28 Jun

SOURCE OF FUNDS

General

Posted by: Alan J. Nicholas

Over the past several years, investigators have been working on an ongoing investigation relating to criminal money laundering in Canada. Looking at B.C. alone, billions of dollars have been laundered through B.C. casinos by criminal organizations and parked in high end B.C. real estate over the past decade or more.

With government citing limited resources and a lack of funds available to conduct a proper investigation, criminals have been able to manipulate and take advantage of the Canadian and B.C. legal system for years and it is now finally coming to light the impact it has had on our economy, most notably our real estate market.

One of the measures the government implemented several years ago to help crack down on this was sourcing the funds people were using for the down payment on their home purchases. Lenders are required by the federal and provincial government to collect a minimum of 30 days of transaction history for every bank account where money comes from to help complete a purchase on real estate. Most lenders are still requiring 90 days and they are also required, by the government, to source any large deposits above $1,000 that are unrelated to employment income.

If you have e-transfers and transfers between your own accounts within the 90 day period, the lender will require a 90 day history of the account in which funds were deposited from. That means, if you have a savings account reserved just for a down payment, but you put $1,000 a month in there from your chequing account, brought in $5,000 from a TFSA, and put in $3,000 in cash all before you wrote an offer on a home, a lender is going to want to see 90 day history of your savings, your chequing, and your TFSA account as well as an explanation on where the $3,000 cash came from.

Most people find this frustrating and rightfully so, you are handing over personal information over a long period of time. However, due to the extreme affect money laundering has had on our economy, these rules are likely not going anywhere. When preparing your down payment, be prepared that the lender will be required to collect a 90 day history of every account you have where money is coming from to help cover your down payment. This is not because the lender feels like it, this is because the government regulators who review the loans the banks give out need to see that the lender verified the money was legitimate.

Also, with your T4’s and Notice of Assessments usually going into lenders, if you are just starting a new job and were making $20,000 a year while in school and now have $150,000 in savings for your down payment a year out of school, the lender is allowed to ask for a full year history because your income does not justify the savings you have.

Be prepared! Lenders are required to source down payment funds and with more and more news coming out every month on money laundering, the rules may only get more rigid. If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional near you.

By Ryan Oake

27 Jun

WE’RE NOT JUST A MORTGAGE COMPANY

General

Posted by: Alan J. Nicholas

Well, it finally happened. I was meeting with a financial advisor today and they looked at my business card and asked “Why does it say Dominion Lending Centres and not Dominion Mortgage Company?”

I have been waiting 7 years to hear this question. I had an answer all ready for today. I said “that’s because we are not just a mortgage company, we’re a lending company. This provided me with a segue into a conversation about how we do equipment leasing, factoring and cash advances.

I meet plenty of small business owners who are trying to build their business and also buy a home. In one case, the business owner had opened a machine shop. He bought $100,000 or more of equipment. As he did not have a long established business, lenders insisted that he put the loans in his own name. As a result, he had lots of business loans outstanding and was still showing little income. As he had incorporated, we were able to free up his credit by having DLC Leasing purchase the equipment and he leased it back. This provided a good tax break his accountant liked and it freed up his personal credit, which I liked.

Long story short , Dominion Lending Centres is a small/ medium business owners best friend.
We can help you get into a house where other companies see obstacles. If you are in a situation like this, contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional and get some help.

By David Cooke

24 Jun

HOW TO GET A 5% DOWN PAYMENT FOR A $500,000 PURCHASE

General

Posted by: Alan J. Nicholas

We have seen a return of the buyers’ market and many people are asking, how long will this last? While some renters without a down payment might be asking, how can o put a plan in place to own?

With the cost of living so high, and student debts coming out of school, many consumers question how they’re going to come up with a down payment for a home.

Here are some ways you can get it done.

Decide how much you can save and pick a plan that works for you: a) A 36-month plan saving $700/month will get you $25,200 (you will need about $2,000 for closing costs if you qualify as a first-time homebuyer) b) A 24-month plan savings $600/month for $14,400
Get a gift from a family member
Borrow the down payment, or a portion (which may also help with credit building)
A combination of all of the above
For those of you that want to partner with government for down payment and profit of home ownership, a new government program can be a helpful tool provided it stays past the October election. https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/nhs/shared-equity-mortgage-provider-fund

You might me reading this and thinking, ‘yeah right, that is not reality.’ Or for some people, you know it might just be exactly what will help them move forward.

Perhaps you have graduated from school and your parents don’t charge you rent. Imagine if you could put one of your paycheques every month aside and try living within those means and budgeting accordingly.

Or say you have a partner and one of you just started work in a specific trade and the other’s paycheque went towards the “home purchase plan.”

Also, if you are within the qualifications to buy, you will be earning a combined household income of $125,000-plus per year, so taking those funds right from your paycheque into your RRSP will have additional tax benefits too where you can use the refund for closing costs or amp up your down payment.

Here’s an example of how this worked for a lab technician and chef with a two-year old daughter.

They did a combination plan as they moved up to Canada from the U.S. two years ago, both got stable jobs and had no outside debt. They were paying $1700 a month rent. They used a $10,000 line of credit they took to put into investment to help establish Canadian credit. After getting the line of credit and placing it into a safe investment, they:

Set up an RRSP and placed $600 a month on the loan and $700 a month into their RRSP.
Now this family is used to having a cash outlay of $3,000 per month which will be the actual expectation they have for when they buy a home.
With this plan, they take a mortgage for a test drive, save money on taxes, establish a great credit score and worked away toward their goal.
Are there holes in the plan? Yes, home prices may go up, there was interest on the loan they paid and they may have to adjust or modify their plan. Their employment can change, however, this practice will only benefit them no matter what life brings their way and there is a sense of empowerment when you have a plan and can see how you can get there.

Do you or someone you care about want to know how they can be set up with a multifaceted plan to help them move forward with a goal of owning a home?

By Angela Calla

20 Jun

3 “RULES OF LENDING” – WHAT BANKS LOOK AT WHEN YOU APPLY FOR A MORTGAGE

General

Posted by: Alan J. Nicholas

Buying a home is usually the biggest purchase most people make and there are a lot of factors to consider. Our job is to provide you with a much information (as you can handle!!) so you make the best decision based your particular situation.

The 3 “rules of lending” focus on determining the maximum size of mortgage that can be supported by your provable (what you paid taxes on) income.

You need to consider two affordability ratios:

Rule #1 – GROSS DEBT SERVICE (GDS) Your monthly housing costs are generally not supposed to exceed 36-39% of your gross monthly income. Housing costs include – your monthly mortgage payment, property taxes and heating. If you are buying a condo/townhouse, the GDS will also include ½ of your strata fees. The total of these monthly payments divided by your “provable” gross monthly income will give you your Gross Debt Service.
Mortgage payments + Property taxes + Heating Costs + 50% of condo fees / Annual Income

Rule #2 – TOTAL DEBT SERVICE (TDS) Your entire monthly debt payments should not exceed 42-44% of your gross monthly income This includes your housing costs (GDS above) PLUS all other monthly payments (car payments, credit cards, Line of Credit, additional financing, etc.). The total of all your monthly debts divided by your “provable” gross monthly income will give you your Total Debt Service.
Housing expenses (see GDS) + Credit card interest + Car payments + Loan expenses / Annual Income

What about the other 56% of your income?? This is considered to be used up by ‘normal’ monthly expenses including: taxes, food, medical, transportation, entertainment etc.)

Rule #3 – CREDIT RATING Everyone who will be on title to the property will need to have their credit run. Your credit bureau is important because it shows the lenders how well (or not) you have handled credit in the past. This gives them an indication of how you will handle credit in the future, and will you be a good risk and make your mortgage payments as promised. If you handle credit well, you will have a high Credit Score and get the best interest rates from the banks/lenders. If you have not handled credit well, and have a poor credit score, you will either be charged a higher interest rate or your application will be declined.

If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional near you.

By Kelly Hudson

11 Jun

DEBT: TO CONSOLIDATE OR NOT TO CONSOLIDATE? THAT IS THE QUESTION

General

Posted by: Alan J. Nicholas

If you are a Canadian living in debt, you are not alone. According to Statistics Canada, household debt grew faster than income last year, with Canadians owing $1.79 for every dollar of household disposable income to debt(1).

• Canadian households use almost 15% of income for debt re-payment(1).
• 7.3% of this re-payment goes towards interest charges (1)
• Interest charges are at their highest level in 9 years(1).
• The cost of living is projected to increase in 2020 (2)

So how can one ever get out of debt? Debt consolidation.

What is debt consolidation?
Debt consolidation means paying off smaller loans with a larger loan at a lower interest rate. For example, a credit card bill debt with interest of 19.99% can be paid off by a 5-year Reverse Mortgage with an interest rate of 5.74%* from HomeEquity Bank. (*rate as of May 2, 2019. For current rates, please contact your DLC Mortgage Broker).

A lot of confusion surrounds debt consolidation; many of us just don’t know enough about it. Consider the two sides:

The pros
• The lower the interest rate, the sooner you get out of debt. A lower monthly interest allows you to pay more towards your actual loan, getting you debt-free faster.
• You only have to make one monthly debt payment. This is more manageable than keeping track of multiple debt payments with different interest rates.
• Your credit score remains untarnished because your higher interest loans, such as a credit card, are paid off.

The cons
• Consolidating your debt doesn’t give you the green light to continue spending.
Consolidating helps you get out of debt; continuing to spend as you did before puts you even further into debt.
• A larger loan with a financial institution will require prompt payments. If you were struggling to pay your debts before, you may be still be challenged with payments. A CHIP Reverse Mortgage may be a better option; it doesn’t require any payments until you decide to move or sell your home.
• You may require a co-signer who will have to pay the loan, if you’re unable. Note that a Reverse Mortgage does not require a co-signer, as long as you qualify for it and are on the property title.

So how do you know if debt consolidation is the option for you? Start by contacting your mortgage broker and asking if the CHIP Reverse Mortgage could be the right solution for you.

10 Jun

CREDIT CARDS FOR THE CREDIT CHALLENGED

General

Posted by: Alan J. Nicholas

If you want to buy a home and don’t have a bucket load of cash – you are going to need a mortgage.

In order to get a mortgage, you are going to need credit…

When you get a mortgage, banks lend you “their” money and secure the loan against the property you are buying.  Therefore they want to know how you’ve handled credit in the past.

  • Bad credit = high interest rates
  • Really bad credit = NO mortgage

If you have bad credit, you need to improve your credit to get a mortgage/better interest rates.

When you have had credit challenges – you are going to be limited with the number of credit card companies willing to offer you credit.

In order to buy something on credit, most lenders follow the Rule of 2:

  • 2 lines of credit (credit card, line of credit, loan etc.)
  • Minimum credit limit $2000
  • 2+ years (24+ months) history

One of the quickest ways to rebuild your credit is to get 2 credit cards.

Since you’ve had credit blemishes in the past, many credit card companies aren’t interested in giving you more credit.

  • If you have had any files that have gone to collections, you MUST pay those off ASAP.

One way to get a credit card for the credit challenged, is to get a secured credit card.

 

DEFINITION of Secured Credit Card

  • A secured credit card is a credit card that requires a security deposit. Secured credit cards are generally for individuals whose credit is damaged or who have no credit history at all.
  • A secured credit card works just like a traditional credit card. A secured credit card can help you establish or rebuild your credit.
  • The security deposit will depend on your previous credit history and the amount deposited in the account.
  • Security deposits for secured credit cards tend to range between 50% and 100%.
  • The security deposit cannot be used to pay off the balance on the credit card.
  • Typically, secured credit card companies will increase the limit on your card once you have proved you are a good credit risk. This takes time. With continued good credit history over a few years, they will refund your security deposit and issue you a regular credit card.

Five Tips for Wisely Using a Secured Credit Card

  1. Use for small purchases you can pay off each month.

The point of using a secured credit card is to show your ability to responsibly charge and then pay off your balance.  To do this, make a few purchases each month and pay your bill in full.  By NOT carrying a balance you avoid paying interest & build your credit.

  1. Pay on time, and more than the minimum payment.

To get a healthy credit score – it is essential that you pay on time.  Ideally you want to pay off your balance in full.  If you can’t pay the full amount, pay down as much as you can, so you are reducing your credit utilization (the amount you owe compared to your credit limit).

  1. Make Multiple Payments every month.

Making more than one monthly payment can help keep your balance low.  A large balance reduces your overall credit which can negatively affect your credit score.  If you make a large purchase, pay it off quickly to keep your credit utilization low.

  1. Set Payment Alerts.

Even the most organized person misses a payment now and then… That’s OK for people with good credit… if you have credit blemishes you’ve lost your “get out of jail free” privilege.  One missed payment is one time too many!  Set up payment reminders 1 week before your payment is due.

  1. Enroll in Autopay.

If you are concerned about making your payments on time?  The easiest plan is to enroll in autopay, which allows your credit issuer to automatically deduct the monthly balance form your bank account, so you don’t have to keep track of bills. This assumes you have the money in the account to pay off the credit card.

Please note: Prepaid Credit Cards do NOT help you build credit.  You’ve prepaid the amount on the card, so no one is actually offering you any credit.

If you have any questions, contact me for clarity.

7 Jun

5 THINGS NOT TO DO BEFORE CLOSING ON YOUR NEW HOME

General

Posted by: Alan J. Nicholas

1. Change your job. You were qualified for your mortgage financing based on your income, years at the job and the understanding that you were there for a while. Changing jobs should be put off until after possession day.
2 – Changing your name. Make sure that your identification and your name match. Do not change from John Smith to J. Michael Smith during this critical time.
3- Make any large purchases. Put off buying new furniture for your future home or a new car. The debt ratios were calculated based on your present debt obligations. It can also be bad to pay off any existing accounts. Some lenders want you to have some cash in the bank for a rainy day. They may have given you an approval with this in mind.

4- Switch banks or move money to a different institution. This may not sound like much but a paper trail to show your down payment source and the automatic withdrawal forms for your mortgage payments are all set up. You can change them after the house sale closes.
5 – Don’t miss any payments on credit cards or loans you already have. Lenders often pull another credit report a few days before closing. If you’ve missed a payment on your Visa card, it could mess up your home purchase big time.
Finally, check with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional if you are unclear about anything between the time when you receive your approval and possession day.

5 Jun

PRE-APPROVALS & PRE-QUALIFICATIONS

General

Posted by: Alan J. Nicholas

Throughout the mortgage and home buying process, there are many steps and many checkpoints a buyer will need to complete before they can move on to the next one. A buyer will not be able to close on a purchase if they do not have a lawyer. Financing conditions need to be lifted after confirmation from a mortgage broker that a file is broker complete. A buyer should never write an offer on a home until they have a realtor working for them. Most importantly, a buyer should never be looking at property they are considering buying until they have been pre-qualified and pre-approved.

Now, one thing we need to make clear- pre-qualified and pre-approved are two different things. Pre-qualified is when someone completes a mortgage application with a mortgage broker or a bank representative and is told how much they can afford. Pre-approved is when someone has written confirmation from a lender stating they are willing to lend based on what is stated in an application and the applicant’s current credit history.

The difference?

Pre-qualifications are based solely on the knowledge and experience (sometimes even opinion) of a broker or bank rep. A pre-approval on the other hand is backed by the lender actually willing to give you the money. When someone says they are pre-qualified, that means they have taken an application with a mortgage broker or bank and in broker or bank rep’s opinion, they can afford “x” amount on a home. A pre-approval is a written letter from a lender stating based on applicants current credit history, declared income on application and current assets, we will lend “x” amount pending confirmation everything stated in the application is verifiable and the property meets all lender requirements.

As you can probably tell, one can be more reliable than the other, especially if you are working with a mortgage broker or bank rep that is inexperienced in the industry. Pre-approvals also usually come with a rate hold. What a rate hold does is guarantee you the interest rates that lender is offering today for a certain amount of time (usually 120 days), and if you put an offer on a place within that time period, they will give you that previous rate even if they went up. If rates go down, they will allow you to access the lower interest rate as well.

You must always get yourself pre-qualified before you begin looking at homes so you know what you can afford. Once you have and you are actively looking, it is very important you try and get a pre-approval before you write an offer. It will give you that extra confirmation your application is acceptable, and protect you against interest rate increases while you look.

If you require a pre-qualification, pre-approval, or want to speak with someone about your current situation, please give me a call.