General 28 Feb

Fixed Interest Rates

This is usually the more popular choice for clients when it comes to deciding on which type of interest rate they want. There are many reasons why, but the most unsurprising answer is always safety. With a fixed interest rate, you know exactly what you are paying every month and you know that the amount of interest being charged for the term of your mortgage will not increase and it will not decrease. Fixed interest rates can be taken on 1-year, 2-year, 3-year, 5-year, as well as 7 and 10-year terms. Please note, term is not meant to be confused with amortization. When you have a 5-year term but a 25-year amortization- the term is when your mortgage is up for renewal, but it will still take you the 25 years to pay off the entire debt. The biggest knock on fixed interest rates when it comes to mortgages, especially 5-year terms, is the potential penalty. If you want to break your mortgage and pay it out, switch lenders, take advantage of a lower rate, or anything like this and your term is not over, there will be a penalty. With a 5-year term, a fixed rate penalty can be anywhere from $1,000- $20,000 or more. It all depends on the lender’s current rates, what yours currently is, the length of time remaining on your term, and the balance outstanding. The formula used is called an IRD (interest rate differential) and the penalty owed will either be the amount this formula produces or three month’s interest- which ever is greater. Fixed interest rates, especially 5-year terms can be the most favourable. They are safe, competitive interest rates that you will not need to worry about changing for the term of your mortgage. However, if you do not have your mortgage for the entire term, it could hurt you.

Variable Rate Interest

The Bank of Canada sets what they call a target overnight rate and that interest rate influences the prime rate a lender offers consumers. A variable rate, is either the lender’s prime lending rate plus or minus another number. For example, let us say someone has a variable interest rate of prime minus 0.70. If their lender’s prime lending rate is 5.00% in this example, they have an effective interest rate of 4.30%. However, if for example the prime rate changed to 6.00%, the same person’s interest rate would now be 5.30%. Written on a mortgage, these interest rates would look like P-0.7. Variable interest rates are usually only available on 5-year terms with some lenders offering the possibility of taking a 3-year variable interest rate. When it comes to penalties, variable interest rates are almost always calculated using 3-months interest, NOT the IRD formula used to calculate the penalty on a fixed term mortgage. This ends up being significantly less expensive as breaking a 5-year term mortgage at a fixed rate of 3.49% with a balance of $500,000 will cost approximately $15,000. That is if you use the current progression of interest rates and broke it at the beginning of year 3. A variable interest rate of Prime Minus 0.5% with prime rate at 3.45% will only cost $3,800. That is a difference of $11,200. You can expect to pay this kind of amount for the safety of a fixed rate mortgage over 5-years if you break it early.

Which one is best?

It completely depends on the person. Your loan’s term (length of time before it either expires or is up for renewal) can be anywhere from a year to 5 years, or longer. A first-time home buyer typically has a mortgage term of 5 years. Within those 5 years, the prime rate could move up or down, but you won’t know by how much or when until it happens. Recently, variable rates have been lower than fixed rates, however, they run the risk of changing. With fixed interest rates, you know exactly what your payments will be and what it will cost you every month regardless of a lender’s prime rate changing. If you go to the site you can see the 10-year history of lender’s prime lending rate. Because lenders usually change their prime lending rate together to match one another (except for TD), this graph is a good representation. As you can see, from 2008 to 2018, the interest rate has dropped from 5.75% to 2.25% all the way back up to 3.45%.  Canada has had this prime lending rate since 1960, and in that time it has seen an all-time high of 22.75% (1981) and all-time low of 2.25% (2010). Whether you want the risk of variable or the stability of a fixed rate is up to you, but allow this information to be the basis of your decision based on your own personal needs. If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional near you.

Ryan Oake


Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Ryan is part of DLC Producers West Financial based in Langley, BC.

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General 26 Feb

A collateral mortgage is a way of registering your mortgage on title. This type of registration is sometimes used by banks and credit unions. Monoline lenders, on the other hand, rarely register your mortgage as a collateral charge – which is an all-indebtedness charge that allows you to access the equity in the home over and above your mortgage, up to the total charge registered.

What this means is that you may be able to get a home equity line of credit and/or a readvanceable mortgage, or increase your mortgage without having to re-register a mortgage. This is a real benefit to you in some cases because re-registering your mortgage can cost up to a thousand dollars.

However, there are some negatives to having a collateral mortgage.

  • First and most glaring – because it is an “all indebtedness” mortgage – it brings into account all other debts held by that lender into an umbrella registered against your home. This means that your credit cards, car loans, or any related debt at your mortgage’s institution can be held against your home, even if you’re up to date with your mortgage payments.
  • Secondly, if you want to switch your mortgage over to a different lender, they may not accept the transfer of your specific collateral mortgage. This means you’ll need to pay additional fees to discharge the mortgage and register a new one.
  • And lastly, collateral mortgages make it more difficult to have flexibility to get a second mortgage, obtain a home equity line of credit from a different institution, or use a different financial instrument on your home. This is because your collateral mortgage is often registered for the whole amount of your property.

To recap, collateral mortgages give you the flexibility to combine multiple mortgage products under one umbrella mortgage product while tying you up with that one lender. While this type of mortgage can be a great tool when used correctly, it does have its drawbacks. If you have any questions, a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional can help.

Eitan Pinsky


Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Eitan is part of DLC Origin Mortgages based in Vancouver, BC.

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General 23 Feb


In an active housing market sometimes buyers are urged by their realtors to make an offer with no conditions. As a mortgage broker this always makes my heart skip a beat. I know from experience that financing can go sideways and you need to be sure it’s in place before removing conditions.
Another item that should not be forgotten is a house inspection. You may have a good eye for décor but house inspections are not for amateurs. We have all heard, “Never judge a book by its cover” so why would you make the most important purchase in your life without checking it out? This may be the best $300-$500 you ever spent. Here’s why.

#1 – It provides an out for the home buyer.
Sometimes hidden structural issues like a cracked foundation or saggy beams can mean expensive repairs. If the price can’t be re-negotiated then you have a way to walk away from an expensive mistake.
A few years ago I had a client who I preapproved for a mortgage. He found the perfect house in south east Calgary and made an offer which was accepted. He then ordered a house inspection while I arranged the mortgage. The inspector came back and told my client that there were 10 things he could see in the house that indicated that it had been used as a grow op. My client used this to break the contract and went on to buy another home without any problems.

#2 – Revealing illegal additions or improper renovations
If the DIY seller wired the house improperly or used sub-standard materials your home insurance could be null and void if you had something happen in the future. The home inspector for my first home noticed that the indoor outdoor carpet in the master bedroom had been glued to the hardwood, something that resulted in a multi-day project we were not counting on.

#3 Safety and Structural issues
Inspectors go up into the attic , and down into the farthest reaches of the basement and can spot things like mold, holes in the chimney, improper wiring or improperly vented fans.

#4 – Aiding in the planning for future maintenance expenses
Unless the home is brand new you will need to replace a number of things; water heaters last 6-10 years, roofs about 20 years , furnaces about 25 years. . The report will include an estimate on the remaining life for each of these expensive items which will give you time to save for their eventual replacement.

#5 Bargaining power
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 $3000 to replace. Perhaps the seller would split the cost with you? It’s worth asking.

#6 Peace of Mind
Finally, for your own peace of mind. When you have spent all your hard earned cash on a home and will be paying it off for 20+ years, it’s easier to sleep at night knowing that the house won’t come tumbling down on you or that you paid too much .
While an inspection cuts into your budget at a time when you need all the cash you can get, you will find it is money well spent. NOTE: If you live in an area where housing prices are rising quickly your appraisal may come in low as the property is appraised based on sales in the previous 90 days. Ask your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker and your realtor if this is the case for your area.

David Cooke


Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
David is part of DLC Clarity Mortgages in Calgary, AB.

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General 22 Feb

According to a recent case tried in the Court of Appeal for Ontario, Winters v Hunking, 2017 ONCA 909 as summarized by Scott McGrath of WeirFoulds LLP, Foreclosure is not automatic on default.

In an interesting article posted December 8, 2017 in Mondaq, Scott McGrath reminds us that the Court may have acknowledged the Lender was within their rights to commence foreclosure proceedings, but special circumstances “made such a foreclosure unjust in the circumstances”.

Special Circumstances an issue
The case involved a $350,000 mortgage granted to the Lender by Mr. Hunking. He made no payments on the mortgage, nor apparently did he pay his realty taxes. These facts were never in dispute, however a significant degree of sympathy was accorded the Mr. Hunking, the Appellant. It was established that he was illiterate and low income. According to his doctor he was also “severely mentally challenged”, with “significant cognitive impairment”. One might conclude that on the face of it, the Mortgagor was clearly in default, and the Lender was within their rights to exercise whatever remedies were available to them. The individual’s condition however, would possibly inform us as to why he did not respond to foreclosure proceedings.

Appeal Court Considerations
The lower court had refused to set aside the default judgement ordering foreclosure. The motion judge was not convinced that the facts were such as to persuade him to set aside the original order. The Court of Appeal took a different interpretation, raising a number of issues, including, importantly, that a Foreclosure action would prevent the mortgagor from accessing considerable equity in the property, thus providing the Lender with a windfall.

What is the take-away here? Quite simply that a foreclosure is not a guarantee. A sympathetic mortgagor may get the court’s sympathy, which could have significant implications for the lender.

Allan Jensen


Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Allan is part of DLC The Mortgage Source based in Ottawa, ON.


General 19 Feb

Mortgage agents and brokers love products that can solve problems for their clients. One of the main unique selling proposition of a mortgage brokerage is the ability to provide options that clients can’t get from their banks.

One such option is the HomEquity Bank CHIP Reverse Mortgage – a unique product in Canada and one that allows clients who are 55+ to live a better retirement by accessing the equity in their home.

Record growth and myth busting

An increasing number of mortgage professionals – and retired Canadians – are recognizing the value of a reverse mortgage.

HomEquity Bank saw record growth of 32.5% in 2017 and in the same year saw referrals from brokerages increase by a staggering 55%.

This growth has come about in part due to efforts by HomEquity Bank to increase awareness of the product and to dispel the many myths that surround it. The source of those myths is often from media reports from other countries, where reverse mortgage products are very different from what is available in Canada.

CARP (the Canadian Association of Retired Persons), the largest advocacy agency for retirees, recommends the CHIP Reverse Mortgage. This has helped increase trust in the product.

Helping older clients overcome new stress tests

The OSFI’s new lending rules have made the reverse mortgage an attractive option for retired Canadians for several reasons:

Difficulty in qualifying for a conventional mortgage or refinance
Qualifying for a mortgage or refinance is now considerably harder for many people.

While many retired Canadians need to draw equity from their homes, the new qualifying rules mean it could now be a struggle to qualify for the amount they need with a conventional mortgage or refinance. With a CHIP Reverse Mortgage, these Canadians now have another option to consider.

A change in demand
A report drawn up by Mortgage Professionals Canada has predicted that the introduction of the stress tests will have a considerable impact on Canadians’ home buying decisions. It estimates that as many as 100,000 Canadians will have to buy a cheaper property and that as many as 50,000 Canadians could be left out of the housing market altogether.

This potential reduction in demand could make it harder to sell at current market prices. Retired clients could therefore have to sell at a lower price or may struggle to sell their home at all.

If they need to pull some equity out of their home, without selling, a reverse mortgage might be their best option.

Helping kids or grandchildren buy a home
Many first-time homebuyers now find they need to turn to their parents or grandparents for help buying a home.

With a reverse mortgage, Canadians over 55 can cash in a portion of their equity to help family members pay the down payment they need to qualify for their ideal home. Some treat this as an early inheritance, given now, when their kids really need the money.

For the parents, not only do they help their family to move in to their own home, they themselves don’t have to make monthly mortgage payments to finance it.

To learn more about how a CHIP Reverse Mortgage can help your clients aged 55 and over, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional near you.

Yvonne Ziomecki


HomEquity Bank – Senior Vice President, Marketing and Sales

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General 15 Feb

Your credit score is a big factor when you apply for a mortgage. It can dictate how good your interest rate will be and the type of mortgage you qualify for.

Mortgage Professionals are experienced helping clients with a wide range of credit scores so we can find you a mortgage product even if your credit is far from perfect.

The good news about your credit score is that it can be improved:

  • Stop looking for more credit. If you’re frequently seeking credit that can affect your score as can the size of the balances you carry. Every time you apply for credit there is a hard credit check. It is particularly important that you not apply for a credit card in the six months leading up to your mortgage application. These credit checks may stay on your file for up to three years.
  • If your credit card is maxed out all the time, that’s going to hurt your credit score. Make some small monthly regular payments to reduce your balance and start using your debit card more. It’s important that you try to keep your balance under 30% or even 20% of your credit limit.
  • It’s also important to make your credit payments on time. People are often surprised that not paying their cell phone bill can hurt their credit score in the same way as not making their mortgage payment.
  • You should use your credit cards at least every few months. That’s so its use is reported to credit reporting agencies. As long as you pay the balance off quickly you won’t pay any interest.
  • You may wish to consider special credit cards used to rebuild credit. You simply make a deposit on the card and you get a credit limit for the value of that deposit. They are easy to get because the credit card company isn’t taking any risks.

Contact a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional if you have any questions.

Tracy Valko


Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Tracy is part of DLC Forest City Funding based in London, ON.


General 14 Feb

Any time a down payment for the mortgage is less than 20%, it is required that the mortgage must be insured thru an Insurer. Why does this mortgage need to be insured, who provides this type of insurance, what does this insurance mean, who is the beneficiary, how much does this insurance cost? All these questions need to be addressed when your down payment is less than 20%.

To start, we need to know certain terms.

High Ratio Mortgage – Also known as insured mortgage is any mortgage where the down payment is less than 20%, also defined where the loan to value ratio is more than 80%.

Conventional Mortgage – Any mortgage where the down payment or equity is 20% or more and in other words the loan to value ratio is less than 80%.
There are three companies in Canada that provide this type of insurance, Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation, Canada Capital and Genworth.
The insurance is needed to provide flexibility to buyers in Canada to purchase a property with as little as 5% down payment at the same time the lender is the beneficiary as it protects them in case the borrower defaults on the loan.
The insurance premium is paid once as a lump sum at the time of the purchase of the property and can be added to the mortgage. Premium amount depends upon the down payment and the insurer and can be anywhere from 1.8% to 4.5% of the borrowed amount.

Since insured mortgages are less risk to the lenders, they in turn can offer lesser and more attractive interest rates and mortgage terms.

Another thing to keep in mind is that this insurance is NOT the same as Mortgage Life Insurance. In your life insurance, the beneficiary is the person who you select to be; usually a family member so in case anything happens to you then your family is protected, and your mortgage loan is paid off. But in High Ratio Mortgage Insurance the lender is protected in case the loan defaults. If you have any questions contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional near you.

Asif Qureshi


Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Asif is part of Finevo Lending Group based in Vancouver, BC.


General 13 Feb

Ask people this question and you will get a variety of answers.  Most home owners will say 10% is what you should put down. However, if you speak with your grandparents, they are likely to suggest that 20% is what you need for a down payment.

The truth is 5% is the minimum down payment that you can make on a home in Canada. If you are planning on buying a $200,000 home then you need $10,000.

It all can be explained by the creation of the Canadian Mortgage and Housing corporation (CMHC) by the Canadian government on January 1st, 1946. Before this time, you needed to have 20% down payment to purchase a home . This made home ownership difficult for many Canadians. CMHC  was created to ease home ownership. This was done by offering mortgage default insurance. Basically what CMHC does is it guarantees that you will not default on your mortgage payments. If you do, they will reimburse the lender who gave you the mortgage up to 100% of what the homeowner borrowed. In return lenders allow you to purchase a home with a smaller down payment and a lower interest rate.

CMHC charges an insurance premium for this service to cover any losses that may occur from defaulted mortgages. This program was so successful that CMHC lowered the minimum down payment to 5% in the 1980’s.

However, if you have little credit history or some late payments in the past they may ask you to provide 10% instead of the tradition 5% if they feel there is a risk that you may default at some time.

You should also be aware that the more money you put down, the lower your monthly mortgage payments will be. You also can save thousands in mortgage default insurance premiums by putting 20% down.  At this time,  home buyers who put 5% down have to pay a fee of 4% to CMHC or one of the other mortgage default insurers to obtain home financing. On a $400,000 home this is close to $16,000.

If you can provide a 10% down payment the insurance premium falls to 3.10% and if you can provide 20% it drops to zero.  While 20% can seem like an impossible amount to save, you can use a combination of savings, a gift from family and/or a portion of your RRSP savings to achieve this figure. The best recommendation that I can make is to speak with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to discuss your options and where to start on your home buying adventure.

David Cooke


Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
David is part of DLC Clarity Mortgages in Calgary, AB.


General 9 Feb

Restaurateur and TV personality Vikram Vij on the joy of cooking—slowly—at home

The culinary landscape in North America is amply populated with chefs and personalities putting their spin on a style of cooking designed to get your attention. With the explosion of the foodie culture in recent years, cutting through the clutter would seem a near impossible task. But that’s exactly what a chef with humble beginnings from India has managed to do. Vikram Vij is one of Canada’s most celebrated chefs, ascending the culinary ladder by reaching into his Indian heritage. He opened Vij’s restaurant in Vancouver in 1994 to great acclaim and hasn’t looked back. He’s since opened three Indian restaurants and a fleet of food trucks and become an author and television personality, most notably taking a turn as a Dragon on CBC’s Dragons’ Den. Despite all the success and attention, Vij continues to focus on what he loves to do: cook. During an autumn tour of India, he took time out to speak to Our House magazine about food, fame and his future.

Our House: Where do you call home these days?
Vij: I live in Surrey, B.C., but as an Indian who came to Canada and who loves to travel and get culinary inspiration from around the world, I like to think I’m a global citizen!

I understand you’re in India, can you tell me a little about the purpose of the trip?
Every year I take a trip with some food fans, some of whom have been coming with me for years now, for a Vij’s Culinary Tour. We’ve visited India most often, but we’ve also been to places like Vietnam, Peru and South Africa. I love to experience not only different culinary cultures, but also to re-explore my own roots and to visit different parts of India to see what is being cooked – and how it’s being cooked – and to incorporate those methods into the food in my restaurants. That’s how I stay authentic, and it’s the best way to keep learning and to grow.

Describe how important cooking at home is, not just for yourself but for families and people in general?
I cannot say enough about eating together as a family, and having a home-cooked meal – and I’m a restaurateur! There are stats that show families who make time to eat together each night, who break bread together and talk, have fewer instances of crime, of drug addiction, and of broken homes. Now, that’s easy for me to say – working in the restaurant industry, we were hardly a “sit down for dinner at six o’clock” family. But we made a conscious effort to set aside breakfast time, and an evening each week when we knew we would all be together – and that means no cellphones at the table.

What advice would you give to someone who is afraid of or overwhelmed by the idea of learning how to cook?
I would say just try it. There are so many books out there that will teach you the basics, and if you get it wrong, so what? I don’t use recipes; I put in a few key ingredients that I want to use… then I add more, and then even more until I’m happy with what I’ve cooked. Baking is a science – so it’s hard to go freestyle with that… but cooking is love… and you should experiment and not be put off from trying.

What advice would you give to a young chef thinking about opening his or her own restaurant?
I would say it will be the hardest thing you will ever do. But it will also be the most rewarding. You need three things: the passion to follow your dream of opening a restaurant, an amazing team who will always have your back, and money – ideally lots of it!

Do you cook much at home, or leave it to your restaurants?
I love to cook at home and I love to be in my restaurants seeing other people enjoying their dinner with us. I don’t have my daughters at home to cook for anymore, so I can make what I want. But I like to take my time while I’m cooking. Being in the kitchen is my greatest pleasure, and it’s also my entertainment for the evening, and I don’t want to rush it.

You’ve cooked for celebrities and politicians. Is there someone or a group you haven’t cooked for that you would still like to?
There’s an expression: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” I’d like to teach people how to cook Indian food, and have it added to their repertoire of meals they cook for their family. I’d love to be an ambassador of Indian food in Canada, and I’d like to show as many Canadians as possible to not be daunted by Indian spices and recipes.

Describe your thoughts on the Canadian culinary scene. How do Canadians stack up against the rest of the world?
Canadian cuisine is incredible – and it’s getting better and better. We have the most amazing resources which create the best ingredients. We have fantastic meats and produce from our local farms, we’ve got really great wines, craft beers, gin and vodka, and on the east and west coasts, the seafood is second to none. When you’ve got those world-class resources, then you’re already on the international stage from a culinary perspective.

How does your typical day unfold?
There’s honestly no such thing as a typical day. They are all so different, and it depends on where I am. As much as possible, I get up early and go to yoga, then it’s either meetings and more meetings followed by service at one of the restaurants or, if I’m travelling, I’ll try and eat at someone else’s restaurant to see what they’re up to.

What do you make of the popularity of food shows and channels like the Food Network, and chefs as celebrities?
I think bringing cooking into the mainstream cannot be a bad thing, but I hate the term “celebrity chef,” because our main focus should always be the food, rather than fame. I’ve been involved in many TV shows myself and I’m grateful for the ability to bring an Indian presence there, and to highlight Indian cuisine to a wider audience.

You’ve written books, been on TV shows. Do you see yourself cooking and opening and running more restaurants for the years to come? What does the future hold?
The day I stop cooking is the day I give up on everything! Sure, I’d like to open more restaurants, but I also want to make sure the ones I have are the best they can possibly be and have the attention they deserve. I have two daughters, but I have three other children: Vij’s, Rangoli and My Shanti!

What is the one thing people might not know about you?
I’m known for working the room at my restaurants – but the reason I love to do that is because I originally wanted to be a Bollywood actor. I love to perform and to talk to people and I wanted to be a movie star, but my father said no son of his was going to be an actor, so I became a chef.


General 7 Feb

When you purchase your home, there are 6 additional costs to account for. They include:

  • Home Fire and Flood Insurance
  • Title Insurance
  • Legal Fees
  • Adjustments
  • Land Transfer Tax
  • GST

Here’s an overview of what you can expect.

Home and Fire Insurance. Mortgage lenders will require a certificate of fire insurance to be in place by the time you take possession of your home. The amount required is generally at least the amount of the mortgage or the replacement cost of the home. This cost can vary on the property size and extras being insured, as well as the insurance company and the municipality. Home insurance can vary anywhere from $400 per year for condos to $2,000 for large homes.

Title Insurance. This is a one-time fee of about $150 and it protects you against any issues, defects or fraud on your title. Your lawyer or notary helps you purchase this.

Legal Fees. Thirdly, you are required to pay legal fees. Your lawyer or notary will charge you anywhere from $700 to $1,000 to help with your purchase. There are also fees to register your title with the municipalities. All told, you’re looking at around $1,000 to 1,300, after tax.

Adjustments. An adjustment is a cost to you to pay the seller back for prepaying any property tax or condo fees on your behalf. Simply put, if you take possession in the middle of a month, the seller has already paid for the whole month and you must pay the seller back for what they’re not using.

Land transfer tax. Land transfer tax, or property transfer tax (PTT) as it’s known as in British Columbia, is a fee that is charged to you by the province. First-time home buyers are exempt from this fee if they are purchasing a property under $500,000. All home buyers are exempt if they are purchasing a new property under $750,000.

In British Columbia, the PTT is 1% on the first $200,000 of purchase and 2% thereafter. However, if the property being purchased is over $2,000,000, then it is 3% on any value over $2,000,000.

GST. GST is only paid on new construction purchases. GST is 5% on the purchase price. However, there is a partial GST rebate on properties under $450,000.

Please don’t hesitate to contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional for your home financing and mortgage needs.

Eitan Pinsky


Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Eitan is part of DLC Origin Mortgages based in Vancouver, BC.