I remember buying our first home. it was an exciting journey, but navigating the financial aspects was a new experience and we needed some guidance. One crucial step in the home-buying process is obtaining a mortgage pre-approval. For Central Albertans looking to make their dream home a reality, here are some actionable tips to increase your chances of securing a favourable preapproval.
PAY OFF DEBT.
Lenders assess your debt-to-income ratio to gauge your ability to manage mortgage payments. Pay down existing debts and avoid taking on new ones to enhance your financial profile. That means paying off your credit cards, lines of credit, student loans, car payments. The less debt, the higher your preapproval and ultimately that opens up your options for homes.
HOW MUCH WILL LENDERS....LEND?
So disclaimer, I am not a mortgage broker or specialist. It’s also best to discuss mortgages or lending with someone specializing in that area. I had a conversation with a wonderful mortgage broker; Brenda Henkel. She has over 30 years of experience as a mortgage broker and is a wealth of knowledge. I asked her the question, How much do lenders……lend? Here is a summary of our conversation.
A lender will do two different debt-income ratios on a potential borrower. The first is a Gross Debt Service ratio (GDS) Which looks at your income and the cost needed to make a mortgage payment, property taxes, a factor in for utilities. and approve 39% of your income to be used towards these items, your mortgage payment, property tax and utilities.
The second ratio is called your Total Debt Service (TDS) ratio and the includes the items from the GDS ratio and also includes 3% of the balance of all debts you have (car loans, student loans, credit cards, lines of credit). They will expand your GDS ratio from 39% up to 44% for your TDS. So there is only a 5% margin to factor your debit into the equation of how much of a payment you can make towards your house which is directly related to how big of a mortgage a bank will give you.
For more information on this topic, feel free to contact Brenda. Here is a link to her website. https://www.mortgagealliance.com/en/mortgage-broker/BrendaHenkel/
WAY TO PAY OFF DEBT FASTER.
There is no shortage of ideas out there for ways to pay off debt. I’ll be publishing a full blog on this topic in the future but for starters…
- Make and budget and find a system to ensure you stick with it.
- Call creditors and ask for a reduced interest rate or what programs they offer for debt relief.
- Pick up a side job, or side hustle. What’s something you can do that people will pay you to do? E.G teach guitar, Uber driver, Air bnb your basement or spare room….or your whole house.
SAVE FOR A LARGER DOWNPAYMENT.
A substantial down payment demonstrates financial stability to lenders. Central Albertans can boost their preapproval by saving for a larger down payment, which may also lead to lower interest rates and better loan terms. Talk to your bank or mortgage specialist to see if this could be a good option for you.
ESTABLISH STABLE INCOME.
Lenders prefer borrowers with a stable employment history. Typically they look for at least 2 years at the same employer. If possible, avoid changing jobs leading up to the mortgage application process. A consistent work history reassures lenders of your ability to meet long-term financial commitments.
DOCUMENT ADDITIONAL INCOME STREAMS.
Canadians with additional income sources, such as freelance work or part-time jobs, should ensure all income is documented. This can positively impact your preapproval amount. So don’t just work hard, make sure you have income and receipts for what you are doing.
CONSIDER GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS.
Investigate government assistance programs designed to help homebuyers. Central Albertans may qualify for specific grants, subsidies, or tax incentives that can enhance their preapproval status. If you don’t know where to start, talk to an accountant as the specialize in taxes and could be aware of programs you could benefit from.
REVIEW AND IMPROVE BUDGETING.
Create a detailed budget to understand your financial situation thoroughly. Identify areas where you can cut costs and redirect funds toward savings or debt reduction. This disciplined approach can strengthen your financial position. There are plenty of budget-tracking apps or programs you can use. Do your research and find what works best for you.
CONSULT WITH A LOCAL MORTGAGE BROKER.
Engage the services of a local mortgage broker familiar with the real estate market you are looking to purchase in. A knowledgeable broker can guide you through the preapproval process, help you find suitable lenders, and provide valuable insights tailored to the local market.
Here are my top 3 recommendations for Mortgage brokers in Alberta.
Tanya Rogalczyk- Simply Mortgages
Tanya came from Ontario many years ago. She is a wife and mom to 2 boys. Her family stays very active with hockey in winter and golf in the summer. Tanya has been in the financial industry for over 20 years, receiving the Diamond Award 2022 and Top 50 Mortgages Funded Monthly. With extensive knowledge of the mortgage market, she aims to put her client’s needs first to make the mortgage process as simple as possible.
Derek Sparrow- Innovative Mortgages
I was first introduced to the Innovative team back in 2012 when my wife and I purchased our first home. We worked with them again during our first renewal and again when we welcomed our second daughter and decided it was time to upgrade to a bigger home. Coincidentally, at this time, I was transitioning out of my previous career of Personal Fitness Training and looking for a new path. It was shortly after that Mike reached out to me, expressing I might be a good addition to the team. My previous experience in developing trustworthy, long-term relationships, my loyalty to my clients, and my dedication to the organization, will continue to be my driving force within my role as a Mortgage Associate here at Innovative, and I look forward to helping as many families as I can.
Brenda Henkel- Advance Mortgage
I can find the perfect mortgage for you. Mortgage Alliance is the most recognized and trusted mortgage brokerage in Canada and as a Mortgage Alliance professional, I have the expertise to get the Right Mortgage for your immediate and future needs. I work for you, not the banks, and provide unbiased guidance in your mortgage decision. We work with over 60 lenders (some offered exclusively through brokers) so you have the choice, convenience and great counsel that you deserve!
Securing a mortgage preapproval is a critical step in the home-buying journey, and Central Albertans can increase their chances by taking proactive steps. By focusing on credit health, financial stability, and local market knowledge, prospective homebuyers in Central Alberta can position themselves for a successful and stress-free home-buying experience.