When it comes to mortgage refinancing there can be may questions that arise. Should I consider mortgage refinancing? How does mortgage refinancing work? When should I consider refinancing my mortgage? Here is a mortgage refinancing FAQ to help answer these questions and more.
It can be challenging to decide if you should refinance. Especially with house prices and mortgage rules constantly changing and mortgage applications being reviewed under stricter guidelines now. In the past, one used to be able to refinance their home up to 100% of the value at the same great low interest rates that you get when purchasing a home. However, over the last few years there has been changes. For example, the maximum refinance amount can be no greater than 80% of the value of your home now. Also, many lenders are now charging a higher interest rate for a mortgage refinance than for a purchase mortgage. This is due to a refinance being an uninsurable mortgage.
There are still some great options available however for those who qualify to refinance. Also, when interest rates are declining, if the rate you have is currently higher than the rate you could achieve on a new mortgage, there may be the option to save interest with the new lower rate.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself when deciding if you should refinance:
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it may be a good time to explore mortgage refinancing options.
Refinancing your mortgage may not be the best idea in the following situations.
When considering refinancing you should also look to your goals. Is your goal to borrow some of the equity available from your property value increasing? Perhaps your goal is to pay off higher interest rate credit cards, loans and or lines of credit with the lower mortgage rate.
It is important to evaluate the pros and cons of mortgage refinancing. Especially if you are refinancing to take advantage of a lower interest rate. Other factors such as the penalty and fees, if applicable, need to be taken into account.
Some costs associated with refinancing may be a discharge fee to leave your current lender. This arises when looking to refinance with a new lender. Also, the cost of an appraisal to determine the current value of your property. In addition, there can be legal fees to register the new larger mortgage amount.
If it is a declining mortgage rate environment, it’s a great time to reach out to an Ottawa mortgage broker to help you calculate if refinancing can save you money. Mortgage brokers in Ottawa will be able to review the costs associated with mortgage refinancing. They can then compare this to thevalue of the refinance and see what is the best option for you.
If the value of your house have not increased substantially since you first got your mortgage, there may not be very much funds available to refinance. For example if you bought your house a few years ago and only put 5% down, you may not have passed the 20% equity mark when looking to borrow up to 80% of the value of the home. In this case you would have to wait a little longer until you can refinance.
An example calculation to see how much you can borrow is:
For example, if your mortgage balance is $200,000 and your house is worth $400,000 you could borrow an extra $120,000.
Learn more: Free property evaluation tool
Learn more: Better Business Bureau real estate appraisers in Ottawa
It fixed rates are lower than your current variable interest rate than you may consider converting your variable interest rate into a fixed interest rate in order to secure the lower rate for a set term. For example, a 5 year fixed mortgage term.
Learn more: 5 year fixed rate mortgage
As I mentioned earlier, you should know your goals when looking at mortgage refinancing. Is your goal to borrow the equity from your increased property value or to achieve a interest rate that is lower? Perhaps you are looking to consolidate debt?
Sometimes just trying to achieve a more favourable interest rate is not a substantial enough reason to refinance. It’s important to look at the overall pros and cons of refinancing. Talking to the best mortgage broker in Ottawa can assist with discovering out the various pros and cons of mortgage refinancing. When interest rates are decreasing however if refinancing makes sense. It can be a great time to secure a lower interest rate.
If looking to switch to a another lender there can be a variety of fees to break your current mortgage. For example, to discharge the current mortgage and have your property appraised. Plus, any legal fees associated with setting up the bigger mortgage.
A mortgage broker can review options with your current lender as well as options at a variety of lenders to see what is most favourable for you.
In the time leading up to your mortgage refinance, it’s important to have your finances in order. Late payments on debts for example can affect your mortgage application as you need to apply and qualify for the mortgage refinance.
If your financial condition has weekend, this may mean that you do not qualify for a lower interest rate.
There are many reasons to refinance such as employment changes that affect your finances and your current interest rate is now being higher than other interest rates available, for example. Also, maybe you would like to renovate your home or use the equity in your home to buy an investment property.
Learn more: Buying your first rental property
If you’re not sure if refinancing is the right option for you, mortgage brokers in Ottawa can help. They can review your finances and determine if there will be any added value from your mortgage refinancing.
Also, every few years it’s a great idea to reach out to your Ottawa mortgage broker and do a financial review. This is especially important if there have been any changes in your finances over the years.
Typically at renewal, this is a time when many people consider refinancing. However there are potential options to refinance during your mortgage term without a penalty.
Learn more: Mortgage renewal
Some of the most common reasons to refinance are when you've faced financial changes and you would like to either consolidate debt or reduce your mortgage payment or to obtain a lower interest rate.
Also, there may be times when you are in a variable interest rate and would now feel more comfortable in a fixed interest rate. Especially if you currently have debts with outstanding balances and the interest rate is higher than the interest rate on your mortgage. Consolidating those into your mortgage can be a good idea. With credit card interest rates over 20%, consolidating these debts can mean quite a bit of savings in interest. Plus having one payment for all your debts now can you help streamline your finances and help with budgeting.
Your home is a valuable asset and keeping it up to date is important. Mortgage refinancing can provide you the funds needed to do various upgrades to your home. These upgrades can help to increase the value of your home as well.
When refinancing, you may also want to extend your amortization which can help with cash flow by reducing the size of the mortgage payment.
There are some instances when it does not make sense to refinance your mortgage.
Decreased slightly because associated with refinancing might be higher than the benefits your obtain from the mortgage refinance.
If the value of your house has not increased substantially or it’s been a small amount of time since you purchased the home, there may not be any funds available through the mortgage refinance. For example if you are only able to obtain $5000 or $10,000, it may not be worth the effort or the cost. Perhaps seeking a personal line of credit is something you consider at this time.
If there’s instability in your finances, your job and more borrowing more money may not be the best option. Also, if you were thinking of selling your house in the near future, it may be best to wait.
If your goal is to pay the mortgage off as fast as possible refinancing means borrowing more money. This means a bigger mortgage which will affect the timelines in paying it off unless you increase the payment. When thinking about increasing the payment, it’s important to do a budget. The budget will help you be sure that the new payment works with your current financial situation. Contact me to get started with the best mortgage broker in Ottawa
Andrew Thake is a seasoned mortgage broker with over 15 years of industry experience. He’s assisted more than 2,200 clients in finding their ideal mortgage solutions. Recognized for his excellence, Andrew has received high honours and awards, including the National Rookie of the Year from TD Canada Trust and recognition as a Top 10 Ottawa Mortgage Broker in 2023. He has also been inducted into the Hall of Fame at Dominion Lending Centres and has consistently received their Platinum Award during his tenure as a mortgage broker.
Andrew’s dedication lies in serving his clients and prioritizing their needs with an empathetic approach. Throughout the application process, he provides tailored, informed, and efficient services to ensure the best mortgage solutions for his client’s unique circumstances. The best part of Andrew’s job is when he gets to see the joy on his clients’ faces following their mortgage approval.