The worst part of home ownership? Finding plumbers, electricians, carpenters…

General Michael Distefano 6 Jul

There are quite a few online services that help you locate people in the home maintenance and repair business, including:

HomeStars: A database of contractors and tradespeople, with reviews. There were mixed comments about the experience of using this service. One reader said he’s had good success using HomeStars, while a couple of others said good reviews do not necessarily mean you’ll be happy with the work.

Houzz: A website offering reno design ideas and a way to connect with construction pros.

Jiffy: Quickly connects you with home maintenance people, with pre-set rates.

ProjectUp: Launching this month, ProjectUp offers the opportunity to post your project on the website and have contractors bid on the project.

https://setter.com/: Bills itself as a “personal home manager” that will help you find people to tackle all your household jobs.

Referrals from neighbours, family and friends: A few people mentioned that they used contractors who had already done work for their neighbours.
Community Facebook pages: These are a great place to ask for referrals. Google and Yelp ratings: They’re worth checking before you hire someone.

Once you found someone to get you renovation done, give us a call to assist with the financing 877-357-5366

****NEW OFFICE LOCATION****
106- 5017 Victoria Ave Niagara Falls L2E4C9

Michael Distefano
Mortgage Agent and Manager of operations
DLC BTB Mortgage Solutions FSCO 12039
Niagara’s largest Mortgage Broker
106- 5017 Victoria Ave Niagara Falls L2E4C9
T 905 357 5366 F 905 357 6654 C 905 246 5363
APPLY ONLINE ANYTIME http://betterthanbankmortgage.com/mortgages/how-to-apply/
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Story Credit
PERSONAL FINANCE COLUMNIST
OTTAWA
rcarrick@globeandmail.com
http://www.robcarrick.com/

Pre-approvals are very important for two reasons.

General Michael Distefano 5 Jul

Are you in the market for a new home? That’s great – but if you’re not already pre-approved from your mortgage broker, be sure to read on.

Pre-approvals are very important for two reasons.

They give you confidence in knowing that a specific amount of financing is available for you.
A pre-approval can put you in a positive negotiating position against other home buyers who aren’t pre-approved.
Not all pre-approvals are the same, though. There are essentially three different kinds.

The first occurs when you meet with a mortgage professional and tell them how much you make. They’ll say something along the lines of “Great, you’re pre-approved.” The mortgage professional has only looked at your income. There is no real pre-approval.
The second kind is when a mortgage professional asks you how much you make and then pulls your credit bureau. This allows a mortgage professional to lock in your mortgage rate for up to four months. This pre-approval still isn’t a sure thing.

The third kind of pre-approval – and the one that we do – is a lot more encompassing. We get all of your papers prepared right off the bat, which allows us to eliminate any unforeseen issues with your approval. Sure, it’s more work up front – but we do this because it’s the right thing to do.
If you’d like to get a pre-approval, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage BTB Mortgage Solutions professional! We’re here to help. 905 357 5366

****NEW OFFICE LOCATION****
106- 5017 Victoria Ave Niagara Falls L2E4C9

Michael Distefano
Mortgage Agent and Manager of operations
DLC BTB Mortgage Solutions FSCO 12039
Niagara largest Mortgage Broker
106- 5017 Victoria Ave Niagara Falls L2E4C9
T 905 357 5366 F 905 357 6654 C 905 246 5363
APPLY ONLINE ANYTIME http://betterthanbankmortgage.com/mortgages/how-to-apply/
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Why some homeowners will pay more than expected to renew their mortgage

General Michael Distefano 4 Jul


New accounting rules adopted by the banks mean they’re paying closer attention than ever before to your financial situation and your home’s value when you renew a mortgage.

Mortgage renewals used to be utterly routine – a virtual rubber stamp. Now, if your credit score has taken a hit or your home has fallen in value, you might not qualify for the best available rates.

The new accounting rules are called IFRS 9; IFRS stands for International Financial Reporting Standard. One effect of these rules is to cause banks to pay close attention to early warning signs that clients may run into trouble paying their mortgage.

“Let’s say the bank has noticed that your credit score went from 750 to 580 and/or your loan-to-property-value ratio has gone way up,” said Robert McLister, founder of RateSpy.com. “Anything that worsens risk in a lender’s eyes is going to potentially warrant a higher rate at renewal.”

Mortgage brokers estimate that anywhere from fewer than 5 per cent to 15 per cent of borrowers may be negatively affected by the new rules. The borrowers most vulnerable to getting an elevated mortgage rate are in expensive cities, such as Toronto and Vancouver, where young owners must juggle expensive mortgages and daycare if they have children.

It’s difficult to track what banks are actually doing because there don’t yet appear to be any standardized policies. But mortgage brokers report that banks are in some cases doing soft credit checks, which means peeking at your credit file to see whether your credit score has worsened. Banks may also do appraisals on renewal to ensure that the ratio of the amount of your outstanding mortgage to the value of your home is declining as it should be.

Mr. McLister said he’s been told by some bank executives that mortgage rates for people whose financial position has slipped might be 0.05 to 0.15 of a percentage point higher, which is fairly insignificant. “I don’t know if the answers I’m getting are real,” he said. “Bank execs always try to downplay things like this because they don’t want people getting excited.”

The risk of having to renew at higher rates just keeps growing for these and other lenders. Well-discounted five-year fixed-rate mortgages are close to one percentage point higher than they were last summer. Also, we’ve seen the emergence of a trend where mortgage rates today are higher for some people than others. For example, someone with a down payment of less than 20 per cent now gets a rate that on average might be 0.35 of a point better than someone who puts down 20 per cent or more. Below 20 per cent, the borrower is required to pay for insurance that protects a lender against default.

Mortgage stress tests for borrowers also have an effect on rates. The stress tests are designed to see whether you can afford mortgage rates that are higher than current levels. If you’re renewing a mortgage and want to move to a new lender, you have to be able to pass the stress test. If you can’t do that, you’re stuck with a current lender that has no need to offer you its best possible discount.

Veteran mortgage broker Jim Tourloukis offered a couple of suggestions if your lender is offering you a competitive renewal rate on a five-year fixed mortgage. One is to consider switching to a variable rate mortgage. A variable rate mortgage with even a weak discount today would be comparable with a competitive five-year fixed rate.

Mr. Tourloukis said credit unions aren’t bound by the requirement to do a stress test on mortgage clients, so they’re another option if you don’t like the rate you’ve been offered on renewal and want to change lenders.

One more effect of IFRS 9 is the way it subverts the home ownership fairy tale that you just need to get into the market to live happily ever after. Sure, you might struggle financially at some point, but that’s no biggie because your home will rise in value and you’ll be doing the most fulfilling thing a person can ever do in life, which is own a home.

Today’s reality of home ownership is that that those financial struggles of home ownership matter. If your credit score drops or your home falls in value, there can be consequences.

Give us a call and negotiate your mortgage renewal.

Story credit:
Rob Carrick
PERSONAL FINANCE COLUMNIST
rcarrick@globeandmail.com
http://www.robcarrick.com/

****NEW OFFICE LOCATION****
106- 5017 Victoria Ave Niagara Falls L2E4C9

Michael Distefano
Mortgage Agent and Manager of operations
DLC BTB Mortgage Solutions FSCO 12039
Niagara largest Mortgage Broker
106- 5017 Victoria Ave Niagara Falls L2E4C9
T 905 357 5366 F 905 357 6654 C 905 246 5363
APPLY ONLINE ANYTIME http://betterthanbankmortgage.com/mortgages/how-to-apply/
Check out our full line of DLC Visa cards
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Mortgage rules and the new market

General Michael Distefano 4 Jul


Mortgage rules and the new market
If you own a home, or looking to buy one, you probably know about tighter mortgage rules. In case you were unaware, last fall, OSFI, (the Office of Superintendent of Financial Institutions) the agency that regulates the financial industry, announced changes to rules around mortgages. The biggest change, that affects you, the consumer, relates to uninsured mortgages, or homebuyers with 20 per cent or more for a down payment. These people will have to go through a “stress test” or qualify using a minimum qualifying rate.

These new rules came into effect in January and come on the heels of several rate hikes from the Bank of Canada. And many economists and industry watchers are predicting the bank has a few more rate hikes instore before the year is out. We may already be seeing some of the effects of all this pressure on mortgage financing. Real estate markets, especially in the very heated Toronto-area, are starting to cool quite a bit. The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has adjusted its forecast for home sales across the country, predicting an 11 per cent decline from 2017.

So, do you need to be worried?

If your mortgage is coming up for renewal and you’re staying with your original lender, you don’t need to be at all.

For now, you can just renew without requalifying. However, there have been hints the government could change that in the future.

If you’ve got a steady job, a credit score over 700, no debts and you make $60,000 a year in salary, getting a mortgage also shouldn’t be a problem in this lending environment.

But, it could be tougher if you’re newly self-employed or carrying a large amount of consumer debt. That said, mortgage brokers have access to literally hundreds of lenders and can always find a way to get funding.

So taking everything into consideration, the best thing to do is review your portfolio with your mortgage broker. We’re still in a relatively low rate environment, but it could change come this time next year.

If your mortgage isn’t up until 2019, it may make sense to get out of your current mortgage and pay a small fee to get a better long-term rate.

It’s always a good time to review your mortgage because everybody’s situation is different regardless of where you are in your term.

****NEW OFFICE LOCATION****
106- 5017 Victoria Ave Niagara Falls L2E4C9

Michael Distefano
Mortgage Agent and Manager of operations
DLC BTB Mortgage Solutions FSCO 12039
Niagara’s largest Mortgage Broker
106- 5017 Victoria Ave Niagara Falls L2E4C9
T 905 357 5366 F 905 357 6654 C 905 246 5363
APPLY ONLINE ANYTIME http://betterthanbankmortgage.com/mortgages/how-to-apply/

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Ways to Stay Cool Without Air Conditioning

General Michael Distefano 3 Jul

When it’s cooler outside than inside, open your windows instead of using air conditioning. Use a window fan, blowing toward the outside, to pull cool air in through other windows and to push hot air out. When it’s hotter outside than inside, close your windows and draw window coverings against direct sunlight. On hot days, delay heat-producing tasks, such as dishwashing, baking or doing laundry, until the cooler evening or early morning hours. Caulk around window and door frames, use weather stripping on exterior doors, and have a professional seal gaps where air can travel between the attic and your living space. Use energy-efficient lighting in your home. CFL and LED light bulbs operate cooler and cost less to use because most of their energy produces light instead of heat. Incandescent light bulbs, on the other hand, lose 90% of their energy as heat. Leafy shade trees planted on the east and west sides of your home can improve comfort and decrease cooling needs by blocking heat and sunlight. You’ll still have the benefit of heat from the sun in the winter, after the leaves fall. Check with your local garden centre for recommendations.

DID YOU KNOW….
Lenders make a lot more money when they renew your mortgage than they did on your initial term. That’s partly because they don’t have to compensate anyone for referring your business (or compensate them as much). But it’s also because many renewers don’t comparison shop as much or negotiate as hard. According to a recent Maritz/CAAMP survey, only 56% of borrowers negotiated their mortgage rate at renewal. A remarkable four in 10 took the first rate their bank offered. That’s a scary statistic considering banks rarely, if ever, offer their lowest rate upfront regardless of how long you’ve been a customer! That’s why it’s so important to rely on your mortgage broker at renewal as well.

****NEW OFFICE LOCATION****
106- 5017 Victoria Ave Niagara Falls L2E4C9

Michael Distefano
Mortgage Agent and Manager of operations
DLC BTB Mortgage Solutions FSCO 12039
Niagara’s largest Mortgage Broker
106- 5017 Victoria Ave Niagara Falls L2E4C9
T 905 357 5366 F 905 357 6654 C 905 246 5363
APPLY ONLINE ANYTIME http://betterthanbankmortgage.com/mortgages/how-to-apply/

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Bank of Canada rate decision could go either way

General Michael Distefano 22 Jun

OTTAWA _ A pair of unexpectedly soft economic reports are creating fresh doubts about the timing of the Bank of Canada’s next interest rate hike.

For months, experts have been predicting Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz to raise his benchmark rate at next month’s meeting. But broadening economic unknowns _ mostly linked to trade concerns around U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist agenda _ have begun to lead some analysts to wonder if Poloz will stand pat on July 11.

And on Friday two reports from Statistics Canada added more uncertainty to the interest rate outlook.

One release by the agency found Canada’s annual inflation rose at a pace of 2.2 per cent in May for the second straight month. The number, however, was cooler than market expectations of 2.6 per cent.

In the second report, Statistics Canada found that retail sales contracted in April by 1.2 per cent for the reading’s first month-to-month decline since December.

“These reports kind of highlight an economy that has slowed pretty significantly from the last year or two,” Robert Kavcic, senior economist for BMO Capital Markets, said in an interview.

“Given a lot of the uncertainty out there, and a little bit of a softer tone to this data, I think expectations for a July rate hike have probably come down a little bit.”

Royce Mendes of CIBC Capital Markets wrote in a report that Friday’s “bad data” make it even more difficult for the Bank of Canada to hike rates in July. Mendes noted, however, that things could improve before Poloz’s July 11 meeting because more important numbers on gross domestic product and employment are still on the way.

Nathan Janzen, RBC senior economist, said the combination of Friday’s figures, somewhat slower economic growth and a deteriorating tone in trade discussions with the U.S. “aren’t all that encouraging” and will make the Bank of Canada’s rate decision closer than previously thought.

Ranko Berich, head analyst at Monex Canada and Monex Europe, said the central bank’s July rate decision is “now an unknown factor.”

The hunt for clues into Poloz’s thinking will continue next Wednesday when he gives a speech to the chamber of commerce in Victoria, B.C.

The May annual inflation number in Friday’s report followed the 2.2 per cent reading for April and 2.3 per cent for March.

The main contributors to inflation last month were led by gasoline prices. Compared to a year earlier, they climbed 22.9 per cent in May and helped drive overall energy prices for the month 11.6 per cent higher.

Inflation also received a lift because Canadians paid more last month for restaurants, airline tickets and mortgage interest costs.

Consumers, however, paid less in May for telephone services, natural gas and digital devices and computers.

The report also found the average of the Bank of Canada’s three measures of core inflation, which leave out more-volatile numbers like pump prices, slowed to 1.9 per cent last month.

The core readings, which are closely monitored by the central bank, averaged 2.03 per cent in April, which was the strongest pace in six years.

On retail trade, the April contraction of 1.2 per cent pulled total sales down to $49.5 billion.

The April decrease was mostly due to a 4.3 per cent decline in sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers _ with new car dealerships reporting a 5.1 per cent drop and used car lots seeing a contraction of 4.1 per cent.

Statistics Canada said April’s unusually cool temperatures and bad weather in many parts of the country may have been to blame for the overall decline.

The decrease was concentrated in the largest provinces. Sales fell 2.3 per cent in Ontario, while Quebec saw a 2.7 per cent drop.

Statistics Canada, however, did release an upward revision to its retail sales data for March. The updated reading shows a 0.8 per cent increase, compared to its preliminary 0.6 per cent estimate.

Friday’s reports will help feed the Bank of Canada’s deliberations as its governing council considers its next interest rate decision.

For inflation, the bank can use interest rate hikes as a tool to help prevent it from climbing too high. The Bank of Canada tries to keep inflation from moving outside a range of between one and three per cent.

Recent inflation readings _ including Friday’s _ have been hovering just above the two per cent mid-point of the bank’s target range.

It’s unlikely, however, to have a significant impact on upcoming rate decisions because governor Poloz has predicted inflation to stay above two per cent for all of 2018. He’s predicted inflation to average 2.3 per cent this year before settling back down to 2.1 per cent in 2019 _ in large part due to the temporary effects of higher gas prices and the introduction of minimum wage increases in some provinces.

He’s raised the trend-setting interest rate three times since last July, but he hasn’t touched the rate since January. It’s been at 1.25 per cent ever since.

Michael Distefano
Mortgage Agent and Manager of operations
DLC BTB Mortgage Solutions FSCO 12039
Niagara largest Mortgage Broker
106- 5017 Victoria Ave Niagara Falls L2E4C9
T 905 357 5366 F 905 357 6654 C 905 246 5363
APPLY ONLINE ANYTIME http://betterthanbankmortgage.com/mortgages/how-to-apply/

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by Andy Blatchford
June 22nd 2018
The Canadian Press

Down Payment Assistance Program

General Michael Distefano 21 Jun

Did you know you may be eligible for a forgivable down payment loan for your next home purchase! Give us a call 905-357-5366 to see if you qualify

The purpose of the Home ownership Program is to:

Make home ownership a reality for low to moderate income households in Niagara
Ease the demand for rental housing by assisting renter households to buy affordable houses
Offer down payment assistance for homebuyers through a 5% forgivable loan to a maximum of $19,537
Encourage developers to build affordable housing
Eligible Buyers
To be eligible for a down payment loan a buyer must:

Be a Canadian Citizen, Landed Immigrant or have Refugee Claimant Status with no outstanding removal order
Be 18 years of age or older
Not own or have an interest in other residential properties or owe arrears to a government assisted affordable housing provider or Niagara Regional Housing (NRH)
Currently be renting and looking to buy a sole and principle residence in Niagara
Have a gross household income below $80,300 and assets below $30,000
Be eligible to obtain a mortgage
Provide documents to prove eligibility
Agree to register loan on title for 20 years
Eligible Homes
New homes (home inspection encouraged)
Resale homes (home inspection required at buyer’s cost)
Purchase price cannot exceed $390,755
May be detached, semi- detached, townhome, duplex or condo
Must be modest in size and features
Cannot be a home in which the buyer or any member of the buyer’s family has an ownership interest
Homeowner Assistance
Homeowners will receive 5% of the cost of an eligible home (maximum $19,537) at the time of purchase closing
No interest will be charged on the loan

DLC BTB Mortgage Solutions FSCO 12039
Niagara largest Mortgage Broker
106- 5017 Victoria Ave Niagara Falls L2E4C9
T 905 357 5366 F 905 357 6654 C 905 246 5363
APPLY ONLINE ANYTIME http://betterthanbankmortgage.com/mortgages/how-to-apply/

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Mortgage Pre-Approval

General Michael Distefano 15 Jun

If you are looking for a new home, be sure you are pre-approved. With a mortgage pre-approval, a licensed mortgage professional can do a more complete verification prior to sending you shopping for a home, and with that done, the dollar figure you are going shopping with is actually what you can spend.

The mortgage professional that you work with to get pre-approved will let you know for certain what you can afford based on lender and insurer criteria, and what your payments on a specific mortgage will be.

Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professionals can lock-in an interest rate for you for anywhere from 60 – 120 days while you shop for your perfect home. By locking in an interest rate, you are guaranteed to get a mortgage for at least that rate or better. If interest rates drop, your locked-in rate will drop as well. However, if the interest rates go up, your locked-in interest rate will not, ensuring you get the best rate throughout the mortgage pre-approval process.

In order to get pre-approved for a mortgage, a mortgage professional requires a short list of information that will allow them to determine your buying power. A mortgage professional will explain to you the benefits of shorter or longer mortgage terms, the latest programs available, which mortgage products they believe will most likely meet your needs the best, plus they will review all of the other costs involved with purchasing a home.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is something every potential home buyer should do before going shopping for a new home. A pre-approval will give you the confidence of knowing that financing is available, and it can put you in a very positive negotiation position against other home buyers who aren’t pre-approved.

Michael Distefano
Mortgage Agent and Manager of operations
DLC BTB Mortgage Solutions FSCO 12039
Niagara largest Mortgage Broker
106- 5017 Victoria Ave Niagara Falls L2E4C9
T 905 357 5366 F 905 357 6654 C 905 246 5363
APPLY ONLINE ANYTIME http://betterthanbankmortgage.com/mortgages/how-to-apply/

Check out our full line of DLC Visa cards http://betterthanbankmortgage.com/visa-cards/

Check out our full line of DLC Visa cards   http://betterthanbankmortgage.com/visa-cards/

 

 

Good news for homeowners !

General Michael Distefano 14 Jun

A report by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says a recent drop in Ontario home prices isn’t expected to persist.

 

 

 

It says moderate economic growth in the Greater Toronto Area and Ontario generally will provide support for provincial real estate prices in 2018 and 2019.

CMHC expects inflation-adjusted home prices in the province will remain relatively stable and close to the levels of last year’s fourth quarter.

It anticipates prospective buyers will face fewer bidding wars and feel less urgency to act, allowing them time for more informed decision making.

On the flip side, CMHC says home owners may see their properties on the market longer than usual.

Michael Distefano
Mortgage Agent and Manager of operations
DLC BTB Mortgage Solutions FSCO 12039
Niagara largest Mortgage Broker
106- 5017 Victoria Ave Niagara Falls L2E4C9
T 905 357 5366 F 905 357 6654 C 905 246 5363
APPLY ONLINE ANYTIME http://betterthanbankmortgage.com/mortgages/how-to-apply/

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The Canadian Press

Canadian home buyers to enjoy enhanced search platform

General Michael Distefano 14 Jun

Late last week, the Canadian Real Estate Association and real estate information portal Local Logic have announced a new partnership which will see the latter provide property-specific neighborhood data for over 300,000 advertised listings.

Local Logic will buttress Canada’s largest real-estate website, REALTOR.ca, with crucial information such as proximity to transportation hubs and vital services, along with CREA’s precise data on neighborhood discovery and noise levels, nearby facilities like shops and schools, and many others.

“We are very excited to be collaborating with one of the top brands in real estate,” Local Logic CEO Vincent-Charles Hodder stated. “This partnership is further evidence that the real estate industry in Canada acknowledges the importance of neighborhood and lifestyle data for home buyers.”

“Through a pilot on REALTOR.ca, we saw a significant increase in the number of consumers who connected with REALTORS® from listings with this hyper-localized neighbourhood information so it’s clearly influential in the home buying journey,” CREA Interim Vice-President of Marketing and IT Patrick Pichette said.

Read more: Canadian financial management platform, fintech venture join forces

Michael Distefano
Mortgage Agent and Manager of operations
Dominion Lending Centres  BTB Mortgage Solutions
Niagara largest Mortgage Broker
106- 5017 Victoria Ave Niagara Falls L2E4C9
T 905 357 5366 F 905 357 6654 C 905 246 5363 FSCO 12039

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