26 Sep

The Real Deal about Transfers and Switches


Posted by: Clarissa Yap

Most people who are thinking about a transfer or switch want to take advantage of a lower interest rate or to get a new mortgage product with terms that better suits their needs.

Up for Renewal?

If your mortgage is approaching renewal and you are considering a transfer or switch – great news! You won’t be charged a penalty. BUT you are still required to qualify at the current qualifying rate and need to consider potential costs around legal charges, appraisal fees and penalty fees (if applicable). In some cases, the lender will offer you the option to include these fees in your mortgage or even cover the costs for you.

Currently have a Collateral Charge Mortgage?

If you have a collateral charge mortgage (which secures your loan against collateral such as the property), these loans cannot be switched; they can only be registered or discharged. This means you would need to discharge the mortgage from your current lender (and pay any fees associated) before registering it with a new lender (and pay any fees associated).

Still locked into your Mortgage?

If you’re considering a transfer or switch in the middle of your mortgage term, you will likely incur a penalty for breaking that mortgage. Typically, transfers and switches are done to take advantage of a lower interest rate (and lower monthly payments), but you want to be confident that the penalty doesn’t outweigh the potential savings before moving ahead.

Things to consider for a transfer or switch:

  1. You may be required to pay fees associated with the transfer or switch, including possible admin and legal fees.
  2. You will need to requalify under the qualifying rate to show that you can carry the mortgage with the new lender.
  3. You will be required to submit documents that may include, but are not limited to, the following (depending on the lender):
  • Application and credit bureau
  • Verification of income and employment
  • Renewal or annual statement indicating mortgage number
  • Pre-Authorized Payment form accompanied by VOID cheque
  • Signed commitment
  • Confirmation of fire insurance is required
  • If LTV is above 80%, confirmation of valid CMHC, Sagen or Canada Guaranty insurance is required
  • Appraisal
  • Payout authorization form
  • Property tax bill

If your mortgage is currently up for renewal, consider reaching out to find the best options to meet your needs.

Written by DLC Marketing Team


19 Sep

Advice for Single Homebuyers


Posted by: Clarissa Yap

Buying a home is an exciting experience for anyone, and even more of a milestone when you’re doing it solo, but it can be a little different when you’re purchasing on your own. While it can be easier to tailor your mortgage and home search to exactly your needs, it can be somewhat more stressful handling the purchase of a home on your own… fortunately, that’s where a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage expert can help! They assist with your mortgage application, pre-approvals and final financing to make the entire mortgage process much smoother.

In addition to using a mortgage expert and having a trusted realtor, here are some other tips that can help improve your homebuying experience:

1. Be Aware of Your Financial History

Understanding your credit score and your financial history can help to improve your qualification potential. If your credit score is a little lower than it should be, or lower than you’d like for what you are trying to qualify for, you can take steps to improve this prior to seeking a mortgage and get better results.

2. Ramp Up Your Savings

Of course, while a mortgage will cover a large chunk of your home purchase, you are also required to have a down payment. In addition, you need to consider closing costs (1.5-4%) of the purchase price, as well as ongoing maintenance and costs for your new home (repairs, utilities, property taxes). It is important to determine your budget so you are aware of what you can afford monthly.  BUT before you shop is also a great time to start ramping up your savings account so you can put more down and potentially reduce the overall mortgage.

3. Study The Marketplace

One of the most important aspects of homeownership is understanding what you can afford and where you want to live. These two key components can help you to determine your budget and the areas that you should be looking for a home, as well as what type of home size, amenities, etc. Understanding what is available can provide you with more information and help you fine-tune your shopping list.

4. Be Flexible When Possible and Firm When Not

While shopping for a home on your own can be much easier as you’re only concerned about your own needs, it is still important to be flexible. While it is easier to find a home that fits just ‘you’, keeping your options open can also have its benefits. Of course, if there are things you cannot live without or a location you really need to be in, it’s important to be firm about those things as well. Creating a list of wants and needs can help you determine where there is room to be flexible, and where there isn’t.

5. Consider Your Present and Future Needs

While you’re shopping for your new home for you today, you will also want to consider what your life might look like in the future. What are you doing 5 years from now? 10 years? Do you want to start a family or have children? Do you plan on changing jobs or perhaps requiring a move in a few years? All these things are important to be aware of so you can make the best choice for you today, but also ensure that you are considering your future needs.

6. Protect Yourself

Lastly, while you might not be purchasing your current home with a partner, it is important to leave room for this in the future to ensure that you and your home are protected. If you have another individual move into your home down the line, you could become common-law and that could cause complications. Having an honest conversation about expectations and responsibilities can help, as well as writing up a document for both parties to sign, indicating these responsibilities as well as outlining the investment made by the original owner and new partner.

If you are a single homeowner looking to make a purchase, but are not sure where to start, don’t hesitate to reach out to a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage expert. As an expert in mortgages, they have experience in all types of situations and purchases and the knowledge to walk you through the process and ensure you get the best home and mortgage for YOU.

Written by DLC Marketing Team
12 Sep

Where Will Rising Interest Rates Hurt Most?


Posted by: Clarissa Yap

Rising inflation combined with a strengthening post-pandemic economy gives both reason and opportunity for the Bank of Canada (BOC) to further raise interest through to the end of 2022 and beyond.

The 1% increase to the benchmark overnight rate in early July was a wake-up call that they were not bluffing and are prepared to act aggressively. Depending on how inflation trends, we could be looking at interest rates that are 1% or 2% higher within the next year.

Before jumping into the effects of higher interest rates, we should clarify one common point of misunderstanding about the prime rate and the BOC overnight rate. The prime rate is the basis for most variable rate loans, including mortgages and lines of credit. It is determined by the major banks and currently sits at 4.7%; 2.2% higher than the BOC overnight rate. Although these two rates are different, the key takeaway is that the prime rate moves in lockstep with any changes to the BOC rate, usually within a few days.

Now that we have that out of the way, just how will future interest rate hikes affect your debts?

Variable rate mortgages
The percentage of Canadians holding a variable rate mortgage surged in 2021 and now stands at about 50%. Any rise in the BOC rate is met by an equal rise in variable rate mortgages, so the impact is very clear and takes effect quickly. A 1% increase will add around $200 to the monthly payment on a $500K mortgage. Keep in mind that the interest rate has already rose 2.25% since the beginning of 2022!

Home equity line of credit (HELOC)
HELOCs usually have a variable interest rate that will rise in conjunction with any BOC rate hikes. A $100,000 balance carried on your HELOC will cost you about $20 more in interest each month for every 0.25% increase by the BOC.

Credit card debt
The interest rate on your credit card and how it can be adjusted are outlined in your cardholder agreement. There is usually little correlation between credit cards rates and the rates set by the central bank. However, credit card rates are already so astronomically high that it is unlikely you would even notice a 1% increase! Our advice is to attack any outstanding credit card balance ASAP.

Personal lines of credit
There are fixed and variable rate options out there. If you selected the lower variable rate when you signed your agreement, expect to pay more going forward on any outstanding balance.

Car loans
Most car loans in Canada are fixed, but the average fixed rate is rising quickly and now sits about 5.25%. While not common, variable rate cars loans are loans are available and your payment could be affected by interest rate hikes.

Student loans
There are provincial and federal student loan programs with different interest options so the effect of rate hikes will vary. The default choice for Government of Canada student loans is variable interest “at prime” with a fixed rate option at “prime + 2%”. The point is mute right now as interest charges are currently suspended, but variable rate student loan holders will see a significantly higher payment when interest charges resume in April of 2023.

Most of us will be paying more interest as we move through 2022 and into 2023. A mortgage or some other debt may be inevitable and not all debt is bad, but it’s important to understand your interest expense and adjust your repayment priorities accordingly.

Written by DLC Marketing Team
3 Sep

TFSA vs RRSP – No Losers in This Battle!


Posted by: Clarissa Yap

The worst financial mistake you can make is believing that a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) or Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) is something to look into when you are a little older and more able to set some money aside. The fact is, you don’t use these accounts for saving at all, you use them for investing. Your retirement fund could grow to seven figures, even if you only contribute a fraction of the allowable yearly maximums. They also come with huge tax-saving benefits.

A lot of people get discouraged by the sheer amount that you are allowed to contribute to these registered accounts and the mere pittance they may be able to come up with — don’t fall into that mindset!

If you make 60,000/year from your job, you could contribute over $10,000 to your RRSP and another $6000 to your TFSA every year. Considering you are only going to have about $45K in your jeans after taxes, finding a spare $16K would require more than 30% of your take-home pay!

The good news is that your yearly contribution limits can be carried over and as you grow older (and theoretically have more disposable income) you can catch up. The bad news is that playing catch up isn’t going to happen unless you are very disciplined with your spending. Sure, you may earn more, but you will spend more… kids, cars, vacations, even the cat is going to cost you $800/year!

That extra disposable income you were envisioning may not materialize until you are in your mid 50’s, if ever! You need to scrape together whatever investment savings you can now, even saving just 5% ($200/month) of a $60K salary would make a huge impact.

Putting off getting started is going to cost you way more than you ever imagined in lost investment returns. Ignore the pitiful interest rates you see on bank savings accounts, holding cash will actually cost you money at current interest and inflation rates. However, the average annual return on many stock indexes (S&P, TSX, DSJ) over the past 40 years is around 7%. If you do a little math, you are soon going to realize that even on a relatively small investment of $200 month, the difference between starting when you are 18 versus starting at age 28 is jaw dropping.

Investing $200/month from age 18 to 65 at 7% would give you $790,139. The same $200 at the same rate from age 28 to 65 would yield just $384,810. Sure, you would be contributing $24,000 more over that extra 10 years, but your nest egg at 65 would be double — more than enough to keep you poolside at a nice resort every winter while those late starters are stuck in the snow!

There are plenty of rules, regulations and strategies to consider and every angle of the TFSA vs RRSP debate has been extensively written about. While you do need to understand the basics of how they work, the simple goal for the vast majority of us should be to put something, anything, into one (or both) of these accounts on a regular basis and start investing — you can’t go wrong!

Written by DLC Marketing Team