19 Mar



Posted by: Mike Hattim

What usually follows once someone hears the term “Monoline Lender” for the first time is a feeling of suspicion and lack of trust. It’s understandable, I mean why is this “bank” you’ve never heard of willing to loan you money when you’ve never banked with them before?

In an effort to help you see the benefits of working with a Monoline Lender, here is some basic information that will help you understand why you’ve never heard of them, why you want to, and the reason they are referred to as lenders, not banks.

Monoline Lenders only operate in the mortgage space. They do not offer chequing or savings accounts, nor do they offer investments through RRSPs, GICs, or Tax-Free Savings Accounts. They are called Monoline because they have one line of business- mortgages.

This also plays into the reasons you never see their name or locations anywhere. There is no need for them to market on bus stop benches or billboards as they are only accessible through mortgage brokers, making their need to market to you unnecessary. The branch locations are also unnecessary because you do not have day-to-day banking, savings accounts, investment accounts, or credit cards through them. All your banking stays the exact same, with the only difference of a pre-authorized payments coming from your account for the monthly mortgage payment. Any questions or concerns, they have a phone number and communicate documents through e-mail.

Would it help Monoline Lenders to advertise and create brand awareness with the public? Absolutely. Is it necessary for them to remain in business? No.

Monoline Lenders also have some of the lowest interest rates on the market, the most attractive pre-payment privileges, and the lowest pre-payment penalties, especially when compared to a bigger bank like CIBC or RBC. If you don’t think these points are important, ask someone whose had a mortgage with one of these bigger banks and sold their property before their term was up and paid upwards of $12,000 in penalty fees. An equivalent amount with a Monoline Lender would be anywhere from $2,000-$4,000 in fees.

Monoline Lenders are not to be feared, they should be welcomed, as they are some of the most accommodating and client service-oriented lenders around! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

By Ryan Oake

16 Mar



Posted by: Mike Hattim

If you haven’t seen your credit score, you’re not alone.

Many of our clients don’t know about their credit score or even know what it is when we first meet with them. During our initial consultation, we go over your complete credit report with you. As an added bonus, we’ll even teach you how to read it.

So, how can you make sure you have a great credit score? Here are a few tips to get you started.

You need to have credit. It may be surprising – but your credit score goes up as more credit is available to you. We recommend at least two facilities: a credit card and a line of credit (or 2 credit cards).
You also have to pay your bills when they are due. That goes for your internet, cell phone and even parking tickets.
It also helps to start as soon as possible. The longer you have a clean record of paying your credit card, loans or other credit facilities, the better your credit becomes.
Finally, make sure to carry a low balance. One of the least known ways to hurt your credit is to have high utilization.
Don’t ever hesitate to contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional about your mortgage related needs when you’re buying a property anywhere in Canada.

By Eitan Pinsky

15 Mar



Posted by: Mike Hattim

Housing & Smarties

All levels of government are trying to control a situation akin to that of 22 kids that want a Smartie, and there are only six-and-a-half Smarties to be had.

As authority figures tend to, they are creating all kinds of rules about which kid can have a Smartie, and some kids are being marginalized. As any parent knows, efforts to try and suppress Smartie demand by dealing with the kids themselves is foolish.

And no parent would ever suggest that these Smarties were the last Smarties on the planet Earth.

Seriously, just get another box or two of Smarties (approx 15 smarties per box). Then, each kid can have one, even that kid visiting here from another country. Why not show them some hospitality if we now have more than enough Smarties to go around.

But we clearly do not have enough Smarties on hand, and they seem to be tough to find.

So, why not call up the Smarties manufacturer’s and see how we can help them increase supply?

Let’s build more Smarties!

Instead of consistently singling out one kid or another and saying ‘no Smarties for you’, or ‘you pay extra’, and you over there ‘you need to work harder to earn the right’… in other words restrictions and punishment… let’s start building supply.

Then everyone can have one, two, three, or more.

More importantly when you have enough Smarties, then people will still want to come over to your house, and those people will add value – they’ll do chores in order to pay off those Smarties.

It’s a win-win.

Smarties for all!

By Dustan Woodhouse

14 Mar



Posted by: Mike Hattim

Recently there were changes to the mortgage rules yet again, and one of the rule changes was regarding refinancing your home. At one point in the last 10 years you could refinance your home all the way back up to 95% of its current value, which in many cases has put that property what we call under water or upside down. Basically, real estate markets ebb and flow and if you refinanced to 95% when we were at the crest of a market wave then as markets rolled back you were underwater… clever huh.

Fast forward a few years and the government said ‘what a minute, that is dangerous’, and it was. Clients now had no options for that property except to keep it, hoping values came back or turn it into a rental and hope to break even. At this point the government now said you can only refinance your home to 80% of the value which of course meant you needed to have equity in the property of at least 20% to make a change. This was an insurable product for many of our monoline lenders at this point, so it was something that was competitive in the market.

Welcome to 2018 and today you can still refinance your home to 80% but the Office of the Superintendents of Financial Institutions (OSFI) and CMHC now say that as a lender you can no longer insure this product. What does that mean for the average consumer? First off, it means that lenders across the board are not offering the same rate for insured mortgages as they are for refinances. The point spread between insured and uninsured mortgages has grown to, on average, .30% higher for 5-year fixed rates and it is .55% higher for variable rates.

To add to this extra cost, the new rules of qualifying at 5.14% which is currently the benchmark rate, applies to all mortgages including refinancing. Overall, the changes make it tougher to refinance and forces Canadians to seek alternative options to take equity out of their homes. In many cases this will mean looking to the private sector at higher rates when they need that money. If you have any questions about refinancing, contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

By Len Lane

13 Mar



Posted by: Mike Hattim

2017 was a year of change for the Canadian Mortgage Market. With the announcement of the B-20 guideline changes requiring all insured or uninsured mortgages to undergo stress testing. In addition, the removal of mortgage bundling and the continued rate rises from the Bank of Canada have led to significant changes in mortgage rates.

This raises the question: what does 2018 hold? While we cannot be 100% certain, based on predictions and summarizing stats from various corporations, we are able to put together a strong prediction of what 2018 will hold.

The Real Estate Market

As a whole, the Canadian real estate market is expected to see a 5.3% drop in national sales due in large part to the new OSFI guidelines (CREA). With this, there is an expectation of minimal growth for home prices at just 1.9% vs. the 8.5% gain seen in 2017. This is due again to the heightened stress testing procedures.

In addition, the sales of condos and townhomes are expected to increase with new developments of multifamily complexes reaching an all-time high, and the demand for smaller, more affordable houses increasing.

So, what does that mean for home prices? CMHC predicts that the average home price is to increase from a range of $493,900-$511,300 in 2017 to a range of $499,400-$524,500 by 2019.

Essentially, the market is going through a period of increased demand for condos and townhomes, leading to potential price increases. In relation to the detached home market, there will be slight price increases, but nothing compared to the growth that was seen in 2016-2017. There is an ongoing trend for homebuyers based in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley to contentedly sit by the sidelines as they save up for a larger down payment before purchasing-further increasing condo ownership and driving demand for rental properties as well.

The Economy

The Canadian Economy has been growing and surging forward through most of 2017. In the four quarters from the second half of 2016 to the first half of 2017, the Canadian Economy grew on average each quarter by 3.6%. Further, despite a slight slowdown in the second half of 2017, there was a rise in employment Canada wide, posting the annual real GDP growth over 3% in 2017. It was a substantial year for the Canadian economy in 2017 and this growth was directly seen in the real estate and housing market.

As many are aware, to stabilize the economy and ensure balance remains, the Bank of Canada began raising interest rates in 2017 and has plans to continue to do so in 2018. This rise in interest rates serves to steadily and slowly stunt the growth of the economy in Canada. Coupled with the ongoing trade disputes, the Canadian economy is forecasted to slow overall, but will still post an above-trend 2.2% of growth in 2018.

The Mortgage Market

So, what does all of the above mean for the mortgage industry and its rates? Well, with the predicted increase in rates from the Bank of Canada it is safe to say that the mortgage rates will follow.

CMHC summarized that the expected interest rate increase over the near-term horizon will bump the posted 5-year mortgage rate to lie within 4.9% and 5.7% in 2018. For 2019 that number increases to 5.2%-6.2% range*

In layman’s terms, the rates are likely to continue to rise alongside the Bank of Canada’s increases. It is important to keep in mind that with planning and budgeting these rates can easily be taken on by the average consumer. A key thing to keep in mind is that a 0.25% rate increase works out to only $13.00/100k increase in your payment. Another fact is that every lender is different in how they will calculate this change. Your mortgage product is unique and may be affected differently than another.

Since the new changes have rolled out there has been a slight decline in consumer demand. As the changes continue to take effect and the potential for more rate increases continues, it becomes more apparent we will continue to see a shift in the mortgage and real estate market.

However, by choosing to work with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker you are guaranteed to work with someone who has an in-depth understanding of both the changes and the market. They will work alongside you to find the best possible solution to get you the sharpest rate.

By Geoff Lee

12 Mar



Posted by: Mike Hattim

Once your mortgage has been funded by your lender, you need to decide on how frequently you want to make your mortgage payments.

Most people want to pay off their mortgage as quick as possible to save paying interest.

We’ll discuss various mortgage payment options and then do the math by crunching mortgage numbers, keeping in mind: the longer it takes to pay off your mortgage, the more interest you pay.

Monthly: Most people’s typical payment option. Monthly payments will have the lowest payments therefore your mortgage will be paid off the slowest. For many people this is the most comfortable option, since it’s only one payment a month to plan for.
Bi-Weekly: Take your monthly mortgage payment multiply by 12 for a year, then divide by 26.
• You will make a mortgage payment every 2 weeks for a total of 26 payments per year.
• This will not help to pay your mortgage off any sooner than regular monthly payments.
Semi-Monthly: You make payments twice a month for a total of 24 payments a year.
• This will not help to pay your mortgage off any sooner than regular monthly payments.
Weekly: Take your monthly payments, multiply by 12 for a year, then divide by 52 weeks.
• This will not pay down your mortgage any sooner than regular monthly payments.
Accelerated Bi-weekly: Your monthly payment divided by 2.
• This option creates 2 extra bi-weekly payments a year, meaning you would be making 13 monthly payments a year (instead of 12). The two extra payments go directly to paying down the principal on your mortgage.
Accelerated Weekly: Your monthly payment divided by 4.
• This option creates 4 extra weekly payments a year, meaning you would be making 13 monthly payments over a year (instead of 12). The 4 extra payments go directly to paying down the principal on your mortgage.

I’ve crunched mortgage numbers by putting together a table using:
• $250,000 mortgage
• Mortgage rate 2.99%
• 5-year term
• Compounded semi-annually
• 25-year amortization

Mortgages are complicated… Don’t try to sort all this out on your own. Call a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist and let’s figure out what your best mortgage option will be!

By Kelly Hudson

9 Mar



Posted by: Mike Hattim

What you need to know before you renew your mortgage could save you thousands of dollars. Is your mortgage on your home or other properties maturing in 2018?

Typically you will receive your mortgage renewal notice from your current lender 3-4 months in advance of the renewal date. Sometimes you may receive an offer for early renewal. Either way, always reach out to your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker to find out your options and what you need to know before your renew your mortgage.

With the new mortgage rules in effect in October/November 2016 and subsequent changes January 1st 2018 it is more important than ever to know your options before you sign a renewal.

Did you know…?

If your current mortgage is funded before October 2016, regardless if you were a high ratio borrower or conventional borrower, the old rules for qualifying still apply
If you want to renew your mortgage at best rates you can transfer that mortgage to another lender without qualifying under the new rules
If you have any fees for transferring the mortgage they may be covered
Lenders are currently offering high renewal rates as they know 65%+ of borrowers will simply sign without doing any homework
Lenders are currently offering lower rates only after clients decline their first offer. Doesn’t seem fair does it?
Mortgage brokers have access to lots of great renewal programs from the banks, mortgage companies and credit unions.

Be informed before your mortgage renewal. Consult with an independent mortgage broker to review your financing needs for all of your properties and to set a plan well in advance of any mortgage renewal. If you are looking to make any large purchases such as investments, real estate, an automobile— know your options and the impact of these purchases on your financial situation.

By Pauline Tonkin

8 Mar



Posted by: Mike Hattim

An accelerated payment is a mortgage payment that is increased slightly so that you can pay off your mortgage faster. There are two common types of accelerated payments: bi-weekly and weekly. Of the two, bi-weekly is the much more common choice because it matches with pay dates more often.

An accelerated payment works by increasing your weekly or bi-weekly payment by an amount that would have you pay one full month’s payment extra per year.

Accelerated payments are a great way to start paying off your mortgage, but they actually do not have much of an impact on the interest you will pay. Banks and mortgage professionals use this term to make borrowers think they are paying off their mortgage faster, but the amount of interest saved over the course of your term is minescule.

There’s nothing wrong with accelerated payments, but they are only part of the puzzle. Please contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to learn more.

If your payment is $1,000 per month, you pay 12 months per year, which will equal $12,000 of payments that year.

Now, if you pay semi-monthly, or every half month, you pay $500 per payment, for a total of $12,000 per year at 24 payments.

Bi-weekly payments are 26 payments per year with $461.50 per payment.

However, accelerated bi-weekly payments use the semi-monthly payments of $500, 26 times. This means that you end up paying $13,000 over the course of the year, or one extra monthly payment.

The Bare Bones

If all you do is an accelerated payment, your mortgage payoff is stunted compared to what is available. Across Canada, due to the fact that mortgage sizes are now very high, paying off a mortgage should be more of a priority.

By Eitan Pinsky

7 Mar



Posted by: Mike Hattim

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.

By Michael Hallett

6 Mar



Posted by: Mike Hattim

Mortgage Insurance Premiums. Many people know what they are- an extra cost to you the borrower. But not many people realize how they are calculated. Understanding the premium charges and how they are calculated will help lead you to making smarter down payments.

5%- 9.99% down payment of a purchase price is a 4% premium
10%- 14.99% down payment of a purchase price is a 3.10% premium
15%- 19.99% down payment of a purchase price is a 2.8% premium
So, that means with a $300,000 purchase price and a $30,000 down payment (10%), you would have a 3.10% premium added to your mortgage, making your total mortgage amount $270,000 + $8,370 for $278,370 total. The $8,370 being 3.10% of your original $270,000 mortgage.

Now let’s say you have a down payment potential of $60,000 and have the income to afford a $350,000 purchase price but you found one for $325,000. Using your entire $60,000 down payment (18.46%), your new mortgage amount would be $272,420, where $7,420 of it represents the mortgage insurance premium.

But what if you change that $60,000 (18.46% down payment) to say $48,750 and have a down payment of exactly 15%? Well, your premium is still the exact same as it would be with an 18.46% down payment because your premium is still 2.8% of the mortgage amount. That means you will now save $11,250 (difference in down payments), while only paying $7,735 in premiums (an increase of $315).

I don’t know about you, but if someone told me I could put $11,250 less down and it would only change my insurance premium by $315, I am holding onto that money. You now have more cash for unexpected expenses, moving allowance, furniture, anything you want. You can even apply it to your first pre-payment against your mortgage and pay the interest down while taking time off your loan. Obviously if cash is not an issue, putting the full $60,000 would be better seeing as you are borrowing less and paying less interest. However, if cash is tight, why not hold onto it and pay that difference over the course of 25 years?

Consult with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional when it comes to structuring your mortgage request with a bank. It is small little things like this that make all the difference.

By Ryan Oake