Have you ever noticed that just like gas prices, interest rates seem to go up and down for no reason at all?
How come it feels like right before you are ready to buy a property, rumours of interest rate changes will start to flood the media? Or why do gas prices always seem to go up right before the long weekend (when you are heading out of town)? You could spend a lifetime trying to figure these things out. However, knowing why these things happen isn't as important as knowing what to do when they happen!
How to Protect Yourself from Rising Interest Rates!
Allow me to share a few things you can do to protect yourself from rising interest rates if you are looking to purchase a property in the near future.
Be Prepared. Know Your Mortgage Options
Unlike most gas stations where gas is gas regardless of where you fill up, not all mortgage products are created equal. Just because a mortgage product has a lower sticker price attached, doesn't mean it's necessarily a better deal. You really have to understand the fine print in order to make the best choice for you.
As your unbiased mortgage professional, I can help you understand all the products available to you and how the fine print will impact the overall cost of the mortgage. I can help you understand the difference between fixed and variable rates, the impact of shorter vs longer terms and amortizations, pre-payment privileges, and potential mortgage penalties.
By understanding your options, you can make a decision that is based on your financial situation and goals rather than based on fluctuating interest rates. Protect yourself emotionally by not placing such a high value on an arbitrary "sticker price" (rate) instead focus on finding the best mortgage product available for you at the time you are purchasing.
Be Prepared. Get a Pre-approval With a Rate Hold
If you are shopping for a property, not only should you be pre-approved for the mortgage, but you should have a rate hold in place as well.
A pre-approval is a lender's written commitment to offer you a mortgage assuming the details in the application are proven accurate. A pre-approval is not a guarantee that you will get the mortgage, just that they have looked at the initial application and believe you are a enough of a qualified applicant to proceed once you have found a property to purchase.
The pre-approval process consists of the following:
So as part of the pre-approval, it's really the rate hold that protects you against rising interest rates. A rate hold is a lender's commitment to hold a certain rate on a certain product for a certain time frame. For example, if you like the 5 year fixed term (product), and a lender is offering 2.64% (rate) a rate hold can be secured that will guarantee the rate anywhere from 30-120 days (time frame), this is the time you have to take possession of the property.
Some lenders offer more aggressive rates (lower rates) but limit the hold to a shorter time period, usually 30-60 days. This is why some banks, lenders, or brokers advertise "Rate Specials". However it should be noted that not all rate specials come with a rate hold. Some rates are only available for applications where an offer to purchase has been accepted on a property.
If your rate hold expires, it is easy enough to get another one in place with an updated application. Also, if rates drop while you have a hold in place, and you find a property to purchase, typically we are able to drop the rate for you at closing. It's as easy as that!
Now... if you made it this far and you're looking for advice on how to get the best price at the pump, unfortunately we can't help you out there, that is a mystery to everyone! But if you want to know more about securing a pre-approval and a rate hold, please contact us anytime.
The simple answer to this question is no. In order to secure mortgage financing in Canada you have to come up with at least a 5% downpayment.
Now, if you haven't set aside the 5% for a downpayment in your savings account, that is okay. There are still a few ways to get you a mortgage.
With the cost of living going up all the time, there is no doubt that saving for a downpayment is harder now than it once was. If you have a family member who has money and is willing to help you buy a property, they can gift you the funds for your downpayment.
The gift has to come from an immediate family member who will sign a gift letter indicating there is no schedule of repayment and that the gift doesn't have to be repaid. Proof that the money has been deposited to your account will be required through bank statements.
Gifted funds can make up part of or the entire amount of downpayment. For example; you are purchasing a property for $300k, you have $10k saved up, your parents are able to gift you the remaining $5k to make up the total 5% downpayment.
If you aren't fortunate enough to have a family member who can gift you a downpayment but you have excellent credit and a high income compared to what you are borrowing, you might qualify to borrow your downpayment. This would be separate from and in addition to the mortgage funds.
It is possible to borrow your 5% downpayment as long as you include the payments in your debt service ratios.
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has a program that allows you to use Non-Traditional Sources of Downpayment, which is described as "any source that is arm's length to and not tied to the purchase and sale of the property, such as borrowed funds, 100% sweat equity, lender cash back incentives."
For example; you are purchasing a property for $250k and you have a line of credit with a $20k limit but no outstanding balance. You could use that line of credit to borrow the $12,500 needed for the 5% downpayment assuming you can afford to carry the additional debt of the payments from the line of credit. Typically this is figured at 3% of the outstanding balance, in this case $375 per month.
RRSP Homes Buyers Plan
Okay, so you don't have the money set aside in your savings, but you do have a nice little RRSP going. Assuming you are a first time home buyer, you can access the money from your RRSP Tax Free to use as a downpayment. You are able to access up to $25k individually or $50k as a couple and the money has to be paid back into your RRSPs over the next 15 years.
Below is the Home Buyer's Plan (HBP) PDF document from Canada Revenue Agency for your reference.
Regardless of how much money you have available to you at this time for a downpayment, if you are considering purchasing a property in the near future, please let us know.
It's never too early to start the conversation about getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Please contact us anytime, we'd love to work with you.
Collecting the right documentation to prove you are a worthy candidate to borrow a lot of money to buy a property can be an arduous task. The most recent government rule changes and tightening of mortgage qualification isn't making things easier. If you seem to think that there is no end to the documents lenders want to see before funding a mortgage, you're right, they ask for a lot. But the truth is, that's just the way it is now, borrowing money isn't an easy process.
As an example, if you're self-employed, using bonus income, overtime, shift differential, working two jobs, receiving isolation pay, or have income that isn't all that straight forward, there is a chance you will have to provide two years worth of your Notice of Assessments to verify your income. If you don't have a copy of your NOAs handy, qualifying for a mortgage is going to take a little more time for you. Here's why:
Up until very recently, accessing your NOA online was a simple process, you could pay a nominal fee to a reputable online company, and they could access your tax information from CRA and provide you with the documentation necessary to prove your income. However the Canada Revenue Agency has just changed the use of the form T1013 and has stated that it can no longer be used to access information solely for income verification. So if you are unable to find your NOAs, and you don't have a My Account with CRA, it could take up to 4 weeks to gain access to the necessary documentation to substantiate your mortgage application.
Now, if you are thinking to yourself, "this doesn't affect me, I can find my NOA", great, but you're missing the point. The truth is, in today's mortgage marketplace, things are changing at such a rapid pace, the only good way to stay on top of things is to plan ahead. There are more exceptions than rules. Don't simply rely on what you think you know about the process, talk to your mortgage professional. If it's not the NOA, it will be something else. Collecting the appropriate documentation is taking more time than ever as lenders are requiring more documentation than ever. So if you're serious about the process, you will want to do everything you can to make it a success. This requires a great deal of planning.
Here are some situations you might find yourself in, and what to do when you're there.
So the moral of the story is: It can't be stressed enough, if you are considering your mortgage options, it's in your best interest to plan ahead by discussing your financial situation with a mortgage professional, this will allow you enough time to get all the documentation together, and in turn, allow you the best chance at getting the mortgage you want.
If you would like to talk about your financial situation, and your mortgage options, please don't hesitate to contact us, we'd love to work with you.
The Bank of Canada today increased its target for the overnight rate to 1 ¾ per cent. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 2 per cent and the deposit rate is 1 ½ per cent.
The global economic outlook remains solid. The US economy is especially robust and is expected to moderate over the projection horizon, as forecast in the Bank’s July Monetary Policy Report (MPR). The new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will reduce trade policy uncertainty in North America, which has been an important curb on business confidence and investment. However, trade conflict, particularly between the United States and China, is weighing on global growth and commodity prices. Financial market volatility has resurfaced and some emerging markets are under stress but, overall, global financial conditions remain accommodative.
The Canadian economy continues to operate close to its potential and the composition of growth is more balanced. Despite some quarterly fluctuations, growth is expected to average about 2 per cent over the second half of 2018. Real GDP is projected to grow by 2.1 per cent this year and next before slowing to 1.9 per cent in 2020.
The projections for business investment and exports have been revised up, reflecting the USMCA and the recently-approved liquid natural gas project in British Columbia. Still, investment and exports will be dampened by the recent decline in commodity prices, as well as ongoing competitiveness challenges and limited transportation capacity. The Bank will be monitoring the extent to which the USMCA leads to more confidence and business investment in Canada.
Household spending is expected to continue growing at a healthy pace, underpinned by solid employment income growth. Households are adjusting their spending as expected in response to higher interest rates and housing market policies. In this context, household credit growth continues to moderate and housing activity across Canada is stabilizing. As a result, household vulnerabilities are edging lower in a number of respects, although they remain elevated.
CPI inflation dropped to 2.2 per cent in September, in large part because the summer spike in airfares was reversed. Other temporary factors pushing up inflation, such as past increases in gasoline prices and minimum wages, should fade in early 2019. Inflation is then expected to remain close to the 2 per cent target through the end of 2020. The Bank’s core measures of inflation all remain around 2 per cent, consistent with an economy that is operating at capacity. Wage growth remains moderate, although it is projected to pick up in the coming quarters, consistent with the Bank’s latest Business Outlook Survey.
Given all of these factors, Governing Council agrees that the policy interest rate will need to rise to a neutral stance to achieve the inflation target. In determining the appropriate pace of rate increases, Governing Council will continue to take into account how the economy is adjusting to higher interest rates, given the elevated level of household debt. In addition, we will pay close attention to global trade policy developments and their implications for the inflation outlook.
Here are the remaining announcements dates for 2018 and all of 2019. .
Let's say you have a home that you've outgrown, it's time to make a move to something more suited for your family. You have no desire to keep two houses, so you decide that selling your existing home, and moving into something new is the best idea.
Ideally, when planning out how that looks, most people want to take possession of the new house before having to move out of the old one. Not only does this make moving (your stuff) easier, it allows you to make the house a little more "you" by adding some paint, or doing some small renovations before moving in.
But what if you need the money from the sale of your existing house to come up with the downpayment for your next house? This is where bridge financing comes in. Bridge financing allows you to bridge the financial gap between the firm sale of your current home, and the purchase of your new home. Bridge financing allows you to access some of the equity in your existing property to be used towards the downpayment on the property you are buying.
Now, here is where people get confused, in order to secure bridge financing, you must have a firm saleon your existing house. If your house isn't sold, you won't get the bridge financing, because there is no concrete way for a lender to calculate how much equity you have available.
Instead of going through all the fine details of documentation required to apply for bridge financing, or outlining scenarios that may or may not be applicable to you, if you've got questions, why don't you contact us directly! We'd love to hear from you!
Okay, so here we are... we have worked together to secure financing for your mortgage. You are getting a great rate, favourable terms that meet your mortgage goals, the lender is satisfied with all the supporting documents, we are broker complete, and the only thing left to do is wait for the day the lawyers advance the funds for the mortgage.
Here is a list of things you should NEVER do in the time between your financing complete date (when everything is setup and looks good) and your closing date (the day the lender actually advances funds).
Never make changes to your financial situation without first consulting me. Changes to your financial situation before your mortgage closes could actually cause your mortgage to be declined.
So without delay, here are the 10 Don'ts of Mortgage Closing... inspired by real life situations.
1. Don't quit your job.
This might sound obvious, but if you quit your job we will have to report this change in employment status to the lender. From there you will be required to support your mortgage application with your new employment details. Even if you have taken on a new job that pays twice as much in the same industry, there still might be a probationary period and the lender might not feel comfortable with proceeding.
If you are thinking of making changes to your employment status... contact me first, it might be alright to proceed, but then again it might just be best to wait until your mortgage closes! Let's talk it out.
2. Don't do anything that would reduce your income.
Kinda like point one, don't change your status at your existing employer. Getting a raise is fine, but dropping from Full Time to Part Time status is not a good idea. The reduced income will change your debt services ratios on your application and you might not qualify.
3. Don't apply for new credit.
I realize that you are excited to get your new house, especially if this is your first house, however now is not the time to go shopping on credit or take out new credit cards. So if you find yourself at the Brick, shopping for new furniture and they want you to finance your purchase right now... don't. By applying for new credit and taking out new credit, you can jeopardize your mortgage.
4. Don't get rid of existing credit.
Okay, in the same way that it's not a good idea to take on new credit, it's best not to close any existing credit either. The lender has agreed to lend you the money for a mortgage based on your current financial situation and this includes the strength of your credit profile. Mortgage lenders and insurers have a minimum credit profile required to lend you money, if you close active accounts, you could fall into an unacceptable credit situation.
5. Don't co-sign for a loan or mortgage for someone else.
You may have the best intentions in the world, but if you co-sign for any type of debt for someone else, you are 100% responsible for the full payments incurred on that loan. This extra debt is added to your expenses and may throw your ratios out of line.
6. Don't stop paying your bills.
Although this is still good advice for people purchasing homes, it is more often an issue in a refinance situation. If we are just waiting on the proceeds of a refinance in order to consolidate some of your debts, you must continue making your payments as scheduled. If you choose not to make your payments, it will reflect on your credit bureau and it could impact your ability to get your mortgage. Best advice is to continue making all your payments until the refinance has gone through and your balances have been brought to zero.
7. Don't spend your closing costs.
Typically the lender wants to see you with 1.5% saved up to cover closing costs... this money is used to cover the expense of closing your mortgage, like paying your lawyer for their services. So you might think that because you shouldn't take out new credit to buy furniture, you can use this money instead. Bad idea. If you don't pay the lawyer... you aren't getting your house, and the furniture will have to be delivered curb side. And it's cold in Canada. You get the picture. However just in case you don't, I included it below.