I've bragged in the past about my market timing acumen, which tends to favour the party sitting opposite me in any transaction. I tend to dwell on my past decisions, but only to the point of nodding sadly in lament of my knack for choosing the wrong time to pull the trigger. These decisions don't consume me, but I can easily count them off for you on a moment's notice.
Not this time, however.
The Loonie household mortgage was up for renewal last month, so Ms. Loonie and I checked out the rates available to us. We were able to renew with our current lender for a 3-year fixed rate of 2.65%, more than 2% lower than our previous rate. The day after we signed the papers, rates jumped by 50 basis points, so we literally slid in just under the wire, and guaranteed ourselves three years of low-rate home ownership. I'm sure a strong negotiator with excellent credit could still have secured a lower rate, but given the ease of the transaction, I'm pretty confident in saying that we locked in "at the bottom".
But that's not all. Since I was at the branch anyway, I decided I would talk to the bank about managing our own property tax payments. Since our mortgage is high-ratio (more than 80% loan-to-value), the bank has been collecting property tax payments from us, and paying the city on our behalf. Now that we've mastered the art of partitioning our savings, we decided that we'd rather pay the city directly, and have more control over the balance in this account (and hey, why not earn some interest on it while we're at it?). This change turned out to be very straightforward as well. The tax portion of our bi-weekly mortgage payment has been eliminated, and I've set up a bi-weekly transfer of the appropriate amount to a dedicated savings account.
We're now making much faster progress on the mortgage, and we're in control of our property tax payments. Easy as pie, right?
Until I realize that, as a side-effect of the CUPE strike currently underway in the GTA, there's nobody manning the phones in the city revenue office to take our lender off the tax account.