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7 May

How to Improve your credit score

General

Posted by: Hermon Mehari

When applying for any sort of loan, one of the most important metrics a lender is going to look at is your credit score.

But what really is a credit score, who keeps track of it, and most importantly, how can you improve yours?

There are a few simple ways to keep your credit score in good shape.

First off, prioritize paying your bills on time. Missing payments on your credit cards, lines of credit and so on, can have a very negative impact on your score.

You can spend an entire lifetime building up for good credit. All it takes is one mistake to negatively impact you.”
Second, try to keep your credit cards at no more than 65% of their limit. This is the sweet spot that credit scorers are looking for.

Thirdly, you should avoid the “free credit score” services out there because they’re just looking to sell you credit, or sell your information to someone who does.

When you’re looking for credit, what they’re going to ask you is, ‘What are you looking for credit for?’ And you’re going to say, ‘Well, I’m looking to get a mortgage, or I’m looking to get a car loan.’ And then what they’re going to do is they’re going to sell your information to banks and mortgage brokers and people out there who are able to supply you with credit.

Instead, what you should do is go directly to the credit scoring companies. They’re required by law to give you your credit information directly, without affecting your score. TransUnion offers an online form. Equifax has multiple types of credit reports you can order here.

You also want to try to limit the number of credit inquiries by different lenders. When you’re shopping around at different banks, the number of inquiries can add up as each bank makes an inquiry to see what they can offer you.

But as a mortgage broker, we have access to multiple lenders all at once.

You could effectively come see a mortgage broker, get one inquiry done, and that inquiry is good for 20 financial institutions, As opposed to having to go directly to every bank.

TERRY KILAKOS

9 Apr

QUALIFY FOR A MORTGAGE

General

Posted by: Hermon Mehari

INCOME QUALIFIED

There are several different ways a borrower can qualify for a mortgage when it comes to their income. One of the most common ways is known as income qualified. All of the following methods of employment income are under the income qualified umbrella:

  1. Annual salary income employees
  2. Full time employees working guaranteed weekly hours
  3. Part time employees working guaranteed weekly hours
  4. Auxiliary/On-call employees with 2-yr history at same employer
  5. Commission Sales who have 2-yr history in same job/industry
  6. Employees earning gratuities who have claimed over 2-yr history
  7. Contract employees with 2-yr history at job/industry

There are a couple more types of employment that may fall into this category, but for the most part, these are the types of borrowers whose mortgage application is going to be done using income qualifying.

When it comes to the first 3, a borrower’s income is paid by a business in which they generally do not have any interest/ownership in. This means, an human resources representative or a supervisor can write a letter of employment stating the weekly guaranteed hours, the guaranteed hourly pay rate, the start date, and the employee’s position. The lender will then use this letter, a most recent pay stub, as well as verbally confirm the letter with the employer to verify a borrower’s income. This is how a borrower who works guaranteed hours or salary has their income verified and qualified on a mortgage application.

For numbers 4 to 7, lenders and mortgage brokers will verify and qualify a borrowers income a little differently. Because an employer does not guarantee hours or income, we need to see that there has been at least a 2-year history making the same amount. This 2-year history will usually need to be with the same employer and will need to be documented on your personal income tax returns to the Canadian Revenue Agency. The income amount on your line 150 of your T1 General Tax Returns for the past 2 years are added together and then divided by 2. The amount you get is the income you are allowed to use on your mortgage application and this is then verified by a letter of employment stating you have in fact been an employee there for more than 2 years, your are currently working there, your position, as well as a pay stub showing year-to-date income that is comparable to your 2-year average given the month you are in.

The same process would be used for those who earn over time or bonuses, claim tips, or work part time with two jobs. If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional near you.

RYAN OAKE

4 Apr

Buying a home

General

Posted by: Hermon Mehari

7 STEPS TO BUYING A HOME

It’s important to understand the home buying process, so here’s a 7-step checklist.

Step 1: Down Payment
The hardest part to buying a home is saving the down payment (a gift from the Bank of Mom & Dad also works).
• For purchases under $500,000 minimum down payment is 5%.
• Buying between $501-999,000 you need 5% on first $500,000-PLUS 10% down payment for anything over $500,000.
• Buying a home over $1 million you need 20% down payment.

For any home purchases with less than 20% down payment, you are also required to purchase Mortgage Default Insurance.

Step 2: Strategize, Define Your Budget and get Pre-Qualified
Unless you can afford to buy a home, cash in hand, you are going to need a mortgage.
You need to get pre-qualified, which should not be confused with the term pre-approved.
The big difference is that no approval is ever given by a lender until they have an opportunity to examine the property that you wish to purchase. The bank may love you… but they also must love the property you want to buy.
Pre-qualifying will focus on gathering documentation to prove the information on your mortgage application including credit, debt load, income/employment, down payment etc.

Mortgage brokers will make sure you get a great mortgage rate. Just as important as rates are the terms of your mortgage which should include:
• prepayment options (10-20%)
• penalties
• portability
We also discuss what type of mortgage fits your current situation
• fixed vs variable?
• life of the mortgage (amortization) 25 or 30 years etc.
• payments – monthly, semi monthly, accelerated bi-weekly

Step 3: Set Your Budget
Keep in mind that just because you’re pre-qualified for a certain amount of mortgage, doesn’t mean you can actually afford that amount. Prepare your own monthly budget to be sure.
Typically, your total home payments (including mortgage, property taxes, strata fees & heat) should not exceed 32-39% of your gross (pre-tax) income.

Step 4: Find the Right Property – Time to Engage a Realtor
Once you have been prequalified for a mortgage, based on your budget… you need to find a realtor.
Selecting the right real estate agent is a very important step in the home buying process. When you work with an agent, you can expect them to help you with many things, including:
· Finding a home
· Scheduling tours of homes
· Researching the market, neighbourhood and home itself
· Making and negotiating your offer to purchase, and counter-offers
· Providing expert advice on home buying
· Handling the offer, gathering documentation and closing paperwork
I recommend interviewing at least three realtors. You will quickly decide who has your best interests in mind. Do you want to deal directly with a realtor who’s going to work with directly when you go home hunting, or do you want to deal with a BIG name realtor, who has buyers & sellers realtors working under them? There are advantages to each – you need to decide what is the best fit for your situation.
Get referrals for realtors from friends and family… OR ask me, I have a group of realtors that I know and trust.

Step 5: Mortgage Approval
Once you have found the property you would like to call home, your mortgage broker will send your mortgage application and property information to the lender who is the best fit for your situation, based on your input.
If the lender likes your financial situation and the property, they will issue a “commitment” letter outlining the terms of the mortgage. The lender will send you a list of documents, so they can verify and validate all the information you told them on the mortgage application.

Step 6: Time for the Solicitor (Lawyer or Notary)
Once the lender has reviewed and approved all your mortgage documentation and the property documentation, your file will be sent to your solicitor (in B.C. you can use a lawyer or notary). They will process all the necessary title changes and set up a time for you to meet, review mortgage documents and sign.

Step 7: Get the Keys
On the closing day the documentation for your home purchase will be filed at the land titles office by your solicitor. Typically, the possession date is 1 or 2 days later, giving time for the money (down payment & mortgage) to get to the home seller. On possession day you set up a time to meet with your realtor to get the keys.
Congratulations you’re done – you now own your home!!

Mortgages are complicated, but they don’t have to be… speak to a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker!

www.mortgagesbyhermon.ca

 

KELLY HUDSON

25 Mar

CMHC First Time Home Buyers Incentive Plan

General

Posted by: Hermon Mehari

On March 19, the Federal Government announced the official 2019 budget. One major topic on the discussion table (and one we were all holding our breath for) was the discussion of affordable housing in Canada. So just what happened on “Budget Day?” Here are the highlights of the 2019 Federal Budget:

MORTGAGE INDUSTRY RELATED:

CMHC First Time Home Buyers Incentive Plan

-This would give first time home buyers the ability to share the cost of buying a home with CMHC
-For existing homes – the incentive would provide up to 5% (funding/equity sharing) of the PURCHASE PRICE
-For newly constructed homes the incentive would provide up to 10% (funding/equity sharing) of the PURCHASE PRICE
-Funding/Equity sharing means that CMHC would cover a percentage of the purchase price

Example:

  • 400K purchase price, 5% down payment (20K), AND 5% CHMC shared equity mortgage (20K), the size of the insured mortgage would be reduced from 380K down to 360K, which would lower the monthly payment amount for the first time home buyer

To qualify for the program:

  • 120K max household income
  • Cannot borrow more than 4x their annual household income – making max purchase price approx. 505K
  • 100k household income would mean max 400K mortgage in order to use this program.

HOME BUYERS PLAN RRSP INCREASE

An increase of the previous $25,000 for RRSP withdrawal amount through the Home Buyers Plan to $35,000
These were the only two key changes that came out of the Federal Budget (so far). It provides minimal assistance for First Time Home Buyers, especially in a market like Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, who have home prices well above the 505k purchase price limit. However, it could provide assistance to those looking to purchase condos or townhomes ore in more rural areas. One area that will remain the same for the mortgage industry is the continued B-20 stress testing measures (which have recently come under fire)

The predicted start time is Fall 2019 for these guidelines. We will keep you updated on any new additions or changes as the information becomes available. If you have any mortgage related questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional near you.

GEOFF LEE

6 Mar

ZERO down payment

General

Posted by: Hermon Mehari

Did you know that you can buy a home with ZERO down payment?? If a home purchase is your goal this year but you aren’t able to save up enough of a down payment, you may qualify for a low or zero down payment mortgage. One of our Lenders is offering a great zero down program.

What is a Flex-Down Mortgage?
A Flex-Down Mortgage is a mortgage product that has a flexible down payment amount. There is still a down-payment required, but it will vary based on the property value.

  • For a property valued under than or equal to $500,000, 5% down payment is required (sources available below)
  • For a property valued at greater than $500,000 and less than $1 million –5% down payment is required up to $500,000 with an additional 10% down payment on the portion of the home value above $500,000.

Flex-down mortgages can only be on first mortgages, not second or third or used in refinance situations. As noted above, the total property value has to be less than $1 million. This type of mortgage will also have insurance included with it—the premium will be lesser of the premium as a % of the total new loan amount or the premium as a % of the top-up portion additional loan based on the rates at that time.

Those that choose to go with this type of mortgage product will have to meet requirements, just like any other mortgage. There are a few specifications with this product:

  • You must show that you have standard income and employment verification papers
  • A credit score of 650 or higher is highly recommended
  • You must have no previous bankruptcies
  • Some lenders may still require you to have some of the down payment from your own resources

Those considering this type of mortgage are recommended to have very little debt and be able to accommodate the additional cost of higher mortgage insurance (due to the higher risk to the lender on this type of mortgage). Typically, the insurance premium would be 0.2% higher on a flex down mortgage.

How it Works
You can borrow your 5% payment from a Line of Credit or even a credit card. This can then be used for your down payment. You have to disclose this to the Insurer and it will be on the application that goes to the Lender.

This is perfect for someone just getting into a new high paying job or for someone who is renting and can afford higher monthly payments but would take forever to save up the 5% down payment. This type of mortgage product can be an excellent option if you don’t quite have enough for the down payment. Are you interested in learning more about this mortgage product? Contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional who can show you how a Flex mortgage can make the home of your dreams happen sooner than you think!

GEOFF LEE

22 Feb

MINIMUM DOWN PAYMENTS

General

Posted by: Hermon Mehari

MINIMUM DOWN PAYMENTS

Are you looking for that new dream home, or anything that will get you out of your current rental property so you can officially become a homeowner?

If so, what is the minimum amount you are required to put down?

Below are three different purchase price categories. Each one has their own minimum down payment requirements and we have included some important notes to also consider at those prices.

| $1-$500,000 | Minimum 5% Down Payment |

  • The lowest amount you need as a cash down payment for a purchase up to $500,000 is only 5% of the purchase price.
  • For a $300,000 home, this would be $15,000.

| $500,001 – $999,999 | Blended Down Payment |

  • The minimum down payment if your purchase price falls in this category is 5% on the first $500,000 and 10% on the remainder up to a million dollars.
  • For a $650,000 purchase price, you would be required to put down $25,000 (5% on amount up to $500,000) and $15,000 (10% of the amount above $500,000 [$150,000 in this case]) for a total minimum down payment of $40,000. This would be a 6.15% down payment.

| $1,000,000 + | Sliding Scale |

  • 20% requirement on entire amount up to $1,250,000 and 50% down payment on amount over $1,250,000 subject to a 75% loan to value.
  • A $1,100,000 purchase price would be a minimum down payment of $220,000 (20%).
  • $1,350,000 purchase price would require $250,000 (20% on $1,250,000) plus an additional $50,000 (50% of amount above $1,250,000 [$100,000 in this case]).
  • Some lenders may make different exceptions depending on the strength of an application but, for the most part, the sliding scale information above is quite accurate.

There you have it! The three most common sized purchase prices and their required minimum down payment. Please keep in mind that almost all lenders will require you to have an additional 1.5% of the property value available in cash to cover all closing costs which may include, for example, lawyer fees, property transfer tax, and insurance.

RYAN OAKE,

5 Feb

Documents you need for your mortgage pre-approval pre-approved

General

Posted by: Hermon Mehari

 

Being fully pre-approved means that the lender has agreed to have you as a client (you have a pre-approval certificate) and the mortgage broker has reviewed and approved ALL your income and down payment documents (as listed below) prior to you going house hunting. Many bankers will say you’re approved; you go out shopping and then they  say ‘sorry you not approved’ due to some factor. Get a pre-approval in writing!
Excited! Of course. You are venturing into your first or possibly your next biggest loan application and investment of your life.

What documents are required to APPROVE your mortgage?
Being prepared with the RIGHT DOCUMENTS when you want to qualify for your mortgage is HUGE; just like applying for a job or going for a job interview. Come prepared or don’t get hired (or in this case, declined).
I assist all my clients along the way to ensure any questions are asked and YOU are prepared UPFRONT and fully PRE-APPROVED before you go house hunting.
No stress, no running around, no surprises.

Why is this important?
You can have a leg up against the competition when buying your dream home as you can have a very short timeline (ie: 1 day to confirm vs 5-7 days) for “financing subjects”.
Think? You’re the seller and you know the buyer doesn’t have to run around finding financing and the deal may fall apart. This is the #1 reason deals DO fall apart. You will likely get the home over someone who isn’t fully approved and has to have financing subjects. The home is yours and nobody’s time is wasted.
If you just walked into the bank, filled an application and gave little or no documents, and got a rate – you have a RATEHOLD. This is NOT a pre-approval. This guarantees nothing and you will be super stressed out when you put an offer in, have 5-7 days to remove financing subjects and you need to get any or all of the below documents. That’s not fun is it? Use a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker ALWAYS. We don’t cost you anything!
When you get a full pre-approval, you as a person(s) are approved; ie: the broker did their work of reviewing (takes a few days) to call your employer, review your documents, etc. All we have to do is get the property approved, which takes a day or two. Much less stress, fastest approval…faster into your home!

Here is exactly the documents you need MUST have (there is NO negotiation on these) to get your mortgage approved with ease. Keyword here is EASE. Banks/Lenders have to adhere to rules, audit files and if you don’t have any of these or haven’t been requested to supply them…a big FLAG that your mortgage approval might be in jeopardy and you will be running around like a crazy person two days before your financing subject removal.
Read carefully and note the details of each requirement to prevent you from pulling your hair out later.
Here is the list for the “average” T4 full-time working person with 5-15% as their down payment (there is more for self-employed, and part-time noted below):

  1. Are you a Full-time Employee?
    Last 2 paystubs: must show all tax deductions, name of company and have your name on it.
  2. Any other income? Child Support, Long Term Disability, EI, Foster Care, part-time income? Bring anything that supports it. NOTE: if you are divorced/separated and paying support, bring your finalized separation/divorce agreement. With some lenders, we can request a statutory declaration from lawyer.
  3. Notice of Assessment from Canada Revenue for the previous tax filed year. Can’t find it? you can request it from Rev Can to send it to you by mail (give 4-6 weeks for it though) or get it online from your CRA online Account.
  4. T4’s for your previous 2 years.
  5. 90 day history of bank statement showing the money you are using to put down on your purchase.
    Why 90 days? Unless you can prove you got the money either a sale of a house, car or other immediate forms of money (receipt required)…saved money takes time and the rules from the banks/government is 90 days. They just want to make sure you aren’t a drug dealer, borrowed the money and put it in your account or other fraud issues. OWN SOURCES = 90 days. BORROWED is fine, but must be disclosed. GIFT is when mom/dad give you money. Once you have an approval for “own sources” you can’t decide to change your mind and do gifted or borrowed. That’s a whole new approval.

Down Payments
Own Sources: For example “own sources” include if you are a first time buyer and your money is in RRSP’s then, have your last quarterly statement for the RRSP money. If your money is in three different savings account, you need to print off three months history with the beginning balance and end balance as of current. The account statements MUST have your NAME ON IT or it could be anyone’s account. I see this all the time. If it doesn’t print out with your name, print the summary page of your accounts. This usually has your name on it, list of your accounts and balances. Just think, the bank needs to see YOU have X$ in your (not your mom’s or grandparents) account.

GIFT: If mom/dad/grandparents are giving you money…then the bank needs to know this as the mortgage is submitted differently (this is called a GIFT).

If you are PART-TIME employee? All of the above, except you will need to bring three years of Notice of Assessments. You need to be working for two years in the same job to use part-time income. You can have your Full-time job and have another part-time gig… you can use that income too (as long as it’s been two years).

If you are Self Employed?

  1. two years of your T1 Generals with Statement of Business Activities
  2. Statement of Business Activities.
  3. 3 years of CRA Notice of Assessments
  4. If incorporated: your incorporation license, articles of incorporation
  5. 90 day history of bank statement showing the money you are using to put down on your purchase.

KIKI BERG

5 Feb

Why can’t you port your mortgage?

General

Posted by: Hermon Mehari

 

 

Policies are always changing, and when you port a mortgage, a FULL application must be approved and completely underwritten with full, credit, income, property and policy review.
It’s a mistake to believe that just because you already had a mortgage, you will easily get a new one. Policies and rates are changing rapidly and you need a strategy to stay informed. SO BEFORE you consider a move, understand the worst case scenario of what you qualify for without porting your mortgage so you avoid disappointment of falling into the 70% of people that don’t end up porting. Mortgages can be made simple, when you are empowered with relevant information relating to the current market and your life stage. Depending on those factors, you might be happy to get rid of your old mortgage and get in with the new! We have a mortgage for that, and can help. On average less than 3% of mortgages are portable.
Let me list a few of the reasons why
1. Dates– most lenders have a different policy on the dates that will allow to port the mortgage; it can be weeks or months. Your closing date will determine that.
2. Amortization– porting a mortgage means you port the same amortization, so if you are moving up the property ladder, that may mean your payments are significantly increased making it less affordable or meaning you can’t qualify with your income.
3. Amounts– some have a 10% variance limit up or down, where the penalty will trigger or it’s no longer a fit within the policy.
4. Change in credit– depending on the credit score and outside debts you have will determine if you still fit the credit profile your previous mortgage had.
5. Income– if there has been a change in your income type or amount this will also impact the options.
6. Property type– some lenders only lend on single-family homes, or a particular zoning, or don’t do private sales- even if they did when you originally got your mortgage with them.
7. Rate– maybe the change in rates either way of the product type you took doesn’t allow for a port due to one or a few of the combined factors. For example, going from insured to uninsured comes with different policies.
8. Product– maybe the product you had no longer exists for your particular profile.
9. Inspections – maybe the lender approved it initially but after your inspection just as you wanted a reduction in price, they decide they are no longer going to lend on it or decide it doesn’t fit the profile or they wont do it under that program ( instead you need a purchase plus improvements or a hold back they may or may not participate in and maybe want a different fix that you or a strata council agree on.)
10. Bridge – if you want to buy before you sell, all the above factors come into play. Maybe the original lender doesn’t allow the length of time you need, there cost to bridge is much higher, or maybe they don’t approve that portion of the loan, which puts you back at square one.

Purchasing a home is complex, with many moving parts and needs to be understood as such. When you have an experienced Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker by your side while lots of things can come up, we can guide you through what is best for your family, which is why we encourage you to be educated, and empowered so you are ready for your next part of your ownership journey.

ANGELA CALLA

2 Jan

5 WAYS YOU CAN KILL YOUR MORTGAGE APPROVAL

General

Posted by: Hermon Mehari

So, you found your dream home, negotiated a fair price which was accepted. You supplied all the needed documentation to your mortgage broker and you are waiting for the day that you go to the lawyer’s to sign the final paperwork and pick up the keys.

All of a sudden your broker or the lawyer calls to say that there’s a problem. How could this be? Everything has been signed and conditions have been removed. What many home buyers do not realize is that your financing approval is based on the information the lender was provided at the time of the application. If there have been any changes to your financial situation, the lender is within their rights to cancel your mortgage approval. There are 5 things that can make home financing go sideways.

1 Employment – You were working for ABC company as a clerk for 5 years making $50,000 a year and just before home possession you change jobs. The lender will now ask for proof that probation for this new job is waived and new job letters and pay stubs at the very least. If you change industries they will want to see more proof that you are capable of keeping this job.
If your new job involves overtime or bonuses of any kind that vary over time, they will ask for a 2 year average which you will not be able to provide.
Another item that could ruin your chances of getting the mortgage is if you decide to change from an employee to a self-employed contractor just before possession day. Even though you are in the same industry, your employment status has changed . This is a big deal killer.

2. Debt – A week or two before your possession date, the lender will obtain a copy of your credit report and look for any changes to your debt load. Your approval was based on how much you owed on that particular date. Buying a new car or items for the new home need to be postponed until after possession of your new home.
Don’t be fooled by “Do not pay for 12 months” sales campaigns. You now owe this money regardless of when the payments start. Don’t buy a new car and don’t buy furniture for the new home. This will increase your debt ratio and can nullify your financing.

3. Down payment source – And yet again I reiterate that the approval is based on the initial information you have provided. You will be asked at the lawyer’s office to verify the source of the down payment and if it is different than what the lender has approved, then you may be in trouble. For example, you said that you were going to save the funds and then at the last minute Mom and Dad offer you the funds as a gift. There’s no problem accepting the gift if the lender knows about it in advance and has included this in their risk assessment, but it can end a deal.

4. Credit – Don’t forget to make your regular credit card payments. If your credit score falls due to late payments, this can kill your financing. If you have a high ratio mortgage in place which required CMHC insurance, a lower credit score could mean a withdrawal of their insurance once again , killing the deal.

5-Identity Documents – This can be a deal killer at the lawyer’s office. The lawyer is required to verify your identity documents and see that they match the mortgage documents. Many Canadians use their middle names if they have the same name as their parent. Lots of new Canadians adopt a more Canadian sounding name for their day-to-day lives but their passports and other documents show another name.

Be sure to use your legal name when you apply for a mortgage to avoid this catastrophe . Finally, keep in touch with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional right up to possession day. Make this a happy experience rather than a heartbreaking one.

DAVID COOKE

26 Nov

Looking for a mortgage… you better know your credit score

General

Posted by: Hermon Mehari

Looking for a mortgage… you better know your credit score

Over the last month, as the big banks and many of our monolines mortgage lenders wind down their fiscal year, we are starting to see some very obvious changes in what your credit score can get you.

I heard a few months ago that 720 beacons were going to become the new 650. The 650 beacon credit score for many years was the mid-range norm for most mortgage lenders. Today on many of the sites we use, we are seeing that the primary borrower must have a credit score of 720 and the secondary beacon can’t be below 650. It’s a big change from what we have seen in the past.

There are more changes coming as the banks will need to set aside more balance sheet if your mortgage is conventional. The one report I read said that if your credit score is lower, then the banks will now need to set aside 1.5% or possibly more if the score is low enough. That of course will then mean that an investor will need to be compensated more for having that in their portfolio, aka higher rates for you on a conventional mortgage.

If you are in the market for a house and you don’t know where to start, at least contact Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker who can guide you through the process and let you know where you start.  If you use a DLC broker, they can set you up with a CleverCredit account and you can work together to make sure your credit is strong enough to apply for a mortgage when the time comes.

Len Lane

Len Lane

Dominion Lending Centres – Mortgage Professional