“The mortgage business is fun, fast moving and ultimately a people business. People trust us because we care about them and we are excellent at what we do.”
– Jacques Du Preez –
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Being a first time home buyer, there was a lot of stress and uneasiness around the closing process. Jacques and co. were always around to provide their support and walk me through all of the steps. I felt well informed and assured throughout the whole process. It was nice to have one less thing to worry about during my home purchase knowing that my mortgage was in good hands.
Most of us are pretty good at determining the value in our everyday purchases. Some people would pay a lot more for a shirt from Holt Renfrew, than they would for a common household brand. Also, we would spend more on a specific car brand because of its known durability and reputation. When it comes to our investments we have the same type of reasoning.
With mortgages, statistics tell us that we are not that savvy and we are happy to treat them like commodities, like gas or coffee. Gas is a commodity, because we buy it by price only. We buy it from the vendor that sells it at the lowest price. The belief is that all gas at the same grade is the same, and thus only price matters. I wish that Canadian mortgages worked the same so that we could just buy them by the lowest mortgage rate. They are not since they come with varying terms and conditions that can cost the borrower dearly.
Why don’t banks boldly display their lowest rates on boards outside their premises?
Banks make profit through negotiation and the illusion that mortgages are a commodity.
I say it is an illusion because your mortgage can have debilitating terms and conditions in them. A liter of gas does not. One lender offering a 2.49% mortgage can be vastly different to a lender with the same rate but alternate terms.
This might sound obvious, but remember that your bank earns interest from the money they lend you. They will do whatever they need to, to force your loyalty for the term of your mortgage. They demand that loyalty through unfair terms hidden behind enticing interest rates. Some of the ominous terms are collateral mortgages and closed mortgages. Others have been determined by CBC Marketplace and class action Canadian law suits.
The key to saving money in mortgages and having flexibility, is to have a healthy mortgage. A healthy mortgage should have a low interest rate with future cost saving options.
The principal amount is the mortgage balance that you owe to the lender. You should be allowed to:
Good lenders allow you to make these at any regular payment date, not just once a year or three times a year etc.
The Principal & Interest Payment is your regular mortgage payment. You should be able to:
Your mortgage should be portable. This means you should be able to:
Mortgage portability protects the borrower from penalties and maintains their current mortgage rate.
An assumable mortgage allows the buyer to qualify for the seller’s mortgage and assume (take over) it. This benefits both parties:
Various lenders apply this privileges in different ways. The benefits here are:
In all cases the borrower has to apply to the lender for the privilege. It is an expensive option since the full missed payment is added to the mortgage. However, the cost incurred is still better than a missed payment on your record.
Mortgage penalties are the most important of all privileges and can be the most costly part of the mortgage if not attended to. Penalties have exploded in the last 6 years with new inventive ways of being created.
Different types of fees and penalties that can be incurred when breaking or moving a mortgage:
Lenders claim to all use the same formula when calculating their penalties, but the interest rates that they use are very different. The Table below shows just how much lender penalties can vary from lender to lender for the same amount. The major banks typically have penalties similar to IRD-2; the highest in the industry.
Mortgage penalties are a major reason why some borrowers are stuck in their higher rate mortgages. The costs associated with breaking their current mortgage for a lower rate, far exceed the benefits of the new rate.
Mortgage penalties are charged by lenders for breaking the mortgage before the maturity date. The penalties are charged to either:
Most lenders do not rebate penalties if the borrower stays with their current lender. This is because the lender’s investors demand compensation. However, some lenders discount them if the borrower stays with their current lender as a matter of policy. Work with lenders that have that policy and don’t just do it on a discretionary basis.
There are three types of mortgages:
The best mortgage for normal circumstances is a Partially Open mortgage. Avoid the fully Closed mortgage as much as possible since you can only get out of this mortgage type if you sell your home or at the end of the mortgage term.
An internet search for “how to become mortgage free faster”, yields more than 1.5M results. So, why is it, with this amount of resources, that only 1% of Canadians accelerate their mortgage free due date. Research tells us that this is because financial management has little to do with information and a lot more to do with our behavior and habits.
Work with a mortgage provider who will provide you with achievable, written mortgage reduction plans. A good mortgage broker will coach you to healthy financial habits so that you can achieve your mortgage free plans in a responsible way.
Finances are personal. This means I want to work with someone that I trust, have a relationship with and who knows my circumstances. When I discuss my finances with them I want them to know my story. I don’t want to have to repeat myself every three years to a different person if my financial institution transferred them. I suggest working with a provider who works for you in the first place. Someone who can fight for you if you don’t get the service that you deserve. Your broker should be able to do exactly that.
The next time you get a mortgage don’t just sign the mortgage commitment, educate yourself and ask the questions we provided above. Here is a to an empowered and mortgage free future.
From the day I arrived at Lester Pearson International Airport, I loved Canada. This beautiful country only genuinely felt like home to my family and I once we owned our first home. Home ownership in any country is a privilege and also an essential part of raising a strong family. The great news is that we have programs for new to Canada mortgages. As a result, becoming a home owner can happen quicker than you think.
New Canadians find it hard to establish credit in Canada despite their solid mortgage repayment track record. The New-to-Canada mortgage program reduces the credit worthiness hurdles that limit borrowers.
It is essential that new Canadians establish a credit profile as soon as possible.
The best way to do so, and to establish credit, is to open a secured credit card. This means that the credit limit of the card is secured against a deposit amount held by the financial institution.
For example: If someone wants a $2,000 credit limit on their new credit card they need to deposit $2,000 with the financial institution. This will continue until the borrower has built up enough credit that the card can be unsecured.
Furthermore, it is also important to note that all down payment and closing costs funds for a home purchase must be proven. So, all funds in foreign bank accounts will have to be proven to be from your own resources with a full paper trail.
If you have between 5% and 10% Down Payment, you will need:
If you have a 10 % Down Payment, you will need:
Rewind 5 years. Canadians could get a mortgage for 65% of the value of their home without declaring much actual income. If the borrower has more than 35% equity in their home that means they have a significant interest to prevent them from defaulting or from losing their home due to power of sale. These mortgages became known as “Equity” mortgages.
Fast forward 5 years and several Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) and federal mortgage changes later, the Equity mortgage now rests in peace. OSFI has removed the equity mortgage concept completely. As a result, equity in your home without verifiable income or liquid assets to back it up is gone.
The mortgage rule changes were only announced to the mortgage industry consequently leaving the Canadian public in the dark. This created a problem. No wonder the average borrower gets angry when they hear they cannot get a mortgage from a lender even if they have a ton of equity in their home.
OSFI has shifted away from the Equity mortgage. Due to this change, they now keep lenders accountable for proving that borrowers can pay for their mortgages, irrespective of how much equity they have in their homes.
The above also depends on the borrowers’ credit worthiness. If a borrower has poor credit, even if they have a huge amount of equity in their home, they will find it difficult to get a low cost mortgage.
If you need help finding the right mortgage for you, get in touch with us!