IMPROVING YOUR CREDIT SCORE

General Pankaj Joshi 18 May

Your credit score is a big factor when you apply for a mortgage. It can dictate how good your interest rate will be and the type of mortgage you qualify for.

Mortgage Professionals are experienced helping clients with a wide range of credit scores so we can find you a mortgage product even if your credit is far from perfect.

The good news about your credit score is that it can be improved:

  • Stop looking for more credit. If you’re frequently seeking credit that can affect your score as can the size of the balances you carry. Every time you apply for credit there is a hard credit check. It is particularly important that you not apply for a credit card in the six months leading up to your mortgage application. These credit checks may stay on your file for up to three years.
  • If your credit card is maxed out all the time, that’s going to hurt your credit score. Make some small monthly regular payments to reduce your balance and start using your debit card more. It’s important that you try to keep your balance under 30% or even 20% of your credit limit.
  • It’s also important to make your credit payments on time. People are often surprised that not paying their cell phone bill can hurt their credit score in the same way as not making their mortgage payment.
  • You should use your credit cards at least every few months. That’s so its use is reported to credit reporting agencies. As long as you pay the balance off quickly you won’t pay any interest.
  • You may wish to consider special credit cards used to rebuild credit. You simply make a deposit on the card and you get a credit limit for the value of that deposit. They are easy to get because the credit card company isn’t taking any risks.

WHAT IS A COLLATERAL MORTGAGE?

General Pankaj Joshi 18 May

A collateral mortgage is a way of registering your mortgage on title. This type of registration is sometimes used by banks and credit unions. Monoline lenders, on the other hand, rarely register your mortgage as a collateral charge – which is an all-indebtedness charge that allows you to access the equity in the home over and above your mortgage, up to the total charge registered.

What this means is that you may be able to get a home equity line of credit and/or a readvanceable mortgage, or increase your mortgage without having to re-register a mortgage. This is a real benefit to you in some cases because re-registering your mortgage can cost up to a thousand dollars.

However, there are some negatives to having a collateral mortgage.

  • First and most glaring – because it is an “all indebtedness” mortgage – it brings into account all other debts held by that lender into an umbrella registered against your home. This means that your credit cards, car loans, or any related debt at your mortgage’s institution can be held against your home, even if you’re up to date with your mortgage payments.
  • Secondly, if you want to switch your mortgage over to a different lender, they may not accept the transfer of your specific collateral mortgage. This means you’ll need to pay additional fees to discharge the mortgage and register a new one.
  • And lastly, collateral mortgages make it more difficult to have flexibility to get a second mortgage, obtain a home equity line of credit from a different institution, or use a different financial instrument on your home. This is because your collateral mortgage is often registered for the whole amount of your property.

To recap, collateral mortgages give you the flexibility to combine multiple mortgage products under one umbrella mortgage product while tying you up with that one lender. While this type of mortgage can be a great tool when used correctly, it does have its drawbacks. If you have any questions, a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional can help.

5 WAYS YOU CAN KILL YOUR MORTGAGE APPROVAL

General Pankaj Joshi 16 May

So, you found your dream home, negotiated a fair price which was accepted. You supplied all the needed documentation to your mortgage broker and you are waiting for the day that you go to the lawyer’s to sign the final paperwork and pick up the keys.

All of a sudden your broker or the lawyer calls to say that there’s a problem. How could this be? Everything has been signed and conditions have been removed. What many home buyers do not realize is that your financing approval is based on the information the lender was provided at the time of the application. If there have been any changes to your financial situation, the lender is within their rights to cancel your mortgage approval. There are 5 things that can make home financing go sideways.

1 Employment – You were working for ABC company as a clerk for 5 years making $50,000 a year and just before home possession you change jobs. The lender will now ask for proof that probation for this new job is waived and new job letters and pay stubs at the very least. If you change industries they will want to see more proof that you are capable of keeping this job.
If your new job involves overtime or bonuses of any kind that vary over time, they will ask for a 2 year average which you will not be able to provide.
Another item that could ruin your chances of getting the mortgage is if you decide to change from an employee to a self-employed contractor just before possession day. Even though you are in the same industry, your employment status has changed . This is a big deal killer.

2. Debt – A week or two before your possession date, the lender will obtain a copy of your credit report and look for any changes to your debt load. Your approval was based on how much you owed on that particular date. Buying a new car or items for the new home need to be postponed until after possession of your new home.
Don’t be fooled by “Do not pay for 12 months” sales campaigns. You now owe this money regardless of when the payments start. Don’t buy a new car and don’t buy furniture for the new home. This will increase your debt ratio and can nullify your financing.

3. Down payment source – And yet again I reiterate that the approval is based on the initial information you have provided. You will be asked at the lawyer’s office to verify the source of the down payment and if it is different than what the lender has approved, then you may be in trouble. For example, you said that you were going to save the funds and then at the last minute Mom and Dad offer you the funds as a gift. There’s no problem accepting the gift if the lender knows about it in advance and has included this in their risk assessment, but it can end a deal.

4. Credit – Don’t forget to make your regular credit card payments. If your credit score falls due to late payments, this can kill your financing. If you have a high ratio mortgage in place which required CMHC insurance, a lower credit score could mean a withdrawal of their insurance once again , killing the deal.

5-Identity Documents – This can be a deal killer at the lawyer’s office. The lawyer is required to verify your identity documents and see that they match the mortgage documents. Many Canadians use their middle names if they have the same name as their parent. Lots of new Canadians adopt a more Canadian sounding name for their day-to-day lives but their passports and other documents show another name.

Be sure to use your legal name when you apply for a mortgage to avoid this catastrophe . Finally, keep in touch with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional right up to possession day. Make this a happy experience rather than a heartbreaking one.

IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT THE RATE: AMORTIZATION & RENEWALS

General Pankaj Joshi 14 May

Have you spoken to a mortgage broker lately? When it’s time to renew your mortgage you have the freedom to do a number of things that are not possible at any other time without a financial penalty. Renewal time is an opportunity.

Have you looked at your mortgage amortization lately? Let’s say that you started your present mortgage 10 years ago and you had a 30-year amortization. You now have 20 years left on your mortgage but your situation has changed. Your children have grown up and one is ready to leave for college and another one will follow in a couple of years. An easy way to help the kids out would be to refinance your home. However, the rules have changed and if the value of your home has not risen a lot and you have not paid down the balance, you may not have the 20+% you need to withdraw the equity.

Another possible solution would be to use the amortization on your mortgage to help you achieve your financial goals.
You can extend the amortization and lower your monthly payments thus freeing up cash flow.

Here’s an example. With a balance of $400,000 on your mortgage:

By adding 5 years to your mortgage you can lower your payments by $320 a month. If that’s not enough and you have more than 20% equity , in other words, your mortgage is less than 80% of the value of the home, you can extend your mortgage to 30 years with most lenders.

This will free up $520 a month. When your children graduate you or your mortgage broker can contact the lender and have your amortization lowered again. Note that changing the amortization can result in costs. Check with me or any of your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker before you make any changes to your mortgage.

WHAT DOES A “RATE HIKE” ACTUALLY MEAN?

General Pankaj Joshi 2 May

TD Bank has increased it’s posted rates and RBC did the same on Monday. This increase, from 5.14% to 5.59% at TD, is the “biggest move in years.” The change came because of the bond yields increasing. We do expect every other lender to follow suit.

But, actual interest rates have not changed… so what exactly is going on?

The banks have specifically increased something called the “posted” rate.

A “posted” rate is used for three purposes:

  • Fools clients into thinking rates are higher than they are by being displayed in the “Rates” section of a bank’s website.
  • A ~5% decrease in affordability for many borrowers. The posted rate is the benchmark rate that lenders use for qualifying a mortgage (a bank’s “stress test”).
  • It is used to calculate the bank’s mortgage penalty.

First, let’s address the clients who renew their mortgages when the banks send out renewal letters…

Did you know that 80% of homeowners renew with their current mortgage lender? Did you also know that the Bank of Canada published a study that says:

“Lenders have improved their ability to price discriminate… offering discount rates to different sets of consumers, based on their willingness to pay.”

Lenders know that at renewal, most clients do not shop around as they did when they obtained their initial mortgage, and are therefore less likely to offer their best rate to current borrowers.

So, this higher rate is for people who don’t know better. Please remember that the banks are not there for your client. A recent CBC article shows that the banks are there to make money first and provide advice second.

Second, for qualification, the lenders go by their “posted rate” to qualify a mortgage. If a client gets a variable at 3%, the lender is required to qualify them at the higher rate of posted/benchmark and 2% above their contract rate (in this case, 3%). However, with lenders increasing their posted rates, the client will have to be approved at 5.59% instead of 5.14%. This will affect home buyers and decrease affordability by about 5%.

Third, banks use the posted rate for their penalty calculations. The higher the posted rate, the higher someone’s potential penalty is when they pay out their mortgage. This increase in the posted rate will increase people’s penalties quite substantially for Bank Interest Rate Differential (IRD) penalties. This is definitely not in the clients’ best interests. A borrower could do much better by going with a variable rate penalty or a monoline IRD penalty.

BONUS: OK, so we now know that the Posted Rates have increased. What we don’t know is why…

The first reason for a lender to increase their rates would be when the bond yields increase. We have seen a slight increase but not that much, and definitely not enough to warrant such a high increase in a bank’s posted rate. Generally, when the bond market changes, the discounted rates will change. Discounted rates are the rates that clients actually see when they get their mortgages.

One sentiment is that TD and RBC are trying to warn people to lock in now so they can make more money and have greater “spreads” between the bond yields and mortgage rates.

If I had a crystal ball, or if I was a portfolio manager, I may have more info for you here… Alas, this is all I can say on this matter. If you have any questions, contact me at 647-968-5874.