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Published May 9, 2024
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11 minutes

True North Mortgage Review 2024

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.

True North Mortgage at a glance

True North Mortgage is a national mortgage brokerage offering a wide variety of home loan options via salaried brokers.

    • Branch locations available across the country.
    • Employs unified, salaried brokers, rather than working with independent, commissioned brokers.
    • Excellent rating on Trustpilot; was named top brokerage of 2021 by Canadian Mortgage Professional Magazine.
    • Offers a ‘rate guarantee’ that promises to beat any advertised rate, or you get $500.
    • High ratio and conventional mortgages
    • Closed & Open mortgages
    • Fixed & Variable Rate mortgages
    • Renewals & refinances
    • Renovation mortgages
    • Investment property loans
    • Vacation and second home loans
    • Newcomer and non-resident mortgages
    • Bad credit mortgages
    • Mortgages for the self-employed 
    • Home equity loans and lines of credit
    • Reverse mortgages
    • Cash-back mortgages

    Pros

    • Working with a mortgage broker means more loan options than a direct lender. 
    • Province-specific rates listed online.
    • Programs for newcomers to Canada (plus you can easily look for an agent who speaks your language).

    Cons

    • Mortgage features vary by lender, and you can’t easily browse them online.
    • Limited in-person locations.
    • APRs not listed online.

    True North Mortgage review

    True North Mortgage is a mortgage brokerage that was founded in 2006 in Calgary, Alberta. 

    Though it’s headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, True North has multiple office locations throughout Canada, and provides mortgages online, in-person and via phone across the country. 

    True North Mortgage partners with large public banks and small private trust companies to provide mortgages. A unique feature of True North Mortgage is that unlike many firms, its brokers do not receive a commission from whatever lender you choose. Rather, True North brokers are paid a salary so that they can provide objective guidance and help you find the right mortgage for your budget. 

    One of the mortgage options offered by True North brokers may be that of its own in-house lender, called THINK financial.

    True North offers a wide variety of mortgage products, including fixed-rate, closed, variable-rate, reverse mortgages, home improvement loans, and mortgages for investment properties and vacation homes — though some might only be available at certain times. 

    True North Mortgage’ also offers Rate Relief program offers eligible customers a 6-month mortgage with a lower-than-average rate. Upon completion of the 6-month term, you can renew the mortgage with THINK Financial (True North’s in-house lender) for an additional term. However, failing to renew with them will result in a 1% charge.

    True North Mortgage also offers a five-year, adjustable-rate open mortgage, which is unique and offers borrowers a lot of potential flexibility. Many mortgage providers limit open mortgages to terms of six months or less. 

    Finally, True North Mortgage provides services to Canadians looking to buy a home abroad, as well as mortgages for newcomers and non-residents (if allowed by the Canadian government).

    Who is True North Mortgage best for?

    True North Mortgage may be a good choice for any home buyer or refinancer who is interested in comparing loan offers from multiple lenders, or who would like objective guidance to help them make a mortgage decision.

    If you’re a first-time home buyer, a brokerage like True North Mortgage can save you time and energy by comparing loan offers from several lenders and bringing you the best options.

    Additionally, because True North Mortgage brokers do not work on commission, they have no incentive to steer you toward one lender over another. That means they are free to consider your budget and goals, and point you toward the mortgage option that’s truly best for your needs.

    True North mortgages feature overview

    Variety of mortgages available

    True North is a mortgage brokerage. This means they work with multiple lenders to find mortgage terms that work best for you. True North also offers mortgages through its in-house lender, THINK Financial. As a result of True North’s connections to multiple lenders plus THINK Financial, it has access to a wide range of mortgage types — more than you might find at a single lender.

    True North advertises the following mortgages:

    Ease of application

    You can find online pre-qualification and pre-approval forms on True North’s website, or you can apply in person.

    Mortgage rate transparency

    True North’s website displays rates unique to each province, which is uncommon among the lenders we’ve seen.

    Other details

    Because True North is a broker, it has access to mortgage products from multiple lenders. As a result, features will vary by mortgage option and the lender providing it. The examples below show features of at least some of the products to which they have access; the features you are presented with may differ.

    Increase your payments: You can increase your standard payment by up to 20% without penalty.

    Make lump-sum payments: You may be able to pay down up to 20% of your original loan on some fixed-rate closed mortgages up to once per year.

    Range of terms: True North has rates for 6 months through 10 years, though not for every province.

    Rate hold: You may see rate holds of 120 days, which is standard in the mortgage industry.

    Programs for newcomers: Newcomers to Canada with limited or no credit history may be able to get a mortgage with True North. The company’s website lets you search for a mortgage agent who speaks your language — there are 37 languages listed as of April 2024. 

    Fee disclosure: When considering a broker, it can be helpful to know how they get paid. True North discloses that their agents are salary-based (not commissioned). However, it’s important to note that even when mortgage brokers are commission-based, it’s typically the lender — not the borrower — who pays these commissions. 

    True North Mortgage eligibility requirements

    To qualify for a mortgage with True North Mortgage, as with any lender or brokerage, you’ll need to meet certain eligibility requirements. These include:

    How to apply for a mortgage with True North Mortgage

    You can begin the mortgage application process on True North’s website.

    To start your online application, click or tap on the blue “apply online” button.

    To begin your application, select the “Purchase” option. If you are just beginning your home search and are wondering what rates you might qualify for, you may want to choose “pre-qualify” instead.

    Next, you’ll need to share the amount of the mortgage you’ll need. Remember, the mortgage amount is not the purchase price; it’s only the amount you’ll need to borrow.

    Your expected timeline can inform variables like potential rate locks.

    If you’re applying with somebody else, you’ll each need to provide financial information and documentation.

    Where you live now can affect the home buying process. For example, if you currently own a home and plan to sell it, those expected proceeds will be factored into your financing needs.

    If you’re already working with a mortgage specialist at True North, you can state so on your application. If not, someone will be assigned to you.

    Alternatives to True North Mortgage

    You can compare other Canadian lenders and brokers to find the best mortgage rate for your needs if True North Mortgage is not checking off all your boxes.

    First National MortgageRBC MortgageButler Mortgage
    Lender typeNon-bank lenderBig Bank lenderMortgage brokerage
    Service areaNationalNationalNational
    In-person service?YesYesYes
    Ease of applicationDifficult (must use mortgage broker)Easy (online, phone, in-person)Moderately easy (start online, via phone, or by fax)
    Mortgage varietyAbove averageAverageAverage

    Frequently asked questions about True North Mortgage

    Is True North Mortgage a bank?

    True North Mortgage is a mortgage brokerage; its salaried mortgage brokers can help you compare loan offers from a variety of lenders. True North Mortgage also has an in-house lending division, known as THINK financial.

    How long has True North Mortgage been in business?

    True North was founded in Calgary in 2006, by Dan Eisner.

    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 True North Mortgage calculate 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%.

    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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