27 Jan

What is a Secondary Unit?


Posted by: William Douglas

Properties with a ‘Second Unit’

Have a look through many MLS listings and you will see terms like: “Secondary Suites”, “Basement Apartments”, “Accessory Apartments”, “Granny Flats”, “In-Law Suites”, “Granny Suites” or “Nanny Suites”.    Whether a buyer is looking for a unit for an aging parent to stay nearby or to make some extra money to help make the mortgage payments or cash flow, a Second Unit can be a great solution.

What are ‘Second Units’?

Second units are self-contained residential units with a private kitchen, bathroom facilities and sleeping areas within a single-family or semi-detached home.

Benefits of Second Units

In addition to increasing the amount of affordable rental accommodation in an area, second units benefit the wider community in a number of other ways. They,

  • provide homeowners with an opportunity to earn additional income to help meet the costs of homeownership
  • support changing demographics by providing more housing options for extended families or elderly parents, or for a live-in caregiver
  • maximize densities and help create income-integrated communities, which support and enhance public transit, local businesses, and the local labour markets, as well as make more efficient use of infrastructure
  • create jobs in the construction/renovation industry.

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) recently announced that in order to facilitate affordable housing choices for Canadians, it would be making some policy revisions on how they consider income derived from secondary suites.

Considering the last 4 years have been nothing but tightening of rules, making it harder for Canadians to secure mortgage financing, this news is certainly welcome!

Cautions about Purchasing a Property with a Second Unit

  • Regardless of where they are located, second units must comply with health, safety and municipal property standards, including but not limited to, the Ontario Building Code, the Fire Code and municipal property standards by-laws.  In addition, a building permit may be required to establish a second unit depending on whether alterations to the house are needed.  As such, buyers considering purchasing a property with a Second Unit or homeowners considering establishing a second unit should contact their municipality prior to doing so.
  • In many cases, illegally-operated secondary suites also go unreported to insurance providers. If a Secondary Unit is not reported to your insurance provider you run the risk of not being covered in the event of a loss.
  • In addition, your lawyer will be required to order a work order search since you are technically purchasing a multi-unit residential property. This results in a longer timeline, a few more dollars and, possibly, some setbacks to deal with in order to close on the anticipated closing day.
  • Be sure to speak to your accountant if you will be receiving rent from the second unit. There are several tax implications for receiving rental income not the least of which is having to claim Capital Gains on the sale of your personal home.
  • A final word of caution, if one (or both) of the units are currently tenanted, be sure to ask for vacant possession of the unit that you will be living in.  If the tenant in the extra unit is staying, be sure to ask for a copy of the lease to make sure your rights are protected.  If the tenant in the second unit is also leaving, make sure you require vacant possession of that unit as well.  Banks will no longer allow the flexibility of a tenant to “move out in 60 days” in order to qualify for a residential mortgage with a 5% down payment.  On closing day, the discovery of a “Rent Adjustment” by your lawyer will immediately cancel your mortgage if the lender was not aware that a tenant would be remaining in any of the units.

So What Does This Mean for You?

If you would like to discuss how much mortgage you qualify for and look at different scenarios of qualifying with a secondary suite rental income, I would love to have an in-depth look at your finances and provide you with mortgage options!

Have questions?

Connect with me here > http://douglasmortgages.com/about/contact/

18 Jan



Posted by: William Douglas

If you’re looking to get a mortgage and considering a mortgage broker, there’s a good chance you’re wondering about how much the service costs.

Good news! Clients looking to get a standard residential mortgage pay no fees to the broker.

On standard residential mortgages, it’s 100% free for the clients. We’re paid by the bank or by the lending institution that we give the mortgage to.

But it’s not the only advantage a broker can bring you. When you’re shopping for a mortgage at a bank, they’re only able to offer you something from their stable of products. A broker, however, is able to shop at different banks to get you the best product for your needs.

If you don’t fit in the bank’s box of products, then you don’t get the mortgage. When you go to a mortgage broker, the mortgage broker has access to every lender on the market and is able to sell you basically everything to find a solution that makes the most amount of sense for you.

Because they’re able to shop around, in many cases the broker is able to find you a better rate on your mortgage.

In addition, mortgage brokers are licensed professionals covered by provincial governing bodies that look out for you, the consumer. In many cases, the person you’re dealing with at the bank is just a salesperson, without any requirement to be licensed.

So, if you’re in the market for a new home, try a mortgage broker. It’s the safer, smarter choice for your mortgage. We’d encourage you to shop around, then get in touch with us for a no-obligation chat with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional near you.

If you are interested in relocating to Easter Ontario, I’d be happy to look at your mortgage options with you.

📲View current mortgage rates

📲Apply for a mortgage

30 Dec

Credit Scores – How do you score?


Posted by: William Douglas

Why you need to monitor your credit score!

All the recent mortgage changes translate into needing a strong credit score more than ever.  Most Lenders rely on the “Equifax” score.  Equifax calculates a daily “risk” score out of a maximum score of 900.  Using Creditkarma.ca will access a TransUnion score which is not used by many lenders but is a good way to monitor activity.  Establishing a score of 700 or higher is considered an excellent score and opens the doors to better interest rates and bank approvals.


This factor determines about a third of your score.  Even a one-day late payment can negatively influence your score and show on your bureau for 6 years.  It’s more important to pay the minimum payment on time than to pay a larger amount late.  Setting up all of your accounts on pre-authorized payments for the minimum amount will ensure that you will never have a late payment.

The MOST important advice I can give is to avoid having anything sent to COLLECTIONS.  No lender will provide a mortgage to someone with an unpaid collection.  Each one decreases your score by about 80 points.  If you are having a dispute with your cell phone or internet provider, pay the bill and then argue about it later!!!


The amount of usage is another large factor in determining your credit score.  The more of the limit you have used, the lower your score will be.  Keeping your balance under 30% of the total available amount will help your score increase.  If you are in a hurry to improve your score, consider calling your credit companies for a limit increase.  The secret to this trick: DO NOT use the increase !!


Your Beacon score is also calculated by AGE OF YOUR ACCOUNTSTYPE OF CREDIT you have and  NUMBER OF ENQUIRIES on your bureau in the last 12 months.  Lenders want to see at least 2 different kinds of credit established for at least 2 years for a total limit of at least $2,500.  A combination of credit cards, loans, and lines of credit are desirable.  If you make numerous calls looking for credit from different companies you will lower your score and is a red flag to lenders.  Keep in mind, if you close an account, your score could drop by almost 100 points!!

If you are interested in relocating to Easter Ontario, I’d be happy to look at your mortgage options with you.

📲View current mortgage rates

📲Apply for a mortgage

16 Dec

What are Rate Holds?


Posted by: William Douglas

You May Have Heard of the Term “Rate Holds”.

Lenders offer rate holds to potential clients purchasing a new property who need a mortgage.  Rate holds are not used for refinancing a mortgage or transferring it from one lender to another.

Lenders will typically hold a rate for 120 days.  However, some lenders will hold the rate for a shorter period of time.  Each lender offers different options and a Mortgage Broker can walk you through the different options that are best for you.

What Does a Rate Hold Mean

A rate hold does not commit you to work with that particular lender.  It does not influence your chances of receiving an approval down the road.  When lenders offer a rate hold, they do not collect your documents or confirm that you will qualify for the amount of mortgage requested.  It simply holds the rate.  If a lender or Mortgage Broker collects and verifies your documents it is called a “Pre-Approval”.

The Way Rate Holds Work

  • Mortgage Broker submits your application to a lender for a fixed interest rate of 3.59% for 5-years with a 120-day rate hold.
  • 30 days later, that interest rate moves to 3.69%. As long as your mortgage closes in the next 90 days (within the 120-day window from when you got your rate hold), you can keep your 3.59% rate.
  • If rates go down, not up, you can also take advantage of the lower interest rate.
  • Once the 120 days expire, you can submit another rate hold.  It will be for the interest rate on the day of the new submission.

Best Choices

In my opinion, there is more value in a complete pre-approval in which a Mortgage Broker will verify all of your documents and also get you a rate hold.

If you are interested in relocating to Easter Ontario, I’d be happy to look at your mortgage options with you.

📲View current mortgage rates

📲Apply for a mortgage

8 Oct

First Time Home Buyers


Posted by: William Douglas


Buying a home might just be the biggest purchase of your life—it’s important to do your homework before jumping in! We have outlined the 5 mistakes first time homebuyers commonly make, and how you can avoid them and look like a Home Buying Champ.

1. Shopping Outside Your Budget
It’s always an excellent idea to get pre-approved prior to starting your house hunting. This can give you a clear idea of exactly what your finances are and what you can comfortably afford. Your Mortgage Broker will give you the maximum amount that you can spend on a house but that does not mean that you should spend that full amount. There are additional costs that you need to consider (Property Transfer Tax, Strata Fees, Legal Fees, Moving Costs) and leave room for in your budget. Stretching yourself too thin can lead to you being “House Rich and Cash Poor” something you will want to avoid. Instead, buying a home within your home-buying limit will allow you to be ready for any potential curveballs and to keep your savings on track.

2. Forgetting to Budget for Closing Costs
Most first-time buyers know about the down payment but fail to realize that there are a number of costs associated with closing on a home. These can be substantial and should not be overlooked. They include:
• Legal and Notary Fees
• Property Transfer Tax (though, as a First Time Home Buyer, you might be exempt from this cost).
• Home Inspection fees
There can also be other costs included depending on the type of mortgage and lender you work with (ex. Insurance premiums, broker/lender fees). Check with your broker and get an estimate of what the cost will be once you have your pre-approval completed.

3. Buying a Home on Looks Alone
It can be easy to fall in love with a home the minute you walk into it. Updated kitchen + bathrooms, beautifully redone flooring, new appliances…what’s not to like? But before putting in an offer on the home, be sure to look past the cosmetic upgrades. Ask questions such as:
• When was the roof last done?
• How old is the furnace?
• How old is the water heater?
• How old is the house itself? And what upgrades have been done to electrical, plumbing, etc.
• When were the windows last updated?

All of these things are necessary pieces to a home and are quite expensive to finance, especially as a first- time buyer. Look for a home that has solid, good bones. Cosmetic upgrades can be made later and are far less of a headache than these bigger upgrades.

4. Skipping the Home Inspection
In a red-hot housing market, a new trend is for homebuyers to skip the home inspection. This is one thing we recommend you do not skip! A home inspection can turn up so many unforeseen problems such as water damage, foundation cracks and other potential problems that would be expensive to have to repair down the road. The inspection report will provide you a handy checklist of all the things you should do to make sure your home is in great shape.

5. Not Using a Broker
We compare prices for everything: Cars, TV’s, Clothing…even groceries. So, it makes sense to shop around for your mortgage too! If you are relying solely on your bank to provide you with the best rate, you may be missing out on great opportunities that a mortgage broker can offer you. They can work with you to and multiple lenders to find the sharpest rate and the best product for your lifestyle.

Remember, when you are buying a home, you are not alone! The minute you decide to work with a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker you are bringing on a team of individuals who are there to help you through the process from start to finish.