6 Oct

The Difference between a Rate-Hold and a Pre-Approved Mortgage Certificate


Posted by: Jeff Parsons

First, let’s start with a definition of each.

Mortgage Terminology

Rate-Hold: a rate-hold is simply that. The financial institution holds a rate for a specific term and for a certain number of days. In Canada we typically hold rates for 120 days. You must close your mortgage on or before that date to secure the held rate. In addition, in the event that rates go up over that period of time you don’t have to worry, you have your rate guaranteed. If rates lower, then your rate lowers as well.

Pre-Approval: if you are house shopping then a pre-approval can help you shop with confidence. A pre-approved mortgage certificate outlines how much you qualify for and will also hold a rate for you. Unlike just the rate hold, a pre-approval is looked over by an underwriter working for the particular financial institution. The underwriter will look at all the data provided in the application, along with a credit history report, to determine credit worthiness. If the underwriter has not been given upfront documentation, for example employment and down payment information, then the pre-approval will come back with “conditions”. Essentially saying, yes, based on the info you provided we are ready to extend credit to you once you satisfy the following conditions. This can also be called pre-qualification.

Should you wish with absolute surety that you will not be denied credit, then it is best to submit your paperwork upfront.

In our fast paced society clients receive rate-holds, not pre-approvals. So please make sure you know what you are getting based on what you need.

Almost done. If you are putting less than 20% down on your home you will have to obtain mortgage insurance from CMHC or Genworth. Both of these institutions will not look at your file unless it is a “real deal”, and they can sometimes over-rule an approval from the financial institution. I’ve completed many mortgage transactions and while I have not seen this many times, it has happened if you are in the higher risk category, for example, your employment is just less than one year or credit history is not very long. If you are not in the higher risk category, then a pre-approval should give you the confidence to look for a house without worry.

Remember to always place a financial clause in your agreement of purchase and sale. Give yourself the time and the peace-of-mind.


Sandra Tisiot

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

2 Oct

It’s NOT All About the Rate


Posted by: Jeff Parsons

ob-sess(ed): the act of being preoccupied or fill the mind continually, intrusively and to a troubling extend.

As mortgage consumers, we get obsessed with obtaining the best rate – we are caught in the cross-hairs of lender marketing. Lenders spend millions of dollars annually to pitch their message; some listen and some don’t. As consumers, we all want make sure we are getting the best value for our money. When entering into the world of purchase and owning real estate, there should be a detailed plan laid out for one to follow. We should make sure all our plans fit the mortgage products we inherently rely on. Would you put a square peg in a round hole?

Along with making sure the mortgage product is suitable, there is also an element of competition between friends, family members and even colleagues at work. Consumers thought process goes something like this (…and I was once part of this faculty)…”I need to get the lowest rate so that I supersede the rate that (enter name here) got…” That statement couldn’t be further from the truth – it’s 100% wrong.

We all want to pay as little as possible up front, but never put any thought into life’s uncertainties. What if you need to break the mortgage?, to consolidate some debt, require equity for a renovation, moving to another town/city where your current lender does not lend, leverage equity to take advantage of some financial planning strategies…the list goes on.

60% or 6 out of every 10 mortgages that originally opt for a 5 year fixed term are changed/broken/altered 38 months into the contract. The act of breaking one’s mortgage will yield a penalty on the outstanding balance for 22 months. The penalty will be either an Interest Rate Differential calculation or 3 month interest, whatever is greater. There is so much more to choosing a mortgage rate and term than just the 5 bold character,s ?.??%  being advertised.

Borrower’s have to look past the numbers and educate themselves on the terms of that rate being offered; the fine print!

Depending on the RATE and its terms, that penalty can be dramatically different. Lenders all have a suite of various products to fit you, the consumer’s, wants and needs. It’s up to you and your Mortgage Expert to navigate through the gauntlet of rate sheets and product information to find what works for you and your specific scenario. As Mortgage Experts, we here at Dominion Lending Centres have access to a wide range of lenders; major chartered banks, credit unions and investment lenders. At times there could be a difference of 10 to 20 basis points (0.10-0.20%) from lender to lender.

Let’s take for example a rate of 2.44% vs 2.64% for a 5 year fixed term. It’s obvious which one most borrowers would gravitate to, but is it worth it? What are the pitfalls? These two rates have drastically different penalty structures even though they are offered by the same lender. The 2.44% rate holds a 3% penalty on the outstanding mortgage balance (OSB). The 2.64% rate calculates the Interest Rate Differential (IRD) or 3 months interest, whatever is greater to determine the penalty.

Here is an example of what it would cost to exit these mortgage contracts early. We will use the 60% rule along with a starting balance of $330,000, 25 year amortization and $0 prepayments made to the principal for the first 38 months.

Rate 2.44% 2.64%

OSB @ 38 mos $298,401.05 $299,153.80

Penalty 8,952.03 $2,468.02

Difference $6,484.01

Monthly payment $1,468.45 $1,501.39

Difference over 38 mos $1,251.72

Same term but a different mortgage product yields a difference in penalty of $6,484.01. Over that same 38 month term, the higher interest will have an ‘out-of-pocket’ difference of $1,251.72. Now ask yourself, with all of life’s uncertainties, which would you prefer, the 2.44% or 2.64% rate? I would choose the higher rate and pay $5,232.29 less.

This is where having a knowledgeable Mortgage Expert from Dominion Lending Centres working for you pays off in spades. We will review your plan and recommend the best mortgage product. Make sure you examine all aspects of the mortgage, 60% of 5 year fixed mortgages are altered. Here’s yet another reason to always consider variable rate mortgages, much more flexible and only yield 3 month interest penalty on the OSB no matter where you are in the contract timeline.

If you are looking for personalized mortgage advice, contact me at Dominion Lending Centres anytime!


Michael Hallett

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage