THE MORTGAGE INSURANCE MARKET & WHOLESALE LENDERS

General Scott Giesbrecht 10 Jul

The Canadian mortgage market used to be very simple. We had the big banks, credit unions, and trust companies.

However, almost 20 years ago, the Canadian government made three major changes to the Canadian mortgage industry. First, the government and CMHC put their weight behind Canadian mortgages by guaranteeing an insurance payout to lenders in the event that a borrower does not pay. Yes, the Canadian taxpayers are on the hook if CMHC goes under.

Second, Canada also began to allow lenders to pay for mortgage insurance for their borrowers, even though the insurance was not required. Borrowers would not know that their mortgage is insured, rather the lender would pay for, and insure the mortgage on the “back end” in order to make the mortgage less risky. I.E: if the borrower did not pay, the insurer would pay the lender (just as they would pay if the borrower had less than 20% down payment and was charged for insurance themselves).

And third, Canada allowed its lenders to bundle up their mortgages and sell them to investors. The securitization of mortgages (the process of taking the mortgages and transforming them into a sellable asset) allowed investors to purchase many mortgages at once, knowing there would be a specific return. The return here would be just less than the interest rate on the various mortgages (less because the lender has to make a little bit of money for creating the mortgage bundle or security).

Now, mortgage investors are looking at two things: investment return and mortgage risk. The lower the risk of an investment, the lower the return an investor may be willing to see. Because Canadian lenders can insure their mortgages against default (non-payment), investors are very keen on purchasing these mortgages. Thus, investors provide lenders with a lot of inexpensive money to lend out, which in turn, provided for better interest rates for borrowers.

As an aside, an example of investors may be one of Canada’s large banks, an American bank, pension funds, and/or other financial institutions.

The result was the emergence and major growth of mortgage finance companies, called wholesale lenders or monoline lenders.

Monoline lenders, encouraged by access to cheap capital, set up efficient mortgage underwriting (approval) operations and were able to provide flexible mortgage products and better-than-the-banks interest rates for their clients.

The overwhelming majority of wholesale lender mortgages are back-end insured by the lender, packaged up, and sold to investors.

What is interesting here is that wholesale lenders will insure mortgages transferred from one institution to another – something that banks do not do. This allows for better interest rates when renewing with a wholesale lender than if renewing with your current bank lender.

If you have any questions related to mortgages, contact your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional today.

Eitan Pinsky

EITAN PINSKY

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

IS YOUR LINE OF CREDIT KILLING YOUR MORTGAGE APPLICATION?

General Scott Giesbrecht 22 Jun

Some of the last round of changes from the government regarding qualifying for a mortgage were that if you have a balance on your unsecured line of credit, then to qualify for mortgage the lenders require that we use a 3% payment of the balance of the line of credit.

Simple math is,  if you owe $10,000 we have to use $300 as your monthly payment regardless of what the bank requires as a minimum. Given that the banks hand out lines of credit on a regular basis it is not uncommon for us to see $50,000 lines of credit with balances in the $40,000 range. That amount then means we have to use $1,200 a month as a payment even though the bank may require considerably less.

So what if it is a secured line of credit? Again we have clients telling us that they don’t have a mortgage only to realize they do have a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). A home equity line of credit by all definition is a loan secured by property, the actual definition of a mortgage.

Again, it’s something the bank will require little more than interest payment on because it is secured. The calculation here can also upset the calculation for your next mortgage, as what is required by many lenders is to take the balance of the HELOC. Let’s say the balance is $200,000 and you convert it to a mortgage at the bench mark rate, which today is 5.34% with a 25-year amortization. That without any fees today is equal to $1202.22 per month, so what in the client’s mind may be a $400 or $500 dollar interest payment for the purpose of qualifying will be almost three times higher.

This one change to supposedly safe guard the Canadian consumer has lately been the thing we have seen stop more mortgages than just about anything else. If you have any question, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional for answers.

Len Lane

LEN LANE

Dominion Lending Centres – Mortgage Professional
Len is the owner and founder f DLC Brokers For Life based in Edmonton, AB.

5 WAYS YOU CAN KILL YOUR MORTGAGE APPROVAL

General Scott Giesbrecht 17 May

 

So, you found your dream home, negotiated a fair price which was accepted. You supplied all the needed documentation to your mortgage broker and you are waiting for the day that you go to the lawyer’s to sign the final paperwork and pick up the keys.

All of a sudden your broker or the lawyer calls to say that there’s a problem. How could this be? Everything has been signed and conditions have been removed. What many home buyers do not realize is that your financing approval is based on the information the lender was provided at the time of the application. If there have been any changes to your financial situation, the lender is within their rights to cancel your mortgage approval. There are 5 things that can make home financing go sideways.

1 Employment – You were working for ABC company as a clerk for 5 years making $50,000 a year and just before home possession you change jobs. The lender will now ask for proof that probation for this new job is waived and new job letters and pay stubs at the very least. If you change industries they will want to see more proof that you are capable of keeping this job.
If your new job involves overtime or bonuses of any kind that vary over time, they will ask for a 2 year average which you will not be able to provide.
Another item that could ruin your chances of getting the mortgage is if you decide to change from an employee to a self-employed contractor just before possession day. Even though you are in the same industry, your employment status has changed . This is a big deal killer.

2. Debt – A week or two before your possession date, the lender will obtain a copy of your credit report and look for any changes to your debt load. Your approval was based on how much you owed on that particular date. Buying a new car or items for the new home need to be postponed until after possession of your new home.
Don’t be fooled by “Do not pay for 12 months” sales campaigns. You now owe this money regardless of when the payments start. Don’t buy a new car and don’t buy furniture for the new home. This will increase your debt ratio and can nullify your financing.

3. Down payment source – And yet again I reiterate that the approval is based on the initial information you have provided. You will be asked at the lawyer’s office to verify the source of the down payment and if it is different than what the lender has approved, then you may be in trouble. For example, you said that you were going to save the funds and then at the last minute Mom and Dad offer you the funds as a gift. There’s no problem accepting the gift if the lender knows about it in advance and has included this in their risk assessment, but it can end a deal.

4. Credit – Don’t forget to make your regular credit card payments. If your credit score falls due to late payments, this can kill your financing. If you have a high ratio mortgage in place which required CMHC insurance, a lower credit score could mean a withdrawal of their insurance once again , killing the deal.

5-Identity Documents – This can be a deal killer at the lawyer’s office. The lawyer is required to verify your identity documents and see that they match the mortgage documents. Many Canadians use their middle names if they have the same name as their parent. Lots of new Canadians adopt a more Canadian sounding name for their day-to-day lives but their passports and other documents show another name.

Be sure to use your legal name when you apply for a mortgage to avoid this catastrophe . Finally, keep in touch with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional right up to possession day. Make this a happy experience rather than a heartbreaking one.

David Cooke

DAVID COOKE

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

IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT THE RATE: AMORTIZATION & RENEWALS

General Scott Giesbrecht 15 May

Have you spoken to a mortgage broker lately? When it’s time to renew your mortgage you have the freedom to do a number of things that are not possible at any other time without a financial penalty. Renewal time is an opportunity.

Have you looked at your mortgage amortization lately? Let’s say that you started your present mortgage 10 years ago and you had a 30-year amortization. You now have 20 years left on your mortgage but your situation has changed. Your children have grown up and one is ready to leave for college and another one will follow in a couple of years. An easy way to help the kids out would be to refinance your home. However, the rules have changed and if the value of your home has not risen a lot and you have not paid down the balance, you may not have the 20+% you need to withdraw the equity.

Another possible solution would be to use the amortization on your mortgage to help you achieve your financial goals.
You can extend the amortization and lower your monthly payments thus freeing up cash flow.

Here’s an example. With a balance of $400,000 on your mortgage:

By adding 5 years to your mortgage you can lower your payments by $320 a month. If that’s not enough and you have more than 20% equity , in other words, your mortgage is less than 80% of the value of the home, you can extend your mortgage to 30 years with most lenders.

This will free up $520 a month. When your children graduate you or your mortgage broker can contact the lender and have your amortization lowered again. Note that changing the amortization can result in costs. Check with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker before you make any changes to your mortgage.

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

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REVERSE MORTGAGE – THE PROS AND CONS

General Scott Giesbrecht 30 Apr

 

You may be seeing and hearing a lot more regarding the Reverse Mortgage in today’s marketplace. I have taken the time to get familiar with the program here in Canada and have been quite surprised by how it’s changed and how different it is to its counterpart in the U.S. and how relevant it has become given our aging population in Canada.

Who are they best suited for? People age 55+ that own a house, townhouse, or condo and want to either increase their cash flow, or access equity without making a monthly payment. The older the client, the higher the approved limit.

Here is a list of PROS and CONS of the Reverse Mortgage.

Pros

  • Funds can be advanced as needed such as a line of credit with interest only accruing on the money advanced.
  • No income debt servicing like other ‘standard’ mortgages. Retirees with fixed incomes can qualify for much more money as our approvals are based on age and property.
  • No payments required. Borrower can retain more of their income and never worry about default or foreclosure.
  • Changes in interest rates don’t affect the client’s monthly cash flow since there no payment required.
  • Clients can pay up to 10% towards the loan if they choose each year, but there is no obligation.
  • Prepayment penalties are waived upon death and reduced by 50% if the borrower(s) are moving into a care home.
  • Borrowers will never owe more than the fair market value of the home at the time it is sold
  • There are no changes to the mortgage amount and no payments required if one spouse passes or moves into a care home.
  • With conservative house appreciation of just 2.5% to 3% per year over time will typically make up for the accruing interest on the reverse mortgage leaving clients with plenty of equity in the end.

Cons

  • Client are choosing to have more income/cash flow TODAY, in return for having less savings in the home TOMORROW.
  • All clients are required to obtain independent legal advice, which is a good thing. But there is a small extra cost. Total one-time set up and legal fees run approximately $2,500.
  • Rates are approximately 1.5% to 2% higher than a best rate secured line of credit.
  • If the housing market never goes up, and the client lives in the home long enough, there is a chance the client could exhaust all the equity in the home to fund their retirement.

If you, a family member, or a contact of yours could benefit from a reverse mortgage or want to learn more, please contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional who can walk you through the entire process.

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

TIME FOR A MORTGAGE RENEWAL

General Scott Giesbrecht 7 Mar

Is your mortgage coming up for renewal this year?

There is a good chance that you or someone know has a mortgage coming due. Some 47% of Canadians, almost one out of every two households, that currently have financing in place will mature within the next 12 months with a major lender in Canada.

Here are a couple simple rules to follow if you, a friend, a family member or colleague are renewing your mortgage this year.

  • DO NOT just simply sign the renewal letter that comes in the mail.
  • INVESTIGATE your options.

70% of all mortgagors simply sign the renewal letter that comes in the mail. You would think that because you have been with the current lender for so long that you would receive the BEST rate out there. NEWS FLASH, that is 100% false. Remember, lenders are in business of making money for their shareholders. Your current lender has done their homework, you should do yours. They know that most of the borrowers will sign and send back the form for ease and convenience. We are lazy by nature and we possess too much trust. As finance consumers, there are scenarios I’ve seen where we are leaving 20-40 (0.20% – 0.40%) basis points on the table.

I recently read an article online that indicated the average mortgage amount in the Metro Vancouver area was $438,716 for 2016. Let’s round that amount to $450,000 for ease of calculation. For every 0.25% difference the mortgage payment increases (or decreases) $13 per every $100,000 extended. If your current lender offered you a rate 0.25% higher than another lender then this scenario would yield an annual increase of $936. Are you able to invest 4-5 hours of your time to save that kind of money? Heck ya you can! That is $187.20 – $234 per hour.

Renewing with your existing lender may or may not be your only option. When 47% of you out there receive the renewal letter in the mail this year, I have 936 reasons why I would strongly advise you to reach out to a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist to discuss ALL your options – switching lenders to save money and/or leveraging equity for financial planning purposes.
Here is an example of how I just re-financed my home to access my equity. We were able to obtain a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) mortgage product from a major Canadian charter bank.

  • Current residence appraised at $1.15MM.
  • Current mortgage balance, $445,000.
  • Maximum loan limit, $920,000 (80% of market value: 1,150,000 x 80%).
  • Opted to secure the current balance into a variable rate mortgage
  • The equity of $475,000 was set-up access from a line of credit
  • These clients now have access to funds for any future needs: renos, emergency, investment opportunities, post-secondary education for their children.

But while a HELOC allows for product diversification and long-term planning, it is not for everyone. It can be a bad idea if it’s just used as access to easy cash. One needs to possess high self-discipline, as the funds are extremely accessible. A HELOC is also not available to all homeowners as there must be greater than 20% equity in the home before a lender will consider it.

With 13 modifications to the lending policies since 2006 the time to plan is now. If I were to attempt the same re-financing maneuver today to leverage equity I would qualify for 20% less ($95,000) or $380,000. This would be one less rental property added to the portfolio. Before anymore changes happen, you should consider accessing your money today.

Michael Hallett

MICHAEL HALLETT

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

FIXED VERSUS VARIABLE INTEREST RATES

General Scott Giesbrecht 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 www.tradingeconomics.com/canada/bank-lending-rate 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

RYAN OAKE

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

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WHAT IS A COLLATERAL MORTGAGE?

General Scott Giesbrecht 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

EITAN PINSKY

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

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6 REASONS TO GET A HOME INSPECTION BEFORE YOU BUY

General Scott Giesbrecht 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

DAVID COOKE

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

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FORECLOSURE NOT AUTOMATIC ON DEFAULT

General Scott Giesbrecht 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

ALLAN JENSEN

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

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