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Calgary mortgage frequently asked questions

Mortgage Frequently Asked Questions

What is mortgage loan insurance?

Mortgage loan insurance is insurance provided by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), a crown corporation, and GE Capital Mortgage Insurance Company, 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 0.50% to 7.0%, are paid by the borrower and can be added directly onto the mortgage amount. This is not the same as mortgage life insurance.

What is a conventional mortgage?

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.

Can I get a mortgage to purchase a home?

Yes; subject to qualification. For high-ratio financing, both Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and GE Capital, insured mortgages are available to cover the purchase price of a home as well 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 0.50% over the standard schedule. For information on mortgage loan insurance premiums see high-ratio home mortgage financing.

Can I use gift funds as a down payment?

Most lenders will accept down payment funds that are a gift from family as an acceptable down payment. A gift letter signed by the donor is usually required to confirm that the funds are a true gift and not a loan. Where the mortgage requires mortgage loan insurance, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation requires the gift money to be in the purchaser's possession before the application is sent in to them for approval. Where mortgage loan insurance is provided by Genworth, this is not a requirement. See 'what is mortgage loan insurance?' for further information.

What is a pre-approved mortgage?

A pre-approved mortgage provides an interest rate guarantee from a lender for a specified period of time (usually 60 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.

Should I wait for my mortgage to mature?

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 well 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 well. 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 investigate the possibility of a lower interest rate with the lender and  or another lender. Call us; we can do all the research for you!

What is a down payment?

Very few home buyers have the cash available to buy a home outright. Most of us will turn to a financial institution for a mortgage; the first step in a potentially long-standing relationship. But even with a mortgage, you will need to raise the money for a down payment. The down payment is that portion of the purchase price you furnish yourself. The amount of the down payment (which represents your financial stake, or the equity in your new home) should be determined well before you start house hunting. The larger the down payment, the less your home costs in the long run. With a smaller mortgage, interest costs (and possibly insurance fees - for high ratio mortgages) will be lower and over time this will add up to significant savings.

How can you pay off your mortgage sooner?

There are ways to reduce the number of years to pay down your mortgage. You'll enjoy significant savings by:

- Selecting a non-monthly or accelerated payment schedule

- Increasing your payment frequency schedule

- Making principal prepayments

- Making Double-Up Payments

- Selecting a shorter amortization at renewal

What is a fixed rate mortgage?

The interest rate on a fixed-rate mortgage is set for a pre-determined term - usually between 6 months to 10 years. This offers the security of knowing what you will be paying for the term selected.

What is a variable rate mortgage?

A mortgage in which payments are fixed for a period of one to two years although 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. Scotia’s open variable rate mortgages allow prepayment of any amount (with certain minimums) on any payment date.

 

 


Encore Realty Professionals Inc.

 

Office: 403.274.5100

Fax: 403.226.2779

 

129 Panatella Green NW

Calgary, Alberta

T3K 0M6