Reverse Mortgage – Some common misconceptions

General Pankaj Joshi 29 Mar

The words reverse mortgage carry some negative connotation. What does it really mean? What makes reverse mortgage different than a regular or demand mortgage in Canada? There are no payments required if 1 applicant lives in the home. Payments can be made if they wish, they are truly optional.
No medical required and limited income and credit requirements.
Clients can receive up to 55% of the value of their home in tax free cash, depending primarily on their age, property type as well as location.

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS & OBJECTIONS:

I heard they were restrictive and bad for seniors.
Much of the negative press around reverse mortgages originated out of the U.S. The rates, fees, and restrictions are quite different from what is offered in Canada. The reverse mortgage providers in Canada follow the same chartered bank rules as other major lenders.

The bank will own my house.
This is only a mortgage; the title and deed remain in the client’s name. The owner will not be asked to move, sell, or make payments for as long as at least 1 applicant lives in the property.

I’ll lose all my equity.
The maximum the lender can finance is 55% of the value of the home. The average advance is more like 35% of the value, leaving ample equity to fall back on. If the real estate market increases at an average of about 2% to 2.5% per year over time, clients will find their home value increasing just as much over time as the balance owed.

The costs are too high.
The closing costs are the same as a regular mortgage, approximately $1,800, includes the appraisal and lawyer fee.

A line of credit is better and cheaper.
A line of credit is a great solution for someone with good credit, cash flow and most importantly someone with a regular income.

I paid off my mortgage, I don’t want more debt.
Leveraging money from your home is not debt. It’s the equity accrued over the duration of ownership. Only the interest is debt.

Why are the rates higher than a regular mortgage?
Other lenders can lend out money at lower costs. This is because they have other services to sell the client to help recoup their cost. The regular mortgages also require a regular repayment frequency; thus, the lender is constantly receiving funds back to re-lend.

I heard they have high penalties and you can’t get out very easily.
This is well suited for seniors looking to keep the reverse mortgage in place for 3 or more years. There might be other solutions for a timeline that is shorter. Penalties are always waived upon death of the last homeowner. Penalties are reduced by 50% if selling and moving into a care facility.

I don’t need money very much so it’s not worth it.
The newest program offered is called Income Advantage. It allows clients to access money on their own timeline, when they need it or a pre-determined auto-advance. Borrower only pays on the amount advanced. The minimum advance required is $25,000.

If you’d like to talk to see if a reverse mortgage is a good fit for you, please don’t hesitate to reach me.

March is fraud awareness month

General Pankaj Joshi 27 Mar

You may have heard that March is Fraud Awareness Month. Authorities are trying to raise awareness of identity theft , phishing schemes and other forms of fraud. What you may not know is that as many as 1 in 5 Canadians are committing mortgage fraud whether they know it or not.
Fraud for Shelter
Is defined as any time a person “intentionally provides inaccurate, fraudulent or incomplete information to a lender in order to secure a mortgage that they might not otherwise be granted,” according to the Canadian Bankers Association.
You may intend on paying off the mortgage according to the terms in the contract but you may have fudged the numbers a bit to help you obtain the mortgage. Perhaps you borrowed the down payment money and intend on paying it back but you did not declare it as a gift; you may ask a friend to go on the application as a co – borrower when they won’t be living in the house with you. You might be friends with your boss at a small company and ask him to fudge your income to show you make $50,000 instead of $40,000 or alter your employment letter to show you make more than you do or have been on the job longer than you actually have been. This is all fraud.
What can happen to you if the truth comes out? Not only will the lender call the loan and you have to find alternative financing within 24 hours, but you could end up with fraud showing on your credit report. Imagine how unhappy your employer would be if they find out?
Fraud for Profit
You want to buy a rental property but you only have enough for a 5% down payment, nowhere near the 20% required to purchase a property that you don’t intend to live in.
Something that also happens too often is a friend or acquaintance tells you that they want to buy a property, but their credit won’t be in good shape for another 3-6 months. They offer to pay you $5,000 to use your name and credit to purchase the home and then they will take you off title when everything is good. Don’t fall for this. You are what the RCMP call a “straw buyer”. What they do is buy a home from another member of their gang at an over inflated price. They then make 2 or 3 monthly payments and then they take off leaving you stuck with a home you can’t sell for that price and obliged to make up any shortfall between the foreclosure selling price and the amount the lender mortgaged the home for.
Title Fraud
In this case, you are the victim. If you own a home free and clear, the fraudsters steal your identity, take out a mortgage on your property without you knowing it and take off with the funds leaving you to prove that you didn’t refinance your home The legal bills and the damage to your credit rating will be ongoing for a year or two at least.
In conclusion, mortgage fraud is a concern to all of us. It affects us directly as fraudulent mortgages cost lenders on average $300,000 each; a cost that is passed on to us with higher interest rates and fees. Be careful and be aware. Mortgage fraud is a problem for all Canadians who are home owners or potential home owners. If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Landing Centres mortgage professional near you.

History of Mortgage Changes

General Pankaj Joshi 27 Mar

The mortgage industry seems to be ever-changing. What was applicable one day seems to no longer apply to the next and at times, it can be confusing to navigate through what all of these changes mean–and how they impact you directly. As Mortgage Brokers, we firmly do believe that although the industry has gone through MANY changes over the years, each time our clients are able to overcome them by practicing the same sound advice–which we will reveal at the end! But first, a walk through of the mortgage changes over the past few years and how the industry has changed:
LOOKING BACK
Before 2008
During this time, lending and mortgages policies were much more lenient! There was 100% financing available, 40-year amortizations, cash back mortgages, 95% refinancing, 5% down payment required for rental properties, and qualifications for FIXED terms under 5 years and VARIABLE mortgages at discounted contract rate. There was also NO LIMIT for your GROSS DEBT SERVICING (GDS) if your credit was strong enough. Relaxed lending guidelines when debt servicing secured and unsecured lines of credits and heating costs for non-subject and subject properties.
July 2008
We saw the elimination of 100% financing, the decrease of amortizations from 40-35 years and the introduction of minimum required credit scores, which all took place during this time period. It was also the time in which the Total Debt Servicing (TDS) could only be maxed to 45%.
April 2010
This time period saw Variable Rate Mortgages having to be qualified at the 5-year Bank of Canada’s posted rate along with 1-4 year Fixed Term Mortgages qualified at the same. There was also the introduction of a minimum of 20% down vs. 5% on investment properties and an introduction of new guidelines on looking at rental income, property taxes and heat.
March 2011
The 35-year Amortization dropped to 30 years for conventional mortgages, refinancing dropped to 85% from 90% and the elimination of mortgage insurance on secured lines of credit.
July 2012
30-year amortizations dropped again to 25 years for High Ratio Mortgages (less than 20% down). Refinancing also dropped down this time to 80% from 85%. Tougher guidelines within stated income mortgage products making financing for the Business for Self more challenging and the disappearance of true equity lending. Perhaps the three biggest changes of this time were:
● Ban mortgage insurance on any million dollar homes
○ 20% min requirement for down payment
● Elimination of cash back mortgages
○ Federal guidelines Min; requirement of 5% down
● Introduction to FLEX DOWN mortgage products
February 2014
Increase in default insurance premiums.
Februrary 2016
Minimum down payment rules changed to:
● Up to $500,000 – 5%
● Up to $1 million – 5% for the first $500,000 and 10% up to $1 million
● $1 million and greater requires 20% down (no mortgage insurance available)
Exemption for BC Property Transfer Tax on NEW BUILDS regardless if one was a 1st time home buyer with a purchase price of $750,000 or less.
July 2016
Still fresh in our minds, the introduction of the foreign tax stating that an ADDITIONAL 15% Property Transfer Tax is applied for all non residents or corporations that are not incorporated in Canada purchasing property in British Columbia.
October 17, 2016: Stress testing
INSURED mortgages with less than 20% down Have to qualify at Bank of Canada 5 year posted rate.
November 30, 2016: Monoline Lenders
Portfolio Insured mortgages (monoline lenders) greater than 20% have new conditions with regulations requiring qualification at the Bank of Canada 5 year posted rate, maximum amortization of 25 years, max purchase price of $1 million and must be owner-occupied.
AND HERE WE ARE NOW…
January 2018: OSFI ANNOUNCES STRESS TESTING FOR ALL MORTGAGES + NO MORE BUNDLING AND MORE RESTRICTIONS
•If your mortgage is uninsured (greater than 20% down payment) you will now need to qualify at the greater of the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada or the contractual mortgage rate +2%
•Lenders will be required to enhance their LTV (loan to value) limits so that they will be responsive to risk. This means LTV’s will need to change as the housing market and economic environment change.
•Restrictions will be placed on lending arrangements that are designed to circumvent LTV limits. This means bundled mortgages will no longer be permitted.
*A bundled mortgage is when you have a primary mortgage and pair it with a second loan from an alternative lender. It is typically done when the borrower is unable to have the required down payment to meet a specific LTV.
BOTTOM LINE: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
As you can see, the industry has always been one that has changed, shifted and altered based on the economy and what is currently going on in Canada. However, with the new changes that have come into effect this year, we recognize that many are concerned about the financial implications the 2018 changes may have.
The one piece of advice that we promised you at the start of this blog, and one that has helped all our clients get through these changes is this: work with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker!
We cannot emphasis the importance of this enough. We have up to date, industry knowledge, access to all of the top lenders and we are free to use! We guarantee to not only get you the sharpest rate, but also the right product for your mortgage.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage this Spring

General Pankaj Joshi 27 Mar

Apparently, as per the weather experts, March has a lot of snowfall and surprisingly so does April!
Hearing this on the radio gives you a wave of emotions: holy cow, oh great, I wonder how many vacation days I have left and when can I take down my Christmas lights.
Good news, those same weather experts are predicting a hot summer and you know what that means! Buy your fan(s) now before they run out and check out a pool, size and budget appropriate, for the backyard. So glad we have a compressor to blow that thing up every year; three rings take a lot of breath!
Normally by April you are thinking about moving because you need a bigger home, you need to down size, or its time to leave the basement of your family home.
Those weekends where you have little to do so you opt to go out, get a coffee and go to show homes and see how they decorate because the DIY on TV is all reruns. While you are there, you start to picture yourself living there and then begin to wonder, “can I do this?” Do I want to want to do all the landscaping, do I need a developed basement now or later, where are the schools? Maybe should I think about an already established community with lots of schools, trees, or place that my cat and I can live.
Working with your Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional, we will review your options, your affordability, possible extra costs that you may have missed and finally, get you pre-approved!
Prequalified or rate hold, what is the difference?
Your broker has asked you for supporting documentation that will confirm your income, you do indeed have a down payment, and your debt is not more than you can handle along with possible new housing costs. This is so they can start the application to ensure the numbers are good and we can begin.
Rate Hold – it is just that, a rate that lender is offering and, based on the application submitted to them, it shows the numbers are in alignment for them to hold a rate for you. This rate can be held anywhere from 90 – 120 days. Remember, they have reviewed the application submitted only and no other supporting documentation.
Prequalified – it is just that, the lender has reviewed the supporting paperwork along with the application and is in happy to provide you with a prequalified letter stating they not only are they holding the rate for 90 – 120 days, depending on which lender, but you have met their criteria for lending.
o Although once you present you offer they may still have a few more items they want to check:
▪ You still working? – you will need a current paystub
▪ You still working at the same place?
▪ You didn’t buy a new car, right? Ugh!
▪ You didn’t get new furniture and finance it with the store, right? Ugh!
Ask your advisor about the DO’s and DON’Ts; this one single sheet of paper will make or break a deal!
Prequalified or rate hold, now you know the difference.