The Most Important Questions to Ask When Looking for The Best Mortgage Rate

General Krishna Menon 16 Oct

You’re probably asking yourself what is the best mortgage rate, right? Although it may seem like a pretty straightforward question, it’s quite complex. It can open the door to a number of other questions, making it almost impossible to respond to due to recent federal rule changes early this year.


Due to these changes, lenders’ costs have increased, along with the lowest mortgage rates. This specifically applies to refinancing amortizations:


  • Over 25 years
  • Million-dollar real estate properties
  • Single-unit rental properties
  • Mortgages (loan-to-value/LTV between 65.1 and 80 percent)


As a result of these changes, you need to prepare yourself with a list of questions to ask in order to secure the “best” rate in today’s mortgage market. Here are the questions that you need to ask:


  1. What is a mortgage term?
    1. Your mortgage term (or contract length) and your fixed or variable rate are the two factors that have the biggest impact on your mortgage rate. An example of this would be a five-year fixed rate, which costs 50 bps (basis points) – more than the cheapest five-year variable rate.


  1. What type of property do I want to buy?
    1. You may be looking to purchase a primary residence, a second home or a rental property. If you buy a property that you’re going to be renting out instead of residing in, than you’ll pay up to 25 bps more. The best and cheapest rates are usually found for second homes.


  1. Do I have adequate proof of my income to meet the requirements for a mortgage loan?
    1. If you can’t provide enough proof of your income, it’s unlikely that you’ll secure the lowest rate and more likely that you’ll pay at least 150 bps more.


  1. Which province and city is the property located in?
    1. No matter what anyone tells you, the province where the property is located matters. For instance, In provinces such as PEI, New Brunswick and Newfoundland the bps is nearly 30 more when compared to Ontario. City of the property also plays a role. If it’s located in a rural area then you could be looking at a minimum of 10 bps over the lowest rate due to the fact that if you don’t pay, it can be harder for your lender to sell if they have to foreclose.


  1. When is the closing date for my home purchase?
    1. For a typical 90 – 120 day rate hold you’d be looking at approximately 10 bps more, as opposed to a 30-day hold. So, the longer you want, the more you’ll have to pay.


  1. Do you need prepayment options or can you live without them?
    1. If you want to prepay on your mortgage by an additional 5 to 10 percent, lenders will charge 10 bps above the lowest rate. Currently, one of the lowest rates doesn’t allow prepayments.


  1. Can you accept refinancing restrictions?
    1. There is always the option to refinance early but your lender may charge to 10 bps more. You could be looking at 15 bps more if you’re cashing out more than $200,000 in equity.


  1. Can you pay a large penalty?
    1. Penalty stipulations for more than ¾ of fixed mortgage are far from fair. You’ll incur these if you break your mortgage before the term is up. Find out if your lender offers high or low penalty options. For lower penalty options you’ll be looking at around 10 bps more. This is much less than breaking it a high-penalty lender (i.e. a major financial institution).


This is not an exhaustive question list by any means, but it’s a great place for you to start. Of course they’re always exceptions such as asking for a renewal rate from your current lender. Just speak to your mortgage broker and ask them to send along your competitor rates. Then you won’t have to dive into all of these questions to secure the best mortgage rate.


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3 Ways to Save a Down Payment for a Home or Any Other Big Purchase

General Krishna Menon 3 Oct

What are the best ways to save a down payment for a home? Well, we’ve concocted this list just for you! Not only can you apply them to your new home down payment saving plan, but you can also apply them to any other big money purpose in the foreseeable future. This could include:


  • A vehicle/RV
  • A vacation
  • Extra money to pay off your debts
  • Retirement savings


This is the starting step to achieving all of your financial goals. Here are ways that you can save, save, save.


If you often eat out, like to travel, keep up with modern technology and expensive brands, saving may not be so easy. You have to set your priorities and decide on what’s most important to you. If you really want to buy a home, then you may have to limit your spending.


Once you putting your home purchase on the top of your priority list, think of other ways you can cut back on spending. This will enable you to keep adding the buck to your savings account. To determine where cutbacks can be made, create a budget or seek financial expertise, maybe from a mortgage broker.

Decrease Your Debt and Interest Payments

It can be quite difficult to save if you’re paying many debts or a lot of interest on your debt. You’ll want to pay off all debts, starting with the smallest high-interest first. With the money you’ll save from your minimum monthly payment on the paid off debt, put this toward the next small, high-interest debt until it’s paid off. Then you’ll have two minimum payment amounts you can use to payoff the third, and so on.


You will not qualify for a mortgage if you have too much consumer debt, so this is an essential step in the process that shouldn’t be overlooked.


Find Cheaper Ways to Do Things

You can still have fun, just find a cheaper way to do it. For example:


  • Borrow books from the library instead of buying new ones all the time
  • Rent movies and watch them at home instead of going out to a movie theatre
  • Stop spending money dining at expensive restaurants, and either find cheaper restaurants, deals or simply dine more at home.
  • Adopt cheaper hobbies
  • Cut back on your clothes shopping habits. Look for sales and clearance items or find happiness in your current wardrobe.
  • Limit your expensive travels and think or travel ideas that an less expensive and closer to home
  • If you’re out with the family buy less drinks and snacks on the road. Eat at home before you go and when you return. Find fun, family community activities that are inexpensive or free.


With even adopting one or maybe two of these lifestyle changes, you can begin to save for your purchase in no time. The key is to resist the temptation to spend, and consider alternatives that may be cheaper.


At the end of the day, if a home is really want you want you need to be willing to make some sacrifices in order to put your achievement plan into action. Need help getting started? Speak to My Milton Mortgage today.