Rate Sites

You may have noticed the many websites out there that list mortgage rates.  Cannex.com, Canoe.ca, and RateSupermarket are a few examples.

Sites like these can be handy for cross-checking mortgage rates.  If nothing else, they keep your broker on their toes.

Rate pages have limits however.  Below are some things to remember when perusing these kinds of sites.

  • The information is not always up to date.

current-rates Lenders and brokers on these sites do not always update their rates promptly.  In comparison, a good mortgage planner is often current with their rates to the hour.

  • The information is not always what it seems.

incomplete information Some lenders and brokers advertise amazingly low rates. Then, when you call, you find out they’re quoting:

  • Teaser rates (ultra-low rates that expire)
  • No-frills products (i.e.  mortgages without pre-payment privileges and other perks)
  • Quick-close rates (rates that apply only if you’re closing in 30 days for example)
  • Jumbo rates (rates that apply only to mortgages over $250,000 to $500,000)

By contrast, a good mortgage broker always quotes rates that apply specifically to your wishes and your circumstances.

  • The information is not complete.

How can you tell from a rate page if a mortgage has good payment flexibility, pre-payment privileges, mortgage-comparisonportability, assumability, readvancing credit, free home warranties, good conversion rates, favourable interest compounding, self-employed programs, or other important features?  You can’t, but mortgage planners can tell you.

Mortgage planners also have unpublished rates that rarely make it to most major rate sites.

  • Once you find a rate, there’s no hand holding.

Unless you’re working with a mortgage planner, you have no one objective to:

  • advise you of better alternatives
  • handle all your paperwork
  • advise on how to properly structure an application to maximize chances for approval
  • give you advice throughout the process on qualifying, handling credit issues, paying down your mortgage quicker, preparing your documents for submission, etc.
  • advise on avoiding fees
  • give you the truth about a lender’s service quality and turnaround times

bad-mortgage-advice

Low rates are great.  Lower the better we say.  But there’s more to the puzzle, and more to lose, if you put your trust in a rate page.

  1. cannex.com suffers from all of the problems you listed. Their variable rate quotes include teaser rates. The only way to know for sure is to go to the company’s site.
    Errors also occur. Right now their quote for CIBC posted 1-year says 6.654 when it is actually 6.65.
    During RRSP season some companies offer special rates for new RRSP GICs and new high interest savings account deposits. These are included in their GIC and HISA lists.

  2. Hi Traciatim,
    Canequity has a good format. It’s nice how their page shows the date of last rate change as well.
    Hi Jim,
    Agreed. The other issue I didn’t mention is that these pages show posted rates for the banks instead of their actual day-to-day discounted rates. It makes it that much harder to compare apples.
    Cheers,
    Rob

  3. Hi Rob,
    Thanks for the mention and I’d just like to clarify a few points with regards to RateSupermarket.ca.
    Firstly, I agree fully that mortgage brokers provide a comprehensive service, and as it is free for customers, it is a win-win situation, and we expect the broker market share to increase from its current 25%ish level.
    Our goal is not to replace brokers, but to provide a service that:
    1 – enables Canadians to compare mortgage rates with one single search
    2 – provide more value to our visitors than simple rates pages such as being able to compare rate details like guarantees, prepayment options, etc
    3 – act as a valuable referral partner for lenders and brokers. If customers find a product or rate they like on the site, they can seamlessly get in touch with that lender or broker to obtain further information or details
    As a result, RateSupermarket.ca is a starting point for Canadians to evaluate the mortgage rate market rather than a full service solution.
    Updated information – we aim to provide the latest updated rates and to be as accurate as possible, and are currently updating rates twice daily. We are working with our lender and broker partners to try and get this information as close to real time as possible. It’s not perfect YET, but we’ll get there. This is one of the reasons our site is in the ‘Beta’ release stage – we’re tweaking things to try and get it just right.
    Teaser rates – as we get the rates from the lenders and brokers, it is up to them if they want to advertise their teaser rates. We have removed a few teaser rates that were ridiculously low such as the 2.25% variable rate that was offered by a broker a few months ago.
    The information is not complete – I agree that rate pages don’t provide enough details information, as a result, we compare more than just rates and visitors can compare mortgage rate lenders using our side by side comparison which enables them to compare details such as prepayment options, portability, assumability, etc.
    To summarize, we’re aiming for RateSupermarket.ca to be a source for Canadians to easily search and compare mortgage rates, we’re striving to perfect the data we show, and hopefully become valued partners of all lenders and brokers.
    If anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact me at kelvin@RateSupermarket.ca.
    Regards,
    Kelvin
    Founder
    http://www.RateSupermarket.ca

  4. Further to Kelvin’s comments, I am an insurance broker that specializes in mortgage disability not offered through banks. There is a plan from Blue Cross that can pay up to age 65, or more than 25 years of payments in the event of disability. Please visit us for more information.

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