Should you get a shorter-term mortgage, make extra payments or something else?

Mortgages London Ontario

When getting a home mortgage, if you can afford higher payments, often there is an option for a 15-year loan instead of one of 30-years. This can be very enticing, since you will be free of a mortgage in half the time and pay a lot less in interest.

Let’s use a $200,000 mortgage as an example the payment (P&I, Principal, and Interest, not including escrow for taxes and insurance) is approximately $955 at a 4% mortgage interest rate.  You’d pay a total of $343,739 over that 30 years. Using the same rate, a $200,000 mortgage over 15 years would require a P&I payment of $1,479 at the same interest rate, and you’d pay a total of $266,288 over the life of the loan.

If you can make those higher payments, you would be saving around $80,000 over the life of the mortgage of 15 years. There is also another option when it comes mortgage payments. You can cut your mortgage time by five or more years if you have your lender set up bi-weekly automated payments. This means that you would be paying every two weeks instead of one monthly payment. Since some months may have 5 weeks instead of 4, you end up paying an equivalent of an extra payment each year. This is an easy way to help save money while paying off your mortgage sooner.

Something Else

This is looking at your other debt, especially credit cards, store credit or signature loans. There is an average of $6,500 to over $9,000 for average credit card debt per household. Along with that, multiple sources report the average credit card interest rate rose to 15.59% in 2018.

Going back to the comparison between the 15 and 30-year mortgages, the difference between the two payments is around $500. One plan might be to pay off that credit card debt using this money. This could help get rid of credit card debt in around a year and then you could start working towards making extra payments toward your mortgage.

While you could be paying off your short-term higher rate debt, then using that money towards paying off your mortgage.

 

Mortgages and Entrepreneurs

Mortgages and Entrepreneurs London Ontario

When we are talking about mortgages, most of us assume it is about families and having a stable income that can pay off the mortgage after a certain time. What is rarely talked about is mortgages and entrepreneurs and their plans; as we know being self-employed means your salary can vary monthly, versus being an employee at a company with stable pay.

Back in July of this year, the CMHC announced the implementation of new mortgage lending rules designed to help the self-employed secure mortgages and maintain their position in Canada’s housing market. This will all take effect on the 1st of October this calendar year!

Self-employed Canadians have faced many obstacles when trying to obtain loans, primarily due to their variability of incomes. Since those that are self-employed are not on a payroll, lenders required a more rigorous proof of income, including but not limited to requiring at least two years of proof of income, audited financial statements, a good credit history, regular and stable patterns of income, and a large deposit for the home they are seeking to purchase. Sounds complicated, right?

One of the most difficult barriers to overcome in securing a mortgage is the very reasonable inclination of a small business owner (and their accountant) to do everything legally possible to reduce taxable income to reduce the amount of tax paid by the self-employed. In the case of obtaining a mortgage, the self-employed ideally needs to demonstrate the largest possible income to help to secure a loan. The two purposes are conflicting, with no clear solution.

To address the inequities and difficulties faced by the self-employed, the CMHC has proposed the introduction of several new, more flexible factors that can be used by lenders to assess the mortgage application of a self-employed person. Lending institutions will now be able to include factors such as enough cash reserves, the acquisition of an established business, and their training, education, and previous employment experience, including for businesses that have been operating for less than two years.

With these new changes, these will greatly assist not only self-employed Canadians, who according to the CMHC represent 15 percent of the workforce, also young entrepreneurs seeking to enter the housing market for the first time.

Bridge Financing, What Is It?

Bridge Financing London, Ontario Mortgages

What is Bridge Financing?

It is a useful tool made available to borrowers when the closing date of the home they are purchasing is before the closing date of the home they are selling. This is generally common in a seller’s market, buyers often explore the idea of making a firm offer without conditions, even if they have their own house to sell.

Bridge Financing means that the lender is comfortable making an interim loan between the closing date of the new purchase and the closing date of the buyer’s own firm sale. Basically, it is closing the gap between the two firm closing dates that do not coincide.

Bridge financing is not the same as being able to carry two separate properties.

However, bridge financing is not applicable if your home is not sold firm, you are talking about carrying two properties (owning two homes). Carrying is when the buyer owns two homes simultaneously for any length of time. They are also qualified to carry the total sum of the two mortgages.

So, what is required to set up bridge financing? Your lender will ask you for a copy of your firm purchase agreement and firm sale agreement.

This is a great stress reliever and helps with leaving a buffer of time for the buyers to get settled into their new home before their own purchasers will show up on their previous home’s doorstep looking for a clean and empty property. This also give the buyer some flexibility when it comes to accepting an offer on their own home, that firms

Bridge financing is quite common and a wonderful option but its a conditional on your own home have a firm offer in place.

When it comes down to it, you should make it clear with your lender whether you are looking to mortgage two homes or bridge the gap between 2 firm sales before you firm up your financing.

Why The Best Mortgage Rate May Not Always Be The Lowest

Mortgage Rates London Ontario

Just like when looking for a car, it isn’t always the best option to choose the cheapest one you find, it is the one that is best suited for you and your lifestyle. So just like when looking at mortgages, choosing the one with the lowest interest rates might not be the best option for you, as it could end up costing you more.

How can it cost me more?

One of the reasons why some of the interest rates are low, is that they come with restrictions and sometimes aren’t that flexible. While lenders can entice you with low fixed rates, they might be able to get that money back further down the road with penalties and fines if you were to adjust or change your mortgage. This is not an uncommon practice, similarly insurance companies do this by offering us less for insurance but charge us a higher deductible if something were to happen with our car.

Just like interest rates with additional features and flexibility, these can cost a bit more than a fixed, low interest rate. By paying a little bit extra in interest rates, you can have a little bit of breathing room when it comes to an unexpected change in events and you may need to change your mortgage.

Some Considerations

Here are some questions you should ask yourself when you consider locking in your next mortgage:

  1. What if I need to refinance due to an unexpected job loss, break-up, unexpected home repairs, etc.?
  2.  Can I put extra money down to pay off the mortgage? If so, how much and when?
  3. Are my closing dates flexible? What happens if they aren’t?
  4. What if I move and sell my house before the mortgage is up?

So, what is the best rate?

Life is unpredictable! We may not be able to foresee our future, especially when signing our first mortgage. A no-frills, low-interest mortgage that can end up penalizing you for adjusting or breaking your mortgage can be devastating! The last thing you want is to be penalized a substantial amount on fees and penalties in unexpected charges.

We’ll sit down with you and go over your present situation, as well as discuss your future needs. We can go over all the options available and choose the best options that will suit your needs.