11 Dec


Posted by: Clarissa Yap

4 Key Things to Know about a Second Mortgage

A second mortgage is a mortgage that is taken out against a property that already has a home loan (mortgage) on it. Generally people take out second mortgages to satisfy short-term cash or liquidity requirements, have an investment opportunity or to pay off higher-interest debts (such as credit cards and student loans) that a second mortgage might offer.

If you are considering a second mortgage for any reason, here are a few key points to keep in mind:

Second Mortgages and Home Equity: Your second mortgage and what you can qualify for hinges on the equity that you have built up in your home. Second mortgages allow you to access between 80 and 95 percent of your home equity, depending on your qualifications.

For example, if you seeking 95% Loan-to-Value loan (“LTV”):

House Value =                                                       $850,000
95% LTV (maximum mortgage amount)               $807,500
less: First Mortgage                                               ($550,000)
Amount Available Through Second Mortgage     $257,500

Second Mortgages and Interest Rates: When it comes to a second mortgage, these are typically higher risk loans for lenders. As a result, most second mortgages will have a higher interest rate than a typical home loan. There is also the option of working with alternative and private lenders depending on your situation and financial standing.

Second Mortgage Payments: One advantage when it comes to a second mortgage is that they have attractive payment factors. For instance, you can opt for interest-only payments, or you can select to pay the interest plus the principal loan amount. Work with your mortgage broker to discuss options and what would work best for your situation.

Second Mortgage Additional Fees: A second mortgage often comes with additional fees that you should be aware of before going into the transaction. These fees can vary widely but often are a percentage of the mortgage.  Other fees to consider include appraisal fees, legal fees to set up the second mortgage and any lender or broker administration fees (particularly with alternative or private lenders).

Second mortgages are a great option for many homeowners and, in some cases, may be a better solution than a refinance or a Home Equity Loan (HELOC). If you are interested in learning more or want to find out if a second mortgage is right for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me today.


Written by My DLC Marketing Team
4 Dec

How to Talk to Your Kids about Finances


Posted by: Clarissa Yap

Financial independence is a critical skill for future success that your children will not learn anywhere else. Not only does financial literacy help your children have more success in life, but it allows them to move out sooner and it avoids delaying your retirement with additional expenses to support them.

So, how do you teach your children about money?

  1. Review Your Attitude Towards Money: The first and most important thing is to examine your own attitude towards money. Are you a penny pincher? Frivolous spender? Do you buy on impulse, or take a long time to make a purchase? How much debt do you have? Your financial habits will shape your children. To ensure that you are setting them up for their best financial future, parents need to consider what messages they are sending with their own money habits.
  2. Give Your Children an Allowance: Providing an allowance to your children (especially one in exchange for chores) is an age-old way of teaching your kids about money. A good guideline is $1.00 per year of your child’s age. For a 10-year-old, this would be $10 per week.
  3. Teach Your Child to Save: If you are giving your child $10 per week in allowance for chores, encourage them to put even just $1 per week into a piggy bank. In six months, show them how much money they have saved and talk to them about why it is important, and what they can do with that larger amount now.
  4. Encourage Kids to Think Before They Buy: While it’s hard to get a 10-year-old excited about an RRSP, there are other ways to help them plan ahead. One is to encourage them to think about their purchases before they commit. They saw a toy on TV and they have to have it – teach them about how advertisements are designed to make you want something. Ask them to wait a week. Do they still want it?
  5. Involve Your Children in the Family Finances: It is more valuable than you might think to let your kids see and hear you discuss financial planning; let them be part of opening and paying bills or planning vacations. Explain why and how much you pay for certain things and discuss affordable choices. This helps them be part of the conversation and will work to instill a sense of financial responsibility as they grow up.

Remember, you are the best example to your children about money. Don’t be afraid to share the ups and downs with them. Be patient with your kids, but don’t give up! The best thing you can do as a parent is to promote financial security and independence.


Written by DLC Marketing Team
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


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