29 Nov

WOULD A CO-SIGNER ENABLE YOU TO QUALIFY FOR A MORTGAGE?

First Time Home Buyers

Posted by: Tracy Price

There seems to be some confusion about what it actually means to co-sign on a mortgage… and any time there is there is confusion about mortgages, it’s time to chat with your trusted Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional!

Let’s take a look at why you would want to have someone co-sign your mortgage and what you need to know before, during and after the co-signing process.

Qualifying for a mortgage is getting tougher, especially with the 2017 government regulations. If you have poor credit or don’t earn enough money to meet the banks requirements to get a mortgage, then getting someone to co-sign your mortgage may be your only option.

The ‘stress test’ rate is especially “stressful” for borrowers. As of Jan. 1, 2018 all homebuyers with over 20% down payment will need to qualify at the rate negotiated for their mortgage contract PLUS 2% OR 5.34% which ever is higher. If you have less than 20% down payment, you must purchase Mortgage Default Insurance and qualify at 5.34%. The stress test has decreased affordability, and most borrowers now qualify for 20% less home.

In the wise words of Mom’s & Dad’s of Canada… “if you can’t afford to buy a home now, then WAIT until you can!!” BUT… in some housing markets (Toronto & Vancouver), waiting it out could mean missing out, depending on how quickly property values are appreciating in the area.

If you don’t want to wait to buy a home, but don’t meet the guidelines set out by lenders and/or mortgage default insurers, then you’re going to have to start looking for alternatives to conventional mortgages, and co-signing could be the solution you are looking for.

In order to give borrowers, the best mortgage rates, Lenders want the best borrowers!! They want someone who will pay their mortgage on time as promised with no hassles.

If you can’t qualify for a mortgage with your current provable income (supported by 2 years of tax returns and a letter of employment) along with solid credit, your lender’s going to ask for a co-signer.

Ways to co-sign a mortgage

The first is for someone to co-sign your mortgage and become a co-borrower, the same as a spouse or anyone else who you are actually buying the home with. It’s basically adding the support of another person’s credit history and income to those initially on the application. The co-signer will be put on the title of the home and lenders will consider them equally responsible for the debt should the mortgage go into default.
Another way that co-signing can happen is by way of a guarantor. If a co-signer decides to become a guarantor, then they’re backing the loan and essentially vouching for the person getting the loan that they’re going to be good for it. The guarantor is going to be responsible for the loan should the borrower go into default.
Most lenders prefer a co-signer going on title, it’s easier for them to take action if there are problems.

More than one person can co-sign a mortgage and anyone can do so, although it’s typically it’s the parent(s) or a close relative of a borrower who steps up and is willing to put their neck, income and credit bureau on the line.

Ultimately, as long as the lender is satisfied that all parties meet the qualification requirements and can lessen the risk of their investment, they’re likely to approve it.

Before signing on the dotted line

Anyone that is willing to co-sign a mortgage must be fully vetted, just like the primary applicant. They will have to provide all the same documentation as the primary applicant. Being a co-signer makes you legally responsible for the mortgage, exactly the same as the primary applicant. Co-signers need to know that being on someone else’s mortgage will impact their borrowing capacity while they are on title for that mortgage. They’re allowing their name and all their information to be used in the process of a mortgage, which is going to affect their ability to borrow anything in the future.

If someone is a guarantor, then things can become even trickier the guarantor isn’t on title to the home. That means that even though they’re on the mortgage, they have no legal right to the home itself. If anything happens to the original borrower, where they die, or something happens, they’re not really on the title of that property but they’ve signed up for the loan. So they don’t have a lot of control which can be a scary thing.

In my opinion, it’s much better for a co-signer to be a co-borrower on the property, where you can actually be on title to the property and enjoy all of the legal rights afforded to you.

The Responsibilities of Being a Co-signer

Co-signing can really help someone out, but it’s also a big responsibility. When you co-sign for someone, you’re putting your name and credit on the line as security for the loan/mortgage.

If the person you co-sign for misses a payment, the lender or other creditor can come to you to get the money. The late payment would also show up on your credit report.

Because co-signing a loan has the potential to affect both your credit and finances, it’s extremely important to make sure you’re comfortable with the person you’re co-signing for. You both need to know what you’re getting into. I recommend looking into Independent Legal Advice between all co-borrowers.

Co-signing is NOT a life sentence Just because you need a co-signer to get a mortgage doesn’t mean that you will always need a co-signer.

In fact, as soon as you feel that you’re strong enough to qualify without your co-signer – you can ask your lender to reconsider your application and remove the co-signer from the title. It is a legal process so there will be a small cost associated with the process, but doing so will remove the co-signer from your loan (once you are able to qualify on your own), and release them from the responsibility of the mortgage.

Removing a co-signer technically counts as changing the mortgage, so you need to check with your mortgage broker and lender to ensure that the lender you choose doesn’t count removing a co-signer as breaking your mortgage, because there could be large penalties associated with doing so.

Co-signing is an option that could help a lot of people buy a home, especially first time home buyers who are typically starting their career and building their credit bureau.

A final mortgage tip: a couple of alternatives to co-signing that could help someone out:

  • providing gift funds for a down payment
  • paying off someone else’s debt, giving them more funds to pay the mortgage
29 Nov

VARIABLE RATE? TO LOCK IN OR NOT?

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Tracy Price

This post applies if you are taking a new mortgage, whether it’s for a purchase, refinance, or renewal. The variable remains the main contender.

But what about all the economists saying if you are currently in a variable rate mortgage then you should rush to ‘lock in’?

You mean the economists that are employed by profit driven shareholder owned institutions that directly benefit from your locking-in (banks) via instantly increased profit margins and massively higher (up to 900% higher) prepayment penalties that 2/3 mortgage holders will trigger?

A bit biased, that crowd.
Also they are generalists, they’re not specialists.

But what about independent real estate experts?

While these experts may have their finger on the pulse of many facets of the real estate market, many remain totally unaware of how exactly mortgage prepayment penalties are calculated, and just how likely you are to trigger them.

Also generalists, are unaware of many nuances of mortgage products.

So what’s my game?

I’ve never really had game, so to speak. And I don’t stand to profit from your locking in, or from your staying variable. In fact as I type this on a stunning day I’m wondering just what I’m doing in my office at all.

I’m just a Mortgage Broker offering an opinion. An opinion that reflects my personal policy, an opinion shaped through 25 years of experience with my own mortgages, an opinion based on 11 years of experience with 1,673 client’s mortgages.

I’ve seen a few things, mortgage specific things.

I’ve watched 2/3 of my clients break their mortgages and trigger penalties. Almost every single one of them a small and relatively painless penalty thanks to staying variable.

But what about these rising rates?

If you are currently in a Prime -.65% to Prime -1.00% variable then to lock-in would be to inflict an immediate rate hike on yourself that might take the government another 12-18 months to pull off… if they pull it off.

Stay variable.

If you are in a Prime -.35 or shallower mortgage, we should discuss restructuring that into a Prime -1.00% mortgage and reducing your rate by .65% or more.

Staying variable.

My crystal ball says yes, perhaps another two or three 0.25% hikes through 2019, but at that point the odds favour (heavily) an economic contraction that will in turn trigger a corresponding reduction in interest rates.

It is my theory, and that of others smarter than I, that the fed is pushing rates up aggressively to beat said economic contraction, because they want to have the tool of ‘reducing interest rates’ back in their toolbox when the rainy days come. And we are overdue for stormy economic times. And when those times arrive it will not be prudent to be locked-in.

In short, life is variable – your mortgage should be as well. If you have any questions, contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional today.

27 Nov

REVERSE MORTGAGE – NEED TO KNOW

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Tracy Price

HomeEquity Bank is the only bank in Canada that currently offers the CHIP Reverse Mortgage as well as a secondary product, Income Advantage. These two products are options for homeowners unlike anything else out there. Instead of borrowing money to purchase a house, they will lend you money if you already have purchased one (as long as you qualify).

Recently I finished a half-day seminar where I was educated on the different HomeEquity Bank offers through the CHIP Reverse mortgage and their Income Advantage products. Below I would like to share with you some of the key benefits and summarize the different ways you can potentially use these products.

CHIP Reverse Mortgage

  • Loan-to-Value:

    • 55% maximum (dependent on property and applicant age)

  • Mortgage Amount:

    • Min. $25,000 initial advance

    • Min. $10,000 for subsequent advance

  • Terms:

    • 6 month fixed, 1-yr fixed, 3-yr fixed, 5-yr fixed

    • 5-yr variable rate

  • Amortization:

    • None

  • Payments:

    • No regular monthly payments required

  • Debt Servicing:

    • None required (Just max. 55% LTV)

  • Credit Bureau:

    • None

Now obviously there are other items such as appraisals, property taxes that need to be paid regularly, document requirements, and prepayment privileges as well as fess. However, the information listed shows you the vast differences between a traditional mortgage and a CHIP reverse mortgages.

If an applicant is over the age of 55, lives in their own home as well as owns it (at least the majority), and their property meets all the age and locations requirements, they can apply to have access to this product. Refinance, home improvements, in home medical care, gifting money to child or grand-child, supplemental income, all of these things can be achieved with a CHIP Reverse Mortgage.

Income Advantage

  • Loan-to-Value:

    • 40% maximum (dependent on property and applicant age)

  • Mortgage Amount:

    • Planned advances from $500/month or $1,500 a quarter

    • Min. $10,000 for subsequent advance

  • Terms:

    • Planned advance: 5-yr variable rate

    • Lump-sum: 5-yr fixed, 3-yr fixed, 1-yr fixed, variable rate

  • Amortization:

    • None

  • Payments:

    • No regular monthly payments required

  • Debt Servicing:

    • None required (Just max. 55% LTV)

  • Credit Bureau:

    • None

The Income Advantage program is a lot like the CHIP Reverse Mortgage program, however, the Income Advantage is geared more towards people who want a stream of income they can rely upon every month. You can still do lump-sum advances but the main difference is it allows you to set-up planned advances.

Using HomeEquity bank can be extremely advantageous for a lot of people in Metro Vancouver. It allows people to access the cash in their home without being burdened by any lack of financial income and it can allow people to help their children or grandchildren by advancing the money and gifting it to them for their own home purchase.

When it comes down to it all, there are really two main things these two products do. One, is it allows for an income stream based on the home you live in and age, regardless of employment or credit history. Two, it allows parents or guardians to provide money from the equity in their home now, to the beneficiaries who would one day in the future be recipients if included in an estate will- an advance on an inheritance.

There are many things to consider with HomeEquity’s CHIP Reverse Mortgage and Income Advantage Program, if you or someone you know may benefit from secondary or primary income, support for medical expenses, home renovations, travel, or wanting to help family members with their financial needs, please do not hesitate to contact a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker.

26 Nov

4 REASONS WHY MORTGAGE BROKERS ARE BETTER THAN BANKS

General

Posted by: Tracy Price

I am often asked if it’s hard to compete with the banks. While they may offer competitive rates at times, right now we have much better rates than the banks. However, we have certain advantages which allow us to blow them out of the water most of the time.

  1. More Choice – banks are limited to around 5 products that they can offer you. They will try to fit you into one of their products even if the financial institution next door has a better one for you. Brokers have access to banks, credit unions, trust and mortgage companies as well as private lenders.
  2. Better Representation – Brokers are your champions bankers are employees. They put their employer first . They won’t offer you the best rates unless you are a good negotiator. Brokers are licenced by provincial organizations and have to follow a code of ethics which requires that we put the consumer first. We also negotiate the best rate, terms and conditions for you. If you need to break the mortgage before the end of the term, we can assist you with that and perhaps help you to avoid paying a penalty.
  3. More Benefits – If you are moving into a home that is more than one year old, you probably do not have a home warranty. Brokers have 3 lenders who offer home warranties, which can cover repairs to the plumbing, heating and electrical systems with a small deductible. Two of the lenders even offer this as a complimentary service for the first year while the third lender offers it for the length of the mortgage. As Dominion Lending Centre brokers, we also have discounted rates for moving services and boxes from a large national moving company .
  4. Better Protection – I saved the best for last. We offer portable mortgage life and disability insurance.

It may not sound like much but we have the same coverage as the banks offer with one important difference – portability. While we take care to place you with a good lender, circumstances change and lenders may not offer favourable terms on renewal. If you try to leave a bank after developing a condition like high blood pressure or having a heart attack, you will have to re-apply for insurance coverage and may be denied. There are hundreds if not thousands of unhappy bank clients who are stuck paying high interest rates because they are forced to stay with a lender. Broker insurance gives you the independence to move from lender to lender depending on who is willing to offer you the best rates and terms. This may not sound like much to you now but it’s a real game changer for anyone who knows someone who have had this happen to them.

Is it difficult to compete with the banks? No – we have them beat hands down.

22 Nov

CONGRATULATIONS ON THE MORTGAGE! NOW LET’S GET RID OF IT!

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Tracy Price

 

 

 

 

So now that you’re a home owner, what are your next steps? Well first, you will have to figure out exactly how you are going to get RID of that mortgage. Yes, that’s right. Now that you got it, here are four ways you can pay it off and be done with it!

1. ACCELERATE YOUR PAYMENT FREQUENCY

Making the change from monthly payments to accelerated bi-weekly payments is one of the easiest ways you can make a huge difference to the bottom line of your mortgage. A traditional mortgage splits the amount owing into 12 equal monthly payments however, an accelerated biweekly payment is simply taking a regular monthly payment and dividing it in two. Instead of making 24 payments, you will make 26. The extra two payments really accelerate the repayment of your mortgage!
Here is an example of what I’m talking about.
Bob currently has a $300,000 mortgage at a 4% fixed rate with a 25 year amortization period. He will save $32,000 just by moving to biweekly accelerated payments from biweekly. Go Bob!

2. INCREASE YOUR MORTGAGE PAYMENT AMOUNT
Unless you opted for a “no-frills” mortgage, chances are you have the capability of increasing your regular mortgage payment by 10-25%. This is a great option if you have some extra cash to spend within your budget. This money will go directly towards paying down the principal amount owing on your mortgage. The more money you can pay down when you first get your mortgage, the better. At the end of the day, you will pay less interest over the lifespan of your mortgage. By voluntarily increasing your mortgage payment, it is metaphorically like you are signing up for a long term forced savings plan where equity builds in your house rather than your bank account.

3. MAKE A LUMP SUM PAYMENT

Again, unless you have a “no-frills” mortgage, you should be able to make bulk payments towards your mortgage. Depending on your lender and your mortgage product, you should be able to put down anywhere from 10-25% of the original mortgage balance. Some lenders may be particular about WHEN you can make these payments, however if you haven’t taken advantage of a lump sum payment yet this year, you will be eligible.

4. REVIEW YOUR OPTIONS REGULARLY

As your mortgage payments are withdrawn from your account, it is easy to put your mortgage payments on auto-pilot especially if you have opted for a 5-year fixed term. Despite the term of your mortgage, it is highly encouraged to give your mortgage an annual review. This review gives you a conscious look at the overall stance of your mortgage which could rise to opportunities of refinancing or lowering your interest rate!
If you have any questions about your mortgage, how to get a mortgage, or how to get rid of the mortgage you have, please don’t hesitate to contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional today!

21 Nov

LOOKING FOR A MORTGAGE… YOU BETTER KNOW YOUR CREDIT SCORE

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Tracy Price

Over the last month, as the big banks and many of our monolines mortgage lenders wind down their fiscal year, we are starting to see some very obvious changes in what your credit score can get you.

I heard a few months ago that 720 beacons were going to become the new 650. The 650 beacon credit score for many years was the mid-range norm for most mortgage lenders. Today on many of the sites we use, we are seeing that the primary borrower must have a credit score of 720 and the secondary beacon can’t be below 650. It’s a big change from what we have seen in the past.

There are more changes coming as the banks will need to set aside more balance sheet if your mortgage is conventional. The one report I read said that if your credit score is lower, then the banks will now need to set aside 1.5% or possibly more if the score is low enough. That of course will then mean that an investor will need to be compensated more for having that in their portfolio, aka higher rates for you on a conventional mortgage.

If you are in the market for a house and you don’t know where to start, at least contact Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker who can guide you through the process and let you know where you start.  If you use a DLC broker, they can set you up with a CleverCredit account and you can work together to make sure your credit is strong enough to apply for a mortgage when the time comes.

20 Nov

Mortgage Interest Rate Tiers

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Tracy Price

Since we know that lenders can back-end insure our mortgages (please read our Mortgage Insurance Market and Wholesale Lenders article first), and that this specifically makes these mortgage investments more attractive to investors, what does it mean for borrowers (every day people like you and me)?

To recap, any mortgage that is inexpensive for a wholesale lender to get financing for allows the lender to pass on savings to their clients, meaning mortgages that are insured get the best rates! An insured mortgage is where a borrower pays the mortgage default insurance because they have less than 20% down payment and is required on all mortgages where the down payment is less than 20%.

But, lenders can also pay for insurance for their client! An “insurable” mortgage is one where the clients puts 20% down (or more), and their mortgage is approved as though a client is paying for insurance, but the actual insurance is paid for by the lender.

Rates for insurable mortgages are generally very similar to insured mortgages. An “uninsurable” mortgage is one where mortgage insurance is not available.

The graph below outlines what type of mortgages are insured, insurable or uninsurable.

So what does this all mean for you, the borrower?

If your mortgage is insurable, you may be able to get the best rates. What is interesting to note is that if you have a mortgage that was previously uninsured, your current lender cannot insure your mortgage but your mortgage may be insurable if you transfer to a new lender – this is where our opportunity lies!

As an aside, if your mortgage was previously “insured,” and you paid for mortgage insurance, you will also be offered the best rates upon transfer or renewal.

Please call your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional if you have any questions.

 

19 Nov

4 FACTS ABOUT USING A GUARANTOR

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Tracy Price

A Guarantor, when it comes to mortgages, is exactly what it sounds like—they “Guarantee” the mortgage for another person if they are unable to pay back the loan.

Guarantor’s or co-signers are often used if someone has:

• Damaged or poor credit
• Insufficient income

In most cases, someone with poor credit and/or insufficient income has a more challenging time securing a mortgage. Adding a guarantor can help get the file approved as the lender is assured that he or she will be paid, should the mortgage holder default.

Many people will assume that a co-signer and a guarantor are the same thing. This is not the case though…there are key differences that you should know before becoming a guarantor on a mortgage.

1. Whose name is on the loan?
This may seem like a small detail, but when it comes to loans, whose name is on it matters!
With a guarantor, their name will not be on the title of the property, but it will be on the mortgage. With a co-signor, this changes in that their name will be on the mortgage and on the title of the property. In addition to this, for a guarantor mortgage the guarantor must be a spouse. With a co-signer this is not the case, and you can utilize whomever agrees and meets the qualifications.

2. What’s the Risk?
For the people seeking a guarantor, a portion of risk is alleviated because they have the guarantee of the guarantor. However, for the guarantor, there is a heightened risk. They are responsible for the entire amount of the loan if the borrower defaults at any time. With this in mind, lenders require the guarantor(s), in addition to the borrower(s), to qualify for the loan they are looking to borrow. They must meet the following lending requirements which include:
. Credit Check
. Disclosure of income
. Disclosure of Liabilities
. Disclosure of Assets

It is also highly advisable that a potential guarantor seek legal advice before signing for the loan—and this should be a separate attorney from the one that is involved in the mortgage transaction. Seeking out proper legal advice can allow the potential guarantor to ensure they fully understand the contract, the loan, and any other details.

One final note that should be evaluated by any potential guarantors, is the relationship with the person you will be signing for. You are taking a risk and taking on a lot of responsibility for this person and it is advisable that you know the person well and trust them.

3. What other Variables are there to Consider for Guarantors?
There are a few other things that a guarantor will want to consider before finalizing anything. One of these is the fact that if you are a guarantor, you may not be able to qualify for a large loan or mortgage on your own. Look at your goals and future (or current) expenses before taking on this additional responsibility. As a final note to guarantors, they may want to consider creditor insurance (amount varies based on the loan) to protect themselves and their assets.

4. Can your relationship with your bank dictate if I need a Guarantor?
In some cases, yes! If you have a long-standing relationship with your current bank and they have seen your ability to responsibly handle debt-repayment, they may consider not requiring you to have a guarantor. This is not always the case, but it is an option that your mortgage broker may review with you.

These 4 facts along with your mortgage broker’s advice, can help you decide if you want to be a guarantor, or if you truly require a guarantor mortgage after all! If you have any other questions about guarantors or co-signers, we encourage you to reach out to your Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker—we know they will be happy to help!

19 Nov

PRE-APPROVED FOR YOUR MORTGAGE… WHAT DOES THAT REALLY MEAN?

Purchasing

Posted by: Tracy Price

There is a myth out there that once you’re pre-approved for a mortgage, you’re good to go out and buy a home… with a no subject offer… DON’T do it!

A pre-approval means that based on being able to PROVE (through documentation) your CURRENT income, expenses, down payment and credit bureau you SHOULD be able to get fully approved once you find the right property (this is the first half of the equation).

Remember that there cannot be any major changes to the your mortgage application details prior to the completion of their purchase as it may affect the your qualifications and change the conditions of the approval.

I always recommend my clients put in a “subject to financing” clause with their realtor when they are putting in an offer to protect themselves.

Here’s why:

The lender can like you and your financial picture, BUT the lender doesn’t know which property you want to purchase (this is the other half of the equation). Here are 3 examples:

  • A bidding war has bid up the price and the best offer (yours) has been accepted. YIPPEE!!! The lender sends in their appraiser to determine the value of the property. The appraisal comes in at a lower price than your accepted offer DRATS!! You now have to come up with the difference between the appraised value and your offer, since lenders will only offer a mortgage based on the appraised value of the home.
  • You are buying a condo/townhouse and the strata minutes indicate that there are: leaks, electrical issues, roofing problems, etc. that the strata needs to act upon. If the Strata doesn’t have a big enough contingency fund, the lender can decline due to potential special assessments down the road.
  • Property zoning – if the zoning is anything other than residential then your options will be limited. Some condos are zoned commercial if there is a large commercial component to the complex. Industrial, Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) in B.C., or leasehold (government or otherwise) limit a buyer’s options.
    As you can tell “you may be pre-approved” but most certainly the subject property is not!!

There are several properties that most lenders will not touch these days. Here’s a (partial) list of property details that can affect most lender’s decisions on approving your mortgage:

  • A remediated grow-op or drug lab
  • Leased land or co-op
  • Age-restricted property
  • Special assessment (pending or otherwise)
  • Any reference to water or leaks in the minutes
  • A “fixer upper”
  • Contains asbestos, vermiculite insulations or has (even partial) knob-and-tube or aluminum wiring
  • Is on land with a commercial zoning component
  • Livestock is present, etc.
  • Self-managed strata’s (no strata management company)
  • Size of the property- below 500 sq. feet,
  • Doesn’t use municipal sewage or waste
  • Over 1 Acre and/or multiple buildings
  • Ongoing or upcoming assessments or legal proceedings
  • Strata with small contingency fund

The lender reviews the details of each property in detail once you have an accepted offer in place.

It’s important that the real estate agent discloses the information to their buyer ASAP so that it can be brought to the lender’s attention. The agent should be proactive in getting all documentation pertaining to the building/property, so that the buyer can make an educated buying decision. Many of the issues stated above can affect the long-term value and marketability of a property.

If you have a “subject to financing” clause in your purchase agreement, and you can’t find a lender (for whatever reason), then you can back out of the deal with no financial repercussions.

In my opinion you need to always put in a “subject to financing clause” as that’s the best protection you have. With subject free offers you could forfeit your deposit (and facing potential legal action from the seller) should you want to cancel your contract after the agreement has been made, even though you were technically “pre-approved”.

As you can tell there is lots to discuss about buying homes including pre-approvals! If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker near you.

 

15 Nov

GROWING CANNABIS AT HOME? LET’S WEED THROUGH THOSE MORTGAGE ISSUES!

Latest News

Posted by: Tracy Price

As many of you already know, Canada just became the second country in the world to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational purposes. Of course, this historic moment in Canadian history has cannabis activists jumping for joy while others are not s-toked on the idea.

With legalization comes the realities of growing your own pot at home which already has Global News giving Canadians a step-by-step guide on how to do so properly and legally — sorry Manitoba and Quebec!

We always have clients contacting us for restructuring advice on their current mortgages. However, through our initial discussions, we have found out that some have started growing pot plants within their homes. Since this legislation is new to everyone, including the mortgage community, we had to do some research.

Prior to September 17, growing cannabis at home was a legal grey area. Mortgage wise, it was a red flag. Any home that has previously or is currently being used in the growing of cannabis was treated as a “grow-op” and as a result is NOT financeable.

grow-op: a concealed facility used for marijuana plantation.

Since legalization day on October 17, the federal government officially set a limit of four pot plants per household — NOT by person. This information DOES NOT have to be disclosed on a property disclosure UNLESS damage has occurred within the household because of cannabis cultivation.

Just as a FYI — ALL property owners should consult their realtor or lawyer about how to properly disclose when selling their household.
After talking to our local Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation representative (CMHC), she notified us that mortgage insurers are currently leaving lenders to create their own policies on how to deal with marijuana plants and their effect on existing mortgages. We contacted lenders about this ‘budding’ home-grown industry but were met with no answers.

This situation is certainly a waiting game and we’re all holding our breath waiting for the first move!

Let us share our advice.
If you are looking to sell your property or refinance your mortgage — get rid of those pot plants now!
Any home appraisal company can disclose in their report that cannabis is present within your home which could place your home on a list that DOES NOT foresee future sales or refinances.
It is your safest bet to keep your cannabis plant growth up to the licensed growers located across the country.
If you have any questions, contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.