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Deposit Structure and Mortgage Approval for Pre-Construction Condos

Not a very sexy post title I know, but just because you are buying a pre-construction condo in Toronto doesn’t mean that you can avoid the world of traditional mortgages.

Normally when you buy a pre-construction condo you have to put down a series of deposits to secure your suite with the developer. How much you pay and when you pay varies. Factors affecting the deposit structure include:

  • The developer’s bank – what they require. Developers need to get mortgages too! The banks require them usually to get a 15% down payment as a minimum from purchasers.
  • When you buy – when you purchase in the condo’s marketing life cycle. The earlier you buy, the less flexibility there generally is in the deposit structure. When a project has reached their benchmark amount of units sold to get their financing approvals and permits to begin construction, sometimes they ease up on the deposit structure and this is often a good time for purchasers to jump in again.
  • The developer’s preferences and promotions. Some developers require more as a rule of thumb, some require less. Some offer promotions with flexible payment schemes, others do not.
  • Who you are. Yes, developers have been known to practice deposit structure discrimination – that is, changing the deposit structure requirements based on who the purchaser is. Usually though this ‘discrimination’ is simply tied to whether or not the purchaser is a Canadian resident (often non-residents must pay significantly higher deposit amounts).

So deposit structure on new condos varies, but usually you can find something like 15% to be paid out in 3 or 4 installments over the course of 6-9 months after initially signing the agreement of purchase and sale. Then an additional 5-10% also is usually required at occupancy (not to be confused with condo registration date).

So you have manged to scrape together the money you need for your deposits and you are ready to go ahead with your purchase. Are you finished? By no means. The developer will gladly take your 15-25%, but they also require mortgage approval for the remaining amount. Here’s an example: say you buy a 1 bedroom and den condo for $300,000. You must pay out 20% in deposits over the next 3 years. 20% of $300,000 is $60,000. That leaves $240,000 in unaccounted for funds for which you need to get a mortgage pre-approval.

Sometimes buyers have the funds for the deposits, but for various reasons, getting a mortgage approval can be tricky. If you fit into this category, tune in the blog tomorrow for some tips on how to get around this dilemma.

If you have any questions about deposit structures and mortage approvals, feel free to drop me an email any time.

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