17 Oct

7 Tips for Buying Your First Home in BC

First Time Home Buyer

Posted by: Kelly Hudson

House in the Palm of HandAs a licensed Mortgage Broker, I am often asked “what do I need to know when buying my first home in BC?”

Everyone has their own aims and objects when buying their first home. As a Mortgage Broker, I specialize in making sure your financing is in order to facilitate your dreams of owning a home.

Buying your first home is very exciting, but it can easily be overwhelming. Being prepared is the first step. The decision to purchase your first home can be a huge, life-changing event and you need to know exactly what you are getting into.

To get you prepared with the knowledge you need, here are my 7 tips to consider when you buy your first home in BC.

1.  Strengthen your credit rating

It’s pretty simple: the higher your credit score, the lower your mortgage rate will be.

Spend the time now to improve your credit. Check your credit report. Many credit reports have errors, so you need to ensure that your credit bureau is current and correct.

ALWAYS pay every single one of your bills on time. Set up automatic payments if you have had any late payments over the last couple of years.

Stop applying for any new credit a year before you are considering buying and continue until you sign the closing papers on your home. Spend only 30% of credit limits on credit cards.

Solving the Puzzle – 5 factors used in determining your Credit Score

8 Credit Rules You Need to Know, Before You Buy a Home

2.  Find a Mortgage Broker and figure out how much you can afford to spend

The home buyer’s mantra: Get a home that’s financially comfortable.

Contact me, your Mortgage Professional. I work with you up to a year in advance to analyze your situation, and tell you how much mortgage and monthly payments you can afford.

Lenders like to see that you spend a maximum

  1. 32-39% of your Gross income on mortgage payments, maintenance fees (if applicable), heat & property taxes
  2. 38-44% of your Gross Income on all debts
    • Including #1 above PLUS loans, credit cards, additional financing etc.

1 year+ prior to going home shopping, calculate the mortgage payment for the home in your intended price range, along with the increased expenses (such as taxes, insurance and utilities). Then bank the difference between the home payments and what you’re paying now. Not only will that simulate ownership, it also helps you save for your down payment!

When you are ready to start shopping for your home, as your Mortgage Broker, I gather all your financial documentation that the lender requires, in order to figure out much you can afford to spend. Then I work with you to get a preapproval and lock in a low interest rate to protect you in case rates rise between now and the time you by your new home.

What is the difference between a Mortgage Broker & a Mortgage Specialist (hint – specialists work for the bank)!!

3.  How long will you live in your new home?

The transaction costs of buying and selling a house are substantial including: real estate fees, legal fees, Property Transfer Tax, selling in a down market, moving, etc.

If you don’t plan to live in your new home for at least 3-5 years, you may not gain enough equity to make selling worthwhile.

Short-term home ownership can be a pretty expensive proposition. If that is the case, holding off on purchasing could be your best option.

4.  How much house you need?

Buying a cheaper, smaller home might sound like a good place to start, but could end up costing you more if you need to move due to changes in your lifestyle, including a growing family. Then again, buying more house than you currently need will cost you more with higher mortgage payments, higher maintenance, energy and tax costs.

Prioritize your housing wish list. They say that the 3 most important things to think about when buying are home are location, location, location. In Greater Vancouver your first choice for location i.e. Kitsilano or Yaletown may not be within your means. You also need to think about how the new home space will be used and whether it will fit your lifestyle now and in the future.

5.  Build a savings account

Start now to build a healthy savings account. To avoid paying CMHC Mortgage Default Insurance you need to prove you have a 20% down payment.

Building your savings account, over and above the money you will require for the down payment and closing costs. Lenders want to see that you’re not living paycheck to paycheck. If you have three to five months’ worth of mortgage payments in your savings, that makes you a much better loan candidate.

Everything You Wanted to Know about Mortgage Default Insurance

6.  Remember closing costs.

While you’re saving your down payment, you need to save for closing costs too. They’re typically 1% to 3% of the purchase price and due on the completion date.

In BC you need to also pay Property Transfer Tax (PPT). The amount of tax you pay is based on the fair market value of the land and improvements (e.g. buildings) on the date of registration unless you purchase a pre-sold strata unit. The tax is charged at a rate of 1% for the first $200,000 and 2% for the portion of the fair market value that is greater than $200,000.  3% on the portion over $2,000,000 and if the property is residential, a further 2% on the portion greater than $3,000,000

Don’t Forget the Closing Costs When You Purchase a Home

7.  Shop for a Realtor that has your best interests in mind

Interview at least three Realtors. Get referrals from people you trust who have recently bought or sold, including me, your mortgage broker. I work with a lot of realtors, some of whom are outstanding in their field. Once you’ve decided which Realtor is the best fit for you, they can help you focus your search to find your perfect home. There is no cost for the Realtor for the home buyer since the home seller pays the commission.

Besides the 7 tips I’ve listed above, there are many other things you should need to be aware of prior to buying your first home.

Mortgages are complicated… BUT they don’t have to be!  Engage an expert!

Kelly Hudson
Mortgage Expert
Dominion Lending Centres – Canadian Mortgage Experts
Mobile 604-312-5009
Kelly@KellyHudsonMortgages.com

ON THE WEB

4 Oct

Mortgage Insurance 101

Bank

Posted by: Kelly Hudson

Mortgage insurance… sounds simple doesn’t it??

For a first-time home buyer, the types of insurance surrounding a mortgage can be confusing, so it’s important to know what insurance covers what.

There are 3 main types of insurance to know about when buying a home.

Mortgage Default Insurance – If you put less than 20% down on a home you are buying, Government rules are you must pay for Mortgage Default Insurance which covers the lender should you default on your mortgage payments.

There are three mortgage default insurers in Canada – Canadian Mortgage & Housing Corp. (CMHC), Genworth or Canada Guaranty) The purchase of this insurance solely benefits the bank/lender.

For more information check out Everything You Wanted to Know about Mortgage Default Insurance

Mortgage Insurance and/or Life Insurance

You’ve just made the biggest purchase of your life: a new home for you and your family.

  • What’s the best way to protect your investment if you die?

Insurance is the answer. But what kind: mortgage insurance or life insurance? 

There are important differences between the two that we’ll examine.

Mortgage Insurance Life Insurance
Tends to be quicker to process. Can take 30-90 days to put into place.
Can be easier to qualify for. With individual owned insurance the medical underwriting is completed up front, so you know what is covered when your policy is approved.
Decreasing benefit – the amount of coverage with mortgage insurance decreases as you pay down the balance each month, while the monthly insurance payments remain the same. If you get coverage for $500K, it stays at $500K until you decide to change it, or your term expires.

Beneficiary is the lender/bank who holds your mortgage. You can designate the beneficiary/beneficiaries.
Mortgage insurance is attached to the outstanding balance on your mortgage. Life insurance is attached to you rather that your debt.
Typically, your mortgage insurance policy pays off the current balance on your mortgage to your lender/bank. The beneficiary(ies) decide what to do with the insurance.  Funds can be used to pay off the mortgage or any other bills (funeral, hospital/home care expenses, living expenses, education etc.).  It’s your money, and you can decide how to use it.
You can cancel anytime i.e. you find an insurance product that suits you better. You can cancel anytime i.e. you find an insurance product that suits you better.
Portability – mortgage broker sold Mortgage Insurance policies are portable. Which means that if you switch lenders or buy a new property, you will be able to transfer your Mortgage Life Insurance to a new property. Make sure you ask your Insurance Provider if the insurance they are recommending is portable.·         Take note that when the bank offers you Mortgage Insurance you will not likely be able to transfer your Mortgage Life Insurance to a new lender or property thereby limiting your future financing options. Completely portable.  Doesn’t matter if you buy a different home or switch lenders/banks, life insurance follows you not your property.

Please note:  Mortgage/Life Insurance is not mandatory to qualify for a mortgage.

You have made the biggest purchase of your life… how do you protect yourself and your family?  Many people say they have life insurance through their work, but is it enough?

  • The question you should be asking is – do you currently have enough life insurance in place right now, equal to your mortgage amount?

Top Benefits of purchasing Mortgage/Life Insurance

  1. Peace of Mind – creates a sense of security that your loved ones will be taken care of if you pass on.
  2. Mortgage Can be Paid Off – whereby any other policies that are held will be able to assist with other needs.
  3. Family can Stay in their Home – if there is the unfortunate life event that is the death of the Mortgage/Life Insurance policy holder, the mortgage can be paid off which will allow the family to stay in their home and not become displaced, causing additional anguish.
  4. The Younger you are, the Less Expensive – Which means that insurance is extremely affordable for a young, and likely, first time home buyer.
  5. Good Health = Coverage for Unexpected Illness Later on – After illness strikes, it is more difficult to acquire life insurance.

Mortgage/Life Insurance is an option that anyone with a mortgage should consider. Ask me about a referral for reputable and credible insurance.

While we’re discussing insurance, there are other types of insurance you need to consider as well…

  • Fire insurance – most lenders will want to see that you have fire insurance in place, prior to funding your mortgage to “protect” their investment.

Additional insurance options:

  • Disability insurance
  • Personal content insurance

Mortgages are complicated… BUT they don’t have to be!  You need to protect your investment by engaging an expert.

Give me a call and let’s discuss a mortgage that works for you (not the bank)!

Kelly Hudson
Mortgage Broker
DLC – Canadian Mortgage Experts
Mobile: 604-312-5009
Kelly@KellyHudsonMortgages.com
www.KellyHudsonMortgages.com