You’ve finally decided to take the plunge and start looking for a new home. As a first time home buyer, you may be nervous about taking on the financial obligation of a mortgage, especially if you have concerns about low credit or accumulated debt. Buying a home doesn’t have to be as scary as you think, and luckily, there are ways to improve your credit score and still apply for a mortgage and get approved with an alternative mortgage lender, even if your credit isn’t where exactly where you want it.

Advice From a Mortgage Investment Corporation

A mortgage is a significant financial responsibility, and it’s recommended that you feel confident in your current financial situation before attempting to buy a house. A mortgage lender can help you to establish goals and make wise choices around your mortgage application. These 4 helpful hints for improving your credit are important to consider as you prepare to proceed with a mortgage investment corporation.

Stay on Top of Payments

Every consumer knows that the best way to improve your credit score is to stay on top of monthly payments. One late payment on your credit card may not have a drastic impact on your overall rating, but an accumulation of late and missed payments could have far-reaching consequences. Remember: making the minimum payments every month might be better than trying to tackle more than you can afford, resulting in a skipped payment the following month.

Monitor Your Credit Utilization

In the calculation of your credit score, one thing that plays a significant role is the amount of available debt that you utilize. If your credit card has a high limit, you should try to stay well below it, within approximately 10% of the maximum amount. You should follow this same practice for other debts, including lines of credit. If you struggle with running a high balance, you may want to consider asking your bank about a balance transfer.

Show Off Your Good Habits

Being eager to pay off outstanding debts is a good thing, but you shouldn’t be so rash in trying to eliminate all trace that they ever existed. Old car or student loans will disappear automatically, but it might be a good idea to hang on to credit cards or lines of credit that have been paid off as a way to show off your good habits. Rather than cancelling a credit card, keeping your balance at zero could help to improve your credit score.

Be Patient

Understand that your debt will not go away overnight; neither will your credit score improve immediately. Taking the necessary steps will take some time, but improving your score is possible and, more importantly, it’s worth it. A solid credit score can open up several options when it comes to applying for a mortgage.


How a Mortgage Affects Your Credit

You’ve taken steps to improve your credit, but you might be asking yourself, won’t a mortgage drop it right back down again? Initially, a mortgage may lower your overall score because of the significance of the loan. Due to this initial, though temporary, damage to your score, you should wait for some time before applying for other loans and services that may require a credit check. Typically, six months is an appropriate waiting period.

As you consistently make on-time payments to your mortgage and other debt obligations, your credit will gradually improve. If you are committed to a disciplined payment schedule, creditors will view your ability to handle such a significant loan with favour, and your mortgage could end up being a good thing for your credit.

Ultimately, your mortgage affects your debt-to-income ratio — keeping your amount of debt in proportion to your income is essential. When preparing to apply for a mortgage with an alternative mortgage lender, try to abstain from taking on additional debt obligations to keep your debt-to-income ratio as low as possible. While it may be tempting to rush out to buy new furnishings or appliances for your home, these purchases could impact your credit and debt-to-income ratio. Some mortgage lenders, including banks, will revoke mortgage approval if these values change significantly between the approval period and the time of funding.


Poor Credit? Talk to a Mortgage Investment Corporation

There are some circumstances outside of outstanding debts that may impede your credit score and thus make applying for a mortgage more difficult. If you are self-employed, new to Canada, or buying your first home, some mortgage lenders may reject your mortgage application for reasons beyond your control. Fortunately, there is an alternative option. Private mortgage lenders and mortgage investment corporations cater to individuals that struggle with poor credit due to certain external circumstances. If you have poor credit, you should take the necessary steps to improve it, but you should also know that you have other options.

The Bottom Line

Whether you have poor credit, or you’ve taken the necessary steps to improve your score before applying for a mortgage, a mortgage investment corporation can help you get approved. Alta West Capital is an alternative mortgage lender committed to assisting borrowers that may otherwise struggle to get approved. We offer a number of lending solutions for first time buyers, individuals and families that are new to Canada, self-employed business owners, real estate investors and more. Alta West loans are fast and flexible to fit your needs. Visit our website to apply online or contact us directly — call (403) 254-9075 or email

Advice From a Mortgage Investment Corporation

When it comes to buying a house, shopping for a mortgage lender can be just as important as shopping for your future home. Because most mortgages have a duration of upwards of 20-25 years, choosing a lender that will offer the best advice, foster a positive relationship, and maintain policies to complement your financial situation is essential. 

Finding the Right Mortgage Lender

Finding the right lender involves more than looking at competitive rates; you’ll want to work with a company that has your best interests at heart and can help you to make informed decisions about your future. A mortgage investment corporation, or an alternative mortgage lender, offers a more personalized approach to borrowing as well as more flexible options for individuals with poor credit or less fortunate circumstances. 

How to Get Started

Here are 5 steps to take as you search for the mortgage lender that’s right for you. 

1. Know Your Credit Score

When was the last time you checked your credit score? If you make regular and timely payments towards your credit cards, car loans, phone bills, and other financial obligations, the chances are your credit will be in excellent shape to move forward with applying for a mortgage. If, on the other hand, you’re prone to miss payments or you’ve allowed your debt to get out of hand, your credit score will have taken a significant hit. 

In Canada, a credit score above 700 is good while the minimum score typically needed for mortgage approval is approximately 640. If your credit score is quite low, you may want to wait to buy a house as you take steps to improve it (pay off credit cards and other recurring loans) or consider the option of borrowing from a private mortgage lender.

2. Get Pre-Approved 

Some people wonder if pre-approval is worth the hassle. The truth is, getting pre-approved before you’re ready to close the deal can actually give you a leading edge as you shop for homes, and will help you save time later. Above all, a mortgage pre-approval gives you an idea of the maximum mortgage you can qualify for and can help you estimate and calculate future mortgage payments. With your maximum mortgage amount in mind, you can start shopping for houses within a certain limit, budgeting accordingly for closing costs, moving costs, ongoing maintenance, lawyer fees, and all other expenses associated with buying a new home. 

3. Compare Loan Features

Depending on your situation, you may find it beneficial to shop around and acquire rates from multiple mortgage lenders. You may even submit requests for several pre-approvals to help you determine the right solution for your situation. It’s important to understand that not all mortgages are created equally and that rate is not the only important feature to consider. Some banks and other mortgage lenders will offer fixed or variable rate mortgages, pre-payment privileges, skip-a-payment options, and other benefits. These various features may be important to you. Because different institutions may have slightly different priorities, you’ll need to decide which offers best align with your goals.

When shopping for lenders and comparing rates, know that there is a chance these inquiries can negatively impact your credit score, so be selective, but not too picky. 

4. Know Your Options

Did you know there are several avenues to consider when applying for a mortgage? There are three main types of lending options in Canada: traditional banks, mortgage brokers, and private mortgage lenders

Traditional banks are the most popular choice, but that doesn’t mean they are the best. Banks are under certain stipulations put in place by the federal government, which may hinder your ability to qualify. Mortgage brokers are not lenders themselves but they work with lenders to help you find the best rates. In some ways, brokers have more flexibility with the solutions they can help you find. Finally, alternative and private mortgage lenders represent a smaller number of lending institutions in Canada, but due to recent changes to mortgage qualifications and difficult stress tests, they are becoming an increasingly popular option for Canadians. 

5. Do Your Homework

Buying a house could well be the most significant financial decision you make in your lifetime. For that reason, it’s not something you should take lightly. Choosing the right mortgage lender involves asking the right questions, reading the fine print, and researching the company or institution. You may consider taking recommendations from your friends or even your realtor, however, you should still perform your own research; consider looking at reviews and testimonials online and making a list of important questions to ask. Be sure to inquire about turnaround times for approval — you don’t want a delay in your mortgage to prevent you from closing on the house of your dreams. You should also discuss loam terms and estimated monthly payments for your mortgage so that you can budget accordingly. 

The Right Mortgage Lender Can Make All the Difference

Finding a mortgage lender can be a daunting task, but as long as you remain educated and informed, you’ll be able to make the decision that’s right for you. You can ask for advice from a qualified and experienced mortgage broker and learn about how to account for future home renovations and mortgage renewals in the process of applying for a mortgage. 

Whether you’re looking to borrow or invest, Alta West Capital can help. We offer a number of lending solutions for first time buyers, individuals and families that are new to Canada, self-employed business owners, real estate investors and more. Alta West loans are fast and flexible to fit your needs. Visit our website to apply online or contact us directly. Call (403) 254-9075 or email

George Botros
Chief Executive Officer

George Botros was appointed as CEO of Alta West Capital in April 2021. Prior to his role as CEO, George served as Alta West Capital’s CFO and CCO from 2014 to 2021. He has over 20 years in the lending business, participating in residential, commercial, mezzanine, and interim financing related activities.


George is also a Director of the funds Alta West administers. Prior to joining Alta West Capital, he managed Toro Financial Corporation which amalgamated with AWM Diversified MIC, an entity managed by AWC, in 2014. George was also a University Professor teaching Finance and Economics for University of Lethbridge.


George holds a Bachelor of Economics and an MBA.