Whether you are buying your first home or looking to get into something bigger for your growing family, chances are you’ll need a mortgage. Here are five relatively simple mortgage tips that I’ve used personally that will help you save money year over year.
1. Verify Your Credit
Don’t assume that just because you have always been a good consumer and have always paid your bills that your credit is fine. Personally speaking when I performed a credit check on myself they had the wrong employer listed, an incorrect address, and several other mistakes. Get these things fixed before you start applying for a mortgage. The recommendation is to have your credit report ordered and reviewed every one or two years from Equifax or TransUnion and to correct any issues immediately.
2. Get Pre-Approved Rate
I can’t stress this one enough. This is a relatively simple process that will guarantee you a rate if and when your home purchase is made. I speak to people daily who, despite the recommendation to get a pre-approved rate in writing, take out pen and paper to determine what they can afford rather than get something in writing from a lender. Remember, this rate is guaranteed so if rates go up you get the lower rate and if they happen to go down? Simply get the new rate in writing. It only takes a few minutes and it’s painless.
3. Shop the Rate Around
Once the home purchase is made shop the rate around. You may feel some loyalty to your bank but if another lender is able to save you thousands over the life of the mortgage you should reconsider. If the rate is a point or two off you may consider leaving it at your bank for convenience sake.
4. Minimize the Borrowed Amount
It’s easy for anyone to sit there and tell you that you should put 20% down on a home purchase but there is a point to be made. If putting down less than 20% you’ll have to get mortgage insurance which will increase your payments. Now, if you are renting somewhere at the moment it may make sense to purchase anyway even with the CMHC insurance tacked on. Only by sitting down and doing the hard math will you be able to determine what scenario is best for you. With home prices rising as they are it might make sense to make the purchase with less than 20% down. The worst thing you can do is go into any situation “blind” and without knowing your numbers.
5. Payment Schedule
By paying bi-weekly versus monthly you’ll be paying off your mortgage more quickly and saving money in the process. Many plans offer the opportunity to pay down the mortgage at the end of the year as well but be careful to spread yourself too thin. You also want to enjoy life and not be a slave to the mortgage.
It might sound like checking your credit and getting pre-approved for a mortgage is a pain but both can be done in about 10 minutes and, speaking from experience, may end up saving you thousands!
Call Richard at 416-277-8025 if you want an experienced Realtor who can guide you through the home buying process by providing you with mortgage tips and contacts to make the dream of home ownership a reality.