Monday, December 19, 2016

Home Inventory Checklist

Just writing to say "Hi" and to remind you of the importance of creating an inventory list of your belongings in case you ever need to make an insurance claim. 

The reason I mention it, is that I recently heard about a family whose home was broken into. Unfortunately they never got full replacement value for their losses because they couldn't supply the insurance company with reasonable proof of what they owned. In order to avoid such claim problems, insurance companies suggest that you make a complete inventory list of your belongings and also video or photograph them for visual proof.

No one ever likes to think about having their home broken into, but in the event that it happens, it pays to be prepared.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Home Security Checklist

I don't wish to "alarm" you, but I thought you'd be interested in this Home Security Checklist that I've put together. It gives you a basis for periodically inspecting your home to make sure you're doing all you can to protect your valuables against "uninvited visitors."

HOME SECURITY CHECKLIST
 
FOR YOUR SECURITY AND PEACE OF MIND


  • Do you have a security system?
  • Do you have motion-detector lights around the property?
  • Do you keep your garage locked?
  • Did you change the locks when you moved in?
  • Do you have strong locks on all doors and windows?
  • Have you kept your keys guarded against unauthorized duplication?
  • Do you always use the peephole before answering the door?
  • Do you have automatic timers controlling your lights when you are away?
  • Are your possessions insured and do you have a complete inventory of them?
  • Are extremely precious items secured away from home, in a safety deposit box?

Monday, December 12, 2016

Why?....... Is it okay that credit card limits just keep going up?

The background:

The Minister of Finance announced on Monday October 5th that changes are being made to the Canadian mortgage rules, effective October 17,2016. The new rules will impact high ratio buyers - those with less than 20% down payment.  The most commonly discussed and concerning rule change, was the new qualifying rate for buyers.  This is one item listed under the "Stress Test".  It means that Canadians must now qualify at benchmark rate which today is 4.64%.

The government made this change to protect the financial security of the consumer, however; I firmly think that everyone should speak to their local council and express their concerns about the segments of lending - ie - car loans or credit card debt.

Where am I going with this?.......................................................................................


I agree that Canadian debt levels are at record highs and we need to tighten the purse strings so to say!  This is to ensure that we are not over extending ourselves to the point where we can't make the payments on our mortgage, should the rates rise which inevitably they will.

So why has our government not cracked down on other segments of lending?

We need to tell our government that Automobile loans, Credit Card loans and Lines of credit need to be addressed immediately to ensure that this "Stress Test" to the mortgage segment of lending can work.

I had a client send me this picture and ask me why?

I agreed to leave the client unnamed for this article, but he always pays his bills on time and recently has increased his credit card activity which is why a credit card increase is being offered to him.  However; this client earn $80 000.00 per year and has a family of four, a mortgage, 2 vehicle loans and if he used all this credit he would be using 142% of his income - it is impossible for him to ever get out of debt.

So Why?  

Why is our government not cracking down on the high limits being offered to Canadians?

Why are we only cracking down on mortgages which is the one debt that can create an asset for you over time?

I firmly believe that changes need to be made and I am not against the government changes, but they need to come with a well thought out plan.  If the "Stress Test"  as we refer to it now, is to be effective, which means to protect Canadians financial security then our government should have a plan in place to attack all aspects of debt.

Thoughts?

 





Thursday, December 8, 2016

Home Maintenance Schedule

As a homeowner you may find it hard to keep track of all the maintenance tasks required to
ensure that everything in your home is in excellent working condition.

You will find below for your convenience, a Home Maintenance Checklist that I developed for my
own use some time ago. It lists all the home maintenance tasks that require regular
attention, but which can be easy to forget. Over the years, using this list has helped me to
preserve the value of my home and save money on utilities and servicing. I hope you find it
useful.

If I can ever help you or your family and friends with any mortgage needs or future buying
plans, please feel free to call or email me. I look forward to hearing from you.



Home Maintenance Schedule
Quarterly            
Plumbing:
Faucets and shower heads: Check interior and exterior faucets for leaks. Clean aerators. Replace washers if necessary  
Drains: Clean with baking soda. Pour water down unused drains.            
Pipes:   Inspect visible pipes for leaks.   
Kitchen and bathroom cabinets: Check under and around for leaks.       
Toilets: Check for stability and leaks.     
Water heater:   Check area around water heater for leaks. If you have hard water, drain 1-2 gallons water.  
Interior: 
Wood cabinets and trim: Apply a wood protectant.        
Interior doors:  Lubricate hinges.            
Garage door: Lubricate hardware. Inspect mechanism for free travel.     
Window and door tracks: Check to see if weep holes are open. Clean out dirt and dust. Lubricate rollers and latches.  
Basement or crawl space: Check for cracks or any sign of dampness or leaks. Check for any evidence of termites or wood-eating insects.         
Ceramic tile: Check and clean grout.      
Electrical and appliances: 
Heating and cooling systems: Clean and replace filters if necessary.        
Kitchen exhaust fan: Remove and clean the filter. Clean accumulated grease deposits from the fan housing. 
Refrigerator: Clean dust from top. Clean refrigerator drain pan. Clean and defrost freezer if necessary.      
Dishwasher: Check for leaks.     
Wiring, electrical cords, and plugs: Check for wear or damage. Replace if necessary.         
Smoke detector: Test for proper operation and replace batteries if necessary.             
GFI outlets: Test for proper operation.  
Exterior:
Foundation: Inspect visible areas, vents, and ducts for cracks, leaks, or blockages.         
Landscaping: Check for proper drainage.               
Concrete and asphalt: Clean oil and grease.                      
                            
Fall
Plumbing:
Plumbing shut-off valves: Inspect for proper operation.
Outside faucets : Drain.
Water heater:   Flush out hot water to remove accumulated sediment.  
Faucet aerators : Check for proper flow of water. If the flow is reduced, clean the aerator screens. During the first two months, the faucet aerators could require more frequent cleaning.
Interior:
Attic: Examine for evidence of any leaks. Check insulation and remove or add if necessary. Check for evidence of birds, squirrels, raccoons, etc. Check for proper ventilation.        
Counter tops: Inspect for separations at sinks and back-splash. Re-caulk where required.           
Tiled areas: Inspect for loose or missing grout or caulking. Re-grout or re-caulk if necessary.     
Shower doors/tub enclosures: Inspect for proper fit. Adjust if necessary. Inspect caulking and re-caulk if necessary.          
Weather stripping: Check caulking around windows and doors. Check window and door screens. Adjust or replace if necessary.             
Sectional garage doors:               Adjust the travel and tension.   
Fireplace: Inspect flues. Clean if necessary. Inspect fireplace brick and mortar for cracks or damage.      
Electrical and appliances:
Heating system: Service heating system and heat pump.
Cooling system:              Remove debris from around units and clean with garden hose. Remove window air conditioner or protect with weatherproof cover. Clean and replace filters if necessary.       
Combustible appliances: Inspect and service if necessary.           
Exterior:
Roof: Check for leaks. Check for damaged, loose, or missing shingles. Check vents and louvers for birds, nests, squirrels, and insects. Check flashing around roof stacks, vents, and skylights for leaks.           
Chimney: Clean and check for deteriorating bricks and mortar. Check for leaks. Check for birds, nests, squirrels, and insects.      
Gutters and downspouts: Clean and check for leaks, misalignment, or damage.             
Exterior walls:   Check for deteriorating bricks and mortar. Check siding for damage or rot. Check painted surfaces for flaking.          
Landscaping: Trim shrubbery around walls. Remove tree limbs, branches, or debris that can attract insects (no wood or shrubbery should be closer than 3 inches to your house). Maintain grading.             
Concrete and asphalt: Check for cracks or deterioration. Reseal or repair if necessary.         
Septic system:   Examine septic system drain field for flooding and odour. Have tank pumped yearly.     
Lawn and patio furniture: Clean and store or cover with weatherproof material.           
Spring
Plumbing:
Water heater: Flush out hot water to remove accumulated sediment.    
Interior:
Attic: Examine for evidence of any leaks. Check insulation and remove or add if necessary. Check for evidence of birds, squirrels, raccoons, etc. Check for proper ventilation.        
Counter tops: Inspect for separations at sinks and back-splash. Re-caulk where required.           
Tiled areas: Inspect for loose or missing grout or caulking. Re-grout or re-caulk if necessary.     
Shower doors/tub enclosures: Inspect for proper fit. Adjust if necessary. Inspect caulking and re-caulk if necessary.          
Weather stripping: Check caulking around windows and doors. Check window and door screens. Adjust or replace if necessary.             
Electrical and appliances:
Heating and cooling system: General furnace inspection: Look for rust, scaling on heat exchanger, and proper flame color; note odd sounds or smells; and check condition of venting. Remove debris around units.             
Exterior:
Decks:  Scrub mildewed areas and treat for water stains, mildew, and fungus.             
Roof: Clean. Check for leaks. Check for damaged, loose or missing shingles. Check vents and louvers for birds, nests, squirrels, and insects. Check flashing around roof stacks, vents, and skylights for leaks.            
Chimney: Clean and check for deteriorating bricks and mortar. Check for leaks. Check for birds, nests, squirrels, and insects.      
Gutters and downspouts: Clean and check for leaks, misalignment, or damage.             
Windows: Clean.           
Exterior walls: Check for deteriorating bricks and mortar. Check siding for damage or rot. Check painted surfaces for flaking.          
Landscaping: Trim shrubbery around walls. Remove tree limbs, branches, or debris that can attract insects (no wood or shrubbery should be closer than 3 inches to your house). Maintain grading.             
Concrete and asphalt: Check for cracks or deterioration. Reseal or repair if necessary.         


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Your Credit Report

GW_Credit_Reports



 Here are the factors that go into determining a credit score:
  • Payment history – This accounts for about 35% of the credit score. Carrying balances from month-to-month and missing payments are two factors. Other factors include the number of missed payments – one in eight to 10 months is not bad, and how long ago the payment was missed. Tip: Pay the minimum by the due date.
  • How much is owed – This looks at the total outstanding balance in relationship to the total of all credit limits and accounts for 30% of the credit score. Tip: Pay down debt to at least 30% of the global loan limits.
  • Account history – The length of time credit account has been active accounts for 15% of the score.  The older the credit, the higher the value.
  • Recent inquiries – This accounts for 10% of the score. Too many inquiries can send a message that a client may need money, which has a negative impact on the score. A client ordering his or her own credit report has no impact.
  • Type of credit – This accounts for 10% of the credit score. Credit is either revolving as in credit cards or installment as in car loans. Higher scores are given to people with a blend of credit from various sources.
  • Collection or bankruptcy – This, of course, has a negative impact on the score. Once discharged from bankruptcy or a consumer proposal, clients can rebuild credit.
There are also a few new items in the expanded report, which includes mortgage information and calculates the estimated risk that a client will default on loans in the near future.
The case study presented at the seminar was also helpful, according to MacQuarrie. “We found the tips helpful since it showed us ways we could assist our clients with lower scores improve and how to repair damaged credit for those who need that extra assistance,” he said. “It was also good to learn what to look for so we can point out any discrepancies to our clients”
Since both Equifax and Trans Union deal with millions of pieces of information on a monthly basis, sometimes mistakes can happen, which can result in false credit scores. In most cases, consumers are not aware of the negative information in their reports. Consumers can address errors on their credit report by calling the creditor in question or writing to the credit-reporting bureau.
“With so much emphasis on credit scores, it’s vital that consumers become more aware of what’s being reported in their individual files,” MacQuarrie said. “It’s equally important to know what affects your credit score.”

Thank-you Genworth Canada for this information !

Contact Amy Wilson anytime to review your current credit situation.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Home Energy Effciency

Amy Wilson/Your Mortgage Girl - Home Energy Efficiency

I recently put together this Home Energy Efficiency Checklist to help homeowners optimize their energy consumption and reduce their energy bills.

I designed it as an easy-to-use guide for periodically examining your home to find energy-wasting trouble spots. It also includes some preventative maintenance tips that will help you avoid problems before they happen.

ANNUALLY
  • Check your heat and A/C systems.
  • Check windows and outside doors for drafts.

SEASONALLY:
  • Check furnace switch, fuse and breakers.
  • Check furnace blowers, oiling motor and changing belt if necessary.
  • Check thermostat accuracy by taping thermometer to wall next to it. If discrepancy, have it re-calibrated by a technician.
  • Check central air condensing unit for obstructing leaves and debris, and hose out if necessary.
  • Keep shrubs pruned back to maximize airflow.
  • Check room A/C condensate drain outlet for plugging.

MONTHLY:
  • Check and clean/change room A/C filters.
  • Check room A/C condenser coils.
  • Check furnace filter and change if clogged.
GENERAL: 
  • Check insulation for type/thickness, beginning in attic/top floor.  Upgrade if inadequate.
  • During humid weather, check central A/C condensate drain to ensure it is carrying off excessive moisture.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Homebuyig in ten steps

The Homebuying Process in Ten Steps

Ten Steps of the Homebuying ProcessStarting the journey to home ownership can be overwhelming and stressful. But with a little planning, you’ll get the home that’s right for you. A home that strikes a balance between your “wish list” items and the practical realities of the property, location and the housing market. Before you know it, you’ll have a place to call your very own. A place to entertain. A place to decorate. A place to raise a family. It really is an exciting time!
To help keep you on track, below is a step-by-step guide to buying your first home.

STEP 1 – Build a Budget
An effective budget will map out your plan to set aside money for your down payment and additional costs. It will also help determine the price of home you can afford.

STEP 2 – Investigate Mortgage Options
There are many different types of mortgages. If you don’t have the 20% down payment for a conventional mortgage, you can get a high ratio mortgage, combined with mortgage default insurance, that allows for a smaller down payment. You should be pre-approved for a mortgage before you start house hunting.
Consult with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to discuss what options are available to you and learn more about how to get started.

STEP 3 – Choose a Realtor
Your realtor will play a vital role in your homebuying experience. The best realtor will be a combination of a personal advisor, consultant and negotiator. He/she will show you homes that match your criteria, guide you through the homebuying process, negotiate the best possible price for your home and deliver your closing documentation.

STEP 4 – Get a Lawyer
It’s important to hire a lawyer who specializes in real estate. You could find yourself in a bidding war for the home you want, and it doesn’t hurt to have a lawyer look over any offer to purchase before you submit it. A real estate lawyer will also conduct a title search and check for outstanding taxes and liens on the property.

STEP 5 – House Hunting
* Create a wish list
House hunting can be a lengthy process. To save yourself time, know exactly what you want in a home beforehand. Think about your immediate needs, future plans and lifestyle. When you look at homes, you may be tempted to concentrate on the home, but don’t forget to
look at the whole property: the lot, the neighbourhood, the surroundings. How close is the home to facilities and services important to you?
* Bring your checksheet
When you’re ready to begin shopping for a home – often called “house hunting” – bring along this House Hunting Checksheet. You may end up seeing multiple homes in one day. This checksheet will help you compare and keep track of the homes you visit. And help you remember the features you did or didn’t like.

STEP 6 – Make the Offer
Your agent presents the offer to the seller. This document includes the price, conditions, deposit and closing date. The seller either accepts, rejects or counters the offer (also called “signing back” the offer).

STEP 7 – Home Inspection or New Home Warranty
Hiring an inspector is voluntary, but it’s a smart idea for resale homes. You can choose to make your offer to purchase the home conditional on the outcome of your inspection. If your inspection reveals major problems, you can negotiate those repairs with the seller before your deal closes, or legally withdraw your offer.
What is a New Home Warranty?
New Home Warranties are typically used when you buy a brand new home. The builder provides a New Home Warranty to cover things like deposits and completion dates, along with labour and materials for at least one year after the home was built. It also protects you against structural problems for a minimum of five years.

STEP 8 – Finalizing the Deal
Finalizing the deal will include the final approval of your mortgage, a meeting with your lawyer to finalize details like insurance and conditions, and the results of a title search.

STEP 9 – Moving Preparations
There’s a lot to do before you move. Line up utilities and other services like phone, cable and internet. If you rent, you must give your landlord notice. Also, forward your mail to your new address and hire a moving company. Preparing these things well in advance will help you make a smooth transition to your new home.

STEP 10 – Closing Day
This is the day you legally get possession of the house. Your lawyer completes the paperwork (so the home is in your name), payments are finalized and you receive the deed and the keys. Congratulations on your new home!

Thank you Mark Shendale from Genworth for this information

Friday, November 4, 2016

your heating bill on the rise?

Wouldn't it be nice if your home came without heating bills attached? Unfortunately it does not but... fortunately, there are tips out there that can help you lower your monthly costs dramatically.

Domestic wizards over the years have come up with lots of money saving home remedies and quick fixes to help you lower your home heating bills.  From washing machine tips to conquering your thermostat, I've compiled some of these pearls of wisdom into a handy list for you!


More extensive projects and fixes may require the service of a professional. I've come across some excellent resources and would love to share them with you if you're in need of a referral.


Here's hoping these tips will save you big bucks and keep your wallet happy!



 

1. Turn down your thermostat when you are sleeping or not at home.
For every degree you turn your thermostat down, you will save money. Installing a programmable thermostat can help raise the temperature of your home just before you wake up in the mornings so you are always comfortable.

2. Install ceiling fans or reverse the spin direction of your existing fan.

Reversing the direction of the blades on your ceiling fans pushes warm air down into the room. Fans should spin clockwise in the summer and counter clockwise in the winter.


3. Close off fireplaces when not in use.

When you are not using your fireplace, the dampers should always be closed. Having glass doors to close it off also helps, as fireplaces let more heat escape then they can generate. Consider this: Fireplaces are the same as having a giant hole in your wall.


4. Wash your clothes in cold water.

About 90 percent of the energy used in washing your clothes comes from heating the water - this accounts for about 16% of the average household energy bill. Moving your temperature setting from hot to cold can almost eliminate this expense.


5. Check and repair your caulking and weather stripping.

Try your best to reduce drafts in your home.  If you can pass a sheet of paper through the door jamb while it is closed, you need to replace your weather stripping. Fix up holes or deteriorating caulking that can allow drafts.

 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Ever changing Mortgage Market in Canada








We have all experienced changes in the mortgage rules over the past years:






Most Recent: The Federal Government has increased the qualifying rate as of October 17th, 2016 to the Bank of Canada's Benchmark rate. new-federal-mortgage-rules-come-into-effect-today/


In the past (just to name a few):
1. reduced amortization periods
2. increased down payments for the $500 000.00 plus home price
3. changes to how borrowers could qualify based on verifiable income
4. Required 3% of any revolving debt balances be used to determine affordability
5. non owner occupied homes don;t qualify for gov't backed insurance
6. to refinance a home you must have a minimum of 20% equity

and so on..........


 What does this mean:

The government has changed mortgage requirements several times over the last few years which affects how borrowers qualify for government-backed insured mortgages. As a mortgage broker in Alberta, I have had the opportunity to work with borrowers through all of these mortgage changes and after the initial shock wears off, it is back to business as usual.   I am here to represent you and find a way to qualify you for a home now or educate you and form a plan so you can qualify in the near future - the most important factor - you must start the process now, so you can prepare yourself for the exciting journey of home ownership.  Take initiative today to stop paying your landlords mortgage for him and work towards paying for you own home!

I am always happy to help anyone navigate the most recent mortgage rule changes, or any mortgage questions for that matter.  The reason I specialize in mortgages is so I can best represent my client and be the knowledgeable, informed mortgage representative you need!

I am here to help you, free of charge!  Contact Amy Wilson today.

P:  780-919-0475
F: 780-640-1243
Email: amy@yourmortgagegirl.ca
Amy's Website



.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Four Major changes to Canada's Housing Rules







YIKES...Looks like it true, the government is going to change it so that all mortgages that are insured will now have to qualify at 4.64%.

Click below for the whole scoop and call Amy ASAP!



New Rule

Thursday, September 29, 2016

New Condos in Crystallina

Meet:
Paula Tomko
Area Sales Manager, Altius Crystallina


 
 
Dalton #23 is scheduled for November with an approx. price of $309,950. 
 
 
You could own this home for a mortgage payment of approx $1375.00 per month o.a.c. - why rent and pay your landlords mortgage -  when you can buy now and pay your own mortgage!  Contact Paula today to find the perfect home after you contact me to get pre approved!  No cost to you.



 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Higher Default Insurer Premiums on the way?????

Canada’s banking regulator wants mortgage default insurers to put more money between themselves and taxpayers, especially for mortgages they insure in riskier cities.
The new rules, detailed today by OSFI, will force government-backed insurers to bolster their capital on mortgages in certain areas. Effective January 1, 2017, this could make mortgages more expensive for insurers and consumers alike.
“When house prices are high relative to borrower incomes, the new framework will require that more capital be set aside,” said Superintendent Jeremy Rudin. 
In a report today, BMO Capital Markets referred to these changes as “modestly tougher capital requirements.” It said that “through a phase-in mechanism” the new rules “essentially apply to new business only.”
You can bet your last basis point that insurers are already looking at ways to offset these new costs. Borrowers could be stuck with steeper premiums, higher interest rates and/or more rigid underwriting. That’s especially true if they have:
  • Lower credit scores
  • Higher loan-to-values
  • Longer amortizations.
I’m hearing insiders speculate that this could even lead to regional premium variations. So I asked OSFI if it’s possible that a borrower in Toronto might be asked to pay a higher insurance premium than a borrower in, say, London, Ontario. OSFI replied: “It is up to the institutions to determine how they will manage the new requirements.”
As of Q2, Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary would have exceeded OSFI’s valuation thresholds and forced insurers to cough up more capital on mortgages in those cities. OSFI is using census metropolitan areas (CMAs) to define the regional boundaries. 

to read more click here!