What Is a “Monoline” Lender?

First Time Home Buyers Kris Krawiec 19 Mar

What usually follows once someone hears the term “Monoline Lender” for the first time is a feeling of suspicion and lack of trust. It’s understandable, I mean why is this “bank” you’ve never heard of willing to loan you money when you’ve never banked with them before?

In an effort to help you see the benefits of working with a Monoline Lender, here is some basic information that will help you understand why you’ve never heard of them, why you want to, and the reason they are referred to as lenders, not banks.

Monoline Lenders only operate in the mortgage space. They do not offer chequing or savings accounts, nor do they offer investments through RRSPs, GICs, or Tax-Free Savings Accounts. They are called Monoline because they have one line of business- mortgages.

This also plays into the reasons you never see their name or locations anywhere. There is no need for them to market on bus stop benches or billboards as they are only accessible through mortgage brokers, making their need to market to you unnecessary. The branch locations are also unnecessary because you do not have day-to-day banking, savings accounts, investment accounts, or credit cards through them. All your banking stays the exact same, with the only difference of a pre-authorized payments coming from your account for the monthly mortgage payment. Any questions or concerns, they have a phone number and communicate documents through e-mail.

Would it help Monoline Lenders to advertise and create brand awareness with the public? Absolutely. Is it necessary for them to remain in business? No.

Monoline Lenders also have some of the lowest interest rates on the market, the most attractive pre-payment privileges, and the lowest pre-payment penalties, especially when compared to a bigger bank like CIBC or RBC. If you don’t think these points are important, ask someone whose had a mortgage with one of these bigger banks and sold their property before their term was up and paid upwards of $12,000 in penalty fees. An equivalent amount with a Monoline Lender would be anywhere from $2,000-$4,000 in fees.

Monoline Lenders are not to be feared, they should be welcomed, as they are some of the most accommodating and client service-oriented lenders around! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call directly 416.845.3745.

Keeping Your Credit Score Healthy

Mortgage Tips Kris Krawiec 19 Mar

If you haven’t seen your credit score, you’re not alone.

Many of our clients don’t know about their credit score or even know what it is when we first meet with them. During our initial consultation, we go over your complete credit report with you. As an added bonus, we’ll even teach you how to read it.

So, how can you make sure you have a great credit score? Here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. You need to have credit. It may be surprising – but your credit score goes up as more credit is available to you. We recommend at least two facilities: a credit card and a line of credit (or 2 credit cards).
  2. You also have to pay your bills when they are due. That goes for your internet, cell phone and even parking tickets.
  3. It also helps to start as soon as possible. The longer you have a clean record of paying your credit card, loans or other credit facilities, the better your credit becomes.
  4. Finally, make sure to carry a low balance. One of the least known ways to hurt your credit is to have high utilization.

Don’t ever hesitate to contact Kris Krawiec – 416.845.3745 about your mortgage related needs when you’re buying a property anywhere in Ontario.

Time For A Mortgage Renewal

Mortgage Tips Kris Krawiec 9 Mar

Is your mortgage coming up for renewal this year?

There is a good chance that you or someone know has a mortgage coming due. Some 47% of Canadians, almost one out of every two households, that currently have financing in place will mature within the next 12 months with a major lender in Canada.

Here are a couple simple rules to follow if you, a friend, a family member or colleague are renewing your mortgage this year.

  • DO NOT just simply sign the renewal letter that comes in the mail.
  • INVESTIGATE your options.

70% of all mortgagors simply sign the renewal letter that comes in the mail. You would think that because you have been with the current lender for so long that you would receive the BEST rate out there. NEWS FLASH, that is 100% false. Remember, lenders are in business of making money for their shareholders. Your current lender has done their homework, you should do yours. They know that most of the borrowers will sign and send back the form for ease and convenience. We are lazy by nature and we possess too much trust. As finance consumers, there are scenarios I’ve seen where we are leaving 20-40 (0.20% – 0.40%) basis points on the table.

I recently read an article online that indicated the average mortgage amount in the GTA area was $438,716 for 2016. Let’s say round that amount to $450,000 for ease of calculation. For every 0.25% difference the mortgage payment increases (or decreases) $13 per every $100,000 extended. If your current lender offered you a rate 0.25% higher than another lender then this scenario would yield an annual increase of $936. Are you able to invest 4-5 hours of your time to save that kind of money? Heck ya you can! That is $187.20 – $234 per hour.

Renewing with your existing lender may or may not be your only option. When 47% of you out there receive the renewal letter in the mail this year, I have 936 reasons why I would strongly advise you to reach out to Kris Krawiec – Mortgage Broker to discuss ALL your options – switching lenders to save money and/or leveraging equity for financial planning purposes.
Here is an example of how I just re-financed my home to access my equity. We were able to obtain a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) mortgage product from a major Canadian charter bank.

  • Current residence appraised at $1.15MM.
  • Current mortgage balance, $445,000.
  • Maximum loan limit, $920,000 (80% of market value: 1,150,000 x 80%).
  • Opted to secure the current balance into a variable rate mortgage
  • The equity of $475,000 was set-up access from a line of credit
  • These clients now have access to funds for any future needs: renos, emergency, investment opportunities, post-secondary education for their children.

But while a HELOC allows for product diversification and long-term planning, it is not for everyone. It can be a bad idea if it’s just used as access to easy cash. One needs to possess high self-discipline, as the funds are extremely accessible. A HELOC is also not available to all homeowners as there must be greater than 20% equity in the home before a lender will consider it.

With 13 modifications to the lending policies since 2006 the time to plan is now. If I were to attempt the same re-financing maneuver today to leverage equity I would qualify for 20% less ($95,000) or $380,000. This would be one less rental property added to the portfolio. Before anymore changes happen, you should consider accessing your money today.

Bank of Canada Concerned About Trade Risks

Latest News Kris Krawiec 9 Mar

The Bank of Canada held rates steady today, as expected, highlighting “trade policy developments” as an “important and growing source of uncertainty for the global and Canadian outlooks.”

As the seventh round of NAFTA negotiations commenced in Mexico City, President Trump dropped a bombshell late last week, threatening to impose a 25% tariff on imported steel and a 10% tariff on imported aluminum for national security reasons. The news reverberated around the world, causing U.S. trading partners in Europe to announce potential retaliatory actions quickly. The European Union raised the stakes for Trump by aiming levies on the GOP heartland, saying it would slap tariffs on products like Harley-Davidsons, Kentucky bourbon and Levi, bluejeans if President Trump goes ahead with his plan. Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, is the Republican Representative from Wisconsin, headquarters of Harley-Davidsons. He immediately urged the President to stand down or ‘to be more surgical’ on tariffs. Hardliners such as Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross argued that any retribution would be trivial.

Well-known Republican economic advisors to the president warned that the tariff plan would do more harm than good, having adverse effects on consumers and many companies that use imported metals in the production of their products. The number of jobs lost in the auto sector and construction, for example, could be far more significant than the positive impact on the comparatively few jobs in the steel industry mainly in Pennsylvania. Prices of many products would rise including infrastructure costs, energy and food products.

Canada is ground zero in this maelstrom as the number-one exporter of steel and aluminum to the U.S., supplying $7.2 billion of aluminum and $4.3 billion of steel to the United States last year. Trump has often accused China of forcing U.S. steel and aluminum companies to fold by inundating the market with cheaper materials, but Trump thus far has refused to exclude Canada from the tariff proposal, holding Canada hostage to a favourable NAFTA deal.

Canada and the rest of the world are hoping that reasonable voices are going to prevail, but the resignation of Gary Cohen, White House Economic Adviser and formerly President of Goldman Sachs, is a victory for the protectionists (and immigration hawks). A registered Democrat, Cohn was regarded as one the few political moderates close to the president. His absence will amplify voices like Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and trade adviser Peter Navarro who back the president’s impulses to buck convention and pick trade fights on a global stage.

Housing Another Factor Postponing Rate Hikes

Even before the escalating trade tensions, the Bank of Canada was concerned about the impact of rising mortgage rates and new mortgage guidelines on housing, a significant contributor to the 3% growth in the economy last year. “Strong housing data in late 2017, and softer data at the beginning of this year, indicate some pulling forward of demand,” according to the Bank of Canada press release. The central bank is monitoring the economy’s sensitivity to higher interest rates, pointing out that “household credit growth has decelerated for three consecutive months.”

Inflation has edged upward to close to the 2% target. Wage growth has firmed, but even with the hike in minimum wages, the rise in compensation remains smaller than usual at full-employment.

The Bank of Canada commented once again that the economic outlook is expected to warrant higher interest rates over time, but some continued monetary policy accommodation will likely be needed to keep the economy operating close to potential with inflation on target. The next scheduled Bank of Canada policy announcement is April 18 when the full economic outlook will be updated in the quarterly Monetary Policy Report.

To be sure, if the Trump administration goes ahead with the tariffs, the Bank will keep rates steady in April as well. Investors have pared bets on rate hikes after weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter growth, turmoil in global equity markets and the sharp decline in the Canadian dollar. Traders are not pricing in another rate hike until July according to Bloomberg News calculation on overnight index swaps. A month ago, expectations pointed to at least one increase by May. By the Bank of Canada’s measure, interest rates are still about two percentage points below what it would consider “neutral” for the economy.

Tips for your variable rate mortgage that could save you thousands

Mortgage Tips Kris Krawiec 5 Mar

With changes to mortgage rules and interest rates on the rise here are some tips for your variable rate mortgage that could save you thousands.

Since 2009 the prime lending rate has shifted from a high of 6% down to 2% range remaining fairly level for the past few years before rising to a present day level of 3.45%. During that time, lenders have offered consumers high discount variable mortgage as low as 1.2% when rates were at their lowest, to current rates of 2.45 (depending on the lender and if the mortgage is insured or not).

Historically the choice of a variable rate mortgage over a fixed term has allowed borrowers to save in interest costs.

I always recommend if my clients can qualify and it makes sense for their specific situation to choose variable only if they will take full advantage of the lower rate. By setting their payment to the equivalent of the 5 year fixed rate at the time, the difference in payment goes directly to principal pay down.

Every 10% increase in payment shaves three years off the amortization of a five-year term so every bit extra matters and can make a difference.

If your mortgage is maturing in the next 90-180 days, it is time to talk to your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional for tips for your variable rate mortgage that could save you thousands.

You may feel the pressure to lock in to a fixed rate after the recent increases in the prime lending rate. For some this may be an option. However, I have the same advice every time someone asks me this question: It depends on your situation and we need to do a review. Take the extra time to review the current rate, remaining term of the mortgage, the new offer, how that will impact payments and your plans for staying in your home, moving and/or if this is an investment property.

For example Amy and Jake have a current balance of $300,000 on their mortgage with a variable rate at Prime minus .80% (2.65%). Current payments set at $703 bi-weekly. The mortgage matures in 24 months but they are considering to lock in for a new five-year term offered at 3.34%. New payments would be $739. They love their condo but not sure if they will stay or move in two years or not.

After a review of their mortgage we offer a second option. Keep the remaining variable rate mortgage in place for the remaining two years. Set payments at 3.34% or $739 bi-weekly.

They decide on this second option because:

  • In 24 months the savings on interest is $4,000 and their outstanding balance is $4,000 less than by staying in the fixed rate
  • They won’t be locked into a mortgage for another five years
  • If they choose to sell before the maturity date, the penalty on a variable mortgage is only three months interest
  • In two years they can either choose to stay with the same lender or move to another lender without penalty

With this strategy they don’t have to feel pressured into locking in today and they can continue to take advantage of the lower variable rate.

So if you are in a variable rate mortgage and not sure what to do. Remember my tips for your variable rate mortgage that could save you thousands.