General Rupi Tatla 28 Oct

This Vs That Volume 2






This is a sequel to This vs That

Here are a handful of additional terms used in the real estate and mortgage industry and hopefully the explanation will provide some clarity.


The mortgagor is the borrower and the mortgagee is the lender.


The act of porting a mortgage allows the borrower to transfer the terms, conditions and interest rate of the current mortgage to the home the borrower would like to purchase. There is sometimes a blend and extend that occurs as well. An assumable mortgage allows the purchaser to assume or take over the responsibilities and liabilities under the mortgage from the vendor.


The deposit is a sum of money negotiated in a real estate purchase/sale transaction by the seller and buyer upon removing subjects. It’s a sign of following through with the transaction in good faith. The deposit is then held “in-trust” with the Realtor and transferred to the lawyer for completion. The down payment is a sum of money required by the lender to seek financing to purchase the subject property. The percentage of down payment may vary from scenario to scenario as lender policies can shift with the economy. The deposit is a portion of the down payment. For example, if the purchase price of the home is $450,000 and the buyer is putting $45,000 (10%) down to secure 90% financing, the deposit is $15,000 (held in “in-trust”) upon removing subjects, then only $30,000 is required to be paid to the lawyer at completion.


A closed mortgage that is terminated prior to the maturity date will be levied a penalty, either 3 months interest or an Interest Rate Differential calculation. An open mortgage, if terminated prior to maturity, will not be charge a penalty at all. One could have a Fixed Closed or Fixed Open mortgage and the same applies to variable – one could have either an open or closed term.


The term of the mortgage represents the duration of the contractual obligation to the lender. Terms range from six months to five year with some lenders offering seven and 10 year terms. Amortization or the life of the mortgage is the process of repaying a loan by way of periodic payments. These payment amounts are a combination of principal and interest. The most common amortization schedule that borrowers follow is 25 years. The Latin word admortire means “to kill.” Most borrowers want to kill their mortgage as fast as possible.


Chattels are articles of personal property like TVs, cars, computers, bikes etc. A fixture is a chattel that has become attached to real property over time. There is a 2 part test to consider the intended and purpose of affixation. Real property generally consists of land and whatever is erected, growing upon or affixed to the land.


The owner of the freehold interest has full use and control of the land and the buildings on it, subject to any rights of the Crown, local land-use bylaws, and any other restrictions in place at the time of purchase. In some cases, you might purchase the right to use a residential property for a long, but limited, period of time – this is called a leasehold interest. Leasehold interests are frequently set for periods of 99 years.


General Rupi Tatla 27 Oct


This vs That

Versus (vs) – as compared to or as one of two choices; in contrast with.

At least once a day I get asked, what’s the difference between ‘this’ and ‘that’? With this in mind I put together some content that will hopefully provide some clarity in regards to  a few of the more commonly asked questions.


Most real estate deals are fairly straightforward, both a lawyer and notary can and will prepare the documents for you. If you are buying a home, they will: conduct a title search, obtain tax information and any additional information to prepare the Statement of Adjustments. Then they will prepare closing documents, including a title transfer, mortgage, property transfer tax forms and forward them to the seller’s lawyer/notary for execution. After you sign your papers, the lawyer or notary will register the transfer, mortgage documents and transfer funds to the seller’s lawyer/notary. Sometimes there are more complicated transactions, at this point one would need to decide LAWYER or NOTARY?

If something were to go wrong with your transaction, a notary cannot represent you in court of law, unlike a lawyer. Nor can the notaries represent and guide you through a dispute process. Notary also cannot advise you on legal matters, for example, if you go to a notary to convey a real estate file and you were to ask a legal question, such as, “I think my neighbour’s fence is on my land, what should I do?” the notary cannot give you advice on what your recourse is.

With regard to the fee structure, there isn’t much of a different these days. If you are unsure of which one to use, it’s always a good idea to phone a notary and a lawyer to describe the services you need and then decide from there.


A co-signer is a co-owner that is registered on the title and is equally accountable for payments, while a guarantor personally guarantees the payments will be made if the original applicant defaults. However, the guarantor has no claim to the property as they’re not registered on the title. Typically a co-signer is added to a mortgage application to increase the income, which will assist with reducing the debt service ratios. Whereas a guarantor will be utilized if the applicant(s) has received past credit blemishes and needs to strengthen the file.


These two are slightly different but work in conjunction with one another. Title insurance is an assurance as to the state of title of any given property. In practical terms, it protects lenders and purchasers against loss or damage suffered due to survey problems, defects in title and other matters relating to title fraud. A survey certificate will typically show the lot boundaries, improvement locations and often the locations of any rights of ways or easements registered against the property. This will also assist a purchaser in determining whether any of the improvements on the property encroach on a neighbouring property or if there are improvements from an adjacent property that encroach on the subject property.


When a property is held in joint tenancy, the situation is what I refer to as “the last man standing.” When one joint tenant dies, the entire property belongs to the remaining, surviving joint tenant(s). Only that last person can use his or her Will to give the property to someone else. Tenants in common is a different story. In this arrangement, each person owns a percentage that is registered in their name. They can then leave their share to someone in their Will or sell it (never mind the logistical problems of trying to sell one third of a house).


To switch/transfer one’s mortgage, it involves moving your current mortgage from one lender to another without changing anything except for the term and interest rate, amortization remains the same. If switching lenders within the term, there will likely be a penalty for breaking the mortgage, though often the savings in moving to another lender with a better rate will substantially outweigh the penalty. Doing a switch at the end of your mortgage term will allow you to completely avoid the penalty.

In re-financing a mortgage, the borrower is also likely taking advantage of lower rates whilst at the same time accessing equity. The reasons for this could range from; debt consolidation, renovation, purchasing a vacation home, post-secondary education, investment planning and so on… Two other major differences are when one wants to re-finance, the maximum loan is 80% of the market value whereas a switch/transfer lender can surpass the 80% mark as the mortgage amount does not change. And finally, with re-financing the mortgage will need to be disbursed and re-registered with the lender (or new lender) therefore a fee will be charged. With a switch/transfer, there is a possibility that there will be no extra fees charged.


Nobody wants a mortgage and everyone that has one wants to pay it off faster, or at least they should. Payments are income streams that lenders blend a principal and interest amount into one payment with the goal to pay more principal than interest. As one gets further through the term the inevitable shift happens from paying more interest to paying more principal (P&I).

The bi-weekly payment is basically 12 monthly payments spread out over 26 installments or every other week. For example, if your monthly payment is $2,000 your total yearly mortgage payment will be $24,000. The bi-weekly or 26 payment equivalent is $923.08 ($24,000.08), the net amount remaining unchanged. To speed up the inevitable P&I shift, one might want to opt for accelerated bi-weekly payment frequency. This is the key to shortening or reducing the life of the mortgage (amortization). The accelerated repayment plan takes a 24 payment cycle and adds on 2 more payments of the same size, for a total of 26 payments or 1 extra payment every 12 months to total 13 payments. So you are paying slightly more each year, thus reducing the life of the mortgage. Using the same example from above, if your monthly payment was $2,000, adding two extra payments to the grand total, one’s yearly mortgage payment would be $28,000, with each payment now being $1,076.92.

Obviously if you have questions, we here at Dominion Lending Centres would love to answer them for you.


General Rupi Tatla 15 Oct

Mortgage vs HELOC – Do You Know The Difference?Today, with the Internet, we all have an abundance of information literally at our fingertips. Despite the information available many homeowners have limited knowledge about the mortgage process and products. Their lack of knowledge can turn out to be costly. Homeowners should know the difference between a conventional mortgage and a Home Equity Line Of Credit (HELOC).

A conventional mortgage is a registered charge against your home. There is a set term – 6 months to 10 years and an interest rate can be either a fixed or variable rate. Payments include principal and interest. Many homeowners choose a fixed rate as it is easier to set budgets knowing the interest rate won’t change during the term chosen. Variable interest rates will change as Prime changes. With a solid strategy in place, choosing an interest rate will be simple. If you have less than a 20% down payment (equity) the maximum amortization is 25 years. More than 20% down and a 30 year amortization is available. You can purchase a home with as little as 5% down (maximum purchase price $999,999).

A HELOC is a secured line of credit also registered as a charge against your home.  This charge can be in first position but generally is added after the fact behind a conventional mortgage. Some lenders will not permit another charge on title. Like any line of credit, a HELOC is fully open and you can borrow and re-borrow. The interest rate is tied to Bank Prime and may fluctuate. Government regulations stipulate that a HELOC cannot exceed 65% of the value of your home, unless in second position, in which case you can borrow to 80% of the value and qualifying must be done using the 5 year posted rate (4.64%) with a 25 year amortization. Payments can be as low as interest only but that is truly the never-never plan for repayment. Any spikes in interest rates can throw off the most dedicated budgeters!

If used responsibly and with a sound strategy, a HELOC can have many advantages. Purchasing investments with a HELOC creates a tax deduction for interest paid. Renovating your home with a HELOC allows you to draw from it when you need it, only paying interest on the money used. Your children’s education, buying a boat or the down payment for a recreation property can all be facilitated with a HELOC. A HELOC can be a great tool for investments, renovations and short term financing needs. Anything longer term, however, is often cheaper to choose a conventional mortgage with a variable rate. The difference in the lower interest rate outweighs the flexibility of the HELOC.

Most people when buying a home take a conventional mortgage with a fixed term and rate. The astute homeowner understands the power of a conventional mortgage combined with a HELOC. Understanding your needs together with a strong financial strategy can turn your largest debt into your greatest asset!


General Rupi Tatla 8 Oct

Top 4 Reasons Why a Variable Rate Mortgage Can Put You Farther AheadThe general consumer will be hard pressed when left to their own devices to shop on their own for their next mortgage, especially if they visit with one of the BIG banks. Typically they will talk about their most popular and profitable product, the 5 year FIXED rate mortgage. If you don’t know to ask for anything different, that is what they will recommend for you.

Working with a professional mortgage broker, the insight and value we can provide will help you not just get a mortgage, but build a personal home loan strategy to help you get farther ahead down the road, to better reflect you future needs and goals.

So here are the TOP 4 reasons why you need to look at a variable rate type mortgage product.

1) It’s always a cheaper interest rate: The current GAP between the Best in Market (BiM) fixed rate and BiM variable rate mortgage is a difference of = 0.60%— for the Average Canadian Mortgage Balance ($310K), that’s a savings of $159.57 that you don’t have to pay to the BANK for interest each month. Over the full 5 year term, you have saved over $9.5K in interest  – should nothing change in the prime rate (breaks down to just $29.70/month for every $100K borrowed).

2) It’s always a better monthly P+I repayment distribution which helps YOU pay down your mortgage loan balance quicker, and in effect, again pay less interest to the banks.

Variable Rate

So –  which product’s monthly payment do YOU want to pay for principal? 59.32% of the lower payment’s monthly amount to principal or 51.15% of the higher payment’s monthly amount to principal?

3) More flexible contract terms, and cheaper to get out of if you need to. To break this type of mortgage contract the penalty calculations are SIMPLE– just 3 months interest calculated on the balance remaining, for the term remaining.

The average Canadian will do something with their contracts after the 3 yr mark so if you owed $281K after 36months of this contract, then your penalty to break about $1,500.

Whereas the FIXED is a very complicated math equation, with fine print, and potential claw backs on the discounts given up from. In the opening contractual terms, you agreed to pay them the full interest of $38,612. After 36 months, you may have paid the majority of that to them, but they will want the rest to full term – it is this calculation that can be quite severe.

YOU can always do a SWITCH into the remaining term fixed as well, should you wish to take that route – with additional costs. Most VRMs are portable, meaning if you don’t need any new money for your next purchase. You can take that existing contract with you to your new property.

4) Banks are NOT going to increase your VRM payment severely…. MYTH— you will have a legal contract term outlining the math equations associated with the Bank of Canada overnight prime lending rate. Most banks have a similar prime. Right now, (as of the last announcement BoC announcement on September 19, 2015) prime is 2.50% and holding…. most internal bank prime rates are now 2.70%. The discount associated with their prime is what they are in control of for the mortgage variable rate offering… BUT once you sign your five year contract that math equation WILL NOT change in the term. The only thing that MAY change is the Federal Government’s Regulated BoC Prime lending rate, and that is capped to a max of a quarter of a point (0.25%) as to not trigger a negative effect in the larger economy. A 0.25% increase (or decrease as we have seen twice this year) for every $100K borrowed is just a change of $12.24/month, which is manageable. Most lenders take up to 90 days to do the administration to change your interest portion of your monthly payment, which gives you enough time to speak with your mortgage agent to help decide if you want to SWITCH to a fixed. (no costs to do that)

Since 2005, the Bank of Canada Rate hasn’t changed much. Back then, it was 2.50%, and lenders had same as their internal prime rate. The Federal Government promised to keep rates low, and from June 2007 to July 2009, they froze that rate to a ZERO increase. We have only seen two increases since then, bringing the prime up to 3.00%, and on December 2010, the Feds again froze the rate, which resulted in NO adjustments until January 2015, when they opted to DECREASE the rate by 0.25%, down to 2.75 and again a second decrease in July 2015 to where we are now. The September 19 announcement has said they will keep rates at a zero increase for some time to come.

Knowing it’s an election year, it’s not likely that the politicians are going to mess around with people’s money — they want their votes… and frankly after the election, whoever the new minister will be…. will take some time to get up to speed in their new duties of that portfolio… so don’t expect much change for the next year. This was reiterated by Dominion Lending Centres’ Chief Economist, Dr. Sherry Cooper, at our most recent conference.

Conclusion: Overall effect of using the variable rate contract is this:

More flexible product, with a lower monthly expected payment; better redistribution of that payment to principal, resulting in a lower end balance to renegotiate in five years time (should nothing happen to the Prime in that term) AND if you want to be conservative, and have a set payment for your household budget then… why not use the lower VRM product and make the FIXED payment.

EVERY additional dollar you put down per month – is now all principal – reducing our overall loan, and now reducing the overall interested they CAN charge you in term.

… or… better yet… why not set that monthly payment difference aside into a TSFA account, and once a year, make a decision to either invest it, or pay down your mortgage balance, or do both.

Working with Dominion Lending Centres is not just about shopping for the BEST rate… it’s understanding the variety of products that are offered, and how best they can assist you in your own goals.


General Rupi Tatla 7 Oct

Caution: Mortgage Penalties and Early ExitOkay so you have a mortgage. Let’s face it, it’s a contract with terms, conditions, rights and obligations for both you and the lender. However, now for whatever reason you need or want to break the contract before the end of the term. Many mortgage lenders will allow this provided they are compensated. You have a rate of x.xx%, the best they can lend to someone else right now is 1% less so they want the difference, known as Interest Rate Differential or IRD. Seems fair right? Right. However, as is often the case, the devil is in the details. It is the method of calculating IRD that borrowers should be aware of as not all mortgages are created equal.

Let’s look at a couple of methods commonly used with what we Mortgage Brokers call “A” business. A or AAA business is where everything on the file makes sense, good credit, documented income and a normal residential type property. This is the vast majority of mortgage business on the books in Canada.

Method A – Posted Rate Method

This method uses lender posted rates to arrive at the formula to calculate the penalty. Posted rates are generally used by major Banks and some Credit Unions. These are the mortgage rates you will see on their websites and you will recognize them because the rates will not appear reasonable. They subtract a discount from these rates to arrive at the actual lending or contract rate. Nobody pays posted rates. Let’s say the posted rate for a 5 year term is 4.90% but you are savvy, able to negotiate a discount of 2% and come away with an actual mortgage rate of 2.90%.

Everything is rolling along great for 2 years when, for whatever reason, you need to exit the contract. What will my penalty be you ask, hopefully of the lender, while silently begging for mercy? The answer; the greater of 3 months interest or IRD. Okay 3 months interest sounds good but IRD sounds scary! It can be scary as it is subject to a formula over which you have no control and can be easily manipulated. You have 3 years left on your contract, the lender says their “Posted Rate” for 3 year terms is 3.40%. You think great! My rate is 2.90% your rate is higher at 3.40%, no difference just 3 months interest and I’m outta here! Wait a minute…remember that 2% discount you negotiated? That’s right, it gets subtracted from the posted rate to arrive at the rate that will be used to calculate your penalty. So 3.40% – 2% becomes 1.40%. Who lends at 1.40%? No one. However, your contract rate is 2.90% – 1.40% equals a IRD difference of 1.50%, times 3 years left on the contract equals a penalty of 4.50% of your mortgage balance. Gulp! On a mortgage of $300,000 that is a $13,500 penalty.

The main underlying problem with this method is the fact the posted rates and /or the discounts, can be easily manipulated depending on the interest rate curve, to favour the lender. What happens in today’s interest rate environment with a gently sloping curve is that posted rates decrease from long term to short term however, so do the discounts. For example, a 2% discount on a 5 year fixed term is close to actual nowadays however, you would never get a 2% discount from posted on a 3 year term. Less than 1% would be more realistic.

Let’s look at another common and more favourable method.

Method B – Published Rate Method

This method uses lender published rates which are close to actual lending rates but do not include unpublished rates, which may only be available to Mortgage Brokers or Quick Close specials, among others. Generally these rates are used by Wholesale lenders, many of whom acquire all or most of their business from Mortgage Brokers. You will see these rates on the lender websites and will recognize them because the rates will appear reasonable. Let’s look at an example using the info above but let’s assume at outset you chose a Method B lender as opposed to a Method A lender and compare. Let’s assume your rate is 2.90%, which was the published rate at the time or a special your Mortgage Broker obtained for you. You want to exit the mortgage at the same 2 year point in time. What will my penalty be you ask, hopefully of the lender, while silently begging for mercy? The answer; the greater of 3 months interest or IRD. You have 3 years left on your contract, the lender says their “Published Rate” for 3 year terms is 2.60%. You think great! My rate is 2.90% your rate is 2.60%, not much difference…and you would be right! No discounts involved, just a straight up comparison. Your contract rate is 2.90% – 2.60% equals a difference of 0.30% times 3 years left on the contract equals a penalty of 0.90% of your mortgage balance. On a mortgage of $300,000 that is a $2,700 penalty. Much easier to swallow than $13,500!

Think these numbers sound too far apart to be real? Not at all. In the above examples I have used rates fairly close to actual. This means that in the time frame covered, above rates are and have been essentially flat or slightly declining. So even though rates are/have been roughly the same for the lenders at the time origination vs time of exit, which means there cannot be much harm accrued to the lender, one method produces a very punitive penalty. Doesn’t seem fair does it? The Government recently stipulated that lenders must better disclose their methods, be more transparent and use plain language. However, the Government did not mandate which methods are to be used. So it is buyer beware! As always, get independent professional advice. We here at Dominion Lending Centres can guide you through the maze.

Now the caveat: having said all that, we do in fact support the major banks and credit unions and send billions of dollars of mortgages their way each year. Why? Well, they have by far the widest product selection available in the marketplace. Mortgage products and structures that you simply cannot get anywhere else. This is important because the first question I am asked by a borrower is “can I get approved?” All else is secondary. When it comes to penalties, forewarned is forearmed! Best to know going in. A Mortgage Broker can advise what best options exist and will know which lenders use which methods or variations of them.

Moral of the Story: As always, get independent professional advice on which lender and options are right for you. Your local independent DLC Mortgage Broker can help.

Good to know tidbits:

A closed mortgage also works in your favour, after all, as long as you are not in default, the lender can’t call you up and say, listen we found someone else who is willing to pay a higher rate than you have and we want out, we would like you to repay us ASAP. Gasp!

Variable rate mortgages generally charge a penalty of 3 months interest, no IRD. However, this is not true of all. Again, get independent professional advice.

By law, if you have a mortgage term longer than 5 years and you exit after 5 years have elapsed, the maximum penalty is 3 months interest.