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Getting a mortgage over 60

Explore mortgage options if you're over 60 whether you're a snowbird or buying a home in Canada.

If you’re 60 years or older and looking to buy a new home, your age alone isn’t enough to prevent you from getting a mortgage — but if you’re retired, you’ll need to show you can still meet the repayments through your retirement income.

Is there a maximum mortgage age limit?

No. It’s illegal for a mortgage lender to decline you based on your age alone. As long as you’re able to meet the financial requirements, you can qualify for a loan at any age.

Does my age affect my mortgage?

While your age won’t disqualify you from getting a mortgage, other personal financial factors like your income (including pension or disability payments), total debt load and down payment amount, can all impact your mortgage approval decision. Lenders just want to ensure you’ll be able to afford repaying the mortgage.

Can a retired person get a mortgage in Canada?

One of the requirements for most mortgages is proof of a steady income, which can be trickier if you’re retired or if you’re about to retire. You’ll need to show the lender that your retirement status won’t affect your ability to repay the loan.

What do I need to do to take out a mortgage if I’m over 60?

You’ll need to be able to prove your ability to repay the loan. Your lender will check for:

  • Proof of income. If you’re retired, you’ll still need to prove that you’re receiving a steady income and will be able to make consistent loan payments. This can include a combination of pension and retirement plan payments.
  • Debts. This includes any outstanding debts, such as credit cards, loans and current mortgages.
  • Debt-to-income ratio. Mortgage providers will look at your income in comparison to all your debts to determine if you can afford to take on a mortgage. To qualify for a mortgage, it’s recommended that your total debt load not exceed 44% of your gross income including your total monthly housing costs plus all of your other debts.
  • Credit score. A good credit score will make a big difference when it comes to lenders. If your score is less than ideal, consider using a credit repair service before applying for a mortgage.

How to get your mortgage application approved

While it can be more difficult to get a mortgage if you’re retired or planning on retiring soon, it’s possible with the right preparation. To increase your chances of being approved:

  • Make a retirement strategy.
    If you’re still working, get a plan in place for how you’ll continue to pay your mortgage once you retire. This can include your retirement accounts, pension and a plan showing how you will afford your payments each month.
  • Minimize debt.
    The amount of debt you have is a crucial factor a lender will take into account when assessing your loan application. Pay down existing debt before you apply to increase your chances of approval.
  • Save a bigger down payment.
    The more money you have saved, the more money the bank will be willing to let you borrow. If you can display proof of savings and regular financial discipline, your borrowing power will increase.
  • Provide extra financial evidence.
    Bring as much financial information as possible when you apply for a loan. For example, if you’ve successfully repaid a previous mortgage, including this in your application will show that you’re a reliable borrower. If you own an investment property that’s paid off, bring information on the most recent appraisal to prove that you can sell it as a source of income if needed.
  • Ask an expert.
    If you’re having trouble getting qualified, consider using a mortgage broker. A broker will be able to help you find the lender and loan most suitable for your needs, and can offer advice and assistance on how you can put together the best possible loan application.

Buying a home in a retirement community

If you’re interested in moving into a retirement community, find out if they sell condos or single-family homes before applying for a mortgage. Some retirement communities look like they’re made of traditional houses, but are actually detached condos.

While it is possible to get a mortgage for a detached condominium, you’ll likely need to make a higher down payment — especially if the community’s homeowners association doesn’t meet certain standards.

Canadians buying property in the US

US and Canada flags

A number of Canadians escape the cold by jet-setting to southern US states like Florida, California and Arizona for the winter months. Many snowbirds are retired, but being retired isn’t necessary for that lifestyle.

Individuals interested in the snowbird lifestyle often avoid buying US property because of common misconceptions.

Some Canadians believe that they must go through a US lender, which requires a US credit score. Since most Canadians don’t have a US credit score, they avoid the mortgage process entirely.

In reality, Canadians can obtain financing with a local bank in Canada, so long as that bank also operates in the US state they are looking to buy in. A number of Canadian banks operate in Florida, California and Arizona and can help Canadians fulfill their snowbird dream.

Canadian banks that can offer snowbirds mortgage options to buy a home in the US include:

  • RBC offers mortgages to Canadians in all 50 states
  • TD Bank offers mortgages to Canadians in Florida, New York, North and South Carolina, Virginia and 11 other states
  • CIBC offers mortgages to Canadians in California, Florida and 5 other states
  • BMO offers mortgages to Canadians in every US state

What about exchange rates and taxes?

If you’re considering the snowbird lifestyle, but are fearful of foreign exchange risk and tax implications, don’t worry, there are lots of options.

Many snowbirds will try to pay for most things in cash, which exposes them to foreign exchange fluctuations. Instead it’s important to realize there are cross-boarder banking products designed to help Canadians save on US purchases – products like international chequing accounts and US/Canada credit cards – which offer no or low foreign transaction fees.

Tax implications of owning a property in the US may also seem daunting. Fortunately, Canadian banks that help you finance your US property purchase and specialize in cross-border purchases, have experts that can assist with these types of taxation questions.

If you are one of the many Canadians who consider themselves snowbirds, or you want to be one, it’s worth looking into all of your options to make sure you’re making a financially sound decision.

How do I find the best mortgage?

While the best mortgage will depend on your needs and financial situation, look for:

  • Low interest rate. Even a small difference in the interest rate can have a major impact on the total you’ll pay for the home.
  • Minimal closing costs. Closing costs generally range from 2% to 5% of the home’s value. On a $250,000 home, that’s a $7,500 gap. Securing low closing costs, or negotiating a deal where the seller pays the closing costs, can save you thousands.
  • Additional repayment flexibility. A loan that allows you to make unlimited additional repayments means that you can pay down your debt quicker and minimize the interest you pay, which is especially important if retirement is just around the corner.

For more details on the features you should look for in mortgages for people over 60 years old in Canada, check with a mortgage broker and ask for advice tailored to your needs and situation.

Compare mortgage lenders

1 - 2 of 2
Name Product Interest Rate (APR) Loan Term Min. credit score Provincial availability
Homewise Mortgages
Varies
Varies
600 (recommended)
AB, BC, MB, NB, NL, NS, ON, SK
Homewise's personal advisors can get you mortgage rates from over 30 banks and lenders.
BMO Mortgages
7.06%
5 Year Fixed Rate
600
All of Canada
Get up to $4,000 cash back with a new BMO fixed or variable rate closed term mortgage or Homeowner ReadiLine. Ends June 30, 2024.
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What are the risks of mortgages for seniors?

If you’re retired or planning to retire soon, taking on new debt can be a risky endeavor. If your expenses are higher than expected, you could end up having to postpone your retirement or go back to work to make ends meet. And if your retirement money is tied up in stocks, you could end up in financial trouble if the economy takes a downturn.

Bottom line

Getting a mortgage when you’re over 60 is almost the same as getting a mortgage when you’re younger — but you will need to prove a source of income if you’re no longer getting pay stubs. To get the best deal, compare mortgage lenders before getting started.

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