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CANADIAN HOME BUYERS ACADEMY

Working For You!

 

 

Are you interested in making some cash when you buy or sell your next home? Maybe you simply want to learn more about Real Estate in Canada? Have You been looking for general information on buying and financing a home but cant seem to find the information in one specifac place that has consistent information.  Take a good look at this program, I think you will find alot of great information and tools for you to use.

I am proud to be a part of this worthy and valuable program.

Go check it out here http://www.canadianhomebuyersacademy.ca

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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

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Do your homework first… read the fine print – Rate of 2.99 to good to be true?

Although you will never hear any bank say that publicly, this is what is going on. Recently there has been some industry chatter about a few banks offering a sub 3% 5 year fixed product. One particular institution is bragging about their 6 billion dollar portfolio under administration, this product, and how great it is. At first glance you might think ” WOW, that’s awesome!” However as with all mortgages, you have to dig a bit deeper to find out the real nuts and bolts of this sub 3% offer. It’s a great offer alright for the bank, not for you; the consumer.

Based on an average mortgage size of $250,000, that’s 24,000 Canadians that negotiated directly with the bank who will feel ripped off once they find out about their terms and conditions. I am very pro client / consumer, and my job is to look out for their best interests so I simply can’t endorse this product. Consumers though need to know why they shouldn’t either. This product is priced well below the market average for 5 year product, and does not come without it’s “catches”. It’s definitely buyer beware and the bank will not tell you this.

Some of the features (or non-features you might say) are:

Minimal or no pre-payment privileges

This product has extremely low pre-payment features. On a monthly increase basis this could mean nothing to less than half of what the industry norm is. Lump sum payments may also be nothing or less than half the industry norm and if allowed only once per year. Pre-payment features are extremely beneficial and allow for strategies to be put in place. Lack of strategy means lack of interest savings for clients and consumers.

Fully Closed

When I say fully closed, I mean just that. A borrower cannot get out of the mortgage, unless they sell their place if at all. Who wants to sell their place if they want to refinance? I don’t know too many people that would. If borrowers do sell their place, a substantial penalty such as a 6 month interest penalty typically applies.  Borrowers may be offered  a reduced penalty (3 month) if they choose to refinance with that same bank however this still does not offer a borrower access to the entire mortgage market. It also confines them to more inferior product. If a borrower is going to pay a penalty, they rightfully should have the opportunity to entertain superior product. The average mortgage is in place roughly 3 years before being paid out or refinanced. Life just happens. More than likely a borrower will need to do something with their mortgage during their current mortgage term.  To be locked down by these terms and clauses makes absolutely no sense.

No guarantee of best rates upon renewal or refinance

Banks know that consumers may not know the mortgage market at any particular point in time. What’s happening in the mortgage world is usually not on the forefront of people’s minds. When it comes time to renew or refinance borrowers can be offered a rate as high as 1% above the market norm and not realize it. When a borrower asks the bank to do better, they may be offered a discount further however that .5% “special” discount doesn’t look so good when the rest of the market is priced much lower. This amounts to more interest the borrower has to pay over the course of their mortgage. This is more money for the bank that should be staying with you.

Your mortgage will also be registered as a collateral charge.

Beware of this one as it is a very sly practice among banks. What does a collateral charge mean to a borrower? The bank will instruct the lawyer to register the title as a running account. More than likely you running account will have a global limit of the property value itself. This doesn’t mean you are going to get this money, it just means that your property is fully tied up. If you choose another lender at renewal, legal fees apply. A second mortgage or Line of Credit can’t be put behind this product because the bank has tied up ALL of your equity. No matter which way you turn, the bank has shackled you to more costs and fees.

The lesson here is that rate is not everything. Product and Strategy is. Borrowers need flexible product to execute strategy.

Contact me for more information or apply online at http://www.mortgageplayground.com

 

 

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Renewing and refinancing mortgages is saving Canadians big bucks

Canadians saved $2.7-billion in the past year renewing or refinancing their mortgages and the betting money among consumers seems to be that interest rates are not going up any time soon, according to a new survey.

The Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals says 37% of Canadians opted for a variable rate mortgage in the last year, pushing up the overall percentage of Canadians floating with prime — and vulnerable to Bank of Canada rate hikes — to 31%.

But the group maintains Canadians are not overexposed to a potential rising rate environment with the survey finding 84% say they could handle a rate increase that boosted their mortgage payments by $200 per month. The average amount of room Canadians say they could afford on top of their current costs is $750 per month.

“Overall, our survey paints a picture of Canadians generally and homeowners in particular as very focused on their finances,” said Jim Murphy, president of CAAMP. “They are planning ahead, aggressively paying down their mortgage in advance of any economic jolt.”

Government policy that cracked down on refinancing rules may also be having an effect on the market. Earlier this year Ottawa tweaked the rules on refinancing, restricting consumers to 85% debt on the value of their home, down from 90%.

CAAMP said Canadians have become conservative about taking equity out of their home with 10% of mortgage holders doing so in the last year, a drop from 40% a year earlier.

“There is no need for policy makers to introduce new measures that would reduce housing activity,” said Mr. Murphy, his comments clearly aimed at suggestions the market needs even more governance and tighter measures such as increased minimum downpayments.

It’s clear Canadians are enjoying the low interest rate environment that CAAMP says lowered the average mortgage rate to 3.92% from 4.22%. The effect is that among the 1.35 million mortgage borrowers who renewed or refinanced in the past year, the savings was $2.7-billion.

“Some people are coming out of 5% plus mortgages and saving a lot of money,” says Rob McLister, editor of Canadian Mortgage Trends. Someone with a $500,000 mortgage going from 5% to 3.29% with 20-year amortization could save almost $40,000 in interest over a five-year term, he says.

Mr. McLister is seeing a growing line of people looking to break a mortgage and willing to pay the interest penalty.

CAAMP said 32% of Canadians reported making some sort of change to their mortgage in the past year with almost two-thirds of those people saying they were refinancing or renewing their mortgages. Among those who renewed, 78% got a rate reduction.

 

Canadians who are looking for that better rate appear ready to shop around with 21% of respondents who renewed or refinanced their mortgages in the last year saying they switched lenders.

Mortgage rates continue to be at or near all-time lows with a flatter yield curve reducing the steep discount on variable rates and making locking in more attractive. The website ratesupermarket.ca says the best variable rate product on the market now is 2.48% while a five-year fixed rate closed mortgage is now as low as 3.19%.

“What you are facing is whether you lock in today and know what my rate will be for the next five years or go variable and gamble,” says Mr. McLister. “There is risk there.”

Sal Guatieri, senior economist with BMO Capital Markets, said the savings are positive because it is putting extra money in the pockets of Canadians. “I almost expect more people to jump into variable given the long-term interest rate environment looks so benign,” says Mr. Guatieri.

Posted in BC Mortgages, Best Rate Mortgages, British Columbia Mortgages, buy vs rent for students, Canadian Economy, Canadian Mortgage News, Kamloops Mortgage Broker, Kamloops Mortgage Broker - Lisa Alentejano, kamloops mortgage financing, Kelowna Mortgage Broker, Kelowna Mortgage Financing - Lisa Alentejano, Mortgage by Lisa Alentejano, Salmon Arm Mortgage Broker, salmon Arm mortgages

Condo for the studious kid?

Summer is drawing to a close and if the student in your household is studying in Toronto, they may be moving back into residences or private rental accommodation.

However, some parents are choosing to buy a place for their offspring, and perhaps some friends, to live in for the duration of their studies. While it may sound like a great investment, your financial planner will be getting you to ask some tough questions.

Ask yourself: “Can we afford it?” says Carol Bezaire, vice-president, tax and estate planning at MacKenzie Financial in Toronto, who reccomends planning ahead by asking: “‘What are we going to do with this property if our child doesn’t go to school or drops out?’ Down the road if the child decides they want to stay in the place, ‘What kind of arrangement with the child are we going to have?’ ”

Ms. Bezaire recommends getting legal and tax advice when drawing up an agreement between you and your child. If you charge your child rent, they can write it off as a tax credit. However, you will need to record the rent as income on your return and you will be liable for tax on any capital gain when you sell the property. If space will be rented to non-family members, Ms. Bezaire says, you must get tax advice on operating a business rather than a personal arrangement.

The type of housing stock available may also affect the rent-versusbuy decision.

“As a market investment, condos have definitely grown exponentially. In Q2, we had 9,445 condos sold,” says Pauline Lierman, senior research analyst, Urbanation in Toronto. A lot of that is due to the fact that students have a desire to be in the city, but there is a shift away from the houses that are broken down into units. “Families are moving back in and buying them and converting them back into singlefamily units, so you’re getting areas where there isn’t as much supply of the traditional type of student-ghetto housing.”

Some parents – particularly from overseas – have been planning ahead.

“Some projects have been very successful in their marketing to forward-thinking families,” says George Carras, president, RealNet Canada. “They may consider that, ‘My child is much younger, we like Canada and we’d like them to come to school in Canada. So let’s just invest in the condo as possible accommodation.'”

Mr. Carras says such purchases tend to be focused around University of Toronto’s and George Brown’s main downtown campuses.

“You can start to see some of the development acquisitions and interests taking place further north,” Mr. Carras says. “For Seneca, [there’s interest in] some of the growth that’s taken place in and around the Sheppard corridor. You’re within a reasonable distance to the school but you’re also accessible to public transit.”

While your child studies, many new and resale condos will come up for sale in the GTA. Mr. Carras and Ms. Lierman both say continued population growth, coupled with a decline in single-family home construction, means there will likely be decent demand should you decide to sell the condo when your child graduates.

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The Mortgage GameWith rates predicted to rise, should you lock in, or take a risk and how much should first timers spend?

With anticipated interest rate increases on the horizon, many homeowners are wondering whether to lock debt such as mortgages and secured lines of credit into a fixed-rate mortgage or stay variable. Even some who are mortgage free are concerned with how rate increases will impact secured lines of credit, the financing of vacation homes and recreational property.

First-time buyers may be particularly concerned with entering the national capital’s expensive real estate market.

What can you afford?

As a first time home buyer, it’s essential to figure out what you can afford. A quick rule of thumb is that your household expenses should not add up to more than 40 per cent of your pre-tax household income. Household expenses include mortgage payments, property taxes, condo fees, utility and heating costs, and any payments on other loans such as car loans, credit card debt and lines of credit.

Probably the first step should be to get a copy of your credit history from Equifax Canada and/or the credit bureau. As this is what lenders will look at, it’s important to review its accuracy.

Then do a household budget, list your assets and liabilities and meet with a bank or mortgage broker to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Try the monthly payments on for size. Let’s assume that your current rent is $1,000 and your anticipated payment as a homeowner is $2,350 for principal, interest, taxes, hydro, etc. Try putting aside the extra $1,350 immediately. Not only will this help you save some extra money, but it will get you in the habit of allocating this level of payment every month. Consider the maintenance costs as well, from normal upkeep to potentially larger expenses like a new roof or furnace.

It’s important to find out how much you can afford before falling in love with a house.

Start saving before you start shopping — the larger the down payment, the lower the financing costs. Although it’s not always possible for first-time home buyers, try to come up with at least a 20-per-cent down payment. Any down payments below this level must be insured with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) or Genworth Financial — another expense to factor in.

To assist with your down payment, consider using the Home Buyer’s Plan, which allows you to withdraw up to $25,000 from your RRSP for the purchase of a qualifying home.

Work with a real estate agent familiar with the area you would like to live in, an experienced home inspector and a real estate lawyer to help draft an offer and ensure that title is transferred properly.

Mortgage options

A recent survey indicated that more than 60 per cent of Canadians expect rates to rise over the next 12 months. With this in mind, here are some mortgage strategies to consider.

Fixed rate: If the prospect of rate increases is causing you significant concern, then perhaps you should consider locking in all or some of your debt. With the inflated home equity line of credit rates that consumers have been charged (prime plus 0.5 to one per cent instead of the traditional prime), it’s not that big a jump to a five-year fixed rate, perhaps as little as one per cent more.

If your fixed-rate mortgage is renewing in 2011 and you are interested in another fixed-rate mortgage, it may be worthwhile negotiating with your lender to close out your current mortgage and move into the new lower rate mortgage without penalty. As a strategy to pay off the mortgage sooner, consider increasing the payment and utilize weekly or accelerated bi-weekly payment schedules.

If you would like some level of security but don’t want a fixed rate on all your debt, consider a blend where a portion is at a fixed rate and the balance at a variable rate.

Variable rate: There are many studies that show that despite its volatility, a variable-rate mortgage tends to save more interest in the long term.

Variable-rate mortgages are best for consumers who are financially stable and can financially and emotionally handle the day-to-day fluctuations. One strategy is to benchmark your variable rate payment to that of a five-year, fixed-rate mortgage. Not only will you apply thousands of dollars against the principal and shorten the mortgage term, you will also build a higher potential payment into your budget.

Here are other tips for a variable-rate mortgage:

• Ask for a variable-rate mortgage at below prime. You might even be able to get prime minus 0.75 per cent.

• Negotiate a better rate on your home equity line of credit. Try to get the prime rate or prime plus 0.5 per cent, as opposed to the current prime plus one per cent that you are probably paying.

• Consider moving all of your debt to a combination of these two options.

For consumers who like the variable-rate mortgage option but are concerned about rate increases, ask your financial institution to give you a 120-day rate guarantee at their best discounted five-year rate. Keep the five-year, fixed-rate guarantee as insurance if rates increase significantly and renew it every 120 days until you feel rates have stabilized.

The windsor star

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Suprise: Low interest rates seen sticking around

Interest rates have recently being going somewhere unexpected: down.

At their trough last week, the yields on 10-year U.S. Treasuries, the benchmark North American rate, touched 3.11 per cent, the lowest level in six months and more than half a percentage point below their February peak.

Yields on 10-year Government of Canada bonds have fallen, too, and are now virtually identical to their U.S. counterparts.

The sliding rates have surprised many market watchers. With the United States government bumping up against its debt ceiling, inflation ticking upward, and a growing debt crisis in Europe, most expected interest rates to be increasing.

While predicting the future for rates is notoriously difficult, some observers believe that the current low-rate environment may continue for a while. If so, it will mean pain for savers, but good news for borrowers.

A drop in interest rates is equivalent to a sale on the price of money, and corporations are already rushing to take advantage of the easy lending conditions, even if they’re in no immediate need of funds. A case in point is Google Inc., which has $37-billion (U.S.) in cash and marketable securities on its balance sheet, but raised $3-billion from a bond issue last week anyway. Mortgage rates have fallen, too – good news for homeowners looking to refinance.

But lower rates have not turned out so well for some of the market’s savviest players, including Bill Gross, the founder of Pimco, the world’s biggest bond fund. Earlier this year, he sold his U.S. Treasuries, because he thought interest rates were poised to rocket higher, which would drive down prices of bonds.

It’s difficult to fault his logic: only a few months ago, the case for higher interest rates seemed so compelling.

Governments around the world are carrying bloated deficits and massive borrowing needs. In the United States, politicians have yet to agree on any clear path to deficit reduction, despite more than $1-trillion in annual red ink. Meanwhile, oil has been trading consistently around the $100-a-barrel level, thereby lifting inflation, another bond-market negative.

And the U.S. Federal Reserve is no longer putting its thumb on the scale. In less than six weeks, it is going to end its program of quantitative easing, under which it is buying $600-billion in Treasuries to goose the economy. Many bond-market followers believe the Fed’s massive buying binge has been propping up Treasury prices and keeping yields artificially low.

So what has been pushing rates lower in recent months?

A weaker-than-expected recovery is the major culprit. “The global economy, and the U.S. economy in particular, is not on quite as solid a recovery track as people were imagining in the very optimistic days of six months or so ago,” observes Peter Buchanan, senior economist at CIBC World Markets.

A slew of recent statistics underlines that weakness, ranging from the poor state of U.S. home sales to the slowing pace of U.S. manufacturing growth. Meanwhile, the Japanese economy, the world’s third-largest, is shrinking and creating a further drag on global commerce, although few foresee a double-dip recession.

“We’re looking ahead toward a bit of a cooling in economic growth,” said Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, who foresees output in the U.S. rising about 2 per cent this year.

That level of growth won’t be “anything to celebrate but it’s nothing like the recession we saw previously,” he said.

Another factor driving rates lower has been the early May rout in commodities, which dampened some of the worry on the inflation front. In addition, the recent sluggish performance of the stock market suggests that investors are getting nervous and growing more willing to buy super-safe government bonds.

Mr. Dales believes the current trends have room to run, and that rates will surprise to the downside.

He predicts U.S. 10-year Treasury yields could slip to 2.5 per cent in the low-growth, less inflation-spooked environment he foresees ahead.

If growth continues to be slow, lower rates might be staying around for a while.

Mr. Buchanan says the most likely scenario, given the poorer economic outlook, is for the Fed to hold off on raising rates until 2013. He believes the yield on Treasuries will rise gradually, instead of falling further, getting back to 3.4 per cent by the end of this year and to 4 per cent by the end of 2012.