12 Dec

7 Sure-Fire Ways to Grow Your Credit Score

General

Posted by: Jeff Parsons

Have you ever wished for a simplified guide on how to actually GROW your credit score? Well today is your lucky day! We have had years of experience working with individuals who come to us with poor or damaged credit and we have found 7 steps that prove to be tried and true in fixing it.

First off though—why are we so focused in on credit scores? Simply put, your credit score details your history of borrowing money. It shows how timely you are on payments; how responsible you are with it and how you manage it.

In a Nutshell: Your credit score represents to the lender that you have proven yourself capable of paying your bills on time and are responsible when managing credit. You credit score will also impact the interest rate that you receive. So, when we are talking about mortgages, your credit score=very important.

Now that we have that covered, here are our 7 sure-fire ways to grow your credit and make the mortgage application process, a breeze:

1. Have at least 2 credit lines at all times
This means that you should always have 2 “tradelines” going. Whether this be 2 credit cards, a credit card and a line of credit and a car loan etc. You want to show that you can manage credit, and this is one easy way to do it. As an added note, the limit on the credit lines will need to be set at a minimum $2,000.

2. Make your payments on time each and every month
No skipped payments! You should ALWAYS make the minimum payment required on all your lines of credit each month.

3. Do not let your credit be pulled too often.
This one is something people often forget about. Having your credit pulled for new credit cards, car loans, and other things frequently raises a red flag for lenders and can significantly lower your credit score

4. Do not exceed 50% of the available credit limit on your credit card or credit line.
We know this one can be hard to do. One easy way to monitor this is to only use a credit card for certain fixed bills such as a cable/internet bill, cell-phone bill, etc. This way you can easily keep track of what credit you have used and what is available still.

5. If you have missed a payment, get back on track right away.
If you did, by chance, miss a payment, do not fret. Instead, get back on track with your month by month payments. Lenders would look at the one missed payment as an abnormality versus a normal occurrence if you are back on track by the following month.

6. Make sure each partner has their own credit.
We cannot tell you how frustrating it can be for couples when they realize that all their credit cards and lines of credit are only under one name…leaving the other person with no proven track record of managing credit! We advise clients to both grow their credit by making sure all joint accounts report for you both.

7. Do not exceed the Credit limit.
It is important to not go over or exceed the credit limit you have been given. Having overdrawn credit, shows the lender that you are not able to responsibly manage credit.

If you follow these 7 steps and are responsible with your credit, you will have no problem when it comes time to purchase a home! In need of more advice? Contact a Dominion Lending Centres Broker-they will be more than happy to help you.

 

Geoff Lee

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Geoff is part of DLC GLM Mortgage Group based in Vancouver, BC.

5 Dec

What’s an acceptable down payment for a house?

General

Posted by: Jeff Parsons

Ask people this question and you will get a variety of answers.  Most home owners will say 10% is what you should put down. However, if you speak with your grandparents, they are likely to suggest that 20% is what you need for a down payment.

The truth is 5% is the minimum down payment that you can make on a home in Canada. If you are planning on buying a $200,000 home then you need $10,000.

It all can be explained by the creation of the Canadian Mortgage and Housing corporation (CMHC) by the Canadian government on January 1st, 1946. Before this time, you needed to have 20% down payment to purchase a home . This made home ownership difficult for many Canadians. CMHC  was created to ease home ownership. This was done by offering mortgage default insurance. Basically what CMHC does is it guarantees that you will not default on your mortgage payments. If you do, they will reimburse the lender who gave you the mortgage up to 100% of what the homeowner borrowed. In return lenders allow you to purchase a home with a smaller down payment and a lower interest rate.

CMHC charges an insurance premium for this service to cover any losses that may occur from defaulted mortgages. This program was so successful that CMHC lowered the minimum down payment to 5% in the 1980’s.

However, if you have little credit history or some late payments in the past they may ask you to provide 10% instead of the tradition 5% if they feel there is a risk that you may default at some time.

You should also be aware that the more money you put down, the lower your monthly mortgage payments will be. You also can save thousands in mortgage default insurance premiums by putting 20% down.  At this time,  home buyers who put 5% down have to pay a fee of 4% to CMHC or one of the other mortgage default insurers to obtain home financing. On a $400,000 home this is close to $16,000.

If you can provide a 10% down payment the insurance premium falls to 3.10% and if you can provide 20% it drops to zero.  While 20% can seem like an impossible amount to save, you can use a combination of savings, a gift from family and/or a portion of your RRSP savings to achieve this figure. The best recommendation that I can make is to speak with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to discuss your options and where to start on your home buying adventure.

 

David Cooke

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
David is part of DLC Clarity Mortgages in Calgary, AB.

22 Oct

CMHC Changes to Assist Self-Employed Borrowers

General

Posted by: Jeff Parsons

As a self-employed person myself, I was happy to hear that CMHC is willing to make some changes that will make it easier for us to qualify for a mortgage.
In an announcement on July 19, 2018, the CMHC has said “Self-employed Canadians represent a significant part of the Canadian workforce. These policy changes respond to that reality by making it easier for self-employed borrowers to obtain CMHC mortgage loan insurance and benefit from competitive interest rates.” — Romy Bowers, Chief Commercial Officer, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. These policy changes are to take effect Oct. 1, 2018.

Traditionally self-employed borrowers will write as many expenses as they can to minimize the income tax they pay each year. While this is a good tax-saving technique it means that often a realistic annual income can not be established high enough to meet mortgage qualification guidelines.
Plain speak, we don’t look good on paper.

Normally CMHC wants to see two years established business history to be able to determine an average income. But the agency said it will now make allowances for people who acquire existing businesses, can demonstrate sufficient cash reserves, who will be expecting predictable earnings and have previous training and education.
Take for example a borrower that has been an interior designer with a firm for the past eight years and in the same industry for the past 30 years, but just struck out on his own last year. His main work contract is with the firm he used to work for, but now he has the ability to pick up additional contracts from the industry in which he has vast connections.
Where previously he would have had to entertain a mortgage with an interest rate at least 1% higher than the best on the market and have to pay a fee, now he would be able to meet insurance requirements and get preferred rates.

The other change that CMHC has made is to allow for more flexible documentation of income and the ability to look at Statements of Business Professional Activity from a sole-proprietor’s income tax submission to support Add Backs of certain write-offs to support a grossing-up of income. Basically, recognizing that many write-offs are simply for tax-saving purposes and are not a reduction of actual income. This could mean a significant increase in income and buying power.

It is refreshing after years of government claw-backs and conservative policy changes to finally see the swing back in the other direction. Self-employed Canadians have taken on the burden of an often fluctuating income and responsible income tax management all for the ability to work for themselves. These measures will help them with the reward of being able to own their own home as well.

 

Kristin Woolard

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Kristin is part of DLC National based in Port Coquitlam, BC.

18 Oct

Bank or Mortgage Broker?

General

Posted by: Jeff Parsons

Mortgages are like vehicles. A bank is similar to the brand, Ford or Toyota for example. How long you have a mortgage before it’s time to renew is like the model, a Fusion or Camry. The rate is similar to the car’s paint color, and the mortgage benefits such as prepayment privileges and portability are like the car’s benefits; 4-wheel drive, hatchback, four doors instead of two, etc.

A bank is like a sales person at a Ford or Toyota dealership. He or she is an expert, they know everything about every car on their lot; engine size, warranty, all available colours, and their fuel ratings. He or she can match any car to your needs and lifestyle, as long as it’s sold at their lot.

But what if they don’t have the most fuel efficient car? What if you don’t like the design or you need four doors and a trunk and all they have is two doors and a hatchback? Are you still going to buy from that dealership just because you went there first? No, you’re going down the street to check out the Chevrolet, maybe even BMW, Mazda, or the new Chrysler dealership. That sales person doesn’t want you to go buy from another lot down the street, but you are buying to satisfy your needs, not the dealership’s needs of selling their own cars.

Now imagine a dealership that sold every single make and model of vehicle. Imagine you could choose one of their sales people, and have them work only for you. They know just as much or even more about every make and model, they do all the research for you and tell you what you need to look for, they ask you the important questions; they have your best interest. That is a mortgage broker, your own personal expert.

Now, you may not need a personal expert to buy a car. But what about mortgages? Is a 0.10% lower interest rate a lot? Or will a 20% prepayment privilege instead of 10% be more advantageous? Can you switch lenders and move your mortgage? $15,000 or $5,000 penalty? How is it calculated? Fixed or variable? Is a collateral charge good or bad? 2-year term or 5-year? Big bank or monoline lender? How about credit unions? The list goes on.

So, a bank or mortgage broker? Put it this way; would you buy from the first dealership you visit or hire an expert? If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional near you.

 

Ryan Oake

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Ryan is part of DLC Producers West Financial based in Langley, BC.

7 Oct

What should come first, the house or the car?

General

Posted by: Jeff Parsons

So you just got a shiny new car, and now you want a shiny new home to go with it. Will that new car payment affect your mortgage pre- approval? The short answer… absolutely it will.
Recently, I have encountered many people looking to pre-approve for a home purchase that do not qualify. While it may be in part because of the mortgage “Stress Test” rules, a good portion is due to large debt obligations such as car loans. I have witnessed applicants that have brand new car loans/leases with huge payments and not one gave thought as to whether it would affect their ability to qualify for a mortgage.
Unless you have already done your home work with your mortgage broker by getting a mortgage pre-approval that factors the new car payment into it and your budget, you may be in for disappointment.
However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be one or the other. Here are some tips to get set for mortgage approval success.

1. Get pre-approved. Seek the guidance of your mortgage broker to know exactly what you qualify for before you start the house hunting process. Knowing what your maximum purchase price is, helps you and your realtor.
2. Be realistic with what you can afford. Start by looking at what you pay in rent now. That’s a good starting place to figure out what you can pay on a mortgage. However, you also must consider what you can get approved for.
3. Remember to save and budget for more than the mortgage payment. When you own a home, your monthly payment consists of more than just the mortgage payment. You will also pay property taxes, home owner insurance, and utilities on top of your other monthly debt obligations. Having emergency savings can help alleviate the stress of taking on the financial responsibility of a owning a home.
4. Clean up your credit. Paying off credit balances can not only help improve your credit score, it can also increase your buying power.
5. Avoid making big financial changes. This is the big one. Most lenders want to see that you’re a stable applicant. Doing things like buying a new car before you buy a new house does not establish you as stable. Similarly, opening new credit cards, or making a drastic change to your employment can also be detrimental to getting approved for a mortgage.

When in doubt always seek the advice of your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

Lynn Nequest

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Lynn is part of DLC Forest City Funding based in Kitchener, ONT.

28 Sep

Is your Line of Credit Killing your Mortgage Application?

General

Posted by: Jeff Parsons

Some of the last round of changes from the government regarding qualifying for a mortgage were that if you have a balance on your unsecured line of credit, then to qualify for mortgage the lenders require that we use a 3% payment of the balance of the line of credit.

Simple math is, if you owe $10,000 we have to use $300 as your monthly payment regardless of what the bank requires as a minimum. Given that the banks hand out lines of credit on a regular basis it is not uncommon for us to see $50,000 lines of credit with balances in the $40,000 range. That amount then means we have to use $1,200 a month as a payment even though the bank may require considerably less.

So what if it is a secured line of credit? Again we have clients telling us that they don’t have a mortgage only to realize they do have a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). A home equity line of credit by all definition is a loan secured by property, the actual definition of a mortgage.

Again, it’s something the bank will require little more than interest payment on because it is secured. The calculation here can also upset the calculation for your next mortgage, as what is required by many lenders is to take the balance of the HELOC. Let’s say the balance is $200,000 and you convert it to a mortgage at the bench mark rate, which today is 5.34% with a 25-year amortization. That without any fees today is equal to $1202.22 per month, so what in the client’s mind may be a $400 or $500 dollar interest payment for the purpose of qualifying will be almost three times higher.

This one change to supposedly safe guard the Canadian consumer has lately been the thing we have seen stop more mortgages than just about anything else. If you have any question, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional for answers.

 

Len Lane

Dominion Lending Centres – Mortgage Professional
Len is the owner and founder f DLC Brokers For Life based in Edmonton, AB.

13 Sep

Keeping Your Credit Score Healthy

General

Posted by: Jeff Parsons

There is a lot of misinformation floating around about credit bureaus, credit reports and credit scores – not only that, but a large amount of the clients I work with have never even seen their credit report or score before!

I’d like to shed a bit of light, as they say, on the importance of your credit score and what does (and does not) affect this ever-changing number.

Keeping Your Credit Score Healthy
There are a few ways that you can actively ensure that your credit score is kept at a nice high number:

  • Pay your credit cards and other debts on time – this includes bills like your cell phone!
  • Pay your parking tickets on time – many people don’t realize that unpaid tickets will affect your credit score.
  • When meeting with your mortgage broker, go over your credit report line by line (a service I offer to every one of my clients). They will be able to help you catch any unsubstantiated credit checks, fraudulent activity, and any mistakes by your lenders – and have them removed from your report.
  • Have a couple of credit cards or a line of credit on your report…but! Ensure they have reasonable credit limits for each card, and that are not using your limits to their max. *The unofficial rule is only use about 30% of your available credit.
  • Don’t apply for credit too often.

My Score Falls Every Time It’s Checked
Not necessarily true. You can personally check your credit report as many times as you like, and your score will not change. What DOES affect your score is a lender or creditor looking into your credit report. The more times lenders check (especially in a short period of time), the greater chance your score is going to decrease. Research has shown that people who are actively seeking credit tend to be people who are at a greater risk of possibly not repaying their credit, or seeking credit beyond their repayment capabilities. Lenders who see a lot of credit report checks also view this as a potential risk of fraudulent behaviour, and will move (by not extending credit) to protect themselves against it.

Decreasing your credit score also functions as a protective mechanism for YOU if someone is trying to fraudulently use your identity to gain credit (for themselves) on your behalf.

The gist here is that you can apply to have your credit checked a few times a year by lenders, and expect to have little to no affect on your score.

Buying a Home? Use a Broker!
Of course, when you are in the process of applying for a mortgage, some people go to more than one bank; all of which will look into your credit report, all within a short amount of time.

One of the great benefits of using a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker is that your mortgage broker will only check your credit once. One check will negate many lenders checking your bureau because your broker knows which lenders will be the best for your personal situation and we can discuss your different mortgage options without needing to have multiple lenders look into your credit!

 

Eitan Pinsky

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Eitan is part of DLC Origin Mortgages based in Vancouver, BC.

5 Sep

Bridge Loans

General

Posted by: Jeff Parsons

If you have ever sold your home in order to help with the purchase of your next home, chances are you have heard of bridge financing. Bridge financing is an option available to homeowners if they find themselves in a little bit of a pinch when it comes to two different completion dates.

A situation where a bridge loan or where bridge financing can be useful, is when you put an offer on a home you plan on buying with a completion date for the first of the month. However, in order to purchase this new home you need the money you’ll receive from the sale of your current home. What do you do if it closes at the end of the month, 30 days after you are supposed to pay someone for their home with these proceeds?

A lender can offer you bridge financing, where they will advance you your down payment as a separate loan for up to 30 days, some 90 days or more on exception. This allows you to close on the new property, pay the seller, and keep the contract to sell your place 30 days later where the proceeds from your sale will pay out the bridge loan instead of being used to pay the seller directly.

You will need to have accepted offers on both the property you plan on buying as well as the one you are selling with financing conditions removed as well as enough funds to cover the deposit. In some circumstances, you may be able to borrow the deposit from another source if that was also supposed to come from the proceeds of the sale of your current home. If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional today.

 

Ryan Oake

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Ryan is part of DLC Producers West Financial based in Langley, BC.

24 Aug

Buying a home as a new Canadian

General

Posted by: Jeff Parsons

Canada is made up of hundreds of thousands of people, and while some did not start here, they have made it their home. Buying a home, especially when you are new to Canada can be mind boggling, BUT, we have a mortgage for you!
The New to Canada Program is designed to help new Canadians purchase their first home sooner and become established faster.
What are the qualifications for this program?
Firstly, you must have immigrated or relocated to Canada within the last 3 to 5 years to qualify for the New to Canada Program. You must have proof that you have been working full time in Canada for at least 3 months and that you are not on probation with your employer. The lender will require a letter of employment from your employer with your salary and employment status. Copies of your valid work permit or landed immigrant status card (front and back) will also be a requirement.
Down payment is a minimum of 5% and at least 5% of the funds must come from your own savings and be verifiable with 3 months worth of bank statements from a Canadian Bank. Some lenders will allow the 5% to be a gift from an immediate family member and a gift letter from the lender will be required. Please speak to your broker in advance when a gift is being used. That way we can provide you with information for monies coming from other countries and ensuring you are following all the banking rules and regulations. With a minimum of 5% down payment you will need default insurance, and that can be provided by Canada Guaranty, Genworth or CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing). Each of these insurers offer programs that will work with the lender.
The lender will need to see your credit bureau and, as you are new to Canada, you may be just starting so we will require an international credit report from your country of origin. Just starting up your credit, we can assist you with that by providing valuable information to get you ready for the road to home ownership. You can obtain an International or U.S. Bureau by contacting Equifax and they will point you in the right direction. Your international credit report is taken into consideration by the lender as it will show that you are a responsible borrower and have kept your accounts in good standing. We would advise that a letter of recommendation from your current bank be done as that is also very helpful in the process. If you cannot provide an international credit bureau, the lender will ask you for to confirm your good standing by providing 12 months history of bills that must be paid on time (rent, utilities, cable or insurance premiums).
Working with your Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional will provide you with options and answers to your questions. Our advice is always free, we are here to help you make home ownership a reality.
Remember, when looking for your home, use a professional to assist with not just financing but the search as well. Realtors are great negotiators and can also help you determine your requirements in a home, “needs vs wants”. Do you need to be close to schools, public transportation, etc?
This process can take some time but again, that is why you have a DLC broker at your fingertips!
By the way, welcome to Canada!

 

Karen Penner

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Karen is part of DLC Jencor Mortgage Corporation based in Calgary, AB.

22 Aug

7 Sure-Fire Ways to Grow Your Credit Score

General

Posted by: Jeff Parsons

Have you ever wished for a simplified guide on how to actually GROW your credit score? Well today is your lucky day! We have had years of experience working with individuals who come to us with poor or damaged credit and we have found 7 steps that prove to be tried and true in fixing it.

First off though—why are we so focused in on credit scores? Simply put, your credit score details your history of borrowing money. It shows how timely you are on payments; how responsible you are with it and how you manage it.

In a Nutshell: Your credit score represents to the lender that you have proven yourself capable of paying your bills on time and are responsible when managing credit. You credit score will also impact the interest rate that you receive. So, when we are talking about mortgages, your credit score=very important.

Now that we have that covered, here are our 7 sure-fire ways to grow your credit and make the mortgage application process, a breeze:

1. Have at least 2 credit lines at all times
This means that you should always have 2 “tradelines” going. Whether this be 2 credit cards, a credit card and a line of credit and a car loan etc. You want to show that you can manage credit, and this is one easy way to do it. As an added note, the limit on the credit lines will need to be set at a minimum $2,000.

2. Make your payments on time each and every month
No skipped payments! You should ALWAYS make the minimum payment required on all your lines of credit each month.

3. Do not let your credit be pulled too often.
This one is something people often forget about. Having your credit pulled for new credit cards, car loans, and other things frequently raises a red flag for lenders and can significantly lower your credit score

4. Do not exceed 50% of the available credit limit on your credit card or credit line.
We know this one can be hard to do. One easy way to monitor this is to only use a credit card for certain fixed bills such as a cable/internet bill, cell-phone bill, etc. This way you can easily keep track of what credit you have used and what is available still.

5. If you have missed a payment, get back on track right away.
If you did, by chance, miss a payment, do not fret. Instead, get back on track with your month by month payments. Lenders would look at the one missed payment as an abnormality versus a normal occurrence if you are back on track by the following month.

6. Make sure each partner has their own credit.
We cannot tell you how frustrating it can be for couples when they realize that all their credit cards and lines of credit are only under one name…leaving the other person with no proven track record of managing credit! We advise clients to both grow their credit by making sure all joint accounts report for you both.

7. Do not exceed the Credit limit.
It is important to not go over or exceed the credit limit you have been given. Having overdrawn credit, shows the lender that you are not able to responsibly manage credit.

If you follow these 7 steps and are responsible with your credit, you will have no problem when it comes time to purchase a home! In need of more advice? Contact a Dominion Lending Centres Broker-they will be more than happy to help you.

 

Geoff Lee

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Geoff is part of DLC GLM Mortgage Group based in Vancouver, BC.