When your mortgage term is up, you will have to renew your mortgage to cover the outstanding balance you owe on your home. This can be a stressful time, so make sure you are fully informed.

Here are some FAQs about mortgage renewal:

When is my mortgage term due?

The maturity date will be on your mortgage contract. You have to make sure you know when your mortgage matures, so you can make plans in advance of this date.

What is a mortgage renewal slip?

Your lender will send you a renewal slip at least 21 days before your existing term matures, if your agreement is with a federally regulated financial institution. You will be offered a new term offer with a new mortgage rate. You can choose to sign the slip to accept the offer, or renegotiate your mortgage. You might not get the best terms if you simply sign the slip.

When should I negotiate my renewed mortgage?

Start planning a few months before your current mortgage term is due. Be proactive, and contact lenders and mortgage brokers for your best options. When negotiating the rate and term, make sure you find out about potentially hidden costs such as transfer fees.

What if my financial needs have changed?

Analyze your current financial situation before choosing a different mortgage. Can you increase your payments? Can you put down a lump sum? Are you planning to sell your home soon? Research the different types of mortgages at this stage (fixed rate, variable rate, open, closed, etc.) to know what suits your current budget.

Should I negotiate with my current lender?

If you feel that your credit score has improved since originally getting your mortgage and you want to try for a better mortgage, it never hurts to ask. The rate they offer on the renewal slip may not be your best offer. Make sure you contact your lender in plenty of time and ask for a better rate.

Should I switch to another lender?

If you think you will be offered better rates and terms, you should consider switching lenders. A mortgage broker will make this much easier for you.

Will I pay fees if I switch to another lender?

If you are offered better terms and conditions you might want to switch to a different lender, but there’s a chance you may have to pay fees to switch. However there are lenders will pay some or all of the costs you incur in switching to them. Make sure you are aware of all costs of changing lenders before you decide. You may have to pay set-up fees with the new lender, and discharge fees from your old lender. You may have to pay a transfer fee, and even an appraisal fee.