Your mortgage broker is here to help

Blog Posts David Cooke 31 Aug

For many people in Canada, they are first-time home buyers. Or if they are new to Canada, it’s their first home purchase in a new country. They may not be aware of the rules and guidelines. It’s the job of your mortgage broker to make you aware of what is expected from you to avoid disappointment.

Mortgage Documentation
90-day bank statements – It’s important to make your clients aware that they need 90 days of bank statements to show they have saved the funds needed for the down payment and closing costs. Closing costs vary by province, so it’s important to let out-of-province buyers know exactly what the costs are in their new home. I like to explain that the 90-day statements is meant to prevent money laundering. A few years before this law was enacted, gangs would find an elderly couple and offer them the down payment funds asking only to be allowed to grow a few plants in the basement.

Some people are very private and don’t want you to know how much they spend on lottery tickets. They will blank out everything on the statement except for the down payment funds entering the account. This will not be accepted by lenders and is a big red flag for them.
Another problem that can arise with statements is if the clients print them online. As a security precaution, many banks allow printouts but they remove the name and/or account number from the statements. The easiest thing to do is to have them go into a branch and ask for a printout and have it stamped by a teller.

Employment Letters- Many small employers will give a hand written employment letter. This is acceptable but a letter written on company letterhead is better. The letter should state the name of the employee, their job title when they started with the firm, if they are full or part time and what their gross annual income is. If there’s an overtime or bonus component to their pay, this should be clearly explained and how much of their gross is straight salary.

After the Mortgage is approved
It is important for home buyers to know that while the mortgage has been approved they need to avoid doing anything to change their financial situation before possession day. That means they should not quit their job, buy lots of new furniture or a car. Lenders will often check the credit bureau a few days before possession day to see if there’s been any changes. If the debt ratios are out, the mortgage could go sideways. Taking a few minutes to explain this is prudent but it also shows you care. Dominion Lending Centres mortgage brokers are not big banks, we are people who live in the community and we want to see our clients in homes and living happy lives. It matters to us.

What happens when your credit card account is closed

Blog Posts David Cooke 29 Aug

I have been working in the mortgage industry since 2005. I have had all sorts of clients over the years. Every once in a while I get someone who has a car loan , a couple of credit cards but there’s a collection from a credit card, a dentist or some other creditor. When I ask why this has not been paid, I am told that they had a dispute with this firm and they are not going to be pushed around. The client doesn’t care if the account is sent to collection, they won’t pay it just on principle.

While I admire people who stick to their guns, they are on a slippery slope and things will not work out well for them. Sometimes they think that because the account is closed they don’t have to pay anymore. This is totally wrong.

CREDIT SCORES WILL DROP
As the creditor has reported your late or missing payment, your score goes down with the credit reporting agencies every month until you get to 120 days late or the creditor closes the account. However, they may send your account to a collection agency who will add their fees to the account and threaten or harass you. While you may not owe the money to your original creditor, they have sold the debt to someone else. You still owe your original amount and probably more with interest accruing every month.

Something that most people do not realize is that this refusal to pay an account means that you won’t get a mortgage or any new credit lines until the problem is resolved. The longer you hold out, the more likely that you will need to use a B lender for your next mortgage and car loan. I have seen car loans with 26% interest and mortgage with 16% interest over the years.
My advice is don’t ignore the problem. Get it resolved as soon as possible. I know that you want to stick to your guns but it’s going to end up costing you a lot of money. If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker near you.

Toys and buying a home

Blog Posts David Cooke 23 Aug

In 2005, I was asked to do a pre-approval by a couple hoping to buy a home. I went through the application with them and pre-approved them for $320,000. They were astounded. They told me that their bank told them that they were qualified to a maximum of $260,000. They wanted to know how I could get them more money. I looked at their credit reports and quickly found the answer.

I pointed out to them that they both had $10,000 unsecured lines of credit. They said that the bank had offered this to them several years ago but they had not used them. The zero balances confirmed their story. What they didn’t know was according to the bank’s rules, they had to consider these lines of credit as being fully utilized. The bank considered them as each carrying $300 in monthly payments that did not exist. My lenders took a zero balance as being a zero balance and I was able to get them more money and more house.

Last year I had a young man who wanted to buy a new home. He was very surprised when I told him he couldn’t afford it according to the new stress test rules. The reason being, he had a $950 a month truck payment. The only solutions available were to sell the truck, or negotiate a new payment plan by stretching out the payments for another year.

The moral of the story is that it’s important to let clients know that other debts outside of their mortgage can affect how much house they can qualify for, and that buying a vehicle or new toys like a trailer or boat before going to see their local mortgage broker, can be a costly mistake. Your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker can help you through the whole home buying process but you need to have them involved early in the process. Our job is to make people’s dreams come true and we do it a lot better than the banks.

Mortgage brokers have solutions

Blog Posts David Cooke 20 Aug

A lot of people are getting stressed out by Canada’s new mortgage stress test. In the past, if you had a good sized down payment (ie 20%) someone with a low income could purchase a home even if they did not meet the debt level guidelines for insured mortgages of 32/40 . Later this was changed to 35/44 which made life even easier but – no more.

What is a person with a low income, good credit and a good down payment supposed to do now?

Here’s a solution – get a roommate. If you purchase a home with a friend who is going to share the other bedroom of your condo or take over the basement, the rules do not allow you to include the rent. But there are plenty of homes out in the market with a legal basement suite, a duplex or perhaps a granny suite over the garage. As long as the income portion of your property is zoned for a rental portion, you can claim a portion of the rent as income and qualify for more house.

There are certain minimum guidelines for lenders  – they usually want a separate entrance, kitchen and washroom. They may ask for a separate hot water tank as well. Lenders will credit 50% -85% of the rent towards your annual income. Don’t worry , your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker knows the rules and can guide you through the process.  Calling us can get you into a home faster than you thought possible.

A tailor-made solution for some borrowers

Blog Posts David Cooke 10 Aug

Recently, two of my lenders came out with new products – Interest only mortgages. We have had these available from private lenders for many years but at much higher interest rates. They are useful for real estate investors and people who have consolidated debts and need six months to a year to get back on their feet. These new mortgages are not meant to be short term solutions but they are meant to be used for a minimum of two years and preferably for five years.
So who in their right mind would want a mortgage for five years where the principal doesn’t go down?

1- real estate investors- some investors are looking for cash flow; this is a perfect product for them. They want to keep monthly payments to a minimum so that they ca use the extra cash to buy other properties, or for income to live on. They will eventually sell the properties for a lot more cash when they are ready to retire.

2- Seasonal workers- Lobster fisherman, lumberjacks , oil patch workers and workers in the trades who have to go back to school every year for three years are the people who this product works for. During spring break-up when the oil patch closes for several weeks , the bills don’t stop coming. Working with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker you can design a mortgage to help you through the periods when there’s no income coming in. The best strategy for you may be to step up the mortgage as interest only and then have the broker calculate what a normal amortizing mortgage payment for you would be. During your period of no income, you pay the minimum payments and then when you get back to work, you bump your payment up to normal or even slightly higher to make up for the shortfall.

These interest only mortgages are available with a variable rate, a fixed rate , a variable interest only plus a fixed amortized rate or a combination of any of the above rates. This allows you and your broker to customize mortgage payments to make the best mortgage for your particular situation. It’s like a tailor-made suit. It’s exactly what you need. Contact your local DLC mortgage broker for more information .