7 QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU DECIDE IF YOU SHOULD PURSUE A HELOC, REFINANCE OR SECOND MORTGAGE

General Pankaj Joshi 19 Jun

HELOC, Refinance or Second/Third Mortgages? Which one should you choose to go with? If you have decided to tap into the equity in your home, the three can seem to be interchangeable at times and for many consumers can be a difficult decision on which one to select. We have laid out seven questions to guide you through the decision, for your unique situation. We’ve also broken this down into three categories, Equity, Payment and Availability.

PAYMENT

1. HOW WILL I RECEIVE THE MONEY?
• HELOC: Home Equity Line of Credit-withdraw as needed
• Refinance: Lump Sum
• Private Second/Third Mortgages: Lump Sum

2. WHAT IS THE INTEREST RATE?
• HELOC: Prime Rate + premium 0.5%-1.5%
• Refinance: Best fixed or variable rate (dependent on what you and your broker decide)
• Private Second/Third Mortgages: 6.95%-19.95% typically with lender/broker fees

HOW IS THE INTEREST CALCULATED?
• HELOC: interest accrues on what you withdraw from your home’s equity.
• Refinance: interest accrues on the full loan amount that was taken out.
• Private Second/Third Mortgages: interest accrues on the full loan amount that was taken out.

3. WHAT IS MY PAYMENT?
• HELOC: You pay back the interest only, however, most banks will have a minimum rule so even if your HELOC value is $0 you will still have to pay a nominal fee each month.
• Refinance: You will pay the interest, plus the principle principal loan amount.
• Private Second/Third Mortgages: You can pay interest only payment or pay the interest plus the principle principal loan amount.

EQUITY

4. HOW MUCH EQUITY DO I NEED TO HAVE IN MY HOME IN ORDER TO ACCESS IT?
• HELOC: 20% minimum
• Refinance: 20% minimum
• Private Second/Third Mortgages: 5-10% minimum

5. HOW MUCH EQUITY CAN ACCESS?
• HELOC: You can access up to 80%
• Refinance: 80% of your home’s equity is accessible
o HELOC portion can be up to 65% of your home’s equity
o Mortgage portion must be 15% – as per Bank of Canada guidelines
• Private Second/Third Mortgages: 1st mortgage + 2nd/3rd mortgages up to 95% of home value

AVAILABILITY

6. ARE THERE FEES ASSOCIATED WITH IT?
• HELOC: No fees associated with it
o At times
 Appraisal fees
 Legal fees

• Refinance: Prepayment penalty of Interest Rate Differential or 3 months interest* depends on your current mortgage terms.
o At times
 Appraisal fees
 Legal fees

• Second/Third Mortgage: There are several fees associated with a second mortgage including:
• Appraisal fees
• Legal fees
• Lenders fees
• Broker Fees

***One final note on refinancing: With the new stress-testing you will have to qualify at a higher rate and you will also have to consider that lenders can no longer insure the product… meaning there are many different rates with different lenders.

Once you answer each of these questions and review your options, you can decide which one is best suited for your needs. You can also always call a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker and discuss it. DLC brokers are well versed in each of these options and can direct you towards the best option for your situation. We’ve seen a variety of situations with our clients and have helped each of them reach their goals.

LAST MINUTE CREDIT CHECK

General Pankaj Joshi 6 Jun

As I’ve said many times, one of the single greatest determining factors in whether you can become qualified for a mortgage and the interest rate at which you do, is your credit history. Many people unfortunately don’t know this, and can be completely blind-sided when it comes time to qualifying.

However, the truly unsettling idea about credit scores and their relation to home financing is the fact that most people do not even know they are extremely important even after you have been approved…

Once your offer on a home is accepted and you remove financing conditions, it is your obligation to secure the money needed to close the sale. There are usually a list of conditions one must meet and satisfy in order to obtain the financing they need from a lender. Once that is done, the mortgage will be sent to a real estate lawyer where they will be instructed to finalize everything. This is where all closing costs will be paid and all corresponding money will be sent to the proper parties involved.

However, before any of this is done, one more thing must happen…

Your credit report can be reviewed once again in order to verify your credit history is the same as it was when you were first qualified for a mortgage, sometimes months earlier.

So what happens if you made an offer on a home, got approved for financing, lifted all conditions, and because you also met all the lenders conditions, went out and bought new furniture for your home on a credit card? Well, you may not be able to receive your loan anymore…

If you increase the amount of money you are borrowing through any credit card or bank, miss payments on existing debt, or for any reason alter your credit history from the day you are approved until the final closing day at the lawyer’s office, you run the risk of not being able to complete your purchase.

If you plan on spending any money that isn’t cash and isn’t in a separate account needed for your down payment or closing costs, you need to talk to your broker because it could end horribly for all parties involved and potentially result in legal disputes.

This is the most important purchase and decision you may ever make, why things like this have never been explained in schooling or anything like that is beyond me. That is why it is important to work with an experienced, knowledgeable Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker and make sure you fully understand the process you are about to embark upon.