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Does this sound like your Bank?

THE PHONE CALL RIGHT AFTER THE OCTOBER 2008 U.S. SUB-PRIME MORTGAGE CRISIS

It’s November 2008.  News of the U.S. Subprime mortgage crisis has just broken out.   Panic sets in around the world.  Stock Markets collapse.  Govt’s are scrambling to avoid an economic recession…. or possible depression.

Your Banker calls with some advice about how this will affect your mortgage. You’re concerned and don’t understand how these world events will affect you…. The Banker recommends you get out of your Variable Rate mortgage and into a Fixed Rate mortgage…. or they recommend an early renewal of your Fixed Rate and lock into a new 5 year term…

Back then, the best discounted Fixed rates were hovering at 5.95%.  You listen to the Banker’s advice… after all, they are supposed to look out for your best interests, right?

WRONG!  Time for a reality check…Your Banker’s advice was dead wrong…. when economic times are tough, interest rates don’t usually go up, they go down….  Anyone that is in the Financial Services industry should know this….  and yet, that’s exactly how this scenario played out for thousands of Canadian homeowners.

Some say it’s easy to look back and be critical… I agree… except I go on the record with my personal opinions…. Had you been one of my client’s, you would have received my warning to watch out for ‘special bank offers’ and not to lock into any lock term product….. here’s a link to my October 13, 2008 Market Trends report.

BUT IT GETS WORSE…..

You want to take advantage of these record low rates that have been around for the past 12 months….. after all, if you had stayed in a Variable rate, (like 80% of my clients did), you would have enjoyed rates as low at 1.35% during that time..  Instead, your Banker hits you the infamous BIG SIX BANK penalty calculation and wants a penalty of $10,000.  OUCH!  How’s that for a double slap in the face?

Does this even sound possible?   Guess what… it’s not only possible but it happened….and it happened to thousands of Canadian borrowers….  In this example, the borrower has paid over $14,000 in extra interest charges, so far… We trusted the BIG BANKS because they are on every street corner.  They are on TV, in the media, and are so highly regarded in global banking communities…  But how does this help you, the individual person?  or the average family with a mortgage that’s trying to get ahead and benefit from these record low rates…

This isn’t about bank bashing… this is about Banker’s given too much respect and offering little or nothing in return…. Far too many borrowers have gone through  the scenarios described above… and it’s really unfortunate.   By the way, the mortgage balance for this client is only $118,000.… imagine what the loss would be if their mortgage balance was $200k or $300k or more!!

THE GOOD NEWS…..

Yes, there is some good news… You don’t have to make the same mistake…  you can benefit from other people’s experiences…  Get yourself a Mortgage Broker working for you…  An independent expert with an unbiased opinion.   If you were a client of mine, you would have received numerous warnings about these so-called ‘special offers’…and to avoid them…doing so would have saved you around $7,500 per year on a $300k mortgage

It’s never too late…  Getting a great rate is important, but being in the right mortgage product is where you will truly save thousands… We’ve been helping Canadians do it successfully for years…….. Feel free to call me if you need help….

Steve Garganis

416 224 0114

$4k penalty on a $109k mortgage… $8k penalty on a $213k mortgage.

This week I received a few more examples of the ridiculous penalty calculations that the BIG SIX Banks have been using…  If these penalties don’t scare you, then continue to deal with the BIG SIX.

One client has a mortgage with Scotiabank….$109k balance with a 3.60% interest rate and 3 yrs remaining… her penalty to get out is $4,000…!   That’s 10 months worth of interest.

Another client has a mortgage with TD Bank….  $213k balance with a 5.35% interest rate and 1 yr remaining… his penalty is over $8,000…..!  That’s equal to almost 9 months worth of interest.

If these penalties scare you then keep reading…there is a solution…

There are better alternatives to the BIG SIX Banks….  There are several smaller Lenders, good reputable firms, that don’t use the same formula to calculate your penalty….. and you don’t have to give up anything on rate, terms or prepayment privileges…

Had the Scotiabank client gone with one of my other Lenders, then her penalty would have been around $1340…   and the TD Bank client’s penalty would have been around $5140.

Get an unbiased opinion…. Speak with a neutral party…. Call your Mortgage Broker before making any decisions….  If you don’t have a broker, call me…I’ll be glad to help.

$24,000 and $19,000 in savings by refinancing their mortgages.

We’ve seen a growing trend lately… Customers calling to find out if there was any way to take advantage of today’s record low rates…..   If you are buying for the first time or are renewing a mortgage, then the answer is simple… YES..  But what if you are one of the thousands of Canadians that listened to their Bankers and the media or so-called ‘Experts’ and took at Fixed rate mortgage a few years ago.

You have a rate of 4.00% to 5.50% and you keep reading about record-low interest rates in the low 3.00% range….. what can you do?   Well, here are 2 recent examples…. These are real clients….  These are real savings…

So where was the Banker in all this?  Why didn’t the Banker call these clients to make them aware of the huge savings?   In case you didn’t know it, the Banks are a business… and they want to maximize their profit.    Don’t ever forget that.

CASE STUDY #1… 6 YEARS REMAINING AT 5.45%

We had a new client contact us with a $350k mortgage… they were with a BIG SIX bank.. their penalty to exit would be $10k… that’s a lot of money, and we don’t like anyone to pay penalties…..but we did the math and found this client a 3.29% mortgage for 5 years… the end result worked out to be a gross savings of $34,000…  After paying the penalty, they realized a savings of $24,000 over the next 5 years.   WOW!  That’s an easy decision to make.. the clients also decided to add the penalty into the mortgage…. imagine savings almost $5,000 per year!

CASE STUDY #2… 7 REMAINING AT 5.25%

Another client had a $235k mortgage… also with a BIG SIX Bank… penalty to exit was $4k…. we also found a 5 yr mortgage at 3.29% for this client… the savings worked out to $23,000…less the penalty, that worked out to $19,000 in savings over the next 5 years!…  Again, a no-brainer… Clients moved on this right away… we added the penalty into the mortgage and put almost $4,000 per year, into their pockets.

CAN YOU SAVE ON YOUR MORTGAGE?

We’re seeing more opportunity to save money by taking advantage of today’s low rates…. Don’t wait for your Bank to call.   These are just a few, recent examples.  If you’ve been thinking about how you can save on your mortgage, then take a few minutes and look into it.   Get your mortgage reviewed by an unbiased person.  Call a good Mortgage Broker.  It could be worth a closer look.   If you don’t have a broker, then feel free to contact me and I’ll do some quick math.   You might be pleasantly surprised with the results.

We’ll be sharing more of our success stories and tips on how you can save money on your mortgage.

Flaherty is, isn’t, is, isn’t changing mortgage rules?

So which report do you want to believe….?  2 separate reports… both from April 10, 2012.     We have Reuter’s reporting that Canada’s Finance Minister Flaherty, isn’t making any changes to mortgage rules….  Click here for their report.   Here’s a quote from the article “I have no present plans to intervene in the housing market in Canada,” Flaherty told reporters in New York.

And here’s another report from Bloomberg.com entitled “Flaherty Says He’s Planning Changes on CMHC Rules.” Click here for their report.   Are you confused yet?    Well, you’re not alone.   The mixed messages are everywhere today.   Bank of Canada Carney warning about record high Personal Debt Levels…. you’ve seen this one, I’m sure.   We have too much personal debt… and then another report says Canadians are ready to tackle their debt level… and yet another one that say the economy is very fragile and is at risk of slowing down…

It’s hard to know which report is correct.   One thing is certain… today’s mortgage rates are at historical lows.   The govt and the BANKS don’t want them to last.     If you have a house and some debt, or if you are considering buying a house, then why wouldn’t you take advantage of these low rates…?   I’m NOT saying to go out and borrow more money for a TV or new car or other luxury items…  If you have high interest debt, or higher interest debt than today’s 3.00%+ interest rates, then take action and restructure your finances…   Today’s record low rates won’t last…  You can still benefit from these historically low interest rates.

 

The Star reports BMO suggests it’s time to lock into fixed rates…. well, maybe..

I had a discussion with The Toronto Star’s Susan Pigg about Fixed and Variable rates.  Click here to read my comments in this article.

In short, BMO Captial Markets says it’s time to lock into a Fixed rate…. Well maybe, but I would caution anyone that had a BMO variable rate mortgage to think twice about locking into BMO’s well publicized 2.99% 5 year NO FRILLS mortgage.   This product has limitations and restrictions that make it impossible to get out of the mortgage without selling your home.   There are better options out there…  you can get a great rate without sacrificing your options and privileges.

You also have to factor in the infamous BIG SIX BANK penalty calculation.  We’ve written about this before.  This could cost you dearly should you wish to refinance or have to pay the mortgage out before maturity.   We have seen numerous cases of Bank prepayment penalties adding up to 12, 14, 18 and 20 months worth on interest.  That’s right, 20 months worth of interest.   Don’t get held hostage by your mortgage provider.

If you have a Variable Rate mortgage that is price at Prime less 0.50% or lower, I would stick with it…  If you are higher than this or if you mortgage is coming up for renewal, then you should consider a Fixed Rate mortgage…  And the only reason to consider Fixed rates is because they are priced so close to what a Variable rate could be had for today…  Best Variable is around Prime less 0.25%… that’s 2.75%.  Best 5 yr Fixed  with ALL FRILLS is around 3.19%…

But before you make any decision, please speak with an unbiased advisor, like a mortgage broker…. Find out which product is right for you…  Everyone is different and we all have different needs.  There are so many unadvertised specials these days….  Your Mortgage Broker can access these products and  also help explain the differences in penalty calculations and why this should be looked at more closely, even it you don’t think penalties apply to you…

 

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