Lump-sum Mortgage Payments

lump-sum payment

As a homeowner, paying off your mortgage as quickly as possible might be one of your top priorities, and for a good reason. There are many benefits to paying off your mortgage faster. One way people achieve this is through lump-sum payments. However, there are a few things to think about before making a lump-sum mortgage payment.

What is it? Is it right for me? The following will provide a few factors to consider on whether it’s right for you.

What Does Lump-sum Mean?

As the word suggests, a lump-sum means a large amount of money. You pay this money in a single payment rather than in instalments. A lump-sum payment is often paid more than once. This means you could pay it once or twice a year. Everyone’s financial needs and situations are different. Thus, speaking to a mortgage broker will help you create a personal plan.

How To Pay In A Lump-sum

We understand that life is full of unexpected moments. This may include cash flow from an inheritance, selling property, or a salary increase. With this new money, you may want to consider putting it towards your mortgage in a lump-sum. Doing so will help you pay off your mortgage faster and reduce the total amount of interest.

lump-sum payments

Advantages

Next, we will highlight some advantages to paying off your mortgage sooner with a lump-sum. If you’re not sure where to start, ask yourself some questions. Start by asking:

  • Why Am I Interested In A Lump-sum Payment?
  • What Are My Priorities?
  • How Much Can I Afford?
  • How Much Can I Put Towards A Lump-sum?
  • Where Will This Money Come From?

Financial Freedom

This one is a prime concern for many. Paying off your mortgage sooner provides greater financial freedom. Once you pay off your mortgage, you can use that money towards other things. Financial independence also allows you to prioritize your money in new ways. Think retirement or other investments. If financial freedom is your main priority, then a lump-sum mortgage payment will help you get there sooner.

Pay Less In Interest

As mentioned above, lump-sum payments mean paying less interest. Unlike regular payments, where you pay the interest, this is one way to save big over time. Online mortgage calculators can help give you an idea of how much you can save in the long term based on lump-sums.

Things To Consider

Putting all your eggs in a basket can be risky. Make sure you aren’t dipping into other forms of savings. Even if you make a lump-sum payment, ensure you still have emergency funds. If you don’t have a clear idea of how much to pay, take time to first think about it. Each year will also look different, so don’t sweat it. You may have extra means to put towards a lump-sum some years, while others you might not. Remember that you can only put a limited amount of money toward your mortgage. You can find this total in your contract.

lump-sum payments

Timing

Make sure you know when you can make lump-sum payments. Usually, they will be on certain dates during the term, and either before or at the end of your term. Unlike your current monthly or biweekly payments, lump-sum payments aren’t obligatory. Check your contract to see specific dates.

Lump-sum payments will look different depending on how far along you are. In other words, the amount may vary depending on how long you’ve had your mortgage. Some years you may want to put more money towards your payments, while other years it could be less.

Self-employed

Are you self-employed or run a home business? If that’s the case, you might want to consider otherwise. When you are self-employed, a part of your mortgage interest may become tax-deductible. To put it another way, you may be able to subtract part of your mortgage interest to help reduce your taxable income.

Mortgage Brokers Are Here For You

While nobody can predict the future, talking to a mortgage broker will help you navigate what to do. Paying in a lump-sum has many benefits and works for many. However, it might not be right for everyone. Everyone has a unique financial situation. If a lump-sum doesn’t sound right to you, but you still want to pay off your mortgage faster, they can provide options. Increasing monthly payments, for example, could be one place to start. If you are currently making monthly mortgage payments, switching to biweekly could also be an option. A personalized plan is a great way to see it all on paper. Instead of imagining it, having it in front of you will give you the confidence to navigate your mortgage.

Ready to take charge of your financial future? Our team at the Mortgage Group Calgary will help with all your housing and mortgage needs. Our brokers are experts in their field and are here to help you get on track. Contact us today for a consultation.  

First Time Home Buyer Incentives

buying your first home

There are many firsts in life that you will never forget, and buying a home is one of them. While you know the result will be rewarding, getting there can be scary. With the right plan, it doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re newly married or recently graduated, know what is available in terms of first time home buyer incentive programs. 

 

Those looking to make the leap from renting to buying should also pay attention to these incentives and take advantage of them. As a first-time home buyer in Alberta, many incentive programs are available. Knowing what is out there will help take off some financial stress and help you purchase your first home.

Creating A Plan

Saving for your future mortgage is one of the first steps in purchasing a home. But how much is enough? This is where a mortgage specialist comes in. They can make sure you are saving enough without throwing out your current lifestyle. Creating a savings plan is one of the first things you’ll want to do. For example, paying off credit card debt and changing bad spending habits are good places to start.

Home Buyers’ Plan

The Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) is a program made by the Canada Revenue Agency for first time home buyers. It allows you to withdraw funds from your Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP). In addition, you are given 15 years to pay back the funds.

 

Funds can come from over one RRSP as long as it does not exceed $35,000 in a calendar year. This means you and your partner could both contribute from your respective RRSPs. To be eligible for the HBP you must be a first-time homebuyer who is a resident of Canada. You must also have a written agreement to buy or build a qualifying home for either you or a related person with a disability.

First-Time Home Buyer Incentive

The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive is a Government of Canada program. It aims to help qualified first-time homebuyers purchase their first home. The program offers five or ten percent of the home’s purchase price to put towards a down payment. Therefore, reducing monthly mortgage payments to help more Canadians become a homeowner.

 

Eligibility requirements for the incentive include:

• Having Less Than $120,000 Total Annual Qualifying Income 

• Your Total Borrowing Does Not Exceed Over Four Times Your Qualifying Income 

• Being A Canadian Citizen

• Alternatively, Being A Permanent Resident Or Non-Permanent Resident Allowed To Work In Canada 

• Meeting The Minimum Down Payment Requirements From Savings, RRSP, Or A Non-Repayable Financial Gift From A Relative/Immediate Family Member

first time home buyer

Alberta Resident First Time Home Buyer Programs

There are several Alberta specific programs also worth looking in to.

Attainable Homes Calgary Program

The Attainable Homes Calgary Program is specific to Calgarians who seek affordable homeownership options. The program works by providing down payment help. Individuals, couples, and families can be eligible. Since 2009, the program has helped 1000 Calgarians meet their homeownership dreams.

RAMP

The second program is the Residential Access Modification Program (RAMP). RAMP helps low-income Albertans with mobility challenges. You can apply for this grant if you need to make renovations. However, renovations must include ways to make the home safer or more accessible. The program offers a grant of up to $7,500 per person each benefit year. Eligibility includes those living with progressive neurodegenerative disease or uses a wheelchair. Income thresholds are also considered.

PEAK

Public Essential And Key Workforce (PEAK) helps middle-income people buy a home. PEAK is divided into two categories, those with dependent children and those without. For those with no dependent children, you must have a household income of up to $80,000. However, for singles or couples with dependent children, the income threshold is $90,000. Moreover, PEAK is a down payment help program for those who don’t have resources for a 5% down payment.

Mortgage Specialists Are Here For You

Above all, the biggest thing to remember is to take your time. Don’t rush into decisions either. If you are purchasing a home with a partner, clear communication is important. Make sure both people agree on the house being purchased, the plan to save and purchase, and have realistic wants and needs. Be patient with yourself and your partner. Rushing the process could lead to regret later on.

 

Know that being a first-time homebuyer doesn’t have to be done alone. Federal, provincial, and municipal incentive programs are available and worth looking into. While there are many incentive programs out there, they can be hard to understand. Working with an experienced mortgage broker will save a lot of time and confusion.

first time home buyer

In conclusion, write all your questions before meeting with a mortgage specialist. Ask how incentive programs could benefit you. They will be with you every step of the way. Being a first-time homebuyer should be an exciting and rewarding process.

 

At the Mortgage Group Calgary, we have a team of some of the best mortgage brokers in Calgary. We provide mortgage solutions based on expertise and experience to best fit your financial situation. Contact us today for a consultation on how you can get on track to becoming a homeowner. 

Spousal Buyouts

Negotiating spousal buyout

When The Relationship Ends, But You Still Have A Mortgage

According to the Vanier Institute of the Family, the average marriage lasts about 13.7 years before a divorce. Going through a separation or divorce can be challenging legally and emotionally. There’s no easy way to say goodbye, especially when you share a home with the person you are saying goodbye to. 

 

Many separating couples don’t know about spousal buyouts and how it can help make the process easier. Whether you’re divorcing or separating from your partner, or just thinking about it, these buyouts let one partner “buy out” the other person on the mortgage.  

 

Most buyouts are between spouses or common-law partners, but some can be between friends or family who have bought a house together. This is why spousal buyouts are also referred to as “co-borrower buyouts.” Whatever your situation looks like, both parties must have the right information to move forward. 

What Is A Spousal Or Co-Borrower Buyout?

The buyout works by primarily refinancing your home up to 95% to buy out the other owner’s equity share and pay off joint debt. The stress of carrying debt can impact your mental health. The buyout allows both parties to alleviate any stress that their joint debt may be causing and start fresh. A buyout can also come in handy in situations where selling the property isn’t optimal.

Meeting With A Mortgage Broker

For a spousal or co-borrower buyout to work, several qualifications need to be completed. When you’re ready to separate, it’s essential to speak with a mortgage broker right away about your options. A broker can help you to determine if you qualify for a buyout, and if not, what might work instead.  

spousal buyouts

Considerations

The first thing that needs to be done is for both parties to decide who will keep the property. This is a decision that can only be made by the two parties. If both partners can’t come to an agreement, a buyout won’t be possible. Other options, like selling the property, might work best in this situation. 

 

The person buying out the other must make sure that they can afford to own the home. Both parties contribute income to shared expenses in many situations, but after a buyout, the buyer will need to pay for expenses such as mortgage payments by themselves.  

 

If you have talked it over with your partner and amicably decided on who wants to keep the home and is financially able to do so, you’re ready for the next step: meeting buyout qualifications.  

Qualifications

One thing to know is that all parties must be current registered owners on the title to qualify for a buyout. Another vital requirement to be eligible for a buyout is to have a finalized separation agreement. The agreement includes crucial information, like spousal or child support payments. The lender needs to see this agreement and make sure all net assets are allocated. 

 

A buyout is like a private sale, and as such, it is necessary to have a full property appraisal. This appraisal is ordered at the time of the buyout approval, so don’t worry about getting it done ahead of time. If done ahead of time, it likely won’t be usable because your lender often has specific requirements and appraisers they want during this process.  

 

The End Result

In the end, the buyer will have the home, and the other owner can take the equity from the buyout to find a new place to call home. 

 

If you are a divorcing or separating from a partner and are interested in learning more about options, including buyouts, reach out to our team at the Mortgage Group Inc. Our Calgary mortgage brokers are always happy to help you find the best solution. 

 

Newcomers To Canada

newcomers mortgage

Canada welcomes thousands of temporary and permanent residents from across the world every year. According to the Canadian government’s Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) department, in 2019, Alberta saw 43,690 people become permanent residents of Canada. Out of that number, 19,625 were living in Calgary.

Whether permanent or temporary, newcomers to Canada face a variety of challenging opportunities. One of these is becoming a homeowner. As a newcomer to Canada, buying your first home can seem complicated, but the process becomes easier to manage with the right knowledge and preparation.

Getting Started

The first consideration newcomers should make is what kind of home they are looking for. Now is the time to pinpoint which neighbourhoods you would like to live in. Do you want to be close to the office to save time on your morning commute? Are you looking to be near schools? Do you want to be near restaurants and businesses or live in a more residential area?

Also, consider what features you’re looking for in your home. What size of home are you looking for? Do you want yard space? What number of bedrooms and bathrooms do you need?

These considerations will help you understand where you should be house hunting and what you’re looking for in your future home.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) website has helpful information, checklists, and worksheets available in eight languages (English, French, Mandarin/Simplified Chinese, Punjabi, Urdu, Tagalog, Arabic and Spanish) to help newcomers on their homebuying journeys.

newcomers mortgage

Determine How Much Can You Afford

You need to determine how much money you have saved for a down payment and closing costs. You also need to consider how much you can afford per month on mortgage payments and property taxes. This is where a local mortgage broker can help you. You should connect with them and complete a mortgage application before meeting with a realtor. The application tells the mortgage broker important information like your arrival date in Canada and what credit you have built here.

Down Payment Considerations

Showing that you have the money to put a downpayment on the house is an essential part of the process. Having three months of bank statements from a Canadian bank or institution is vital for lenders to see. If the money for your down payment is coming from another country, your mortgage broker can help you get documents you need to show where that money came from. If you have a bank account in another country, you can get bank statements from there. You will also need to have documents that show how that money was transferred to you in Canada and what the conversion rates are.

Proving Creditworthiness

Residents, both temporary and permanent, will need to meet certain requirements to purchase a home. The following criteria must be completed to prove your creditworthiness and are related to putting 5% down on your new home.

  • You need to show at least three months of employment history. This can be done with a letter of employment and pay stubs. There must also be at least 12 months of consistent utility payments and 12 months of consistent payments to other things like a cellphone or cable bill. There shouldn’t be any late payments or debts for these payments.
  • You also need to supply a letter from your landlord and supporting documents that at least 12 months of rent was paid on time. Depending on your residence status and how much your downpayment is, additional requirements need to be met.

If there are requirements that you don’t meet fully, your mortgage broker can help assess them and plan your next steps. For example, if you have 12 months of credit in another country, you can obtain documentation proving this credit. The document proving credit from another country is commonly referred to as a credit bureau. Your credit bureau can potentially be used to establish creditworthiness.

newcomers mortgage

Determine What Mortgage Is Right For You

In Canada, there are many kinds of mortgages and many different lenders. How long should your mortgage term be? Should you go with a variable or fixed rate? It can be confusing to determine which option is best for you when there are so many available. Your mortgage broker can help you out with this by explaining different types of mortgages, terms, and rates and helping you determine which one is right for you.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will tell you how much you can afford to spend on a home before you start looking.

When You’re Ready To Start Looking

When you’ve made all the preparations and have obtained a pre-approval, it is time to connect with a realtor and start looking for your future home. After finding your perfect home, make sure to get an appraisal and home inspection. Talk to your mortgage broker to find out the next steps to finalize your mortgage. You should also plan to obtain property insurance after the sale goes through.

If you are a newcomer to Canada and are interested in learning more about mortgage requirements and options, reach out to our team at the Mortgage Group Inc. Our brokers are always happy to help you find the best solution.

COVID-19 Low Interest Rates

low interest rates

COVID-19 had caused a global financial upset and has introduced complex economic changes. Interest rates are currently relatively low and are predicted to stay that way for a while

 

The Bank of Canada reported that lowering the policy interest rate to its lower bound of 0.25%, bond purchases, and easing global financial conditions have contributed to Canada’s low domestic interest rate. The Bank of Canada also reported that lower interest rates have made it easier for businesses and households to borrow. This rate ties April 2009 for Canada’s all-time lowest rate. The highest rate Canada has seen was 16.00% in February 1991. What does this mean for Canadians who are looking to buy? 

Is This A Good Time To Buy?

Mike Boyle, mortgage broker and president of The Mortgage Group Inc Calgary, says there’s never been a better time than right now. He says this is based on a combination of low-interest rates and low property prices in Calgary. The lower interest rate means people can qualify for higher amounts than they would otherwise be able to.  

 

You could potentially get a better deal if you buy now because certain areas have fewer people buying. You might benefit from many people staying close to home and travelling less. There could be opportunities to snatch up short-term rental properties that investors may not be able to afford anymore due to dwindling bookings.   

 

What if you have been thinking about purchasing but wanted to wait a year or two, would now be a good time to move forward anyway? As interest rates are predicted to stay low over the next year, it will likely still a good time to buy. The CMHC predicts a 9% to 18% decrease in housing prices in the next 12 months.  

low interest rates

Considerations

It’s important to ask yourself a few questions, including: 

 

· Do I Qualify? 

· How Much Do I Qualify For? 

 

In June, the CMHC announced changes to the qualifications people must meet to be approved for a mortgage. These changes, effective as of July 1st, include: 

 

· Limiting the Gross/Total Debt Servicing (GDS/TDS) ratios to our standard requirements of 35/42. 

· Establishing that at least one of the borrowers have a minimum credit score of 680.

· Non-traditional down payment sources that increase indebtedness will no longer be treated as equity for insurance purposes. 

 

The CMHC announced they would be suspending refinancing on multi-unit mortgage insurance unless the funds are used for repairs or reinvestment. 

 

To put this into simpler terms, according to MoneySense: “The new rules will lower the amount of debt an applicant for an insured mortgage can carry, set a higher credit score to qualify for CMHC insurance, and will require a homebuyer to use their own, and not borrowed, funds for their down payment.” 

 

These changes mean you might not qualify any more, or you may be eligible for less. If you have questions or concerns about these changes or about qualifying for a mortgage, your mortgage broker can help.  

 

Potential buyers who qualify should also ask themselves if buying is the best option for them. Just because rates are low, and it seems like a good time to buy, it doesn’t mean that you should. Buying a home is a significant financial investment. It should be taken as seriously as it was before the pandemic.  

When The Rates Do Increase, How Can I Be Sure I'll Be Able To Pay?

This is the great unknown, and nobody has a crystal ball. The mortgage stress-test requirements are put in place to ensure people can afford their homes down the road when rates start to increase. Stress testing is meant to ensure that homeowners don’t borrow more than they can afford and avoid financial trouble. Rate increases will make a difference to the amount you pay on your monthly payments. Boyle recommends trying to pay down your mortgage while the rate is still low, and hopefully, when it does rise, you have an equity position in the property.  

 

 

If you are considering buying a home or having questions about how Canada’s low-interest rates will affect you, reach out to our team at the Mortgage Group Inc. Our Calgary mortgage brokers are always happy to help you find the best solution.  

Buying During A Pandemic

buying during a pandemic

Many new uncertainties have come from the COVID-19 pandemic, and becoming a homeowner is one of them. When buying a home, you want to be sure that you’re aware of potential challenges and have a good idea of your future. Unfortunately, buyers during a pandemic are left with unexpected considerations and challenges. 

 

There were concerns a few months ago about how housing prices would be affected by the pandemic. Despite this, The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board reported rising housing prices in June. This shows that despite uncertainties, the market is responding. 

Should You Buy During A Pandemic?

As some Canadians continue to work from home, and restrictions lift on travel, vacation properties have seen increased interest. Getting out of the city and relaxing on a more spacious and remote property sounds nicer than spending your summer working in a downtown apartment. 

 

If you’re looking to buy a home for the first time or looking for a new vacation property, a big question to ask yourself right now is: do you qualify? Many people have experienced financial setbacks due to COVID-19. Is buying a home right now the best option for you? Can you afford the mortgage payments? 

 

In normal circumstances, lenders use your financial information to calculate your costs and debt. This helps them to determine an amount that you can afford. This amount will determine which properties you are qualified to buy. 

 

Although more people are getting back to work now, having an uncertain employment future due to the pandemic puts homebuyers in a tricky spot. It’s hard to be certain about what your income will look like down the road, which could affect how much your lender can qualify you for.  

 

Your mortgage broker can help you figure out what you need to show lenders and help you navigate any new requests or concerns your lender may have.  

buying during a pandemic

Benefits Of Buying Now

In areas where there are many properties on the market and less interest, homebuyers may get a better deal. Fewer people may be looking to buy and qualified to do so right now. This means fewer potential buyers to compete with. 

 

People staying close to home and travelling less may work to your benefit. There could be opportunities to snatch up short-term rental properties. Investors may not be able to afford these anymore due to dwindling bookings.  

Potential Issues

The pandemic has made going to look at properties more difficult. If you want to look at a property, check with your realtor about availabilities and health procedures. This could include using hand sanitizer before entering the home, maintaining a physical distance between you and your realtor when on tour, and wearing a mask. In some cases, digital home tours may be a good fit. 

 

With the uncertainties in the market, people may be hesitant to list their homes and decide to put it off. This means there could be fewer options on the market for you to choose from. 

 

With current financial pressures, some homeowners have been deferring their mortgage payments. The CMHC is considering new options to help existing homeowners avoid delinquent mortgages. You don’t want to put yourself in a position where you need to defer payments on your new mortgage. However, if you qualify for a mortgage and pass stress testing, you should be okay to handle mortgage rate fluctuations. Mortgage rates are one of the many unpredictable circumstances of COVID-19. Your mortgage broker will offer professional guidance and advice for any concerns you may have about future rate uncertainties.  

 

buying a house during the pandemic

Should I Go Variable Or Fixed?

Should you be considering a variable or fixed mortgage? Mike Boyle, mortgage broker and president of The Mortgage Group Calgary, has some advice. 

 

Fixed-rate mortgages will protect you from rate fluctuations, but lenders may charge punitive pay-out penalties to get out of them. If you know you can commit to living in a house for the entire term of a fixed mortgage, do it.  

 

If you think you might move or sell in a couple of years, take a variable rate mortgage. Variable-rate mortgages have less severe pay-out penalties. 

 

Boyle also recommends potential buyers do the things that lenders are looking for right now. This includes keeping your credit clean, keeping a job, paying off your debt, and saving your money for a down payment. 

 

 

If you are considering buying a home during COVID-19 and wondering what options are available to you, talking with a local mortgage broker is an excellent place to start. If you need a mortgage broker in Calgary to assist you with mortgage options and advice, reach out to our team at the Mortgage Group Inc. We are always happy to help you find the best solution. 

 

 

What To Do If You Get Behind On Mortgage Payments?

behind on mortgage payments

With many Calgarians still laid off from their jobs due to the pandemic, making ends meet isn’t easy. Bills may be piling up and not enough income is rolling in. Due to this, you may be behind on your mortgage payment. However, we have options for you to avoid foreclosure during these challenging times and can help get you back on track.

Deferrals

Many banks and lenders are still allowing deferrals during this difficult time if you are struggling to make ends meet due to the ramifications of COVID-19. Banks have reported that 90% of people seeking mortgage deferrals during COVID-19 have been approved. By having the ability to defer, thousands of people will save money to purchase necessities.

“Together, all these facilities should improve liquidity and funding conditions for lenders, which will help businesses and households access the credit they need. It will also help Canadians benefit more from our monetary stimulus during the recovery period.” Ephraim Vecina – MortgageBrokerNews.ca

Though these deferrals are incredibly helpful in uncertain times, such as this pandemic, it doesn’t come without strings. The interest added back onto the mortgage will add up and need to be paid back once the deferral period ends.

For more information on mortgage deferrals, call your bank, lender, or broker to get full details.

If you are still struggling with your mortgage due to other circumstances, we have some options for you to help get you back on your feet.

behind on mortgage payments

Call Your Mortgage Broker Or Lender

The first thing you need to do is call your Calgary mortgage broker or lender. If you start getting behind on payments don’t ignore it and assume you can catch up on your own. Assisting in times like these is part of what mortgage brokers and lenders are there for.

Since a house foreclosure is such an expensive process most lenders will be willing to work with you.

Two Common Methods For Catching Up On Mortgage Payments

The two most common methods for helping you catch up on your mortgage payments are a Repayment Plan and Reinstatement and Forbearance.

Repayment Options

A repayment plan is best used for a temporary setback, such as job loss or lay-off. The way it works is that the missed amount of payments is split up over a set number of months and added to your existing mortgage payment.

Reinstatement & Forbearance

This process is when your broker or lender agrees to suspend your mortgage payments temporarily. You will both agree on a plan to get your account back up-to-date. However, you will be expected to make up for all of the missed payments, usually in one lump-sum amount.

This option does forgo the right to pursue foreclosure while it is in use.

Changing Mortgage Terms

Maybe things have changed for longer than you were anticipating. If this is the case, it may be worth looking into changing your mortgage’s terms to ensure that foreclosure doesn’t occur and you can stay on top of your payments.

falling behind on mortgage payments

Modifying Your Mortgage

Occasionally your broker or lender will allow you to modify the terms of your existing mortgage that is getting you in over your head. If you choose this option, your broker or lender will provide you with a better interest rate, or the length of your mortgage will be extended to lower your overall monthly payment.

Lowering Payments

To help lower monthly payments, you can see what else got rolled into your mortgage payment. Extra’s and add ons can include local taxes, property insurance, and private mortgage insurance (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), needed when your down payment is less than 20% of your home’s value.) If you can get one of these lowered it can save you a substantial amount on your monthly payments.

Refinancing Options

If you cannot adjust the terms of your mortgage, refinancing may be in your best interest. Refinancing allows you to take out a new loan, one with monthly payments more suitable to your financial situation. You can then use these funds to pay off your existing mortgage and pay off the new monthly payments with ease.

Downsizing

If all else fails and you are still struggling to pay your mortgage on time, you may have to consider selling your home. Homeowners can make a short sale, where the lender agrees to sell the house for less than you owed to ensure that your home’s foreclosure doesn’t occur. This way, you are still left with something and can consider purchasing a smaller home for a lower price with a lower mortgage or consider renting, depending on the financial situation you are left with.

 

For more information on how you can get your mortgage payments back in order, contact The Mortgage Group. We are here to lend more than just mortgage advice. We want to lend a helping hand, too. 

Knowing Your Options For A Home Equity Line Of Credit (HELOC)

Home equity line of credit

When it comes to understanding how to consolidate your debt, knowing all of your options is a good start. Many Canadians struggle with debt, be it credit card, car payments, student loans, and especially mortgage payments. We understand how difficult it can be to manage all of this all while taking care of yourself and your family.

Restructuring

credit debt

The first step in understanding how to get back on track by organizing your life to make your debt payments manageable. For this a mortgage advisor is the best place to start. If the option is right for you, they can help you obtain your home equity in order to help pay off your debt. They can also help you restructure your spending habits to make sure you can stay out of debt and make your home equity line of credit (HELOC) count.

Your HELOC will still need to be repaid; however, when you are only paying one payment, with one interest rate, it can drastically reduce stress. Causing things to be less overwhelming, not having multiple bill payments with various interest rates coming in.

What is a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)?

  • Maximum loan-to-value (LTV) = 65% of appraised value
  • It is a line of credit secured by way of a collateral mortgage on the title to your home/property. The interest rate is set by the Prime Rate and is much lower than a personal unsecured line of credit. Maximum Loan-to-Value (LTV) is 65% of appraised value.

Determining Your Equity

Your home Equity is based on the difference between your home’s value and the unpaid balance of your existing mortgage. Home equity has the potential to raise in worth by one of two ways, either you pay your mortgage down and the difference grows, or the value of your home increases.

A stand-alone HELOC has a maximum Loan-to-Value (LTV) of 65%, and a mortgage has a maximum LTV of 80%. You can have a mortgage and HELOC under one charge on a title, going to an LTV of 80%. Just remember, you will need to subtract the amount still owing on your mortgage!

How to Qualify For a Home Equity Line Of Credit

HELOC key

According to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, in order to qualify for a home equity line of credit you will require:

A minimum down payment or equity of 35% if you want to use a stand-alone home equity line of credit as a substitute for your mortgage.

Lender Requirements

Your lender will have requirements before you can be approved for a home equity line of credit which include:

  •  A Satisfactory Credit Score
  • Proof Of An Appropriate & Stable Income
  • A Suitable Level Of Debt Compared To Your Income

In order to qualify for a Home Equity Line Of Credit, you will need to pass a stress test. This is to ensure that you can afford payments at a higher rate than the rate of your contact to avoid problems if rates increase. The lender wants to be sure you can pay it off.

Rates

HELOC’s are not necessarily subject to the same rate fluctuations as mortgages. HELOC’s are always set with a prime, which means that they fluctuate, but your mortgage can either have a fixed or variable rate.

Potential Benefits Of A HELOC:

Mortgage relief

One of the main benefits of debt consolidation is that it will buy you time and emotional release from current debt pressures. Studies have shown that the stress of too much debt can impact more than your mental health, and it can also be affecting other parts of your life.

HELOC Requirements:

  • Minimum Payments Required = Interest Only. Can Be Paid In Full At Anytime With No Penalties.
  • Readvanceable – The HELOC Can Be Paid In Full & Used Again At
  • Anytime As Needed- Maximum Flexibility
  • Low Interest Rate

A HELOC only has a minimum payment requirement of the interest and will allow you to address your budget and free up your cash flow before making principal payments. By refinancing and being serious about making and keeping to your budget, you can achieve a debt-free lifestyle! While refinancing can extend your mortgage’s life, it can get you onto the path of being debt-free a lot sooner.

home equity, money in your pocket

For more information on a home equity line of credit (HELOC), talk to a mortgage professional. They can help way your options to determine the best course of action for getting your bills and various payments under control with a HELOC. Here at The Mortgage Group, we are here to help you with all of your mortgage questions and concerns. Including, those regarding home equity. Contact us today to better understand how we can help you obtain your home equity line of credit.

Handling Debt Consolidation With Mortgage Refinancing

mortgage refinance

Understanding Home Refinancing

Many Canadians are facing high levels of personal debt. Whether it is from credit cards, vehicle purchases, loans, or more. Adding a mortgage onto all that debt can become an exhausting weight to carry! 

 

If you are finding that your debt load is becoming too high, there are options available. One of the first steps to take is to speak with a financial advisor. They will be able to provide you with insight into what steps you can take, how long it will take to pay everything off, and how to create a budget or plan for debt repayment. 

 

If you own your home, you have more options available than people who don’t. A big reason for that is that the longer you own your home, the more equity you are building. That equity can then be used to help you get back on your feet. As a homeowner, reach out to your local mortgage broker first. They will help you find ways to lessen your debt while still keeping your home. 

mortgage refinancing credit card

Home Refinancing

One option you should consider is refinancing your mortgage and using your home equity to consolidate your debts. This is commonly referred to as mortgage refinance. You can achieve this in two ways, a mortgage or a standalone Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). Refinancing for a home equity line of credit means you can borrow 65% of your home’s appraised value, while a mortgage refinance allows you to borrow 80% of the appraised value. 

Talking To A Mortgage Professional

Admitting that your debt has gotten out of hand can be overwhelming, with many people not knowing a refinance is available as a solution to help manage debt. Mortgage Associate Lori Grill says there is no need for embarrassment. 

 

“I’m not giving you any more debt, we’re just going to make it easier for you to pay it back,” says Grill.  

 

A professional mortgage broker will help you find ways to restructure your life and spending habits. Having one monthly payment to make is much more manageable than making multiple payments at higher rates.

mortgage refinancing debt

Potential Risks To Understand

Debt consolidation has many benefits, such as buying you time and providing an emotional release from current debt pressures.

 

By consolidating the debt from other sources like personal loans or credit cards, you agree to pay it over a longer period of time. This means your debt repayment will take longer than it would have originally.  

 

“You’re going to extend the life of this debt you have,” says Grill.  

 

The length of time it takes to pay off your mortgage in full is called amortization. The amortization period is discussed with your mortgage broker at the time of approval. Your mortgage broker reviews the payments and makes a decision on what would be best for your cash flow. When you consolidate your debt into your mortgage, you are taking debt payments that could be paid off in a few years and including them in your amortization, which can be 20-30 years.

 

Ultimately, it will depend on your individual situation. 

 

It wouldn’t be wise to use refinancing as a way to continue living a lifestyle that may not be sustainable. It is more like a Band-Aid solution that should be used as an opportunity to address your financial goals and reach a debt free lifestyle. By reorganizing your personal spending habits and paying off large amounts of debt you acquired, you would have otherwise struggled with, such as student loans or credit card.

Things to Consider Before Consolidating Debt:

If This Is The Right Fit For You

Before you rush out and refinance your mortgage, you need to determine if it is necessary to achieve your goals. Would it be possible to pay your debts by other means, such as savings? If you decide debt consolidation is right for you, considerations that need to be made include flexibility, fees, interest rates and terms and conditions. You should also determine what credit limit you will need.  

mortgage refinancing options

Planning For The Future

You will need to decide how you’re going to use the money you’re borrowing and create realistic budgets for yourself. Creating and sticking to a repayment plan is key.  

 

Mortgage interest rates will change as market interest fluctuates. According to the Bank of Canada, interest rates are low and expected to stay that way for a while. However, they will not always be this way. Considerations need to be made for how future interest rate increases may affect your plans. Thinking that you have done it once and can do it again if you need to is the wrong mindset to get into. Lenders may not be willing to assist a second time, so don’t count on it. 

Potential Costs

Something to consider beforehand is the costs that are involved with refinancing your mortgage for debt consolidation. These costs could include appraisal fees, a title search, title insurance, and legal fees. There may also be payout penalties on your existing mortgage. Often you can capitalize these costs into the mortgage, so it’s not an out-of-pocket expense.  

 

With the recent state of the economy due to COVID-19, more homeowners are looking at refinancing their mortgage. If you need a mortgage broker in Calgary to assist you with refinancing or debt consolidation, reach out to our team at The Mortgage Group. Our brokers are always happy to help you find the best solution. 

How You Can Make The Most Out Of The Economy Re-Opening

Economy re-opening

With the Canadian economy re-opening after COVID-19, and public health measures being relaxed, we are finally starting to feel semi-normal again. We have begun thinking optimistically about what summer has in store for us. Everyone is happy to be setting the country on a path back to having lunch on patios and shopping for things we don’t necessarily need, but we want. It is time to treat yourself for living in isolation this long.

As for Alberta, we weren’t hit as hard as other provinces such as Ontario and Quebec and are starting to enjoy life’s little luxuries outside of our homes. Since Stage 1 of re-opening is long underway and Stage 2 launched on June 12th, this increased mobility rate will help boost our economy greatly.

Economic Growth After COVID-19

lockdown ending

As more and more people feel safe and are allowed to open their business and venture outside the expectation is it will have a positive effect on the economy. More people will be letting loose and buying more, putting money back into the province. The longer the shock of no economic turnover, the higher risk we will have of consumer insolvencies.

With Stage 2 now underway, the Alberta Government has allowed more businesses and services to re-open. Though physical distancing requirements and some restrictions are still in place.

Stage 2 – What Can Re-Open With Restrictions?

• K-12 Schools, For Requested Diploma Exams & Summer School, Following Guidance
• Libraries
• More Surgeries
• Wellness Services; Massage, Acupuncture & Reflexology
• Personal Services (Esthetics, Cosmetics Skin And Body Treatments, Manicures, Pedicures, Waxing, Facial Treatments, Artificial Tanning)
• Movie Theatres & Theatres
• Community Halls
• Team Sports
• Indoor Recreation, Fitness & Sports, Including Gyms & Arenas
• Pools For Leisure Swimming
• VLTs In Restaurants & Bars
• Bingo Halls & Casinos (But No Table Games)
• Instrumental Concerts
• Provincial Campgrounds At Full Capacity

Stage 2 Events & Gatherings Can Be Larger

• 50 People Maximum: Indoor Social Gatherings, Including Wedding & Funeral Receptions, & Birthday Parties
• 100 People Maximum: Outdoor Events & Indoor Seated/Audience Events, Including Wedding & Funeral Ceremonies
• No Cap On The Number Of People (With Public Health Measures In Place):
• Worship Gatherings
• Restaurant, Cafes, Lounges & Bars
• Casinos
• Bingo Halls
• More Flexibility For ‘Cohort’ Groups – Small Groups Of People Whose Members Do Not Always Keep 2 Metres Apart:
• Households Can Increase Their Close Interactions With Other Households To A Maximum Of 15 People
• Performers Can Have A Cohort Of Up To 50 People (Cast Members Or Performers)
• Sports Teams Can Play In Region-Only Cohorts Of Up To 50 Players (Mini-Leagues)
• People Can Be Part Of A Sports/Performing Cohort & A Household Cohort At The Same Time

For all of this information and more, go to Alberta.ca/alberta-relaunch-strategy.

Economic Strength

economy

Our economy was strong before we entered into this pandemic, and we saw how resilient it was. However, we know the shutdown can’t last forever. Therefore, making gradual economic steps towards re-opening, as we are currently doing is crucial to the health of the Canadian economy’s financial foundation.

Though Calgary’s market will pick up quickly in the beginning, with people excited to finally leave their homes. It will take some time for society to fully stabilize.

Investment Purchases To Come

rising investements

However, once things start to stabilize, you’ll see that more people will begin investing in larger purchases, such as cars and property.

The housing market may have been tricky to navigate during the global pandemic. But with the economy re-opening, the housing market gearing up, and mortgage rates not rising, it is an excellent opportunity for people to finally get their foot in the door for owning a home. Plus, lingering home listings that weren’t being picked up during the pandemic will have a better opportunity to be purchased.

If you are looking into purchasing a home, The Mortgage Group Calgary is committed to providing you with the best home buying experience. We know buying a home is a big deal, especially after a global pandemic. After all that, getting a home loan shouldn’t be a hassle. At The Mortgage Group, our Calgary mortgage brokers are here to help you get your foot in the door to your brand new home.