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.

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.

Know Your 5 C’s of Mortgage Lending

Mortgage Tips Kris Krawiec 24 Sep

We all know the real estate industry is hot right now and for many getting into the housing market, it can be a pipe dream. With tightening government and lending regulations, historically low interest rates and soaring housing prices, it can be a daunting endeavour for anyone.

Whether you are a first time home buyer, wanting to upsize to accommodate your growing family or purchasing an investment property, these are the factors that lenders will be looking at. This will determine which mortgage type and interest rate will be available to you.

Know Your 5 C’s:

Collateral – The property itself that you are hoping to purchase.

Capital – Where is your down payment coming from? At a minimum, you need 5% down for a “high ratio” insured mortgage or a “conventional” mortgage with 20% down. This money can come from your own resources or can be gifted from a family member. Requirements will vary, so make sure to check with your mortgage professional.

Credit – Do you have proven credit and show a good history of repayment?

Capacity – The most important by far! How are you going to pay for your mortgage? Proof of income and requirements differ depending on whether you are salaried, self- employed, paid hourly or somewhere in between!

Character – Are you a super person? This is the least important factor to lenders these days.

Just as important to consider, when deciding on your mortgage, is to determine your current financial situation and longer term goals. This will help you decide which mortgage term and amortization (for example a 5 year term with a 25 year amortization) and mortgage rate (variable or fixed) is best for you. Finally, don’t forget to discuss the FEATURES that come with your mortgage as this could save you thousands of dollars and potential grief over the term of the mortgage. These features can include pre-payment options, lower early payout penalties and portability, providing you with flexibility and options for paying down your mortgage faster or making changes, should the need arise.

Mortgages are NOT a one size fits all, so always make sure to contact and discuss your options with a licensed mortgage professional BEFORE preparing to find the home of your dreams.