Mortgage Intelligence

Oshawa's Mortgage News Desk!


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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!


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“Conditional on financing”: the most important part of your offer

When you find the condo or house of your dreams and want to make an offer, do you need a financing condition?  Unless you can pay cash for the home, then yes you do. That little phrase – “conditional on financing” – is an important protection for buyers.

When an offer to purchase is made “conditional on financing”, we gain the time needed i.e. 3 to 5 days to ensure that you are fully approved for the necessary funds. Your lender needs to feel as comfortable about the property as you do and will likely conduct an assessment. After all, the property is the lender’s security if something goes wrong. Even if you have a mortgage preapproval, the lender may decline the property for reasons such as:

  • The address may be just outside the acceptable location perimeter for the lender.
  • Concern over a former grow op, an environment matter, or zoning issues.
  • The appraisal may not match the offer you’ve made.

Don’t let the rush to buy overcome common sense. A preapproval is a guideline only, and a lender could disregard it: especially if your income or financial situation has changed. That “conditional on financing” gives you time to confirm with the lender, and to withdraw the offer if the lender’s queries turn up something negative about the house.

An offer without conditions leaves you and your family on the hook. If the financing falls through, you will lose your deposit, and could be sued by the seller. It’s not the happily-ever-after scenario you envisioned when you made your offer. If you really want to put in an offer with no financing conditions, the team at MiMortgage.ca can assist you in mitigating your risk i.e. review the strata docs, listing information, and contact the lender and insurer about the property prior to writing the offer, which can help eliminate some of the risk but nothing can be 100% guaranteed.  Let the team at MiMortgage.ca help you make sure your homebuying journey has a happy ending.


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Which mortgage features are the most important?

It’s easy to look online for a mortgage rate. But rate is only one aspect of saving money on your mortgage over the long term. It’s essential that you also consider mortgage features. Here are the big ones –

Early Payout Penalties. There are lots of reasons why it makes good financial sense to break your mortgage, even though you can expect to pay a penalty. But not all lenders calculate penalties the same way, and the differences can amount to thousands. Life happens, so make sure you choose a lender that has a fair prepayment penalty. And watch out for no-frill mortgages that don’t let you get out of your mortgage at all, unless you sell or the term is up.

Pre-Payment Privileges. You want the ability to put lump sum amounts on your mortgage and increase your payments so you can pay down your mortgage faster and save on interest. You should always consider having this flexibility even if you don’t think you’ll use it; your situation may change that gives you the ability to pre-pay. This flexibility can also help you reduce an early payout penalty.

Collateral charge mortgage. This type of mortgage can be difficult to transfer to another lender and cost you legal fees if you do. You are more locked in, which means your lender may not offer you the best rates if you need to refinance or at renewal.  Watch out!

Porting Flexibility. This is important if there is a chance you’ll move i.e. job change, growing family. You’ll want to take your mortgage to your new place to avoid penalties.  But make sure your lender lets you increase too should you buy a more expensive home.

Blended Mortgage. If you move or refinance, a blended mortgage allows you to blend the rate of your current mortgage with the rate on the additional funds. This way, you don’t break your current mortgage and incur the penalty. Some lenders blend and extend to a new 5 year term, others blend only to the remaining term, or offer both.

There is definitely more to getting a mortgage than just rate. For more information, contact the team at MiMortgage.ca at 1 866 452-1100 or apply online now! It’s our job to help you find the right mortgage with the rate and flexibility you need to be a happy homeowner.