27 Feb

Mortgages 101: Let’s Learn About Mortgages

General

Posted by: Jennifer Tosto

Do you have questions about the basics of mortgages, but are too afraid to ask? Don’t be! Take a look at my colleague Kelly’s blog post, and call or email me with any questions you have! Let’s get you comfortable with mortgages!

MORTGAGES 101 – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MORTGAGES

Mortgage [ˈmôrɡij] NOUN
With a residential mortgage, a home buyer pledges his or her house to the bank. The bank has a claim on the house should the home buyer default on paying the mortgage. In the case of a foreclosure, the bank may evict the home’s occupants and sell the house, using the income from the sale to clear the mortgage debt.

Mortgages in a Nutshell
Since homes are expensive, a mortgage is a lending system that allows you to pay a small portion of a home’s cost (called the down payment) upfront, while a bank/lender loans you the rest of the money. You arrange to pay back the money that you borrowed, plus interest, over a set period of time (known as amortization), which can be as long as 30 years.

When you get a mortgage loan, you are called the mortgagor. The lender is called the mortgagee.

How Do You Get a Mortgage?
The companies that supply you with the funds that you need to buy your home are referred to as “lenders” which can include banks, credit unions, trust companies etc.

Mortgage lenders don’t lend hundreds of thousands of dollars to just anyone, which is why it’s so important to maintain your credit score. Your credit score is a primary way that lenders evaluate you as a reliable borrower – that is, someone who’s likely to pay back the money in full WITHOUT a lot of hassle. A score of 680-720 or higher generally indicates a positive financial history; a score below 680 could be detrimental, making you a higher risk. Higher risk = higher rates!

How Mortgages Are Structured
Down payment: This is the money you must put down on a home to show a lender you have some stake in the home. Ideally you want to make a 20% down payment of the price of the home (e.g., $60,000 on a $300,000 home), because this will allow you to avoid the extra cost of Mortgage Default Insurance which is mandatory with all down payments of less than 20%.

Every mortgage has three components: the principal, the interest, and the amortization period.

Mortgages are typically paid back gradually in the form of a monthly mortgage payment, which will be a combination of your paying back your principal plus interest.

  1. Principal: This is the amount of money that you are borrowing and must pay back. This is the price of the home minus your down payment
    taking the above example, purchase price $300,000 minus $60,000 down payment to get a mortgage (principal) of $240,000.
  2. Interest rate: Lenders don’t just loan you the money because they’re nice guys. They want to make money off you, so you will be paying them back the original amount you borrowed (principal) plus interest—a percentage of the money you borrow.The interest rate you get from the lender will vary based on: property, lender, credit bureau, employment and your personal situation.
  3. Amortization means life of the mortgage, or how long the mortgage needs to be, in order to pay off the complete loan (principal) plus interest. Mortgage loans have different “amortizations,” the two most common terms are 25 & 30 years.Within the life of the mortgage (amortization) you will have a Term. The length of time that the contract with your mortgage lender including interest rate is set up (typically 5 years). After your term completes, you can renew your mortgage with the same lender or move to a new lender.

WHEN TO GET A MORTGAGE

First Step: connect with a Mortgage Broker for a mortgage before you start hunting for a home. You need to know what you can afford – especially with all the new government regulations.

Ideally you need a mortgage pre-approval, which an in-depth process where a lender will check your credit report, credit score, debt-to-income ratio, loan-to-value ratio, and other aspects of your financial profile.

This serves two purposes:

  1. It will let you know the maximum purchase price of a home you can afford.
  2. A mortgage pre-approval shows home sellers and their realtors that you are serious about buying a home, which is particularly crucial in a hot housing market.

Types of Mortgages
How do you figure out which mortgage is right for you? Here are the 2 main types of home loans to consider:

  1. Fixed-rate mortgage:This is the most popular payment setup for a mortgage. A fixed mortgage interest rate is locked-in and will not increase for the term of the mortgage.
  2. Variable rate mortgage aka Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM) A variable mortgage interest rate is based on the Bank of Canada rate and can fluctuate based on market conditions and the Canadian economy. A mortgage loan with an interest rate that is subject to change and is not fixed at the same level for the life of the term. These types of mortgages usually start off with a lower interest rate but can subject the borrower to payment uncertainty.

How to Shop for a Mortgage?
Use a mortgage broker, a professional who works with many different lenders to find a mortgage that best suits the needs of the borrower.

Brokers specialize in Mortgage Intelligence, educating people about mortgages, how they work and what lenders are looking for. Everyone’s home purchasing situation is different, so working with us will give you a better sense of what mortgage options are available based on the 4 strategic priorities that every mortgage needs to balance:

  • lowest cost
  • lowest payment
  • maximum flexibility
  • lowest risk

Most Canadians are conditioned to think that the lowest interest rate means the best mortgage product. Although sometimes that is true, a mortgage is more than just an interest rate. You can save yourself a lot of money if you pay attention to the fine print, not just the rate.

Banks tend to concentrate on the 5 year fixed mortgage rate (since that’s the best option for them)… rates are important, however your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional will look at the total cost of the mortgage. Brokers will advise & explain mortgage options, help you understand the implications of your choice and help you avoid the pitfalls of choosing a mortgage based on rates alone.

KELLY HUDSON

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

20 Feb

Principal and Interest: Your Mortgage Payment

General

Posted by: Jennifer Tosto

Have you ever wondered what the two components that make up a mortgage payment are? Have a quick read through Ryan’s blog post, and call me today if you have questions about your own mortgage payments!

PRINCIPAL & INTEREST

Principal and interest are the two components that make up a mortgage payment. Principal is the portion of your payment that goes towards paying down the outstanding balance of your mortgage. Interest is the other portion of your payment which goes directly into the pockets of your lender and does not contribute to paying down your mortgage balance.

What some people may not realize is that a compounding interest rate (what the majority of all mortgages are) is weighted differently depending on how many years you have left on your mortgage.

If a young couple were to purchase their very first home, lets say $500,000 for example, and they had a $100,000 down payment, their mortgage would be $400,000. If they had today’s interest rates, their mortgage would be around 3%, compounded semi-annually, over 25 years with their interest rate re-negotiable every 5-years if they keep the same term. Assuming they were able to get 3% for the entire 25-years, their monthly payments would be $1,892.98 a month for the life of their mortgage.

Their first payment however is not $1,892.98, with 97% of it going to paying down the $400,000 balance and 3% going towards interest. The very first payment would actually be broken down as $993.81 of interest and $899.17 going towards paying down the principal balance of $400,000.

Now, it wont stay like this forever, the very last payment before the first 5-year term is up would be broken down as $854.62 going towards interest and $1,038.36 of the $1,892.98 going towards paying down the principal. It wouldn’t be until year 10 where the interest portion dips below $500.

If you can, any pre-payments you make each month will directly pay down the principal balance outstanding. This will also in turn, allow for less interest to be charged as interest is always calculated based on the current balance outstanding. In the later years, it may not be as advantageous, but in the first 5-10 years, it can be extremely beneficial.

If you want to see the break down of principal and interest portions inside your own mortgage, feel free to reach out to a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional near you.

RYAN OAKE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

13 Feb

5 Mistakes First Time Home Buyers Make

General

Posted by: Jennifer Tosto

My colleague Geoff has some great insight for first time home buyers! Take a few minutes to have a read, call or email me today about how we can make your home buying experience a great one!

5 MISTAKES FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS MAKE

Buying a home might just be the biggest purchase of your life—it’s important to do your homework before jumping in! We have outlined the 5 mistakes First Time Home Buyers commonly make, and how you can avoid them and look like a Home Buying Champ.

1. Shopping Outside Your Budget
It’s always an excellent idea to get pre-approved prior to starting your house hunting. This can give you a clear idea of exactly what your finances are and what you can comfortably afford. Your Mortgage Broker will give you the maximum amount that you can spend on a house but that does not mean that you should spend that full amount. There are additional costs that you need to consider (Property Transfer Tax, Strata Fees, Legal Fees, Moving Costs) and leave room for in your budget. Stretching yourself too thin can lead to you being “House Rich and Cash Poor” something you will want to avoid. Instead, buying a home within your home-buying limit will allow you to be ready for any potential curve balls and to keep your savings on track.

 

2. Forgetting to Budget for Closing Costs
Most first-time buyers know about the down payment, but fail to realize that there are a number of costs associated with closing on a home. These can be substantial and should not be overlooked. They include:

  • Legal and Notary Fees
  • Property Transfer Tax (though, as a First Time Home Buyer, you might be exempt from this cost).
  • Home Inspection fees

There can also be other costs included depending on the type of mortgage and lender you work with (ex. Insurance premiums, broker/lender fees). Check with your broker and get an estimate of what the cost will be once you have your pre-approval completed.

3. Buying a Home on Looks Alone
It can be easy to fall in love with a home the minute you walk into it. Updated kitchen + bathrooms, beautifully redone flooring, new appliances…what’s not to like? But before putting in an offer on the home, be sure to look past the cosmetic upgrades. Ask questions such as:

  1. When was the roof last done?
  2. How old is the furnace?
  3. How old is the water heater?
  4. How old is the house itself? And what upgrades have been done to electrical, plumbing, etc.
  5. When were the windows last updated?

All of these things are necessary pieces to a home and are quite expensive to finance, especially as a first- time buyer. Look for a home that has solid, good bones. Cosmetic upgrades can be made later and are far less of a headache than these bigger upgrades.

4. Skipping the Home Inspection
In a red-hot housing market a new trend is for homebuyers to skip the home inspection. This is one thing we recommend you do not skip! A home inspection can turn up so many unforeseen problems such as water damage, foundational cracks and other potential problems that would be expensive to have to repair down the road. The inspection report will provide you a handy checklist of all the things you should do to make sure your home is in great shape.

5. Not Using a Broker
We compare prices for everything: Cars, TV’s, Clothing… even groceries. So, it makes sense to shop around for your mortgage too! If you are relying solely on your bank to provide you with the best rate you may be missing out on great opportunities that a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker can offer you. They can work with you to and multiple lenders to find the sharpest rate and the best product for your lifestyle.

GEOFF LEE, Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

 

 

7 Feb

HOW TO VERIFY YOUR DOWN PAYMENT WHEN BUYING A HOME

General

Posted by: Jennifer Tosto

This is a great read on down payment requirements by my colleague, Kelly.

Grab your coffee, give it a look over, and give me a call with any questions you have! Buying a home can be stressful, but your mortgage doesn’t have to be. Call me today, I look forward to helping you!

HOW TO VERIFY YOUR DOWN PAYMENT WHEN BUYING A HOME

Saving for a down payment is one of the biggest challenges facing people wanting to buy their first home.
To fulfill the conditions of your mortgage approval, it’s all about what you can prove (hard to believe – but some people have lied in the past – horrors!).
Documentation of down payment is required by all lenders to protect against fraud and to prove that you are not borrowing your down payment, which changes your lending ratios and potential your mortgage approval.

DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED BY THE LENDER TO VERIFY YOUR DOWN PAYMENT

This is a government anti-money laundering requirement and protects the lender against fraud.

1. Personal Savings/Investments: Your lender needs to see a minimum of 3 months’ history of where the money for your down payment is coming from including your: savings, Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) or investment money.

  • Regularly deposit all your cash in the bank, don’t squirrel your money away at home. Lenders don’t like to hear that you’ve just deposited $10,000 cash that has been sitting under your mattress. Your bank statements will need to clearly show your name and your account number.
  • Any large deposits outside of “normal” will need to be explained (i.e. tax return, bonus from work, sale of a large ticket item). If you have transferred money from once account to another you will need to show a record of the money leaving one account and arriving in the other. Lenders want to see a paper trail of where your down payment is coming from and how it got into your account.

 

2. Gifted Down Payment: In some expensive real estate markets like Metro Vancouver & Toronto, the bank of Mom & Dad help 20% of first time home buyers. You can use these gifted funds for your down payment if you have a signed gift letter from your family member that states the down payment is a true gift and no repayment is required.

  • Gifted down payments are only acceptable from immediate family members: parents, grandparents & siblings.
  • Be prepared to show the gifted funds have been deposited in your account 15 days prior to closing. The lender may want to see a transaction record. i.e. $30,000 from Bank of Mom & Dad’s account transferred to yours and a record of the $30,000 landing in your account. Bank documents will need to show the account number and names for the giver and receiver of the funds. Contact me for a sample gift letter.

3. Using your RRSP: If you’re a First Time Home Buyer, you may qualify to use up to $35,000 from your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) for your down payment.

  • Home Buyers Plan (HBP): Qualifying home buyers can withdraw up to $35,000 from their RRSPs to assist with the purchase of a home. The funds are not required to be used only for the down payment, but for other purposes to assist in the purchase of a home.
  • If you buy a qualifying home together with your spouse or other individuals, each of you can withdraw up to $35,000.
  • You must repay all withdrawals to your RRSP’s 15 years. Generally, you will have to repay an amount to your RRSP each year until you have repaid the entire amount you withdrew. If you do not repay the amount due for a year (i.e. $35,000/15 years = $2,333.33 per year), it will be added to your income for that year.
  • Verifying your down payment from your RRSP, you will need to prove the funds show a 3-month RRSP history via your account statements which need to include your name and account number. Funds must be sitting in your account for 90 days to use them for HBP.

4. Proceeds from Selling Your Existing Home: If your down payment is coming from the proceeds of selling your currently home, then you will need to show your lender an accepted offer of Purchase and Sale (with all subjects removed) between you and the buyer of your current home.

  • If you have an existing mortgage on your current home, you will need to provide an up-to-date mortgage statement.

5. Money from Outside Canada: Using funds from outside of Canada is acceptable, but you need to have the money on deposit in a Canadian financial institution at least 30 days before your closing date.  Most lenders will also want to see that you have enough funds to cover Property Transfer Tax (in BC) PLUS 1.5% of the purchase price available in your account to cover your closing costs (i.e. legal, appraisal, home inspection, taxes, etc.).

  • Property Transfer Tax (PTT) All buyers pay Property Transfer Tax (except first-time buyers purchasing under $500,000 and New Builds under $750,000). This is a cash expense, in addition to your down payment.
    Property Transfer Tax (PTT) cannot be financed into the mortgage

Buying a home for the first time can be stressful, therefore being prepared with the right documentation for your down payment and closing costs can make the process much easier.
Mortgages are complicated, but they don’t have to be. Contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional near you.

KELLY HUDSON

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional