Your Home Buying A-Team

General Greg Weaver 20 May

There are four major components to any successful home buying A-Team: your mortgage professional, realtor, home inspector, and lawyer. Each of these individuals is important to various aspects of the home buying process.

MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL

While many people think a real estate agent is the most important person when it comes to buying a new home, your mortgage professional comes first. This is especially true for anyone looking to pre-qualify for a mortgage before searching for their forever home! Not only does pre-qualification help you establish your budget, but it can also lock in a low rate for you for up to 120 days while you search for your perfect home.

When it comes to choosing a mortgage professional, there has been a recent upward trend in using a mortgage professional to arrange mortgage financing. Many banks are cutting back on staff and centralizing operations to save money. While this doesn’t affect the day-to-day finances, it can create a headache when it comes time to discussing and finalizing a mortgage agreement.

You may not know much about mortgage professionals, but they are steadily gaining popularity due to providing top-notch service and unbiased advice. Also, unlike individual banking representatives who often move from one branch to another, mortgage specialists work to form lifelong relationships with their clients. The dedication of mortgage professionals to their clients and their unique position in the mortgage market often results in finding lower rates for their customers and providing the best possible plan to ensure their clients financial success.

One of the reasons mortgage professionals are able to find their clients such amazing deals when it comes to mortgage interest rates is that they operate independently of any single financial institution. Banks are only able to access their rates – no one else’s. On the other hand, Mortgage brokers have access to MORE rates and lenders than the bank! In fact, a typical broker has access to over 90 lenders! This means they are able to shop around, on your behalf, to find the most affordable option thereby saving you tons of time and money in the long run.

So, not only can a mortgage professional shop around for you AND save you money on your interest rate, their services are almost always free to the homebuyer! This is because mortgage professionals get paid by the lenders directly! What else can you ask for? Better rates, personalized service, flexibility and products at no cost to you. Some people may argue that the fee is built into the payment, but this is not so. It costs the banks approximately 40 per cent less to generate a mortgage through an agent than a branch, as there is no overhead to pay if the bank doesn’t get a client’s business. Instead, the mortgage broker bears the entire cost of day-to-day business activity and the bank simply pays for the privilege of gaining you as a client.

Your mortgage professional has also developed relationships with numerous realtors and is also able to recommend a qualified realtor to help you through the home-buying process.

WHO CAN FUND YOUR MORTGAGE?

Mortgage professionals have access to a variety of lenders to ensure they find you the best rate, but who exactly are these lenders?

BANKS

A bank is a financial institution that accepts deposits, lends money and transfers funds. Banks are listed as public, licensed corporations and have declared earnings that are paid to stockholders and are regulated by the federal government’s Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions. Most Canadians know the five big banks: BMO, Scotiabank, CIBC, RBC and TD Canada Trust. Big banks are great options for variable rate mortgages as they have smaller penalties if you have to break the mortgage for any reason. When it comes to fixed-rate mortgages however, the penalty can be quite large when compared to different types of lenders.

CREDIT UNIONS

Credit unions also deposit, lend and transfer funds much like a bank, but beyond that there are some major differences between the two.

Credit Unions have an elected Board of Directors that consists of elected members from their community. They are local and community-based organizations and, unlike the banks, are provincially regulated versus federally.

One major advantage of getting your mortgage through a credit union versus a bank is that the credit unions are not subject to the recent “stress test” changes for uninsured mortgages (excluding Quebec). This is due to the fact that credit unions are provincially regulated and the stress test is a federal regulation. Of course, your ability to pay down your debt will still be tested, but not at a higher rate.

Another advantage of using a credit union is that the calculation for penalties when it comes to breaking a mortgage agreement is typically friendlier to the borrower, and, if there are credit issues, they tend to be more understanding than the big banks.

MONOLINES

A monoline is a type of financial service that specialises in consumer credit, home mortgages or a sole class of insurance. While these businesses typically do not have branches and are mainly accessed through a mortgage professional, there are some advantages to the consumer when it comes to using a monoline lender.

The first is that monolines usually offer better discounted rates and how they calculate the penalties can be friendly to the client. The biggest strike against them is they’re just not as well-known or trusted as a bank. It should be noted, however, the major investors in monolines are the big banks, so there’s nothing really to fear.

ALTERNATIVE LENDERS

If for any reason you are not able to get approved for a mortgage through traditional lender channels, there is another option – Plan B. In fact, these secondary lenders make up almost 10 percent of mortgage transaction volume! That said, there are a few things to know.

The first is that alternative lenders often provide higher interest rates than A-lenders as it is a more risky investment. In addition, most B-lenders will charge a one-time fee of 1% of the loan amount. However, if you have no other options this is still a viable way to get approved!

Mortgage professionals have access to a fair number of alternative mortgage lenders (B-lenders) who offer excellent solutions above and beyond the traditional branch-based options. When mortgages are arranged through an agent with an A-lender, the charge is covered by the lender directly. However, it is important to note that there may be a fee when sourcing an alternative mortgage lender.

WHAT DOES A LENDER NEED TO KNOW?

Before a mortgage can be approved, there are a few things that your lender or mortgage professional needs to know.

INCOME AND JOB STABILITY

The first thing that your mortgage professional or lender will ask for is details surrounding your income and job stability.

Your income will determine how much money you can borrow. In most cases, 35 percent of your gross income for salaried, non-self-employed or commissioned people is used to determine how much you can borrow to cover the cost of the mortgage payments, taxes and any applicable maintenance. All other debts (car loans, credit cards and lines of credit, etc) must not exceed an additional seven per cent of your gross income.

It is also important to note that sticking with your employer while going through the home buying process is crucial. Any changes to your employment or income status can stop or greatly delay the mortgage approval process.

CREDIT HISTORY

Your credit history and credit score are used to show that you pay your bills on time. A great credit score includes keeping a balance on credit cards at any given time that is below 30 percent of the total card limit – and paying it off monthly. A credit rating above 680 puts you in a good position to get financing while a score below will result in higher interest rates or a more challenging mortgage acquisition.

If you’re new to the world of credit, consider the 2-2-2 rule. Lenders want to see two forms of resolving credit (ie: credit cards) with limits no less than $2,000 and a clean payment history for two years.

WHAT DO YOU NEED ONCE YOUR OFFER IS ACCEPTED?

Once you have put in an offer on your dream home and it has been accepted, there are a few things you will need to finalize your mortgage agreement.

INCOME CONFIRMATION

Supplying your income details to the lender for pre-approval helps to determine your budget and how much you can borrow. Once you are ready to finalize the mortgage, you will need to confirm this information. For salaried individuals, this can be done by submitting a letter of employment, your most recent pay stub, your last two years income, and Notices of Assessment from Revenue Canada.

DOWN PAYMENT CONFIRMATION

The lender will require that you prove the source of your down payment. You’ll have to send in bank statements, RRSP statements, stocks, etc that show the previous three-month history of your accounts. If there are any large lump-sum deposits, you’re likely to be asked to show where the deposit originated. You’ll also be asked to demonstrate that you have access to 1.5 percent of the purchase, in addition to the down payment, to ensure you are able to cover closing costs such as: legal fees, Title Insurance, property tax prepayment, and Property Transfer Tax.

CONTRACT OF PURCHASE AND SALE

This is a copy of the accepted offer of the home you intend to purchase and a copy of the MLS listing sheet. The purchase contract will also be accompanied by a Property Disclosure Statement and a Strata Form B Disclosure if applicable.

REAL ESTATE AGENT

As you may already know, a real estate agent is one of the most vital members of your homebuying A-Team! In fact, in today’s competitive real estate market, it can be very difficult to acquire property WITHOUT the help of a realtor.

One of the reasons realtors are integral to the home buying process is that they can provide access to properties that never even make it to the MLS website. Realtors also gain access to information about homes that may come onto the market before a listing is even signed.

Most importantly though, a realtor understands the ins and outs of the home buying process and can tell you how to be successful in your endeavors to purchase a home by guiding you through the process from the first viewing to having your bid accepted.

HOME INSPECTOR

While a competitive market can make a home inspection more difficult, it is a highly recommended part of the home buying process! Having a home inspection done is important to ensure that there are no hidden surprises which may crop up after the sale is finalized. A home inspector can determine what’s behind the walls and look for any signs of mold, leaks or old wiring that could cost you down the road. A good home inspector can often be recommended by your mortgage professional or realtor who may know of many reliable options for getting your inspection done.

While most people assume home inspections are just for the buyer, that’s not always the case. If you’re selling a home, you might want to consider a home inspection too! Any issues that come up during an inspection by a potential buyer can lead to delays and kill a deal altogether but scheduling a certified inspection prior to putting the home on the market could save you time and ensure a smooth process once you do start getting offers!

LAWYERS AND NOTARIES

Once you are ready to finalize financing and purchase a home, you will need a lawyer or notary to draw up the documents and register them on file for you. Since the visit to your legal professional is the last step in the entire process, it’s extremely important that this be handled with care. Mortgage professionals can recommend a qualified lawyer or notary who specializes in real estate transactions that can help streamline this process.

If you are looking to get help with your mortgage, contact one of Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professionals today for expert advice you can count on!

 

Published by DLC Marketing Team

Process in the Paperwork

General Greg Weaver 9 May

Documents Required to Qualify for a Mortgage

Mortgages can sometimes feel like endless stacks of paperwork, but being prepared in advance can save you time and stress! Getting your mortgage pre-approved is part of this prep-process, and will make things easy in the long run.

In order to get pre-approved, the lender must have taken you on as a client and reviewed all your documents before you begin house-hunting. It is important to ensure you have your pre-approval certificate before moving ahead and your pre-approval agreement in writing. This should include the pre-approved mortgage amount, the mortgage term, interest rate, payment information, and the expiry for the pre-approval. Typically, they are valid for up to 120 days.

To prepare for the mortgage pre-approval process, there are a few must-have documents that you will need to organize and have available prior to submission.

  1. Letter of Employment: One of the key aspects for financing approval is employment stability. Lenders want to see a letter from your employer (on a company letterhead) that details when you started working at this company, how much you make per hour or your annual salary, your guaranteed hours per week, and any probation if you are new. This can be done by your direct manager or the company HR department – they will be used to this type of request.
    1. Previous Two Pay Stubs: In addition to the employment letter, you must also have your previous two pay stubs. These must indicate the company name, your name and all tax deductions.
  2. Supporting Documents for Additional Income: If you have any other income, such as child support, long-term disability, EI, part-time income, etc., the lender will want to see any and all supporting documentation.
    1. NOTE: If you are divorced or separated and paying child support, it is important to also bring your finalized separation or divorce agreement. In some cases, they may request a statutory declaration from your lawyer.
  3. Notice of Assessment from Canada Revenue Agency: Lenders will also want to see your tax assessment for the previous year. If you do not have a copy, you can request one from the CA by mail (4-6 weeks) or you can login to your online CRA account to access it.
    1. Your Previous Years T4: Along with your tax filing and assessment notice, lenders will also want to see your previous years T4 slip to confirm income.
  4. 3-Month (90 day) Bank Account History: Lastly, it is important for lenders to see 90 days history of bank statements for any funds that you are using towards the down payment. As saving up for a down payment takes time, there should be no issues providing these documents. If you received the money from the sale of a house or car, or as a gift from your family, you will need proof of that in the form of sales documents or a letter.

The above documents are required for any potential buyer who is a typical, full-time employee. But what if you only work part-time? Or maybe you are self-employed? Here is what you will need:

part-time employee

You will still require all of the above documents (letter of employment, previous pay stubs, supporting documents for any additional income and 90 days of bank history).

However, the difference between a full-time employee and a part-time employee, is that if you only work part-time, you will need to supply THREE years worth of Notice of Assessments, versus just one. You will also need to have been working for at least two years in the same job to use part-time income.

If you have both a full-time and a part-time job, you can use that income too, assuming it has been at least two years.

self-employed

If you are self-employed, the requirements for documents to lenders are slightly different. You will need to provide them:

  1. 3-Month (90 day) Bank Account History: Lenders need to see 90 days history of bank statements for any funds that you are using towards the down payment.
  1. T1 Generals: Also known as the Income Tax and Benefit Return
  2. Statement of Business Activities: This is used to illustrate the business income versus expenses and should include financial statements for your business.
  3. Notice of Assessment from Canada Revenue Agency: Similarly to part-time income, if you are self-employed you will also need to provide the previous three years of assessments.
  4. If Incorporated: You will need to supply your incorporation license and articles of incorporation.

When it comes to mortgages, preparation is key. Having pre-approval in hand can prevent any delays or issues with subject-to-financing clauses in the mortgage agreement. While you can walk into a bank, fill in an application and get a rate for a potential mortgage, this is just a ‘rate hold’ meaning it is a quote on the rate so you can qualify for the same rate later. This is not a pre-approval and does not guarantee financing.

To save yourself the headache down the line, contact Greg Weaver today to start the pre-approval process! Plus, our services are free to you. Why wait? Get fully pre-approved today to make closing the deal that much faster when you do find that perfect home.

 

 

Published by DLC Marketing Team

Benefits of Home Ownership

General Greg Weaver 6 May

So, you have decided to utilize your buying power in the Canadian retail market and are looking to purchase a home – congratulations! This is a great step towards ensuring your future.

As a potential homeowner, there are some amazing benefits that we think you should be aware of right out of the gate:

  1. Homeownership is the single largest source of savings for Canadian households.
  2. Your payments build equity (as opposed to renting, where your money goes to the building owner).
  3. Equity you build in your home can be used as security for other loans.
  4. The return on investment is substantial – in fact, the average price of a house for sale on the Canadian real estate market has increased every year since 1998.
  5. While other investments can prove volatile, investing in real estate is a solid use of your hard earned money.

Buying a home is not just about equity and investments, but it is about the future. While it is important to know what a mortgage is and how much you qualify for (and can afford), ensuring your new home is so much more than numbers. In these changing times with the cost of living constantly increasing, having home equity to fall back on can have a huge impact on your quality of life. Not only that but owning your own home gives you a sense of pride, a feeling of security, and the freedom to design the perfect living space for yourself – without having to ask permission from strata or a landlord! Moving into your first apartment or moving on up to your first house is an incredible step in the journey of life!

Now, as excited as you are to get started, you probably have some questions! Let us take you through some of the most important things to know when it comes to homeownership to ensure your experience is as smooth as possible – and provides the best possible outcome for you!

WHAT EXACTLY IS A MORTGAGE?

It is amazing how many people really don’t know what a mortgage is. Maybe you weren’t sure you would be in a position to have one or maybe you just never asked! Never fear – we have the answers.

To keep it simple, a mortgage is a loan that is specific to properties and homes. This type of loan uses the home or land you purchase as security in the event the loan cannot be paid. Mortgages are registered as legal documents and can be obtained through a variety of sources (or lenders) including banks, credit unions, and alternative lenders, or through the use of a mortgage broker!

MORTGAGE TERMS TO KNOW:

Principle The principal is the amount of the loan that is actually borrowed.
Interest Rates As with any loans (credit cards, lines of credit, etc) interest will be incurred. This is the amount that the lender charges for the privilege of funds borrowed. The amount of your interest payment will depend on the interest rates, which vary depending on terms and conditions of the mortgage and the borrower’s credit history.
Mortgage Payments These can occur monthly, semi-monthly (twice a month), bi-weekly (every other week), accelerated bi-weekly or weekly and are made to the lender. These payments encompass both payments to the principal amount borrowed, as well as interest charges.
Amortization Period This is the number of years it will take to repay the entire mortgage in full and is determined when you are approved. A longer amortization period will result in lower payments but more interest overall as it will take longer to pay off. The typical range is 15 to 30 years.
Term Term is the length of time that a mortgage agreement exists between you and the lender. Rates and payments vary with the length of the term. The most common term is a 5-year, but they can be anywhere from 1 to 10 years. Generally a longer term will come at a higher rate due to the added security. A “Fixed Mortgage” means you are locked in at the interest rate agreed for a longer length of time.A “Variable Mortgage” features an interest rate that is adjusted periodically to reflect market conditions.
Maturity Date The maturity date marks the end of the term. At this time, you can repay the balance of the principle or renegotiate the mortgage at the current rates. Note: If you choose to repay or renegotiate the mortgage before the term is up, penalties may be charged.

HOW MUCH DO I QUALIFY FOR AND WHAT CAN I AFFORD?

One of the biggest factors in purchasing a home is knowing how much you qualify for when it comes to a mortgage – and how much you can afford!

To determine the amount of the mortgage you qualify for, banks will utilize a set of ratios that determine the amount of your income that will be used to pay down the debt. These ratios are Gross Debt Servicing (GDS) and Total Debt Servicing (TDS).

It sounds confusing, but let us help break this down for you!

GROSS DEBT SERVICING (GDS) RATIO

The first ratio, Gross Debt Servicing (GDS) is the percentage of gross income that is required to cover housing costs. If you are looking at getting an insured mortgage (less than 20 percent down payment on the purchase price) the limit is 32% GDS. For uninsured mortgages (20 percent or more down payment) the limit is 39% GDS.

To calculate this, you would take any home-related expenses (mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities and strata fees when applicable) and divide them by gross monthly income to get your GDS percentage.

Gross Monthly Income $4,500.00
Mortgage Payment $1,000.00
Property Taxes $200.00
Heating Expenses $150.00
Total Expenses $1,350.00
Gross Debt Servicing (GDS) 30%

The rate of 30% GDS is well within the requirements and would be approved.

TOTAL DEBT SERVICING (TDS) RATIO

The other ratio banks use is known as Total Debt Servicing (TDS). This is the percentage of your gross income required to cover housing costs (same as with the GDS) but also any other debts. The guidelines for an insured mortgage (less than 20 percent down) have a limit of 40% TDS while an uninsured mortgage (20 percent or more down) is 44% TDS.

To calculate this, you would take all home-related expenses (mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and strata fees when applicable) and other debts (credit cards, personal loans, student loans, car payment,s or a line of credit) and divide them by gross monthly income to get your TDS percentage.

Gross Monthly Income $4,500.00
Mortgage Payment $1,000.00
Property Taxes $200.00
Heating Expenses $150.00
Student Loan Payment $100.00
Car Payment $300.00
Total Expenses $1,750.00
Total Debt Servicing (TDS) 39%

The rate of 39% TDS is well within the requirements and would be approved.

DECLARING YOUR INCOME

In order to get approved for the mortgage, you need to declare your income so the bank can compare it to your expenses and determine the ratios noted above.

If you are employed with a company, you would provide an employee statement declaring minimum guaranteed gross wage OR last two-year average if there were bonuses or commissions that put your income above your guaranteed wages. If the most recent year was lower, that year will be used instead of the average.

If you are self-employed, you would provide the average of your last two years of income based on line 150 of your tax returns. It is important to know that there are programs available for self-employed borrowers in cases where the two-year average does not qualify them for a mortgage. Just ask your mortgage broker!

BE SMART!

There are many cases where buyers will qualify for more than they intend on spending – but don’t get greedy! It is vastly more important, especially for your first home, to stay within a budget that you can afford each month instead of overextending yourself simply because it is available to you. The most important aspect is that your payments are reasonable and affordable. There are always options to move to a larger home in the future!

5 Things to Consider When Building Your New Home

General Greg Weaver 11 Apr

Building a new home is an exciting adventure but requires very different considerations. To help you have the best experience building a home, we have put together the 5 most important considerations.

1. it’s all in the numbers

Regardless of whether you are shopping for a pre-built home, or are looking to create your own from the ground up, it is vital to know what you can afford and stay within it. This is the key to building a home that you will be able to enjoy for the next 20 or 30 years, while still maintaining your financial stability.

When calculating the cost of building your home, there are many components from construction materials and contracts to tax benefits, funds for the down payment and slush account, and other related expenses. In Vancouver B.C., the typical cost to build a house is between $200 and $350+ per square foot. In some cases, it could cost as much as $500 or more per square foot.

Overall, the average cost to build a house can range from $300,000 to $350,000 for 1,000 square feet to double or triple that amount. For example, an average 2,500 square foot home could cost between $500,000 and $875,000 to build depending on materials, design, etc.

2. choose a reputable builder

This one seems pretty straight forward, but when you start looking it can quickly become overwhelming when you realize how many options there are. When it comes to determining the head contractor for your project, careful research is needed. Another option is to consult friends and family members who have gone through the process, or ask your mortgage broker and/or realtor! They often have many qualified contacts in the industry or can help point you in the right direction.

3. build a home for tomorrow

As tempting as it can be to personalize your home to the tenth degree and include every cool little feature you can think of, it is important to always keep resale value and practicality in the back of your mind. Life can often throw a few curve balls that, for one reason or another, may result in your having to sell your home in the future. If that time should ever come, you will want to be able to appeal to all buyers easily and not have to hold the house longer than necessary. Ask yourself if the features you are putting into your home will appeal to others, and also if the design suits the neighborhood you are building in as well.

4. go green!

Now more than ever before energy efficient upgrades are easy to add to your home. To make your home as efficient as possible, it is important to incorporate these options into your design BEFORE you start building. Options such as energy efficient appliances, windows, HVAC systems, and more can save you money in the long run and may also make you eligible for certain grants and discounts. For instance, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) green building program rewards those who select energy efficient and environment friendly options.

5. understand the loan

Aside from the costs of building a new home, what does a mortgage look like for an unbuilt home? In many cases, this is where a “construction mortgage” might come into play. In order to properly qualify for financing on an unbuilt home, you need to give your broker a budget that includes both hard and soft costs, as well as the reserve of money you plan to have set aside in case you run into unexpected events.

For example, based on the lender loaning up to 75% of the total cost (with 25% down):

  • Land purchase price: $200,000
  • Total soft and hard costs (as complete): $400,000
  • $600,000 x 75% = $450,000 available to finance

It is also important to note that the lender will also consider the appraised value of the finished product. This value is determined before the project begins. In this example, the completed appraised value of the home would have to be at least $600,000 to qualify. In addition, the client will have to come up with the initial $150,000 to be able to finance the total cost of $600,000.

Depending on the lender, you may have a time frame within which you need to complete construction (typically between 6 and 12 months).

When it comes to construction loans, there are a few other key points to remember with regards to repayment:

  • Construction loans are usually fully opened and can be repaid at any time.
  • Interest is charged only on amounts drawn; there are no “unused funds”
  • Once construction is complete and project completion has been verified by the lender, the construction mortgage is “moved over” to a normal mortgage

In addition, a lender will always consider the marketability of a property. This includes not only demographic aspects but also looking at geography. For instance, a lot in a secluded area with minimal market demand, may not be a property that they are willing to lend on.

There are a lot of things to consider when you build a home but a few things that can keep you on track and on budget are to have a solid plan in place, work with a builder you trust, build a strong team around you that can be there from start to finish – and to do your research. Once you have decided to build, call your Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional. They can help you get the ball rolling and can guide you to the first step of breaking ground on your new home.

 

Published by DLC Marketing Team

5 Reasons to Invest in a Home Inspection

General Greg Weaver 8 Apr

While home inspections might not be the most exciting part of your home buying journey, they are extremely important and can save you money and a major headache in the long run.

In a competitive housing market, there can sometimes be pressure to make an offer right away without conditions. However, no matter how competitive a market may be, you should never skip out on things designed for buyer protection – such as a home inspection.

You may have a good eye for décor and love the layout of your potential new home, but what is under the surface is typically where headaches can lie. We have all heard the expression “don’t judge a book by its cover” so why would you make the most important purchase in your life without checking it out?

In fact, there are five reasons that a home inspection might just be the best $300-$500 you ever spend.

it provides an “out”

When buying a new house, it is always best to avoid taking chances. While a house may look great on the surface, hidden structural issues such as cracked foundation or roof damage can easily turn into expensive repairs. A home inspection can help reveal any large and/or hidden issues, which can often provide an ‘out’ for the buyer.

If you find something that will cost a considerable amount to replace or repair you can go back to the seller’s agent and ask for a reduction in the price. A leaky roof may cost a few thousand to replace. Perhaps the seller would split the cost with you? It’s worth asking. If the price cannot be re-negotiated if issues come to light, then it is best to just walk away on the basis that the home will cost you too much in the long run.

confirms safety and structural integrity

Another benefit of having a home inspection is not only to find issues, but also to confirm structural integrity. During an inspection, the inspector will review everything from the attic to the furthest reaches of the basement and will look for things like mold, holes in the chimney, saggy beams or improper wiring.

reveal illegal additions or installations

Similarly to determining any safety and structural issues, home inspections can also reveal hidden additions or DIY installations that may cause trouble down the road. If the seller wired the house improperly or used substandard materials, it not only could cost you big in the future but it could even null and void your home insurance should something happen!

forecast future costs

A home is an ongoing expense, much like a car. Unless it is brand new, there will be regular maintenance and updates required to replace things when they become old and inefficient. For instance, water heaters typically last for 6-10 years, the life of a good roof is around 20 years, while furnaces can last up to 25 years. The home inspection report will include an estimate on the remaining life for each of these big-ticket items, which will give you a heads up on future expected costs and provide you time to save for their eventual replacement.

peace of mind

Finally and perhaps most importantly, getting a home inspection is important for your own peace of mind. A home is a huge investment, and one that you will be paying off for 20 or 30 years. It is much easier to feel good about your investment after you have gone through a home inspection and you know that the house is safe and that you won’t run into any surprise problems down the road. While a home inspection isn’t free, peace of mind is priceless and a few hundred bucks is worth it!

 

Published by DLC Marketing Team

Spring Into Action in 3 Simple Steps

General Greg Weaver 8 Apr

Spring is here and that means we’re embarking on the best time to start getting outside and enjoy more of what the beautiful outdoors have to offer. From weekend hikes, to community running events, don’t underestimate the power of a quick ‘at-home workout’ to compliment leg, ankle, and core strengthening before you hit the trails. With no need for any equipment, this Mandy Gill APP workout calls for 20 minutes on the clock.

burpees

Only 10 reps! Begin standing with your legs shoulder-width apart. Place your hands on the floor and kick your legs, back so you end up with your stomach and thighs on the floor. Your elbows should be bent. From this position, press up like you’re doing a push-up and push your hips up. Jump your feet under your hips and stand. Finish the movement by jumping in the air and bringing your hands over your head. Repeat. Want to blast fat and tone up quickly? This is the movement to get you there!

donkey kicks

While still on all fours, keep your right knee bent at a 90 degree angle and flex the foot as you pull your knee towards your right elbow. Then extend your right leg to a straight position, and repeat for a total of 50 reps on the right side. Once you’ve completed that, switch to the left leg for 50 reps.

leg lifts

This move and the next primarily target the glutes, hip flexors, and abs. Position yourself on all fours on a mat, with your hands underneath your shoulders, and your knees under your hips. Lift the right leg up towards the ceiling while keeping your leg as straight as possible, and your glutes squeezed. With control, bring down your leg to tap your right toe to the ground and then return it back up towards the ceiling to complete a total of 25 reps. Then complete 25 reps on the left side.

 

Published by DLC Marketing Team

 

Investment Properties

General Greg Weaver 11 Mar

So, you are looking to purchase a second property! Congratulations! This is a great opportunity for you to expand your financial portfolio and ensure stability for the future. However, before you launch into this purchase there are a few things you should know, depending on which type of second property you are looking to purchase.

SECOND PROPERTY WITH INTENTION TO RENT

Buying a property for the purpose of renting it out to someone else comes with different qualifying criteria and mortgage product options than traditional home purchases. Before you look at purchasing a rental property, there are a few things to consider:

  1. The minimum down payment required is 20% of the purchase price, and the funds must come from your own savings; you cannot use a gift from someone else.
  2. Only a portion of the rental income can be used to qualify and determine how much you can afford to borrow. Some lenders will only allow you to use 50% of the income added to yours, while other lenders may allow up to 80% of the rental income and subtract your expenses.
  3. Interest rates usually have a premium when the mortgage is for a rental property versus a mortgage for a home someone intends on living in. The premium can be anywhere from 0.10% to 0.20% on a regular 5-year fixed rate.

Rental income from the property can be used to debt service the mortgage application, but do bear in mind that some lenders will have a minimum liquid net worth requirement outside of the property. Also, if you do eventually want to sell this property it will be subject to capital gains tax. Your accountant will be able to help you with that aspect if you do decide to sell in the future.

VACATION PROPERTY

While vacation properties are not always the perfect investment, they are popular options for people who want to get away from it all and build memories in! If you’re motivated to head down that road, buying a vacation property is essentially like purchasing a second home.

If you are considering buying a unit within a hotel as a vacation spot (known as “fractional ownership”), it is important to note that if there is any mention of using your vacation home to provide rental income it will be treated as an investment property.

SECONDARY PROPERTY

Most people are trained to stay out of debt and don’t tend to consider using the equity in their home to buy an investment property, but they haven’t realized the art of leveraging. If you’re using equity from your primary residence to buy a secondary property, keep in mind that the interest you’re using is tax-deductible. Consider that you’re buying an appreciating asset, and if you put a real estate portfolio and a stock portfolio side-by-side, they don’t compare.

WHO IS A GOOD CANDIDATE?

You might be surprised to learn that you don’t need to make six figures to get in the game. Essentially, you just have to be someone who wants to be a little smarter with their down payment. Before taking on a secondary property remember that the minimum down payment is 5% of the purchase price – unless you are intending to rent, in which case it is 20% down.

When it comes to purchasing a secondary property, whether for investment or rental or vacation, it can be a great opportunity! As your mortgage agent, I can work with you to find the best solution for your unique needs.

AIR BNB ON YOUR MIND?

More and More Canadians are hopping on the short-term rental train as Air bnb’s popularity has sky-rocketed over the last few years. It’s not a bad way to earn extra money, but don’t forget there are a few things to consider:

  • Check strata/city bylaws
  • Contact your insurance provider to get the correct coverage
  • Talk to your mortgage broker to see if a short-term income property can affect your approval
  • Consider tax implications, and talk to an accountant.

The more services you provide as a host, the greater the chance that your rental operation will be considered a business.

 

Published by DLC Marketing Team

Power Up Your Finances

General Greg Weaver 18 Feb

Let’s face it, the mere mention of the word “money” can make people shift in discomfort. In an era in which the veils are being lifted off many societal taboos, a shroud of shame hangs stubbornly over money talk – we’re taught to fear it, we’re taught it’s too complicated, and those are all messages meant to disempower.

It’s time to push past the taboo, and normalize talking about money. Disrupt it by talking about it – openly and frankly – with your partner, your friends, your family, and your colleagues. Speaking of partners, it’s important both parties are open with one another about their fears, feelings, and goals in regards to money. This is particularly important in opposite-gender households, where research shows that the male partner takes the financial lead in most homes.

Senior Program Specialist, Sarah Zandbergen, has this to say about the hesitation to discuss finances with partners: “It can be difficult to bring up, no question, but if you’re sharing your life with someone, finances are bound to come up. A staggering statistic we came across in our research is that 90% of women will be the sole financial decision-maker in their families at some point in their lives. Knowing this, there is absolutely no excuse to defer ownership to someone else.”

Smash the stigma, and get radically transparent about your salary, your financial situation, your debts, your windfalls, and your savings goals.

And, hey, we get it – there’s a sense of comfort, albeit a false one, that comes with avoiding fiscal responsibility, because it temporarily absolves us of having to do anything, but remaining on the sidelines gives money a leg up on you. So if you want to be truly in control, increasing your knowledge about money, and how to save it, is a critical part of the confidence-building process.

 

 

Published by DLC Marketing Team

Canadian Housing Markets Tighten, Pushing Prices Higher

General Greg Weaver 16 Feb

Housing affordability remains a huge political issue, and with the Department of Finance working on the upcoming budget, no doubt measures to reduce home prices will be front and center. With an election coming this spring in Ontario, Premier Ford’s Housing Affordability Task Force has made recommendations to step up homebuilding. Still, Ontario’s mayors are balking at some of their proposals. The task force report from the calls for “binding provincial action” to allow buildings up to four storeys tall and up to four units on a residential lot.

Ontario’s Big City Mayors group responded, saying, “Unilateral actions, absent municipal input, may have unintended consequences that slow down development and reduce the community support needed to continue to sustainably add housing.” While overcoming Not In My Back Yard-ism is essential to success, so is respect for local decision-making and the democratic process.”  This is a roadblock to the aggressive and timely response.

We desperately need dramatic increases in new housing construction, which has been woefully constrained by local zoning, red tape, and city planning issues. These are not under the auspices of the federal government. So instead, bandaid measures that do not directly address the fundamental issue of a housing shortage will likely be forthcoming in the spring federal budget.

Today the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) released statistics for January 2022 showing national existing-home sales rose edged higher on a month-over-month basis, constrained by limited supply. Excess demand pushed home prices up on the month by a record 2.9%, taking the year-over-year home price index up a record 28%. Cliff Stevenson, Chair of CREA said, “The question is will that supply be overwhelmed by demand as it was last spring, or will we start to see the re-emergence of some of the many would-be sellers who have been hunkered down for the last two years?

“The ideal situation between now and the summer would be that a huge surge of sellers come forward looking to sell in the spring 2022 market,” said Shaun Cathcart, CREA’s Senior Economist. “If that were to occur, similar to 2021, we’d likely see a massive number of sales take place which would get a lot of frustrated buyers into homeownership, and we’d likely see some cooling off on the price growth side if those offers are spread across more listings. Those are all things this market needs. It really comes down to how many properties come up for sale in the months ahead”.

New Listings

In January, the number of newly listed homes dropped by a whopping 11% m/m, with a pullback in the GTA accounting for more than half of the national decline (chart 1 below).

With sales up a bit and new listings down by double-digits in January, the sales-to-new listings ratio shot to 89.4% compared to 78.7% in December (chart 2 below). This was the second-highest level on record for this measure, only slightly below the record 90.2% set last January. The long-term average for the national sales-to-new listings ratio is 55%.

A record 85% of local markets were seller’s markets based on the sales-to-new listings ratio is more than one standard deviation above its long-term mean in January 2022. The other 15% of local markets were in balanced market territory.

There were only1.6 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of January 2022 — tied with December 2021 for the lowest level ever recorded. The long-term average for this measure is a little over five months.

 

 

 

 
 

Home Prices

In line with the tightest market conditions ever recorded, the Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) was up a record 2.9% on a month-over-month basis in January 2022. The gains were similar to those recorded in the previous three months.

The non-seasonally adjusted Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI was up by a record 28% on a year-over-year basis in January.

Looking around the country, year-over-year price growth is in line with the national figure at 28% in B.C., though it remains lower in Vancouver, close to on par with the provincial number in Victoria, and higher in most other parts of the province.

Year-over-year price gains are still in the mid-to-high single digits in Alberta and Saskatchewan, while gains are running at about 13% in Manitoba.

Ontario saw year-over-year price growth remain above 30% in January, with the GTA having now caught up with the pace of provincial gains. The rest of the province is a mixed bag, up in between 25% and 40% on a year-over-year basis, save for Ottawa where prices are running at 16% year-over-year.

Greater Montreal’s year-over-year price growth remains at a little over 20%, while Quebec City was about half that.

Price growth is running above 30% in New Brunswick (higher in Greater Moncton, lower in Fredericton and Saint John), 27% on Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador is now at 12% year-over-year.

 

 

Bottom Line

While most developed countries have seen excess demand for housing over the past two years pushing home prices higher, Canada has the most significant housing shortage in the G7. This began in late 2015 when the federal government decided it would target the entry of much larger numbers of economic immigrants. Canada is “underpopulated” and celebrates a growing population, unlike many other countries. There are many job vacancies to be filled, and more people means more economic growth and prosperity for Canada.

But what the federal government forgot to do was provide housing for all new residents. Simply put, governments at all levels established no plan to provide any additional housing for all of these newcomers, let alone affordable housing.

Canada’s net migration rate is 6.375 per 1,000 people, the eighth-highest in the world. Approximately 1.8 million more people were calling Canada home in 2021 than five years earlier, with four in five of these having immigrated to Canada since 2016.

This is not rocket science. The government can blame foreign buyers or investors for our housing shortage, but inadequate planning and antiquated processes and policies are the real culprits.

 

 

Article courtesy of Dr. Sherry Cooper
Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres

Staying Out of the Penalty Box.

General Greg Weaver 4 Feb

When it comes to mortgages, it is easy to focus on the rates and your current situation, but the reality is that life happens and when it does, rates won’t be the only thing that matters.

First and foremost, the most important thing to remember is that a mortgage is a contract. That means that there is a penalty involved if the contract is ever broken. This is something that every homeowner agrees to when you sign mortgage paperwork, but it can be easy to forget – until you’re paying the price.

why break your mortgage?

You’re probably wondering why you would ever break your mortgage contract? Well, you might be surprised to find out that 6 out of 10 mortgages in Canada are broken within 3 years and there are typically nine common reasons that this happens:

  • Sale and purchase of a new home
  • To utilize equity
  • To pay off debt
  • Cohabitation, marriage and/or children
  • Divorce or separation
  • Major life events (illness, unemployment, death of a partner)
  • Removing someone from title
  • To get a lower interest rate
  • To pay off the mortgage

It is always important to think ahead when signing a mortgage agreement, but not everything can be planned for. In that event, it is important to understand the next steps if you do indeed need to break your mortgage.

calculating penalties

Typically, the penalty for breaking a mortgage is calculated in two different ways. Lenders generally use an Interest Rate Differential calculation or the sum of three months interest to determine the penalty. You will typically be assessed the greater of the two penalties unless your contract states otherwise.

INTEREST RATE DIFFERENTIAL (IRD)

In Canada there is no one-size-fits-all rule for how the Interest Rate Differential (IRD) is calculated and it can vary greatly from lender to lender. This is due to the various comparison rates that are used.

However, typically the IRD is based on the following:

  • The amount remaining on the loan
  • The difference between the original mortgage interest rate you signed at and the current interest rate a lender can charge today

In this case, these penalties vary greatly as they are based on the borrower’s specific mortgage and the specific rates on the agreement, and in the market today. However, let’s assume you have a balance of $200,000 on your mortgage, an annual interest rate of 6%, 36 months remaining in your 5-year term and the current rate is 4%. This would mean an IRD penalty of $12,000 if you break the contract.

Ideally, you will want to be aware of what your IRD penalty would be before you decide to break your mortgage as it is not always the most viable option.

THREE MONTHS DIFFERENCE

In some cases, the penalty for breaking your mortgage is simply equivalent to three months of interest. Using the same example as above – balance of $200,000 on your mortgage, an annual interest rate of 6% – then three months interest would be a $3,000 penalty. A variable-rate mortgage is typically accompanied by only the three-month interest penalty.

paying the penalty

When it comes to making the payment, some lenders may allow you to add this penalty to your new mortgage balance (meaning you would pay interest on it). You can also pay your penalty up front.

Whenever possible, if you can wait out your current mortgage term before making a change to your mortgage, it is the best way to avoid being stuck in the penalty box. If you cannot avoid a penalty, do note that, while only calculators can be great tools for estimates, it is best to call your lender or mortgage broker directly for the accurate number in the case of determining penalties.

If you are unsure about getting the best penalty terms, reach out today! We can help you find the best mortgage product for you.

 

 

Published by DLC Marketing Team