Renewing your mortgage? Let’s talk

Consumers are becoming much more informed about mortgages and mortgage products before taking the plunge into home ownership. According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s 2013 Consumer Survey, 70% of buyers researched mortgage terms and conditions, 60% discussed the pros and cons of various mortgage products and 59% compared interest rates.Because consumers are highly engaged they are more confident about their mortgage decision, according to the survey. Still, with all that research, more than half contacted a mortgage broker to get further clarification. This is a good move, considering how much the mortgage rules have changed over these past few years. 

Buyers were also better prepared when they met with a broker with 59% organizing their personal information and documentation, which certainly makes the approval process flow faster and smoother.

The survey also found 81% of buyers were totally satisfied with the experience with their broker and would most likely use that broker again. An overwhelming number – 75% — would highly recommend their broker to family and friends.


For most homeowners, their biggest monthly expense is a mortgage payment.  Yet the survey found that 39% of households automatically renew their mortgages when the term is up instead of trying to find a better deal. When you’ve done your homework prior to purchasing a home, it only makes sense to do as much research at renewal time.  Quite often the renewal rate offered to you by your lender is higher than the market average.


There may also be material changes in your household. Perhaps you’ve started a family, or one of you is retiring. This is another good time to contact your mortgage broker to go over your financial situation and see what makes sense for you to do.

Here are some tips to make sure you’re getting the best mortgage product for you:

  • Get going early
  • Contact your mortgage broker four to six months ahead of renewal time. Most lenders will guarantee a discounted rate for four months, but your renewal agreement is usually sent only 30 days ahead of your maturity date.
  • Do your homework 
  • Let your mortgage broker shop the rates for you and get you the best deal, tailored to your particular situation. If you decide to switch lenders, there are no penalties at renewal time.
  • It’s not always about rate 
  • Don’t just fixate on the interest rate. There are other options that may appeal to you such as changing the amortization period or changing the rate type.  Your mortgage broker can help you navigate these options.
  • Let your broker negotiate on your behalf 
  • If you don’t like negotiating and don’t have the time to do the research, your mortgage broker will do the legwork for you. Homeowners who use a broker at renewal time usually pay less than those who don’t use one. A study by The Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals found that of those who renewed with a mortgage broker in 2012 and early 2013 nailed a rate that was, on average, 0.91 of a percentage point below what they paid previously.

Guy Ward is a Mortgage Broker in Calgary, Alberta with TMG (The Mortgage Group Alberta).