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Buying a home is one of the biggest commitments you will make in your life, and with it comes a mortgage that will last for quite a long time. But you don’t have to stay loyal to your mortgage provider for the entire life of the mortgage. In fact, by doing so you may be throwing away money. It’s always important to look at your options every time you receive a renewal notice, particularly now that the real estate market in Canada is becoming ever more expensive.

The benefit of changing providers.
Once your current mortgage term is up, you will receive a renewal notice. Too many of us assume that we have to stick around with our current provider, or do so because it seems like less of a hassle than shopping around for what appears to be only a small difference. But the reality is, moving from a provider that gives you a 3.25 per cent interest rate instead of the 3.5 per cent you currently have will save you thousands over the years. Take the time to shop around and it will pay off.

What are the potential consequences?
You’ll need to fill out an application to switch lenders, and there will be fees such as an appraisal fee from the new lender, a discharge fee from your previous lender and any legal fees. It will also be more complex if you have a collateral mortgage as opposed to a non-collateral mortgage. While your new provider may cover some of these costs, it’s important to verify exactly how much these fees will add up to, to ensure it’s worth it.

If you have a closed mortgage and want to switch, that would be considered breaking your mortgage and there would be a financial cost to do so, which would likely outweigh any potential benefit.

Find the best provider for you.
Since the life of a mortgage can last such a long time, it makes sense to always be shopping around for the best deal. Working with a mortgage broker might be your best bet if you lack the time to dig into the details of the various options, as they are already familiar with all the best deals available and can help you understand exactly what your options are. If you are in the position to pay down your mortgage faster, it’s important to keep that in mind when looking at the various options, as some with lower interest rates may not allow you to accelerate payments as fast as those with higher rates.