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BANK VS BROKER

Buying your first home and getting your first mortgage can be an overwhelming experience.

If this is your first home buying experiencing, applying for a mortgage can be the most intimidating part of the process , so where do you start?

In the past, the home buyer turned to their banks for their mortgage needs, but now you have more options at your disposal with over 40% of consumers turning to mortgage brokers for their mortgages needs instead of the banks.

Mortgage brokers are provincially licensed and regulated by CMBA .   They can help you with all aspects of a mortgage, from figuring out how much you can truly afford, to determining the best mortgage product for you, to finding ways to save you money and pay off your mortgage faster.

Many lenders’ rates and mortgages can only be accessed through a mortgage broker. Not having the selection of lenders, and simply choosing to get a mortgage with a bank, can mean choosing harsher prepayment penalties for breaking your mortgage in the future, as well as a higher interest rate; which can cost buyers thousands upon thousands of dollars over the life of their mortgage.

A mortgage broker is also able to better tailor a mortgage product to your specific needs, whether that be working with a lender who is more flexible when it comes to self-employed income; one who has more flexible prepayment terms; or one that has more options for consumers that possibly have suffered some credit challenges in the past.  Because mortgage brokers have access to more lenders, they’re better able to find a lender and a mortgage based on your specific needs and financial situation to get you the lowest mortgage rates today.

Mortgage brokers offer convenience, which lets you meet around your schedule, not the banks hours.

Mortgage brokers also operate on commission and are paid by the lenders who ultimately grant you your mortgage, so there is no cost to the consumer.   Referrals are the life blood of our business so it is in our best interest to serve you as best we can.

Bottom line,  using a mortgage broker gives you the freedom of CHOICE and comparables to consider, using a bank gives you no other choice but ONE, theirs.

Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have at 1-888-819-6536 or lisa@mortgageplayground.com

 

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TD, RBC End 2.99% Mortgage Deals Early

After a crazy month fielding calls about rates and competitive rates from the major banks, they have put a hault on them.  Although the product that were attached with them were limited and badly disclosed to consumers, there are still amazing rates to be had in the mortgage market.  The problem with banks is that they can choose to give one rate today and a different rate tomorrow.  All I can suggest be informed and do your homework and ask questions when shopping for a mortgage.  Its not always about rate its about having a mortgage plan that suits your needs and someone that can show you ways to save money on your mortgage long term!  If your interested in learning more about how to save money on your mortgage , no tricks no catch good ole information for you from me  http://bit.ly/AfD2RR    Here’s the article below;

After briefly offering record-low rates of less than 3% on some of its mortgages in response to its rivals, Canada’s two biggest banks have pulled back their offers prematurely.

Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canada’s second-largest bank, raised its special four-year closed fixed rate mortgage 40 basis points to 3.39%, effective Wednesday, while also introducing a special five-year closed fixed rate mortgage at 4.04%.

The bank also hiked its five-year closed mortgage 10 basis points to 5.24%.

TD had said it would offer the special rates until Feb. 29.

The moves put TD back in line with Royal Bank of Canada, which made the same rate decisions on Monday, coming into effect Wednesday.

RBC had also initially planned to keep its special rates available until Feb. 29

 

The only difference is RBC already had the special five-year closed fixed rate mortgage product, which it increased 10 basis points to 4.04%.

RBC had first cut its rate to 2.99% in January in response to a similar cut from BMO.

Matt Gierasimczuk, a spokesman with RBC, said the bank had to end its special prematurely because of rising funding costs.

“Our long-term funding costs have gone up considerably due to global economic concerns and, while we have held off in passing on these rate changes to our clients, it is now necessary for us to increase this mortgage rate,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg News on Monday.

With household debt-to-income ratios at at historic highs and still on the rise, the Bank of Canada has repeatedly voiced its concerns over the past year that Canadians are living beyond their means.

“We have expressed on numerous occasions our concerns about rising household indebtedness,” senior deputy governor Tiff Macklem said in a question-and-answer session following a speech in Toronto Tuesday. “The simple fact is that consumers are consuming more than they’re earning.”

With files from Reuters and Bloomberg News

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Calculating your mortgage penalty…

Todays market is bringing alot of questions about whether you should consider refinancing your mortgage for a better rate.  There are many different reasons people might re-negotiate their current mortgage.   You may be considering using some of the equity in your home you have built up and use it to buy a rental property,  Make and RRSP contribution or investment, pay off some high interest rate debt or just renegotiate your current rate for a better more competitive rate and lower monthly payment.

Below are some ways in which you can get a good idea on what kind of penalty you may be faced should you want to refinance your current mortgage.  Again these are used simply as a guideline and are in no way exact.   The lending institution you are currently dealing with will give you the exact amounts relating to your specifac situation.

Calculating Payout Penalties & Interest Rate Differentials (IRD)

Many closed mortgages include a clause stating that the payout privilege on the mortgage will be a three-month interest penalty, or interest differential, whichever is greater.

For the calculations below,  using the following scenario:
  • $300,000 remaining on the mortgage
  • 3 years into a 5-year fixed term at 5.5%
  • Today’s interest rate: 3.5%

We’ll just be using the simple interest amount – the actual amount of the penalty could be a little less than the amount quoted in the examples.

Three Month Interest Penalty :

Mortgage Balance X Interest Rate X 3 months

Plugging in the variables above, we would get:

=   $300,000   X   0.055    X   0.25                (5.5% = 0.055,  3/12 = 0.25)

= $4125.00 would be the 3 month interest penalty

Now we have to calculate the interest differential – and that’s where penalties can be quite substantial – especially since interest rates have dropped considerably lately.

Interest Differential Penalty:

Current Mortgage Balance  X Interest Rate Differencial  X Time remaining

=$300,000 X 0.02  X 2

(0.02 = 2% which is the difference from 5.5%-3.5%, and 2 years left in term)

=$12,000.00 would be the Interest Differential Penalty

In the example above, the bank would then use the Interest Differential Penalty since that amount is the greater of the two. Remember that the way banks calculates their penalties sometimes is a mystery to me and can be greater than the figures above so make sure you ask.

Please remember that its not always about RATE,  although important,  there are other important steps you need to take into consideration when considering paying a penalty and shopping for a mortgage.  Let a mortgage expert, put strategic steps and the right product in place that will ultimately make sure its in your best interest to pay a penalty and that your saving money.

I would also invite you to take a look at this link.  I am part of a community of mortgage brokers that created a forum to get our best ideas together a create a simple and educational strategy  showcased here on this website.    A program I implement with all my clients, wherever they are in the mortgage process.  Its a program created in mind to help consumers pay more attention to their mortgage and implement simple easy steps to save thousands of dollars.   When was the last time  your bank phone you up at any time to show you how to save money on your mortgage.  I think i know the answer…..Please click the link and learn something valuable  today then contact me to get started.

http://www.moneyinyourmortgage.com/af/194/lisaalentejano/about

I am a licensed mortgage broker with years of financial experience,  able to help you with your mortgage  any where in Canada and Alberta. Remember my services are free and never should you feel there is any obligation.   So please pick up the phone and contact me directly I would love to hear from you 1-888-819-6536. If your more comfortable with email please feel free to email me your questions at lisa@mortgageplayground.com

Expert, unbiased advice is what i offer to all of my clients.

Author, Lisa Alentejano

Posted in Bank of Canada, Bank of canada rates, Benchmark interest rate, Best Rate Mortgages, British Columbia Mortgages, Canadian Economy, Canadian Mortgage News, Interest \rate Increases, Interior Mortgages, Kamloops broker, Kamloops home mortgages, Low Interest Rates, mark carney, Mortgage Affordability, Mortgage Rates, Variable rates

Bank of Canada hold key rate steady

Bank of Canada Keeps Key Rate Steady

As expected by most economists, the Bank of Canada announced earlier today that it is keeping its key policy rate steady.

In its statement the Bank noted that it expects “growth in Canada will be slow through mid-2012 before picking up as the global economic environment improves, uncertainty dissipates and confidence increases.”  The Bank also projected today that the Canadian economy “will expand by 2.1 per cent in 2011, 1.9 per cent in 2012, and 2.9 per cent in 2013.”

The prime rate at most lenders will stay at 3.00%, which means those with variable-rate mortgages will still enjoy relatively low rates.  A new variable-rate mortgage can in many cases be obtained by qualified borrowers at Prime minus 0.20% – 0.40%  Home equity lines of credit and variable-rate credit cards are also typically linked to the prime rate.  The pricing for new fixed-rate mortgages is influenced by trends in the bond markets, rather than the central bank’s key policy rate.

The Bank’s next rate decision is scheduled for December 6.

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Is it time to lock in your mortgage?

Do you lock in your mortgage or not?

Heres an interesting article on things to consider when locking in  your mortgage or at least considering renewing your mortgage for a better rate.  Lots of things to look at when rates are at an all time low.  You can imagine consumers are taking a good look at their mortgage and where they want to go with it. Small differences in rates can save  you thousands over the longer term.  As most of us have a mortgage for years, take advantage of at least looking at your current mortgage and consider whether making a change could be beneficial.   As always any questions or comments please feel free to contact me at 1-888-819-6536.

The gap between short-term and long-term rates has shrunk enough that it might be time for anyone renewing a mortgage to consider locking in.

Moves last week by the major banks to reduce the discount on variable-rate mortgages comes as the discounts for long-term mortgages have gotten as steep as they have ever been.

“What seems to be happening is they are focusing their attention on fixed rates. We are starting to see some aggressive competition on four-and five-year products,” says Gary Siegle, a mortgage broker and Invis Inc. regional manager in Calgary.

How aggressive? Try as much as 190 basis points. A five-year, fixed-rate mortgage with a posted rate of 5.39% is now being offered for 3.49%.

For whatever reason, the four-year, fixed-rate mortgages are being priced even more aggressively.

Mr. Siegle says he can lock consumers into a four-year, fixed mortgage for as low as 3.09%.

The discounting comes as variable-rate products, linked to prime, have become more expensive. Short-term money has become more expensive in the bond market, forcing banks to reduce discounts.

The banks traditionally move their prime rate with the Bank of Canada rate. With no flexibility there and existing customers getting huge discounts based on old deals, banks are forced to raise rates for new loans as short-term money gets more expensive.

The trend began in April when FirstLine Mortgages, a subsidiary of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce known for its low rates, cut its discount on variable rates.

Others banks were slow to follow, hoping to make money on volume. But refinancings have dried up under tougher mortgage rules and sales have slowed, creating the need to tighten profit margins on variable-rate products.

Today, the discount on a variable-rate mortgage is about 55 basis points off the prime rate of 3% – in other words, 2.45%. Compare that to 3.09% on a four-year mortgage and the premium to lock in is not that much.

“This gap is about as narrow as it goes,” says CIBC deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal. “It reflects a flat yield curve, which makes it difficult to make money in this business.”

Mr. Tal says variable-rate mortgages tend to be more attractive when there are inflation expectations not yet expressed in short-term rates. This time, he says, the bond market is depressed, anticipating recession, and that has shrunk spreads dramatically.

The one thing keeping people in short-term money is the sense that there is no urgency to move because the U.S. Federal Reserve Board has pledged not to raise rates for two years, which also effectively ties the hands of the Bank of Canada.

“We know the five-year rate is attractive, but we also know short-term rates are not raising,” Mr. Tal says.

What does that mean on a practical, dollars-and-cents basis?

Let’s use the Canadian Real Estate Association’s 2011 average sale price forecast of about $360,000 and assume a 20% down payment and a $288,000 mortgage.

At 2.45%, your monthly mortgage payment based on a 25-year amortization would be $1,282.98. At 3.09%, your monthly payment rises to $1,376.28.

But even at the gap, you would pay about an extra $7,000 in interest to lock in over four years.

Ultimately, the $7,000 amounts to an insurance policy. You get payment certainty for four years, but at a price.

If rates climb 200 basis points on your variable-rate mortgage, it could cost you $22,000 more in interest over four years. The reality is that rates wouldn’t jump at once and, therefore, increases would likely be gradual.

Moshe Milevsky, the York University finance professor who wrote the oft-quoted study that variable-rate mortgages do better than fixedrate mortgages 88% of the time, said if you start thinking about it like insurance, it comes down to your risk tolerance.

“There are people who pay a lot for protection on their portfolio; there are people who pay a lot for life insurance,” Prof. Mr. Milevsky says. “If the premiums are low enough, you might say, ‘Sure, I’ll pay.’ But if you have a tight budget, every basis point counts, and it might not be worth it.”

To me, he still has the ultimate answer for the tough decision whether or not to lock in.

“I still don’t get why more Canadians don’t split their mortgage,” Prof. Milevsky says. In other words, locking in half of the mortgage and floating with prime on the other half.

“When is a bank going to come to the realization Canadians hate making this choice?”

He’s right. Even with rates this low and the gap between short-term and long-term rates this narrow, it is still a tough call

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Bank of Canada will most likely hold key interest rate

Canada’s strong economic growth in the first quarter is likely a temporary blip that will give way to more moderate expansion during the rest of the year.

While most analysts agree that should keep interest rates on hold when the Bank of Canada announces it latest policy stance on Tuesday, a number of others are getting nervous about the central bank’s slow pace in normalizing monetary conditions, saying it increasingly runs the risk of fueling higher inflation and destabilizing the economy.

“In order to control prices and avoid wild swings in the economy, we are of the opinion that the Bank of Canada should be more aggressive in the normalization of its monetary policy than what the market expects,” Pierre Lapointe, a global macro strategist at Brockhouse Cooper, said in a note to clients on Monday.

Canada’s gross domestic product expanded at an annualized rate of 3.9% during the first three months of the year, its fastest pace since the first quarter of 2010 when the economy grew 5.6%, according to Statistics Canada.

Falling just shy of the 4% expected by economists, the country’s latest GDP figures were aided by strong growth in the mining and oil and gas industries as almost all major sectors with the exception of retail, and arts, entertainment and recreation.

Business investments in plants and equipment were up 3.2%, the fifth straight increase, while exports were up 1.6% in the first quarter, and imports rose 2.2%.

Jim Flaherty, Canada’s Finance Minister, said the GDP numbers were encouraging when asked about them during a news conference at a Chrysler plant in Etobicoke on Monday morning.

“We knew the first quarter was going to be strong, and it is strong,” he said. “It’s in line with expectations. I’m particularly encouraged by the fact that government capital spending is a smaller part of the growth.”

But Mr. Flaherty, who said he plans on tabling “essentially the same budget” as the one in March that was rejected by the opposition to spark the recent federal election, also acknowledged that Canada’s growth for the rest of the year would be more modest.

Several economists, including David Madani of Capital Economics, agreed that the country’s economic pick-up is not sustainable.

With the temporary boost to growth from higher energy and auto production already realized, Mr. Madani expects second-quarter growth as a low as 1.5%.

He said Canada faces several headwinds and forecasts that slower US economic growth and the strong Canadian dollar will continue to restrain exports, particularly in industries dependent on auto sales and housing construction in the US.

“More importantly, Canadian domestic demand appears increasingly vulnerable to a shaky housing market, where still rising prices test the limits of housing affordability and already high household debt levels,” he said in a note to clients.

Under those circumstances, Mr. Madani said the Bank of Canada is unlikely to raise interest rates anytime soon. Consensus estimates, meanwhile, predict the central bank only raising its key lending rate 25 basis points to 1.25% by the end of the third quarter and to just 1.75% by year-end.

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Experts best at brokering mortgages

Cheryl Hutton and Aaron Coates always thought getting a mortgage would be a challenge. But within 18 days of visiting a mortgage broker, they were able to close a deal on a new townhouse in Calgary without a hitch.

Now in their early thirties, both have careers in the theatre, something Ms. Hutton says has been a bit of a sticking point with banks. “In our industry we never fit the paperwork guidelines ‘for the banks.’ For some reason, people don’t think we pay our bills.”

Although it was their first home purchase, Ms. Hutton says it was surprising how easy the whole process was once they had someone who could walk them through it. “He sat us down, told us what our options were, showed us that it was possible and explained all the steps we needed to take. If it wasn’t for him, we may not have made the leap.”

Sorting through a mortgage process and negotiating rates can be overwhelming for firsttime and seasoned home buyers alike. That’s why people such as Ms. Hutton and Mr. Coates turn to brokers to do the legwork for them.

Yet mortgage brokers will tell you that a good portion of home buyers out there don’t really understand what they do. “Part of the challenge we have in our world is that people aren’t really sure what a mortgage broker is,” says Gary Siegle, regional manager for Invis Inc., a mortgage brokerage firm in Calgary.

Brokers should not be confused with “rovers,” mortgage specialists attached to a specific financial institution who visit customers outside of banking hours, Mr. Siegle explains.

“They only deal with that bank’s product. A broker, however, is an intermediary whose job is to make a match between a lender and a borrower. We represent the individual, not the bank.”

About 30% of mortgages in Canada are done through a broker, according to Perry Quinton, vicepresident, marketing, for Investor Education Fund, a Toronto-based non-profit financial information service.

“The reason more people don’t know about them is because the banks are so visible. It’s easy to gravitate to them when you have your savings accounts, credit cards and investments there already,” Ms. Quinton says.

Going for the comfort factor could cost you however, she adds. “A broker has access to different lenders including banks, and can shop rates and features. A halfper-cent may not sound like much but that could make a difference of about $20,000 for a $250,000 mortgage amortized over 25 years. Any little bit helps.”

Mr. Siegle confirms that shopping around can deliver significant savings.

“Let’s take today’s average posted rate of 5.44%, and you get a point off that at your bank. So you think you just got a really great deal. But the vast majority of rates we deal with as brokers would be another 30 basis points lower -around 4.14%. And if you look at preferred deals that don’t offer features such as prepayment privileges, it can get as low as 3.89%. That’s another 25 basis points below what’s generally available.”

The reason for that is simple, he says. “We offer wholesale rates, banks offer retail.”

For anyone considering a broker, Ms. Quinton advises people to do a bit of groundwork first if they have the time.

“It helps to educate yourself about options and what you can afford. Look at all your living expenses, including student loans and credit card debt. Chances are you are understating those.”

Another thing to look into is the different types of available mortgages and features, including interest rates, payment frequency, amortization, cash-back programs and the ability to make lump sum payments.

“Knowing these things before you go in can save you a lot of money,” she adds.

Any mortgage broker you choose should always meet the right licensing and education requirements, so be sure to check their registration.

If you’re not completely prepared, however, that shouldn’t be a concern when working with a good mortgage broker, Mr. Siegle says.

“After all, mortgages are pretty much all we do. So even if you come in cold, good brokers will walk you through the process and ask all sorts of questions,” Mr. Siegle notes.

“You just need to be prepared to answer them openly and honestly so they can get you the best deal possible.”

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