12 Sep

Canada’s First Time Homebuyer Incentive Program


Posted by: Matt Robinson

The First Time Home Buyers Incentive officially came into effect last week and will start providing interest-free shared-equity loans to interested buyers in the form of down payment assistance.

To recap how the program works, participants must put down at least 5% of the home’s value with their own money, while the government (through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) would contribute an additional 5% of the down payment if the purchase is an existing home, or 10% if it is a new build.

The buyers don’t need to make any monthly payments, though the loan must be repaid after 25 years or when the home is sold.

CMHC also shares proportionately in any future gains or losses in home value. ie. they put in 5% now, they get 5% of whatever the value is when the loan is being repaid.



30 Jan

Reasons to be Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Early

Abbotsford Mortgage

Posted by: Matt Robinson

Getting your mortgage pre-approved will make everything easier in the long-run, but there are some things you should hold off on doing if you’re in the middle of a pre-approval period.

If you are looking to get pre-approved in Abbotsford or Chilliwack, start here first:

When you think of the first steps involved in buying a home, you’re probably thinking about talking to a real estate agent and viewing homes. In fact, these aren’t the first steps towards buying a home. The first steps happen months before, in the office of your mortgage broker.

That’s right, the very first step to buying a home should be applying for mortgage pre-approval. Applying for mortgage pre-approval in advance will allow you to address problems with your application, avoid embarrassing situations, and side-step the potential for financial hardship.

Here are six reasons why mortgage pre-approval is the most important and first step in the home buying process.

1. Increase your buying power with a larger down payment

One of the key benefits of early mortgage pre-approval is that for the first time you’ll have an accurate view of your buying power. Your mortgage broker will use your income information and your down payment information to determine your maximum purchase price, and you’ll have a firm idea of how much home you can afford.

The Home You Want!

Mortgage consulting services Canada

The Home You Can Afford!

Mortgage consulting services Canada

Once you know your maximum purchase price, you’ll know whether your buying power matches the types of homes and neighbourhoods you have in your sights.

If it doesn’t, you can increase your down payment, which will increase your buying power. There are three primary ways to increase your down payment amount.

3 Ways to Increase you Down Payment

Save More Money

First, you could save more money. The biggest drawback to this method is that it typically takes the longest amount of time.

Ask for a Gift

Second, you could ask for a financial gift from your family. About 15 percent of homes purchased between 2014 and 2016 used a down payment gift according to the latest stats from Mortgage Professionals Canada.

Home Buyers’ Plan

Third, you could take advantage of the Home Buyers’ Plan, which is a government program that allows first-time homebuyers to borrow up to $25,000 from their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to put towards their home down payment. The extra $25,000 could increase your buying power significantly.


Let’s say you had saved a $25,000 down payment, and have a combined family income of $125,000. Your maximum purchase price is $500,000. But if use the Home Buyers’ Plan and double your down payment to $50,000, your maximum purchase price will increase to $634,100. In some neighbourhoods that may be the difference between buying the home of your dreams and making some serious compromises.

The money you withdraw from your RRSP under the Home Buyers’ Plan can be used for your down payment, closing costs, or even to purchase furniture after you move. The money must be repaid over a 15-year period.

Whether you take the time to save more money for your down payment, ask your family for a monetary gift, or take advantage of the Home Buyers’ Plan, applying for early pre-approval will give you a clear idea of how much home you can afford so that you can adjust your expectations accordingly.

2. Renovate and customize your new home

Applying for early mortgage preapproval can expand your home buying options, especially if you weren’t open to a home in need of renovations. Applying for pre-approval can give you a leg up on your application for the Canadian Home Renovation Plan, which allows homebuyers to finance an additional 10% of the total purchase price for home improvements or renovations. The maximum amount you can finance is $40,000, and this amount is added to your mortgage amount and paid off over time.

Mortgage consulting services Canada

With up to $40,000.00 available for renovating your home, there are limitless ways to customize your home to your liking. What renovation would you do, Kitchen Bathroom, or new flooring?

Mortgage consulting services CanadaMortgage consulting services Canada

So if you’ve previously turned away from homes in need of new kitchens or bathrooms, the Canadian Home Renovation Plan could help you turn that no into a yes, and expand your home buying options dramatically. The program requires you to communicate with contractors and obtain quotes, so starting early is a good idea.

3. Secure a lower rate

While Canada has been living in the era of ultra-low interest rates for almost a decade, mortgage interest rates have been slowly creeping up over the past year and a half. If you know you want to buy a home soon, and you want to take advantage of today’s low rates, applying for mortgage pre-approval will help you achieve this goal. Mortgage pre-approval comes with the option to lock in a specific mortgage rate for a certain number of days, usually 120 days. Rate holds are usually applied to fixed-rate mortgages. If rates rise during your rate hold, you are entitled to the lower rate. If rates drop, your mortgage broker will renegotiate the lower rate on your behalf.

4. Learn the necessary closing costs

Most people are aware of down payment requirements when it comes to searching for a home, but what about closing costs? Closing costs include legal fees, land transfer tax, property taxes, home inspection fees, and more. A good rule of thumb is to budget between 1.5% and 4% of the selling price for closing costs.

If you haven’t budgeted for closing costs yet, now is the time to start. If your home buying budget is $300,000, you’ll need at least $4,500 saved for closing costs, on top of the $15,000 minimum down payment.

When you apply for mortgage pre-approval, your mortgage broker can supply you with a list of common closing costs for your area, and advise you on whether you have enough money saved. If you don’t, an early mortgage pre-approval means you have plenty of time to get your ducks in a row before you begin searching for your new home in earnest.

5. The do’s and don’ts before applying for a mortgage

A good mortgage broker will provide you with a checklist of everything you need for your final mortgage application, but going through the pre-approval process is a good way to determine whether there are any red flags to address right away.

Common items like proof of down payment, income verification, and your credit score will all be checked during the pre-approval process, which will give you time to rectify any errors well in advance. Your mortgage broker will also advise you on common mistakes to avoid between getting pre-approved and final approval. Common mistakes to avoid include:

  • Changing jobs
  • Purchasing a car
  • Quitting your job
  • Applying for a new line of credit

These are major life changes that can affect your ability to qualify for a mortgage. In most cases, you should wait to make these life changes until after you become a homeowner.

6. Credit is king

Your credit score is a major part of your mortgage approval, so the time to check your credit score and report is during the pre-approval process.

You can order a copy of your credit report from one of the two major credit reporting agencies in Canada: Equifax or Transunion. Alternatively, you can request a free copy of your credit score and report from a company like Borrowell.

Mortgage consulting services Canada

It’s important to ensure the information listed on your credit report is correct, and if you catch any errors, report them immediately to both credit agencies. Common mistakes include:

  • Mis-spelled names
  • Debts that still show has outstanding after being paid
  • Credit accounts that are not attributed to your account

  • Credit accounts that are attributed to your account but do not belong to you


Some errors, such as a misspelt name will not directly affect your credit score, but others, like misattributed credit accounts, can negatively affect your credit score. Since your credit score is an integral part of the mortgage pre-approval process, it’s important to get these errors fixed promptly. The process of fixing errors on your credit report and seeing the change reflected on your credit score can take up to six months, which is why it’s a good idea to apply for mortgage pre-approval early.

In all of these cases, getting early mortgage pre-approval will take the pressure off and give you time to make sure you are ready for the home buying process. Buying a home is stressful, and early mortgage pre-approval helps alleviate some of that stress.

2 Aug

Top 3 Budgeting Apps To Help You Save For Your First Down-Payment


Posted by: Matt Robinson

First Down-Payment

In today’s society, people turn to their phones for many things such as research, entertainment, communication, and direction. So why not use your phone for financial purposes? There are multiple phone applications available on the market that can assist you in staying organized with your finances and help you achieve specific goals. These goals can range from paying for your Chilliwack mortgage on time or even saving for your first down-payment.

You need to be sure and have a lot of money saved up to pay for your down payment, which is a set percentage of your home’s purchase price. To help you get started, your Chilliwack mortgage broker, Matt Robinson with Dominion Lending Centres, has listed the top 3 budgeting apps to help you save for your first down payment.

#1: Mint

Mint is a free application that can help you manage your finances easily. This app has multiple features that include tracking bills, accurately budgeting, free credit checks, reminders on when your bills are due, payment categorization, and investment tracking all in one secure location. This app is personalized to you, it allows you to pay bills online, and it gives advice on ways to cut back on spending and increase your savings.

#2:  Debt Minder

Debt Minder on Go is an inexpensive app that can help you pay off debt and manage your finances. This app will strategically map out how you can reduce your balance by using a “Debt Snowball” method and customise each plan to your financial situation. You are able to select any type of currency you want, and this app will also show you your daily and monthly interest accrual rate in an easy to understand graph.

#3: iXpenselt

At a low monthly fee, iXpenselt is a daily and monthly expense tracking application that can help you save for your first down payment. This app’s features allow you to input your expenses and store photo receipts on the go. With this simple tool, you can consolidate all your debt and expenses into one area to help you easily track how much you are spending versus how much you are saving. You can then export this information from your phone into an excel file. For more information, please click HERE.

Contact Us

Contact your Chilliwack mortgage lender today for more information on these three budgeting apps. Or if you would like to get started on your mortgage application, please call 604-852-1703.