Renewing my mortgage without consumer debt for the first time

When my mortgage was last up for renewal, my credit score was in the low 600s and I had $43K in consumer debt and owed $20K to the CRA. I decided to stick to my existing lender since I figured nobody would give me a good rate. My rate was 4.1% for a 3 year term. This is horrible considering the Prime Rate was the lowest it had been in years.

Fast forward three years and a credit score in the high 700s (Equifax) and low 800s (TransUnion). My credit report doesn’t even reflect that I’m debt free yet but that didn’t matter. I was ready to find a new lender to renew my mortgage with and give the double finger to my existing one.

The first step was to gather all my documents which consisted of:
● Two years of Notice of Assessments
● Property Assessment & proof that Property Taxes are up to date
● Condo docs (Bylaws and two years of Meeting Minutes)
● Recent pay stubs
● Letter of Employment

I met with my mortgage broker who is wonderful and handed off the documents. Our family has dealt with her mom and her for years.. I told her I was looking for a 3 or 4 year term. She said she would, of course, look for the best rate for me.

In the meantime, I received my mortgage renewal notice from my existing lender and laughed my ass off! The rates were atrocious:
6 month open: 7.00%
1 year closed: 5.99%
3 year closed: 4.99%
5 year closed: 3.74%

I also noticed my TransUnion credit score went down 15 points. I get weekly updates through my Capital One credit card. I didn’t panic since I knew she’d be taking a hard credit check as opposed to a soft one.

Within one week, my broker contacted me and said she secured a 4 year term at 2.99%. Yay! I met with her the following day to sign my mortgage commitment which basically states the conditions of the mortgage and that they’d pay out my existing lender. I also had to gather a few more documents for her, one of which I had to pay $199 for. Grr. She also got me to sign a document that I was aware that she will make about $1500 from the lender for going through her. Of course, that was fine with me.

My mortgage payment will be dropping to $880.75 per month which frees up more than $100 per month for saving. I highly recommend using a mortgage broker when buying a house or renewing your mortgage. Don’t blindly agree to what your existing lender offers you unless you have no choice. Mortgage brokers will get the best rate for you and take the stress off of buying a house or renewing a mortgage.

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