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How to choose a mortgage provider in Canada

You will need to navigate several different options when deciding the approach you wish to take when selecting your mortgage provider.

The most traditional approach is to get a mortgage from your bank. However, you can also work with an independent mortgage broker who will source a mortgage for you from multiple lenders. Alternatively, some may look towards credit unions and trust companies to get a mortgage. However, it is a tiny percentile of Canadians who look to do this.

What is a Mortgage Broker?

A mortgage broker is a licensed individual who specializes in mortgages. They have access to many different lenders and therefore gain oversight over a wide variety of mortgage rates. This means that when you sit down with a mortgage broker, they could work with you to make sure you’re applying for the banks and lenders with the absolute best rates you can get.

The mortgage brokers themselves don’t provide you with your loan. They instead act as a middle-man between you and the chosen bank/lender.

You will usually start this process by having a meeting with your mortgage broker, and they will understand exactly what you’re looking for. Once they understand, they will look for the best mortgage product on your behalf and negotiate the lowest mortgage rates for you. Due to the large number of clients they can send to the lenders, they can generally achieve some discounts on rates.

Difference between a Bank and Mortgage Broker

Bank Mortgage Broker
Market Share 53 % 47 %
A chartered banking institution that offers a variety of services: personal banking, credit cards, loans and mortgages
A specialist in mortgages who has access to obtain the very best rates and discounts from lenders.
There is generally no fee to get a mortgage from a bank, as they are compensated by the amount they earn on the mortgage interest.
The lender compensates the mortgage broker.
TD Bank, Scotiabank, RBC, CIBC, Bank of Montreal
True North Mortgage, Dominion Lending Centre, Safebridge Financial
You can keep all of your banking services in one location when obtaining a mortgage from a bank. This can make the administration of all your financials much more simple.
A mortgage broker can shop around for the very best rates at that moment in time (these can change constantly). Because they send so much volume to the lenders, they can often get a bulk discount for you.
Banks are very static with their rates and not overly flexible. You may be able to negotiate, but often because banks have the majority of the market, they can afford to say no to people trying to bargain for a better rate.
A mortgage broker setup is very much a professional relationship, and the specific broker who works with you will cause you to either have a good or bad experience.

Should You Use a Bank or Mortgage Broker?

Over time, there has been a shift in interest towards more people looking at mortgage brokers to obtain their home loans. According to Mortgage Professionals Canada (MPC), more and more Canadians choose a mortgage broker each year. In 2013, 40% of homebuyers chose to work with a mortgage broker. However, in 2019 this increased to a market share of 47%

It is worth noting that some mortgage brokers may charge you a fee if you have bad credit due to the increased difficulty of finding a suitable lender. In this instance, it may be more beneficial to negotiate with your bank by yourself if you wish to avoid these fees.

A mortgage broker is more likely to be able to get you a better rate overall. Your mortgage broker will be able to gain access to exclusive deals which you would otherwise not have access to by discussing solely with your bank. However, the process can sometimes be more simple when discussing with your bank directly. A mortgage broker has access to knowledge of the entire marketplace, so that added knowledge could be invaluable.

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Jean-Maximilien is an expert in Canada and France about Loyalty programs, Credit cards and Travel. He is the Founding President of Milesopedia.

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