Investing in real estate is not how it once was. Recent changes to CMHC lending guidelines have made it increasingly difficult for individuals and families to purchase homes. In the past year, Canadians have seen CMHC reduce maximum mortgage amortizations from 35 years, to 30 years, and most recently down to 25 years. They have also tightened up other lending guidelines and reduced the number of products they will high ratio insure. This has forced those who have considered investing in real estate by purchasing a home to live in or to resell to come up with innovative ways to make the financing happen.
To make the dream of homeownership a reality, some real estate investors and builders have come up with rent-to-own programs that enable families to begin their dream of home ownership by renting with a later option to own. Generally people who opt for rent-to-own do not qualify with the bank for traditional mortgage financing because they cannot get approved for CMHC high ratio mortgage insurance due to problems with credit, income and debt.
Most real estate investors and builders offer rent-to-own programs to provide homeowners with a stepping stone. The homeowner begins by renting the home with the expectation that later they will be able to qualify for a mortgage to own it. When a real estate investor or builder agrees to offer rent-to-own financing they are not only investing in real estate but they are also investing in the borrower too. Real estate investors and builders who offer rent-to-own programs do so to help give people the ability to buy homes. The faster the borrower can fulfill the rent-to-own contract and buy the home, the better.
A big challenge that people face when renting to own because of credit, income or debt problems is that once in the home, they are faced with the question of how they will improve the state of their credit and finances so that they can qualify for conventional mortgage financing in the future. Well, if they are in a financial pickle, they likely will not be able to get out of it without some financial guidance.
The fact of the matter is that where credit is concerned, most people can obtain mortgage financing with 2 years of good credit after having cleared up past bad credit. Generally, CMHC will want to see that whatever problem credit existed is paid off and that there are 2 years of rebuilt credit. CMHC will also want to see that debt servicing ratios are in line with their guidelines and that the individual is not loaded with debt.
Clients who decide to go the route of rent-to-own should not do so without a strong financial plan; a plan that will see that all credit and finances are in order before looking to obtain conventional mortgage financing is critical. Where real estate investors and builders are concerned, when we say that investing in real estate means investing in your client, we mean that when you take a risk on someone, it is prudent to give them all of the tools and resources necessary to be able to fulfill the end agreement.
Rent-to-own can be a great resource to leverage when pursuing home ownership, especially when combined with a solid financial plan at the get-go.
DebtCare Canada works with many real estate investors, builders, and consultants who offer rent-to-own programs to put their clients back on a path to financial wellness. We work with clients with all types of credit and incomes, and can assess your clients to give both you and your clients a financial opinion as far as where they are today financially, as well as providing you with a plan to see that they can improve their circumstances. Many real estate professionals have found our services to be very valuable because they also help to identify clients who have deeply rooted financial issues that may need to be considered when making lending decisions.
For more information about the programs offered by DebtCare Canada please call Michael Goldenberg at 416-907-2582 ext 102 or visit www.debtcareservices.ca/real-estate.