30 Apr

PRE-APPROVALS & PRE-QUALIFICATIONS

General

Posted by: Sarah Davies

Throughout the mortgage and home buying process, there are many steps and many checkpoints a buyer will need to complete before they can move on to the next one. A buyer will not be able to close on a purchase if they do not have a lawyer. Financing conditions need to be lifted after confirmation from a mortgage broker that a file is broker complete. A buyer should never write an offer on a home until they have a realtor working for them. Most importantly, a buyer should never be looking at property they are considering buying until they have been pre-qualified and pre-approved.

Now, one thing we need to make clear- pre-qualified and pre-approved are two different things. Pre-qualified is when someone completes a mortgage application with a mortgage broker or a bank representative and is told how much they can afford. Pre-approved is when someone has written confirmation from a lender stating they are willing to lend based on what is stated in an application and the applicant’s current credit history.

The difference?

Pre-qualifications are based solely on the knowledge and experience (sometimes even opinion) of a broker or bank rep. A pre-approval on the other hand is backed by the lender actually willing to give you the money. When someone says they are pre-qualified, that means they have taken an application with a mortgage broker or bank and in broker or bank rep’s opinion, they can afford “x” amount on a home. A pre-approval is a written letter from a lender stating based on applicants current credit history, declared income on application and current assets, we will lend “x” amount pending confirmation everything stated in the application is verifiable and the property meets all lender requirements.

As you can probably tell, one can be more reliable than the other, especially if you are working with a mortgage broker or bank rep that is inexperienced in the industry. Pre-approvals also usually come with a rate hold. What a rate hold does is guarantee you the interest rates that lender is offering today for a certain amount of time (usually 120 days), and if you put an offer on a place within that time period, they will give you that previous rate even if they went up. If rates go down, they will allow you to access the lower interest rate as well.

You must always get yourself pre-qualified before you begin looking at homes so you know what you can afford. Once you have and you are actively looking, it is very important you try and get a pre-approval before you write an offer. It will give you that extra confirmation your application is acceptable, and protect you against interest rate increases while you look.

If you require a pre-qualification, pre-approval, or want to speak with someone about your current situation, please give a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional a call.

26 Apr

How to Improve Your Credit Score

General

Posted by: Sarah Davies

When applying for any sort of loan, one of the most important metrics a lender is going to look at is your credit score.

But what really is a credit score, who keeps track of it, and most importantly, how can you improve yours?

There are a few simple ways to keep your credit score in good shape.

First off, prioritize paying your bills on time. Missing payments on your credit cards, lines of credit and so on, can have a very negative impact on your score.

You can spend an entire lifetime building up for good credit. All it takes is one mistake to negatively impact you.”
Second, try to keep your credit cards at no more than 65% of their limit. This is the sweet spot that credit scorers are looking for.

Thirdly, you should avoid the “free credit score” services out there because they’re just looking to sell you credit, or sell your information to someone who does.

When you’re looking for credit, what they’re going to ask you is, ‘What are you looking for credit for?’ And you’re going to say, ‘Well, I’m looking to get a mortgage, or I’m looking to get a car loan.’ And then what they’re going to do is they’re going to sell your information to banks and mortgage brokers and people out there who are able to supply you with credit.

Instead, what you should do is go directly to the credit scoring companies. They’re required by law to give you your credit information directly, without affecting your score. TransUnion offers an online form, found here. Equifax has multiple types of credit reports you can order here.

You also want to try to limit the number of credit inquiries by different lenders. When you’re shopping around at different banks, the number of inquiries can add up as each bank makes an inquiry to see what they can offer you.

But as a mortgage broker, we have access to multiple lenders all at once.

You could effectively come see a mortgage broker, get one inquiry done, and that inquiry is good for 20 financial institutions, As opposed to having to go directly to every bank. If you have any questions, contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional near you.

24 Apr

Buying Your First Home? These Tips Will Save Your Life

General

Posted by: Sarah Davies

So you’re wanting to buy a new home? That is some very exciting news. First question, are you prepared?!
We all know big-item purchases are scary. It’s expensive, you are fully committing to this household – there is no turn backing without that pricey consequence. We totally get it.
The ultimate first-step is to do your research. You are going to want to find out the essentials before you start hunting for those pretty houses listed on Pinterest!
Let’s start here.

Credit History
• How many credit cards do you currently have under your name?
• Do you pay your bills on time?
• How many loans do you currently have?
If you own a credit card or have a loan with an established bank, you have credit history. This information is then transferred into a financial summary known as a credit report.

Credit Report
Your credit report states these vital pieces of personal information (DO NOT let other people in on your personal finances. This should be a give-in by now!)
• first and last name
• home address
• social security number (SIN)
• credit cards
• loans
• how much money you owe
• whether or not you pay your bills on time
All this ‘credit’ talk is important because it allows lenders to determine IF they will lend you money. Your lender, whoever you choose to go with, will be on your credit situation right away. The sooner you know what is on your credit, the better!
As for your credit score, it’s best to only have it checked once as having multiple credit check by different lender can cause it to change. Let us know. We’d be happy to help here.

Employment
It is important to have a steady income and also proof of employment for the last two years. Any changes to your employment have to be explicitly explained. Gathering these documents a head of time can save headaches later.

Down payment
In Canada, you need to show a 90-day history of the down payment to prove you have not borrowed the money. We will need to see any movement of that money within the 90 days so its best not to move it around. You are allowed to get a gift from family for the down payment but this money must not be repayable and we will need a letter from that gift giver explaining that!

Consult Your Wish List
It’s good to know what you want in a home if you can do it realistically. Buying a house for two? Thinking of expanding your family? You need to consider what life will look like down the road before you commit and sign that paper. Nothing would be worse than to move into a house that eventually ends up being too small because a couple of kids came into the picture or in a similar situation those grown-up kids come back home from college, university – you get the picture.
It’s also reasonable to think about factors in your dream home such as maintenance, renovations, the longevity of your stay, etc. Cover all bases, it is way better to be safe than sorry.

Finding a Broker
Who should you use to find the best mortgage for you? We think a Broker (like us), especially if you’re a first-time home buyer. There are many lenders in Canada and a broker will be able to sort through all your options.

Finding a Realtor
When it comes to a realtor, you want someone reliable. Makes sense right? A couple ways you can find out whether or not a certain realtor is legit is by doing some online research:
• Do they have a website/social media accounts? Go check it out!
• Double-check if their licence is registered and legitimate
• Look up their client feedback/disciplinary comments against them
• Check out their current listings – price range, are they a busy/relaxed business?
• Send them an e-mail with any questions! Do they have the appropriate knowledge?

Feeling better about buying that first Home? That’s exactly what we like to hear. If you have any other questions, call a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional today.

15 Apr

5 REASONS WHY REALTORS WANT YOU TO HAVE A PRE-APPROVAL

General

Posted by: Sarah Davies

1- It shows that you are seriously committed to a home purchase. I have been told stories by realtors of people booking a series of homes to see and then being dropped off at McDonald’s to be picked up by another realtor to see some more homes.

2.- People have an idea of how much home they can afford. Sometimes this amount is way off. Lines of credit, installment plans, alimony or child support payments or high condo fees can make the amount of house you can afford a lot less than you would expect.

3- Surprises on your credit report. Many times home buyers haven’t checked their credit report before house hunting. An unpaid bill or a dispute with a contractor may result in a lien or collection showing on your credit. There may even be something from a person with a similar name. It’s important to make sure your credit is clean and that it is yours and not someone else’s.

4 –Income issues. A lot of people run out to get a new home when they receive a promotion at work. If the promotion includes a pay hike, is it salary or are they relying on overtime? Mortgage rules demand a two-year history for commission income, overtime or self-employed income. This also can curtail how much you qualify for.

5A – Credibility of the realtor. When a realtor makes an offer on a home for you, they are not only investing their time and the listing agent’s time but their reputation. Making offers that will not result in a firm sale hurts their reputation in the industry. Trustworthiness and reputation are very important to realtors as they are guiding you in the largest purchase you make in your lifetime.

5B- Negotiating Strength. In a situation where there are competing offers on a property, the sellers agent will encourage the sells to take the offer that is backed by a pre-approval over another offer that does not have a pre-approval to support it. Your chances of getting your dream home are greatly increased with it.

My one recommendation is that you take the time to contact your favourite Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker and get pre-approved. It will save everyone time and help avoid disappointment for everyone.