Gina Burgio, Mortgage Agent


Choose mortgage words carefully

Many consumers fail to understand meaning of terms

By GARRY MARR, Financial PostMarch 10, 2010    

When it comes to your mortgage contract, watch your language.

Most consumers only look at their mortgage contract -- one of the most important documents they will ever sign -- just before they are about to close on a house, says Toronto real-estate lawyer Steve Brett.

"It's very rare they come to me [first].

In residential transactions, they usually strike the deal first," he says. "The mortgage commitment comes shortly prior to closing. I'll talk to people over the phone and they'll say, 'These are the terms of the deal -- is that the way it should be?' " For about $200, Mr. Brett says a consumer could run a pre-approved mortgage by him before buying a house. "But in 35 years, I've never had that happen.

I sometimes might get asked [to look at a mortgage contract] on refinancing." Even the most basic mortgage contract terms, such as what constitutes the "prime rate" on a variable-rate mortgage, can create confusion.

"There can be different meanings to things like the prime rate or the base rate," Mr. Brett says. "They could have prime rate of 2%, but the base rate for residential mortgages might be prime plus one [percentage point], so their prime rate becomes 3%. Clients could get into difficulty thinking they are getting a heavily advertised prime rate but they are not." He had a customer come in recently with an offer of financing from a mortgage broker that said he was getting the "prime rate" from a specific company. "I pointed out that [their version] of prime rate might not be the same as the banks'.

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Gina Burgio

Gina Burgio, Mortgage Agent
VERICO Designer Mortgages Inc.
Toll Free: 1-877-345-6265
Fax: 1-877-345-6256


Each VERICO Broker is an independent owner operator.

Comment balloon 2 commentsGina Burgio • March 10 2010 09:13AM



Great advise Gina.



Posted by Paul Smith, BRE# 01107845, Servicing the Lake Tahoe area Real Estate Needs (Sierra Sotheby's International Realty) over 10 years ago

Good article.  Most have an attorney review a purchase contract but never consider the same for the mortgage contract.  Traditionally, most borrowers have trusted their lender - something we've learned not to do in the States.

Posted by Richard Glesser (North Country Appraisal Services) over 10 years ago