29 Sep

PAPERWORK YOU MUST KEEP

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: MANJIT SINGH BHONDHI

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: MANJIT SINGH BHONDHI

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: MANJIT SINGH BHONDHI

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 Professiona

11 Sep

10 STEPS TO HOME SWEET HOME

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: MANJIT SINGH BHONDHI

 

Congratulations – you are moving into your new home! Whether you are starting with a plain new build or an older resale home, there’s no better way to make it yours than by putting your stamp on it. Invest a weekend or two into warming up a featureless space or refreshing someone else’s old homestead. It’s easy with our 10 steps to home sweet home.

Step 1: Change the locks
Secure your home by changing the locks as soon as you take possession.
Even DIY beginners can change a deadbolt lock. A replacement deadbolt set can be installed in place of the current lock – no drilling required.

Another alternative is to rekey the lock. Purchase a rekeying set from the same manufacturer as the existing door lock, and reset it for a new key.

Step 2: Get a professional deep cleaning
Hire professional cleaners to deep-clean and detail your home before you move your possessions in. Without any furniture to work around, they’ll have access to every nook and cranny. Yes, you’ll have to clean again after moving day, but the heavy lifting (scouring, scrubbing and scraping) will have already been done!

Step 3: Clean the guts of your home
Years of dust, pet dander and detritus collect in the mechanicals of any home. One of the most effective ways to refresh a resale home is to get right into the guts of it: the mechanicals. Have your ducts, furnace and air conditioning unit professionally cleaned. Change the filters as required to maintain that clean, fresh air.

Step 4: Apply a fresh coat of paint
Painting provides the most bang for your home improvement buck. Whether the walls of your home are dingy or you’re simply not feeling the magic of “beige,” it takes just hours to repaint your space with a colour that makes your heart sing.

Step 5: Freshen up the floors
Worn out floors can put a damper on that new-home buzz.
If your hardwood has seen better days, hire pros to refinish it, or tackle the project yourself by renting a floor sander and varnishing over a weekend.

Steam-clean wall-to-wall carpet and clean laminate flooring with special laminate floor cleaners, although if either is too far gone, you may want to replace it.
Personalize your space while protecting your floors by adding area rugs and runners throughout your new home.

Step 6: Neutralize any odours
Resale homes, particularly fixer-uppers, can come with lingering smells. Steps 2, 3, 4 and 5 will dramatically reduce any unpleasant odours. Stubborn odours require spot treatments, such as the following:

• Put dishes of activated charcoal, also called activated carbon (available from aquarium stores), in musty, damp basements. Run a dehumidifier during the spring and summer.
• Place a sock filled with dry coffee grounds or baking soda in closets, refrigerators or freezers to absorb stale odours.
• Pour white vinegar down a stinky drain.

Step 7: Give your windows a new view
Dirty windows and screens can make rooms feel dingy. A thorough cleaning will have your windows shining, and your indoors will feel brighter and fresher, too.

If your home came with the previous owner’s window coverings, be sure to clean or launder them (it’ll remove allergens as well as reduce any lingering odours). Or consider replacements more specific to your design tastes.

Step 8: Brighten your lights
A well-lit home feels inviting and warm. If your rooms feel dim, replace the existing bulbs with bright, energy-saving CFL bulbs. Dated lighting fixtures can foil your redecorating efforts, so consider replacing them. You can donate them to a Habitat for Humanity ReStore shop – after all, your taste may be urban-contemporary, but someone else may be looking for the perfect retro pendant!

Step 9: Replace the switch plates
A screwdriver is all it takes to swap out lighting switch plates. This easy change gives an instant lift to any room. With a little DIY expertise, screwdrivers, pliers and a voltage tester, you can install energy-saving dimmer switches, instead.

Step 10: Display your art
Finally, dress up your walls with your favourite artwork and family photos. Get your kids’ kindergarten masterpieces onto the fridge, and deck out your mantel with family photos.

There’s a reason why we remove personal photos and mementos when selling a house: it’s so potential buyers see a clean slate. Now that you’re in your own home, go wild and make it yours! And if you have any questions, please contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist.

MARC SHENDALE

Genworth Canada – Vice President Business Development

8 Sep

IT’S NEVER A BAD TIME TO PLAN

General

Posted by: MANJIT SINGH BHONDHI

IT’S NEVER A BAD TIME TO PLAN

Do successful entrepreneurs just open their doors for business without a business plan? Does a chef open a restaurant without a menu? Do pilots depart the hanger without a flight plan? Can you build a house without architectural plans?…I could go on forever! The answer is NO to all the above.

I’m a planner. Whether it’s for personal or business purposes, I always have a plan. I operate best when I know what is happening and how I’m doing it. Planning is the key ingredient to crossing the finish line successfully.

Case in point…

When it comes to acquiring a mortgage, whether it’s your first, second, third…or tenth you need to establish a PLAN! You need to connect with your trusted Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker to start the application process.

Am I suggesting you need to create a full blown SWOT analysis (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats) to seek mortgage financing?

No… but it wouldn’t hurt.

All joking aside, you should have an action plan: PLAN A and possibly a PLAN B. If you need a PLAN C then there should have been more preparation put into PLANs A and B.

THERE ARE 4 PARTS TO EVERY MORTGAGE.

  1. DOWN PAYMENT – How much skin-in-the-game are you putting in? Where is it coming from, saved or gifted? Where is it now?
  2. CREDIT – How long have you had it? What are the limits and how do you utilize it? How many forms of credit do you have?
  3. INCOME – How long have you been at the current job? Salary or hourly? Have you jumped around to different industries or stayed within? Self-employed or employee?
  4. SUBJECT PROPERTY – Where is the property? What is the property? Condo, townhouse, detached, farm on acreage with coach house and out-buildings? Age? Materials used to build? Remaining economic life? Square footage? Past or present issues?   

Before you find the subject property to purchase, the best course of action is to prepare. Why try to obtain financing in three to six days when you could have reduced the stress level by planning ahead of time. Mortgage Brokers call it the Pre-Qualifying Process. As a mortgage professional, I review the first three parts of the application and lock in a rate for up to 120 days.

Some people may ask WHY plan or WHEN to start planning. The main reason one should plan is to simply make sure there are no hidden surprises. If there are any negative aspects to the file, a plan would give us time to find a solution. When the decision has been made to purchase or re-finance (and mortgage funds are required), that is the exact time to connect with your Mortgage Broker. The time is now… immediately. A plan will double your success rate for obtaining approval for mortgage financing.

MICHAEL HALLETT

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

7 Sep

BANK OF CANADA TAKES ACTION

Latest News

Posted by: MANJIT SINGH BHONDHI

BANK OF CANADA TAKES ACTION

958cc7e5-50bd-4df0-b054-0a79c190a35fThe Bank of Canada raised the target overnight rate another 25 basis points to 1.0% making it two hikes in a row following seven years of increasing monetary stimulus. The outsized 4.5% growth in GDP in the second quarter precipitated this action, despite two offsetting factors: the recent surge in the Canadian dollar, up more than 8% in the past three months, to over 81 cents U.S.; and the continued below-target rate of inflation.
Today’s monetary tightening comes at the same time that Federal Reserve officials are suggesting that another rate hike in the U.S. next week is unwarranted–adding further upward pressure on the loonie. The economic and political uncertainty in the U.S. has put considerable downward pressure on U.S. bond yields, while in Canada, interest rates are rising.

The Canadian economy is on a tear, dramatically outperforming the U.S., and the battering by both Hurricanes Harvey and Irma will only widen the disparity. The growth in Canada is becoming “more broadly based and self-sustaining,” according to the Bank’s press release. Last week’s Q2 GDP release showed that consumption is robust, supported by “solid employment and income growth”. Business investment and export growth have also picked up. The central bank does, however, expect a more moderate pace of economic growth in the second half of this year.

The housing sector has slowed in some markets–particularly around the GTA–in response to recent changes in tax and housing regulations in Ontario. But this is a change welcomed by the Bank and government authorities concerned about the continued rise in household debt. Tighter monetary policy portends further increases in mortgage and other lending rates. The Bank suggests that “given elevated household indebtedness, close attention will be paid to the sensitivity of the economy to higher interest rates.” You can’t get more transparent than that. The Bank of Canada welcomes a slowdown in housing and borrowing activity.

Questions remain regarding the potential growth of the economy, which was earlier estimated by the Bank’s economists to be about 1.7%. While the economy is closer to full employment than earlier forecasted, the Bank believes there remains excess capacity in the jobs market. This statement possibly suggests that the economy can grow at a faster pace than the Bank initially thought without triggering inflation.

Inflation does not currently appear to be of primary concern. While inflation remains below the target rate of 2% and wage pressures are subdued, there has been a slight increase in the consumer price index and the Bank’s core measures of inflation, which is “consistent with the dissipating negative impact of temporary price shocks and the absorption of economic slack.”

Once again the Bank of Canada reminds us the path of further policy decisions is not predetermined but will be dependent on incoming economic and financial data. This cautionary note is consistent with the “significant geopolitical risks and uncertainties around international trade and fiscal policies.”

DR. SHERRY COOPER

Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres
Sherry is an award-winning authority on finance and economics with over 30 years of bringing economic insights and clarity to Canadians