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If buying a house is on your agenda sometime soon, then you’ll need to start thinking about getting approved for a mortgage. Home loans make purchasing a house possible for Canadians, especially given the high cost of homes.
That said, there are different mortgage products available, each of which caters to specific types of borrowers. Below, we’ll discuss all the ins and outs of mortgages in Edmonton to help you determine which product is best suited for your financial situation.
Look here for more information about traditional loans in Edmonton.
Types of Mortgages in Edmonton
Edmonton consumers have a variety of mortgage products available to them. The one you choose will depend on what you’re comfortable with and your financial health.
Conventional mortgages – In order to be eligible for a conventional mortgage in Edmonton, you’ll need to come up with a minimum 20% down payment. Not only will such a hefty down payment amount mean a smaller loan, but it will also mean avoiding mortgage default insurance.
Also referred to as CMHC insurance, this policy is designed to protect the lender in case you default on your mortgage, even though you’re the one paying for the policy. With a smaller loan amount, the default risk is lower, which is why lenders waive this policy for borrowers who come up with at least 20% down.
High-ratio mortgages – If you cannot come up with a 20% down payment, then you may be able to qualify for a high-ratio mortgage. As the name suggests, the ratio between the loan amount and the value of the property is quite high. The less you’re able to put forth as a down payment, the higher your loan amount will have to be.
With high ratio mortgages, mortgage default insurance will need to be paid throughout the life of the loan. These mortgages allow a minimum down payment of 5%.
Fixed-rate mortgages – Lenders make their money from mortgages through the interest rates they charge, and with a fixed-rate mortgage, the rate will remain constant throughout the loan term. Buyers in Edmonton who prefer predictable monthly payments may opt for fixed-rate mortgages because payments will always stay the same. Further, this type of mortgage might also be preferable if it’s anticipated that rates will be increasing in the near future.
Adjustable-rate mortgages – The interest rate for adjustable-rate mortgages in Edmonton will change during different intervals. The introductory period of these types of mortgages typically features an interest rate that is lower than fixed-rate mortgages. But when this period ends, the rate will change and can either increase or decrease.
Read this to learn what you should do when your mortgage rates increase.
Second mortgages – Also referred to as a home equity loan, a second mortgage is a type of loan that Edmonton homeowners may be able to take advantage of. If you already own a home and have some equity accumulated, you may be eligible for a home equity loan.
Equity simply refers to the value of your home minus the loan amount you still owe on your mortgage. If you have at least 80% equity, a second mortgage may be an option for you.
Bridge loans – If you have bad credit and are looking to fix it, a bridge loan might be a good option for you. This type of loan can be an ideal short-term solution for you to improve your credit score while using the equity in your home to cover any expense you need to cover.
When it comes to real estate transactions, a bridge loan represents a loan provided by a lender to bridge the gap between the sale of your current home and the purchase of a new one, especially when the closing dates overlap.
Do you know what it costs to buy a house in your city? Check out this infographic.
Why Get Pre-Approved For a Mortgage in Edmonton?
It’s highly recommended that homebuyers in Edmonton get pre-approved for a home loan before beginning the search for a new home. There are a handful of reasons for this.
Determine how much you can afford. A mortgage pre-approval letter will tell you how big of a loan you could get approved for, which will be a direct indication of how much you can afford in a new home. Having a clear idea of your affordability will help you to focus on properties that fall within your budget. It will also help you avoid wasting time looking at homes that are not within your financial reach.
Be a more attractive buyer to sellers. For obvious reasons, sellers want to make sure that the buyers they engage in negotiations with are financially qualified to afford the home purchase. It can be extremely frustrating for an offer to be accepted, only to find out that the buyer is unable to secure a mortgage Edmonton.
While a pre-approval doesn’t guarantee mortgage approval, it certainly is a step in the right direction and helps ensure sellers that you are serious about buying and are financially capable of making a home purchase.
Move the final mortgage approval along faster. The actual final mortgage approval process doesn’t start until after an offer has been accepted. Only then will the lender actually move forward with the final stages, as they will need to know what the actual purchase price of the home is before determining how much of a loan you will actually be approved for.
That said, being pre-approved allows a lot of the work to be done beforehand, giving the lender a head start on getting the mortgage finalized.
Click here to see if you should spend your entire pre-approval amount when buying a home.
Payment Options For Mortgages in Edmonton
Once your mortgage has been approved and the closing date arrives, you’ll be responsible for repaying the loan amount borrowed. To fully pay back the loan amount, you’ll need to make installment payments. The frequency of these payments will depend on what you prefer and what your lender is able to offer you. That said, the following are the typical payment frequencies to repay your mortgage:
- Monthly – Payments are made on a monthly basis.
- Semi-monthly – Payments are made twice a month.
- Accelerated bi-weekly – Payments are made every two weeks. This arrangement works out to two extra payments every year compared to semi-monthly payments.
- Weekly – Payments are made on a weekly basis.
For more information about your mortgage payment options, read this other article.
Understanding Mortgage Amortization Periods
The amortization period of a mortgage represents the entire length of time that you have to repay the loan amount in full. These should be differentiated from a mortgage “term,” which is the length of time that you are committed to your lender, mortgage rate, and conditions of your home loan.
Look here if you’re having trouble distinguishing between your amortization and mortgage term.
Buyers in Edmonton tend to favour longer amortization periods because the monthly payments are smaller. That’s because you have a much longer amount of time to repay the loan amount in full. However, you’ll be paying more in interest over the life of the loan compared to shorter amortization periods, making the loan more expensive. Plus, it will take longer to pay the mortgage off.
Some buyers prefer shorter amortization periods because they can pay a lot less in interest overall and can pay off the loan much sooner. However, buyers must be able to afford the higher monthly payments that come with these shorter amortization periods.
Amortization periods are generally 10, 15, 20, or 25 years in length.
Credit Score Requirements in Edmonton
There are a few key factors that go into your qualification for a mortgage in Edmonton, and your credit score is one of them. Credit scores range from 300 to 900, with 900 being a perfect score. Lenders prefer to work with borrowers who are as close to 900 as possible, as this typically means that they are more responsible with their finances and would pose less of a risk as a borrower.
Generally speaking, a credit score of anywhere between 650 to 680 is the minimum score required for mortgage approval in Edmonton, though the exact number will vary from one lender to the next. Higher credit scores increase the odds of mortgage approval, as well as lower interest rates.
On the other hand, a low credit score puts you at risk of being denied a mortgage. Even with mortgage approval, the rate offered would likely be higher, making the mortgage more expensive over the long haul.
Check out this infographic to learn more about credit scores.
Can You Qualify For a Mortgage With a Bad Credit Score?
What if your credit score is lower than 650? Can you still get a mortgage?
While a traditional lender in Edmonton might give you a harder time with mortgage approval, you may find better luck with an alternative lender. There are many alternative lenders in Edmonton who work with bad credit borrowers when the banks say no.
In order to get approved, less weight will be placed on your credit score and more focus will be put on your assets and income. Also, your most recent payment activity will also be looked at.
Wondering what else bad credit lenders look at when assessing loan eligibility? Find out here.
It should be noted that even though you may have a better chance of being approved with an alternative lender as opposed to the bank, the interest rate you will be charged will probably be a lot higher than it would be with a conventional home loan.
Consider a Co-Signer
You can also consider getting a co-signer if you can’t get approved on your own. A co-signer is someone who is financially healthy and is willing to take on the responsibility of taking over your payments if you ever default on your home loan.
If you have some time before buying a home, perhaps your best bet is to take steps to improve your credit score. To do this, consider doing all of the following:
- Make debt payments on time
- Make more than your minimum credit card payments
- Pay down your debt
- Don’t apply for too many loans
- Keep old accounts open
- Don’t spend any more than 20% to 30% of your credit card limit
Read this to learn more ways if buying a house with bad credit in Canada.
Comparing Mortgages in Edmonton
It’s helpful to compare what different lenders are offering you to make sure you are getting the most affordable mortgage and one that’s most suitable for what you’re comfortable with. When comparing mortgage products, be sure to look at the following factors:
- Amortization period
- Interest rate
- Early repayment period
- Payment frequency
Alternatively, you could work with a mortgage broker who will do all the comparison shopping for you to save you time and effort.
Here are some questions that you should ask your mortgage broker.
How to Save For a Down Payment
In order to secure a mortgage, you will need to pay a down payment up front. Different types of mortgages require a different minimum down payment amounts, as already discussed above. As such, you’ll need to meet the specific requirements of your mortgage when it comes to the necessary down payment.
But a down payment can be tough to save up for. Given the prices of homes these days, it can be difficult to come up with a few thousand dollars in a lump sum. As such, it’s important that you take steps to save up for a down payment long before you apply for a mortgage.
Here are some tips to saving up for a down payment in Edmonton:
- Automate your savings
- Save your down payment funds in a separate savings account
- Borrow from family
- Pay off your high-interest credit card debt to free up money for your down payment
- Consolidate your debt
- Apply for the Home Buyer’s Plan by borrowing from your RRSPs
Looking to Secure a Mortgage in Edmonton?
Purchasing a home in Edmonton is a major expense. That’s why mortgages are so helpful, as they make achieving homeownership a reality. After assessing your finances and credit score, it’s time to start looking for a mortgage. Be sure to call Loans Canada to help guide you to the right lender or mortgage product for you.