7 REASONS WHY YOU NEED A GARAGE

General Darick Battaglia 13 Feb

Besides the obvious advantage of not having to go lug your groceries into the house in the rain, sleet or snow, there are a number of less obvious but important reasons to consider buying a home with a garage or building it sooner rather than later.
2- I just had $3,200 worth of hail damage repair done to my car from leaving it out in the driveway for 5 minutes one day. A garage protects your car from damage due to falling branches, flying debris like garbage can lids, drones and other hazards. The average vehicle price in Canada is now $38,000. Don’t you want to protect your investment?
3- Your car is more comfortable to enter as a garage keeps the car from reaching high temperatures or bitterly cold ones. In fact, cars warm up faster in the winter when they are in a garage.
4- Your car will last longer and look nicer longer. In addition to flying debris, UV rays can crack the vinyl on your dashboard, dry and crack leather upholstery, and by having engine oil and coolant warmer prevents internal damage to your engine.
5- Insurance companies love garages. Besides keeping your car safe, they prevent falls from ice and you drive off with better visibility for driving. You will save on car insurance as a result.
6- As your car isn’t as hot in the summer or as cool in the winter, you will save on gas by not having to use the A/C or heating as much.
7. Curb appeal – realtors say that a house with no cars in the driveway look larger and cleaner than listings with vehicles. You can sell your home faster and for more money with a garage. A house with a parking pad in back just does not look as nice as one with a garage.
If you want a garage at the home you are considering purchasing, you can add this to your mortgage as a Purchase Plus Improvements mortgage. If you already own a home and want a garage, ask your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional about Refinance Plus Improvements. With all these reasons for having a garage, why not get one now?

Courtesy of David Cooke – AMP – DLC Jencor Mortgages in Calgary, AB.

WINTER IS HERE! GET A WORRY FREE MORTGAGE!

General Darick Battaglia 25 Jan

This time of year, there are a few less mortgage’s being done- not many people want to move into a new home in the snow. But if you want to get a worry free mortgage, this is a great time to be shopping.

Scope out those potential neighborhoods – how many snow shovels?

Will my new neighbors shovel their driveways?
Are there any super nice people on the street willing to snow-blow my sidewalk?
Can I walk around safely?
Are they using salt, sand or kitty litter to de-ice the walk?
How far is this house located from a bus route or major traffic route that will get plowed first when we have a lot of snow?
My top tip? Scope out that neighborhood right after it snows – compare early morning snow levels to slightly after work snow levels. In some neighborhoods you can drive around and count how many people have shovels ready near their front door.

And if you closely examine sidewalks, try looking right between two homes – this can tell you if two people shoveled at different times – or if that super nice multiple driveway shoveler exists in this neighborhood! That’s what I call a worry free mortgage!

What? You need more than just good neighbors with shovel’s to have a worry free mortgage?
You want the best interest rate, or to confirm that you’ve got a mortgage that let’s you pay it off faster? Well, a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker will help with that.

Courtesy of Jillian Napen – DLC HT Mortgage Group based in Grand Prairie, AB.

A NEW YEAR AND A NEW OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU

General Darick Battaglia 24 Jan

If you have been reading the news lately, you will know that the new stricter mortgage rules have resulted in more people than ever postponing purchasing homes. Sales have dropped across the country.

As a result of these events, the rental market is booming with rents going up everywhere. The average rent in Toronto now is $2300. This has created an opportunity for Canadians who want to buy a home and for those who already own but are concerned about qualifying when their present mortgage comes up for renewal.

Secondary suites are being encouraged in Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver. In Calgary, the city council has investigated basement suites and now wants to encourage higher density to prevent urban sprawl by allowing more other housing options like carriage homes. Carriage homes are suites built above or beside a detached garage. There are companies like Calgary Carriage Homes who specialize in building these units.

Being able to add the rental income from a suite to your income may allow you to purchase a home this year when prices are depressed rather than waiting another year or two or longer to get into your own home. You can either buy a home with a secondary suite already in place or build one. The program for building a suite is called Purchase Plus Improvements. It is available through multiple lenders and mortgage insurers.
If you are presently a homeowner and interested in increasing your income, the program you need is called Refinance Plus Improvements. The rules for these programs can be explained to you by your Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker.

The rules on zoning, and building suites can be found on your city government website.

Courtesy of David Cooke – AMP – DLC Jencor Mortgages in Calgary, AB.

BUYING YOUR FIRST HOME? – THESE TIPS WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE

General Darick Battaglia 23 Jan

So you’re wanting to buy a new home? That is some very exciting news. First question, are you prepared?!
We all know big-item purchases are scary. It’s expensive, you are fully committing to this household – there is no turn backing without that pricey consequence. We totally get it.
The ultimate first-step is to do your research. You are going to want to find out the essentials before you start hunting for those pretty houses listed on Pinterest!
Let’s start here.

Credit History
• How many credit cards do you currently have under your name?
• Do you pay your bills on time?
• How many loans do you currently have?
If you own a credit card or have a loan with an established bank, you have credit history. This information is then transferred into a financial summary known as a credit report.

Credit Report
Your credit report states these vital pieces of personal information (DO NOT let other people in on your personal finances. This should be a give-in by now!)
• first and last name
• home address
• social security number (SIN)
• credit cards
• loans
• how much money you owe
• whether or not you pay your bills on time
All this ‘credit’ talk is important because it allows lenders to determine IF they will lend you money. Your lender, whoever you choose to go with, will be on your credit situation right away. The sooner you know what is on your credit, the better!
As for your credit score, it’s best to only have it checked once as having multiple credit check by different lender can cause it to change. Let us know. We’d be happy to help here.

Employment
It is important to have a steady income and also proof of employment for the last two years. Any changes to your employment have to be explicitly explained. Gathering these documents a head of time can save headaches later.

Down payment
In Canada, you need to show a 90-day history of the down payment to prove you have not borrowed the money. We will need to see any movement of that money within the 90 days so its best not to move it around. You are allowed to get a gift from family for the down payment but this money must not be repayable and we will need a letter from that gift giver explaining that!

Consult Your Wish List
It’s good to know what you want in a home if you can do it realistically. Buying a house for two? Thinking of expanding your family? You need to consider what life will look like down the road before you commit and sign that paper. Nothing would be worse than to move into a house that eventually ends up being too small because a couple of kids came into the picture or in a similar situation those grown-up kids come back home from college, university – you get the picture.
It’s also reasonable to think about factors in your dream home such as maintenance, renovations, the longevity of your stay, etc. Cover all bases, it is way better to be safe than sorry.

Finding a Broker
Who should you use to find the best mortgage for you? We think a Broker (like us), especially if you’re a first-time home buyer. There are many lenders in Canada and a broker will be able to sort through all your options.

Finding a Realtor
When it comes to a realtor, you want someone reliable. Makes sense right? A couple ways you can find out whether or not a certain realtor is legit is by doing some online research:
• Do they have a website/social media accounts? Go check it out!
• Double-check if their licence is registered and legitimate
• Look up their client feedback/disciplinary comments against them
• Check out their current listings – price range, are they a busy/relaxed business?
• Send them an e-mail with any questions! Do they have the appropriate knowledge?

Feeling better about buying that first Home? That’s exactly what we like to hear.

Courtesy of Chris Cabel – AMP – DLC HomeHow Mortgage based in Calgary, AB.

THE TALE OF THE FORGOTTEN MONEY

General Darick Battaglia 22 Jan

Ever wonder what happens to bank accounts that are inactive, forgotten about and left unclaimed? The answer to that question is that you probably haven’t. I know the thought of it never really crossed my mind and I bet that would be the case for most Canadians.

My initial thought was “Seriously? Who forgets they have money or investments sitting at a bank?” However, the numbers actually speak for themselves and I bet you will be a bit blown away.

At any given time, the Bank of Canada holds approximately $740 million of unclaimed money. You read that right….

$740 MILLION!!

This is money that at one time was held in a Canadian Financial Institution and went unclaimed. Those funds are eventually transferred to the Bank of Canada for safe keeping. The number caught my attention, so I did some digging.

It is not uncommon for funds to go unclaimed and when you think about it, it makes sense. Maybe there was a death and family members did not have a full picture of their loved one’s financial holdings or maybe there was no family to step in. Maybe there was a volunteer group, organization or business that had funds sitting somewhere, but they ceased operations and these accounts were lost or forgotten about.

Here are the highlights on what happens to the money.

When an account or investment remains inactive for a period of 10 years and reasonable efforts have been made to contact the rightful owner, those funds are then transferred to the Bank of Canada at the end of the year.
The Bank of Canada then takes control over those funds. Interest is earned and paid on the funds held over the next 10 years or until the funds are claimed by the rightful owner or beneficiary.
The Bank of Canada retains those funds for 30 years if the balance is less than $1,000.
If the balance is greater than $1,000 then the Bank of Canada retains those funds for 100 years!
If the funds are not collected by the rightful owner (that includes estates or beneficiaries) within those designated time frames listed above, then funds become the property of the Receiver General of Canada.
Here is the good news! The Bank of Canada has an online database that you can search and its quite simple to use. The data base retains any funds that have yet to be collected and remain in their possession. Once a claim has been made, approved and a payout processed, that information is removed from the data base. Therefore, when you search the database anything that shows up is still in the possession of the Bank of Canada. The Data base shows the account owners name, the institution the funds came from along with branch address (if available), and the amount being held by the Bank of Canada. A simple search I conducted showed balances as low as $2.00 up to $10,000-plus.

If you have some time, CLICK HERE and take a few minutes to search the names of your loved ones that have previously passed away, see what comes up. If you run a business or community organization, search those as well. Just remember that the funds will not show up in this database until the original account has been inactive for less than 10 years.

Courtesy of NATHAN LAWRENCE – AMP – DLC Lakehead Financial based in Thunder Bay, ON

NEW YEAR, NEW WAYS TO MANAGE THAT HOLIDAY DEBT!

General Darick Battaglia 16 Jan

We hope your holidays were spent warm, safe and in the company of family and loved ones. We also hope that you’re not drowning from all the holiday purchases such as the dinners, the appetizers, the gifts, the gift cards, the drinks, the party favours – shall I continue?
It is expected that most people will spend over their budget during the holiday season. In fact, Canadian consumers spent 3.7% higher than they did last year. According to PwC, Canadians spent, on average, $1,563 each on consumer products this holiday season.
Are you among that group who spent 3.7% higher than last year? Not too worry, we get your generosity and as always, we are here to help you during this NORMAL time period of financial anxiety and discomfort.
Once again, we’re all in this together. You are not alone in your debt situation no matter how high or how low.
Our first suggestion is to put those credit cards on ice and leave them for awhile. Cut out the temptations completely and focus only on the necessary transactions including home utilities, car insurance, mortgage, etc.
This extra money can be put aside and stored in your savings for multiple reasons. It is important that you DO NOT SPEND this lump sum of cash on clothes, electronics, or big ticket items. Just because this money is readily available to you – doesn’t mean it should be spent on materialistic items.
Don’t know what to do with that extra cash and want to make good use of it? Direct this money towards credit card debt (this one is important!!) or perhaps a “nest egg” before a move across the country, retirement, whatever suits you best.
We highly suggest not letting that holiday debt get the best of you by addressing it first and foremost. Do not let this debt slide under the radar and come back mid-year with more debt racked on top of it. Trust us! Addressing your Christmas dues now will make the rest of your financial year reasonably better without having those regrettable thoughts about giving your gifts to your families.
Since it is the beginning of January and new year resolutions are [hopefully] still fresh in peoples minds, make it your 2019 goal to create a monthly spending plan. Setting up a budget will put an end to bad spending habits and increased debt if you take your budget seriously as well as make realistic changes that are suitable to your current lifestyle.
Having a financial plan will force you to look at the numbers and assess your spending. You may be very surprised by the amount of money you are currently using towards just a simple cup of coffee on the way to work.
If you have questions as to how to get started, here is a link to the 10 Basic Steps provided by Smart About Money that takes you through your motivations about your money, how you would like to utilize your money and how to put your budget into action.
Lastly, and this tip is easy, if you already have one or two credit cards that are racking up debt – do NOT apply for a new credit card. We assure you handling one monster at a time is better than taking on multiple beasts.

Courtesy of Chris Cabel – AMP – DLC HomeHow Mortgage based in Calgary, AB

3 THINGS FOR EVERY HOMEOWNER TO DO IN JANUARY

General Darick Battaglia 11 Jan

As we enter the New Year, there are a few things that we should all think about as homeowners.

1 – Replace your furnace air filter – if you read over the instructions for your furnace you will know that you are supposed to either clean or replace your furnace filter. We are three months into the heating season so a replacement now will last you until spring.

2 – Put a copy of your last pay stub for last year with your house papers & keep an eye out for your annual mortgage statement – put this statement in with your house papers along with your last pay stub.

3 – Check all your credit card balances before they are due – as the holiday season has just ended , you may have spent more money than you have in your bank account. If there’s a shortfall between what you can pay and what you owe you will now be stuck with a credit card balance with an interest rate of 19-25%.
There’s a solution. If you have enough equity in your home, you can apply through your mortgage broker for a home equity line of credit (HELOC). This is a readvanceable account and should have an interest rate of closer to 4% . Remember you still owe this money but it’s a lot easier to pay off a balance when the interest compounds at 4% rather than 25%.
Contact your favorite DLC mortgage broker and ask them if you qualify for this money saving option. The first thing that your broker will ask you is for a mortgage statement and your last pay stub from last year which you will have easily at hand. Now there are just a few more steps and you are on the way to getting your holiday debts into a manageable situation . Dominion Lending Centres providing solutions to Canadians.

Courtesy of David Cooke – AMP – DLC Jencor Mortgages in Calgary, AB.

BULLYING ENDS HERE UPDATE FOR JANUARY 2019

General Darick Battaglia 10 Jan

Hi Friends and welcome to 2019! I hope everyone had a terrific holiday season and was able to spend some quality time with loved ones.

Seven years of Bullying Ends Here and sharing my story, along with Jamie’s, is now complete. Here are some highlights…
To date:
49 young lives saved to date
3500 website hits per day average
Presented in four countries including the Netherlands and the United States
875,000 shared with in person
Countless media interviews
Endorsements from the Prime Minister
First book released (My Story)
Johnny Gaudreau asks to be Ambassador
Our first commercial

2018:
17,500 emails/social media messages
150 presentations
180,000 youth
15,900 at Be Brave in Calgary from Centre Ice of the Calgary Saddledome
Scotland for two tours
England for two tours
Every Province in Canada (some several times)
Resource guides for adults (thanks Industrial Alliance)
Endorsements from Steven Page, Mayor Nenshi, Shawn Hook, Sheldon Kennedy, Rick Mercer, Brad May and Brian Burke
New PRIDE logo
Partnership with the Metropolitan Police in London England
Sovereign Medal for Volunteers presented by the Governor General
New office space
New Board Members (welcome Kim McKenney Lisa Randell and Jenneice Elliott Larsen)
Youth Advisor
Visit to 10 Downing Street

2019:
Will reach the 1,000,000 mid year 2019
History/record making ‘Kindness Tour’ starting October 2019
New Book (Walking the Talk) and a Third book in the works
Scottish Parliament Recognition
Three scheduled tours in the United Kingdom
Member of the Order of Merit, Police Forces (one of Canada’s highest recognition)

Needless to say, you can see just how much we have accomplished when so many said that ‘this won’t work’. Worldwide success and lives saved!!! I made a promise to Jamie’s parents (Allan Hubley and Wendy Barber Hubley) in 2012 that I wanted to continue their son’s message of acceptance and understanding and I am more committed than ever to keep doing so. For as long as I am asked to share, I will keep speaking up and being the voice that so many need. Much of this credit has to go to Dominion Lending Centres and their continued support to make Bullying Ends Here one of the most effective anti-bullying initiatives in the Country!
I am really excited to share more details about the biggest plans in our history, the ‘Bullying Ends Here Kindness Tour’. Details of this are still being sorted but it will travel all across Canada (I will drive the entire route) ending March 31st 2019 in St. John’s N.L. This will mean 150 presentations, in 150 different cities/towns in less than 150 days. I am going to open scheduling to DLC offices across the Country first to have me speak in your community. With CTV already wanting to be our Canadian Television Presenter, this is going to help us to reach so many more. I will provide details on exact locations in the coming weeks/months.
I am currently on tour for ten days in remote locations in Northern Saskatchewan thanks to the good folks at PrairieAction Foundation that worked with the Ministry of Education of Saskatchewan to find the communities most in need of my program. Some of these communities have had school shootings, mass suicide pacts among youth and extreme poverty. I promise to do all that I can to help those that need most. To show them that things can get better and that there are people right now ready to help. I will share details of this journey on my Instagram/Twitter (@tadmilmine) and Facebook (Bullying Ends Here Canada).

As you saw, we received many more endorsements from influential people this past year. Shawn Hook was kind enough to prove a shout out as are several of the Calgary Flames NHL Team players. In fact our Ambassador, Johnny Gaudreau, now provides me with countless items to offer out to random followers on my Instagram account. We are blessed to have such support from a true gentleman who also happens to be an NHL Superstar. The looks on some of the kids faces when they receive an autographed photo, puck or jersey is priceless. Talk about spreading the love!

Our charity has now branched into the United Kingdom with a partnership with the Metropolitan Police in London and a goal to share Bullying Ends Here with as many of their students as possible. I have been there twice in the last six months with three more trips planned for 2019. Scotland is going so far as to pass a motion in the Scottish Parliament to officially recognize Bullying Ends Here as being part of their school curriculum. This is historical to say the least.

I just put out a small guide called ‘What Everyone Needs To Know’ and the reviews are incredible so far. My first 250 copies were gone in a week with a request for thousands more. This is all made possible by the grant that we received from Industrial Alliance last year. We consulted with some of Canada’s experts and stuck to the most important information in an easy-to-read format for all.

I am currently re-writing my first book as, with time, I have become much more comfortable sharing about my past. There are things that I couldn’t talk about when I first wrote it that I am comfortable with now. I hope to have this out in two months. My second book ‘Bullying Ends Here – Walking the Talk’ should be released by the summer. With the third book, tentatively called ‘Bullying Ends Here – The Kids are Alright’ anticipated for the fall. Needless to say, I have a lot of writing to do.

This is going to be an extraordinary year, an historic one in fact. At some point we are going to reach our ONE MILLIONTH YOUTH!!! I get goosebumps just writing that.

We need all of the help that we can get with raising funds, spreading awareness and networking. Please never hesitate to share my contact information with anyone who might be able to help us in some way. Every dollar helps as it goes directly to reaching the youth. I would have it no other way!

Your friend,
Tad

Courtesy of Tad Milmine – Founder of Bullying Ends Here

GROWING MARIJUANA AND SELLING YOUR HOME

General Darick Battaglia 31 Oct

There is quite a bit of information being passed around about growing marijuana in your home that could or will prevent the sale of your property down the road.

CMHC is Canada’s federally owned mortgage insurer. As of October 25, 2018, their stance on homes that were former grow operations has not changed and reads as follows:

“At this time, CMHC is not making any changes to its mortgage loan insurance policies in relation to the impending legalization of cannabis. CMHC will continue to insure mortgage loans for homeowner residential properties (1-4 units) and multi-unit residential properties (5+ units) where cannabis was previously grown and/or will be legally grown.
We will also monitor the impacts of the Cannabis Act on our mortgage loan insurance activities over the long term. We will also be reminding Approved Lenders that, in cases where property damage has occurred, they are required to disclose this information to CMHC in making the request for mortgage loan insurance and confirm that remedial action has been taken to address any related property damage/alterations,” Courtesy Beverly LePage, Client Relations – CMHC.

HOWEVER, in my opinion as a mortgage broker, it is the damage to the home from a “typical illegal” grow op that is most important here. When one hears “grow op”, you picture rooms full of plants with lights and irrigation lines with no care taken to prevent irreparable damage to the home.

Please consider the following scenarios.

Tomato Enthusiast #1
Tomato enthusiast #1 absolutely loves tomatoes. He/she finds them relaxing and even fun to share with friends. Tomato enthusiast #1 places dozens of tomato plants in every room of their home with full irrigation and grow lighting. Without proper ventilation, this caused a drastic increase in humidity in the home. If that were to continue, a dangerous mold condition may develop, making the home uninhabitable. In this case the damage that
Tomato enthusiast #1 caused may prevent a mortgage from being placed on the property by the lender and/or insurer.

Tomato Enthusiast #2
Tomato enthusiast #2 also loves his tomatoes but not quite as much as #1. He/she enjoys having a few slices on toast on a Friday evening as a weekly treat. Tomato enthusiast #2 places 4 tomato plants in front of the living room window and daily watered and talked to them pleasantly. Having 4 tomatoes plants in the home was not illegal before October 17th and probably never will be. With proper care the 4 tomato plants thrived and never caused any damage to the home. A few weeks down the road Tomato enthusiast #2 decided to sell the property. When their trusted realtor arrived to list the home there was no apparent damage caused by any plant or animal
that resided there and it was immaculate. It is highly unlikely that the presence of 4 tomato plants would prevent approval by a mortgage lender or insurer.

Courtesy of Kevin Carlson – AMP – DLC The Mortgage Firm based in Regina, SK.

LEGALIZED MARIJUANA AND THE CANADIAN HOUSING MARKET

General Darick Battaglia 17 Oct

October 17th will be an important day in Canada’s social history. It’s the day when we are going to have legalized marijuana across the country. We will be the second major country in the world to do this. How does this affect mortgage brokers like myself? When someone comes to me to obtain financing for a home purchase and the sellers have disclosed that they smoked pot in the house or grew a few plants , how will this affect their home purchase?

A few years ago, someone disclosed that their home had been a grow-op six years previously and their home insurance company cancelled their policy citing safety issues. I could see this happening with both lenders and mortgage default insurers like CMHC, Genworth and Canada Guaranty. A recent article by a member of the Canadian Real Estate Association suggested that both lenders and insurers might ask for a complete home inspection. It was suggested that sellers who have grown a few plants might want to get a head of a problem and have an inspection before they list the property. If there are any issues of mold or electrical systems that are not up to code, they can remedy this and have a quick sale.

I contacted both CMHC and Genworth Canada to find out if any policy changes are in the works. CMHC told me that there’s nothing planned beyond what is already on the books. If there’s been a grow operation it needs to be inspected and remediation done before they will insure. Genworth says that nothing has been announced as of yet. Any changes will result in an official announcement to all brokers.
Mortgage brokers may want to call their realtor referral partners and discuss this with them to see if local real estate authorities have any changes planned. If nothing else it will be good to touch base with your realtors to find out how the market is in your area.

Courtesy of DAVID COOKE – AMP – DLC Clarity Mortgages in Calgary, AB.