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Published April 11, 2024
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RBC Mortgage Review 2024

RBC provides a typical variety of residential mortgages to borrowers across the country, but its mortgage rates may be higher than other lenders.

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Editor’s Note: On April 1st, 2024, the Royal Bank of Canada completed its acquisition of HSBC Bank Canada. All of HSBC’s branches, products and services are migrating to RBC. As such, HSBC is not accepting new mortgage applications. For more information about how your existing mortgage may be affected by the transition to RBC, please contact a bank representative directly by visiting an RBC branch or calling RBC at 1-833-669-2908.

RBC Mortgage at a glance

RBC is one of Canada’s Big 6 banks, providing a typical variety of residential mortgages to borrowers across the country. RBC’s mortgage rates may be higher than some credit unions or non-bank lenders.

    • As a Big 6 bank, RBC’s services are available in all Canadian provinces and territories.
    • Offers a typical selection of mortgage products, including mortgages for self-employed borrowers, a cash back mortgage for first-time homeowners, and a combination mortgage and line of credit product.
    • Offers a wide range of mortgage terms, including 5-year variable closed and open terms, 6-month convertible fixed, and mortgages with 30-year amortization periods.
    • High-ratio mortgages
    • Fixed & variable-rate mortgages
    • Open & closed mortgages
    • Convertible mortgages 
    • Home equity loans and HELOCs
    • Cash-back mortgages 
    • Investment property, vacation/second home mortgages
    • Mortgages for self-employed borrowers

    Pros

    • Many mortgage products and terms are available.
    • Above-average number of payment frequencies to choose from.
    • Programs for newcomers to Canada.
    • Mortgage information is readily available on the bank’s website.

    Cons

    • Limited options for borrowers with low or bad credit.
    • Online application forms are less robust than other lenders.

    RBC Mortgage review

    The Royal Bank of Canada, known more commonly as RBC, is one of Canada’s Big Six banks. 

    Founded in 1864, RBC has more than 1,200 branches throughout the country. RBC offers many different financial services, including commercial banking, wealth management, mortgages, investing, insurance and more. 

    RBC’s mortgage offerings include fixed- and variable-rate mortgages, as well as open, closed and convertible mortgages. The bank also offers mortgages for investment properties and second homes, as well as home equity loans and HELOCs

    RBC’s cash back mortgage allows qualified first-time homebuyers to get up to $20,000, or 7% of the mortgage’s value, in cash back at closing.

    The RBC Homeline Plan combines your primary mortgage and line of credit to let you borrow up to 80% of your property’s value at a lower-than-normal variable rate.

    Who is an RBC mortgage best for?

    An RBC mortgage may be a good choice for current RBC customers who are interested the relatively easy application process that a well-known national bank can provide.

    If you’re a first-time buyer, a newcomer to Canada, or a self-employed borrower, RBC does offer several mortgage products designed specifically for your needs and financial profile.

    Additionally, RBC offers mortgage options that may be of interest to current homeowners looking to tap into their home equity.

    RBC mortgages: feature overview

    Variety of mortgages available

    RBC, one of Canada’s Big Six banks, has a lot of mortgage types available. In addition to mortgages you’ll find anywhere, including three- and five-year fixed rates, you’ll find niche products, such as 25-year closed and six-month open mortgages. One exception is mortgages for bad credit; you’ll need to look into alternative lenders for those.

    RBC advertises:

    Ease of application

    You can find online pre-qualification and pre-approval forms on RBC’s website or in person at an RBC branch. 

    Mortgage rate transparency

    RBC makes rate information readily available on its website. 

    Other RBC mortgage details

    Increase your payments: You can increase your standard payment by up to 100% without penalty.

    Make lump-sum payments: You can pay down up to 10% of your original loan on fixed-rate closed mortgages up to once per year.

    Prepayment penalties: If you pay off your fixed-rate mortgage beyond the set limits, you’ll pay a prepayment penalty. These vary by lender; at RBC, you’ll pay the greater of three months interest on the prepayment amount (based on your mortgage interest rate) or the interest rate differential on your prepayment amount. For variable-rate mortgages, the penalty is three months of interest based on RBC’s prime rate

    Flexible payment frequencies: In addition to paying your mortgage on a monthly basis, RBC gives you the option to pay: semi-monthly, bi-weekly, weekly, accelerated bi-weekly and accelerated weekly. You won’t find this many options at most lenders. Making more frequent payments can reduce the total amount of interest you pay over the life of your mortgage. 

    Range of terms: Six-month convertible mortgage to 25-year fixed — one of the longest terms you’ll find. 

    Rate hold: RBC will hold rates for 120 days, which is standard in the mortgage industry.

    Portability: If your currency home is financed by RBC, you may be able to port it if you move.

    Programs for newcomers: Newcomers to Canada with limited or no credit history may be able to get a mortgage with RBC.

    Customer satisfaction ratings

    It’s difficult to gauge how satisfied Canadians are with RBC as a mortgage provider. Customer review websites can be helpful, but keep in mind that the reviews aren’t verified and may not accurately reflect the average opinion of RBC customers; for example, unhappy customers may be overrepresented or their experience may not be mortgage-related. Nevertheless, these sites are one way to learn about possible downsides to consider.  

    RBC mortgage eligibility requirements

    To qualify for a prime mortgage with the Royal Bank of Canada, as with any lender or brokerage, you’ll need to meet certain eligibility requirements. These include:

    RBC encourages potential borrowers to use its online tools to get a clearer idea of their qualification potential. 

    RBC’s True House Affordability Tool can be used to estimate how much you might be able to borrow, and the bank’s pre-approval tool can be used to connect with a mortgage specialist to discuss any concerns.

    For what it’s worth, RBC presents itself as willing to work with borrowers who may have a harder time getting approved by a traditional mortgage lender. The bank has a guide to mortgages for newcomers to Canada and says that it strives to make the process as user-friendly as possible. Though RBC does note that, due to new regulations, non-Canadians may not be allowed to buy property in the country. 

    The bank also has a mortgage specially designed for self-employed people, for whom it’s often more difficult to secure a home loan.

    How to apply for a mortgage with RBC

    You can apply for a mortgage pre-qualification and pre-approval on RBC’s website. Both forms take just a few minutes and don’t require you to dig up any supporting documentation.

    If you’d prefer, you can request an RBC agent to walk you through these processes. If you decide to formally apply for a mortgage with RBC, you’ll learn about how to do that directly rom them; there’s no publicly accessible application form online.

    Scroll to the bottom of RBC’s mortgage home page, and you’ll find quick links to start the online pre-approval and pre-qualification forms.

    From here, you can also contact an RBC mortgage specialist in your area if you’d prefer assistance with these tasks, or if you’d like to get more information.

    Pre-qualificaiton is a quick way to estimate how large a loan you may be approved for. It’s less comprehensive than getting pre-approved. You’ll want to get pre-approved before you start putting offers on homes.

    Filling out the pre-qualification form is a simple process. After providing your contact information, you’ll be asked to give RBC permission to access your credit score. Doing this won’t affect your credit score.

    You’ll be prompted to enter a potential home value as well as the amount of money you have saved up for a down payment. If you haven’t made an offer on a home yet, you won’t know what to enter for “Purchase Price”. That’s okay. You don’t have to fill out that field to continue.

    It’s a good idea to enter your total down payment savings into the “Proposed Down Payment” space, though. It’s not necessary, but it’s useful information for your RBC mortgage specialist to have.

    You’ll then choose a nearby mortgage specialist to help you with the rest of your pre-approval.

    Click on the card icon next to each name to learn a little bit more about each specialist. RBC provides a modest amount of information about nearby agents, including the languages they speak and their areas of specialization, such as investment properties or first-time home buyers.

    Who you choose to work with shouldn’t be a make-or-break decision — they’ll all be offering the same products and using the same qualification guidelines.

    Alternatives to RBC Mortgage

    If you decide RBC Mortgage is not for you, other Canadian lenders and brokers will likely offer competitive mortgage rate options for your needs. 

    True North MortgageButler MortgageFirst National Financial
    Lender typeMortgage brokerageMortgage brokerageNon-bank lender
    Service areaNationalNationalNational
    In-person service?YesYesYes
    Ease of applicationEasy (online, phone, in-person)Moderately easy (start online, via phone, or by fax)Difficult (online, phone, in-person)
    Mortgage varietyAbove averageAverageAbove average

    Frequently asked questions about RBC Mortgage

    Does RBC offer reverse mortgages?

    No. Although RBC has information about reverse mortgages on its website, the product is only currently available from two financial institutions in Canada: HomeEquity Bank and Equitable Bank.

    Can you get pre-approved for an RBC mortgage online?

    RBC makes it possible to start the pre-approval process via a form on its website. But to get pre-approved, you’ll need to speak to a mortgage specialist at some point.

    How do you choose the right mortgage lender?

    Selecting the right mortgage provider is a big decision. A mortgage is a large debt and you want to make sure that you’re getting the best deal possible. You’ll need to do some research, make a list of what’s important to you, and spend some comparing offers from the different types of providers.

    1. Decide your budget. It’s important to have an idea of how much mortgage you can comfortably afford, before talking with lenders. They may offer you more than you want to spend; it’s important to be ready for that conversation.
    2. Understand the different types of lenders: Mortgage providers include banks, credit unions, brokers like True North Mortgage, alternative lenders, and private lenders. Each has its pros and cons.
    3. Compare offers from three different lenders: To ensure you have a good idea of what’s out there, consider seeking mortgage pre-approval from a big bank, a broker and one other type of alternative lender.
    4. Don’t focus too much on rates. The interest rate is just one part of the mortgage equation. Yes, you want the most competitive rate possible, but it’s also important to weigh the reputation of the lender, the quality of customer service they provide, the types of loans they offer, the fees they charge, and the flexibility of terms they may offer.

    » LEARN MORE: Read our guide to choosing a mortgage lender

    How does RBC calculate your mortgage payment?

    Like most mortgage brokers and lenders, RBC will consider the following when estimating what the regular payment might be for your future mortgage:

    • Home price: the total amount you agree to pay for a home.
    • Down payment: the total amount you’ll pay upfront toward a home purchase.
    • Amortization period: the number of years over which you’ll repay your mortgage.
    • Mortgage term: the length of the contract you’ll have with your mortgage lender.
    • Payment frequency: how often you’ll make a mortgage payment.
    • Mortgage interest rate: the fee you’ll pay to borrow money from the lender; expressed as a percentage of the loan amount.
    • Property taxes or title transfer fee: an annual fee based on your property value.
    • Mortgage default insurance: an extra cost you’ll pay if your down payment is less than 20%.

    Example:

    • Home price: $650,000
    • Down payment: $58,500 (9%)
    • Amortization period: 25 years
    • Mortgage term: 5 years
    • Payment frequency: Monthly
    • Mortgage interest rate: 5.5%
    • Mortgage insurance: $23,660

    TOTAL MORTGAGE: $615,150
    MONTHLY MORTGAGE PAYMENT: $3,778

    » MORE: Use our mortgage payment calculator to compare different loan scenarios

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