That tightening up of credit is starting to stymie the acquisition plans of investors looking to grow their doors beyond five or, in some cases, ten.
One of the Big Five moved late last year to apply a cap of five properties, meaning a borrower looking for financing to buy a new property can have no more than four existing properties.
In a market where more and more investors are holding onto, rather than flipping, their real estate, that threatens to limit their ability to take advantage of current interest rates and the relatively soft pricing in several key markets.
Increasingly centralized underwriting also means that investors are often unable to appeal to the branch for an exception to rigid bank rules.
Maher’s strategy of using several lenders has helped him to avoid that pitfall. He's also divided his portfolio between his personal holdings and those of his holding company.
That has helps to quiet lender fears about possible overexposure to any one investor.
Even with those kinds of systems in place, there's no getting around the growinga more formal applications process, including the demand for mountains of supporting documents, financial statements and research.
"All lenders are asking for those now," said Maher.
Are you looking to invest in property? If you like, we can get one of our mortgage experts to tell you exactly how much you can afford to borrow, which is the best mortgage for you or how much they could save you right now if you have an existing mortgage. Click here to get help choosing the best mortgage rate
“I say that you really should have at least three or four lenders that you can go to and have relationships with,” said Shawn Maher, now holding a $2.7 million Ontario-based portfolio -- one amassed in less than a decade. “You can’t rely on one lender now. Most are getting more conservative about risk and the number of doors the investor already has.”