8 Mar

Happy International Women’s Day!

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Posted by: Michelle Webber

Happy International Women’s Day! Sharing stories, lending a helping hand and standing together are the easiest ways we can make an impact on others. In the spirit of sharing stories, advice and strength, I wanted to highlight some things I’ve learned from reading about Arlene Dickinson.

Always on the lookout for helpful articles, I searched for pieces of Arlene’s advice that relate to women in business and compiled five of my favorite lessons. Whether you are a business owner, a passionate employee, or public figure, these five lessons will resonate with your daily struggles and hopefully empower you too!

Be authentic:

 “One of the biggest mistakes women can make in business happens when, in an effort to conform to a man’s world, we either ignore or quiet our own unique thinking and approach. Leading like who we are is our advantage, not our disadvantage, and it’s time to start believing that.”

“My dad used to tell me that I would be a lot less worried about what others thought of me if I knew just how little they did. Everyone is too busy thinking about their own lives to think long about yours. Live your best life-not caring as much what others think of it. Be you.”

Stop undervaluing yourself:

 The biggest mistake women make is not asking for more compensation. In many articles, Arlene brings up a lack of confidence and undervaluing that we do without even realizing it, particularly when a stay-at-home parent is returning to the workforce. Many of the skills we learn at home – managing a budget, conflict resolution, project management, dealing with emotions – are very valuable tools in a workplace. If we first recognize our value, we can then fight for what we’re worth because we will believe it.

Craft your own definition of success:

“Success has always meant challenging myself by doing what I thought I couldn’t do. My definition is very personal: it means the ability to look at myself in the mirror and be able to like who I am and feel like I have really pushed myself to do things that I didn’t think were possible. It’s never been a financial number. It’s more feeling like I’ve lived my life fully.”

Slow down and Mute the noise:

In today’s fast-paced society, there is so much noise and distraction, and we often forget to take a break to regain perspective and refocus our goals and priorities. “While it’s important not to shut off the rest of the world entirely, it’s worth it to work at your own needs ahead of others from time to time.”

“If you’re personally satisfied, you’ll satisfy everyone else.”

Share your stories:

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from Arlene is the importance of sharing stories that have made you the woman you are. According to an Inside Halton article, Arlene explained: “we’re so busy texting our way through life, we forget the richness of the heritage we have and we forget to pass those traditions down…to pass that thinking down; to articulate the lessons we learned the hard way so that others might learn from us.”

Read more about Arlene:

Advice for women in business 

Advice for women entrepreneurs

Arlene Dickinson encourages women to take responsibility for actions

Five tips to win in your work life this year 

Arlene on Twitter

 

 

28 Feb

Bank Broker Vs. Mortgage Broker

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Posted by: Michelle Webber

 

Ask any mortgage broker and they can tell you that there are a handful of misconceptions that the public has about working with a mortgage broker. From questioning their credentials (we all are regulated and licensed with in our own province, and are constantly re-educating ourselves) to assuming that the broker does not have access to the same rate as the banks (we do in fact—plus access to even more lending options) mortgage brokers have heard it all!

With the recent changes to the B-20 guidelines taking full effect as of January 1, 2018 the mortgage landscape is changing and we firmly believe in keeping our clients educated and informed. With these changes, there have been a number of misconceptions that have come to light regarding mortgage professionals and their “limitations” and we felt it was time to address them:

Myth 1: Independent Broker’s don’t have access to the rates the banks do.

Fact: Not true. Brokers have access to MORE rates and lenders than the bank. The bank brokers only have access to their rates-no other ones. A mortgage professional has access to:

• Tier 1 banks in Canada
• Credit Unions
• Monoline Lenders
• Alternative Lenders
• Private Lenders

This extensive network of lender options allows brokers to ensure that you are not only getting the sharpest rate, but that the mortgage product is also aligned with the client’s needs.

Myth 2: The consumer has to negotiate a rate with a lender directly.

Fact: Not true at all! Your mortgage professional will shop the market to find the best overall cost of borrowing for the client. Broker’s will look at all angles of the product to ensure that the client is getting one that will suit their unique and specific needs. Not once will the client be expected to shop their mortgage around or to speak to the lender. This is different from the bank where you are limited to only their rates and are left to negotiate with the bank’s broker—who is paid by the bank! We don’t know about you, but we would much rather have a broker negotiate on our behalf. Plus, they are FREE to use (see myth #6)

Myth 3: A Broker’s goal is to move the mortgage on each renewal.

Fact: A Mortgage Broker’s goal is to present multiple options to consumers so they can secure the optimal product for their specific and unique needs. This entails the broker looking at more than just the rate. A broker will look at:
• Prepayment options
• Costs of borrowing
• Portability
• Penalty to break
• Mortgage charges

And more. If the Broker determines that the current lender is the most ideal for their client at the time of renewal, then they will advise them to remain with that lender. The end goal of renewal is simple: provide clients the best ongoing, current advice at the time of origination and at the time of renewal

Myth 4: The broker receives a trailer fee if the client remains with the same lender at renewal.

Fact: This is on a case-to-case basis. At times, there is a small fee given to the broker if a client opts to renew with their current lender. This allows for accountability between the lender, broker, and customer in most cases. However, this is not always the case and the details of each renewal will vary.

Myth 5: If a Broker moves a mortgage to a new lender upon time of renewal then the full mortgage commission is received by the broker, allowing the broker to obtain “passive income” by constantly switching clients over.

Fact: Let’s clarify: If a client chooses to move their mortgage at renewal after a broker presents them with the best options, then it is in fact a new deal. By being a new deal, this means that the broker has all the work associated with any new file at that time. It is the equivalent of a brand-new mortgage and the broker will have to do the correct steps and work associated with it.

A second point of clarification-although the broker will earn income on this switch, the income (in most cases) is paid by the financial institution receiving the mortgage, NOT the client.

Myth 6: It costs a client more to renew with a mortgage broker.

Fact: Completely false. Clients SAVE MONEY when they work with a mortgage broker at . A broker has access to a variety of lenders and can offer discounts that the bank can’t. Additionally, most mortgage brokers offer continuous advice and information to their clients. Working with a broker is not a “one and done” deal as it is a broker’s goal to keep their clients informed, educated, and well-versed as to what is happening in the industry and how it will affect them. When you work with a broker instead of the bank, you not only get the best mortgage for you, but you also have access to a wealth of industry knowledge continuously.

Mortgage Brokers are a dedicated group of individuals who work directly for the client, not the lenders or the bank. Brokers are problem-solvers, advisors and honourable individuals. We work hard to give our clients the best that we can in an industry that constantly is evolving and changing.

We encourage you to reach out to your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional if you have any misconceptions or questions about working with a broker-we are happy to answer them and help you with your mortgage, your renewal, and everything and anything in between.

See Original Blog Post with Author Details 

25 Feb

Credit Unions: Alternative Mortgage Lenders

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Posted by: Michelle Webber

Credit Unions are often overlooked as a choice for your mortgage lender – but there are reasons why considering a Credit Union might be well worth your while.

One of the primary attractions for Credit Unions is that they are regulated provincially, so they are not restricted by the Federal regulations that banks and monoline lenders have to adhere to*.

*When purchases have down payments of less than 20%, all mortgage loans are required to have mortgage default insurance and therefore are still subject to federal guidelines of CMHC and other insurers.

In most cases Credit Unions have the advantage of not being federally regulated which has implemented strict guidelines for loans that includes rules loan documentation, income documentation and tight debt services ratios (how much you can afford).

Mind The Gap

The gap between federal and provincial rules do allow credit unions to compete on some products the banks are unable to provide. Credit Unions are able to offer competitively low interest rates for files that a bank or monoline lender would not be able to fund. In many cases, these files would go to private lenders whose interest rates are sometimes double those of the credit unions’.

An additional benefit of Credit Unions is that they have the ability to share in the dividends with their clients – which can ultimately lower your effective mortgage rate because you are getting cash back.

The Drawbacks
There are some cons when dealing with a Credit Union…often they don’t offer mortgages outside their lending areas so if you are with a smaller Credit Union you may not be able to port your mortgage (bring your mortgage to a new property) if you decide to move. This is a very important consideration. Life situations do change, and if you have to move before your mortgage term is up, you run the risk of having to pay some hefty penalties.

You may also be obligated to open an account at the Credit Union and in some cases maintain a balance where the mortgage amount is withdrawn from, which is a possible deterrent for some people. There are often additional conditions they sometimes require in order to obtain their very best rates.

Another Reason to Contact Your Mortgage Broker
As always, my advice is to contact your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker – to discuss all mortgage lender choices and find a lender that is the right fit for your personal needs. As a source of experienced and unbiased information about all types of lenders, your broker is the gateway to your perfect home mortgage.

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21 Feb

Are you Ready to Buy a House?

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Posted by: Michelle Webber

Here are 7 signs that you’re ready to buy your first home…

1. You have saved enough for the down payment
Most people think the biggest hurdle to overcome when buying a house is saving up a down payment. You normally need to save at least 5% of the purchase price as a down payment. This down payment shows that you have some of your own money invested in the house which gives the lender some comfort that you will protect your investment. Having the ability to save money is a great first sign you might be a future homeowner.

2. You have good credit
Having perfect credit isn’t a requirement to get approved for a mortgage in Canada. However, if your credit score is at least 650, your odds of getting approved are much higher. If your score is at least 620, you may qualify for a mortgage with as low as a 5% down payment. Lenders look at more than just your credit score. If you have not missed a single missed payment in the past 12 months this is a great sign that you’re more likely to qualify.

3. You can afford the mortgage payment
The amount of home you qualify for is tied to your debt to income ratio. It’s typically recommended to keep you spend no higher than 35% of your monthly income on housing related expense (Mortage, property tax and heating). If you’re renting a home, chances are that your mortgage payment will be close to what you’re paying in rent. Use our calculator to find out what your mortgage payment will be and how much you can afford. How much house can you afford calculator.

4. You have steady employment
If you have been in the same job with the same employer for at least 1 year, you’re financially stable enough to have a mortgage. Having steady employment history is a good indicator that you’re ready to buy a house.

5. You don’t plan on moving to a new city anytime soon
We all dream of living somewhere different. Buying a house is better financially than renting, but only if you plan on staying put for 3 years. If you don’t have any immediate plans on changing cities, then buying is a great option for you. There’s a chance that home you buy today will increase in value in a few years. Buying a home is a great investment.

6. You have kids, or kids on the way
If you already have children, you most likely want to settle down into a nice neighborhood. Kids don’t like moving away from their school and friends, so buying a home makes the most logical sense. If you don’t have kids this doesn’t mean you’re not ready to buy a home, not at all.

7. You’re tired of renting
Renting is financially exhausting. You are basically paying someone else mortgage payment. You’re hurting your bank account and helping theirs. You might want to spruce your place up but as a renter, what’s the point. If you feel the need/want to upgrade your home, now is the time to buy. You will feel proud and a sense of accomplishment taking care of and improving your home. So, get your DIY skills ready.

If you think a few of these describe where you are at in life, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker who can put you on a path to home ownership.

 

See Original Blog Post with Author Details 

18 Feb

Why Can’t you Port your Mortgage?

General

Posted by: Michelle Webber

Policies are always changing, and when you port a mortgage, a FULL application must be approved and completely underwritten with full, credit, income, property and policy review.

It’s a mistake to believe that just because you already had a mortgage, you will easily get a new one. Policies and rates are changing rapidly and you need a strategy to stay informed. SO BEFORE you consider a move, understand the worst case scenario of what you qualify for without porting your mortgage so you avoid disappointment of falling into the 70% of people that don’t end up porting. Mortgages can be made simple, when you are empowered with relevant information relating to the current market and your life stage. Depending on those factors, you might be happy to get rid of your old mortgage and get in with the new! We have a mortgage for that, and can help. On average less than 3% of mortgages are portable.

Let me list a few of the reasons why:

1. Dates– most lenders have a different policy on the dates that will allow to port the mortgage; it can be weeks or months. Your closing date will determine that.

2. Amortization– porting a mortgage means you port the same amortization, so if you are moving up the property ladder, that may mean your payments are significantly increased making it less affordable or meaning you can’t qualify with your income.

3. Amounts– some have a 10% variance limit up or down, where the penalty will trigger or it’s no longer a fit within the policy.

4. Change in credit– depending on the credit score and outside debts you have will determine if you still fit the credit profile your previous mortgage had.

5. Income– if there has been a change in your income type or amount this will also impact the options.

6. Property type– some lenders only lend on single-family homes, or a particular zoning, or don’t do private sales- even if they did when you originally got your mortgage with them.

7. Rate– maybe the change in rates either way of the product type you took doesn’t allow for a port due to one or a few of the combined factors. For example, going from insured to uninsured comes with different policies.

8. Product– maybe the product you had no longer exists for your particular profile.

9. Inspections – maybe the lender approved it initially but after your inspection just as you wanted a reduction in price, they decide they are no longer going to lend on it or decide it doesn’t fit the profile or they wont do it under that program ( instead you need a purchase plus improvements or a hold back they may or may not participate in and maybe want a different fix that you or a strata council agree on.)

10. Bridge – if you want to buy before you sell, all the above factors come into play. Maybe the original lender doesn’t allow the length of time you need, there cost to bridge is much higher, or maybe they don’t approve that portion of the loan, which puts you back at square one.

Purchasing a home is complex, with many moving parts and needs to be understood as such. When you have an experienced Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker by your side while lots of things can come up, we can guide you through what is best for your family, which is why we encourage you to be educated, and empowered so you are ready for your next part of your ownership journey.

See Original Blog Post with Author Details 

14 Feb

Winter is Here! Get a Worry Free Mortgage

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Posted by: Michelle Webber

This time of year, there are a few less mortgage’s being done- not many people want to move into a new home in the snow. But if you want to get a worry free mortgage, this is a great time to be shopping.

Scope out those potential neighbourhoods – how many snow shovels?

  • Will my new neighbours shovel their driveways?
  • Are there any super nice people on the street willing to snow-blow my sidewalk?
  • Can I walk around safely?
  • Are they using salt, sand or kitty litter to de-ice the walk?
  • How far is this house located from a bus route or major traffic route that will get plowed first when we have a lot of snow?

My top tip? Scope out that neighbourhood right after it snows – compare early morning snow levels to slightly after work snow levels. In some neighbourhoods you can drive around and count how many people have shovels ready near their front door.

And if you closely examine sidewalks, try looking right between two homes – this can tell you if two people shoveled at different times – or if that super nice multiple driveway shoveler exists in this neighbourhood! That’s what I call a worry free mortgage!

What? You need more than just good neighbours with shovel’s to have a worry free mortgage?
You want the best interest rate, or to confirm that you’ve got a mortgage that let’s you pay it off faster? Well, a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker will help with that. Give us a call to get those details in place!

 

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11 Feb

7 Ways to Grow your Credit Score

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Posted by: Michelle Webber

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.

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7 Feb

What is a Collateral Mortgage?

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Posted by: Michelle Webber

A collateral mortgage is a way of registering your mortgage on title. This type of registration is sometimes used by banks and credit unions. Monoline lenders, on the other hand, rarely register your mortgage as a collateral charge – which is an all-indebtedness charge that allows you to access the equity in the home over and above your mortgage, up to the total charge registered.

What this means is that you may be able to get a home equity line of credit and/or a readvanceable mortgage, or increase your mortgage without having to re-register a mortgage. This is a real benefit to you in some cases because re-registering your mortgage can cost up to a thousand dollars.

However, there are some negatives to having a collateral mortgage.

  • First and most glaring – because it is an “all indebtedness” mortgage – it brings into account all other debts held by that lender into an umbrella registered against your home. This means that your credit cards, car loans, or any related debt at your mortgage’s institution can be held against your home, even if you’re up to date with your mortgage payments.
  • Secondly, if you want to switch your mortgage over to a different lender, they may not accept the transfer of your specific collateral mortgage. This means you’ll need to pay additional fees to discharge the mortgage and register a new one.
  • And lastly, collateral mortgages make it more difficult to have flexibility to get a second mortgage, obtain a home equity line of credit from a different institution, or use a different financial instrument on your home. This is because your collateral mortgage is often registered for the whole amount of your property.

To recap, collateral mortgages give you the flexibility to combine multiple mortgage products under one umbrella mortgage product while tying you up with that one lender. While this type of mortgage can be a great tool when used correctly, it does have its drawbacks. If you have any questions, a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional can help.

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4 Feb

Six Home Purchase Closing Costs

General

Posted by: Michelle Webber

When you purchase your home, there are 6 additional costs to account for. They include:

  • Home Fire and Flood Insurance
  • Title Insurance
  • Legal Fees
  • Adjustments
  • Land Transfer Tax
  • GST

Here’s an overview of what you can expect.

Home and Fire Insurance. Mortgage lenders will require a certificate of fire insurance to be in place by the time you take possession of your home. The amount required is generally at least the amount of the mortgage or the replacement cost of the home. This cost can vary on the property size and extras being insured, as well as the insurance company and the municipality. Home insurance can vary anywhere from $400 per year for condos to $2,000 for large homes.

Title Insurance. This is a one-time fee of about $150 and it protects you against any issues, defects or fraud on your title. Your lawyer or notary helps you purchase this.

Legal Fees. Thirdly, you are required to pay legal fees. Your lawyer or notary will charge you anywhere from $700 to $1,000 to help with your purchase. There are also fees to register your title with the municipalities. All told, you’re looking at around $1,000 to 1,300, after tax.

Adjustments. An adjustment is a cost to you to pay the seller back for prepaying any property tax or condo fees on your behalf. Simply put, if you take possession in the middle of a month, the seller has already paid for the whole month and you must pay the seller back for what they’re not using.

Land transfer tax. Land transfer tax, or property transfer tax (PTT) as it’s known as in British Columbia, is a fee that is charged to you by the province. First-time home buyers are exempt from this fee if they are purchasing a property under $500,000. All home buyers are exempt if they are purchasing a new property under $750,000.

In British Columbia, the PTT is 1% on the first $200,000 of purchase and 2% thereafter. However, if the property being purchased is over $2,000,000, then it is 3% on any value over $2,000,000.

GST. GST is only paid on new construction purchases. GST is 5% on the purchase price. However, there is a partial GST rebate on properties under $450,000.

Please don’t hesitate to contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional for your home financing and mortgage needs.

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31 Jan

The #1 Misconception About Mortgage Financing

General

Posted by: Michelle Webber

It is a reoccurring but common misconception that you will qualify for a mortgage in the future because you have qualified for a mortgage in the past.

This is not accurate!

Do. Not. Assume. Anything.

Even if your financial situation has remained the same or has improved, securing mortgage financing is more difficult now than it has in recent years.
The latest changes to mortgage qualification by the federal government has left Canadians qualifying 20-25% less. On top of that, guidelines that lenders would use in determining your suitability have been replaced with non-negotiable rules and declarations.

As mortgage professionals, we keep up to date with the latest trends going on in the mortgage world by understanding lender products and staying attentive to evolving changes.

From experience, we can tell you that having a plan is crucial to a successful mortgage application. Making assumptions about your qualification or just “winging it” is a recipe for disaster. Here are a few points on why a mortgage broker is a must for the first time home-buyer.

1. They have access to over 40 different lenders, not just one
2. They work for you, not for the lender
3. They will guide you through the application process
4. They save you valuable time by shopping for you
5. They pull your credit once — if you go to multiple banks, you will have multiple credit pulls

If you are thinking about buying a property, please feel free to contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional where we can help you devise a full-proof plan!

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