Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of Residential Mortgages?

Fixed mortgages have one rate throughout the life of your mortgage. This option is good if you have a low tolerance for market changes and like always to know how much of your mortgage you’re paying off monthly.

Variable mortgages change as the Canadian Prime rate changes. If the rates change you will either pay more or less towards your principal. Variable mortgages are a good option for short term in investments, or for someone with a little risk tolerance.

Blended mortgages are also available where a portion of the mortgage is fixed and the remainder is variable.

Open mortgages allow you to sell your property at any time without any penalty. This is a good option if you plan to own your property for a short period of time.

Closed mortgages are for a fixed length of time – usually 1-5 years. Fixed mortgage rates are generally lower than those of open mortgages. If you payout your mortgage before the end of the term you may have to pay a prepayment penalty to the lender.

What is a home inspection and should I have one done?

Home inspection is a visual examination of the property to determine the overall condition of the home. In the process, the inspector should be checking all major components (roofs, ceilings, walls, floors, foundations, crawl spaces, attics, retaining walls, etc.) and systems (electrical, heating, plumbing, drainage, exterior weather proofing, etc.). The results of the inspection should be provided to the purchaser in written form, in detail, generally within 24 hours of the inspection.

A pre-purchase home inspection can add peace of mind and make a difficult decision much easier. It may indicate that the home needs major structural repairs which can be factored into your buying decision. A home inspection helps remove a number of unknowns and increases the likelihood of a successful purchase.

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What is the minimum down payment needed to buy a home?

Mortgages with less than 20% down must have Mortgage Loan Insurance provided by either the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) or Genworth Canada. While most Canadian homebuyers save for a down payment, with selected lenders the minimum five per cent of the purchase price can come from sources other than your own resources. These lending arrangements are subject to certain restrictions based on income level and credit score.

The 5% down payment can come from borrowed funds (from a line of credit or family member, for example). Keep in mind that the amount borrowed for a down payment is factored into debt service ratios (which determine how much you are eligible to borrow).

The 5% down payment can come from a cash back feature of the mortgage. Keep in mind that in this case, the posted rate (that is, not a discounted rate) will be required by the lending institution.

In addition to the down payment, according to CMHC and Genworth rules you must have 1.5% of the purchase price available to cover the applicable closing costs (including, but not limited to, legal fees and disbursements, appraisal fees and a survey certificate, where applicable).

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What is mortgage loan insurance?

What is a high-ratio mortgage?

A High-Ratio mortgage is one where the amount to be borrowed by way of a mortgage is greater than 80% of the purchase price, or the appraised value, whichever is less. High-Ratio mortgages generally require Mortgage Loan Insurance provided by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) or Genworth, a private Insurer.

The Mortgage Loan Insurance premium is paid to CMHC or Genworth and protects the Lender in the event the mortgage is not repaid and the bank has to take back the property. The benefit to the borrower is that it allows them to purchase a home with less than 20% down payment. The insurance premium is paid by the borrower and can be added directly onto the mortgage.

Mortgage Loan Insurance premiums range from 0.50% to 3.10% of the mortgage amount and are calculated based on the overall loan to value. For instance, borrowers with a 5% down payment, a loan to value of 95%, would pay a premium of 2.75% while those with a 20% down payment, a loan to value of 80%, would pay an insurance premium of 1.00%. Mortgage Loan Insurance is not the same as Mortgage Life Insurance.

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What is a conventional mortgage?

Why should I use a Mortgage Broker?

Financial Institutions sell only their own products to the public through their own sales force. As a result, they are not able to provide unbiased advice or selection since by doing so they risk losing your mortgage to a company whose product may provide more value to you. A Mortgage Broker, on the other hand, sells a variety of mortgage products and services as they deal with many lenders, not just one. Because of this they are able to search for mortgage options from a variety of lenders, including banks, trust companies, insurance companies and credit unions, for the one that offers the best product, rate and terms for your particular needs. Thus, they can be totally objective in their recommendations to you.

Mortgage Brokers are also able to negotiate on your behalf, structuring deals to meet the criteria of the lenders, and therefore getting you a mortgage solution that works for you. Remember a Mortgage Broker works for you!

Due to the volume of business done by Mortgage Brokers, fees are paid by the lender and Mortgage Brokers receive fast approvals in order to gain their business. This allows the Mortgage Broker to shop among the various financial institutions for the mortgage rate and product that best suits the needs of the client and, in almost all cases, at no cost to you the client.

When you deal directly with a financial institution and your mortgage is declined, for whatever reason, you must begin the application process all over again with another lender. When you deal with a Mortgage Broker the application can quickly be redirected to another lender, or several other lenders, for consideration.

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How much will it cost to use a Mortgage Broker?

The vast majority of mortgage clients do not pay a fee for the services of a Mortgage Broker. To gain a larger market share, the majority of financial institutions pay a finder's fee to Mortgage

Brokers and at the same time offer them their best discounted rates and fast approvals in order to gain their business. This allows the Mortgage Broker to shop among the various financial institutions for the mortgage rate and product that best suits the needs of the client and, in almost all cases, at no cost to the client.

In situations where traditional lenders will not approve a mortgage because of poor credit, and where the application must be placed with a private or non-traditional lender, a brokerage fee may be charged to the client. This cost must always be disclosed to the client up front and must be authorized in writing by the client before it can be charged.

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Appling online — how secure is it?

Does paying my mortgage bi-Weekly accelerated really cut years off my mortgage?

Payment frequency is not the major factor in reducing the amortization period of your mortgage. Principal reduction is! But what about all the talk of bi-Weekly payments taking five years off your amortization period? Although you will save some interest making your payments bi-Weekly, ultimately it is the fact that your total payments each year are higher that results in the significant reduction in amortization. For instance, when a client chooses a bi-Weekly payment of $500 over a monthly payment of $1000, in fact they are choosing to pay an extra $1000 annually. A bi-Weekly payment is made every two weeks, which means that instead of paying $12,000 in monthly payments per year, you are now paying $13,000 in bi-Weekly payments. That extra $1000 is what ultimately cuts the years off your mortgage, over 4 years in the example of a mortgage with original amortization of 25 years. But you can do close to the same thing by increasing your monthly payment, if a monthly payment frequency would be more convenient for you, or by making an accelerated semi-monthly payment.

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How does bankruptcy affect my ability to qualify for a mortgage?

How will child support and alimony affect my qualification?

Can I get a mortgage to purchase a home and make improvements?

Subject to qualification, yes. In fact, even purchasers with 5% down may qualify to buy a home and make improvements to it. For high-ratio financing, both Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Genworth, insured mortgages are available to cover the purchase price of a home as Ill as an amount to pay for immediate major renovations or improvements that the purchaser may wish to make to the property. This option eliminates the need to finance the renovations or improvements separately. Some conditions apply.

Where the improvements are cosmetic, the Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium is unchanged from the standard schedule. Where the improvements are deemed to be structural, the Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium is increased by .50% over the standard schedule. For information on Mortgage Loan Insurance Premiums see High-Ratio Home Mortgage Financing.

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Can I use gift funds as a down payment?

What is a pre-approval and how do I get one?

A pre-approved mortgage provides an interest rate guarantee from a lender for a specified period of time (usually 60 to 90 days) and for a set amount of money. The pre-approval is calculated based on information provided by you and is generally subject to certain conditions being met before the mortgage is finalized. Conditions would usually be things like 'written employment and income confirmation' and 'down payment from your own resources', for example.

The easiest way to get a mortgage pre-approval is by calling a Mortgage Broker. You will be asked some questions to determine your financial situation and then your Mortgage Broker will calculate the size of mortgage you qualify for, using this information. With your authorization, they will then proceed with arranging a Pre-approved Mortgage for you if you are planning to buy property in the near future.

Most successful Real Estate Professionals will want to ensure you have a pre-approved mortgage in place before they take you out looking for a home. This is to ensure that they are showing you property within your affordable price range. In summary, a pre-approved mortgage is one of the first steps a Home Buyer should take before beginning the buying process.

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Should I wait for my mortgage to mature?

No, have a Mortgage Broker begin shopping around for an interest rate at least 120 days before your mortgage matures. Lenders will often guarantee an interest rate to you as much as 120 days before your mortgage matures. And, as long as you are not increasing your mortgage, they will cover the costs of transferring your mortgage too. This means a rate promised Ill in advance of your maturity date, thus eliminating any worries of higher rates. And if rates drop before the actual maturity rate, the new lender will usually adjust your interest rate lower as Ill.

Most lenders send out their mortgage renewal notices offering existing clients their posted interest rates. The rate you are being offered is usually not the best one. Always ask a Mortgage Broker to investigate the possibility of a lower interest rate with the lender or another lender. If you don't you may end up paying a much higher interest rate on your renewing mortgage than you need to.

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