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Friday, February 13, 2009

Mortgages 101 For Home Buyers

By Evan Sage

A mortgage is an agreement between a lender and borrower where the borrower puts up a piece of real estate as collateral for a loan to purchase that property. There exist many different types of mortgages with many different options. Outlined below is a handful of different mortgage types and some of the options you may find.

A mortgage is considered conventional when the total loan amount is issued by an institutional lender (trust company, bank, etc.) and is less than seventy five percent of the purchase price or the approved value of the property. To put it simply when you put down twenty five percent or more as you down payment than you qualify for a conventional mortgage.

A mortgage is considered high ratio when you put down less than twenty five percent lesser of the purchase price or the appraised property value as a down payment. A high ratio mortgage must be insured, as required by The Bank Act.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is one of the institutions that is eligible to insure high ratio mortgages. The mortgagee risk is lessened as the insurance pays if the mortgagor defaults. Borrowers are required to pay an application fee, an insurance fee that is typically added to the principal amount of the mortgage, and the cost of a property appraisal.

The cost to insure a high ration mortgage can range from 0.5% to 3.75% of the mortgage amount, the insurance premiums are hefty and can include other administrative and appraisal fees in addition. To receive up-to-date restrictions, requirements and/or additional information that borrowers will need to meet to obtain NHA backing speak to your bank or mortgage broker.

It may potentially be financially beneficial to arrange a second mortgage instead of a high ratio first mortgage, as second mortgages fill the gap between the amount of the first mortgage and the total down payment. It may be advantageous to place a second mortgage on a home when the first is at a very attractive rate for situations like home improvements as they generally have a shorter term and higher interest rates than the first.

Many fees can get reduced or waived if you assume an existing mortgage so it may be to your advantage to look into any opportunities such as these that you come across. If a vendor has an existing mortgage that aligns with your overall financing requirements you may find yourself benefiting in more ways than one.

By Assuming existing financing, legal fees and appraisals are lessened, and the vendor may save by not having to pay a penalty for discharging his or mortgage. As most buyers find low interest rates enticing, existing mortgages are a good way to go, though one will likely still have to qualify as a borrower by the lender.

A low interest rate and liberal pre-payment privileges in combination with negligible fees make vendor take-back mortgages very enticing. They can be issued as a large first mortgage or a small second as the homeowner is the one who offers the financing themselves.

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