Friday, 16 October 2015

Your Home's Fall Checklist!!

Your Home's Fall Checklist
It's time to start thinking about preparing your home for the colder weather; a few little things can make a big difference for your home and save you time and money later.

  • Get your mind in the gutters so they are checked and cleaned, and don't forget the downspouts.

  • Plug any gaps and cracks around windows and doors with weather-stripping and caulking. If there is a door between your house and garage make sure it closes completely.

  • Clean your patio furniture before you store it away, you'll be happy you did in the spring.

  • Drain and store garden hoses.

  • Replace your furnace filters if you haven't done so in the last 3 months.

  • A furnace physical is important; have a professional inspect your heating system.

  • Keep the fires burning by checking the chimneys for obstructions such as nests. Consider having the wood-burning fireplace and stove flues and chimneys professionally inspected and swept.

  • Think safety and test smoke and carbon monoxide monitors, and rid your home of any fire hazards.

  • See you next year. Cover outside of air-conditioning unit and shut off power. Winterize your landscaping.

  • And reduce stress! September is a great time to review your finances and to even start thinking about a budget for your holiday spending.  If you have a lot of high interest debt, today's rock bottom rates make this a great time to get in touch to see if you qualify to have that debt moved into a low-rate mortgage. That one simple step can boost your cash flow and save thousands in interest. And making fewer debt payments each month is a certain stress reliever!

Friday, 12 June 2015

What is the Home Buyers' Plan?

What is the Home Buyers' Plan?

The Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) is a program that allows you to withdraw up to $25,000 in a calendar year from your registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself or for a related person with a disability.

Notice on RC4135

The information on this page replaces the information in Guide RC4135, Home Buyers’ Plan, which has been eliminated.


You will see references to the pooled registered pension plan (PRPP) in the HBP information pages. For more information, go to The Pooled Registered Pension Plan (PRPP).

Forms and publications

*source - Canada Revenue Agency

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Preparing your home for a showing

How to Prepare for a Home Showing

Just because you have decided to sell a home, that doesn’t mean it’s ready to hit the market quite yet. To sell for the highest dollar amount in the shortest amount of time, it’ll have to impress buyers and—in most cases—that means the home will need to show well.
Home showings are a critical part of the home selling process. A showing invites buyers inside and lets them imagine living in the home. Usually after touring a few homes, buyers will be ready to place an offer. Shouldn’t your listing be the one that shows best?
how to prepare for a home showingWhen you’re getting a home ready to sell, whether you’re the home owner or the real estate working in your clients’ best interests, here is how to prepare for a home showing as efficiently as possible:


First things first, hire professionals to deep clean the home. Baseboards, cabinet shelves, switchplates… all of these things should be sparkling and spotless before any potential buyers set foot inside.


Sellers and their agent should walk through the home together. Real estate agents will be able to identify anything that might be a red flag to buyers, so you can put it on a fix-it list to tackle later.


What’s broken in the home? If it’s relatively easy to fix (meaning you don’t have to remodel), do it! Spending a few hundred dollars now could save you thousands in time on the market and contract negotiations later.


Homes that look roomy and spacious—rather than small and cluttered—show best. To get this look, the current owners may need to remove some clutter and store it offsite in a storage unit or elsewhere. Make sure closets aren’t overflowing, and counters are clear!


Staging goes above and beyond cleaning and decluttering, using interior design tips and tricks to make a home more inviting to a range of personality types and tastes. Some agents have home staging expertise and others may work with stagers in your area. Here are 8 DIY home staging tips, 5 Feng Shui home staging tips and 5 funny staging fails to get you started.


Now that you’ve done what you can inside the home, polish the outside for instant curb appeal. Clean the windows, repaint the front door and freshen the flower beds. Here are some quick changes you can make in just one weekend!

A note about pets:

Lots of people have pets, but unfortunately not everyone likes them. If there are pets in your home, try to minimize their impact so they (and their fur and their scents) are not top-of-mind when buyers come to visit. Keep pet beds clean and out of sight, the yard picked up and toys stashed in cute baskets or containers in closets. If you think steam cleaning the couch or curtains will freshen things up, go for it!
What’s your #1 home showing tip for home sellers?
*Source- Point 2

Thursday, 21 May 2015

How to Fix Your Credit rating score ....for Free in Canada

5 Steps to Re-Establish or Fix Your Credit for Free in Canada

How to Fix Your Credit Score (Rating) Yourself
5 steps to re-establish or fix your credit for free in Canada
If you have poor credit, you can fix your credit score (score rating), but it can take time - even years. Because of the time involved, we prefer to talk about this process in terms of re-building or re-establishing your credit rather than simply “fixing your credit.”  Fixing sounds like a fast process, but there is rarely anything quick about it.
How to “fix your credit” score fast
If the problem is a low credit score (or credit rating), caused by one of these two issues, then here is how you may be able to fix it quickly:
  1. Reduce your credit card or line of credit balances to below 75% of your limit. If your low credit score is due to having maxed out credit cards or very high balances on your revolving debts (e.g. line of credit or credit cards), this can be fixed as quickly as you can bring your balances owing, down to below 75% of your credit limits (below 50% is best). About a month after you pay down your balances (and keep them there), your credit score should rebound as long as you don’t have any other negatives against you, like late payments.
  2. Get collections removed from your credit report. If your credit score is being held back because of collections reporting on the public records section of your credit report, you may be able to revive your flagging credit score by paying off the collections and then requesting that those creditors remove their collection notations from your credit report. The type of collections that appear under the public records section of a credit report are things like unpaid utility bills, cable bills, telephone bills, cell phone bills, parking tickets and other debts that are in collections that weren’t originally a credit account.
You can quickly find out if either of these two issues is causing you problems. Simply request a copy of your credit report along with your credit score to find out.
If you have more problems on your credit report than the two mentioned above, then there is no quick fix for your credit score. Your credit will need to be re-established. It will take time for you to rebuild it, but it can be done. Below we discuss five steps to help you rebuild your credit score.
5 Steps to Rebuilding Your Credit Score
1. Identify why you have a credit problem
If you obtain a copy of your credit report along with your credit score, you can find out if you have bad credit. Knowing that you don’t have good credit is not enough. You need to know why you have bad credit.
For many people their credit problems may have been brought on by circumstances largely beyond their control like an injury or illness, unemployment, reduced income, or a separation or divorce. If this is what has happened to you, then skip ahead to point number 2. If you aren’t exactly sure why you have credit problems, then read on.
Some people focus on “easy” credit solutions like declaring bankruptcy and don’t take the time to figure out how they got into a financial mess until they are facing the prospect of a second or third bankruptcy. It is important to figure out why you got into the trouble you are in so that you can learn from your mistakes and not repeat the same mistake twice.
If you can’t figure out why you are having financial or credit problems, speak with someone who can help you. Talk with a trusted friend or family member, a Financial Planner or a Credit Counsellor.
2. Create a spending plan
One of the key reasons that so many people end up with credit problems and low credit scores is they haven’t made a spending plan, or if they have, they haven’t followed it. A spending plan is another name for a budget. If you really want to fix your credit and maintain good credit going forward, you have to have a spending plan or a budget. Without one, you will likely spend more than you earn and end up in trouble. Click here to learn how to create a budget.
There is one critical part of a budget that many people overlook, and that is allocating some money every month to a separate savings account. You need to do this even if you are up to your eyeballs in debt (if you are drowning in debt, click here for help). If you don’t have any savings, what will you do when the next “emergency” or unplanned expense pops up? Will you put it on credit? Unplanned expenses happen all the time. It is part of life. If you don’t have any savings, it will be extra hard to get out of debt.
To begin your savings, put aside a few hundred dollars and then work up to $500 and eventually $1,000. If this seems like a lot of money to keep in savings, think about how much emergency car repairs or home repairs could cost. How much would an emergency trip to visit an ill family member cost? Hopefully you can see that having some savings on hand is critical to staying within your budget and getting out of debt (we’ll talk more about getting out of debt under point number 3).
3. Deal with your debt
Pay down your balances 
Once you have a spending plan or budget in place, you can look at dealing with your debt. The best way to deal with debt that is causing credit problems is to start paying it off. Click here to learn about ways of paying off debt more quickly. If you are using 75% or more of your limit on any of your credit cards or line of credit, than you should focus on paying down your debt as quickly as possible. When you use 75% or more of any of your credit limits, it negatively impacts your credit score. Paying your credit cards down to below 50% of their limits will really help your credit score the most. This will also help your budget since you will be paying less interest.
Catch up your late payments 
If you are late on any payments, do your best to catch up. If you don’t catch up your late payments, then they will continue to report on your credit report as being overdue. This will make your credit report look worse and worse over time. If you can’t make up the missed payments, call your creditors and see if they can work with you to get things back on track. If you can’t get caught up or if creditors will not work with you, contact a non-profit credit counselling service to help you get your situation straightened out. Credit counselling organizations can offer debt repayment programs that will help you pay off your debts with one affordable monthly payment, and then at the end of the program, you get to re-establish your credit rating with a clean slate. This option isn’t for everyone, but it helps a lot of people re-establish their credit much more quickly than any other credit fixing option can, and according to Equifax people who complete non-profit debt repayment programs tend to have higher credit scores than average Canadians.
Can bankruptcy fix my credit? 
If you have exhausted all of your options and a reputable Credit Counsellor has told you that bankruptcy is your only option, then you can go bankrupt to fix your credit. Unfortunately, many people don’t speak with a Credit Counsellor before choosing this option and end up regretting this choice. Bankruptcy should only be used as a last resort. It is also the slowest way to rebuild your credit. The whole bankruptcy process can end up impacting you negatively for 8 to 10 years and may not deal with all of your debts.
The longest that negative information can stay on your credit bureau
If you don’t go bankrupt, the longest time that most negative information is allowed to stay on your credit report is 6 - 7 years, depending on which province you live in. For bankruptcies, it’s 6 – 7 years after you’ve been discharged and judgements can be renewed for up to 10 years, if someone has obtained a judgement against you. For example, if you had a string of late payments on a credit card, but then you began to make your payments on time and continued paying on time for six years, then after 6/7 years, all record of those late payments should be erased from your credit report. As far as anyone is concerned who reads your credit report, those late payments never happened. If the late payments continue to show after 6/7 years, you should contact the credit bureau company that is reporting the old information and request that they stop reporting it. They are required to look into the matter and follow up on your request if they are reporting any derogatory information that is more than 6/7 years old.
What if I can’t go bankrupt?
If you are in a very difficult financial situation and bankruptcy is your best option, what do you do if you can’t afford to go bankrupt? There are two types of people who can’t go bankrupt: those who can’t afford the $1,800 bankruptcy fee, and those who earn too much money or have too many assets to qualify for bankruptcy. If you earn too much or your assets are worth too much, meet with a Credit Counsellor to work out a plan for repaying your creditors. If you can’t afford the bankruptcy fee, than you can essentially do the same thing as going bankrupt by doing nothing. If you don’t make any payments on your debts for 6 full years, then by law, your debts will no longer be collectable. You will essentially be free of them. This option should only be considered by those who are in a desperate financial situation and cannot afford to pay their debts. Creditors will not let someone who has a job or owns any assets get away with this. If you have a job or assets, creditors can take you to court and seek a judgment against you. If a judge agrees with them and grants a judgment, it is good for 10 years and can be renewed for another 10 years thereafter. So if you are looking for an easy way out, don’t look at this option. However, if you are in a really bad financial situation, than this option could make sense, and you could rebuild your credit after waiting 6 years. Just make sure that you write letters to your creditors and inform them in writing that you only wish to be contacted in writing. This will stop their collection calls, and then they will only send you letters in the mail. This will work until your debts are sold to collection agencies, then you will have to write them letters as well. Otherwise they will call you too.
4. Make your payments as agreed
Once you have caught up your late payments and are now paying your debts on time, it is important to continue paying as agreed (on time) if you want to re-build your credit. This is the simplest way to restore and maintain good credit—just make your payments as agreed. Pay on time every month, and work at paying down your balances and everything else should take care of itself. It really isn’t any more complicated than this.
When it comes to paying your bills on time, just remember that computers keep track of your payments, not people. If you are late, there are no excuses. Computers are ruthless when it comes to keeping track of things, and you can’t argue with them. Always pay your bills two or three days before they are due just in case there is a delay in your creditor receiving your payment.
5. How to re-establish credit
Once you get started fixing your credit, don’t wait until all of the negative information on your credit report falls off before you try to re-establish your credit. Some people get themselves into a situation where they end up with no active credit—only debts that they have paid off. If you have paid off all of your debts, and none of your past negative information is reporting on your credit bureau, you will have no credit score (or a negative score) unless you have at least one active credit account reporting. Without an active credit account, the computers that calculate credit scores can not generate a positive credit score for you because they can’t evaluate how you are currently using credit. This is why it can be a good idea to have at least one credit account (this can be a credit card, line of credit or overdraft) that you maintain responsibly at all times so that the credit system can create a positive credit score for you.
If you are in the process of fixing your credit by paying your credit cards as agreed and waiting for time to pass, it may be a good idea to get one credit card or an overdraft account so that it can report on your credit bureau. This way when the negative information falls off your credit report there is a history of good information which can instantly give you a good credit score once the bad stuff is gone.
If you still have negative information on your credit report, than you will most likely have to apply for a secured credit card or secured overdraft account. With a secured card or secured overdraft, your financial institution will hold your money as security for your credit limit. This way if you fail to make your payments, they will just close your account and pay it off with your money that they are holding on to. If you are interested in checking out something like this, check with your bank, your credit union or with the major credit card companies to see if they offer something like this. We discuss this option in more detail on our “Establishing Credit” page.
You can also re-establish your credit by taking care of your credit issues then have someone co-sign a loan, credit card or overdraft for you. This person must of course qualify for additional credit on their own. If you have someone who is willing to do this, you can consider this option. However, there are some dangers to co-signing that you should be aware of.
If you have damaged your credit, following the suggestions offered on this page should help you get re-established. Many people go to great lengths to try to improve or maintain their credit. We don’t think that your credit score is as important as many people hold it out to be. Whatever decision you make, you need to do what makes the most sense for you, your situation and your family. Sometimes doing the right thing for your situation may hurt your credit score for a while. The only time that you need a great credit score is when you plan to apply for credit. If you have no plans of applying for credit any time soon, then just try to be responsible and do the right thing, but don’t get too carried away about the importance of your credit score. Many banks and credit unions have their own credit scoring systems which they use instead of the standard FICO credit scoring system. So no one can give you precise advice on how to beat the system and have the very best score. Your objective should be to have a good credit situation from anyone’s point of view—not just from the perspective of one score.

For the original article CLICK HERE


Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Why choose a Mortgage Broker...everytime!!

Why Use a Broker

Mortgage Brokers are independent, trained professionals licensed to represent and provide you with the best advice for your mortgage needs.
Mortgage Brokers primary expertise is locating funding for mortgage financing. They know where the best rates can be found. What's more, they have the knowledge required to present a proposal for financing to lenders in the best way possible to successfully obtain mortgage financing.

So why deal with a Mortgage Broker?
Mortgage Brokers represent you, the customer, not the lender. Because they are not employees of a lending institution, Brokers are not limited in the product they can offer you. Brokers seek out the best lender package to suit your specific situation, whether it’s with a Chartered Bank, Trust or Insurance Company, or Private Funds.
There is a wide assortment of options and features available to homebuyers today. Shopping around takes a lot of time and effort. The mortgage process within today's very competitive marketplace intimidates many Canadian homebuyers. It pays to work with a mortgage professional who will represent you and ensure the mortgage you get is the one best suited to your needs.
Choosing the wrong mortgage can cost you thousands of extra dollars. Mortgage Brokers are trained professionals who can help you save on your mortgage dollar.

Reasons to use a Mortgage Broker
• Access to different lenders, banks, trust companies, investors and financial institutions.
• Fast credit and loan pre-approvals with no cost or obligation. (Some conditions may apply)
• They are experts at matching you with the best-suited mortgage.
• Get mortgage rates at wholesale, guaranteed up to 120 days.
• They work for YOU, not the bank.
• Up-to-date on all the mortgage rates, terms and re-payment options available on the market.
• They only specialize in mortgages and are knowledgeable on current trends.
• They increase competition in the market place, thus keeping rates low.
• They save you time and money!
• Brokers have vested interest in satisfying your needs since they rely on referrals and repeat business.

Other than rates, why should I use a Mortgage Broker?
In addition to rates, because mortgage-based financing is the broker's primary business, he or she has developed expertise in what type of mortgage financing each lender prefers to pursue. This kind of knowledge not only results in the most favourable rates for each project, but often whether a project is funded at all.
How do Mortgage Brokers Find Superior Rates?
Interest rates are a concern to borrowers. Because of their daily contact with lenders, brokers know which project or home attracts a favorable interest rate from one institution, but a higher rate at another. Some institutions, in fact, will only accept mortgage submissions from mortgage brokers.
These rates, and preferences for types of mortgages, can change daily, depending on economic circumstances or based on the size of an institution's portfolio in a particular type of mortgage. Your Mortgage Broker keeps current and knows which lender to approach first. As a result, mortgage rates obtained by Brokers are among the best available at the time of placement.
Why should I go to a Mortgage Broker first?
A professional presentation to a lender on the first application will get the best response and save you valuable time and money. Secondary applications with previous credit bureau inquiries may be more costly.
Often the success of obtaining mortgage approval depends on the way a proposal is presented and to whom it is sent. Your Mortgage Broker is trained to present your mortgage proposal where and how it will get the most immediate, positive result.
You don't call an insurance company for insurance - you use an insurance broker, because of their expertise, product knowledge and rates. So remember, call your mortgage broker first!
How do Brokers get better deals than many Banks?
The lenders who work with mortgage brokers include traditional sources, such as chartered banks, trust companies, as well as corporate and private pension funds.
In addition to these sources, brokers often develop professional relationships with private sources of funds, termed private lenders. These lenders can provide many various mortgage products not available at conventional sources.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

How Real Estate Market conditions affect your offer price

How Real Estate Market conditions affect your offer price

A hot market is a "seller’s market". During a seller's market, properties can sell within a few days of being listed and there are often multiple offers. Sometimes homes even sell above the asking price. Though most buyers want to get a "deal" on a home, reducing your offer by even a few thousand dollars could mean that someone else will get the home you desire.

A slow market is a "buyer’s market". During a buyer’s market properties may languish on the market for some time and offers may be few and far between. Prices may even decline temporarily. Such a market would allow you to be more flexible in offering a lower price for the home. Even if your offered price is too low, the seller is likely to make some sort of counter-offer and you can begin negotiations.

More often than not, the market is simply "steady," or in transition. When a market is steady, no real rules apply on whether you should make an offer on the high end of your range or the low end. You could find yourself in a situation with multiple offers on your desired house, or where no one has made an offer in weeks.

Transition markets are more difficult to define. If the economy slows unexpectedly, as it did in the early nineties, people who buy on the high end of a seller’s market (like the late eighties) could find their home loses value for several years. So far, no one has proven reliable in predicting when markets change or how good or bad the real estate market will become.


Tuesday, 20 January 2015

How to Get Rich with Real Estate

By Michael Dominguez
Critics will argue that $1 million isn’t the same value as it used to be, but it still has a very nice ring to it. You can be a millionaire. Visions of Scrooge McDuck and the guy with the top hat in the Monopoly game come to mind.

Also note that, according to the World Wealth Report 2014: “There are now approximately 320,000 high net-worth individuals in Canada — that’s people who have at least $1 million in financial assets, excluding their principal residence”.

But how can you be sure to get into that select company, invest in real estate and hold onto that asset?

I bet you’re thinking: it can’t be that simple. You would be right. Yes, you must select a property in an area that has the right fundamentals, you must deal with tenants and you must sacrifice a few weekends a year to deal with issues. But in the end, you WILL be a millionaire.

Let me run through some of the numbers for you. Somehow, some way, get $600,000 of real estate under your control. That could be one, two or even three properties, depending on the area of the country. Not just any property will do. Make sure the property can generate enough rental income to support the expenses and debt financing.

If you look back in Canadian real estate history, a good area has doubled in value every 15 years or so. But for this example, let’s say it takes 20 years for your well-positioned property to double in value.

Your $600,000 in assets is now worth $1.2 million. Meanwhile, your mortgage debt is almost paid off and is sitting around $200,000. That doesn’t even take into consideration $1 in total cash flow.

You, my friend, used real estate to become a millionaire. As of 2014, approximately one per cent of the Canadian population has a net worth of investable assets. Let’s say that number jumps to between three and five per cent by 2035. I’m sure you’d be okay being one of the top five per cent richest Canadians in 20 years.

The key component between winners and “also-rans” in the real estate world is that the winners take action and continue to take action. Take those weekend courses, do your research, build your power team, then TAKE ACTION.

Real estate is really not a get-rich-quick scheme, but it certainly is a get-rich-for-sure scheme.

Michael Dominguez is an investor and Realtor with RE/MAX Jazz Brokerage.

He was also the winner of Realtor of the Year at CREW’s Top Investor Awards 2014. Nominations are now open for the 2015 awards. For more information, visit