Moving on UP!

Life is constantly changing from your career to your family as we climb up the ladder of life. With these life changes, your current home may no longer be working for you. Whether you’re cramped in your tiny apartment or have a little one on the way, it may be time to look at moving on up!

Before considering the move to a larger home, there are some things to consider. For instance, whether or not you can afford to make the move and buy something bigger.

If you are wanting to upsize, and are doing so during your current mortgage cycle, you will be breaking the mortgage. As a result, you will have to go through the entire qualification process again. Keep in mind, there may be penalties depending on the term in your mortgage. Some are portable, which would make the transition smoother but you would need to check your mortgage agreement.

If you are unable to port your mortgage, you would need to re-qualify for a new mortgage. This would be done at the current rates offered by lenders and would be subject to government changes, including recent “stress test” rules.

If it has been a while since you bought your first home, you may be unfamiliar with the “stress test”. It was introduced in October 2016 for insured mortgages (down payments of less than 20%). Then, as of January 1, 2018 was updated to include all mortgages, regardless of down payment percentage. This test determines whether a homebuyer can afford their principal and interest payments, should interest rates increase. It is based on the 5-year benchmark rate from Bank of Canada or the customer’s mortgage interest rate plus 2% – whichever is higher.

The next thing to consider aside from re-qualifying, are fees and taxes. There may be large Property Transfer Taxes and you would also pay realtor fees on the sale of the home you are leaving behind. These fees are typically between 2-5% percent of the home’s selling price.

Beyond the costs associated with the sale of your current home and purchasing a larger residence, the costs of home ownership rise in proportion to the home you live in. If you are moving up from a condo or apartment to a single-family home, you will save on strata but will become responsible for all of the maintenance of your home. As a rule, it is best to save 1% of your new home’s purchase price, per year, for maintenance. For instance, if you purchase a $600,000 new home then you would want to ensure $6,000 a  year in savings.

Making the move to a larger home is both exciting and daunting! However, it is entirely doable with the right preparation! No matter what stage you are at with your home, a mortgage professional can help. Not only can they offer expert advice, but guidance as you move on up the property ladder. They also have your best interests at heart and will work to ensure future financial success so you can continue living the life of your dreams!

5 Approval Roadblocks

When in the process of buying a home, there is nothing worse than having your mortgage broker or lawyer call and say “there is a problem”.

If you have found your dream home and negotiated a fair price, which was accepted, and you have supplied all the documentation to your broker, you probably assume everything is fine. The reality is that your financing approval is based on the information the lender was provided at the time of the application. If there have been any changes to your financial situation, the lender is within their rights to cancel your mortgage approval.

To ensure that you don’t encounter any last-minute issues on your home buying journey, there are five major approval roadblocks to be aware of and avoid for a smooth transaction:

EMPLOYMENT

When submitting a request for financing, whether a mortgage or car loan or to handle personal debt, one of the most important aspects the lender looks at is employment. If you were working at Company X for five years at $50,000 a year and – just before your deal is finalized – you change jobs, the lender will now require proof from the new job. This can include proof that probation for this new job is waived, or new job letters and pay stubs at the very least. If you change industries, they will want to see more proof that you are capable of keeping this job. For any employment involving overtime or bonuses, the lender often requests a two-year average, which you would not be able to provide at a new position. Another employment change that could hurt your financing approval would be if you decide to change from an employee to a self-employed contractor.

When it comes to financing, it is best to wait to make any major employment or life changes until after the deal has gone through.

DOWN PAYMENT SOURCE

As mortgage financing is based on the initial information provided, you will most likely need to do a final verification of the down payment source. If it is different than what the lender has approved, it could spell trouble for your financing approval. Even if you said that your down payment was coming from savings and, at the last minute, mom and dad offer  you the funds as a gift, it could affect your approval. This is an acceptable source of down payment, but only if the lender knows about it in advance and has included this in their risk assessment, but it can end a deal.

DEBT

A week or two before your possession date, the lender will obtain a copy of your credit report and look for any changes to your debt load. Since mortgage approval is based on how much you owed on that particular date, it is important not to increase your debt before the deal is finalized. Buying a new car or items for the new home must be postponed until after possession; even if they are “do not pay for 12 months” campaigns because you will need to fulfil those payments, regardless of when they start.

BAD CREDIT

One of the biggest roadblocks to mortgage approvals is credit card payments. When you enter the financing process, it is important that your credit score remains positive. If your credit score falls due to late payments, this can cause major issues with your financing. Even if you have a high-ratio mortgage in place which requires CMHC insurance, a lower credit score could mean a withdrawal of the insurance and removal of any financing approval.

MISSING IDENTITY DOCUMENTS

Before a deal is finalized, the lawyer must verify your identity documents and see that they match the mortgage documents. You may not think it needs to be said, but it is important to use your legal name when you apply for a mortgage. Even if you go by your middle name or a nickname, all legal documents should match.

Keep in touch with your your mortgage expert right up to possession day. Make this a happy experience rather than a heartbreaking one.

Introducing the First Responder Mortgage Program

We is proud to announce our brand new First Responder Mortgage Program™. In times of uncertainty, we can always count on our first responders. From coast-to-coast, you put Canadians first and ensure the health and safety of this great country – and we wanted to give you something in return.

The First Responder Mortgage Program™ was created with only one goal in mind: to help you on your journey to and throughout homeownership. We want you to have the perfect place to come home to, and have peace of mind with your mortgage.

Backed by one of Canada’s largest banks, it is our pleasure to be able to offer this new program featuring competitive rates and cash back incentives for all eligible first responders, including:

  • Police Officers
  • Paramedics
  • Firefighters (employed and volunteer)
  • Correctional Services
  • Border Services
  • Search & Rescue (employed and volunteer)
  • Registered Physicians
  • Registered Nurses

Let us help you take the stress out of the mortgage process! We at Prime Mortgage Works are dedicated to finding the best financing solution to meet YOUR unique needs.

If you are looking to achieve your dream of home ownership, talk to us today to take advantage of this special program and unbiased advice.

10 Steps to Home Sweet Home

Congratulations! There is nothing more exciting than moving into a new home. Whether a new building or re-sale property, there are a few things you can do as soon as you take possession in order to make it your own. Invest a weekend or two into warming up a featureless space or refreshing someone else’s old homestead.

Here are 10 things you can do to really own your new space and turn it into home sweet home:

  1. Change The Locks: Secure your home by changing the locks as soon as you take possession. Even DIY beginners can change a deadbolt lock. A replacement deadbolt set can be installed in place of the current lock with just a screwdriver— no drilling required. Another option is to rekey the lock. Purchase a rekeying set from the same manufacturer as the existing door lock, and reset it for a new key
  2. Consider a Professional Deep Cleaning: Hiring a professional cleaner to deep-clean and detail your home before you move your possessions in can make your new home feel that much more YOU! It will be easier without any furniture to work around, allowing them to access to every nook and cranny. Yes, you’ll have to clean again after moving day, but the heavy lifting will have already been done!
  3. Clean Out Your Pipes: Years of dust, pet dander and detritus collect in the hidden workings of any home. One of the most effective ways to refresh a new home is to get right into the guts of it! Have your ducts, furnace and air conditioning unit professionally cleaned and be sure to change the filters as required to maintain that clean, fresh air.
  4. Apply a Coat of Paint: Painting provides the most bang for your home-improvement buck! Whether the walls of your home are dingy or you’re simply not feeling the magic of beige, it only takes a few hours to repaint your space with a colour that makes you feel at home.
  5. Freshen Up Your Floors: Much like worn-out walls, old floors can really put a damper on that new-home buzz. If your hardwood has seen better days, you can consider hiring professionals to re-do it or tackle the project yourself by renting a floor sander and varnishing over a weekend. For carpet, a deep steam clean can do wonders! For laminate, you can get that extra shine with a special laminate floor cleaner. Although if any of your floor coverings are lifting or have holes in them, you may want to replace it. You can further personalize your new space by adding floor runners or area rugs!
  6. Neutralize Odors: Any re-sale home can benefit from a deep-clean refresh to eliminate any lingering odors from previous tenants. While some of the above steps will dramatically reduce any lingering smells, stubborn aromas require spot treatments such as:
    • Putting dishes of activated charcoal (also known as activated carbon) in a musty, damp basement. These can be found at aquarium stores.
    • Running a dehumidifier during the spring and summer.
    • Placing a sock filled with dry coffee grounds or baking soda in closets, refrigerators or freezers to absorb stale odors.
    • Pouring white vinegar down a stinky drain. 
  7. Enjoy the View! Dirty windows and screens can make rooms feel dark and dingy. A thorough cleaning will have your windows shining, and your indoors will feel brighter and fresher too. If your home came with the previous owner’s window coverings, be sure to clean or launder them; it’ll remove allergens as well as reduce any lingering odours. Or consider replacements with colors and patterns more suited to your style!
  8. Lighten Up! A well-lit home is immediately warmer and more inviting than its darker counterparts. If your rooms feel dim, replace the existing bulbs with bright, energy-saving LED or CFL bulbs for more light and cost-savings! Dated lighting fixtures can also foil your redecorating efforts, so consider replacing them with something more your style.
  9. Time for a Switch: Replacing your switch plates only requires a screwdriver but you would be surprised how much swapping out old lighting switch plates can refresh your space. With a little DIY expertise, screwdrivers, pliers and a voltage tester, you can install energy saving dimmer switches instead.
  10. Display Your Art: Once you have deep-cleaned your new home and organized it to your heart’s content, it is time to dress up your walls with your favourite artwork and family photos! Get your kids’ kindergarten masterpieces onto the fridge and deck out your mantel with family photos.

Moving into a new home is one of the best times to make your space perfect for you! With a clean slate and empty floor space, now is the time to include all the things that make your house a home – to you! Unpack your knick-knacks and personal items and add a splash of color with throw pillows or rugs to brighten things up.

Getting the Down Payment Down

A down payment is one of the most essential aspects of every mortgage application and new home purchase. In Canada, home purchases require a minimum cash payment from your own funds that is put towards the purchase. This is your down payment and is considered your stake in the deal.

Many home buyers understand that a certain amount of money down will be required on a home. However, most don’t realize the ins-and-outs of down payments, such as where the funds are allowed to come from and ensuring a proper paper trail.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while preparing your down payment and working towards your perfect home!

SOURCES OF DOWN PAYMENT

Most home buyers are aware that they will require a certain amount of money for a down payment. What many do not realize, is that lenders are required to verify the source of the funds. This allows them to ensure that they are coming from an acceptable source. Sources that further contribute to indebtedness are less-likely to be considered (such as line of credit or credit card). Instead, the best and most traditional options for your down payment are:

SAVINGS ACCOUNT

The first and most traditional method is your savings account, where you have been pinching your hard-earned pennies to save up for this day!

If you are utilizing your personal savings for a down payment, note that lenders will require three months of full bank statements. This includes name, account number, transactions and balance history. For any large deposits made in that time (sale of a car, work bonus, etc.), explanations and supporting documents will be required.

GIFT FROM FAMILY MEMBER

If you are fortunate enough to receive help from the Bank of Mom and Dad for your down payment, there are certain requirements:

  • A signed gift letter from the immediate family member contributing the fund
  • Proof of the transfer into your bank account. This can be a bank statement documenting the money being moved from the donor’s account and into yours. The statements must include names, account numbers and the full transaction history during the time period in question.
  • Important note: If money is being received from immediate family overseas, most lenders will require copies of the wire transfer. In addition, they may ask for account history.

RRSP WITHDRAWAL

Another option for down payment is the use of Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), but only if you are a first-time buyer. This is part of the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP), which allows first-time buyers to borrow up to $35,000 from their RRSP’s (tax-free!) -as long as the money is repaid within 15 years. Please note: The minimum repayment is 15 equal instalments paid once per year.

HOW MUCH DOWN?

When it comes to putting money down on your new home, you need to consider the minimum down payment required as well as additional fees.

The minimum amount required in Canada is 5% for the first $500,000, with 10% down on any amount beyond that threshold. For example, on a $600,000 house you would need to put $35,000 down at minimum ($25,000 on the first $500,000 and $10,000 for the additional $100,000 purchase price).

Keep in mind, if your down payment is less than 20% of the price of your home, you will be required to purchase mortgage loan insurance in case of default. These premiums range from 0.6% to 4.50% of the total amount of your mortgage. Using the example above, this would mean $3,600 to $27,000 in mortgage insurance premiums.

If you are able to put 20% down on your new home (which is the recommended amount), you would be looking at an investment of $120,000 down with no mortgage insurance premiums required.

ADDITIONAL COSTS AND FEES

One component of the purchase process that homeowners often forget about, are the closing costs. These are typically 1.5% up to 4% of the purchase price. In order to get financing, you are required to show that you have enough to cover these costs, which include legal fees.

When you have collected the funds for your down payment and closing costs, you must ensure those funds remain in your bank account once you’ve provided confirmation. They should only leave your account when they are provided to your lawyer to complete the purchase. This is because lenders will often request updated statements closer to the closing of the sale, to ensure nothing has changed. If money has been moved around, or if there are new large deposits or withdrawals, they will all need to be confirmed and could affect approval.

The last thing that anyone wants when purchasing a property is added stress or for something to go wrong late in the process. Consider contacting a us at Prime Mortgage Works today to help guide you through the process! Make sure you are upfront about your down payment amount, and where it is coming from. This will help a mortgage broker determine whether or not it is suitable, and allow them to find the best lender and mortgage product for you!

25 Secrets Your Banker Doesn’t Want You to Know

Twenty-five or thirty years can sound like an impossibly long time to service a loan – and for many of us, it is. If you are looking to pay off your mortgage faster, here are some tried-and-true tactics to get you to financial freedom that much sooner!

  1. Make a Double Mortgage Payment: A double payment once a year can shave over four years off the total life of the mortgage! Better yet, if your mortgage allows for double-up payments, another option is paying an extra $100 into your mortgage – per month. This can save you over $26,000 in interest on a 5.5% fixed-rate, 25-year amortized mortgage.
  2. Increase Your Payment Frequency: Changing your mortgage from monthly to bi-weekly accelerated payments can shave over three years off your mortgage. At $2,000 a month, three years of no payments is worth $72,000 (not to mention the interest saved!).
  3. Increase Your Payment: Did you know? A one-time 10% increase can shave four years off the mortgage. That’s $96,000 in savings! Imagine if you bumped the payment 10% every year from the get-go. You would be mortgage-free in 13 years—start to finish! Can’t do it? How about 5% every year? You would be mortgage-free in 18 years! You can also consider increasing the payment by the amount of your annual raise.
  4. Lump Sum Payments: This is another option to become mortgage-free even faster! Even just one extra payment a year equivalent to one monthly payment will give you similar results as #2 above. Annual work bonuses or other extra-income is a great option for this.
  5. Renegotiate When Rates Drop: Revisiting your mortgage is a good idea when rates drop. However, it is always best to get expert advice from a mortgage broker to ensure it makes sense for you. If so, the benefits can be huge! For instance, a 1% reduction on a $300,000 mortgage will save $250 a month—times five years, that’s $15,000.
  6. Maintain a High Credit Rating: Even if you have already qualified for the mortgage you want, don’t let your credit rating slip. Pay your bills on time and keep balances low in relation to limits on credit cards, lines of credit, etc. Ideally, using 30% or less of your available credit will garner the highest results (assuming you pay the balances in full every month). Even if you’re filling your card to its credit limit max and paying it off in full each month, it will look like you are maxing out your credit limit and your credit score will drop accordingly.
  7. Increase Your Mortgage: Increasing your mortgage for the purpose of debt consolidation can be helpful for paying off credit card debt, line of credits, car loan and so on for a better rate and a set payment plan.
  8. Make an RRSP Contribution: By making an RRSP contribution, you can then use your income tax refund to pay down your mortgage!
  9. Switch to a Variable Rate: Switching your mortgage to variable-rate while keeping your payments the same as if on fixed can help you pay your mortgage faster. Since variable rates are typically lower, you will be paying more to your principal loan versus the interest.
    • Caution: Variable rates are not for everyone. Always be sure to seek the help of a mortgage broker to find out if variable-rates are the best choice for you.
  10. Take Your Mortgage With You: When you move, switch your old mortgage to the new property to avoid a penalty or higher rate on a new mortgage. This is called “porting”, however not all mortgages have this feature so be sure to ask! It is not widely known but could save you a ton of money.
  11. Set Up Automatic Savings: Even setting aside $10 per paycheck can help! When your extra savings reaches the amount of one mortgage payment, apply it to the mortgage! This concept goes nicely with #4.
  12. Unhook From The Money Drip: Stop paying with your fancy points credit or debit card. These make it way too easy to overspend. Go old school, go off the grid and pay cash. It works and can help you stay on track!
  13. Don’t Buy on Layaway: You know, those don’t-pay-for-six-month “deals”, well a lot can change in six-months and you’ll still be on the hook. If you cannot afford it now, don’t buy it. Wait until you are financially able to make the investment.
  14. Downsize Your House: Are you living in a 5-bedroom family home but your kids are grown up and moved out? Consider downsizing to a smaller house. It will save you money on your mortgage payments and maintenance fees in the long run!
  15. Rent Out the Basement: Not ready to move? Consider converting spare rooms to rental and use the income to pay down debt.
  16. Make Your Mortgage Tax-Deductible: If you are self-employed, own rental property or have investments, this is likely possible. Check with us at Prime Mortgage Works to see if this option is right for you!
  17. Prioritize Your Payments: Define your various debts by category. This can help you see where you spend your money and also help you pay off your debt faster.
  18. Start With the Highest-Interest Rate: Pay off loans with the highest interest rates first, as these are the ones eating into your extra income!
  19. Leave Tax-Deductible Until Last: Pay the non-tax deductible loans first and fastest and leave tax-deductible debt to the end.
  20. Focus on Ugly Debt First: Debt such as credit card balances are the worst on your credit rating. Pay these off first.
  21. Pay Off Bad Debt Next: Debt for items that depreciate in value, such as car or boat loans, should be the next on your priority list.
  22. Clear Good Debt Last: Loans such as mortgages or investments for assets that should appreciate in value are the least harmful to your net worth and can be paid out last.
  23. Buy a New Car – Outright! Finance it if you have to but don’t lease, unless you are self-employed in which case leasing makes more sense.
  24. Use Your Secret Stash: If you have $20,000 in a bank account for a rainy-day or vacation and yet owe $20,000 on a line of credit, you need to reconsider. The bank account is paying you next to no interest (which is taxable income) and the line of credit rate is way higher (and not tax deductible). You know what to do. You can keep the line of credit open and on standby for a rainy day. Make it the secret line of credit that you have but never use.
  25. Give your Banker More Money: No, really. Keep enough in your chequing account to meet the minimum requirement to waive your service charges. Some banks charge a fee for transactions and nothing, zero, zilch, zip if you keep $2,500 in the account. Let’s see, $10 x 12 is $120 a year to pay off debt. I’d have to earn 5% with the $2,500 in my savings account to come out ahead. No-brainer here. Oh yeah, if you need more than 25 transactions a month, see #12 above.

Let’s face it, your financial future will not get any brighter if you continue to run deficits forever. Unlike a bank or big company, you won’t get a bailout! Stop procrastinating and take charge of your own finances with the above tips!

If you are looking for expert advice about your mortgage and how to pay it down faster, contact us to discuss YOUR situation and options.

BORROWER BEWARE:

It is always important to take things with a grain of salt. This is especially important when it comes to too-good-to-be-true, ultra-low-rate mortgages. These “no frills” mortgages are often loaded with restrictions such as pre-payment limitations, fully-closed terms, stripped-out features or unusual penalties. If you’re not looking at what you’re giving up, you may regret it in the future. These hidden terms alone could prevent you from taking advantage of tips #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 16 and 22!

Outside The Box

For most Canadians, a home looks like a few different things. It is either a single-family dwelling, a townhome, condominium or a high-rise. But Daniel Croft, Vice President of Giant Container Services, is looking to change that!

In the quest to find less expensive housing and alternatives to the conventional home, we have seen many new ideas crop up in the last decade. From container homes to tiny homes and even the centuries-old design of a yurt, Canadians and Canadian manufacturers are starting to look at the home in an entirely different way.

CONTAINER HOMES

Giant Container Services is a Toronto company that’s been converting shipping containers into homes for over 10 years. With roots in the trucking industry, it was in the early 2000’s when Croft’s grandfather started noticing these big containers being used for storage. This was the lightbulb that resulted in a new division being born – turning the containers into homes.

Croft started with 100 containers and has since noted business has been booming! During a conversation with Croft, he noted “huge interest in container homes” elaborating on some of the company’s projects, which included condominiums built out of hundreds of containers!

While he noted that many of his current clients are using the containers as a vacation property home, the demand continues to grow. Currently, Giant Containers offers four models ranging from a 320 square foot 1-bedroom / 1-bathroom build to a 960 square foot 2-bedroom / 2-bathroom build; all for just $85 a square foot! Despite the containers basically being a prefabricated steel structure, Croft says they’re built like a house and include electrical and plumbing; the same as you would find with a traditional build. His company also works to guide owners through the process of assembling the containers.

After getting his feet wet in the small-home industry, Croft sees the prefabrication of living structures, like these containers, as the future of home ownership! Not only are they affordable, but they can also be transported at low costs and last longer than a conventional wood frame home.

When asked about what type of people purchase these homes, Croft noted that his customers range from millennials to couples in their 40’s. According to him, his clients and target demographic “knows they want to be in a container house; they like the look and feel of it and the sustainability aspect”. He admitted that this is something he has been really behind in (us too, Daniel!) but he really feels that this is the future of building.

MICRO HOMES

As Canadians become more focused on affordability and as environmental concerns continue to grow year-over-year, it is easy to see why these small houses could be the start of a new eco-friendly future!

In fact, across the country in British Columbia, a company known as Nomad Micro Homes also experienced a boom in interest for its product. The company offers two styles of micro homes – their NOMAD Cube and NOMAD Micro. The Micro runs $25,500 USD for the studio version ($27,800 USD for the guest suite version) while the Cube will set you back $38,800 USD.

The founder and CEO of Nomad Homes, Ian Kent, describes the product as a “do it yourself” kit home; similar to something you’d buy in Ikea that can be put together very quickly. While they may be simple, he notes people can live in them as a primary residence. It is also important to note that Nomad’s designs aren’t on wheels like some versions of tiny homes.

According to Kent, the company sells roughly 30 homes a year but has the ability to increase production scale to thousands of units if needed. Kent sees the tiny home as one answer to a rental supply crisis gripping B.C.’s Lower Mainland as it is an “extremely low-impact backyard dwelling It is small and private; nobody cares about it and you’re not going to bother anybody with it. Plus, you’re going to provide the most affordable housing in the Lower Mainland!”

Indeed, this could be the option that we need for homeless individuals and others who cannot afford high housing or rental prices. In fact, in Vancouver alone, the 2019 Homeless Count found that more than 2,200 people do not have a home! In order to help resolve this, the Government of British Columbia committed its April 2019 funding towards the development of more temporary modular housing across the province. As of April 2020, there are currently 663 units of modular housing in Vancouver.

Avi Friedman, a professor of architecture at McGill University in Montreal, believes the shrinking size of the home is a reflection of the economy. The reality is, building larger homes costs more. Add this to the fact that many Canadians are no longer having children – according to Stats Canada, the total number of births dropped 3% from 2014 to 2018. For those who do, many of these families are smaller than previous generations, resulting in less space requirements.

Friedman also suggested buyers want bigger homes to start with, but when millennials are entering the current market, they are simply unable to afford the size of dwelling their parents owned. He notes that in the past, many people’s first home was a single-family house, but today most people begin their adult life in an apartment.

While the professor agrees these alternative homes can help alleviate the housing pressures in areas like Toronto and Vancouver, he wouldn’t want to see tiny homes in all communities. Instead, he sees these homes integrated among a range of housing options.

Friedman also called on municipalities to be innovative, allowing for flexible designs to address the housing issues. “What municipalities can do is revisit archaic bylaws that have been introduced in the 1940s and ’50s and see how they can be readjusted to current economic and social reality,” he says.

WHAT ABOUT A YURT?

If the container or micro home isn’t your thing, there’s a centuries-old way of living to put you more in touch with nature. The yurt design is essentially that of a circular tent. Patrick Ladisa is the President of Yurta, a yurt manufacturer in Toronto, who says he’s always been interested in minimalist architecture. Back in 2004, his company built its first yurt, which was designed to be a relief or cost-effective living shelter.

The company makes two sizes of yurts; a 13’ diameter (133’ sq) and a 17’ diameter (226’ sq). Both are available in 6’ and 7’ wall heights and range between $10,500 to $11,500 with your choice of insulation packages from $3,500 to $4,000. They also have additional options such as windows, a solid door and a chimney outlet. What you won’t likely see is much indoor plumbing. Ladisa noted the attraction to the yurt compared to the container or tiny home is a desire to be close to nature and a connection to the outdoors.

As with any good business idea, Yurta has since evolved making a splash in the recreational market. Ladisa now sees people using the structures as a guest space at a cottage, or in place of a cabin in the woods.

financing on an alternative home

When purchasing a prefabricated home, there are a few things to keep in mind with regards to financing.

It is only possible to get a mortgage on the property if it has been de-registered and permanently affixed to land that is owned already, or being purchased by the buyer. Otherwise, it’s considered a chattel loan (similar to an auto loan).

The age of the prefabricated home will determine the maximum amortization on the loan. You are only able to amortize a property the expected remaining economic life of the home, less five years.

A minimum down payment of 20 percent is still required for the purchase of the prefabricated home – just like with a regular mortgage – as well as the property. If the lot is already owned, then financing will depend on how much existing equity is in the land.

Location is important!! If you are planning to place your prefabricated home on a remote property or in a remote area, the chances of obtaining financing becomes slimmer.

While this may seem discouraging, it is important to remember that lenders are always changing their requirements and are always adding to their portfolios and updating which home types and properties they provide financing for. To make sure you understand all your options, it is best to talk with a mortgage broker for expert advice on whether or not alternative home financing is available to you – and what your other options might be!

How the CHIP Reverse Mortgage Can Help You Support Your Adult Children

As I’m sure you know, Canada’s housing market is on fire, and has been for several years. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), between April 2020 and April 2021 – despite a global pandemic – the average house price rose by a whopping 41.9%, rising to $696,000. And data from previous years is similarly impressive.

This is, of course, great news for homeowners, but perhaps not such great news for those trying to get on the property ladder. This has led to a boom in older Canadians helping their adult children with the funds needed for a down payment. According to a recent survey by RBC Royal Bank, 31% of Canadians would help their child pay for a new home.

If this is you, it’s important to ask yourself how you will access the funds to help your child, so you can do so while maintaining your own financial security.

Withdrawing from Investments

Some people turn to savings and investments when they want to access a large sum of money, but this may not always be the best idea. Cashing in investments has the potential to trigger taxes and OAS and CPP clawback, as well as pushing up your marginal tax rate. It can also damage your overall portfolio, which can have a negative effect on your future retirement income – and with more and more Canadians at risk of outliving their retirement savings, this is very important to bear in mind.

Using the Equity in Your Home

In order to avoid the downsides of withdrawing from investments, you can use your home’s equity to help your adult children, that way they also benefit from Canada’s red-hot housing market and the equity it’s enabled you to build up.

HELOC

One way of accessing the cash in your home is through a home equity line of credit (HELOC). This is a revolving line of credit secured against your home that allows you to borrow up to 65% of the property’s value. A HELOC can be a good way of accessing cash, however the approval process has recently become more difficult and some Canadians 55+ are having their HELOC applications denied, often because they lack a regular income due to being retired. Another drawback to the HELOC is the fact that the debt must be serviced monthly, which can eat into your monthly income.

The CHIP Reverse Mortgage

Another way of accessing the cash in your home is with the CHIP Reverse Mortgage. The CHIP Reverse Mortgage allows you to access up to 55% of your home’s value in tax-free cash, which you can use to gift an early inheritance to your adult children and help them get into the property market.

The money you receive won’t damage your investment portfolio and won’t trigger taxes or OAS/CPP clawback. What’s more, since you only pay back what you owe once you leave your home, there are no monthly repayments adversely affecting your retirement income.

The CHIP Reverse Mortgage is a product that’s designed specifically for Canadian’s 55+ with an approval process to fit – this means we don’t discriminate against retirees or those without a regular income, all you have to do is own your home.

If you’d like to find out more about how the CHIP Reverse Mortgage can help you support your adult children, contact us at Prime Mortgage Works today!

Making The Grade: Common Myths About Credit Scores

How is your credit score calculated? It is a complex answer and, as such, common myths persist. Today, we are going to help you get a better understanding of your credit score and how to make the grade by busting the most common credit score myths!

MYTH #1: TOO MANY CREDIT CARDS WILL HURT MY CREDIT SCORE

The reality is that cancelling healthy, active cards or accounts hurts more than having too many. When you cancel a card, all your payment history is lost as well as the type of credit granted. While you may think having a couple credit cards is extreme, the average Canadian has TEN credit sources. What many Canadians don’t realize is that lenders want to see a history of credit; they want to see payments made on time. In addition, lenders also want to see balances maintained at no more than 70% of your credit limit in use. So, if you have a $10,000 credit card, you don’t want to owe more than $7,000 on it at a time.

MYTH #2: AVOID USING CREDIT CARDS IF YOU WANT TO BUILD CREDIT

It is easy to think that different forms of credit matter more than others, but that is simply not the case. In fact, all lenders want to see is a history of credit and payments made on time. This is what will build your credit score and, eventually, give you the ability to qualify for financing. A history of on-time payments and manageable balances shows the lender that you are a promising investment and not likely to default.

MYTH #3: PAYING MONTHLY UTILITIES BUILDS CREDIT

Unfortunately, paying utilities does not build credit. In fact, these providers only check your credit score to determine creditworthiness; they don’t report your payment history to the bureau. Unless you are late to pay, that is. The other organizations that only report on default are municipalities and vehicle insurance providers, so make sure you keep these payments up-to-date. Be sure to pay any traffic tickets and bylaw infractions too!

MYTH #4: I CAN’T DO ANYTHING ONCE A PAYMENT IS LATE

Don’t be discouraged. Lenders understand that you are only human and, in many cases, they are often willing to work with you if there is a late payment. If they are notified within a timely manner, a late payment can be easily reversed. Just be careful not to make a habit of it.

MYTH #5: CHECKING MY CREDIT SCORE WILL DECREASE IT

No exactly. There are two types of credit inquiries: soft and hard. A soft inquiry occurs when you pull your own credit report. Credit card companies also pull this type of inquiry when marketing pre-approval offers. Soft inquiries do not affect your credit score.

A hard inquiry, on the other hand, is triggered by the applicant when submitting a loan or credit card applications. As a result, hard inquiries will affect your credit score slightly as they are included in the calculation done. Recording the number of inquiries a consumer has on the credit report allows potential lenders to see how often a consumer has applied for new credit; this can be a precursor to someone facing credit difficulty. Too many inquiries could mean that a consumer is deeply in debt and is looking for loans or new credit cards to bail themselves out. Another reason for recording inquiries is for preventing identity theft. Hard inquiries that aren’t made by you could possibly be from a fraudster trying to open accounts in your name; therefore only individuals with a specific business purpose can check your score. Creditors, lenders, employers and landlords are some examples of approved business people. The inquiry only appears on the credit report that was checked.

In addition, hard inquiries remain on all credit reports for two years, after which they are removed. Soft inquiries only appear on the report that you request from the credit bureaus and will not be visible to potential creditors.

Credit score plays a vital role when it comes to potential financing for car loans, mortgages, or even personal loans. It is important to recognize good credit habits now and maintain them for a higher credit score today, and better chance of financial approval in the future.

How to Afford a Second Property in Retirement

More and more Canadians are choosing to buy a second property in retirement. Reasons for doing this vary. Some want to reap the rewards of a lifetime of saving and treat themselves to a vacation home. Others, on the other hand, view their second property as an investment, intending to rent it out and use the rent to bolster their income.

Whatever your reasons for wanting to buy a second property, there are various ways you might choose to pay for it – let’s have a look at what those are.

PAYING THE DOWN PAYMENT

Just like your first property, you’ll need a down payment for your second property. This can be as little as 5% but ideally should be higher – try aiming for 20%.

CASHING IN INVESTMENTS

One way that you may choose to make the down payment is by cashing in on investments. When considering this, however, caution should be exercised. Cashing in on investments in a taxable account can trigger taxes and OAS clawback, as well as potentially pushing you into a higher tax bracket. Taking large sums from your investments will also reduce the size of your portfolio, which can have a knock-on affect on your retirement income. Outliving savings is something all retirees should be conscious of, so think carefully before making large withdrawals that may deplete your pension pot too quickly.

TAKING OUT A HELOC

A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) is a revolving line of credit secured against your primary residence which allows you to access up to 65% of your home’s value. Taking out a HELOC to pay for the down payment can be a good option to avoid cashing in on investments, but they’re not without their limitations. It’s recently become more difficult to get approval for a HELOC, and many retired Canadians without a fixed monthly income have seen their applications denied. If you manage to get approved for the loan, be aware that you need to service it each month, which will have an affect on your monthly cashflow.

USING THE CHIP REVERSE MORTGAGE

Another way to afford the down payment on your second property is with the CHIP Reverse Mortgage. The CHIP Reverse Mortgage allows you to access up to 55% of your home’s value in tax-free cash, meaning it won’t trigger taxes or OAS clawback, or push you into a higher tax bracket. Unlike a HELOC, with a reverse mortgage you don’t repay what you owe until you move out of your home or pass away, so there are no monthly repayments eating into your cashflow. What’s more, depending on how much equity you have built up in your home and how much your home is worth, you may be able to pay off a significant amount of your second property – perhaps even paying for it outright!

PAYING OFF THE MORTGAGE

Unless you were able to pay for your second property outright, chances are you’ll have a monthly mortgage to pay.

If your second home is an investment property, you likely intend to rent it out. In this case, the rent you charge should be enough to cover your mortgage payments (and hopefully a little extra for you each month).

On the other hand, if your second property is a vacation home, you’ll need to factor mortgage repayments into your monthly budget. One way to get the best of both worlds is by renting your vacation property out for short-term holiday lets. This will help you cover some, if not all, of the mortgage payments, while also giving you the flexibility to enjoy your vacation home whenever you want. Want to know more about how the CHIP Reverse Mortgage could help you afford a second property? Contact us to learn more!