16 Apr



Posted by: Tracy Luciani Price


Exasperated, Jillian called us saying her bank told her that she needed a co-signor to purchase after she and her husband Bob had put an offer on a home in Fergus. She told us she didn’t have anyone in her family who could co-sign and wanted to know if there was any way they could do it without one. Nothing is set in stone in the mortgage business. We asked Jillian to come in for a chat and discovered that she had been pre-approved at the bank which is why she went house hunting only to be later disappointed. Mortgage lenders usually ask for a co-signor when there is an issue with credit or income.

As it turned out Bob had barely acceptable credit and he had only been working as a plumber for 8 months. Most lenders like to have more job stability. The bank saw it as a ‘weak’ purchase transaction. Her employment and credit were strong and the property was fine.  

We went to work and asked Bob about his job. He told us that he is highly regarded and his job is very secure. He also gets all the hours he wants. So we asked him to get a letter from his employer with their endorsement of him. Problem solved, we found a lender that was willing to do the mortgage at ‘best’ rate and terms.

This is a good example of our ability to structure deals creatively so they will work, and also to present a mortgage application in the most positive light. The bank’s are very restricted in their parameters and usually think inside the box.  We also have over 40 lender’s to source, many of whom are more ‘common sense’. We have excellent relationships with them as well, and can get them to ‘bend’ a little when it makes sense to them.

Again as we have stated in past articles, unfortunately bank pre-approvals are not really approvals at all because they do not review credit or confirm employment/income. People go out and purchase only to be embarrassed when they are ultimately declined. With us we look carefully at credit, employment and incomes ensure there are no nasty surprises; only the property has to pass mustard when you buy.  So our pre-approval certificates mean something you can count on.

If you get turned down at the bank, don’t be discouraged. Come to us, in fact why not forget the banks and just call us first?

5 Apr



Posted by: Tracy Luciani Price


With the news of rates rising, Cindy a client of ours came into our office the other day asking whether she should ‘lock in’ her variable rate to a fixed rate. Cindy has a 2.25% variable which is at .75% below prime (discounts are gone now). Her new fixed rate would be 3.39% for the next 5 years. She would also being going to ‘safety’.  It would however take a 1.14% increase in prime for Cindy’s rate to reach today’s fixed rate.  That is four to five one quarter per cent increases which could be one or two years away.  

For new mortgages the fixed rate appears to be the logical choice, and most people are choosing fixed because the spread between fixed and variable is so small, and it’s not worth the risk. Or so conventional thinking goes. Rates aren’t going any lower and in fact ‘gradual’ increases are now expected over the next year and beyond.  Any big increases are not in the cards due to fragile economic recovery in North America and even more perilous financial footing globally.

If rates have in fact started their ascent, then the decision to fix should be a slam dunk right? But hold on. What none of the experts ever factor in, is the prospect of a ‘penalty’. We asked Cindy if she expected to stay in her house for 5 more years, and she said ‘probably not’, and she told us she had to pay $18,000 to the bank for breaking my mortgage the last time she moved.

Folks that is a lot of interest.  Huge in fact. You see, the maximum penalty on a variable mortgage is 3 months interest whereas it is usually the ‘interest rate differential’ (IRD) with fixed rate mortgages.  We then told Cindy that if she sells within the next 5 years and a similar $18,000 penalty were to apply, the effective interest rate she would be paying becomes a whopping  5.169%.

No wonder why the banks always say go ‘fixed’ for new mortgages, and “lock in” to variable rate customers. They also know that Canadian households move on average every 3.5 years and that most people take 5 year terms. Funny that the so called ‘experts’ never include into the argument mention of the much greater penalty one must pay with a ‘fixed’ versus ‘variable’ rate mortgage.

There you have it. The ‘Secret’ is out. We would love to see a disclosure of how many hundreds of millions the banks must make on IRD’s every year.  Needless to say, Cindy is staying with the great variable mortgage we put her in.