27 Jul



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Having completed dozens of reverse mortgage deals, there are some questions that I find I get over and over again.
So today I thought I’d write a piece on the 8 most common reverse mortgage questions that people in Canada have regarding reverse mortgages.

1- If I have an existing mortgage on the property, can I get a reverse mortgage?
Not only is this the most common question regarding reverse mortgages, it is actually one of the most common uses for a reverse mortgage – to pay off the current mortgage and eliminate that payment and help with monthly cash flow.
However, it is important to realize that you would need to qualify for enough to pay that existing mortgage in full.
For example: If you have $70,000 remaining on the mortgage, you would need to qualify for at least $70,000 to be eligible for a reverse mortgage.
If you owe $70,000 and qualify for $100,000 in reverse mortgage funds, the $70,000 would be paid first and you would be left with the remaining $30,000.
The good news is that the reverse mortgage funds can also be used to pay any penalties or charges for paying out your mortgage as well.
However, the existing mortgage must always be paid off using the reverse mortgage funds and you get to keep whatever is left. Essentially, you are swapping your mortgage with a reverse mortgage and keeping the excess cash.

2 – Can I pay the interest or make payments on the amount I receive?
Yes, you can make monthly interest payment if you choose and you can also pay up to 10% of the amount borrowed (1 payment per year) if you wish.
However, you also have the option to pay nothing at all until you sell the property or until you pass away. Most people choose this option but it is nice to know that you can pay the interest every month (essentially turn the reverse mortgage into the same thing as a Home Equity Line Of Credit).

3 – How do you determine how much I qualify for? I thought I could get 55% of my home value?
This is a common question that we get. It is important to note that you can qualify for up to 55% of the value of the property and not everyone will get this amount. The words ‘up to’ are very important in this statement.
To determine how much you qualify for, four different factors are used: The ages of all applicants, the property value, the property location (postal code) and the property type.
Here is a quick example for all 4 factors: Someone aged 80 will qualify for more than someone aged 60; someone in a city will qualify for more than someone in the countryside; someone with a property value of $500,000 will qualify for more than someone whose value is $200,000 and someone who lives in a detached house will usually qualify for more than someone who lives in a Condo.

4 – I’m 60 but my wife is 53, can we still qualify?
Unfortunately, no. Both applicants need to be 55 or over to qualify. Even if just one of you is on the title, because it is deemed a ‘matrimonial home’ (meaning that the husband and wife both have a legal right to the home, by nature of being married) both of you need to be 55 or over.

5 – What is involved in the application?
Reverse mortgages aren’t as difficult a process to go through as a traditional mortgage. However, you aren’t going to simply be given the money either – remember you are still talking about large amounts of money here and the lender is a Schedule A bank.
Your credit score and income are not usually significant factors in the application – but the lender will still check these. In addition to this, proof of identity and other such paperwork is required.
An appraisal is always required and is the first step – so the lender can identify the market value of your home and therefore how much they can lend. However, it is possible to get a ‘quote’ before this.

6 – What if I want to sell my home?
You can sell your house at any time if you have a reverse mortgage. The mortgage amount (plus any accrued interest and prepayment penalties, if any) would then be paid from the proceeds of the sale. The process would be exactly the same as if you had any other kind of mortgage or HELOC on the property.

7 – Will I still own my home? Yes, you will remain on the title for as long as you or your spouse live in the property and you can never be forced out of your home because of a reverse mortgage.
In fact, from this point of view a reverse mortgage is ‘safer’ than a traditional mortgage. Under a traditional mortgage, you could lose your home for not paying your monthly mortgage payments. Since no such payments exist for a reverse mortgage, there is no such risk.

8 – If I sell my house, can I re-apply for another reverse mortgage on my new property? Absolutely! As long as the property is your primary residence – but just remember that you would need to qualify for enough to pay any mortgage on the new property.
Reverse mortgages can be used for purchases in this way.

If you have any questions, please contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist.


Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

24 Jul



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Mortgage rules have become stricter over the past few years. Assuming you have a down payment, good credit and a good job, what could prevent you from obtaining financing for a home purchase?
Below are five less obvious reasons a bank may turn you down:

It’s not you, it’s the building
Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but even if you’re the perfect candidate for a loan, you can still be rejected by a lender if the building you’re considering flunks a bank’s requirements. There are myriad reasons a building can be rejected, but one possible reason could be the building construction or condition.
In downtown Calgary we have some condos that were built in the 1970’s using a technique called Post Tension. It has been discovered that the steel rods in the walls can corrode over time and the buildings could collapse. Some lenders are okay with an engineer’s report but others won’t consider lending in this type of building. A few years ago a condo was found to have water seeping down between the inner and outer walls from the roof. This resulted in a $70,000 special assessment for each condo owner. Before the problem and the cost were assessed most lenders refused to lend on this property.
If a condominium building does not have a large enough a reserve fund for repairs a lender may want to avoid lending in that building as well.

Your credit doesn’t make the cut
If you have a credit score of 680+ this probably won’t be a problem for you but for first time home buyers with limited credit this can be a major stumbling block to home ownership. Check your credit score before you start your home search.
Not having enough credit can also be a problem. If you have a Visa card with a $300 limit, that won’t cut it. A minimum of 2 credit lines with limits of $2,000 is needed; one revolving credit line such as a credit card and an installment loan such as a car loan or a furniture store loan.
A long forgotten student loan or utility bill from your university days can also cause problems if its showing as a collection.
You’re lacking a paper trail
You have to be able to show where your money comes from. A cash gift of the down payment for your new property without a paper trail isn’t going to fly with the bank. If it is a gift, we need to see the account that the money came from, a gift letter from a family member, and the account the money was deposited into.

Your job
Being self-employed or a consultant comes with its own set of obstacles. But the solution here, too, is about documentation. And be prepared to offer up more documentation than someone with a more permanent income stream. Two years of Notices of Assessment from the CRA will show your average income over a two-year period. This could be a problem if your business had a slow start and then really picked up in year two. The two-year average would be a lot lower than your present income.
Another stumbling block may be how you are paid. Many people in the trucking industry get paid by the mile or the load. Once again a two year NOA average should help.
In Alberta, many people are paid northern allowances, overtime and a series of pay incentives not seen in other industries. This can be a problem if you do not have a two-year history.
When you apply for a mortgage you need to stay at your position at least until after your home purchase is complete. Making a job change with a 90 day probation means you will need to be past your probation before the mortgage closes. If you make a career change , you may need to be in your new industry for a least a year before a lender will consider giving you a loan.
The property’s appraisal value is too low
This often happens in a fast moving market. The appraisers base their value on previously sold homes on the market in the last 90 days. If prices have gone up quickly your home value may not be in line with the appraisers value. If the home you want to purchase is going for $500,000 and the appraised value is $480,000, you have to come up with $20,000 PLUS the 5% down payment in order to make the deal work.
Finally, with all the potential problems that can arise, it’s best to contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker before you start the home search to make sure that you have your ducks in a row.

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional