An alternative to getting a mortgage directly from a bank is to get one through a mortgage broker. A mortgage broker is an individual who has access to mortgage rates from multiple lenders in the market and can find you the best deals in the market. In fact, sometimes you may get a specific lender's rates lower through a brokerage than what you can get directly if the brokerage cuts its commission (also known as buy down). Brokers receive a commission from the lender for every transaction, and their services to borrowers are free of cost.
The Toronto-based brokerage has been operational in Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta for over 25 years. Butler Mortgage is a full-service brokerage that has one branch in Hamilton. The brokerage suggests that it tracks mortgage rates from over 350 lenders to provide the lowest rates in the market to its clients.
Butler Mortgage offers several rate guarantees to its clients. The ‘up-front rate guarantee’ guarantees that the brokerage will match or beat a lower rate advertised by a competing brokerage. The ‘after-approval rate guarantee’ means that the brokerage keeps looking for a lower rate for you even after a rate has been locked in. If a lender advertises a rate that is at least 0.1% lower, the brokerage asks your lender to match the rate. If the lender refuses to do so, the brokerage allows you to switch lenders for free.
Types of mortgages and financing options offered by Butler Mortgage include:
Another feature of Butler’s mortgages is RateGuard Approval. If the interest rate drops during the 120-day lock-in period, the brokerage ensures that you get the new lower rate.
nesto is a digital brokerage platform that is headquartered in Montreal. The brokerage offers mortgage services across many Canadian provinces, including Ontario. The brokerage stands out due to its broker compensation model. The brokerage pays a fixed salary to its brokers instead of a commission to ensure that the brokers always remain unbiased. The application process is fully-digital, requiring no branch visits. However, borrowers in need of advice may speak to an agent over the phone.
For the assurance of clients, nesto gives them a low-rate guarantee. If any clients discover a lower rate at another brokerage, nesto promises to match or beat the rate. If they fail to do so, the brokerage pays $500 to the client at the time of mortgage closing.
nesto also offers a solution for those who are looking for a rate lock-in period longer than the traditional 120 days offered by banks. They offer some special rates that have a 150-day lock-in period.
Another one of nesto’s special offerings is the cash-back mortgage. This product offers borrowers a cash incentive of 1% on their mortgage amount, up to a maximum of $9,250 for a 5-year term. Borrowers seeking additional funds for renovations or furniture purchases may benefit from this product.
The online brokerage platform Neo Mortgage is one of the latest offerings by the Canadian fintech Neo Financial. The platform is active across Canada and offers a completely digital mortgage process. Borrowers are required to submit an online application form and upload their supporting documents on a secure online portal. The application takes just a few minutes to complete, and the approval is fast. Neo Mortgage currently offers three kinds of mortgages — mortgages for new purchases, renewals, and refinance. Neo Mortgage’s website presently features five lending partners. The brokerage also encourages borrowers with low credit scores to apply but does not guarantee their approval.
True North Mortgage is a national brokerage based out of Calgary that has several offices across Canada. Although True North Mortgage doesn’t have a physical location in Hamilton, borrowers can apply online through their website. Borrowers also have the option of visiting one of their offices in Toronto. Alternatively, they can request a callback, give them a call, or send an email inquiry to the brokerage.
Mortgages offered by True North Mortgage include:
True North Mortgage claims to save an average of $3,000 for its clients with the low mortgage rates offered by them. They also offer a low-rate guarantee to back their low-rate claim. Through this guarantee, the brokerage offers to match or beat a better rate offered by any other brokerage.
The brokerage also has an in-house lender, THINK Financial. Through its in-house lender, the brokerage is currently offering a unique mortgage product called ‘Rate Relief,’ which aims to provide temporary relief from the high mortgage rates in the market. The product offers a low fixed-rate mortgage for six months. However, after the six-month period, borrowers can either renew their mortgage with THINK Financial or must pay them a 1% administration fee on choosing to renew with another lender.
Citadel Mortgages, established in Toronto in 2018, is a leading brokerage offering mortgage services in many Canadian provinces. The brokerage’s seven offices are located in seven different provinces of Canada. The brokerage offers a wide range of mortgage solutions, including that for borrowers with bad credit and newcomers to Canada.
Citadel Mortgages has won numerous awards over the years, including the 2022 and 2021 Canadian Mortgage Awards for Broker of the Year (Fewer than 25 employees), the 2022 Canadian Mortgage Award for Digital Innovation in a Brokerage, and the 2020 Canadian Mortgage Award Silver Winner for New Brokerage of the Year. The brokerage has also been named ‘Best Mortgage Employer’ and ‘Top Brokerages’ by Canadian Mortgage Professionals (CMP).
The brokerage offers several incentives for the benefit of its clients, such as complimentary hotel stays, AIR MILES, and cashback offers.
Pine is an online brokerage service established in 2021 with the aim of simplifying the mortgage experience. Borrowers can apply directly through the brokerage’s website without having to visit an office in person. Borrowers seeking advice may talk to an agent over the phone. The application can be completed within 10 minutes, and the supporting documents are submitted through a secure online customer portal.
Borrowers can get pre-approved for a mortgage within 24 hours with Pine. Additionally, borrowers can also benefit from cashback offers for new mortgages that are offered from time to time.
Synergy Mortgage Group is a prominent brokerage based out of Hamilton with a team of over 20 mortgage brokers. The brokerage has access to mortgage rates from over 60 lenders and offers a quick online application. Borrowers can submit applications through their website and check the status of their applications online. Borrowers can alternatively meet with an agent to apply in person or get mortgage advice.
Mission35 Mortgages is a Hamilton-based brokerage with its agents spread across Hamilton, Oakville, Burlington, Stoney Creek, St. Catharines, and Niagara Falls. The brokerage has a team of over 50 mortgage brokers and agents. Apart from new purchases, renewals, and refinance, their mortgage products include bridge financing, closed mortgages, convertible mortgages, hybrid mortgages, open mortgages, and more. Borrowers can apply online through their website or meet one of the agents to start their application.
Empire Mortgage Group is a brokerage headquartered in Hamilton that was founded in 2019. The brokerage has a team of over 15 mortgage brokers, agents, and underwriters; and over 60 lending partners. The brokerage offers an online application process. Borrowers can also submit an application with an agent of their choice through the website. Borrowers can also download the brokerage’s mobile application, EMG App, and use it to compare options, take a mortgage stress test, estimate closing costs, and more.
The Hamilton-based brokerage Bold Mortgage Group, was founded in 2012. With a team of highly experienced mortgage professionals, the brokerage provides several mortgage solutions, including debt consolidation, net worth lending, and private mortgages. The brokerage offers its own mobile app that can be used in five different languages. Borrowers can apply through the website or contact one of the brokers directly.
Mortgage broker networks comprise many independently operating brokerages that are franchisees of the network. These brokers have access to the rates offered by the network, along with other tools and resources provided by them. Some of these networks are also part of larger financial groups. For example, Mortgage Intelligence, Invis, and Verico are all part of the M3 Financial Group.
With a network of over 1,800 brokers, 127 franchises, and 259 offices, The Mortgage Centre is one of Canada’s largest broker networks. Over 50 network brokers are working within Hamilton across four offices, and the network has many more brokers servicing the areas around Hamilton. The network provides several tools to its brokers to help them offer better services to clients. Meanwhile, the network’s training programs help the brokers stay up to date.
Mortgage Architects is a broker network of over 1,500 mortgage professionals that works with over 50 lending partners. Borrowers can check out their latest rates or find a broker close to them through the network’s website. Borrowers can also use the network’s mobile app to plan their mortgages.
Mortgage brokering is a licensed profession in Canada, and individuals must get licensed in their province of residence to become mortgage brokers. In Ontario, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) is responsible for issuing licenses to mortgage brokers. Before applying for a license, individuals must complete an FSRA-approved course and its examination.
The course is offered by Mortgage Professionals Canada (MPC) and is called Ontario Mortgage Broker Education Program (OMBEP). There are two phases of the course, the first of which is online and the second one is in-person. Another important requirement is that individuals must have held a mortgage agent license for at least 24 months in the immediate 36-month period before applying for a mortgage broker license.