12 Mar

Are you Stressed by the Mortgage Stress Test? Here are a Few Solutions

Buying & Refinancing a Home

Posted by: Garth Chapman

Alberta’s real estate markets are stressed. Prices are flat or down.  So this is a Buyer’s Market, and yet so many Buyers are finding it difficult to qualify for the mortgage they need, largely due to the new mortgage Stress Test.  Here are a few smart ways that you can use to achieve the mortgage you need to buy the property that suits your family’s needs.

Use the flex down or borrowed down payment programs offered though one of our mortgage lenders.

You must qualify, the payment for the loan must fit in your total debt service ratio.

You must have good credit, meeting minimum beacon score requirements.

The CMHC default insurance premium is higher, but by using this option you can borrow the down-payment.

First time home buyers can obtain a new RRSP loan and 90 days later use the First Time Home Buyers Plan and withdraw up to $25,000 for a home down-payment.  Pro Tip– you are considered a First Time Home Buyer if you have not owned a home in the previous 4 years.

Call your favourite Jencor Mortgage Broker, and we will arrange an RRSP loan and a mortgage pre-approval as per your financial qualifications. Couples can both do this.

90 days later, you withdraw up to $25,000 (per person) from your RRSP plan(s) for down payment.

Then you can get to work with your favourite Realtor to buy a home.

IMPORTANT – The key element of this is that our best mortgage lender for this program does not require the loan to be repaid when funds are withdrawn for the down-payment, whereas most lenders do.

Is a Large Vehicle Loan Payment Reducing the Mortgage You Qualify for?

Whether you are refinancing, buying a new home, or just wanting to improve your cash flow, is a large vehicle loan payment reducing your options!

We have a vehicle finance company that will aggressively extend out an amortization, reducing the vehicle payment. The result, all other things being equal, a bigger mortgage. We had one couple rewrite their vehicle loans, and they got a $70,000 bigger mortgage. Their realtor was able to write an offer in the neighborhood they have always wanted to live in. Got a great deal on the house as well.

Call me today if a lower vehicle loan payment could help you.

Special Programs for Self Employed Buyers

  • The federal government continues to impose restrictive guidelines on all mortgage applicants. One group particularly hard hit are business for self borrowers (aka BFS). Many BFS clients hire good Tax Accountants. Good Tax Accountants are great for a lower tax bill, but low taxable earnings are not so good for obtaining a mortgage.  Most lenders require two years of personal tax returns, notice of assessment, and corporate financial statements.  If your clients are being declined after providing all of that information perhaps one of the special programs that still exist could help.
  • We have lenders who will consider:
    • Using an insured stated proof of income mortgage to 90 % loan to value. We do need to provide information to confirm the reasonableness of the application.
    • Using an insured stated proof of income mortgage to 65% loan to value. Again we need to confirm reasonableness but no insurance premium applicable.
    • Using a series of bank statements to confirm business cash flow to support a mortgage. Maximum 80% loan to value.
    • Using a cash flow analysis of the corporate financial statements to support the income requirements 80% loan to value.
    • We have some other esoteric programs too hard to describe in one line.
    • Your Jencor Agent can often help a BFS client who has been frustrated by their own Bank or by an inexperienced Mortgage Broker.

Some combination of these ideas may just help you, your friends or relatives get the mortgage you need for the home you want.

21 Feb

Bruised Credit And Need A Mortgage?

Buying a Home

Posted by: Garth Chapman

Many people think that their credit score will hold them back from obtaining a mortgage. For some, they may have work to do on their debt beforehand, but sometimes people believe their credit is poor, only to find that it isn’t as bad as they thought. It pays to seek help from a Jencor Mortgage Advisor to find out where you stand.
What is bruised credit and how does it impact your ability to obtain a mortgage?
Mortgage lenders use your credit reports to evaluate risk by looking at your repayment history to see how responsible you are with credit. Although a 790-beacon score and zero late payments in the last three years is ideal for all lenders, bruised credit means something slightly different to some lenders. So, what is bruised credit? It can be a result of many circumstances including, late payments on loans, collections & judgements, bankruptcy, consumer proposal or credit counselling, late payments on your mortgage, foreclosure & even identity theft. Traditional mortgage lenders and insurers will not commonly approve applications with credit histories that show challenges with borrowing in the recent past. The good news is that there are still options with alternative mortgage lenders with a minimum down payment of 20% to 30%. With these mortgages, you will be paying higher interest rates, usually for two years, while you rebuild your credit. We can then transition you into a regular mortgage.
Rebuilding credit takes time.
There are some things you can do which will bring your score up substantially in one swoop, but normally it takes time to rebuild. Here are some of the basics to improve your credit:

1. Have at least two credit accounts reporting to your credit report besides cell phone bills, school loans or mortgages. Use your credit cards every month, even just one purchase monthly and pay it in full before the due date. The credit limits should be at least approximately $2000 each.

2. Always pay all your debts on time – making even the minimum payment on time, is better than making a larger payment late. If need be, reach out to the account holder and make payment arrangements. Never ignore a payment and hope for the best.
No Late mortgage payments – these are extremely detrimental to you obtaining a mortgage.

3. Do not max out your credit. Use less than 50% of your limits and never go over the limit. Going over limit impacts your score immediately and severely, and even when you bring it back in line, it still has a lingering effect on your score.

4. Do not apply for too much credit and do not cancel existing credit – both these actions will negatively impact your score – yes, you would think that cancelling existing credit would help, but by doing so, you are reducing the overall credit available to you and therefore immediately increasing credit usage. Also, by cancelling credit, you might be cancelling a credit card that you have held the longest and longevity of credit has an impact on your rating.

5. New loans, such as car loans will have an immediate negative impact on your score – so do not obtain a new car loan if you are thinking about obtaining a mortgage. Because of the size of the loan, your credit usage increases substantially.

6. Do not let anything go to collections – even though some utilities, rental payments, gym memberships and the like, do not report to your credit bureau, when they go to collections, they will be reported.

7. Ensure that everything on your report is correct. If not, you must take steps with the creditor or the reporting agency (Equifax or TransUnion) to correct them.

8. In some cases, if you already own your home, there may be an opportunity to consolidate debt into your mortgage and improve your credit.

Don’t be defeated; get advice, get back on track!

Ultimately, how each item impacts your score, depends on how it interacts with everything else on your report. One late payment, for some with long-held credit and very little past delinquencies, will have less of an impact than for someone with bruised credit or someone with new credit.

If you have bruised credit, don’t write off your dream of home ownership. Contact your Jencor Mortgage Advisor who can advise you on the necessary steps to obtain the mortgage you need.

Written and originally posted here
by Ayashah Kothawala – Mortgage Advisor Jencor Mortgage

12 Jan

What is a Monoline lender? 

About Mortgage Brokers

Posted by: Garth Chapman

What is a Monoline lender?

A Monoline lender, by definition, is a mortgage lender that focuses on just mortgages.  They do not have any other products that can be cross-sold and most Monolines securitize their mortgages, instead of keeping them on their balance sheet.  Monolines are secure, follow the same rules as all Canadian Banks and they deal exclusively with Mortgage Advisors on their clients’ behalf.

Advantages of a Monoline lender

  • They focus on one thing: mortgages.  For you that also means they do not try to cross-sell you into credit cards, investments or insurance.
  • Monolines have a much lower IRD (Interest Rate Differential) pre-payment penalty calculation, which is important if you are required to get out of your mortgage before the end of your term. In my own personal experience the Monoline penalties are up to 2/3 less than those of the big-six banks.
  • They often have products that specialize in a range of solutions aimed at borrowers with lower credit scores and those with self-employed income sources.
  • No storefronts mean lower overhead which in turn they pass along to you in the form of lower interest rates.
  • Monolines are heavily regulated and follow the same lending guidelines as all the major banks in Canada
  • Pre-payment options are often greater than the big-six banks offer.
  • Online access to your mortgage and customer service departments is excellent – it has to be – they don’t have branches.

This article by financial writer Rob Carrick was published in the Globe and Mail comparing Scotiabank to ING regarding their vast differences in penalty calculations.  As much as we try to explain what a Monoline differs from a bank, an article from a third party drives it home.

Even when the rates are the same between banks and the Monoline borrowers should always factor the potential IRD into their decision making as one never knows what will happen in the future

To summarize, Monoline lenders tend to provide better rates over the big banks, have favourable penalty calculations, and foster relationships with brokers to ensure the business comes back to them (including having a renewal model to reduce churn).

23 Aug

When Your Mortgage Term Matures, First Get a Second Opinion

General

Posted by: Garth Chapman

In 2018 the mortgages of 47% of Canadians will mature. Roughly 70% of them will simply sign the mailed renewal offer from their bank. Without even attempting to negotiate the rate. On average those borrowers will pay 0.25% above the then-current market rate. That’s an extra $52 per month on a $400,000 mortgage. But it doesn’t have to be this way…

Calling your Mortgage Broker when your mortgage is about to mature is akin to getting a second opinion on a medical diagnosis.  So when your mortgage is soon to mature, for the sake of your financial health,  please do make that second opinion call to your Mortgage Broker.  He or she might advise you that your existing bank is making you the best offer you are likely to get and recommend that you take that offer.  Or they may simply help guide you in negotiating a better offer from your existing bank.  Or they may advise that they believe they can find you a mortgage better suited to your needs and objectives.  Often a good Mortgage Broker can make that assessment on the first phone call.  In those cases think of us as providing a sound professional second opinion.

When should you start thinking about this?

Most of us will find that much has changed in our life, career and financial position during the 3, 4 or 5 years since we took out or last renewed our mortgage.  That means that a proper review of that mortgage against those new realities is in order, and the good news is that process is really a pretty easy one.

Virtually all banks and mortgage lenders will hold an interest rate for you to protect against possible rate increases for up to 120 days (4 months).  So a little before 4 months in advance of the maturation date of your mortgage is when you should begin the process.  If you’re a Jencor Client then you will receive in the mail 4 months ahead a letter advising you of your upcoming renewal.  In this way we ensure that our clients are properly prepared in advance to ensure they make the best decision.

What are your rights and opportunities when your mortgage matures?

First a quick description of what the words mean.  The mortgage ‘term’ is the time period of the current mortgage contract.  This is distinct from the ‘amortization’ period, which is the number of years to go until your mortgage is totally paid off.  So with that in mind, mortgage term maturity in Canada means that the term you signed with the bank for your mortgage is up, and you can then in most cases either renew with that bank or you can transfer (aka Switch) your mortgage to any of a few dozen other mortgage lenders, generally without cost.

So in effect, on the mortgage maturity date you will be a ‘free agent’.   Let’s take this sports analogy a little further.  When you are a free agent, assuming you are a good player (ie good credit, income etc) the other teams (ie banks) will want you to change teams and play for them (ie take over your mortgage from your existing bank).  So this means you can move your mortgage to any other team (ie bank) to get the best deal for your needs, and usually without any costs as the new bank will pick up the Appraisal and legal costs for the mortgage transfer since they are growing their market share by talking some business away from a competitor.

An important thing to know is that the single biggest motivator or goal for banks in the mortgage business is growing their share  of the overall mortgage market. That’s a key reason they put money on sale (by lowering interest rates) when the real estate markets are busier in spring and summer.

A sports Agent knows all the teams in the league, and they know their athlete client’s capabilities and needs and goals.  The Agent then negotiates with the teams that fit their athlete client best to find the best fit, and then negotiates with the team(s) selected to get the best contract for their client.

Just like an athlete, you too have an ‘Agent’, your Mortgage Broker, whose role in this process is to assess your needs and objectives, to gather your information, and then to present you in your best light to the banks who have the mortgage products that will best fit you, and then to negotiate with those other banks to get you the mortgage that best fits your needs.  And finally to shepherd the mortgage completion through to the end to ensure everything goes according to plan, so you don’t have to.

So what are the details of how your Mortgage Broker will act for you in this process?

Your Mortgage Broker will work with you to understand what your needs, objectives and preferences are.  These will include things like Pre-payment Penalties, Portability, Bridge financing, Variable or Fixed rate selections, Term length, Pre-payment Privileges, Increase Payment privileges, Payment holidays, and more.

If you are an existing Client of your Mortgage Broker then this will mean a simple update of your previous Application and gathering the documents required, less of course the ones they have from your earlier file.  If you a new Client then it’s a fresh Application and gathering your documents.  Expect to spend 15-20 minutes to get acquainted and allow the Broker to learn what they need to know to allow them to minimize the documents and time needed from you going forward, then again about 15-20 minutes on the Application, and usually that much again providing the required documents.

So it can be from less than an hour, to perhaps a couple of hours in complex scenarios.  It really isn’t much of a time commitment on your part, especially when you consider the value that comes to you as a result, and with how significant your mortgage is in your overall financial picture, we think it’s time well spent.

And then they will review what your bank and the other banks are offering on rate and on terms and the above and present you with your best options based on the needs and objectives you determined together.  That will allow you to make an informed decision on which mortgage is best for you going forward.

As I wrote above, your Mortgage Broker may advise you that your existing bank is making the best offer and their best advice is to take that offer, or they may help you to negotiate a better offer from your existing bank.  In the event your current mortgage lender is not making a competitive offer or their terms are not appropriate for your needs, or if you simply want to move to another lender, then your Mortgage Broker will recommend the best alternative(s) for you.

If you decide to Transfer (aka Switch) your mortgage to another lender your Mortgage Broker will complete the Application process as I described above and ‘book’ your file, and within as little as 2-3 days, will present you with a Mortgage Commitment from the lender best fit for you, and then guide you through signing those via a thorough review of the documents.

And here is a National Post article on the subject. This piece makes the point about how banks use our fears to get a surprisingly large percentage of people to sign their mortgage renewal notice, and usually at higher than market rates. And all without even the tiniest sliver of the review of their Client’s needs and objectives that you now know is so important.