Ultimate Guide to Open Mortgages

What is an “Open Mortgage”?

An open mortgage, like all mortgages, is essentially a set of rules put forth by the lender of your choosing that you will need to agree to in order for them to lend you the money.

Each type of mortgage comes with its own specific set of rules, and for “Open Mortgages”, you can expect to see the following:

  1. You can pay it off whenever you like (Prepayment Flexibility) Open mortgages allow you the freedom to pay off any portion of the loan, at any time, without penalty. This means you can make larger payments on your loan whenever you choose, without the restrictions typically found in Closed Mortgages.
  2. Interest Rate Interest rates on open mortgages are typically higher than that of their counterpart “Closed”, Due to the nature of Open Mortgages being that you can pay them off as you see fit. Flexibility and convenience comes at a cost.
  3. Term length
    • 6 Months - 5 years.
  4. Variable or Fixed Rates

    Just like closed mortgages, you will have the option to choose between a fixed or variable rate interest option.

    • Fixed rate interest is exactly how it sounds: your interest rate is fixed at a set point for the duration of your loan.
    • Variable rate interest is slightly more complicated as your interest rate will be tethered to the Bank of Canada's prime interest rate which can fluctuate substantially

Comparing Open to Closed Mortgages

Feature Open Mortgages Closed Mortgages
Flexibility for Early Repayment Offers the flexibility to pay off the mortgage partially or in full at any time without penalties. Ideal for those expecting to make large lump-sum payments. Typically restricts the ability to make additional payments beyond set limits, imposing penalties for early repayment. Suitable for those with stable, predictable finances who do not plan to pay off the mortgage early.
Interest Rates Generally has higher interest rates due to the flexibility they offer in terms of repayment. Usually features lower interest rates as a trade-off for less repayment flexibility.
Term Length Often chosen for shorter terms due to their higher interest rates and flexibility. Available in a variety of term lengths, with longer terms locking in rates.
Financial Planning Best for individuals who anticipate financial changes that may allow for early mortgage repayment or who value flexibility over interest rate savings. More suited to those with a long-term financial plan that do not anticipate significant changes in their ability to repay the mortgage.
Market Suitability Beneficial in BC’s fluctuating market for homeowners who may wish to sell their property or pay off their mortgage quickly due to changing financial circumstances. Favorable for those planning to stay in their home for the long term and who benefit from lower interest rates.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Mortgages

Open mortgages are popular for their freedom & flexibility, however, as with most things there is always a little give and take, below are a few advantages and disadvantages between open and closed mortgages.

The Advantages

Flexibility in Payments

Open mortgages allow borrowers to make additional payments or fully repay their mortgage at any time without penalties, ideal for those receiving unexpected funds.

Suitability for Short-Term Financing

These mortgages are great for borrowers planning to sell their property soon or expecting major financial changes.

The Disadvantages

Higher Interest Rates

Open mortgages typically come with higher interest rates than closed mortgages, increasing the overall cost for those who don't utilize the flexible repayment options.

Cost Efficiency Over Time

Without utilizing the option to make early repayments, the higher interest rates of open mortgages can lead to higher long-term costs compared to closed mortgages.

Eligibility Criteria for an Open Mortgage

Credit Score

A good credit score is crucial for securing a mortgage. It shows lenders that you are responsible with credit and likely to make your mortgage payments on time. Most lenders look for a credit score of at least 620 for an open mortgage. A higher score can lead to better interest rates.

Income Amount

The amount of your income is extremely important when applying for a mortgage. Lenders prioritize a borrower's ability to make consistent payments, which is largely determined by their income level. They often require proof of steady, reliable income to ensure that the borrower can sustain mortgage payments over time.

Income Stability

Along with the amount, the stability of your income is vital. Lenders need to see a stable and reliable income to be confident in the borrower’s ability to handle long-term payments. This typically involves providing proof of employment or a consistent income history.

Income Verification

Lenders are going to require proof to illustrate the above mentioned income amount and stability to ensure the borrowers can meet the required criteria. This process involves submitting documents such as pay stubs, tax returns, and employment letters. For self-employed individuals, additional documentation such as profit and loss statements or business bank statements may be necessary to demonstrate income stability.

Debt-to-Income Ratio

This ratio measures the percentage of your income that goes towards paying debts. A lower debt-to-income ratio is preferable, as it indicates to lenders that you have enough income to cover additional mortgage payments.

Down Payment

The minimum down payment for a closed mortgage usually ranges from 5% to 20% of the property’s purchase price. This depends on the total value of the home. A larger down payment may be necessary if your credit score is below the preferred level.

For more details on what's needed to apply for your mortgage, visit my section on Required Documentation.

The Application Process for an Open Mortgage

What Can You Afford (Pre-qualification)

The lending institution is going to evaluate your financial situation to determine what you can comfortably afford without financial strain. An estimate of your buying power that includes stress testing to ensure you can handle potential financial changes should they arise.

How Much They Can Lend You (Mortgage Pre-approval)

The lender is going to take a closer look at your financial history and credit score to determine exactly how much they are able to lend you. This process not only specifies the loan amount you are eligible for but also may outline the interest rates you might face.

These are crucial steps in establishing a clear budget, ensuring you focus on homes that are financially feasible.

The Formal Application

Once you’re pre-approved, the next step is to submit a formal mortgage application. This is going to involve providing detailed information about the property you intend to purchase as well as your personal and financial information.

Assessment and Approval

After submitting your formal application, the lender is going to assess all the details, including a thorough appraisal of the property, and possibly additional financial checks to confirm your eligibility.

After everything meets their criteria, your mortgage application will be approved, moving you one step closer to securing your new home.

Closing the Deal

In this final step, you'll sign the mortgage documents and take care of the legal details, like transferring the property title and registering the deed. A lawyer will handle these aspects to make sure everything is done correctly. Once all the paperwork is in order and approved, the funds are released, and you can officially complete the purchase of your home.

Know Your Rights!

Navigating mortgages can be tricky, and BC has its own specific rules. Understanding these laws and regulations will help you make smart decisions and protect yourself throughout the process.

What You Need to Know:

  1. BC Mortgage Laws
    These rules cover how lenders operate, what they have to tell you, and your rights within a mortgage agreement (like being able to back out within a certain time).
  2. Mortgage Insurance
    If you're putting down less than 20%, you'll likely need mortgage insurance. BC works with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and other providers for this.
  3. Your Rights
    You have the right to clear explanations about your mortgage, a fair application process, and more! This includes understanding the flexibility and prepayment options that open mortgages offer.
  4. Your Responsibilities
    This includes being honest about your finances and making those payments on time. With open mortgages, it is important to understand the terms for making extra payments or paying off the mortgage early.

How a Mortgage Specialist Can Help!

Navigating mortgages alone can feel overwhelming, especially with BC's specific regulations. A mortgage specialist acts as your expert guide, empowering you to make smart choices:

What you need to know:

  1. Personalized Advice
    Every financial situation is different. A mortgage specialist takes the time to understand your goals, income, and credit – then helps you find mortgage options that truly make sense for you, including flexible open mortgages.
  2. Explaining Your Options
    Mortgage terms and jargon can be confusing. A specialist breaks everything down into plain language, so you fully understand your choices.
  3. Informed Decisions
    With a clear picture of the pros and cons of different mortgage products, including the freedom and prepayment options of open mortgages, you can make decisions that align with your financial needs and long-term plans.
  4. Avoiding Costly Mistakes
    From hidden fees to unfavorable terms, a mortgage specialist helps you sidestep pitfalls that could cost you money down the road.
  5. Your Advocate and Insider
    Mortgage specialists understand the industry and BC's regulations. They work on your behalf, negotiating with lenders and ensuring you get the best possible deal.

Think of a mortgage specialist as your personal mortgage compass, helping you make the right financial move for your future!

My name is Bonnie Thorlakson, and I'm a Mortgage Specialist for one of Canada's top lending institutions. My primary goal is to create success stories and happy clients, fostering long-lasting relationships and repeat business.

The easiest way for me to achieve this goal is to provide the absolute best products and services available so that their decision moving forward is always a clear one.

This is what you are going to get in choosing to work with me. Join my long list of happy clients – Request a call and I will be in touch shortly.



  •   I will come to you!
  •   We can meet at one of our several locations?
  •   Or perhaps a local coffee shop or business?
  •   (250) 300-4845 (Call or Text)


I love being a Mortgage Specialist in this beautiful Okanagan Valley.

My passion lies in creating strong, lasting relationships with my clients and their families. Talk to me about your hopes, dreams and goals. Provide me with transparency and I will provide you with the absolute best mortgage solution and rates to meet your needs.

~ Bonnie Thorlakson
Commitment, Achievement, Compassion, Caring and Passionate.

1999 - 2024© Bonnie Thorlakson
I make buying a home EASIER...        WS Terms | Policies | Credits