Andy Holloway, Financial Post · Friday, Jun. 11, 2010
While about 80% of Canadians visit a doctor at least once a year to help ensure they remain physically healthy, the number of people who check their financial health by regularly reviewing their mortgage is far less.
Plenty can change in someone’s life in a year, never mind during the standard five-year mortgage a lot of Canadians sign up for. A career change, kids, retirement or newfound money or it could be that such a major event is on the horizon. All can affect the type of mortgage that fits just right.
People often just wait for a renewal letter before they look at their mortgage, and even then they’ll likely send the contract back without considering if it is meeting their current needs because they feel changing providers or the terms is futile. But they should put just as much thought into a renewal or a review as they did when they signed the initial deal.
Home owners should annually review three main things: their current and expected future risk profile and net income as well as rates.
For example, the more adverse you become to risk, the less likely a variable mortgage will be right for you. Aside from comparing rates, Ratesupermarket.ca has a few other online tools that can help consumers figure if a change is a good thing, such as a mortgage calculator and a mortgage penalty calculator that will show how much you can expect to pay to break your existing mortgage. You can also sign up for e-mail alerts that tell you when rates change.
Even something simple such as making renovations could affect the type of mortgage desired. For example, topping up or refinancing an existing mortgage can pay for renovations, providing you’re comfortable with a blended interest rate. If you’re buying a new home, you may be able to port your current mortgage. Or maybe you just want to consolidate higher-interest unsecured debt into your mortgage. “Rolling that into your mortgage can significantly save on interest costs and that will help you get out of debt soone.