17 Feb

Financing Solution – Home Equity Line Of Credit


Posted by: Peter Puzzo


Financing Solution – Home Equity Line Of Credit

The Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) lets you split up your mortgage debt and borrow against your equity at low rates.

The unique feature of this mortgage product is that you can slice the pie (the mortgage balance) into various segments. All of it is registered against the subject property title as just one charge. This gives you the ability to diversify your risk in the marketplace.

If you had a $480,000 outstanding mortgage against a property (with 20% equity or a value of $600,000) you could divide it up into different segments. For example, you might place $200,000 in a variable-rate mortgage, $200,000 as fixed term and $80,000 line of credit.

Spreading the risk across different markets helps you plan for the future, as there are different governing bodies controlling different aspects of the marketplace.

Variable-rate mortgages and lines of credit (LOCs) are based on the prime lending rate and controlled by the Bank of Canada. Fixed rates are based on bond yields and dictated by the lenders themselves. Most other lenders follow the trends of the major chartered banks in Canada.

There are two types of line of credit in Canada: secured (registered against real estate) and unsecured (guaranteed by one’s promise to repay). I can only assist with secured LOCs. The secured LOC means less risk for the lender as it is based on the market value of the home to a maximum of 80% loan-to-value. Therefore the rate is lower and the borrowing ceiling is higher.  On secured LOCs the rate is Prime (2.70%) +0.50% which is 3.20%.  This means that if you had a primary residence with a market value of $500,000 free and clear of any other type of mortgage then you could secure a $400,000 HELOC against it at 3.20%.

Unsecured LOC rates vary depending on the lender, but a safe starting range is 5-7%. And on unsecured LOCs, lenders tend to forward much less than secured LOCs; they range from $5,000-$40,000.

Here is an example of a client I recently assisted. We were able to obtain a HELOC mortgage product from a Canadian charter bank.

  • Current residence (located in the Greater Vancouver area) appraised at $1.15MM.
  • Current mortgage balance, $445,000.
    Maximum loan limit, $920,000 (80% of market value: 1,150,000 x 80%).
    They opted to secure the current outstanding balance of $445,000 into a variable-rate mortgage at Prime-0.45% or 2.25%.
    The additional equity of $475,000 was set up for access across 3 different LOCs; one at $159,000 and two at $158,000.
    These clients now have access to $475,000 for any future needs: renos, emergency, investment opportunities, post-secondary education for their children.

But while a HELOC  allows for product diversification and long-term planning, it is not for everyone. It can be a bad idea if it’s just used as access to easy cash. One needs to possess high self-discipline, as the funds are extremely accessible. Using the home as a piggybank can backfire disastrously.

A HELOC is also not available to all homeowners. There must be enough equity in the home before a lender will consider it.

Please contact your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to discuss the potential of structuring a HELOC mortgage product against your home.

Michael Hallett


Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Michael is part of DLC Producers West Financial based in Coquitlam, BC.



9 Feb

10 First Time Homebuyer Mistakes


Posted by: Peter Puzzo


Ten Things In a Real Estate Transaction That Can Affect Your MortgageIf you’re on the hunt for your first home and want to have a smooth and successful home purchasing experience avoid these common first-time home buying mistakes.

1. Thinking you don’t need a real estate agent

You might be able to find a house on your own but there are still many aspects of buying real estate that can confuse a first-time buyer. Rely on your agent to negotiate offers, inspections, financing and other details. The money you save on commission can be quickly gobbled up by a botched offer or overlooked repairs

2. Getting your heart set on a home before you do your homework

The house that’s love, at first sight, may not always be what it seems, so keep an open mind. Plus, you may be too quick to go over budget or may overlook a potential pitfall if you jump in too fast.

3. Picking a fixer-upper because the listing price is cheaper

That old classic may have loads of potential, but be extra diligent in the inspection period. What will it really cost to get your home where it needs to be? Negotiating a long due-diligence period will give you time to get estimates from contractors in case you need to back out.

4. Committing to more than you can afford

Don’t sacrifice retirement savings or an emergency fund for mortgage payments. You need to stay nimble to life’s changes, and overextending yourself could put your investments – including your house – on the line.

5. Going with the first agent who finds you

Don’t get halfway into house hunting before you realize your agent isn’t right for you. The best source: a referral from friends. Ask around and take the time to speak with your potential choices before you commit.

6. Diving into renovations as soon as you buy

Yes, renos may increase the value of your home, but don’t rush. Overextending your credit to get it all done fast doesn’t always pay off. Take time to make a solid plan and the best financial decisions. Living in your home for a while will also help you plan the best functional changes to the layout.

7. Choosing a house without researching the neighbourhood

It may be the house of your dreams, but annoying neighbours or a nearby industrial zone can be a rude awakening. Spend time in the area before you make an offer – talk to local business owners and residents to determine the pros and cons of living there.

8. Researching your broker and agent, but not your lawyer

New buyers often put all their energy into learning about mortgage rates and offers but don’t forget that the final word in any deal comes from your lawyer. As with finding agents, your best source for referrals will be friends and business associates.

9. Fixating on the lowest interest rate

Yes, a reasonable rate is important, but not at the expense of heavy restrictions and penalties. Make a solid long-term plan to pay off your mortgage and then find one that’s flexible enough to accommodate life changes, both planned and unexpected. Be sure to talk your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to learn more.

10. Opting out of mortgage insurance

Your home is your largest investment so be sure to protect it. Mortgage insurance not only buys you peace of mind, it also allows for more flexible financing options. Plus, it allows you to take advantage of available equity to pay down debts or make financial investments.


Marc Shendale


Genworth Canada – Vice President Business Development