27 Nov

Should You Hire an Interior Designer?


Posted by: Clarissa Yap

When it comes to furnishing a new home, building from scratch, or simply choosing to redecorate, there are many ways you can go about it. However, one of the first questions a lot of people consider is whether or not to hire an interior designer or do it themselves.

As with anything, there are certain expectations when it comes to hiring a professional in terms of experience and quality versus a DIY project. When it comes to hiring an interior designer, there are a few things to consider when it comes to the scope of the project, budgeting, and managing expectations.

Project Scope

Interior designers don’t just handle full home renovations. In fact, there are many different levels of projects that you can utilize their expertise on such as:

  • When moving, a designer can help decide which pieces of furniture to bring from your previous home, along with ideal placements and suggestions on additional pieces to fill out your space and capture your style.
  • If you’re considering a mid-level renovation, such as new kitchen countertops, an interior designer can offer insights depending on your lifestyle (such as why a quartz-lookalike countertop might work better than unsealed marble).
  • When it comes to major renovations, a contractor can of course help you tear down walls and make changes, but an interior designer takes the process one step further by providing unique insights into a space ensuring that both large and small choices come together to form a functional space that suits your style.


While you might be thinking that an interior designer is just going to be an added cost to your renovation, there are a few things you should consider:

  • Designers actually work within your budget and help keep you on track.
  • Many designers typically pay or get trade pricing on a lot of their purchases, which is passed onto the client.
  • They also have lots of tips and tricks when it comes to finding hidden gems and knowing what is worth the value and what isn’t.
  • With their wealth of knowledge, an interior designer can even help you choose where to cut corners (such as not opting for the fancy toilet) and instead help you spend extra money where it has the most impact (such as on a soaker tub).
  • In some cases, interior designers will also notice things that can simply prevent expensive mistakes.

Managing Expectations

When it comes to hiring a professional, such as an interior designer, the purpose is to take advantage of their experience, knowledge, and trade secrets. However, there are a few things you can do that can help ensure your project goes off without a hitch:

  • Be upfront about the scope and timeline of your project, as well as your expectations.
  • If you have a particular style, you want but just aren’t sure how to make it work, let them know so they can advise in advance if the project is up their alley.
  • What you are and are not willing to compromise on (if anything).

Just like with your realtor, mortgage broker, and contractor, an interior designer works for YOU. While they often work well if they are given a budget and the space to work their magic, unlike how it seems on home renovation television shows, your interior designer will not do anything without your consent. You will be involved every step of the way.

Keep in mind to embrace the process and be open to the different ideas your interior designer may have to ensure your space is functional, beautiful and fresh!


Written by DLC Marketing Team
20 Nov

Advice on Buying Historic Homes


Posted by: Clarissa Yap

For those of us with a flair for aesthetics or a penchant for history, historic homes offer a unique chance to own something special.

What is a Historic Home?

Typically, for a home to be considered “historic”, it needs to demonstrate rare or outstanding architecture. Typically, historic homes are at least 50 years of age, but it can be younger depending on what it represents in relation to Canadian design.

In addition, the home must be a landmark or hold historical value connected to a notable event, person, or institution in Canadian history.

Considerations for Historic Homes

When it comes to buying a historic home, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind.

The first is that there are generally special bylaws, permits, and rules for historic homes. Features such as “character-defining” elements of the home, for example, cannot be changed, destroyed, or removed. Depending on the history of the home, there may be other features that require preservation per the story of the home and its significance to history. In some cases, trees or the lawn may also be assigned for conservation.

Due to the preservation goal of historic homes, there are limited things that you can do if you purchase one in terms of renovations. There will be special considerations for any expansions or modifications that will often need to be approved to ensure it does not impact the historical aspects of the home.

Another thing to consider when looking at historic homes is merely the age of the building. This can result in more costly maintenance, especially if the home has outdated elements or structures.

A proper home inspection can help to reveal any areas that may be cause for issues in the future or advise potential updates and renovations that are doable. Overall, you want to evaluate the home to ensure it has solid bones and structural integrity.

Benefits of Historic Homes

For individuals who are highly interested in history and culture, these homes can be an incredible opportunity to own a unique piece of history. Whether from an emotional or intellectual standpoint, this can be a very fulfilling purchase resulting in a one-of-a-kind home with a special link to Canada’s past.

In addition to owning a piece of history, there are more benefits such as joining a community that is committed to preservation with like-minded individuals.

Before diving into homeownership, especially that of a historic home, it is important to ask yourself if you are ready for the responsibility of owning a culturally significant property. Ownership of these properties is a privilege and must always be treated as such.


Written by DLC Marketing Team
13 Nov

Escrow and What You Need to Know


Posted by: Clarissa Yap

Let’s talk about escrow! While this arrangement may not necessarily impact your mortgage, it can be helpful to understand should anything come up throughout your term.

What is Escrow

Starting with the basics, what IS escrow exactly?

Escrow refers to a financial agreement where assets or finances are held by a third party on behalf of two other parties (such as a homeowner and bank). The escrow party is a neutral entity that holds funds during the transaction process.

Homebuyer’s Escrow

Most of you will likely be familiar with this from a real estate and notary perspective, which is known as a homebuyer escrow. This is when you sell or purchase a home, your money is transferred to the notary for processing property transfer taxes, existing overdue payments, real estate fees, etc. Once they have processed it and the transaction is completed, the remaining funds then get deposited to you and your mortgage begins.

Escrow is also the instance where you put a deposit down on a property and the cheque or deposit is held until the transaction is completed.

Homeowner’s Escrow

There is also another escrow known as homeowner escrow. This is slightly different from your homebuyer’s escrow whereby the agreement ends when the sale is closed. For homeowner escrow, the account is designed as a holding area for funds to pay off various property-related costs, such as:

  • Homeowners insurance premiums
  • Private mortgage insurance (PMI) premiums
  • Flood or wildfire insurance premiums
  • Property taxes

Homeowners may choose to have their funds in escrow for these expenses to avoid missing any payments. Lenders would generally collect these expenses as part of the borrower’s monthly mortgage payment.

Benefits of Escrow

There are a variety of different benefits for using an escrow depending on whether you are a buyer, seller or lender including:

  • Buyers:
    • Buyer may get their earnest money back if a sale falls through.
    • Earnest money is often applied to down payment or closing costs.
    • Mortgage escrows break insurance premiums and property taxes into monthly payments.
    • A lender manages the mortgage escrow account on the homeowner’s behalf.
  • Sellers:
    • Escrow ensures that a property doesn’t change hands before the sale is complete.
    • If the buyer doesn’t uphold the purchase agreement, the seller could keep the earnest money.
  • Lenders:
    • Can ensure payments are made on time and reduce lending risks.
    • Managing the account can help avoid late fees or liens against the property.

Drawbacks of Escrow

As with any potential agreement, there can be drawbacks to escrow that are important to consider and understand before you jump in. These disadvantages include:

  • Setting up your escrow account may require an upfront deposit.
  • You may be charged additional fees for escrow services.
  • Insurance premiums or property tax increases could affect monthly mortgage payments.
  • Moving your money into escrow can limit the amount of cash flow on hand.

If you are looking at buying or selling in the future, don’t hesitate to reach out to me to determine how escrow could affect the process and your mortgage agreement! I’d be more than happy to review your situation and recommend the best course of action before you move ahead.


Written by DLC Marketing Team
6 Nov

So, you need a tenant


Posted by: Clarissa Yap

If you have a basement suite or rental property and you are currently looking for a tenant, there are some things to know! Whether this is your first tenant or you have other rental properties, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the specifics to ensure a harmonious tenancy.

As always, your responsibility as the landlord is to keep your rental properties in good condition and ensure they meet health, safety, and housing standards. However, as a landlord, you also have additional responsibilities around the rental agreement and tenant regulations.

Tenancy Agreement

Landlords are required to prepare a written agreement for every tenancy. Bear in mind, if this agreement is not prepared the standard terms for your province will still apply, especially if a security deposit is paid. This agreement should clearly outline the following:

  • Who the agreement is between
  • The length of the tenancy
  • Rent amount and due date
  • Required deposits (if any)
  • Pet restrictions (if any)
  • Additional terms (smoking or non-smoking, etc)

The tenancy agreement should also outline if there is the ability to add a roommate, and whether or not utilities, parking, storage, laundry, etc. are included.


Typically, a security or damage deposit is requested by the landlord to establish tenancy and cover any unexpected issues that may arise. The deposit can be no more than half of the first month’s rent.

If you are charging a pet deposit fee, note that guide or service pets are exempt from any damage deposits. In addition, you cannot charge fees beyond the pet damage deposit.

Move In

To ensure the move-in goes smoothly, tenants and landlords should schedule a move-in time that works for everyone. At the beginning of the tenancy, you may also consider an inspection before the new tenant has moved in to ensure everyone is on the same page and the condition of the unit is clear in regard to any potential damages or fixes needed.

As a landlord, you are also responsible for changing the locks (at your cost) should the new tenant request it.

Additional Considerations

As a landlord, you will want to assess the suitability of any new tenant before signing the agreement. There are a few things you can do to ensure a smooth process and the right choice of tenant:

  • Ask for proof of identity
  • Thoroughly check all references
  • Contact previous landlords to ask about rental and payment history
  • Conduct a credit check to confirm income and financial suitability
  • Get the names of all persons to be living in the rental unit

Once you have reviewed the above, you will be in a good position to determine if the potential tenant is a good fit for the rental space.

However, keep in mind that you cannot refuse to rent to a tenant based on any discriminatory aspects such as race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. In addition, you cannot refuse to rent to individuals on income assistance.

While it can seem like a lot, with the proper preparation and understanding of tenant laws and regulations in your area, you can ensure a smooth and successful rental process!


Written by DLC Marketing Team