5 Factors to Consider When Applying for Renewal Mortgages

Renewing your mortgage is an important decision that can significantly impact your financial future. While it may seem like a straightforward process, there are many factors to consider when applying for a renewal mortgage. This guide will explore the key things you need to keep in mind to ensure you make an informed decision.

Factors to Consider When Applying for Renewal Mortgages:

  • Interest Rates: One of the most important factors to consider when renewing your mortgage is the interest rate. It’s essential to compare the rates offered by different lenders to find the best deal. While a lower interest rate may seem like the obvious choice, it’s important to consider other factors such as payment frequency and penalties for breaking the mortgage.
  • Mortgage Term: The term of your mortgage is another critical factor to consider when renewing. The term is the length of time you are committed to a particular lender and interest rate. It’s important to choose a term that works for your financial situation, goals, and risk tolerance.
  • Mortgage Type: When renewing your mortgage, you can choose between a fixed or variable rate mortgage. A fixed-rate mortgage offers stable payments for a set term, while a variable rate mortgage fluctuates with the market. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of each option and choose the one that best suits your needs.
  • Prepayment Privileges: Prepayment privileges allow you to make extra payments or pay off your mortgage early without incurring penalties. It’s crucial to consider these privileges when renewing your mortgage, as they can save you money in the long run.
  • Mortgage Broker: Working with a trusted mortgage broker can make the renewal process much smoother. A mortgage broker can help you navigate the complexities of mortgage renewals and find the best deals. When looking for a Regina mortgage broker, be sure to choose one with experience, knowledge, and a proven track record of success.

Renewing your mortgage can be a daunting task, but with careful consideration and the help of an experienced mortgage broker, you can make an informed decision that will benefit you in the long run. By keeping the above factors in mind, you can find the best renewal mortgage for your needs and secure your financial future.


  1. Interest Rates – Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
  2. Mortgage Terms – Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
  3. Fixed vs. Variable Rate Mortgages – Investopedia
  4. Prepayment Privileges – Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
  5. Choosing a Mortgage Broker – Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Does it Make Sense to Renew My Mortgage Early?

Does it Make Sense to Renew My Mortgage Early?

Is your mortgage set to renew soon? It’s important to get your mortgage broker negotiating on your behalf about 3-4 months in advance to give ample time to find the very best mortgage product and rate to fit your needs.

While your existing lender is required to send you a renewal notice at least 21 days before your current mortgage is set to expire, most lenders send them much sooner and often offer the option for early mortgage renewal up to four months before your term must renew. 

It’s not often in your best interest, however, to just sign and return your lender’s renewal offer, since lenders rarely offer the best interest rate upfront upon renewal. While this seems like a convenient way to renew your mortgage, convenience often comes at a price. By accepting your early renewal offer, you’re likely going to pay a higher interest rate than what you could have gotten if your mortgage broker shopped around for you and possibly switched you to another lender. 

Carefully review your early renewal offer

When you receive an early renewal offer from your lender, send it to your mortgage broker so that they can compare your options and let you know if it makes sense to renew with your current lender or switch lenders in order to save you more money.

Your mortgage is worth negotiating every time it’s coming up for renewal – as you likely did when securing your current mortgage contract. A lot can happen over the course of your term, so it’s always worthwhile to weigh your options and obtain the best mortgage every time it’s coming up for renewal. 

Renewal time is also the ideal opportunity to tap into your home equity to consolidate debt, send your kids to school, finance home renovations and so on, because you won’t be charged a penalty for breaking your mortgage contract prematurely.

Have questions about renewing your mortgage? Answers are a call or email away:



Preapproval Doesn’t Guarantee Your Mortgage Approval

 In today’s hot housing market, where inventory is low, demand is high and mortgage rates are at record lows, securing a mortgage preapproval has never been more important.

Obtaining a preapproval is highly recommended before you even begin house hunting so you understand what you can comfortably afford to spend on a property. During this process, your lender will undertake a thorough assessment of your finances and creditworthiness to determine whether you meet the requirements to secure financing. If you’re preapproved, you’ll receive documentation verifying that you have the financial means to make an Offer to Purchase.

This is a conditional commitment from your lender to grant you the mortgage you seek but in no uncertain terms does it represent a final mortgage approval. While the conditions of a preapproval will typically be valid for 90-120 days, it’s important during this period not to make any significant changes to your current situation. When it’s time to draw up the Offer to Purchase, your lender will want to verify that you still meet the qualification criteria as well as assess the property’s value and suitability. If there are changes that could possibly derail the process, you could be denied a mortgage despite having been preapproved.

Maintain a healthy credit score

Your credit score is one of the most important factors in obtaining a mortgage approval so avoid situations that could alter it negatively. If your credit rating drops, your risk level increases in the eyes of your lender, which means you may no longer qualify at the amount for which you were preapproved. It’s important to demonstrate a consistent pattern of paying your bills on time and managing your debt responsibly. Exercising wise financial decisions will ensure your credit remains in good standing.

Keep debt levels low

Rising debt is a significant red flag for lenders and will adversely affect your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), a key determinant in the mortgage financing qualification process. A high DTI implies instability and potential issues with loan repayment so you want to keep it low. Avoid taking on new debt, even a small amount, such as a line of credit, personal loan or additional credit card, and be sure not to accrue a higher balance on your existing cards or lease/finance a vehicle. An increase to your debt level, no matter how insignificant, will almost certainly jeopardize your chances of approval.

Ensure consistent employment and income

If possible, avoid making any changes to your employment status once you’ve been preapproved. Most lenders will require you to have at least two years of consistent income and stable employment so, if you can, hold off on any career decisions until after the deal closes. There are some exceptions where a similar career with similar income will likely not pose a problem to your application, but a brand new field with less stable income will not bode well. Also, if you lose your job or your wages are reduced, it may be wise to reconsider buying a home until steady employment resumes.

Have questions about mortgage preapproval or final approval? Answers are a call or email away.

Email: kent@bittnermortgages.com

Schedule a call: https://meetme.so/KentBittner/

Mortgage Deferral Shouldn’t Impact Your Credit Score

Mortgage Deferral Shouldn’t Impact Your Credit Score

Last year, in an effort to assist individuals facing significant financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government implemented a number of relief measures including the opportunity for Canadian lenders to allow customers to defer their mortgage payments for a set period of time. At the end of the deferral agreement, payments returned to normal and the deferred amounts were added to the mortgage balance. 

A deferral simply represents a delay in payment and doesn’t imply that the mortgage is in arrears or in default as the terms of the mortgage agreement are essentially still being honored. Therefore, credit reporting guidelines implemented by Canada’s credit-reporting agencies include measures for special payment arrangements to ensure they’re flagged accordingly and not reported in the same manner as a skipped or late payment. 

Lenders must ensure their customers’ payment history, including any special arrangements, is accurately reported to the credit bureaus. Nevertheless, mistakes can happen. If errors occur in the reporting system, or reporting guidelines aren’t properly implemented, a lender may report a deferred payment inaccurately. This could have a damaging impact on a consumer’s credit rating and unfairly affect their ability to obtain future credit. 

Make sure your deferral was reported accurately

If you deferred payment(s) – like more than three million Canadians – be sure that the information on your credit report is accurate and up to date. Speak to your lender to verify that deferrals were correctly reported and check your credit report to ensure there are no errors. 

You can request a copy of your credit report at any time from Canada’s reporting agencies, Equifax and TransUnion. If you detect an issue, take the necessary steps to have it corrected by completing a credit report update or investigation request form.

Default management tools available

While the COVID-19 mortgage payment deferral program has ended, many Canadians are still struggling financially due to layoffs, reduced wages, lockdowns, shutdowns and stay-at-home orders. If you continue to be anxious about meeting your mortgage obligations, default management tools are available to help get you through these trying times. 

Initiatives such as reducing monthly payments by extending the amortization period as well as other payment arrangements are all worth investigating with your mortgage broker.

At the first sign of difficulty, speak with your mortgage broker to discuss your options and be sure to review the Default Management Tools from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Mortgage Relief Options offered by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. 

Have questions about mortgage deferrals or credit scores? Answers are a call or email away.

Email: kent@bittnermortgages.com

Book a call: https://meetme.so/KentBittner/

Have You Considered Debt Consolidation?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your monthly financial obligations, you may want to consider using the equity you’ve built up in your home to consolidate debt and take advantage of today’s historically-low interest rates, which allows you to save money and improve your cash flow. 

With consolidated payments, you can efficiently eliminate debt as well as the stress and burden that comes along with stretching your finances to the max each month. There are a number of options available, however, so it’s important to consider which would work best for you.

Mortgage refinance

One of the most common ways to consolidate debt using your mortgage is through a refinance. This involves breaking your current mortgage agreement and rolling your outstanding debt into a new one, resulting in one easy payment. Your outstanding mortgage balance will be higher, but you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your debts are repaid and your high-interest debt isn’t continuing to grow. Typically, your lender will arrange to pay your creditors on your behalf. There may be a financial penalty for breaking your existing mortgage early, however, but it could still be advantageous to do so in order to pay off your higher interest debt right away. I’d be happy to help you weigh your options based on the penalty you’d face to break your mortgage mid-term vs how much the ongoing high-interest debt burden will cost you until your mortgage term comes up for renewal.

Home equity line of credit (HELOC)

A HELOC is a line of credit that uses your home’s equity as security that you can draw from for debt repayment. Unlike a loan, you don’t receive all of the funds at one time but, instead, you can access as much as you need and only pay interest on the amount withdrawn. As you make payments, the credit revolves and becomes available for you to use again. And because the credit is secured by your home, the interest rate is lower than what you would pay on an unsecured loan. Since you’re only required to make interest payments on the money borrowed, however, it’s important to have a repayment plan in place so you’re not constantly paying interest.

Home equity loan 

Similar to other types of loans, a home equity loan provides you with a one-time lump sum based on your available equity, which you can then use to repay your debts. Depending on your available equity, the amount you can borrow could potentially be much higher than with a personal loan. Similar to a HELOC, your home is used as collateral and, therefore, the loan itself carries less risk and lower interest than other loans. You’ll have a structured repayment plan over a set period of time and, with each payment made, you’ll reduce the balance as well as the interest, which is usually at a fixed rate. 

Reverse mortgage 

A reverse mortgage allows Canadian homeowners aged 55 and older to borrow against the equity in your home. This type of financing doesn’t require you to make regular monthly payments like you would with a traditional loan, which frees up money to then be used towards debt repayment. A reverse mortgage is only paid back when you sell or leave the house and, although interest rates tend to be a bit higher than with a traditional loan, they’re offset by the fact that repayment isn’t required until the loan comes due.

Once you’ve taken advantage of a debt consolidation strategy as a fresh financial start, it’s important not to fall back into the habit of overextending your finances or racking up credit cards simply because they’ve been paid off. This is your chance to wipe the slate clean and work towards financial freedom so you’ll be well prepared for what lies ahead.  

Have questions about consolidating your debt? Answers are a call or email away.


Email: kent@bittnermortgages.com

Now’s a Great Time for Your Free Annual Mortgage Review

Now’s a Great Time for Your Free Annual Mortgage Review

Now’s the perfect time to consider scheduling your annual mortgage checkup. With interest rates at historic lows, there’s a great chance that you could benefit. It’s important to review your options every year to ensure you’re maximizing your savings.

There’s no charge or obligation when requesting a mortgage review, so it’s definitely worthwhile to see if any changes in your financial situation or a shift in your goals over the past year or so means you’re no longer in a mortgage that best fits your needs.

Or maybe you want to see how much equity you’ve built up because you’re considering making a large purchase or consolidating debt?

Annual reviews typically address these three main areas during mortgage checkups:


  • Overall debt levels – Especially unsecured debt such as credit cards, lines of credit and vehicle loans. Why pay more interest when you may be able to start fresh through a mortgage refinance at a much lower interest rate than you’re paying on your debt right now?
  • Current considerations – Are you thinking of moving or buying a second property for vacation or rental purposes? Let’s see if you can make this a reality by reviewing your current mortgage, finances and equity. 
  • Future plans – Does it make sense to use the equity in your home to pay for your children’s upcoming education, renovations and so on?


In addition, you may want to consider taking advantage of your mortgage’s prepayment privileges. Not all mortgages include these features and, when they do, the amounts can vary, so I’d be happy to look into these details for you.

Prepayment privileges allow you to pay up to 20% extra per month and a total of up to 20% in lump sum payments per year without facing a penalty for paying your mortgage off sooner. This means that for a $300,000 mortgage on a 25-year amortization, a 20% monthly payment increase can generate $18,000 worth of savings and help you to pay off your mortgage five years earlier. When you add in an annual lump-sum payment of $2,500, the savings are increased to just over $25,000 for the year and help you become mortgage-free eight years earlier. 

Book your free review today and let’s look at your savings options!

Email: kent@bittnermortgages.com

Call: https://meetme.so/KentBittner/


Special Tax Considerations When Working from Home

Special Tax Considerations When Working from Home

Many Canadians worked from home for the first time in 2020, which means there will be extra questions to be answered when it comes time to do your taxes. Outlined below is what you need to know about claiming office expenses while working from home. 

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) announced in 2020 that, even if you weren’t ‘required’ to work from home, but your employer provided you with the ‘choice’ to work at home because of COVID-19, CRA will consider you to have been required to work from home for purposes of claiming home office expenses for 2020.

CRA also announced two methods for claiming home office expenses for 2020: the new “temporary flat-rate method” and the “detailed method.”

New temporary flat-rate method

The temporary flat-rate method is a simplified process. You’re eligible to use this new method if you worked more than 50% of the time from home for a period of at least four consecutive weeks in 2020 due to COVID-19. 

Under this method, you simply claim $2 for each day you worked from home, up to a maximum of $400 (ie, $2/day for up to 200 working days) per individual. Each individual working from home can use the temporary flat-rate method to calculate their deduction for home office expenses and can each make a separate claim for up to $400. 

The benefits of using the flat-rate method are that you don’t have to track and keep any supporting documents to track your expenses nor do you have to allocate any expenses between employment and personal use. In addition, you don’t need a signed T2200S form from your employer.

Detailed method

When using the detailed method, you must have worked from home more than 50% of the time for a period of at least four consecutive weeks in 2020, and have a completed and signed form T2200S (or form T2200) from your employer.

If you choose the detailed method, you’re able to deduct a variety of expenses, such as the cost of rent, electricity, heating, home internet access fees and water, as well as maintenance and minor repair costs. Commissioned employees can also deduct home insurance, property taxes and leasing costs associated with a cell phone, computer, laptop, tablet, fax machine, etc that reasonably relate to earning commission income. 

Canada Revenue Agency support forms

  • Form T2200S. This form is a declaration of employment for working at home due to COVID-19. This is a shorter version of Form T2200 that you get your employer to complete and sign if you worked from home in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and aren’t using the temporary flat-rate method. Your employer completes and signs this form to certify that you worked from home in 2020 due to COVID-19 and had to pay your own home office expenses.
  • Form T777S. This form is a statement of employment expenses for working from home due to COVID-19. This form is used to calculate your claim for home office expenses.
  • Home office expense calculator. CRA created this calculator to help employees calculate home office expenses. CRA has also expanded the list of eligible expenses that can be claimed to include home internet access fees.

Determining your workspace claim

Whether you work at the dining room table or in a spare bedroom, there are a number of factors to consider when calculating your employment use of the workspace, including:

    • Size of your home and workspace 
    • Types of workspaces 



When filing your taxes, It’s also advised to speak with a tax professional to ensure you maximize your savings.

Self-Employed? We Have Mortgage Financing Options Just for You!



While self-employment carries many benefits, lenders don’t always make it easy for you to qualify for a mortgage. That’s why it’s important to work with a mortgage broker who understands how to find solutions catered to your unique needs. This includes assessing your financial situation, preparing the required documentation, navigating the intricacies of the process and ultimately empowering you with homebuying confidence. 


With close to three million Canadians choosing to work for themselves, you’re part of a significant demographic, and an important source of employment and economic growth for the country. Still, because many self-employed individuals deduct a considerable amount of expenses from their income, primarily for tax purposes, their income appears lower than it is in reality. This presents a red flag for lenders who tend to view those with non-standard income as more of a risk than those who receive a regular paycheque from an employer. 


As a result, if you’re self-employed, it may be more difficult to obtain a mortgage – especially from traditional lenders like banks, who have stricter lending criteria than non-traditional lenders, even for those with more ‘regular’ income and employment. Also adding to the challenge are tighter policies around mortgage qualification including government-mandated stress testing. 


Alternative and private lenders focus less on income

The good news is that there are options available such as alternative and private lending companies, also known as non-traditional lenders, who are generally better suited for self-employed borrowers with non-traditional income. One of the main reasons is that their qualifying criteria (eg, income, employment and credit score) tends to be less strict than with a traditional lender, and they place less of an emphasis on income while focusing more on the value and marketability of the property you’re buying. 


Just like banks, however, alternative lenders are required to exercise diligence in evaluating applications – not only to protect themselves from liabilities, but also to ensure successful and stable homeownership. As a result, you’ll still need to demonstrate your ability to make your monthly mortgage payments, carry a good credit score and have acceptable debt service ratios. They just don’t need to be as high. Keep in mind, however, that the lower qualification criteria and ease of qualifying are generally offset by higher interest rates. 


In recent years, mortgage default insurers – Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Sagen (formerly Genworth Financial) and Canada Guaranty – have provided lenders with greater flexibility to assist self-employed Canadians obtain a mortgage, including accepting a broader range of documents particularly for proof of income and employment requirements. 


Setting up your own business requires a lot of time, dedication and hard work, and the same can be said for obtaining a mortgage. So, if you’re self-employed and looking for a mortgage, you may need to work a little harder and work with an expert a bit longer but, in the end, your new home will make it all worthwhile.


Have questions about your mortgage options? Answers are a call or email away.

Schedule a call today: https://meetme.so/KentBittner/

Email: Kent@bittnermortgages.com

What Happens When the Appraisal & Home Price Don’t Line Up?

During hot housing markets with multiple bidding scenarios, home appraisals are often coming in short because comparable properties aren’t as easy to find when sales prices are rising so quickly. 

If you’re looking to buy a home, it’s important to understand that lender approval is based on certain conditions including an appraisal of the property. The appraisal is conducted by a licensed professional real estate appraiser who provides an evaluation of the home’s fair market value using factors such as size, location, condition and recent sales of similar homes in the area. Lenders use this valuation to measure the mortgage amount for which buyers qualify relative to the market value of the property they’re financing. This is known as a loan-to-value ratio (LTV).

Ideally, the appraised or fair market value of the property should be in sync with the agreed-to purchase price. Recently, however, there has been a noticeable disconnect. Appraisals are coming in lower than the selling price due in large part to bidding wars, which are becoming commonplace and disproportionately reflecting a home’s true value. In order to win the bid, buyers are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars over asking, meaning the probability of the appraised value aligning with the sale price is unlikely. 

If the appraisal falls short, buyers will need to increase their down payment, which they may not have, or require a larger loan to make up the difference, which can prove problematic if they don’t qualify and are forced to find another approach to bridge the gap. 

Added risk for buyers

Since the onset of COVID-19, an inventory shortage has led to fierce competition among homebuyers forcing many, in addition to paying far more than asking, to waive all conditions in order to increase their chances of securing the winning bid. Conditions on an offer to purchase are designed to protect buyers’ interests, and financing conditions in particular are critical as they afford buyers the option to walk away should they be unable to secure the required loan and complete the purchase. 

With significant gaps between appraisals and what buyers are willing to pay, the repercussions of unconditional offers could be devastating. If the deal falls through, buyers will not only lose their deposit, but they could also be sued for damages and breach of contract by the seller.

If you’re in the market to buy a home, let’s get you prequalified for a mortgage so you know what you can comfortably afford to spend before you start your property search and you’re not putting yourself at risk by over-bidding. The prospect of losing out may be disheartening, but it’s important to know your limit and ensure you have enough latitude if the appraisal and sale price are out of whack. 

Have questions about appraisal vs home price or your mortgage in general? Answers are a call or email away.

Email: Kent@bittnermortgages.com

Schedule a call: https://meetme.so/KentBittner/