Mortgage Intelligence

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For 2018: Ten mortgage tips you won’t get from your bank

More new mortgage rules come into effect January 1, which will make it trickier to negotiate a mortgage for many Canadians. But with a little expert advice, we can help ensure you have a happy new year that keeps you on the path to prosperity for the coming year and beyond.

  1. That “best” 5-year rate? It probably isn’t. Fact is, a “best rate quote” is now meaningless, because mortgage pricing is now based on multiple factors. Everything depends on your personal situation. That’s why we start with an in-depth assessment, and then review a broad range of lenders and products for the best fit for you.
  2. Going variable and long may pay off. If you have over 20% equity, you may want to consider a 30-year amortization mortgage. Benefits can be significant and outweigh any rate premium – more purchasing power, easier mortgage qualifying, and lower payments to boost cash flow or to allow you to divert cash to build a savings buffer or use for investing. Taking a variable-rate mortgage could also improve your mortgage qualifying, then you can lock in later. Let’s discuss if these strategies might work for you.
  3. The devil is in the details. You can save thousands by making sure you get a mortgage that has a fair prepayment penalty and will also treat you fairly at renewal. Don’t end up paying exorbitant fees or be forced to take a high rate at renewal. Look deeper than rate.
  4. High-ratio insurance costs more, except when it doesn’t. While counter intuitive, lenders offer the best rates to borrowers who need mortgage insurance because they have less than 20% down. So even if you have more than 20% down and don’t need mortgage insurance, it may actually be worth purchasing. You’ll get a lower rate and better options at renewal. We can run the numbers and see if it makes sense for you.
  5. At renewal, insured mortgages are gold. Lenders love insured mortgages. If you have one, be sure to check out the competitive landscape at renewal. If you aren’t sure if your mortgage is insured or not, we can find out.
  6. No company paycheque? Start building your case. If you are self-employed, get in touch now for advice on mortgage planning for the future. We will advise you on what documentation and information you’ll need so that we can build a strong case on your behalf for lenders.
  7. Does a collateral mortgage make sense? A bank collateral mortgage is registered for more than the value of the home at closing. It can be difficult to transfer and you may find yourself locked in with that bank. Always get a second opinion!
  8. Let renters help pay your mortgage. A home with a rental suite could help you become a homeowner in that neighbourhood you love, or help you offset mortgage payments in the house you’re in.
  9. Keep good credit habits. The best rates go to borrowers with the best credit scores. Keep up good credit habits: pay your bills on time, never let your debt exceed more than 30% of your limit, and don’t be tempted to apply for store cards “to save on your purchase today”.
  10. Let’s keep a dialogue going. Wherever you are in your homeownership journey, a great conversation at any time can identify all the ways you can save thousands of dollars in interest and fees during your mortgage years.

New year. New rules. New chance to review your mortgage and wealth-building options. Get in touch with the experts at MiMortgage.ca at 1 866 452-1100 now, for a review of your situation.

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New mortgage rules start January 1, 2018.

Act now to restructure your debt.

 

By using the equity in your home to consolidate your high-interest debt into a new or existing mortgage, you can boost your monthly cashflow, pay down your debt faster and save potentially thousands of dollars in interest. Unfortunately, new mortgage rules may affect your ability to access your home equity. Act now to realize these benefits:

Consider the following example – existing mortgage, car loan and credit cards total $400,000. Roll all that debt into a new $412,000 mortgage (including a fee to break the existing mortgage) and just look at the payoff:

 MONTHLY PAYMENTS*
TOTAL DEBT CURRENT NEW
Mortgage $350,000 $1,746 $2,055
Car Loan $25,000 $517 $0
All credit cards $25,000 $650 $0
TOTAL $400,000 $2,913 $2,055

That’s $858 less each month!

If you put $500 of your monthly savings back into your mortgage payment, you’ll reduce your amortization from 25 years to 19. Or you could invest in RRSPs or RESPs and reap some tax benefits. The choice is yours.

To find out how you can lower your debt, boost your monthly cashflow and be mortgage-free quicker, before the new rules come into effect, contact the experts at MiMortgage.ca at 1 866 452-1100 today!

*3.49% mortgage, 5 yr term, 25 yr amortization. Credit cards 19.9% and car loan 9%, both 5 yr am. OAC. Subject to change. For illustration purposes only.


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Purchase or refinance now before rules change in January

If you’re looking to buy and will have more than 20 percent down, or if you are considering refinancing, then you might want to do so before January 1, 2018. Why? On October 17, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) released new guidelines for residential mortgage underwriting at all federally regulated financial institutions. Starting from January 1, 2018, a new ‘stress test’ will be applied to all new conventional mortgages – and not just those mortgages that require mortgage insurance (downpayment or equity of less than 20%).

The so-called “stress test” is designed to protect homeowners should interest rates rise. Lenders will be obligated to qualify all new conventional mortgages at the greater of the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate (currently 4.89%) or the contracted rate plus 2%. So if your contract rate is 3.29%, you will be qualified at 5.29%.

Here’s what that might mean for you:

You want to buy a home with more than 20% down. Your payments will always be based on your contract rate so this new rule isn’t costing you more. However, the new rule changes how much mortgage financing you would qualify for. If that’s the case, you may need to look at a less expensive home, save up for a larger downpayment, or reduce any other debt. Or we can take a look at a variable rate mortgage that lowers your qualifying rate (if the rate plus 2% is less than the benchmark 4.89%) and has the option to convert to a fixed mortgage.

You want to refinance to pay off debt or buy an investment property. Here too, your actual mortgage payment will not be affected.  But the new rule could slow you down by making it more difficult to qualify for your refinance. You may need to wait and accumulate more equity, or look at a lower-rate variable mortgage.  If that refinance is important to securing your own financial health, get in touch with the team at MiMortgage.ca ASAP.

Your mortgage comes up for renewal next year. This more stringent qualifying requirement will not apply to mortgage renewals. If you go shopping for a better deal with a new lender, however, that will require that you re-qualify… and the new rule will kick in for you too. It still is very important that we review your options together.

What can you afford?

New mortgage qualifying for purchases with 20% down

Household Income Purchasing Power Today Purchasing Power    Jan 1, 2018
$60,000 $409,626 $334,323
$100,000 $682,710 $557,206
$150,000 $1,024.065 $835,809
$200,000 $1,365,420 $1,114,411

For illustration purposes only. Based on 25 yr amortization, 20% down purchases, 5 yr term, qualifying rate 3.29% today and 5.29% January 2018. Does not include property taxes, heat or condo fees. OAC.

Get in touch now – you have the rest of 2017 to get in under the old rules. Going forward, we’re here to work with you early in the process to make sure you are fully prepared for your purchase or refinance. We also have access to non-federally regulated lenders that do not fall under this new guideline. We’re always here to answer your questions, so feel free to contact the experts at MiMortgage.ca at 1 866 452-1100 or by email any time!


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Back to school on saving money

September is here so let’s use that brisk back-to-work attitude to make sure your personal finances are on track to save you money over the long term.  If we haven’t talked in the last year, or if any of these situations apply, please get in touch:

  1. You are considering a refinance for any reason – too much high interest debt is making cash flow tight, or you are considering a renovation, investment property, or have a large looming expense.  Proposed new mortgage rules include stress testing for conventional mortgages which, if implemented, will make refinancing more difficult for many Canadians.  Don’t delay; the new rules could be in place before year end.
  2. You are thinking about moving to a new home and want to review your mortgage options.
  3. You are wondering if you should lock in your variable-rate mortgage.
  4. Your mortgage is coming up for renewal and you want to guarantee your rate now and ensure you get the best deal possible.
  5. You know someone who could benefit from a fresh look at their mortgage options and would appreciate paying the least amount of interest and fees during their mortgage years.

Always keep in mind that the right mortgage plan can save you thousands of dollars!  Enjoy the fall season, and thank you so much for your ongoing support.

P.S. Do you have any home improvement store purchases coming up?  We have a new product that will save you money on these purchases.  Contact the team at MiMortgage.ca at 1 866 452-1100. Let us know if this applies to you!


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After the rate hike, what’s next?

On July 12th, for the first time in seven years, the Bank of Canada increased the overnight rate by .25%, withdrawing some of the stimulus that was needed after the oil price collapse and 2008 financial crisis. Variable rate mortgages and lines of credit will see higher rates and modest payment increases. Fixed-rate mortgage – which are based on the bond market – had already been trending slightly upward, although if you have a fixed mortgage, you aren’t affected until it’s time to renew. Keep in mind that this is a very small increase, and we’re still in an ultra-low rate environment and an incredibly stable market. We’ve also seen increases before to only see them decrease again. But rates have risen, so here are answers to the questions we’re getting:

Should I jump into the market now?  Actually, our advice is always the same: buy when you are financially ready. Don’t jump the gun just because rates “may” go higher.  But by all means, if you’re thinking about buying, we can arrange a pre-approval so you’re protected from rate increases while you shop around.

Should I lock in my variable rate mortgage ASAP? That depends. Your new rate with the hike is probably still less than current 5-year fixed rates, and you’ll still likely pay less if there is another .25% increase. So why pay more money than you have to? Stick with your original strategy of focusing on payment vs. rate. But if it’s going to keep you awake at night – or the few extra dollars are hard to find in your budget – then let’s talk about your conversion options. Remember though, you should be confident you’ll stay in a 5-year fixed mortgage for the full term. Breaking a fixed mortgage can result in some tough penalties.

What if my mortgage is coming up for renewal? Don’t feel rushed or pressured by a renewal letter or call. Let’s discuss your options. We’ll review your renewal offer together and we’ll shop around to see if it’s really the best deal available. Got too much other debt? This may be the time to roll it into a new mortgage to boost cash flow and save on interest costs.

Should we talk? Yes for sure. You should have confidence in your mortgage plan and that’s why professional mortgage advice is so critical.  We have access to a wide range of lenders and know the right questions to ask to assess your situation and make sure you have the best mortgage strategy. Contact the team at MiMortgage.ca at 1 866 452-1100 to speak to an expert or apply online now!

 


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This is how to buy and renovate

Many homebuyers looking at older properties find themselves in a common predicament: they’ve found a property that suits them, but it needs some costly and immediate upgrades.  Good news. We’re got a mortgage that will keep you financially afloat!

A “Purchase Plus Improvements” mortgage adds the cost of those immediate renovations into your mortgage, so you don’t have to rack up credit card bills or sell investments to pay for the upgrades.  This mortgage will cover the sale price of the home, plus any renovations that would increase the value of the property, up to $40,000. This way you can spread your payments over the life of the mortgage and have a cost-effective way to get into your dream home. You can then use your pre-payment privileges to pay the renovation off faster.

Here is an overview of the process:

  1. Obtain cost estimates for the upgrades.
  2. An appraisal with two separate values will be required: first the value of the property “as is” and the estimated value of the property once the improvements are completed.
  3. Your lender will add the estimated costs of the renovation into your mortgage.  The committed amount of the mortgage will be advanced to your solicitor, who will be instructed to hold back the renovation funds until the work has been completed and inspected.
  4. Complete your upgrades; funds are released upon completion.
  5. There are options we can discuss for carrying your expenditures until the funds can be released.

 So if you find a home with “great bones” that can be renovated into the home of your dreams, get in touch with the experts at MiMortgage.ca early. We’re here to make sure your homebuying journey has a happy ending.


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Love It and Renovate!

Looking to do renovations to your home this summer? Speak to an expert at MiMortgage.ca about a refinancing options that’s best suited for you. Contact the team at MiMortgage.ca at 1 866 452-1100 to speak to an expert or apply online now!