30 Oct

6 Things for Co-Signers to Consider


Posted by: Clarissa Yap

Are you thinking about co-signing on a loan? If you’re looking to help out a family member or loved one, this is a great way to do that as a co-signer can help overcome stress testing and borrowing limits.

However, it is important to be aware of the implications when co-signing on any loan.

  1. Credit History: If you are acting as a co-signor or guarantor on any loan, you essentially allow them access to your credit history. This means, if the borrower is late on the payments or there are issues with the loan, it will affect your credit score as well as theirs.
  2. Legal Implications: Always be sure to understand the taxes, legal and estate situations that go along with co-signing, should the borrower fail to pay. A lawyer can help you review the loan agreement and advise of any items you may need to take note of.
  3. Timeline: Understanding how many years the co-signer agreement will be in place and what your options are for making changes will help you determine the scope of the loan and if you are able to make changes at any point should the borrower become able to assume the entirety of the mortgage on their own in the future.
  4. Personal Income Tax: Depending on the loan, you may have an obligation to pay capital gains taxes so it is a good idea to review your personal tax situation with an accountant prior to signing off on the co-borrower agreement to ensure no surprises.
  5. Relationship with Borrower: This is a vital consideration for going in on any loan. Do you trust the individual? Are you aware of their financial situation? Are you willing to potentially put yourself at risk to assist them? These are all important questions as many of us may want to help out family or loved ones, but it is important to ensure that the individual is reliable.
  6. Future Finances: Lastly, consider your future finances and if you had any plans in the future that could be impacted by an additional loan. How much flexibility do you need for yourself and your family? If you have plans to refinance for a renovation or make changes to your own mortgage, being a co-signor could affect your options.

Co-signing for a loan always requires careful consideration as it is a large responsibility. However, when done correctly and with people you trust, it can be a great way to assist family members or loved ones with their goal of homeownership. If you are considering co-signing on a loan and have any questions or would like more clarity, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me today!


Written by DLC Marketing Team
23 Oct

Your RRSP Contribution Deadline


Posted by: Clarissa Yap

When it comes to your money, RRSPs are one of the best ways to save. Known as a “Registered Retirement Savings Plan”, RRSPs have tons of benefits including: reducing your taxable income, earning compound interest, savings protection and more.

One major component of RRSPs are your contributions! You have a maximum contribution amount that is equal to 18% of your total income for the previous year, not exceeding the annual limit (set per year by the Canadian government).

Before your RRSP deadline, there are a few things to consider to help you get a jump start in planning for the future and increasing your peace of mind:

  • Should you invest in a RRSP or focus on paying down your mortgage?
  • Is a debt consolidation mortgage right for you?
  • Should you consider the Home Buyers’ Plan to help fund your down payment on your first home?

If you already contributed this year, or missed the deadline, that’s okay! These are great questions to consider before next years contribution.

If you’re wondering if you still have the ability to contribute to your RRSP this calendar year, you can check your contribution levels on your Notice of Assessment from last year’s tax return or on the CRA My Account website.

To help understand your financial direction and what benefits paying down your mortgage might have versus adding to your RRSPs, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me today! I’d be more than happy to review your situation and take a look at your mortgage to help determine the best course of action.


Written by DLC Marketing Team


16 Oct

Going away? Vacation checklist for your home


Posted by: Clarissa Yap

Whether you’re jetting off to sunshine and warm sand, an international adventure, or a weekend getaway, before you go there are a few things you can do to protect your home while you’re away!

  1. Unplug all electronics and appliances: To reduce energy costs while you are traveling (and mitigate any risk of unexpected fires), it is a good idea to unplug all electronics and appliances. This includes your microwave, toaster, televisions, entertainment and gaming systems, computers, etc.
  2. Clear out your fridge and take out any trash: The last thing anyone wants is to come back home and realize they forgot to clean up before they left! To avoid any odours or unwelcome surprises when you get home, be sure to clear out your fridge and take out any and all trash before heading off on your holidays!
  3. Adjust your thermostat: While potentially not as necessary for a weekend getaway, this is extra important for longer trips. Depending on when you’re traveling, whether it is summer versus winter, you may want to adjust your thermostat to maintain humidity balance and avoid your home being stuffy when you return. On the other hand, some individuals will opt to leave their thermostats at a comfortable temperature when traveling during colder seasons to ensure a nice warm welcome upon return!
  4. Close and lock all windows and additional entrances: Ensure that all your windows and entrances are locked and sealed tight. You can choose to close blinds or leave them open, depending on your comfort levels and the items in your home. Be mindful that the more you leave open, the more potential thieves will be able to see inside.
  5. Water plants: Again, depending on the length of your trip, you may be fine to simply give your plants one last big drink before traveling, or you may consider having someone check on your home while you’re away and look after your plants.
  6. Set up a pet sitter and/or someone to check on your home: Similar to point five, depending on your situation and whether or not you have pets, you may choose to have someone stay in your home or pop by every day to check on them and provide food and water. In some cases, you may opt to board your pet instead, but having someone stop by your home every other day while you’re away is a good rule of thumb to avoid potential issues.
  7. Leave a vehicle in your driveway: This is a simple step that can help with deterring potential thieves by implying that there is someone at home.
  8. Set your home alarm: If you have an alarm installed, be sure to set it to an appropriate level for while you’re away. If you leave your alarm activated, be sure to provide the code to whomever will be checking your home, as well as potentially a neighbour you trust should anything happen in the home. If you don’t have a home alarm, you may consider setting your lights on a timer or utilizing a motion sensor bulb to create the illusion of movement in your home.
  9. Check your smoke detector: Ensure your smoke detector is working properly before you leave. Turning off your electronics per step 1 and adjusting your thermostat per step 3 will assist with reducing any potential risk of fire damage, but having a working smoke alarm is imperative to alert neighbours for quick action while you are out of your home.
  10. Leave your emergency contact information with a neighbour: Lastly, we have mentioned neighbours a few times as, depending on your relationship with them, they are important contacts for when you are traveling. If you have someone else stopping by to check your home, it can be a good idea to simply leave that individual’s contact information with a neighbour so that your trusted friend can check out any situations that might arise.

At the end of the day, a few quick checks to your home can save you a headache while you’re trying to enjoy your holidays, and also reduce any issues upon return!


Written by DLC Marketing Team
9 Oct

Converting Your Basement to an Income Suite


Posted by: Clarissa Yap

With the current interest rates and economic scenarios, many Canadians may be looking for ways to bring in some extra cash. One option for this is to put your home equity to work and consider renovating your basement into a legal income suite! You can do this by using a secured credit line (home equity line of credit or HELOC) to help fund the upfront cash to make changes to your home.

A few things to consider before you invest in renovating to create an income suite include:

Zoning: Before looking into doing anything with an income suite, always double-check if you are zoned accordingly for a smooth renovation. If your zoning does not allow for secondary suites, see if you can rezone.

Local Regulations: Depending on your location, there may be particular regulations that you need to follow or be aware of regarding your suite. A few examples of how the regulations can differ between provinces or cities include:

  • In Coquitlam, you cannot have a suite that is more than 40% of the main house floor plan. You are also required to offer a parking spot for tenants.
  • In Kelowna, you can only have one secondary suite and the home must have an “S” designation.
  • In Calgary, updated zoning legislation has now made it easier to add income suites.
  • Toronto has also proposed reforms that will make it easier to add suites.
  • In Montréal, anyone carrying out a project involving the addition of at least 1 dwelling and a residential area of ​​more than 450 m² (equivalent to approximately 5 dwellings) must enter into an agreement with the City of Montréal in order to contribute to the supply of social, affordable and family housing. It can be a new building, an extension, or the conversion of a building.

Visit the official municipal websites or consult local building departments to obtain accurate and up-to-date information on the rules and requirements in your area BEFORE getting started.

Insurance & Legal Considerations: Before adding your secondary suite, ensure that you have proper insurance coverage or the ability to add additional coverage to protect both the primary residence and suite. In addition, you will want to consult a lawyer and draw up a tenant or rental agreement for any potential tenants. Ontario has a mandatory standard lease agreement that all landlords must use.

Unit Layout and Design: If the zoning and regulations in your area allow you to build an income suite, the next steps are to look at the suite layout and dimensions. Confirm any size restrictions or minimum ceiling height requirements as you are laying out the design for the unit. The unit should have, at minimum the following:

  • A separate parking space for the renter.
  • A separate entrance, kitchen, bathroom, and living/sleeping areas.
  • Ventilation and soundproofing measures to enhance livability.
  • Consideration of natural light.
  • Interlink smoke detectors for primary and secondary residences.
  • Separate, independently-controlled ventilation and heating system.
  • Proper drainage, sewage connections, and utility separations.
  • Outlets, circuits, and lighting that meet electrical code requirements.

Ensure that however your income suite is designed, you are hiring the appropriate building, plumbing, and electrical experts to ensure your suite is up to code and avoid any potential disasters.

Building & Trade Permits: Once you have confirmed that you are properly zoned and able to add an income suite and understand all the regulations for your area, you will want to draft your blueprints and submit a permit application, along with the fee, before you get started. For instance, in B.C. you are required to have a Building Permit for any suite to be considered legal.

IMPORTANT: Even if you are not required to have a building permit, it is important to get these permits for other aspects including insurance coverage should anything happen. Having a building permit will help protect your investment.

In addition to your building permits, you will need to get permits for any plumbing, electrical, and gas renovations prior to beginning your work.

Inspections & License: Once you have your permits and have begun construction, make sure you understand what inspections are required throughout the process and you schedule them accordingly with local authorities to ensure compliance with building codes, fire safety standards, and health regulations.

If the work meets all requirements, your suite will be approved. The last step is determining if you need a business licence. This is not required if your family (parents, children, etc.) will be living in the suite. In Vancouver, for example, if you intend to rent out your suite long-term, you DO need a license. Be sure to check any rules on this in your area.

Incentives: Beyond the ability to earn extra income per month, there are a few additional government incentive programs when it comes to suites including:

  • First Nations: If you live on a First Nations reserve, you may be eligible for federal funding that will provide up to $60,000 to help you build an inexpensive secondary suite rental linked to your principal home. If you live in a northern or remote area, this amount is increased 25%. This is a 100% forgivable loan that is not required to be paid back assuming all guidelines are followed.
  • Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP) – Secondary and Garden Suites: This program is open to all First Nations or individual First Nation members, particularly those who own a family home that can be converted to include a self-contained suite for a senior or adult with disability.
  • Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit: A credit for a renovation that creates a secondary unit within the dwelling to be occupied by the qualifying individual or a qualifying relation. The value of the credit is 15% of the lesser of qualifying expenditures and $50,000.
  • British Columbia: Beginning in early 2024, BC homeowners will be able to access a forgivable loan of 50% of the cost of renovations, up to a maximum of $40,000 over five years, for income suites.
  • Ontario: There are multiple secondary suite programs throughout Ontario, depending on your region. These loans provide $25,000 to $50,000 in funding and are forgivable assuming continuous ownership for 15 years.

While it is important to look online and do your research. Your best resource will be visiting local authorities at the “City of” to confirm that you completely understand the considerations before moving forward with implementing an income suite.


Written by DLC Marketing Team
2 Oct

Mortgage Portability


Posted by: Clarissa Yap

When it comes to getting a mortgage, one of the more overlooked elements is the option to be able to port the loan down the line.

Porting your mortgage is an option within your mortgage agreement, which enables you to move to another property without having to lose your existing interest rate, mortgage balance and term. Thereby allowing you to move or ‘port’ your mortgage over to the new home. Plus, the ability to port also saves you money by avoiding early discharge penalties should you move partway through your term.

Typically, portability options are offered on fixed-rate mortgages. Lenders often use a “blended” system where your current mortgage rate stays the same on the mortgage amount ported over to the new property and the new balance is calculated using the current interest rate. When it comes to variable-rate mortgages, you may not have the same option. However, when breaking a variable-rate mortgage, you would only be faced with a three-month interest penalty charge. While this can range up to $4,000, it is much lower than the average penalty to break a fixed mortgage. In addition, there are cases where you can be reimbursed the fee with your new mortgage.

If you already have the existing option to port your mortgage, or are considering it for your next mortgage cycle, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Timeframe: Some portability options require the sale and purchase to occur on the same day. Other lenders offer a week to do this, some a month, and others up to three months.
  2. Terms: Keep in mind, some lenders don’t allow a changed term or might force you into a longer term as part of agreeing to port you mortgage.
  3. Penalty Reimbursements: Some lenders may reimburse your entire penalty, whether you are a fixed or variable borrower, if you simply get a new mortgage with the same lender – replacing the one being discharged. Additionally, some lenders will even allow you to move into a brand-new term of your choice and start fresh. Keep in mind, there can be cases where it’s better to pay a penalty at the time of selling and get into a new term at a brand-new rate that could save back your penalty over the course of the new term.

To get all the details about mortgage portability and find out if you have this option (or the potential penalties if you don’t), contact me today for honest advice and a helping hand throughout your mortgage journey!


Written by DLC Marketing Team