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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2017 year end update

I started tracking my net worth and spending in November 2014 using The Budgeting Tool . The woman who runs the site is named Sherry from Save. Spend. Splurge.. Sherry is money goals to me. She was once in a shit ton of debt as well but managed to dig herself out. Now her net worth is over $500K! Sherry also comes from an Asian family so I feel like I can relate to her story. She has also dated a money moron in the past but came to her senses quicker than I did. She also is a foodie and has impeccable style. I feel like she is my spirit animal. Haha!

The Budgeting Tool is USD$50 but she matches that amount and gives it to charity. The tool has helped me tremendously. I input my income and expenses and I’m able to track my progress towards debt freedom. The Excel spreadsheets all link together and are pretty much dummy proof.

In November 2014, my net worth was -$31K (eek!). My net worth at the beginning of 2017 was $55K and currently, it is $74K. I admit I haven’t been super strict with my budgeting this year as you can see in the line graph. The little dips are from adjustments I made to my budget or from splurges (yes, I know I can’t afford to splurge if I’m in debt) but the important thing is it is trending upwards. I will need to exude willpower next year for all my money goals. Happy new year, everyone!

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