29 Sep

PAPERWORK YOU MUST KEEP

General

Posted by:

As a mortgage professional there are things I wish more people were aware of which is why we are going to take a look into the paperwork we all need to hold onto to avoid frustration or even a decline when applying for a mortgage. Each of the following is taken from real life observations of everyday folks just like you and I.

1. Separation Agreement – When you apply for a mortgage one of the first questions we ask is marital status. If your answer is separated or divorced then the banks are going to want to see the official document. They are seeking to ensure that you do not have any alimony or child support payments which will make it difficult to pay the mortgage. The legal system only keeps these documents for 7 years after which you will not be able to get a copy. Your marital status is reported on your tax return which can trigger the request for this documentation long after it seems relevant.

2. Proof of Debts paid– Keep all records of debts you have paid! Here are three real world examples.
a) Client A has paid off her mortgage, receives verification from the bank and promptly destroys the paperwork at a mortgage burning party just like on the commercial. Due to a clerical error the debt as paid is not reported to land titles so the mortgage remains vested against the property adding additional steps when she goes to get a new loan.
b) Client B pays out his truck loan in full and receives a letter stating this. Due to a clerical error the interest accrued shows a small outstanding balance. The client believes all is well while the small debt quickly hits a written off status on the credit bureau and he is declined for a mortgage three years later.
c) Client C settles with a collection agency on a debt gone bad – The debt is not reported as paid to the credit agencies and the ‘ongoing’ bad debt causes a large drop to her score and she pays higher rates than she should. The collection agency has since gone out of business and there is no record of the payment to be found.

3. Bankruptcy/Orderly Payment of Debts – As with the separation agreement, the trustee will only keep a copy for 7 years. When you apply for a mortgage, the bank will want to ensure they were not affected by the bankruptcy and also to determine if there was a foreclosure. Even though this information is supposed to fall off the credit report that is not always the case.

4. Child Maintenance – whether paying or receiving child support, you will want to keep all correspondence in regards to this to ensure you are receiving the appropriate credit for monies paid or have been given all the money you were supposed to have received.

Emotionally you have valid reason to want each of these documents so far away from you but realistically you are likely to need them at some point. There are a number of online services such as Dropbox or Google Drive where you could scan these to yourself and save them digitally. Alternatively, you could spend a small amount of money on an accordion style file folder and go old school with actual paper copies of all of the above applicable to your situation.

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

PAM PIKKERT
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

28 Sep

GETTING PRE-APPROVED FOR A MORTGAGE

General

Posted by:

You’ve been squirreling away your bonus cheques, savings and reducing the amount of times you visit Starbucks so you can finally get into your own home to build solid equity for your future. Now that you know what you want and what you can afford, it’s time to visit your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist to get yourself pre-approved for a mortgage.

Note, we did not say go to your bank to get pre-approved!

A mortgage broker works with banks (including yours), credit unions and other lending institutions to help find you the best rate on your mortgage. Since they work with so many different lending institutions across the country, they are in the best position to approach banks and ask for the best rates – sometimes better than what the same bank would have been able to offer you had you gone in on your own. Best of all, you do not pay a dime for their services – the lending institution does!

To work with a broker for your pre-approved mortgage, you will need the same documentation you would have to provide your bank so be sure to have your documents in order. You will need the following documents:

For a Salaried Employee

an employment letter/verification of employment
current/most recent pay stub
For an Hourly Employee

current/most recent pay stub
an employment letter/verification of employment
Two (2) years of your T4 tax slips
For Someone Who is Self Employed

last two (2) income tax returns
proof of self-employment
Once you have submitted these details, you are on your way to getting pre-approved for your mortgage and providing yourself with a clear budget on the home you would like to buy!

Max Omar

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

27 Sep

BANK OF CANADA RATE CHANGE – SHOULD I LOCK IN?

General

Posted by:

This month, the Bank of Canada increased their lending rate for the 2nd time in as many months. The changes in the Prime Lender Rates means that those with a variable mortgage rates will have seen that their mortgages rates adjusted alongside the changes to Prime Rate. For those of you with variable rates, the first thing that probably crossed your mind was “should I lock in?”

Even though your interest rate may have increased, it does not mean that you should immediately lock into a fixed rate mortgage. An associate from B.C, Dustan Woodhouse had this to share about the increase:

“If your discount from Prime (now 3.20%) is 0.50% or deeper – then the variable rate product remains a really great place to be.

If your discount from Prime is 0.25% or less, then depending on which lender you are with you may consider converting to a fixed rate, BUT…

Keep in mind the penalty to prepay (i.e. refinance or sale of property) a variable early is ~0.50% of the mortgage balance, whereas if in a (4yr/5yr or longer) fixed rate mortgage the penalty can be closer to 4.5% of the mortgage balance ***depending upon which specific lender you are with and how long of a term you lock in for.

It is usually to the lenders greater benefit that you lock into a fixed rate, rarely is it to your own benefit.”

I could not have summarized it any better myself, so I won’t try.

So what should you do?
The first thing that you should be doing is avoiding the immediate draw or feeling of “I need to lock in”. There are several different aspects of your mortgage and personal financial situation that should be considered prior to locking in. There are many questions to ask yourself prior to locking in and most of which the lenders are unlikely to ask you. Your lender is re-active, not pro-active – you need to be pro-active. And sometimes being pro-active results in no action being taken at all.

Simply because the Bank of Canada increased interest rates twice, this does not immediately mean that they will do it again. There are many economic factors outside of their control that will impact their decisions regarding future potential increases.

Presently, the key is not to react quickly. If you have questions about your specific situation and how the increase may impact you, feel free to give Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist a call to chat about things in more detail. Allow us the opportunity to ask the questions that need to be asked prior to making a quick switch.

Food for thought…
Back in 2010 rates increased 0.25% three times, and that sat stagnant for nearly five full years before two 0.25% decreases back downward.

In other words the last time Prime was pushed as high as it stands today, it sat there for five full years. And was then cut.

The next Bank of Canada meeting is October 25, 2017.

Nathan Lawrence
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

26 Sep

CREDIT SCORES: HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

General

Posted by:

The interest rate you pay on loans for every major purchase you make throughout your lifetime depends on various factors, and is dependent on your creditworthiness – everything from the mortgage on your home to your car loan or line of credit.

And, given today’s ever-changing mortgage requirements and rising interest rate environment, your credit score has become even more important.

Your first step towards credit awareness and well being is to know where you stand. Request a free copy of your credit report online from the two Canadian credit-reporting agencies – Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada – at least once a year.

This will also help verify that your personal information is up to date and ensure you haven’t been the victim of identity fraud.

Newly established credit

If you’re new to credit, you may wonder why your credit score pales in comparison to your friend’s.

Payment history is a key factor for both Equifax and TransUnion. As well, if you don’t talk to your friends about money, you may not realize that their financial situations are different from yours. Your friend with the better credit score may carry less debt than you, for instance.

Using credit properly helps keep your credit score healthy, as well as comes in handy when you don’t have the cash immediately on hand to pay for an expense. Planning for expenses helps alleviate reliance on credit – and the payment of interest.

If you use credit cards and lines of credit to your full advantage, you’ll never have to pay interest on these revolving credit products. In fact, you can use the borrowed money for free if the full amounts are paid on time.

Forgot to pay a credit card bill?

Your credit generally only takes a hit after you miss two consecutive payments.

You’ll likely see a drop of 60-100 points on your credit score instantly, and your credit card provider may end up increasing your interest rate.

Every point counts, however, so you obviously don’t want your credit score to take a hit, particularly if you plan on applying for a major loan – such as a mortgage or car loan.

Know your creditworthiness

Following are some key components that help determine your credit score.

Credit card debt. Aside from paying bills on time, the number one way to increase your credit score is to pay down your credit cards so they’re below 70% of your limits. Credit card usage has a more significant impact on credit scores than car loans, lines of credit and so on.
Credit history. More established credit is better quality If you’re no longer using your older credit cards, the issuers may stop updating your accounts. If this happens, the cards can lose their weight in the credit formula and, therefore, may not be as valuable. Use these cards periodically and pay them off.
Credit reporting errors. Always dispute any mistakes or situations that may harm your credit score. If, for instance, a cell phone bill is incorrect and the company will not amend it, you can dispute this by making the credit bureau(s) aware of the situation.
Do you have questions about your credit score or creditworthiness? Contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist.

Tracy Valko
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

25 Sep

BRIDGE FINANCING – HOW DOES IT WORK?

General

Posted by:

Rarely in life do things go as planned, especially in real estate.
In a perfect world, when buying a new home, most people want to take possession of their new house before having to move out of the old one. This makes moving a lot easier and allows you time for painting or renovations prior to moving into your new home.

Where it gets complicated; most people need the money from the sale of their existing house to come up with the down payment for the new house!!
This is where bridge financing comes in.

Bridge financing allows you to bridge the financial gap between the firm sale of your current home, and the firm commitment to purchase your new home.

Bridge financing allows you to access some of the equity in your existing property, which you can use towards the down payment on the new property you are buying.
Where many people get confused is that in order to secure bridge financing, you must have a firm sale on your existing house. That means all subjects have been removed!!
If you haven’t sold your home, you won’t get the bridge financing, because there is no concrete way for a lender to calculate how much equity you have available and if you can afford your new home.

For most people, unless you can qualify and pay for two mortgages, you should always sell your existing home before purchasing a new one. Why?
• With today’s property values constantly changing, you won’t know how much money you have until you sell your home. Your home is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it NOW! Past sales and future guesses don’t count!
• You need the proceeds from your existing home to help pay for your new home’s down payment, renovations, moving costs and (if required) how much mortgage you qualify for.

If you have sold your existing home but your closing date is after the closing date of the new property you just purchased, then bridge financing is your best option:
• Your new lender must allow for bridge financing (not all banks allow bridge financing as an option). Your mortgage broker can work with you to find a lender who offers bridge financing.
• Bridge financing costs more than your traditional mortgage (i.e. Prime + 2-4% plus an administration fee).
• Typically bridge loans are restricted to 90 days.
What happens if I don’t sell my home?
Banks will not provide you with a bridge loan if you don’t have a firm sale agreement for your home since the loan can’t be open-ended. If you don’t have a firm selling date you may need to consider a private lender for the bridge loan.

Private Financing

If you have purchased your home and it is closing and your existing home has not sold, then you may have to take out a private loan:
• This option is expensive and is based on you having enough equity in your current property to qualify.
• Typically, private financing comes with a high interest rate 7-15% plus an upfront lender fee + broker fee. These amounts will vary based on your specific situation, such as time required for loan, loan amount, loan to value, credit bureau, property location, etc.
• Private financing is expensive, but it could be cheaper than lowering the purchase price of your existing home by tens of thousands of dollars to sell your existing home quickly.

Your bank doesn’t do this type of financing. You must use a specialized mortgage broker who has access to individuals that lend money out privately.
Bridge financing & private financing are solutions when your buy and sell days don’t work.

Don’t waste your time trying to sort all this out on your own. Give a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist a call and let’s figure out what your best option would be.

Kelly Hudson
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

22 Sep

MORTGAGE CHANGES ARE COMING—ARE YOU PREPARED?

General

Posted by:

We know – more changes?! How can that be! With this ever-changing landscape, mortgages continue to get more complicated. This next round of changes is predicted to take affect this coming October 2017 (date not yet available). These new rules contain three possible changes, the most prominent being the implementation of a stress test for all uninsured mortgages (those with a down payment of more than 20%). Under current banking rules, only insured mortgages, variable rates and fixed mortgages less than five years must be qualified at a higher rate. That rate, of course, is the Bank of Canada’s posted rate (currently 4.84%, higher than typical contract rates). Going forward, it will be replaced by a 200-basis-point buffer above the borrower’s contract rate. (source)

The other proposed changes include:
• Requiring that loan-to-value measurements remain dynamic and adjust for local conditions when used to qualify borrowers; and
• Prohibiting bundled mortgages that are meant to circumvent regulatory requirements. The practice of bundling a second mortgage with a regulated lender’s first mortgage is often used to get around the 80%+ loan-to-value limit on uninsured mortgages.
These two proposed changes are minor, and would only affect less than 1% of all mortgages in Canada. The main one, the stress testing, will have a far greater impact.

Why is this happening?

You may recall that the stress test requirements were announced by OSFI in October of 2016. This rule followed a long string of new rules that occurred in 2016. At the time, they primarily affected First Time Home Buyers and those who had less than 20% down to put towards a home. Now, those who are coming up to their renewal date or wishing to refinance may find that this will have an impact on them. They may not qualify to borrow as much as they once would have due to the stress testing implication. For example:

A dual-income family with a combined annual income of $85,000.00. The current value of their home is $610,000.00.

Take off the existing mortgage amount owing and you are left with $145,000.00 that is available in the equity of the home provided you qualify to borrow it.

Current Lending Requirements

Qualifying at a rate of 2.94% with a 25-year amortization and with a combined annual income of 85K you would be able to borrow $490,000.00. Reduce your existing mortgage amount of 343K and this means that you could qualify to access the full 145K available in the equity in your home.

Proposed Lending Requirements

Qualify at a rate of 4.94% with a 25-year amortization and with a combined annual income of 85K you would be able to borrow $400,000.00. Reduce your existing mortgage amount of 343K and this means that of the 145K available in the equity in your home you would only qualify to access 57K of it. This is a reduced borrowing amount of 88K.

They have a mortgage balance of $343,000.00. Lenders will refinance to a maximum of 80% LTV (loan to value). The maximum amount available here is $488,000.00

As you can see, the amount this couple would qualify for is significantly impacted by these new changes. Their borrowing power was reduced by $88,000-a large sum of money!

With the dates of these changes coming into effect not yet known, we are advising that clients who are considering a renewal this fall do so sooner rather than later. Qualifying under the current requirements can potentially increase the amount you qualify for—and who wouldn’t want that?

For more information on how these changes affect you specifically, or to refinance your mortgage, get in touch with your local Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional-they are well-versed in these changes and are ready to help you navigate through the complexities!

Geoff Lee

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

21 Sep

AVOIDING “STICKER SHOCK” WHEN IT COMES TO MORTGAGE RENEWAL

General

Posted by:

Imagine that, a few years from now, the time has come to renew your mortgage.

Several years back, you got a $350,000 at the then great rate of 2.24%. Your mortgage payments are $1522 per month.

Because we are now in what the financial brainboxes call “ an escalating rate environment “ – normal people just say rates are going up – when you open your renewal notice you might encounter the same feeling you get when you look at the price of a car you like.

When you actually do look at the renewal notice, you see that the remaining balance on your mortgage is now $294,662, the new ( very competitive rate ) is 3.25% and that the new payment is $1668, actually $150 dollars a month MORE than you were paying previously. You think “WHAT THE….???”

This type of sticker shock is a new sensation to an entire generation of Canadians. Brokers are fond of talking about the fact that rates had not moved in 7 years but we rarely talk about the fact that rates have been trending down for more than twenty years and chances are, if you’ve had a mortgage for any time during that period, the payment at renewal has always been lower than when you started out.

‘Well, what’s to be done’, you ask? ‘How do I avoid “sticker shock”?

The key to avoiding that sinking feeling is to increase your payment slightly every year. You can find out how much to increase it during your Annual Mortgage Review. By increasing your monthly payment by even 2% a month, you can potentially avoid that sinking feeling – and pay off your mortgage even faster!

But wait; “Annual Mortgage Review? Qu’est-ce que c’est”, you ask.

An annual mortgage review, done with either your mortgage provider’s representative or your own mortgage representative ( i.e. your friendly Mortgage Professional) is just a quick check up to discuss what the current balance is, how things are going and do a quick review of your early payment privileges, increased payment privileges and potential prepayment privileges.

Its best to have these annually because , well, the average human needs to be shown the same information seven times to learn it – save time and start today. If you have any questions, please contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist.

JONATHAN BARLOW
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

20 Sep

CANADIAN HOUSING ACTIVITY STILL WELL BELOW THE PEAK

General

Posted by:

This morning’s release of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) data for August posted a modest uptick in sales last month, ending a string of four consecutive monthly declines. However, activity remained 13.8% below the record set in March, prior to the April announcement of a 15% foreign buyers’ tax and a sixteen-point program to enhance housing affordability in the Ontario provincial budget.
In a surprise move, the Bank of Canada increased its benchmark overnight interest rate for the second consecutive time in September, which put further upward pressure on mortgage rates. As well, banks increased their prime rate, which drives up the cost of borrowing on home equity lines of credit (HELOCs)–a popular method of tapping homeowner equity. Consumers pumped up their credit balances in each of the last four quarters by $10-billion to $12-billion, with HELOCs a key part of that. Positive surprises in the Canadian economy this year caused the Bank of Canada to preempt inflation pressures. The Canadian dollar also rose in response to the Bank’s action. The posted mortgage rate has now increased 20 basis points to 4.84%, which is of particular importance because since October 2016 this is the assumed borrowing rate at which mortgage applicants must qualify for insured loans. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) issued a proposal in July to tighten the qualification criterion for uninsured borrowers as well–that is, those that put at least 20% down on their home purchase. If the proposal is implemented, high loan-to-value mortgage borrowers would need to meet debt-servicing requirements at mortgage rates 200 basis points above the contract rate.

Many believe this would have an even bigger negative impact on housing that the October 2016 measures. The volume outstanding of insured mortgages has declined over the past year. Only 20% to 30% of all mortgages are insured. With credit conditions tightening, lenders have become more risk averse and appraisers are lowering home values in some regions, especially those surrounding Toronto. In addition, Statistics Canada released data today showing that mortgage borrowing by households (adjusted for seasonal factors) decreased $2.6 billion in the second quarter–reflecting a pullback in national housing activity–while borrowing in the form of consumer credit and non-mortgage loans increased by $6.1 billion.

CREA’s national data showed that the number of homes sold on the MLS Systems inched up by 1.3% from July to August. The monthly rebound in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) sales of 14.3% fueled the national increase. For Canada excluding the GTA, sales activity was flat. The pop in sales in the GTA was the first monthly rise since the April announcement of the Ontario Fair Housing Policy, the number of sales remained 36% below the peak reached in March and 32% below year-ago levels.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity was down nearly 10% year-over-year in August. Sales were down from year-ago levels in about 60% of all local markets, led by the GTA and surrounding housing markets.

“The impact of recent mortgage rate increases on housing activity will become clearer once mortgages that were pre-approved prior to the recent interest rate hikes expire,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist.

New Listings Slipped Further in August

The number of newly listed homes declined by 3.9% last month, marking a third consecutive monthly decline.The national result largely reflects a reduction in newly listed homes in the GTA, Hamilton-Burlington, London-St. Thomas and Kitchener-Waterloo, as well as the Fraser Valley.

With sales up and new listings down in August, the national sales-to-new listings ratio rose to 57% compared to 54.1% in July. By contrast, the ratio was in the high-60% range in the first quarter of 2017. The ratio in the range of 40%-to-60% is considered consistent with balanced housing market conditions. Above 60% is considered a sellers’ market and below 40%, a buyers’ market.

Based on a comparison of the sales-to-new-listings ratio with its long-term average, about 70% of all local markets are in balanced market territory in August–up from 63% balanced in July. A decline in new listings has firmed market balance in a number of Greater Golden Horseshoe housing markets where it had recently begun tilting toward buyers’ market territory.

Number of Months of Inventory

The number of months of inventory is another important measure of the equilibrium between housing supply and demand. It represents how long it would take to completely liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity. There were 5 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of August 2017, down from 5.1 months in July and slightly below the long-term average of 5.2 months.

At 2.3 months of inventory, the Greater Golden Horseshoe region is up sharply from the all-time low of 0.8 months reached in February and March just before the Ontario government announced housing policy changes in April. However, it remains well below the long-term average of 3.1 months (see chart below)

e0adfeeb-3a98-49b7-a152-7cfdcc30e4e5
Price Gains Diminish Nationally

Aggregate average home prices continued to fall in August–down 0.8% from one month ago and down 2.33% from 3 months ago–extending the decline that began in late April. The Aggregate Composite MLS House Price Index rose by 11.2% year-over-year in August, a further deceleration from the pace earlier this year.The slowdown in price gains primarily reflects softening price trends in Greater Golden Horseshoe housing markets tracked by the index (see table below).

The MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) provides the best way of gauging price trends because average price trends are prone to be strongly distorted by changes in the mix of sales activity from one month to the next.

Price gains diminished in all benchmark categories, led by two-storey single family homes. Apartment units posted the largest year-over-year (y-o-y) gains in August (+19.5%), followed by townhouse/row units (+14.4%), two-storey single family homes (+8.3%), and one-storey single family homes (+8.1%).

While benchmark home prices were up from year-ago levels in 12 of 13 housing markets tracked by the MLS® HPI, price trends continued to vary widely by region.

After having dipped in the second half of last year, benchmark home prices in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia have recovered and are now at new highs (Greater Vancouver: +9.4% y-o-y; Fraser Valley: +14.8% y-o-y).

Benchmark home price increases have slowed to about 16% on a y-o-y basis in Victoria, and are still running at about 20% elsewhere on Vancouver Island.

Price gains slowed further on a y-o-y basis in Greater Toronto, Oakville-Milton and Guelph; however, prices in those markets remain well above year-ago levels (Greater Toronto: +14.3% y-o-y; Oakville-Milton: +11.4% y-o-y; Guelph: +19.5% y-o-y).

Calgary benchmark price growth remained in positive territory on a y-o-y basis in August (+0.8%). While Regina home prices popped back above year-ago levels (+5.6% y-o-y), Saskatoon home prices remain down (-0.3% y-o-y). That said, prices of late have been trending higher in both Regina and Saskatoon, and if recent trends hold, Saskatoon prices will also turn positive on a y-o-y basis before year-end.

Benchmark home price growth accelerated in Ottawa (+5.9% y-o-y overall, led by a 7% increase in one-storey single-family home prices) and was up in Greater Montreal (+4.6% y-o-y overall, led by a 7.1% increase in prices for townhouse/row units). Prices were up 5.1% overall in Greater Moncton, led by a 7.9% y-o-y gain in townhouse/row unit prices. (Table 1)

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in August 2017 was $472,247, up 3.6% from where it stood one year earlier. Sales in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto–the highest-priced and most active markets by far–heavily skew the national average home price. Excluding these two markets from calculations trims almost $100,000 from the national average price ($373,859).

DR. SHERRY COOPER
Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres

20 Sep

MORTGAGE BASICS – TYPES OF INSURANCE

General

Posted by:

In part one of this two-part series, we will look at the types of insurances you will hear about during the mortgage process. Sometimes it is a good idea to revisit the basics when looking at a complex thing like a mortgage. There can be misunderstandings which crop up. The mortgage process can be very stressful as you wait for some anonymous entity to decide whether or not you are able to buy the home of your dreams. It is no wonder that things can get missed. Fear not! We will take a look at some of the basics so you can avoid things best avoided.

1. Mortgage Default Insurance – There are three mortgage default insurance providers in Canada. CMHC, Genworth and Canada Guaranty. If you are purchasing a home with less than 20% down you will have to be approved by both the lender and the default insurance provider for the loan. They are looking at your credit, employment stability and the property itself to make their decision. If you default on the mortgage, the bank or mortgage provider is made whole on any shortfall. The cost is a set amount based on how much you are putting down and will be added to your mortgage so you do not have to worry that you need to come up with extra funds for it. As of today based on a standard borrower the premiums are shown in the following table though it is an important note that the premiums are higher in certain cases.
LTV Ratio Premium Rate
Up to 65% 0.60%
65.01% – 75% 1.70%
75.01% – 80% 2.40%
80.01% – 85% 2.80%
85.01% – 90% 3.10%
90.01% – 95% 4.00%

2. Title Insurance – This is required on most mortgages these days. The cost is around $250 and will be collected from you at the lawyer’s office. Title insurance is often used instead of a Real Property Report as it is quicker and less expensive. If for example, the garage on your new home had been constructed offside of where it should be, it is the responsibility of the title insurance to make it right. This could happen by getting the city to allow it or in the worst case, to cover the cost to move the garage.

3. Home Insurance – You have a legal responsibility to make sure you have property insurance. This protects you against things like fire, flood or theft. You will be required to provide verification of the insurance when you meet with the lawyer. You will probably want to do a bit of research before choosing your company. Not all insurance policies are equal and a truly awful time to find that out is after a horrible event.

4. Life Insurance – You will be offered life and disability insurance with your mortgage. Most of us assume that we have sufficient coverage through work but the protection of your family and their home should be given serious consideration. You are not obligated to accept the insurance provided to you but please factor the cost of sufficient coverage into your budget when you are thinking of buying your home. A few things to consider:

– The younger you are when you get insurance the cheaper it is.
– If you leave your current employer or get laid off and have developed a health concern it can be problematic to find affordable if any coverage.
– If you choose the insurance from the mortgage lender or bank you may find yourself tied to them indefinitely if you experience a change in your health. This could mean higher rates at renewal.
– Disability is the number one reason for foreclosure in Cana which goes to show that it can and does happen too many of us.
And there you have the four types of insurance which will be discussed around your mortgage. If you have any questions, please contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist.

PAM PIKKERT
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

18 Sep

HOW TO INVEST IN CANADIAN REAL ESTATE-FROM ABROAD

General

Posted by:

Just because you are a Canadian citizen living abroad doesn’t mean that you are exempt from the rules for foreigners buying real estate in Canada.
Foreign ownership applies if:
• You don’t reside in Canada for more than 6 months a year (even if you are Canadian)
• You don’t report your working income to CRA
So how does one go about gaining purchasing property in Canada when you are a foreign buyer?

1. Understand Your Employment Status

For your employment status, there are two categories you may fall into: Business for Self or not Business for Self (employed by someone else).

If you are Business for Self, you must meet the following requirements:
• Be in business for a minimum of 2 years
• Verify 2 years of business for self through something equivalent or similar to yearly financials.
• Verify current year’s financial history (personal & company if applicable)

On the other hand, if you are employed by someone else, you only need to show a letter of employment and your latest paystub.

2. Understanding Down Payment Requirements

Down payments for foreign investment in property have a few requirements as well. The down-payment typically will need to be 35% down. The exemption to this and when 25% down would be accepted, would be if you are a Canadian citizen living abroad or if you are a US citizen.

Another requirement, the money for a down payment and closing costs must be on Canadian soil 30 days prior to the completion date (with exception of 15 days depending on the lender and circumstances). Lenders may also require a deposit of 12 months’ principle and interest payments in a Canadian account.

The other and final requirement for a foreign real Estate investment is to have a Canadian bank account registered in your name.

3. Understanding Your Financial Profile

Your unique financial profile may need to feature a number of different things. This may include:
• International credit bureau to view your credit history
• A bank reference letter
• All current debts you have outstanding

Once we have compiled that information and any other that is required, it is on to the next set of requirements: Property requirements!

Property and Loan Requirements

For foreign real estate, there are a few conditions the property and the loan will have to meet. First is the type of property. The property can be owner occupied, a second home, or an investment property. Next, in terms of the loan, there are two things that need to be considered. These are the rates and the length of the loan. The rates will be the best discounted rates your mortgage broker can get at the time of purchase. As for the length of the loan, the term of the contract can be up to 10 years long, with an amortization of the loan of 25 years and up to 30 years on exception.

Final Take-Away

Purchasing foreign real estate does not need to be difficult. The best advice is to stay transparent, open and follow the requirements. As an extra piece of advice, here is a checklist to follow to make it go even easier:

• Proof of “out of Canada” permanent resident address
• Contact and use a Canadian solicitor/lawyer who is familiar with foreign investors
• Contact and use a Realtor familiar with foreign investment purchase.
• Be prepared to have to make a physical appearance in Canada to complete the purchase transaction
• Ensure you have the ability to transfer monies from your Canadian bank account to the TRUST account set up by your Canadian Solicitor/Lawyer’s firm.
• Be prepared for the purchasing process to take 30 days or longer

One last consideration. As of August 2, 2016, the Ministry of Finance of British Columbia has applied an additional 15% property transfer tax to certain BC residential property purchases to anyone who is a foreigner (or foreign entity such as a corporation).
a. This is applied only to the Greater Vancouver Regional District – please contact GLM Mortgage Group for an exhaustive list of the areas affected.
b. This affects anyone who are foreign nationals including foreign corporations or taxable trustees.
* Please note that the corporation can be incorporated in Canada. However, if the corporation is controlled in whole or in part by a foreign national or other foreign corporation the tax applies.
c. The additional tax applies in addition to the general property transfer tax.
d. The additional tax does not apply to non-resident property (commercial properties).
e. The additional tax will be paid with at the statement of adjustments when signing at the lawyer’s office.
f. There are heavy fines associated with avoidance of this tax (ie purchasing a property through a Canadian relative who holds the property in trust) and can even result to up to two years in prison.)

The only way that this foreign buyers tax is exempt for a nonresident when purchasing in the Greater Vancouver Regional District are borrowers that have a current work permit/visa and will maintain the property as their primary residence and reporting and paying taxes in Canada

In closing, if you follow the basic steps laid out in this article and work with a skilled broker you can get into your Canadian property faster, easier, and with minimal stress! If you have any questions, please contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist.

Geoff Lee
GEOFF LEE
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional