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Whether you're already a BMO customer, or simply someone considering a mortgage with one of Canada's top five banks, read our guide to BMO rates and mortgages to learn what the financial institution offers.

Canada’s housing market has never been hotter and everyone seems to be on the hunt for a property to call their own. As one of Canada’s Big Five banks, the Bank of Montreal (BMO) is one of the first stops many Canadians make in their search for the best mortgage. To help you find the best mortgage for you needs, we’ve put together a guide to BMO’s mortgage rates and types for you to consider.

The different types of BMO mortgages

There are many considerations involved in selecting the right mortgage, but the two main things to consider are the rate and mortgage type that suit your needs. BMO features a variety of mortgage options where you can choose between variable and fixed BMO Mortgage rates, and combine them with open, closed, or convertible types of mortgages.

Should you choose a fixed or variable rate BMO mortgage?

Whether you choose a fixed or a variable rate will depend on your individual finances and what makes sense for your lifestyle.

  • BMO fixed-rate: With a fixed mortgage rate your mortgage interest rate stays the same for the length of your entire mortgage term and will not rise or fall based on market fluctuations. A fixed mortgage rate is a good choice for those who favour predictable payments and want to know how much of their mortgage they’ll pay off over the term.
  • BMO variable rate: With a variable rate your interest rate can increase or decrease when the prime rate changes. A variable rate mortgage is less predictable than a fixed-rate one, but it gives you more flexibility and if rates fall you may be able to pay off your mortgage faster. Usually, you can elect to change to a fixed-rate mortgage at any time during your mortgage term.

What kinds of mortgages does BMO offer?

With BMO you can choose between open, closed, or convertible types of mortgages.

  • BMO open mortgages: With an open mortgage, you can make as many payments towards your debt as you like without incurring a prepayment charge. This type of mortgage offers the best flexibility and allows you to pay off your mortgage faster, however interest rates tend to be higher with an open mortgage.
  • BMO closed mortgages: With a closed mortgage, you’re not usually allowed to make any extra payments without paying a substantial penalty fee (the fee usually averages about three months interest). The upside of a closed mortgage is that they have lower interest rates.
  • BMO convertible mortgages: A convertible fixed-rate mortgage is a short-term closed mortgage (usually with a term of six months) with the flexibility to convert it to a longer-term closed mortgage of a year or more at any time without any prepayment penalty fees.

How do BMO mortgage rates compare?

In Canada, the large established banks tend to offer very similar mortgage rates so you’re unlikely to find a significant difference between the Big Five’s mortgage offerings. To see if BMO’s mortgage rates are truly competitive, it’s worth comparing them to the mortgage rates offered by Canada’s online-only banks. In order to compete with traditional banks, digital banks tend to offer more attractive rates to entice clients to make the switch. It’s also worth checking out online mortgage broker platforms that let you compare the best rates from brokers across the country and thus help ensure you’re getting the most competitive mortgage rates.

Qualifying and applying for a BMO mortgage

Like other banks, BMO may vary its mortgage requirements slightly based on individual applicants (especially if you are a regular BMO client). However, there are several standard requirements needed to qualify successfully for a BMO mortgage.

  • You must be a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant resident
  • Be the legal age of majority in your province or territory of residence
  • Have not declared bankruptcy in the last six years
  • Have not been declined credit within the last six months
  • Self-employed applicants will need to show that they’ve operated their business for a minimum of three years

Once you’re ready to apply, you’ll want the following info close at hand for your application.

  • Your monthly income (before taxes)
  • Your monthly housing expenses or rent
  • Any assets you currently possess such as property, other real estate, vehicles, investments and bank accounts
  • Any debts you may have like monthly payments of your mortgage (including property taxes), credit cards, and lines of credit or loans
  • Proof of employment, such as a pay stub or a letter from your employer 

Getting a pre-approval for your BMO Mortgage

If you’re wondering about the amount and rate you’d likely get approved for, you may want to consider getting a mortgage pre-approval with BMO. You can easily apply online as well as in person at your local branch, or connect remotely with a BMO mortgage specialist. In just a day or two, the bank will get back to you with the amount you’d be approved for, and it will allow you to find out exactly how much of a mortgage you can afford. The process is free and there is no commitment.

Once you get pre-approved, BMO will lock in your rate for 130 days (the longest of any Big Five bank in Canada) and that rate will be guaranteed as long as the information you provided for pre-approval remains accurate.

Learn more about BMO mortgages

BMO mortgage FAQs

Yes. To entice people to switch mortgage providers, BMO will sometimes offer promotions (like a cash back amount) to qualifying new clients looking to change mortgage providers
You may see that on BMO’s website for each mortgage term there is both a rate and an APR percentage noted. The APR is slightly more than the rate because it represents the total cost of borrowing over your first one-year time period. The APR is a more accurate representation of what it will cost to borrow in your first year because it takes into consideration the interest rate and any additional costs and fees, such as your appraisal fee.
In Canada, mortgage default insurance is required by law when your down payment is less than 20%. Having default insurance, however, can get you a slightly better rate since BMO would be protected in the event you default on your insurance payments.

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