24 Sep

Know Your 5 C’s of Mortgage Lending


Posted by: Jeff Parsons

We all know the real estate industry is hot right now and for many getting into the housing market, it can be a pipe dream. With tightening government and lending regulations, historically low interest rates and soaring housing prices, it can be a daunting endeavour for anyone.

Whether you are a first time home buyer, wanting to upsize to accommodate your growing family or purchasing an investment property, these are the factors that lenders will be looking at. This will determine which mortgage type and interest rate will be available to you.

Know Your 5 C’s:

Collateral – The property itself that you are hoping to purchase.

Capital – Where is your down payment coming from? At a minimum, you need 5% down for a “high ratio” insured mortgage or a “conventional” mortgage with 20% down. This money can come from your own resources or can be gifted from a family member. Requirements will vary, so make sure to check with your mortgage professional.

Credit – Do you have proven credit and show a good history of repayment?

Capacity – The most important by far! How are you going to pay for your mortgage? Proof of income and requirements differ depending on whether you are salaried, self- employed, paid hourly or somewhere in between!

Character – Are you a super person? This is the least important factor to lenders these days.

Just as important to consider, when deciding on your mortgage, is to determine your current financial situation and longer term goals. This will help you decide which mortgage term and amortization (for example a 5 year term with a 25 year amortization) and mortgage rate (variable or fixed) is best for you. Finally, don’t forget to discuss the FEATURES that come with your mortgage as this could save you thousands of dollars and potential grief over the term of the mortgage. These features can include pre-payment options, lower early payout penalties and portability, providing you with flexibility and options for paying down your mortgage faster or making changes, should the need arise.

Mortgages are NOT a one size fits all, so always make sure to contact and discuss your options with a licensed mortgage professional BEFORE preparing to find the home of your dreams.


Jordan Thomson

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage

22 Sep

Is a CHIP Mortgage Right For You?


Posted by: Jeff Parsons

Are you or someone you know above the age of 55 and having trouble making ends meet? Are funds needed to cover the costs associated with an illness, disability or life event? Perhaps it’s time for a home repair or renovation, such as a kitchen or bathroom. Pay for the kids education? Do you have a mortgage and can’t afford the payments anymore?

Perhaps the funds are just not available and you don’t have enough income to qualify for a mortgage but you have lots of equity in your home, or it might even be paid off.

Here’s where the CHIP program, also known as a “Reverse Mortgage”, becomes the solution. Yes, I’ve seen the commercials on TV and have heard the myths and negative “energy” around it. However, let’s first discuss what this mortgage can do.

  • Borrow up to 50% of the value of the home and make NO PAYMENTS as long as you live in the home. The interest payments are added to the mortgage loan amount and are only due when you vacate.
  • The amount that you are eligible to borrow is determined by your age and the location of your home, therefore, the younger you are the less you can borrow, eliminating the risk of eroding all your equity over time.
  • You maintain full ownership of the home.
  • Your only obligation is to keep the home in good condition, keep the property taxes and home insurance up to date.
  • You will never owe more than the value of the home.
  • You do not need to qualify for the loan.
  • 99% of the time, equity is realized upon sale.

There are many myths out there about reverse mortgages, here are some –

1. The most common myth is that you will lose all your equity in your home. Untrue! You will be provided with a schedule showing you how the equity in your home is expected to grow over time using 3 possible growth scenarios. Figures that are used are conservative, therefore, you could realize even more equity when the home is sold by yourself or your estate.

The amount of remaining equity depends on how old you were when you obtained the mortgage and how long you’ve had the loan when you leave the home. Plus, the value of the home at the end of the loan.

2. If I die, my spouse will be left with a big mortgage to pay off. This is not true as the loan is not due until you or your spouse leave the home.

3. It is costly to set up this mortgage. Set up fees include a property appraisal, legal and admin fees; usually a few thousand dollars or less. The mortgage can be used to pay the fees. This is not much different than a high risk mortgage. Remember NO payments!

It’s important to understand that there is a growing senior population and people are living longer. Employment pensions are disappearing, government pension payments are small. CHIP offers an affordable solution for seniors who want to spend their retirement in a comfortable, stress-free way.

For more info, contact your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist, we have the details and will only consider this option for you when it is in your best interest.


Anne Martin

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

8 Sep

Verifying Your Down Payment – What You Need To Know


Posted by: Jeff Parsons

Saving for a down payment is often one of the biggest challenges facing young people looking to break into the real estate market.  The source of your down payment could come from your own savings, a gift from a family member, your RRSP if you’re a first time home buyer or from the proceeds of selling your current home.

No matter where your down payment comes from, one thing that is for certain is your lender will be verifying your down payment prior to full approval.  It’s required by all lenders to protect against fraud and to prove that you are not borrowing your down payment, which can change your lending ratios and your ability to repay your mortgage.

Documents You Will Need To Show When Verifying Your Down Payment

1. Own Savings/Investments:  If you’ve saved enough money for your down payment, congratulations!  What your lender will want to see is a 3 month history of any source accounts used for your down-payment such as your savings account, TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account) or Investment account.

Your statement will need to clearly show your name and your account number.  Any large deposits outside of your normal contributions will need to be explained i.e.  you sold your car and deposited $12,000 or you received your bonus from work.  If you have transferred money from one account to another you will need to show a record of the money leaving one account and arriving in the other.  The lenders want to see a paper trail of where the money came from and how it got in your account.  This is mainly to combat money laundering and fraud.

2. Gifted Down Payment:  Especially in the pricey Metro Vancouver and Toronto real estate markets, the bank of Mom and Dad is becoming a more popular source of down payments for young home buyers.  You will need a signed gift letter from your family member that states the down-payment is indeed a gift and no repayment is required on the funds.

Be prepared to show the funds on deposit in your account no later than 15 days prior to closing.  Again, the lender wants to see a transaction record.  i.e. $25,000 from Mom’s account transferred to yours and a record of the $25,000 landing in your account.  Documents must show account number and name.

Gifted down payments are only acceptable from immediate family members (parents, grandparents, siblings). You can learn more about gifted down payments and get a sample gift letter here.

3. Using your RRSP:  If you’re a First Time Home Buyer, you may qualify to use up to $25,000 from your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) for your down payment.  To see if you qualify for the Home Buyer’s Plan to use your RRSP’s as a down payment visit here.  You will need to complete a Form T1036 to withdraw your funds without penalty.

Verifying your down payment from your RRSP is just like verifying from your savings/investment accounts.  You will need to show a 3 month history via your account statements with your name and account number on them.  Funds must have been in your account for 90 days.

4. Proceeds From Selling Your Existing Home:  If your down payment is coming from the proceeds of selling your current home then you will need to show your lender a fully executed purchase and sale agreement between you and the buyer of your home.  If  you have an outstanding mortgage on the property, be prepared to provide an up-to-date mortgage statement as well.

5. Money From Outside Of Canada:  Using funds from outside of Canada is acceptable but be prepared to have the money on deposit in a Canadian financial institution at least 30 days before your expected closing date.  Verifying your down payment from overseas will also require that you provide a 90 day history of your source account.

No matter what the source is, verifying your down payment will require you to show documentation of where the money originated from and be ready to explain any large deposits.  Making regular contributions into your savings or investment accounts will help develop a pattern of deposits and avoid any red flags.  Don’t stockpile your cash and make large lump-sum deposits.

Most lenders will want to see that you have 1.5% of the purchase price on deposit as well to cover your closing cost.  If you buy a home for $650,000 you will need a minimum of 5% down ($32,500) and another $9,750 (1.5%), for your closing cost.  You will need to show a total of $42,250 available on deposit.


Brent Shepheard

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

3 Sep

How To Pay Off Debt Faster – 25 Secret Tips Your Banker Doesn’t Want You To Know


Posted by: Jeff Parsons

1. Make a double mortgage payment whenever you can. Doing this once a year can shave over 4 years off the mortgage! Sometimes you can skip a payment later on too…if you really, really need to. Try not to. If your payment is $2,000 a month, four years of no payments is $96,000!!

2. Increase frequency of payment. For Example going from monthly to bi-weekly accelerated can shave over three years off your mortgage! $2,000, three years of no payments is $72,000!!

3. Increase your payment. For example a one-time 10% increase can shave 4 years off the mortgage. That’s $96,000! Imagine if you bumped the payment 10% every year from the get go!!! You would be mortgage free in 13 years! Start to finish! Can’t do it? How about 5% every year….you would be mortgage free in 18 years! How about increasing the payment by the amount of your annual raise?

4. Lump sum payments…same idea…mortgage is gone way faster! Even just one payment a year equivalent to 1 monthly payment will give you similar results as #2 above! How about using your annual work bonus?

5. Renegotiate whenever rates drop to save interest and pay mortgage faster! Generally a good idea however *Caution* get independent professional advice (a cost benefit analysis) to make sure it makes sense for you at that time. I can help. A 1% reduction on a $300,000 mortgage will save $250 a month…times 5 years…that’s $15,000!!

6. Keep your credit rating high for best rate. Always pay on time. Never let payments slip past their due date. Always keep balances low in relation to credit limits on credit cards, lines of credit, etc. 50% or less is best even if you pay the balances in full every month. What generally reports to the credit bureau is the statement balance each month. So if your credit limit is $3000 and you are running $3000 a month through the card each month (to collect all those points you never spend or can’t use in blackout periods) and paying in full, it will look like you are maxing out your credit limit and your credit score will drop accordingly.

7. Increase your mortgage! Yeah I know sounds backwards! Do it to roll in your credit cards, line of credit, car loan etc for a better rate and a set payment plan. Oh you say you don’t want to extend the repayment period of that stuff by rolling it into your mortgage or you have a low or promo rate credit card (those never end well) I agree! Then keep the total payment amount the same but pay it in one neat monthly payment to the increased mortgage.

8. Make an RRSP contribution and use the refund to pay down your mortgage.

9. Go variable rate with your mortgage but keep payments as if fixed rate. Variable rates usually win out over fixed rates. By paying a higher payment you will pay off the mortgage faster. It’s also a buffer in case the rate rises above the fixed rate for short periods of time. *Caution* variable rates are not for everyone. Get independent professional advice to find out what is best for you. I can help!

10. Take your mortgage with you when you change properties to avoid penalty or higher rate on a new mortgage. This is called “porting”. Make sure that your mortgage has this feature. It is not widely known and could save you a ton of dough.

11. Set up auto savings every paycheque, even $10, when it reaches the amount of one mortgage payment, apply it to the mortgage. This concept goes nicely with #4 above.

12. Unhook from the money drip…stop paying with your fancy points credit or debit card. Way too easy to overspend! Go old school, go off the grid…PAY CASH, it works!

13. Don’t ever buy on layaway, you know, six months don’t pay schemes. You think…No problem I’ll just pay it in six months, it will be okay. Yeah right!

14. Downsize your house. Two good friends and clients of mine, having followed many of the tips here, are in great shape except they have a six bedroom house! Two people, six bed house – go figure! They are nearly debt free so no biggy, but can you say the same? Circumstances change, make the adjustments along the way!

15. Don’t want to move? Convert the basement/rooms to rental and use the income to pay down debt.

16. Convert your mortgage to tax deductible. If you are self-employed, own rental property or have investments, this is likely possible. I won’t go into details here, just ask me how.

17. Have a payment priority.

18. Pay off the highest interest rate first.

19. If you have tax deductible loans, pay them off last, slowest. Pay the non-tax deductible loans first and fastest.

20. Pay off ugly debt first. Stuff like credit card purchases.

21. Payoff bad debt next. Stuff like car loans, boat loans. Things that depreciate in value.

22. Pay off good debt (or shall I say “not so bad debt”) last. Stuff like mortgages, investment loans. Things that hopefully appreciate in value.

23. Buying a car? Finance it if you have to, don’t lease! *Exception* If you are self-employed it might make sense.

24. You have $20,000 in a secret bank account for a rainy day fund and $20,000 owing on a line of credit. Seriously? The bank account is paying you next to nothing (which is taxable income to boot) and the line of credit rate is way higher (and not tax deductible). You know what to do. You can keep the line of credit open and on standby for rainy day funds. Make it the secret line of credit that you have but never use.

25. Give your Banker more money. No really. Keep enough in your chequing account to meet the minimum requirement to waive your service charges. My bank charges $10 a month for 25 transactions and nothing, zero, zilch, zip if I keep $2,500 in the account. Let’s see $10 x 12 is $120 a year to pay off debt. I’d have to earn 5% with the $2,500 in my savings account to come out ahead. No brainer here. Oh yeah, if you need more than 25 transactions a month…see #12 above.

26. #26? BONUS TIP and MOST IMPORTANT. Let’s face it, you’re not the Government and you’re not a Bank, you can’t run deficits forever and you won’t get a bailout….stop procrastinating already! See 1 through 24 above and take action now!

Sidenote: *Caution* beware of some too good to be true ultra-low rate mortgages. These “no frills” mortgages are often loaded with restrictions like pre-payment limitations, fully-closed terms, stripped-out features, or unusual penalties. You really need to compare product to product. If you’re not looking at what you’re giving up, you may regret it in the future. This alone could prevent you from taking advantage of tips #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 16 and 22!


Len Anderson

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

2 Sep

Rent To Own – 6 Reasons You Need To Read This


Posted by: Jeff Parsons

Rent-to-Own, Lease to Own, R2O. They may seem like good options, but watch out for these pitfalls. They are a good program as long as you have a mortgage planner ensuring you are following a plan to succeed.

Rent to Own…what you NEED to know. My guess is you might check this option out if you:
1. Have NO credit.
2. Have credit challenges such as a bankruptcy or debt repayment plan.
3. You’re self-employed or on disability with little income to “declare”.
All valid reasons and you’re not alone. There are lots of people each year that contact me with these exact issues.

Rent-to-own or Lease-to-own is a great program for SOME people! The program allows you to buy a home today without having to meet the typical qualifications required by your banks. There is nothing cheap about these programs either.

The Pitfalls

There is NO guarantee that you will qualify for a mortgage at the end of your term; hence you may lose your deposit.

  1. You are buying a home based on an estimated future value, so you could be paying an over-inflated price. What happens if your house de-values over the term of your R20 contract?
  2. There can be (if the mortgage becomes “private”) hefty fees involved.
  3. You DO need an initial deposit (usually 5-10% of the value of the home).
  4. Terms are usually 1-3 years, so if you’re credit challenged, you may not qualify for a mortgage at the end of your contract.
  5. If certain documents are NOT completed up front (for lender’s future use), you won’t get the mortgage. Certain items such as an appraisal up-front, option purchase agreement, market rent reports and such must be completed and dated in the beginning.
  6. Only a handful of lenders will mortgage these.

When it comes time to finance your rent-to-own, you can waste a lot of time dealing with banks and lenders that don’t deal with Rent-to-Own contracts. Always connect with a mortgage broker who deals mostly with investors who thoroughly understands Rent-to-Own and, most importantly, which lenders will finance Rent-to-Own.

Remember Dominion Lending Centres have over 200 different mortgage programs that are likely BETTER, SAFER and give MORE OPTIONS than a Rent-to-Own. Banks are not your one-stop-shop for answering your questions.

Buyer Beware!

You will see many websites out there with Realtors advertising they have this program, or “middlemen” that also have these sites saying how easy it is. Remember “middlemen” and Real Estate people are sales people. They may NOT be licensed mortgage experts that specialize in credit repair or mortgage alternatives. They are there to SELL you a house. Without proper and continual guidance from an experienced, licensed mortgage professional you risk losing your deal at the end.


Kiki Berg

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

1 Sep

The Self-Employed Dilemma


Posted by: Jeff Parsons

You’re likely asking yourself, what is the dilemma that self-employed workers face? Well, with more and more Canadians joining the ranks of the self-employment every year, one has to ask themselves how they are going to tackle the age old question, how much does one write off vs how much income does one claim on their taxes. We all want to earn as much money as possible and pay as little income tax as required.

This was my train of thought until the topic of ‘paying taxes’ was brought to my attention by a friend that’s an accountant. As he said, paying income tax isn’t such a horrible thing, in fact it’s a necessity which provides for our infrastructure and without it the ‘world’ we know would be drastically different. Here was the response from him after I re-posted a reference to INCOME TAX RELIEF DAY that I saw on social media.

“I would actually look at it more positively and say that I/we spent this money to live in a great country, province and municipality and it’s worth every penny in taxes spent. I will guarantee you there are billions of people on this planet that would switch positions with us in a second and remember this so called date (INCOME TAX RELIEF DAY) is based on the average Canadian family income of $45,000 and is based on all taxes including not just income taxes, but property tax, sales taxes, health taxes, fuel taxes and much more. So technically not all of it is going to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Some of it is going to municipal and Metro Vancouver. For more information go to the Fraser Institute website https://www.fraserinstitute.org/research-news/display.aspx?id=22954. ”

After reading over this message, it got me thinking about how some self-employed people report their taxes and the effect that it has on their chances of qualifying for a mortgage. Besides the duty to provide to our country, we all have a personal desire to provide as much as possible for our family. It’s a so-called ‘tug-of-war’ of who gets your money and how much of it. Here’s where the dilemma gets complicated if you want to borrow money from a lender to purchase residential real estate.

The federal Government of Canada regulates the CRA as well as the lending criteria and policies followed by ALL the ‘A’ lenders. ‘A’ lenders are our chartered banks and non-bank or monoline/investment lender. We also have credit unions that are provincially regulated but follow the CMHC lending criteria, which is federal. Having more ‘cash’ in your pocket actually allows you to borrow less. Showing more income claimed, which requires you to pay more tax allows you to borrow more money if desired. ‘A’ Lenders assess their risk management for lending money to borrowers on historical earning and in this case, if one is self-employed then they require a 2 year average based on T1 Generals or in some cases Notice of Assessments (NOA).

It’s a CATCH 22 and you (and your qualified accountant) need to decide which path you’re going to follow; write off maximum expenses and claim ‘little’ income or claim a ‘healthy’ income and pay more income. Neither is right or wrong.

Upon getting the urge to buy residential real estate a detailed conversation on how ‘your income’ is structured should be had with their Mortgage Expert and Certified General Accountant. Once you have chosen which style of accounting your business will adopt, you just have to be prepared to follow the lending guidelines. Plus, it’s really not that bad either way.

Let’s face it, everyone wants the lowest rate possible when it comes to their mortgage. As a Mortgage Expert, it’s something that I seek for every client. But not all clients are eligible for the lowest rate for a number of different reasons. Two main reasons are because of credit blemishes and, of course, lack of income reported.

Business Case

The following is a fictitious scenario that represents a self-employed person that writes down expenses in order to minimize CRA income tax.

Jane is a business owner in Vancouver. She has a modest business that is experiencing growth year after year. Jane enjoys the many perks of being a business owner, especially the tax breaks that come along with it!  Since Jane is able to work with her certified accountant, and considerably write down her income, she often saves thousands of dollars a year on taxes.

Jane would like to purchase a new home. She has a 20% down payment to place on a home, and knows that she grosses more than $100,000 per year in her business. However, since she currently writes down her income to $20,000 per year, her Mortgage Expert has just informed her that she will need to state her  income with a ‘Non-Prime’ or ‘B’ lender for approval.

Now if Jane claimed $100,000 per year for the last 2 years, she may qualify for the best rate out there from an ‘A’ lender. However, let’s look at what that really means:

Income claimed  $100,000/year  $20,000/year
Taxes paid  $25,060/year  $1,761/year

Jane has saved $23,299 per year because of the tax laws the government has legislated for self-employed business owners. Now let’s compare the interest on a ‘typical’ verified-income loan, and a ‘non-prime’ stated-income loan.

Loan Type ‘A’ ‘B’
Mortgage  $200,000  $200,000
Rate  2.69%  4.50%
Term  1 year  1 year
Interest per Term  $5,281  $8,826

** For ease of comparison to BC yearly tax rate– 1 year term has been used. Rates are approximations for example purposes.**
Jane is paying $3,545 more in interest per year, but her income tax savings are $23,299 per year.  She is actually saving $19,754 per year more than the typical ‘verified-income’ employee that was able to receive a mortgage interest rate of 2.69%.

With all entrepreneurs there is one thing in common – they are all savvy and driven to succeed, or fail, on their own terms.

It takes an extreme amount of hard work to get a business from the infancy stage to a self-sufficient entity that produces a constant and steady flow of revenue. Business owners all want to save money while at the same time earning and establishing a presence in their chosen space. Business financials are all structured differently and, depending on how one chooses to operate, will dictate how they can proceed once it’s time to seek residential real estate financing.

If you are self-employed, make sure to consult with us at Dominion Lending Centres to find out how your mortgage can be tailored. Every mortgage scenario is completely different from the next, so make sure yours fits correctly and you are informed before you start the financing process.


Michael Hallett

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional