Road to home ownership: Will gig work affect your ability to get a mortgage?
The road to home ownership used to be a relatively simple, straightforward path. You graduated from school, got a steady, full-time job, saved for a downpayment for a few years and then bought a house. But that path is no longer as simple or straightforward as it was in the past. For starters, in many parts of Canada, the purchase price of homes has increased significantly more than the average starting salaries of new graduates. And, even as far back as 2017, new graduates found that obtaining a degree was no longer guaranteed to lead to a full-time job right after school.
The effects of COVID-19 have not made the path to a “steady” job any easier. And yet, among Canadians between the ages of 18-34, 18% say that COVID-19 has accelerated their plans to purchase a property. If you are planning to buy a home and curious about how you might do that if your income comes from a variety of different sources, part two of our Road to Home Ownership has more information for you.
What does gig work mean?
Whether it is referred to as temporary employment, short-term contracts or gig work, the meaning is employment of a temporary nature, whether as self-employed freelancers, on-demand online workers or day labourers. According to a recent report from Statistics Canada, gig workers represented 8% to 10% of the Canadian workforce. The effects of COVID-19 on work of this nature remains to be seen, but the same Statistics Canada study noted that the impact might be significant, depending on the industry in which one works.
However, not every gig worker is doing so because a full-time job is not available. For many, self-employment and on-demand contracts they accept and decline based on availability and interest is a lifestyle choice. With that said, whether it is by circumstance or by design, some younger would-be homeowners in Canada may wonder if their employment conditions will still allow them to get a mortgage to buy a home.
Can you get a mortgage without a full-time job?
When it comes to verifying income to get a mortgage, the T4 slip that many workers receive from employers is the easiest way to provide that information. However, those working on a contract basis may not have this document available when the time comes to apply for financing. Here are two things you can do if your income comes from non-traditional employment arrangements:
- Speak with your accountant. If you have an accountant helping to manage your taxes and expenses, tell them of your plans to buy a home and your approximate timeline. They can help structure your tax plans in a way that may increase your odds of being approved for a mortgage when the time comes to apply.
- Work with a mortgage broker. It is always worthwhile to take the time to speak with a mortgage broker to ensure you are getting the right mortgage for your personal financial circumstances. A broker can negotiate with multiple lenders to help you get the best rate possible.
The three-part Road to Home Ownership series offers information for those hoping to purchase a home in the near or distant future. Be sure to read the rest of the posts in the series and visit our website to learn more.
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