Bank of Canada Holds Target Rate Steady Until Inflation Sustainably Hits 2%

General Michael Distefano 15 Jul

The Bank of Canada under the new governor, Tiff Macklem, wants to be “unusually clear” that interest rates will remain low for a very long time. To do that, they are using “forward guidance”–indicating that they will not raise rates until capacity is absorbed and inflation hits its 2% target on a sustainable basis, which they estimate will take at least two years. As well, they indicate that the risks to their “central” outlook are to the downside, which would extend the period over which interest rates will remain extremely low. The Bank also made it clear that they are not considering negative interest rates. The benchmark interest rate remains at 0.25%, which is deemed to be its the lower bound.

The Bank is also continuing its quantitative easing (QE) program, with large-scale asset purchases of at least $5 billion per week of Government of Canada bonds. The provincial and corporate bond purchase programs will continue as announced. The Bank stands ready to adjust its programs if market conditions warrant.

With the benchmark rate at its effective lower bound, the Bank’s quantitative easing is the way it is lowering mid- to longer-term interest rates, reducing the borrowing costs for Canadian households and businesses. The Bank assumes that the virus will be with us for the entire forecast range, which is two years.

The Bank released its new economic forecast in today’s July Monetary Policy Report (MPR). The MPR presents a central scenario for global and Canadian growth rather than the usual economic projections. The central scenario is based on assumptions outlined in the MPR, including that there is no widespread second wave of the virus in Canada or globally.

The Canadian economy is starting to recover as it re-opens from the shutdowns needed to limit the virus spread. With economic activity in the second quarter estimated to have been 15 percent below its level at the end of 2019, this is the most profound decline in economic activity since the Great Depression, but considerably less severe than the worst scenarios presented in the April MPR. Decisive and necessary fiscal and monetary policy actions have supported incomes and kept credit flowing, cushioning the fall and laying the foundation for recovery.

Mincing no words, the MPR acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a “worldwide health-care emergency as well as an economic calamity.” The course of the pandemic is inherently unknowable, and its evolution over time and across regions remains highly uncertain.

In Canada, the number of new COVID-19 cases has fallen sharply from its April high, and the economic recovery has begun in all provinces and territories and across many sectors. Consequently, economic activity is picking up notably as measures to contain the virus are relaxed. The Bank of Canada expects a sharp rebound in economic activity in the reopening phase of the recovery, followed by a more prolonged recuperation phase, which will be uneven across regions and sectors (Figure 1 below). As a result, Canada’s economic output will likely take some time to return to its pre-COVID-19 level. Many workers and businesses can expect to face an extended period of difficulty.

There are early signs that the reopening of businesses and pent-up demand are leading to an initial bounce-back in employment and output. In the central scenario, roughly 40 percent of the collapse in the first half of the year is made up in the third quarter. Subsequently, the Bank expects the economy’s recuperation to slow as the pandemic continues to affect confidence and consumer behavior, and as the economy works through structural challenges. As a result, in the central scenario, real GDP declines by 7.8 percent in 2020 and resumes with growth of 5.1 percent in 2021 and 3.7 percent in 2022. The Bank expects economic slack to persist as the recovery in demand lags that of supply, creating significant disinflationary pressures.

Bottom Line

Governor Macklem said in the press conference that what he wants Canadians to take away from today’s Bank of Canada’s actions is “Canadian interest rates are very low and will remain very low for a very long period”. The reopening of the Canadian economy is well underway. Economic activity hit bottom in April and began expanding in May and accelerated in June. About 1.25 million of the 3.0 million jobs that were lost in March-April, were added in May and June.

Some activities, including motor vehicle sales, have already seen a strong pickup since April. Likewise, housing activity fell sharply during the lockdown but is beginning to recover quickly. In contrast, some of the hardest-hit businesses, such as restaurants, travel and personal care services, have only just started to see improvements in recent weeks and are expected to continue to face significant challenges.

The chart below, from July’s MPR, shows that household spending patterns have shifted since the onset of the pandemic. Some of these shifts might last. In the central scenario, the effects of the downturn and lower immigration hold down housing activity over the next few years. After a near-term boost from pent-up demand, residential investment slowly increases as income and confidence recover.

Dr. Sherry Cooper Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres

Michael Distefano
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T 905 357 5366 F 905 357 6654 C 905 246 5363

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CMHC Makes It More Difficult To Get An Insured Mortgage

General Michael Distefano 5 Jun

Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is tightening the criteria to get a mortgage with less than a 20% down payment. Any potential home buyer with less than a 20% down payment must purchase default insurance on their loan and have a minimum down payment of 5%. CMHC is a federal Crown Corporation that provides such default insurance. Its mandate is to help Canadians access affordable housing options. Providing mortgage insurance to home buyers is one of its main activities. Mortgage default insurance protects lenders in the event a borrower ever stopped making payments and defaulted on their mortgage loan–a very infrequent occurrence in Canada.

What Are These Changes In Underwriting Policies

Effective July 1, 2020 the following changes will apply for new applications for homeowner transactional and portfolio mortgage insurance:

The maximum gross debt service (GDS) ratio drops from 39% to 35%

The maximum total debt service (TDS) ratio drops from 44% to 42%

The minimum credit score rises from 600 to 680 for at least one borrower

Non-traditional sources of down payment that increase indebtedness will no longer be treated as equity for insurance purposes

CMHC goes on to say that “to further manage the risk to our insurance business, and ultimately taxpayers, during this uncertain time, we have also suspended refinancing for multi-unit mortgage insurance

Suffice it to say that this batters buyer and seller confidence and, all other things equal, has a net negative impact on the near-term housing outlook.  DR Sherry Cooper ( Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres) believes these changes are unnecessary to protect the prudence of Canada’s home lending practices. Mortgage delinquency rates are meager, and even the Bank of Canada’s forecast is for delinquencies to remain less than 1% of all outstanding mortgages. Moreover, home buyers with jobs who meet former qualifications would undoubtedly have a longer than two-year time horizon when buying their first homes. They were already qualifying at the posted rate that is more than 250 basis points above the contract rate. If anything, the pandemic recession assures that interest rates will remain very low over the next two years.

For information on how this new change can affect your homeownership abilities please call me at 905 357 5366 to discuss any of your mortgage-related questions, I am always available for free consultations

Michael Distefano
Mortgage Agent and Manager of operations
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Niagara’s largest Mortgage Broker
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T 905 357 5366 F 905 357 6654 C 905 246 5363

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Improving your credit score isn’t as hard as you think!

General Michael Distefano 15 Jan

If you’re credit challenged but want to get into the housing market, it can be a tough road. But improving your credit to a point where a lender will give you a chance, is very doable.

Basically, what you need to know is a score above 680 puts you in a good position to get financing, while below will make it tough and improvement is needed.

Your credit score tells lenders some basic stuff about your credit: How long you’ve had credit, your ability to pay back that credit and how much you owe. And so your credit score is affected by how much debt you’re carrying in regards to limit, how many cards or tradelines you have and your history of repayment. If you’re a young person and new to the world of credit, consider the 2-2-2 rule to help build up your credit. Lenders want to see two forms or revolving credit, like credit cards, with limits no less than $2,000 and a clean history of payment for two years. It’s also good to note, a great credit score will also include keeping a balance on all those cards at any given time below 30 per cent of the limit.

To ensure your score stays in playoff form, make sure to pay off any collections, like parking tickets, and correct any old or incorrect reporting on your credit score by contacting Equifax to have it removed.

Some people also forget their credit cards have an annual fee and fail to pay them off too. This cannot

be stressed enough, if you want to keep or attain a good credit score, you have to pay your credit cards or tradelines on time regardless of whether you owe $1 or $1 million.

Debt and credit often go hand-in-hand. There is also such a thing as good debt and of course bad debt. Good debt consists of things like a mortgage, investment property, and college/university tuition. Bad debt includes, retail store credit cards, cars, and vacations. There is a tendency when things get really bad to consider declaring bankruptcy or a consumer proposal. A consumer proposal is a formal, legally binding process to pay creditors a percentage of what is owed to them. You really want to avoid these two options. Instead, there are companies out there that will perform the same function and negotiate your debts, but it won’t impact your credit or carry the stigma of bankruptcy or a consumer proposal.

Lastly, if you already own a home and have some equity, but you’re still drowning in credit debt, consider refinancing your mortgage. Sure, you might not get the great rate you have now or you might get dinged for breaking your mortgage early, but using the equity in your home to get rid of high interest credit payments could keep more money in your pocket at the end of the day. To change your debt-to-income ratio, consider stopping all credit card activity and don’t rack up any additional borrowing.

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 miked@beatthebankmortgage.ca

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Home ownership pride can pay off

General Michael Distefano 3 Dec

Any prospective homebuyer knows this situation well. You’re set up for a viewing but when you get there the condition is less than ideal. Maybe the toilets are dirty, or the cluttered kitchen is hiding its full potential. Immediately, you’re turned off and you’ve moved on to another property.

For the owner, that’s sale opportunity lost.

In a lot cases, buyers can’t really see beyond what’s in front of them. A messy place not only makes your home harder to see, it can cost you money.

Depending on who you talk to in the real estate industry, a messy home compared to a clean house could fetch up to a $20,000 swing.

That’s a lot of money for a weekend of washing walls, decluttering, taking the trash out, running the vacuum and putting some elbow grease.

There are few simple things during this time of year that can help make your home stand out above the rest.

1) While winter can be lovely, it can also get a little messy. Especially around the yard with all those snowy and muddy days. If you want to boost the curb appeal before prospective buyers step foot in your home, you’ll want to make sure you clean your walkways. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of a dry day to keep your garden looking presentable. A little maintenance goes a long way!

2) Winter is all about colour. It’s time to put away all those bright colours for the more earthy tones of

the season. If you’re not sure, those are browns, greys, orange and greens. Change your bed spreads, pillows and rugs to match the season. It doesn’t hurt to throw up a fresh coat of paint or an accent wall in an olive or burnt orange hue.

3) Winter also seems to have a smell. And you can recreate that in your home. The fresh scent of cinnamon or ginger are perfect for the season. You don’t want to go overboard, but nothing feels more welcoming then a home that smells of love and food. You can also decorate your home with the fruit of the season in a decorative bowl. It doesn’t even have to be in the kitchen. It can be right at the front entrance.

4) The change of season is a great time to make sure your maintenance is up to date. For the exterior, that means cleaning your gutters, windows and deck. If you have a pool, making sure it’s properly covered and tucked away for the winter. Inside, make sure the furnace and all your electrical components are working including your appliances. Nothing turns off a buyer more than looking at a home in disrepair.

5) The days are short and the weather tends to be a little unpredictable, so you’ll want to ensure your home is bright. If you’ve got some burned out lights both inside and out, replace them. And before a buyer comes in for showing, turn on all your lights. Keep your blinds and curtains open to let in as much light.

If you’re about to put your prized possession on the market, treat it like one and take pride in ownership.

For more information on how we can help with Home Ownership please contact us at 905 357 5366.

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 Website www.beatthebankmortgage.ca

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Fixed or variable on your mortgage ?

General Michael Distefano 5 Nov

It’s the first and only thing anyone usually asks when you talk about your mortgage: What’s your rate? While everyone can recall their rate off the top of their head, it’s the only detail of the mortgage they remember or care to know. Though the rate is obviously important, your mortgage is so much more than a rate, and if you’re not paying close attention, it can cost you money.

Before we dive deeper, let’s talk fixed rate vs. a variable rate and which one is better. Well, that all depends. First-time homebuyers and older homebuyers typically love the stability of a fixed rate. Keep in mind, seven-in-ten fixed mortgages are broken before the term ends. A fixed rate for five years is fine as long as you stick with a lender that’s going to calculate the penalty if you break your mortgage on the contract rate versus the Benchmark rate. That’s because the Benchmark rate, or as it’s sometimes called the Bank of Canada rate, is higher than your contract rate. Typically a credit union or monoline is the right choice for this mortgage.

Variable rates are great with any lender as it just comes down to who offers the best discounted variable rate. There’s a pretty simple way to decide whether a variable or fixed makes sense, based on rate alone. It’s called the 50-basis point rule.

Basically, take the best fixed rate out there and the best variable rate out there and subtract the two. If the number is less than 50 basis points, there is strong argument to go for a fixed rate. However, if the difference is more than 50 basis points, there’s a solid case to go with a variable.

Pretty simple right? What’s not as simple is the personality of your mortgage. It may not seem like it, but yes, your mortgage has a personality. Think of it like a shiny sports car. It may look amazing when it rolls off the lot, but as the years go on, does it meet your daily needs? Besides your mortgage rate, you need to consider portability, and whether it can be blended and extended and how penalties for breaking the mortgage are calculated. When people start looking for a mortgage, they’re usually getting advice from friends or their parents, and the only question they’re asking is, what’s the rate? But if they don’t know the details of the mortgage like the ones listed above, you can tell them to stick their head in the sand, because they’re giving you bad advice. And if a mortgage broker is only fixated on the rate, you’re working with the wrong one.

Life happens and our circumstances change. You really want to make sure the mortgage will work for you in the future before you sign on the dotted line.

Call Michael Distefano for all your mortgage related question today 905 357 5366 or email him at miked@beatthebankmortgage.ca 

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

Download My FREE Mortgage Toolbox App https://www.dlcapp.ca/app/michael-distefano?lang=en

APPLY ONLINE ANYTIME http://betterthanbankmortgage.com/mortgages/how-to-apply/

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BCREA: Mortgage Stress Tests Limiting Impact of Falling Rates

General Michael Distefano 25 Sep

 By Steve Randall 25 Sep 2019 Broker News

Mortgage rates are expected to remain at roughly their current level through to the end of 2020 according to a new forecast.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association’s Economics team says that, notwithstanding any major changes to the economic landscape, the 5-year qualifying rate is set to remain at 5.19% in the fourth quarter of 2019 with the 5-year average discounted rate at 2.77% (down from 2.86%).

Falling bond yields in the third quarter have helped reduce the 5-year contract rate with some fixed-rates of as low as 2.25%. However, those borrowers that are subject to the B-20 mortgage stress test will see the qualifying rate hold steady despite the lower rates offered by lenders. The lack of variation in the qualifying rate is “a puzzle” the report says.

BoC on hold
BCREA Economics does not see the Bank of Canada making any changes to interest rates in the near term but notes that major changes in the economy may prompt a cut. For now though, employment and inflation data support a hold-steady for monetary policy.

The report calls for the Canadian economy will post trend growth of about 1.8% in 2020, though “significant downside risks remain due to elevated trade tensions and their consequent impact on exports and investment.”

 

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

Download My FREE Mortgage Toolbox App https://www.dlcapp.ca/app/michael-distefano?lang=en

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Should You Use Your Home Equity To Consolidate Debt?

General Michael Distefano 16 Sep

Understanding home equity; what is it and how do I access it?

If you’re a homeowner you’ll probably have equity. Equity is the difference between the value of your home and what you owe against it; essentially equity is the portion of the home that you “own”.

There are different channels to access your home equity and a few types of products that you may qualify for depending on your unique situation.

Most homeowners start by approaching their bank for a conventional mortgage or home equity line of credit, though with increasingly stringent regulation the banks are declining more borrowers than ever.

Continue reading

Here’s what you need to know about the First-time Home Buyer Incentive

General Michael Distefano 4 Sep

BY: Sarah Turnbull , CTVNews.ca Staff Published Monday, September 2, 2019

The government’s First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI) comes into effect today. The program is aimed at making it easier for young people to buy their first home by lowering new buyers’ monthly mortgage payments. Introduced by the Liberals in their 2019 budget, the federal government will absorb five percent of monthly mortgage payments on existing homes and 10 per cent on new builds. But there are a few notable conditions to watch out for, which have come under fire since the plan’s March announcement. Ottawa-based mortgage broker Frank Napolitano spoke with CTVNews.ca to help lay it all out.

First off, to be considered eligible, applicants must not have owned a house in the last four years – exceptions will be made for those in a “breakdown of marriage or common-law partnership.” Secondly, a homebuyers’ combined annual household income must be lower than $120,000 before taxes and deductions. As Napolitano says, that qualifier strikes out most residents from Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area.

“The max income is $120,000 that can be used for this program, therefore to qualify for a mortgage – if you have no debt – it’s typically four, maybe four and a quarter times your annual gross income so there’s not a lot of properties in the $500,000 range or less. Maximum property value under this program would be $560,000.”

To that end, the FTHBI is more likely to benefit residents in less crowded markets, like smaller urban centres in Ontario, Quebec, the Prairies, or out east where you can still find a home below the price cap.

Additionally, as Napolitano points out, first-time buyers will still have to cough up default insurance under the plan.

“We’ve had customers call us and say ‘we’ll put the 10 per cent down and then we’ll buy a new build and the government will give us 10 per cent so we don’t have to pay default insurance.’ False. Regardless of the down payment, this program only works if you have default insurance.”

Default insurance protects financial institutions from default – the premium gets tacked on to your mortgage payments.

There are obvious paybacks for the government. While they provide an interest-free loan, they also secure shared equity in your home as it goes through gains and losses. This means the amount paid back to the government will fluctuate based on how much your home increases or decreases in value.

The loan must also be paid back under three circumstances: if you sell your home; or at the end of 25 years.
Minister of Families and Social Development Jean-Yves Duclos – who also oversees the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation – is responsible for the rollout of the program. In an announcement last Wednesday to informally launch the FTHBI, the minister touted the program for empowering the middle class.

“Thanks to mortgage payments that are more affordable, many families will have hundreds of dollars more each month in their pockets – money to spend on things like healthy food, sports activities for their kids, or even save for the future,” said Duclos in the statement. The program is expected to serve about 100,000 Canadian homebuyers.

Give our team a call anytime to answer your mortgage related questions about this offer or any other offers you may be entitled to 905 357 5366

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5 mortgage tips to help you afford a home

General Michael Distefano 2 Jul

Buying a home is more difficult now than ever—and this is not news to anyone! No matter where you live, the recent stress testing measures, increase in housing prices in major cities, and continued increase of the cost of living all combine to make home ownership a daunting task. But we do want to offer some help and solutions for young families looking to get into the market as we truly to believe it’s not impossible and have helped many families do just that!

Take a step outside of the downtown core. Typically, property right in the heart of the city r is more expensive due to the location and the continued demand. Stepping out to one of the outlying suburban areas can offer more affordable options and can also lend you with an increased inventory of properties within your price point. Consider finding a rent to own property. A Rent to Own (RTO) property can allow you to rent a property while subsequently saving up for a down payment.

Talk to a mortgage broker. Speaking with a broker and going through a pre-qualification process can help you by allowing you to see the areas in which you will need to improve to help make you more attractive to lenders. This can include things such as:Increasing your credit score Decreasing your overall debt or consolidating your current debt. Looking at increasing your overall income options and the ways in which you can do that.

Consider using a co-signor(s) for your mortgage to start with. One solution we have found that works well for certain clients is having a co-signor(s) on the mortgage with a planned exit strategy to remove them once the client’s personal income increases or they are able to qualify for the mortgage on your own (ex. By paying down debts and/or improving their credit score). This solution is situation specific, so speak to your broker for more details.

Save, Save, and Save some more. We know this is common sense but speaking with a financial advisor can help show you ways in which you can save and make your money work for you. We can happily recommend a few as can your mortgage broker.
We know that the state of real estate can seem overwhelming and depressing at times. Keep in mind though that not all hope is lost, and you do have options available to you! Remember the “dream” of the white picket fence detached home is not for everyone…now more than ever mutli-family properties such as townhouses and condos are offering more and more amenities and beautiful properties for less. The bottom line is considering all your options and work with a dedicated broker who can help you reach your goals—whatever they might be!

 

 

Michael Distefano
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

Download My FREE Mortgage Toolbox App https://www.dlcapp.ca/app/michael-distefano?lang=en

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WHAT IS A MORTGAGE BROKER?

General Michael Distefano 23 May

WHAT IS A MORTGAGE BROKER?

You may have noticed that there are many different terms for those of us who work in the mortgage industry besides “broker”.
Mortgage: specialist, expert, advisor, associate, officer, etc. I just want to clear up some potential confusion with all these monikers.
There are 2 main categories that these fall in to. Those that work for a bank to sell mortgage products available from that bank.
The other is for those like myself that work within a mortgage brokerage that has no direct affiliation with any one bank.
Each mortgage brokerage has agreements in place with multiple banks and mortgage lenders to be able to submit mortgage applications for consideration.
There are of course obvious differences between these but some may not be quite so apparent.

Mortgage Brokerage
All those working in the mortgage brokerage industry must be licensed by a provincial government agency, in Saskatchewan it’s called the Financial & Consumer Affairs Authority (FCAA).
While every province has their own set of guidelines, there are 3 different types of licenses offered by FCAA: mortgage associate, mortgage broker & principal broker.
The mortgage associate and broker are very similar as both advertise themselves to obtain clientele, work directly with the clients, mortgage lenders, mortgage insurers, realtors and lawyers in the service of their clients. The key difference is that an associate must work under a supervising mortgage broker to ensure they remain in compliance with FCAA regulations.
Each mortgage brokerage will have a principal broker (aka: broker of record) that oversees the operations of the brokerage as well as all the associates and brokers within the brokerage.
Most all those working in the mortgage broker industry are commission based. Our income is derived from the mortgage lenders that we submit mortgage applications to.

In order to apply for a license as a mortgage associate, applicants must complete an approved mortgage associate education course and provide a current criminal record check along with the required application documents.

Application for a license as a mortgage broker are the same as for an associate with the addition of a previous experience requirement.
The applicant must have been licensed as a mortgage associate for at least 24 of the previous 36 months.

In addition to annual applications for renewal, licensees must also:

Purchase and remain in good standing with professional errors and omissions insurance
Complete FCAA approved annual continuing education courses
Provide FCAA auditors access to mortgage files for review whenever requested
Advise FCAA of any changes to brokerage or contact information
Immediately advise FCAA of any offences under the criminal code (other that traffic offenses)
Bank Branch Mortgage
Those that work in mortgage lending for a bank are normally paid by the hour or are salaried and may have a performance bonus structure.
Entry level positions do not require any education beyond high school. Training is provided on the job by the employer with supervision by the branch manager and more experienced staff.
There are no licensing requirements by any provincial or federal governing body and errors and omissions insurance is not required.
Many banks have mobile mortgage staff that may or may not conduct business within the branch and are often paid on a commission basis rather than hourly or salary.

If you have any questions, contact your Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker

P.S.
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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

 

 

 

 

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