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Difference between pre-qualified and pre-approved? – part 1

Determining how much house you can afford involves plenty of number crunching. Jorge and Alisa Aragon explain two stages on the road to mortgage approval – As seen in REW.ca 

Q: What is the difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval for a mortgage?

A: Pre-qualification is a relatively simple process where the mortgage broker or bank estimates both your borrowing power and the maximum amount of mortgage you can carry. This is done by providing information about your financial situation, such as your income, assets and debts. This easy and quick step doesn’t take into account your creditworthiness or involve a thorough analysis of your financial situation. It’s simply a place to start to estimate the price range of homes that you could qualify for. As mortgage experts, we do this during our initial meeting to give you a rough idea how much you will be able to qualify for. Pre-approval is a more in-depth analysis of your financial situation, as you will complete an application and provide consent for the lender to obtain your credit report. At this point, the lender has more detailed information on your income, assets and liabilities, and your information has been checked and verified. Your credit report has been pulled to learn about your credit score, history and credit worthiness. Based on this information, the lender will issue a pre-approval letter letting you know what you are likely to be approved for a mortgage and the amount you may be approved for. The pre-approvals can also guarantee current mortgage rates for up to 120 days. It is important to acknowledge that you are not guaranteed to get a mortgage if you are pre-qualified or pre-approved. Many things can happen during the process, and some lenders may give a pre-approval letter without actually verifying your information. Talk to a mortgage expert to get the pre-qualification/pre-approval process started and get you on the road to homeownership.

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What it means to you with the increase in mortgage premiums from CMHC?

On Friday, CMHC (Canadian Mortgage & Housing Corporation) announced that it will be increasing its mortgage insurance premiums for homeowners and 1-4 unit rental properties premium effective May 1, 2014.

Homebuyers is Canada are required by law to purchase mortgage insurance when they put less than 20% down payment on the purchase price of the home. The homeowner is required to pay for the insurance in case they default on their mortgage and it is a protection for the lender. The increase to the premium will be an average of about 15% more to insure mortgages. This premium is added to the mortgage amount and it is paid throughout the life of the mortgage (amortization period). The increase in premium will affect any purchases that occur on or after May 1, 2014.

There majority of the insurance is provided by CMHC and there are two private insurers to include Genworth Financial and Canada Guarantee. Genworth Financial followed suit by increasing its’ premiums on Friday and most likely Canada Guarantee will do the same.

Prior to the announcement, the premium ranged between 0.5% to 2.75%. As of May 1st, the premiums will range from 0.6% to 3.15%. The premiums charged depend on the amount of the down payment. With a 5% down payment the new premium will be 3.15% and 2.40% for a 10% down payment.

For example, prior to the announcement with a $400,000 home purchase and a 5% down payment the insurance premium would be $10,450. After May 1st, the premium would increase by $1,520 which would translate to $7.29 more per month with a 25 year amortization and a 5 year, fixed rate of 3.09%.

To read more about the CMHC announcement 

As always, we would be pleased to answer any questions you might have.


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There are stricter debt ratio standards on the way as CMHC tightens mortgage rules.

There are stricter debt ratio standards on the way as CMHC tightens mortgage rules.

We are committed to keep you informed so you can take advantage of current guidelines. If you are looking at purchasing, refinancing or investing before the new guidelines come into effect at the end of this year, give us a call so we can find the best options for you.

When CMHC tightened mortgage rules last year, among the changes were stricter debt ratios and income confirmations. For typical borrowers, these are key factors in determining whether or not you’ll get a mortgage. If you’re close to the line on debt and income, last year’s changes have made it more difficult for you to qualify. And unfortunately, things are about to get even more difficult!

CMHC has issued new guidelines for calculating debt ratios and confirming income documents. While most lenders have already been following these rules, CMHC is now closing the “loopholes” that allowed some lenders to offer easier approval for borrowers with tight debt ratios. Here are some of the rules that have been clarified:

  • If you have variable income from things like bonuses, tips and investment income, lenders must use an amount not exceeding the average income of the past two years.
  • If you own other non-owner-occupied rental properties, the principal, interest, property taxes and heat on those properties must be deducted from gross rent revenue or included in “other debt obligations” when Total Debt Service ratio is calculated.
  • For unsecured credit lines and credit cards, no less than 3% of the outstanding balance must be included in monthly debt payments.
  • For secured lines of credit, lenders must factor in “the equivalent” of a payment that’s based on “the outstanding balance amortized over 25 years.”
  • For heating costs, lenders must obtain the actual heating cost records of a property or use a set heating cost formula. This can double or triple the cost factored into debt ratios on larger properties, and reduce it on smaller ones.

Since the new rules take effect on December 31, 2013, it’s important to talk to contact us today  to find the best options with the current guidelines. We still have access to a select group of lenders who may be able to provide the mortgage approval you need. For more information, call us today at 778.893.0525!


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Take advantage of the first-time new home buyers’ bonus up to $10,000

If you are a first-time new home buyer, you still have time to qualify for the bonus up to $10,000.  You must occupy or take possesion of the home by April 1, 2013.

Requirements to Qualify for the Bonus

ELIGIBLE FIRST-TIME NEW HOME BUYER

You will qualify as a first-time new home buyer if:

  • You purchase or build an eligible new home located in B.C.;
  • You, or for couples, you and your spouse or common law partner, have never previously owned a primary residence;
  • You file a 2011 B.C. resident personal income tax return, or if you move to B.C. after December 31, 2011, you file a 2012 B.C. resident personal income tax return (you will not be eligible for the bonus if you move to B.C. after December 31, 2012);
  • You are eligible for the B.C. HST New Housing Rebate; and
  • You intend to live in the home as your primary residence.

ELIGIBLE NEW HOME

An eligible new home includes new homes (i.e., newly constructed and substantially renovated homes) that are purchased from a builder and that are owner-built. The bonus will be available in respect of new homes purchased from a builder where:

  • A written agreement of purchase and sale is entered into on or after February 21, 2012;
  • HST is payable on the home (e.g., HST will generally be payable if ownership or possession of the home transfers before April 1, 2013 – see further details below); and
  • No one else has claimed a bonus in respect of the home.

The bonus will be available in respect of owner-built homes where:

  • A written agreement of purchase and sale in respect of the land and building is entered into on or after February 21, 2012;
  • Construction of the home is complete, or the home is occupied, before April 1, 2013; and
  • No one else has claimed a bonus in respect of the home.

A substantially renovated home is one where all or substantially all of the interior of a building has been removed or replaced. Generally, 90% or more of the interior of the house must be renovated to qualify as a substantially renovated home (90% test).

Amount of the Bonus

MAXIMUM AMOUNT

The bonus is equal to 5% of the purchase price of the home (or in the case of owner-built homes, 5% of the land and construction costs subject to HST) to a maximum of $10,000.

PHASE-OUT FOR HIGHER INCOME EARNERS

The bonus will be reduced based on an individual’s/couple’s net income (line 236 of your income tax return) using the following formula:

  • For single individuals, the bonus is reduced by 20 cents for every dollar in net income over $150,000 (bonus is reduced to zero at $200,000 net income).
  • For couples, the bonus is reduced by 10 cents for every dollar in family net income over $150,000 (bonus is reduced to zero at $250,000 family net income).

Additional Information

APPLICATION PROCESS

Individuals must apply for the bonus through the B.C. government. Individuals can apply once application forms have been posted on the B.C. Ministry of Finance website later this year. Applicants will be required to submit documentation demonstrating eligibility for the bonus.

ELIGIBLE NEW HOME

The bonus is available in respect of new homes (i.e., newly constructed and substantially renovated homes) where HST is payable. HST will generally be payable on homes purchased from a builder where ownership or possession transfer before April 1, 2013. Potential buyers should consult with the builder to determine if the home will be subject to the HST.

For owner-built homes, the bonus will be based on land and construction costs subject to the HST.

Eligible new homes will include:

  • Detached Houses, semi-detached houses, duplexes and townhouses,
  • Residential condominium units,
  • Mobile homes and floating homes, and
  • Residential units in a cooperative housing corporation.

Please let us know if you have any questions.

INCOME TAXATION BRANCH
Ministry of Finance
Province of British Columbia
Telephone: (250) 387-3332 or 1 (877) 387-3332
Email: ITBTaxQuestions@gov.bc.ca