May 22, 2007, 2:46 am

Setting up a Smith Manoeuvre with a Smaller Cash Down

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Smith Manoeuvre
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In order to setup a Smith Manoeuvre, you would need a HELOC. The Home Equity Lines of Credit were up to 75% of the property value as they were not insured by GE or the CMHC. But now they are!

In fact, you can borrow up to 90% of your property value as a HELOC. Therefore, you could start the Smith Manoeuvre with small cash down. Banks and other financial institutions seem to understand the growing interest about this financial strategy.

However, the cost of setting up a 90% HELOC is considerable. In fact, you will have to pay the insurance premium requested by the insurer (see CHMC for more details).

In addition to that, this mortgage is insured for a limited period of time. Depending on the institution, you will have to convert your HELOC into a conventional mortgage after 5 to 10 years.

But there is a way to get around it. If you are lucky enough, your property will increase in value during that period of time and you might be at 75% after 5 years. In order to be on the safe side, I would recommend some minor renovation such as finishing the basement. If your mortgage represents less than 25% of your property value at the time of renewal, the bank will leave the HELOC opened and you won’t have any other credit conditions to meet.

Depending on the cost and on your financial situation, the 90% HELOC can be a great solution to start the Smith Manoeuvre and make money differently. In fact, if you already have 25% as cash down, I suggest not using this option. But if you need 90% financing anyway, you are better off a HELOC than a regular mortgage in most cases. Discuss with your planner and your banker, they will surely be able to help you taking the right decision.

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