3 Questions To Ask When Choosing Between a Fixed or Variable Rate Mortgage

fixed or variable rate mortgage

If you are rate shopping, you’ll notice that the lowest available rate will be for a variable mortgage. Which is why we’re often asked: “What does variable mean and how is it different from a fixed-rate mortgage?”

With a variable mortgage, your rate will move in conjunction with your lender’s Prime lending rate, which in turn tracks the Bank of Canada’s rate, and will typically be quoted as Prime minus a specified percentage. The challenge is that you cannot predict what kind of rate ups and downs might be ahead of you.

Fixed Rate Mortgage

With a fixed-rate mortgage, your payments are the same for the term of the mortgage, offering stability. Fixed-rates are typically better suited to first-time buyers or those who haven’t owned a home for a very long period.

Ask yourself these questions:

Do you:

  1. like or need to know exactly what your payment is going to be over a longer period of time?
  2. want to avoid the need to watch rates?
  3. have less than 20% down?

If you answered “yes” to all or most, a fixed-rate mortgage could be the better choice for you.

Variable Rate Mortgage

A variable-rate mortgage is best suited to people who have a flexible budget and can tolerate slightly more risk.

Ask yourself these questions:

Do you and can you:

  1. watch market conditions?
  2. handle any rate increases that could increase your payment?
  3. have more than 20% equity in your home?

If you answered “yes” to all or most, a variable-rate mortgage might best suit your needs.

Most variables allow you to exercise an option to “lock in” a fixed rate at any time for the remaining portion of your mortgage term or longer. You can also set up your payments at what they would be if you took the higher rate, which helps you pay down your mortgage faster, and creates a financial buffer for you if rates should rise later.

What is your comfort level of uncertainty

If the uncertainty of a variable rate is going to give you sleepless nights, you’re in good company. Many Canadians prefer the certainty of a fixed-rate mortgage. They know exactly how much they will pay over the term of their mortgage, and they can plan accordingly… with no financial surprises.

However, lower-rate variable mortgages with a strong Prime minus may offer to give you the potential to save a lot on interest. And, if your circumstances change and you need to get of out of your mortgage, you will appreciate the lower penalty to get out of a variable versus a fixed-rate mortgage.

Get all the information that you need

Your best option is to get professional and personalized advice. We would be happy to help you determine which option is best suited to your needs.

Get in touch with us or call us at 519-250-4848 Address: 3345 Dougall Ave. Windsor, Ontario (across from McDonald’s).



  1. Morgan says:

    I really like the fact that they have made a calculator here which can be used to calculate the cost separately. I would also recommend this calculator to my friends in the business.

  2. For a first time buyer like me this is a holy grail. Thanks for making this easier to understand, now I really made up my mind. I prefer the variable rate.

  3. I love this insight about variable mortgage . Thanks for sharing this information.

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