10 Steps to Home Sweet Home

General Raymond Walia 3 Jun

Congratulations! There is nothing more exciting than moving into a new home. Whether a new building or re-sale property, there are a few things you can do as soon as you take possession in order to make it your own. Invest a weekend or two into warming up a featureless space or refreshing someone else’s old homestead.

Here are 10 things you can do to really own your new space and turn it into home sweet home:

  1. Change The Locks: Secure your home by changing the locks as soon as you take possession. Even DIY beginners can change a deadbolt lock. A replacement deadbolt set can be installed in place of the current lock with just a screwdriver— no drilling required. Another option is to rekey the lock. Purchase a rekeying set from the same manufacturer as the existing door lock, and reset it for a new key
  1. Consider a Professional Deep Cleaning: Hiring a professional cleaner to deep-clean and detail your home before you move your possessions in can make your new home feel that much more YOU! It will be easier without any furniture to work around, allowing them to access to every nook and cranny. Yes, you’ll have to clean again after moving day, but the heavy lifting will have already been done!
  1. Clean Out Your Pipes: Years of dust, pet dander and detritus collect in the hidden workings of any home. One of the most effective ways to refresh a new home is to get right into the guts of it! Have your ducts, furnace and air conditioning unit professionally cleaned and be sure to change the filters as required to maintain that clean, fresh air.
  1. Apply a Coat of Paint: Painting provides the most bang for your home-improvement buck! Whether the walls of your home are dingy or you’re simply not feeling the magic of beige, it only takes a few hours to repaint your space with a colour that makes you feel at home.
  1. Freshen Up Your Floors: Much like worn-out walls, old floors can really put a damper on that new-home buzz. If your hardwood has seen better days, you can consider hiring professionals to re-do it or tackle the project yourself by renting a floor sander and varnishing over a weekend. For carpet, a deep steam clean can do wonders! For laminate, you can get that extra shine with a special laminate floor cleaner. Although if any of your floor coverings are lifting or have holes in them, you may want to replace it. You can further personalize your new space by adding floor runners or area rugs!
  1. Neutralize Odors: Any re-sale home can benefit from a deep-clean refresh to eliminate any lingering odors from previous tenants. While some of the above steps will dramatically reduce any lingering smells, stubborn aromas require spot treatments such as:
  • Putting dishes of activated charcoal (also known as activated carbon) in a musty, damp basement. These can be found at aquarium stores.
  • Running a dehumidifier during the spring and summer.
  • Placing a sock filled with dry coffee grounds or baking soda in closets, refrigerators or freezers to absorb stale odors.
  • Pouring white vinegar down a stinky drain.
  1. Enjoy the View! Dirty windows and screens can make rooms feel dark and dingy. A thorough cleaning will have your windows shining, and your indoors will feel brighter and fresher too. If your home came with the previous owner’s window coverings, be sure to clean or launder them; it’ll remove allergens as well as reduce any lingering odours. Or consider replacements with colors and patterns more suited to your style!
  1. Lighten Up! A well-lit home is immediately warmer and more inviting than its darker counterparts. If your rooms feel dim, replace the existing bulbs with bright, energy-saving LED or CFL bulbs for more light and cost-savings! Dated lighting fixtures can also foil your redecorating efforts, so consider replacing them with something more your style.
  1. Time for a Switch: Replacing your switch plates only requires a screwdriver but you would be surprised how much swapping out old lighting switch plates can refresh your space. With a little DIY expertise, screwdrivers, pliers and a voltage tester, you can install energy saving dimmer switches instead.
  1. Display Your Art: Once you have deep-cleaned your new home and organized it to your heart’s content, it is time to dress up your walls with your favourite artwork and family photos! Get your kids’ kindergarten masterpieces onto the fridge and deck out your mantel with family photos.

Moving into a new home is one of the best times to make your space perfect for you! With a clean slate and empty floor space, now is the time to include all the things that make your house a home – to you! Unpack your knick-knacks and personal items and add a splash of color with throw pillows or rugs to brighten things up.

Published by DLC

Residential Mortgage Quarterly Review – Q1 2021

Economic Insights Raymond Walia 12 Apr

As we head into the 2nd quarter Canada’s Realtors are forecasting another year of records, while the country’s housing agency continues to call for caution.

Market risk remains moderate

In its latest Housing Market Assessment, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is maintaining its overall vulnerability assessment at moderate.

High demand, low supply

The key concern is “overheating”, which CMHC defines as demand outpacing supply in the resale market.  It is a reality that realtors have been pointing out for the past several months.  The housing agency also cites ongoing concerns about price acceleration and overvaluation, being driven by high demand, especially in eastern Canada.

Quarter-over-quarter assessments have not changed much for individual markets, but CMHC is noting evidence of heightened vulnerabilities.  A number of these risks have not crossed CMHC’s “critical thresholds”, but they continue to increase.  There are now five centres classed as high risk, up from just two in the previous HMA report.

Continuing – albeit slower – immigration, government income supports during the pandemic, and declining real mortgage rates are all listed as mitigating factors by CMHC.

Realtors forecast more records

The Canadian Real Estate Association cites these factors, along with the sudden lifestyle changes brought on by the pandemic, as it predicts record-setting sales and increasing price acceleration.

CREA expects to see more than 700,000 properties change hands in 2021, with double-digit sales growth in every province.  The association is forecasting that the national average home price will rise by 16.5% to $665,000.

Demand & urgency diminish

The Realtors do not expect the growth to persist though.  CREA is forecasting a return to more typical levels moving into 2022.  That prediction backs up concerns about real estate speculation being driven by irrational expectations of ongoing, increasing price growth, expressed by the Bank of Canada.

CREA projects sales activity will decline by nearly 13% in 2022, with price acceleration slowing to about 2.0%, for a national average price of $679,000.

COVID conundrum

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be the greatest variable in these reports.  Both CREA and CMHC see the vaccine roll out improving, case numbers dropping and restrictions loosening.  These are all factors that will likely take anxiety and urgency – real or imagined – out of the market and restore more typical conditions.

Technical note

CMHC has altered some of the language in its Housing Market Assessments.  “Overbuilding” is now being called “Excess Inventories”.  It is hoped the change will clarify that CMHC is monitoring unoccupied units (vacancies) rather than excess construction activity.

Published by: First National Financial LP

Residential Market Commentary – Eyeing inflation and interest rates

Economic Insights Raymond Walia 12 Apr

Market watchers are keeping a close eye on inflation and the bond market.

Bond traders believe inflation is going to be rising over the coming months and have been demanding increased bond yields.  That has led to increasing interest rates for bonds and, consequently, increasing rates for the fixed-rate mortgages that are funded by those bonds.

The traders say the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and plans for vast infrastructure spending – particularly in the U.S. – are boosting expectations of a broad recovery and an increase in inflation. Better than expected GDP growth in Canada and shrinking unemployment in the U.S. would tend to support those expectations.

This, however, puts the traders at odds with the central banks in both Canada and the United States.

The Bank of Canada and the U.S. Federal Reserve also expect inflation will climb as the pandemic fades and the economy reopens.  There is a pent-up demand for goods and services, after all.  The central banks see that as transitory, though, and appear to be looking past it.  The U.S. Fed has gone so far as to alter its inflation target from 2% to an average of 2%, over time, thereby rolling any post-pandemic spikes into the bigger, longer-term calculations.

The Bank of Canada and the Fed have committed to keeping interest rates low, probably through 2023.  Both say inflation will have to be sustained before interest rate moves are made to contain it.  The integrated nature of the Canadian and American economies means it is unlikely the BoC will move on interest rates before the U.S. Fed.

Published by: First National Financial LP

Relocate or Renovate?

General Raymond Walia 8 Apr

Like Lighting in a Bottle. That’s how Todd Talbot describes the chemistry between him and Jillian Harris, his co-host of the reality TV series Love It or List It Vancouver. There’s an undeniable electricity that flows between the pair who have battled against each other through 104 hour-long episodes of the home-design series. Sparks fly, but ultimately, both have the same goal: to find a solution for homeowners whose spaces simply don’t suit their needs.

In the “love it” corner is Harris, an interior designer (she wore her heart on her sleeve on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette) whose strategy is to help homeowners kiss and make up with their space, thanks to her design-savvy renovation. Talbot, a realtor (he’s been acting on stage and screen since he was a kid), is firmly in the “list it” corner, coaching quarrelsome couples to sell and start fresh.

The sparring is real, but there’s no bad blood between Harris and Talbot. “Jill and I really agree with each other 99 per cent of the time,” says Talbot. “We’re like brother and sister with each other, on camera and off.”

EMBRACING CHANGE

Buy or renovate? Talbot says the answer isn’t absolute. “Generally speaking [buying a house]; it’s a really fun journey. And it can be really fun on the reno side,” he says. “Life is lived in the grey areas, the nuances in between.” Those shades of grey involve negotiation and prioritization, among other practical and philosophical considerations that happen behind the scenes.

Off set, Talbot is a dedicated DIYer. “My happy place is building and renovating. I manage all my rental properties and do almost all the maintenance,” he says. He even renovated the house he shares with his wife and two children, located in Lions Bay, a sleepy seaside town in B.C. But that doesn’t mean they’ll live there forever. Like the homeowners featured on the show, Talbot and his wife wrestle with opposing forces. “Are we going to sell? Stay? Move?” Relocation to a condo in the city is a real consideration.

That struggle is what makes the show’s appeal universal. Our lives are constantly shifting. Babies are born and kids move out. Jobs change and communities evolve. Still, many homeowners are reluctant to step outside of their comfort zones, says Talbot, noting that the people who come on the show are fixated on location. “I’m the opposite: I’m a change guy. I love the idea of a different home in a different area. Nothing excites me more.”

As the TV series closes in on its fifth year of filming in June, Harris, a new mom, reflects on how her design sensibilities have shifted. “Now that I’m a parent, especially, I’m leaning towards more colour, less clutter and softer finishes, whereas before I was all about everything being white,” she says.

No two families are alike, but all are in desperate need of change, says Harris. She eases the transition, giving growing families more functional space within the existing square footage or cozying up a family home that feels empty after the kids have moved out. Each has their own wants, needs and personal style, which Harris tries to tease out of the homeowners so she can design workable spaces they love. “It’s our job to show them their best options and help guide them towards the right choice for them,” says Harris.

The obstacles families face, however, go beyond bad design and unpredictable real estate markets. A recent episode of Love It or List It Vancouver, where the homeowner uses a wheelchair, presented a new type of design challenge for Harris. “I wanted to think about every part of her home she would experience, from the front entrance to the kitchen cabinetry to being in the living room with her family. Even though they ultimately chose to list [the house], that episode really stuck with me and reminds me not to take things for granted.”

FINANCING FIRST

Whether overhauling an aging home with a sinking foundation, or buying bigger in a hot real estate market, those decisions are guided by budget. “People don’t want to talk about money. It’s not sexy,” says Talbot. His true passion for real estate is connected with the financial side. “What I really love doing is empowering people and coaching them to be able to make the decision to fulfil their vision.”

Talbot believes that gathering information and building knowledge is essential, rather than solely relying on an expert’s perspective. When you start making decisions based on instinct, it takes lots of the worry out of homeownership. He also believes everyone should view real estate as an investment and determine the end game of the property before they buy it: when they’re going to sell it and who they’re going to sell it to.

“At the end of the day, for anyone making decisions about renos or buying and selling, that’s a very personal choice and a choice that ultimately the homeowner takes responsibility for,” says Talbot.

Harris also advises thinking long-term. “It’s so important to look at both your five and 10-year plan as a family. If your house does not have any additional square footage to work with, then maybe a lipstick reno and a quick sell is your best option,” she says. “If your home does have extra space [and] it’s just not being utilized well, but you love the neighbourhood, then I would suggest renovating it to support your family for years to come.”

HOMEOWNERSHIP FOR ALL

For his part, Talbot is rethinking the entire ethos of homeownership. “In today’s day and age, we don’t live the same way as our grandparents did, [who] lived in their houses for 50 years. [Now] houses are more designed to facilitate lifestyle than be the lifestyle themselves,” he says.

“I’m really interested in the idea of redefining the Canadian dream of what makes a great house.” I think we’ve gotten off target as a society: 5,000 square feet is indulgent!” Instead, Talbot says it’s about those shades of grey and finding the sweet spot where financial responsibility, sustainability and quality of life intersect.

That’s a tough sell for some. Especially when our social media feeds are awash with idyllic images of families frolicking in sprawling backyards and cooking in couture kitchens. Dream home envy indeed. Harris sees beyond the soft filters and careful cropping and suggests homeowners look inward.

“I think the best thing is to identify what’s important to you and then build a plan around how to achieve that,” she says. “Or, be on Love It or List It Vancouver and have Todd and I figure it all out for you!”

TODD’S FIRST MORTGAGE

“Real estate kind of snuck up on me. I didn’t get into it for the money,” says Talbot who was working as successful actor when he started renovating.

“I’ve always struggled with this: being an artist and this financial fixation.” Talbot describes his first foray into the real estate market. “I bought a two-bedroom, two bathroom condo in [the Kitsilano neighbourhood in Vancouver], which happened to be the display suite. I had no furniture so I tried to negotiate in all the staging furniture.

They didn’t go for it. The only way I could swing buying my first place was to convince my buddy to rent the other room from me and that ended up subsidizing half my monthly costs. I drew up what I would later learn was a rental contract, literally on the back of a napkin. We lived together for three years before that property turned into a rental property. I refinanced it many times and funded multiple other properties with it.

I learned huge lessons owning that first property, which I sold a few years ago.”

JILLIAN’S DESIGN SECRETS

Harris is expanding her airy aesthetic of white-on-white and introducing saturated splashes of colour. Here, she shares five tips on finding your own style. Mix it up “I like to mix vintage with all sorts of eclectic styles. I like a tad of whimsy in a space and I love to see a person’s personality and life experiences shine through in the décor.” Harris also likes blending textures: “I love mixing muslins with thick rugs and knits and sequins and sparkles.”

Build Layers: Start with a blank canvas and build layers within the room. Anchor a room with an area rug, then add larger investment pieces such as sofas and loveseats. Then add in smaller pieces such as side chairs, ottomans and table lamps.

Get Colorful: “I have had a lot of fun over the years experimenting with coloured kitchens, using finishes like olive green and royal blue.”

Add Artwork: Harris suggests finding something inexpensive yet valuable in a sentimental way to inject polish and personality into your home. Or making a piece from meaningful items. “Frame flies from your great grandpa’s fly-fishing collection.”

Accessorize: Achieve a luxe look for less with a high-low mix of accessories, such as “steals” from stores such as Home- Sense and Target and “splurges” from boutiques, which act as “the icing” on the cake. “It gives your house that look of timelessness and richness.”

Published by: DLC Marketing Team

Why Use a Mortgage Broker/Agent & Common Questions Regarding Home-Ownership

General Raymond Walia 19 Feb

WHY SHOULD I USE A MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL?

Our mortgage can offer better rates, personalized service, flexibility and products at no cost to you, finding you the right mortgage to suit your needs.

HOW DO I FINANCIALLY PREPARE MYSELF FOR HOME-OWNERSHIP?

I suggest you create a budget to start. This helps you to see if you have the financial means to afford your mortgage payment, property taxes, strata/condo fees, monthly utility bills and any other household expenses!

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ONGOING COSTS I CAN EXPECT WHEN OWNING A HOME?

In addition to your mortgage payments, you need to be prepared for property taxes, insurance, utility bills, condominium fees and routine repairs and maintenance.

WHAT IS A PRE-QUALIFICATION?

A pre-qualification provides you with a ballpark estimate of how much you maybe able to afford based on your own self report of your financial situation. This helps set a realistic price range for those eager to start shopping the real-estate market.

I’M SELF EMPLOYED, CAN I STILL QUALIFY FOR A MORTGAGE?

Yes, you can! However, when self-employed you will need to submit additional documentation including:

  • Two years notice of assessment
  • Two years of T1 Generals
  • Proof of being in business for yourself for two years (i.e.: business license)
I’M WORRIED I MIGHT NOT BE APPROVED FOR A MORTGAGE, IS IT OK TO EMBELLISH MY APPLICATION?

No. It is critical that income details, properties owned, debts, assets and your financial past are accurate. If you have been through a foreclosure, bankruptcy, consumer proposal, there are still options but only if you disclose this info to your mortgage professional right away!

CAN I MAKE A LARGE PURCHASE AFTER I’VE BEEN APPROVED FOR A MORTGAGE?

I do not recommend it! A lender can pull their credit 30 days prior to closing if the original information on the approval changes. Making big financial commitments such as a car or financing furniture, before closing on your home may result in the deal going sideways.

I’M A FIRST TIME HOME-BUYER AND WORRIED ABOUT CLOSING COSTS, HOW MUCH DO I NEED TO BUDGET FOR?

Closing costs are generally 1.5% to 4% of the purchase price of your home.

WHAT DOES A LENDER CONSIDER WHEN LOOKING AT YOUR MORTGAGE APPLICATION?
  1. Credit
  2. Capital, which is your income
  3. Capacity, which is your income to debt-ratio. This determines whether or not you can afford the loan
  4. Character, such as your past credit history to determine if you are reliable and yes – they also Google you!
  5. Collateral, which refers to the condition of the property, location, history; essentially the characteristics of the real-estate that will secure the mortgage
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VARIABLE AND FIXED RATES?

A fixed rate means you are locked-in for a term. The benefit is that you know your monthly mortgage payment and it will stay the same. With variable rates, they are often lower than a fixed rate but they can fluctuate with the BOC posted rate.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A QUALIFYING RATE AND A CONTRACT RATE?

The qualifying rate is the Bank of Canada conventional 5 year fixed posted rate. A contract rate is the rate offered by the lender on the homebuyer’s actual mortgage payment.

DO I NEED A LAWYER OR NOTARY WHEN FINALIZING MY HOME PURCHASE?

Yes! You will need to make arrangements for a Lawyer or Notary to draw up the mortgage documents for you to sign. If you don’t have a legal professional, ask you mortgage professional if they have someone they can recommend.

WHAT IS TITLE INSURANCE, AND DO I NEED IT?

When you purchase a property, whether a single-family home, condo or cottage, you buy the title. The registration of that title confirms that you’re the rightful owner. Most transactions include a lender’s title insurance policy, which is designed to protect the loan and help the deal close faster. However, only an owner’s policy will offer you protection against title fraud, survey and title issues, or even pre-existing defects.

I HEAR A LOT ABOUT DEFAULT INSURANCE, WHAT IS IT AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

If you’re putting anything less than 20% down when purchasing a home, mortgage default insurance is mandatory in Canada and allows consumers to purchase homes with a minimum of 5%.

I AM LOOKING TO PURCHASE A HOME WITH AN INCOME SUITE. HOW DOES THIS AFFECT MY BORROWING POWER?

Your income dictates the size of mortgage. Adding a mortgage helper, such as an income suite, will add income to your application and increases your mortgage qualifying amount.

OTHER THAN A BANK WHERE CAN I CAN GET MORTGAGE FINANCING?

Great question! We work with Monoline lenders who specialize in a single type of financial service. These types of lenders do not have branches but can be accessed through your DLC Mortgage Professional.

Published by DLC.

What Does Canada’s Aging Population Mean for the Real Estate Market?

General Raymond Walia 19 Feb

I’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is: we’re not getting any younger. The good news is: we’re not going away anytime soon, either, as life expectancy for Canadians is higher than ever before! At least, I think that’s good news—check back with me in 2050 and let’s see how we all feel about it.

Globally, we’ve hit astoundingly high population numbers for people aged 65+, exceeding a threshold of 672 million people (about 8.9% of the total population) in 2019. That’s an increase of more than 500 million compared to 1960 when there were about 150 million people above 65+ globally (roughly 5% of the global population). Oh yes, that’s a whole lot of people.

In fact, it’s only going to get more crowded as the years go by, with the UN estimating that the number of older persons (above 60) is projected to reach 2.1 billion by 2050. And we think it’s crowded now!

This brings us to Canada’s own ageing population: according to Statistics Canada, “seniors are expected to comprise around 23% to 25% of the population by 2036, and around 24% to 28% in 2061”. With a shrinking working population supporting that ~25% segment, the precise economic implications are too varied to be certain of any firm outcome. What is certain is that the older members of our population will need a place to live, which will have a significant effect on Canada’s real estate landscape.

EFFECTS ON THE SUPPLY OF REAL ESTATE

Our ageing population affects the supply of property in the real estate market in several interesting ways. The expectation was that baby boomers would find themselves living in large homes with more space than they needed once they’d retired and their children moved out. At that point, they were supposed to sell their property and downsize to smaller (or less expensive) homes. This influx of property into the market (projected to be half a million homes) would help meet rental or purchase demand, in some cases allowing developers to re-purpose the property into larger, higher density structures (especially in cities).

However, changes to the real estate market may significantly affect how that scenario plays out in reality.

  • Small condos and detached or semi-detached townhouses used to be prime candidates for someone looking to downsize. Now, rising real estate prices (especially in cities like Toronto and Vancouver) can make this an incredibly difficult endeavour.
  • Millennials (and soon Gen Zs) have begun to move back in with their parents, as they struggle to contend with exorbitant rent prices, lack of steady work, and extremely high property prices. It’s proven economical for them to live at home rent-free (or at least, with a much lower rent) and save their money to put towards buying homes of their own later.

With more reasons to remain in their current homes (such as their kids moving back in with them), as well as high property prices and a lack of suitable options to downsize to, older homeowners are increasingly choosing to hang on to their property. This, of course, delays the timeframe in which their (usually larger) homes will be released into the housing market, which in turn will further exacerbate property shortages.

EFFECTS ON THE DEMAND FOR REAL ESTATE

Our ageing population has implications for the demand side of the real estate market as well. Accessible property, for example, will increasingly grow in demand as people get older. Fierce competition in the housing market has made it difficult for older people to acquire suitable apartments or houses that cater to their needs (such as, ground floor units or accessibility-friendly rental housing).

Affordable, smaller housing with room for live-in or part-time caregivers, especially in close proximity to essential services and infrastructure (health services, public transit, malls/grocery stores, etc.) will become much more desirable as our population ages.

Some of this demand will likely be met by the government, as it works to fund the construction of homes for senior citizens through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This will prove vital in the years to come, as increasing numbers of modest to middle-income Canadians retire and start being priced out of the normal rental market. However, with Canada’s population projected to increase at a sharp rate until the middle of the century, we’ll need more than just government intervention to address the issue.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The effects of an ageing population on Canada’s own future will be far-reaching, but impossible to predict definitively. That’s not to say we don’t have a good idea of what the likely outcomes are—we’ll need more housing, and we’ll need to be able to support older Canadians, to name two—but nothing about the upcoming decades is written in stone. The manner in which our government addresses social security issues, housing crises, and indeed, which government we even have in power will all play a role in securing stability or uncertainty.

Any speculation on the effects of projected population growth figures should be tempered with the understanding that they’re precisely that: projections. Not everyone agrees with the UN’s assessment of rampant increases, arguing that we might see a return to “normal” population levels towards the end of the century instead of endlessly spiraling into overpopulation. But whatever the outcome, it’s important that we’re paying attention.

Published by FCT.

6 Important Questions to Ask Before a Big Home Renovation

General Raymond Walia 19 Feb

So you want to make a major home renovation. Congratulations! Now, you’ve got to find the right contractor for the job. While doing a thorough online search or asking family and friends is an important first step, once you find a potential contractor, it’s time to start treating the process like a job interview. Being prepared with the right questions protects you from future headaches, but also ensures that you’re happy with the end result.

Hiring a contractor for your big home reno? Ask these important questions to make sure you’re picking the right contractor.

  1. What is your experience in home renovation?

This question can help you determine how long the contractor has been in the business, whether they’ve worked with similar challenges as those in your home and how they ensure that projects are completed on time. With this question, you get full insight into their methodology.

You can also find contractors in your area that might have positive Yelp reviews or other social media to see if others are happy with their work.

  1. Do you have a contracting license?

Depending on where you live, there are different requirements for what type of license a contractor has to hold. Check the laws in your region to see what might apply, and ask potential contractors directly whether they hold those licenses.

  1. Do you carry the appropriate insurance?

According to the Canadian Homeowner’s Association, hiring people without the proper insurance could put you at legal and financial risk should something happen in your home. Protect yourself (and the workers improving your home) by checking off this box in the beginning, and ensure they have both liability insurance and worker’s compensation.

  1. Will we get a written contract?

This should be a given if you’re working with a contractor because if the answer is no, don’t even bother moving forward with the interview. The CHBA says contracts should cover the description of the work, the materials used and the price of the job. You should also take this as an opportunity to figure out your payment schedule, as the Better Business Bureau in the U.S. says that you should never pay the full price of the job upfront, and the specific timeline for completing your project.

Contractors should also always offer a warranty in writing that informs you of what is covered and for how long.

  1. Can we get in touch with your past clients?

A contractor should be proud of their past work. Take this as an opportunity to figure out how contractors approach their work, whether they have effectively handled disputes and fact-check what contractors tell you about their working style.

  1. Will you be responsible for building permits?

If there is a chance that your building requires permits, you want to make sure that your contractor is prepared in this area. Square One Insurance says you should try to be present for a contractor’s home inspection to ensure that you fully understand their feedback, and anticipate if any changes in your home need to happen.

Published by FCT.

The Top 7 Misconceptions About Reverse Mortgages

General Raymond Walia 19 Feb

How much do you really know about reverse mortgages? Maybe you know that reverse mortgages can help Canadians 55+ access the equity in their home, tax-free. Maybe you know that tens of thousands of Canadians are using a reverse mortgage as part of their financial plan. But did you know that there are 7 common misconceptions when it comes to understanding reverse mortgages in Canada. As Canada’s leading provider of reverse mortgages, HomeEquity Bank can help set the record straight.

common misconceptions about reverse mortgages

1. If you have a reverse mortgage, you no longer own your home

Nothing could be further from the truth. You always maintain title, ownership and control of your home – HomeEquity Bank simply has a first mortgage on the title.

2. You will owe more than the value of your home in the end

Also, untrue. Every CHIP Reverse Mortgage from HomeEquity Bank comes with a No Negative Equity Guarantee(1) which states that as long as you – the homeowner – have met your obligations, the amount you will have to pay on the due date will not exceed the fair market value of your home. In fact, over 99% of HomeEquity Bank’s customers retain equity in their home when they decide to sell, with over 50% of the home’s value remaining after the loan is paid back (on average).

3. Only people younger than 62 can apply for a reverse mortgage

In Canada, the CHIP Reverse Mortgage is available to Canadian homeowners aged 55 and older. In fact, as you age you are more likely to qualify for a higher amount on your loan. A reverse mortgage is a lifetime product and as long as the property taxes and insurance are in good standing, the property remains in good condition, and the homeowner is living in the home full-time, the loan won’t be called even if the house decreases in value.

4. Failure to make payments can result in eviction

This myth is one of the most common when it comes to reverse mortgages. The CHIP Reverse Mortgage does not require any monthly payments, meaning you can’t miss payments in the first place.

5. Arranging a reverse mortgage is very expensive

This is also untrue. Much like a conventional mortgage, an appraisal of your property and independent legal advice is required, and your responsibility to pay for. The only remaining cost is a one-off closing and administration fee. When you compare this to the costs of “rightsizing” to another home, you will find a much more affordable option in a reverse mortgage.

6. Reverse mortgages have much higher interest rates than conventional mortgages

While it’s generally true that interest rates are a bit higher than a traditional mortgage, the difference is not excessive. Plus, making monthly mortgage payments is simply not a viable option for many retired Canadians, and – even if it were – many would struggle to qualify for a traditional mortgage in the first place. For these reasons, many retired Canadians are choosing reverse mortgages over conventional solutions.

7. You won’t be able to pass on your home to your children

The idea that your children won’t be able to inherit your home is a complete myth. Your heirs will always have the option of keeping the property by paying off your reverse mortgage after you pass away. Plus, HomeEquity Bank’s No Negative Equity Guarantee, (1) states that if the home depreciates in value and the mortgage amount due is more than the gross proceeds from the sale of the property, HomeEquity Bank covers the difference between the sale price and the loan amount. Therefore, you will never owe more than the fair market value of the home.

To find out how much you could qualify for, try our reverse mortgage calculator, or contact your DLC Mortgage Professional.

[1] The guarantee excludes administrative expenses and interest that has accumulated after the due date.

Written By: Agostino Tuzi
Post Sponsored by HomeEquity Bank

What will the real estate industry look like in 2021?

General Raymond Walia 19 Feb

If there is one word that defines life in 2021, that word is change. How much and for how long is uncertain. And while some changes may be temporary, many may be here to stay.

How will all of this change impact the real estate industry? Some key trends have emerged that bear closer scrutiny.

RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE

With more and more people working from home and the potential of many continuing to do so in a post-pandemic world, there is an increased need for more space. Enter suburbanization. Residents living in major urban centers are steadily moving to suburbia. Will suburbs become 18-hour cities? Who knows? One thing is certain, living cheek to jowl with thousands of other people is no longer a viable option for many.

OFFICE SPACE

For a while now, open-concept office space was the trend. That trend is now dead. While it allowed companies to downsize to smaller properties since less space was needed, after COVID-19, once workers begin to return to the office, we may see a return to traditional working spaces and the need for larger office buildings to accommodate them.

RETAIL SPACE

Bricks and mortar businesses have been hit hard and have seen a sharp decline in sales. Many big-name brands that previously anchored large retail spaces have permanently shut their doors. What does this mean for shopping malls? Will they survive? Experts suggest that to do so, they will have to be creative and embrace change. Think more medical clinics and multi-family residential homes rather than clothing stores with multi-user fitting rooms.

PROPTECH (PROPERTY TECHNOLOGY)

The real estate industry was on the brink of widely embracing proptech before the pandemic hit. That acceptance has accelerated like a rocket. In order to stay engaged with customers, service their needs and remain in business, companies have been forced to innovate in order to survive. This embrace of innovation will help to stabilize many sectors once the pandemic is behind us.

Published by FCT.

Architecture and Design Content You Need to Watch (and Listen To and Read)

General Raymond Walia 19 Feb

Feel like you’ve watched every piece of content available on Netflix, and Disney+, Crave, Hulu, or whatever streaming services you use? I feel the same way.  I’m currently rewatching Friends for the millionth time and reciting lines that I didn’t even know I had memorized.

Sifting through vintage stores, furniture and design shops, and flea markets is normally an activity that I partake of weekly. Not being able to do that (I’m not complaining here – I am fully in favour of being safe and staying home) has left a hole in the creative and curious chunk of my brain.

If you’re like me, here are some architecture and design gems to satisfy your creative desires.

THE CUT – ESPECIALLY, AMY SEDARIS’S HOME TOUR

One of a kind crafts handmade by artist friends and family members,  hair lampshades (that frizz in humidity), colour coordinated bookshelves, two-way folk-ish bedspreads, fake foods, and of course, live animals. Amy Sedaris’s apartment tour is like nothing you have seen before. It’s a collection of memories and artifacts. Learn how to properly style a bulletin board, and the logistical problems associated with colour coordinating your books. Nothing matches but everything works. This video is sure to bring a smile to your face and will make you question everything you know about design.

99% INVISIBLE PODCAST – THE SUNSHINE HOTEL & GAME OVER

The Sunshine Hotel   Game Over

Hosted by the infamously smooth-spoken Roman Mars, 99% PI is a podcast for people who love not only architecture and design but the oddities and curiosities hiding in plain sight. I have several favourite episodes (if you want the full list, DM me on Instagram @everydayallergenfree) but these two are in the top spots. The Sunshine Hotel is a “guest” podcast, pulled from archives not produced by 99% PI, so it’s a little different. Learn about the people who inhabited a hotel in New York’s Bowery district decades ago. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, to say the least. And Game Over, even though it may be an episode about The SIMS Online, is yet again an emotional journey that will suck you in. What happens when a multiplayer website dies? A lot of sadness. Not to bring you down during an already difficult time in the world, but I always find this episode very grounding.

MY HOUZZ – KRISTEN BELL’S SURPRISE RENOVATION FOR HER SISTER

Let’s brighten things up now. My Houzz hosts a delightful home makeover show where beloved actors and celebs work with a designer to renovate a family member’s home. They consult with the family member about their design taste (it’s not a surprise makeover) and things they like or that are important to them. Then they kick them out and set to work on reimagining the space, usually enlisting the help of a spouse or parent for a sentimental project. This all leads up to the grand finale where the inhabitant of the home is brought back, and the new space is revealed. Expect tears of joy.

DECOR HARDCORE FOR GUCCI

Decor Hardcore will suck you in. It will show you design never before imagined. It will convince you of your love for 70’s retro, no princess pink or nymph in fairyland, in every photo. It will, in short, rock your world. The photography is brilliant, the design often bursting with colour and texture. It’s extremely imaginative. I have no idea from which archives they source their incredible photos but it must be one that no one else is able to access because you’ll never see anything else like it. Check out this smaller collection they put together for Gucci, and head to their Instagram page for more.

INK FORAGING IN CENTRAL PARK, FROM THE NEW YORKER

New Yorker

Did you know that natural colours and dyes can be made from found objects, like pennies, flowers, sumac, and acorns? Reading this article from The New Yorker is like an instant shot of relaxation and gratification. It follows a group of ink enthusiasts (yes, this is a thing) as they walk around New York City collecting items to create their own dyes. The patience, focus, and passion of the leader, Jason Logan, rises off the page.

Be sure to check out other episodes and articles from the above sources for more design inspiration.

Published by FCT.

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