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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Ten great reasons to use a mortgage broker

For many Canadians, mortgage payments are their single biggest expense. Yet most don’t comparison shop to ensure they’re getting the best mortgage rate and terms available, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars over their mortgage years. Don’t make the same mistake! Here are 10 reasons why you need a mortgage broker working for you:

  1. Choice.  A wide range of lenders, including major banks, credit unions, and other national, regional and private lenders will instantly become accessible to you, ensuring that your specific needs are matched to the right mortgage.
  2. Great rates. Get money in your pocket by taking advantage of Mortgage Intelligence’s clout with lenders. Our stellar reputation and longstanding experience allows us to negotiate great rates and access limited time specials.
  3. A focused expert.  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. You’ll get advice that will make a significant difference in your financial life.
  4. Independence & objectivity.  We work for you, not the lender.
  5. Solutions when you need them.  We can provide funding for bank turndowns, the self-employed, past credit problems, etc. There are mortgages for almost any situation and we know them all.
  6. Save time. Everything relating to your mortgage can be managed around your busy schedule.
  7. Service, service, service. We’ll be with you every step of the way, to answer all your questions, outline your best options, and efficiently guide you through the process.
  8. Ongoing support.  Our services don’t stop after the mortgage closes. We will stay in touch with you for the life of your mortgage with advice and opportunities.
  9. No cost (oac). The winning lender pays compensation for the services and solution provided, which means no fees for you in the vast majority of cases.
  10. Your satisfaction.  Our goal is to ensure that you are so completely satisfied with your mortgage experience that you will be happy to refer us to your friends, family and colleagues.

With all changes that have taken place in the last twelve months, and the anticipated changes that are due to be announced soon, a mortgage broker’s role has never been more important. To find out more about how the new rules might effect you, contact the team at MiMortgage.ca at 1 866 452-1100 to speak to an expert now.

 

 

 


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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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Love that low loonie: is your U.S. home a piggy bank?

There’s a silver lining to the low loonie if you happen to own a home south of the border. A few years ago, a wave of Canadians took advantage of a strong loonie and low U.S. home prices – and picked up some American real estate. Those homes are as good as a piggy bank now.

Why? If you refinance your U.S. home, you can bring those U.S. dollars back to Canada at the current exchange rate. That powerful U.S. dollar is your financial friend, and we don’t know how long it will last. You could use the money to pay off any debts in Canada – or even use the proceeds to purchase another Canadian property. The goal is to get those U.S. dollars back over the border to Canada.

By the way, selling the home triggers capital gains. Refinancing does not.  Any income you generate by exchanging your dollars doesn’t count as capital gains, so you don’t pay tax when you exchange your US dollars for Canadian dollars. You also get to keep your vacation property.

Many Canadian owners of U.S. homes rent out the property when they’re not using it – giving them rental income to maintain the home and pay down the mortgage.

Most property values have rebounded well from their lows; so many owners are also taking advantage of the growth in their U.S. home equity. A U.S. bank will typically lend 60% of the appraised value of a property.

If you own a home in the U.S., let’s chat.  Contact us at 1 866 452-1100. We have an excellent relationship with a U.S. lender that is licensed in Florida and California. You may be able to give your wealth-building a boost!


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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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The Mortgage Broker Advantage

Increasingly, Canadians are turning to mortgage brokers for their first and next mortgage, taking advantage of the value and convenience of their services. One of their most compelling reasons to work with a mortgage broker is that they have access to a wide range of lending sources, making it significantly easier to match borrowers with the mortgage product that best suits them. When you’re dealing directly with one financial institution, you just don’t know if you’re getting the best deal because they’ve only got their own menu of products to offer you.

If you are dealing with one of the largest mortgage brokers in the country, you’ll also enjoy considerable bargaining power. A large brokerage has clout with lenders to negotiate volume discounts that lead to lower rates and greater product choice than other companies. And, brokers are generally paid by the lender rather than the borrower, making it a logical choice to always consult with a mortgage broker.  They’re shopping the market for the best rates, doing all the work, and there’s no cost to you.

But a mortgage broker’s role extends beyond securing financing – to arranging the home appraisal and lawyer or notary, reviewing the purchase contract and statement of adjustments, securing mortgage life insurance, and keeping tabs on the entire closing process. And that’s just during the mortgage transaction. The broker then stays in touch, keeping clients apprised of new mortgage offers and rate fluctuations, and advising when to lock in a variable-rate mortgage.

Ultimately, the role of your mortgage broker is that of a trusted advisor and it’s a relationship that can last a lifetime. Many mortgage brokerage clients have been referred by word of mouth, and many are even second- and third generation client families.

Whether you’re taking on your first mortgage or a long-time homeowner looking to refinance, consolidate debt or leverage your equity to acquire a new property, a mortgage broker is a wealth of information. They can advise about down payment requirements, mitigating credit history issues, mortgage payment and prepayment options, interest-saving strategies, purchasing vacation, investment and commercial properties, qualifying with supplemental rental income, and mortgage options for new immigrants.

When you get a mortgage, most likely the biggest financial commitment you’ll make in a lifetime, it’s critical that the person you’re dealing with is knowledgeable, able to answer your questions, and has access to a full range of lenders so you get the best mortgage for your needs. Contact the experts at MiMortgage.ca at 1 866 452-1100 or apply online now!