This new year, take control of your financial future by thinking smart about your mortgage. Here are our top 10 tips to help you do just that!
1. Get a mortgage checkup. That's right. Every year... no matter where you are in your mortgage. You get a checkup for your car to keep it running smoothly for the long-term. Your financial future deserves the same kind of attention.
2. Deal with the holiday hangover. Many Canadians can go a little overboard financially during the holiday season. If your credit card balance is more than you can pay off in the next few months - and especially if you have other loans - then do yourself a favour and come in to chat. The right debt consolidation strategy could save you thousands and put you on the right financial path.
3. Speed up your mortgage paydown. Try to find a way to use your prepayment privileges this year... at least once. Tax refund, financial gift, small inheritance... or just a little extra disciplined saving. Every single payment you make after that will go further. And instead of paying your mortgage monthly, pay weekly or bi-weekly. That small change can save you thousands.
4. Renew with your eyes open. When your lender sends out a letter suggesting you renew your mortgage at their current offer, get advice. Don't renew with your eyes closed! This is your opportunity to negotiate the best possible deal!
5. Cramped? You could renovate, not relocate. Maybe you think this is the year you need to move up. Maybe. But the right renovation - an addition, a new family room, a fresh kitchen - might be all it takes to turn the house you're in, into the home of your dreams. It is almost always less expensive to renovate than to relocate! We have great renovation financing options if that's what's in your future this year!
6. Take care of your credit. It's so important to have good credit behaviours so you always qualify for the best mortgage rate. Pay your bills on time. Don't let your credit accounts exceed 30% of the credit available. Before you cancel any credit cards, get advice. And don't apply for a store card just to save on your purchase that day!
7. Choose low-interest debt. Whatever your need might be - funding education, a large purchase, investments, renovations, or paying down debt, your mortgage might be your most cost-effective financing option.
8. Don't leave money on the table if you bought last year. If you bought your first home in 2014, you may be able to take advantage of the $5,000 non-refundable Home Buyer Tax Credit amount, which provides up to $750 in federal tax relief. Not sure if you qualify, ask!
9. Talk to me if you are going through a separation or divorce. Your home can be the asset that gives you both a fresh start. And if one of you wants to keep the marital home, I have some great mortgage options!
10. Build a financial cushion. Your high-interest credit card should not be your emergency fund. This year, build a financial cushion: get in the habit of putting a small sum from every pay cheque into a special emergency fund