FAQs

First-Time Homebuying

Where should I start?
If you are a self-employed individual looking for a mortgage, it would be in your best interest to gather the required income documents and begin a mortgage pre-approval process with us. Contact us to speak with one of our self-employed mortgage specialists to help you organize and obtain the relevant documentation for you. Our digital document collection process simplifies the process, making getting pre-approved as hassle and stress free as possible.
Can I really only afford how much online calculators and banks are telling me?
Recent changes to mortgage lending (i.e. the stress test) have made it more difficult to qualify in recent years. But, there’s still hope yet. We use a creative approach to find the solution that’s best for you. As your broker, we have access to a portfolio of over 35 lenders including banks, alternative and private lenders.
What is the minimum down payment?
Minimum down payment for your first home purchase is 5% of the first $500,000 and 10% on anything above that. Down payments can consist of your savings, RRSP's of up to $35,000 per applicant (first-time homebuyers only or if you've recently separated), gifted down payment, inheritance, and to clarify, can still even be borrowed (i.e from a line of credit or loan).
How do I make an offer?
Once you find the house that you want to make home, you’ll work with your realtor to submit your offer to the sellers. With your pre-approval and qualification information you’ll show sellers that you’re serious and confident about your home purchase.

Self Employed Mortgages

Who is a self-employed borrower?
You! If you’re a contractor, consultant, freelancer or entrepreneur who collects invoices rather than employment pay stubs, you are self-employed. Technically, “self-employed mortgages” don’t exist. You will get approved for the same mortgage as everyone else but, you may have to jump through a few more hoops compared to a payroll employee.
How can I qualify as a self-employed borrower?
The primary difference between self-employed (or commission-based) and salaried employees is that lenders will treat your gross earnings differently. As a rule of thumb, lenders will only use 80% of your gross earnings and the average of last tax year’s income for commissioned sales people, and net income, instead of gross income, for self-employed individuals. `A lender is restricted by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) rules to use only the last three years of self-employment income.
What is considered qualifying income?
Self-employed workers typically obtain their mortgage through stated income applications, which require a signed income declaration and proof of self-employment. Stated income is how much you claim to earn. If you keep most of your income inside your company, we can qualify you for a mortgage using the gross deposit of business income over the last 12 months or allowing for retained earnings within your corporation. We can even qualify you with some lenders with as little as six months as business for self.
What income documents will I need?
Lenders will require: Your last two years of full T1 Generals and the associated notices of assessment
  • If incorporated: your whole articles of incorporation
  • If sole proprietor: your business or HST registration
  • Last six months of bank account statements
How long do I need to be in business to qualify for a mortgage?
Most lenders require at least a two-year track record for businesses. Lenders have been known to make exceptions for professionals like doctors and engineers, as well as people starting a new business in an industry where they’ve already had a long career.
If my business produces a seasonal or irregular income, can I still qualify?
Yes, the same income requirements apply as if you earned a full-year income.
Where should I start?
If you are a self-employed individual looking for a mortgage, it would be in your best interest to gather the required income documents and begin a mortgage pre-approval process with us. Contact us to speak with one of our self-employed mortgage specialists to help you organize and obtain the relevant documentation for you. Our digital document collection process simplifies the process, making getting pre-approved as hassle and stress free as possible. Click here to get started.

Investment Property Mortgages

Who is a self-employed borrower?
You! If you’re a contractor, consultant, freelancer or entrepreneur who collects invoices rather than employment pay stubs, you are self-employed. Technically, “self-employed mortgages” don’t exist. You will get approved for the same mortgage as everyone else but, you may have to jump through a few more hoops compared to a payroll employee.
How can I qualify as a self-employed borrower?
The primary difference between self-employed (or commission-based) and salaried employees is that lenders will treat your gross earnings differently. As a rule of thumb, lenders will only use 80% of your gross earnings and the average of last tax year’s income for commissioned sales people, and net income, instead of gross income, for self-employed individuals. `A lender is restricted by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) rules to use only the last three years of self-employment income.
Where should I start?
The best place to start is to determine how much you can afford to borrow. The mortgage amount you qualify for will depend on how much you earn, have saved for a down payment and your outgoing expenses. It's best practice to know how much money you have in your wallet before you start shopping around for properties. You can do this by getting a mortgage pre-approval with us.

Home Equity Line of Credit

What is a HELOC?
HELOC stands for Home Equity Line of Credit. It is a revolving amount of credit that is secured against your home. During the HELOC process, the lender will decide on the amount of your HELOC. Lenders allow total loans (mortgage plus HELOC) of up to 80% of your home’s value. So, if your home is worth $500,000 and your mortgage is $200,000, your HELOC could be as much as $200,000. You can draw from that money at any time, for any reason.
What is the difference between a Home Equity Line of Credit and a Home Equity Loan?
While both a home loan and a home equity line gives you access to the equity in your home, a home equity loan gives you a one-time lump sum of money. Whereas, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) provides convenient, ongoing access to funds when and as you need it. The more equity available in your home the more funds you have available to borrow. A HELOC gives you the freedom and flexibility to use the funds as you need and allows you to repay the line of credit with interest only payments on the funds you actually use.
What can I use a HELOC for?
A HELOC has a unique advantage in that it can be used, repaid, and used again, while only paying interest on the portion of the funds that have been used. A HELOC is a good solution for many funding needs, such as launching or supporting a small business, covering medical and health care expenses, accessing funds for purchasing a second property, financing home renovations, repairs, construction, and all kinds of other household projects.
Is a HELOC or a second mortgage better?
A HELOC is actually a type of second mortgage. The main difference between the two is how you will receive your loan payment. A second mortgage is a lump sum, whereas the HELOC is a line of credit. The HELOC functions like a credit card with a credit limit and minimum monthly payments. You will be required to make fixed-rate payments however, this is typically added to your mortgage principal. For individuals with an existing mortgage, who have good credit and more than 20% equity in their homes, the most affordable second mortgages will be in the form of a home equity line of credit. However, if the homeowner has weaker credit and/or little equity in their property, a second mortgage through a trust company or private lender would be required.
Can I have more than one line of credit?
Yes, you can have multiple home equity lines of credit outstanding, even on the same property, as long as you hold enough equity in your home to meet the lender’s guidelines. If you own multiple properties and have the equity available, you can have as many mortgages and equity lines or loans as you can qualify for. As long as you’re not overleveraged or owe more than your properties are worth, there’s no limit to the number of home equity loans or HELOCs you can have at one time.
How do I qualify for a HELOC
Lender requirements will vary, but here's what you'll generally need to get a HELOC: A debt-to-income ratio that's 40% or less. A credit score of 620 or higher. A home value that’s at least 15% more than you owe. The process of getting a home equity line is similar to any purchase of a refinance mortgage. Here the are the steps we’ll follow: First, we’ll determine whether you have sufficient equity and how much is available for you to borrow. Then, we’ll gather the necessary documentation before you apply to ensure the process goes smoothly. We will present your file to lenders on your behalf and once selected, apply for the HELOC. We will then review the lender’s disclosure statements and begin the underwriting process which can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. The final step is loan closing, when you sign paperwork and the line of credit becomes available. Get started with your mortgage refinance here.

Second Mortgages

Who is a self-employed borrower?
You! If you’re a contractor, consultant, freelancer or entrepreneur who collects invoices rather than employment pay stubs, you are self-employed. Technically, “self-employed mortgages” don’t exist. You will get approved for the same mortgage as everyone else but, you may have to jump through a few more hoops compared to a payroll employee.
How can I qualify as a self-employed borrower?
The primary difference between self-employed (or commission-based) and salaried employees is that lenders will treat your gross earnings differently. As a rule of thumb, lenders will only use 80% of your gross earnings and the average of last tax year’s income for commissioned sales people, and net income, instead of gross income, for self-employed individuals. `A lender is restricted by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) rules to use only the last three years of self-employment income
What is considered qualifying income?
Self-employed workers typically obtain their mortgage through stated income applications, which require a signed income declaration and proof of self-employment. Stated income is how much you claim to earn. If you keep most of your income inside your company, we can qualify you for a mortgage using the gross deposit of business income over the last 12 months or allowing for retained earnings within your corporation. We can even qualify you with some lenders with as little as six months as business for self.
What income documents will I need?
Lenders will require: Your last two years of full T1 Generals and the associated notices of assessment If incorporated: your whole articles of incorporation If sole proprietor: your business or HST registration Last six months of bank account statements
How long do I need to be in business to qualify for a mortgage?
Most lenders require at least a two-year track record for businesses. Lenders have been known to make exceptions for professionals like doctors and engineers, as well as people starting a new business in an industry where they’ve already had a long career.
If my business produces a seasonal or irregular income, can I still qualify?
Yes, the same income requirements apply as if you earned a full-year income.
Where should I start?
If you are a self-employed individual looking for a mortgage, it would be in your best interest to gather the required income documents and begin a mortgage pre-approval process with us. Contact us to speak with one of our self-employed mortgage specialists to help you organize and obtain the relevant documentation for you. Our digital document collection process simplifies the process, making getting pre-approved as hassle and stress free as possible.