Tag Archives: traditional financing
Even Canadian lenders are now requiring an increased amount of information and proof of income before approving mortgages.
Helen Morris, National Post
Whether you are planning to move from an existing home or are stepping into the property market for the first time, and unless you have a substantial supply of cash, you will likely require a mortgage.
Interest rates may be at historic lows but with uncertain and changing market conditions, lenders want to be doubly sure that borrowers can repay a mortgage. This has led to lenders placing more stringent conditions upon borrowers and demanding more detailed and verifiable proof of income and ability to pay.
A borrower’s income, expenses, credit history and down payment are all considered when assessing whether they qualify for a mortgage.
“Prior to eight months ago, for a standard salary individual, I could do the mortgage on a job letter,” says Jeff Mayer, a mortgage agent with the Mayer Group, part of the mortgage brokerage firm Mortgage Intelligence. “Now you need a job letter … then they want a pay stub … and a lot of times they’ll ask for two paystubs, then they’re going to want either a T-4 or a notice of assessment. The bank wants to make sure that you can afford the mortgage. It’s tough love; they want to make sure that you’re going to stay in your house.”
If you work overtime it is essential to check with the lender if this income can be counted towards your mortgage qualification.
“In a lot of situations, with unemployment rising, there is not as much overtime,” says Gary Siegle, a regional manager with the Invis mortgage brokerage firm. “Lenders are looking at that a little bit more carefully.”
Because of increased default rates in some communities, some lenders will now only consider a base salary when evaluating a mortgage application.
If you have a stable job, a decent-sized deposit and a good credit score, putting in the hard work at the application stage can secure you a good deal.
“With prices having softened due to the recession, housing has never been more affordable,” Mr. Siegle says. “It is a little more difficult to qualify when it comes to showing your income and proving different parts of [it], but it’s also much easier to qualify on the numbers because house prices are down and mortgage rates are on sale, really.”
However, mortgage qualification has become rather more testing for those with lower credit scores, smaller deposits or irregular income.
“Lower credit scores have become more difficult to get traditional financing for. You can still quite often get a mortgage but it’s just going to cost more,” Mr. Siegle says. “Those with very poor credit probably have much more difficulty today. If you’ve got bad credit and haven’t been proven to be able to manage it, maybe you need to get things fixed up before you get a mortgage.”
It has also become a lot tougher for self-employed individuals to get mortgage financing, Mr. Mayer says. Lenders are still allowing self-employed applicants to state their own income levels but the income stated must be deemed reasonable based on the size and type of business.
Many lenders, Mr. Siegle says, are demanding extensive documentary evidence from self-employed applicants and even then, lenders can refuse to provide a mortgage if they believe that disparities between taxable and real income are not reasonable.
It is not just borrowers buying their own homes who are facing tougher lending criteria.
For buyers of rental properties, Mr. Siegle says, lenders have become less generous when calculating how much rental income can be used to qualify a mortgage. Conventional lenders used to include up to 80% of the rental income when calculating how much homebuyers could borrow. However, due to a higher risk of default, now he says some lenders are including only 50% to 70% of the rental income.
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