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How to Get a Mortgage with Bad Credit

Getting a mortgage can be challenging enough when your credit is good, but when you have poor credit it can seem like your dream of owning a home is impossible. It is a well-known fact, that the better your credit is, the more favourable your rates and terms are likely to be – but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a mortgage if you have poor credit. There are some things however, you will need to know first.

Start by checking your credit

The first thing you will want to do is see whether your credit really is bad or whether you just think it is. If you live in Canada, you will have a credit score of between 300 and 900. Check with the two main credit bureaus TransUnion and Equifax to see what your credit score actually is.

  • A score of less than 599 is considered poor.
  • A score between 600 and 679 is fair.
  • A score of 680 or higher is good.
  • The higher your credit score is, the easier it will be to get a mortgage.

How much will a bad credit mortgage cost?

With interest rates at an all time low, now can be a great time to get a mortgage. Those with the best credit scores will be able to qualify for mortgages with A lenders at rates as low as 2.54% for a five year fixed mortgage. Those with credit scores in the fair range are more likely to have to turn to trust companies which are currently lending at just over 5%, while those who are really suffering from poor scores may only be able to qualify through private lenders who’s rates can be anywhere between 10 and 18%.

5 Tips for Getting a Bad Credit Mortgage
If you’ve checked your credit and discovered that it isn’t good, there is no need to panic. You can still get a mortgage, but you might have to work a little harder for it. Here are five tips to help you out.

  • 1. Improve your credit score – this may sound like obvious advice, but if you want to get a good rate this really is a must. To improve your credit score, follow these tips:
    • Pay your bills on time – every time you are late with a payment or don’t make at least the minimum payment, it hurts your credit score. Get in the habit of paying your bills on time.
    • Stay under your credit limit – by using no more than 30% of your available credit, it will show lenders that you are responsible and won’t overextend yourself.
    • Don’t apply for too much credit all at once – this can be a red flag to lenders and it can temporarily hurt your credit score.
    • Keep your oldest account – the length of your credit history matters, so keep your oldest credit card or account even if you don’t use it.
  • 2. Save up a larger down payment – your credit score isn’t the only thing that lenders will look at when they are deciding whether to give you a mortgage. They will also look at things like income and how much of a down payment of you have saved up. In Canada, you must have at least a 5% down payment, but it you can save 20-20%, it will help show lenders that you are financially responsible. It will also lower your monthly mortgage payments and prevent you from having to buy mortgage default insurance.
  • 3. Find a bad credit mortgage lender – If your credit score is less than 600, you will not be able to get a mortgage from a bank. Instead you will have to seek out a B lender or private lender. The best way to do this is to work with a professional mortgage broker. Since mortgage brokers work with a variety of lenders, they will be able to help you find the best mortgage lender for your situation while helping your steer clear of any unscrupulous lenders.
  • 4. Consider a co-signer – another option to consider if your credit isn’t good enough to get a mortgage on your own is to consider getting a co-signer. This is someone who will guarantee your mortgage to the lender should you default. It is important to remember however that a person who co-signs is taking a big risk since they will be financially responsible if you don’t make your mortgage payments. This is also a risk for you however since in most cases, a co-signer will become a joint owner of the home which can lead to conflicts when it is time to sell. Usually a co-signer is a family member such as a parent or sibling. Before getting a co-signer however, consider how it might affect your relationship with that person should you become unable to pay your mortgage.
  • 5. Work toward your next renewal – even if you have to settle for a bad credit mortgage this time, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get a better rate next time. Use the term of this mortgage to improve your credit rating so that when your mortgage comes up for renewal, you can get the best rate available.

What should I avoid when applying for a bad credit mortgage?

When you are applying for a bad credit mortgage, be sure to follow the advice of your mortgage agent and send them only the documents that they ask for. Depending on the lender they are working with, they will require some documents and not others. For reasons of privacy, you should only ever send documents that are asked for.Also be sure to only send copies and not the originals.

What are some pros and cons of a bad credit mortgage?
Like any other type of mortgage, there are pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Approval is fast and easy. For example, a private lender can approve a bad credit mortgage in as little as 48 hours. 
  • No minimum credit check required. In some cases, you can apply for a bad credit mortgage with a lender that does not even require a credit check. Ask your Matrix Mortgage Global agent about your options.
  • You can use your bad credit mortgage to help repair your credit for the future. As long as you make your regular mortgage payments on time, you’ll be working to repair your credit.

Cons:

  • Higher interest rates. Bad credit mortgages are considered riskier investments than conventional mortgages and as a result, lenders charge higher interest rates. Those higher rates however may prove worth it, if it means that you can finally own your own home.
  • Added broker fees. Some bad credit lenders do not pay their brokers and as a result, you may have to pay added broker fees of around 2%.

What can a bad credit mortgage be used for?
Although there are many potential uses for a bad credit mortgage, here are some of the most common ones:

  • Purchasing homes or properties. In this case, your bad credit mortgage would be considered a first mortgage.
  • Refinancing a home or property. If you need to pay off debt or access cash from your home equity but have poor credit, you may use a bad credit mortgage to refinance.
  • A second mortgage. A second mortgage can help you consolidate debt or pay for a major expense such as a home renovation. If you have poor credit however, you may need to do this with a bad credit mortgage. 

How long does bad credit stay on your record?

If you have made mistakes with your credit in the past, then you may be wondering how long you are going to have to live with those mistakes. The truth is that it depends on what the issue is. Here is a list of some of the most common credit issues and how long they stay on your record.

  • Hard credit check and inquires – 3 years.
  • Judgements – 6 years.
  • Collections – 6 years from date of last activity
  • Trade Items – 6 years from date of last activity
  • Previous High Rates – 6 years from date reported
  • L/S Trade Item – 6 years from date reported
  • Consumer Proposal – 3 years from date settled (if there is no settlement date then, 6 years from date filed)
  • Bankruptcy – 6 years from date discharged (if there is not discharge date the, 7 years from date filed)
  • Multiple Bankruptcies: 1st bankruptcy purges from your record 14 years from the date of discharge)
  • Secured Loans – 6 years from date filed
  • Banking Items – 6 years from date reported

Frequently asked questions about getting a bad credit mortgage

Q: How big of a mortgage can I qualify for?
A: If the loan is for a second mortgage or refinance, you can qualify for up to 80% of your home’s value. If the loan is for a first mortgage, your mortgage agent will work with you to determine the amount.

Q: What if my mortgage is REALLY bad…can I still get a mortgage?
A: Yes, your Matrix Mortgage Global agent will work with you to find the lender that is right for you.

Q: What is the term for a bad credit mortgage?
A: Bad credit mortgages are meant to be short-term solutions which is why terms are typically one to
two years.

Q: How long does it take to get approved for a bad credit mortgage?
A: Your mortgage can be approved in as little as 48 hours.

Q: Does Matrix Mortgage Global specialize in bad credit mortgages?

A: Yes, we have agents standing by to help you get approved today.

Contact Matrix Mortgage Global

If you would like to learn more about bad credit mortgages, Contact Matrix Mortgage Global today to speak with one of our agents.

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