Category Archives: self employed buyers

Get your free summer mortgage check up now

Get your free summer mortgage check up now.  We are exactly half way through the year. Are you meeting all the resolutions you made for 2015? Are you on track to meet your financial goals? Are you thinking of:

  1. Refinancing to reduce your mortgage rate
  2. Consolidate high interest credit card debt
  3. Refinance to do much needed upgrades or renovations
  4. Cash out equity to buy a second home or investment property
  5. Cash out equity to start a business or purchase a franchise
  6. Cash out equity to give your kids or grand kids a financial gift

It may be much easier than you think to achieve your goal, so don’t procrastinate.

Schedule your no obligation mortgage consultation with the Ray C. McMillan Mortgage Team to explore your options. 


When it comes to credit, many consumers – particularly Millennials – don’t understand the score

Many consumers, particularly Millennials, don't understand the score

Only one in five consumers know that bad credit scores are likely to increase finance charges by more than $5,000 over time if you’re taking out a $20,000 five-year car loan, according to a new survey.

Some consumers know that they’d pay more in interest when buying a new car, if they had a lower score but they don’t understand how big the cost will be, according to the fifth annual national credit score survey released Monday by the Consumer Federation of America and VantageScore Solutions.

Credit scores are designed to help lenders calculate the risk that a given borrower will not repay a loan.

Millennials had some larger knowledge gaps than others, too.

About 27 percent of Millennials—those age 18 through 34—did not realize that a 700 credit score is usually a good credit score. That compares with 19 percent among consumers who are at least 35.

About 39 percent of Millennials surveyed did not understand that the three main credit bureaus collect information on which scores are based. That compares with 30 percent for consumers who aren’t Millennials.

The telephone survey by cellphone and landline, undertaken by ORC International from April 9 to April 12, showed that more consumers this year, compared with the previous year, did understand that the cost of an auto loan goes up with a lower credit score.

Barrett Burns, president and CEO of VantageScore Solutions, said consumers tend to be better educated about credit scores than when the surveys first began five years ago.

About 66 percent of consumers, for example, know that making payments on time, keeping credit card balances low or paid off and not opening several credit cards at once will help raise a low credit score over time or help maintain a good score. That compares with 55 percent of consumers from last year’s survey.

Stephen Brobeck, executive director for the Consumer Federation of America, said he’s hopeful that consumers will get more information about how to improve their credit score from a revamped site that has 12 questions. The site is at

Both Brobeck and Burns noted that it is important for consumers to shop around for loans to make sure they’re getting the best deals.

It’s also key to make sure the information on your credit report accurately reflects your payment history and borrowing habits.

A way to get a free credit report is to visit or call 877-322-8228.

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau works with consumers to help resolve complaints about credit scores and credit reports. But before filing a complaint at, consumers are asked to file a complaint and obtain a response from the credit bureau or other company with which you are dealing.

Source: Susan Tompor May 8, 2015

Open up your eyes in open houses

Do you really know what you should be looking for when attending open houses?CREW offers some helpful advice to ensure these trips are worthy and informative.

1. The Neighbourhood

Buying a home is a package deal: it comes with the neighbours. During your visit make note of the traffic speeds, the conditions of the homes in the area and the presence (or absence) of local amenities, especially retail and schools.

Also, look to the neighbouring properties. Are those homes well taken care of? Does it seem like dogs or children live next door? That can give you a good sense of what the neighbours will be like.

2. Privacy

Look out the windows and around the backyard. Does the bedroom window look right into the neighbour’s bathroom? Is the backyard too open, inviting unsolicited visits? Remember: good fences make good neighbours.

3. The Exterior

It’s not just the inside of the home that matters; the house’s exterior can make or break a deal. Look up: does the roof look like it needs new shingles? That can be a costly repair. Now look down: are the wooden boards on the deck rotting? Is the driveway going to need to be repaved? A poorly maintained exterior can also forewarn you of what may be waiting inside.

4. Good flow and layout

The photos you see online won’t reveal how the home flows. For example, is the kitchen near the dining room? Follow the flow with the needs of your targeted tenant in mind.

5. Smells and stains

The nose knows! An odd odour can be a telling sign. Do you sense stale cigarette smoke? That could be a tough scent to remove from carpets. Or maybe you smell something moldy, which could be a far worse problem to have.

Also look around for suspicious stains and watermarks. Water stains can point to a leaky roof or former flood, which might later reveal mold.

6. Light and air

Open windows and pull aside curtains. See how much natural light enters each room and how much air flows through the space. Opening a window during the summer can cut down on the use of air conditioning.

7. Closet and cabinet space

Closet space can be a big deciding factor for buyers, especially for those that are downsizing from larger spaces. If you are staging an open house, ensure that such areas are clean and spacious looking.

8. Signs of renovations

Several people consider themselves handy, but it takes a lot more than a roll of duct tape and some glue to carry out full-scale renovations. If part of the home looks like it’s been altered, ask the listing agent about it and make sure to see a copy of any building permits.

9. The questions

Have a complete list of questions for the agent showing the property. For example, when was the property constructed, how old is the water boiler or how long has the property been listed? Open houses provide a great opportunity to get a real insight into a property.

10. Take pictures and notes

Take notes of any issues that you spot, as well as pictures, during viewing. Use these notes to help in your buying decision – they may also help during the negotiating process.

Source: Canadian Real Estate Wealth – 28 May 2015

CMHC goes from insuring 90% of new mortgages to only 50% — and that’s as low as it plans to go

CMHC insured 175,169 new home loans last year worth $41.7 billion, which comprised 54 per cent of the market and that’s dropped to about 50 per cent so far this year.

CMHC insured 175,169 new home loans last year worth $41.7 billion, which comprised 54 per cent of the market and that’s dropped to about 50 per cent so far this year.

Source: Financial Post

Katia Dmitrieva, Bloomberg News | May 28, 2015 3:02 PM ET

Canada’s national housing agency says it’s now insuring a record low 50 per cent of new residential mortgages, and it doesn’t intend to let it drop any further.

Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp. Chief Executive Officer Evan Siddall said that after years of cutting its share to reduce taxpayer risk to the $1.2 trillion mortgage market, the agency plans to hold firm. CMHC’s stake of the new mortgage-insurance business has dropped from about 90 per cent during the 2008 financial crisis, and a pre-crisis low of 57 per cent.

“We’re very comfortable with our market share around 50 per cent,” Siddall said at Bloomberg’s Toronto office May 22. “It’s important for us to have a substantial presence in the marketplace so that we can give access and information to Canadians, we can give good policy advice to government” and can act as a shock absorber in case of a financial crisis.

The agency insured 175,169 new home loans last year worth $41.7 billion, which comprised 54 per cent of the market and that’s dropped to about 50 per cent so far this year.

The vow to retain half the market may limit growth of private rivals such as Genworth MI Canada Inc. and Canada Guaranty Mortgage Insurance Co. Shares of Genworth MI, part-owned by Richmond, Virginia-based Genworth Financial Inc., have risen 36 per cent in the past two years as its market-share rose, compared with a 19 per cent gain in the broader Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index.

Legal Cap

CMHC had $543 billion of mortgage insurance in-force, or total mortgages it insures, at the end of 2014, according to the agency’s annual report. That’s just below its legal cap of $600 billion and down 4.1 per cent from 2012.

Residential mortgage credit at banks and non-banks totalled $1.2 trillion as of March, according to figures from the Bank of Canada.

Genworth MI had $365 billion in insured loans as of March 31, according to financial documents. Canada Guarantee, co-owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, is closely held and doesn’t disclose insurance in-force.

Brian Hurley, executive chairman of Genworth MI, said last year he expected CMHC to command only a third of the market in the future.

CMHC is “still going to have a third of the market and two-thirds of the market can go to the private sector,” Hurley, then CEO of Genworth MI, said at a Sept. 4 financial summit. “How are they going to get there? That’s a good question. One easy path could be the limiting they’ve done over the last few years.”

‘We’re Comfortable’

Current Genworth MI CEO Stuart Levings said the company offers value above the government-backed insurance agency.

“We believe we are the mortgage insurer of choice — when a lender has a choice they pick Genworth,” Levings said at Bloomberg’s Toronto office. “It’s admirable for a competitor to say ‘I’m going to maintain a certain share level.’ I respect that. We as a competitor will continue to fight for market share in a responsible prudent, manner.”

“Canada Guaranty has experienced significant growth over the last several years by increasing our customer base and deepening current lender relationships,” Mary Putnam, spokeswoman from Canada Guaranty said in an e-mail statement. “We are well positioned for increased market share.”

CMHC would boost marketing, customer-service efforts, and perhaps lower premiums, if CMHC’s share of the market slid much below 50 per cent, Siddall said.

Gains Tougher

“We’re comfortable for two reasons at our all-time low market share: we have vigorous, healthy competitors,” Siddall said. “And because we’ve adjusted to having that market share and managing it.”

Siddall, previously an adviser to former Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, spent more than a decade in the financial sector at firms including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of Montreal.

CMHC can hold onto its 50 per cent stake “pretty easily,” Paul Holden, a Toronto-based analyst at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce who covers Genworth MI, said by phone Tuesday. “The implication on Genworth is probably that future market-share gains are going to be a lot tougher to come by.”

Three of the eight analysts who track Genworth MI rate it a buy and five say hold. The average 12-month stock price target is $39.50, 18 per cent above its closing price of $33.60 on Wednesday.

The company reported profit rose 13 per cent to $107 million in the first quarter from a year earlier as premiums grew 55 per cent to $130 million.

Shorter Amortization

CMHC is 100 per cent backstopped by the government so as arrears arose during the 2008 financial crisis, lenders including Royal Bank of Canada and Toronto-Dominion Bank, turned to the agency to insure more mortgages. Genworth MI is 90 per cent guaranteed by the government in cases of default.

The federal government has actively sought to limit CMHC’s role as home prices have surged in Canada. Toronto home prices jumped 48 per cent to an average $545,400 in April from the same month in 2008. In Vancouver, they rallied 19 per cent to $673,000 over the same period.

The department of finance made CMHC insurance unavailable to homes above $1 million, lowered the maximum amount homeowners can borrow against the value of their homes to 80 per cent and cut maximum mortgage amortization periods several times to 25 years. A mortgage with less than a 20 per cent downpayment must be insured in Canada.

Risk Sharing

CMHC itself increased mortgage-insurance premiums by 15 per cent last year and this year raised premiums on mortgages with less than 10 per cent down, with the change coming into force June 1. Oakville, Ontario-based Genworth MI followed suit with its own premium increase. CMHC also no longer insures second homes or condominium construction financing.

CMHC is speaking with the government on a new risk-sharing model, Siddall said. The department of finance is leading talks with banks, and the housing agency and other federal departments are supporting with policy and research, Siddall said.

“I’ve talked about risk sharing with lenders as a sound idea and so has the Minister of Finance, and that work’s still going on,” Siddall said, referring to Joe Oliver. “It could have different design features.” Two possible options are a deductible structure where lenders take the first hit if a loan goes sour or one where the loss is shared, Siddall said.

CMHC doesn’t expect Canada’s hot housing market to suffer a sharp correction, Siddall said.

That’s because CMHC regularly conducts stress tests that include catastrophic events such as global economic deflation and a U.S.-style housing crash, modelling the impact of a 5 per cent rise in unemployment and a 30 per cent drop in home prices. Even in those worst-case scenarios, the agency would have enough capital to weather them, Siddall said.

“Markets go up and markets go down and we’re in a period right now where markets are a little up,” Siddall said. “We don’t see the conditions that could cause it to have a sharp correction.”

Super-low rates are here to stay – at least if the Bank of Canada heeds one real estate CEO’s advice.

Getting Mortgage Loans at Low Interest Rates Is Not So Difficult


by Justin da Rosa 06 May 2015

“The housing sector is a key source of strength to Canada’s economy,” Phil Soper, CEO of Royal LePage, wrote in a LinkedIn post entitled Bank of Canada Should Stand Firm in wake of Canadian Economic Stagnation.

“Now more than ever it is important to keep markets functioning by holding firm on low rates.”

According to Soper, the Canadian housing market is healthy and the Bank of Canada can ensure it remains so in the future by holding interest rates at current levels while the economy bounces back from the current weakness of the energy sector.

Soper also weighed in on Toronto and Vancouver’s housing markets – oft-debated hot markets that resisted the kind of slowdown affecting many other major centres.

“The concern here is that strained affordability leaves these markets more susceptible to external shock,” Soper wrote.

“If policymakers are to assist the market in these two mega-cities achieve a ‘soft landing,’  I believe the safest approach is to let demand cool with seasonal change, giving the rest of the nation time to work through the impact of the oil shock.”

Despite a “stalled” economy in the first quarter of 2015, the Bank of Canada revealed some optimism as it held steady the target for the overnight rate at its rate announcement in mid-April.

“Risks to the outlook for inflation are now roughly balanced and risks to financial stability appear to be evolving as expected,” the Bank of Canada wrote in an official release.

“The Bank judges that the current degree of monetary policy stimulus remains appropriate and therefore is maintaining the target for the overnight rate at 3/4 per cent.”

Don’t buy a home alone – a mortgage professional can help

Content From: Mortgages Report

 Published Thursday, Apr. 23 2015, 5:19 PM EDT

Jim Murphy, AMP, President and CEO of the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP), answers questions about mortgage brokers and the services they offer

What are the benefits of using the services of a mortgage professional when buying a home or renewing a mortgage?

Mortgage brokers offer expertise to assist with the biggest financial decisions most Canadians will make in their lifetime.

Once a mortgage broker sits down with you in order to fully understand your income, type of work and total assets, as well as whether you’re new to Canada or self-employed, they’re able to then negotiate on your behalf with multiple lenders – including banks, credit unions and trust companies – to ensure you are matched with the best product to meet your specific needs.

And it’s a service that is generally free to the homeowner. In the vast majority of cases, mortgage brokers in Canada – including AMPs – are paid by the lender once they successfully place your mortgage. So it’s in a broker’s best interest to ensure you receive the best possible mortgage product and rate, tailored to your unique requirements.

What distinguishes Accredited Mortgage Professionals, or AMPs?

The AMP is a designation granted by CAAMP – the mortgage brokering industry’s national association – to mortgage brokers who have been in the industry for at least two years, have taken additional courses, and have passed a national proficiency exam.  Recently, CAAMP undertook measures to strengthen the designation by enforcing more stringent requirements for qualifying and renewing. This ensures that those who obtain the designation have met the highest standard of education and ethics in the Canadian mortgage industry.

In the vast majority of cases, mortgage brokers in Canada – including AMPs – are paid by the lender once they successfully place your mortgage.

When is the right time to connect with a mortgage professional?

It’s never too early, especially if you are a first-time homebuyer. If you’re thinking about buying a home, you want to know the mortgage amount for which you qualify before you head out on your search. That way, you can look at options within your budget and avoid the disappointment of becoming attached to a home that’s beyond your financial means.

If you don’t have a mortgage broker yet, you can visit to find a member in your community through our online directory – or talk to family, friends and other referral sources.

Is there anything else homebuyers should keep in mind when looking for a mortgage professional?

If you don’t understand something your mortgage professional has explained to you, be sure to ask questions until you feel comfortable. And although rate is important, there are many other questions that are just as important when it pertains to your mortgage. Are there penalties for breaking the mortgage early? What are the prepayment options?

Also, there is no substitute for being prepared. Educate yourself and get the facts you need to make the right mortgage decision and increase your home-buying confidence. Although buying a home is a sound investment idea, it is critical to understand what homeownership entails. Understanding each step of the home-buying process is key to ensuring you will make a wise decision that suits your emotional needs and your financial situation.

Should borrowers stay in touch with their mortgage professional after the mortgage is finalized?

CAAMP research shows that homeowners like to hear from their mortgage professional five or six times a year. That may include a spring, fall and winter newsletter with basic tips about spring cleaning or home maintenance. There are always things going on with the Bank of Canada, the real estate market and the government that may affect a homeowner, depending on what type of mortgage they have. Because a home is usually your largest financial investment, it’s wise to stay on top of that activity, and a mortgage professional can help keep you informed about your mortgage options throughout the home-buying process and beyond.


In 2014, the share of outstanding mortgages that were placed through the broker channel reached its highest point since we began measuring:

30 per cent

of outstanding mortgages were obtained through a broker. (55% were placed through a bank).

67 per cent

(up 10% from last year) cited the top reason to consult a mortgage broker as “to get the best rate.”

Just 1 in 10

broker customers choose ONLY rate as the reason for choosing brokers, showing that most customers are looking for brokers to provide a variety of benefits over the direct-to-bank channel.

Of first-time homebuyers,

73 per cent

rated mortgage brokers/specialists as important sources for mortgage info (31% consulted a broker and 66% consulted a lender’s specialist).

Past mortgage broker customers are

44 per cent

more likely than average to be in the housing market in the next year.

Homebuyers average a

20 per cent

down payment,

and nearly

80 per cent

of Canadians say they could have afforded a larger down payment.

This content was produced by Randall Anthony Communications, in partnership with The Globe and Mail’s advertising department. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.

Personal Investor: How much house can you afford?

 Dale Jackson, Your Personal Investor, BNN

Canada’s housing market keeps chugging along – fueled by rock bottom mortgage rates as far as the eye can see.

It’s tempting for anyone to jump in when mortgage rates are south of three percent, but here are some things to consider before you even begin looking at homes.

Scraping together a down payment

For starters, you need a down payment – the bigger the better. Homeowners who are buying-up or downsizing should be able to use the equity in their current homes as a sizable down payment.

First time home buyers with down payments of 20 percent or less will need to insure their mortgages. Contrary to what the term implies mortgage insurance actually protects the lender – not the home owner – in the event of default. The home owner still pays the premiums though, and that only adds to the regular cost of servicing the mortgage.

Getting a green-light on financing

Once you determine your down payment, meet with your financial institution or mortgage broker to arrange a pre-approved mortgage. Lining up a mortgage ahead of time can establish what you can afford, and zero in your house search. It can also give you a better bargaining position by letting the seller know you mean business.

A pre-approved mortgage involves calculating what the home buyer can afford to pay on a monthly basis, also called serviceability. It’s important to factor in scenarios with higher mortgage rates because rates have nowhere to go but up, and that could have a big impact on the size of the overall debt and monthly payments. To get an idea, run mortgage rates of five or six percent through an online mortgage calculator and see how payments balloon with a single percent increase.

If monthly payments are too high the lender can stretch out the length of the loan or amortization period. It’s in the lender’s best interest to extend the amortization period to generate bigger interest payments over a longer time.

The borrower may not be so comfortable being committed to a 25 year debt. When your friendly banker says you can afford a mortgage of a certain size he means you can afford to service it on a regular basis.

Whether you can afford it is something you need to decide.

Too rich for your blood?

If the numbers don’t add up, look for a lower priced home and climb the property ladder once you’ve accumulated more equity over time.

You can also wait and save for a bigger down payment. First time home buyers can borrow up to $25,000 from their registered retirement savings plan provided the funds are paid back to the plan within 15 years. If not, the outstanding amount will be taxed and the RRSP space will be lost.

A tax free savings account is another good way to save for a down payment on a house. Money invested in a TFSA and any gains can be withdrawn tax free at any time.

The important thing is; don’t rush into buying a home. The real estate industry tries to create a false sense of urgency because it makes money on quick closings. For the buyer, the perfect house will always be out there somewhere.

Need more information or advice on #mortgage_qualification, contact the The Ray McMillan Mortgage Team


A Great Day To Check Out A Few Open Houses


Today is a great day to get out and check out a few open houses. If you are in the market for a new home, go out today and get a head start on the spring market rush. Call your realtor if you aren’t comfortable going out by yourself.

Visit and use our handy mortgage calculators to see what you can afford and how much your dream home will cost to carry. For a more detailed analysis, book your consultation with the Ray McMillan Mortgage Team.

Ray McMillan has been continuously licensed as a mortgage professional since 1999


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Get the facts on:
– Buying and Financing Real Estate
– Repairing Credit & Mortgage Crisis
– Mortgage & Life Insurance
– Auto purchases, loans ad leasing
– Self Employed Individuals and borrowing
– Government Funded Programs
– Other options you may not know about
This event is sponsored by:

HAPPY NEW YEAR…. And Thanks For Working With Us In 2014


 Welcome to our first blog for 2015. Happy New Year!!! And we wish you all peace, health and prosperity in 2015. Thanks to all those clients who chose to work with us in 2014 to arrange mortgage financing either for their home purchase or for a refinance. We certainly appreciate your business and are looking forward to working  with you again in  the future. Thanks also for all your referrals.

       2014 has been an very interesting year in the mortgage industry. We have seen significant changes in lending guidelines as stipulated by the Federal Minister of Finance to curb what “is a very hot real estate and to bring some stability to rapidly rising home prices” across the country. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) made a few significant changes. These include;

  • An increase in their premiums
  • A significant change to the programs offered to self employed buyers
  • Changes to way lenders’ cash-back programs can be used

“Following the annual review of its insurance products and capital requirements, CMHC will increase its mortgage loan insurance premiums for homeowner and 1 – 4 unit rental properties effective May 1, 2014.

The increase applies to mortgage loan insurance premiums for owner occupied, self-employed and 1-to-4 unit rental properties, including low-ratio refinance premiums. This does not apply to mortgages currently insured by CMHC.”

All of these changes were done with the intention of slowing down the pace of the real estate market and stabilize prices. Not too sure if it really did much to help. We ended 2014 with the median home price for a detached single family home in Toronto above $890,000.00, a price that pushes most  first time buyers out of the market.

With all this happening we had to make changes to deal the changing mortgage landscape and redevelop or service offering to a quickly evolving client base.  One  of the first changes we made was to completely re-brand our web presence by redesigning and relaunching our web and social media platforms to give clients a clear understanding of what our product offering was. A visit to our website: will allow you to experience more. Next we had to adjust to the needs of our clients who were looking to purchase real estate in the Caribbean, either as vacation homes or  so they can  eventually relocate. In order to facilitate this, we formed strategic partnerships with realtors and lawyers within the Caribbean; namely Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada and St. Lucia to facilitate this.


One of our major Caribbean realtor partners is Sydney Davis and Associates located in Kingston, Jamaica.

“A very experienced realtor operating since 1994, Sydney Davis and Associates has sold, rented and provided property management services throughout the  island. Over the years, Jamaicans and visitors from all walks of life have come to depend on the experience and knowledge the company offers to guide them in their real estate investment endeavors.”

A visit to their website will tell you much more about what Mr. Davis and his team has to offer if or when you are thinking of relocating to Jamaica.

To make the process seamless and stress free for clients looking to do real estate business in the Caribbean, we can also recommend the services of a Toronto solicitor, Courtney Kazembe,  who has offices in the Caribbean islands of Jamaica and Barbados, along with their Toronto office and one in New York, NY.

” Courtney Kazembe is the managing partner at Kazembe and Associates. He has a diverse litigation, estate and real estate practice that includes complex family law and commercial, civil and criminal litigation cases.

Kazembe has extensive experience appearing before all levels of courts and administrative tribunals, including appellate courts in Canada and Jamaica. He is also an expert in multi-jurisdictional law, human rights law, insurance law and Caribbean law.”

Locally we have partnered with two businesses who bring great value and compliment we do. Barrington Lewis is a realtor with more than a decade of real estate experience. Consummate professional Barrington is always available to answer all your real estate questions. Along with his knowledge of real estate in the Greater Toronto Area, Barrington is also quite knowledgeable of real estate in Jamaica and can certainly assist potential clients in purchasing their dream Caribbean home.

For many suburban home owners, the purchase of a new home usually requires the purchase of a new car or a second vehicle to trek the young ones to their activities; dance; karate, music, football, baseball, etc… Jelani Daniel of Check List Auto has been putting his clients in the perfect auto for more than 10 years. With his slogan “Forward March” Jelani stands out in an industry that sometimes can be quite competitive.

With these strategic partnerships and our stable of institutional and private lenders ready to do even the most difficult mortgage transactions here in Ontario and parts of the Caribbean, the Ray C. McMillan Mortgage Team is ready for 2015 and is here to continue to deliver stellar mortgage advice for even the most desperate of client situations. We will get you approved.

Again thanks for 2014 and we are looking forward to 2015.

Ray C. McMillan has been continuously licensed as a mortgage professional  in the Province of Ontario since 1999.