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Buyer beware: A mortgage pre-approval from your bank is not a guarantee


Anyone who is considering purchasing a home should get pre-approved for their mortgage. A mortgage pre-approval confirms the amount you qualify to borrow and protects you from rate increases for up to 120 days. If you’re considering going to your bank to get pre-approved, rather than using a broker, you should know that there are important details your banker may not tell you up front.

A pre-approval at your bank is not an approval 

A few weeks ago, a couple came to us because the mortgage amount they were pre-approved for by their bank was not the same amount they were actually loaned. They went to buy a home under the impression they would be loaned the amount they were pre-approved for, and when they weren’t, they were stuck owing a large sum of money on a tight deadline. In this case, we had to secure the client a private mortgage, which is an interest-only loan, to pay for the remainder of their home. 

It’s important for homebuyers to remember that a mortgage pre-approval confirms your rate and the amount you qualify for but does not guarantee the lender will loan you that amount. Mortgage approval will depend on your documentation and proof of income.

Your stated income vs. your proven income

When you file for a pre-approval with your bank, your banker will ask you to state your income, and then they take that information at face-value. What they may not tell you is that lenders have to look at your proven income (line 150 on your tax return) to approve your mortgage.

If you’re in any of the following situations, your bank may pre-approve you for your mortgage based on your “stated income”, but then later reject you due to lack of proof or other reasons:

  • You are a business owner or self-employed
  • You are paid by commission/tips
  • You rely on pension/support money
  • You are working two jobs
  • You are looking to take out a second mortgage
  • You are a newcomer to Canada
  • You are on probation

At MortgagesMadeEasy.com, your mortgage pre-approval is treated the same way as if you were purchasing a home. We ask the tough questions up front about your income and documentation so the amount you are pre-approved for is the same amount you are loaned. This will save you from embarrassment, stress, and legal issues when you go to pay for your home.

Mortgages are all we do—let us get you ready to buy your first home

Unlike your banker, mortgages are all we do. We are not trying to sell you a specific mortgage product. Our brokers are here to show you all the best mortgage options you qualify for, and explain the fine print, so you can make smart decisions.

We want your mortgage to go as smoothly as possible. Let us walk you through the process and explain what kind of documentation you will need to get approved for your mortgage. Call us at 613-563-3447 or use our contact form.

And when you are ready to apply for your mortgage pre-approval, use our secure online form. We’ll get back to you within hours with the best mortgage in the market for your unique situation.

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Contact Us

  • Ottawa-Carleton Mortgage Inc
    381 Richmond Road Ottawa,
    Ontario K2A 0E7
  • Phone: 613-563-3447
    (24 hours)
  • Fax: 613-563-3195

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