The Tale of The Forgotten Money Great Read!

General Mustapha Maynard 22 Jan

Ever wonder what happens to bank accounts that are inactive, forgotten about and left unclaimed? The answer to that question is that you probably haven’t. I know the thought of it never really crossed my mind and I bet that would be the case for most Canadians.

My initial thought was “Seriously? Who forgets they have money or investments sitting at a bank?” However, the numbers actually speak for themselves and I bet you will be a bit blown away.

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At any given time, the Bank of Canada holds approximately $740 million of unclaimed money. You read that right….

$740 MILLION!!

This is money that at one time was held in a Canadian Financial Institution and went unclaimed. Those funds are eventually transferred to the Bank of Canada for safe keeping. The number caught my attention, so I did some digging.

It is not uncommon for funds to go unclaimed and when you think about it, it makes sense. Maybe there was a death and family members did not have a full picture of their loved one’s financial holdings or maybe there was no family to step in. Maybe there was a volunteer group, organization or business that had funds sitting somewhere, but they ceased operations and these accounts were lost or forgotten about.

Here are the highlights on what happens to the money.

  • When an account or investment remains inactive for a period of 10 years and reasonable efforts have been made to contact the rightful owner, those funds are then transferred to the Bank of Canada at the end of the year.
  • The Bank of Canada then takes control over those funds. Interest is earned and paid on the funds held over the next 10 years or until the funds are claimed by the rightful owner or beneficiary.
  • The Bank of Canada retains those funds for 30 years if the balance is less than $1,000.
  • If the balance is greater than $1,000 then the Bank of Canada retains those funds for 100 years!
  • If the funds are not collected by the rightful owner (that includes estates or beneficiaries) within those designated time frames listed above, then funds become the property of the Receiver General of Canada.

Here is the good news! The Bank of Canada has an online database that you can search and its quite simple to use. The data base retains any funds that have yet to be collected and remain in their possession. Once a claim has been made, approved and a payout processed, that information is removed from the data base. Therefore, when you search the database anything that shows up is still in the possession of the Bank of Canada. The Data base shows the account owners name, the institution the funds came from along with branch address (if available), and the amount being held by the Bank of Canada. A simple search I conducted showed balances as low as $2.00 up to $10,000-plus.

If you have some time, CLICK HERE and take a few minutes to search the names of your loved ones that have previously passed away, see what comes up. If you run a business or community organization, search those as well. Just remember that the funds will not show up in this database until the original account has been inactive for less than 10 years. For more information about the database and how to process a claim, CLICK HERE to visit the database information page on the Bank of Canada’s website.

7 things every self-employed individual should know — Before you apply for a mortgage

General Mustapha Maynard 21 Jan

Self-employed individuals are quickly becoming one of the most common clients that we handle. Daily we have successful business owners come into our offices who enjoy the perks of being an entrepreneur. One of these includes fantastic write-offs that allow them to bring their income down to a low tax bracket.

However, this benefit can also mean that the same business owner may have a hard time qualifying for a mortgage all because their income is significantly reduced on paper… how frustrating ‘eh? But these savvy business owners know that there is advanced planning that is involved in being able to qualify for conventional financing. Back in 2015, Statistics Canada reported that there were about 2.7 million people self-employed in Canada… which is an astounding 14% of the total population of Canada! What does that stat mean? Two things:

 

1. That being self-employed is a more than viable way of earning income in today’s world.
2. That 14% may not fit into the conventional lending “box”

The Conventional Lending Box
To fit into this box, self-employed individuals must meet certain qualifications. For example, they must be able to provide:
>Two most recent years of personal tax returns
>Two most current years Notice of Assessments
>Two most current years financial statements
>Statement of Bank Account Activity
>Investment Income Statement
>Photo ID

Now, the one area that raises a red flag in the above is the tax returns. As we previously mentioned, their income claimed on the return itself might be significantly different than their actual income. Tax deductions related to business often reflect meals, rental spaces, credit card interest etc. The result is that the income the self-employed business owner shows on their tax return is a significantly lower figure than what their actual take home pay is. However, the conventional lending box requires income to justify the mortgage. So how do we pull this off?

The Unconventional Lending Box
Now please keep in mind that “unconventional” in this box just means that as a self-employed individua,l you are going to work with a Mortgage Broker to find an alternative to allow you to show that you can justify the mortgage. There are several well-known and consistently used pieces of advice that we would like to pass along to you:

1. If you are organized and planning (think 2 years out) you can plan to write off fewer expenses in the two years leading up to the property purchase. Yes, you will pay more personal taxes. However, your income will be higher, and it will be easier to qualify you for the mortgage amount you are seeking.
2. Set up your finances through a certified accountant. Many lenders want to see self-employed income submitted through a professional rather than doing it yourself. The truth is that the time you spend doing your own taxes will not be nearly as efficient both financially and time-wise as a professional. Make sure that you discuss with them what your goals are so that they can set up your taxes properly for you!
3. Choose your timing carefully. If you are leaving for an extended holiday within the two years before purchasing, your two-year average income may fluctuate. Plan your vacations and extended trips away with income in mind.
4. Consider using Stated Income. You have the option to state your income. This is based on you being in the same profession for 2+ years before being self-employed. The lender looks at the industry and researches the mean income of someone in that profession and with your experience. You will be required to provide additional documents such as bank statements, showing consistent deposits and other documentation may be asked of you to show your income.
5. Avoid Bankruptcy at all cost…. or if you do declare bankruptcy have all your discharge papers on hand to present to the lender and ensure you have two years of re-established your credit.
6. Mortgage Brokers can state income with lenders at the best discounted rates. But if you do not qualify with A lenders using stated income, then a broker will work with you to utilize a B Lender who are more lenient but may come with higher interest rates and applicable lending and broker fees.
7. Last but not least, if A or B lenders don’t fit, private financing can be looked at as an alternative option in order to get you into the market and offer a short-term solution to improve credit or top up your reporting income. Then you and your broker can refinance into an A or B lender at that time. Just keep in mind that private lending will have a higher rate associated with it , with lender and broker fees added on as well, if you choose to go with this option.

So, to all of our self-employed, hard-working, determined individuals, take heart! You can qualify for the mortgage you want, it just takes a little more planning to get everything in order. Keep in mind to that every lender has different guidelines as to how they view self-employment. Working with a Dominion Lending Centres broker leading up to your property purchase can help you ensure you get the mortgage you want.

Moose Mortgages is Happy to Announce Partnership with Tenfed

General Mustapha Maynard 14 Jun

Very Excited to announce , that I have partnered up with Tenfed to help feed hungry kids, not only in other countries but right here locally in Canada as well. Tenfed Project goal is to feed 250,000 hungry children by the end of 2018. Not only has it been my passion to help those achieve their dream of homeownership, but also to bless others and to help those in need. That being said, Moose Mortgages has helped feed over 200 children to date and will continue to grow that number. For every Tenfed item that is sold, TEN meals are provided to feed hungry children around the globe. Visit tenfed.org and use Promo code “Moose” to receive 15% off.

 

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You just got a mortgage. Now what?

General Mustapha Maynard 6 Nov

Mortgages are a funny thing. On the one hand they allow you to become a home owner without saving up enough money to purchase the home outright, which is a really good thing. On the other hand, even at today’s really low interest rates, as they are amortized over a really long time (most of the time 25 years), they can cost you a lot more money in the long run. With the government tightening mortgage qualification, chances are securing your most recent mortgage wasn’t a painless process.
So now that you finally have a mortgage, and you’re a home owner, the first thing you should do is figure out how to get rid of your mortgage! Here are 4 ways you can do that!

ACCELERATE YOUR PAYMENT FREQUENCY
Making the change from monthly payments to accelerated bi-weekly payments is one of the easiest ways you can make a difference to the bottom line of your mortgage. Most people don’t even notice the difference.
A traditional mortgage splits the amount owing into 12 equal monthly payments. Accelerated biweekly is simply taking a regular monthly payment and dividing it in two, but instead of making 24 payments, you make 26. The extra two payments really accelerate the pay down of your mortgage.

INCREASE YOUR MORTGAGE PAYMENT AMOUNT
Unless you opted for a “no-frills” mortgage, chances are you have the ability to increase your regular mortgage payment by 10-25%. This is a great option if you have some extra cash flow to spend in your budget. This money will go directly towards paying down the principal amount owing on your mortgage, and isn’t a prepayment of interest. The more money you can pay down when you first get your mortgage the better, as it has a compound effect, meaning you will pay less interest over the life of your mortgage.
Also, by voluntarily increasing your mortgage payment, it’s kinda like signing up for a long term forced savings plan where equity builds in your house rather than your bank account.

MAKE A LUMP SUM PAYMENT
Again, unless you have a “no-frills” mortgage, you should be able to make bulk payments to your mortgage. Depending on your lender and your mortgage product, you should be able to put down anywhere from 10-25% of the original mortgage balance. Some lenders are particular about when you can make these payments, however if you haven’t taken advantage of a lump sum payment yet this year, you will be eligible.

REVIEW YOUR OPTIONS REGULARLY
As your mortgage payments are withdrawn from your account regularly, it’s easy to simply put your mortgage payments on auto-pilot, especially if you have opted for a 5 year fixed term. Regardless of the terms of your mortgage, it’s a good idea to give your mortgage an annual review. There may be opportunities to refinance and lower your interest rate, or maybe not, but the point of reviewing your mortgage annually, is that you are conscious about making decisions regarding your mortgage.

If you have any questions about your mortgage, how to get a mortgage, or how to get rid of the mortgage you have, please don’t hesitate to contact me today mustapha@mooosemortgages.com

How to Get a Mortgage After Bankruptcy

General Mustapha Maynard 1 Nov

Bankruptcy is always the last resort-and it’s never easy or comfortable. However, sometimes it is the only option to turn to when life throws you something unexpected. The lasting impression it can have on one’s financial profile though can be overwhelming.

If you have bankruptcy in your past, don’t fear-we have 6 steps to take to help get you back on track and qualifying for your mortgage!

Step 1: Get official discharge quickly.
The quicker you are discharged from your bankruptcy, the quicker you can start rebuilding your credit. This starts with finding a good bankruptcy trustee. You can contact the BBB or Chamber of Commerce to find out recommendations, but we can also provide you with connections to complete your discharge in the shortest time possible.

Step 2: Review your most recent credit score.
You will need to pull from Equifax and TransUnion Canada. They are the two governing credit bureau organizations that manage credit reports in Canada. Look over both reports carefully and make sure there are no surprises and that your debts have been paid off completely. As a general guideline, getting a credit report yearly is a good rule of thumb. You’re managing your credit-if you see a mistake on the report it is up to you to follow the steps to get the mistake corrected.
If you find a mistake, you do have the right to dispute or explain ‘situations or mistakes’ to your bureau. Contact the credit reporting agency immediately and ask about their dispute resolution process. If you still do not agree with an item following the agency’s investigation, visit this link for TransUnion or this link for Equifax to find out how you can add an explanation statement to your report.

Step 3: Re-establish your credit
Mortgages are much easier to get with good credit. You will want to start to rebuild your credit as soon as you possibly can. To do this you will want to open up 2 tradelines (credit cards) through a secured institution such as Capital One, Home Trust, Peoples Trust, etc. They start with putting as little as $500 down with your credit being based on your deposit. Next, follow the 2-2-2 rule. This means you will want to keep those 2 lines of credit with a max limit of $2000 for 2 years. Keeping in mind that you must pay your bill on time each month (even if it is just the minimum payments).

Step 4: Pay any outstanding taxes to revenue Canada
This is probably one of the most important things to remember when you are getting a mortgage! If your taxes are unpaid then there is nothing we can do to help! You won’t qualify for any mortgage until any owing debts to Revenue Canada are paid off.

Step 5: Start Saving!
With all of the mortgage regulations in place now it is important to understand how much you will need to save to put down on a home. This will vary from person to person and situation to situation. Your personal history, credit score, etc. will have an effect on this as well. There are literally 100’s of ways that you can start saving money. Remember, every little bit helps!

Step 6: Put budgeted savings into an RRSP for the down payment
One of the easiest ways to make money on your savings, is to keep them in an RRSP fund. If you are a first-time home buyer in Canada you can borrow up to $25,000 from your RRSP’s to use towards the down payment on your new home. The beautiful thing about keeping it in an RRSP fund is the larger tax refund you will receive—for every $1,000-dollar contribution you will get $400 back! Now that’s smart saving!

In addition to these 6 steps, we recommend that you keep all bankruptcy documents on hand. Even though your bankruptcy has been discharged, the lender which you are applying for a mortgage with may ask you to provide a copy of the statement of discharge, along with copies of the bankruptcy papers. Keep them safe and on hand as this is a key piece of information to help you get a mortgage faster and easier.

Declaring bankruptcy is one of the life events that no one wants to face. But if that is part of your history, a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist will walk you through the mortgage process and go above and beyond to make sure that you acquire the mortgage you are looking for!

5 Simple Steps to Owning Your Own Home

General Mustapha Maynard 31 Oct

Often, the route to owning your own home can seem like a trip to the moon and back.

Really though, it comes down to five key steps:

1 – Manage your credit wisely.
If there is one thing that will gum up the purchase of that perfect home, it’s an unwise purchase or extra credit obtained. Keep your credit spending to a minimum at all times, make every payment on time and most of all pay more than the minimum payment. Remember that if you just make the minimum payment on your credit cards, chances are you will still be making payments 100 years from now.

2- Assemble a down payment.
At first glance, the challenge of finding a down payment can seem insurmountable. In fact, you just need to consider all the sources for down payment funds. yes, you will have saved some but remember you can also, in some situations, use RRSP funds, grants ( BC Home Equity Partnership for example ) and non traditional sources like insurance settlements, severance and of course, gifted funds from a family member. Don’t forget that you’ll need to demonstrate that you’ve had the funds on deposit for up to 90 days and also that you have an additional one and a half percent of the mortgage amount for closing costs.

3- Figure out how much you can afford.
It’s at this point that most people usually stop and scratch their heads. Some even try and tough it out, using the raft of online calculators to figure it out, but new mortgage rules can make even that a challenge.
If you talk to a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist ( like me! ) though, they can help you figure it out and even go as far as getting you a “pre-approval” from a financial institution. This can give you the confidence you need to actually start looking around.

4- Figure out what you want.
You’ll want to make a list of things your new home has to have and what the neighbourhood has to have. Things you want to think about are the things that are important to you now; is there access to a dog park? Is there ensuite laundry? Divide the list into things you can’t live without and things you’d like to have. It’s way easier to look when you know what you want to look at.

5- Look with your head, buy with your heart.
The final step is, with the help of a realtor, look at properties that meet your requirements. Yes, the market is a little frenzied at the moment, but remember, if your perfect property is sold to someone else, the next perfect property will soon appear.

When you do finally buy, chances are, you’ll buy with your heart. My sister Noona moved to London some years back and after settling in, decided to buy. Her list was fairly lengthy, one of the key elements was being able to walk to work. In a market similar to what we face now, she found a property that met most of her requirements. In the end though, she bought with heart, mostly because of the view from the balcony.

The decision which home to buy is a tricky thing, it should be made with your head and heart. Deciding, while balancing what you think and feel, really is rocket science.

I know that this may seem to be an oversimplification but really, the thing that complicates the process is your own emotions – all of the stress that comes along with making a life change can make the process challenging.