Safety tips for a spook-tacular Halloween

General Cindi McLean 26 Oct

Halloween safety: Tips for families – published by Canadian Paediatric Society

Halloween can be a fun and exciting time for kids. These safety tips for parents, children and homeowners will help keep everyone safe and happy this Halloween.

For parents:
– Do not use masks. Masks make it hard for children to see what’s around them, including cars. Try a hypoallergenic (less likely to cause an allergic reaction), non-toxic make-up kit instead.
– Make or buy costumes in light-coloured material.
– Place strips of reflective tape on the back and front of costumes, so that drivers can better see your child.
– Costumes should fit properly to prevent trips and falls. Avoid items such as oversized shoes, high heels, long dresses and long capes.
– Dress your child for the weather. Add layers if needed.
– Put your child’s name, address and phone number on his costume.
– Children under 10 should be accompanied by an adult for trick or treating. By the age of 10, some children are ready to go trick-or-treating with a group of friends.
– Keep in mind that gum and hard candy can pose a choking risk for young children.
– Remove make-up before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.

If your child is going out without an adult:
– Make sure your child is in a group of at least 3 people.
– Give them a flashlight. A cell phone is also a good idea if you have one.
– Discuss in advance the route they should follow. Ask them to call you if they plan to go on a street that isn’t on the route.
– Set a curfew (and make sure they have a watch with them).
– Tell your children not to eat anything until they get home.

For children and youth:
– Carry a white bag or pillowcase for your candy, and add some reflective tape.
– Dress for the weather. Cold weather or water absorbent materials in the rain can be very uncomfortable.
– Bring a cell phone, in case you need to make an emergency phone call.
– Always travel in groups. Be sure there are at least 3 of you at all times.
– Let your parents know where you’re going to be at all times.
– Don’t visit houses that are not well lit. Never go inside a stranger’s house.
– Use the sidewalk whenever possible. If there’s no sidewalk, walk on the side of the road facing traffic.
– Don’t criss-cross back and forth across the street. Work your way up one side of the street, and then start on the other.

If you have any allergies, tell the person who is giving out the treats.
– Don’t eat any of your treats before you get home. Once home, ask your parents to look through your treats with you to make sure everything is okay.

For homeowners:
– Turn on outdoor lights, and replace burnt-out bulbs.
– Remove items from your yard or porch that might trip a child.
– Sweep wet leaves from your steps and driveway.
– Use alternative to candles in your pumpkins, such as a flashlight or a battery-operated candle.
– Remember that some children have food allergies. Consider giving treats other than candy, such as stickers, erasers or a yo-yo.

Alternatives to traditional trick-or-treating
Local community centres sometimes offer Halloween night activities.
Local shopping centres often have trick-or-treat nights for young children in a more controlled environment.
Plan a Halloween night at home with themed games and movies. Invite friends.

Wishing everyone a safe and spook-tacular Halloween!

Cindi and Debbie

5 WAYS YOU CAN KILL YOUR MORTGAGE APPROVAL

General Cindi McLean 16 May

So, you found your dream home, negotiated a fair price which was accepted. You supplied all the needed documentation to your mortgage broker and you are waiting for the day that you go to the lawyer’s to sign the final paperwork and pick up the keys.

All of a sudden your broker or the lawyer calls to say that there’s a problem. How could this be? Everything has been signed and conditions have been removed. What many home buyers do not realize is that your financing approval is based on the information the lender was provided at the time of the application. If there have been any changes to your financial situation, the lender is within their rights to cancel your mortgage approval. There are 5 things that can make home financing go sideways.

1 Employment – You were working for ABC company as a clerk for 5 years making $50,000 a year and just before home possession you change jobs. The lender will now ask for proof that probation for this new job is waived and new job letters and pay stubs at the very least. If you change industries they will want to see more proof that you are capable of keeping this job.
If your new job involves overtime or bonuses of any kind that vary over time, they will ask for a 2 year average which you will not be able to provide.
Another item that could ruin your chances of getting the mortgage is if you decide to change from an employee to a self-employed contractor just before possession day. Even though you are in the same industry, your employment status has changed . This is a big deal killer.

2. Debt – A week or two before your possession date, the lender will obtain a copy of your credit report and look for any changes to your debt load. Your approval was based on how much you owed on that particular date. Buying a new car or items for the new home need to be postponed until after possession of your new home.
Don’t be fooled by “Do not pay for 12 months” sales campaigns. You now owe this money regardless of when the payments start. Don’t buy a new car and don’t buy furniture for the new home. This will increase your debt ratio and can nullify your financing.

3. Down payment source – And yet again I reiterate that the approval is based on the initial information you have provided. You will be asked at the lawyer’s office to verify the source of the down payment and if it is different than what the lender has approved, then you may be in trouble. For example, you said that you were going to save the funds and then at the last minute Mom and Dad offer you the funds as a gift. There’s no problem accepting the gift if the lender knows about it in advance and has included this in their risk assessment, but it can end a deal.

4. Credit – Don’t forget to make your regular credit card payments. If your credit score falls due to late payments, this can kill your financing. If you have a high ratio mortgage in place which required CMHC insurance, a lower credit score could mean a withdrawal of their insurance once again , killing the deal.

5-Identity Documents – This can be a deal killer at the lawyer’s office. The lawyer is required to verify your identity documents and see that they match the mortgage documents. Many Canadians use their middle names if they have the same name as their parent. Lots of new Canadians adopt a more Canadian sounding name for their day-to-day lives but their passports and other documents show another name.

Be sure to use your legal name when you apply for a mortgage to avoid this catastrophe . Finally, keep in touch with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional right up to possession day. Make this a happy experience rather than a heartbreaking one.

Article Written By:
David Cooke
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
David is part of DLC Clarity Mortgages in Calgary, AB.

SPRING INTO ACTION: REFINANCE YOUR MORTGAGE WITH THE HELP OF A MORTGAGE BROKER! Give me a call. I’m here to help! 705-783-8383

General Cindi McLean 26 Mar

We sprung forward earlier this month by changing our clocks one hour ahead. For some, their microwave and oven clocks are once again displaying the correct time since the last time we needed to adjust our clocks (in the Fall). Patience is a virtue – except for when it comes time to refinance a mortgage!

The Spring is a busy time for mortgage brokers across the country. We welcome this change in season knowing that we are in the best position to give families mortgages that make sense for them.

This is the time of year that banks begin to send out their mortgage renewal notices. Some people will simply sign the documentation sent over from their bank and take on a new mortgage at the rate the bank has suggested. However, this may not be the best rate for which you and your family can qualify.

What is a Mortgage Renewal?

A mortgage renewal is when the current terms of your mortgage come to an end and you sign on for a new mortgage term.

The time is now to spring into action, up to three months ahead of your mortgage renewal deadline. By shopping around for the best mortgage rate for your financial circumstances, you may save yourself thousands of dollars. To do that, you may want to consider working with a seasoned professional – your local mortgage broker.

The benefits of working with a mortgage broker to help find a mortgage solution that works best for you are three-fold.

A mortgage broker gives you a second opinion.
While your current mortgage lender claims to have your best interest at heart, getting a second opinion on your financial situation does not hurt. There may be new options and products available for you that your current lender is forgetting or unable to offer. A second opinion on your changed financials may be able to save you money or highlight some new options that may be better suited to your needs.

A mortgage broker does the work for you, at no cost.
Some people are still concerned that hiring a seasoned professional to look at your finances and find new mortgage rates will cost a lot of money. This is a myth! Mortgage brokers provide their services at no charge (yes, free!) and take a fee from the lending institution, not the client. So, let us look around for the best mortgage rates available to you on your behalf – all at no cost to you.

A mortgage broker does ONE credit check but can check MULTIPLE lenders without lowering your credit score.
One of the biggest advantages to having a mortgage broker shop around on your behalf is having them conduct one credit check and then using that information to shop around among several different lenders. If you wanted to shop around on your own, you would have to allow each institution to run a credit check and, as a result, lower your credit score. Working with a lender also means a lot less paperwork for you, too!

In short, a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker does the legwork on finding the best mortgage rate for you, at no cost and with only one credit check. Be sure to spring into action this Spring to get a jump on your mortgage renewal process.

Article written by:
Max Omar
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Max is part of DLC Capital Region based in Edmonton, AB.

Tips to Keep in Mind Between Your Mortgage Approval and Funding Dates.

General Cindi McLean 8 Mar

In light of the new market realities and tightening of credit underwriting standards by both lenders and mortgage default insurer as of late, keep in mind that now – more than ever – it’s important to be careful what you do between the time your mortgage is approved and when it funds.

More and more lenders and insurers have been doing something lately that they have not done in a long time – pulling new credit bureaus prior to funding, especially if there is a long period between the time of your approval and when the mortgage actually funds.

Following are 8 tips to keep in mind between your mortgage approval and funding dates:

1. Don’t buy a new car or trade-up to more expensive lease.

2. Don’t quit your job or change jobs. Even if it’s a better-paying job, you still are likely to be on a probationary period. If in doubt, call your mortgage professional
and they can let you know if this may jeopardize your approval.

3. Don’t change industries, decide to become self-employed or accept a contract position. even if it’s within the same industry. Delay the start of your new job, self-
employment or contract status until after the funding date of your mortgage.

4. Don’t transfer large sums of money between bank accounts. Lenders get especially skittish about this one because it looks like you’re borrowing money. Be ready to
document cash transactions or money movements.

5. Don’t forget to pay your bills, even ones that you’re disputing. This can be a real deal-breaker. If the lender pulls your credit bureau prior to closing and sees a
collection or a delinquent account, the best you can hope for is that they make you pay off the account before the will fund. You don’t want to have to scramble to pay off a debt at the
last minute!

6. Don’t ope new credit cards. Again, just wait until after your funding date.

7. Don’t accept a cash gift without properly documenting it – even if this is from your proceeds of a wedding. If you have a bunch of cash to deposit before your funding
date, give your mortgage professional a call before you deposit it.

8. Don’t buy furniture on the “Do not pay for XX years plan” until after funding. Even though you don’t have to pay now, it will still be reported on your credit bureau, and
will become an issue – especially if your approval was tight to begin with.

While you may not risk losing your mortgage approval because you have broken one of these rules, it’s always best to talk to your mortgage professional before doing any of the above just to make sure!

Please give me a call, I’m here to help! 705-783-8383

Confused about what a Mortgage Agent can do for you? Well here’s your answer……

General Cindi McLean 26 Feb

I realized recently that there’s still some confusion surrounding exactly what we do and what services we have to offer as independent Mortgage Professionals.

With today’s uncertain economic climate, the record debt levels many Canadians now face and the fact that interest rates are beginning to rise, we’re fielding more questions than ever before.

We work with Canada’s leading Financial Institutions, including Banks, Trust Companies and Credit Unions. This includes Scotiabank, TD Canada Trust and many others. There is a complete list of all our lending partners available on my website.

Since our company, Dominion Lending Centres, sends these lenders more than $14 billion in mortgage volume annually, these lenders provide us with exceptional rates, fast turnaround times and flexibility with approvals.

When you use us to find you the best mortgage products and rates catered to your unique needs, we negotiate on your behalf and there is no cost to you. The lender pays us a fee for bringing business their way. Remember, this saves lenders from paying out the costs associated with additional employees in wages, vacations, training, office space and benefit. There is no cost to you, and we only earn a fee if we arrange the mortgage for you. The fee is the same, regardless of which lender I choose, and it’s not built into the rate. The rate is typically lower than if you went directly to the lender, and the process is much simpler.

We also have lenders available that specialize in providing mortgages for clients who are self-employed, contract employees, those who have seasonal income, have trouble proving income or lack some of the standard documentation. We are experts in negotiating the best rates for all Canadian, but understand that sometimes you may have challenges in your past that we can work through with you – and help get you back on track.

Many borrowers think their bank will automatically give them the best rates simply because they have been loyal customers for many years, have multiple accounts with them or have high account balances. Don’t fall into that trap. That kind of thinking has cost many clients thousands of dollars in unnecessary interest.

I’m a fully licensed Mortgage Professional with a financial planner background that gets the job done. The safety and security of your personal information is of utmost importance and all discussions, documentation and file management are completely confidential at all times.

For a discussion on how I can help you, give me a call. I’m here to help!

Looking forward to hearing from you,
Cindi

5 SIMPLE STEPS TO OWNING YOUR OWN HOME. Contact me, I’m here to help. 705-783-8383

General Cindi McLean 22 Feb

Often, the route to owning your own home can seem like a trip to the moon and back.

Really though, it comes down to five key steps:

1 – Manage your credit wisely.
If there is one thing that will gum up the purchase of that perfect home, it’s an unwise purchase or extra credit obtained. Keep your credit spending to a minimum at all times, make every payment on time and most of all pay more than the minimum payment. Remember that if you just make the minimum payment on your credit cards, chances are you will still be making payments 100 years from now.

2- Assemble a down payment.
At first glance, the challenge of finding a down payment can seem insurmountable. In fact, you just need to consider all the sources for down payment funds. yes, you will have saved some but remember you can also, in some situations, use RRSP funds, grants ( BC Home Equity Partnership for example ) and non traditional sources like insurance settlements, severance and of course, gifted funds from a family member. Don’t forget that you’ll need to demonstrate that you’ve had the funds on deposit for up to 90 days and also that you have an additional one and a half percent of the mortgage amount for closing costs.

3- Figure out how much you can afford.
It’s at this point that most people usually stop and scratch their heads. Some even try and tough it out, using the raft of online calculators to figure it out, but new mortgage rules can make even that a challenge.
If you talk to a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist ( like me! ) though, they can help you figure it out and even go as far as getting you a “pre-approval” from a financial institution. This can give you the confidence you need to actually start looking around.

4- Figure out what you want.
You’ll want to make a list of things your new home has to have and what the neighbourhood has to have. Things you want to think about are the things that are important to you now; is there access to a dog park? Is there ensuite laundry? Divide the list into things you can’t live without and things you’d like to have. It’s way easier to look when you know what you want to look at.

5- Look with your head, buy with your heart.
The final step is, with the help of a realtor, look at properties that meet your requirements. Yes, the market is a little frenzied at the moment, but remember, if your perfect property is sold to someone else, the next perfect property will soon appear.

When you do finally buy, chances are, you’ll buy with your heart. My sister Noona moved to London some years back and after settling in, decided to buy. Her list was fairly lengthy, one of the key elements was being able to walk to work. In a market similar to what we face now, she found a property that met most of her requirements. In the end though, she bought with heart, mostly because of the view from the balcony.

The decision which home to buy is a tricky thing, it should be made with your head and heart. Deciding, while balancing what you think and feel, really is rocket science.

I know that this may seem to be an oversimplification but really, the thing that complicates the process is your own emotions – all of the stress that comes along with making a life change can make the process challenging.

Article written by:

JONATHAN BARLOW

Dominion Lending Centres – Mortgage Professional
Jonathan is part of DLC A Better Way based in Surrey, BC.

Must read for First Time Buyers. Call me, I’m here to help! 705-783-8383

General Cindi McLean 1 Feb

10 FIRST TIME HOMEBUYER MISTAKES

Ten Things In a Real Estate Transaction That Can Affect Your MortgageIf you’re on the hunt for your first home and want to have a smooth and successful home purchasing experience avoid these common first-time homebuying mistakes.

1. Thinking you don’t need a real estate agent

You might be able to find a house on your own but there are still many aspects of buying real estate that can confuse a first-time buyer. Rely on your agent to negotiate offers, inspections, financing and other details. The money you save on commission can be quickly gobbled up by a botched offer or overlooked repairs

2. Getting your heart set on a home before you do your homework

The house that’s love at first sight may not always be what it seems, so keep an open mind. Plus, you may be too quick to go over budget or may overlook a potential pitfall if you jump in too fast.

3. Picking a fixer-upper because the listing price is cheaper

That old classic may have loads of potential, but be extra diligent in the inspection period. What will it really cost to get your home where it needs to be? Negotiating a long due-diligence period will give you time to get estimates from contractors in case you need to back out.

4. Committing to more than you can afford

Don’t sacrifice retirement savings or an emergency fund for mortgage payments. You need to stay nimble to life’s changes, and overextending yourself could put your investments – including your house – on the line.

5. Going with the first agent who finds you

Don’t get halfway into house hunting before you realize your agent isn’t right for you. The best source: a referral from friends. Ask around and take the time to speak with your potential choices before you commit.

6. Diving into renovations as soon as you buy

Yes, renos may increase the value of your home, but don’t rush. Overextending your credit to get it all done fast doesn’t always pay off. Take time to make a solid plan and the best financial decisions. Living in your home for a while will also help you plan the best functional changes to the layout.

7. Choosing a house without researching the neighbourhood

It may be the house of your dreams, but annoying neighbours or a nearby industrial zone can be a rude awakening. Spend time in the area before you make an offer – talk to local business owners and residents to determine the pros and cons of living there.

8. Researching your broker and agent, but not your lawyer

New buyers often put all their energy into learning about mortgage rates and offers, but don’t forget that the final word in any deal comes from your lawyer. As with finding agents, your best source for referrals will be friends and business associates.

9. Fixating on the lowest interest rate

Yes, a reasonable rate is important, but not at the expense of heavy restrictions and penalties. Make a solid long-term plan to pay off your mortgage and then find one that’s flexible enough to accommodate life changes, both planned and unexpected. Be sure to talk your your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to learn more.

10. Opting out of mortgage insurance

Your home is your largest investment so be sure to protect it. Mortgage insurance not only buys you peace of mind, it also allows for more flexible financing options. Plus, it allows you to take advantage of available equity to pay down debts or make financial investments.

Article written by:

Marc Shendale

MARC SHENDALE

Genworth Canada – Vice President Business Development

10 Things not to do when applying for a mortgage whether buying a home or refinancing. Call me, I’m here to help 705-783-8383

General Cindi McLean 29 Jan

Have you been approved for a mortgage and waiting for the completion date to come? Well, it is not smooth sailing until AFTER the solicitor has registered the new mortgage. Be sure to avoid these 10 things below or your approval status can risk being reversed!

1. Don’t change employers or job positions
Any career changes can affect qualifying for a mortgage. Banks like to see a long tenure with your employer as it shows stability. When applying for a mortgage, it is not the time to become self employed!

2. Don’t apply for any other loans
This will drastically affect how much you qualify for and also jeopardize your credit rating. Save the new car shopping until after your mortgage funds.

3. Don’t decide to furnish your new home or renovations on credit before the completion date of your mortgage
This, as well, will affect how much you qualify for. Even if you are already approved for a mortgage, a bank or mortgage insurance company can, and in many cases do, run a new credit report before completion to confirm your financial status and debts have not changed.

4. Do not go over limit or miss any re-payments on your credit cards or line of credits
This will affect your credit score, and the bank will be concerned with the ability to be responsible with credit. Showing the ability to be responsible with credit and re-payment is critical for a mortgage approval

5. Don’t deposit “mattress” money into your bank account
Banks require a three-month history of all down payment being used when purchasing a property. Any deposits outside of your employment or pension income, will need to be verified with a paper trail. If you sell a vehicle, keep a bill of sale, if you receive an income tax credit, you will be expected to provide the proof. Any unexplained deposits into your banking will be questioned.

6. Don’t co-sign for someone else’s loan
Although you may want to do someone else a favour, this debt will be 100% your responsibility when you go to apply for a mortgage. Even as a co-signor you are just as a responsible for the loan, and since it shows up on your credit report, it is a liability on your application, and therefore lowering your qualifying amount.

7. Don’t try to beef up your application, tell it how it is!
Be honest on your mortgage application, your mortgage broker is trying to assist you so it is critical the information is accurate. Income details, properties owned, debts, assets and your financial past. IF you have been through a foreclosure, bankruptcy, consumer proposal, please disclose this info right away.

8. Don’t close out existing credit cards
Although this sounds like something a bank would favour, an application with less debt available to use, however credit scores actually increase the longer a card is open and in good standing. If you lower the level of your available credit, your debt to credit ratio could increase and lowering the credit score. Having the unused available credit, and cards open for a long duration with good re-payment is GOOD!

9. Don’t Marry someone with poor credit (or at lease be prepared for the consequences that may come from it)

So you’re getting married, have you had the financial talk yet? Your partner’s credit can affect your ability to get approved for a mortgage. If there are unexpected financial history issues with your partner’s credit, make sure to have a discussion with your mortgage broker before you start shopping for a new home.

10. Don’t forget to get a pre-approval!
With all the changes in mortgage qualifying, assuming you would be approved is a HUGE mistake. There could also be unknown changes to your credit report, mortgage product or rate changes, all which influence how much you qualify for. Thinking a pre-approval from several months ago or longer is valid now, would also be a mistake. Most banks allow a pre-approval to be valid for 4 months, be sure to communicate with your mortgage broker if you need an extension on a pre-approval.

Article written by:

Jennifer Fuentes

JENNIFER FUENTES

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Jennifer is part of DLC Gold Financial Services based in Langley, BC.

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