Deposit vs Downpayment

Deposit vs Downpayment

As part of the mortgage and real estate processes, there’s a lot of confusion around the differences between the deposit and the downpayment. It’s important to understand what sets them apart so you don’t get confused when it’s time to secure financing on a property once you have an accepted offer.


A deposit, as it relates to real estate, is money that is included with a purchase contract, as a sign of good faith. It is the “consideration” that helps make up the contract. It’s what is used to bind you to the contract. Typically, when you make an offer to purchase on a property, you would include a certified cheque or a bank draft that gets held by your real estate brokerage while negotiations are being finalized. If your offer is accepted, the deposit is then placed “in trust” where it is held until just before your mortgage closes. The final step is when the deposit is transferred to the lawyer’s trust account and is included as part of your downpayment. 

If you aren’t able to reach an agreement, the deposit is then returned to you. However if you come to an agreement, and then you back out of that agreement, your deposit is forfeited to the seller. Now, although the deposit is separate from the downpayment in that it’s money that goes ahead of the downpayment in the negotiation of the purchase, once everything is finalized, the deposit is then included in and makes up part of the total downpayment. 

The amount you put forward as a deposit when negotiating the terms of a purchase contract is arbitrary, meaning there is no predefined or standard amount. Instead, it’s best to discuss this with your real estate professional as your deposit can be a negotiating factor in and of itself. A larger deposit may give you a better chance at having your offer accepted in a competitive situation. It also puts you on the hook for more if something changes down the line and you aren’t able to complete the purchase. 


The downpayment can be defined as the initial payment made when something is bought on credit. In Canada, as it relates to the purchase of real estate, the minimum downpayment amount is 5%. This means that you have to come up with a minimum of 5% of the total price of the property you are purchasing. The lender will allow you to borrow the remaining 95% of the property value on credit through mortgage financing. 

If you have 20% of the purchase price of the property available for a downpayment, you may qualify for conventional financing, which means you aren’t required to pay for mortgage default insurance through a provider like CMHC. 

Example Scenario

Let’s say that you are looking to purchase a property worth $400k. You’re planning on making a downpayment of 10% or $40k. When you make the initial offer to purchase on the property, you put forward $10k as a deposit which is held by your real estate brokerage. The sellers aren’t comfortable with that amount, and they request you increase the deposit by $5k. You agree to these terms and the contract is finalized, you would then send another $5k to your real estate brokerage trust account making a total deposit of $15k. 

Your deposit is held in trust until such time that it is sent to the lawyer’s trust account where it’s combined with the remaining $25k that you will be using for the downpayment. It’s not rocket science, but as there are a lot of moving parts, and some of the words can be used interchangeably, it’s good to go through it in detail. 

If you have any questions about the deposit, and how it plays into the downpayment, please let me know. And if you have any other mortgage questions or simply want to discuss your personal financial situation, please contact us anytime. We’d love to work with you!

5 Things You Need to Know Before You Co-Sign a Mortgage!

5 Things You Need to Know Before You Co-Sign a Mortgage!

So you’re thinking about co-signing for a mortgage? Okay, do you really know what that means do you know what you are getting yourself into? Co-signing isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there is certainly a lot of misinformation floating around on the subject. Although its nice to be in a position to help someone close to you qualify for a mortgage, It’s not a decision that should be made lightly. Co-signing on a mortgage could have a significant impact on your future.

Here are some things you should consider before co-signing a mortgage application. 

1. Regardless if you’re the principal borrower, co-borrower, or co-signor, If you’re on the mortgage, you’re 100% responsible for the debt of the mortgage and everything that goes along with that. Although the term co-signor makes it sound like you are somehow removed from the actual mortgage, you have all the same legal obligations as everyone else on the mortgage. 

2. If the person who you’re co-signing for is unable to make the payments for any reason, you will be expected to make them on their behalf. By signing the mortgage documents, you assume full responsibility for the payments (even if it’s not you making them). 

3. If payments aren’t being made, there is a chance the lender will take legal action against you. This includes all available collection methods such as obtaining a judgement in court or garnisheeing your wage or bank accounts. Worse case scenario, they could actually go after your property or assets in order to cover their loses. Now, this is highly unlikely, but not out of the realm of possibility. 

4. Once the initial term has been completed, you will not automatically be removed from the mortgage. The person who you co-signed for will have to make a new application for the mortgage in their own name and qualify on their own merit. If they don’t qualify at this time, you will be kept on the mortgage for the next term. 

5. When you co-sign for a mortgage, all of the debt of the co-signed mortgage is counted against you. This means that if you’re looking to buy another property in the future, you will have to include the payments of the co-signed mortgage in your debt service ratios, even though you aren’t the one making the payments. This could significantly impact the amount you can borrow in the future. 

If you have any questions about co-signing on a mortgage, or about the mortgage application process in general, we’d love to discuss it with you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us anytime!

As Simple as Porting Your Mortgage!

As Simple as Porting Your Mortgage!

As simple as porting your mortgage! Said by no one ever. The truth is, there is nothing simple about porting your mortgage. 

“Porting your mortgage” involves transferring the remainder of your existing mortgage term, outstanding principal balance, and interest rate to a new property. This is of course, if you are selling your current home and buying a new one.

Despite what some of the big banks would lead you to believe, porting your mortgage is not an easy process. It’s not a magic process that guarantees you will qualify for the purchase of a new property using the mortgage you had on a previous property. In addition to completely re-qualifying for the mortgage, and having to qualify the property you are purchasing, there are a lot of moving parts that come into play. It seems that executing a port flawlessly is like having the stars align perfectly, chances are, it’s not going to happen. Here are a few reasons why:

  • You may not qualify for the mortgage.

Let’s say you are moving to a new city to take a new job, if you are relying on porting your mortgage in order to buy a new house, you will have to substantiate your new income. If you are on probation, or have changed professions, there is a chance the lender will decline your application. Porting a mortgage is a lot like qualifying for a new mortgage, just with more conditions. 

  • The property you are buying has to be approved.

So let’s say that your income is in good shape, and that you qualify for the mortgage, the property you want to purchase has to be approved as well. Just because they accepted your last property as collateral for the mortgage, doesn’t mean the lender will accept the new property. An appraisal will be required, and the condition of the property you are buying will be scrutinized. 

  • Value’s are rarely the same. 

How often do you buy a property that is exactly the same value as the one you just sold? Not very often. And when it comes to porting your mortgage, if the value of the new home is higher than the outstanding balance on your existing mortgage, you will most likely have to take a blended rate on the new money, which could increase your payment. If the property value is considerably less, you might actually incur a penalty to reduce the total mortgage amount. If the value of the properties are different, the terms of your mortgage will be amended anyway! 

  • You still need a downpayment.

Porting a mortgage isn’t just a simple case of swap one property for the another and keep the same mortgage. You’re still required to come up with a downpayment on the new property. 

  • You will most likely have to pay a penalty.

When you sell your house, most lenders will charge the full penalty and take it from your sale proceeds of your property. They will of course refund it back to you when you execute the port and purchase the new property. So if you were relying on the proceeds of sale to come up with your downpayment on the property you are purchasing, you might have to make other arrangements. 

  • Timelines almost never work out.

It’s rarely a buyers and a sellers market at the same time. So although you may be able to sell your property overnight, you might not be able to find a suitable property to buy. Alternatively, you might be able to find many suitable properties to purchase while your house sits on the market with no showings. And when you do end up selling your property, and finding a new property to buy, chances are the closing dates won’t match up perfectly. 

  • Different lenders have different port periods.

This is where the fine print in the mortgage documents comes into play. Did you know that depending on the lender, the period of time you have to port your mortgage can range from 1 day to 6 months? So if it’s 1 day, your lawyer will have to close both the sale of your property and the purchase of your new property on the same day, or the port won’t work. Or with a longer port period, you run the risk of selling your house with the intention of porting the mortgage, only to not be able to find a suitable property to buy. 

So as you can see, although porting your mortgage may make sense if you have a low rate that you want to carry over to a property of similar value, it is always a good idea to get professional mortgage advice and look at all your options.

Please contact us anytime if you would like to discuss mortgage financing, we’d love to work with you! 

Is Right Now a Good Time to Buy?

Is Right Now a Good Time to Buy?

If you’ve been thinking about buying a new home; whether that be your first home, your next home, your forever home, or your retirement home, the doom and gloom of it all might be causing you to question… is right now a good time to buy a home? Well… what if I told you that was the wrong question?

Inevitably, the media will continue reporting that housing prices are ready to skyrocket, while at the same time reporting that they have peaked. You will hear reports that sales have slowed considerably and we can expect a market crash any second, while in some local housing markets bidding wars with condition free offers are the norm. Even when you check with the local experts, it’s hard to know what is going to happen with the housing market next week, let alone in years to come.

It’s impossible to know for sure what’s going to happen with the housing market in Canada. So instead of basing your buying decision on external market factors, consider asking yourself, is now a good time for me to buy a home?

When you stop looking at the market to determine your timing to buy a home, and instead examine your reasons for buying a home, the picture becomes clearer. Here are some things you should consider, although they are subjective, they are things you can control.

  • Does buying a new home now put me in a better financial position?
  • Do I feel comfortable with my current employment status?
  • Do I make enough money now to afford a new home and still be comfortable?
  • Have I saved enough money for a downpayment?
  • How long do I plan on living in this new home?
  • Is there any scenario where I might have to sell quickly and potentially lose money?
  • Do I really want to buy, or am I feeling pressure that if I don’t buy now, I might never be able to?
  • Am I scared that if I buy now, the market will crumble the second I do?


Having a plan in place is the best course of action to help you make a good decision. By sitting down with someone to discuss your plans, and to map out what buying a new home looks like for you, you can alleviate a lot of the unknowns. Instead of looking at external market factors, focus on the internal ones. A mortgage preapproval allows you to see what you can actually qualify for. It’s the best place to start.

Please contact us anytime, we’d love to work with you, and answer any questions you might have.

How to Not Qualify for a Mortgage

How to Not Qualify for a Mortgage

If you have no desire at all to qualify for a mortgage, here are some great ways to make sure you don’t accidentally end up buying a house and taking out a mortgage to do so.

One of the best ways to ensure you won’t qualify for a mortgage is to be unemployed. Yep, banks hate lending money to unemployed people! Okay, so you have a job. Well, that’s okay, you can always unexpectedly quit your job just as you are trying to arrange financing! Even if you are making a lateral move, or taking a better job than the one you have now, that’s cool… any change in employment status while you are looking to get a mortgage will most likely wreck your chances of getting a mortgage for a while. This is because lenders want to see stability; they want to know that you have been in your current position for some time, that you are past probation, and that everything is working out well. By changing jobs right when you are looking to buy a property, you won’t instil the lender with confidence, and they probably won’t give you a mortgage. Mission accomplished.

Don’t wanna buy a house? Well, then it’s best you don’t save any money. Better yet, you should probably borrow as much money on credit as you can. One of the main qualification points on a mortgage is called your debt-service ratio. Simply put, the more money you owe in consumer debt, the less money you will qualify to borrow on a mortgage, because your ratio of income compared to your debt is higher when you owe more money. Consider this permission to go and finance a Harley-Davidson. Do it, right now. Not a big fan of motorcycles? That’s cool; a Ford 150 should do the trick nicely. The key here is to make sure you add as much monthly payment as you can. The bigger the payment, the better. 

But let’s say that unfortunately your debt-service ratios are in line, you have been able to save up the necessary 5% down payment, and you are on your way to buying a house. What do you do? Ugly documentation! A great way to make sure your lender feels uncomfortable is to have really terrible bank statements. Typically when proving your down payment, the lender will require 90 days’ history of your account(s), with your name on the statement, showing that you have accumulated the down payment over time. Want to really mess things up? Make sure there are lots of deposits over $1000 that can’t be substantiated. This will look like money laundering. If that doesn’t work, you can always black out your “personal information.” Just use a black Sharpie and make your bank statements look like a classified FBI document. Lenders hate that!

So you’ve got a great job and lots of money… don’t panic, you can still absolutely wreck your chances of qualifying for a mortgage. Just don’t pay any of your bills on time. Seriously, borrow lots of money, and then stop paying! Boom. Why would any lender want to lend you money when you have a great track record of not paying back any of the money you borrow? Now, if this feels morally wrong, okay, here is an ethical way to wreck your credit. Don’t pay that cell phone bill out of principle. We’ve all been there — roaming charges, extra data charges that the cell company added on your bill… choose not to pay this on principle. This is a great way to sink your chances of getting a mortgage, I mean, how are you supposed to know that some collections (like cell phones) will show up on your credit report?

Last, if you want to make sure you never get financing, insist on buying the worst house in a bad neighbourhood. You see, the property you are looking to buy is very important to the lender. If they lend you the money to buy it and you stop making the payments, they will be forced to repossess and sell it. They are going to make sure they can recoup their initial investment. So, a “handyman special, fixer upper, with lots of potential” is a great option. As everyone knows, those words are code for “a giant dump.” Bonus points if you get those terms written in the MLS listing. Yep, insist on buying something that is falling apart and stick to it; don’t ever consider buying a solid home in a good neighbourhood.

a shot of a run-down house on a hill

So there you have it, if you don’t want a mortgage, no problem. Quit your job, borrow lots of money, wreck your credit, and insist on buying a dump.

However, on the off chance you feel homeownership is right for you, contact us anytime, we can help you put a plan in place to avoid these (and many more) mortgage qualification pitfalls.

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