Conventional Mortgage Vs Home Equity Line of Credits

What is a conventional mortgage?

A conventional mortgage is when you purchase a home with a down payment of at least 20% of the purchase price or appraised value of the home.

If less than 20% of the purchase price is used for the down payment, then the mortgage is known as high ratio and must be mortgage insured by CMHC, Genworth or Canada Guarantee.  

Benefits of a conventional mortgage:

  • There is immediately equity in your property.   
  • Your mortgage doesn’t require mortgage insurance.  
  • The rate is generally a fixed rate term of 1 to 5 years, 7 or 10 years; the payment is set for that time which allows you stability for your economic future.
  • Maximum amortization allowed is 30 years.

What is a Home Equity Line of Credit?

A Home Equity Line of Credit, known as a HELOC, is a loan in which the lender agrees to lend a maximum amount of money. HELOC can be used to pay for your children’s education, home improvements such as a new kitchen, consolidate debt or purchase a 2nd property.

The maximum loan amount that can be borrowed is 65% unless there is a fixed mortgage portion, then the maximum loan amount is 80% of the purchase price or appraised value.

Benefits of a HELOC:

  • The HELOC is not advanced at once, but you can use it like a credit card – charge it and pay it off, however you can’t use more than the credit limit.
  • Typically a HELOC is taken out over a 25 year term.
  • Minimum required payments are interest only based on the outstanding balance.
  • The interest rate is variable, but can be changed at any time at the banks discretion.
  • The HELOC can be accessed via debit card, cheques or online.

Differences between conventional mortgage and HELOC:

Conventional mortgage:

  • The balance on a conventional mortgage only goes down (unless you refinance to take out equity in your home).
  • Other lenders will allow you to “transfer” or “switch” your mortgage to them at maturity at little or no cost to you.


  • The lender can have you sign to have the mortgage registered for up to 125% of the real estate value.
  • HELOC’s are known and registered as collateral mortgages
  • Most lenders will not “transfer” or “switch” a collateral mortgage. If you wish to change lenders you’d have to discharge your mortgage and pay the fees to have a new mortgage registered.
Kent Braaten

Kent Braaten

CENTURY 21 Fusion
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