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What If I Don’t Have the Full Down Payment?

Raising a down payment can be the trickiest part of buying in Vancouver’s hot market – but some programs may help. As seen in REW.ca

Q: I really want to put in an offer on a condo, but I haven’t raised the full down payment amount yet? Do I have any options?

A: The minimum down payment required is 5 per cent of the purchase price of the home you are buying – if you are employed. For those who 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 per cent, and at least 10 per cent if you are self-employed and qualifying with an “estimated” gross income instead of the income showing on your tax return. And if you want to avoid paying mortgage default insurance, you need to have at least a 20 per cent down payment.

However, there are programs available that enable you to use other forms of down payment when you don’t have the full down payment.

  • RRSPs: If you are a first-time home buyer,income-report you can use up to $25,000 from your RRSP without paying any personal taxes. However, you will have to repay any amount withdrawn from your RRSP for down payment of a home purchase.
  • Gift from a family member: You can get money gifted from a parent, child or sibling to go towards the down payment. The lender will ask that the person that is giving you the gift signs a letter stating that the funds are a gift and are not to be repaid.
  • Borrowed down payment: You can borrow from a line of credit, get a loan or use your credit cards to complete your down payment. However, in order to qualify, you still have to be within the 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 44 per cent of your gross monthly income.

Once you have raised the full down payment and made your offer, you will still need solid advice on which mortgage is best for you. By working with a mortgage expert, you have access to multiple lenders including banks, credit unions and other lenders that only work with brokers, which will ensure that they can find the best mortgage for your individual needs.

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The Bank of Canada drops the key interest rate. How does this change will impact me?

It was a huge surprise to everyone when the Bank of Canada announced yesterday that it is cutting its key interest rate by 0.25% to 0.75% from 1.00%.  There hasn’t been a movement upwards on downwards in the key interest rate in over 4 years.

The big question is – What impact is this change going to have on me?

Cheaper mortgages for clients that have variable or adjustable mortgages:
Since variable and adjustable rate mortgages are determined by the prime interest rate and are linked to the overnight interest rate of the Bank of Canada. This will also be dependent on each individual lender if they reduce their own prime interest rate.  Current mortgage holders with fixed interest rates, will not see a change on your monthly payments. However, people that are taking a new fixed rate mortgage or renewing their old one right now could see the interest rates come down. The reason being that fixed mortgage rates are dependent on the bond market.  The bond market have already started to come down of the change in the interest rate by the Bank of Canada.

Unsecured and secured lines of credits:
Similar to the variable and adjustable mortgages, unsecured and secured lines of credit are normally linked to the bank’s prime interest rate which is linked to the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate. Which means that if you are borrowing money from a line of credit your cost of borrowing will come down. Again, this will be dependent whether or not the bank cuts their prime interest rate.

There was a huge drop on the loonie:
With yesterday’s announcement on the drop of the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate it affected the Canadian dollar as it had a huge drop.  This means that if you are looking a shopping in the States or planning an international trip it is going to cost more.

Saving accounts:
By the Bank of Canada changing the overnight rate it will affect the interest you will get from having money in a traditional savings account. There won’t be a huge change but if you are not earning much interest before you will be earning even less.  Perhaps it might be worth it to explore other options.
Is your mortgage coming up for renewal, you are thinking of refinancing or looking at purchasing a new home? We will be pleased to help you explore your options based on your individual needs.  After all, it is not about the mortgage, it’s about a strategy that is going to help you save time and money in the long run especially when interest rates start going up!


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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!