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What have I done!?Two-thirds of Canadians do not find getting a mortgage to be straightforward.

And only 7% consider the mortgage process “stress-free.”

Those findings come from a new ING Direct/Angus Reid poll released this week.

The most stressful parts, according to survey participants, are:

  1. Negotiating a rate (59%)
  2. Deciding on the right term and payment schedule (55%)
  3. Getting customer service help from the lender (35%)

For younger borrowers (those age 18-34), 56% said that researching and comparing offers made the process more difficult. That’s understandable since banks and trust companies alone, quote rates on over 300 products. And that doesn’t include the thousands of rates offered by brokers, credit unions and wholesale lenders.

Researching-mortgagesSo, how do you simplify the process?

There are two main ways to seek out the optimal financing:

1.   Contact numerous lenders yourself and ask all the right questions.

2.   Engage a professional broker (or brokers) to do the heavy lifting and compare options for you.

But, remember three things:

  1. You can’t rely on a lender to provide objective information about competing products.
  2. It’s often the mortgage questions you don’t ask (specifically about the mortgage contract) that come back to bite you.
  3. Brokers don’t sell mortgages from all sources and may favour certain lenders.

As a result, you’ll invariably have to research multiple sources if you want to find the true “best” mortgage for you. In practice, most people reduce stress by settling for a mortgage that’s “good enough.”

In general, if:

a.   You’re within 5-10 basis points of the best rate (for your chosen term and mortgage type), and

b.   The mortgage’s flexibility matches your 5- to 10-year plans, and

c.   The mortgage doesn’t come with needless restrictions

…then you’ve done pretty well for yourself.


Sidebar: Among current and former mortgage holders:

  • 34% said lenders provided the most help when obtaining a mortgage
  • 20% said brokers provided the most help
  • 13% cited family and friends.

Naturally, one’s experience will depend on the competency, competitiveness and service of the mortgage professional(s) he/she deals with.


Survey Details:  On February 27, 2013, this survey was conducted online among a sample of 1,519 Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panel members. The margin of error — which measures sampling variability — is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The sample was balanced by age, gender and region according to the most recent census data.


Rob McLister, CMT

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