Mortgage FAQ

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Brokers For Life: Helping You Make Informed Choices

Brokers For Life has been working with homebuyers across Canada for many years. We understand that the mortgage landscape can be confusing to applicants and that why we’ve provided this FAQ section — with answers to the most popular questions we’ve received over the years.

If you still have questions, please contact us. We care about educating our clients!

A mortgage broker acts as an intermediary between a lender and a borrower. In other words, they facilitate the transaction between you and your bank or mortgage lender.They take care of the legwork of searching for the best mortgage product and interest rate by utilizing their network of lenders and financial institutions.

At Brokers For Life, all of our brokers work for you, not your bank or mortgage lender.

Brokers For Life works with homebuyers from many walks of life. We’re even able to help those with poor creditlittle money for a down payment, and those who are self-employed.

Here’s some great news: Brokers For Life doesn’t charge you anything. Our fee is paid by the lenders we secure your mortgage through, not you. In special circumstances, and depending on the length and amount of the loan, we may have to charge a fee. However, we don’t charge our clients in the majority of cases.

Closing costs will vary depending on your situation. They may include appraisal fees, survey fees, your legal fees, and realtor commissions. We can help you determine about how much your closing costs will be. Give us a call!

If your down payment is less than 20% of the property value, you’re required to pay an insurance premium. For lenders, a down payment of this size is more of a risk, so the insurance premium is a guarantee for the lender in the event of your defaulting on the loan.

This is insurance coverage that would pay off in the event of death or disability of the homeowner. Contact Brokers For Life to find out about our mortgage life insurance options.

In a Fixed Rate Mortgage, the interest rate is fixed for a specific amount of time. This period of time (the mortgage term) can range anywhere from 6 months to 10 years. Over the course of the mortgage, less of the payment counts toward interest and more toward the principal.

Variable Rate Mortgage is one in which payments are fixed, but the interest rate will fluctuate with changes in the Prime Rate. When rates go up, a larger portion of the payment goes toward interest. When rates go down, more of the payment goes toward principal.

In most cases, the answer is yes. However, the funding must be from a family member. There are certain circumstances in which you cannot use gifted funds. For example, your mortgage product may have a limit on the percentage of the down payment that can be gifted. Brokers For Life can find out if your gifted funds can be applied to your down payment.

Not a question, but still a popular comparison amongst home buyers.

When you work with your bank, you get one choice- the one they offer you. But there are plenty of other lenders out there that may be able to offer you a product or rate better suited to your unique needs. Every bank says they have the best product or rate, but it’s just not possible for everyone to have the best.

Brokers For Life is an independently owned mortgage brokerage that works for you. Because of our network of lenders, we’re able to present you with a range of choices, allowing you to select the best option. Lenders compete for your business, so you get the best deals. Best of all, you’ll have an experienced mortgage broker to help you make sense of your choices and understand the variety of products and how each one could benefit you.

There are several benefits to getting a Pre-Approval before you start searching for your next home.

  • Your mortgage will be secured for 120 days. Even if rates go up, yours won’t.
  • You’ll know what you can afford, helping to narrow down the search process.
  • Pre-approval will make you look like a more serious buyer, helping you find a good realtor and can give you negotiating power with the home seller.
  • A mortgage pre-approval will make the final closing faster since you already have most of the work completed.

*new* Check out our detailed article on how long it takes to get approved for a mortgage for Canadian home buyers.

If we are able to get the necessary documentation, we might be able to get an approval in as little as 24 hours. Keep in mind, the longer it takes for us to receive your documents the longer your approval will take to secure. Take a look at our mortgage checklist, for a summary of what you’ll likely need to provide.

Applying for a mortgage online with Brokers For Life is safe and secure, but you don’t have to take our word for it- if you see https: at the beginning of your web browser, it means the site you are on it secure. If it says http:, you are not on a secure web page. Our online application form is secure, and you can see it for yourself!

Most mortgage lenders allow you to spend no more than 32% of your monthly income on your mortgage, and newer guidelines allow up to 44% of your monthly income for mortgage payments and other debt payments. Our mortgage calculators can help you determine your affordability.

Yes. In fact, this is a common use of a mortgage loan. Many of our customers obtain a mortgage to consolidate credit card debt, renovate their kitchen, or invest.

Unfortunately, you usually can’t. However, there are some exceptions. For instance, if you are self-employed or have been a commissioned employee for at least 2 years, you can generally qualify for a mortgage loan. You’ll have to provide certain documentation, including articles of incorporation, a business license, and the most recent two years Notices of Assessment from CRA.

You may also be able to qualify based on equity loan if you have a large enough down payment and very good credit.

Every conventional mortgage that includes a minimum 20% down payment requires an appraisal because the mortgage is uninsured. The lender wants to see that your purchase price is in line with the property’s fair market value. Lenders want to see that you are purchasing a quality property and that they will be able to recuperate the full amount if you default on the loan.

Pre-payment typically allows you the following privileges:

  1. Ability to increase your monthly payment (usually by 15-20%). Keep in mind that you cannot decrease your payments.
  2. You are allowed to pay a percentage (usually 15-20%) of your principal per year.
  3. You may be able to double your mortgage payment for a month or a number of months. Remember that you are not allowed to exceed the percentage that you’re permitted to pay down annually.

While a short-term mortgage will usually have a lower interest rate, you’re rate might go up when you renew at the end of your term. A long-term mortgage will typically have a higher rate, but you won’t have to renew for a longer period of time. The option you choose depends on your situation. If interest rates are low, it may be wise to choose a longer term, where a shorter term might be a better choice if interest rates are currently high, so you might be able to renew at a lower rate.

It does! With a monthly mortgage, you’ll make 12 regular mortgage payments annually. When you pay bi-weekly, you’ll make 26 half-payments, amounting to 13 regular mortgage payments annually. That might not sound like much, but it adds up. A bi-weekly payment schedule could make you mortgage-free years sooner, saving you thousands in interest payments to boot! Our bi-weekly payment calculator can give you more details.

This will depend on the source of your down payment.

  • From sale of your current home: You’ll need a final Contract of Sale and a current mortgage statement.
  • From a savings account: You’ll need 90 days (3 months) of bank statements, including your name and account number.
  • From gifted funds from a family member: You’ll need a copy of the gift letter and proof of its deposit in your account (you’ll need a bank statement including your name and account number which states your balance).
  • From Investments: You’ll need 90 days (3 months) of investment statements, including your name and account number.

You can provide as little as 5% of the total price of the home if you have good credit. Even if you have poor credit, we have a network of lenders that are willing to work with poor credit buyers, providing you have a 15-35% down payment.

We also offer an Alternative Down Payment Program that allows buyers to borrow their down payment. When working within this program we must add 3% to your mortgage.

Depending on your mortgage lender, yes. Most lenders are now offering options that allow you to take your mortgage with you. Typically you will not be assessed additional fees if the possession period between your old and new home is 60 days or less.

Mortgage Assumption is usually when the buyer “assumes” the mortgage from the seller. In other words, you are taking responsibility for the mortgage payments. Because of the potential risk, we do not recommend this method. Additionally, lenders are recognizing the additional risk in mortgage assumptions and are working to make it more difficult for people to assume mortgages for which they do not qualify.

A guarantor is someone who guarantees that payments will be made on a mortgage. They can apply to be removed from the title at a later point if the owners become able to qualify on their own.

A Cosigner is registered on the title on the property, making them a co-owner of the property.