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

5 Jun

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

Mortgage Tips

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

7 Mar

Fixed versus Variable Rates

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Jen Lowe

FIXED VERSUS VARIABLE INTEREST RATES

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, I am here to help!

Blog post written by Ryan Oake

14 Feb

What does an insured mortgage really mean?

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Jen Lowe

THE ROLE OF THE INSURER IN A MORTGAGE

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.  Written by Asif Qureshi

15 Jan

Here is the scoop on the BIG difference between a Bank ‘Broker’ and a Mortgage Broker

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Jen Lowe

BANK BROKER VS. MORTGAGE BROKERS | HERE’S THE SCOOP

Ask any mortgage broker and they can tell you that there are a handful of misconceptions that the public has about working with a mortgage broker. From questioning their credentials (we all are regulated and licensed with in our own province, and are constantly re-educating ourselves) to assuming that the broker does not have access to the same rate as the banks (we do in fact—plus access to even more lending options) mortgage brokers have heard it all!

With the recent changes to the B-20 guidelines taking full effect as of January 1, 2018 the mortgage landscape is changing and we firmly believe in keeping our clients educated and informed. With these changes, there have been a number of misconceptions that have come to light regarding mortgage professionals and their “limitations” and we felt it was time to address them:

Myth 1: Independent Broker’s don’t have access to the rates the banks do.

Fact: Not true. Brokers have access to MORE rates and lenders than the bank. The bank brokers only have access to their rates-no other ones. A mortgage professional has access to:

• Tier 1 banks in Canada
• Credit Unions
• Monoline Lenders
• Alternative Lenders
• Private Lenders

This extensive network of lender options allows brokers to ensure that you are not only getting the sharpest rate, but that the mortgage product is also aligned with the client’s needs.

Myth 2: The consumer has to negotiate a rate with a lender directly.

Fact: Not true at all! Your mortgage professional will shop the market to find the best overall cost of borrowing for the client. Broker’s will look at all angles of the product to ensure that the client is getting one that will suit their unique and specific needs. Not once will the client be expected to shop their mortgage around or to speak to the lender. This is different from the bank where you are limited to only their rates and are left to negotiate with the bank’s broker—who is paid by the bank! We don’t know about you, but we would much rather have a broker negotiate on our behalf. Plus, they are FREE to use (see myth #6)

Myth 3: A Broker’s goal is to move the mortgage on each renewal.

Fact: A Mortgage Broker’s goal is to present multiple options to consumers so they can secure the optimal product for their specific and unique needs. This entails the broker looking at more than just the rate. A broker will look at:
• Prepayment options
• Costs of borrowing
• Portability
• Penalty to break
• Mortgage charges

And more. If the Broker determines that the current lender is the most ideal for their client at the time of renewal, then they will advise them to remain with that lender. The end goal of renewal is simple: provide clients the best ongoing, current advice at the time of origination and at the time of renewal

Myth 4: The broker receives a trailer fee if the client remains with the same lender at renewal.

Fact: This is on a case-to-case basis. At times, there is a small fee given to the broker if a client opts to renew with their current lender. This allows for accountability between the lender, broker, and customer in most cases. However, this is not always the case and the details of each renewal will vary.

Myth 5: If a Broker moves a mortgage to a new lender upon time of renewal then the full mortgage commission is received by the broker, allowing the broker to obtain “passive income” by constantly switching clients over.

Fact: Let’s clarify: If a client chooses to move their mortgage at renewal after a broker presents them with the best options, then it is in fact a new deal. By being a new deal, this means that the broker has all the work associated with any new file at that time. It is the equivalent of a brand-new mortgage and the broker will have to do the correct steps and work associated with it.

A second point of clarification-although the broker will earn income on this switch, the income (in most cases) is paid by the financial institution receiving the mortgage, NOT the client.

Myth 6: It costs a client more to renew with a mortgage broker.

Fact: Completely false. Clients SAVE MONEY when they work with a mortgage broker at . A broker has access to a variety of lenders and can offer discounts that the bank can’t. Additionally, most mortgage brokers offer continuous advice and information to their clients. Working with a broker is not a “one and done” deal as it is a broker’s goal to keep their clients informed, educated, and well-versed as to what is happening in the industry and how it will affect them. When you work with a broker instead of the bank, you not only get the best mortgage for you, but you also have access to a wealth of industry knowledge continuously.

Mortgage Brokers are a dedicated group of individuals who work directly for the client, not the lenders or the bank. Brokers are problem-solvers, advisors and honourable individuals. We work hard to give our clients the best that we can in an industry that constantly is evolving and changing.

We encourage you to reach out to your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional if you have any misconceptions or questions about working with a broker-we are happy to answer them and help you with your mortgage, your renewal, and everything and anything in between.

Geoff Lee

GEOFF LEE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

20 Nov

10 Things NOT to do when applying for a Mortgage

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Jen Lowe

10 THINGS NOT TO DO WHEN APPLYING FOR A MORTGAGE – BUYING A HOME OR REFINANCING

Have you been approved for a mortgage and waiting for the completion date to come? Well, it is not smooth sailing until AFTER the solicitor has registered the new mortgage. Be sure to avoid these 10 things below or your approval status can risk being reversed!

1. Don’t change employers or job positions
Any career changes can affect qualifying for a mortgage. Banks like to see a long tenure with your employer as it shows stability. When applying for a mortgage, it is not the time to become self employed!

2. Don’t apply for any other loans
This will drastically affect how much you qualify for and also jeopardize your credit rating. Save the new car shopping until after your mortgage funds.

3. Don’t decide to furnish your new home or renovations on credit before the completion date of your mortgage
This, as well, will affect how much you qualify for. Even if you are already approved for a mortgage, a bank or mortgage insurance company can, and in many cases do, run a new credit report before completion to confirm your financial status and debts have not changed.

4. Do not go over limit or miss any re-payments on your credit cards or line of credits
This will affect your credit score, and the bank will be concerned with the ability to be responsible with credit. Showing the ability to be responsible with credit and re-payment is critical for a mortgage approval

5. Don’t deposit “mattress” money into your bank account
Banks require a three-month history of all down payment being used when purchasing a property. Any deposits outside of your employment or pension income, will need to be verified with a paper trail. If you sell a vehicle, keep a bill of sale, if you receive an income tax credit, you will be expected to provide the proof. Any unexplained deposits into your banking will be questioned.

6. Don’t co-sign for someone else’s loan
Although you may want to do someone else a favour, this debt will be 100% your responsibility when you go to apply for a mortgage. Even as a co-signor you are just as a responsible for the loan, and since it shows up on your credit report, it is a liability on your application, and therefore lowering your qualifying amount.

7. Don’t try to beef up your application, tell it how it is!
Be honest on your mortgage application, your mortgage broker is trying to assist you so it is critical the information is accurate. Income details, properties owned, debts, assets and your financial past. IF you have been through a foreclosure, bankruptcy, consumer proposal, please disclose this info right away.

8. Don’t close out existing credit cards
Although this sounds like something a bank would favour, an application with less debt available to use, however credit scores actually increase the longer a card is open and in good standing. If you lower the level of your available credit, your debt to credit ratio could increase and lowering the credit score. Having the unused available credit, and cards open for a long duration with good re-payment is GOOD!

9. Don’t Marry someone with poor credit (or at lease be prepared for the consequences that may come from it)

So you’re getting married, have you had the financial talk yet? Your partner’s credit can affect your ability to get approved for a mortgage. If there are unexpected financial history issues with your partner’s credit, make sure to have a discussion with your mortgage broker before you start shopping for a new home.

10. Don’t forget to get a pre-approval!
With all the changes in mortgage qualifying, assuming you would be approved is a HUGE mistake. There could also be unknown changes to your credit report, mortgage product or rate changes, all which influence how much you qualify for. Thinking a pre-approval from several months ago or longer is valid now, would also be a mistake. Most banks allow a pre-approval to be valid for 4 months, be sure to communicate with your mortgage broker if you need an extension on a pre-approval.

7 Nov

How to Pay off your Mortgage Sooner

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Jen Lowe

YOU JUST GOT A MORTGAGE. NOW WHAT?

Mortgages are a funny thing. On the one hand they allow you to become a home owner without saving up enough money to purchase the home outright, which is a really good thing. On the other hand, even at today’s really low interest rates, as they are amortized over a really long time (most of the time 25 years), they can cost you a lot more money in the long run. With the government tightening mortgage qualification, chances are securing your most recent mortgage wasn’t a painless process.
So now that you finally have a mortgage, and you’re a home owner, the first thing you should do is figure out how to get rid of your mortgage! Here are 4 ways you can do that!

ACCELERATE YOUR PAYMENT FREQUENCY
Making the change from monthly payments to accelerated bi-weekly payments is one of the easiest ways you can make a difference to the bottom line of your mortgage. Most people don’t even notice the difference.
A traditional mortgage splits the amount owing into 12 equal monthly payments. Accelerated biweekly is simply taking a regular monthly payment and dividing it in two, but instead of making 24 payments, you make 26. The extra two payments really accelerate the pay down of your mortgage.

INCREASE YOUR MORTGAGE PAYMENT AMOUNT
Unless you opted for a “no-frills” mortgage, chances are you have the ability to increase your regular mortgage payment by 10-25%. This is a great option if you have some extra cash flow to spend in your budget. This money will go directly towards paying down the principal amount owing on your mortgage, and isn’t a prepayment of interest. The more money you can pay down when you first get your mortgage the better, as it has a compound effect, meaning you will pay less interest over the life of your mortgage.
Also, by voluntarily increasing your mortgage payment, it’s kinda like signing up for a long term forced savings plan where equity builds in your house rather than your bank account.

MAKE A LUMP SUM PAYMENT
Again, unless you have a “no-frills” mortgage, you should be able to make bulk payments to your mortgage. Depending on your lender and your mortgage product, you should be able to put down anywhere from 10-25% of the original mortgage balance. Some lenders are particular about when you can make these payments, however if you haven’t taken advantage of a lump sum payment yet this year, you will be eligible.

REVIEW YOUR OPTIONS REGULARLY
As your mortgage payments are withdrawn from your account regularly, it’s easy to simply put your mortgage payments on auto-pilot, especially if you have opted for a 5 year fixed term. Regardless of the terms of your mortgage, it’s a good idea to give your mortgage an annual review. There may be opportunities to refinance and lower your interest rate, or maybe not, but the point of reviewing your mortgage annually, is that you are conscious about making decisions regarding your mortgage.

If you have any questions about your mortgage, how to get a mortgage, or how to get rid of the mortgage you have, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 250-217-4925 or j.lowe@dominionlending.ca

19 Sep

Mortgage Basics – Types of Insurance

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Jen Lowe

MORTGAGE BASICS – TYPES OF INSURANCE

Sometimes it is a good idea to revisit the basics when looking at a complex thing like a mortgage. There can be misunderstandings which crop up. The mortgage process can be very stressful as you wait for some anonymous entity to decide whether or not you are able to buy the home of your dreams. It is no wonder that things can get missed. Fear not! We will take a look at some of the basics so you can avoid things best avoided.

1. Mortgage Default Insurance – There are three mortgage default insurance providers in Canada. CMHC, Genworth and Canada Guaranty. If you are purchasing a home with less than 20% down you will have to be approved by both the lender and the default insurance provider for the loan. They are looking at your credit, employment stability and the property itself to make their decision. If you default on the mortgage, the bank or mortgage provider is made whole on any shortfall. The cost is a set amount based on how much you are putting down and will be added to your mortgage so you do not have to worry that you need to come up with extra funds for it. As of today based on a standard borrower the premiums are shown in the following table though it is an important note that the premiums are higher in certain cases.
LTV Ratio Premium Rate
Up to 65% 0.60%
65.01% – 75% 1.70%
75.01% – 80% 2.40%
80.01% – 85% 2.80%
85.01% – 90% 3.10%
90.01% – 95% 4.00%

2. Title Insurance – This is required on most mortgages these days. The cost is around $250 and will be collected from you at the lawyer’s office. Title insurance is often used instead of a Real Property Report as it is quicker and less expensive. If for example, the garage on your new home had been constructed offside of where it should be, it is the responsibility of the title insurance to make it right. This could happen by getting the city to allow it or in the worst case, to cover the cost to move the garage.

3. Home Insurance – You have a legal responsibility to make sure you have property insurance. This protects you against things like fire, flood or theft. You will be required to provide verification of the insurance when you meet with the lawyer. You will probably want to do a bit of research before choosing your company. Not all insurance policies are equal and a truly awful time to find that out is after a horrible event.

4. Life Insurance – You will be offered life and disability insurance with your mortgage. Most of us assume that we have sufficient coverage through work but the protection of your family and their home should be given serious consideration. You are not obligated to accept the insurance provided to you but please factor the cost of sufficient coverage into your budget when you are thinking of buying your home. A few things to consider:

– The younger you are when you get insurance the cheaper it is.
– If you leave your current employer or get laid off and have developed a health concern it can be problematic to find affordable if any coverage.
– If you choose the insurance from the mortgage lender or bank you may find yourself tied to them indefinitely if you experience a change in your health. This could mean higher rates at renewal.
– Disability is the number one reason for foreclosure in Cana which goes to show that it can and does happen too many of us.
And there you have the four types of insurance which will be discussed around your mortgage. If you have any questions, please contact Jen Lowe at 250-217-4925 or j.lowe@dominionlending.ca

5 Jul

5 Ways to Boost Your Financial Fitness!

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Jen Lowe

5 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR FINANCIAL FITNESS

Thinking about buying your first home?

The race to home ownership is more like a marathon than a sprint: diligent planning, pacing and strategy are the keys to success. Are you ready to approach the starting line? Here are five ways to shape up and boost your financial fitness so you’re set for success.

1. Check your credit score
First things first: order a copy of your credit report and credit score. Your credit score, which is calculated using the information in your credit report, is what lenders look at when considering you for a mortgage. Your score impacts whether or not you get approved and what interest rates you’re offered.

2. Reduce (or eliminate) credit card debt
Ideally, your credit card balance should be zero. But if, like 46% of Canadians, you carry a balance each month, make it your priority to chip away at it. You’ll boost your credit score while reducing the amount you’re paying in interest, freeing up more cash for saving and investing.

Use one – or, better yet, both – of the following strategies to make a dent in your debt:

• Make more money (i.e., take on a side gig, work overtime hours, pick up odd jobs)
• Save more money (i.e., sacrifice your satellite TV package, swap your gym membership for running outdoors, cut back on eating out)

3. Bulk up your savings

Now’s the time to save aggressively, stashing that cash in a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) or tax-free savings account (TFSA). Use automated savings to ensure that money goes straight from your checking account to your savings, investment accounts or both.

Remember: As a first-time homebuyer, you can withdraw money from your RRSP to put toward a down payment. (Generally, you’ll have up to 15 years to pay it back into your RRSP.)

4. Stick to a budget

As points 2 and 3 illustrate, getting financially fit takes determination and commitment. It can feel less overwhelming when you’ve got a snapshot of goals and actions right at your fingertips. Sit down with your partner to create a monthly budget. And stick to it.

A smartphone app can be a game changer in keeping you organized, accountable and on track with your financial fitness plan.
5. Keep your eyes on the prize

Stay inspired, motivated and positive by remembering why you’re working so hard to boost your financial fitness: to buy your first home!
Crunch preliminary figures online to come up with ballpark estimates on how much home you can afford.
Raise your real estate IQ by watching HGTV shows, researching neighbourhoods, perusing listings and attending open houses.
That will make you a more educated shopper once you’re ready to enter the market qualified with a mortgage pre-approval. Do your research now, so you can hit the ground running when you’re ready to buy.