The word “unprecedented” has been thrown around to describe the time we are living in, and not without good cause. This pandemic has put a lot of Canadians in an uncertain place emotionally, physically, and financially. If you find yourself among the one million (at the time of writing) Canadians who find themselves with reduced hours or completely laid off, you are not alone. According to a recent Angus Reid Forum study, 30 per cent of Canadians are worried that they will be unable to make their mortgage or rent payments on time. Additionally, five per cent of Canadians have already found themselves in this position.

Where do I start?

Among the unfortunate financial ramifications of this virus is that many Canadians find their lives on hold while they navigate this new environment. If you were laid off and were in the process of getting a mortgage during this outbreak, you may feel overwhelmed while you wait to see if you qualify for federal or provincial aid. The good news is your trusted mortgage professional can help you navigate these challenging times.

Knowledge is power. This might be a tired cliché, but it remains true, even in the most challenging times. Know where you stand financially and what options apply to you. Depending on your job and the nature of your layoff, lenders may be willing to proceed with you. These are difficult times, and lenders are there to work with you.

What are my options?

Once you have assessed your situation, you and your mortgage broker should discuss the best option for you. Perhaps you weren’t too far along in the process when you were laid off. If that is the case, there is some good news. During a time where it is absolutely essential that we distance socially, the Canadian government has stepped in where it can to keep our economy moving. For some lenders, if you have an estimated return-to-work date, they may accept your pre-layoff income for your application. This varies lender to lender, so it’s important to talk to your trusted mortgage professional to see what options are available.

If you were about to start your mortgage application, some of the same criteria may apply. Lenders are looking to see that you can afford to make regular payments on your mortgage. In normal market conditions, lenders look for strong borrowers with a solid financial position. If you have savings, low debt, and good repayment history, you will have an easier time qualifying than someone without.

If you currently have a mortgage and are having issues making your payments, you should reach out to your lender to see what options are available to you. I’ve gathered resources and contact information for many lenders here. Some borrowers may look to refinance their homes after getting laid off. You might want to access some of the equity in your property or lock in better rates. An unbiased mortgage professional will work with you to understand your financial situation and goals to determine the best option for you.

How a mortgage broker can help

Getting laid off doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get a mortgage. However, the process may look a bit different. Different lenders have a different appetite for risk. This can mean you may qualify for some of the low rates we’re seeing now. If you are seen as a higher risk and have been laid off, you may need to seek the help of a private lender. 

Knowledge is power and during times of uncertainty, our best move is to turn to experts. Your mortgage broker is a trained professional with knowledge and access to resources often closed to the public. Brokers are also intimately aware of every aspect involved in your mortgage needs. A mortgage broker may not have seen a situation exactly like this before, but with two recessions previously in the past two decades, they will be no strangers to working around difficult situations. If you find yourself trying to negotiate a mortgage during this outbreak, you are not alone and we are happy to help!

At the end of the day, we are living in challenging times where almost everything is uncertain. We don’t yet know what normal will be once we have a handle on this pandemic. A silver lining is that, though we are socially distant, we are all in this together. Don’t let your mortgage be on the list of uncertainties. Be sure to reach out if you’re considering a mortgage or want to discuss your existing mortgage. You can give me a call at (705) 333-4338 or get in touch with me here.