With housing being one of the most significant monthly expenses for every household, it’s no wonder that everyone tries to land the lowest possible rates for their real estate loans.
However, in Canada alone, about 4.9 million homeowners are still working hard to pay off their mortgage. And although experts recommend that mortgage expenses should only make up about 30%-32% of one’s income. It means people pay about a third of their income to their mortgage for decades.
Thankfully, this is where brokerage services like CanWise Financial come into play.
In this CanWise Financial Review, we will help you understand what CanWise Financial is to help you determine whether or not it’s the optimal option for you.
Online mortgage consultants
Pros of CanWise Financial
- Has a decent selection of lenders
- Caters to a wide variety of borrowers
- Negotiates on your behalf
- Has amazing ratings
- Has an impressive national presence
Cons of CanWise Financial
- Has no educational resources/blogs on their website
- Is not accredited with BBB
- Some people may feel that it is less secure than traditional banks
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CanWise Financial – The Three-Time Canadian Mortgage Broker of the Year
CanWise Financial is an online mortgage brokerage that has received the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) approval as a mortgage lender. A three-time awardee of the Canadian Mortgage Awards, the reputable mortgage company allows property buyers to match with their ideal mortgage product at the lowest possible rates.
Since its inception in 2014, CanWise Financial has helped fund mortgages amounting to $7.5 billion. Owned by Ratehub and led by James Laird, it works with 16 lenders and has offices in seven provinces and the Northwest Territories.
CanWise Financial Review: Features and Benefits
Although the mortgage rate is probably the most crucial factor to consider when applying for a loan, there are other factors that you should take into account as well.
Factors like your preferred mortgage term, as well as your preferred mortgage variability, are good examples to think over. Also, if you are a property investor already paying off a few other properties, you may find it hard to get a decent mortgage product.
CanWise offers a wide variety of mortgage products and serves a consumer pool that’s far broader than that of banks. On the CanWise website, the three features/tabs that might be of value to you are the rates, calculators, and mortgages.
As you can see in the photo above, CanWise allows you to explore a wide range of fixed and variable mortgage rates in everyday terms and limited terms. You can access more information about them when you click on any of these rates.
However, please take note that it’s always possible that you won’t get these rates nor the rates that you truly want. As with any lender, the final rate you land on will depend on your credit score and history.
Calculators are a relatively common feature when it comes to online mortgage brokerages. They help you figure out your options and get a comprehensive picture of your potential financial debt when you take on a mortgage.
CanWise uses the following calculators to assist you:
- Mortgage affordability
- Mortgage payment
- CMHC mortgage insurance
- Land transfer tax
This feature on the CanWise website is where you’ll find a range of mortgage products that the Canadian online mortgage brokerage offers.
There are a total of 13 products, and each of them suits a different type of borrower:
- Purchase: This is the most common type of mortgage and is ideal for homebuyers who have a decent income source, a good credit score, and enough money saved up for a down payment. Practically all mortgage lenders and brokers offer this product. The CanWise advantage here, however, is that they promise to help you find the best mortgage rate and negotiate on your behalf.
- Pre-approval: Pre-approval is another buyer-centric product that allows potential home buyers to negotiate property prices. Pre-approved buyers are always taken seriously in the real estate market because they rarely “window-shop” and are usually in the market to find and close the right property.
- Refinance: Refinancing can be tricky. Not only do you have to find a low enough interest rate that would justify the potential cost of refinancing, but you also have to run a cost-benefit analysis to ensure that it would be the right choice in the long term. CanWise can help you in this by finding the right refinancing option for you and helping you decide whether refinancing is a good option.
- Renewal: Renewing your mortgage under different terms is a regular part of the process, and CanWise promises you the best possible rates from a wide bouquet of mortgage lenders.
- Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC): Most HELOCs are straightforward because most lenders go to their primary mortgage lender for HELOC. But it might be possible to obtain HELOC from a different lender. If this is what you’re going for, CanWise can help you with some options. They may also be able to get you better rates and return terms.
- Divorce: Divorce can be a messy financial business, especially if it involves a mortgage that you both are paying. CanWise promises to help you with untangling your mortgage out of the divorce.
- Purchase Plus Improvement: Banks and traditional lenders don’t see fixer-uppers as viable properties, especially when they have to pay for the improvements. But, that’s where non-traditional lenders like CanWise and some of its partners shine.
- Investment Property: It’s difficult for investors to find good-term loans when they already have a few properties on their tab. If you’re one of them, CanWise can also help you find lenders who don’t mind lending you money even if you have multiple investment properties.
- Vacation and Second Homes: Most lenders see vacations and second homes as risky investments. So, if that’s what you are looking for, contacting services with access to multiple lenders—such as CanWise—can ease the process of finding one that might be the right fit for you.
- New to Canada: CanWise promises to help newcomers with little to no credit history find the right mortgage.
- First-Time Home Buyer: This mortgage product overlaps with the purchase one, albeit it has certain benefits that CanWise can help you take advantage of.
- Business for Self: Self-employed individuals have fluctuating incomes and inconsistent credit history, making them potentially risky investments for some lenders. With CanWise, freelancers and self-employed individuals can connect with lenders who might have mortgage deals specific to their situations.
- Bad Credit: Finding the best mortgage rates when you have a bad credit history can be nearly impossible. Instead of going through lenders one by one, working through a brokerage service like CanWise can be less time-consuming (and less soul-crushing).
To sum it up, CanWise offers a wide variety of mortgage products and options to a broader array of potential property buyers than traditional lenders tend to do in their capacity as an intermediary.
We scoured the internet but only found a few potent sources where people have shared their experience regarding CanWise.
The first is Ratehub, where CanWise has a 4.5/5 rating based on over 4,200 reviews. But since it’s CanWise’s parent company, it doesn’t get too many credibility points.
CanWise is rated extremely high in Google Reviews as well: 4.9/5 based on 1,955 reviews. These reviews are much more comprehensive and detailed than Ratehub’s and paint a flattering and relatively “trustworthy” picture of CanWise.
Nonetheless, CanWise has four reviews on Yelp, each with a 1/5 rating. It’s also not accredited with BBB and has just one five-star review. Reviews on Reddit are mixed in nature.
So, by deferring to Google, we might conclude that the social proof leans heavily in CanWise’s favour.
Is CanWise Financial Safe and Legit?
As a mortgage broker, CanWise makes money from the lenders, not from you. This makes them “monetarily” safe and legit. As a lender, it is also CMHC-approved, thus making it authentic. And since we haven’t found proof that they push you towards specific lenders just to beef up their commission, we can say that they are relatively trustworthy as well.
CanWise Financial Alternatives and Competitors
There are a few competitors and alternatives that you might want to consider if you don’t think CanWise is the right fit for you:
IntelliMortgage, Inc. is a BBB-accredited company with an A+ rating and has been in business for nine years. They have mediated mortgage loans of over $1.14 billion.
Although the website offers loans in fewer provinces and offers fewer mortgage products, it scours through over a hundred lenders to get the best rate for you. It also promises to give you $500 in cash if the company can’t match your lowest rate.
All in all, it’s a decent site to get reasonable mortgage rates and has done quite well for itself, without having a powerful “dad” like CanWise.
MortgagePal is also BBB-accredited and has been in business for 12 years. It has a relatively simple interface, works with dozens of lenders, and offers very competitive rates.
However, one area where it fails, compared to CanWise, is that it can only help you find the best rates if you fall neatly into the typical borrower category. Hence, it might not be suitable for outliers like people with bad credit or newcomers. It also has good Google ratings but has a mere fraction of CanWise’s reviews.
Sharing a close nomenclature with CanWise, HomeWise is another similar service that has facilitated over $2.65 billion worth of mortgages. It offers loans from a variety of lenders, including two of the big five lenders. The company helps you find reasonable rates based on the online profile you create with them and tends to get more personalized about your mortgage needs, which is a good thing.
Finding the ideal mortgage product, especially if you don’t have the perfect lender profile, can be challenging. It takes up a lot of time and effort to go through lenders one by one, so people prefer to go with brokerages.
When it comes to online mortgage brokerages, CanWise outshines the competition by a significant margin in terms of the number of loans processed and the number of consumers it has helped. They also have a strong national presence and seem to be trusted by many consumers.