19 Mar

Today’s Underwhelming Budget

General

Posted by: Angela Calla

While many in the industry thought we might see increases to amortization or relief from the previously imposed stress test, none of those were taken into consideration in today’s underwhelming federal budget.

The announcements we saw in relation to home purchasers were:
RRSP’s
1. An increase to the amount accessible from RRSP’s from $25,000 (where it’s been for nearly a decade) to $35,000.
2. Easier access if a borrower has been through family crisis (looking forward to seeing more details on this).
Partnership program
1. Up to 10 per cent for Canadians earning less than $120,000 from CMHC for brand new construction (this is based on new home construction declining over the next 2 years)
2. 5% for resale homes
Example: If a first-time buyer wants to buy a home that costs $400,000, they’d have to come up with a $20,000 down payment, under both the new rules and the old ones.

Normally, they’d have to take out a loan for $380,000 to cover the rest of the purchase price — but under the new program (if it’s a newly constructed home), CMHC could kick in $40,000 toward the purchase price, in exchange for a 10 per cent stake in the home. That brings the buyer’s mortgage down to just $340,000 for the home, instead of $380,000. On a standard mortgage at 3.5 per cent interest, that translates into a monthly mortgage payment more than $200 lower than it would have been for the 25-year life of the loan. More clarity to come out in the fall, as no details were provided related to repayment terms and how the registration of the loan would take place. This area of the budget is far from clear.

Items to note:
• Provincially, B.C. had a similar program that had ended once the NDP were elected.
• In order to use the RRSPs, you still have to save it! Hard to do when most Canadians are feeling the burden of increased costs of living.
• RRSP’s still have to be paid back within 15 years

Here is an article further to today’s Budget
If you have any questions- We’re here to help.

Angela Calla is a 15 year award-winning woman of influence mortgage expert. Alongside her team, passionately assisting mortgage holders get the best mortgage, and educating them on The Mortgage Show on CKNW for over a decade and through her best-selling book The Mortgage Code available on Amazon. To purchase the book click here: The Mortgage Code. Proceeds from a sales will help build a new emergency room at Eagle Ridge Hospital. Angela can be reached at callateam@dominionlending.ca or 604-802-3983.

6 Mar

ZERO DOWN PAYMENT MORTGAGE–DOES IT EXIST?

General

Posted by: Angela Calla

Did you know that you can buy a home with ZERO down payment?? If a home purchase is your goal this year but you aren’t able to save up enough of a down payment, you may qualify for a low or zero down payment mortgage. One of our Lenders is offering a great zero down program.

What is a Flex-Down Mortgage?
A Flex-Down Mortgage is a mortgage product that has a flexible down payment amount. There is still a down-payment required, but it will vary based on the property value.

-For a property valued under than or equal to $500,000, 5% down payment is required (sources available below)
-For a property valued at greater than $500,000 and less than $1 million –5% down payment is required up to $500,000 with an additional 10% down payment on the portion of the home value above $500,000.

Flex-down mortgages can only be on first mortgages, not second or third or used in refinance situations. As noted above, the total property value has to be less than $1 million. This type of mortgage will also have insurance included with it—the premium will be lesser of the premium as a % of the total new loan amount or the premium as a % of the top-up portion additional loan based on the rates at that time.

Those that choose to go with this type of mortgage product will have to meet requirements, just like any other mortgage. There are a few specifications with this product:

-You must show that you have standard income and employment verification papers
-A credit score of 650 or higher is highly recommended
-You must have no previous bankruptcies
-Some lenders may still require you to have some of the down payment from your own resources

Those considering this type of mortgage are recommended to have very little debt and be able to accommodate the additional cost of higher mortgage insurance (due to the higher risk to the lender on this type of mortgage). Typically, the insurance premium would be 0.2% higher on a flex down mortgage.

How it Works
You can borrow your 5% payment from a Line of Credit or even a credit card. This can then be used for your down payment. You have to disclose this to the Insurer and it will be on the application that goes to the Lender.

This is perfect for someone just getting into a new high paying job or for someone who is renting and can afford higher monthly payments but would take forever to save up the 5% down payment. This type of mortgage product can be an excellent option if you don’t quite have enough for the down payment. Are you interested in learning more about this mortgage product? Contact The Angela Calla Mortgage Team to show you how a Flex mortgage can make the home of your dreams happen sooner than you think!

-Geoff Lee

Angela Calla is a 15 year award-winning woman of influence mortgage expert. Alongside her team, passionately assisting mortgage holders get the best mortgage, and educating them on The Mortgage Show on CKNW for over a decade and through her best-selling book The Mortgage Code available on Amazon. To purchase the book click here: The Mortgage Code. Proceeds from a sales will help build a new emergency room at Eagle Ridge Hospital. Angela can be reached at callateam@dominionlending.ca or 604-802-3983.

5 Mar

Insurance products when you own a home

General

Posted by: Angela Calla

When it comes to your home, big or small, be prepared to be bombarded by a number of insurance products to keep you protected. While it can seem overwhelming, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the basics of some of the insurance you will either need to have, or choose as an optional.

Title Insurance: Title insurance is an insurance policy that protects residential or commercial property owners and their lenders against losses related to the property’s title or ownership. It is not a requirement in many parts of Canada, but don’t dismiss it outright.

Title Insurance can protect you from existing liens on the property’s title, but it’s most common use is protection against title fraud. Title fraud typically involves someone using stolen personal information, or forged documents to transfer your home’s title to him/herself, without your knowledge. The fraudster then gets a mortgage on your home and disappears with the money. Title Insurance is a one-time fee or premium with the cost based on the value of your property. You can purchase title insurance through your lawyer or title insurance company like First Canadian Title Company.

Mortgage Protection Insurance: Just before you sign off on your mortgage, your broker is required to tell you about mortgage protection insurance. While this insurance is also optional, don’t dismiss it outright. Almost every broker has a story of someone who passed on the extra coverage and tragedy hit. The majority of people skip over getting mortgage insurance for two reasons: they don’t want to spend the money, or they already have some type of life insurance policy through work.

But if you have spouse and kids, you need to think about whether they can carry on with the mortgage payment. If they can’t they’ll be forced to sell. For a few dollars a month extra, it may not be a bad idea.

There are also a number of different policies that could work for your budget. Manulife’s Mortgage Protection Plan offers you immediate insurance and can be canceled at any given time.

While you think you may be covered through your work, you need to take a closer look at the policy.

Mortgage insurance is a debt replacement while life insurance is an income replacement. You need to understand the difference. You also need to see just how much you’re going to get through your life insurance policy. Unless you’re a police office or firefighter, you may end up being surprised just how little you end up with at the end of the day.

Property/fire insurance: Before you close on your home, your lender is going to require you have home insurance. While there are different types of coverage, home insurance generally covers you from damage to the home that is accidental or unexpected like a fire. It can also cover the contents of the home depending on your insurance package. If you’re buying a condo or a strata, you’re also going to need similar condo insurance that covers you for your unit.

Consider this: Just because you have home insurance doesn’t mean you’re covered in the event of a flood or earthquake. Depending on where you live, you may need to purchase additional coverage to be protected from a natural disaster. It’s best to talk to your insurance provider to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need.

Angela Calla is a 15 year award-winning woman of influence mortgage expert. Alongside her team, passionately assisting mortgage holders get the best mortgage, and educating them on The Mortgage Show on CKNW for over a decade and through her best-selling book The Mortgage Code available on Amazon. To purchase the book click here: The Mortgage Code. Proceeds from a sales will help build a new emergency room at Eagle Ridge Hospital. Angela can be reached at callateam@dominionlending.ca or 604-802-3983.

5 Mar

Going through a divorce doesn’t mean you have to split from your home

General

Posted by: Angela Calla

When we tie the knot with our soulmate, we assume it’s going to be forever. It’s pretty much written in the vows. Unfortunately not all marriages have fairytale endings. In fact, a very significant amount of marriages in Canada end in divorce. The most recent data suggests 38 per cent of all marriages in Canada don’t last until death. The average marriage lasts 14 years, with 42 per cent of divorces occurring in marriages lasting between 10 and 24 years.

The reasons for the divorce rate are many and complicated and not really necessary to discuss here.

What we do know is, divorces can get ugly and be costly for both individuals involved. And if the marriage is years old, there’s likely a home or property that gets caught in the middle.

A typical divorce scenario sees that when the couple breaks up, the matrimonial home is sold and what’s left over is split. In almost all cases, even when one party wants to keep the home, the lawyers, the banks and the professionals always suggest selling the home. It makes sense, since most couples get a mortgage they can afford together, not on their own. But if the home is full of memories, or children are involved, it can be an extremely painful situation.

There is a unique alternative very few professionals even know exists.

All three of Canada’s mortgage insurance providers, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Genworth Financial and Canada Guaranty, offer what’s called a spousal buyout program.

This program allows one party to refinance the matrimonial home up to 95 per cent of its appraised value, and pay out any debts related to the marriage.

Traditionally, you can only refinance on an existing mortgage up to 80 per cent of the appraised value.

The program is considered a purchase, so all the requirements and qualifications needed in a traditional mortgage still apply. In this case, you’ll also need a purchase agreement and a separation agreement with all the debts and payments spelled out.

The spousal buyout program is a one-time opportunity. It can be used to pay off other debts outside the separation agreement, but it depends on which one of the three insurers you use.

Even with a helpful loan-to-value ratio, some people still can’t afford to take on the home on their own. The program also allows people to bring on a cosigner, often a new partner or family member.

At the end of the day, divorce is unfortunate. The programs allows you to keep your home and your kids can stay where they’ve grown up. And that makes the situation at least somewhat more bearable.

If you do find yourself in a divorce and you’re not sure what to do about your home, contact The Angela Calla Mortgage Team before making any decisions. We can help you!

The best mortgage plan is one that is developed by assessing your goals and life stage. The Angela Calla Mortgage Team will help you personally. Call us at 604-802-3983 or email callateam@dominionlending.ca.

5 Mar

Welcome Back, Buyer’s Market!

General

Posted by: Angela Calla

Homebuyers are starting to see relief and the pendulum swing their way for the first time in years.

It’s no surprise, as we’ve have had a collision of circumstances that have both slowed the local real estate market and dropped prices down as much as 30 per cent.

We have the stress test forcing borrowers to qualify at two per cent higher, a speculation tax in B.C. and raised interest rates from record lows.

We had a seller’s market with less than four months of supply on the market, then four to six months of a balanced market and now a buyer’s market, where we have over nine months of product on the market.

With all of the supply available, sellers are having to set their price below the last sale if they are serious about selling.

Buyers are winning now, but for how long?

On March 19, we will see if there will be any changes in the federal budget. There have been rumours of a modification to the stress test by a percentage point and perhaps a 30-year mortgage option back for insured mortgages. Now with spring here and bank profits down from the normal increases due to less lending, we’ve seen a decrease in both the fixed and variable rates.

Watch the numbers once the housing supply drops to four months, and remember every neighbourhood is different.

If you have any questions, I’m here to help you and the people you care most about.

Angela Calla is a 15 year award-winning woman of influence mortgage expert. Alongside her team, passionately assisting mortgage holders get the best mortgage, and educating them on The Mortgage Show on CKNW for over a decade and through her best-selling book The Mortgage Code available on Amazon. To purchase the book click here: The Mortgage Code. Proceeds from a sales will help build a new emergency room at Eagle Ridge Hospital. Angela can be reached at callateam@dominionlending.ca or 604-802-3983.

26 Feb

The Mortgage Code is now on Audible!

General

Posted by: Angela Calla


I just wanted to provide an update on a special project that’s been an exciting journey for me.

Last fall, my first book The Mortgage Code became a best seller on Amazon in four categories, both in Canada and the U.S.

An audible version of The Mortgage Code is available today. It’s an easy way to get all the information you need from my bestselling book.

As a mortgage professional for 15 years, I’ve helped bring clarity to Canadians seeking a mortgage, and The Mortgage Code will do the same.

In a fluctuating and uncertain market, it’s the perfect time for a book like this to help homebuyers understand the mortgage process, save money and make the right mortgage decisions.

While being a consumer advocate has been a passion of mine since the beginning, so has giving back to the community in which I live. That’s what makes The Mortgage Code such an exciting project. All proceeds from the sale of the book this year will go to the Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation. The EHRF does amazing work raising funds for much needed equipment for Eagle Ridge Hospital in Port Moody. I’m proud to partner with such an amazing organization.

If you’d like to chat more about The Mortgage Code please feel free to contact me anytime.

In Canada, click The Mortgage Code to download today!
In the U.S., click The Mortgage Code to download today!

11 Feb

How a 30-year amortization would affect mortgage payments

General

Posted by: Angela Calla

The federal government is looking to make home-buying more affordable for millennials – and one potential solution would have a noticeable impact on mortgage payments.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said in January there are “multiple things we’re looking at in order to think about how we can help in that regard,” referring to home-affordability issues for young Canadians. He did not float any concrete policy options.

However, The Globe and Mail’s Bill Curry reported on Wednesday that Ottawa appears to be considering a move that would allow first-time home buyers to obtain 30-year insured mortgages, up from the current 25-year limit. The Canadian Home Builders’ Association has discussed policy changes in recent meetings with officials in the Prime Minister’s Office and Mr. Morneau’s office.

Read more here: The Globe and Mail

Angela Calla is a 15 year award-winning woman of influence mortgage expert. Alongside her team, passionately assisting mortgage holders get the best mortgage, and educating them on The Mortgage Show on CKNW for over a decade and through her best-selling book The Mortgage Code available on Amazon. To purchase the book click here: The Mortgage Code. Proceeds from a sales will help build a new emergency room at Eagle Ridge Hospital. Angela can be reached at callateam@dominionlending.ca or 604-802-3983.

7 Feb

WHAT QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN CONSIDERING A REFINANCE

General

Posted by: Angela Calla

Many of my clients and friends regularly ask me when or if they should consider a refinance. Here are 4 quick questions that I ask of them. The answer they give me, will very quickly tell me if we should be taking a deeper look at the mortgage refinance options available to them.

What do you believe the current value of your home is and what is the outstanding balance on your mortgage?
Have you ever heard your mortgage broker or banker talk about “loan to value”(LTV)? They are looking to determine what your outstanding balance of your mortgage is as a percentage of your property value. The reason we look at your LTV is because there are limits in Canada with respect to how large your mortgage can be based on the current value of your home. This gives your mortgage broker insight into how much equity or money you have access in the event that you were to refinance your mortgage.

What is the maturity date of your mortgage and your current rate/term length?
Understanding who your current lender is, what your maturity date is, and what your rate/term details are, will help your mortgage broker determine what type of penalty you might have for breaking your current mortgage contract. Knowing your rate will also give them the details they require to calculate the interest savings that you would receive from a refinance. When looking to refinance, your mortgage broker should be factoring these potential costs and overall interest savings into their overall benefits analysis when trying to determine if refinancing is the right option for you.

How is your household monthly cash flow impacting your short and long term financial goals?
Budget, budget, budget… this is one of those tools that we all know we should do, but it often gets very little of our attention each month. By understanding how much net income you have coming in each month and where that cash is going (cash flow) we can look at how a restructured mortgage could help. If you are finding that all of your money is disappearing each month and you’re having trouble getting by, a new mortgage can help restructure your monthly debt payments giving you some added breathing room. It is important to note that sometimes it is not about debt payments and it can be about high household expenses. Taking the time to assess your spending and cutting it back if necessary, might be enough to get you back on track. Check out our blog post on basic budgeting tips and tricks.

Looking at your outstanding debt, what are the current interest rates that you are paying and are you only making the minimum payments each month?
A quick snap shot of your current debt load, respective interest rates and monthly payments can give us some insight into how a refinance can save you interest. By understanding what your financial picture looks like and the amount of interest that you are currently paying to service that current debt, we can very quickly estimate how much interest you could save with a refinance. If you take a number of those high interest rate credit cards and roll them into a new, low interest rate mortgage, the savings can very quickly become quite substantial.

In closing, a refinance is a financial tool that can make a significant difference in your current financial picture. If you have reviewed the questions above and would like to take a closer look at your situation, there is never a better time than the present to make a change that will have a positive impact on your future.

Take the time to have a conversation with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker who can give you some insight into how a new mortgage could help you with a brighter financial future.

-Nathan Lawrence

Angela Calla is a 14 year award-winning woman of influence mortgage expert. Alongside her team, passionately assisting mortgage holders get the best mortgage, and educating them on The Mortgage Show on CKNW for over a decade and through her best-selling book The Mortgage Code available on Amazon. To purchase the book click here: The Mortgage Code. Proceeds from a sales will help build a new emergency room at Eagle Ridge Hospital. Angela can be reached at callateam@dominionlending.ca or 604-802-3983.

7 Feb

Mortgage and Tax Time

General

Posted by: Angela Calla

When you’re preparing your taxes, you’ll want to have your mortgage statement ready. Here is what you need to know.

1. Lenders send statements out by Feb. 28 at the latest – if you haven’t received it by the first week of March, contact your mortgage provider (asking for it earlier may result in an admin fee added to the mortgage as lenders are busy with preparing their year end statements). Also signing up online may also provide details required.
2. Review the following on the statement:
Property taxes/ life and disability insurance – payment amount and balance on available pre-payments – while the insurance policies are bundled, often there can be errors and not end up the responsibility of the provider.
3. Bring this statement when you do your taxes – there may be available write-offs or grants available to you. If you use part of your home as an office or if any of your borrowing was for investment or renovations for seniors, energy efficiency, etc.
4. Keep your mortgage statement, year-end pay stub and T4 together in an e-file once you get your tax documents back, with the T1 General (full) and Notice of assessment. If you require any borrowing, or there is a better mortgage strategy available in the upcoming year, it’s standard practice to be asked for all of those documents.
5. A very popular strategy is borrowing for RRSP top up – before you do this, check if you qualify under the new stress test for the mortgage you have or if you are hoping to move up the property ladder. The biggest mistake mortgage holders make is not taking into account that every $500 in debt – even for investment takes away up to $100,000 in mortgage amount qualification. So, a little planning can ensure you reach your goals for the upcoming year and optimize your options.

Angela Calla is a 14 year award-winning woman of influence mortgage expert. Alongside her team, passionately assisting mortgage holders get the best mortgage, and educating them on The Mortgage Show on CKNW for over a decade and through her best-selling book The Mortgage Code available on Amazon. To purchase the book click here: The Mortgage Code. Proceeds from a sales will help build a new emergency room at Eagle Ridge Hospital. Angela can be reached at callateam@dominionlending.ca or 604-802-3983.

21 Jan

7 THINGS EVERY SELF-EMPLOYED INDIVIDUAL SHOULD KNOW — BEFORE YOU APPLY FOR A MORTGAGE

General

Posted by: Angela Calla

Self-employed individuals are quickly becoming one of the most common clients that we handle. Daily we have successful business owners come into our offices who enjoy the perks of being an entrepreneur. One of these includes fantastic write-offs that allow them to bring their income down to a low tax bracket.

However, this benefit can also mean that the same business owner may have a hard time qualifying for a mortgage all because their income is significantly reduced on paper… how frustrating ‘eh? But these savvy business owners know that there is advanced planning that is involved in being able to qualify for conventional financing. Back in 2015, Statistics Canada reported that there were about 2.7 million people self-employed in Canada… which is an astounding 14% of the total population of Canada! What does that stat mean? Two things:

1. That being self-employed is a more than viable way of earning income in today’s world.
2. That 14% may not fit into the conventional lending “box”

The Conventional Lending Box
To fit into this box, self-employed individuals must meet certain qualifications. For example, they must be able to provide:
>Two most recent years of personal tax returns
>Two most current years Notice of Assessments
>Two most current years financial statements
>Statement of Bank Account Activity
>Investment Income Statement
>Photo ID

Now, the one area that raises a red flag in the above is the tax returns. As we previously mentioned, their income claimed on the return itself might be significantly different than their actual income. Tax deductions related to business often reflect meals, rental spaces, credit card interest etc. The result is that the income the self-employed business owner shows on their tax return is a significantly lower figure than what their actual take home pay is. However, the conventional lending box requires income to justify the mortgage. So how do we pull this off?

The Unconventional Lending Box
Now please keep in mind that “unconventional” in this box just means that as a self-employed individual, you are going to work with a Mortgage Broker to find an alternative to allow you to show that you can justify the mortgage. There are several well-known and consistently used pieces of advice that we would like to pass along to you:

1. If you are organized and planning (think 2 years out) you can plan to write off fewer expenses in the two years leading up to the property purchase. Yes, you will pay more personal taxes. However, your income will be higher, and it will be easier to qualify you for the mortgage amount you are seeking.
2. Set up your finances through a certified accountant. Many lenders want to see self-employed income submitted through a professional rather than doing it yourself. The truth is that the time you spend doing your own taxes will not be nearly as efficient both financially and time-wise as a professional. Make sure that you discuss with them what your goals are so that they can set up your taxes properly for you!
3. Choose your timing carefully. If you are leaving for an extended holiday within the two years before purchasing, your two-year average income may fluctuate. Plan your vacations and extended trips away with income in mind.
4. Consider using Stated Income. You have the option to state your income. This is based on you being in the same profession for 2+ years before being self-employed. The lender looks at the industry and researches the mean income of someone in that profession and with your experience. You will be required to provide additional documents such as bank statements, showing consistent deposits and other documentation may be asked of you to show your income.
5. Avoid Bankruptcy at all cost…. or if you do declare bankruptcy have all your discharge papers on hand to present to the lender and ensure you have two years of re-established your credit.
6. Mortgage Brokers can state income with lenders at the best discounted rates. But if you do not qualify with A lenders using stated income, then a broker will work with you to utilize a B Lender who are more lenient but may come with higher interest rates and applicable lending and broker fees.
7. Last but not least, if A or B lenders don’t fit, private financing can be looked at as an alternative option in order to get you into the market and offer a short-term solution to improve credit or top up your reporting income. Then you and your broker can refinance into an A or B lender at that time. Just keep in mind that private lending will have a higher rate associated with it , with lender and broker fees added on as well, if you choose to go with this option.

So, to all of our self-employed, hard-working, determined individuals, take heart! You can qualify for the mortgage you want, it just takes a little more planning to get everything in order. Keep in mind to that every lender has different guidelines as to how they view self-employment. Working with The Angela Calla Mortgage Team leading up to your property purchase can help you ensure you get the mortgage you want.

-Geoff Lee

Angela Calla is a 14 year award-winning woman of influence mortgage expert. Alongside her team, passionately assisting mortgage holders get the best mortgage, and educating them on The Mortgage Show on CKNW for over a decade and through her best-selling book The Mortgage Code available on Amazon. To purchase the book click here: The Mortgage Code. Proceeds from a sales will help build a new emergency room at Eagle Ridge Hospital. Angela can be reached at callateam@dominionlending.ca or 604-802-3983.