Month: April 2017

28 Apr

What Does It Actually Mean To Co-sign For a Mortgage?


Posted by: Bonnie Barker

What Does It Actually Mean To Co-sign For a Mortgage?There seems to be some confusion about what it actually means to co-sign on a mortgage and you know that where there is confusion, your trusted mortgage professional seeks to offer clarity. Let’s take a quick look at why you may be asked to co-sign and what you need to know before, during, and after the co-signing process.

So why are you being asked? Last year there were two sets of changes made to the mortgage world which can likely explain why you are receiving this request in the first place.

The first occurred early in 2016 whereby the overall lending standards were increased in regards to an individual’s management of their credit and the resulting responsibility of Canada’s financial institutions to ensure they are lending prudently. We have seen an increase in requests for co-borrowers to help strengthen applications when credit or job stability is an issue.

The second happened just in October. A new ‘stress test’ rate applies which has especially impacted borrowers with less than 20% down. They must qualify at a rate of 4.64% though their actual interest rate is much lower. This has decreased affordability for many which means they could be looking for a co-borrower to increase how much home they can qualify for.

If it was me, I would ask questions as to exactly why the applicant needs a co-borrower. If it is a credit issue then you need to assess if that an acceptable risk. If it is a matter of not enough income, you need to assess that instead. What is the exit strategy for you all from this joint mortgage?

What can you expect? You will be required to complete an application and have your credit pulled. As you are now a borrower the banks will ask you for all the documentation that the main applicant has already provided. This can include but will not be limited to:

  • Letter of employment
  • Paystubs
  • 2 years Notice of Assessments, Financial Statements and complete T1 Generals
  • Mortgage statements on all properties you own
  • Bank statements if helping with the down payment
  • Property tax bills
  • Lease agreements
  • Divorce/separation agreement

So you get the idea. You are now a full applicant and will be asked for a whole bunch of paperwork. It is not just a matter of saying yes. Once the application is complete and all conditions have been met with the mortgage, you will have to meet with the lawyer as well.

What do you need to be aware of?

  1. This is now a monthly liability according to the world. You will have to disclose this debt on all your own applications going forward. It can affect your ability to borrow in the future
  2. Each lender is different in their policy as to how soon you can come off the mortgage. Familiarize yourself with this. Are you committing to this indefinitely or only for a couple of years?
  3. Mortgages report on the credit bureaus so you could be adversely affected if there are late payments
  4. If the main applicant cannot make the payment for whatever reason, you are saying that you will. Make sure your budget can handle that for a few months.

A few things you may want to consider if you do agree to co-sign:

  • Ask for an annual statement to be sent to you as well on both the mortgage and the property taxes.
  • Consider a joint account for mortgage payments so that you can check in every so often to ensure all payments are being made on time
  • Talk about life insurance! If the worst occurs, then at least have enough of a policy in effect, with yourself as the beneficiary, to cover a year of mortgage, taxes and bills so that you are not hit with an unexpected series of expenses until the property sells.

So though you just want to help your loved one into their dream home, you are all better served if you know exactly what you are getting into and are prepared for the contingencies. We here at Dominion Lending Centres are ready to help!

27 Apr

How a DLC Mortgage Broker Can REALLY Help You!


Posted by: Bonnie Barker

How a DLC Mortgage Broker Can REALLY Help You!While it’s certainly easy to be intimidated by the prices that you might see as you browse MLS into the wee hours of the night, mortgage interest rates are still at a historical low.  If you’re looking at purchasing for the first time, you’re thinking, “What does that mean?!”

With rates as low as they are, the cost of borrowing associated with your mortgage is lower than ever before.  You also need to look at other fees that can be tied to different mortgage products.  For example, some mortgages don’t allow for additional or increased payments, while others allow you to pay down your principal mortgage amount by up to an additional 20% per year, saving you money over the lifetime of your mortgage. It’s important to recognize and understand these options and fees, and that is where a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker comes in.  Brokers and their agents are experts in the products that they offer and will work to save you the most money.

Don’t worry!  A Broker can also help you take advantage of low interest rates as a homeowner, too!  It could be the right time to look at your other financials and consider consolidating other outside debts to take advantage of the savings that could be available to you.  It isn’t hard to see the savings between a balance owed on a credit card at 19% or the balance owing on your car at 6.25% and consolidating one (or both!) with your mortgage balance at much lower interest rate.  A broker can look at your current mortgage terms and timelines and can help you save a considerable amount of money each year!

A Mortgage Broker’s service doesn’t stop there.  Since the demand for new homes is so high right now, a Mortgage Broker will also help both first-timers and home-owners peeking around the markets with a pre-approval before you start considering making an offer on a new home. This means that you can confidently make an offer on the home that you love without making a condition on financing.  In a busy market, where purchases often end in bidding wars, having your financing in line could make your offer stand out against the rest.

Since properties are being scooped up like hotcakes, homeowners can also take advantage of selling their homes to downsize and save for retirement, or vacations, or spoiling their grandkids!

Now if you’d rather “love it” than “list it”, you can benefit from today’s high demand, too!  If you have been thinking about adding that basement bathroom, or are in need of upgrading your furnace and air conditioning units, a Broker can help you take advantage of the equity that you have gained in your home since you bought it.  In the last year, the demand for homes has soared, which means that your home could be worth a good chunk more than you might think.  Regardless of if your mortgage is up for renewal or not, a Mortgage Broker can help you make sense of the mortgage that you’re in, and look at payout options that could work in your favour.  And a mortgage evaluation will always be free with a licensed Broker.

Today’s market has a lot of characteristics that can work in your favour, but can also throw a little wrench in your plans.  Always make sure to sit down with a licensed, local Dominion Lending Centres’ Broker to make sure you’re armed with the knowledge that you need to get the most for your money!

27 Apr

10 First Time Homebuyer Mistakes

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Bonnie Barker

Ten Things In a Real Estate Transaction That Can Affect Your MortgageIf you’re on the hunt for your first home and want to have a smooth and successful home purchasing experience avoid these common first-time homebuying mistakes.

1. Thinking you don’t need a real estate agent

You might be able to find a house on your own but there are still many aspects of buying real estate that can confuse a first-time buyer. Rely on your agent to negotiate offers, inspections, financing and other details. The money you save on commission can be quickly gobbled up by a botched offer or overlooked repairs

2. Getting your heart set on a home before you do your homework

The house that’s love at first sight may not always be what it seems, so keep an open mind. Plus, you may be too quick to go over budget or may overlook a potential pitfall if you jump in too fast.

3. Picking a fixer-upper because the listing price is cheaper

That old classic may have loads of potential, but be extra diligent in the inspection period. What will it really cost to get your home where it needs to be? Negotiating a long due-diligence period will give you time to get estimates from contractors in case you need to back out.

4. Committing to more than you can afford

Don’t sacrifice retirement savings or an emergency fund for mortgage payments. You need to stay nimble to life’s changes, and overextending yourself could put your investments – including your house – on the line.

5. Going with the first agent who finds you

Don’t get halfway into house hunting before you realize your agent isn’t right for you. The best source: a referral from friends. Ask around and take the time to speak with your potential choices before you commit.

6. Diving into renovations as soon as you buy

Yes, renos may increase the value of your home, but don’t rush. Overextending your credit to get it all done fast doesn’t always pay off. Take time to make a solid plan and the best financial decisions. Living in your home for a while will also help you plan the best functional changes to the layout.

7. Choosing a house without researching the neighbourhood

It may be the house of your dreams, but annoying neighbours or a nearby industrial zone can be a rude awakening. Spend time in the area before you make an offer – talk to local business owners and residents to determine the pros and cons of living there.

8. Researching your broker and agent, but not your lawyer

New buyers often put all their energy into learning about mortgage rates and offers, but don’t forget that the final word in any deal comes from your lawyer. As with finding agents, your best source for referrals will be friends and business associates.

9. Fixating on the lowest interest rate

Yes, a reasonable rate is important, but not at the expense of heavy restrictions and penalties. Make a solid long-term plan to pay off your mortgage and then find one that’s flexible enough to accommodate life changes, both planned and unexpected. Be sure to talk your your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to learn more.

10. Opting out of mortgage insurance

Your home is your largest investment so be sure to protect it. Mortgage insurance not only buys you peace of mind, it also allows for more flexible financing options. Plus, it allows you to take advantage of available equity to pay down debts or make financial investments.

11 Apr

Insured, Insurable & Uninsurable vs High Ratio & Conventional Mortgages


Posted by: Bonnie Barker

Insured, Insurable & Uninsurable ss High Ratio & Conventional Mortgages

You might think you would be rewarded for toiling away to save a down payment of 20% or greater. Well, forget it. Your only prize for all that self-sacrifice is paying a higher interest rate than people who didn’t bother.

Once upon a time we had high ratio vs conventional mortgages, now it’s changed to; insured, insurable and uninsurable.

High ratio mortgage – down payment less than 20%, insurance paid by the borrower.

Conventional mortgage – down payment of 20% or more, the lender had a choice whether to insure the mortgage or not.


Insured –a mortgage transaction where the insurance premium is or has been paid by the client. Generally, 19.99% equity or less to apply towards a mortgage.

Insurable –a mortgage transaction that is portfolio-insured at the lender’s expense for a property valued at less than $1MM that fits insurer rules (qualified at the Bank of Canada benchmark rate over 25 years with a down payment of at least 20%).

Uninsurable – is defined as a mortgage transaction that is ineligible for insurance. Examples of uninsurable re-finance, purchase, transfers, 1-4 unit rentals (single unit Rentals—Rentals Between 2-4 units are insurable), properties greater than $1MM, (re-finances are not insurable) equity take-out greater than $200,000, amortization greater than 25 years.

The biggest difference where the mortgage consumers are feeling the effect is simply the interest rate. The INSURED mortgage products are seeing a lower interest rate than the INSURABLE and UNINSURABLE products, with the difference ranging from 20 to 40 basis points (0.20-0.40%). This is due in large part to the insurance premium increase that took effect March 17, 2017. As well, the rule changes on October 17, 2017 prevented lenders from purchasing insurance on conventional funded mortgages. By the Federal Government limiting the way lenders could insure their book-of-business meant the lenders need to increase the cost. We as consumers pay for that increase.

The insurance premiums are in place for few reasons; to protect the lenders against foreclosure, fraudulent activity and subject property value loss. The INSURED borrower’s mortgages have the insurance built in. With INSURABLE and UNINSURABLE it’s the borrower that pays a higher interest rate, this enables the lender to essential build in their own insurance premium. Lenders are in the business of lending money and minimize their exposure to risk. The insurance insulates them from potential future loss.

By the way, the 90-day arrears rate in Canada is extremely low. With a traditional lender’s in Canada it is 0.28% and non-traditional lenders it is 0.14%. So, somewhere between 99.72% and 99.86% of all Canadians pay their monthly mortgage every month.

In today’s lending landscape is there any reason to save the necessary down payment or do you buy now? Saving may avoid the premium, but is it worth it? You may end up with a higher interest rate.

By having to wait for as little as one year as you accumulate 20% down, are you then having to pay more for the same home? Are you missing out on the market?

When is the right time to buy? NOW.

Here’s a scenario is based on 2.59% interest with 19.99% or less down and 2.89% interest for a mortgage with 20% or greater down, 25-year amortization. In this scenario, it takes one year to save the funds required for the 20% down payment.

  • First-time homebuyer
  • Starting small, buying a condo
  • 18.9% price increase this year over last

Purchase Price $300,000
5% Down Payment $15,000
Mtg Insurance Premium $11,400 (4% as of March 17, 2017)
Starting Mtg Balance $296,400
Mortgage Payment $1,341.09

Purchase Price $356,700 (1 year later)

20% Down Payment $71,340
Mtg Insurance Premium $0
Starting Mtg Balance $285,360
Mortgage Payment $1,334.40

The difference in the starting mortgage balance is $11,040, which is $360 less than the total insurance premium. As well, the overall monthly payment is only $6.69 higher by only having to save 5% and buying one year sooner. Note I have not even built in the equity that one has also accumulated in the year. The time to buy is NOW. Contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional so we can help!