Why variable rates are creating a surge in Mortgage activity

This Spring we’re seeing lenders getting aggressive with their pricing for variable rate mortgages: a sign that lenders are fighting for market share, making it a great time to be shopping for a mortgage!

First a reminder of the difference between fixed vs variable.  Fixed rates are often well suited to first-time buyers or those who haven’t owned a home for long because they want to know with absolute certainty what their payment will be for a set number of years.  A variable mortgage has an interest rate that will move in conjunction with your lender’s Prime rate, which in turn tracks the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate, and will be expressed as “prime minus x percent.”  If the Bank of Canada raises or lowers its rate, then you’ll likely see that reflected in your mortgage payment.

Right now, lenders are shaving off those variable rate mortgage offers: creating some of the best rates we’ve seen in many months. Consider the advantages:

1.        Save big on interest. It’s true that your payments could go up if the Bank of Canada’s rate starts to move up. But it would have to go WAY up to wipe out the savings you’d get from some of the current deep “prime minus” variables being offered right now.

2.        Build a buffer. You can set up your payments at what they would be if you took the higher fixed rate, which helps you pay down your mortgage faster, and creates a financial buffer for you if rates rise later.

3.        Easier to get out. If your circumstances change and you need to get out of your mortgage – a situation that happens more frequently than people anticipate -- you will appreciate the lower penalty to get out of a variable vs a fixed mortgage.  You could save thousands!

4.        Lock in later. Most variables allow you to exercise an option to “lock in” a fixed rate at any time for the remaining portion of your mortgage term or longer.

I’ve even got clients breaking their existing mortgages to take advantage of this sudden crop of very low variable rates being offered right now.

It’s not for everyone. But the possibility of big savings is out there right now, and it won’t last forever. Get in touch with us at Yhard Mortgages and we can review the numbers to see if it’s something you should be taking advantage of.


Nearly half of existing mortgages in Canada are due for renewal in 2018

Nearly half (47%) of all existing mortgages will need to be renewed this year according to a recent report by CIBC Capital Markets.  A typical year the renewal rate is 25-35%.

This significant increase in renewals comes at the same time mortgages rates are increasing.  Five year fixed rates are up approximately 0.70% from the same time last year.

Under the new tighter guidelines known as B20 that started earlier this year homeowners must now prove they can service the mortgage debt at a qualifying rate of the greater of the contractual mortgage rate plus 2% or the 5 year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada currently at 5.34%.

What does this all mean?  Interest rates still remain incredibly low & your options when your existing mortgage is up for renewal is incredibly high.  We highly recommend contacting us at 902-401-8143 to discuss your mortgage renewal options and help to get you thru this B20 Stress test.

Who should get a mortgage pre-approval?

A mortgage pre-approval can be an important part of your pathway to building wealth, giving you a real-world picture of your options: that is, your opportunities as well as your limitations.

A mortgage preapproval will tell you how much you qualify for (you may be pleasantly surprised), what your mortgage payments will be, and you’ll get an interest rate that will be held for a specific time period, like 120 days. 

If you are purchasing a new home, then you’ll be shopping with a full wallet! You’ll know exactly what you can afford. You want to avoid reaching too far financially for a house you’ve fallen in love with, but you may also discover that you’re ready for the house of your dreams and didn’t know it. A mortgage pre-approval tells you that.

In other words, a mortgage preapproval is always a good idea.  Remember, of course, that a preapproval isn’t a mortgage approval.  Make sure you have a financing condition in place when purchasing because your property needs to be assessed by your lender during the mortgage approval process.  You’ll need to provide the necessary information such as the offer to purchase, MLS listing, and any other documents required by the lender so they can assess the property.

Additionally, any planned financing might fall through if your circumstances change. So be careful with changing jobs, adding debt or missing payments, co-signing another loan, or using your downpayment money. You want to keep your financial situation squeaky clean while you’re getting ready to finance.

Can you get a mortgage if you have experienced a bankruptcy?

The short answer is YES, you could qualify for a mortgage!!!  Please read on to learn about Yhard Mortgages recent clients who are now very proud proud first-time homeowners.

Last month Yhard Mortgages was able to secure a mortgage for clients who had only been discharged from bankruptcy a mere 11 months ago. 

Traditionally once consumers have been discharged from a bankruptcy they start thinking about re-establishing their credit, so they can finance a home in the future.

Traditional mortgage companies commonly referred to as “A” mortgage lenders look for a minimum of two active tradelines (credit cards, loans, lines of credit) and these tradelines need to be open for a minimum of two years with no late payments. 

These Yhard Mortgages clients had not begun to re-establish any credit at all & had only been discharged for 11 months.  Yhard Mortgages was able to arrange a mortgage for the clients thru a “B” lender at a slightly higher rate than a traditional “A” lender.

The clients and their 2 kids are now enjoying their spacious home in a wonderful neighborhood.

Providing the clients follow the plans laid out by Yhard Mortgages they will get back to a traditional “A” lender when their term expires in 2 years.

Do you or someone you know have slow credit now or perhaps in the past that is preventing home ownership?

Give us a call we would love to speak with you to arrange a mortgage now or get a plan in place for a home purchase in the future.

Call 902-401-8143 to learn more. 

Questions to ask or review with your lawyer before purchasing your house.


1.  How much do you charge and what am I getting for this service?

Not all lawyers charge the same, although generally legal fees for closing a home purchase are in the same range.

2. How many times should we expect to meet?

Generally, most lawyers will meet with you at least two meetings. Visit your lawyer a week or two ahead to determine the scope of what is happening, to get things in order and determine your balance due on closing. You will then meet again on closing day or the day before.

3. Review lawyer’s fees and disbursements.

The fee is the time a lawyer will spend doing things like your title search and meeting with you. Disbursements are the hard costs: preparing the file, time spent by a law clerk, travel, photocopying and incidentals. Your lawyer should clearly outline both.

4. What is the cost of title insurance?

Title insurance protects the homeowner against things like title defects, fraud, forgery and zoning noncompliance. Buy it once and it protects you as long as you own your home. “Although you don’t have to buy it, almost all homebuyers do because it can protect you against a number of issues that may arise.

5. What should I bring to my appointment when we close the mortgage?

You’ll need government issued photo identification like a driver’s license or passport. “This is required by the Law Society’s ‘Know your Client Rule’ to prove that you are who you say you are.”

6.. What is the statement of adjustments?

This document outlines of all your closing costs – things like tax adjustments, extras and upgrades and represents an entire list for the final amount due on closing. Be sure your lawyer walks you through this document..

7. What are some things I need to know about closing if I’m buying a condo?

Ask your lawyer to review what’s covered in your condo fees. “Also, be aware that when you purchase a newly built condo, there are two closings: one when your unit is move-in ready and then a final closing once the building has been registered and you take over full ownership.


Five credit habits that can help to increase your credit bureau score

Your credit score is essentially your passport to financial opportunities. With a possible range of 300 to 900, your score tells lenders what kind of a risk you are likely to be as a borrower. A low credit score can prevent you from getting the lowest mortgage rate, or even from getting a mortgage at all. But here’s the thing, this important factor in your mortgage negotiation is entirely within your control. That’s why it’s important to know the key credit behaviors that can boost your score or keep it high:

1.      On time, all the time. The single biggest factor in your credit score is having a timely bill payment history. Never let a bill get past due. That one habit is your single biggest game-changer. Set up automatic payments if that will help.

2.      Know your limits. Your credit score is based on your balances relative to your available credit. Look at your credit limits and try not to use more than 30 per cent of the available amount. If your limit is $10,000, try to never let the card go higher than $3,000.

3.      Don`t let it happen. Don’t ever let any bill go to Collections, even if it’s for a small or disputed amount. These black marks on your credit are hard to erase. If it’s happened, be prepared to explain why, and be sure it’s paid in full and reported to Equifax.

4.      Be selective. When you’re asked - would you like to apply for our Store Card to save $X dollars on your purchase today - don’t do it; the high rate that goes with that card isn`t worth your savings on that particular purchase.

5.      History is important. Make sure you do have a credit history. You may have a low score because you do not have a record of owing money and paying it back. You can build a credit history by using a credit card.

If you are wondering how to polish up your credit, we would be happy to review your situation and outline your best options for credit improvement. If you want to get a mortgage while you work on bettering your score, we can also advise how that may be possible

What is a Reverse Mortgage?

A reverse mortgage can be the difference between selling your home and living the comfortable retirement that they’ve worked so hard for.

The CHIP Reverse Mortgage is a loan secured against the value of the home. There are no regular mortgage payments – meaning you can allocate the money towards what you really need it for. If you would like to learn more, please contact us at 902-401-8143.

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10 Mortgage Tips You Will Not Get From Your Bank

More new mortgage rules come into effect January 1, 2018 which will make it trickier to negotiate a mortgage for many Canadians. But with a little expert advice, we 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 we 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.

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 have 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.

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, we 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. We will advise you on what documentation and information you’ll need so that we 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.  Phone 902-401-8143

10 Things To Know Prior To Getting A Credit Card

If you're thinking of getting one of the zillions of credit cards out there, make sure you know
these 10 nuggets of credit card wisdom before signing up.

1.  A credit card is not a debit card
If someone asked you to explain the difference between a credit card and a debit card, what
would you say? We hope you'd tell that someone that using a credit card is like taking out a
short-term loan for a purchase. Also, despite appearances, a credit card doesn't work like a debit card, which takes money directly from your checking account.
You get extra points if you mention that a credit card carries interest, which you can avoid if you pay your credit card bill in full before the end of the billing cycle.

2.  The real reason to get a credit card
People will say you need a credit card to build credit, but "need" is too strong a word. A credit
card can help you build credit, and a good credit score can help you save money on loans down the road (mortgages, auto loans, etc.).
Some might argue that cash back rewards are the real reason to get a card, but that's not nearly as important as maintaining and building your credit score.

3.  The two types of credit cards
Credit cards come in two types: secured and unsecured. Secured means you'll have to put down a cash deposit. A secured credit card is a good type of credit card for those with low or no credit.The downside is your card limit is likely the same amount as your cash deposit. An unsecured credit card also has a card limit, but instead it's determined by your credit history and income.

4.  All about that APR
The APR you see thrown around in commercials and ads refers to an annual percentage rate. It's okay if you don't remember what APR stands for, but you'll always want to check the actual
percentage of an APR before applying for a credit card. After all, the APR is what you'll be
charged if you don't pay off your full balance when payment is due, and some APRs can be as
high as 30%.

5.  Watch out for nonstandard fees
Some credit cards have nonstandard fees—which, as you may have guessed by the name, are
atypical. Good credit cards don't deal with nonstandard fees, such as an audit fee, conversion fee,quarterly technology fee, and security fee.

6. Plan on paying more than the minimum payment
If you were to pay only the minimum required payment on your credit bill each month, you just
might never pay off your credit card. As a best practice, try to pay off your credit card in full
each month—in other words, don't spend money you don't have.

7.  Watch out for an annual fee
If you're not going to use a credit card frequently, you're likely better off getting a credit card
without an annual fee. These fees can cost as much as $100 to $300 per year. However, not all
credit cards with annual fees are bad, and there are plenty of cards without them.

8.  Understand credit card benefits
Credit card benefits come with their own terms and conditions. For example, you may be enticed by cash back rewards only to find that said rewards are limited to qualified purchases or change from quarter to quarter. If you don't understand the ins and outs of a credit card's benefits, you likely won't get the most out of your credit card.

9.  A credit card agreement is binding
Signing up for a credit card means you're entering a legal contract. Make sure you're comfortable with the terms and conditions set forth by the issuer, such as APR, fees, and credit limits.

10.  Be sure to shop around
There are countless credit cards out there, so do some comparison shopping before you sign up. Don't let yourself feel pressured to sign up for a store credit card when you're at checkout.
Taking a few minutes to look at what other credit cards are out there can save you some serious dough in the future.



Wouldn’t it be nice if you had the money to do more of the things you want to do? A CHIP Reverse Mortgage could be just what you need. It’s the simple and sensible way to unlock the value in your home and turn it into cash to help you enjoy life on your terms.


You receive the money tax-free. It is not added to your taxable income so it doesn’t affect Old Age Security (OAS) or Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) government benefits you may receive. 

You can use the money any way you wish. Maybe you want to enjoy your retirement or cover unexpected expenses. Perhaps you want to update your home or help your family without depleting your current savings. The only condition is that any outstanding loans (e.g. existing mortgage or home equity line of credit) secured by your home must be paid out with the proceeds from your CHIP Reverse Mortgage.

No regular mortgage payments are required while you or your spouse live in your home. The full amount only becomes due when you and your spouse no longer live in the home

You maintain ownership and control of your home. You will never be asked to move or sell to repay your CHIP Reverse Mortgage. All that’s required is that you maintain your property and stay up-to-date with property taxes, fire insurance and condominium or maintenance fees while you live there.

You keep all the equity remaining in your home. In many years of experience, 99 out of 100 homeowners have money left over when their CHIP Reverse Mortgage is repaid. And on average, the amount left over is 50% of the value of the home when it is sold.


How does a CHIP Reverse Mortgage work?

A CHIP Reverse Mortgage is secured by the equity in your home. Unlike a traditional mortgage in which you make regular payments to someone else, a reverse mortgage pays you.

The big advantage with the CHIP Reverse Mortgage is that you do not have to make any regular mortgage payments for as long as you or your spouse lives in your home. That’s what has made reverse mortgages such a popular solution in Canada, the U.K., the U.S., Australia and other countries.

Who is it for?

The CHIP Reverse Mortgage is designed exclusively for homeowners age 55 and older. This age qualification applies to both you and your spouse.

How much can I get and how is it calculated?

You can receive up to 55% of the value of your home. The specific amount is based on your age and that of your spouse, the location and type of home you have, and your home’s current appraised value. You can contact me and I can quickly give you an estimate of how much you may be approved for.

How do I receive the money?

You can choose how you want to receive the money. The CHIP Reverse Mortgage gives you the option of receiving all the money you’re eligible for in one lump sum advance, or you can take some now and more later, or you can receive planned advances over a set period of time. Planned advances are available on the Income Advantage product.

Will the homeowner owe more than the house is worth?

The homeowner keeps all the equity remaining in the home. In our many years of experience, over 99% of homeowners have money left over when their loan is repaid. The equity remaining depends on the amount borrowed, the value of the home, and the amount of time that’s passed since the reverse mortgage was taken out.

Will the bank own the home?

No. The homeowner retains title and maintains ownership of the home. It’s required for the homeowner to live in the home, pay taxes on time, have property insurance, and maintain the property in good condition.

What if the homeowner has an existing mortgage?

Many of our clients use a reverse mortgage to pay off their existing mortgage and debts.

Should reverse mortgages only be considered as a loan of last resort?

No. Many financial professionals recommend a reverse mortgage to supplement monthly income instead of selling and downsizing, or taking out a conventional mortgage or a line of credit.

What if the homeowner can’t afford payments?

There are no monthly payments required as long as the homeowner is living in the home.

Contact us today if you have any questions or if you’d like to see how much you can get!

Yhard Mortgages 902-401-8143