Mortgage Intelligence

Oshawa's Mortgage News Desk!


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The lowdown on the First-Time Buyer Incentive

The first-time buyer incentive, launching on September 2nd, is a shared equity program designed to reduce mortgage payments for qualifying first-time buyers who have the minimum 5% downpayment required for an insured mortgage. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) will provide 5% of the cost of an existing home, or 10% of a new home. This incentive isn’t payable until you sell the property and is not charged interest. 

There are a few caveats. If your household income is more than $120,000, you aren’t eligible for the program. And your total borrowed amount (including the incentive portion) can’t be more than four times your household income. With a household income of $120,000, the maximum purchase price would be approximately $505,000 with 5% down, and about $565,000 for a 15% downpayment.  

You are required to pay the incentive back after 25 years or when you sell the home, with the repayment amount based on the property’s fair market value, whether it has increased or decreased in value. If you received a 5% incentive and your $500,000 home increases in value to $600,000, then you are required to repay $30,000. If the value deceases to $450,000, you’ll repay $22,500. You can repay the incentive at any time without penalty

This new incentive program has certainly added another layer of complexity to the already complicated mortgage world. Getting expert advice throughout your mortgage years is more important than ever. 

Got a homebuying dream? Feel free to get in touch with the team at MiMortgage.ca for a review of your situation at any time! We can certainly run some numbers to determine if this is something you, or someone you know, may want to consider. 


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10 Money-Saving Tips for Summer

The lazy days of summer are here and with them come plenty of ways to spend. Here are some easy tips that can help you maximize enjoyment while minimizing how much you spend!

1. Budget it. set a budget for what you plan to do this summer and stick to it. If you have a plan and write it down you are less likely to go into unexpected debt by overusing your credit card.

2. Head to the library. Get your summer reading material at the library. Reading is a great cost-effective way to fill the hours! Libraries also often have free programs for families.

3. Shop second hand. Going to garage sales or flea markets in the summer can be a fun way to explore and spend your morning. If you need to buy something this summer start your search here.

4. Perfect the potluck. Make your your own signature dish and get guests to bring a favourite of their own, allowing them to share in the cost and effort of your backyard meal.

5. Pack a lunch. Make it part of the experience of a car trip or excursion Find a picnic spot to enjoy your home Ade goodies, and bring your snacks instead of buying expensive convenience store items. Also plan brown-bag it at work.

6. Drop it. Spend more time outdoors and drop your cable and gym membership for the summer..

7. Cut cooling costs. Set the temperature just one degree higher, and be mindful if electricity costs are higher during certain parts of the day. Open the windows at night, and close the blinds during the day. On hot days, skip the hot stove. Replace your AC filters.

8. Find free local fun. Check out your local events calendar. There are plenty of free or low-cost local offerings that you are sure to enjoy.

9. Snap up those souvenirs. The best summer souvenirs are often the photos. Skip the souvenir shops; take more pictures instead.

10. Create breathing room. If you have enough equity, take advantage of your low cost funds to refinance your mortgage if you have a large upcoming expense. Or perhaps you need to roll large amounts of credit card debt into your mortgage, a simple strategy that can save you thousands, give you one manageable payment and help you be mortgage free sooner.

For more information on your mortgage needs, contact the team at Mortgage Intelligence-Oshawa at 1.866.452.1100 or visit us at www.mimortgage.ca. Now kick back and really enjoy your summer!


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Fixed or Variable-Rate Mortgage?

If you are rate shopping, you’ll notice that the lowest available rate will be for a variable mortgage, which is why we’re often asked “what does variable mean and how is it different from a fixed-rate mortgage?”

With a variable mortgage, your mortgage rate will move in conjunction with your lender’s Prime lending rate, which in turn tracks the Bank of Canada’s benchmark rate, and will typically be quoted as Prime minus a specified percentage. It can be difficult to predict our economic future so you won’t know for sure what kind of rate ups and downs might be ahead of you.

With a fixed-rate mortgage, your payments are fixed for the term of the mortgage, which offers stability.  Fixed-rates are usually better suited to first-time buyers or those who haven’t owned a home for a very long period. Ask yourself these questions: Do you like or need to know exactly what your payment is going to be over a longer period of time? Do you want to avoid the need to consistently watch rates? Do you have less than 20% down? If you answered “yes” to all or most, a fixed-rate mortgage could be the better choice for you.  

A variable-rate mortgage is best suited to people who have a flexible budget and can tolerate slightly more risk. Ask yourself these questions: Do you watch market conditions? Can you handle any rate increases that could increase your payment? Do you have more than 20% equity in your home? If you answered “yes” to all or most, a variable-rate mortgage might best suit your needs. Most variables allow you to exercise an option to “lock in” a fixed rate at any time for the remaining portion of your mortgage term or longer. You can also set up your payments at what they would be if you took the higher rate, which helps you pay down your mortgage faster, and creates a financial buffer for you if rates rise later.  

If the uncertainty of a variable rate is going to give you sleepless nights, you’re in good company. Many Canadians prefer the certainty of a fixed-rate mortgage. They know exactly how much they will pay over the term of their mortgage, and they can plan accordingly… with no financial surprises. However, lower-rate variable mortgages with a strong Prime minus offer give you the potential to save a lot on interest. And, if your circumstances change and you need to get of out of your mortgage, you will appreciate the lower penalty to get out of a variable versus a fixed-rate mortgage.  

Your best option is to get professional and personalized advice. The team of experts at MiMortgage.ca would be happy to help you determine which option is best suited to your needs. Contact us at 1.866.452.1100 to speak to an expert now.


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This is what the federal budget means for homebuyers

The recent federal budget included Housing Affordability Measures that may be applicable to your situation, now or in the future.  There are three key measures intended to help: an incentive for first-time homebuyers, an increase in the amount of RRSP funds first-time buyers can access for a downpayment, and allowing divorced individuals to use their RRSP funds under the Home Buyers Plan. Let’s take a closer look at each:

First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (available Fall 2019)

This new measure is basically a shared equity program designed to reduce mortgage payments for first-time buyers with the minimum 5% downpayment. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) will provide 5% of the cost of an existing home, or 10% of a new home in what amounts to an interest-free loan that isn’t payable until you sell the property. The extra encouragement to purchase a newly built home is expected to boost home construction and help address a housing shortage in many areas. 

There are a few caveats. If your household income is more than $120,000, you aren’t eligible for the program. And your total borrowed amount (including the incentive portion) can’t be more than four times your household income. With a 5% downpayment and a household income of $120,000, the maximum purchase price would be approximately $505,000.

The program is expected to be launched this Fall.  We’re still waiting for some details on how the incentive is paid back, and how increases or decreases in equity will be handled.  Stay tuned! In the meantime, we can certainly run some numbers to determine if this is something you, or someone you know, may want to take advantage of later this year.  

Bolstering the Home Buyers’ Plan (available now)

The Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) has allowed first-time buyers to withdraw up to $25,000 ($50,000 per couple) from their RRSP to help with downpayment and closing costs, without having to pay tax on the withdrawal. HBP withdrawals are not added to a person’s income when withdrawn, but instead must be repaid over a 15-year period. The budget increased the maximum withdrawal amount to $35,000 per qualified buyer, which is effective immediately.  

Divorced individuals eligible for Home Buyers’ Plan (available 2020)

The budget also proposed that those experiencing the breakdown of a marriage or common-law partnership can now participate in the Home Buyers’ Plan. This measure will be available for withdrawals made after 2019, and is great news. After all, a financial plan that starts with homeownership can help both parties make the best possible start on a new path.  

The bottom line on budget 2019? There are some good measures for some homebuyer groups that needed a boost. The new first-time buyer incentive program has certainly added another layer of complexity to the already complicated mortgage world that includes two different stress tests. Getting expert advice throughout your mortgage years is more important than ever. Got a homebuying dream? Feel free to get in touch with the experts at MiMortgage.ca for a review of your situation at any time!


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What’s a monoline lender and how is it different from a bank?

We’re often asked about monoline lenders – who are they, what benefits do they offer, and how do you get access to a monoline lender anyway?

Good questions.  “Mono” means “one”.  So it’s a “one-line” lender that doesn’t do anything else except mortgage lending. They won’t be asking you to do your banking with them, or try to cross-sell you investments. They do one thing: mortgage lending. They’re an important factor in the mortgage market here in Canada because they improve consumer choice and ensure that our Banks remain competitive!

How do you access a monoline lender? Our only job is to get you the perfect mortgage – a combination of rate and features that allows you to live comfortably with your mortgage and save money in the long term. To do that, we work with most of the major banks and credit unions, private lenders, and we work with several monoline lenders. There are a few reasons why a monoline lender might be the perfect option for you.

  1. Lower penalties.  A monoline lender’s penalty to break a fixed-rate mortgage is typically much less than what Banks charge. If your circumstances change and you need to get out of your mortgage, this could save you thousands.  
  2. Easier to transfer. A mortgage with a monoline lender is registered on title as a “standard charge” rather than a “collateral charge”. That means it can be easier and cheaper to transfer your mortgage to another lender at renewal for a better deal.
  3. Great rates. Monoline lenders do not have bricks and mortar branches so they can keep their overhead costs low and focus on competitive interest rates.

Most monoline lenders are only available through mortgage brokers, which is one of the reasons so many Canadians are turning to mortgage brokers for their purchases, refinances and renewals.  Get in touch with the experts at MiMortgage.ca for a review of all your lender options for your next mortgage.  

Some of the monoline lenders we deal with – Merix, First National, MCAP, RMG, CMLS


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First-time buyers – take advantage of the RRSP downpayment boost by March 1

Using your RRSP money for your downpayment is a great strategy for some first-time buyers. It may help you achieve the 20 per cent downpayment needed to avoid mortgage default insurance premiums, or simply give you a financial boost when you need it most.  First-time homebuyers can withdraw up $25,000 per person under the Federal Home Buyers’ Program (HBP).  If you have saved $25,000 and have enough RRSP contribution room, you can contribute that amount to your RRSP by the March 1 deadline. Then after 90 days, you can redeem those funds under the HBP. Since your contribution counts as a tax deduction, you may get a nice tax refund this spring to further assist you with your homebuying plans. You will however need to pay the withdrawn funds back on a 15-year repayment plan. Contact the experts at MiMortgage.ca at 1.866.452.1100 to for more information on how you can access your RRSP money for a downpayment for your first home.

 


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Financial comfort & joy!

Contact the team at MiMortgage.ca at 866.452.1100 to speak to an expert now!