Stop!…do not pass go…do not collect $200…go directly to your mortgage broker! They will look at ALL your options. Whether it is to stay with your current lender or explore the many others out there. They will make sure you are getting the best deal for your specific needs.
A lot of people renew with their current lender and don't even think about switching to another one, despite the fact that they could do better.
But don't just fixate on the interest rate. The amortization period, the rate type (fixed or variable) and the flexibility of the payment schedule can be crucial to lowering your costs. The cheapest rate may not be the best rate so always read the small print before you sign. Make sure the rate you choose offers other options such as the ability to pay extra on your mortgage and clearly defines any penalties should you decide to break your mortgage early. Penalties vary greatly between lenders. (read our blog: No Two Penalties are Created Equal) If you are not careful, it could cost you thousands, even tens of thousands, more to break a mortgage at one lender, compared to another. Many banks with offer those great upfront rate deals, but what you may not know is that they buried the cost into that mortgage. Some do it via a “cash back offer” that you have to pay back if you break the mortgage. One bank may make you payback a prorated amount while others will make you pay the entire amount in full plus a penalty.
A major financial institution's consumer debt survey found two-thirds (65%) of homeowners did not compare mortgages from more than one lender when they last renewed.* In fact, 20% stayed with their current lender after maturity and did not negotiate; several banks will auto-renew you at posted rates versus fully discounted rates, which can be a difference of hundreds of dollars a month. Don't renew your mortgage with your eyes closed!
Mortgage renewal is also an important time to decide if you should roll your high-interest credit cards and other debt into your mortgage to get one lower payment, boost your cash flow, and save on interest costs. Or perhaps it's a good time to take some equity out for renovations, a second property or for investing. Plus, there's no penalty if you switch at renewal time.
We work for you and are in touch with a wide variety of lenders so we can always make sure you are in the best position possible. When you are six months from renewal, be sure to contact us so we can review all of your options and strategies, not just those presented by your current lender.
There are some great options out there – let us do the work for you. We pull your credit report once but can then submit to several lenders, thus not hurting your credit rating with multiple inquiries. We save you time by shopping the lenders for you. We have access to banks, mono-line lenders and private lenders. We will find you the best mortgage product to suit your needs.
*Manulife Bank of Canada 2011 survey.