available that enable you to use other forms of down payment, such as from your RRSPs, or a gift from a parent, child or siblings.

What will a lender look at when qualifying me for a mortgage?

Most lenders look at five factors when determining whether you qualify for a mortgage:

  1. Income
  2. Debts
  3. Employment History
  4. Credit history
  5. Value of the Property you wish to purchase.

Should I go with a fixed or variable rate mortgage?

The answer to this question depends on your personal risk tolerance. If, for instance, you are a first-time homebuyer and/or you have a set budget that you can comfortably spend on your mortgage, it’s smart to lock into a fixed mortgage with predictable payments over a specific period of time. If, however, your financial situation can handle the fluctuations of a variable rate mortgage, this may save you some money over the long run.

What credit score do I need to qualify?

Generally speaking, you are a prime candidate for a mortgage if your credit score is 650 and above. The higher you score the better, as you will have more options and advantages. These days almost anyone can obtain a mortgage, but the key for those with lower credit scores their options will be more limited and interest rates could be higher.  But don’t worry consult a Mortgage Expert to see how they can help you in obtaining a mortgage.

What happens if my credit score isn’t great?

There are several things you can do to boost your credit fairly quickly. Following are five steps you can use to help attain a speedy credit score boost:

  1. Pay down credit cards. The number one way to increase your credit score is to pay down your credit cards so they are below 70% of your limits.
  2. Limit the use of credit cards. Racking up a large amount and then paying it off in monthly installments can hurt your credit score. If there is a balance at the end of the month, this affects your score.
  3. Check credit limits. If your lender is slower at reporting monthly transactions, this can have a significant impact on how other lenders view your file.
  4. Keep old cards. Older credit is better credit. If you stop using older credit cards, the issuers may stop updating your accounts. Use these cards periodically and then pay them off.
  5. Don’t let mistakes build up. Always dispute any mistakes or situations that may harm your score. If, for instance, a cell phone bill is incorrect and the company will not amend it, you can dispute this by making the credit bureau aware of the situation.

How much will I have to pay for closing costs?

As a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended that you put aside at least 1.5% of the purchase price (in addition to the down payment) strictly to cover closing costs. You must have this amount but it doesn’t mean you are going to spend it.  The following are some of the closing costs:

  • Legal costs
  • Property tax adjustments
  • Strata/condo fee adjustments
  • Cost to register property in land title office, etc.

How much will my mortgage payments be?

Monthly mortgage payments vary based on several factors, including: the size of your mortgage; whether you’re paying mortgage default insurance; your mortgage amortization; your interest rate; and your frequency of making mortgage payments.

To get more details about these and other questions you might have, give us a call at 778.893.0525 and we will be able to analyze your personal situation and provide you with more information so you can make an informed decision on buying your home.

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How much does rate matter?

Often times, borrowers are fixated on their mortgage rate because it’s the one aspect of their home financing they know to ask about. But, it’s important to look beyond mere rates into the bigger picture surrounding what’s significant when it comes to your specific mortgage needs.

If we dollarize the difference between 2.99% and 3.04%, for instance, it works out to an additional $2.66 in your monthly payment per $100,000 of your mortgage. Over the course of a five-year term, this culminates into just $159.60 per $100,000.

While “no-frills” mortgage products typically offer a lower – or more discounted – interest rate (like the 2.99% used in the example above), when compared with many other available products, the lower rate is really their only perk.

The biggest problem with looking at rate alone is that you may end up paying thousands of dollars in early payout penalties if you opt for a five-year fixed-rate mortgage, for instance, and then decide to move before the five years is up.

No-frills mortgage products won’t let you take your mortgage with you if you purchase another property before your mortgage term is up – eg., portability is not an option with this product. Portability is an important option that could save you money over the long term if the home of your dreams is within your reach before your mortgage term is up and rates have risen, which they have a tendency to do over a five-year period.

This type of product is only plausible for those who have minimal plans to take advantage of benefits that will help pay off your mortgage faster – such as prepayment privileges including lump-sum payments.

Essentially, this product is only ideal for: first-time homebuyers who want fixed payments and have limited opportunities to make lump-sum payments during the first five years of their mortgage; and property investors who need a low fixed rate and aren’t concerned with making lump-sum payments.

It’s understandable why these products may seem appealing. After all, not everyone feels they have the extra cash to put down a huge lump-sum payment. And who needs a portable mortgage if you’re not planning on moving any time soon?

But it’s important to remember that a lot can change over the course of five years – or whatever term you choose for your mortgage. You could get transferred, find a bigger house, have babies, change careers, etc. Five years is a long time to be anchored to something.

Many people won’t sign a cell phone contract for longer than three years that they can’t get out of, so why would they then sign a mortgage for five years that they can’t get out of?

The thing is, you can still obtain great mortgage savings without giving up the perks of traditional mortgages. For starters, many lenders are willing to offer significant discounts if you opt for a 30-day “quick close.

And there are many other ways to earn your own discounts. For instance, by switching to weekly or bi-weekly mortgage payments, or by obtaining a variable-rate mortgage but increasing your payments to match those of the going five-year fixed rate, you’ll be ahead of the typical discount of a no-frills product before you know it – and you won’t have to give up on options.

Banks don’t give anything away for free – they’re there to make money. That’s why it’s essential to discuss the full details surrounding the small print behind the low rates. It’s also important to take into account your longer-term goals and ensure your mortgage meets your unique needs now and into the future.