Purchasing a home comes with a rush of excitement. Finding the right suite at the right price can set off a barrage of dreams: where the couch will go, what colour you’ll paint the walls, what you’ll serve at your most excellent dinner parties? But first, it comes with a whole lot of logistics. Banks, lawyers and movers are hardly as exciting as thoughts of nesting.

Yet those logistics are crucial to getting you there. And at Options for Homes we’re committed to making sure you’re set up for success at each logistical stop.

That’s why we require our purchasers to have mortgage pre-approval before signing an agreement of purchase and sale. Having pre-approval in hand when you’re considering purchasing means you’re in the best position to actually make your dream a reality and you can move quickly when you find what you want. Here, we offer more insight into why having mortgage pre-approval helps you.

You know what you can afford

There are two ways people typically find out how much home they can afford: by pre-qualifying for a mortgage and with mortgage pre-approval. While they sound the same, they’re not.

Being pre-qualified means that the bank will give you an idea of the size of mortgage you would qualify for. But this is a surface-level qualification and does not take into account your credit score, and the bank has not committed to lending you anything. By contrast, being pre-approved means that the lender has said that it will loan you a certain amount of money for the purchase of real estate, for a certain term and at a certain interest rate. It’s a guaranteed commitment that is usually valid for 18 months. It also helps us understand if you're eligible for additional financial help from other sources, should they be available. 

This process helps you find out the maximum amount you would be approved for, and it also lets you know your credit score. This gives you a clear picture of what you can afford when the time comes to pick your suite and finishings. We want you to feel empowered and knowledgeable about your financial situation.

There’s also a silver lining. In the event that you are not approved, the bank typically gives you tips on how to improve your credit score or financial standing so that you increase your chances of qualifying in the future. But be wary of shopping around for the best rate by securing pre-approvals from multiple financial institutions. This can actually bring your credit score down!

You can move quickly

Options for Homes is unique compared to most developers in that down payment support is made available through the Options Ready Program as a shared equity loan. Most banks are not familiar with this program, so by working with our partner banks, you’re able to get the home you want faster.

We have relationships with BMO, CIBC and Meridian and they are the only banks that can support the down payment assistance program. These institutions are familiar with the Ready Program, and they know how to incorporate the shared equity loan into the pre-approval applications, which benefits you.

Helps you avoid disappointment

Knowing what you can afford sometimes means knowing that you can’t afford the suite you’d had your heart set on. But that’s better than thinking you can buy only to be unable to qualify for a mortgage when the time comes. Having to withdraw an offer can be difficult for you and time consuming for us.

Avoiding disappointment is another reason we encourage you to use our financial institution partners. Even if a different financial institution will issue a mortgage pre-approval for an Options for Homes condo, we cannot guarantee that they will in fact give the mortgage to the purchaser at closing. A bank may issue a pre-approval but at closing they may not recognize the shared-equity loan made available through the Options Ready Program as part of your own down payment, and therefore refuse the mortgage.

We know that getting mortgage pre-approval requires a bit of work on your part, but it's an essential step in helping you feel empowered and knowledgeable about your financial situation.