13 Nov

5 GREAT Reasons To Provide a 20% Down Payment when Buying a Home

General

Posted by: Trent Glover

Great info here!

There are many challenges that come into play when you’re in the market to buy a home.
Buyers say the number one obstacle to home ownership is saving enough for a down payment, the amount that the buyer provides toward the purchase of their home.
Exactly how much do you need to put down? Assuming you can finance the debt with your current income you can get a mortgage for as little as 5% down PLUS pay for Mortgage Default insurance if you put less than 20% down.
A smart rule of thumb is always try to put a least 20% down. Although that may be a challenge in Greater Vancouver where the current Vancouver MLS stats indicate an average house price of $1,227,420

1. Easier to service your debt. Putting 20% down reduces the size of your monthly mortgage payment, making you more likely to qualify for and afford, your mortgage. Lenders want to make sure you can service your debt with your current income using 2 rules:
o Rule #1 – GROSS DEBT SERVICE (GDS) Your monthly housing costs are generally not supposed to exceed 35-39% of your gross monthly income. Housing costs include – your monthly mortgage payment, property taxes and can include heating. If you are buying a condo/townhouse with strata property then the GDS will also include ½ of your strata fees.
Principle + Interest + Taxes (+ 50-100% Strata Fees if applicable) Gross Income

Rule #2 – TOTAL DEBT SERVICE (TDS) Your entire monthly debt payments should not exceed 40-44% of your gross monthly income. This includes your housing costs PLUS all other monthly payments (first mortgage, property taxes, maintenance fees, additional financing, car payments, charge accounts, etc.).
(Principle + Interest + Taxes) + Other Payments Gross Income

2. A Smaller Monthly Mortgage Payment! You pay LESS!! I’m all about making smaller mortgage payments and having money for the fun stuff in life. More money down means, you borrow less money, which means you will have a smaller mortgage, which means you have smaller, more affordable mortgage payments.

3. No private mortgage default insurance. Putting 20% down allows you to avoid paying for mortgage default insurance.
o In Canada, mortgage insurance is required federally on high-ratio mortgages (a down payment of less than 20%). This insurance, which protects the bank/lender in case the borrower defaults, gives lenders the flexibility to offer homebuyers with low down payments the same low interest rates they would offer to homebuyers with more equity.
o Mortgage insurance premiums are based on the amount of the mortgage. The higher the loan-to-value ratio, the higher the premium cost. In other words, the lower your down payment, the more expensive the insurance. This premium may be paid in cash in a lump sum upon closing, it is usually added to the mortgage amount and paid over the length of the mortgage.
o Canadian Mortgage & Housing Corp. (CMHC) and Genworth Canada provide mortgage default insurance. Click on CMHC or Genworth for the sliding scale, the bigger your down payment the less insurance you pay. Once you hit a 20% down payment, mortgage default insurance is no longer mandatory.

4. Pay Less Interest over the Life of the Loan. You pay less interest with 20% down payment, since you’re putting more money on the house compared to if you put 5% or 10% down.

5. Instant Equity Building. A significant down payment builds instant equity in your home. A 20% down payment immediately puts equity into a home when you purchase it. That down payment gives you some cushion, in case the market takes a downward turn.

If you have any questions contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional near you.

Kelly Hudson

Kelly Hudson

8 Nov

How to Get a FREE Copy of Your Credit Bureau

General

Posted by: Trent Glover

8 Nov 2018

 Check this out!

Think of your credit score as a report card on how you’ve handled your finances in the past. A credit score is a number that lenders use to determine the risk of lending money to a given borrower.

There is always someone willing to lend you money however, higher risk = higher rates!

Step 1 for good credit – you need to know your credit history
• In Canada there are 2 credit bureaus – Equifax and TransUnion.
• You can receive a FREE copy of your credit report from both Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada once a year
• You can pay Equifax or TransUnion for a digital copy, which is much faster, BUT you have to pay, which sucks.

I recommend you order a copy of your credit report from both Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada, since each credit bureau may have different information about how you have used credit in the past.

Ordering your own credit report has no effect on your credit score.
• Equifax Canada refers to your credit report as “credit file disclosure”.
• TransUnion Canada refers to your credit report as “consumer disclosure”.

Once you have obtained your free credit report, check it for errors:
• Are there any late payments that have been erroneously attributed to your credit history?
• Are the amounts owing in your credit report accurate?
• Is there anything missing on your credit bureau
o Sometimes the credit bureau has more that one file with your name, which can be merged, but it takes time.

If you find any errors on your credit report, you need to dispute them with your credit bureau.

How can I get a copy of my credit report and credit score?

There are two national credit bureaus in Canada: Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada. You should check with both bureaus.

Credit scores run from 300 to 900. The higher the number, the greater the likelihood a request for credit will be approved.

The “free-report-by-mail” links are not prominently displayed, since credit bureaus would love to sell you instant access to your report and credit score online.

Equifax, the instructions to get a free credit report by mail are available here.

For TransUnion, the instructions to get a free credit report by mail are available here.

The bottom line: when it comes to financing your life, through credit cards, mortgages, car loans or any other kind of debt – your credit score has a BIG impact on what kind of terms you can negotiate.

Keeping an eye on your credit score is important — if there’s a problem or an error, you want to know and have time to fix it before you apply for a loan. If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional near you.

Kelly Hudson

Kelly Hudson

6 Nov

No need to panic after rate increase release

General

Posted by: Trent Glover

6 Nov 2018

RELAX!!! lol

 

You may have already seen the more technical BANK OF CANADA RATE ANNOUNCEMENT on October 24th, or you may not have. The Coles Notes (the simplest version) are as such:

  • Global economy remains strong, the USMCA will reduce trading uncertainty
  • Canadian economy is balanced for the foreseeable 2 years
  • Household spending will increase, but backed by income growth
  • Housing activity across Canada is stabilizing

 

On October 24th the Bank of Canada did what we all expected, they increased the Overnight lending rate by 0.25% to 1.75%. This equated to a PRIME being increased by 0.25% to 3.95%. All variable rate mortgages and lines of credit utilize PRIME to calculate the current interest rate.

Now the BIG QUESTION, how do we as mortgage consumers respond? First, ask your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker how they plan to react in accordance to his own financing.

No need to ask me, I will tell you. Variable, with no hesitation. I will stay the course by not pushing the panic button.

WHY?

Because if I decide to move, re-finance, consolidate, leverage equity or to simply break the mortgage for any reason my penalty will only be 3 months interest. I also need to consider how much money I have saved over the term by utilizing a variable rate mortgage rather than a fixed. During my current mortgage the spread between variable and fixed is approximately 1%.

Please excuse the following ‘tongue & cheek…’To go with a fixed mortgage tells me that you can predict the future with absolute certainty.

I know I can’t, so I rely on statistics. 65% of all fixed mortgage consumers will break their mortgage in 33 months, the penalty that follows is unavoidable. For the average B.C. mortgage of $350,000 the penalty is approximately $14,000. By opting for a fixed rate mortgage, you have declared to the universe that there is a zero percent chance you will need to access equity, amend the current mortgage or consider applying for a secured line of credit.

Real estate wealth is a long game, building net worth doesn’t happen overnight. Gains are not made in the short term. Just like other markets (stocks, bonds, mutuals, GICs RRSPs), there will be highs and lows.

What does this increase mean?

Dollarize it for your own personal consumption. For an increase of 0.25% the payment will go up $13 per every $100,000 borrowed. For some variable rate borrowers, the payment hasn’t even changed as the lender only adjusts the principal and interest allocation.

Now the question becomes, what do you do? Remain with variable or lock into a fixed. I recommend staying the course.

Michael Hallett

Michael Hallett

5 Nov

What Is a Monoline Lender?

General

Posted by: Trent Glover

7 Aug 2018

Now you know…..

What usually follows once someone hears the term “Monoline Lender” for the first time is a feeling of suspicion and lack of trust. It’s understandable, I mean why is this “bank” you’ve never heard of willing to loan you money when you’ve never banked with them before?

In an effort to help you see the benefits of working with a Monoline Lender, here is some basic information that will help you understand why you’ve never heard of them, why you want to, and the reason they are referred to as lenders, not banks.

Monoline Lenders only operate in the mortgage space. They do not offer chequing or savings accounts, nor do they offer investments through RRSPs, GICs, or Tax-Free Savings Accounts. They are called Monoline because they have one line of business- mortgages.

This also plays into the reasons you never see their name or locations anywhere. There is no need for them to market on bus stop benches or billboards as they are only accessible through mortgage brokers, making their need to market to you unnecessary. The branch locations are also unnecessary because you do not have day-to-day banking, savings accounts, investment accounts, or credit cards through them. All your banking stays the exact same, with the only difference of a pre-authorized payments coming from your account for the monthly mortgage payment. Any questions or concerns, they have a phone number and communicate documents through e-mail.

Would it help Monoline Lenders to advertise and create brand awareness with the public? Absolutely. Is it necessary for them to remain in business? No.

Monoline Lenders also have some of the lowest interest rates on the market, the most attractive pre-payment privileges, and the lowest pre-payment penalties, especially when compared to a bigger bank like CIBC or RBC. If you don’t think these points are important, ask someone whose had a mortgage with one of these bigger banks and sold their property before their term was up and paid upwards of $12,000 in penalty fees. An equivalent amount with a Monoline Lender would be anywhere from $2,000-$4,000 in fees.

Monoline Lenders are not to be feared, they should be welcomed, as they are some of the most accommodating and client service-oriented lenders around! If you have any questions, contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional today.

Ryan Oake

Ryan Oake

2 Nov

A guide to your Home Buyers’ Plan

General

Posted by: Trent Glover

2 Nov 2018

Great info! Check this out!

Start at the beginning…
Registered Retirement Savings Plan = one of the best ways to save for retirement and your down payment and continuing your education. With an RRSP, your contributions reduce your taxable income. This is different from your TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account) which does not reduce your taxable income, but it does give you the added benefit of tax-free withdrawals. What does that mean? Well, with the RRSP you get a tax deduction meaning money back to you!
This is different from your TFSA, Tax Free Savings Account which does not reduce your taxable income, but it does give you the added benefit of tax-free withdrawals. But, reality is the RRSP will have a lower tax rate in retirement.
Everyone can save for their RRSP with as little as $50 per paycheque or more, depending on your budget. You can also go to your bank, sometimes your broker and see about a line of credit, that would be essentially secured by the RRSP, so that you contribute as much as you can qualify for. With this option when you get your refund, put those funds toward the RRSP loan, DON’T use it for the get away we all deserve!
An RRSP line of credit based on a 5-year term at prime rate +/- would equate to about $10,000 in a refund, based on 40% tax margin. If you retire in 25 years you would have approximately $107,296 in your RRSP and that is based on an estimated 6% annual rate of return.
Did you know that you can use up to $25,000 from your Registered Retirement Savings Plan, for each applicant, towards your down payment and closing costs this is the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP)?
Do you meet the RRSP withdrawal conditions?
• Resident of Canada at the time of withdrawal

• You cannot withdraw more than $25,000

• Only the person who is entitled to receive payments from the RRSP can withdraw funds from an RRSP. You can withdraw funds from more than one RRSP as long as you are the owner of each RRSP. Your RRSP issuer will not withhold tax on withdraw amounts of $25,000 or less.

• Normally, you will not be allowed to withdraw funds from a locked-in RRSP or a group RRSP.

• Your RRSP contributions must stay in the RRSP for at least 90 days before you can withdraw them under the HBP. If this is not the case, the contributions may not be deductible for any year.

• Neither you nor your spouse or common-law partner or the related person with a disability that you buy or build the qualifying home for can own the qualifying home more than 30 days before the withdrawal is made.

• You have to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself, for a related person with a disability, or to help a related person with a disability buy or build a qualifying home before October 1st of the year after the year of the withdrawal.

• You have to fill out Form T1036, Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) Request to Withdraw Funds from an RRSP for each eligible withdrawal.

Under the HBP, the home must better fit the needs of the disabled person than his or her current home. You can withdraw funds from your RRSPs under the HBP to buy or build a home, if:

• you are a person with a disability;

• you are buying or building a home for a related person with a disability;

• you are helping a related person with a disability to buy or build a home.

Regardless of the situation, you are responsible for making sure that all applicable HBP conditions are met. If, at any time during your participation period, a condition is not met, your withdrawal will not be considered eligible and it will have to be included as income on your income tax and benefit return for the year it is received. Valuable information at your fingertips and from your broker.

Check for more information at Revenue Canada here. If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional near you.

Karen Penner

Karen Penner

26 Oct

7 Tips for Buying Your First Home

General

Posted by: Trent Glover

 

26 Oct 2018

Check these tips out…

As a licensed Mortgage Broker, I am often asked “what do I need to know when buying my first home?”
Everyone has their own aims and objects when buying their first home. As a Mortgage Broker, I specialize in making sure your financing is in order to facilitate your dreams of owning a home.

Buying your first home is very exciting, but it can easily be overwhelming. Being prepared is the first step. The decision to purchase your first home can be a huge, life-changing event and you need to know exactly what you are getting into.

To get you prepared with the knowledge you need, here are my 7 tips to consider when you buy your first home: (Some of these may only relate to B.C.)

1. Strengthen your credit rating.

It’s pretty simple: the higher your credit score, the lower your mortgage rate will be.

Spend the time now to improve your credit. Check your credit report. Many credit reports have errors, so you need to ensure that your credit bureau is current and correct.

ALWAYS pay every single one of your bills on time. Set up automatic payments if you have had any late payments over the last couple of years.

Stop applying for any new credit a year before you are considering buying and continue until you sign the closing papers on your home. Spend only 30% of credit limits on credit cards.

2. Find a Mortgage Broker and figure out how much you can afford to spend.

The home buyer’s mantra: Get a home that’s financially comfortable.

Contact a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional. We work with you up to a year in advance to analyze your situation, and tell you how much mortgage and monthly payments you can afford.

Lenders like to see that you spend a maximum:

  1. 32-39% of your Gross income on mortgage payments, maintenance fees (if applicable), heat & property taxes
  2. 38-44% of your Gross Income on all debts
    Including #1 above PLUS loans, credit cards, additional financing etc.

1 year+ prior to going home shopping, calculate the mortgage payment for the home in your intended price range, along with the increased expenses (such as taxes, insurance and utilities). Then bank the difference between the home payments and what you’re paying now. Not only will that simulate ownership, it also helps you save for your down payment!

When you are ready to start shopping for your home, as your Mortgage Broker, I gather all your financial documentation that the lender requires, in order to figure out much you can afford to spend. Then I work with you to get a pre-approval and lock in a low interest rate to protect you in case rates rise between now and the time you by your new home.

3. How long will you live in your new home?

The transaction costs of buying and selling a house are substantial including: real estate fees, legal fees, Property Transfer Tax, selling in a down market, moving, etc.

If you don’t plan to live in your new home for at least 3-5 years, you may not gain enough equity to make selling worthwhile.

Short-term home ownership can be a pretty expensive proposition. If that is the case, holding off on purchasing could be your best option.

4. How much house you need?

Buying a cheaper, smaller home might sound like a good place to start, but could end up costing you more if you need to move due to changes in your lifestyle, including a growing family. Then again, buying more house than you currently need will cost you more with higher mortgage payments, higher maintenance, energy and tax costs.

Prioritize your housing wish list. They say that the 3 most important things to think about when buying are home are location, location, location. In Greater Vancouver your first choice for location i.e. Kitsilano or Yaletown may not be within your means. You also need to think about how the new home space will be used and whether it will fit your lifestyle now and in the future.

5. Build a savings account.

Start now to build a healthy savings account. To avoid paying CMHC Mortgage Default Insurance you need to prove you have a 20% down payment.

Building your savings account, over and above the money you will require for the down payment and closing costs. Lenders want to see that you’re not living paycheck to paycheck. If you have three to five months’ worth of mortgage payments in your savings, that makes you a much better loan candidate.

6. Remember closing costs.

While you’re saving your down payment, you need to save for closing costs too. They’re typically 1% to 3% of the purchase price and due on the completion date.

In B.C. you need to also pay Property Transfer Tax (PPT). The amount of tax you pay is based on the fair market value of the land and improvements (e.g. buildings) on the date of registration unless you purchase a pre-sold strata unit. The tax is charged at a rate of 1% for the first $200,000 and 2% for the portion of the fair market value that is greater than $200,000. 3% on the portion over $2,000,000 and if the property is residential, a further 2% on the portion greater than $3,000,000

7. Shop for a Realtor that has your best interests in mind.

Interview at least three Realtors. Get referrals from people you trust who have recently bought or sold, including me, your mortgage broker. I work with a lot of realtors, some of whom are outstanding in their field. Once you’ve decided which Realtor is the best fit for you, they can help you focus your search to find your perfect home. There is no cost for the Realtor for the home buyer since the home seller pays the commission.

Besides the 7 tips I’ve listed above, there are many other things you should need to be aware of prior to buying your first home.

Mortgages are complicated… BUT they don’t have to be! Engage an expert!

Kelly Hudson

25 Oct

Rates On The Rise Both Variable & Fixed

General

Posted by: Trent Glover

 

 

25 Oct 2018

Rates are Rising, what should you do?….

With the Bank of Canada in a mood to raise rates, it’s a similar feeling for the bond market, which impacts fixed rates. In every interest-rate market there are many factors leading to an increase and we are hoping to provide a little bit of clarity on what is happening and what it means to you and your loved ones. We tell you this in advance to be proactive to take care of you, as our mortgage family, so as you hear the news about the changes you have comfort we are here to lead with clarity.

At this time, we see fixed rates increasing as the bond market increases.

Why do we note this information and how does it relate to you?

If you are in a variable rate, you will want to:

  1. Review your lock-in options by contacting us or your lender directly (every lender has different policies in allowing us to help or not). Knowing it’s unlikely the prime rate will reduce and fixed rates are on the rise, there could be a sweet spot to review your options now.
  2. If you decide not to lock in, it’s time to review your discount to see if a higher one can be obtained elsewhere.

Locking in won’t be for everyone, especially if you are making higher payments and your mortgage is below $300,000, which most people fit and will continue on that path. Also if your discount is more than .6 below prime you may want to wait and watch the market. Locking in will be around a 1% higher rate than you are likely presently paying. If knowing you can likely lock in around 4% now is most attractive to you, this may be your time.

If you are in a fixed rate:

  1. If you obtained your mortgage in the last year, stay put.
  2.  If you are looking to move up the property ladder or consolidate debt, get your application in to us ASAP so we can hold options for up to 120 days.
  3. If you are up for renewal this year or know someone who is, secure your options now with us to weight out the savings prior to renewal with us keeping a watchful eye on the market.

Keep in mind that if you or someone you care about has an average mortgage of $350,000 and got it a few years ago at 2.49% now a qualified applicant can expect about 3.89% which is a payment increase of $254 dollars a month, so increasing your payment now will protect your equity, and you from future payment shock.

Please reach out to a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional so we can help ensure you or a loved is on the right path in our ever changing market.

Angela Calla

Angela Calla

24 Oct

Poloz Rate Hike Had A Hawkish Tone

General

Posted by: Trent Glover

Poloz Rate Hike Had A Hawkish Tone

As was universally expected, the Bank of Canada’s Governing Council hiked overnight rates this morning by 25 basis points taking the benchmark yield to 1-3/4%. This marked the fifth rate increase since the current tightening phase began in July 2017 (see chart below). The central bank stated it would return the overnight rate to a neutral stance, dropping the word ‘gradually’ that was used to describe the upward progression in yields since this process began. Market watchers will certainly note this omission. For the first time in years, the Bank has acknowledged it expects to remove monetary stimulus from the economy entirely.

So what is the neutral overnight rate? According to today’s Monetary Policy Report (MPR), “the neutral nominal policy rate is defined as the real rate consistent with output sustainably at its potential level and inflation equal to target, on an ongoing basis, plus 2% for the inflation target. It is a medium- to long-term equilibrium concept.” For Canada, the neutral rate is estimated to be between 2.5% and 3.5%, which implies that at a minimum, three more 25 basis point rate hikes are likely over the next year or so.

The Bank of Canada emphasized that the global economic outlook remains solid and that the U.S. economy is particularly robust, but is expected to moderate as U.S.-China trade tensions weigh on growth and commodity prices. The new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) eliminated a good deal of uncertainty for Canadian exports, which will reignite business confidence and investment. Business investment and exports have been of concern in recent quarters, and the Bank is now looking towards a resurgence in these sectors, augmented by the recently-approved liquid natural gas project in British Columbia.

A continuing concern, however, is the decline in Canadian oil prices. Western Canada Select (WCS), a local blend that represents about half of Canada’s crude oil exports, has declined about 60% since July as global oil prices have risen (see chart below). WCS plunged below US$20 a barrel last week posting the biggest discount to West Texas Intermediate (WTI) on record in Bloomberg data back to 2008. WCS generally tracks heavy oil from Canada, which typically trades at a discount to WTI because of quality issues as well as the cost of transport from Alberta to the refineries in the U.S.

Canadian pipelines are already filled to the brim. The inability of the Canadian oil industry to build a major pipeline from Alberta to either the U.S. or the Pacific Ocean is increasingly dragging down domestic oil prices. Oil-by-rail shipments to the U.S. are at an all-time high, but this is an expensive and potentially unsafe option and precludes Canadian oil exports to China and Japan.


An even broader concern is the impact of higher interest rates on debt-laden consumers. The Bank is well aware of the risks, as the MPR cited that “consumption is projected to grow at a healthy pace, although the pace of spending gradually slows in response to rising interest rates… Higher mortgage rates and the changes to mortgage guidelines are affecting the dynamics of housing activity. Housing resales responded quickly to the new mortgage guidelines, and the level of resale activity is expected to continue on a lower trajectory than before the changes. New home construction is shifting toward smaller units, although stronger population growth is estimated to raise fundamental demand for housing.”

Household credit growth has slowed, and the share of new mortgages with high loan-to-income ratios has fallen. The ratio of household debt to income has levelled off and is expected to edge downward (see chart below).


Low-ratio mortgage originations declined by about 15% in the second quarter of 2018 relative to the same quarter in 2017 (see charts below). The MPR shows that “while activity fell for all categories of borrowers, the drop was more pronounced for those with a loan-to-income ratio above 450%, leading to a decline in the number of new highly indebted households”.

Bottom Line: The Bank of Canada believes the economy will grow about 2% per year in 2018, 2019 and 2020, in line with their upwardly revised estimate of potential growth of 1.9%. The Bank asserts that mortgage tightening measures of the past two years have “reduced household vulnerabilities,” although the “sheer size of the outstanding debt means that vulnerability will persist for some time”. That is Bank of Canada doublespeak. What it means is expect three more rate hikes by the end of next year.

Dr. Sherry Cooper

Dr. Sherry Cooper

Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres

23 Oct

7 things every self-employed individual should know — Before you apply for a mortgage

General

Posted by: Trent Glover

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 individua,l 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 a Dominion Lending Centres broker leading up to your property purchase can help you ensure you get the mortgage you want.

Geoff Lee

Geoff Lee

22 Oct

CMHC Changes to Assist Self-Employed Borrowers

General

Posted by: Trent Glover

 

Some good news for self employed!

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

Kristin Woolard