• Address Change Checklist

    There is nothing like receiving a handwritten note from a loved one, delivered the old-fashioned way directly to your mailbox. Sure, bills, letters, cards, and more can easily and more efficiently be accessed online, but where is the fun in that?

    You have nearly reached the end of your home-buying journey, and although the road has been long and winding, you have reached the final stage! Your fingers are itching to dive into unpacking and settling into your new home, but first, you need to let your family, friends, companies, and government agencies know where they can reach you.

    For family and friends, you can easily send a change of address card via mail or email, but there are a few more steps when it comes to informing government agencies. Nowadays, most services enable you to easily change your address online, which can be completed in a matter of hours. However, a few, like your registry, will require you to visit in person to complete the paperwork. Here are the main services for which you need to change your address:

    Canada Revenue Agency – It is very easy to update your address online. Click here to change your address with the CRA and ensure your tax information is accurate.

    Canada Post – Use Mail Forwarding to forward any personal or business mail from your old address to your new one so that you don’t miss any important information. This should be completed a few weeks before your moving date to ensure nothing gets missed.

    Local Registry – Known as Service Ontario in Ontario and by other names in other provinces, this is where you can update your driver’s license and health care cards. If you are moving to a new province, you will also need to get a new license plate.

    Bank and credit card company – Any information that proceeds through your bank, such as accounts, loans, or lines of credit, will need to be updated with your new address. If you have bought a new home, then your mortgage will already have the address.

    Insurance broker – All home or rental insurance will need to be updated to reflect your new address. You will also need to update your auto insurance so that your new address is printed on your card. You should know that insurance rates often change based on address.

    Employer – If applicable, it is important to change your address for the purpose of tax information and your Employment Insurance.

    Medical Personnel – Your doctor, dentist, and any other medical practitioners that you see will need to be updated with your new address. This also includes the veterinarian.

    Memberships and subscriptions – If you are a member of a place such as a gym, it will be necessary to change your address information.

    Utilities – Assuming that you have not done so already, all utilities, including internet and TV, will need to be switched over to your new address.

    Education institutions – If you have children that will be attending the same school as before the move, you will need to notify their school that you have moved and provide your new address.

    This may seem like a daunting task, but fortunately, once everyone has been informed, you can go back to unpacking and organizing and can rest easy knowing that your friends and family will be able to easily find you to wish you well in your new home.


    Courtesy of REMAX.ca

    Tips to Enhance Your Curb Appeal This Winter

    The grey and lifeless winter landscape can leave your home’s curb appeal… lacking. If you’re selling your home and are hoping to channel your inner Norman Rockwell in a cozy, welcoming scene, take it from the experts: it is a lot simpler than you think! Homeowners who want to give their front yard a facelift or prepare their homes to sell during the winter season should be aware that it does not require too much of an investment. From a fresh coat of paint to a modest bird feeder, it is the little things that count and can add the most charm to your home’s exterior. We have compiled a list of tips from real estate experts on how you can enhance your curb appeal this winter.

    6 Tips to Enhance Your Curb Appeal This Winter

    Give Your Numbers an Update

    How old are the numbers on your house? Better yet, can delivery drivers even see them as they try to drop off your pizza (or the signature brown boxes holding the evidence of your 2020 online shopping addiction)? Whatever state the numbers on your front porch may be, consider investing in some new numbers for an easy, affordable, and striking outdoor refresh.

    Investing in a new mailbox can also instantly upgrade your exterior aesthetic. So, scrap that rusty eyesore and trade it for a sleek, metal letter box that can usually be affixed to the wall with a couple of screws.

    These simple updates can do wonders for your curb appeal during the winter months.

    Apply a Fresh Coat of Paint to Your Door

    Oftentimes, the best way to spruce up any part of your humble abode is with a fresh coat of paint.

    Your door is usually the first thing that appeals to somebody’s eye. Many homeowners might choose to fully replace their old door with a new one that has a lovely glass insert. But if you are on a tight budget, all you need is some paint and colour that suits your home.

    As an added tip, bold primary colours can look extremely striking set upon a white winter backdrop. But take note, you may want to proactively paint before the cold winter weather hits or during a window of unseasonably warm temperatures, as most paints need at least three days of 12-degree weather to properly cure.

    Install a Bird Feeder

    What better way to liven up your front yard than by hanging a well-placed and colourful bird feeder to attract some feathered friends? Winter provides us with plenty of gray days, so placing a bird feeder can show some colourful signs of life like blue jays and cardinals.

    Add Functional Lighting

    Exterior lighting offers a myriad of benefits. The first thing homeowners will point out is the safety aspect of light installations, providing added visibility during the shorter and darker days of winter. Opt for downward soffit lighting to create a warm glow that makes your property look inviting and cozy.

    Clear the Snow and Clutter

    The snow certainly looks nice after a fresh snowfall, but the longer winter continues without proper up-keep, the more unkempt your home will appear. While it is perfectly alright to let the snow accumulate on your lawn, aim to shovel the front walkway and the driveway to keep paths clear and safe. Remember, if you are hosting an open house, you want your home to be accessible and safe for prospective buyers.

    Plant Some Seasonal Greens

    Like a colourful bird feeder, cold-weather plants can liven up your front entrance. Unsure what to plant? Here are a few recommendations from our wintery green thumbs:

    • Evergreen trees and shrubs for all year long.
    • Winter berries, which will attract hungry birds.
    • Winter-flowering shrubs, such as jasmine and daphne.
    • Early spring bulbs that will flower in late winter or early spring.

    Winter Brings New Decorative Opportunities?

    Many homeowners typically think about what they can do to add seasonal holiday touches to the interior of their home but tend to neglect outdoor winter décor, which can create a bold, inviting statement to elevate your curb appeal. Whether a wreath or planter made of cold-hardy perennials or a faux fur blanket draped over your porch-side Muskoka chair, there are so many ways to bring the beauty of the season to your home’s exterior!


    Courtesy of REMAX.ca

    How to Prepare Your House Before You Go on Vacation

    Most people have watched the movie Home Alone or at least know the storyline. To summarize, a family goes away for Christmas vacation, and two robbers scope out the house and decide to break in and steal everything. However, the family forgets their youngest son, who spends his days pranking the robbers and keeping them at bay. While this makes for an amusing movie plot, being in this situation in reality is not what anyone wants – especially when they are out of the country. Now, if you’re wondering how to prepare your house before you go on vacation this winter, read on!

    While the likelihood of you forgetting one of your children at home when you leave for a winter vacation is next to none, the chances of someone breaking into your home while you’re away is not out of the realm of possibility. We’ve compiled a list of ways to keep your house safe while you travel to warmer temperatures during the winter months.

    How to Prepare Your House Before You Go on Vacation

    Snowbirds will be quick to tell you that going away for a weekend or even a week is nothing compared to leaving for months at a time. Preparing your home for an extended absence is vital to ensure that everything remains status quo while you are gone. We will detail some key things below, including turning off water valves, adjusting your thermostat, and having someone check on your home regularly.

    Turning off the Water

    Turning off water valves while you leave for the winter is one of the most important things and should be kept at the top of your list of things to do before you go. Water is one of the biggest threats to your home, and even just a tiny leak can cause thousands of dollars in damage. In the winter months, the risk of your pipes freezing is real, and when pipes freeze, they eventually burst, and this isn’t something you’ll want to come back to after your vacation. Before leaving, we suggest turning off any water valves you can, including outdoor taps and laundry. Some people even turn off the entire water supply to the house before slipping away for the winter. Others prefer to keep some water flowing and have the person checking in on their home flush the toilets and drains occasionally to prevent odours from coming up the drain.

    Turn Down the Heat

    There’s no point in keeping an empty home warm and toasty, but you still need to keep the heat on while you’re away. This will prevent your indoor pipes from freezing and condensation from building up inside your electronics. Turn the heat down, but not off.

    Pause Unnecessary Utilities

    Some of your utilities like cable and internet can be paused while you’re away for a small, one-time fee. If you’re planning to go away for just a couple of weeks, this may not make sense, but pausing these utilities can save you hundreds of dollars if you’ll be away for a few months. That saved money is sure to come in handy while on vacation!

    Find a Trustworthy Neighbour to Keep Watch

    Having eyes and ears on your home while you’re away can make you feel much more comfortable leaving your home empty for weeks or months. This is where having great neighbours pays off. Ask or hire someone to bring in the mail, turn on lights occasionally and shovel the snow to make your home look lived-in and less inviting to thieves. Have them look around for anything out of the ordinary and immediately bring it to your attention.

    You should also be aware that your home insurance terms may require you to have someone check on your home regularly if you are away for more than a few days. For example, some insurance companies will not cover pipes that burst during your absence, unless a competent person checks on the interior of your home every few days.

    Leverage Technology While You’re Away

    Thankfully we have the technology to give you some peace of mind while away. Installing security lights and cameras outside the entrances to your home is a great way to ensure that your house is kept safe. Most security cameras can be viewed using a smartphone, and these apps can also control lights giving you the ability to turn lights on and off while you’re away, further giving off the illusion that someone is home. An alarm system is also a great idea to keep your home safe from intruders.

    Many Canadians head south for the winter months. Now that working remotely is so popular, it is expected that the number of “snowbirds” may increase, and the term will no longer be reserved for those who have retired. If you’re planning to escape the harsh Canadian winters in favour of a warmer climate, follow these tips on how to prepare your house before you go on vacation, so you can relax and enjoy yourself worry-free.


    Courtesy of REMAX.ca

    The Top Benefits of Buying and Selling Your Home in the Winter

    Opinions are split as to whether buying and selling a home in the winter is the best time or not. In the post-coronavirus world, plenty of conventions and traditions have been turned upside down. Deciding if you should erect a for sale sign in your snow-filled yard or venture out in cold conditions to find your dream home? There are some factors to consider, working in favour of taking the leap into home ownership during the winter.

    We have compiled a list of the top benefits of buying and selling your home in the winter:


    #1 Fewer Bidding Wars in the Winter

    Historically, there is less competition among homebuyers during the winter months. Unless the sun is shining and the temperatures are above normal, not everyone is willing to endure the wrath of Old Man Winter. Moreover, winter is not always the most convenient time to acquire a new property. The buzzing holiday season often has homebuyers distracted, and families may be apprehensive about moving to a new neighbourhood in the middle of the school year.

    #2 Faster Mortgage Closings

    It may seem counterintuitive, but the winter months might offer quicker service during months. Because sales activity is typically a bit slower between November and February, service professionals within the industry may be faster since they aren’t as busy.

    Mortgage closings, home inspections, contracting services, and legal documentation – everything that is involved with buying a home can be quicker than if it were done in the middle of the spring or summer.

    #3 Is Everything Cheaper?

    Statistically, since the winter months tend to see lower volumes of activity within the real estate market, sellers are more likely to list their home at a fair price, or priced to sell! Without overinflated prices, and the decreased likelihood of a bidding war, you’re more apt to score a good deal on your purchased property in the winter home-buying season.

    Further, since real estate is an essential industry, many industries that support buying and selling a home are readily available. The market slowdown in the winter may make some services less expensive since there isn’t as much activity. Whether it’s moving companies or contractors, some are willing to negotiate in order to drum up business during the winter season.

    #4 Seasonal Bonuses

    ‘Tis the season for bonuses from your workplace. It might be a bit different in 2020, but many companies hand out respectable bonuses to their staff to show their appreciation for a job well done. This cash injection is great for homebuyers who may allocate it directly toward their down payment if they are browsing for a home in the winter.


    #1 Winter Spawns Serious Buyers

    If somebody is willing to travel through a Canadian winter to visit an open house, it is more than likely you have a serious buyer on your hands. It is easy to attract a few dozen people to your property on a gorgeous spring day, but are they genuine about their interest?

    Winter separates window shoppers from dedicated customers.

    #2 Less Competition!

    The reduced competition during the winter season is a plus for buyers and sellers alike. With fewer properties available on the market, you’re more likely to sell your home quickly (as long as demand is there!) with favourable terms.

    #3 Highlight Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

    How efficient is your home? If you are like most modern households, you have invested in your home’s energy efficiency to cut down on your utility bills. What better time to show off this incredible investment than during the winter, when your hydro bill is typically higher. This could not only add thousands to your home’s value, but it could be a selling feature for homebuyers.

    Got a hot tub or a fireplace? These will be extra favourable features for winter buyers who will naturally be looking for homes that offer cozy warmth.

    Winter is in the Air

    Any time the birds start chirping, the days become longer, and the temperatures begin warming up, for-sale signs pop up on yards everywhere.

    While this is part of the reason that more homeowners sell their properties between March and September, plenty of real estate agents and industry experts regularly champion the winter as a great time to be both a buyer and seller.


    Courtesy of REMAX.ca

    Upgrading Your Home Office

    Proper organization and storage are key to a productive home office. Upgrading your home office can be a visual cue, inspiring you to increase your productivity and improve your general workflow.

    Innovative renovations that boost your home office aesthetic and practicality, while bringing you closer to your work, can help you reach new heights. If you have a hybrid work schedule or are working from home, you can easily incorporate these six ideas into your existing decor.

    6 Ways to Upgrade Your Home Office

    Upgrade Your Lighting with Different Bulbs

    Workplace lighting could be subpar if the space were designed to be something other than an office from the start. A well-lit home office has both natural and artificial lighting options, such as task lighting for illuminating specific work surfaces and ambient lighting for the entire room.

    Consider a desk lamp that can be adjusted in height and produce different colour temperatures for your workplace. Researchers have found that exposure to warmer (more yellow) light encourages inventiveness, while exposure to more relaxed (bluer) light improves focus. Studies have found that one’s environment can affect their productivity.

    Upgrade Your Workstation

    Organize your desk so that everything you need is within easy reach. You need a large enough desk to keep everything handy and drawers or shelves to stow items you don’t use daily. You should be able to access your computer’s essentials, such as the printer, mouse, speakers, and any supplementary materials you might need, without having to move around too much. Less-used items should be stored further away so that you only have to shift position or get up when needed. It’s also helpful to have a sliding base for the mouse and keyboard and a raised platform for the screen.

    Utilize Large External Monitors to Prevent Screen Clutter

    For most people, the screen of their laptop or desktop computer isn’t enough. According to one study, a second monitor has increased productivity by as much as 30 percent. Choose a second monitor with a legible display to avoid headaches and eye strain. An additional rule of thumb is that the larger the monitor, the better it will serve you because it will reduce the need to scroll.

    Find An Ergonomic, Comfortable Chair

    If you’re sitting correctly, you won’t just be less likely to develop health problems; you’ll be able to avoid the temptation to constantly shift positions or get up to stretch for more extended periods. When selecting an office chair, it’s essential to look for one that supports your lower back by conforming to the shape of your spine, has a wide range of height adjustments, and can be swivelled to accommodate easy access. Ensure that your knees and elbows are at a 90-degree angle, that the armrests adequately support your forearms, and that the chair is soft enough to ensure proper posture.

    Utilize Wall Space for Planning Purposes

    Although we do a lot of documenting, planning and getting ideas on our computers, there are other places where we do so. The need for physical intervention is often inevitable. Consider a whiteboard or low-cost magnetic bulletin board that can be hung and used for keeping current to-do lists, project information, and motivational images close at hand.

    Plants As a Stress Reliever

    Even if you only have room for one tiny plant on your desk, it will go a long way toward reducing stress levels and motivating you to keep things neat. In case that isn’t enough to convince you, research has shown that having plants around at work can boost efficiency. Plants are a great way to bring natural texture and colour into your home office. Fake plants today are so lifelike and require no watering or sunlight.

    Making Productivity-Improving Upgrades to Your Home Office

    Before COVID-19, many people who worked from home used the dining room table or some other makeshift surface as their desk. The shift to remote work caused by the pandemic has highlighted just how important it is to have a dedicated home office.

    Now that many employers are accommodating work from home, it makes financial sense to upgrade your workspace so you can work comfortably, concentrate, and get things done. A dinner-table workspace is no longer enough as a long-term solution. In any case, it’s wise to improve your home office’s infrastructure. Improve your efficiency, orderliness, and everything in between with the new office furnishings that come out every year.

    Courtesy of REMAX.ca

    Explore the Neighbourhood Before You Buy

    The quality of the surrounding community is a significant factor in determining whether you will be happy in your new home. While choosing a neighbourhood and forming an accurate impression of it is tough until you actually live there, preliminary research on the area can reduce the likelihood of suffering from buyer’s remorse down the road. So, how can you ensure that you’re well-informed? Here are five strategies for investigating a neighbourhood before you buy.

    Choosing a Neighbourhood: Journey of Discovery

    To determine whether the area is ideal for you, it is best to pay multiple visits. Listen for things like planes, trains and automobiles as you wander the neighbourhood. Living near places that frequently generate loud noises is probably not a good idea if you have a low tolerance for such sounds.

    You should consider the condition of nearby houses as well. A neighbourhood may not be in good shape if many homes are on the market and the fences, yards, and windows all look neglected. Conducting a daytime and nighttime exploration, as well as weekday and weekend visits, are all recommended.

    Reach Out to The Neighbours

    Talking to locals can be an excellent strategy for gaining insight into a community. Keep your eyes peeled for possible encounters with your future neighbours so you can introduce yourself. Inquire whether they recommend the area to you and your loved ones. A good way to find out if you’d like to move there is to talk to people who already live there.

    Check The Prevalence of Crime in a Given Area

    There are several factors to consider before purchasing a home, but one of the most important is the local crime rate. Although there is usually some level of criminal activity in every area, some places are considerably safer than others. If the neighbourhood you’re looking at has a low crime rate, you’re likely to feel safer.

    It can also be a good idea to check crime maps of the area you’re looking at by doing a quick search on Google. In addition, you can get in touch with the local police for further assistance in finding this information, such as the Toronto neighbourhood crime maps, which show the number of crimes per 10,000 residents.

    Examine Recent Changes in Property Values

    Considering property value trends is not crucial if you are a renter, but it is essential if you are considering purchasing a home. Before you buy there, you need to know if home prices in the area are rising, stagnant, or falling. Knowing these tendencies is helpful. Also, you can extrapolate information about a neighbourhood’s public amenities funding from the property tax rates there.

    It’s important to remember that property values aren’t indicative of a neighbourhood’s desirability and that affordable housing doesn’t mean a place is terrible to live in. However, they are essential to investigate when learning about a community, especially if you plan to make a long-term investment there.

    Try Out Your Commute

    The commute you endure every day can significantly affect your happiness. While a quick Google Maps search can give you a general idea of your commute and how long it might take, nothing beats experiencing it for yourself, whether you’re travelling by car, foot, bike or public transportation. In addition, the best time to test your commute is when you would typically be on your way to or from work.

    Buying the Perfect Home in An Ideal Neighbourhood

    It’s just as critical to locate a desirable community as it is to find the ideal dwelling. You can improve a house, but a neighbourhood’s characteristics are much more challenging to alter. Don’t rush into buying a home; instead, take your time to learn about the community and get a feel for the area.

    Your RE/MAX real estate agent is another great way to learn the ins and outs of a neighbourhood you are considering moving to. Our expertise and experience in local communities mean we can share insights that you may not be able to find on your own. Reach out to us today, and get a head start on choosing the right home for your family in the right neighbourhood!

    Courtesy of REMAX.ca

    Staging Your Home During The Holidays

    One of the biggest questions that tends to arise in the months leading up to the holidays, is whether or not people should decorate their homes for the holidays while trying to sell. This is an interesting topic, as some people prefer to see what homes look like when decorated, while other people prefer to see the space without the distraction of decorations.

    We reached out to our RE/MAX Influencers – a panel of RE/MAX Sales Associates from across Canada – who provided some insight and tips into how you should go about staging your home during the holiday season.

    Try to Take Photos Beforehand

    One great tip that was offered up by the RE/MAX Influencers was to, if possible, have the listing photos of your home taken before decorating. This will allow potential buyers the chance to see your space both with and without decorations, and also will keep the listing photos from looking outdated if your home is still on the market in the months after the holidays.

    Keep it Simple & Generic

    Another tip that was provided by the Influencer panel is to keep your decorations simple and generic. While you may normally go full out with decorating for the holidays, try to keep the décor simple if you’re trying to sell. This will help keep your home from looking too cluttered and will allow potential buyers to see where their own decorations might fit if they are thinking of making an offer.

    Keeping your décor generic will also help prospective buyers to envision themselves in your home, as not everyone celebrates the same holidays. Keeping things simple and generic will allow your home to be viewed as being festive and cozy, while also being approachable to potential buyers.

    Some examples of simple, generic décor could be adding things like throw blankets on the end of beds or adding a festive wreath to the front door.

    Tuck Personal Items Away

    While it may be tempting to pull out festive family photos from past holiday seasons and put them on display, it may not be the best idea if you’re trying to sell during the holidays. By tucking personal items away, as mentioned above, you allow potential buyers to see themselves in the space, without being distracted by personal items that belong to the current owner.

    One Influencer made a great comment, suggesting that if you have a Christmas tree decorated only place “fake” wrapped boxes under the tree and remove any tree ornaments that may hold value and sentiment to keep them safe and help protect your privacy.

    Don’t Overcrowd the Space

    When decorating for the holidays, it can be tempting to go all out with décor. It is important to keep space in mind when decorating, so you aren’t blocking any key viewpoints or restricting access to parts of your home that potential buyers may be trying to look at.

    If you typically decorate with a large, bushy Christmas tree, consider getting something that is slimmer to help make your space appear more spacious.

    Keep it Classic Outside

    When staging your home for the holiday season, many people only think of the indoor spaces. The outdoor curb appeal matters too! You may love putting out your festive holiday inflatable decorations every year, but consider keeping those tucked away for the time being if you are actively showing your home during the holiday season, as they may not be everyone’s ideal décor options.

    The RE/MAX Influencers suggest keeping outdoor lighting simple and classic by using white/yellow bulbs and string lights to keep your outdoor décor simple, while also looking sophisticated and classy. Consider utilizing any pillars or railings on the front step/porch by wrapping them with string lights and a garland, or putting down a holiday-themed doormat to help welcome prospective buyers to your home.

    Courtesy of REMAX.ca

    Top 8 Winter Home Energy Solutions

    Energy bills can get dramatically high, especially during Canada’s cold winter months. There are steps you can take to conserve energy and save some money at the same time. Below are our top eight Winter Home Energy Solutions.

    8 – Turn Down the Temperature

    When you’re away from your house for a few days, you don’t need to keep the heat cranked up. By reducing the temperature when you’re out of the house, you can save money on heating costs.

    Another idea is to add an extra blanket on your bed and reduce the temperature by a couple of degrees at night.

    7 – Seal Unwanted Leaks

    Caulking and sealing leaks will insulate your home better, which will save you money in the long run.

    You’ll want to make sure you’re buying the correct type of caulk, depending on what specifically needs to be sealed, and whether it is interior or exterior.

    6 – Replace Furnace Filters

    It’s a good idea to keep your furnace properly adjusted with annual maintenance.

    This will include cleaning or replacing your filters every couple of months to improve efficiency.

    5 – Save Money on Water

    There are several ways you minimize water consumption. Low-flow shower heads and smaller toilets will minimize water output.

    You’ll also want to make sure you fix any leaky taps that might be constantly wasting water.

    4 – Update Old Appliances

    Refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers and washing machines that are a couple of decades old may be using significantly more energy than newer models.

    Sometimes the investment in a new major appliance will save you money in the long run.

    3 – Use an Area Rug

    We like to be barefoot in our own space, but when our feet are cold, so is the rest of our body.

    Consider purchasing an area rug for rooms in your home that have cold floors.

    2 – Unplug Electronics

    Electronics that are plugged in still use energy, even when you’re not using them.

    By unplugging electronics and small appliances when you’re not using them, you will ensure that there is not additional energy being used up.

    1 – Switch Lights Off

    One of the simplest ways to reduce your energy use is by flicking off lights when you leave a room.

    It’s also a good idea to switch to energy-efficient lighting.

    Courtesy of REMAX.ca

    Can I Be Denied a Mortgage After Pre-Approval?

    If you are in the market for a new home and have already been pre-approved for a mortgage, you might think you’re in the clear. However, this is not always the case. There are several reasons a mortgage can be denied after pre-approval, and you must understand what causes it to happen to ensure your mortgage will be approved.

    Reasons a Mortgage Can Be Denied After Pre-Approval

    There are a number of reasons that a mortgage can be denied even after the prospective applicant has received pre-approval. Here are a few of the more common reasons:

    Change of employment – One of the requirements for being approved for most mortgages is steady employment. If you have changed jobs and are still in the probationary period with your new employer, this can negatively impact your mortgage approval, although exceptions may be made in some cases, like if the job change is within the same field. The length of time you are required to be with an employer varies, but typically it is at least six months.

    A poor credit report – You do not need perfect credit to be approved for a mortgage, but there is a minimum requirement for your credit score (and for most lenders it is a minimum score of 650). If you have been pre-approved but then acquire new debt or miss debt payments, this will hit your credit score and can potentially knock it down enough that you may not be approved.

    Additional debts – Related to your credit score, taking on large debts when trying to get a mortgage is not a good idea. Hold off on buying that new car or applying for a line of credit until your mortgage deal officially closes and you have the keys in hand.

    Changes in loan requirements – It is possible that after pre-approval, a lender or mortgage product may experience changes to their requirements and guidelines that result in you being denied the mortgage. These may include changes in debt-to-income policies, the savings required of the buyer, or a mortgage insurance premium increase.

    Appraisal issues – In some cases, the mortgage pre-approval for an applicant is subject to a satisfactory bank appraisal. If there are issues with the appraisal, the mortgage application could be denied.

    What To Do If Your Mortgage Has Been Denied

    Luckily you don’t have to give up if your mortgage application has been denied. There are several things you can do to improve your financial situation and increase your chances of being approved:

    Improve your credit score – Raising your credit score is the most reliable way to convince lenders to give you a mortgage, since it shows you can make payments on time.

    Pay down debt – If your debt-to-income ratio is too high, pay down some of your debt to lower the ratio. A consolidation loan could help speed up the process if some of the debt comes from credit cards or other high-interest sources.

    Add income – Like paying down debt, adding income will help improve your debt-to-income ratio.

    Increase the down payment – By saving more money for a down payment, you will decrease the mortgage amount and the risk to the lender. As a result, they will be more likely to approve you for a mortgage.

    Get a co-signer – If you have unreliable credit, you could try getting someone to co-sign your mortgage application. This person must have a good credit history and agree to pay your mortgage if you can’t. However, many people refuse because it is a high risk to them.

    How to Ensure Your Mortgage is Approved

    It is never a good feeling to be left wondering whether your mortgage application will be approved. There are a few things you can do to help ensure that you are not denied, including:

    • Don’t take on any additional debts like vehicles, student loans or lines of credit
    • Don’t make any large deposits into your bank accounts without having proof of their source, and don’t make any large withdrawals
    • Continue to save money and make loan payments on time

    It can be devastating to learn that, despite being pre-approved for a mortgage, you can’t get financing to purchase the house you want. There are several reasons this can happen, so be sure to consult with your mortgage lender if this occurs so that you can take the necessary steps to remedy your situation and get your mortgage approved as soon as possible.

    Courtesy of REMAX.ca

    10 Real Estate Terms You Need to Know

    When buying or selling a home, you’re going to encounter all the terminology that goes along with it. Many of these words and phrases are not common knowledge, and having a basic understanding of the ones used most often can make the process less daunting. Let’s look at a few real estate terms to know:

    Adjustable-rate mortgage – There are two main types of mortgages. An adjustable-rate mortgage has an interest rate and mortgage payment that vary according to market conditions. It is less predictable than a fixed-rate mortgage but can potentially have very low-interest rates at times.

     Fixed-rate mortgage – Fixed-rate mortgages are more predictable. They have an interest rate and mortgage payment that remain the same throughout the term and do not fluctuate according to market conditions.

    Mortgage pre-approval – A mortgage pre-approval is a process that involves you as the homebuyer and a lender. Homebuyers will fill out an application detailing various aspects of their finances, including income, assets, and credit history. The lender will then review it to determine the debt-to-income ratio and the amount they are willing to lend to the homebuyer. This is not the same as a mortgage approval.

    Appraisal – An appraisal is a process of determining the value of a particular property so that a lending institution can determine how much they are willing to loan. In Canada, an appraisal can only be done by a member of the Appraisal Institute of Canada or the Canadian National Association of Real Estate Appraisers. An appraisal is different than a market evaluation, which is what a real estate agent will give you as an idea of the property’s worth.

    Offer/Counteroffer/Backup offer – Here’s where we get to the nitty-gritty. An offer to purchase sets out the terms with which you agree to buy the home and is a legally binding contract between the seller and the buyer. However, there are different kinds of offers.

    A counteroffer occurs when the seller of the property does not accept the offer you extend and makes changes to it, such as the price or the date, making the original offer invalid. A counteroffer will have a time limit within which a buyer may accept or reject it.

    A backup offer happens when a buyer is interested in purchasing a property that already has another offer in process with someone else. If the original offer falls through for any reason, the backup offer will be next in line to purchase the property. There can only be one backup offer on a property at any time.

    Principal – The principal is the amount you borrow from a lending institution. It does not include the down payment that you would have contributed, and it does not include interest. Your mortgage payments will always be applied toward the interest first, so you need to consider that when budgeting for a mortgage payment. The interest is typically calculated on a daily basis, but you will pay it with your monthly mortgage payment.

    Debt-to-income ratio – Also known as DTI, the debt-to-income ratio is a number that is determined by the buyer’s total debt, plus the monthly house payment, divided by the gross monthly income and multiplied by 100. The resulting number helps lenders determine the amount of risk they are taking with a particular buyer. Lenders typically look for less than 28 per cent of the total monthly income spent on housing, and less than 36 per cent contributed to debt payments.

    Mortgage loan insurance – If your equity or down payment on the property is below 20 per cent, you will be required to purchase mortgage loan insurance. Offered by CMHC, Genworth, and Canada Guaranty, mortgage insurance protects the lender against losses if you fail to pay your mortgage.

    Equity – Equity is the difference between the market value of your property and what you still owe on it. If you sell a property at a profit, then equity is the amount you will receive after paying off the mortgage.

    Closing Costs – Closing costs are those associated with the actual purchase of the home and not with the value of the house itself. They can include legal fees, realtor commissions, lawyer fees, and land transfer fees. These are all due on the closing date once the purchase of the property is finalized.

    Real estate lingo can be confusing sometimes, but if you look up some of the terms ahead of time, you will be well on your way to understanding what is going on when you purchase your home.

    Courtesy of REMAX.ca