By: Brown Nutan

What Is an Alternative Lender?

Alternative mortgage lenders are financial institutions that operate outside the conventional banking system. They serve as viable alternatives to traditional banks and credit unions, making it possible for individuals who might not qualify for a loan through conventional means to secure mortgage financing. 


Pros of Alternative Lenders


Flexibility: Alternative lenders are known for their flexibility in approving home loans. By expanding their criteria, they open doors for borrowers who might not meet the stringent requirements of traditional banks.


Personal Finance: These lenders work with borrowers in unique financial situations. Whether you're self-employed with irregular income or have unconventional income sources, alternative lenders can provide tailored solutions to meet your needs.


Speed: Unlike the often lengthy process of applying for a mortgage with a major bank, alternative lenders offer a quicker application process. This speed allows you to seize opportunities in the housing market promptly.


Housing Market: The Canadian real estate market experienced a remarkable surge due to the Bank of Canada's historically low interest rates. Many individuals capitalized on this opportunity. Alternative lenders played a crucial role in helping applicants navigate the challenges of delayed income or unconventional financial situations, allowing them to benefit from low rates and capital appreciation.


Cons Alternative Lenders


Interest Rates: These lenders, taking on higher risk, typically charge higher interest rates. This can result in borrowers paying significantly more for their homes over time.


Fees: In addition to elevated interest rates, alternative lenders may tack on extra fees and costs, adding to the overall expense of the loan.


Predatory Practices: Some alternative lenders have faced accusations of engaging in predatory practices. This involves exploiting desperate borrowers and using unethical tactics to extend substantial loans to individuals who may not have the financial means to buy a property.


Regulations: Unlike large financial institutions, the alternative mortgage lending sector is less regulated and monitored by the government. This lack of oversight means fewer consumer protections are in place. As a borrower, it's imperative to conduct due diligence by assessing the company's compliance, legitimacy, and reputation.



Before considering the services offered by alternative mortgage lenders, take time to weigh all aspects carefully. Speaking to your real estate agent can help you navigate the process. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!