28 Apr

WHAT DOES IT ACTUALLY MEAN TO CO-SIGN FOR A MORTGAGE?

General

Posted by: Crystal Stewart

There seems to be some confusion about what it actually means to co-sign on a mortgage and you know that where there is confusion, your trusted mortgage professional seeks to offer clarity. Let’s take a quick look at why you may be asked to co-sign and what you need to know before, during, and after the co-signing process.

So why are you being asked? Last year there were two sets of changes made to the mortgage world which can likely explain why you are receiving this request in the first place.

The first occurred early in 2016 whereby the overall lending standards were increased in regards to an individual’s management of their credit and the resulting responsibility of Canada’s financial institutions to ensure they are lending prudently. We have seen an increase in requests for co-borrowers to help strengthen applications when credit or job stability is an issue.

The second happened just in October. A new ‘stress test’ rate applies which has especially impacted borrowers with less than 20% down. They must qualify at a rate of 4.64% though their actual interest rate is much lower. This has decreased affordability for many which means they could be looking for a co-borrower to increase how much home they can qualify for.

If it was me, I would ask questions as to exactly why the applicant needs a co-borrower. If it is a credit issue then you need to assess if that an acceptable risk. If it is a matter of not enough income, you need to assess that instead. What is the exit strategy for you all from this joint mortgage?

What can you expect? You will be required to complete an application and have your credit pulled. As you are now a borrower the banks will ask you for all the documentation that the main applicant has already provided. This can include but will not be limited to:

  • Letter of employment
  • Paystubs
  • 2 years Notice of Assessments, Financial Statements and complete T1 Generals
  • Mortgage statements on all properties you own
  • Bank statements if helping with the down payment
  • Property tax bills
  • Lease agreements
  • Divorce/separation agreement

So you get the idea. You are now a full applicant and will be asked for a whole bunch of paperwork. It is not just a matter of saying yes. Once the application is complete and all conditions have been met with the mortgage, you will have to meet with the lawyer as well.

What do you need to be aware of?

  1. This is now a monthly liability according to the world. You will have to disclose this debt on all your own applications going forward. It can affect your ability to borrow in the future
  2. Each lender is different in their policy as to how soon you can come off the mortgage. Familiarize yourself with this. Are you committing to this indefinitely or only for a couple of years?
  3. Mortgages report on the credit bureaus so you could be adversely affected if there are late payments
  4. If the main applicant cannot make the payment for whatever reason, you are saying that you will. Make sure your budget can handle that for a few months.

A few things you may want to consider if you do agree to co-sign:

  • Ask for an annual statement to be sent to you as well on both the mortgage and the property taxes.
  • Consider a joint account for mortgage payments so that you can check in every so often to ensure all payments are being made on time
  • Talk about life insurance! If the worst occurs, then at least have enough of a policy in effect, with yourself as the beneficiary, to cover a year of mortgage, taxes and bills so that you are not hit with an unexpected series of expenses until the property sells.

So though you just want to help your loved one into their dream home, you are all better served if you know exactly what you are getting into and are prepared for the contingencies. We here at Dominion Lending Centres are ready to help!

 

Written by:

PAM PIKKERT

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Pam is part of DLC Regional Mortgage Group based in Red Deer, AB

25 Apr

ONTARIO’S PREMIER JUMP-STARTS HOUSING COOL DOWN BEFORE THE BUDGET

General

Posted by: Crystal Stewart

Premier Kathleen Wynne surprised the market yesterday by announcing sweeping measures aimed at cooling the red-hot housing market a full week before Ontario Budget Day. The sixteen-measure package is largely intended to do three things: Cool demand; boost supply; and limit the increases in rents. 

No one doubts that something needed to be done to dampen speculative fervour and increase the supply of both rental properties and non-rental housing in the GTA and surrounding areas. While home prices have been rising in the GTA for more than a decade, the price gains hit an inflection point 2016 with hyperbolic price gains, exaggerated well beyond reasonable levels took hold, spiraling to a sellers’ strike, rampant speculation and frenzied demand.

In most of the region, the inventory-to-sales ratio fell to less than one-month’s supply as speculators compete with first-time and other buyers, driving prices to the stratosphere. Potential sellers held back, expecting prices to continue to rise at a 30% annual rate. Many of these potential sellers feared they wouldn’t find a suitable place to live as speculators increasingly are willing to buy properties with negative carry as capitalization rates fell, expecting to make a fast buck in a year or two. This has been compounded by non-resident foreign purchases, much of which could well lie vacant, further reducing supply and often damaging existing neighborhoods. Moreover, the market is further inflated by nefarious activities on the part of unethical market participant–activities that include “paper flipping”, rigged bidding, double-dealing and falsified income and asset statements–not to mention reselling properties pre-construction, which is technically legal but sometimes reportedly involves kick-backs to developers.

Clearly, this frenzy is unsustainable and something needed to be done to avert a crash landing–a result that is in no one’s interest as it would dramatically slow economic activity and job growth in the province and beyond. The question is: Will the Ontario Fair Housing Plan–comprised of 16 initiatives–generate a soft landing and do the job of balancing housing and rental supply and demand.

Risks and Uncertainties

The most troubling measure is the expansion of rent controls to all rental properties built after 1991–condo or purpose built. While it is good for existing tenants, the potential unintended consequences are concerning. Rent controls diminish the supply of rental stock and have adverse implications for existing home markets as investors (and speculators) dump their properties in response to heightened uncertainty and already compressed capitalization rates. This is especially negative for the condo market as investors have often provided the seed money for new developments. Toronto suffers from a dearth of purpose-built rental properties owing to the rent controls introduced many years ago. There has been a burgeoning rise in the development of such properties over the past year or so, but expanded rent controls might cause many lenders, investors and developers to reassess their plans.

Setting the rent-control cap at the rate of consumer inflation to a maximum of 2.5% while occupied by the same tenant would in no way provide a sufficient reward to offset the risk and capital necessary to build new supply. Any developer and investor would find the risk-reward trade-off insufficient. The cost of maintaining rental property is far greater than the 2% rate of inflation as utility costs, maintenance fees and property taxes have gone up by multiples of that rate, which is roughly equivalent to the return of risk-free government bonds.

Boost Rental Supply

The measures introduced to increase rental housing supply are welcome, but limited. Rebating a portion of development charges, lowering new property taxes on purpose-built rentals, unlocking available provincial land and streamlining the approval process will help to offset some of the negative effects of rent control, but they will no way offset them fully.

Already about 70% of Canadian households own their own home, which is probably close to long-run peak levels. Younger people and incoming residents are likely to need rental housing just as builders will need to set rents at sufficiently high levels to mitigate the effect of rent control on longer-term returns on investment, making housing less affordable for the very people the measures are intended to help. But, again, it is applauded by current tenants, particularly those living in relatively new housing.

Cooling Demand

The measures intended to cool demand by dampening speculation and discouraging vacant housing are welcome. The 15% non-resident speculation tax (NRST) in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (see map below) levied on non-citizen, non-permanent residents and foreign corporations (with some exclusions) makes sense, but we have inadequate data to judge the magnitude of its effect. If Vancouver’s experience is any guide, the NRST should reduce home price inflation by some measure.

A tax on vacant housing and land will likely increase the rental supply as most of these properties are owned by non-resident foreigners.

The prevention of paper flipping or reselling properties pre-construction is welcome.

Biggest Uncertainty: In my view, the biggest quandary is the impact of this sweeping package on market psychology as it ripples through the economy. The speculators will be the first to run for the hills, reducing demand and increasing supply–which, of course, is the intended consequence. But taking that a step further, boomers who have been holding off listing their homes will call their realtors to do so promptly if they perceive markets are softening, further increasing supply. And buyers could prudently suspend their home search, at least for a while, in the hopes that prices will fall, further diminishing demand. The real question then becomes, will there be a soft- or a hard-landing. Stay tuned, we will be watching these developments very closely.

Ontario's Premier Jump-Starts Housing Cool Down Before the Budget

Written by:

DR. SHERRY COOPER

Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres
Sherry is an award-winning authority on finance and economics with over 30 years of bringing economic insights and clarity to Canadians.

21 Apr

DOWN PAYMENT VERIFICATION – 5 KEY POINTS

General

Posted by: Crystal Stewart

One of the essential aspects of every mortgage application is the discussion pertaining to your down payment. Home purchases in Canada require a minimum down payment of your own funds to be put towards the deal. Your stake in the purchase. It is important that during the discussions with your Mortgage Broker that all the cards are on the table pertaining to your down payment. Be upfront about your down payment and where it is coming from. Doing so can save you time and stress later on in the process.

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 to ensure that they are coming from an acceptable source. Here are a few facts to keep in mind:

1. Lenders require a 90-day bank account history for the bank account holding the down payment funds. The statements must include your name, account number and statement dates.

2. A common hesitation that we often hear from clients is that their bank statements include a lot of personal details. As professionals, we completely understand our clients concerns pertaining to your personal information and we always ensure that information is protected. Statements provided with blacked out names, account numbers or any other details are not acceptable. Unaltered documents are a requirement of confirming the down payment funds.

3. All large or unusual deposits need to be verified to ensure the source of those large deposits can be confirmed and can be used towards the down payment.

• Received a gift from an immediate family member? Easy, Gift Letter signed.
• Sold a vehicle? Easy, provide receipt of sale.
• CRA Tax Return? Easy, Notice of Assessment confirming the return amount.
• Transfer of funds from your TFSA? Easy provide the 90-day history for the TFSA showing the withdrawal.
• Friend lent you money for the house purchase…. Deal Breaker.
• A large deposit into your account that you cannot provide confirmation for…. Deal Breaker!

4. You were told that your minimum down payment was 5%, great! However, did you know that you are also required to show that you have an additional 1.5% of the purchase price saved to cover closing costs like legal fees?

5. Ensure that the funds for the down payment and closing costs stay in your bank account once you’ve provided confirmation. Those funds should only leave your account when they are provided to your lawyer to complete the purchase. Lenders have the right to request updated statements closer to closing to ensure that the down payment is still there. If money is moved around, spent or if there are more large deposits into your account, those will all have to be confirmed.

The last thing that anyone wants when purchasing a property is added stress or for something to go wrong late in the process. Be open with you Mortgage Broker, we are here to help and to guide you through the process. Not sure about something pertaining to your down payment funds? Ask us. We are here to work you through the buying process by making sure you know exactly what you need to do.

Thinking about buying a home, rental or vacation property? Talk to a dedicated Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional in your area to find out about what your down payment requirements will be.

 Written by:
Nathan Lawrence
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Nathan is part of DLC Lakehead Financial based in Thunder Bay, ON.