Mortgage Intelligence

Oshawa's Mortgage News Desk!


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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!

 


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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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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.

 


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Surviving and Thriving: Your Mortgage Blueprint for 2017

blueprints

Image by courtesy of scvnest.com

Canadians are definitely talking about the housing market – what do the new mortgage rules mean, is this the right time to buy, have mortgage rates bottomed out, is a lender’s renewal offer the best available, and on and on! For many, it feels like some uncertain times ahead. Often it’s just a few sensible strategies that can help you survive and thrive in the current climate:

  1. Take care of your credit. It’s so important to have good credit behaviours so you always qualify for the best mortgage rate. Pay your bills on time. Don’t let your credit accounts exceed 50% of the credit available. Also don’t apply for a store card just to save on your purchase that day! Before you cancel any credit cards, speak to an expert and get advice.
  2. Let renters help pay your mortgage. A home with a rental suite can be a great option for homebuyers, especially if the area you love is pricey or you don’t want to buy a condo at a lower cost. It’s also a great option for existing homeowners looking to lower their mortgage payment.
  3. What’s the prepayment penalty? If you ever need to get out of your mortgage early, the right mortgage could save you thousands!  Not all lenders calculate penalties the same way, and the differences can be substantial. It helps to know which lenders have the most fair prepayment penalties and your mortgage broker will have that information at their fingertips.
  4. Choose low-interest debt. Whatever your need might be – paying down high-interest debt, funding education, a large purchase, investments, or renovations, your mortgage might be your most cost-effective financing option, if you have enough home equity.
  5. If you bought your first home in 2016 you may be able to take advantage of the $5,000 non-refundable Home Buyer Tax Credit amount, which provides up to $750 in federal tax relief.  Not sure if you qualify, just ask!
  6. Renovate over relocate? The right renovation might be all it takes to turn the house you’re in, into the home of your dreams. It is almost always less expensive to renovate than to relocate! We have great renovation financing options if that’s where you’re heading!
  7. Renew with your eyes open. When your lender sends out a letter suggesting you renew your mortgage at their current offer, speak to your mortgage broker, get advice.  Don’t renew with your eyes closed! This is your opportunity to negotiate the best possible deal!
  8. Speed up your mortgage pay-down. Change from monthly payments to weekly or bi-weekly payments. Or take your tax refund and put it against your mortgage principal. Your interest costs will go down with every dollar you’ve reduced on your principal.
  9. Don’t neglect your savings. In managing debt, you want to make sure you don’t need to use credit to get you through a financial emergency when your car breaks down or your washing machine quits. Make a point of setting aside a small sum every paycheque into a special emergency fund.

And lastly, it’s always a good idea to get expert mortgage advice well in advance of buying your home, and then always on an annual basis. So take the time to meet with your mortgage broker and get your blueprint for surviving and thriving in 2017.