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15 tips to save on your mortgage

Published on November 30, 2022 by Naureen Durack

Having a large sum of money at your disposal is necessary to buy a property. One solution is to take out a mortgage loan. However, the repayment of this loan can generate important expenses in the long term. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce costs and save on your mortgage fees.

1. Store your mortgage

Before taking out a mortgage loan, it is essential to compare several credit offers. This will allow you to compare the terms and conditions of the contracts presented by different institutions and to select the most suitable mortgage offer. By comparing several loans, you save a lot of time and can take advantage of the most interesting mortgage rates on the market.

2. Improve your credit rating before applying for a mortgage

Lending institutions rely on your credit rating to analyze the level of risk your application presents. This element is essential. This factor allows them to evaluate your ability to manage the loans you are granted. The better your rating, the more likely you are to obtain a mortgage loan with a low interest rate. Your credit rating is based on a number of criteria, including your payment history, credit utilization, length of time on your account, number and type of loans, and any new loan applications. It is therefore important to check your credit rating before applying for a mortgage.

3. Take the time to research the best interest rate

For your mortgage, you can choose between a fixed interest rate loan and a variable interest rate loan. A fixed interest rate means that your mortgage interest rate remains the same for the duration of your loan. This option gives you more security and better control over your budget, since the amount of the payments remains stable. You are thus protected from a possible increase in interest rates which can have a significant impact on your monthly payments.

The variable rate mortgage is influenced by fluctuations in bank interest rates on the market. This choice can represent a risk when the rates start to rise. Since the interest rate is adjusted every month, the amount of the payments can vary.

4. Put a higher down payment

When you buy a property with a mortgage, you also participate in the transaction with a sum of money. This is called the down payment. By increasing the amount of money you put towards the purchase of the property, you are assured of a lower interest rate. You can therefore save on your mortgage if you pay a large enough down payment.

5. Amortize your mortgage over a shorter period

To pay off your mortgage faster, you can choose a shorter amortization period. Extending the repayment period will lower your monthly payments, but you may end up paying more interest. As a result, you will incur more expenses in the long run.

By amortizing your mortgage over a shorter period of time, you reduce your bank interest costs. However, it is important to evaluate the situation according to your resources, because a shorter repayment period means a higher monthly payment.

6. Accelerate your payments

You can also save on your mortgage by accelerating the frequency of your payments. Instead of making monthly payments, you can opt for weekly or bi-weekly payments. This solution allows you to pay off your mortgage faster and avoid interest charges.

7. Make advance payments

Prepayments are also an option for saving money. This is possible if you have money coming in from taxes, an inheritance or an annual bonus. By making prepayments, you can pay off your mortgage over a shorter period of time. This reduces the amount of money you spend on interest on your loan. However, check with the lending institution to see if there are any prepayment penalties to avoid any additional charges.

8. Refinance your mortgage

When the situation allows it, it is possible to refinance your mortgage. This is particularly interesting if interest rates have dropped since you took out your mortgage. By refinancing, you get a new mortgage with an interest rate that may be lower than the original mortgage. The savings can often be greater than the penalty charged by your lending institution.

9. Keep the same payment amount even if the interest on the mortgage decreases

If you have decided to refinance your mortgage, the recommended approach is to keep your monthly payment the same as your old loan. Even if you benefit from a lower interest rate, you have the opportunity to make significant savings by paying the same monthly payment on your new loan.

10. Make lump sum payments

If you have an occasional influx of cash, you can make lump sum payments in addition to your regular mortgage payments. This allows you to pay off your mortgage faster and save on interest. The payment can be made before the end of the term, at the last payment date, or on certain dates specified in your loan agreement. However, it is important to check in advance whether the lending institution imposes limits on lump sum payments to avoid possible penalties.

11. Don't pay duplicate mortgage insurance

You may change banks while your mortgage is being paid off. Your mortgage is then transferred to your new institution. The new institution may require you to sign a new insurance contract for your credit. Find out what alternatives are available to avoid paying for this insurance a second time.

Mortgage loan insurance is an important element when you take out your loan. This protection is necessary when the amount of your down payment is less than 20% of the price of the property. This service is a guarantee of protection for the lending institution, since it guarantees the repayment of your loan when you are unable to meet your payments.

Among the possible solutions, you have for example the possibility of using the mortgage insurance contracted at the time of the subscription of the mortgage with your previous creditor. If the amount of the monthly payment to be reimbursed by the new institution and the amortization period of the loan are identical, the mortgage loan insurance can be kept. It is then useful to ask for the mortgage insurance certificate number from your previous credit institution.

12. Try to negotiate your penalty

Some transactions allow you to pay off your principal faster or terminate your loan agreement, but they incur additional fees. These penalties are usually applied for early repayment. Before taking out a mortgage, check the terms of your contract carefully to see if there are alternatives to avoid paying penalties. It is recommended that you use your mortgage broker. This professional will negotiate the penalties with your creditor.

13. Buy mortgage life insurance?

When you buy your home, the creditor may ask you to take out mortgage life insurance if your down payment is less than 20% of the value of the property. This term life insurance allows for the partial or total reimbursement of the mortgage in the event of the death of the subscriber. The advantage of this insurance is that it ends when the house is paid in full.

There are a few things to consider before purchasing mortgage life insurance. You can consult your insurance company to compare the offers and rates and find the best policy for your situation. This can save you money on insurance costs.

14. Don't use your reserve funds to accelerate payments

While there are advantages to paying off your mortgage faster, there are a few things you should consider before proceeding. Setting up an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses and not to accelerate your mortgage payments is always advisable. This amount will allow you to anticipate unforeseen needs and will give you peace of mind in case of a hard blow.

15. Don't have another bank loan with a high interest rate

The debt-to-income ratio is one of the parameters taken into account by creditors. To keep your ratio as low as possible, preferably below 36%, it is advisable not to accumulate other high-interest debts. You should prioritize the repayment of loans with high interest rates, since these are the debts that generate the most expenses. You should also avoid taking out a consumer loan during the term of your mortgage, as this can increase your debt-to-income ratio.

In any case, it is always a good idea to seek professional advice on choosing a mortgage that suits your situation. Your mortgage broker can be consulted in order to accompany you in all the steps of your project, from the constitution of your file to the signature of the contract. This professional will be able to guide you towards the best offers according to your budget and profile and help you save money.

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