Since the pandemic, more and more of our lives have moved online. We use the internet for work, family events, job applications, and even doctor’s appointments. Scotiabank is following suit and trying to revolutionize the mortgage process by offering a completely digital experience through their eHOME online mortgage hub.
Combined with some of their other flexible lending options, this might give Scotiabank the advantage over other Big Six banks with similar interest rates. Use our mortgage comparison tool if you are ready to jump right into comparing Scotiabank’s rates to other lenders. Otherwise, keep reading to discover whether Scotiabank is the right choice for your mortgage.
- Who is Scotiabank?
- Applying for a Scotiabank mortgage
- Scotiabank Mortgages pre-approval process
- What sets Scotiabank apart from other banks
- Getting the best rate from Scotiabank
- Scotiabank mortgage options
- Scotiabank special offers for mortgages
- Scotiabank Prime Rate
- New Canadian residents
- Scotiabank Mortgages pros and cons
- Scotiabank mortgages: the takeaways
Who is Scotiabank?
Scotiabank, formerly the Bank of Nova Scotia, started in 1832 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The bank has grown significantly from its humble East Coast roots and is now known as the third largest bank in Canada, with over 92,000 employees serving more than 25 million customers across the globe. Often referred to as “Canada’s most international bank”, their presence outside Canada is also quite large. You may have heard that Tangerine bank is a subsidiary of Scotiabank. Although Scotiabank owns Tangerine, its offerings and business are unrelated.
Applying for a Scotiabank mortgage
Scotiabank is leading the way for flexible and remote applications with their online mortgage hub, eHOME. While other banks also offer online applications, you will still be contacted by an advisor at some point to seal the deal.
Scotiabank is unique because you don’t need to speak with an advisor unless you want to. No branch visits are necessary, and you can get your mortgage approved from the comfort of your own home! The eHOME service also includes perks like real-time status updates, the possibility of preferred rates under the Scotia Total Equity Plan, and the ability to search houses through REALTOR.ca in the eHOME hub.
If you would prefer to speak with a representative directly, Scotiabank will set you up with one of their mortgage specialists, who can discuss your options over the phone or at a time and place that is convenient for you.
Some of the typical requirements you must meet to apply for a mortgage include:
- Must be at least the age of majority (18 or 19 years, depending on your province).
- Must be a Canadian resident.
- Provide personal information like an address and ID
- Show employment details like current job, income, and employment history, as well as be employed for at least two years.
- Must provide financial information including assets, liabilities, and gross annual income.
To calculate how much you may be able to afford as your down payment, try using a mortgage calculator. Our mortgage calculator will help you understand your options before applying by projecting how much your installments will be based on your house value and down payment.
Scotiabank Mortgages pre-approval process
In this competitive housing market, getting pre-approved for your mortgage is essential. Some realtors even require pre-approval before looking at houses so that you don’t look at homes outside your budget. Pre-approval takes away all the guesswork and stress of applying for a mortgage after finding your dream house. Instead, you will be confident and comfortable knowing you picked a home within your budget. Pre-approval is also completely free with no obligations.
Scotiabank’s pre-approval process is very similar to its regular mortgage approval process. You just fill out the online form, then Scotiabank will get back to you with your approved rates. This process involves a hard credit check and could take a few days to a few weeks depending on the bank.
Scotiabank advertises that pre-approval through their online mortgage hub eHOME can be done in just minutes. After being pre-approved, your rate will be locked in for 60-130 days, depending on the offer. Locked-in rates mean that if rates go up after you have been pre-approved, you will still be entitled to the rate on your original quote.
What if rates go lower?
If rates dip lower after you are pre-approved, Scotiabank will take the lower of the two rates. It is also important to remember that you will still need to complete the final mortgage approval process after finding your home, but pre-approval gives you a good head start.
Using a mortgage calculator before the pre-approval process can familiarize you with your options before you decide to lock in your down payment and house value information on the pre-approval form.
When applying for pre-approval, make sure to have the following on hand:
- Employment History
- Credit history including debt, credit cards, loans, etc.
- Banking information including account numbers/locations and assets like investments, vehicles, boats, and other real estate
- Financial statements if you are self-employed.
What sets Scotiabank apart from other banks
Scotiabank’s eHOME online mortgage hub may give them the upper hand over competitors, who don’t offer a fully online experience. As the world has become increasingly more digital, it only makes sense to have this offering. Integrating Canadian MLS listings with eHOME is another great perk.
Besides the eHOME service, Scotiabank also has some helpful tools and articles on its site. These resources, combined with the expertise from a Scotiabank Mortgage Advisor, will help you learn more about the mortgage process. Their advisors will even meet at the best location for you (home, work, etc.), saving you from a bank trip.
You can even choose to go through a mortgage broker instead of Scotiabank’s advisors if you prefer. Several big banks have stopped using mortgage brokers, so if you want to use a mortgage broker, Scotiabank may be right for you.
The banks’ programs for newcomers are also a bonus if you are a temporary or permanent resident. It can often be hard to get approved for a mortgage with a limited Canadian credit history, so the fact that Scotiabank has a whole program aimed at banking solutions for newcomers is a positive sign that they have your best interests in mind.
Getting the best rate from Scotiabank
Posted (advertised) rates are usually not the lowest rates banks offer. The same is true for Scotiabank. Like the other Big Six banks, you’re going to want to do your research and be able to negotiate rates from other banks’ comparable offers with your advisor. There is a lot of information out there, so using a mortgage rates comparison tool will help you organize your research by giving side-by-side comparisons and only showing you the information essential for negotiations.
If you choose to apply for your mortgage through eHOME, you will automatically have access to preferred (non-advertised) rates. Keep in mind that the higher your credit score, the better the rate you will be offered. If you have an excellent credit score or other assets the bank is impressed with, you could be eligible for exclusive rates that are very competitive.
Scotiabank mortgage options
Scotiabank’s offerings are similar to most of the Big Six banks, with a smattering of term lengths and open/closed or variable/fixed rates. Payments can be made weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly.
The bank’s most unique offering is The Long and Short Mortgage, which combines both variable and fixed interest rates. One section of the mortgage payment will always stay the same thanks to the fixed rate, while the other section will fluctuate with a variable rate, letting you take advantage of times when the prime rate falls. Mortgage offerings from Scotiabank include the following types. Remember that you can compare Scotiabank’s mortgage rates and products with our mortgage comparison tool.
Fixed-rate closed mortgages
It is available in term lengths ranging from 1 to 10 years. There are no surprise payment increases, as the fixed rate will remain the same over your term. There is no ability to pay off your mortgage early or make larger payments. You do have the possibility of receiving up to 5% of the principal amount upfront.
Fixed-rate open mortgages
This is available in 6-month or 1-year terms. The fixed interest rate provides security, so you always know how much your payments will be. It is the most flexible option available.
You can pay off your mortgage early, or make larger payments anytime. The short terms allow you to change your mortgage sooner than with other options. However, the interest rate is typically higher than closed mortgages. It is great if you will be selling your home soon.
This is a 6-month term mortgage that you can convert to a 1 year or longer-term closed mortgage at any point with no charge.
Variable Flex mortgages
These come in 3 or 5-year, open or closed terms. They have a low rate with an option to convert to a fixed-rate closed mortgage at any time for 5-year terms.
Scotia Total Equity Plan (STEP) Mortgage
It combines the benefits of a mortgage and a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). You can access funds up to 80% of your home’s value. You can link a personal line of credit, credit card, or other borrowing options with your mortgage.
Long and Short Mortgage
This has two interest rates. You take any fixed rate, closed-term mortgage and combine it with a Scotia Flex Value Variable Mortgage. It is the best of both worlds.
Scotiabank special offers for mortgages
Scotiabank offers match-a-payment and miss-a-payment offers on some of their mortgage plans. Match-a-payment allows you to pay another mortgage installment on top of your regular mortgage payment once per term. Paying an installment earlier will help you pay off your mortgage a bit faster and make you eligible to use the Miss-a-Payment option later in your term.
If you want to switch your mortgage to Scotiabank, you may be eligible for some great discounts. If you apply for a mortgage through a Scotiabank Home Financing Advisor and have a minimum mortgage balance of $100,000, you could get up to $1,200 to go towards paying any applicable fees incurred from switching your mortgage. This offer is valid on a closed variable rate mortgage with a 5-year term or a closed fixed rate with a term of at least three years.
Save on certain fees
If you choose to switch your mortgage through the online eHOME platform, you can save up to $300 in appraisal fees. You could also be eligible for $500 cashback to help cover any costs incurred from switching. This offer is also only valid for mortgages of at least $100,000 and is not available in Quebec.
You will need to switch to either a closed variable rate mortgage with a 5-year term or a 2-, 3-, 4-, or 5-year term on a closed fixed rate mortgage. Fees typically incur when switching mortgage providers before your term is up, so be sure to plan ahead and check the fees for changing from your current lender.
Some mortgages also offer a chance to receive up to 5% cash back based on your mortgage principal amount. Speak to a Scotiabank advisor for more information on that program. Special offers could come available anytime. Keep checking Scotiabank’s site, so you don’t miss an offer.
Scotiabank Prime Rate
For the largest banks in Canada, the Big Six, prime rates rise and fall according to the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate. As Scotiabank is part of this Big Six, their prime rate will typically follow this pattern and isn’t very competitive.
New Canadian residents
Newcomers to Canada can benefit from working with “Canada’s most international bank” thanks to the Scotiabank StartRight® Mortgage Program. The program encompasses mortgages and other financial options like bank accounts and credit cards. The StartRight program has two streams, one for temporary residents and one for permanent residents. The offerings are quite flexible, letting you choose between fixed or variable rates and terms from 6 months to 10 years.
Scotiabank Mortgages pros and cons
- Works with mortgage brokers
- Convenient eHOME hub for a completely digital mortgage process
- Strong reputation
- Programs for newcomers
- Incentives for switching your mortgage
- Flexible Long and Short mortgage
- Rates aren’t very competitive
- No real stand-out products or incentives
Scotiabank mortgages: the takeaways
So, is Scotiabank’s online banking solution, eHOME, worth it? With rates comparable to other Big Six banks, eHOME might be enough to entice people who prefer to avoid in-person trips to the bank. You could get lower rates with banks outside of the Big Six, but keep in mind that you may miss out on the security and customer satisfaction that Scotiabank and the Big Six banks are known for. Every home buyer’s path is unique, so what works for one person may not work for you. A mortgage calculator or comparison tool will help you understand your mortgage options so that you can make an informed and confident choice.
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About The Author: Amanda Rogers
Amanda Rogers has a Master of Arts Degree in Child and Youth Study, taught English in South Korea, and traveled to over 25 countries. She also owns her own company, iPlume Writing Inc.
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