Until recently, homeowners looked forward to renewing their mortgages as they were likely renewing at a lower rate and had several financial institutions competing for their business.
Consumers were negotiating from a position of power knowing they could leave without penalty if their demands were not met.
This is no longer the case as much of the negotiating power has shifted back to the financial institutions due to the expansion of the mortgage stress test.
When your mortgage is up for renewal, your financial institution will mail a letter stating the new term and interest rate of your mortgage. In most cases, you are not subject to the mortgage stress test and are simply signing the letter to renew your mortgage — easy.
The downside to signing the renewal letter is that you are giving up your ability to negotiate. Unfortunately, if a competitor offers you a better rate you want to accept, you will be subject to the stress test to re-qualify for your mortgage.
As of January 1, 2018, all home buyers, regardless of the size of their down payment are subject to the stress test. The purpose of the test is to assess a buyers’ ability to afford mortgage payments at higher interest rates.
Borrowers must qualify based on the greater of Bank of Canada qualifying rate or your contracted rate plus two per cent. It’s a federal initiative, so only banks must follow the new rules. However most provincial-run financial institutions, such as credit union, have voluntarily adopted the stress test’s higher standards.
If you fail the stress test, you will not be able to move your mortgage and will have to accept the rate your existing lender is offering. If you are confident that you can pass the mortgage stress test, go ahead and shop around.
Gather all of the competing offers and request your current lender match the rate and/or conditions. If they are unable to so, consider moving your mortgage if the discrepancy is large enough and the new lender is willing to absorb most of the start-up costs.
I would also suggest you speak to a mortgage broker as he or she can determine the competitiveness of your renewal offer and your likelihood of passing the stress test.
If it is determined that you can pass the stress test, a broker will lay out the various options so that you are able to make an informed decision.
My top 5 tips for someone renewing their mortgage:
I am often asked what term and type of mortgage I would recommend.
When rates were declining, my product of choice was a variable mortgage. However last year, as rates began to rise, I locked into a fixed seven-year mortgage. This was the right choice for me, but everyone’s circumstances are different, so find a good broker who can walk you through all your options.
I would've given six stars if I could but this thing only let's me give 5 stars. Excellent brokerage in town Harry gives you the right advice, you can count on him for all your financing needs.
Exceptional customer service. Very friendly and caring people to work with. They reaiect your time and your hard earned money so you will be getting honest advise that protects you and your wealth.
Working with Harry was an absolute pleasure. Our mortgage approval was a bit of a process, as we were selling our present home and then using it as our down payment. But unfortunately, the market didn’t allow us to do so and Harry helped us through all of it. He went above and beyond to answer any questions we might have. What we appreciated the most was how hard he worked for us and made our purchase happen.
In today’s market not a lot of brokers can work on a deal like ours. We did our homework to find originators of our debts, but it was a daunting task and we were just going in circles until we called Harry at Majestic Mortgage. Harry answered all our questions in a professional and prompt manner and worked on our debts, he was focused 100% on providing us the best solution. Thanks Harry for all the effort and making the process quick and painless. We couldn't be happier with the service we received, and will definitely be returning to Harry.
-A. Baliswadi & K. Mahabir
It was great to have Harry Saund as our mortgage broker as first time buyers. He was very professional and everything went very smoothly with him. I would definitely recommend him to people looking to get a mortgage.