10 ways to save on your mortgage

By Heinz Bulos

Often, you end up paying more in interest than the amount of the loan, or principal, itself. So if keeping your total costs down is more important to you, here are tips to cut down on your mortgage expenses.

  1. Everything else equal, pick the bank that has a lower spread in its interest formula, resulting in lower interest expenses.
  2. Choose a fixed rate for the duration of your loan at a rate you’re already comfortable with. There will be no ugly shocks down the road.
  3. If you choose an adjustable-rate loan, reprice quarterly, but only if you think rates will go down in the short term and only if the bank offers a rate cap.
  4. Increase your equity or down payment, so you borrow as little as possible. But if you can invest your money at a higher rate, then put down as little equity as possible.
  5. Shorten the term of your loan, so your interest expenses are lower.
  6. Choose a declining-balance amortization schedule since you’ll end up paying less total interest.
  7. Pay fortnightly, which lets you pay off your loan faster, saving you on interest in the long run. Alternately, make pre-payments to your principal to lower your total interest expense.
  8. Refinance your loan if rates go low enough to make sense for you.
  9. Get some settlement fees waived, like the application fee. It never hurts to ask. And shop around for your own insurance. It’s likely you’ll find one with a lower premium than from your bank’s accredited insurer.
  10. Get your bank consider your total business relationship, if you do have one. It might lower your interest rate if you have significant deposits or other transactions.

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