Big Banks Touting Their Amazing Features In Face Of Increased Competition. #BRINGITON

I nearly fell off my Ikea chair this morning while eating breakfast and reading the newspaper. It appears the big banks are tired of fighting for just rate, and are now touting their amazing features as reason why you should go with them.. Please, if your sarcasm meter is broken, now is the time to turn it ON.

One paragraph I found most interesting was:

Rather than advertise a rate special, Bank of Nova Scotia is launching its spring mortgage campaign with a consumer poll showing that while 84 per cent of mortgage shoppers care about the rate they’re getting, a majority also care about other mortgage features, such as the ability to break their mortgage early or make extra payments.



First of 2015! RENEWALS!

After taking some time off from blogging I wanted to kick off 2015 by discussing mortgage renewals. Why? Lately I have been receiving a lot of inquires with many renewals coming up and in order to demystify the process I wanted to share my insight.

First, never ever ever take the offer you are given from your lender right off the bat. Most likely they have priced the renewal offer much higher simply because they are aware that many clients do not want to take the time to shop around. YET, shopping around can literally save you thousands in unnecessary interest costs, so it is worth your while to do so. Your lender knows that inherently people are either too busy or nervous at renewal time and therefore are offering rates (today) that are .10 to .30 basis points higher (or more). Although signing a renewal is a very easy…


Why Bridge Loans Are A Pain In The Rear

You finally found it. After months of searching, and an ever-growing family, you found “the one” that will suit all your needs. Bigger, better, newer, and any other attribute you could name, this one has it. What a relief. You set a closing date 3 months out and post your house up for sale. It’s ideal for first-time buyers so you should have no problem selling it, either. You list your house for sale, and naturally three offers come to the table. After speaking with your Realtor, you decide the best course of action is to sell one week after your purchase date, and take a bridge loan to cover the difference. Relief sets in.

The above scenario is played out hundreds or thousands of times per year in our real estate market. It makes sense. Why not sell your house after you move into the new one, thus giving…


The Financing Behind A Big Reno

I’m an avid reader of the Globe & Mail’s Real Estate section, especially Dave Leblanc and Alex Bozikovic. Quite often we see dreamy renovations accomplished in their articles but rarely do we actually know how much they cost. When inquiring about this, the writers both mention the fact that the subjects did not want to reveal personal finances - quite fair in my opinion. It was interesting to see an article in today’s paper, then, that did discuss actual costs and showed us the final product. The Principals behind Solares Architects gutted and greened an old Roncesvalles home for $325,000 and have done an absolutely fantastic job. Two goals were accomplished: 1. a complete makeover of the property and 2. a complete energy update to the property. The results are astounding on both fronts, and the budget was quite manageable in my…


Just Saved My Friend $19,000 In Penalties.

Ugh, Divorce. Big D. Terrible thing to happen to people, complicated, and tough. We all know someone who has gone through it, and we all know the costs involved. The last thing on anyone’s mind when buying a home with their spouse is the potential of divorce. The first thing on everyone’s mind when divorcing is “how much is this going to cost me”. Ok, maybe not the first thing, but eventually it’s a question we all ask.

I have a real-life story for you. I have a client who bought in January 2013 and took out a 5 year fixed 2.99% mortgage. He was a first-time buyer, recently married, and starting a new life with his young family. Unfortunately for one reason or another, things turned, and 2 years later they’re splitting up. They only put down 5% so they didn’t have much equity. However, housing has still remained…


What You Need To Close The Deal

Recently I ran into a disagreement with a client over the most simplest detail. What was it? Would you believe me if I told you that the client was unwilling to provide their bank statements WITH their account number on them? So much so that the client simply walked away and went back to their home bank - the same bank that can literally tap into their entire financial picture and get their last twenty years of history in one fell swoop. But I digress.

This incident got me thinking: How can I best explain to clients what is generally needed for closing of a deal? Well, here’s a list that will prepare you for that time!

1. Employment Documentation

Often times the lender asks for an employment letter and paystub from the past 30 days. If the paystub isn’t by ADP or Ceridian, or any standard payroll processing…


Understanding Your Credit Report.

Many times I’m asked how to improve credit, how to keep good credit, or how to build credit. This blog post will identify what your credit score is made up of, and offer suggestions on what to do to affect the score.

First of all, the biggest effect on your credit is your PAYMENT HISTORY. 35% of the credit score relies on your payment history, which includes such things as details, collections, unpaid credit, amount of delinquency, dates of past due items and amounts of past due items.

Obviously it is most important to keep collections off your report, and to pay everything on time. That’s rule #1 in maintaining good credit.

The second biggest impact on your credit is UTILIZATION. This affects 30% of the credit score. This is where being over the limit hurts your credit greatly. This is also how many accounts you have, what kind of…


Standardizing Penalties

The best way to fix this mess that many borrowers are currently in is to standardize penalties across the board for fixed-term mortgages. What is the best way to do this, though?

Currently there are essentially two ways in which a lender will calculate your penalty:

1. The beneficial way.
2. The dreaded way.

If you fall under #1 then your lender will compare best rate available for term left to the rate on your current mortgage contract.

If you fall under #2 they will use a smorgasbord of excuses and arguments to justify comparing posted rates to your current rates, and/or an extension of some other evil scheme to try and exact maximum penalty from you when breaking the mortgage commitment.

Let’s look at a $450,000 mortgage that you hypothetically took out in September 2012, at a rate of 3.09%. This was about where rates were in 2012,…


What To Do When Your House Doesn’t Appraise

I’m going to welcome myself back with a story that may happen to any buyer out there going without financing condition. What’s the likelihood of it happening? Well, since I can remember, this has only occured to me three times. In twelve years. And I’ve seen a LOT of deals come across my desk, so statistically speaking it’s not a common occurrence. That being said, here’s what to do if your house doesn’t appraise and you made a firm offer on a purchase:

First of all, one single appraisal does not a value make. There are many appraisers in the city that can give us another opinion, not to mention there are still “auto-valuation” lenders that don’t ask for appraisals. As a result one appraiser’s opinion needs to be verified if truly that appraisal number has been low-balled.

If you have 5% down - the bare minimum then you really…


Reading Between The Lines

I recently read an article advertising Scotiabank’s push into the 5-year fixed rate war by way of offering 2.97% to clients. I found some of the points in the article to be quite interesting, and have added my $0.02 below.

Bank of Nova Scotia is the latest lender to push the envelope on mortgage rates, offering a five-year fixed rate of 2.97 per cent.That’s the lowest five-year fixed rate among the big banks, and comes in slightly below the 2.99 per cent rate that Bank of Montreal has sparked controversy with in recent years (Bank of Montreal’s current five-year fixed rate is 3.29 per cent).

My Take: 2.95% 5-year fixed has been in the offing by a local credit union with 61 branches in the GTA and surrounding region. This offer has been available for the past three months, so I don’t see what the big…

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