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First National has been an alternative commercial and residential mortgage lender in Canada since 1988. They cater their services to clients across the country and have offices in major cities like Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, Calgary, and Vancouver. They have numerous commercial and residential mortgage options that are suitable for those who don’t qualify with regular banking standards.
Qualifying With First National
Whether you’re a new homeowner or an experienced one, chances are you’re familiar with how tough the residential mortgage application process can be. The same goes for a commercial mortgage, where you might have to provide even more paperwork to get approved, especially if you’re looking for a large loan amount and a good interest rate.
Although the exact approval requirements can vary according to what kind of product or service you’re applying for, here’s what you might need to qualify for a residential or commercial mortgage with First National:
- A solid source of income for at least several years
- A respectable present and predicted revenue (for commercial mortgages)
- A good record of employment
- A high personal or business credit score
- A healthy personal or business credit report
- An active personal or business bank account with direct deposit
- A decent amount of savings
- A trustworthy history of debt payments
- No recent consumer proposals or bankruptcies
Keep in mind that these are just some of the standard things that a mortgage lender like First National may require before they can approve you. Luckily, you may be able to further improve your chances of qualifying by offering the following securities:
- A down payment – The more money you’re able to save for a down payment, the easier it will be to qualify for a large mortgage with a low rate and a good installment plan. Plus, if you make a down payment of at least 20% of your home’s final sales price, you won’t have to buy CMHC mortgage insurance.
- A cosigner – Otherwise known as a guarantor, you can get a trusted friend or family member to cosign your application if your own finances aren’t up to the lender’s standards. You should also be careful here, as your cosigner will become responsible for your mortgage payments if you cannot afford them.
How to Apply For a Mortgage With First National
When working with First National, you’ll generally have two financing options. You can apply for your residential or commercial mortgage directly through their platform or they can connect you with a mortgage broker in your area. Either way, you’ll have to provide these kinds of personal and financial documents when you apply:
- Your most recent bank statements (proof of income & savings)
- A recent utility bill or other proof of your permanent Canadian address
- Information about your assets, debts and liabilities
- A pre-authorized debit form or VOID cheque
- Government photo ID, such as your passport and/or driver’s license (you must be past the age of majority in your province or territory)
If you’re applying for a commercial mortgage, you may also have to provide:
- Your business’s most recent revenue statements
- A viable business plan (staffing costs, estimated future revenue, etc.)
- Information about any partners, cosigners or investors
- Details about your business properties, vehicles, equipment, debts, etc.
During the personal and financial inspection, First National may also inspect your credit report and credit score to see how strong you are as a potential borrower. The healthier your personal or business credit is, the easier it will be to get approved for a large mortgage with an affordable interest rate and reasonable payment conditions.
Remember, other documents may be required or inspected during the approval process (depends on what kind of mortgage you’re applying for). Be sure to ask a First National customer representative about their exact mortgage requirements before you apply.
What Features Does a First National Mortgage Offer?
With all this new information, you may be wondering what sets First National apart from other alternative mortgage lenders. For a better idea, take a look at some of the more positive features of their mortgage products:
- A variety of commercial mortgage options (retail, industrial, etc.)
- Several residential mortgage options (conventional, refinancing, etc.)
- Fixed and adjustable interest rates
- Closed and open mortgage terms
- Home warranty options (up to $10,000 in eligible repair costs)
- A free-to-use mortgage payment and prepayment calculator
- Easier requirements than most banks, credit unions and prime lenders
- The chance to build home or commercial equity
- A variety of payment frequency options:
- Accelerated Semi-Monthly
- Accelerated Weekly
- Accelerated Bi-Weekly
Once again, the features and benefits you see with your First National mortgage will depend on what type of home or commercial financing you’re applying for.
What Could a First National Mortgage Cost Me?
Since houses come in all shapes and prices, your First National residential or commercial mortgage could vary in size, so it can be tough to tell exactly how much you or your business will pay overall. To get a better estimation, here are some of the major expenses that you’ll have to deal with during the average mortgage:
- Principal – These days, a mortgage can be well over $500,000. So, you can picture how large your payments would need to be in order to finance your entire loan within your lender’s maximum amortization period (normally 20 – 25 years). However, First National may allow you to adjust the size of your payments.
- Down Payment – Remember, one way to get approved for the best mortgage conditions possible is to offer a minimum down payment of 20%. Obviously, spending that much money upfront can severely drain your finances. However, if your down payment is less than 20%, you’ll have to buy mortgage insurance.
- Interest – Don’t forget, your interest rate can vary based on a number of factors, such as your credit score, income and liabilities. So, the best way to qualify for a low rate is to apply when you have a steady job, a credit score of 650 – 900 and as few unpaid debts as possible. Offering loan security can also help.
- Fees – During the mortgage process, you’ll run into a lot more fees than with a personal loan. These fees could include but aren’t limited to loan origination, document processing, inspections and other administrative services. These fees may be charged upon approval, per payment or at the end of your term.
- Penalties – Unfortunately, you might be charged a prepayment penalty if you attempt to pay off your mortgage ahead of schedule. To get a better idea of how much these penalties are, use the First National Prepayment Calculator. You may also be penalized for any late or missed payments.
If you’re applying for commercial mortgage financing through First National, you could run into different payment amounts, rates and fees than a residential mortgage.
What Are the Pros and Cons of First National?
Although First National is a recognized, country-wide mortgage financing company, it’s still important to take a look at the pros and cons of their mortgage products before you apply:
- Simple user-friendly website and online application process
- A variety of mortgage types and flexible payment plan options
- Easier approval standards than financial institutions and prime lenders
- Responsible payments may increase your credit score
- Fixed and adjustable interest rates are offered
- Can make buying a home or commercial property more affordable
- Not enough details about mortgage amounts, costs or requirements on website
- Prepayment and late penalties can apply under the wrong circumstances
- Irresponsible payments can damage your credit score
- Bad credit or weak finances can lead to unfavourable loan conditions and rates
First National - FAQs
What’s the difference between a residential and a commercial mortgage?
Are there ways to pay off my mortgage early?