23 Jun

CHMC Announces Changes to Underwriting Criteria

General

Posted by: Jenni MacDonald

On June 4, 2020, CMHC announced that they were tightening the underwriting policies for insured mortgages.  This means that if you have less than 20% down payment on the purchase of a new home, the rules will make it harder to qualify and you will qualify for less financing than before July 1, 2020.

The July 1, 2020 changes that CMHC have announced are:

  1. A minimum credit score of 680 will be required instead of the current 600, keep in mind that the credit score you get to see on Credit Karma is a Trans Union score and consumer scores are only based on 6 months of history whereas the score CMHC is referring to is a Bank Equifax score and is based on 6 years of history.  If you have questions on how to build your credit score, please visit my blog called “Credit Scores – How Do you Score?”
  2. Will reduce the total gross debt servicing ratios (cost of owning that house compared to income) to 35% of annual income, compared to the current 39% percent, and total debt servicing (all debts including the new house to income) to 42% versus as much as 44% now. This means currently a household income of $50,000 with no other debts could currently qualify for a purchase price of around $220,500.  With the new CMHC ratios that same household income of $50,000 with no other debts would be limited to a purchase price of about $191,700.  That’s about a $30,000 difference.  If you have other debts such as credit cards, loans, and lines of credit.  Your purchase price would be even lower.
  3. Borrowed down payments will no longer be acceptable. This was a rarely used option that very few lenders or banks ever used mainly because adding the monthly payment for the down payment loan or line of credit caused the ratios to be too high for clients to qualify for the mortgage they desired.  Gifted down payments are still allowed, as are 5% down payments from own resources.

Fortunately, CMHC is not the only insurer that Banks can use for insured mortgages.  There are two other companies, called “Canada Guaranty” and “Genworth” that provide insurance for lenders on insured mortgages.  The good news is that on June 8, 2020 both Genworth and Canada Guaranty have confirmed that they will not be changing their policies as CMHC has announced.  There are many Banks and lenders that will continue to use the other insurers during this time of change in Canada.

If you are wondering about the process to get a preapproval, we can complete a full process via online contact.  If you are looking for a list of documents that would be required for a full preapproval, please see my blog post “Documents”.

If you are interested in finding out more, I’d be happy to look at your mortgage options with you.

📲  View current mortgage rates

📲  Apply for a mortgage

25 May

Why Use a Mortgage Broker During COVID-19 Restrictions?

General

Posted by: Jenni MacDonald

Going to your Bank is a hard habit to break.  We are used to going to our bank for all things mortgage, but is this really the best option when you are searching for a mortgage during the COVID-19 restrictions?

Here are some reasons that my clients would recommend using the services of a Mortgage Broker:

1. Reduces Your Stress – A Mortgage Broker can complete the full application process online and with phone and text so there is no need to leave your home or stand in a separate line up at your branch.  We can collect your paperwork via email and fax and text.  We keep in good communication with you (often even late nights and weekends!) so that there are no surprises on closing day.

2. Saves You Time and Gives You More Options – Mortgage Brokers have relationships with many lenders. We work with lenders you have heard of and some you probably haven’t.  Mortgage Brokers already know most of the products that are out there to choose from so you don’t have to spend the time researching them yourself and wondering if there is something better somewhere else.  Also, mortgage payments can come from any of your existing accounts so there is no need to change your regular banking habits no matter which lender you decide to work with.

3. Finds a Lender That Will Consider Your Current Income – Not all lenders will accept income that is not guaranteed during COVID-19 restrictions, so your branch may not be able to approve you until your income is back to normal.  A Mortgage Broker has access to lenders that will accept your pre- and post- COVID-19 income.

4. Saves You Money – Mortgage Brokers often have access to rate discounts because of a high volume.  In many cases, a Mortgage Broker can get you a better rate at your branch than you can.

5. Services Are Free and Your Opinion Matters – Mortgage Brokers are paid by the lender and not by you.  If you, as a client, are happy, you will tell your friends about the service. Mortgage Brokers rely on referrals to succeed in their business so your opinion of their service will always matter.

6. Studies Mortgages and are Regulated – When you visit your local bank branch, you meet with someone that is well versed in all of the products available to you from that branch.  Their training includes a broad spectrum of products so that they can offer you the best product for your needs.  When you work with a Mortgage Broker, you are working with someone that has studied only mortgages and has completed annual mandated courses that are required to maintain a license to sell mortgages.

7. Have Access To Private Lender Options – There are specific situations (especially to get through the COVID-19 restrictions) where a short term private mortgage may be needed to get through.  Mortgage Brokers have access to Private Lenders that will accept less stringent documentation than a Bank will to approve a mortgage.

8. Considers All Situations – As Mortgage Brokers, we see every scenario out there. Damaged credit, low household income, low net worth might be a deterrent for the bank, but a Mortgage Broker knows lenders that consider all types of unique situations.  A plan and strategy are usually suggested to make sure there is a mortgage option available in the future.

Rather than traveling to your Bank, why not try a Mortgage Broker now?

If you are interested in finding out more, I’d be happy to look at your mortgage options with you.

📲View current mortgage rates

📲Apply for a mortgage

11 May

Need Some Funds To get Through the Devastation of COVID-19?

General

Posted by: Jenni MacDonald

A refinance can help!

This is a challenging time for many of us.  But help is out there.  If you’re struggling financially, a refinance might net you some extra cash.

Refinancing Your Home

While the Government and Banks have provided some programs to help with cash flow through this difficult time (please contact your lender for a 6 month deferral of your mortgage payment if you need it), you may still need some extra funds to make it through. With the uncertainty of when our economy will recover from the devastation of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), you may be wondering if you can use some of the equity in your house to help with your other monthly commitments.

HOW MUCH CAN I GET?

Whether it’s for some new furniture, some house upgrades or to cover some monthly costs, the new mortgage rules allow a maximum amount of up to 80% of the appraised value to be available for a refinance.  If you qualify, the rates will not be the advertised rates that you see from major lenders.  Typically, the rate for a refinance mortgage is about 0.3 – 0.4% higher than the advertised rates on a 5-year fixed term.  You also have the option of getting an extended amortization of 30 years to help offset the higher monthly payments.  The longer amortization may also help with having to qualify the payments at 2% over the interest rate you will pay (stress test).  However, if you have been laid off due to COVID-19, some lenders may not accept your income at this time.  We do have a list of lenders that are still accepting income from clients that are on temporary COVID lay-offs.

WHAT IS THE COST?

If you are refinancing your first mortgage and it is not time to renew yet, there will probably be a penalty.  The amount of the penalty will vary so your best option is to call your current lender and ask what the penalty would be to payout the current mortgage.  The other possible costs with refinancing a first mortgage is an appraisal (Cost around $350) and legal fees to discharge the current mortgage and register the new mortgage (Cost around $1200).

WHAT IF THE PENALTY IS TOO HIGH?

In rare cases, you may need to consider looking at a private mortgage in a new first mortgage position or getting a private second mortgage.  Private mortgages in first position are usually at higher rates (8% – 10%  plus fees).  Private mortgages in second position are even higher at 12% – 15% interest plus fees.

WHAT IF I AM A SENIOR AND DON’T HAVE ENOUGH INCOME TO QUALIFY?

If you are over 55 years of age and have limited income and owe less than 50% of the value of your home, you may want to consider a CHIP Reverse Mortgage.  This option has become the best choice for some clients that have lost their part-time jobs.  Please contact me for details regarding your specific situation to make sure it is the best option for you.

While I don’t always recommend a refinance; in specific cases, it may be your best financial option to get through a crisis.  Getting good advice from a Mortgage Broker is the best first step to make when you are considering the refinance option.

If you are interested in finding out more, I’d be happy to look at your mortgage options with you.

📲View current mortgage rates

📲Apply for a mortgage

19 Mar

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Your Mortgage?

General

Posted by: Jenni MacDonald

We are in the middle of a worldwide roller coaster ride.

With unprecedented restrictions being implemented to deal with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic, what do these extraordinary measures mean for you and your mortgage?

BANK OF CANADA RATE

With adversity comes opportunity – and our current mortgage situation is no different.  In order to keep our economy afloat, the government reduced the Bank of Canada rate on March 4, 2020 to 1.25%.  As a result of that decrease, most lenders also reduced their 5 year fixed mortgage rate.  Due to that rate drop, many buyers and refinancing clients were able to secure a great mortgage rate.  On March 13, 2020, the government dropped the Bank of Canada rate another 50 bps to .75%!  To my surprise, many lenders started to increase their rates immediately after this announcement!  If you are currently looking to purchase a property or refinance your current mortgage, this is an excellent time to see your Mortgage Broker about locking in a low rate.

 

MISSING A MORTGAGE PAYMENT

So what happens to your mortgage payment if you are not earning any income?  The government has waived the waiting period for Employment Insurance benefits for those who are quarantined (https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/coronavirus.html).  But what if your workplace is shut down or you have to stay home to be with your children or you are in the service industry and you rely on tips to meet your monthly financial obligations?  If there is a chance that you cannot pay your mortgage payment due to an income reduction as a result of the COVID Pandemic, my first advice is to contact your lender immediately.  Many lenders have implemented emergency measures to help clients through this uncertain financial scene.  Putting a plan in place with your lender as soon as possible will help you avoid relying on credit that may ultimately hurt your credit score.  In most cases, your lender will allow you to miss some mortgage payments…. Please keep in mind that the interest you “miss” will still be added to the amount you owe on your mortgage.

INSURED MORTGAGES

If you originally purchased your property with less than a 20% down payment (and have not refinanced your mortgage since), your mortgage is most likely insured by CMHC, Genworth or Canada Guaranty.  Contacting your lender the moment that you feel you will not be able to make your mortgage payment is vital.  CMHC and other mortgage insurers offer tools to lenders that can assist homeowners who may be experiencing financial difficulty. Their default management tools default management tools include: payment deferral, loan re-amortization, capitalization of outstanding interest arrears and other eligible expenses and special payment arrangements.  (https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/media-newsroom/Notices/2020/cmhc-statement-covid-19).

DEFERRED MORTGAGE

Canada’s six largest banks announced plans to provide financial relief to Canadians impacted by the economic consequences of COVID-19.

Effective immediately, Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Bank have made a commitment to work with personal and small business banking customers on a case-by-case basis to provide flexible solutions to help them manage through challenges such as pay disruption due to COVID-19; childcare disruption due to school closures; or those facing illness from COVID-19. (Read more https://www.scotiabank.com/corporate/en/home/media-centre/media-centre/news-release.html?id=3510&language=en)

There is no need to panic.  The government, the lenders, and the insurers are all aware of this time of uncertainty.  If you are not sure about your circumstance, please reach out for advice.

If you are interested in finding out more, I’d be happy to look at your mortgage options with you.

📲View current mortgage rates

📲Apply for a mortgage

20 Feb

What is a Reverse Mortgage?

General

Posted by: Jenni MacDonald

Have you heard about a Reverse Mortgage product called “CHIP”? 

There is a lot of misinformation about this great mortgage product because of some reverse mortgage schemes in the United States.  This product can be useful for yourself or for your parent(s).

Let me answer some questions about the benefits of the CHIP product offered exclusively through HomEquity Bank.

How much can you get and when can I apply?

Once all owners are over the age of 55, you can apply for a CHIP mortgage.  You must have at least 55% of the value of the property available.  The funds are tax-free!

What is a reverse mortgage and how does it work?

A CHIP is a loan secured against the value of your home.  Unlike a traditional Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) or a second mortgage, you are not required to make monthly mortgage payments for as long as you live in your home. You always maintain ownership and control of your home.  The mortgage payments can be added back into the mortgage. The full amount of principal and interest is payable when the home is sold or the homeowner(s) die.

Can your estate owe more than your home?

A CHIP mortgage cannot seek any further compensation from the borrower – even if the property does not fully cover the full value of the loan upon payout of the mortgage. Therefore, when the last homeowner dies (and the reverse mortgage is due), the estate will never be responsible for paying back more than the fair market value of the home. The estate is fully protected – this is not the case for almost any other mortgage loan.

Why get a reverse mortgage?

Here are some examples of how clients commonly use it:

  • eliminate debt payments
  • help a child or grandchild with a down payment on a home
  • purchase a new home (right-sizing instead of having to downsize the home)
  • increase cash flow to improve lifestyle (e.g. vacation, new car)
  • pay healthcare costs so you or your parent can stay in your home
  • pay for an unexpected expense (e.g. home repairs)
  • save on taxes by taking out a CHIP mortgage at the beginning of your retirement
  • take monthly draws to improve monthly cash flow for you or your parent

If you are interested in finding out more, I’d be happy to look at your mortgage options with you.

📲View current mortgage rates

📲Apply for a mortgage

19 Dec

Great People In Cornwall & Area

General

Posted by: Jenni MacDonald

21 REASONS WE LOVE CORNWALL, ONTARIO & AREA

Why Do We Love Cornwall, Ontario?

A local Century 21 Real Estate Agent, Mike VanderMeer, and I have compiled a list of the reasons we love Cornwall, Ontario.  We’ve compiled 21 reasons, which we will share with you, one at a time.  We would love to hear the reasons you love to live here too!

REASON #21 – The People

There are lots of friendly people in Cornwall and area and we have social activities for all ages. Some of these people have gone on to become celebrities such as Ryan Gosling – the Mouseketeer that became a big-screen star.

or Roy Nichols who ended up being the drummer for April Wine and is now on an Epic Journey (some of you will get this).

Cornwall was also home to the Barstool Prophets that went on to record a couple of albums. There is also Peter Gatien that started out in the bar business in Cornwall and went on to own the world-famous Lime Light in New York City along with several other prominent night clubs.

Let’s not forget that we produced some sports celebrities as well – several NHL players, a couple of boxers and at least one football star.

In Cornwall, you can have it all. Our growing community is beautiful, safe, and friendly. You’ll find everything you need to enjoy an exceptional quality of life. Ours is a full-service city with a small-town feel, where everything is just minutes away from your front door and new opportunities wait around every corner! All that, plus it’s an affordable place to live in Ontario, and a great place to raise a family.

Check out the first 20 reasons to Love Cornwall & Area 📲 http://jmacdonald.ca/blog/

and stay connected with me on Facebook to see the rest as I post them 📲 https://www.facebook.com/JenniMacDonaldMortgages/


If you are interested in relocating to Cornwall, Ontario or the surrounding area, I’d be happy to look at your mortgage options with you.

📲View current mortgage rates

📲Apply for a mortgage

25 Nov

Great local shopping in Cornwall and SD&G

General

Posted by: Jenni MacDonald

21 REASONS WE LOVE CORNWALL, ONTARIO & AREA

Why Do We Love Cornwall, Ontario?

A local Century 21 Real Estate Agent, Mike VanderMeer, and I have compiled a list of the reasons we love Cornwall, Ontario.  We’ve compiled 21 reasons, which we will share with you, one at a time.  We would love to hear the reasons you love to live here too!

REASON #19 – Local Shopping

Cornwall’s shopping scene has something for everyone. From big-name retailers on Brookdale Avenue to unique shops in the Downtown and Le Village areas, there is a lot to discover! Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Power Shopping

If retail therapy is your thing, make sure to check out Cornwall Square, a shopping mall with over 50 stores in Downtown Cornwall. You will also want to check out the big box retailers on Brookdale Avenue and Second Street East.

Pamper Yourself

Give yourself the star treatment with a visit to one of our many spas, including Pure Organic Spa,  NAV SpaOasis Hair & Day Spa, Laser Advanced Spa or Above & Beyond Wellness and Beauty Spa. Or get a hot towel shave and quality haircut at trendy Kings and Little Ones.

Fashion Finds

Discover great fashions in Downtown Cornwall at stores like The Squire Shop and Kastner’s and, for the latest in younger fashions, Echo TrendsBe Rare and Dreamland.

Gift Shops

You are sure to discover a unique find at  Life’s Little Pleasures and KAB Gift Boutique in Downtown Cornwall, Mrs. B’s Gifts & Home Decor on Pitt Street and Laura’s on Brookdale Avenue. Flower’s CornwallFloral Expressions (both on Pitt Street) and Blooms on Cumberland Street are sure to impress as well.

Artisans

Cornwall and the Counties of SDG are home to dozens of talented artists and artisans. Their wares can be found at dozens of home studios, or at any number of local merchants and restaurants such as Maker Gift ShopCrush LaneCailuan Gallery, and Cline House Gallery. A great way to discover many artists is at area fairs and festivals, including the Apples and Art Studio Tour in September and the popular Trunk Sale at Marlin Orchards in November or visit the Community Market in Long Sault for year-round local treasures. Taking home a piece of art is just one way of capturing memories of your visit to the region.

Vintage and Thrift Finds

There are lots of options for shoppers seeking that rare, vintage piece of clothing or household item. Check out  Echo TrendsSerendipity BoutiqueValue Village, New for You, Salvation Army and Habitat Restore.

Must-See Specialty Shops

Cornwall has some of the most unique and interesting local shops to check out. Ranging from kid’s toys, comic books, gift shops and more! Some must-see shops in town include Kids KornerRed Cart BooksCeltic Treasures, and Fantasy Realm.

Antiques and Auctions

The centuries-old history of the region is reflected in the numerous antique shops that await the curious collector. One of the largest is Johnson’s Antiques, with over 6,000 sq. ft. of retail space on Highway 138 in South Stormont. Other finds can be found on Sundays at McHaffie’s Flea Market in Morrisburg. If you time your visit right, you will also want to check out the action at a local auction – there is always a deal waiting to be had.

Take-Home Treats

Sometimes the best souvenirs are the memories you can savour. Check out the award-winning artisan cheese at Glengarry Fine Cheese in Lancaster, or the flour made from ancient grains from Against the Grain. Marrow and Spice in Cornwall carry dozens of local food products, including Roadapple Ranch Honey, Biemond Yogurt, Gordz Hot Sauce, Crave Tea and Fairy Sweet Chocolate.

Gear Up

Looking good is half the battle, no matter what the sport. If you really must have the latest from popular athletic brands such as Nike, Adidas and Under Armour, check out the line-up at Rookez-Edge and Sport Chek in Cornwall. For golf equipment and attire, visit the pro shops at Archies or any of the dozen major golf courses in the region.

Shopping in the 1860s

At the entrance to Upper Canada Village is one of Eastern Ontario’s largest gift shops open to the general public. Here you can buy a wide variety of quality Canadian crafts made by Village Artisans. You can choose from a selection of dinnerware, toys, and clothes that will make great souvenirs. The Village Store also carries a superb selection of books, from heritage themes to craft techniques. The Village Store’s pantry offers a multitude of teas, spices, jams, and marinades. Best of all, you can purchase some Village Bread baked fresh daily, and Cheddar Cheese made at the Village Cheese Factory.

A Bit of Bling

They say a diamond lasts forever, and what better way to capture the vibrancy of your visit than with a little bit of bling? Drop by the landmark Pommier Jewellers in Downtown Cornwall, or the Jewellery Factory in South Lancaster.

Check out the first 18 reasons to Love Cornwall & Area 📲 http://jmacdonald.ca/blog/

and stay connected with me on Facebook to see the rest as I post them 📲 https://www.facebook.com/JenniMacDonaldMortgages/


If you are interested in relocating to Cornwall, Ontario or the surrounding area, I’d be happy to look at your mortgage options with you.

📲View current mortgage rates

📲Apply for a mortgage

15 Nov

Winter Activities in Cornwall and SD&G

General

Posted by: Jenni MacDonald

21 REASONS WE LOVE CORNWALL, ONTARIO & AREA

Why Do We Love Cornwall, Ontario?

A local Century 21 Real Estate Agent, Mike VanderMeer, and I have compiled a list of the reasons we love Cornwall, Ontario.  We’ve compiled 21 reasons, which we will share with you, one at a time.  We would love to hear the reasons you love to live here too!

REASON #18 – Winter Activites

If you love winter, you will love Cornwall & Area for its many winter activities. Cornwall has great activities such as curling, skating, hockey, ice fishing and if you like to ski many great slopes within driving distance. You can also enjoy miles of groomed trails throughout S.D&G if you like to snowmobile or 4Wheel. If you are an NHL fan, a short one hour drive gets you to a live game in Montreal or Ottawa.

Get information on local curling 👉 https://cornwallcurling.ca/

Get locations of skating ricks 👉 https://www.cornwall.ca/en/play-here/outdoor-venues.aspx

For additional information on winter activities and events, visit our local tourism website

www.cornwalltourism.com

www.sdgtourism.com

 

Check out the first 17 reasons to Love Cornwall & Area 📲 http://jmacdonald.ca/blog/

and stay connected with me on Facebook to see the rest as I post them 📲 https://www.facebook.com/JenniMacDonaldMortgages/


If you are interested in relocating to Cornwall, Ontario or the surrounding area, I’d be happy to look at your mortgage options with you.

📲View current mortgage rates

📲Apply for a mortgage

16 Oct

Cornwall Pizza, Poutine and more!

General

Posted by: Jenni MacDonald

21 REASONS WE LOVE CORNWALL, ONTARIO & AREA

Why Do We Love Cornwall, Ontario?

A local Century 21 Real Estate Agent, Mike VanderMeer, and I have compiled a list of the reasons we love Cornwall, Ontario.  We’ve compiled 21 reasons, which we will share with you, one at a time.  We would love to hear the reasons you love to live here too!

REASON #17 – Pizza, Poutine, Curds & Perch Rolls

Cornwall is reputed to have the best pizza in the Country. If you haven’t had an authentic Cornwall Pizza, try one of the below locations.

  • Riverside
  • North End
  • King George
  • Louis
  • Olympic
  • Cornwall BBQ
  • Napoleons

Most residents of the area have a preference on where they get their pizza from.  There are plenty of others to choose from as well.  You can get a full list of available pizza restaurants on Trip Advisor.  Click here for a direct link 📲 CORNWALL PIZZA LOCATIONS.  Some people have been known to actually buy half-cooked pizzas and bring them home after visiting Cornwall.

Our Poutine is also 2nd to none and is often made with St Alberts Cheese curds – which is another Cornwall & area treat. Again, we have specific “hot spots” for poutines, but it all comes down to preference.  Here is a list of some locations to add to your list if you’re looking for a great Poutine.

  • Seguin Patate
  • Chef in a Bun Franks & Burgers
  • Loose Caboose
  • Gaetan’s Chip Stand
  • Billy K’s

All of the pizzerias more than likely will serve a Poutine as well.  Some use traditional Cheese Curds, others use Mozzarella Cheese.

And let’s not forget the world-famous Lancaster Perch Rolls which are only available around Cornwall and area.

Check out the first 16 reasons to Love Cornwall & Area 📲 http://jmacdonald.ca/blog/

and stay connected with me on Facebook to see the rest as I post them 📲 https://www.facebook.com/JenniMacDonaldMortgages/


If you are interested in relocating to Cornwall, Ontario or the surrounding area, I’d be happy to look at your mortgage options with you.

📲View current mortgage rates

📲Apply for a mortgage

16 Oct

Annual Fairs + Events in Cornwall & Area

General

Posted by: Jenni MacDonald

21 REASONS WE LOVE CORNWALL, ONTARIO & AREA

Why Do We Love Cornwall, Ontario?

A local Century 21 Real Estate Agent, Mike VanderMeer, and I have compiled a list of the reasons we love Cornwall, Ontario.  We’ve compiled 21 reasons, which we will share with you, one at a time.  We would love to hear the reasons you love to live here too!

REASON #16 – Fairs & Annual Events

There is a lot to do in the 3 United Counties. The Williamstown Fair is the oldest annual fair in Canada.  The Maxville Highland Games is an international attraction that has been attended by several Prime Ministers over the years. The Stormont Fair (Newington) offers a demolition derby which is a big attraction. We have great local seasonal events such as Alight at Night and Pumpkinferno at Upper Canada Village and Ribfest at Lamoureux Park.  You will never be bored in the 3 United Counties and Cornwall sits in the middle of all the action.

 

Stay up to date on all the events happening in Cornwall here 📲 Cornwall Tourism

Stay up to date on all the events happening in SD&G here 📲SDG Tourism

Check out the first 15 reasons to Love Cornwall & Area 📲 http://jmacdonald.ca/blog/

and stay connected with me on Facebook to see the rest as I post them 📲 https://www.facebook.com/JenniMacDonaldMortgages/


If you are interested in relocating to Cornwall, Ontario or the surrounding area, I’d be happy to look at your mortgage options with you.

📲View current mortgage rates

📲Apply for a mortgage