Tino Brelak is an experienced and knowledgeable mortgage broker servicing and helping clients in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) for over 15 years. His banking background (including branch manager, credit auditor and financial advisor) allows him to navigate the mortgage process and ensure you get both the best mortgage rate and the right product. Whether your credit is perfect or poor, Tino can help you purchase a home, refinance, finance your investment property or get you the best mortgage rate at renewal.
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For 2018: Ten mortgage tips you won`t get from your bank

[Posted on: December 20, 2017]

More new mortgage rules come into effect January 1, which will make it trickier to negotiate a mortgage for many Canadians. But with a little expert advice, I can help ensure you have a happy new year that keeps you on the path to prosperity for the coming year and beyond.

1. That "best" 5-year rate? It probably isn't. Fact is, a "best rate quote" is now meaningless, because mortgage pricing is now based on multiple factors. Everything depends on your personal situation. That's why I start with an in-depth assessment, and then review a broad range of lenders and products for the best fit for you.

2. Going variable and long may pay off. If you have over 20% equity, you may want to consider a 30-year amortization mortgage. Benefits can be significant and outweigh any rate premium - more purchasing power, easier mortgage qualifying, and lower payments to boost cash flow or to allow you to divert cash to build a savings buffer or use for investing. Taking a variable-rate mortgage could also improve your mortgage qualifying, then you can lock in later. Let's discuss if these strategies might work for you.

3. The devil is in the details. You can save thousands by making sure you get a mortgage that has a fair prepayment penalty and will also treat you fairly at renewal. Don't end up paying exorbitant fees or be forced to take a high rate at renewal. Look deeper than rate.

4. High-ratio insurance costs more, except when it doesn't. While counter intuitive, lenders offer the best rates to borrowers who need mortgage insurance because they h ...Read Moreave less than 20% down. So even if you have more than 20% down and don't need mortgage insurance, it may actually be worth purchasing. You'll get a lower rate and better options at renewal. I can run the numbers and see if it makes sense for you.

5. At renewal, insured mortgages are gold. Lenders love insured mortgages. If you have one, be sure to check out the competitive landscape at renewal. If you aren't sure if your mortgage is insured or not, I can find out.

6. No company paycheque? Start building your case. If you are self-employed, get in touch now for advice on mortgage planning for the future. I will advise you on what documentation and information you'll need so that I can build a strong case on your behalf for lenders.

7. Does a collateral mortgage make sense? A bank collateral mortgage is registered for more than the value of the home at closing. It can be difficult to transfer and you may find yourself locked in with that bank. Always get a second opinion!

8. Let renters help pay your mortgage. A home with a rental suite could help you become a homeowner in that neighbourhood you love, or help you offset mortgage payments in the house you're in.

9. Keep good credit habits. The best rates go to borrowers with the best credit scores. Keep up good credit habits: pay your bills on time, never let your debt exceed more than 30% of your limit, and don't be tempted to apply for store cards "to save on your purchase today".

10. Let's keep a dialogue going. Wherever you are in your homeownership journey, a great conversation at any time can identify all the ways you can save thousands of dollars in interest and fees during your mortgage years.

New year. New rules. New chance to review your mortgage and wealth-building options. Get in touch for 
a review of your situation.

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How are higher rates affecting your mortgage payments?

The July and September rate hikes by the Bank of Canada have increased variable mortgage rates by a total of 0.5%. If your variable rate was 1.95%, it is now 2.45%.

While there are institutions whose mortgage payments will stay the same, regardless of the change to the Prime, most lenders` payments will change as rate increases.

A $100,00 mortgage, with an amortization of 25 years, would have seen an increase of around $25 monthly, or $300 annually.

If your mortgage has a balance of $350,000, a net increase of 0.5% would hit your wallet by $85 monthly, or $1,020 annually (rough estimate).

The next scheduled dates for announcing the change to the Prime rate are October 25h and December 6th.
If you have a variable rate and would like to discuss your options, please call me!

No Change to Bank of Canada Rate

The Bank of Canada announced on December 6th that it is holding the overnight rate steady, and indicated that they will be cautious in raising rates going forward.

The Bank noted that consumer spending, business investment, and infrastructure spending are contributing to growth, but that export growth has slipped and the global outlook faces continued uncertainty due to "geopolitical developments and trade policies."

The Bank has therefore deemed that "the current stance of monetary policy remains appropriate."

Good news for homeowners with variable-rate mortgages and lines of credit. The next rate-setting day is January 17, 2018.

Why You Should Refinance Now

If you are considering a refinance for any reason - to consolidate your debt, pay for your kids` education, renovate your home or buy an investment property - you should consider doing it now.

New mortgage rules include stress testing for conventional mortgages which, when implemented on January 1, 2018, will make refinance more difficult for many Canadians.

The present day reality is as follows... If you wanted to refinance your mortgage, your broker or bank could approve you for the maximum amount that your income can carry, based on on the contract rate of your mortgage (let`s call it 3.29%) and 30 years amortization.

This will roughly approve you for a mortgage that is 5 times your salary. In other words, your income of $100K will approve you for a mortgage of $500K.

The new mortgage rules will lower your "qualifying power" by at least 20%, since the "stress-test" will be using the higher of posted Bank of Canada rate (currently 4.89%) and 25 years amortization or contract rate + 2%.

Practically speaking, that $100K income could lower your maximum approved mortgage below $400K.

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We regularly receive short-term rate promotions that are not posted online, which means our rates change frequently. Please contact me for these unpublished rate specials, and for your own personalized rate and mortgage plan.

Terms Posted Rates Our Best Rates
6 Months 3.14% 3.10%
1 Year 3.04% 2.64%
2 Years 3.24% 2.54%
3 Years 3.44% 2.79%
4 Years 3.89% 2.94%
5 Years 5.14% 2.99%
7 Years 5.30% 3.69%
10 Years 6.10% 3.74%
5 Year Variable 2.30% 2.30%


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