Mortgage Payment Frequency Options

There are many factors that may influence your choice of payment frequency, including your budget flexibility and when your pay cheques come in each. Moreover, your ability to take on slightly larger payments will enable you to minimize total interest paid and pay off your mortgage quicker.

Monthly

Your mortgage payment is withdrawn from your bank account on the same day each month; making 12 payments per year.

Bi-Weekly

Your monthly mortgage payment is multiplied by 12, then divided by pay period per year.

Accelerated Bi-Weekly

Your monthly mortgage payment is divided by 2; this amount is withdrawn every two weeks. Like Bi-Weekly, you are making a total of 26 payments per year, however, the payment amount is slightly more. So, you accelerate paying off your mortgage and will be paying less interest total.

Using a Guarantor

A guarantor or co-signer assures payment responsibility if the primary borrowers default. They will enable the applicant to qualify for a mortgage, if on their own; the applicant(s) have to poor credit and/or insufficient income. A guarantors name will be on the loan but not the property and must be a spouse. Conversely, a co-signers name will appear on both tile and the loan, but can be any person that agrees and qualifies. There is a significant amount of risk involved in agreeing to be a guarantor or co-signer. If the borrower defaults, they are responsible for the full amount of the mortgage. So, lenders require them to qualify as if they were the sole applicants for the loan. Like a primary applicant, the lender will require a credit check and discloses of income, liabilities, and assets. Further, a guarantor or co-signer should consider how this would affect their ability to qualify for a loan in the future for their own personal purposes. Despite not making any real monetary contribution, the loan will be treated as if they have sole liability and included in their debt servicing calculations.

Mortgages Beyond Purchase

Once you have purchased your home with your new mortgage; what do you do with it down the road? Well, there are options to refinance, renew, or transfer. All of these options can be utilized at any point throughout the term of your mortgage.

Refinance

Say you have been in your home for a few years now; the value has increased and you have paid off a portion of your mortgage. Why add to your mortgage? Perhaps you wish to do some renovations or other debt with higher interest rates you wish to pay off. Well you have additional equity that you can access that you can receive in cash now, which will be added you your existing mortgage amount for you to pay back with interest.

Renewal

Now, say you committed to a 5 year term and that time is now passed. You still owe the remaining balance of your mortgage. Your current lender will contact you with a renewal offer with the interest rate they can offer you on the remaining balance and amortization. Unlike the initial approval process, the renewal process is much less extensive – no pre-approval, less required documents and application processes.

Transfers

Instead of re committing with your currently lender, you found a competitive rate or more extensive product offerings at a different lender. All other factors (mortgage amount, home, ownership, ect) will remain unchanged except who the interest will go to. You will them be transferring your mortgage from one lender to another.

How to get a copy of your Credit Bureau

Lenders look to credit reports to assess the risk of a given borrower. Your credit score is a number from 300 to 900 that reflects how you have handled your finances in the past. The lower the number, the more risky you appear to lenders, so you are likely to be offered higher rates. It is always recommended to keep an eye on your credit. In Canada, you can receive a free copy of your credit report once a year from both Equifax and TransUnion. The bureaus refer to your credit report as “client file disclosure” and “consumer disclosure” respectively. Ordering your “free report by mail” does not effect your score. Check your report for errors inconsistent with your true financial history and balances such as late payments; amount owing; or missing accounts. If you do find an error, report it it to the credit bureau to be corrected.

Interest Rates: Fixed vs Variable

Fixed Interest Rates

Fixed rates are often viewed as the safest choice – no surprises. You can rest easy knowing exactly how much interest you are paying and that regardless of fluctuations in the prime rate (for better or worse), you interest will remain unchanged.

Fixed interest rate can be taken on 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 and even 10 year terms. Note the distinction between term and amortization; term is when your mortgage is up for renewal while amortization is the total time it will take to payoff your debt.

Now, say you committed to a 5 year term, but three years in you want to take advantage of a different lenders product. To do this, you will need to beak your mortgage. THERE WILL BE A PENALTY. The size of penalty varies depending on the lenders current rate, the rate you held, the length remaining on your term, and balance outstanding. Lenders charge a penalty using the greater of the Interest Rate Differential (IRD) or three months interest.

Variable Interest Rates

For those of us that are comfortable with a little uncertainty, Variable rates provide potential for interest saving and term flexibility.

Variable rates are based on a lenders prime rate; plus or minus a set premium of discount. These rates are mostly available on 5 year terms. However, unlike fixed interest rate, the penalty is calculated only using 3 months interest. So, breaking the mortgage will likely be significantly less costly.