All You Need to Know About Refinancing Your Mortgage

When you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you get an idea about the value of your home, as well as the mortgage payments associated with it. The pre-approval process also guarantees a fixed interest rate for a specific period of time. You are protected against the unexpected increase in interest rates. Also, remember that you are not obligated to the bank or even the mortgage broker after the pre-approval process. There is no cost associated with obtaining a mortgage pre-approval.

Why Should you Consider Refinancing your Mortgage?

There are several reasons to refinance your existing mortgage.

You can take advantage of low-interest rates

Breaking your mortgage contract for a lower interest rate makes sense if you can save money over a long period of time. However, you need to look at the numbers, i.e. the penalty (if any) for breaking the contract, and the size of your remaining mortgage.

Homeowners with a variable rate mortgage are expected to pay three months of interest as a penalty. On the other hand, if you hold a fixed-rate mortgage, you are required to pay a penalty of more than three months of interest. In some cases, you might be required to pay an interest rate differential (IRD) penalty.

Access home equity

Another great reason to refinance your mortgage is to gain access to the equity of your home. When you decide to refinance your home, you can gain access to up to 80% of its value, minus the outstanding mortgages. This chunk of money can be used for investments, home renovation or even to finance your child’s education.

The easiest way to access home equity is by breaking your mortgage. You can also think about taking an equity line of credit or blending/extending your mortgage with the current lender.

Debt Consolidation

If you have enough equity in your home, you can use the amount to get rid of high-interest debt. For example, you can use refinancing to pay out outstanding debts such as a car loan, credit card bill or even a different line of credit. There are a variety of refinancing options that allow you to consolidate all of your outstanding debt.

How Do I Refinance My Mortgage?

Though mortgage rates these days are pretty attractive, many Canadians now are thinking about refinancing before the mortgage rates increase. You have a chance to refinance and swap your high-interest rate mortgage with a lower rate plan. But this is just one way of getting things done.

Here are some of the other options that can help you refinance your mortgage.

Break Your Mortgage Contract early

Consider breaking your mortgage contract early to make the most of a lower interest rate and access home equity. In this case, you can take on a new mortgage contract with a lender of your choice for a lower interest rate.

Add a line of credit

Adding a home equity line of credit can be your best bet if you want to access the equity in your property at your own terms. You will be responsible for making only one monthly payment to take care of the outstanding balance. Your existing lender can help you get a home equity line of credit.

Blend or Extend Your Existing Mortgage Plan

Your lender can offer a better mortgage plan by blending your existing mortgage with money borrowed at the market rate. Blended interest rates, however, will be higher than most other competitive mortgage rates in the market. Make sure you do your research and compare the new blended or extended mortgage rate with other offers before making a final decision.

What are the Costs of Refinancing Your Mortgage?

The costs depend on the strategy you choose to access home equity or to get your mortgage interest rate lowered. Regardless of the strategy, you are required to pay legal costs to the lawyer to change the type of financing on your mortgage title. If your mortgage balance is higher than $200,000, you won’t be required to pay the legal fee. It will be covered by the broker or lender.

If you decide to end your contract in the middle of the term, you are most likely to be hit with a mortgage penalty. Your lender might charge you with a prepayment penalty if you want to break the contract to take advantage of lower interest rates or you want to access home equity. In the case of fixed mortgage rates, this penalty usually is three months interest or IRD depending on which is higher. The penalty that you are required to pay is three months if you have variable mortgage rates.

Conclusion: Is Mortgage Refinancing Right for Me?

Mortgage refinancing can be used for home renovations, blending a first and second mortgage, as well as debt consolidation. If you’re still not sure whether mortgage refinancing is the right option for you, ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Are you making minimum payments every month?
  2. Do you find it difficult to handle multiple payments each month?
  3. Are you charged higher interest rates than existing market rates?
  4. Do you wish you had extra money to make other lucrative investments like purchasing stocks and bonds?
  5. Are you not satisfied with your existing mortgage plan?

If you answered yes, get in touch with your mortgage broker who can help you choose the best mortgage refinancing strategy. Remember, like any other financial decision, you need to do your research before selecting a new mortgage plan. All your questions will be answered quickly when you work with a mortgage broker. What’s better is that a mortgage broker can help you get through the process of refinancing quickly and efficiently, and more importantly, can help you find the lowest interest rate around.