Tips for a great move

Ready for your next big adventure? 4 tips for a stress-free summer move

The majority of Canadians prefer to make their big move during the summer season. There are a variety of reasons for choosing this time of year: it is easier to transport boxes in non-icy conditions, no need to worry about your belongings freezing during transport, and children’s lives are not disrupted by the transition since they are on summer holidays.
Minimize potential moving chaos by asking yourself the following questions:

• Do you need to keep everything? Moving offers a good opportunity to reorganize your life by giving away, donating or recycling items that you no longer need. You’ll thank yourself later when there is less to pack and transport.

• How well do you know your moving company? The Office of Consumer Affairs drafted a Consumer Checklist for choosing a moving company and it reminds Canadians to request their moving estimate in advance and be mindful of seasonal rates (a summer move can be pricier). Will your items be held in the transport vehicle overnight or a secure facility? Consider purchasing Replacement Value Protection, which will ensure the company is liable if your possessions are damaged.

• Do you have enough boxes and packing materials? Start collecting boxes and newspapers in advance; ideally you should begin packing non-essential items a month in advance. Pack and clearly label a couple boxes with important first day arrival items, such as toothbrushes, remote controls, medication, and pet food, which could otherwise become lost in the shuffle.

• Once you step in the door, what are your top priorities? After the bed is set up, most people are eager to get connected by hooking up their TV, internet and home phone. Rogers introduced a free concierge service which makes this process easier by setting you up with a personal concierge agent. The agent proactively connects with customers throughout the transition, reviews order details, answers billing questions, and can assist with any changes to your order if your moving date needs to shift.

Entering the next chapter of your life can be a thrilling time, but like any significant life change, the process can be quite overwhelming. Control potential moving chaos by jotting down questions and tracking their completion on your personal checklist.

Source: News Canada

Credit Score Myths for First Time Home Buyers

I continually meet new clients who don’t know their credit score and have never been educated on how their credit score is impacted by what they do.  Here is a reproduction of a recent article on credit scoring…I hear these often!

4 credit   score myths busted

Your credit score is a three-digit number ranging from 300-900 that tells future lenders how risky it is to lend you money based on your   history of making debt payments.
There are many misconceptions about what it takes to keep your score high.  Henrietta Ross, the CEO of the Canadian Association of Credit (CACCS) to help us sort fact from fiction:

Myth 1:   You must use major credit cards to build a good score.

Truth: If you’re unable to obtain a major credit card, there are other ways to build your credit history. Making regular payments on installment loans such as a car lease can positively affect your score, as do department-store cards and secure credit cards, which require a cash deposit in the amount of the credit   limit.

Myth 2:   You can’t make up for mistakes such as late payments.

Truth: It   takes time, but your credit will become positive as you build consistency with timely payments, Ross says. How much time it will take depends on a   number of factors, including how long the ‘late payment’ has been on your   record and how long you’ve had the debt.

Myth 3:   Paying cash boosts your score.

Truth:   You need to use credit in order to demonstrate your ability to make payments.  Using credit at least once every 30 days and making payments on time will keep you in good standing, says Ross.

Myth 4: I will not qualify for a mortgage if I’ve had a poor credit score.

Truth:   Lenders look at your entire financial picture, including your assets, available cash flow, and debt-to-income ratio. They’ll also review your housing expense-to-income ratio, which is a comparison of your expected   monthly mortgage payment with your gross monthly income.

If you are arranging a new mortgage and don’t know your credit score, please contact me, education is provided for free!

Source: News Canada


First Time Home Buyer Angst in Winnipeg

First Time Home Buyer Angst in Winnipeg










So you want to buy a new home?

Here are some important considerations when you enter the housing market in Winnipeg:

1)   You will face competitive offers. No matter how much you say you won’t bid large or write unconditional offers, many still do. The supply of homes in the first time home buyer range up to $250,000 are in demand so be prepared. No matter how much you prepare, when you are out there looking and have missed out on offers on other homes all logic and rationale will go out the window unless you are very patient.  Having the right realtor is something that you have control over so take the time in the selection.  Here are some great questions you can ask your realtor.

2)   Land Transfer Tax, the hidden surprise. Imagine buying your first home for $250,000 only to find out when you meet with the lawyer a week before your possesion date that you need $2720. for land transfer tax. This money goes directly to the Province of Manitoba to transfer the title from one name(s) to another. If this seems like a bit of a tax grab, you are right!

3)   While we are on taxes, in 2012 the Province of Manitoba introduced provincial sales tax on any mortgage default insurance premium. On a $250,000 home with a 5% down payment you can expect to pay $452.38 in sales tax. So first time buyers, the province is your pocket for $3172.38 and you haven’t even moved in yet. We continue to be one of the most heavily taxed provinces when it comes to purchasing a home, how are you feeling now?

4)   Property Disclosure Statements.  If you don’t feel that you need to know more about the property, here is an example of a home owner in Winnipeg who had a major surprise.  This happened on Christie Road in Winnipeg so it can happen anywhere.  Here is an example of a homeowner in Saskatoon who was able to legally go after losses relating to a basement that had water.  The Property Disclosure Statements were brought in to protect would be homeowners on any potential known problems with a home.

In the end, get professional well qualified advice to help make your first home buying experience the best possible.


Cancer & Financial Literacy

As the leaves change color, October weather teases us with the last taste of summer or abruptly knocks us in the gut to remind us of the changing seasons, life sometimes treats us exactly the same way.

Cancer and financial literacy really don’t have much in common, in fact one is all to prevalent in our lives while the other needs to be more prevalent.

After watching NFL football on Monday night, there was the common pink theme among both teams.  If two teams battling each other so violently can come together on one common ground, surely I can make a small difference. As I sat pondering my blog update next day, I had 4 cards to be signed and delivered to clients.  Normally I would send a gift card of some sort to accompany the card as a token of my appreciation.  Then it hit me like a thundering tackle in a football game, I am going Pink for October.  With every funded mortgage during the month, a donation will be made to the Canadian Cancer Society.  These clients will receive an acknowledgement in their honour.

November is Financial Literacy Month.  In preparation for financial literacy month, there a couple of contests open for individuals to enter.  The first is a contest eligible for youth ages 13 to 19.  It’s an easy contest to enter all you need to do is create a You Tube video and tell everyone why you are reaching for a financial goal.

In addition there is another contest open for post secondary students who could win up to $2500 for creating a 2 to 4 minute video.  Let’s some youth creativity to come up with some winners in Winnipeg.

In the spirit of financial literacy, I will be providing tips and tools through my Facebook page, twitter and Google+.  All you need to do is click on one of these links to get “hooked” up with all this timely info.  For every Winnipeg like on this facebook page during the month of October, I will donate an additional $2.  I’m starting at 55 so the rest is up to you.

Cancer and Financial Literacy, let’s kick some butt on both of these fronts.


Home Renovations Blog Week 6

After 6 weeks of renovations we have a functional kitchen, dining room and living room. The challenge now is get to the final items which need to be done (backsplash, stairs, and doors painted) Baseboards and casings are now complete with the front doors painted. Home Depot has an interesting product which allows you to insert a window without replacing your whole door. These inserts can be purchased in various styles, we decided to go with blinds inside the window to match the patio doors at the back of the house. These inserts come in a standard size of 22″ x 36″ and there are several varieties of looks.

We also purchased and installed the Delta Touch faucet.  No need to turn the taps, just touch the tap anywhere and it will turn on and off.  With messy hands this is really nice to work with.

The other interesting product we purchased is a table which will expand from 60″ to 132″.  There are 3 table leaves which can be added to create 4 different sizes depending on the size of your social or family gathering.  We purchased this from Dufresne Furniture and love the way this table can expand.

Here is the latest video and as our friends say, our home has a grown up look now.

Home Renovations Blog Week 4

After taking another week of holidays we completed the painting and flooring. The baseboards and painting on stairs remains before we can complete the flooring in that location. We had the unlucky 3 surprises this week. After measuring for the countertop we were told that our install date for the counter would be Nov 2, a far cry from our expected date of early August. After some great work by Floform to cut the quartz differently our order was fit with the remaining slab they had. We are extremely grateful for their efforts as we gave our sink and counter top to Restore (Habitat for Humanity). The Restore gives a great option to sending old items to the landfill.  The second surprise this week was a patio door that did not fit.  My wife calls this my $200 mistake as I had indicated it was 2×4 frame not 2×6 frame.  Home Depot accepted the return subject to the $200 restocking fee.  The 3rd surprise was a broken pendant light.  No biggie here, the glass was reordered and will arrive in 3 weeks.

We are back to work this week so Week 4 will see some progress but not as much as the last 3 weeks.  A liveable kitchen is the goal by August, we are almost there!


Home Renovations Blog Week 3

Ready to start week 3 with some great progress from the first 2 weeks.  The electical work has taken some time but when you add 15 pot lights, sound system control boxes, speakers to the ceiling, garbeurator wiring, undercabinet lighting wiring, etc, this takes some time espeically when the attic is so hot in the heat.  After the cabinet install, we had Flo Form out to measure the counter tops.  Now is the time we can start painting and add the flooring, it will be a busy week of activity to make some significant changes.


Home Renovations Blog Post Week 2

After a week off another weekend of activity brings some more progress. New kitchen cabinets from Norcraft were delivered on Friday, July 6th.  We went with Norcraft based on the cabinet and kitchen design that Argel Tolentino provided to us.  He was able to match the symentry of new cabinets on both sides of the window while showcasing an antique glass corner window.  He also had a great plan to deal with cabinets above the raised counter.  The angled edge transitions the new cabinets to the open dining room space nicely.  We also had friends who had used Norcraft.  We had an opportunity to see their cabinets and also managed to get the same installer, Bernie, who’s work is tremendous.

The saving grace of a summer renovation is a barbeque and great weather.  The weather has been extremely hot, not good for electrical work in the attic but good for being outdoors to eat.  Next week’s video will have the installed cabinets.

Home Renovations Blog Post 1

For over a year we have been planing a major renovation to our home, like 44% of Winnipeger’s polled this year,  which was built in 1988.  It has a very poor layout and with our children getting older we wanted a home which would allow us to open the home for entertaining.  We have spent a lot of time talking to people, visiting show homes and of course the we have been closely watching home renovation shows like House of Bryan, Property Brothers, and Love it or List it.  We also spent countless hours on home improvement websites like Houzz, Cultivate and many others.  We also stumbled across a great Sherwin Williams paint website which lets you chip the colors to any picture on any web page.  We went with a Cambria Quartz countertop which would be the showcase of the kitchen and we were able to chip colors to match the countertop.  During the process we also had several meetings with Susan Purcell an interior designer who helped with so many ideas and decisions in the home.

With a budget in hand we began the process of getting quotes and shopping for cupboards, countertops, flooring, sinks, taps, lighting, patio doors and the list goes on and on.  The next step was to find someone that we could work with and enjoy the project at the same time.  Cranium the Contractor was the easy choice.

The Project Details:

1)  Create open concept
2)  Improve functionality of kitchen while adding a few appliances
3)  Update look for a more contemporary and modern look
4)  Create a funtional dining and living room area designed for family and entertainment

Please feel free to post any comments or questions on this blog and we will do our best to answer your questions.  The project started June 30 and we planned for a functional kitchen by July 27 and most almost all renovations completed by August 17.

Here is the first video outlining the layout before we started the demo.

Here is the view after the demo.

Here is the segment on Demo Day we called Batter Up, nothing like having a bit of fun during demolition!






The Housing Market

CBC has weighed in on the Housing Market bubble debate now. Some excellent points for home owners and would be homeowners are in the discussion. If any of this is important to you, please contact me anytime and we can discuss your situation.

Daryl Harris, AMP

Accredited Mortgage Professional