How to Compare Mortgage Interest Rates: An Essential Guide by Shelto Mortgage Brokerage

Securing a mortgage is one of the most significant financial commitments you’ll undertake. While a difference of even a fraction of a percent might seem minor, over the term of a loan, it can result in tens of thousands of dollars saved or overspent. Thus, understanding and comparing mortgage interest rates is crucial. Let’s delve into this essential process step by step.

Step 1: Understand the Basics of Mortgage Rates

Before diving into comparisons, you need to grasp the foundational concepts:

1.1 Fixed Rates – The interest rate remains constant throughout the term. This option offers stability in your monthly payments.

1.2 Variable/Adjustable Rates – The interest rate can change based on market conditions, making monthly payments unpredictable.

Step 2: Start with Your Own Financial Position

Your credit score, down payment size, income stability, and total debt play significant roles in the rate you’ll be offered.

2.1 Credit Score: A higher score can fetch you a more favorable rate as you represent a lower risk to lenders.

2.2 Down Payment: Larger down payments may result in better rates due to reduced lender risk.

2.3 Debt-to-Income Ratio: Lenders prefer lower ratios as it indicates that you are not over-leveraged.

Step 3: Use Online Rate Comparison Tools

Leverage technology to get an initial sense of prevailing market rates.

3.1 Mortgage Rate Websites: Many Canadian websites aggregate the latest rates from various lenders.

3.2 Mortgage Calculators: Tools like this help to visualize how different rates will impact monthly payments and the total paid over time.

Step 4: Consider Different Mortgage Types

Different types of mortgages often come with varying rates:

4.1 Conventional Mortgages

4.2 High-Ratio Mortgages

4.3 Open Mortgages vs. Closed Mortgages: Open mortgages have flexibility but often come with higher rates. Closed mortgages restrict how much you can prepay but might offer lower rates.

Step 5: Look Beyond the “Headline Rate”

The lowest rate doesn’t always mean the least expensive mortgage. Understand associated costs:

5.1 Penalties: Some lenders offer low rates but impose hefty penalties for breaking mortgage terms.

5.2 Additional Fees: Application fees, appraisal fees, and other costs can add up.

Step 6: Take Term Lengths into Account

Different term lengths can have diverse rates:

6.1 Short-term Mortgages (1-3 years) often have lower rates.

6.2 Long-term Mortgages (4-10 years) provide rate stability but might be priced slightly higher.

Step 7: Engage with a Mortgage Broker

A mortgage broker, especially one with expertise in the Canadian market like Shelto, can help find the best rates tailored for your situation. Brokers have access to a broader range of lenders and rates.

Step 8: Review Rate Holds

If you find an excellent rate but aren’t ready to commit, see if the lender or broker offers a rate hold. This secures the rate for a specific period, generally between 30 to 120 days.

Step 9: Understand Rate Fluctuation Factors

Interest rates aren’t arbitrary. They’re influenced by:

9.1 Central Bank Decisions: The Bank of Canada’s overnight rate directly impacts lending rates.

9.2 Economic Indicators: Inflation rates, unemployment data, and GDP growth can sway interest rates.

Step 10: Negotiate

Once you’re equipped with knowledge, don’t hesitate to negotiate.

10.1 Ask for Rate Matches: If one lender offers a great rate, see if another institution will match or beat it.

10.2 Discuss Waivers or Discounts: Some lenders might waive fees or offer discounts to secure your business.

Step 11: Re-evaluate Periodically

Mortgage landscapes change. Even after securing a mortgage:

11.1 Monitor Market Rates: Stay updated with market fluctuations.

11.2 Consider Refinancing: If rates drop significantly, refinancing can save substantial sums.


Comparing mortgage interest rates might seem daunting, but with methodical research and expert guidance, you can navigate this terrain efficiently. Remember, the goal isn’t merely to find the lowest rate but the most holistic, cost-effective mortgage solution. Partnering with experienced professionals, like us at Shelto, can make the process smoother and more beneficial in the long run.

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