FAQ & Resources

Looking for helpful advice and handy mortgage tools you can navigate on your own? You’ve come to the right place. Check out the answers to some of my most frequently asked questions, the be-all and end-all to mortgage calculators, and access to the newest mobile app that’s loaded with free resources. And if you still don’t see what you’re looking for here, contact me today and we can chat about it.

Why should I use Denise as my mortgage broker?

Simple! With over two decades of experience in the field and a strong background in finance, my expertise and understanding of the industry are unparalleled. I love what I do and look forward to working with new and repeat clients knowing I’ve helped them build the best foundation for their financial future. 

If you’re still deciding on using an institution or a broker, there are a few things to consider. For example, financial institutions can only sell their products to the public. Because of this, they are unable to provide unbiased advice or much of a selection since by doing so, they risk losing your mortgage to another company whose product might just provide more value to you. 

I provide mortgage products and services from a variety of lenders, not just one. Because of this, I can look at options from banks, trust companies, insurance companies and credit unions for the best product, rate and terms for your particular needs.

I can also negotiate on your behalf, structure deals to meet the criteria of the lenders, and get you a mortgage solution that works well. Remember, my primary role is looking after your interests, not the lender’s.

To gain market share from brokers, the majority of lenders pay a finder’s fee for referred business. Due to the volume of business I do, the lenders pay fees promptly and to ensure the continued flow of business, they provide fast approvals. This allows my team to shop amongst various financial institutions for a mortgage rate and product that best suits the unique needs of the client. 

Another thing to note is if you deal directly with a financial institution and, for whatever reason, your mortgage is declined, you must begin the application process all over again with another lender. When you deal with my team directly, the application can be quickly redirected to another lender—or several other lenders—for consideration.

How much will it cost to use a mortgage broker?

Believe it or not, the majority of clients do not pay for a mortgage broker’s services. The cost is absorbed by the financial institutions, which pay the broker a finder’s fee in exchange for their business. Institutions will also offer them their top rates and fastest approvals. This setup allows brokers to shop around for the product and rate that best suits their client’s unique needs. In almost all cases, there is no cost to the client.

In situations where traditional lenders will not approve a mortgage because of poor credit and where the application must be placed with a private or non-traditional lender, a brokerage fee may be charged to the client. This cost must be disclosed to the client at the start and must be authorized in writing by the client before it can be charged.

What is a pre-approval and how do I get one?

A pre-approved mortgage provides an interest rate guarantee from a lender for a set amount of money and for a specified period, which usually ranges from 90 to 120 days. The pre-approval is calculated based on information provided by you and is subject to certain conditions being met before the mortgage is finalized. Conditions typically include things like written employment and income confirmation and proof of down payment from your own resources, for example. Securing a pre-approved mortgage is one of the first steps a home buyer should take before beginning the buying process.

Can I use gift funds as a down payment?

Most lenders will accept funds that are a gift from family as a down payment. However, there are a few steps you’ll need to take to do so. In most cases, you’ll require a letter signed by the donor to confirm the funds are a gift and not a loan. Also, if you require Mortgage Loan Insurance, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation requires the gift money to be in the purchaser’s possession before the application is sent to them for approval.

What is a conventional mortgage?

Typically, a conventional mortgage is one where the down payment is equal to 20% or more of the purchase price, a loan-to-value of 80% or less, and does not require Mortgage Loan Insurance.

What is a high-ratio mortgage?

A high-ratio mortgage is one where the amount to be borrowed exceeds 80% of the home value. Since the amount borrowed is considered a risk to lenders, high-risk mortgages require Mortgage Loan Insurance provided by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) or another third-party insurer.

What is the minimum down payment needed to buy a home?

The amount you can put down on a home will determine what type of mortgage you require.

If you put down more than 20% of the home value and meet other criteria, you will qualify for a conventional mortgage. 

If you put less than 20% down, it is considered a high-risk mortgage. You must have Mortgage Loan Insurance provided by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) or another third-party insurer. 

In addition to the down payment, according to the insurer’s rules, you must have 1.5% of the purchase price available to cover the applicable closing costs including, but not limited to, legal fees and disbursements, appraisal fees and a survey certificate, where applicable.

Not sure which option works best for you? Contact me today for more information on mortgage types and the income criteria needed for buying.

Can a mortgage broker help when my mortgage comes up for renewal? 

Absolutely! A mortgage broker like myself can start shopping around for the best interest rates at least 90 days before your mortgage matures. In this timeframe, lenders will often guarantee you a certain rate and, if you’re not increasing your mortgage, will cover the costs of transferring it to a different institution. This means I can help you secure a rate well in advance of your maturity date, eliminating any worry of it increasing. And if rates drop before the actual maturity rate, the new lender will usually adjust your interest rate lower as well.

When lenders send out their mortgage renewal notices, the rates being offered are typically not the best ones on the market. It is to your benefit to work with a mortgage professional to shop for lower interest rates, whether it’s with your current lender or a new one. If you don’t, you risk paying a much higher interest rate on your mortgage renewal than necessary.

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