What is a mortgage broker?
A mortgage agent is an independent professional that will work with multiple lenders to find you a mortgage that will suit your needs. They will find a lender with the best rates and terms for your situation. There is usually no fee to work with a mortgage broker if you qualify under standard lending guidelines. Your mortgage professional gets paid a commission or finders fee from the lender. If there is a fee, this will be disclosed and documented up front.
What are the costs in obtaining a mortgage?
Some of the costs associated with obtaining a mortgage are legal fees, appraisal, home inspection, and utility hook-ups. We usually recommend that you have approximately $2500 set aside to complete your property purchase.
What are insured and conventional mortgages?
Your mortgage is insured when you have less than 20% to put as a down-payment on your purchase. By law, banks cannot lend more than 80% of the value of the home unless it is insured by CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) or Genworth. These insurers protect the lender against default. An insurance premium is charged and is added to your mortgage amount.
A conventional mortgage is when you have 20% or more to put as a down-payment on your purchase. In most cases, there is no insurance premium charged. Occasionally, the lender may still need to have the mortgage insured through CMHC or Genworth depending on the location of the property or type of property being purchased.
Why is getting a pre-approved mortgage so important?
Getting a mortgage pre-approval is important for many reasons:
- It is important to know what purchase price you are qualified for before you go shopping for a home so that you are shopping in the right price range.
- You need to ensure that you can comfortably afford not only your mortgage payments but all of the other costs of owning a home such as property taxes and utility bills. If you have not owned a home before, these amounts may be a bit surprising. Your mortgage professional will help you take a look at the entire picture.
- You need to ensure that you will qualify for a mortgage based on the lenders criteria. If there are issues, it is better to discover them at pre-approval stage so that you and your mortgage professional can work on fixing those issues prior to your search for a home. If you are not able to qualify for a mortgage at this time, we can assist you in taking the steps necessary to qualify for a mortgage in the future.
I'm pre-approved, I will have no problem obtaining a mortgage, right?
It is important to note that a pre-approval qualifies you as the applicant. Your mortgage professional will have confirmed your income, credit and down-payment at this stage. However, we are not able to pre-approve the property you will be purchasing. This is still subject to lender/insurer approval. Therefore, it is important that you always put a “subject to financing” condition on your offer to purchase. Your real estate agent will assist you in writing the offer to purchase. Also, a pre-approval is only valid if there is no material change in your financial situation. If something has changed since you received your pre-approval (i.e. changed jobs, acquired new debt etc), please contact your mortgage professional so that they can review your file.
What happens when I find a home?
Once you find a home, you and your real estate agent will write an offer to purchase. Once the negotiations have been completed, a copy of the offer to purchase and property highlight sheet is forwarded to your mortgage broker. They then submit the mortgage for final approval to the lender. Once the lender/insurer approval has been obtained, the lender will send a mortgage commitment to your mortgage broker outlining the details of the approval along with any paperwork that may still be required. Your mortgage broker will then contact you to go over the approval and ask you for the paperwork required to complete the mortgage file. Once the paperwork has been received and approved by the lender, your mortgage file will be complete and you can remove your “subject to financing” condition on your offer to purchase.
Once you have removed all of your other conditions, such as “subject to home inspection”, then you have purchased your home! Your next step will be to go to your lawyers to sign the legal paperwork required in order to complete your purchase. You should expect to go to the lawyers approximately 10 days prior to the possession date. When you go to your lawyers, you will be expected to bring the remaining down-payment and closing costs. These funds must be in the form of a certified cheque or draft. Once you have completed the paperwork at the lawyers, you will then wait to take possession of your home on the possession date negotiated.