20 Feb

TAX REBATES FOR HOMEOWNERS

General

Posted by: Robert McCaw

It’s getting to be that time of year when we are collecting our tax receipts to file taxes and hopefully get a nice cheque back from CRA.

1st time homebuyer’s Tax Credit
If you purchases a home in 2018 don’t forget to apply for the $5,000 tax credit. This could result in up to $750 in cash back in your pocket. In order to qualify you must have purchased a home in 2018. It must be registered in your name or your spouse’s. You and your spouse can not have owned a home in the previous four years. What that means is if you owned a home 5 or 6 years ago you would qualify as a first time homebuyer because of the amount of time you had been renting and not a homeowner. Homes include mobile homes, modular and floating homes.

GST/HST New Housing Rebate
This rebate is for people who built a home during 2018 and they can apply for a tax rebate. However, they can also qualify if they owned a home and did major renovations such as adding an addition to a home.
Granny Suites – you may also qualify for this rebate if you converted a non-residential building into a residential property. That means that if you turned your garage or barn into a granny suite for you or a family member you can claim the rebate.
Co-op Shares – if you purchased shares in a housing co-op for you or a relation to live in as your primary residence , the rebate can also be claimed.

Land Transfer Tax Rebate
If you live in Ontario, B.C. or PEI you also may qualify for a fist time homebuyers rebate on the land transfer tax and for the city of Toronto you can apply for a $3,725 municipal land transfer tax rebate. Put it all together and there’s a lot of money available for first time homebuyers if they know they qualify.

 

Courtesy of David Cooke – AMP – DLC Jencor Mortgages in Calgary, AB.

13 Feb

7 REASONS WHY YOU NEED A GARAGE

General

Posted by: Robert McCaw

Besides the obvious advantage of not having to go lug your groceries into the house in the rain, sleet or snow, there are a number of less obvious but important reasons to consider buying a home with a garage or building it sooner rather than later.
2- I just had $3,200 worth of hail damage repair done to my car from leaving it out in the driveway for 5 minutes one day. A garage protects your car from damage due to falling branches, flying debris like garbage can lids, drones and other hazards. The average vehicle price in Canada is now $38,000. Don’t you want to protect your investment?
3- Your car is more comfortable to enter as a garage keeps the car from reaching high temperatures or bitterly cold ones. In fact, cars warm up faster in the winter when they are in a garage.
4- Your car will last longer and look nicer longer. In addition to flying debris, UV rays can crack the vinyl on your dashboard, dry and crack leather upholstery, and by having engine oil and coolant warmer prevents internal damage to your engine.
5- Insurance companies love garages. Besides keeping your car safe, they prevent falls from ice and you drive off with better visibility for driving. You will save on car insurance as a result.
6- As your car isn’t as hot in the summer or as cool in the winter, you will save on gas by not having to use the A/C or heating as much.
7. Curb appeal – realtors say that a house with no cars in the driveway look larger and cleaner than listings with vehicles. You can sell your home faster and for more money with a garage. A house with a parking pad in back just does not look as nice as one with a garage.
If you want a garage at the home you are considering purchasing, you can add this to your mortgage as a Purchase Plus Improvements mortgage. If you already own a home and want a garage, ask your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional about Refinance Plus Improvements. With all these reasons for having a garage, why not get one now?

 

Courtesy of David Cooke – AMP- DLC Jencor Mortgages in Calgary, AB.

25 Jan

WINTER IS HERE! GET A WORRY FREE MORTGAGE!

General

Posted by: Robert McCaw

This time of year, there are a few less mortgage’s being done- not many people want to move into a new home in the snow. But if you want to get a worry free mortgage, this is a great time to be shopping.

Scope out those potential neighbourhoods – how many snow shovels?

  • Will my new neighbours shovel their driveways?
  • Are there any super nice people on the street willing to snow-blow my sidewalk?
  • Can I walk around safely?
  • Are they using salt, sand or kitty litter to de-ice the walk?
  • How far is this house located from a bus route or major traffic route that will get plowed first when we have a lot of snow?

My top tip? Scope out that neighbourhood right after it snows – compare early morning snow levels to slightly after work snow levels. In some neighbourhoods you can drive around and count how many people have shovels ready near their front door.

And if you closely examine sidewalks, try looking right between two homes – this can tell you if two people shoveled at different times – or if that super nice multiple driveway shoveler exists in this neighbourhood! That’s what I call a worry free mortgage!

What? You need more than just good neighbours with shovel’s to have a worry free mortgage?
You want the best interest rate, or to confirm that you’ve got a mortgage that let’s you pay it off faster? Well, a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker will help with that.

 

Courtesy of Jillian Napen – DLC HT Mortgage Group based in Grand Prairie, AB

24 Jan

A NEW YEAR AND A NEW OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU

General

Posted by: Robert McCaw

If you have been reading the news lately, you will know that the new stricter mortgage rules have resulted in more people than ever postponing purchasing homes. Sales have dropped across the country.

As a result of these events, the rental market is booming with rents going up everywhere. The average rent in Toronto now is $2300. This has created an opportunity for Canadians who want to buy a home and for those who already own but are concerned about qualifying when their present mortgage comes up for renewal.

Secondary suites are being encouraged in Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver. In Calgary, the city council has investigated basement suites and now wants to encourage higher density to prevent urban sprawl by allowing more other housing options like carriage homes. Carriage homes are suites built above or beside a detached garage. There are companies like Calgary Carriage Homes who specialize in building these units.

Being able to add the rental income from a suite to your income may allow you to purchase a home this year when prices are depressed rather than waiting another year or two or longer to get into your own home. You can either buy a home with a secondary suite already in place or build one. The program for building a suite is called Purchase Plus Improvements. It is available through multiple lenders and mortgage insurers.
If you are presently a homeowner and interested in increasing your income, the program you need is called Refinance Plus Improvements. The rules for these programs can be explained to you by your Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker.

The rules on zoning, and building suites can be found on your city government website.

 

Courtesy of David Cooke – AMP – DLC Jencor Mortgages in Calgary, AB.

23 Jan

BUYING YOUR FIRST HOME? – THESE TIPS WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE

General

Posted by: Robert McCaw

So you’re wanting to buy a new home? That is some very exciting news. First question, are you prepared?!
We all know big-item purchases are scary. It’s expensive, you are fully committing to this household – there is no turn backing without that pricey consequence. We totally get it.
The ultimate first-step is to do your research. You are going to want to find out the essentials before you start hunting for those pretty houses listed on Pinterest!
Let’s start here.

Credit History
• How many credit cards do you currently have under your name?
• Do you pay your bills on time?
• How many loans do you currently have?
If you own a credit card or have a loan with an established bank, you have credit history. This information is then transferred into a financial summary known as a credit report.

Credit Report
Your credit report states these vital pieces of personal information (DO NOT let other people in on your personal finances. This should be a give-in by now!)
• first and last name
• home address
• social security number (SIN)
• credit cards
• loans
• how much money you owe
• whether or not you pay your bills on time
All this ‘credit’ talk is important because it allows lenders to determine IF they will lend you money. Your lender, whoever you choose to go with, will be on your credit situation right away. The sooner you know what is on your credit, the better!
As for your credit score, it’s best to only have it checked once as having multiple credit check by different lender can cause it to change. Let us know. We’d be happy to help here.

Employment
It is important to have a steady income and also proof of employment for the last two years. Any changes to your employment have to be explicitly explained. Gathering these documents a head of time can save headaches later.

Down payment
In Canada, you need to show a 90-day history of the down payment to prove you have not borrowed the money. We will need to see any movement of that money within the 90 days so its best not to move it around. You are allowed to get a gift from family for the down payment but this money must not be repayable and we will need a letter from that gift giver explaining that!

Consult Your Wish List
It’s good to know what you want in a home if you can do it realistically. Buying a house for two? Thinking of expanding your family? You need to consider what life will look like down the road before you commit and sign that paper. Nothing would be worse than to move into a house that eventually ends up being too small because a couple of kids came into the picture or in a similar situation those grown-up kids come back home from college, university – you get the picture.
It’s also reasonable to think about factors in your dream home such as maintenance, renovations, the longevity of your stay, etc. Cover all bases, it is way better to be safe than sorry.

Finding a Broker
Who should you use to find the best mortgage for you? We think a Broker (like us), especially if you’re a first-time home buyer. There are many lenders in Canada and a broker will be able to sort through all your options.

Finding a Realtor
When it comes to a realtor, you want someone reliable. Makes sense right? A couple ways you can find out whether or not a certain realtor is legit is by doing some online research:
• Do they have a website/social media accounts? Go check it out!
• Double-check if their licence is registered and legitimate
• Look up their client feedback/disciplinary comments against them
• Check out their current listings – price range, are they a busy/relaxed business?
• Send them an e-mail with any questions! Do they have the appropriate knowledge?

Feeling better about buying that first Home? That’s exactly what we like to hear.

Courtesy of Chris Cabel – AMP – DLC HomeHow Mortgage based in Calgary, AB.

22 Jan

THE TALE OF THE FORGOTTEN MONEY

General

Posted by: Robert McCaw

Ever wonder what happens to bank accounts that are inactive, forgotten about and left unclaimed? The answer to that question is that you probably haven’t. I know the thought of it never really crossed my mind and I bet that would be the case for most Canadians.

My initial thought was “Seriously? Who forgets they have money or investments sitting at a bank?” However, the numbers actually speak for themselves and I bet you will be a bit blown away.

At any given time, the Bank of Canada holds approximately $740 million of unclaimed money. You read that right….

$740 MILLION!!

This is money that at one time was held in a Canadian Financial Institution and went unclaimed. Those funds are eventually transferred to the Bank of Canada for safe keeping. The number caught my attention, so I did some digging.

It is not uncommon for funds to go unclaimed and when you think about it, it makes sense. Maybe there was a death and family members did not have a full picture of their loved one’s financial holdings or maybe there was no family to step in. Maybe there was a volunteer group, organization or business that had funds sitting somewhere, but they ceased operations and these accounts were lost or forgotten about.

Here are the highlights on what happens to the money.

  • When an account or investment remains inactive for a period of 10 years and reasonable efforts have been made to contact the rightful owner, those funds are then transferred to the Bank of Canada at the end of the year.
  • The Bank of Canada then takes control over those funds. Interest is earned and paid on the funds held over the next 10 years or until the funds are claimed by the rightful owner or beneficiary.
  • The Bank of Canada retains those funds for 30 years if the balance is less than $1,000.
  • If the balance is greater than $1,000 then the Bank of Canada retains those funds for 100 years!
  • If the funds are not collected by the rightful owner (that includes estates or beneficiaries) within those designated time frames listed above, then funds become the property of the Receiver General of Canada.

Here is the good news! The Bank of Canada has an online database that you can search and its quite simple to use. The data base retains any funds that have yet to be collected and remain in their possession. Once a claim has been made, approved and a payout processed, that information is removed from the data base. Therefore, when you search the database anything that shows up is still in the possession of the Bank of Canada. The Data base shows the account owners name, the institution the funds came from along with branch address (if available), and the amount being held by the Bank of Canada. A simple search I conducted showed balances as low as $2.00 up to $10,000-plus.

Courtesy of Nathan Lawrence – AMP – DLC Lakehead Financial based in Thunder Bay, ON

16 Jan

NEW YEAR, NEW WAYS TO MANAGE THAT HOLIDAY DEBT!

General

Posted by: Robert McCaw

We hope your holidays were spent warm, safe and in the company of family and loved ones. We also hope that you’re not drowning from all the holiday purchases such as the dinners, the appetizers, the gifts, the gift cards, the drinks, the party favours – shall I continue?
It is expected that most people will spend over their budget during the holiday season. In fact, Canadian consumers spent 3.7% higher than they did last year. According to PwC, Canadians spent, on average, $1,563 each on consumer products this holiday season.
Are you among that group who spent 3.7% higher than last year? Not too worry, we get your generosity and as always, we are here to help you during this NORMAL time period of financial anxiety and discomfort.
Once again, we’re all in this together. You are not alone in your debt situation no matter how high or how low.
Our first suggestion is to put those credit cards on ice and leave them for awhile. Cut out the temptations completely and focus only on the necessary transactions including home utilities, car insurance, mortgage, etc.
This extra money can be put aside and stored in your savings for multiple reasons. It is important that you DO NOT SPEND this lump sum of cash on clothes, electronics, or big ticket items. Just because this money is readily available to you – doesn’t mean it should be spent on materialistic items.
Don’t know what to do with that extra cash and want to make good use of it? Direct this money towards credit card debt (this one is important!!) or perhaps a “nest egg” before a move across the country, retirement, whatever suits you best.
We highly suggest not letting that holiday debt get the best of you by addressing it first and foremost. Do not let this debt slide under the radar and come back mid-year with more debt racked on top of it. Trust us! Addressing your Christmas dues now will make the rest of your financial year reasonably better without having those regrettable thoughts about giving your gifts to your families.
Since it is the beginning of January and new year resolutions are [hopefully] still fresh in peoples minds, make it your 2019 goal to create a monthly spending plan. Setting up a budget will put an end to bad spending habits and increased debt if you take your budget seriously as well as make realistic changes that are suitable to your current lifestyle.
Having a financial plan will force you to look at the numbers and assess your spending. You may be very surprised by the amount of money you are currently using towards just a simple cup of coffee on the way to work.
If you have questions as to how to get started, here is a link to the 10 Basic Steps provided by Smart About Money that takes you through your motivations about your money, how you would like to utilize your money and how to put your budget into action.
Lastly, and this tip is easy, if you already have one or two credit cards that are racking up debt – do NOT apply for a new credit card. We assure you handling one monster at a time is better than taking on multiple beasts.

Courtesy of Chris Cabel – AMP – DLC HomeHow Mortgage based in Calgary, AB

15 Jan

2018 IS IN THE BOOKS, HERE ARE THE Q4 NUMBERS!

General

Posted by: Robert McCaw

2018 was a challenging year for the housing and mortgage market—new regulations, rate increases and more made it one of the toughest years for homeowners to qualify. Despite all this, there was still $45.3 billion in collective profits made by the Big Six Banks (Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank and TD Bank).

Profits for the big banks were up an average of 13% over last year, however their stock prices were down across the board. Here’s the key points from each of the 6 major banks.

What can we expect in 2019? In general, the banks are forecasting increased mortgage growth, but there are also lowered expectations of Bank of Canada rate hikes this year which could impact net interest margins negatively.

From the Big Bank reports there were areas that stood out:

1. BMO: predictions of increasing 1-2 bps per quarter, dependent on certain moves and choices required to do so. Source: BMO conference call
2. CIBC: RESL growth has slowed, but they are predicting an increase in their mortgage portfolio in line with where we see the overall market growth trending. Source: CIBC Conference Call
3. National Bank of Canada: 2018 completed their repositioning of their distribution model translating to higher levels of mortgage originations and renewals. They saw a year over year increase in amortizing HELOCS due to consumers choosing to lock in their rates. Source: NBC Conference Call
4. RBC: Increase in mortgage portfolio of 5% year over year, with a growth in the range of 3-5% for 2019. They feel they have a strong renewal rate in comparison to other banks. HELOC products have shrunk for RBC as clients at renewal looking to lock in our residential mortgage. Source: RBC Conference Call
5. Scotiabank: expecting increased margins supported by higher interest rates. Residential mortgages are also expected to grow at mid-single digits in 2019. Source: Scotiabank Conference Call
6. TD Bank: mid-single digit growth for their proprietary total real estate secured lending portfolio in 2019. They are expecting a rate of growth a little bit lower in the first half, but mid-single digits for the full year. Source: TD Conference Call.

Do you still have questions regarding the 2019 Mortgage Market or the Q4 wrap-up? Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professionals are well versed in the in’s and out’s of the mortgage market and would be happy to walk you through the full details.

Stat Sources: https://www.canadianmortgagetrends.com/2019/01/q4-2018-bank-earnings-mortgage-morsels/

Courtesy of Geoff Lee – AMP – DLC GLM Mortgage Group based in Vancouver, BC

11 Jan

3 THINGS FOR EVERY HOMEOWNER TO DO IN JANUARY

General

Posted by: Robert McCaw

As we enter the New Year, there are a few things that we should all think about as homeowners.

1 – Replace your furnace air filter – if you read over the instructions for your furnace you will know that you are supposed to either clean or replace your furnace filter. We are three months into the heating season so a replacement now will last you until spring.

2 – Put a copy of your last pay stub for last year with your house papers & keep an eye out for your annual mortgage statement – put this statement in with your house papers along with your last pay stub.

3 – Check all your credit card balances before they are due – as the holiday season has just ended , you may have spent more money than you have in your bank account. If there’s a shortfall between what you can pay and what you owe you will now be stuck with a credit card balance with an interest rate of 19-25%.
There’s a solution. If you have enough equity in your home, you can apply through your mortgage broker for a home equity line of credit (HELOC). This is a readvanceable account and should have an interest rate of closer to 4% . Remember you still owe this money but it’s a lot easier to pay off a balance when the interest compounds at 4% rather than 25%.
Contact your favourite DLC mortgage broker and ask them if you qualify for this money saving option. The first thing that your broker will ask you is for a mortgage statement and your last pay stub from last year which you will have easily at hand. Now there are just a few more steps and you are on the way to getting your holiday debts into a manageable situation . Dominion Lending Centres providing solutions to Canadians.

 Courtesy of David Cooke – AMP – DLC Jencor Mortgages in Calgary, AB
10 Jan

BULLYING ENDS HERE UPDATE FOR JANUARY 2019

General

Posted by: Robert McCaw

Hi Friends and welcome to 2019! I hope everyone had a terrific holiday season and was able to spend some quality time with loved ones.

Seven years of Bullying Ends Here and sharing my story, along with Jamie’s, is now complete. Here are some highlights…
To date:
49 young lives saved to date
3500 website hits per day average
Presented in four countries including the Netherlands and the United States
875,000 shared with in person
Countless media interviews
Endorsements from the Prime Minister
First book released (My Story)
Johnny Gaudreau asks to be Ambassador
Our first commercial

2018:
17,500 emails/social media messages
150 presentations
180,000 youth
15,900 at Be Brave in Calgary from Centre Ice of the Calgary Saddledome
Scotland for two tours
England for two tours
Every Province in Canada (some several times)
Resource guides for adults (thanks Industrial Alliance)
Endorsements from Steven Page, Mayor Nenshi, Shawn Hook, Sheldon Kennedy, Rick Mercer, Brad May and Brian Burke
New PRIDE logo
Partnership with the Metropolitan Police in London England
Sovereign Medal for Volunteers presented by the Governor General
New office space
New Board Members (welcome Kim McKenney Lisa Randell and Jenneice Elliott Larsen)
Youth Advisor
Visit to 10 Downing Street

2019:
Will reach the 1,000,000 mid year 2019
History/record making ‘Kindness Tour’ starting October 2019
New Book (Walking the Talk) and a Third book in the works
Scottish Parliament Recognition
Three scheduled tours in the United Kingdom
Member of the Order of Merit, Police Forces (one of Canada’s highest recognition)

Needless to say, you can see just how much we have accomplished when so many said that ‘this won’t work’. Worldwide success and lives saved!!! I made a promise to Jamie’s parents (Allan Hubley and Wendy Barber Hubley) in 2012 that I wanted to continue their son’s message of acceptance and understanding and I am more committed than ever to keep doing so. For as long as I am asked to share, I will keep speaking up and being the voice that so many need. Much of this credit has to go to Dominion Lending Centres and their continued support to make Bullying Ends Here one of the most effective anti-bullying initiatives in the Country!
I am really excited to share more details about the biggest plans in our history, the ‘Bullying Ends Here Kindness Tour’. Details of this are still being sorted but it will travel all across Canada (I will drive the entire route) ending March 31st 2019 in St. John’s N.L. This will mean 150 presentations, in 150 different cities/towns in less than 150 days. I am going to open scheduling to DLC offices across the Country first to have me speak in your community. With CTV already wanting to be our Canadian Television Presenter, this is going to help us to reach so many more. I will provide details on exact locations in the coming weeks/months.
I am currently on tour for ten days in remote locations in Northern Saskatchewan thanks to the good folks at PrairieAction Foundation that worked with the Ministry of Education of Saskatchewan to find the communities most in need of my program. Some of these communities have had school shootings, mass suicide pacts among youth and extreme poverty. I promise to do all that I can to help those that need most. To show them that things can get better and that there are people right now ready to help. I will share details of this journey on my Instagram/Twitter (@tadmilmine) and Facebook (Bullying Ends Here Canada).

As you saw, we received many more endorsements from influential people this past year. Shawn Hook was kind enough to prove a shout out as are several of the Calgary Flames NHL Team players. In fact our Ambassador, Johnny Gaudreau, now provides me with countless items to offer out to random followers on my Instagram account. We are blessed to have such support from a true gentleman who also happens to be an NHL Superstar. The looks on some of the kids faces when they receive an autographed photo, puck or jersey is priceless. Talk about spreading the love!

Our charity has now branched into the United Kingdom with a partnership with the Metropolitan Police in London and a goal to share Bullying Ends Here with as many of their students as possible. I have been there twice in the last six months with three more trips planned for 2019. Scotland is going so far as to pass a motion in the Scottish Parliament to officially recognize Bullying Ends Here as being part of their school curriculum. This is historical to say the least.

I just put out a small guide called ‘What Everyone Needs To Know’ and the reviews are incredible so far. My first 250 copies were gone in a week with a request for thousands more. This is all made possible by the grant that we received from Industrial Alliance last year. We consulted with some of Canada’s experts and stuck to the most important information in an easy-to-read format for all.

I am currently re-writing my first book as, with time, I have become much more comfortable sharing about my past. There are things that I couldn’t talk about when I first wrote it that I am comfortable with now. I hope to have this out in two months. My second book ‘Bullying Ends Here – Walking the Talk’ should be released by the summer. With the third book, tentatively called ‘Bullying Ends Here – The Kids are Alright’ anticipated for the fall. Needless to say, I have a lot of writing to do.

This is going to be an extraordinary year, an historic one in fact. At some point we are going to reach our ONE MILLIONTH YOUTH!!! I get goosebumps just writing that.

We need all of the help that we can get with raising funds, spreading awareness and networking. Please never hesitate to share my contact information with anyone who might be able to help us in some way. Every dollar helps as it goes directly to reaching the youth. I would have it no other way!

Your friend,
Tad

 

Courtesy of Tad Milmine – Founder of Bullying Ends Here