7 Tips to Makeover Your Backyard!

General Kristopher Reaves 4 Jul

7 Tips to Makeover Your Backyard!

As we gear up for the approaching summer season, why not revitalize your outdoor area to bask in the warmth and embrace the sunshine? There’s a plethora of fantastic outdoor projects awaiting, whether it’s in your backyard or on your balcony, to elevate your space and maximize your enjoyment of the season.

Let’s explore some fresh ideas:

  1. Introduce an Outdoor Rug: A simple yet effective trick! An outdoor rug effortlessly injects vibrancy into your space without the hassle of extensive renovations. It’s an economical choice that can remarkably enhance the ambiance.
  2. Embrace a Fountain: Whether grandiose or petite, fountains add an enchanting touch to any outdoor setting. Beyond aesthetics, the gentle sound of flowing water promotes serenity, enhancing your relaxation experience.
  3. Illuminate with String Lights: Transform your space with the whimsical allure of fairy lights. These versatile adornments, available in various designs and hues, are a budget-friendly way to infuse charm and create a captivating atmosphere.
  4. Craft a Vertical Garden: Maximizing space is key, even in compact areas. Consider a vertical garden, featuring low-maintenance plants like succulents. With a bit of creativity, repurposed materials can yield stunning results, elevating your greenery game.
  5. Adorn with a Trellis: Elevate your outdoor aesthetic with a trellis, adding architectural interest and serving as a focal point for your garden or seating enclave. It’s a simple yet impactful addition that can redefine your outdoor space.
  6. Design a Garden Path: Establishing pathways enhances both functionality and aesthetics. Opt for materials like stone or gravel for easy upkeep, adding structure and a sense of seclusion to your outdoor retreat.
  7. Furnish with Comfort in Mind: Transform your patio into a cozy haven with thoughtfully selected furniture pieces. From loungers to dining sets, each addition contributes to a welcoming atmosphere. Consider DIY options using wooden pallets for a personalized touch, accentuated with vibrant cushions for a pop of color.

Remember, regardless of the size or layout of your outdoor space, infusing it with your unique style can significantly elevate your enjoyment. Seize the opportunity to curate your personal oasis and savor the season to the fullest!

 

Published by DLC Marketing Team

Reverse Mortgage for Debt Consolidation? Yes, Please!

General Kristopher Reaves 26 Jun

Why the CHIP Reverse Mortgage is an excellent solution for debt consolidation.

Keeping up with rising living costs can be particularly challenging when you’re on a fixed income with limited cash flow. Many Canadians are taking out loans, using multiple credit cards, and delaying significant purchases to stay financially stable in retirement. However, juggling debts from different sources with varying interest rates and payment schedules can be stressful, leading Canadians to turn to debt consolidation loans to manage their finances and reduce stress.

What is debt consolidation?

Debt consolidation involves paying off debts using a single, lower interest loan. This approach significantly reduces the interest you pay and it offers the convenience of handling just one monthly bill instead of several.

Is Debt Consolidation Right for Me?

Many Canadians consider debt consolidation for various reasons, including:

  • Catching up on bill payments: Debt consolidation loans can help you pay off multiple overdue bills, such as mortgage payments, income tax, phone, internet, heating, and hydro bills, providing you with financial control and stability.
  • Paying off Private Loans: Many retired Canadians rely on private high interest loans to make it through the month or handle unexpected expenses. However, these loans still require monthly payments and can lead to growing debt. Debt consolidation loans can pay off these high-interest loans, breaking the cycle of debt, and in turn, can free up more monthly income.
  • Paying off Credit Card debt: High-interest credit card debt can be stressful. Debt consolidation loans can clear the outstanding balance on your credit cards and instead consolidate it into one much lower interest rate loan, making paying off what you owe easier.

The CHIP Reverse Mortgage: An Effective Debt Consolidation Solution

The CHIP Reverse Mortgage is a loan secured against the appraised value of your home. It is designed exclusively for Canadian homeowners aged 55 years and better and can be an effective debt consolidation solution for several reasons, such as:

  • Increase Cashflow: Access up to 55% of your home’s equity in tax-free cash, while staying in the home you love.
  • No Required Interest Payments: No monthly interest payments required until you move or sell.
  • Easy Qualification: No income, credit score, or health status requirements. Available to Canadian homeowners aged 55 or older.
  • Preservation of Retirement Funds: Does not affect eligibility for government benefits such as CPP, OAS or other income sources.
  • Protection from Market Fluctuations: TheNo Negative Equity Guarantee* from HomeEquity Bank, ensures you are protected even if your home’s value decreases.

Consolidate your high-interest debts, stay in your home, and enjoy tax-free cash to finance a more fulfilling retirement. To learn more about how the CHIP Reverse Mortgage can serve as a powerful and flexible tool for consolidating debt, contact your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage expert.

*As long as clients keep their property in good maintenance, pay their property taxes and property insurance and their property is not in default. The guarantee excludes administrative expenses and interest that has accumulated after the due date.

 

Published by DLC Marketing Team

What You Need to Know About Smart Homes!

General Kristopher Reaves 11 Mar

What You Need to Know About Smart Homes!.

Technology is constantly evolving and adapting to our needs as a society and individuals. One of these exciting developments has been the creation and evolution of smart homes.

WHAT IS A SMART HOME?

A smart home is any home where the homeowners are able to control thermostats, lighting, appliances and other devices remotely over the internet through a smartphone or tablet. These can be set up through wired or wireless systems, allowing you full control wherever you are.

BENEFITS OF SMART HOMES

  • Easy Home Management: One of the biggest and most appealing aspects of a smart home is the easy home management it provides. The integrated systems not only give you full control over every smart aspect of your home, but also allows you to view insights and data, which can help you analyze daily habits and energy use.
  • Energy Savings: Smart homes provide opportunity for extensive energy efficiency and cost savings, depending on how you use the technology. Precise control over heating and cooling systems allows the system to learn your schedule and set preferences for the highest energy efficiency outcome. In addition, you can manage lighting to turn on and off at specified times to prevent energy waste. In addition, these homes are often stocked with top of the line appliances and electronics, with improved energy efficiency leading to further cost savings.
  • Increase Appliance Functionality: Using smart appliances and electronics allows you to get even more out of these household tools. For instance, a smart oven can help you cook your chicken to perfection and a built-in audio system can provide the perfect atmosphere to any party. Plus, connecting your appliances and other systems will improve automation and give you even more to love about your home.
  • Flexibility: With the ever-changing smart home technology, this affords you greater flexibility when it comes to your home and your changing needs.Smart homes are typically highly flexible, allowing you to easily swap out old models for updated versions, or to install new technology seamlessly.
  • Improved Home Security: Incorporating security and surveilliance features, such as cameras, into your smart home network will help you maximize your home security. There are various options for home automation systems containing motion detectors, automated locks and surveillance cameras so that you always know what is going on. You can even set it to receive security alerts in real time!
  • Growing Industry: Another advantage to smart homes is that this is a growing industry with technology that is constantly being worked on and improved. This means bigger and smarter tech will be available in the coming years, allowing for even greater cost savings, automation and control.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR SMART HOMES

I bet you are probably pretty excited now that you know what smart homes can do! However, before you jump in there are a couple considerations to keep in mind.

  1. How much automation do you want/need?
  2. What systems are most important to you (lighting, audio, climate, security, etc)?
  3. What is your budget?
  4. What are your future plans?

With the right preparation, a smart home can be a dream come true. It is important to understand how much technology you are comfortable with, and what systems are most important to you, so that you can create a plan and a budget to upgrade your current home – or so you know what to look for when you begin shopping.

Smart technology has come a long way! Smart homes are already incredibly intuitive and automated, with more technology and advancements to come. While some of us will always remain the “labor of love” type, many of us have less time and energy than we used to. Smart homes not only help save you money, but time and energy too so you can focus on more important things.

 

Published by DLC Marketing Team

Hey!! It’s Cold Out There!!

General Kristopher Reaves 14 Feb

Hey!! It’s Cold Out There!!

What better way to show some love for Valentine’s Day, then to help our fellow men/women in need!

Join us on February 24, 2024!

The Coldest Night of the Year is a winterrific family-friendly 2 or 5 km fundraising walk in support of local charities serving people experiencing hurt, hunger, and homelessness.

Each year in February, tens of thousands of Canadians step outside the warmth and comfort of home to shine a light of welcome and compassion in their communities. Since 2011, the Coldest Night of the Year has raised over $75,000,000 across Canada in 190 Canadian communities – 100% of net proceeds stay local to support our CNOY charity partners. Learn more about our history.


How to Participate

Select one of two fun ways to participate in 2024:

  •  Main Event: All CNOY locations will host an organized, in-person main event – complete with 2km + 5km signed routes, rest stops, volunteers, and snacks at the end.
  •  Offsite Walk: All CNOY locations will welcome offsite fundraisers who self-organize either with friends or individually, walking any day in February on a route they choose.

More Details

Date: Saturday, February 24, 2024

  •  Where: Chances are there is a CNOY location quite near you! If not, you can still walk and fundraise for your local charity offsite in your own community, wherever you are.
  •  What: Participants register to walk 2km + 5km, whether at a main event, or offsite with their team.
  •  Who: Everyone is welcome! CNOY is family-friendly – participants range in age from toddlers (with parents of course) to active seniors.
  •  How: Participants register online to set up their personal Fundhub page. It’s easy to set your goal, add your photo message, and thank donors via email. Donors who give online are receipted within minutes of their secure gift of $20 or more.
  •  No Registration Fee: CNOY is 100% free to join! Everyone is welcome to come and fundraise for their local CNOY charity.
  •  Impact: By walking in the cold, you’ll feel a hint of the challenge faced by those experiencing homelessness during winter. By fundraising, you’ll be contributing much-needed money to a charity in your town that is bringing hope and help to people in your community who need support.

CNOY Toques

Our thanks for a fundraising job well done!

When you go the extra mile and fundraise ($150 for adults, $75 for youth under 17 or under) we’ll celebrate your efforts with an oh-so-comfy 2024 CNOY Toque.

 

 

I am proud to be supporting such a wonderful cause! I was the Team Captain for the event last year and it was great! This year, the whole family is participating to support the cause! However, I am looking for support from YOU! Please assist me in this cause by joining my team. There are multiple ways to support. You can join my team and gather donations of your own! Walk along side us on February 24th 2024. Or simply donate to the cause. Even $5 can help to go a long way! If you are super motivated, you can even do all of the above! Looking forward to seeing you all out there!

Join the team and/or donate here: 2024 CNOY Donations Link

 

Source Material by https://cnoy.org/home

#cnoy24

Published by Kristopher Reaves

Pantone of the Year

General Kristopher Reaves 15 Jan

Pantone of the Year.

As we enter the New Year, it’s always fun to reflect on the previous twelve months and take a look at what is trending as we move forward.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Pantone of the Year, it is more than just a colour to paint your walls. Since 2000, the Pantone Colour Institute has been indicating a colour of the year and, for many, this is seen as a representation of the current moment in time helping us to reflect on the culture and state of the world. Think of it like a snapshot in time!

For 2024, the Pantone color of the year is “Peach Fuzz”; which is notably a warm and cozy hue to feed and nourish the soul.

During this post-pandemic period of turmoil around the economy, mortgage industry, and housing market, many of us are currently in need of more nurturing and comfort. This colour signifies the importance of caring and community even more as we enter 2024.

As the calendar turns over, take inspiration from Pantone to make the New Year one of comfort, healing and peace for yourself and those around you. With interest rates forecasted to drop towards the later half of 2024, housing and job markets set to stabilize and inflation slowly reducing to normal, we have some stability to look forward to.

To ensure you can make 2024 as comfortable as possible, don’t hesitate to reach out to a DLC Mortgage Expert for advice. Managing your finances can be a great way to reduce stress and leave time for more important things! Renewals are on the rise, and this can be a great opportunity for you to rebalance your mortgage contract, review your interest rate and terms, and update your payment schedule to make the most of your monthly cashflow.

 

Posted by DLC Marketing Team

Mortgage Types 101!

General Kristopher Reaves 28 Nov

Mortgage Types 101.

Get to know the important basics before you choose your mortgage.

You have to be sure you select what is most important to you – lower rates or flexibility. Before you choose a mortgage, take some time to study mortgage types:

Closed Mortgage: If you want consistency with respect to rates and the length of your mortgage agreement, a closed mortgage is best for you. Interest rates are typically lower (and do not change with the length of the term). However, a closed mortgage does not offer much flexibility in paying off your mortgage sooner – with the exception of a once-a-year lump sum payment up to 20% of your entire mortgage.

  • Predictability and consistency with respect to payment amount
  • Often comes with lower interest rates
  • Limited flexibility with paying down the mortgage faster
  • Cannot change interest rate during the term of mortgage

Convertible Mortgage: Want the best of both worlds? Then consider a convertible mortgage. Convertible mortgages are flexible yet offer minimal risk. Often with a lower interest rate than an open mortgage, convertible mortgages provide the opportunity to switch to a longer-term closed mortgage without penalty.

  • Provides an opportunity to take advantage of lower interest rates and switch to a closed rate without penalty
  • Offers lower interest rates than an open mortgage

Open Mortgage: If you are looking for flexibility with regard to paying off your mortgage, consider an open mortgage. No penalty is incurred if you decide to make lump sump payments or pay off your mortgage before the term expires; however, this flexibility comes often with a higher interest rate – which can result in higher monthly payments.

  • Maximum flexibility; no penalty for making lump sum payments or paying off your entire mortgage before the term expires
  • Higher interest rate
  • Best for those looking to pay off their mortgage as soon as possible

Still not sure which type of mortgage is best for you? Contact a DLC Mortgage Expert today!

 

Published by DLC Marketing Team

Fall Market Update

General Kristopher Reaves 17 Oct

Fall Market Update.

As you may have heard, The Bank of Canada opted to maintain its policy rate at 5% as of September. The recent rate hikes over the spring and summer have slowed the housing and mortgage markets as potential buyers were unsurprisingly spooked by the rise in mortgage rates. More recently, fixed-rate loans have become more expensive because of the rise in longer-term interest rates. As a result, housing affordability became a bigger hurdle and led to a slight decrease in home prices by 6% in major markets over the summer.

With The Bank of Canada currently maintaining the 5% policy rate, many hope this will be the peak in overnight rate changes. If so, homeowners and potential buyers will be granted some breathing room. We will find out more with their upcoming announcement on October 25th.

As we turn the corner into Fall and start looking ahead to the coming year, analysts are forecasting stronger housing markets. The expectation is that The Bank of Canada will gradually cut interest rates by mid-year, allowing potential buyers to better navigate their affordability.

As the supply shortage continues, new listings are likely to rise and provide much-need inventory. As we move into 2024 and start to see interest rates decrease, motivated sellers will move off the sidelines and housing demand is expected to be resilient.

For anyone who is thinking about purchasing this season, it is important to get pre-approved to guarantee your interest rate for 90-120 days while you shop the market. This way, you will avoid being impacted by potential rate changes and can properly estimate your budget for mortgage costs. Plus, pre-approval will indicate to the seller that you will not have issues obtaining financing (assuming nothing changes between now and the purchase with your job, savings, etc.), which is key during the current economic landscape.

To help you make the best decision possible, download the My Mortgage Toolbox app to determine what you can afford, and what your mortgage would look like at various interest rate levels.

You can also reach out to a DLC Mortgage Expert today for unbiased advice if you have any concerns, questions or just want to get started on your pre-approval!

 

Published by DLC Marketing Team

What do Your Teenagers Need to Know about Money?

General Kristopher Reaves 11 Sep

What do Your Teenagers Need to Know about Money?.

As adults, we all know the critical importance of managing money wisely and the impact our financial situation has on our overall well-being. As parents we do our best, but there are plenty of life lessons we need to teach our kids, and personal finance doesn’t always top the list. We may also not be the best person for the job since around 50% of adult Canadians live paycheque-to-paycheque! So how do we choose which financial lessons, habits, and tactics to teach our children, especially if our own money management skills may be lacking?

Wants vs needs & cost vs value

Tweens and teens need to differentiate between needs and wants and how to prioritize what they spend their money on. Value and cost are two more important concepts they need to understand. A top-of-the-line iPhone or a carbon fiber mountain bike will really impress their teenage friends, but a cheaper version may perform very similarly and provide a lot more value, especially given the limited amount of funds they have. Kids are bombarded by marketing messages, and they need to learn how to avoid hype and be objective, so they can make smart financial decisions. There is a reason plenty of rich folks (even billionaires like Warren Buffett) drive basic cars – it’s all they really need.   If your teen or tween wants the latest and greatest must-have item, challenge them to explain the value beyond being new, trendy, or fashionable. When they want to buy something, encourage them to research the product, read reviews, and compare prices to make informed decisions.

Introduce basic investing concepts

Introduce your teens to basic investing and the concept of how to make money with money. Explain how investments can grow over time and the power of compound interest. Should you buy a stock (or an ETF, GIC, mutual fund or some other financial product) for a 14-year-old… absolutely!  There are lots of kids out there with parents who invested the time to explain shareholding and how it works at a level they can understand.

Kids are very familiar with many publicly traded companies like Disney, Roblox, Mattel and McDonalds. Holding a few shares (in an informal trust account or simply in your name) may not return enough to put them through college, but it will teach them the basics of investing, risk, and return for managing their finances in the future. It’s true that a savings mindset develops early and pays back over the course of a lifetime, but developing an investing mindset pays back HUGE over the course of a lifetime and will set your kids up for long-term financial security and wealth building. As soon as your kids turn 18, have them open a tax-free savings account (TFSA) and invest the funds, even if they can only muster $50 or $100 monthly to contribute.

Teach the bad (and good) about credit and debt

Credit is very easy to access these days and even first-year post-secondary students are often able to get a credit card. Responsible use of this first credit card can help establish a credit score and they are very convenient — almost a necessity for some online transactions. On the other hand, easy access to credit cards (with generous spending limits and 20% interest!) and a few spontaneous/poorly thought-out spending decisions can derail a future before it even gets started.

Failing to understand the impact and obligations of a student loan can also lead to a nasty surprise when it comes time to repay that money or get a car loan or mortgage down the road. Although federally issued Canada Student Loans are now interest-free, provincial loans may still carry interest. Either way, your kids need to realize that a student loan isn’t free money and that paying it back will definitely crimp their post-graduation lifestyle.

Remember that financial education is an ongoing process. Encourage openness about money and create an environment where your children feel comfortable discussing money matters with you. Starting to instill good money habits from an early age and being a supportive resource as they develop their financial skills will help your money-savvy kids grow into financially responsible, money-savvy adults.

 

Published by DLC Marketing Team

It’s Time to Crush Your Credit Card Blues

General Kristopher Reaves 14 Aug

It’s Time to Crush Your Credit Card Blues.

Although credit cards interest rates have not been affected by the recent surge in the prime lending rate, the fact remains that credit card debt is usually the most expensive debt you can have. The average is around 20% and even the so-called ‘low interest’ cards carry a rate in excess of 10%. Expediting the demise of your credit card balance should be the number one focus for anyone looking to improve their financial situation. Here are five actions to get you started.

  1. If you are carrying a balance, the first step is to put the card(s) away. Whether you put them in the food processor or just temporarily turn them off (our recommendation), you need to own up to your mistake and not add any more fuel to the fire. If it’s the case where you have no choice but to use the card (a prepayment for example) make sure to make a payment to cover that charge right away.
  2. Take a minute to fully understand the consequences of a credit card balance. Search out the details of your credit card statement until your find the section that tells you exactly how many years it will take to eliminate that balance with minimum payments. While you are at it, make sure to confirm the interest charge for that month and just how little of your payment is actually going toward reducing the balance. It can be a bit shocking, but also quite motivating! The government has a simple online calculator for you to easily analyze different repayment options.
  3. Plan your repayment attack. Making a few random spending sacrifices and hoping that you will have a little more left at the end of the month to pay towards your card is wishful thinking. You need to figure out ASAP the maximum amount you can throw at your credit card debt every month and chart out when you are going to be debt-free. Set up an automatic transfer from your bank account to your card every payday and make that money invisible – you can’t spend what you can’t see!
  4. Investigate balance-transfer credit card options… but only if you have a plan and are confident you can pay off the balance within the prescribed period! A balance transfer card shifts your debt to a new card (for little or no fee) which offers a limited time period (usually 6 -12 months) with a very low interest rate (often 0%) to pay off the balance. This cuts your interest expense to zero and ensures that 100% of your payment goes to reducing the balance. However, you have to be very disciplined and have the income to make regular payments. The card company is literally banking on you to fail and hopes you will miss the payment deadline, because that will trigger an avalanche of penalties, fees and interest charges that will put you worse off than ever!
  5. Pick up the phone and call your card company. It might be more possible and easier than you think to actually negotiate a lower interest rate on your credit card. If you have had a card for a while and have been carrying a balance and making the minimum payments, you are a valued customer! Your card issuer is very interested in keeping your business and may be willing to negotiate. You will have to get through to the right people and know what to say, but 15 or 20 minutes on the phone could save you a chunk of cash – even a few percentage points would help.

The above tips will help you get started on the road to eliminating your credit card balance. There are no shortcuts and it may require a lot of sacrifice depending on how much debt you have, but the mental burden that lifts when you see a big zero under “balance due” it will be worth it!

 

Published by DLC Marketing Team

Debt Reduction Key as Interest Rates Soar

General Kristopher Reaves 18 Jul

Debt Reduction Key as Interest Rates Soar.

There are lots of reasons people fall into debt but only one way out — and it requires a combination of planning, discipline, and persistence. With the rise in interest rates, there is no better time to map out an action plan to reduce your debt.

Start by gathering information about all of your debts — student loans, credit cards, lines of credit, car loans, overdue bills — everything. Make a list of all the debts with the details of the amounts owed, interest rate, and minimum monthly payments. This will help you set goals, create a timeline, and prioritize your repayments.

Your first goal is to make sure everyone gets paid the minimum amount required to avoid your debts going into arrears. Overdue bills and missed payments are going to play havoc on your credit score and it can take a lot of time and effort to rebuild.

The next step is to figure out how much more you can allocate from your current income for debt repayment. One common debt pitfall is to look at your situation and conclude that more income is the solution — and immediately start looking for ways to make extra money. While more income can obviously help you reduce debt, it shouldn’t be your first step.

The most important step is to create a realistic budget. Reducing the expense side of your monthly budget is going to free money to pay off debt much faster than pumping up your income on the top line. You need to identify areas where you can reduce expenses and channel those savings to your debt repayment fund. It’s critical to start accurately tracking your expenses and get the actual data on your spending, not just a guesstimate based on your feeling.

When it comes to who to pay first, there are two commonly used strategies for prioritizing debts: the debt avalanche method and the debt snowball method. With the avalanche method, you focus on paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first while making minimum payments on other debts. The snowball method involves paying off the smallest debts first, regardless of interest rates, and then moving on to larger debts.

From a financial perspective, the avalanche method is the best way to pay off debt, especially if the interest rate differential is large. The snowball method may improve your motivation, but it makes no sense to pay off a small home equity loan at 6% if you are carrying credit card debt at 20%!

Interest rates on credit card balances haven’t been affected by Bank of Canada rate changes (unlike other loans!), but they are already so high that in almost every case they should be the starting point for your debt reduction efforts. If you have been making payments and your credit rating is not too bad, you may be eligible for a credit card balance transfer offer with a promotional 0% interest rate for a specific period. Make sure you have a realistic plan and are disciplined before you sign up for any balance transfer options or credit card consolidation loans. They are a good option for managing credit card debt as they lower or defer the interest, but you need to stay on the payment schedule. If you have any investments (TFSA?), selling them to pay off credit card debts usually makes financial sense.

Paying off debt is a long-term commitment that requires discipline — there is no quick way out. Once you get started and see some progress, your mindset will begin to shift, and a huge weight will start to lift. Becoming debt-free or at least in a position where debt stress doesn’t consume your life will do as much for your mental health as it will for your financial health.

 

Published by DLC Marketing Team

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