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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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!