Building a Real Estate Portfolio

Blog Posts David Cooke 15 Oct

More and more Canadians do not have a defined benefits pension plan. Companies are moving away from this model due to the expense of maintaining enough in the fund to pay out until the employee and survivors die. Those who are self employed also do not have pensions beside the Canadian Pension Plan.
What can you do if you fall into this category? How do you save enough to have a comfortable retirement? The answer is, build up your own investments through a real estate portfolio.

In order to purchase a revenue property you need 20% down payment . This can be a huge sum to save and you could get discouraged as you see property prices rising. There is a legal work around that is an open secret that realtors and other property investors have used for years.

Purchase a starter home with a 5% down payment. While you are living in the property, it is considered as your primary residence and any increase in value is tax free. Start from Day 1 to save for your next home. You may purchase a condo as the prices are usually less than most detached homes in Canadian cities. When you have saved 5% or if your present home has increased enough in value that you have more than 20% in equity you can remove that extra equity with a line of credit or by refinancing your home you can now purchase a larger home. Now you move to House #2 and rent out House #1.

You are now on your way to building a real estate portfolio. If you repeat this every 3 to 5 years in 20 years you’ll have a portfolio of 4 or more rental properties Is this for everyone? No, if you aren’t handy and if you don’t want the expense of hiring a property management company you cold end up spending your free time on maintenance of several homes.

Talk to your financial advisor or accountant first and then meet with your local Dominion Lending Centre mortgage professional. We can provide answers to your real estate financial needs.

Helping families one at a time

Blog Posts David Cooke 12 Sep

Time to renew. Businesses, strategies, plans and goals concept. Text under torn paper

Every once in a while you get to help people out and make a real difference in their lives. Recently a couple was referred to me who wanted to renew their mortgage. The bank that they had been dealing with for over 20 years had offered them a 5 year fixed rate that was more than 1% higher than the going rate.

First I told them to accept the lender’s option for a 6 month open mortgage. While it had an interest rate twice as high as they usually pay, it’s open and we could switch them as soon as everything was done. I have had other lenders who automatically put people into a fixed rate 6 month mortgage if they did not hear back from the clients before the mortgage expired.

I was able to beat this rate without any difficulty, but I was wondering why they were offered such a high rate. On closer examination of their credit reports, I saw that in the three years since they had purchased their home, they had built up their credit card and line of credit debt up over $50,000. As a result, the debt ratios didn’t work with any lenders. Their lender knew this and decided to take advantage of the client and charge them a premium to renew.

What the bank was not counting on was a mortgage broker who doesn’t give up. Over the years, our brokerage has developed relationships with a variety of lenders. One of those lenders, a credit union, arranges RRSP loans for us. They were running a loan special with an interest rate of 4.95% for loans up to $50,000. I sent a copy of our application over to the credit union with my clients’ permission and they were able to consolidate $50,000 of the debt and lower the monthly payments by $500. In addition, they would be paying off all this debt in 5 years. Under the old 19% rate, it would take them 10-plus years to pay their credit cards.

Now I was able to arrange a loan and lower their payments by over $200 a month. As this took time to arrange the consolidation loan and then the mortgage switch approval, rates dropped again by another .10 basis points. I was able to get the mortgage rate lowered again saving the clients another $1080 over 60 months which paid for the higher interest rate they had for 2 months.
Now I have saved my clients $43,000 over the next 5 years. That was a good day. If you want to look at options for lowering your mortgage and credit debts be sure to speak to your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

Rent-To-Own Explained

Blog Posts David Cooke 3 Sep

In some markets, it can take a long time to sell a property. An option available to some sellers is the Rent-to-Own sales method.

If you have someone interested in purchasing your property but they can’t obtain a mortgage either because they don’t have a down payment saved or their credit score is too low, this can be way to purchase a home. Usually the agreements run for 2 – 3 years.

A sales agreement is signed which states what the tenant and future owners are going to pay as rent while they save up a down payment and /or improve their credit score. The agreement has to state how much of their monthly payment is going towards the down payment. They also have to be paying market rents. In addition, the agreement must state that if the deal is cancelled the purchasers will get their down payment funds returned to them.

The reason that this must be stated in the agreement is that the mortgage insurers like Genworth and CMHC stipulate these terms must be in the agreement before they will approve a mortgage.
What are the pros and cons of this type of an agreement? The pros are that the tenants will maintain the property and not abuse it as they want to purchase it. The seller gets steady income while the buyer is saving for the purchase. The con is that as the price is determined in advance – radical changes to the local housing market may mean that the purchaser will get a great deal at the end of the agreement or walk away if the market drops significantly.

If you are considering this option, consult with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional before you sign an agreement. They can determine if it will be valid with the mortgage companies and insurers before you’ve spent a cent.

Raise your credit score in 3 months

Blog Posts David Cooke 20 Aug

Image Source: InvestmentZen

While people often think of mortgage brokers when they are first time home buyers, we can help people in a variety of different ways.

Recently Garrett LaBarre of Calvert Home Mortgages in Calgary shared a success story with brokers. He had a client referred to him by a mortgage broker who had a conundrum. She was paying her credit card balances on time month after month, but couldn’t get them paid down due to the high interest rates. As a result, she had a 567 credit beacon score. Her bank would not refinance her mortgage or offer her a debt consolidation loan. She was stuck.

The solution was to use some of the equity in her home to pay off the credit card debt and lower the payments to a more manageable monthly. Even though her mortgage interest rate was higher than a regular lender, it was a lot lower than a credit card rate and it was amortized over 30 years.

The result was that within three months this client had her credit score jump from 567 to 769!

What an amazing result. Now there’s one more person who knows that mortgage brokers can do things that the banks can’t do.
If you have a challenging story, be sure to contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional for help.

How to Save Money on a Variable Rate Mortgage

Blog Posts David Cooke 1 Aug

A few years ago, I remember seeing a statistic that said that if you took out a variable rate mortgage instead of a fixed rate, you would do better in 95 out of the last 100 years. Often the spread between a 5-year variable rate and a 5-year fixed rate was more than 1% and so you could save thousands over a 60 month term.

More recently, about three years ago, the banks and mortgage companies started shaving the discount rate on these mortgages. While they had been Prime – .70-.80 they were now Prime – .45. That’s quite a change. Earlier this spring, the discount came back and now it’s possible to get into a variable rate mortgage with a discount of Prime – 1.0%!

This isn’t very good news for those people in Prime-45 mortgages. But, there’s something you can do.

Go see your favourite Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional and ask them to calculate the penalty to break your mortgage and get one with the new bigger discounted rate. As you are in a variable rate, this should be 3 months interest. At this discount you should be able to recover that penalty in just a few months.

4 Weird Things Lenders Ask For

Blog Posts David Cooke 25 Jul

A number of times I have had people who wonder why they need to provide so much documentation when it comes to arranging a mortgage. Besides an employment letter, you are usually asked to provide a pay stub and your most recent Notice of Assessment (NOA) to prove income. “Why do they need all 3, doesn’t the employment letter satisfy this condition?” I am often asked. No, is the short answer.

A pay stub shows your current income and shows how much you have made year to date. This will also show overtime or any special allowances you receive such as a northern living allowance. This confirms or sometimes does not agree with your employment letter. The employment letter shows what you are going to make this year and your NOA shows what you made in the past. It also shows that you do not owe taxes to the government. This is important to lenders because they don’t want the government to put a lien on your property ahead of their mortgage claim on title.

Your realtor will provide an offer to purchase and sale agreement, so why do they ask for a MLS listing sheet? While the purchase agreement shows the financial agreement and what is included with the house, the MLS describes the size of the house and lot as well as the amount paid for municipal taxes and the size of each room. This allows the lender to establish whether you have a fair market price for your new home.

Finally, a lender will ask for a 90-day bank statement to show your down payment money. The reason they ask for this is due to Canadian money laundering laws which need to show the source for all funds and that you have been saving the funds over the past 3 months. If you get an inheritance, you will need to show documentation that this is the source of your sudden wealth.
Be sure to contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional before making an offer on a home. He/She can tell you exactly what documents you will need in advance and make the home buying process go much easier.

 

Millionaires and real state

Blog Posts David Cooke 5 Jul

Andrew Carnagie was one of the richest men in America over 100 years ago. Today his wealth would be worth $4.6 billion dollars. He was a shrewd businessman. While he made most of his money in oil and iron, he understood the value and importance of real estate in building wealth.

Leveraging your money is the key. Leveraging is using someone else’s capital to make a larger purchase. Let’s say you have money to buy a house. You have 2 options:
1- You can use your $100,000 cash and buy a home for this amount free and clear.
2- You can use your $100,000 as a 20% down payment and borrow the rest and buy a $500,000 home.

A year later, if house values have gone up by 5%, a very reasonable amount for many Canadian cities and towns, what would you have?
If you took Option 1, you would have made $5,000 or a 5% return on your money. If you took Option 2 you would now have made $25,000 on your house purchase.
If you are like most Canadians, you don’t have $100,000. You can get into a home with only 5% down. Purchase a $300,000 home with a 5% down payment or $15,000. After a year, with property values going up by 5%, your house is now worth $315,000. You have made a 100% return on your money! Now you can see why people invest in real estate as soon as they can.

Are there any downsides to buying a home as an investment? Yes, if the main industry in your town is announcing layoffs, houses on the market could drop in price and wipe out your profit. But let’s face it, by buying a home you are making yourself your landlord. When you pay your mortgage balance down you are paying yourself. It’s like forced savings. You have to pay the mortgage, so you are forced to save for the future. If you were paying rent, you pay a similar amount of money what do you get in the end besides your damage deposit back? Nothing. We are not all going to become millionaires but we can become wealthier. It’s within the grasp of most Canadians to become homeowners.

If you are considering purchasing a home, be sure to speak to your favourite Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional first to discuss what’s best for you.

We can fix your credit problems

Blog Posts David Cooke 3 Jul

Many people do not realize that Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professionals can help you with your credit and get you to a point where you will qualify for a mortgage. We have been doing this for years.

New to Canada or Just Graduated – both of these groups of people have the same problem. They have little or no established credit so lenders are hesitant to lend them hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a home without a track record. Your DLC mortgage professional can get you a Dominion credit card. You should get a $1,500 limit as that’s the magic number with lenders. A car loan or a personal loan would be a good idea as well. Why? Lenders want to see that you can pay off a debt such as a loan and that you can budget for a revolving line of credit such as a credit card where the balance goes up and down monthly.

Previously Bankrupt or in Consumer Proposal – you had credit and something went wrong. Now you need to re-establish credit. We can help you obtain a secured credit card or help you with suggestions on how to re-build your credit. This can’t be done overnight, but if you are patient and work with us, the end result will be improved credit. Did you know that we have lenders who will pay out your consumer proposal as part of a mortgage refinance? It’s not well advertised but we can do it.

Bruised Credit – these are people who have had credit and then something goes wrong, but we can help. Usually it’s a result of a divorce, a long illness or a job loss. You can go see a credit counsellor for help in improving your credit which will cost you about $6-800 for a year of help, or come see us. We have a program set up by one of the credit reporting agencies that tells you exactly what to pay off first and how much to pay to get the maximum improvement in your credit score. This program costs $17 a month. Your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional can get you set up with this .
Instead of being denied a mortgage and told to come back when your credit is better, go directly to your DLC mortgage professional and get help. We’re in the business of helping people.

4 Home Improvements that will pay you back

Blog Posts David Cooke 19 Jun

Some home improvements provide more of a payback when you sell the house down the road.

Here’s a list of the four home improvements which will provide the biggest payback when you sell.

Adding square footage – while this can be a very expensive project, adding to the size of a house can re-coup between 50-83% of your initial investment. Putting a bonus room on top of your front facing garage increases the square footage without having to enlarge the foundation.

A deck addition – adding a deck makes a house feel larger and allows you to enjoy your backyard during the warmer months. Typically you can get between 65-90% of your investment back .

Re-modeling the kitchen – one of the most important rooms in the house is the kitchen. A well done project will get you between 50-120% back when you sell the house but remember not to over-do the project. A million dollar kitchen in a $500,000 home won’t be fully appreciated by future buyers.

A bathroom addition – the second room buyers check out is the bathroom. While re-modeling a bathroom will recoup a lot of the renovation costs adding a second bathroom to a one bathroom home is huge. Many home owners find that they get between 80-130% of the cost of the project.

If you are thinking about buying a home or renovating your present home, speak to your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional about how they can help you to finance any of these projects in your mortgage and pay low interest rates.

5 Reasons to consider buying a condominium apartment or town home

Blog Posts David Cooke 14 Jun

If you are thinking about purchasing a home in the near future, here are some reasons you may consider buying a condo apartment or town home. You should also be aware there are some cons as well.

Pros

  1. They are relatively inexpensive. As your footprint is small and you share exterior walls with others, the cost for a condo is often far lower than owning a single-family dwelling.
  2. No shoveling or painting. Most maintenance costs are covered in your monthly condo fees as are large repairs such as roofing and hallway carpeting.
  3. Amenities. Often condos have a pool or gym which is included in your condo fees.
  4. Security. for seniors and single women this is a big concern. Living in a building which a locked front door in addition to your own unit door is a big plus.
  5.  A sense of community. Often condo boards have an annual picnic or event where you can meet your neighbours. This helps to develop a sense of community.

Cons

  1. Restrictions on pets. How you can paint your front door or what you can do to your balcony can see like restrictions on your lifestyle . Be aware of these restrictions by reading the condo documents in advance.
  2. Maintenance may not be done when you would like for it to be done. Major projects may be delayed if the condo board has not allowed for large expenses and this may result in a large special assessment payment. Be sure to read over the section of your documents that covers the reserve fund.
  3.  Condo fees may go up higher than you can afford over the years. This is a particular concern to owners on fixed incomes.

Be sure to speak to your favourite Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional before you go house hunting to get expert advice on how to proceed.