Why a Big Down Payment is Better

Blog Posts David Cooke 16 May

First time home buyers look to their families, the media and the Internet for all their information on how to buy a home. As a result, they know that they need 5% of the total home purchase price to buy the home of their dreams. While this is true, there are a few things that family may not tell you or they may not be aware of.

Putting down as much as you can afford is a great idea. We have all heard that mortgage rules are tightening, the economy in Alberta is down and lenders are being a lot more selective in who they give mortgages to. What you may not have heard is that the mortgage insurers – CMHC, Genworth Financial and Canada Guaranty – are also looking at lenders more carefully before approving mortgage default insurance. They are looking closely at employment, credit and how likely you are to stop paying your mortgage. While 5% is the minimum, if you have a few late payments from your college days or a collection from a cellphone company on your credit report, they will think twice about giving you an approval. However, if you put 10% down they will look at your differently. Putting twice the minimum down payment shows commitment. It shows that you have “skin in the game” and are less likely to default on your mortgage. If they are reluctant to approve your mortgage, a higher down payment can sway their decision.

The second advantage of a larger down payment is lower monthly payments. Let’s face it, when you get into a home, your paid off car will eventually need to be replaced and you will now have car payments and repairs chipping away at your monthly income. If you are newly married, child care expenses, baby furniture and starting an RESP will come up. You may be able to afford higher monthly payments, but you will be better off down the road if you have lower payments.

The third advantage is a lower CMHC premium rate. The bigger your down payment, the lower the risk to the mortgage insurer and the rate that they charge you. With 5% down you must pay 3.60% on the mortgage balance. On a home purchase of $350,000 this comes out to a premium of $11,970.

10% down results in a lower premium of $7560 and if you can make a 20% down payment you can avoid mortgage default insurance and pay $0.

Why a Big Down Payment is Better

Finally, the bigger your down payment the smaller your mortgage balance is to start. As a result you will save lots of money over the term of your mortgage.

A 5% down payment will result in a payment over 25 years of $115,381 of interest. 10% down lowers this to $108,042 and 20% down lowers this to $93,786.

In other words, if you can come up with a 20% down payment you will save over $21,000 in interest over the term of your mortgage. This is based on today’s historically low interest rates. I’m sure that sometime over the next 25 years rates will go up to the 5.79% that people were paying 6 years ago and they could go higher.

In conclusion, if you have a chance to put more money down on the purchase of your new home, you should consider it. You can save BIG TIME money by doing so. If you need more advice, contact your local Dominion Lending Centres office.

 

How To Avoid The 7 Biggest Mistakes Refinance Shoppers Make

Blog Posts David Cooke 16 Oct

How To Avoid The 7 Biggest Mistakes Refinance Shoppers MakeWhenever interest rates drop or housing values jump, a refinancing frenzy follows. Whether you are looking to trim your mortgage payments, eliminate credit card debt or renovate, experts say you should fully understand all the options available to you before deciding to refinance. Here are some common pitfalls that consumers can avoid when refinancing:

1. Check interest rates to see if your new rate will pay off the penalty for leaving your present mortgage. It is best to decrease your interest rate by at least .75% to 1%. This would save you $100.00 a month on a $150,000 mortgage.

2. Know what your costs are – Check with your bank to find out what the penalty would be for an early payout.. It may be 3 month’s interest or more.. Don’t tell them you are moving your mortgage or they will pass you on to a high pressure salesperson who will try to talk you into coming into the branch to discuss the issue. It’s easier to say you are thinking about paying out your mortgage early.

3. Be sure to compare apples to apples- Make certain the rate you were quoted over the telephone was for a similar product. Comparing 3 year rates at one lender to 5 year rates at another is like comparing apples to oranges.

4. Overvaluing your Home – pride of ownership sometimes overshadows our common sense. You may expect the value of renovations to be equal to the cost of labour and materials. While return on investment for new carpeting or new paint jobs is close to 100%, it can be as low as 15% for a granite entranceway. Some people use their tax evaluations which may be too high or too low. Consider checking with your realtor or someone who recently sold their home on your street.

5. Not considering future plans – getting locked into a 10 year fixed rate when your kids will be leaving for college in 3-5 years may not be a smart move. If you are planning on buying a vacation home or an investment property why not plan for it now? You might be able to get it sooner than you expect.

6 Don’t let low interest rates or catchy slogans stop you from shopping around. Often the lower rates come with unattractive conditions: they may not be portable to a new home, the interest rate may only be available in one province, or you may be tied to the mortgage unless you have a bonafide sale of the home.

7 Finally don’t go to your present bank first. If you don’t know the rates you won’t get the best rate. The major reason people go to their present lender is convenience. There is comfort in “being known” and a belief that they should receive special treatment. The reality is that all lenders are under pressure trying to process the unprecedented volume of refinances. They have to set priorities. And you would be a low one as they already have your loan. They may lower your present rate from 3.99% to 3.79% to pacify you but if you shopped around you might find that other lenders are offering 3.19% at this time.

In conclusion, be a good consumer. Consult with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional who can review the best options with you. We can help you make an informed decision on your finances.

What IS a Mortgage Broker?

Blog Posts David Cooke 30 Sep

What IS a Mortgage Broker?One thing Canadians have in common is that most of us are paying off a mortgage.

The mortgage market can sometimes be confusing. There are a vast array of choices – open, closed flex down, equity take-out, cash back, and of course the rates themselves. While we would not attempt to try to muddle through the intricacies of insurance or investments without expert help, we will often go it alone when it’s time to get a mortgage.

We will call a variety of banks and other lenders in an attempt to get the best rate. After numerous phone calls you get back to your original lender, and they agree to meet your best rate. Why should you have to spend so much of your time finding the best rate? If you are not quick enough the rate may change before you lock it in.

There is a solution to this problem – use the services of a mortgage broker. 85% of Americans use mortgage brokers today but only 33% of Canadians do; mainly because they do not know what a mortgage broker is and what they do.

What is a mortgage broker? A mortgage broker is an individual who represents a mortgage brokerage firm. The brokerage has access to over two dozen banks, trust companies, insurance companies and other lenders at their fingertips. By dealing with these lenders on a day-to-day basis, we have access to wholesale lending rates which can save you thousands of dollars. It should also be noted that the majority of mortgage brokerages are not owned by the lenders they represent. Brokers work for the borrower, not the lenders. Mortgage software allows us to scan all the lenders for the best rate for the term you are looking for in seconds. In addition we will advise you on the best options for your own personal situation. Newlyweds with no cash can purchase a house with 0% down under certain conditions. Some lenders will even give you 1-5% cash back. Wouldn’t that come in handy for buying curtains and furniture for your new home?

Now this sounds great! Everyone could use an expert to save them money, but how much does it cost? The majority of mortgages are arranged at no cost to the consumer. The lenders pay a finders fee to the brokerage firm for finding and arranging the mortgage. If you have an unusual credit history which involves more work, a set fee would be agreed upon before we start on the application.

Why would you choose to use a mortgage broker instead of your bank?

Lower Interest Rates

Wholesale mortgage rates are discounted an average of 1.20% over what the bank will offer you. A 1% interest discount on a $150,000 mortgage can save you more than $7900 in interest costs over a 5 year term.

Best Mortgage Options

By shopping the lenders’ market we can find you the best options for your particular situation. Banks are limited to the products carried by their institution.

Bank Loan Officers are employees of the bank

Mortgage agents work for you, the borrower.

Fast Service

A mortgage broker can often get your mortgage approved in a day. In addition we can meet you at your home, office, or wherever it is convenient for you.

As you can see, mortgage brokers offer convenience, service and great rates. It’s no wonder more and more Canadians are choosing to call a mortgage broker when it is time to renew their mortgages. As the #1 mortgage brokerage company in Canada, we here at Dominion Lending Centres are ready to help you!