19 Jun

99 Year Mortgages and The Power of Amortization

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Jen Lowe

What a great article written by my colleague, David Cooke about the power of amortization!  From balancing the stress of monthly cash flow to becoming mortgage free quicker than you thought!

99 YEAR MORTGAGES AND THE POWER OF AMORTIZATION

Back in the late 80’s, the Japanese housing market came to a grinding halt. Homes were no longer affordable for your average Japanese consumer. The government came to the rescue with a novel idea: 99 year mortgages. You could buy a house, pay lower more affordable payments, your son or daughter would take over and pay the mortgage down and finally your grandchild at some time close to retirement age would finally pay off your mortgage.

Who would want to do this? This was a short term solution. In 2007, we had 40-year amortized mortgages which allowed a great number of people to buy homes who normally would have continued to rent. This created a housing boom, but it made the banks nervous and terms were cut back to 35 years, then 30 and finally back to where they were in 2005 at 25 years. While longer amortizations mean lower monthly payments, the flip side is that you end up paying a lot more interest over time.

Mortgage professionals use amortization as a tool to help their clients at various stages in their lives. Often we use the maximum 25 years to help people get into their first homes. The idea is to get them into home ownership regardless of the cost. Later when they renew we often suggest a shorter amortization if it’s possible.
For example, after paying down a mortgage for 5 years, a couple with a $300,000 mortgage renewing today would be offered a 20-year amortized mortgage with monthly payments of $1659. In 5 years the couple will have paid $40,356 in interest $59,214 in principal and have a balance of $240,785 left on the mortgage.
If the amortization was shortened to 17 years the payment would go up to $1,874.95, an increase of $215.95. but at the end of 5 years they would have paid  $39,365 in interest, $73,131 in principal and have a balance of $226,868.11. In addition, they would now only have 12 years instead of 13 years on their mortgage.

Now, if they are at a stage in life where their twins are going to be going to university or if they need to build a granny suite for aging parents, they may need to lower monthly payments in order to pay for renovations. If they have 20% equity in their home, they could extend their amortization to 30 or even 35 years with some lenders.
Now their monthly payment drops to $1,260 with a 30 year amortization.
And it drops to $1,149 with a 35 year amortization.

Amortization is only one tool that your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional can use to save you interest, help you to pay off your mortgage quicker or to lower your mortgage payments. Be sure to call and ask them for help.

David Cooke
Dominion Lending Centers Accredited Mortgage Professional

12 Jun

Who Really Sets Interest Rates?

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Jen Lowe

 What a great article–this is so true!  When it hits the media that rates are increasing what does everyone do–panic and head to the bank to lock in and what did the bank do already? Increase fixed rates… its horrible!  Contact me before you lock in!

WHO REALLY SETS INTEREST RATES?

A recent article in the Huffington Post addressed the pricing strategy for the Big Six Banks, BMO, CIBC, National Bank, RBC, Scotia and TD and who really sets interest rates.  RBC announcing a rate drop in January and the other banks soon followed.  For consumers the banks are seen as leaders of the pack and everyone waits to see what else they will do.  The reality is the bank rates were higher than the market for some time.

The Huffington article states “Canadians pay attention to the big guys, however, because they’re either too comfortable to make a change or simply not aware they’re being taken for a ride. The banks have a 90-per-cent stranglehold on the Canadian mortgage market and we’ve been slow to start paying attention to the alternative — often cheaper — options out there.”

The drop in rates was a measure to bring bank rates in line with the non-bank lenders who have already been offering lower pricing. The only difference is the banks have high market share of the business and more profit each year so they can afford to spend money on media and other forms of advertising. The media attention helps them to capture more business with a rate drop after a lag time of passing on higher rates to consumers. The informed consumer working with an independent mortgage broker will already know the market and what mortgage product is best for their needs.

However, interest rates are not the only consideration when choosing a mortgage. Each time you make a purchase, renew your mortgage or take equity out to renovate, invest or other reasons, it is always best to consult with your mortgage broker for a review.

One of the big factors is the cost to exit that mortgage before maturity. Life happens. There are costs to breaking the contract early in the event of sale, marital break-up, death or need to consolidate other debts. Bank penalties for early payout are higher than non-bank penalties by a factor of 4 times. By reviewing your needs with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker, we can discuss all of the options available from lenders including bank and non-bank, to ensure you are making an informed decision.

Written by Pauline Tonkin, Dominion Lending Centers, Accredited Mortgage Professional

7 Jun

Credit Cards for the Credit Challenged

General

Posted by: Jen Lowe

Super important topic…..credit is everything now a days…. good credit will even warrant you cheaper home insurance. So check this out from my colleague Kelly

Credit Cards for the Credit Challenged

If you want to buy a home and don’t have a bucket load of cash – you are going to need a mortgage.

In order to get a mortgage, you are going to need credit…

When you get a mortgage, banks lend you “their” money and secure the loan against the property you are buying.  Therefore they want to know how you’ve handled credit in the past.

  • Bad credit = high interest rates
  • Really bad credit = NO mortgage

If you have bad credit, you need to improve your credit to get a mortgage/better interest rates.

When you have had credit challenges – you are going to be limited with the number of credit card companies willing to offer you credit.

In order to buy something on credit, most lenders follow the Rule of 2:

  • 2 lines of credit (credit card, line of credit, loan etc.)
  • Minimum credit limit $2000
  • 2+ years (24+ months) history

One of the quickest ways to rebuild your credit is to get 2 credit cards.

Since you’ve had credit blemishes in the past, many credit card companies aren’t interested in giving you more credit.

  • If you have had any files that have gone to collections, you MUST pay those off ASAP.

One way to get a credit card for the credit challenged, is to get a secured credit card.

 

DEFINITION of Secured Credit Card

  • A secured credit card is a credit card that requires a security deposit. Secured credit cards are generally for individuals whose credit is damaged or who have no credit history at all.
  • A secured credit card works just like a traditional credit card. A secured credit card can help you establish or rebuild your credit.
  • The security deposit will depend on your previous credit history and the amount deposited in the account.
  • Security deposits for secured credit cards tend to range between 50% and 100%.
  • The security deposit cannot be used to pay off the balance on the credit card.
  • Typically, secured credit card companies will increase the limit on your card once you have proved you are a good credit risk. This takes time. With continued good credit history over a few years, they will refund your security deposit and issue you a regular credit card.

Five Tips for Wisely Using a Secured Credit Card

  1. Use for small purchases you can pay off each month.

The point of using a secured credit card is to show your ability to responsibly charge and then pay off your balance.  To do this, make a few purchases each month and pay your bill in full.  By NOT carrying a balance you avoid paying interest & build your credit.

  1. Pay on time, and more than the minimum payment.

To get a healthy credit score – it is essential that you pay on time.  Ideally you want to pay off your balance in full.  If you can’t pay the full amount, pay down as much as you can, so you are reducing your credit utilization (the amount you owe compared to your credit limit).

  1. Make Multiple Payments every month.

Making more than one monthly payment can help keep your balance low.  A large balance reduces your overall credit which can negatively affect your credit score.  If you make a large purchase, pay it off quickly to keep your credit utilization low.

  1. Set Payment Alerts.

Even the most organized person misses a payment now and then… That’s OK for people with good credit… if you have credit blemishes you’ve lost your “get out of jail free” privilege.  One missed payment is one time too many!  Set up payment reminders 1 week before your payment is due.

  1. Enroll in Autopay.

If you are concerned about making your payments on time?  The easiest plan is to enroll in autopay, which allows your credit issuer to automatically deduct the monthly balance form your bank account, so you don’t have to keep track of bills. This assumes you have the money in the account to pay off the credit card.

Please note: Prepaid Credit Cards do NOT help you build credit.  You’ve prepaid the amount on the card, so no one is actually offering you any credit.

If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional near you.

Kelly Hudson
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
5 Jun

Debt: To Consolidate or Not to Consolidate? That is the Question

General

Posted by: Jen Lowe

What a great article for retirees and elderly clients outlining the pros and cons of consolidating and a reverse mortgage as an option to increase your cash flow when you are on a fixed income/pension.

DEBT: TO CONSOLIDATE OR NOT TO CONSOLIDATE? THAT IS THE QUESTION

If you are a Canadian living in debt, you are not alone. According to Statistics Canada, household debt grew faster than income last year, with Canadians owing $1.79 for every dollar of household disposable income to debt(1).

• Canadian households use almost 15% of income for debt re-payment(1).
• 7.3% of this re-payment goes towards interest charges (1)
• Interest charges are at their highest level in 9 years(1).
• The cost of living is projected to increase in 2020 (2)

So how can one ever get out of debt? Debt consolidation.

What is debt consolidation?
Debt consolidation means paying off smaller loans with a larger loan at a lower interest rate. For example, a credit card bill debt with interest of 19.99% can be paid off by a 5-year Reverse Mortgage with an interest rate of 5.74%* from HomeEquity Bank. (*rate as of May 2, 2019. For current rates, please contact your DLC Mortgage Broker).

A lot of confusion surrounds debt consolidation; many of us just don’t know enough about it. Consider the two sides:

The pros
• The lower the interest rate, the sooner you get out of debt. A lower monthly interest allows you to pay more towards your actual loan, getting you debt-free faster.
• You only have to make one monthly debt payment. This is more manageable than keeping track of multiple debt payments with different interest rates.
• Your credit score remains untarnished because your higher interest loans, such as a credit card, are paid off.

The cons
• Consolidating your debt doesn’t give you the green light to continue spending.
Consolidating helps you get out of debt; continuing to spend as you did before puts you even further into debt.
• A larger loan with a financial institution will require prompt payments. If you were struggling to pay your debts before, you may be still be challenged with payments. A CHIP Reverse Mortgage may be a better option; it doesn’t require any payments until you decide to move or sell your home.
• You may require a co-signer who will have to pay the loan, if you’re unable. Note that a Reverse Mortgage does not require a co-signer, as long as you qualify for it and are on the property title.

So how do you know if debt consolidation is the option for you? Start by contacting your mortgage broker and asking if the CHIP Reverse Mortgage could be the right solution for you.

SOURCES:

1 https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/household-debt-income-1.5056159

2 https://www.statista.com/statistics/271247/inflation-rate-in-canada/

https://www.bankofcanada.ca/2019/03/spending-shifts-and-consumer-caution/

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/consumer-spending-consumption-canada-1.5006343

Andrea Twizell

HomeEquity Bank – National Partnership Director, Mortgage Brokers