As most of you know the 2020-2021 market has been something of a rollercoaster, especially for buyers. With almost every home selling with multiple offers and over asking, the financing condition has become a large topic of conversation between my clients and I. My sellers ask why it is necessary if the buyers are stating they are already pre-approved and qualified and my buyers are getting frustrated when losing to a lower offer because the other offer did not have a financing condition written in. Today, I am going to talk about the importance of the financing condition if you are taking out a mortgage on a home and why I still strongly encourage it, even in this market.
First off, lets start by talking about what the financing condition is. The financing condition is there to protect the buyer in the occasion that the lender (bank, credit union etc.) or the mortgage insurer (we will go in more detail about this later) does not approve the buyer for the amount necessary for them to purchase the property. Without this condition, if the lender does not approve the mortgage, the buyer still technically bought the property under contract and is at risk of losing their deposit and even more, the potential of being sued by the seller for breaking contract. Usually deposits range from $10,000.00 to $20,000.00 here in Manitoba but in a market like we are in, some buyers will increase that amount to make their offer stronger, thus resulting in a big hit to the pocket book if financing doesn`t end up working out.
Now most buyers are probably thinking, “Well that all sounds a little scary, but I`m pre-approved so why wouldn`t the lender approve me?” There are many reasons why even after getting your pre-approval that financing can still fall through and it is very important that you understand all of these risks before writing an offer without the financing condition in it.
Appraisals: Banks and other lenders rely on the “appraised value” of a home to deem if it is worth the amount you are asking them to lend you. They will often times send in their own appraiser to the property after the offer has been accepted to determine its value as they want to make sure if you default on payments, they will recoup their investment. In a market where buyers are offering 80K over the asking price, there is always a chance that the appraised value and the amount offered do not match and, in that case, it would be the buyer’s responsibility to make up the difference in value IN CASH. Unfortunately if there is no financing condition and the buyer does not have the cash to make up that difference the buyer will not be able to come up with the cash necessary to close resulting in a loss of their deposit and once again the chance of being sued by the seller for breaking contract.
Changes in financial buying power: Buying a home can be long process for some and life still continues to go on while you are in that process. Unexpected bills, job loss and large purchases are just some of the reasons why your buying power may have changed between being pre-approved and getting an accepted offer. Just because the bank told you 6 months ago that you were pre-approved for a certain amount does not mean that after purchasing a brand-new vehicle that they will still lend you that same amount of money. I always recommend getting a new pre-approval every 3 months to ensure you are still qualified for the necessary amount to purchase the property we are offering on.
Interest Rates: Most lenders will lock you in at a certain interest rate for 90 days once you go through the process of being pre-approved but like I had just mentioned, sometimes the process can take longer. If interest rates have changed between when you were first pre-approved and when you receive an accepted offer you may no longer be qualified for the amount necessary to purchase the property you offered on, ESPECIALLY if you are writing at the top of your budget.
New “Stress Test” guidelines: Have you ever heard of a stress test? This is a “test” in where a lender will have to qualify you at a higher interest rate than you are currently being offered so that if interest rates rise in the future you will still be able to afford your monthly payments. During busy markets, like the one we just experienced, the government may impose an increase to the amount they are testing you at to limit the buying power of buyers so that the sale prices of homes can equalize or level out a little to keep the market more consistent.
Mortgage Default Insurers: This is a big one. Mortgage default insurance is required by the Government of Canada when a home buyer is putting less than the 20% down payment typically needed to qualify for a conventional mortgage. If you are putting down less than 20% not only does the lender need to approve your mortgage but the mortgage default insurer does as well. Mortgage default insurance insures the lender NOT the buyer in case of default. There are 3 mortgage default insurers in Canada; CMHC (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation), Sagen (formerly Genworth Canada) and Canada Guaranty. Each one of these insurers have different qualifications on which properties and which buyers they are willing to insure and which they wont and for the most part we are completely blind to what those qualifications are. In my experience, this is where financing falls through the most often and unfortunately the hardest to predict. I have seen them deny financing based on outdated electrical, shared well systems, location, asbestos and a multitude of other factors that we cannot control. The financing condition really comes into play here.
Due to the market we are experiencing I am unfortunately seeing more and more buyers writing offers without the financing condition even though they are taking out a mortgage. As I have now explained, this can be a huge risk to the buyer but also to the sellers who may need to put their home back on the market if the buyer ends up not being able to close. If you are selling your home and there is an offer without a financing condition make sure your agent is asking the right questions; are the buyers taking out a mortgage or paying cash, if they are taking out a mortgage, do they have a back up plan if they are not approved? How much are they putting down? Have they been pre-approved? These questions can help you assess the risk involved in accepting that offer. Also, you will want to make sure they have put down a big enough deposit to cover any costs that may arise from the deal not closing due to the default of the buyer, this is especially important when you’ve received multiple offers as you may be declining offers of more qualified buyers that have financing conditions.
Now buyers, there are ways we can still write a strong offer even with a financing condition. Making sure you have an up to date pre-approval is a must. We can include your pre-approval letter in the offer so that the sellers are able to see you have done the work and are qualified to purchase their home. We can also make the deadline for financing as short as possible by staying in close contact with your mortgage specialist/broker prior to writing an offer. Here in Manitoba we typically see financing deadlines within 2-3 business days of the offer being accepted, although I have had some superstar brokers get it done in less than 24 hours! We can also write in detail (and should) a summary of how much you are planning on putting down vs how much you will be taking out as a mortgage. The more information the seller has the more confident they will be moving forward with your offer.
After everything I just touched on, unfortunately it might still come down to removing your financing condition to get you the house of your dreams. If that is the case, you now know all of the risks involved in doing so and you can be prepared to make an educated decision on how much risk you are willing to take. I always recommend having a back up plan in the event financing doesn’t go your way but sometimes you need to just take the risk in life!
Phone: (204) 781-1767