Mortgage Intelligence

Oshawa's Mortgage News Desk!


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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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Real Mortgage Story for May 2019

Whatever your financial circumstances, it’s worth having a conversation with your mortgage broker to find out your options. Contact us at 1.866.452.1100 to speak to expert today!


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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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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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Eight tips you won’t get from your bank in 2019

If you’ve got a mortgage – or plan to get one this year – you probably know that it’s more complicated than it used to be just a few short years ago. That said, we have many tips and strategies that can help you get the mortgage you need, tweak the one you have, or help you plan for renewal. Here are our top eight:

  1. To get the best deal, you need options. When you go to your bank, you’re talking to one lender. Their best deal might not be THE best deal. It’s also difficult to qualify at a bank if you are self-employed, have past credit issues or finding the stress test a challenge. Credit unions, alternative and private lenders are increasingly helping people get into new homes or refinance their mortgage.
  2. Best-rate quotes are often meaningless. Mortgage rule changes have thrown mortgage pricing up in the air. Your actual rate depends on a whole slate of factors, which is why you can only get an accurate rate quote after an in-depth assessment of your personal situation.
  3. The devil is in the details. People tend to focus on rate, but you can save thousands by making sure you get a mortgage that has fair penalties, allows you to prepay, and ensures you will also be treated fairly at renewal. Don’t end up paying exorbitant fees, or be forced to take a high rate at renewal.
  4. An insured mortgage might be a smart move. If your mortgage is “uninsured” and you want to switch to a new lender for a better rate at renewal, that lender will qualify you using a “stress test”, which may affect your ability to move your mortgage, and giving your lender no incentive to offer you the best rates. It’s possible that you can switch your mortgage to a lower-rate insurable mortgage that has more flexibility.
  5. A 30-year amortization can give you wiggle room on cash flow. A longer amortization (20% or more in equity required) allows you to minimize your mortgage payments and free up cash flow for uses like investing, business needs, post-secondary education, maternity leave, home maintenance, or other life situations.  You can keep your payments at a shorter amortization and only use this flexibility if the need arises.
  6. Monitor your credit score. The best rates go to borrowers with the best credit scores. Lenders are also paying closer attention to any warning signals that clients may have trouble paying their mortgage. If your credit slips and your lender feels your risk has increased, you may be offered a higher rate at renewal.
  7. A rental suite can be a sweet mortgage helper. A home with a rental suite could help you buy a single-family home instead of a condo, get you into that neighbourhood you love, or help you offset mortgage payments in the house you’re in so you can become mortgage free sooner or have the freedom to channel money into other areas.
  8. Plug your biggest money leak. If debt is choking your cash flow and you have enough equity in your home, you may be able to move that debt to your lower-rate mortgage and save thousands. Using home equity to pay down debt is one of my specialties!

It’s a New year. A New chance to make sure your mortgage strategy is working for you and helping you build wealth. Get in touch with the experts at MiMortgage.ca for a review of your situation.  Contact us at 1.866.452.1100 to speak to an expert now!


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Broker vs Banker

You want it all: the best available rate with exactly the right features you need to live comfortably with your mortgage and pay if off in record time. If you want the perfect mortgage, you need to shop around. And that’s my strength. I offer access to over 50 of Canada’s leading lenders, including major banks, credit unions, and national, regional and private lenders. I do the research for you, finding you the best mortgage across multiple lenders.

Your bank, as great as they are with your day-to-day banking, may not be the best choice for your mortgage because they represent just one available lender. Access to lender choice is one difference between getting a mortgage from a Broker vs a Bank, here are more:

  Your Mortgage Broker Your Bank
Mortgage Rates Mortgage brokerages negotiate discounted rates with lenders, and have access to rate promotions and specials. Rates are set by the Bank. If there’s a better deal in the marketplace, you’ll have to find it yourself.
Objectivity Your Mortgage Broker works for you, not any one lender. Mortgage specialists are there to build business for the Bank.
Solutions Brokers have access to mortgages for the self-employed and those with past credit issues. It is difficult to get a mortgage for certain client situations.
Cost The winning lender pays your Broker for the services and solution provided. Mortgage specialists are paid and incented by the Bank.
Ongoing Service Brokers offer ongoing advice after your mortgage closes i.e. how to pay off your mortgage faster, power down debt, finance renovations or invest in property.  There have been many regulatory changes, so it’s important to have access to a mortgage expert. No proactive ongoing advice is typically provided. You will get an annual mortgage statement.
At Renewal Your Broker will go to bat for you again to make sure you have the best deal possible. You may not be offered the best deal initially, requiring you to proactively contact the Bank to negotiate.

Getting a mortgage is a very significant financial event. That’s why you want someone who is highly specialized in the mortgage marketplace and focused solely on your needs. Get in touch with the experts at MiMortgage.ca for advice that is relevant to your situation.


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5 Surprising Facts & Money Saving Tips

There’s something about September that signals a fresh start. It’s a perfect time to get serious about saving money on your mortgage. So get out your notebook: here are five surprising mortgage facts that can save you money over the long term!

Fact #1: Your credit score matters even more
Lenders are beginning to review client files prior to renewal, which means if your credit score has slipped, you may be offered a higher rate at renewal, even if you have never missed a payment. Regardless of where you are in your mortgage term, it is very important to always pay your bills on time, use only 30% of your credit limits, and monitor your credit score regularly.

Fact #2: Refinancing is still one of the best ways to get debt under control
If you’re holding too much high-interest debt and you have enough equity, consolidating all of it into a low-interest mortgage can save you thousands in interest, lower your monthly payments, boost your cash flow, and eliminate the stress of multiple debt payments. It can also improve your credit score!

Fact #3: Interest-only mortgages are once again available for those with more than 20% equity in their homes
While not a product for everyone, this can be a great financial strategy for those who want to minimize their mortgage payments to free up cash flow for other uses like investing, business needs, post-secondary education, maternity leave or other life situations. Lump sum payments can be made when the time is right for principal paydown.

Fact #4: Variable mortgages are popular
While fixed rates are higher today than they were a year ago, many lenders are offering exceptionally low rates on their variable rate mortgages. In addition to offering the ability to save on interest, a variable mortgage can be significantly less expensive if you need to get out of your mortgage later.

Fact #5: Insured mortgages get the best rates
If your mortgage is not insured, it’s possible that you weren’t eligible for the best rates available at that time. Some uninsured mortgages can now be switched at renewal to a new lender that will offer an insurable rate, a move that could offer huge savings. Not sure if your mortgage is insured or not? We can find that out for you.

If you have any questions about your current mortgage strategy, are thinking of refinancing, or getting closer to renewal, get in touch. We’re here to help you, your family and friends understand which mortgage facts are the most important at any given time. Contact the team at MiMortgage.ca at 1.866.452.1100 to speak to an expert or apply now.