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Private Mortgages: A Comprehensive Guide

What is a Private Mortgage?

Private Mortgages are usually short-term solutions to help you improve finances. Given the increasingly strict qualifications requirements, many borrowers are routinely turned away by their own banks. Even through banks will not finance these borrowers, they still need have borrowing needs.

A private mortgage is a mortgage offered by non-bank lenders. Banks are federally regulated, and therefore have stricter requirements on income and credit score. Unlike banks, Private Mortgage Lenders have more flexibility on income and credit. They look at the “whole picture” of your financial situation with a focus on the property, such as location, purchase price, interior, etc. 

The interest rate on private mortgages is higher than a bank mortgage. However, most private mortgages are interest-only. As such they are usually short term in nature. The most popular private mortgage is 1 year with an option to renew at the end of the term. However, most private mortgages are interest-only. It means you only need to pay the interest portion of your mortgage each month. As a result, the monthly payment on a private mortgage is often comparable to or even less than a bank mortgage.

Private mortgage offers opportunities for Ontarians who do not fit into the banks’ traditional mortgage “box” to own a home or take out home equity. However, not all Private Mortgages are created equal. To get a good deal on your private mortgage, you need to find a lender who is transparent with low fees and offers the product that works for YOU.

Private Mortgage Lenders in Ontario

What are different types of Private Mortgage Lenders in Ontario?

First, let’s define “A Lender”, “B Lender” and “Private Lenders”:

  • A Lenders are mostly large Banks and Loan Companies. They require 600+ credit score AND verifiable income that meets a very strict debt service ratio – your total monthly debt payment cannot be more than 44%. A rule of thumb for debt to service ratio is that you can qualify for up to 4-5 times of your income. A Lenders uses mainly salaried income. Non-traditional income sources, such as self-employed income, Airbnb rent, and foreign income are not fully recognized.
  • B Lenders are smaller Banks and Credit Unions. B Lenders usually require 500+ credit score. Some self-employed income may be used to qualify. B Lenders still need to fully verify your income documents.
  • Private Lenders are either individuals who lend money directly, or Mortgage Investment Companies (MIC’s). They focus on your property. There is no income verification or minimum credit score.

 

Top 7 Reasons why Ontarians turn to Private Lenders

Private Lenders specialize in the following situations :  

Self-employed. Many business owners and contractors choose to only take out a small amount of the money out of their businesses for tax purpose. Banks qualify you based on your tax return, not what you actually make. Private Lenders look at your holistic picture, especially your property, when reviewing your application. Therefore, they can approve you even when a bank declines.

Real Estate Investors. Nowadays banks are very strict on rental property mortgages. The number of properties you can buy are limited. Even if your rental properties are making extra money, banks usually discount your rental income and add extra buffer in expenses to be conservative. If your rental properties are cash flow negative, you will need to qualify for the extra mortgage amount using your employment income. Many real estate investors have capital but doesn’t have enough income to qualify for a bank loan. These investors often use private mortgages to expand their portfolio.

Consolidate Debt and Repair Credit Private Mortgage Interest Rate in Ontario are a lot lower than credit card or other personal loans. If you own your home and have at least 20% equity in your home, you can use private mortgage to consolidate your interest debt. Many of our borrowers can lower their monthly payment by more than 50% by using a private mortgage. Lower monthly payments help improve your credit significantly.

New to Canada and Non-Residents Banks have very complicated and lengthy mortgage process for Newcomers to Canada, or Non-Residents. We see many clients getting declined last minute and have to miss their closing dates. A private mortgage is the fastest way to get approved if you are New-to-Canada with little or no credit history, or if you are earning your income from a foreign country.

Home Renovation A Private Mortgage is a perfect choice if you need funds for renovation, but cannot get additional refinance from the Bank. Getting a Private Loan is way cheaper than running up the balance on your credit card. It will also benefit your credit score compared to using a credit card.

Bridge Loan A Bridge Loan is a short-term solution when you are in-between properties. For example, if you have already bought one property and haven’t sold your existing home yet, you will need a Bridge Loan to finance your new home. Banks only provide Bridge Loans if the purchase and sell are within 90 days. We all know selling a property is all about timing. Many Ontarians uses a private mortgage as a Bridge Loan to wait for the right time to sell.

Life Events. Life happens. Whether it’s unexpected illness in the family, pursuit of higher education, or a breakup with your significant other, sometimes you just need a hand to get through life. If you are a homeowner, you can easily leverage your home equity to help you achieve any life goals you have. Private Lenders can offer you affordable financing based on your home value even if you have limited income.

What is a Direct-to-Consumer private lender?

A Direct-to-Consumer Lender means there is no middleman. It ensure you get the lowest fees and get approved fast.

Lower Fees. We have our own private funding and long-standing relationships with individual mortgage investors across Ontario. On average, our private mortgage rates are 10% – 15% lower than what you might get from other mortgage brokers and lenders. You may also be able to save more than 50% of the broker fee. For example, if you get a $100,000 private mortgage with us, you may be able to save 1% on interest rate and 0.5% on fees, that translates to $1500 saving on the first year.

Fast Approvals. Some private lenders may “pre-approve” you first and then decline the mortgage last minute if the documents don’t meet their requirements. When you go through another broker, it also takes longer to get your approval. We can approve your mortgage within 24 hours. Because we have direct authority to make decisions, there won’t be any surprises last minute.

Are Private Lenders safe?

Private Lenders in Ontario are subject to Mortgage Brokerages, Lenders, and Administrators Act. Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) states that “Private lenders…must be licensed if they are doing business as mortgage lenders. However, private lenders do not need to be licensed if they use a licensed Mortgage Brokerage.”

It’s important to work with a licensed mortgage broker to avoid hidden fees or putting your home equity at risk. Effortless Mortgage is a licenced broker under FSCO with License No. 10874. All of our trusted mortgage advisors have 10+ years helping customers getting private mortgages. We have directly access to reputable private mortgage lenders across Ontario with the most affordable rate.

How to qualify for a Private Mortgage?

These 3 things below determines whether you can qualify for a private mortgage:

  1. Location of the property
  2. Down Payment (if you are purchasing a home), or the amount of Equity in your home (if you are refinancing).
  3. Your overall financial picture

Let’s break it down.

1. Location, location, location!

The property itself is the most important factor for a Private Lender to approve the mortgage. The first question a Private Lender asks is that “Should anything go wrong, can this property retain its value?” If your property is in good condition and in a “hot” market, it is considered more “secure”, and a Private Mortgage Lender is more likely to lend against that property.

For example, a single detached house in a subdivision in Oakville Ontario is more desirable for a Private Lender than a custom-built cottage in Northern Ontario. This does not mean that you cannot get a private mortgage on a cottage, but you may be approved for a smaller mortgage amount. Continuing on this example, if both properties are worth $500,000, a Private Lender may be willing to lend $400,000 towards the Oakville property, but only $350,000 towards the cottage.

2. Sufficient Down Payment or Home Equity

For home buyers, down payment is the amount of your own savings you put down when purchasing a home. For homeowners, home equity is your home value minus the existing mortgage on the home. Private lenders prefer borrowers to have at least 15-20% of down payment or home equity.

Example for home buyers: If you are looking to purchase a home $500,000 in anywhere in Ontario, you will need at least $75,000 to $100,000 as down payment. After meeting the minimum down payment requirement, the more down payment you have, the lower the interest rate. Having more than 20% down payment can help you lower your private mortgage rate significantly.

Example for homeowners: If you live in Ontario and own a $800,000 home, we can lend you up to 85% of your home value, i.e., a mortgage up to $680,000. If you already have a 1st mortgage of $400,000, we can provide you with a 2nd mortgage up to $280,000 ($680,000 – $400,000).  

3. Your Overall Financial Picture

The most important thing about your overall financial picture is to have an “exit plan”. Private Mortgages are usually short-term solutions to help you improve finances. Therefore, Private Lenders want to see what your “long game” is. Are you looking to use the mortgage to pay off debt and increase your credit? Planning to renovate the home and sell it at a good price? Or are you planning to use it for real estate investment? It’s critical to have a clear financial plan before you speak to a Private Lender. Talk to one of our experienced mortgage advisors today to discuss the best plan to get you approved.

Private Lenders do take income, credit score, and investments into consideration. They want to ensure your income is enough to cover the mortgage payment. However, these factors will not make or break a deal. Better credit score or higher income can potentially help you get a lower mortgage rate.

Is there a minimum credit score for private mortgage?

No. There is no minimum credit score for Private Lenders in Ontario. As long as you have enough down payment or home equity, you can get approved with poor credit or no credit. 

How long does it take to get approved?

It can be as quickly as a few hours if you are able to provide all the information needed. On average it takes 1-3 days to get an approval.

What documents do I need to get a private mortgage in Ontario?

  • Fill out a short online application form
  • Proof of identity, e.g. 2 pieces of ID’s
  • For home purchase: Purchase and Sale Agreement, MLS Listing, and proof of down payment
  • For home refinance: Property Tax bill, and existing Mortgage Statement

That’s pretty much it. No income verification is needed, so there’s no need for T1 or T4.

Private Mortgage Interest Rate, Fees, and Mortgage Features

What are the interest rates for private mortgage in Ontario?

Private Mortgage interest rates in Ontario can be as low as 3.99% and go all the way up to 10%+ depending on the location and the amount of equity in the home. Private Lenders can usually offer lower interest rates than Mortgage Investment Companies, because they do not have as much fixed cost as the bigger companies. One thing to keep is mind is that despite higher interest than regular mortgage, a private mortgage offers a low payment option due to its interest-only feature, which we will discuss in the next paragraph.  

How do I calculate my monthly interest payment?

Most of the private mortgages are interest-only. To calculate your monthly payment, you can simply multiple your mortgage balance by the interest rate and divide it by 12.

For example, let’s say you have a $100,000 private mortgage with 7.99% interest rate. Your monthly payment is $100,000 x 7.99% / 12 = $665 per month.

Compared to having the same amount of credit card debt, you are saving $1,000 a month in debt payment in this scenario. It will help you significantly increase your cash flow and ultimately improve your credit.

How much are the fees?

Private Lenders usually charge 1%-3% lender fee. Some may ask “how come banks do not charge a lender fee?” The answer is: yes, they do. Banks’ fees are already priced into the interest rate. Lender Fees are used to cover the administration and other fixed costs for Private Lenders. That’s why it’s sometimes beneficial to work with smaller lenders. Smaller private lenders have less fixed cost, and therefore, their fees are cheaper.

Many Private Lenders provide you the option to include the fees in the mortgage amount, so you may not need to pay for it up front, which will further increase the cash flow you have.

What are the terms and features of a Private Mortgage?

Here are some of the key terms and features of a private mortgage:

Interest Only: Most bank mortgages require you to pay both interest and principle each month. Most private mortgages are interest only. It means you only need to pay for the interest portion not the principal portion. This significantly reduces your cashflow.

1 Year vs. 5 Years:

1 Year is the most popular term for private mortgages. It’s because most private mortgage borrowers only need the funds for a short period of time. We see majority of our borrowers able to refinance with a bank (having repaired their credit, lower their interest rates) within 12 to 24 months.

5-year Terms are available as well, but it’s less common. If you do need the funds for longer than 1 year, you have an option to keep renewing your mortgage as long as your payments are up to date.

Open vs. Closed:

An Open Term means you can pay out your full mortgage balance at any time during your term at no cost. For example, if you have a $100,000 private mortgage for a 12-month open term at 8% interest rate, you can pay out the entire $100,000 anytime during the 12 months without any penalty. An Open Term is perfect if you are waiting for another property to sell or you know that you can refinance your mortgage with a bank in a short period of time. Because of the flexibility of an Open Term, the up-front lender fee may be higher.

A Closed Term means you can only pay out the principle of your mortgage at the end of the term. If you choose to pay it out earlier, there is usually a penalty equivalent to 1 to 3 months interest. Using the same example above, if you have a Closed Term private mortgage and want to pay out the mortgage earlier, you may have to pay ~$2,000 in penalty (i.e. 8% interest for 3 months). Closed term is great for borrowers who know the will need the funds for longer than 12 months.

Pre-paid Mortgage:

This feature allows you to take out your interest and fees to the mortgage amount (i.e. pre-pay interest and fees), so that there is no monthly payment needed. Let’s take a look at an example:

  • You are looking to get a 1-year private mortgage of $100,000 at 7.99% with a 2% fee, you will need to pay $2,000 lender fee at closing and your total interest payment of the year will be $7,990.
  • When you choose to pre-pay your mortgage, the lender will take the $9,990 (i.e. $2,000 plus $7,990) from the principle of the mortgage at closing. Therefore, the principle amount you will be getting at closing will be $90,010.
  • You do not need to make any monthly payment during this time period because the fees and interest are already “pre-paid”.
  • After 1 year, you refinance the mortgage with a bank for $100,000 at 2% and pay off the private mortgage in full.

Pre-paid private mortgages are prefect when you are short of cash. It allows you to save up, which helps you to improve credit and pay off other debt quickly.

Closing thoughts

Private mortgages are ususally short term solutions to improve a credit situation or meet unexpected expenses. They carry a higher interest than bank mortgages and are typically used upon bank refusal. Interest rates on private mortgages are lower than credit cards and other unsesured debt. When used wisely, they can help clients get out of temporary life situation.

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