20 Sep

WE’RE NOT JUST A MORTGAGE COMPANY

General

Posted by: Derek Vandall

Well, it finally happened. I was meeting with a financial advisor today and they looked at my business card and asked: “Why does it say Dominion Lending Centres and not Dominion Mortgage Company?”

I have been waiting for 7 years to hear this question. I had an answer all ready for today. I said “that’s because we are not just a mortgage company, we’re a lending company. This provided me with a segue into a conversation about how we do equipment leasing, factoring and cash advances.

I meet plenty of small business owners who are trying to build their business and also buy a home. In one case, the business owner had opened a machine shop. He bought $100,000 or more of equipment. As he did not have a long established business, lenders insisted that he put the loans in his own name. As a result, he had lots of business loans outstanding and was still showing little income. As he had incorporated, we were able to free up his credit by having DLC Leasing purchase the equipment and he leased it back. This provided a good tax break his accountant liked and it freed up his personal credit, which I liked.

Long story short, Dominion Lending Centres is a small/ medium business owners best friend.
We can help you get into a house where other companies see obstacles. If you are in a situation like this, contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional and get some help.

DAVID COOKE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

13 Sep

WHY WE WORKED WITH A BROKER

General

Posted by: Derek Vandall

A couple we had worked with in 2011 recently came into our office. They had some life changes that had occurred in the past 7 years and were unsure if they could make things work. They came back to speak with us and shared a little bit of their story and thoughts on working with a broker. Check out their story below! **Names Changed for privacy purposes**

Jane and her husband Kevin never in a million years would have thought that they could own a detached home in the Fraser Valley. One look at the market and they felt “stuck” where they were in their two-bedroom townhome in Kamloops, British Columbia. They had purchased their townhome in 2011 by working with us at Dominion Lending Centres.

They loved their little home but a job opportunity for Kevin opened up and the need for more space (with baby #2 on the way) was pulling them towards the Fraser Valley. Now they had their doubts about being able to afford a house in the Lower Mainland. They had strong credit and very little debt, but there is always the “unknown” when you are looking at buying a home. They decided to reach out to us again—and we were all in to make their dream become a reality!

After a few weeks of shopping around they found a picture-perfect home in the Valley for $675,000—and were able to move in just last month (just in time for the holidays!)

When asked why they opted to work with a broker, they said it was due to the ability of Mortgage Brokers being a “One stop shop”—no shopping around from bank to bank or having to have your information pulled and sent off to several different lenders. It was all done for them. They were able to send all of their information and let us do the rest. And the best part for Jane and Kevin? We got them a great rate back in 2011 and were able to do the same in 2018!

Why else should you choose to work with a broker instead of the bank? Just a few reasons for you…
1. A broker can access rates that your bank can’t. They can access:
i. Tier 1 banks in Canada
ii. Credit Unions
iii. Monoline Lenders
iv. Alternative Lenders
v. Private Lenders

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

2. A broker will negotiate on your behalf, directly with a lender. There is no “grunt work” needed on your part—your mortgage broker does it all for you.
3. A Mortgage Broker can produce and show you several different options so that you can select the optimal product for your specific needs. A broker won’t just look at the rate, they will also look at:
i. Prepayment options
ii. Costs of Borrowing
iii. Portability
iv. Blending and Extending
v. Penalty to break
4. A broker can save you some serious cash! Because they have access to a multitude of different lenders and can offer discounts the bank can’t people end up saving money when they work with a mortgage broker.
5. Working with a broker means you have someone on your side—always. Mortgage Brokers will work to provide you with industry information and updates long after your mortgage is completed. They want to make sure that the product that was right for you when you signed is still the right one for you today and in the future.

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.

Kevin and Jane made the right choice working with us here at DLC.

GEOFF LEE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

6 Sep

THE #1 MISCONCEPTION ABOUT MORTGAGE FINANCING!

General

Posted by: Derek Vandall

It is a common misconception that you will qualify for a mortgage in the future because you have qualified for a mortgage in the past.

This is not accurate!

Do. Not. Assume. Anything.

Even if your financial situation has remained the same or has improved, securing mortgage financing is more difficult now than it has been in recent years.
The latest changes to mortgage qualification by the federal government has left Canadians qualifying for 20-25% less. On top of that, guidelines that lenders would use in determining your suitability have been replaced with non-negotiable rules and declarations.

As mortgage professionals, we keep up to date with the latest trends in the mortgage world by understanding lender products and staying attentive to evolving changes.

From experience, we can tell you that having a plan is crucial to a successful mortgage application. Making assumptions about your qualification or just “winging it” is a recipe for disaster. Here are a few points on why a mortgage broker is a must for the first-time homebuyer.

1. They have access to over 40 different lenders, not just one
2. They work for you, not for the lender
3. They will guide you through the application process
4. They save you valuable time by shopping for you
5. They pull your credit once — if you go to multiple banks, you will have multiple credit pulls

If you are thinking about buying a property, please feel free to contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional where we can help you devise a solid plan!

CHRIS CABEL

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

30 Aug

HOW TO RENEW YOUR MORTGAGE IN 5 SIMPLE STEPS!

General

Posted by: Derek Vandall

The easy way is the more expensive way…

If you have a mortgage, you’ll be completing a mortgage renewal when your current term has finished.
While most Canadians spend a lot of time and expend tons of effort shopping for an initial mortgage, the same is generally not the case when looking at mortgage renewals.

So what is a mortgage renewal?

Mortgages terms are locked in rates that are *over a set term* which can vary from 1-10 years.

About 3 months before the end of your term, your current lender will suddenly become your best friend showering you with attention and trying to entice you with early renewal offers…And the first offer is never their best. It really shows how they value the relationship.
“Please, please sign here on the dotted line to renew… it’s sooo easy!!”

You have 3 options

1. Sign and send back with no alterations or changes (don’t do it, really I mean it… don’t do it!!)
2. Check the market to make sure you are getting the best rate and renegotiate with your current lender
3. Talk to a mortgage expert and together we can discuss the best options available for your situation

Lenders know that 80% of people will sign their renewal forms because it’s fast, easy and convenient. Banks & lenders push this “take it as it is” tactic to borrowers to ensure they make the highest profits to keep their shareholders happy. As an educated consumer, you need to take the time to ensure you are being offered the best possible rate & terms you can get.
Remember all those hours of research you did regarding lenders and mortgage rates when you were buying your first home… don’t forget!
It is true that signing the renewal document is easy, however, it is in your best interest to take a more proactive approach. Money in the lenders pocket comes directly out of your pocket.

5 steps to save you money on your mortgage renewal

1. Receive the renewal offer from your current mortgage lender and examine immediately. This gives you enough time to make an informed decision
2. Do your online research about the best current rates for you
3. Call your current lender and negotiate!
4. If your lender will not offer you a better rate then it is time to move your mortgage. You will have to complete a mortgage application and gather applicable documentation just like you did for your original mortgage, but we will help with most of the work!
5. Take a look at your budget and see if you can increase the amount of your regular mortgage payment. This will eventually save you money by paying off your mortgage faster

Your mortgage is one of your biggest expenses. For this reason, it is so important to find the best interest rates and mortgage terms you possibly can.
As you can tell there is a lot to discuss about mortgage renewals. We can help. Contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional today!

CHRIS CABEL

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

23 Aug

WHEN DEATH STRIKES SUDDENLY

General

Posted by: Derek Vandall

Recently I was finishing up a mortgage with a young couple who just had a beautiful baby girl. I brought up the topic of mortgage and life insurance as well as getting a will written up. The response from the husband was that it was such a morbid topic and a real downer. They just wanted to be excited about their new home.

The fact is that people, even young people die from car accidents, cancer, and even accidental drownings while on vacation. It’s a topic everyone avoids but it needs to be addressed, particularly when you are taking a major financial step like buying a home. What would happen to your spouse if you died suddenly with your mortgage not paid off?

I spoke to a major Canadian mortgage company about this topic.
I asked if the surviving spouse would be kicked out of the house. “ When someone dies who was on our mortgage we want to know right away. We ask for a copy of the death certificate so that we can take them off the title. We will let the mortgage run its term if payments are being made on time. Many surviving spouses receive a life insurance policy and can pay off the mortgage or at least keep up the payments. We will renew the mortgage if payments are up to date. However, should the surviving spouse want to refinance the mortgage they would have to re-qualify for it.”

So what can you do to make life easier for your family should you die with a mortgage on your home? The easiest option is to have sufficient life insurance to ensure that they can keep up payments or to pay off the mortgage. Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professionals all offer MPP (Mortgage Protection Plan), a life insurance policy that pays off the mortgage in full in case of the death of the policyholder. The payments never go up because the mortgage balance is going down as the insured person gets older.

Another option is term insurance or whole life insurance. Speak to your favourite insurance broker about this.
Finally, if the surviving spouse is 55 or older, and they can’t afford to maintain the mortgage, a reverse mortgage may be the solution. No payments are made on the principal unless you decide you want to. When the widow(er) moves out the sale of the home pays off the mortgage and interest.

While it can be a “downer” to talk about death and disability, a responsible home purchaser needs to have the conversation with their Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional at the time of their purchase, refinance or renewal. The sudden death of a family member causes enough grief for the survivors. Why add to their misery? As the old commercial used to say “Why wait for spring, do it now”.

DAVID COOKE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

16 Aug

WHY REVERSE MORTGAGES ARE BUCKING THE DOWNWARD TREND

General

Posted by: Derek Vandall

The reverse mortgage market in Canada has been increasing at a phenomenal rate over the last few years.

In fact, for HomeEquity Bank, the provider of the CHIP Reverse Mortgage, growth was well over 40% in August, bringing Canada’s outstanding reverse mortgage balance to $3.03 billion.

Compare this to the latest growth in lending for new and renewal mortgages at just 4.1% – this is the lowest since May 2001. Much of this slow-down in mortgage growth is a result of the introduction of the new mortgage stress test, which has made it harder for borrowers to qualify for the mortgage they need. Another factor is a jump in mortgage interest rates.

So, how is it that reverse mortgages are growing so much faster than conventional mortgages? And who is driving this growth?

The reverse mortgage solution and why it matters to you

The CHIP Reverse Mortgages allows you to tap into the equity of your home is available to Canadians aged 55 and over. The key difference from a regular mortgage is that borrowers don’t have to make any regular repayments. This means they can have a considerable injection of cash without having to pay off what they owe until they sell or move out of their home.

The number of Canadians over 65 has jumped by 20% since 2011, so the potential market for reverse mortgages has grown enormously in just a few years.

Life expectancy is now at almost 83 and more people are living into their 90s and beyond 100 than ever before. Retirement can now easily last 20 years or more, which can put a big strain on retirement savings. Many retirees are therefore having to look at ways to supplement their retirement income.

There are many reasons for taking out a reverse mortgage. These include paying off high-interest debt, maintaining a good standard of living, improving or retrofitting their home and helping the family out financially.

Canadians prefer to stay in their homes during retirement

A recent Ipsos/HomeEquity Bank survey revealed that a staggering 93% of Canadians aged 65+ are determined to stay in their homes during retirement, rather than downsize or move in with relatives or into a care home.

Almost 70% said that maintaining their independence was the most important reason for staying at home. Others also want to stay close to their family, friends and community.

Downsizing is an increasingly unpopular option

While downsizing has often been seen as a key strategy for accessing some home equity, its popularity is declining. Another Ipsos survey revealed that 48% of homeowners don’t plan on downsizing and that 39% are sceptical that downsizing would actually save them any money. People who regretted downsizing said the key reasons were missing their old neighbourhood, family and friends, which can play a big role in emotional well-being in your later years.

Nevertheless, 31% of retirees say they need to cash in on their home’s equity to live comfortably in retirement. So, if they don’t want to downsize, what are their options?

How the reverse mortgage helps out retirees

The introduction of the mortgage stress test has made it even harder for retirees to qualify for the kind of mortgage they need to effectively improve their finances.

Even those that do qualify often struggle to make the monthly payments required from a conventional mortgage or line of credit. A reverse mortgage provides them with tax-free cash that enables retirees to live the retirement they want, with no negative impact on their monthly income. For many retirees, a reverse mortgage is the only option available to them that provides them with the finances they need without regular required payments.

If you would like to find out more about the CHIP Reverse Mortgage and how it could help improve your retirement finances, contact your Dominion Lending Centre mortgage professional.

REBECCA BURGUM

HomeEquity Bank – Director, Referred and Product Marketing

9 Aug

WHAT IS AN UNINSURABLE MORTGAGE?

General

Posted by: Derek Vandall

Has your broker confused you with terms like insured, insurable or uninsurable? Here’s a simple explanation.

With the mortgage rule changes in recent years, lenders have had to make some adjustments to their rate offerings.

There are different tiers and rate pricing based on the following 3 categories:
1) Insured – a mortgage that is insured with mortgage default insurance through one of Canada’s mortgage insurers, CMHC, Genworth or Canada Guaranty. A mortgage insurance premium based on a percentage of the loan amount is added to and paid along with the mortgage
2) Insurable – a mortgage that may not need mortgage insurance (20% or more down payment) but would qualify under the mortgage insurers rules. The client doesn’t have to pay an insurance premium but the lender has the option to if they choose.
3) Uninsurable – a mortgage that does not meet mortgage insurer rules such as refinances or mortgages with an amortization longer than 25-years. No insurance premium required.

Insured mortgages are the safest type of mortgage loan for the banks and the most cost-effective way of lending mortgage money, so clients seeking or in need of an insured mortgage will get the best rate offering on the market.
Insured as well as Insurable mortgages can be bundled and sold as Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) meaning banks can get that money back quickly so they can lend more out. While Insured mortgages get the best rates, Insurable mortgages are typically a close second.

If a mortgage is Uninsurable that means the banks have to lend their own money and have to commit to that loan for the full term at least. This makes it a more expensive loan for the bank, so they pass the cost on to the consumer as a premium on the rate – typically 10-20 basis-points.

While there are rumours that the Government may start to allow refinances and 30-year amortizations to be insured again, no formal announcements are expected in the next few months.
In the meantime, consumers looking to tap into the equity they’ve built (consolidation, investment, home renovations) or wanting to keep their payments as low as they can (30-year amortization) are paying the price.
If either a refinance or a longer amortization is something you are considering, it’s wise to have a free analysis of your mortgage done so you can make an informed decision. If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres broker near you.

KRISTIN WOOLARD

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

2 Aug

WHY I CHOSE A MORTGAGE BROKER? OUR HOUSE MAGAZINE – WINTER

General

Posted by: Derek Vandall

Amanda Moss and her husband Robert have had a mortgage on various properties for almost 10 years. The Chilliwack B.C. couple was a few years into their mortgage term, but looking to pay off some extra bills and clear up some financing. They hadn’t considered the option of refinancing until Amanda got some advice of a friend. The friend recommended a mortgage broker to help them through the refinancing process. The couple is now back on solid financial footing thanks to the help of their Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker.

Why did you choose a mortgage broker?

I happened to be on a girl’s trip to Seattle and I mentioned to a friend because my husband and I both make a decent income, we wanted to refinance. She said she had the perfect broker for me. When I got back to Seattle I called him right away.

How was your experience working with a mortgage broker?

I had a really great experience with Dominion Lending Centres and with my mortgage broker. He was very professional and went out of his way to reassure us through the process. Refinancing can be stressful, with so much paperwork and questions along the way, but our broker was always willing to provide advice and even dropped by our house to pick up documents. Overall it was a great experience!

What advice would you give someone in your situation?

Managing your finances can be very stressful. Our mortgage broker was able to lower our monthly payments which have allowed us to focus on our family and worry less about money. My husband and I found that dealing with a mortgage broker was easy, and also and provided us with multiple lending options so that we could get the best rate possible. This was a nice change from just dealing with one bank. My advice to you is to be open to using a mortgage broker as they fight for you and your best interest.

JEREMY DEUTSCH

Communications Advisor

26 Jul

ZERO DOWN PAYMENT MORTGAGE–DOES IT EXIST?

General

Posted by: Derek Vandall

Did you know that you can buy a home with ZERO down payment? If a home purchase is your goal this year but you aren’t able to save up enough of a down payment, you may qualify for a low or zero down payment mortgage. One of our Lenders is offering a great zero-down program.

What is a Flex-Down Mortgage?
A Flex-Down Mortgage is a mortgage product that has a flexible down payment amount. There is still a down-payment required, but it will vary based on the property value.

  • For a property valued below or equal to $500,000, 5% down payment is required (sources available below)
  • For a property valued at greater than $500,000 and less than $1 million –5% down payment is required up to $500,000 with an additional 10% down payment on the portion of the home value above $500,000.

Flex-down mortgages can only be on first mortgages, not second or third or used in refinancing situations. As noted above, the total property value has to be less than $1 million. This type of mortgage will also have insurance included with it—the premium will be the lesser of the premium as a % of the total new loan amount or the premium as a % of the top-up portion of the additional loan based on the rates at that time.

Those that choose to go with this type of mortgage product will have to meet requirements, just like any other mortgage. There are a few specifications with this product:

  • You must show that you have standard income and employment verification papers
  • A credit score of 650 or higher is highly recommended
  • You must have no previous bankruptcies
  • Some lenders may still require you to have some of the down payment from your own resources

Those considering this type of mortgage will need to have very little debt and be able to accommodate the additional cost of higher mortgage insurance (due to the higher risk to the lender on this type of mortgage). Typically, the insurance premium would be 0.2% higher on a flex-down mortgage.

How it Works
You can borrow your 5% payment from a Line of Credit or even a credit card. This can then be used for your down payment. You have to disclose this to the Insurer and it will be on the application that goes to the Lender.

This is perfect for someone just getting into a new high paying job or for someone who is renting and can afford higher monthly payments but would take forever to save up the 5% down payment. This type of mortgage product can be an excellent option if you don’t quite have enough for the down payment. Are you interested in learning more about this mortgage product? Contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional who can show you how a Flex mortgage can make the home of your dreams happen sooner than you think!

GEOFF LEE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

19 Jul

BROKERS MAKE A DIFFERENCE

General

Posted by: Derek Vandall

While many people will go to their bank to obtain a mortgage or line of credit, the feeling of betrayal could be very strong if their application is rejected. One big advantage that we have over banks is that we can send underwriter notes along with the application. Our questions and speaking at length with the borrower give us insight that the underwriter will never get from the facts and figures on the application.
A while ago, I had an application at a lender for a young man who wanted to buy his first home.

He worked in the construction trades and his income history was up and down over the past 3 years. He needed overtime to support his application and the two-year average wasn’t there.

I went back with 3 years of Notices of Assessments, his recent pay stubs and pleaded the case for my client. The underwriter finally asked for an exception based on my confidence in the client. She trusted my judgement and the mortgage was approved.
This leads me to the idea that underwriter notes are very important and can mean the difference between an approval and a decline. If you have a chance, ask your underwriter how they like their notes; in point form or in paragraphs. Do they prefer emails or phone calls?

When a successful mortgage broker writes notes they start by stating what product they are asking for and giving their contact information. I put my contact info at the top of the notes and at the bottom so they don’t have to go searching for it if they have a question or need clarification. I then state what my client is trying to do; purchase their first home, refinance, a renewal or if it’s’ a switch, that they want to benefit from lower interest rates.
I then list the areas I want to highlight: Income, credit, property, down payment and start with their weakest link first and explain their situation. I had a client who had her down payment in a joint account with her father in Japan. I started with that knowing that a paper trail would be important. If the credit score is low, is it due to a past illness, divorce or job loss? I tell the underwriter right away. As a result, underwriters trust me and have given my clients a second look or asked for an exception. Finally, I finish up by summarizing the strong points in the file and thanking them for their consideration of my file.

I never yell or give my underwriters a blast if they decline a file. I will, however, ask why the file was declined so that I can better prepare my client for the disappointment and plan on how we can remedy the situation. Just as an FYI, a manager at a major bank told me that at one bank he worked for after hitting the send key he received a simple message back – either APPROVED or DECLINED with no explanation. Now, who do you think mortgage clients should deal with? A bank or a broker?

DAVID COOKE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional