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Maternity or paternity leave & your mortgage

Often the impending arrival of a new addition gives one pause to re-evaluate their current environment. We often decide that bigger cars and bigger living quarters are in order and ideally try to take care of these things prior to the big day, or very soon thereafter.

a8f108fd-f92f-459b-952b-fe9cdf7f9148.format_jpeg.inline_yesThere are a few key points around mortgages and new additions.

  1. The monthly payment on a leased or financed car can have a limiting effect on mortgage qualifications. Housing first, vehicles second.
  2. Being on maternity or paternity leave while shopping for a home is not a showstopper. The key is a job letter that clearly defines a return to work date, i.e., you have a full-time income position to return to.
  3. Being on maternity or paternity leave, or even having a new car payment in your life will not affect your ability to renew your mortgage with your current lender, although it can make moving to a new lender more difficult.

Before adding a car payment, or before listing you current residence for sale, give me a call.

After all, it’s not about the mortgage.It’s about developing a short and long term strategy that are customized for each individual client. My strategies include the best financing and mortgage with the most favorable terms and rates to suite your needs.

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Is the Rate the Most Important Factor in a Mortgage?

With ultra-low interest rates all over the news, it’s no wonder that’s what people focus on. But they shouldn’t. As seen in the REW.ca.

It is interesting that, time after time, when you ask someone “What is the most important thing about a mortgage?” they respond by saying “the rate”. This was exactly the answer we got at a networking event last week when we asked that question.

DiscountThe reason why people focus on “the rate” is because that is the only thing you hear on the news. Last week, it was all over the news that both BMO and TD announced that they have dropped their five-year rate. Then the talk around the watercooler is “What is the rate on your mortgage?” or “I just got 2.74 per cent for five years”. There are other lenders that mortgage experts work with that have being offering lower rates than that for weeks.

But it’s not about “the rate” – or it shouldn’t be. While the rate is an important component of a mortgage, it is not the main thing you should focus on. You should be focusing on what is the best mortgage for your individual needs that provides a great rate but most importantly the best terms and conditions.

By understanding mortgage terms and what they mean in dollars and cents, you can save the most money and choose the term that is best suited to your specific needs.

So What Should You Consider When Looking for a Mortgage?

  • Pre-payment penalties.

All closed mortgages have the pre-payment clause that says that is you pay off your mortgage before the end of the term, you would have to pay a penalty calculated based on the greater of the IRD (interest rate differential) or the three-month interest penalty. However, there are some lenders that they are offering lower rates and in addition to the above penalties they are also including a 2.5 per cent to 3 per cent penalty (depending on the lender), which ever one is greater. In addition, since there is no magic formula to determine the penalty, each bank has its own calculation formula. Most banks determine the rate you pay based on the posted rate minus the discount you receive. However, at the time to calculate the pre-payment penalty they use the posted rate.

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  • Pre-payment options.

The pre-payments without penalty clause is one of the conditions that can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage. This clause allows you to make payments on the principal of your loan, or increase the amount of your periodic payments (monthly, bi-monthly, etc.) without a penalty. Each lender has different programs for pre-payments, they usually vary from 10 per cent to 20 per cent. For example, you can pay any amount within the approved percentage of the original value of your mortgage, or increase your periodic payments once a year, without paying a penalty. Many people don’t take advantage of this clause because it is generally difficult to save the extra money to make additional lump sum payments, but they can certainly increase their payments up to 20 per cent. By doing this it will help you reduce your amortization period and pay more money toward principal than interest.

  • How your mortgage is registered – collateral or conventional mortgage.

o   With a conventional mortgage, the amount you are borrowing (property value minus down payment) is the amount that’s registered. But with a collateral mortgage, the amount that’s registered is 100-125 per cent of the property value, and the lender has both a promissory note and a lien registered against the property for the total registered amount. The advantage of a collateral mortgage is easy access to credit. Since the mortgage is already registered for a larger amount than you need to buy the house, you can access additional funds in the future without any extra steps or legal fees. However, there are also several downsides of collateral mortgages especially if you are putting less than 20 per cent down payment. The reason being is that with the current mortgage rules you are not able to refinance your mortgage unless you have more than 20 per cent of equity in your home. Therefore, unless your home dramatically increases in value in the next five years you will not be refinancing anytime soon.

o   Free transfers or switches to a new lender when your term is up aren’t usually available. Most other lenders don’t like the fine print and restrictions of collateral mortgages and won’t accept them unless they’re a refinance, which costs you legal, discharge fees and possible appraisal fees.

o    You could end up paying a higher interest rate at renewal. If your collateral mortgage makes it difficult to switch lenders at renewal, you don’t have the ability to shop around for the best rate. That could end up costing you up to 1 per cent more on your mortgage rate.

QAsignpost-wide386Therefore, before you sign on the dotted line, make sure that it is clearly explain to you what are the terms and conditions of the mortgage you are getting. If you are not comfortable with the answers you are getting or if they are not taking the time to explain the details of the mortgage take a step back.

That is why it is important that you work with someone that you trust, feel comfortable with and know that they are looking out for your best interest. Mortgage experts have access to multiple lenders – including banks, credit unions and other lenders that only work with brokers – which will ensure that we find the best mortgage for your individual needs. After all, we work for you and not for the banks.


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Mortgage insurance rates are raising

If you are planning to buy a property with less than 10% down payment expect to pay a bit more. As seen in Metro Vancouver New Home Guide.

CMHC and Genworth have announced that starting June 1st, all homebuyers that are putting less than ten per cent will be paying a higher mortgage default insurance. This is commonly referred to as simple “mortgage insurance”.

The mortgage default insurance increases the opportunities for homeownership with a low down payment as saving for a 20 per cent down payment can be difficult in today’s housing market. There are two types of mortgage options; conventional mortgages which are loans with a minimum 20 per cent down payment and high ratio mortgages are loans with less than 20 per cent down payment.

bankAs per the Bank Act, mortgage insurance is required on all high-ratio mortgages. The insurance protects the mortgage lender only against a loss caused by non-payment of the mortgage by the borrower and it is not a protection for the homeowner. However, mortgage insurance enables borrowers to purchase a home with a minimum down payment of five per cent.

Mortgage default insurance is provided by insurers such as Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), Genworth Financial Canada and Canada Guaranty. Each mortgage insurer has its own criteria for evaluating the borrower and the property and it decides whether or not a mortgage can be insured. The lender and not the borrower selects the mortgage insurer. It is possible that the mortgage application can be approved by the lender but might not be approved by the insurer.

The mortgage default insurance premium is a one-time charge and it is paid by the borrower to the lender. The premium can be paid in a single lump sum at the time of closing or it can be added to the mortgage amount and repaid over the amortization period (or the life of the mortgage). The cost of default insurance is calculated by multiplying the amount of the funds that are being borrowed by the default insurance premium, which typically varies between 0.5 per cent and 6.0 per cent. Premiums vary depending on the amortization period of the mortgage, the loan to value ratio, the size of the down payment and the product.

In May 2014, CMHC increased the mortgage default premium for all high-ratio mortgages regardless of the loan to value. However, this new increase will be the second increase for buyers that are putting less than 10 per cent down payment which is more than 56 per cent of CMHC insured borrowers. History has shown that once CMHC increased their premium, Genworth and Canada Guaranty follow suit.

The new rate for a loan to value up to 95 per cent will increase to 3.60 per cent from the current 3.15 per cent. This will mean an approximate increase of $450 of mortgage default insurance for every $100,000 of a mortgage. In addition, a non-traditional down payment (where you borrow the down payment with a loan, unsecured line of credit or a cash back program), the premium will increase to 3.85 per cent from 3.35 per cent. This increase will not impact any homeowners that are currently insured. This increase will have an impact for anyone that is buying a property.

What does this mean in dollar and cents?CMHC increase in premium

What does this mean to me?

  • If you are putting less than 10% down payment and your lender has submitted your application to the insurer before June 1st you will be paying the current premium rate. It doesn’t matter if your completion date (when your mortgage closes) is after June 1st.
  • If you have been pre-approved or pre-qualified and you don’t have an accepted offer and approved by the insurer you will have to pay the new premium.

If you are pre-approved, pre-qualified or are looking at purchasing a property, talk to a Mortgage Expert so they can explore your options based on your individual needs.


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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.