What is a private mortgage and why get one? Ingrid McGaughey - Toronto mortgage broker

What is a private mortgage? Another entry in the mortgage glossary

What is a private mortgage and why get one? Ingrid McGaughey - Toronto mortgage broker

What is a private mortgage and why might you want one?

A private mortgage is one that is offered by an individual or a company who is not a mainstream or alternative institutional lender.  The private lender is willing to lend money out to borrowers who have equity in their property, need financing for a short term (usually 1-3 years), and don’t qualify for a mortgage by other means.

Mortgage “position”

A private mortgage can be a first mortgage, that is, it’s the only mortgage you have.  Or, it can be a mortgage in second or third position.  In those cases, you do have other mortgages on the property and they are prioritized ahead of this mortgage.

How high can it go?

How high, percentage-wise, can a private mortgage Toronto go?  At the time of writing this, you can get private mortgage money in large urban areas for up to 80% of the value of your property.  In some cases, if you are getting a  private mortgage in highly marketable areas of the GTA, you may get up to 85-90% of the value of the property.

When a private mortgage might make sense:

  • You’ve recently been laid off or have lost your job.  You need a mortgage to tide you over while you’re job hunting
  • You need to access equity in your home but the penalty to break your current mortgage is too high, and you don’t have enough income to qualify for a HELOC or second mortgage with a financial institution
  • You have past credit challenges such as bankruptcy or consumer proposal
  • You need to consolidate high interest debt, but due to bad credit, you have been turned down for refinancing
  • A divorce, illness or some other life changing event has hurt your credit rating.  You need mortgage financing until you get back on your feet
  • Your existing mortgage is in arrears, power of sale or foreclosure.  You need to take out equity from your property to get you back into good standing
  • You want to purchase raw land or a unique property that institutional lenders won’t touch because it’s outside of their lending criteria
  • You’re interested in buying a “flip” property or a home that is in major disrepair, and you need financing to fund your renovation

Private mortgage costs

If you’re borrowing privately, there will be some costs you’ll need to cover:

1. Appraisal

First, you’ll be required to pay for a property appraisal through an appraiser that is approved by the lender.  Remember, the lender needs assurance that they are lending against a property that is worth enough to ensure they are financially protected.   In Toronto and the GTA, you can usually expect an appraisal to cost around $500 (more, if it’s a rush), and you are responsible to cover the cost at the time the appraisal is done.  Don’t pay for an appraisal until you have a lender lined up. Most lenders have an approved appraiser list, so it doesn’t make sense to spend money unless you’re sure the appraiser is one that is on the approved list for virtually every lender. 

2. Monthly interest

Payments on a private mortgage are usually “interest only” payments, which is one of the reasons this may be a good option for someone with temporary cash flow issues, or a real estate investor.  The interest rates are typically higher than with a mortgage from other sources.  The rate is set case-by-case, and is based on the overall ‘story’.   The lower your “loan to value“, the better the mortgage position (a first mortgage being better than a third mortgage), and the better your current credit situation (especially if you’ve kept your first mortgage in good standing), the better your rate is likely to be.

3.  Lender and broker fees

If a mortgage broker is arranging your private mortgage for you, you can expect to pay a broker fee, since in this instance the lender does not compensate the mortgage broker for their work.  Typically this is 1-2%, depending on how complicated the financing is.  A minimum charge may apply, so be sure to ask.  A lender fee may also be charged.  If applicable, this is also typically around 1-3%, but it can be higher.  Again, make sure to ask.  These fees are deducted from the mortgage money provided at the time of closing.   You only pay these fees if you get your money.  A responsible mortgage professional will advise you of all these costs UP FRONT, so that there are no surprises.  This way, you can make your decision as to whether to proceed, with all the facts in front of you.

Finally, a lawyer or lawyers will be involved in “registering” the mortgage against your property.  You, the borrower, are responsible for paying the legal fees for both yourself and for the lender.  If your private mortgage amount is less than $50,000, you can use the same lawyer as the lender, so that reduces your legal fees somewhat, but you always have the option to use your own lawyer.  And if the private mortgage is larger than $50,000, you must use your own lawyer in order to get independent advice.

What is your exit strategy?

In other words, how will you pay the private mortgage out and move on with your life?  If you’re currently credit challenged, getting back on track can enable you to qualify for mainstream or alternative financing in a year or two.  The plan is to then pay out the private mortgage, if you take the proper steps to improve your credit.  Or, you may decide that if nothing changes, you will sell your property, pay off your mortgage(s) including the private mortgage, and bank your remaining equity.  And if you’re doing a property flip, having a strong game plan to finish the work and get the property sold should enable you to pay out the private lender and profit from your investment.

Final thoughts

There is no question a private mortgage is more costly than one with a mainstream lender or a B lender.  Even so, it may be a valuable option for someone in the scenarios described above.  A private mortgage should be considered a “stepping stone” which enables you to deal with the situation that is currently creating challenges for you, and to prevent more costly problems in the future.

If you would like to chat about your options, please don’t hesitate to get in touch for a free, no obligation evaluation of your financial situation.

Image credit: [c] Veerapong Boonporn for vecteezy.com

This falls under the topics “Private mortgage Toronto”, “Private mortgage Oakville” and “Private mortgage Mississauga”.  A private lender can help you with your challenging mortgage situation, tough refinance, or bad credit mortgage.


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