Frequently Asked Questions
To determine ‘affordability’ you will first need to know your taxable income along with the amount of any debt outstanding and the monthly payments. Assuming it is your principal residence you are purchasing, calculate 32% of your income for use toward a mortgage payment, property taxes and heating costs. If applicable, half of the estimated monthly condominium maintenance fees will also be included in this calculation. Second, calculate 40% of your taxable income and deduct all of your monthly debt payments, including car loans, credit cards, lines of credit payments. The lesser of the first or second calculation will be used to help determine how much of your income may be used towards housing related payments, including your mortgage payment. These calculations are based on lenders’ usual guidelines. In addition to considering what the ratios say you can afford, make sure you calculate how much you think you can afford. If the payment amount you are comfortable with is less than 32% of your income you may want to settle for the lower amount rather than stretch yourself financially. Make sure you don’t leave yourself house poor. Structure your payments so that you can still afford simple luxuries.
A 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.
Typically a minimum down payment of 5% is required to purchase a home, subject to certain maximum price restrictions. Depending on your credit, though, you might be eligible to borrow your down payment. In addition to the down payment, you must also be able to show that you can cover the applicable closing costs (i.e. legal fees and disbursements, appraisal fees and a survey certificate, where applicable). Lenders will also generally accept a gift from a family member as an acceptable down payment provided a letter stating it is a true gift, not a loan, is signed by the donor. Where the mortgage loan insurance is provided by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), the gift money must be in the your possession before the application is sent in to CMHC for approval. Mortgages with less than 20% down must have mortgage loan insurance provided by either CMHC or another mortgage loan insurer.
Mortgage loan insurance is insurance provided by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), a crown corporation, or through an approved private corporation. This insurance is required by law to insure lenders against default on mortgages with a loan to value ratio greater than 80%. The insurance premiums, ranging from .50% to 3.75%, are paid by the borrower and can be added directly onto the mortgage amount. This is not the same as mortgage life insurance.
A conventional mortgage is usually one where the down payment is equal to 20% or more of the purchase price, a loan to value of or less than 80%, and does not normally require mortgage loan insurance.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your bankruptcy, some lenders would consider providing mortgage financing.
Where child support and alimony are paid by you to another person, generally the amount paid out is deducted from your total income before determining the size of mortgage you will qualify for. Where child support and alimony are received by you from another person, generally the amount paid may be added to your total income before determining the size of mortgage you will qualify for, provided proof of regular receipt is available for a period of time determined by the lender.
A pre-approved mortgage provides an interest rate guarantee from a lender for a specified period of time (usually up to 120 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. 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.
Depending on your mortgage, there may be ways to reduce the number of years to pay down your mortgage. You may enjoy significant savings by: (a) Selecting a non-monthly or accelerated payment schedule, (b) Increasing your payment frequency schedule, (c) Making principal prepayments, (d) Making Double-Up Payments, or (e) Selecting a shorter amortization at renewal.
The interest rate on a fixed-rate mortgage is set for a pre-determined term – usually between 6 months to 25 years, but typically 5 years. This offers the security of knowing what you will be paying for the term selected.
A mortgage in which interest rates may fluctuate from month to month depending on market conditions. If interest rates go down, more of the payment goes towards reducing the principal; if rates go up, a larger portion of the monthly payment goes towards covering the interest, your payment may increase, or both. Open variable rate mortgages allow prepayment of any amount (with certain minimums) on any payment date.