Trusted Tips and Resources

Trusted Tips & Resources

Ryan Boughen a Trusted Regina Mortgage Broker Shares 6 New Year’s Resolutions for Every Homeowner

The land of mortgages is a big one and Ryan Boughen a multi-award-winning Regina Mortgage broker with TMG The Mortgage Group, understands how confusing it can be with new rules and rates and information appearing regularly in the market. There are also dozens of lenders with thousands of mortgage products available. Each lender is unique in the types of situations they will lend on, their terms and conditions, and their best mortgage rates. Ryan Boughen is a Trusted Regina Mortgage Broker and in his first Trusted Regina mortgage tip, he shares 6 new years resolutions every home buyer should consider.  



6 New Year’s Resolutions for Every Homeowner


Lately we have been spending much more time in our homes than usual. With homes and finances at the forefront of many household conversations, here is a list of 6 things you can do to improve both your home and your finances. 
Thanks! - Ryan Boughen - TMG Mortgage Broker

Pay Off Your Non-Mortgage Debt FIRST!

The general rule of thumb is that you should focus on paying off higher-interest debt before lower-interest debt. You may be paying a higher rate on a credit card or private student loan than on your mortgage, so you'd benefit more by paying those off early.

Don't pay so much toward the higher-interest debt that you risk defaulting on mortgage payments, though. Yes, credit cards can be expensive, and the issuer may take legal action if you default on card payments. But defaulting on mortgage payments can be an even bigger risk because you could lose your home.

Build A Realistic  Emergency Fund

Owning a home comes with a lot of responsibility and expenses, some that you can plan for in advance like property taxes, and some that just pop up unexpectedly. If you haven’t already started saving for those unexpected expenses in an emergency fund or rainy-day fund, the new year is a great time to start! Saving any amount is beneficial in case of an emergency but about 3 to 6-month’s salary is usually recommended. A high-interest savings account is a good place for your emergency fund. You’ll still be able to earn interest on your savings, and it’s not completely locked away in case you need to access the funds quickly.

For some people, work from home measures may be in place indefinitely. The lines between your personal and professional life may be blurred during this time. The best way to keep strong boundaries is by trying to maintain a similar routine to when you’re in the office. Ensure you set boundaries to limit overtime work, always take breaks throughout the day, and log off your work computer at your usual end of workday time.


Make Your Home As Energy Efficient As Possible

We live in Saskatchewan, so that means there's no avoiding heating and cooling costs, and they are only going to rise as time goes on. Whatever you can do to make your property more energy-efficient is a worthwhile investment! It also makes it more attractive when you decide to sell. 

For tech-savvy homeowners, making your home more energy-efficient with gadgets like smart thermostats or programmable LED lights can be a lot of fun! Even if technology isn’t your thing, small fixes around the house can help make your home more energy-efficient and potentially save you money too. Here are a few things to add to your list:

  • Seal all air leaks around windows and doors
  • Use cold water or energy-saving settings for washing machines and dishwashers
  • Unplug devices and appliances when not in use
  • Lower your thermostat while you’re away from home or in less used areas of your home
  • Install a low-flow showerhead
  • Opt for energy-efficient window treatments like honeycomb shades

Make Your Home A Space You Love 

Starting off the new year ( or a new week! ) in a clean, organized space is a huge mood booster. Plus, with many people working from home now, organized space can also help your productivity. While there’s no right or wrong way to declutter and organize your home, one useful method is to work by room to make the task more manageable. Look at everything you have and split the items into three piles: Keep, Donate, and Toss. Perhaps you could read Marie Kondo's book The Life Changing Method of Tidying Up, she is a Japanese professional organizer and has a simple method to declutter your life, from clothes to books to knickknacks. She wants you to answer just one simple question when it comes to any of the items in your house:

Does it bring you joy?

If you answer yes, you keep the item. If you hesitate or say no, you donate it or throw it out. It’s simple, it’s brilliant, and it’s something that's completely intuitive. 

Once you’ve decided what’s staying, you can make sure everything has a designated place so you can keep things tidy in the long run.

Start A Household Maintenance Checklist 

As with most new year’s resolutions, it’s easy to start the year off strong but as time goes on it may become more challenging. Set yourself up for success and stick to your home goals by creating a household maintenance checklist. Create a recurring calendar reminder so you never forget to take care of tasks around the house. For example, set a reminder to change your HVAC filter every three months or clean your eavestroughs twice a year. Proper home maintenance is a good way to prevent having to pay for home repairs over time.

Plan To Pay Off Your Mortgage Sooner

Depending on how much you still owe on your mortgage, the idea of paying it off may be daunting but don’t be discouraged. Even small steps now can help you become mortgage-free sooner. Start by increasing your regular payments. For example, instead of purchasing a takeout dinner, put that extra $50 towards your mortgage payment for the month. Keep that up for a year and you’ve already put an additional $600 towards your mortgage and over 5 years, an additional $3,000.

Another simple way to pay your mortgage off faster is to put any additional or unexpected income towards your mortgage. That can be anything like funds from a tax return, a bonus from work or inheritance. Before you make any pre-payments, double-check your mortgage pre-payment options with your mortgage lender so you don’t exceed your allowable limits.


Ryan and his team of Regina mortgage experts will determine what your specific needs are and then review and analyze what is the best mortgage option for you. 

Mortgage Options Offered Include: 

Get Approved On Ryan's Website Today - It Costs Nothing! 



Skott Enns Trusted Regina mortgage broker explains the First Time Home Buyer Incentive program

Skott Enns's goal isn’t to simply help you get a mortgage with the best mortgage rates, it is to help you figure out a plan to pay off your mortgage as quickly as possible!  Has been voted Regina’s best mortgage broker for 2013, 2014, and 2015 & 2016 by Prairie Dog Magazine and named to the Summit 20 group, which means that he is in the Top 20% of all TMG Mortgage Brokers in Canada for the last two years. If you are looking for honest, unbiased advice from a mortgage broker in Regina they would love to talk with you! TMG The Mortgage Group Skott Enns is a Trusted Regina Mortgage Broker



Skott Enns sat down with CBC and explained the First Time Home Buyer Incentive program.



In a recent interview with CBC News our Trusted Regina Mortgage Broker  Skott Enns sat down and explained the new features of the First Time Home Buyer Incentive Program.  In addition, Skott goes on to examine some potential pros and cons of this program.  


He begins by stating that:


Starting September 3rd for any homes where possession is starting in November if a potential first time home buyer has the minimum 5% down payment, CMHC will provide them with an additional loan of 5% for an existing home or an additional 10% for a new build for the down payment.  


He also states that outside of being a first-time home buyer the maximum household qualifying income that they can use for mortgage approval is $120,000. per year.  So if your household makes more than this you will not qualify for this program.  Additionally, the largest purchase price for approval is four times the amount of your qualifying income.  



Something buyers need to note is that when you do choose to sell the home the monies that CMHC provides will need to be paid back to them though the loan is interest free.


Benefits of the Program


When asked as a Regina mortgage broker what are some of the benefits you see to a program like this Skott detailed his perspective as follows:


  • It allows a first time home buyer to keep their cost as low as possible when considering principle and interest payments
  • The program will reduce your CMHC premium

Negatives of the program

Skott goes on to outline some potential negatives of the Program:

  • People forget - If you sell your house in 10 years you may forget that you need to re pay the loan to CMHC.
  • People have general concerns about being in partnership with CMHC who is part of the Federal Government on the biggest investment which is their home.


To be honest this is the first bit of good news that we have had in terms of qualifying for a mortgage.  
The news coming out about mortgages and from CMHC has been about how difficult the newest changes make it for not just first-time home buyers but anybody to qualify for a mortgage.  It seems that every change has been making it more and more difficult. But this bit of good news will help keep payment down for a segment of the market.

Watch the entire interview here


If you are looking for honest, unbiased advice from a mortgage broker in Regina Skott would love to talk with you!

TMG The Mortgage Group Skott Enns is a Trusted Regina Mortgage Broker


Trusted Regina Mortgage Broker Skott Enns shares a tip on renewing your mortgage.

Get free expert mortgage advice from a multi-award-winning Regina mortgage broker. Skott Enns is a Trusted Regina Mortgage Broker and he is fully committed to helping clients find the best option that suits their financial goals. His mission isn’t to simply help you get a mortgage with the best mortgage rates, he wants to help you figure out a plan to pay off your mortgage as quickly as possible! In his latest Regina mortgage tip, he shares some great advice on mortgage renewal! 


Mortgage Renewal Time?

If you have a mortgage, at some point it will come up for renewal (unless of course, you are really close to paying it off, and in that case – congratulations!!!). When this happens, it is important for you to know your options, so that you are not leaving money on the table or putting yourself in a situation that could cost you money down the road.

There are two primary reasons that you may want to leave your existing lender: rate being the primary one, and sometimes you may simply be unhappy with the service (or lack of) that your existing lender is providing to you.

Approximately 65% of clients will simply sign the first mortgage renewal form offered to them by their existing lender when. No questions asked. That is a mistake, and often a costly one. Don’t get me wrong, the easiest thing for you to do is to sign that form. No requalification, no additional questions, things just keep humming right along… but here is the thing: the banks are also aware of the fact that two-thirds of clients will ‘just sign’, and guess what… the higher the interest rate they can get you to pay, the more money they make.


How often do you think they will have your best interests at heart when renewing your mortgage?


Negotiating a Better Offer Upon Your Mortgage Renewal

The reality is that at the end of that term, you are indeed a free agent! Get out there and play the field. Here is how I would recommend doing that.

Ask Your Existing Lender To Come To The Table With Their Best Rate

Again, there is no doubt that the easiest thing to do IS to stick with your existing lender, and if they are offering a competitive rate, then my advice will always be to stay there. However until you know what they are willing to do for you, it is difficult to determine what the best course of action is.

Call A Mortgage Broker

As a Mortgage Broker, we work with an array of lenders: big banks, credit unions, mortgage finance companies, private lenders etc. Once you have a rate from your existing lender, your Mortgage Broker will be able to run through the mortgage products that the various lenders are offering, and figure out whether or not you would save money by switching lenders. Once we are within 120 days of your mortgage coming up for renewal, if there is a better rate out there for you, we can lock it in. One other reason to avoid signing blindly is that life happens, and situations change… if you just got out of a 5-year fixed term, but have a growing family and recognize that you will likely be upgrading your home in less than two years, perhaps it makes more sense for you to consider a shorter fixed-term or a variable term (where the penalty for breaking that term is only a 3-month interest penalty). A Mortgage Broker will help you to work through all of these scenarios.

 

A Quick Requalification

In the event that you can save money by switching lenders, it is important to realize that you will need to requalify. However, in most cases, assuming your financial situation is similar or better than what it was when you first obtained the last mortgage, this shouldn’t be a big deal. Typically, you will require the following documentation:

  • A letter of employment confirming position, salary, and full-time/part-time status
  • A recent paystub
  • A copy of a recent mortgage/renewal statement from your existing lender
  • A copy of your house insurance policy
  • A copy of your property tax bill ensuring payments are up to date
  • A void cheque or PAD form for the bank account where you would like your new mortgage to come out of

Other Points to Consider When Renewing Your Mortgage

Please recognize that every mortgage is different, and if you are self-employed, a part-time employee, own rental properties or something a little outside the norm, additional documentation may be requested, but the above list will cover the majority of the paperwork. Clearly, it may take a little bit of time to gather these documents. It is up to you whether or not you believe it is worth it.

If I can save you $5,300 (a recent real-life example) over the next 5 years through lower payments and interest savings, is it worth spending 2-3 hours collecting a little information? In my eyes, you are making $1,766 per hour if it takes you three hours…. Now there are a LOT of things that I would do if I was paid $1,766/hr to do them, even if they are not my favourite! I would teach myself to snowboard. I would eat plates of raw oysters. I would shop at Walmart. And I would definitely collect void cheques and paystubs if it meant I could save that kind of cash.

When switching lenders, there may or may not be fees involved. Discharge fees, appraisal fees, ‘legal’ fees can all be part of the switching process, HOWEVER, in many cases, these fees can be covered by the new lender. Again, best to discuss these options with your Mortgage Broker, and see what they can do to save you money.


One final point about moving lenders… 

Since October 2016 there has been a substantial rule change that has come into effect which does make it more difficult to qualify for purchasing a home today. That is the truth and there is no getting around it. However, if you are simply renewing your mortgage with a different lender, although you DO have to re-qualify, you have grandfathered in under the pre-October 2016 guidelines… which is great news, and ensures that you have a much better chance of being able to move lenders if it makes sense to do so.

If you are looking for honest, unbiased advice from a mortgage broker in Regina Skott Enns would love to talk with you!   

Skott Enns is a Trusted Regina Mortgage 



Trusted Regina Mortgage Expert Answers Questions About Rising Lending Rates

Trusted Regina's Skott Enns TMG The Mortgage Group can be found in the Mortgage category.  


We sat down and asked Skott Enns of TMG The Mortgage Group some questions we thought you'd like the answers to!


"As many of you have now heard, the Bank of Canada increased its lending rate to 0.75%. That is an increase of 0.25%, from their previous rate of 0.50%."


QUESTION #1: Who will be affected by this?


 "When the BoC increases their rate, this will typically translate into an increase in the Prime lending rate, which is how banks calculate their variable mortgage rate. Hence, if you have a variable rate mortgage (or  there is a line of credit component attached to your mortgage), you can  expect your mortgage rate (and likely your payment) to increase by 0.25%  in the very near future."



QUESTION #2: What does this actually mean?


"Of course no one likes to hear that their interest rate is increasing, but before panicking, it is important to look at what this actually means in dollars and cents. With this 0.25% increase, your mortgage payment will increase by $13/month for every $100,000 you owe."


"So if you have a $300,000 mortgage, this will increase your mortgage payment by $39-ish per month. Clearly you would rather keep that money in your own pocket, but this is not a scenario where the sky is falling."


Image result for arrow going up with house


QUESTION #3: What to do?


a) "We can lock in your mortgage rate by converting it to a fixed term. When you originally received your mortgage financing you (in most cases) were committing to that particular lender for a 5 year period. If you are now 2 years into that variable rate and wanted to lock into a fixed term, you would be locking into a term of at least 3 years. Make sense? Keep in mind, however, that in many cases, the fixed rate that you would be locking into is still going to be higher than your new increased variable rate."


b) "We can do nothing, and stay the course with a variable rate. Although one can never guarantee what will happen with mortgage rates, history shows that those borrowers with variable rates who stay the course as opposed to locking in mid term still save more money."


SKOTT'S TWO CENTS:


"As a blanket statement, I am encouraging the clients who are calling me to stick with their variable rates. As mentioned, in most cases your new variable rate will still be lower than the fixed rate you would be locking into. If you consider this, in addition to the ultra-low penalty that comes with breaking a variable rate mortgage (should it ever happen), I still believe a variable term is a right way to go."


"That being said, every situation is unique. If you have any questions at all about your mortgage please do not hesitate to contact me at 306.201.6500."


I am happy to answer any questions/concerns you may have.



 

Trying to get a mortgage? Do you understand your credit? Skott Enns Trusted Regina Mortgage Broker has some helpful information


Skott Enns's goal isn’t to simply help you get a mortgage with the best mortgage rates, it is to help you figure out a plan to pay off your mortgage as quickly as possible!  Has been voted Regina’s best mortgage broker by Prairie Dog Magazine for many years in a row and he has been named to the Summit 20 group, which means that he is in the Top 20% of all TMG Mortgage Brokers in Canada for the last two years.

If you are looking for honest, unbiased advice from a mortgage broker in Regina they would love to talk with you!

TMG The Mortgage Group Skott Enns is a Trusted Regina Mortgage Broker

Understanding Credit

How you manage your credit plays a big part in how a lender looks at your mortgage application. By understanding the makeup of a credit score and working towards establishing a solid credit profile, you can increase your chances of getting approved for a mortgage. This article is part three in a short series that aims to help you understand mortgage qualifications. 

There are four key areas that come under scrutiny when a lender looks at a mortgage application; income, credit, downpayment, and the property. You can find the previous articles in the series here:

Part 1. Understanding the Mind of a Lender
Part 2. Understanding Income

The following is an in-depth look at how your credit is viewed by a lender when assessing your mortgage application. 

Credit Agencies

In Canada, there are two credit reporting agencies, Equifax and Transunion. Typically Transunion is used by consumers as a monitoring service to protect against identity theft, while Equifax is relied on about 90% of the time by lenders looking to determine if you are creditworthy. Every time you borrow money, a history of that loan is sent by the lending institution to both Equifax and Transunion, this makes up what is called your credit report. The information on your credit report is then boiled down into a single three-digit number called your credit score (sometimes called a beacon score).

It’s not uncommon for your credit score to be different between Equifax and Transunion as not all lenders report all information to both agencies at the same time. Although your Equifax credit report will be used for mortgage qualification, lenders may also want to have a look at your Transunion report as well, especially if your Equifax report has some issues with collections or late payments.  

Understanding Credit – Credit Score

Credit Score

Your credit score is a three-digit number between 300 and 900. The higher the score the better. Depending on where you look online, you will find several variations of the ranges that indicate creditworthiness. Although somewhat general, the following is pretty accurate when talking about mortgage financing:

  • If you find yourself between 300-600, you have bad credit and won’t have access to the best products and rates available. 
  • If your credit score is between 600-680, there is a good chance you have had some issues in the past, you can qualify for mortgage insurance, but it’s gonna be touch and go.
  • If your credit score is between 680-720, you have good credit, not incredible, but a check in the right box for sure. 
  • If your credit score is over 720, you have excellent credit and lenders will view you as a “good risk”. 

Now, a credit score is both a snapshot in time and a moving target. Your credit score will change as new information is reported to the credit agencies as these new variables impact your score. When applying for a mortgage, we will “pull a credit report” which gives us a picture of where your credit score is at currently. This snapshot is what the lender uses to assess your credit when determining if they want to lend you money or not.

It’s good to note that although your credit score is a single indicator of credit, it certainly does not make up the entire picture. Lenders will also look at the particulars of your credit report and they will most certainly ask for more information if something seems out of place.

Understanding Credit – Calculating a Credit Score

Both Equifax and Transunion consider the following factors when building your credit score: payment history, amount of money owed, length of credit history, new credit, types of credit. Although there is an exact science to their algorithms, that information is not public knowledge. They have however given us the following categories with corresponding percentages of how much weight is being put on each. 

Credit Score Calculation

Payment History – 35%

When building your credit score, the most weight is given to how you have dealt with paying your previous debts. And this makes the most sense. If a lender is going to give you money to purchase a property, they might want to see how you repaid your car loan, or your student loans, or your $1,000 Mastercard. If you can’t pay your Rogers cell phone bill on time, what assurance are you giving them that you will pay your mortgage on time? 

Your payment history looks at all your consumer debts or trade lines. A trade line represents a single debt owed to an institution. Tradelines come in many forms, credit card, line of credit, car loan, student loan, and so on. Any time you borrow money, the history of that tradeline shows up on your credit report with the payment history from the last 6-7 years being visible. Obviously, your most recent payment history will have the most impact on your credit score, positive or negative. 

Payment history is all about how you have managed your trade lines. Have you made all your payments perfectly, or have you been 30 days late, 60 days late, 90 days late, or has the trade line been sent to collection or closed for non-payment? These factors contribute to your score but are also visible on your credit report for lenders to review when assessing your mortgage application. 

Amount Owed – 30%

How much you owe on a tradeline compared to the limit of that tradeline impacts your credit score greatly. For example, if you have a limit of $5,000 on your Visa, and you simply use that card to buy gas and groceries every month and pay it off without ever carrying a balance, that is excellent management and this action will increase your credit score. However, if you have a $10,000 Mastercard that you have maxed out and you are making minimum payments, your amount owed compared to the limit is really high, this sends up red flags and will negatively impact your credit score. Not to mention as a lender looks at your credit report, it is a strong indication that you might not be able to handle any more debt. 

Typically you want to use less than 75% of the credit available to you. Going over 75% will negatively impact your score. By staying under 25% of your available credit limit, you demonstrate strong credit management. And that is exactly what lenders want to see, strong credit management. 

Length of Credit History – 15%

Credit-8001

How long you have had credit plays a role in determining your credit score. It also plays a role in how a lender looks at your credit. Unlike smaller loans, when applying for a mortgage, lenders want to see that you have had credit for a minimum of 2 years. Regardless of your credit score, if you haven’t had at least 2 trade lines reporting for 2 years, you are going to have a hard time getting a mortgage. 

The length of your credit history shows how responsible you have been long term with your credit. Time is needed to get the real picture of how responsible you are. Each trade line that is reporting on your credit report will show the date it was opened and a monthly history of your management. Although your history of management is only kept 6-7 years, the age of your trade line will always be visible.

It’s a great idea to always keep your oldest trade lines open and active. Even if you don’t need the credit available, keep the card open, and use it once every 3 months so that it stays live on your credit report. Your credit score will thank you! 

New Credit Inquiries – 10%

Frequently applying for new credit can be a sign that you are experiencing some financial difficulty, especially if the amount owed compared to the limit is over 75%. Applying for new credit can temporarily impact your credit score negatively, however if a new trade line is established, once it gets some positive payment history, your credit score will increase. 

As far as the mortgage process is concerned, instead of going to several lending institutions on your own, and having each one of them pull your credit, as a mortgage broker, I pull your credit report once and then use that same report with multiple lenders. This is a win for you. 

Pulling your credit report multiple times can impact your score negatively, but credit inquiries do only make up 10% of your score, so it’s not really anything to be worried about. Multiple credit inquiries won’t make good credit bad, but it can make bad credit worse. 

Types of Credit – 10%

This is the most insignificant factor in determining your credit, however the type of credit you have does impact your score. Trade lines like fixed installment loans show a scheduled repayment and are considered favourable. While deferred payment loans or payday cash loans from Money Mart can be a sign of money struggles.

Understanding Credit – Established Credit Profile

Established

So when you take your credit score and you combine it with your credit report, as the lender sees it, this is called your credit profile. It’s not just about having a score above 720 (although that is really good), lenders will want to see that you have at least 2 active trade lines, reporting for a minimum of 2 years, with a minimum limit of $2,500. This is the bare minimum to make sure that your credit score has been established over enough time. 

So as you can see, the lender has a lot to think about when it comes to looking at your credit profile and deciding if they want to lend money to you for a mortgage. Next in the series, we will take a look at how your downpayment plays a part in the lender’s decision as well.

If you aren’t sure what your credit score looks like, or if you have established enough credit to be considered for a mortgage, please contact me anytime. I would love to talk through the specifics of your credit report with you and put a plan in place to get you to where you want to go. 

If you would like to know more about the mortgage and housing market, please don’t hesitate to contact me anytime! 

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