A mortgage is a security for a loan on the property you own. People often get mortgages when they buy a home, so they don’t have to come up with the full purchase price all at once. The loan is repaid in regular mortgage payments, which are usually blended payments. This means that the payment includes the principal (amount borrowed) plus the interest (the charge for borrowing money). The payment may also include a portion of the property taxes.
There are many questions you may have before you negotiate or when you renegotiate a mortgage. While your bank or mortgage broker will be able to give you the most accurate answers, government agencies have created tools and information to help you with some of these questions.
Qualifying for a Mortgage
To determine whether or not you can qualify for a home mortgage, based on your income and expenses, go to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s (FCAC) Mortgage Qualifier Tool found on their website.
Affording a Mortgage
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has a mortgage calculator that helps you estimate the maximum mortgage you can afford. The CMHC Mortgage Calculator - How Much Can You Afford? can be found on their website.
To estimate your mortgage payment and a mortgage payment schedule go to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s (FCAC) Mortgage Calculator Tool found on their website. The Mortgage Calculator Tool also shows how much money and how many years of payments you can save by making prepayments.
Refinancing a Mortgage
Refinancing your mortgage may or may not save you money. If interest rates fall, it may be worthwhile for you to break your mortgage and refinance at a lower interest rate. However, sometimes the cost of breaking your mortgage before the end of your term will cost more money than the savings of a lower interest rate. The Office of Consumer Affairs’ Mortgage Savings Calculator can help you determine if refinancing your mortgage will cost or save you money.
A cooling-off period is a specific period of time in which you may reconsider your decision and cancel a contract, for any reason you like. Contact your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office to find out about whether there is a cooling-off period that applies in your province or territory for when you purchase a home.
Getting legal advice may give you peace of mind when purchasing a home to ensure that everything goes smoothly. A lawyer (or a notary in Quebec) will protect your legal interests, such as ensuring the property you are thinking of buying does not have any building or statutory liens, charges, work or clean-up orders associated with it. A lawyer will review all contracts before you sign them, especially the offer (of agreement) to purchase.
For information on legal advice, visit the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) Home Buying Step by Step guide found on their website.