What is a Purchase Plus Improvement Mortgage?

What is a Purchase Plus Improvement Mortgage?

Purchase Plus Improvement MortgageHave you ever been in this situation? You have been searching for a new home and you have finally found one that you like. It’s in your approved price range and all it needs is a few improvements. Some new laminate flooring, update the kitchen and bathroom, a coat of paint and it will be good as new.

The only problem is that once you calculate the total amount you’ll need for the down payment, taxes, and legal fees, you realize you won’t have enough money for the renovations. Luckily, there is a mortgage for that!

Whether it’s a new kitchen, bathroom or windows, this mortgage provides you with the flexibility
to purchase a home and include the cost of the
renovations in the price.

It’s called a Purchase Plus Improvement Mortgage

And I can help you get approved for one!

The Purchase Plus Improvement Mortgage is a great option for many people who find themselves in this situation. They are able to complete the upgrades right away and live in the home they really want.


The guidelines for the Purchase Plus Improvements Mortgage states that:

  • The cost of the home improvements must not exceed 10% of the purchase price or $40,000
  • The money must be used for improvements or upgrades, not repairs like damage or structural issues
  • You will needs to get a quote for the cost of the improvements prior to subject removal
  • You cannot change the scope of the work after it has been approved
  • An inspection report from an appraiser is required when the work is complete

This mortgage is available at the best rates and may help to make it easier for you to decide which home is best for you and your family.

If you think this type of mortgage would be perfect for yourself or someone you know, then contact Milka Lukacevic from The Mortgage Centre TMK Team, today!

What is a Gifted Down Payment?

What is a Gifted Down Payment?

Mortgage Information from your Trusted Mortgage Knowledge Professionalt

The high real estate prices in the Greater Vancouver Area and new mortgage rules designed to crackdown on risky lending have made it harder than ever for first-time home buyers to get into the market. The new Stress Test that came into effect in early 2018 means that many first-time home buyers who were previously approved for a high-ratio mortgage are now completely shut out of the market.

Desperate to move out of their parent’s homes and get into the housing market, cash-strapped millennials are accepting financial help from their parents in the form of gifted down payments. Did you know that financial gifts from parents have doubled since 2000? They are up from 7% in 2000 to 15% in 2016. At the same time, young adults still living at home with their parents is up 13.3% since 2001, and young adults living with a spouse or partner is down 14.6%.

If you’re in the fortunate position to help your children buy a home (and help yourself reclaim your home), you have a few options. One of them being to provide a gifted down payment.

What is a gifted down payment?

A gifted down payment, also known as a living inheritance, is a financial gift from the buyer’s immediate family member that will go towards the down payment. All that is required for documentation is a signed Gift Letter from the family member which states that the money does not have to be re-paid, and a snapshot of the child’s bank account showing that the gifted funds have been transferred.

Gifting money makes sense for tax reasons

As a baby boomer, you’re in the middle of an unprecedented wealth transfer of cash, property, and investment holdings. If you’re in the position to not need the money coming to you, then that windfall will just result in a big tax hit. However, if you were to gift it to your children, it is no longer a tax burden for you or them as there is no gift tax in Canada. In the long term, your children will pay less in estate tax when you pass away.

Of course, the best part of gifting your children money to buy a home will be when you see the fruits of your labour – a better start in life for your children and their young family.

Do you know a first-time home buyer looking to get into the local Port Coquitlam real estate market? Refer them to Milka Lukacevic of The Mortgage Centre TMK Team for mortgage pre-approval and real estate market guidance.

Saving for a Down Payment

Saving for a Down Payment

Saving for a Down Payment from your Trusted Mortgage Knowledge Professional

Saving for a Down Payment

A down payment is the amount of money that you are able to put towards the purchase of a home. The down payment amount is subtracted from the purchase price of your home.

If you’re thinking about buying a new home, one of the most difficult things right now will be saving for a down payment. How much do you really need to be able to afford the home of your dreams?

In this article, I will discuss the benefits of saving for a:

  • 0% Down Payment
  • 20% Down Payment
  • 35% Down Payment


0% Down Payment

If you’ve experienced the housing market before, then you may remember a time when the banks offered mortgage options like the ‘zero down payment’. Options like these were no longer offered after the 2008 recession.

As a result, if you’re looking to purchase a home through a federally-regulated lender, you will be required to have a minimum 5% down payment.

Most major credit unions still do offer zero down mortgages, but the biggest draw back is the extremely high interest rate.


20% Down Payment

If you save less than 20% for a down payment, you will be required to purchase default insurance. This insurance is a pricey addition to your regular mortgage payments. If you save 20% or more, you will be exempt from this burden.

If you find yourself somewhere between 0% and 20%, you may want to look into different areas to purchase. Whatever the situation, it is always a good idea to have the professionals look into it with you to ensure you’re making the best decision.


35% Down Payment

If 20% is good, then 35% must be even better! Simply put, the more money you’re able to put towards a down payment, the less you will pay on interest in the long run. Not only will you have less to pay off, but you will also qualify for better interest rates.

Of course, not everyone will be able to afford to put down 20-35%. Although there are benefits, a down payment of this size is not required to get into the housing market. If you are a first-time home buyer, there are options available for you as well.

If you have any questions about saving for a down payment, then contact Milka Lukacevic from the Mortgage Centre TMK Team.

2017 – A Year in Review

2017 – A Year in Review from Your Trusted Mortgage Knowledge Professional

I can’t believe that 2018 is almost 2 months in. It seems like 2017 went by so quickly. I have enjoyed another fabulous year and I have YOU my clients to thank.

I had another extraordinary year in my personal and professional life! We traveled to Hawaii, Mexico, Phoenix, Dubai, and a 2-month summer vacation in Montenegro, Europe where our son got married. My husband and I welcomed our first grandchild, a girl, in January named Mila, and then a grandson in May named Branson. Oh how time flies……and every moment is precious.

My life as a mortgage broker got so busy in 2017. We continued to experience some all time lows with fixed mortgage rates. Some as low as 2.49% on a 5-year fixed rate. Many of you have been fortunate enough to have taken advantage of those historical low rates.

With summer behind us, the change and shift in increased interest rates didn’t stop the market. The market has continued the momentum from 2016….and new rules haven’t stopped the market. Condo and townhouses continue to see a major growth in sales year after year. Our economy is looking good. We have a steadily increasing population, all time low unemployment, and we still have low interest rates. Well, maybe not as low as what we have been accustomed to, but they still are low.

The year ended with Bank of Canada increasing its prime lending rate twice in a short period of time, followed by the Banks increasing their Prime. Of course, the common question to your mortgage broker is, “is the variable still a good product for me, or should we look at locking in?” I am in a variable rate mortgage , and I still haven’t locked in. If you have questions about your variable, please reach out and we can discuss.

New rules once again started in January 2018. Qualifying for a mortgage just got a little tougher, but it hasn’t slowed down the market. Basically everyone must qualify either at the Bank of Canada qualifying rate (currently 5.14%) or at a rate of 2% greater then the contract rate you are getting (ie: if your getting a 5 year fixed at 3.49% then you must qualify at 5.49%)

Thank you all for being a part of my professional journey and success! And remember I am always here to answer any questions. Now, pass my name along as YOUR referrals are the foundation of my growth and success!

Cheers, Milka

Port Moody Mortgage Broker

Port Moody Mortgage Broker

Port Moody Mortgage BrokerIf you are shopping for a mortgage, you have the option to go directly to a bank or enlist the help of a professional Port Moody mortgage broker. But, which should you choose? While a bank can provide you with the select products offered by its institution, a mortgage broker can provide more choice – with access to hundreds of mortgage products available on the market.

Here are some advantages of using a Port Moody Mortgage Broker:

  • They will meet with you on your time
  • You will be able to see all of your options
  • You are guaranteed to get the lowest rate
  • The mortgage broker will do all of the negotiating for you


When you work with a Port Moody Mortgage Broker, we will discuss and compare mortgage rates, design a mortgage that is suited to your unique needs, and ultimately, create a mortgage that will work for you. Our job is to make you feel comfortable throughout the entire process. You will have peace of mind knowing that you’re getting the very best mortgage option.

Our clients can expect to receive the best rates with fast, friendly, professional service and a mortgage package that is tailored to your unique needs. We are completely independent – our job is to work with you and for you to find the best mortgage products. Best of all, the services of a mortgage broker are free!

Do you have 30 seconds to spare? Apply now and we can get started on the best mortgage rate for you with no obligation.


Milka Lukacevic and The TMK Team

Milka started working in the banking world in 1994. She became an independent mortgage broker in 2006 and opened her own successful and locally recognized brokerage in 2009. She has been a resident of Port Coquitlam for the past 22 years with her husband, 3 children and dog, Sparky.


Whether you are purchasing your first home, refinancing, renewing, switching lenders or purchasing a revenue/vacation property, a Port Moody Mortgage Broker can provide you with professional unbiased advice.

Call us now for your mortgage rate quote (604) 340-7673.

Milka Lukacevic and the TMK Team is a member of The Mortgage Centre – one of Canada’s most established mortgage broker networks.

Millennial’s Guide to Buying a Home

Millennial’s Guide to Buying a Home

The transition from living at home or renting, to homeownership has many obstacles for millennials, today. In fact, many people may feel like homeownership is a dream that is out of reach for them in today’s current real estate market.
But all hope is not lost! By asking yourself these four practical questions, you too can be on your way to buying your first home.

1. Are you shopping within your means?

As a first-time home buyer, it is important to shop within your means. Even if you qualify for a sizable mortgage, there’s no rule that says you have to use the full amount. At this stage, your goal should be to start building equity. If you want a property but you can’t afford it, then you shouldn’t buy it.

2. Are you budgeting your finances?

If you’re seriously thinking abut buying a home, then you have probably started budgeting for your down payment and monthly mortgage payment. But don’t forget to budget for your property tax, insurance, closing costs, and utilities. Not to mention, your living expenses once you’ve moved into your new home.

3. Do you have enough saved for a down payment?

In Canada, most mortgage professionals will advise you to make at least a 20% down payment on your property to avoid paying homeowner insurance. However, this is not always possible, especially if you don’t want to delay your first real estate investment. A 5% down payment is the minimum amount you must put down.

4. Will you be using a Mortgage Broker?

Shopping around for a mortgage can be a complicated and confusing process. It used to be that if you wanted to finance a mortgage, you went right to your bank. These days, more and more Canadian’s are turning to a mortgage broker to help them find the mortgage product that is right for them. A mortgage broker will compare rates from the major banks as well as non-traditional lenders. They will then match you with the best interest rate and lending terms available on the market.

Contact a local Trusted Mortgage Knowledge Professional today – Milka Lukacevic and the Mortgage Centre TMK Team.

When Should You Begin the Mortgage Renewal Process?

When Should You Begin the Mortgage Renewal Process?

The mortgage renewal process from your Trusted Mortgage Knowledge Professional

The mortgage renewal process is something that everyone with a mortgage needs to be fully aware of. If you have a mortgage agreement, then you are required to receive a renewal statement from your lender at least 21 days before the end of your current mortgage term.

Did you know that many people simply sign on the dotted line, without shopping around for a better rate? A Manulife survey found that almost two out of three Canadians surveyed stayed with their current provider and didn’t even try to negotiate.

I understand that people are busy; however, it is important to understand how much a percentage point can affect the total amount you pay over the lifetime of your term. Just a few tenths of a percentage point could mean thousands of dollars less in your pocket.

If you are renewing your mortgage, here are a few things to keep in mind before you sign the renewal document.

When should you begin shopping around?

It is never a good idea to wait until you receive the renewal notice from your lender to begin shopping around for a better rate. The banks send these notices so close to the renewal date to deter people from shopping around. However, being proactive can help you to save a significant amount of money. I recommend beginning to shop around four months prior to your renewal.

The posted rate isn’t necessarily the best rate

Always think of the posted rate as the opening offer in a negotiation. Banks often use the posted rate to provide a value proposition to their clients. It is a better idea to shop around. If you only get rates from one financial institution, you may be paying a premium compared to other available rates in the market. A trusted mortgage knowledge professional will be able to help you negotiate with your current lender. It is important to do some legwork with a mortgage broker to ensure that you are getting access to the lowest interest rate possible.

Bank or mortgage broker?

A broker is an independent licensed mortgage specialist who negotiates with a variety of lenders to get their clients the best possible rate. Mortgage brokers can offer a better rate than the bank due to their access to multiple lenders. A Bank of Canada survey found that using a mortgage broker resulted in many Canadian’s getting a lower rate than what was offered by their bank.

Review the terms before you sign

As with any agreement, always read the small print before you sign. Make sure the mortgage product you choose offers other options such as the ability to pay extra on your mortgage and clearly defines any penalties, should you decide to break your mortgage agreement early.

Automatic Renewal

If you don’t take the time to be proactive, then your mortgage will be automatically renewed after the 21-day period passes.

If you have any questions or if you want to begin shopping around well before your renewal notice arrives, get in contact with your local Port Coquitlam Trusted Mortgage Knowledge Professional, Milka Lukacevic of the TMK team.

Bank or Mortgage Broker?

Bank or Mortgage Broker?
The benefits or your own personal mortgage consultant

The benefits of your own personal mortgage consultant from your Trusted Mortgage Knowledge Professional

So, you’re thinking about buying a home. Should you get your mortgage through a local Port Coquitlam mortgage broker or your bank? In the past, it used to be that if you wanted to do something substantial, like buy a home, your best course of action was to turn to your bank. While this remains an option, banks are no longer the sole option available to Canadians. A local, trusted mortgage broker may be a better choice when it comes to buying that new home.


What is a mortgage broker?

A mortgage broker is an independent licensed mortgage specialist. When using a mortgage broker, essentially, you are hiring someone to act on your behalf. It is important to remember that mortgage brokers are not actual lenders themselves. Rather, they work with a variety of lenders and mortgage rates.

One of the main benefits of using a mortgage broker is that they have access to, and knowledge of the entire mortgage market. They understand the market, follow the trends, and know which institutions offer which mortgage products. Mortgage brokers can also access exclusive deals that are not available to the open market and can negotiate a better interest rate or lower application fees from the lender.

Mortgage brokers will assist you in the application process, from pre-approval to home appraisal. Most importantly, they can save you time. An experienced broker can identify the most appropriate lender for your specific circumstances and they will know which mortgage will be the most appropriate. To help further relieve your stress, they also handle the hassle of paperwork and interaction and negotiation with lenders.

Advantages of using a mortgage broker:

  • They can meet with you on your time
  • You will be able to see all of your options
  • You are guaranteed to get a lower rate
  • The mortgage broker will do all of the negotiating for you


Applying for a Mortgage from your Bank

When you set up a meeting with one of Canada’s major banks for a mortgage, they will usually have you sit down with a loan officer. One of the main disadvantages of using your bank is that they can only access their own rates and products, even if there are better rates available in the market. As a result, you will always receive a higher interest rate from your bank.


Finding the right mortgage product for you

For most of us, our mortgage will be the biggest financial decision we ever make. Working with a trusted Port Coquitlam mortgage broker is highly recommended.

It is important to understand how much a percentage point here and there can affect the total amount you pay over the lifetime of your mortgage. Just a few tenths of a percentage point could mean thousands of dollars less in your pocket. Understanding how to save yourself a percentage point could mean additional family trips, a maxed our RESP for your children or speeding up that retirement date by a couple of years.

The way we see it, the banks just can’t beat what we have to offer! If you want to experience the difference of a mortgage broker, set up a meeting with your local Port Coquitlam Trusted Mortgage Knowledge Professional, Milka Lukacevic of the TMK Team.

Purchasing a Rental Property

Purchasing a Rental Property:
What you need to know before becoming a landlord

What you need to know before becoming a landlord from your Trusted Mortgage Knowledge Professional

Rental PropertyPurchasing a rental property and becoming a landlord can be a great way to generate extra income and it has the potential for capital growth.

Are you considering purchasing a rental property? In this blog post, we will be discussing everything you will need to know before becoming a landlord.

Real Estate Investment Basics

First things first: can you afford this kind of commitment? You will need to ensure you have a steady income and a sufficient savings fund. All of your high-interest debts will need to be paid off and you should be on track to meeting your retirement savings goals.

After carefully considering your overall financial picture, you will want to map out all of the costs associated with purchasing a rental property. It is important to factor in:

  • Down payment
  • Property tax
  • Monthly mortgage bill
  • Repairs and maintenance

Purchasing a property as an investor rather than an owner-occupant typically requires a larger down payment. You will need to have a 20-25% down payment available to apply to the purchase of the rental property.

As a homeowner with an existing mortgage, you will need to apply for a new mortgage on the rental property. An investment property mortgage requires specialty financing. This customized mortgage loan is slightly different from a traditional second mortgage. An experienced mortgage broker can help you find the right mortgage for your situation, and at a great rate.

Will you be able to afford the mortgage on the rental property if you are without a tenant for a month or two? Ensure you have enough saved to cover your two mortgage payments, recurring expenses, and routine maintenance and repairs.


Buying a Rental Property

When it comes to purchasing a rental property, it helps to find a realtor who’s interested in establishing a relationship, owns rental properties themselves, and specializes in the buying and selling of investment properties. Your local Port Coquitlam realtor can give you good advice about the neighbourhoods that are popular with renters in the community.


Finding the Right Tenants

Another responsibility of a landlord is finding and evaluating tenants. Taking the time to evaluate potential clients will make a big difference on your experience as a landlord. Your goal is likely to find the perfect tenants. You know the kind? The renters who take immaculate care of their home. The ones who decorate for the holidays and take pride in their rental as if it was their own home. If you find renters like this, do everything you can to hold on to them. These kinds of tenants tend to require fewer repairs and will leave far less wear and tear behind when they eventually move out.

Another option is to use a property management company. They will likely use a professional tenant screening service to check credit reports, references, and perform a criminal background check on perspective tenants.

The extra work upfront is worth it in the long run. If you’re interested in obtaining a rental property mortgage, contact your local Port Coquitlam Trusted Mortgage Knowledge Professional, Milka Lukacevic of the Mortgage Centre TMK Team.

Tips to Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

Tips to Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

Mortgage Tips from your Trusted Mortgage Knowledge Professional

MortgagePaying down your mortgage faster is one of those suggestions that financial advisors love to make to their clients. And while many Canadian’s dream about the financial freedom of being completely debt-free, most are unaware of the simple strategies they can utilize to shed years off their mortgage.

In this blog post, I will highlight four strategies you can implement into your life to help pay down your mortgage faster.

Tip 1: Accelerated Bi-Weekly Payments

Are you currently making monthly payments 12 times per year? Instead, try speeding up the process with an accelerated bi-weekly payment plan. With this plan, you end up paying 26 bi-weekly payments per year. So in effect, you are paying the equivalent of 13 payments per year. Prior to setting up accelerated bi-weekly payments, confirm that there are no pre-payment penalties.

Tip 2: Round Up Mortgage Payments

A pain-free way to help your debt disappear faster is to round up your payments. For example, if your accelerated bi-weekly payments are $848, consider rounding the payment up to $900. The additional $52 will make a significant difference over time, and chances are, you will barely notice a difference in your monthly budget.

Tip 3: Make a Lump Sum Anniversary Payment

Most closed mortgages will allow borrowers to make an extra payment each year. This additional payment can be 10%, 15% or 20% of the original principal in each calendar year, without penalty.

Tip 4: Stay Informed

So you’ve purchased a house, have a mortgage and have begun making monthly payments. At this stage, it can be easy to fall into a routine as the payments come out of your accounts automatically. Don’t fall into this routine. As a homeowner, you need to stay up-to-date with interest rate changes and the new options available to you.

While paying off your debt early will result in less interest paid over the lifetime of your loan, it is not always the best option for every homeowner. If you fall into one of these three categories, then the interest you would save on your mortgage would not be as beneficial to you as addressing your other financial issues first.

  • High interest debt on credit cards
  • No emergency fund savings
  • No savings for retirement

It is very easy to virtually play around with the various payment scenarios available to you. Most financial institutions, banks, and brokers have online mortgage calculators. If you are using an online calculator, make sure it is from a Canadian source. American mortgage calculators are calculated differently and will provide you with inaccurate information.

Armed with this information, I hope these tips will help you pay off your debt sooner. If you have any questions, feel free to contact your local Port Coquitlam Trusted Mortgage Knowledge Professional, Milka Lukacevic of The TMK Team.