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What is Shadow Lending? The key things you need to know.

What is Shadow Lending? The Key Things You Need to Know Like “shadow flipping,” the term “shadow lending” gets a lot of negative press. What it means and when it can be helpful. As seen in REW.ca

Over the last few years, the media has done a great job of telling wild stories about how so-called shadow lenders are seducing Canadians with bad loans, only to foreclose and steal their houses. The term “shadow” evokes all the right imagery: the back-alley deal, thugs with pipe wrenches, extortion and envelopes full of money.

The expression “shadow lending” (or “shadow banking”) is actually quite vague. It is a catch-all phrase that usually describes any practice of private lending done outside the walls of a traditional bank. So, if your parents loaned you $50,000 for a down payment, they are shadow lenders.

The Bank of Canada states,bank Shadow banking refers to a set of activities, outside the formal banking system, that carry out similar functions to those performed by banks.” It goes on to say that “while the term ‘shadow banking’ tends to suggest something secretive or illicit… on the whole, shadow banking serves a useful purpose.”

And one such useful purpose is increasing the choice of mortgage products for consumers.

Having more choices is one of the major benefits of working with a mortgage broker. As it becomes more difficult to secure traditional mortgage financing, due to government intervention, the alternative lending space is stepping up and creating solutions for clients who would otherwise be turned away from homeownership.

In other words, while the banks continue to narrow their qualifications, alternative lenders (private mortgage lenders) are filling the void and creating products priced based on risk. Sure, these products might come at a higher rate than a traditional mortgage. But ask yourself, if the bank turned you down for a mortgage for whatever reason, wouldn’t you want to at least be able to consider more options?

Here’s when getting a private mortgage makes sense:Private-Mortgage-min

  • You are purchasing raw land or a unique property that traditional lenders won’t touch because it’s outside their lending criteria;
  • You are looking at buying a property to flip or a home that is in major disrepair, and need the funds to do the renovations;
  • You have been recently laid off or have lost your job for another reason, and you need money to tide you over while you are looking for a new job;
  • You need access to equity in your home and the penalty to break your current mortgage is too high;
  • You have credit issues such as a consumer proposal or bankruptcy and it is preventing you from getting a mortgage for the full amount that you need from a traditional lender and you need a “top up”;
  • You need to consolidate high interest debt, and due to bruised credit, you have been turned down by traditional lenders;
  • A divorce, illness or some other life-changing event has had a major negative impact on your credit rating or low income, and you need mortgage financing until you get back on your feet;
  • You need to take out equity from your property to get back into good standing with an existing mortgage that is in arrears, power of sale or foreclosure;
  • You are interested in purchasing a new home, you have a sizeable down payment, ideally at least 15% of the property value;
  • You have an existing property with a small mortgage that leaves you with a fair amount of equity in your property. Ideally you want the total of your existing mortgages and the new one to be at least 85 per cent of your property value or less.

Most private lenders will not provide loans that go beyond a loan to value (LTV) ratio of 75 to 85 per cent.canadalend_faq_btn

The following is a list of some of the questions you need to ask when dealing with a private mortgage lender.

Is there a loan document? Just like banks, private mortgage lenders should provide a loan document that details the terms and conditions that are listed below. You will know exactly what you will be committing yourself to by seeking the legal advice of a lawyer to represent you.

What are the term(s)? Typically, private lender mortgages only want short-term mortgages. Therefore, you should find out how long the term it is for. Normally they are from one to two years. The important thing to consider is that at the end of term you will be able to get refinanced. If you feel that your situation may not improve by the end of the term you should look to negotiate a longer term.

What is the interest rate? The rate is important as it forms the basis of your monthly payments. You might also consider what the renewal interest rate would be if you need to renew with a private lender, and you should get this rate beforehand. This is critical if at the end of the initial term, you are still challenged with refinancing options.

What is the amortization period, or is it interest payments only? The amortization period is how long it will take you to pay off the mortgage. Most private lenders will require you to make interest payments only or might have a longer amortization period (e.g. 35 to 40 years) in order to keep the monthly payments lower.

Is there a penalty for paying off the mortgage earlier? There are private lenders that offer open-term mortgages, which means you can pay off the mortgage at any time during the term without paying a penalty. While other offer closed mortgages and if payed of earlier, you would typically have to pay a three-month penalty interest.

What happens in the event of default? One of the most common defaults is missing a mortgage payment. Typically, mortgage lenders need to advise you that you are in default and need to give you a certain period of time to take care of the default. Like traditional lenders, if you do not take care of the default, it can lead to foreclosure.

Is there a cost-of-borrowing disclosure statement? Along with the loan document, there will also be a cost-of-borrowing disclosure statement, which means the lender will need to provide you will full disclosure on the costs of borrowing.

Will the private lender be registered on the title of your property? Just like your traditional lender, the private lender will register their interest on the title of the property.

Are the execution of the documents signed at your lawyer’s office? Yes, you will need to have your own lawyer and the private lender will have their own lawyer as well. Be advised that, you will be responsible to cover the cost of both yours and their lawyers’.

So, how do you protect yourself from falling victim to shadow lending (if, in fact, you can “fall victim” at all)? Actually quite easily. Don’t buy into the media hype!

After that, if you don’t understand the terms of a mortgage, ask questions. And, if you still don’t understand, ask more questions. At that point, if you still don’t understand, seek legal counsel. And if you don’t like the terms of the mortgage presented to you, simply don’t sign. Ultimately, no one is forcing you to sign mortgage documents.

At the end of the day, you should always seek professional advice and make informed decisions. It’s your money and your property, you have every right to spend it, or not, and sell it, or not, how you see fit.

 

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Frequently asked questions when buying a home

As seen in the Metro Vancouver New Home Guide.

What do lenders look at when qualifying me for a mortgage?

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

  • Income
  • Debts
  • Employment History
  • Credit history
  • Value and marketability of the property you wish to purchase.

How much can I qualify for when buying a home?

Conceptual image - percent growth

Conceptual image – percent growth

In order to determine the amount for which you will qualify, there are two calculations that are used. 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 not be more than 35% – 39% of your gross monthly income. For example, if your gross monthly income is $4,400, you should not be spending more than $1,716 in monthly housing expenses. Second, your Total Debt Service (TDS) ratio is calculated. 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 GDS and 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 by a Mortgage Expert. 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 when you are an employee. When you are self-employed it will depend if you are qualifying based on what you are declaring on your income tax then it will be 5% and at least 10% down payment when you are self-employed and qualifying with an “estimated” gross income instead of the incoming showing on your income tax return. In order to avoid paying mortgage default insurance, you need to have at least a 20% down payment

If I86809937 don’t have the full down payment amount, what can I do?

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. Also, you can borrow the down payment from a line of credit, loan or credit cards. However, in order to qualify you still have to be within the TDS ratios as mentioned above.

What else do I have to pay to purchase a home?

You will have to pay for the closing costs. The lenders require you to have in your bank account 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 (if applicable)
  • Cost to register property in land title office, etc.

What would be my mortgage payments?

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

What is better a fixed or variable rate mortgage?Discount

The answer to this question depends on your personal risk tolerance. 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 your financial situation can handle the fluctuations of a variable rate mortgage, this may save you some money over the long run.

What is the best interest rate that 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. Remember not to focus on the lowest interest rate but on finding the best mortgage with the most favorable terms and rate. While you might end up having a lower rate, it can end up costing you thousands of dollars of unnecessary costs in 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 680 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 50% 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 creditor is slower at reporting monthly transactions, this can have a significant impact on how other lenders view your application.
  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.

To get more details about these and other questions you might have, give us a call 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.