Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mortgage Tips

In the early 1980s, mortgages were heartbreakingly expensive. Rates spiked above 20 per cent. Some people simply walked away from their homes. Those that didn’t likely ended up paying the asking price several times over by the time their mortgages matured. Happily, the market has changed. Compared to the bad old days, mortgages today are almost ridiculously cheap. In fact, this month (Jan. 2013) BMO announced an historic low: 2.99 per cent for five years. While its competitors are expected to follow in what appears to be a race to the bottom, Amy Wilson (Business – Marketing ’99) cautions would-be homebuyers against complacency.

Click here to read more of what  previous generations of homebuyers might consider an enviable opportunity.   (Source Amy Wilson - Techlife Magazine, NAIT)


There’s still time to contribute to your

2012 RSP! The deadline is March 1st, 2013.

Maximum contribution limits are

$22,970 for 2012 or

$23,820 for 2013.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Thank-you to my Mortgage Clients!

Thanks for letting me represent you with your mortgage requirements.  It is because of clients like you that I was voted top six mortgage associate across Canada for being in business less than four years

Once I've got a client, I want to have them for LIFE! I want to be the person you'll always think of when you think of Mortgage needs. So whenever you think you might be ready to buy an investment property, do a home renovation or refinance your current home, or are looking for your next home, just call or email me and I'd be happy to help.

I also can help you manage your current mortgage over the long term.  I can show you how to take advantage of changing markets in the future.  All I need is a copy of your current mortgage statement and we can work from there.

My promise to you is that when I can help, I'll show you all the options, and if I can't, I'll explain why and work with you to accomplish the goal or connect you to someone who can.  So if you hear that any family or friends are looking for mortgage products, please recommend me and let me know about their plans. I promise to provide them with the same high-quality service I gave you.

Thanks again for your support, and I hope the years ahead reinforce the confidence in the decisions you've made.



Amy Wilson


Monday, January 21, 2013

Title Insurance Tidbits - Mortgages

Title Insurance Tidbits

Title insurance is usually an afterthought for people getting a mortgage. But it’s becoming more of a decision point since so many lenders now require it.

The purpose of title insurance is to protect you if there’s a problem with your title. Those problems can turn into expensive nightmares in the small chance that you encounter them. Examples include ownership disputes on your property, title fraud, un-discharged liens, encroachments, zoning issues, survey problems, property tax arrears and so on.

Real estate lawyer Bob Aaron wrote a recent overview of title insurance here. He says, “Most real estate lawyers today regard title insurance as a critical component…and will usually not close a purchase without it.”

And no, lawyers don’t get big kickbacks for pushing title insurance. Aarons says lawyers "are not permitted to get referral fees/commissions" on title insurance. Lawyers recommend it because it protects the homeowner, limits the lawyer’s liability and makes closing more efficient.


There are two broad types of title insurance:

  1. Homeowner policies, which:
    • Cover the homeowner
    • Last as long as you own the property
    • Are priced based on the property value
  2. Lender policies, which:
    • Protect the lender’s interest in your mortgage
    • Last as long as you have your mortgage
    • Are priced based on the mortgage size

The cost of title insurance varies widely depending on the location, type and value of the transaction. It starts at roughly $150-$350, but can climb from there.
Once you pay for title insurance, you can often avoid paying for it again. Here are some cases where that’s true:

  • You purchase a homeowner policy and stay in your home
    (Homeowner policies generally cover your property for as long as you own it.)
  • You pick a lender that doesn't require a lender title policy
    (Many do, but some don't.)
  • You refinance and choose a lender that pays for its own mortgage-only title policy
    (A broker can tell you which lenders do this. Keep in mind, a lender-only policy doesn't protect you.)
  • You switch lenders and your existing policy is "ported” to the new lender
    (If it can't be ported, many lenders will pay the new title insurance premium for you on a straightforward switch.)

Title insurance can be switched to a new lender only under certain conditions, says Reta Coburn, president of FNF Canada, the Canadian division of the world’s largest title insurance organization. “Loan policies for lenders are transferable when the original mortgage is not being discharged from title and is simply being transferred by way of a registered assignment of mortgage,” she says.

The stipulations are that, "The original mortgage security must remain unchanged and no additional funds can be advanced, unless provided for under the original mortgage terms and conditions. The date of policy is the date of registration of the original mortgage, so the new lender assumes the coverage under the policy of the original lender at the date of that mortgage registration."

Two related notes:

  • The loan-to-value cannot increase if a title policy is being transferred to a new lender.
  • Lenders don’t usually accept assignments of collateral charges, so for practical purposes a title policy on a collateral charge mortgage isn’t generally transferrable.

Eric Haslett, LLB, VP Residential Title Insurance at FCT, adds that: “Provided the new lender agrees to take an assignment of the existing mortgage, the…title insurance policy will follow the mortgage to the new lender and no additional title insurance premium is charged.”

But lenders don’t always accept a mortgage that a prior lender has registered. That’s because, as Haslett puts it, “The new lender is stuck with whatever the language is in the existing lender’s mortgage documents.”

And here’s an interesting side note:

Haslett says, “New lenders often don’t request assignments from an existing lender because (doing so) provides that lender an opportunity to…retain the borrower.”  If the old mortgage is discharged and a new mortgage is registered, however, “The existing lender often doesn’t know about the borrower moving until it’s too late.”

In addition, when clients change lenders using a refinance instead of an assignment, the party requesting the discharge statement (from the existing lender) doesn't need to disclose the new lender's name. As a result, the existing lender cannot see who they are competing against.

Haslett adds that, “If a lender wants the old mortgage discharged and a new mortgage registered, it will attract a new title insurance policy in the name of the new lender and result in a title insurance premium
Most of the lenders I, (Amy Wilson) work with require the title insurance as part of your mortgage approval and I will go over it with you in your budget for legal fees.
Call Amy Wilson for your mortgage today! 780-919-0475

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The secret to financial success in 2013? Baby steps

The secret to financial success in 2013? Baby steps

Preet Banerjee

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Friday, Jan. 04 2013, 6:00 AM EST

Your landlords send you a letter informing you that rent is going up $50 per month. Do you move? Probably not. Instead, you suck it up and curse them under your breath.

Over time, we adjust to gradual price increases but only because they come in baby steps. When I was a kid, I remember $2.50 Tuesdays at the movies. Today, you can pay almost $20 for a single adult admission. Had the jump been instantaneous from $2.50 to $20, I would have stopped going to the movies. But because it took place over time, I saw Skyfall multiple times.

Baby steps. They don’t sound like much but they can be key to your financial success .

When I was a financial adviser, I would ask clients if they wanted to increase their automatic monthly contributions by $10, or 10 per cent, or whatever, every New Year. After getting used to the initial drain on their cash flow when setting up the original contribution, a small subsequent increase was no big deal.

But consider this: Two investors contribute $1,200 per year to a portfolio that grows at 5 per cent per year for 20 years, except one increases his contributions by 5 per cent every January 1st. By doing so, he ends up with more than 50 per cent more money ($63,679.14 vs $41,663.10).

That first 5 per cent increase is only an extra $5 per month. The 5 per cent increase in year 20 is only an extra $12.03 per month.

Turns out, those baby steps really add up.

This doesn’t apply exclusively to investing. Many people are too frustrated with the markets to invest, but they could apply the same principle to paying off their mortgage. Or saving up for a vacation. And with just over 360 days until Christmas 2013, inflation alone would dictate an increase in the cost of presents next year versus this year.

As the New Year begins, think of the various ways you could increase your financial position with various baby steps. You won’t feel it much, if at all, today, but the difference over the long haul could make you curse yourself under your breath for not doing it.
I do this for all y clients who have me arrange their mortgages.  I have a follow up system designed to help you with these baby steps so you can be in a stronger financial position!
Call me today! Amy Wilson
Verico Brokers For Life

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mortgage Loan Insurance and Premiums

What is Mortgage Loan Insurance?

Mortgage loan insurance is typically required by lenders when homebuyers make a

down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price. Mortgage loan insurance

helps protect lenders against mortgage default, and enables consumers to purchase

homes with a minimum down payment of 5% — with interest rates comparable to

those offered with a larger down payment.

To obtain mortgage loan insurance, lenders pay an insurance premium. Typically,

your lender will pass this cost on to you. The premium is based on the loan-to-value

ratio (mortgage loan amount divided by the purchase price). The premium can be

paid in a single lump sum or it can be added to your mortgage and included in your

monthly payments.

How Much Does it Cost?

The following table provides you with a general idea of the premiums charged by

CMHC. The exact premium will be calculated when you apply for a mortgage and

provincial sales tax may apply.

Premium on Total Loan*

Standard Purchase Premium

Up to and including 65%                   0.50%

Up to and including 75%                   0.65%

Up to and including 80%                   1.00%

Up to and including 85%                   1.75%

Up to and including 90%                   2.00%

Up to and including 95%                   2.75%

Traditional Down Payment                2.75%

Non-Traditional Down Payment        2.90%

CMHC’s online

Premium Calculator can also help you with your estimations.

*The maximum loan-to-value for refinance is 80%. Premium savings may be

available if you are porting an existing CMHC-insured mortgage or if you are using

CMHC-insured financing to purchase an energy-efficient home or make

energy-saving renovations. Ask your mortgage professional or visit

for more details about mortgage loan insurance, such as down payment

requirements, portability, etc.

Amy Wilson

Mortgage Associate

Verico Brokers For Life Inc.
Cell: 780-919-0475

Fax: 18773925092


Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Truth about Condo Fees

1) They aren’t all bad

Many homebuyers categorically refuse to consider a condo because of the fees alone. No fees are levied in a house, so condo fees are essentially a rip-off, right? Not so fast. What many people forget about owning any kind of home is that it entails a lot of financial responsibility. Roofs leak, foundations shift, washing machines overflow and the occasional baseball flies through the kitchen window. And whether you own a condo or a house of your own, you pay for all those unhappy little occurrences. The only difference is that in a condo, that financial responsibility is often shared with other owners.
In a condominium, the fees typically cover monthly expenses and utilities in the building, but they’re also designed to collect money in advance to ensure that owners are held equally accountable for their investment. If you own your own home, you won’t be forced to set aside money each month just in case your home requires an expensive repair (although that’s a good idea), but you will be on the hook if something goes wrong. In addition, condo fees often go toward paying for things you’d have to shell out for as an owner of any property, such as insurance, and sometimes even heat, water and cable TV.

2) Lower isn’t always better

No one wants high condo fees, but finding the building with the lowest fees isn’t always the best bet either. Think of condo fees as a bit of a layaway plan for future improvements to the building, such as painting and necessary repairs. If there’s no money set aside, that work either won’t get done or owners will suffer a shake-down for additional funds in the form of a special assessment.
Make sure you know what is included inyour condo fees.
And if you make an offer, make sure you put in a condition to review the condominium documents. “This will ensure you get the information you need about the condo and whether there is a healthy reserve within the building,” Haque said.
In other words, if you want to know how expensive a building’s condo fees really are, you’ll have to find out everything you can about what they include and how much money the building needs for upkeep.

3) You may be paying for things you don’t use

Condo fees are a lot like taxes: Sometimes, you don’t personally benefit from the way the money is spent. That might explain why people tend to have such a strong reaction to condo fees, but the reality is that this is just a necessary evil of any collective asset. If your building includes a pool, a gym or a patio, your fees will go toward maintaining those common areas, even if you never set foot in any of them. The flipside, of course, is that if the building requires a major repair, you’ll get to split that bill with all the other owners. According to Haque, it also means that you might derive additional value from your fees if they allow you to save on things you might otherwise pay for, such as that gym membership.

4) They can go up at any time

According to the 2012 TD Canada Trust Condo Education survey, 68 percent of condo buyers had no idea that their fees could increase. Well, here’s news for you: Condo fees can increase at any time, and there’s virtually no limit as to how high they can go. That’s because it’s up to the condominium’s board of directors to ensure that enough money is being collected to pay for current expenses and save up for future repairs. If something unexpected happens to the building, or other common costs such as gas or electricity shoot up, condo fees might go up right along with them. Unfortunately, 38 percent of condo buyers also said that they weren’t confident that they could afford a fee increase. Yikes!
If you’re buying a condo or any other property, you should never be at the very limit of what you can afford. It’s way too risky, and not just because of condo fees; interest rates, utilities and taxes can also increase significantly.
“Qualifying for a mortgage isn’t the same as feeling like you can actually afford home ownership,” Haque said. “When qualifying for a mortgage, look at your numbers in terms of all the possible fees. You should build in an inflation rate on the condo fees to see what your budget would look like if those fees were to increase. You also want to discuss interest rates with your lender, and what would happen if those were to increase down the road.”

5) Condo fees are included in your mortgage calculation

According to Haque, 50 percent of a building’s condo fees are folded into the calculation that determines whether your income is sufficient enough to cover your mortgage and other necessary expenses. This means that a condo fee affects the size of the mortgage you can qualify for. So, while owning a condo can help you to build some real estate equity, it’s worth weighing this desire against waiting longer and saving a larger down payment for a house of your own. And while the costs here aren’t likely to be lower compared to condo fees, you’ll have full control over what repairs and improvements are made to the property when it’s exclusively your own.

The bottom line: You can still pay out of pocket

Just because you’re sharing a wall with a set of neighbors doesn’t mean you’re a renter. Owning a condo is just like owning any other home - you’re responsible for maintaining it. The major difference is that paying for repairs might be a lot more complicated. For some people, the benefits of living in a condo far outweigh these inconveniences. Just be sure that you choose your condo carefully and assess what its fees really amount to. As with all things financial, condo fees aren’t just about what you pay, they’re also about what you get in return