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blog, Home Ownership, Mortgage Education

Should I Set Up a Home Equity Line of Credit?

Home equity lines of credit can be a financial lifeline when emergencies happen.

But waiting until retirement to set one up can throw homeowners a real curve-ball.

An older adult couple living in a million-dollar home called it quits on their careers after their mortgage was paid off.

They considered applying for a $600,000 home equity line of credit before retiring but decided against it in the end. They figured if they ever needed to access a large amount of cash, they could easily get it because of the equity they had in their home. A year later, they decided they wanted to spend less time in the city and more time enjoying the peace and quiet of lake life. They wanted to buy a cottage. 

Bad news came when they applied for a mortgage: their retirement income wasn’t enough to qualify. Had they secured that home equity line of credit before retiring, however, they could have used that to pay for their slice of heaven by the water.

Whether retirement is on the horizon or you have dreams of giving up corporate life for self-employment, it’s important to have the conversation with a professional about shoring up financial safety nets, including a home equity line of credit, before making the leap.

How does a home equity line of credit work?

A home equity line of credit is secured against the value of your home but approval is based on your income at the time you apply for it. 

You may never need to tap into it, but if you do, the interest rate with a home equity line of credit is better than with any credit card or unsecured line of credit. It really is the cheapest line of credit on the planet.

Paying off a home equity line of credit also comes with greater flexibility. The balance can be paid in full, unlike a mortgage, or you can choose to pay the interest only.

Home equity lines of credit also remain in place as long as you own your home.

When should you get a home equity line of credit?

Most people are never offered a home equity line of credit by their bank, but they should speak to a mortgage professional about applying for one as soon as they’ve built up equity in their home — and while they’re still earning a secure and stable salary.

The key is to be prepared for whatever life might throw your way, and that includes getting a home equity line of credit in place sooner than later regardless of career ambitions or retirement plans.

blog, Mortgage News

Getting a Mortgage During a Pandemic

Home buyers getting into the market and home owners looking to refinance wonder whether a new mortgage is possible right now.

It is, but with some caveats.

A recent first-time home buyer decided honesty was the best policy when he lost his job during the current COVID-19 crisis.

With just two weeks before the deal closed on his new home, he told his bank what happened. His parents co-signed on the mortgage and the deal moved forward, but the home buyer could have landed in serious financial trouble without that safety net.

He was at risk of losing his deposit and being sued by the sellers for money they would have lost had the deal fallen through.

Can I get a mortgage right now?

All this to say Canada’s large banks are still financing home purchases, even with an economy that’s all but halted. But they are being more conservative with their lending, says James Harrison, president and mortgage broker with mortgages.ca.

For starters, they’re no longer making exceptions on debt-service ratios and they’re eliminating discounts on prime and variable mortgages. Self-employed applicants will also have a harder time getting a mortgage with banks more thoroughly scrutinizing the industries in which they work.

Updated letters of employment are now essential for approval. Banks have started asking mortgage applicants for pay stubs up to two weeks before deals close, too, and they’re calling employers to confirm clients still have a job.

“Get your files in order,” Harrison advises. “Get your conditions met as soon as possible so there are no problems later and deals can close.”

Be prepared to wait.

Still, it will take longer for deals to be funded because banks are swamped right now. Mortgage applications were up 400 per cent when the pandemic started taking its toll economically, Harrison says.

Home buyers were taking advantage of low fixed rates at the time. Homeowners looking to refinance also jumped at lower interest offered after the Bank of Canada dropped rates.

Approval on financing can now take up to 10 days with clients waiting up to four weeks to get that cash in hand.

The key is to work with an experienced mortgage broker who can help navigate financing during these unprecedented times and get the best rates for homebuyers and homeowners in the process.

“It’s not the time to drag your feet and rate shop,” Harrison says. “Have the conversation with an experienced mortgage broker, know what’s out there and get your approval in place. Don’t be left in the dark because everything is changing so fast.”

 

blog, Home Ownership, Mortgage Education, Mortgage News

CMHC’s New Incentives for First-Time Home Buyers

Everything You Need to Know About CMHC’s New Incentives for First-Time Home Buyers

First Time Home Buyers

James Harrison, AMP
Mortgage Broker
Mortgages.ca

 

Breaking into the Canada mortgage market as a first-time homebuyer can be daunting, especially when it comes to navigating incentives, offers, and financial hurdles. Luckily, CMHC’s newest Home Buyer Incentive Plan for 2019 is full of incentives tailored perfectly for first-time homebuyers, the most important of which are broken down below:

 

Payment for Equity

As part of the latest First-Time Home Buyer Incentive Plan, CMHC will pay 5% of the purchase price for an existing home and up to 10% for the value of a new home as part of a down payment assistance program in exchange for an equity stake. This means that the Government of Canada partners with you in a Shared Equity Mortgage, taking a share of the increase (or decrease!) in the property’s market value. To qualify for this incentive, first-time homebuyers must meet a short set of criteria:

 

  • Minimum down payment amount based on mortgage amount
  • Qualifying income is $120,000 or below
  • Total mortgage is no greater than four times the qualifying income
  • Homes must be below the purchase price of $500,000

 

The government’s equity stake, otherwise referred to as a Shared Equity Mortgage, is then repaid as a percentage of the selling price, which takes into account the gain or loss in property value.

 

Taking Advantage of Your Money: RRSP Withdrawals

The Home Buyer’s Plan, a federal program that acts as a first-time homebuyer incentive, allows you to use a $35,000 RRSP withdrawal (in one year) towards your new home purchase. Making your RRSP withdrawal requires you to fill out a Home Buyers Plan Redemption Form to declare the amount that is being withdrawn, whether in a single amount or in installments. 

 

Why First-Time Homebuyer Incentives?

In today’s housing market, it can take individuals years to save up enough for the minimum down payment of 5% on a home. With the help of the First-Time Home Buyer down payment assistance incentive and the RRSP withdrawal allowance, purchasing a home can come much sooner. 

 

These incentives, developed for Canada’s real estate market and the first-time homebuyer, offer a number of benefits that help one transition into home ownership, such as: 

 

  • Purchase a home with the future in mind
  • Reduce the financial burden without delaying property purchase
  • Shared equity mortgage means interest-free down payment assistance
  • First-Time Home Buyer Incentive allows choices for repayment based on property value, not interest
  • Savings on mortgage payments of up to $3,430 per year

 

Your first home is one of the biggest, most important purchases of your life. The Government of Canada has developed a system to help first-time homebuyers comfortably acquire and pay back a mortgage, with assistance that is based on property value, rather than an established interest rate. With CMHC’s First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, buying your first home just got much easier.

 

Apply now for a mortgage with Mortgages.ca and learn more! 

blog, Home Ownership, Mortgage Education

How To Pay Down Your Mortgage Faster

Paying down your mortgage will not only lower your debt, but it will also reduce the amount of money you spend on interest.

Happy Couple Saving Money

By: Scott Nazareth
Mortgage Broker

Your mortgage is one of the biggest and longest-running debts you pay. Your monthly payments can consume a big chunk of your earnings, reducing your cash flow. Paying down your mortgage will not only lower your debt, but it will also reduce the amount of money you spend on interest.

You can pay off your mortgage fast with lower interest rate loans and short amortization terms. Amortizations can range from thirty to thirty-five years. Many homeowners opt for longer time frames to lower their regular payments, but those increase the total amount of interest paid over the life of the mortgage contract. If a short timeline is not financially viable, here are some ways you can pay off a mortgage fast.

 

Lump Sum Payments

Paying a lump sum payment on your mortgage will shorten the time it takes to pay off your loan. Whether you put extra money down monthly, quarterly or yearly, the long-term savings will be substantial.

Every year, you can pay a lump sum of up to 20% of the outstanding principal. An annual lump sum payment will not only reduce the total amount of interest you pay, but it can also shave years off of the life of your mortgage.  For example, if you paid 10% of the remaining mortgage each year for five years, you will have paid 50% of the mortgage and halved the projected amortization period.

 

Accelerated Payment Plans

If your mortgage payment schedule only includes monthly payments, consider opting for an accelerated payment plan. An accelerated payment breaks your monthly bill into smaller amounts that are withdrawn weekly or biweekly. Accelerated plans with more frequent installments reduce the interest you’d pay over time. That is the equivalent of making one extra payment each year.

 

Same Payment on Lower Interest Loans

If your mortgage renewal has a lower interest rate, request to keep your monthly installments the same as they were with your previous rate. By maintaining a consistent payment plan on a lower interest loan, you will be paying more of your mortgage without impacting your budget. That will reduce the total interest you pay and the length of your mortgage.

 

Increase Mortgage Payments

When refinancing your mortgage, ask to increase your payments rather than accept the monthly rate set by the lender. Even a small increase of $100.00 more per month will lower the total interest you pay and take years off the life of your mortgage.

A home loan is typically the biggest debt most Canadians have, taking much of your hard-earned money, especially considering the interest fees. There are many simple and highly effective measures you can take to pay off your mortgage fast. Talk with a mortgage broker about the best mortgage renewal terms as well as strategies to lower debt so that you can be debt-free sooner.  

 

To find out how you can pay off your mortgage faster, contact one of our mortgage brokers for your free consultation by clicking on our ‘Apply Now’ button, emailing us at info@mortgages.ca, or by calling #647-795-8700 ext. 0 today.

 

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