28 Nov

Why You Should Not Trust “What Can I Afford” Calculators


Posted by: Peter Puzzo

Why You Shouldn't Trust "What Can I Afford Calculators"Your maximum mortgage amount is determined by your credit profile, your usable income (which is determined by each lender), your down payment among other requirements. Not all applicants fit into one box and this is why you should never trust the “What do I Qualify for Mortgage Calculators”.

Let me tell you a story about Jack and Jill who want to buy a home with city water for their growing family (yes, I have been reading a lot of nursery rhymes lately with my toddlers and have always thought they were a couple).

Jack has a long-term $65,000 per year salaried job with guaranteed pay. Jill is just out of nursing school and has been working as a temporary part-time employee making $25 per hour. They have one child and earn Child Tax Benefit income of $350 per month. They figure because Jill typically works 20 hours a week that they should be able to use all their income of $7,933 per month to qualify.

They decide to check out their bank’s online mortgage qualifying calculator. They are excited as they have $25,000 saved to cover the down payment and closing costs and their bank’s calculator says their “income” is sufficient to buy a $375,000 home.

After getting an accepted offer on a home they head to their bank to get a mortgage. The banker checks their credit, runs some numbers and determines shelter costs (mortgage payment, property taxes and heat) at today’s rates will be $1,993 per month for the property.

It turns out that with Jack and Jill’s credit report results, both with a credit rating of 650 (an average rating but not excellent) that they cannot go over 35% of their usable gross income for shelter expenses. The key words here are “usable income”. The banker then explains that though Jill is now earning income that they would not consider this temporary positions income in calculations until she has at least 2 years from the same employer to show income stability. The bank also does not use Child Tax Benefit income. The 35% of their usable income (Jack’s salary only) works out to $1,895, which is not enough to cover the shelter expenses for the purchase . They do not qualify for the purchase with their bank.

Jack and Jill thought it would be no problem. They are upset and confused so they contact a Mortgage Broker recommended by The Old Woman who just moved out of the shoe. The broker reviews their application and reconfirms that their application doesn’t fit with their current bank (which the broker also works with).

However, the broker has a relationship with many lenders including one that helped the Old Woman move out of the shoe. This lender will uses the Child Tax Benefit income. This means with the brokers connections that their usable income will increase by $350 per month putting them at $2,018 of income allowed to be used towards shelter expenses and above the $1,993 required to buy the home. They have now been approved to buy their dream home and are looking forward to running water.

This is just one example of why the “What can I afford calculators” may give you false results which ultimately could result in disappointment.

Never trust the calculators and always place a subject to financing clause if you make an offer on a home. Please consult with a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker before you start your home search so you know your buying power.

Kathleen Dediluke


Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Kathleen is part of DLC Integrity Mortgage BC based in Nanaimo, BC.

21 Nov

What Happened With Prime?


Posted by: Peter Puzzo


What Happened With Prime?Did Prime go up?


Did my Variable rate mortgage rate change?

No, not unless your variable rate mortgage is with TD.

So the Bank of Canada did not raise rates?

No, in fact they are more likely to lower rates than increase them.

But TD raised rates?

Yes, but only by 0.15% and only for variable rate mortgage holders.

If you are a TDCT client in a variable rate mortgage at TD then read on…

Update RE TD Variable Rate mortgage rate changes

On Nov 1st, 2016 TD announced their own private rate increase affecting just one exclusive group of TD clients. Specifically those in a TD variable rate mortgage.

While the rate adjustment may be minor, at only 0.15%, it is still a change, and nobody likes change.

Does this mean immediate action should be taken?


Does this mean that going variable was a mistake?


Is this change going to stick?

At this point (Nov 11, 2016) no other lenders have followed suit, and TD is effectively all alone on this move. As such TD may back down and reverse the increase.

For those of you with a discount of Prime -0.60% or better, you are still laughing. Such a discount leaves you with a net rate of 2.25% which can only be matched by a two-year fixed rate product. And if you have such a discount the odds are you have been enjoying it for some time now as well. Racking up the savings!

For those whose net rate has risen above the 2.25%, keep in mind some of the key features of the TD variable rate product in particular that may make it worth the extra few dollars: You did not wind up in this product with this institution by accident.

  • The TD variable is a Fixed Payment product, which means your effective payments will remain the same. This is meaningful if the subject property is an investment property as well – no change to your monthly cash-flow.
  • The TD variable is nearly the only product that can be converted into a 3-year fixed from day one. (Currently ~ 2.29% – but this is just an example, not a suggestion for action) There are greater options with TD than with other lenders.
  • The pre-payment penalty to break this mortgage is only ~0.50% of the balance, about nine times less than the penalty to break out of their 5-year fixed product (which 60% of clients wind up doing). Keep this in mind before locking in, I am not locking my TD variable in anytime soon.
  • TD is the only lender that gives you 12 months to find a new home to move the mortgage over to and grants a full penalty refund…even if they give you a deeper discount on the new mortgage! That’s right, a full penalty refund up to a year later, and possibly and even deeper discount!

What is this increase costing me?

A 0.15% increase results in an interest-expense cost increase of $12.50 per $100,000 outstanding.

Got a $300,000.00 mortgage? Then your payment just went up by zero, but the interest component within your payment did go up by $37.50 per month.

Is the Bank of Canada going to raise Prime too?

Highly unlikely by all current estimates.  Said estimates being made by people far smarter than myself.

Will TD raise their own Prime rate further?

This also seems unlikely.

Will TD lower their Prime back to 2.70% to get in line with ALL of the other financial institutions?

Perhaps if TD gets enough pressure from clients they will – and this is where I suggest a call to your TD branch to express your displeasure with them being the only bank to do this to their clients. And only to their mortgage clients.

Do you have an unsecured credit line? Car loan, TD credit card? All good they left the interest rates the same on those. What’s that, you carry no high-interest debt? Yep, TD is sparing the folks with consumer debt and only coming after those with mortgage debt. A touch ironic for sure.

If you wish to call TD directly. Look up the local branch here, press ext ‘250’ and this will connect you to the branch manager directly.

This is a phone call that may result in some action – or you can always call your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional for more information.


Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Dustan is part of DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts based in Coquitlam, BC.

3 Nov

Bank or Mortgage Broker?


Posted by: Peter Puzzo


Bank or Mortgage Broker?
Mortgages are like vehicles. A bank is similar to the brand, Ford or Toyota for example. How long you have a mortgage before it’s time to renew is like the model, a Fusion or Camry. The rate is similar to the car’s paint color, and the mortgage benefits such as prepayment privileges and portability are like the car’s benefits; 4-wheel drive, hatchback, four doors instead of two, etc.

A bank is like a sales person at a Ford or Toyota dealership. He or she know everything about every car on their lot; engine size, warranty, all available colors, and their fuel ratings. He or she can match any car to your needs and lifestyle, as long as it’s sold at their lot.

But what if they don’t have the most fuel efficient car? What if you don’t like the design or you need four doors and a trunk and all they have is two doors and a hatchback? Are you still going to buy from that dealership just because you went there first? No, you’re going down the street to check out the Chevrolet, maybe even BMW, Mazda, or the new Chrysler dealership. That sales person doesn’t want you to go buy from another lot down the street, but you are buying to satisfy your needs, not the dealership’s needs of selling their own cars.

Now imagine a dealership that sold every single make and model of vehicle. Imagine you could choose one of their sales people, and have them work only for you. They know just as much or even more about every make and model, they do all the research for you and tell you what you need to look for, they ask you the important questions; they have your best interest. That is a mortgage broker, your own personal expert.

Now, you may not need a personal expert to buy a car. But what about mortgages? Is a 0.10% lower interest rate a lot? Or will a 20% prepayment privilege instead of 10% be more advantageous? Can you switch lenders and move your mortgage? $15,000 or $5,000 penalty? How is it calculated? Fixed or variable? Is a collateral charge good or bad? 2-year term or 5-year? Big bank or monoline lender? How about credit unions? The list goes on.

So, a bank or Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker? Put it this way; would you buy from the first dealership you visit or hire an expert?

Ryan Oake


Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Ryan is part of DLC Producers West Financial based in Langley, BC