If you’ve been thinking about buying a house, you’ve probably considered how much you can afford in mortgage payments. Have you also thought about what would happen if you lost your source of income?
While the sudden loss of employment is always a possibility, the current uncertainty of our economy has made more people think about the stability of their income. Whether you’ve already made an offer on a home or you’ve just started looking, here is how job loss could affect your mortgage approval.
What role does employment play in mortgage approval?
In addition to ensuring you earn enough to afford a mortgage payment; mortgage lenders want to see that you have a history of consistent income and are likely to in the future. Consistent employment is the best way to demonstrate that.
To qualify for any mortgage, you’ll need proof of sufficient, reliable income. Your mortgage broker will walk you through the income documents your lender will need to verify you’re employed and earning enough income. So, if your employment situation is questionable, you may want to reconsider a home purchase until your employment is more secure.
Should you continue with your home purchase after you’ve lost your job?
What if you’ve already qualified for a mortgage, and your employment circumstances change? Simply put, you must tell your lender. Hiding that information might be considered fraud, and your lender will find out when they verify your information prior to closing.
If you’ve already gone through the approval process, then you know that your lender is looking for steady income and employment.
Here are some possible scenarios where you may be able to continue with your purchase:
- If you secure another job right away and the job is in the same field as your previous employment. You will still have to requalify, and it may end up being for less than the original loan, but you may be able to continue with your home purchase. Be aware, if your new employer has a probationary period (usually three months), you might not be approved. Consult your broker.
- If you have a co-signer on your mortgage, and that person earns enough to qualify on their own, you may be able to move forward. Be sure your co-signer is aware of your employment situation.
- If you have other sources of income that do not come from employment, they may be considered. The key factors are the amount and consistency of the income. Income from retirement plans, rentals, investments, and even spousal or child support payments may be considered under the right circumstances.
Can you use your unemployment income when applying for a mortgage?
Generally, Employment Insurance income can’t be used to qualify for a mortgage. The exceptions for most financial institutions are seasonal workers or people with cyclical employment in industries such as fishing or construction. In this situation, you’ll be asked to show at least a two-year cycle of employment followed by Employment Insurance benefits.
However, it’s not the ideal situation and most lenders won’t be willing to approve your mortgage under those conditions.
What happens if you’re furloughed (temporary leave of absence)?
Not all job losses are permanent. As we’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers were put on temporary leave. If you’ve already been approved for a mortgage and are closing on a house, your lender might take a “wait-and-see” approach and delay the closing if you can demonstrate you’ve only been furloughed. In these cases, you’ll need a letter from your employer that has a return-to-work date on it. Keep in mind, if you don’t return to work before your closing date, your lender will likely cancel the approval and ask for a re-
If you haven’t started the application process, it would be wise to wait until you are back to work for at least three months to demonstrate consistent employment.
Your credit score and debt servicing ratios may change because of lost income, which means you may no longer meet your lender’s qualifications for a mortgage. While it may not be possible, try to avoid accumulating debt or missing any payments while unemployed.
Talk to your mortgage broker.
“You don’t want to get locked into a mortgage you can’t afford.
You also don’t want to lose a deposit on a home because you lost your financing.
When trying to assess if it’s better to move forward or walk away, we should be your first call.”
Mortgage Mark Herman; Calgary Alberta Mortgage Broker
The latest in giant payout penalties, this one was $47,291.
Here is a person – one of my ACTUAL ALMOST-Customers who had to swallow a surprise at TD for $35,000. (We tried 3 times to get him to not take that mortgage.)
To make this even more mind blowing, at a 39% tax rate that is $65,700 the person has to pay … about the same as 1-year of income at a full time job, without tax taken off.
- Would you work for 1 year to give it all to your bank if you had to sell or move or close down the mortgage for any reason?
- Would you sign an agreement like that?
- Have you already signed an agreement like this without knowing you have?
EASY to AVOID …
You don’t need to add in this risk to your home purchase. It is easy to get around by taking a mortgage from a major Broker Bank.
Broker banks calculate the payouts the “old way” which was way more fair to you, the buyer. Click here for the posts about payout penalties.
Broker banks also have better Terms & Conditions than the Big-6.
“Broker Banks have better T&C than all of the Big-6. Call a mortgage broker first.”
Mortgage Mark Herman, Top Rated Calgary Mortgage Broker
We always focus on the Terms and Conditions of the mortgage. Most people have no idea what the bank is talking about when they sign the mortgage. We DO as we do this every day.
Here is a link from a Canadian Law website about a CLASS ACTION LAW SUIT against CIBC for calculating their payout penalties incorrectly: https://canliiconnects.org/en/commentaries/66074
My favorite part of the article is here:
“difficulty of enforcing fairness to consumers … there is a serious imbalance of bargaining power between the oligopolistic banks and individual borrowers. Legislative action to provide better consumer protection would be desirable.”
And here is a link to a guy that was almost our customer but stayed at his bank because they matched our broker rate. And now he is paying a $35,000.00 payout penalty because of it.
I had an engineer contact me this week. On the exact day of his 1-year anniversary of starting his 5 year, fixed mortgage. At his own bank.
Precisely one year and 10 days before that call came in, he sat in front of me and guaranteed me, with clenched fist lightly pounding on my desk, that he would never leave this house; the dream house. He had his dream job as an engineering team leader at and an oil company in downtown Calgary.
His own bank – one of the Big-6 – had “dropped their pants to keep his business” and matched the rate that that we secured for him at a broker-only lender. I hear this all the time, and went on to explain there is much more to consider than just matching rates. The T & C’s – Terms and Conditions – of our deal were significantly better. Specifically due to the 500% to 800% lower payout penalties if the mortgage ever had to be closed down. After all he worked for an international oil company – and he could be transferred.
Other points for the advantages we reviewed were discounted as well:
· Always getting the best rates on renewal. (Banks know 86% of mortgage renewals will take the banks first offer they send out in the mail, so they always offer more than what the best rates are. The difference is pure profit and shareholder satisfaction.)
· Better repayment allowances
· And a “normal mortgage” registration at land titles, not a “collateral charge” which means you essentially are signing an I-O-U for everything you own as security for the home. This locks you into that same bank when your term is up.
So, today he called and said he is transferring to Texas.
He has to sell his home in a down market and will have a $35,000 payout penalty and realtor fees. He believes the $35,000 payoff penalty is worth it. Taking this punch to the wallet is the only thing between him and ensuring he still has a job more than 5 years from now.
$35,000 is about two years of discretionary spending income after you pay for your mortgage/rent, taxes, food, and car insurance. His penalty with the lender we had secured for him would have been about $7,000. Surprise, exactly 5 times less than what the Big-6 banks penalties are.
Quick Lesson/ Remember This: Your bank may be convenient, and they might match the best rates after you do the work to find a better deal at a broker but they will never change their Terms and Conditions for you. The Big-6 Banks write their details to favor themselves; and they make ~$1 Billion every 120 days. The terms at Broker Banks are as fair as you can get, the cost to you is usually $0, and you always get best rates, and way better service.
And you probably don’t get a $35,000 payout penalty either.
Mark Herman has his Master’s degree in Finance, is a 16-year broker at the brokerage that placed #1 in all of Canada for 6 years in a row. He has done way more than 5,000 mortgage applications. His work partner, Katie, was the 2017 Canadian Mortgage Broker of the Year out of all 14,000 of us, and 2018 President of the Alberta Mortgage Broker Association. They have worked together for 15 years and have not killed each other.
Use a mortgage broker for the biggest asset you can buy as brokers have your best interest in mind. As above, the bank does not look out for your best interests.Mark Herman, Best Calgary Alberta Mortgage Broker
Inside data on maxing your credit score – 10 tips
It can be tough to optimize your credit score when you don’t even know what it is? The answer is by focusing more on your overall “credit hygiene” rather than on any one particular score.
Dental hygiene is preventative maintenance to ensure your teeth and gums are the best they can be at all times. Having a similar routine for your personal credit history can be equally important to avoid problems when you least need them—like when buying or refinancing a home.
If you are always employing best practices, then you are optimizing your credit score and your overall credit profile, regardless of who is checking, when they are checking and what is being counted and reported.
Unfortunately, more credit in the wrong hands can lead to abuse. Some people rely on credit to supplement their income and end up in an untenable situation. These credit hygiene tips are intended for people who are responsible with credit.
1. Never Go Over Limits – Leave Some Room
When you have a credit card or line of credit hovering around its limit, you are at risk of going over, which is not a good thing for your credit score. And it might happen innocently—you started out under the limit, but with interest charges and possible over-limit penalties, you are now over limit and lose about 100 points.
Even when you deploy a balance transfer promotion or some form of interest-free period, you should leave room at the top.
It’s like when ordering a coffee, leave room at the top for the milk—even if you take it black, avoid spillages.
2. Accept All Offers of Increased Limits
You should usually welcome credit limit increases. You look healthier and stronger to the casual reader, because your limits have some heft to them. And perforce, you instantly reduce your percentage utilization of credit with an increased limit. This often results in a higher credit score.
Percentage utilization has a 30% weighting on your personal credit score.
3. Spread Around Your Balances
When maximizing your personal credit score, you should look at your utilization of available credit for each individual credit facility. If your goal is to maximize your score at all times, but you do carry credit balances, try to spread it around, rather than cluster it all on one card. One way this can arise is when you use balance transfer promotions to reduce interest expenses. You’ll have to evaluate the trade-offs of each approach.
4. Exercise All Cards and Lines of Credit
We tend to favor one particular credit card (maybe we like their rewards program) and we might neglect our other cards. If you are trying to maximize your credit score, it is good to use all available credit fairly regularly, even if it’s just for a brief moment every few months.
These trade lines can get stale and they are not pulling their full weight. Update the DLA (date of last activity) with a modest transaction and then pay it online immediately.
5. If in Doubt, Do NOT Close a Credit Card
It will rarely be correct to close older, unused credit facilities since they are contributing “score juice.” If you want to close the card to avoid an annual fee, just ask the card issuer to downgrade your card to a free card. You will retain your valuable history, but avoid annual fees (and the spectre of forgetting to pay the fee).
PS: My Avion card just charged me $120 annual fee and I am not using it. I called and they reversed the fee for me! and the card is still open.
Equifax Canada states your history can have a 15% weighting on your personal credit score.
6. Use It or Lose It
If you never borrow money, or you have a solitary credit card in your wallet and you never actually use it, eventually you will have nothing generating a credit score for you. And you may end up with no score at all. And that can really cramp your style when you need a mortgage.
You want at least 2 things reporting to your bureau. 2 credit cards are best so if one oes sideways, you still have one running.
7. Pay Your Active Credit Cards At Least Twice Monthly – The Statement Date Strategy
I keep track of the statement cycle of my oft-used cards, and I pay the balance in full several days BEFORE the next statement is issued. The card issuer typically reports my statement date balance to the credit bureaus – so I always want that balance to be small, and that way my utilization ratios are really good.
And within a week or so of the statement being issued, I go back in and pay the statement balance in full. This ensures I never have interest charges on my core credit card usage, since the balance is always brought to zero before the due date.
The smaller the limits on your credit cards, the more dramatic the impact of the statement date strategy.
8. Pay Disputed Items – Then Argue Your Position After the Fact
You may know someone who was offended by charges they were certain did not belong on their credit card statement. They refused to pay and preferred to wait out the investigation process. Unfortunately, by doing that they run the risk of interest charges and late payments.
My own experience has always been the card issuers do the right thing when fraud or outright billing errors are at hand. So, I pay and wait for the credit to come back to my account when the investigation is complete.
NOTE – if the fraudulent charges are very large and quite serious, this is a different matter altogether and you should strategize the best approach with the authorities and management at the card issuer.
9. Scour & Clean All Reporting Errors
There might be some incorrect information in your personal credit history that is needlessly dragging down your score. Those are easy and necessary fixes. And the impact on the personal credit score can be profound. There are many types of errors, but two examples are:
- You have two or more personal profiles with the credit bureau, so your information is scattered and diffused. Combining it all into one credit report could well increase your score and strengthen your look. (This often happens to people whose name is hard to spell, or who have legally changed their name.)
- You completed a consumer proposal and all the debts included in the proposal should be reporting zero balances and should NOT be “R9s.”
Each agency provides a mechanism on its website for reporting errors. Mortgage brokers can fast-track an investigation with Equifax Canada for their clients. What might take a consumer two months we can often get done in a few days.
10. The Takeaway
The credit reporting agencies may generate a different score for credit card issuers, car dealerships or mortgage lenders, and the score they provide the consumer upon request is typically none of these. Therefore, you should be more concerned with ensuring you are always using best practices that will score well, regardless of who is doing the measuring.
The credit hygiene strategy ensures your credit history is a weapon you can wield with confidence, and that whatever method is generating your credit score, it will always be optimized and at its maximum potential.
“Always be working on your credit,” Mark Herman, best Calgary mortgage broker.Mark Herman, best Calgary mortgage broker.
The Big-6 banks love your money, not your sparkling personality.
This article is old and still shows the same calculations.
We get calls on high payout penalties all the time. The answer is broker lenders have payouts that are about 30% as much as the Big-6 banks.
Mortgage Mark Herman, top Calgary mortgage broker.
Another reason not to have your mortgage at your main bank…
Many home owners have all their banking in one place for convenience but this is another “trap.” If everything is at your favorite bank, they can see:
- from your pay deposits if you are still working, or are receiving EI payments.
- what your debts and minimum payments are,
- your savings & checking balances, what your Line-of-credit is, and your credit score.
- they know the value of your home and the mortgage amount.
With all of this data on hand, the bank can decline your deferral and suggest that you use more funds from savings or line-of-credit to make the payments.
Mortgage Mark Herman, Top Calgary Mortgage Broker
Someone who has lost their job, or has reduced pay, due to the virus, is not going to react well to having their bank tell them to continue to make payments from savings or LOCs.
The Deferral Trap
If you have the ability to not defer and can continue to make the payments it will keep you out of the “Deferral Trap.” The “Trap” is when all the payments that were deferred, and the interest not yet paid, needs to be repaid or the lender could renew you at any rate they want; like posted rates. The only way you could change banks and/or still get a competitive rate would be to catch up all the owed funds.
Up to the Banks to allow you to defer … or not.
The mortgage insurers are leaving it to the lenders to decide if they will defer payments or not and the banks have not published any guidelines on how they are going to deal with this. Reviews so far range from, “super-easy, no questions asked, deferred for 6 months” to the other end of the spectrum with “your mortgage is too new” or if you have not been laid off, have not tested positive for Covid-19, or your credit is not good enough, or they want to redo the entire mortgage application, then it is their choice to allow the deferral. The way around this would be to contact your mortgage insurer directly to see if you can work through them if your bank is not cooperating.
Are you looking for a Mortgage Broker who specializes in the FTHBI in Calgary? That would be us!
We have completed 6 of these deals in 2019. There was as total of 260. So that puts us at completing 2.5% of the entire Calgary market for this program. Interesting!
Obviously, we love this program for these 2 reasons:
- You save between $100 and $200 per month on the mortgage payments. For sure. From Day 1.
- The point of the program is to lower your mortgage payments. When the government puts 5% down for you, it lowers the total balance outstanding and this lowers the payments.
- You save about $4000 in the CMHC fees.
- You put down 5%, and the government matches 5% on existing homes. That means your CMHC fee is based on 10% down and not 5% down, and you save that from Day 1 as well.
The down side
The down side is this is registered as an interest free loan from the government. You still pay them back 5% of the sale price when you sell. That is 5% of whatever the sale price is so it could be more or less, but it is still 5%.
“The down side is not a big deal!
Guaranteed lower mortgage payments and lower CMHC fee! This is a win!”
Mortgage Mark Herman, Top Calgary Mortgage Broker near me.
FREE RESEARCH Data on the First Time Home Buyer Incentive from Mortgage Mark Herman.
- Call us for all the data you need on this program.
- We have it all and can explain it to you -it is a long, boring read.
Here is the link to the full article, pasted below https://www.canadianmortgagetrends.com/2020/02/cmhcs-first-time-home-buyer-incentive-off-slow-start/
Four months after its official launh, CMHC’s First-Time Home Buyer Incentive had funded just 4% of its three-year goal, according to new data provided by the agency.
From the time the down payment assistance program launched on Sept. 2 to Dec. 9, CMHC received just 3,252 applications from across Canada, 2,730 of which were approved. That translated into total funding of $51.3 million—well off pace of the agency’s three-year target of $1.25 billion.
Under the program, the government will provide first-time buyers with an interest-free down payment loan of up to 5% for resale purchases, and 10% if the property is a new build. The CMHC then participates in any rise or fall in value of the home, and the loan must be repaid either when the house is sold or within 25 years.
Interest in the program was highest in Quebec, where 1,300 applications were received. Comparatively, just 436 Ontarians applied, according to statistics that were tabled in Parliament last week.
Here’s a look at the breakdown of applications from some of the major housing markets across Canada:
- Greater Toronto Area: 148
- Vancouver: 45
- Edmonton: 447
- Calgary: 260
- Winnipeg: 144
- Montreal 654
- Halifax: 64
- New Brunswick: 60
- PEI: 12
CMHC head Evan Siddall defended the results via Twitter on Friday:
“In addition to CMHC’s challenges in estimating demand for the FTHBI, uneven lender support is a complicating factor,” he tweeted on Friday. “It may also be evidence that there is less unsatisfied FTHBI demand due to the stress test than people claim. People can always buy less expensive homes.
Why is the FTHBI Unpopular?
Since the initiative was first announced in the Liberals’ spring budget, many in the industry have criticized it for being overly complicated and promising negligible benefits.
One of the biggest restrictions of the program is that it’s currently limited to purchases of up to $565,000. In markets like Toronto and Vancouver, buyers can be hard-pressed to find available properties under that threshold. According to recent data from the Toronto Real Estate Board, the average sale price in December was $837,788.
Many buyers have also expressed unease at the thought of giving up equity in their home, particularly with prices rising rapidly in many markets across the country.
While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised tweaks to the FTHBI during last year’s federal election, no additional updates have since been provided. The proposed changes would increase the maximum purchase price eligible under the program to $789,000 for buyers in Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria.
It remains to be seen whether the FTHBI’s slow start is a harbinger of future demand over the coming years, or whether first-time buyers will grow more receptive to sharing a chunk of their home equity with the government.
This link does a great job explaining why rates are coming down right now for mortgages.
- Events that could cause a stock market crash tend to also cause a “flee to safety” and the 5-year Canadian Mortgage Bond is that safety net.
- When investors buy these bonds the demand goes up so the bonds pay less as everyone wants them.
- The lower cost of the bond means a lower interest rate on your mortgage
This should be a short term blip, so if you are buying a home take advantage of it quickly
Mark Herman, top Calgary mortgage broker