Mortgage Brokers vs Mortgage Specialists

General Tim Hill, MBA 16 Feb

We’ve all heard the terms Mortgage Broker and Mortgage Specialist flung around, but what on earth is the difference? Though they sound similar, there are major differences that all home buyers and owners should be aware of. Let’s start off with some simple definitions.

Mortgage Specialist is a person employed by a lending institution to sell that lender’s mortgage products. A Mortgage Broker belongs to an independent firm that has access to multiple lenders’ mortgage rates and offers. So which one should you choose?

Mortgage Specialists can help if you already have services set-up at a lending institution, such as a bank, in order to consolidate all your finances. This can minimize paperwork as the bank is already familiar with your credit history. If you don’t have all your existing services set-up at one institution, you may choose a lending institution and Mortgage Specialist for the security of using a well-known bank. These are indeed valid reasons to enlist a Mortgage Specialist for your mortgage needs, but they also have some major disadvantages.

Mortgage Specialists only have access to their lender’s products. In a typical situation, homeowners end up with a higher interest rate than other institutions. This occurs because the homeowner must negotiate for themselves and Mortgage Specialists are usually paid according to the rate they sell you. This is where Mortgage Brokers come in handy. Mortgage Brokers have access to most lending institution’s products in the market place and can shop around to negotiate the best rate for you. They are also paid a flat rate for their services by the lender, so they don’t benefit from selling you a higher rate. Sounds great, but what else can a broker do?

Mortgage Brokers work for you rather than a single institution, which means they work in your best interest. A Mortgage Broker will handle all the paper work for you and only require a single credit check for all applications. Some people worry about using Mortgage Brokers because they usually belong to unknown, smaller companies, but this should really be viewed as an advantage. Mortgage Brokers are required to have formal training and must complete ongoing accreditation tests and courses to maintain their licences. Mortgage Specialists do not require any formal training and are simply educated by the institution they work for. These specialists are also limited to certain hours set forth by their employers, whereas Mortgage Brokers are typically available 24/7.

Both avenues of mortgage lending have valid functions. If you are willing to do research and feel comfortable negotiating for yourself then a Mortgage Specialist can be a sound investment option. If, however, you are stressed about the process and don’t feel comfortable taking on the responsibility of researching everything for yourself then a Mortgage Broker is a better option for you. It’s always best to take the time and discover which option fits your needs before jumping into one of the biggest purchases of your life.

So get out there and start researching!

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional 

Reverse Mortgage vs. Home Equity Loan

General Tim Hill, MBA 10 Feb

More and more Canadians are going into their retirement years without a lot of money saved in the bank. It is suggested that in order to live a financially comfortable retirement, couples should have saved 50-60% of their peak pre-retirement income, which equates to roughly $42,000 to $72,000 a year or $275,000 to $1,025,000. Singles should have saved 60-70% of their peak pre-retirement income, roughly $30,000 to $50,000 per year or $350,000 to $850,000. (Assuming mortgage is paid off and children are financially independent. All amounts based on 2014 dollars).

In a 2013 survey of 1,500 Canadians over the age of 50, only 2 out of ten households said they would have more than $250,000 saved for retirement. 50% of the households surveyed felt that they would consume their retirement savings within the first 10 years of retirement.

Because of these financial woes, many Canadian homeowners in their later years have considered taking out a home-equity loan or the option of a reverse mortgage to access the equity in their home.

Home-Equity Loan

Like a primary mortgage, a home equity loan lets you convert your home equity into cash. In fact, many refer to a home equity loan as a second mortgage, where you would receive the loan as a single lump-sum payment, and then you would make regular payments to pay off the principal and interest.

Another form of home-equity loan is the home equity line of credit (HELOC). A HELOC gives you the option to borrow up to a pre-approved credit limit, on an as needed basis. Therefore, with a home-equity loan, you would pay interest on the entire loan amount, whereas with a HELOC, you pay interest only on the money you withdraw. Since a HELOC is an adjustable loan, the payment changes as the interest rates fluctuate.

It is important to keep in mind that your home acts as collateral in a home-equity loan. So if you default on the loan, you risk losing your home to foreclosure.

Reverse Mortgage

With a reverse mortgage, instead of making payments to a lender, the lender will pay you, based on a percentage of the appraised value of the home, as well as factors such as your age and the age and the condition of the house.

You will continue to hold title to your home, but as soon as you become delinquent on the property taxes and/or insurance, the condition of the home is in disrepair, you move/sell the home or you pass away, the loan is then due for repayment.

Home Equity Loans, HELOCs and Reverse Mortgages are all options, which allow you to convert the home equity into cash, however, they differ in terms of credit, income, repayment, disbursement, age and equity requirements. Before you make any decisions, find out how to tailor your needs and requirements with the best product for your situation.

For more information on a reverse mortgage loan, contact a mortgage professional at Dominion Lending Centres.

Yvonne Ziomecki
HomEquity Bank – Senior Vice President, Marketing and Sales

Top 8 Benefits of Using a Mortgage Broker

General Tim Hill, MBA 8 Feb

When shopping for a mortgage, many home buyers enlist the services of a Mortgage Professional. There are several benefits to using a Mortgage Broker and I have compiled a list of the top 8:

1. Saves you time – Mortgage Brokers have access to multiple lenders (over 50!). They work with lenders you have heard of and lenders you probably haven’t heard of. Because their relationship with lenders is ongoing, Mortgage Brokers know what is available in mortgage financing and will be able to advise you on what your lending options are without all the leg work that you would have to do in order to find a small percentage of information that a Mortgage Broker already has in hand.

2. Saves you money – Mortgage Brokers, if they are successful, have access to discounted rates. Because of the high volume that they do, lenders make available discounted rates that are not available directly through the branch of the lender that you go to.

3. Saves you from becoming stressed out! – It can be very daunting to find a mortgage. A Mortgage Broker takes on that stress for you. Your Mortgage Broker will make sure all the paperwork is in place. They will keep in good communication with you so that you know what is going on with your mortgage and will keep you up to date with any complications so that there are no surprises.

4. Gives you access to lenders that are otherwise not available to you – Some lenders work exclusively with Mortgage Brokers. In these circumstances, the layman does not have access to these lenders and, therefore, does not have the option to use discounted rates and mortgage products that these lenders offer.

5. Services are free – Mortgage Professionals are paid by the lender and not by you. This is not a disadvantage to you. A good Mortgage Broker will ALWAYS have the best interest of the client in mind because if you, as a client, are happy, you will go tell your friends about the service you’ve received from the Mortgage Professional you work with. Mortgage Professionals rely on referrals, which means that if you are a happy customer, and you got the best deal available, you will tell your friends and family about them which will result in referrals and potential future business.

6. Take on every challenge – As Mortgage Professionals, we see every scenario out there and work to make sure that every client knows what is available to them for financing options for a mortgage. Damaged credit and low household income might be a deterrent for the bank, but a Mortgage Professional knows how to approach the lender and has the relationship to make sure every client has a plan and strategy in place to make sure there is a mortgage in their future.

7. The Mortgage Brokerage industry is monitored by governing bodies – Nowadays, as Mortgage Brokers, it is extremely important to have principles and values that are based on the best interest of the client. In fact, in order to become licensed, the Mortgage Professionals need to be well versed in the ethical and upstanding values that are outlined through the Financial Institutes Commission, a provincial governing body that is a watchman for this industry. FICOM’s mandate is to make sure every Mortgage Broker walks in integrity and in the best interest of their client.

8. The Mortgage Broker has a better understanding of what mortgage products are available than your bank – Interestingly, a Mortgage Broker has to be licensed and cannot discuss mortgages with you unless they are licensed. This is unlike the bank who can “internally train” their staff to sell the specific products available from their bank. The staff at your bank do not have to be licensed Mortgage Professionals.

While this is not an exhaustive list on the benefits of using a Mortgage Professional, it is compelling to see the benefits of using a Mortgage Professional rather than putting a mortgage together on your own.

At Dominion Lending Centres, we have an excellent rapport with the lenders we introduce our clients to. Our customer service is reflective of our relationship with our lenders. We are always professional and we always make sure our clients know every viable option they have for mortgage financing.

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional