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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
- With over 1,200 branches across the country, it’s easy to meet with a mortgage specialist face to face for more personalized service.
- Unique mortgage products, such as self-employed mortgage, cash back mortgage and a line of credit and mortgage combo product.
- A wide variety of mortgage terms that range from convertible 6-month mortgages to 30-year mortgages.
- Unlike a mortgage brokerage, RBC can only offer its own mortgage products.
- Fewer options for those with lower credit scores.
- May offer less competitive mortgage rates than credit unions or non-banks.
RBC Mortgage full 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.
How to 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 RBC calculates your mortgage payment
Like most mortgage brokers and lenders, True North Mortgage lending partners 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%.
- 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
RBC Mortgage feature overview
RBC’s offerings appear to be on par with the mortgage offerings of Canada’s Big Six banks.
RBC offers common mortgage types like fixed, variable, open, closed, convertible, HELOCs and home equity loans.
Some of RBC’s more unique mortgage offerings include the RBC Homeline Plan, which combines your RBC mortgage with a home equity line of credit. Another mortgage product, called the RBC Cash Back Mortgage, offers new home buyers up to 7% of their mortgage’s value (up to a max of $20,000) in cash back to help deal with common home buying expenses like legal fees and closing costs.
Ease of application
If you’re interested in an RBC mortgage, there are several options for getting started.
You can speak to an RBC mortgage specialist via phone or video, and, if electronic signatures are allowed in your province or territory, even send in and sign the required documents electronically.
If you want to meet with a mortgage specialist in-person, you can search for one based on your location. Or call 1-800-769-2511 to be put in contact with a mortgage specialist.
Additionally, you can apply for mortgage pre-approval online and get in touch with an RBC mortgage specialist that way.
Loan amounts & terms
Based on the use of RBC’s online mortgage tools and calculators, it’s unclear what the bank’s maximum mortgage amount might be.
As with many lenders, the maximum and minimum mortgage amounts offered by Royal Bank of Canada will vary based on factors, such as the type of mortgage, whether the mortgage is open or closed, the mortgage amortization and the borrower’s creditworthiness.
Generally, RBC terms range from six months to seven years for a fixed mortgage (though they can go up to as much as 30 years) and variable rate mortgages appear to be restricted to five-year terms.
Mortgage rate transparency
RBC publishes current sample mortgage rates clearly on its website. The APR for the bank’s most popular rates (the two-year fixed and five-year closed fixed and variable mortgage) are based on a $250,000 mortgage and assume a processing fee of $300.
You can also view special rates for purchase and switch transactions, as well as RBC prime rates online.
As with all mortgage lenders, RBC interest rates can change at any time, and the best way to know what rate you qualify for is to speak directly with a mortgage specialist.
RBC offers both fixed- and variable-rate mortgages. Fixed rates can be open, closed or convertible, and variable-rate mortgages can be closed or open.
Like many Canadian mortgage lenders, RBC charges prepayment fees if you pay more than the allowed amount toward your mortgage.
The bank’s website has a prepayment calculator so borrowers have a clear idea of what it will cost to make extra payments towards a mortgage. The prepayment fee amount will depend on factors like whether your mortgage is fixed or variable, open or closed.
There may also be a surcharge of 0.10% if you want an amortization over 25 years and a mortgage discharge fee of $250.
Other fees that you might pay include a property appraisal fee, survey costs or mortgage default insurance, if you make a down payment under 20%.
Security and safety
On the webpage for its online pre-approval application, RBC notes that the form is “not considered secure and privacy cannot be ensured.” If security and privacy are paramount for you, it may be better to pursue an RBC mortgage in person, or over the phone.
Customer satisfaction ratings
Based on NerdWallet analysis of satisfaction score on several customer review websites, it’s unclear whether RBC typically provides a satisfactory experience for most mortgage customers.
- RBC had a Trustpilot rating of 1.7 out of 5 possible stars based on just over 60 customer reviews, at the time of this writing.
- RBC’s Client Care Centre had a rating of 1.29 out of a possible 5 stars, according to more than 100 customer reviews on the Better Business Bureau website, at the time of this writing. RBC is not accredited by the BBB itself.
- RBC had a rating of 3.7 out of 5 possible stars, according to more than 700 customer reviews on the Consumer Affairs website, at the time of this writing.
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:
- Minimum credit score: Typically 680, but lower-score options exist.
- Credit history: Established accounts in good standing, no recent negative marks.
- Income: Amount of income needed will vary depending on how much you want to borrow.
- Down payment amount: At least 5% for a home under $500,000. For homes between $500,000 and $999,999, you need 5% of the first $500,000 and 10% of the amount above $500,000.
- Debt service ratios: Your gross debt service ratio must not exceed 39%; your total debt service ratio must not exceed 44%.
- Type of employment and employment history: You must be able to demonstrate at least two years of consistent employment.
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
To start the mortgage process with RBC, you can either call, video conference or meet with a mortgage specialist in your area. If your province or territory permits electronic signatures, you can even go through most of the mortgage application process online.
If you want to apply online for a mortgage, the easiest way to start the mortgage process is to request pre-approval. Be sure to have all necessary documents, including things like the price of your new home, proof of income and bank statements on hand before getting started.
Within 24 hours of filling in the online pre-approval form, the bank says a mortgage specialist will contact you to continue the process.
The mortgage specialist will ask questions about the kind of mortgage you’re looking for (such as open or closed, fixed or variable) and collect any additional financial information that’s needed. They will also get your approval to conduct a hard credit inquiry.
Once approved, you’ll be given a rate that may be held for you for up to 120 days.
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 Mortgage||Butler Mortgage||First National Financial|
|Lender type||Mortgage brokerage||Mortgage brokerage||Non-bank lender|
|Ease of application||Easy (online, phone, in-person)||Moderately easy (start online, via phone, or by fax)||Difficult (online, phone, in-person)|
|Mortgage variety||Above average||Average||Above average|
Frequently asked questions about RBC Mortgage
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.
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.
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