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3 Big Real Estate Myths

There are many real estate 'rules' that aren't absolute truths across the board! Take a look at these three big ones and get a better idea of what does and doesn't apply to you and your home.

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ROI under 100% = A Bad Remodel

It’s rare that a remodeled kitchen or bathroom will result in a complete return on investment, but that shouldn’t necessarily be a deterrent. What people don’t seem to factor into the equation is the fact that, until the day you sell your home, you’ll have the benefit of enjoying the remodel yourself! Let’s say that you get 75% ROI on a remodeled kitchen, but you got to enjoy that kitchen for a year before selling. I’d chalk that up to a win.

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Swimming Pools Make It Harder to Sell a Home

No home is going to appeal to every market, but that’s not the point! The point is to find one perfect buyer. If swimming pools don’t appeal to older home buyers, such as empty nesters, then they’re simply not part of the market for that particular property. Families with young kids looking for a home to grow into, a pool could be a huge selling point, especially in warm climates. The point is, and this applies to all features, not just pools, unique features may cut down the number of potential buyers, but that’s ok; it only takes one.

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”They just remodeled, we don’t need an inspection.”

Some buyers are under the impression that, if a house was recently built or remodeled, it must have been done correctly, making an inspection unnecessary. This is simply untrue. At the end of the day, you can’t be too careful when making the biggest investment of your life. The exterior and surface may look great, but if the core of the home has issues, you need to know about it.

Oh, Baby! What You Should Always Baby-Proof at Home

- Brittany Stager

Bringing a baby home is a magical moment and, once that baby is placed in your arms, there’s an undeniable urge to keep them as safe as possible—especially in your own home. So how do you keep your baby happy, safe, and away from mischief? Baby-proofing!

The best time to baby-proof a home is before your newborn has arrived—trust us, there will be very little time to dedicate to the task once they’ve arrived! If you’re moving into a new house with baby in tow, have a plan mapped out for what things you’ll need to baby-proof once you take possession.

Cutting the clutter and eliminating hazards around the home is not only important for the safety of your baby, but for you as well. There may be many sleepless nights during the first few months, so make it easy on yourself to navigate your home safely during the wee hours of the night or on little sleep. Slippery floors, unstable furniture, or inconveniently placed home accessories can quickly turn into an unsafe situation when holding a baby.

If you’re getting ready to welcome a new bundle of joy into your life, here are a few items you should always baby-proof to ensure your home is safe for newborns, toddlers, and parents.


There’s no lack of cords in the everyday home. From blinds to electrical, cords are an easy and important thing to baby-proof. Remove, cut or mount any long cords from blinds, drapes, or shades so they’re not within reach. Use cord holders to manage the cables in your media centre or computer cords in your home office. Consider taping down any extension cords or tuck them under furniture so they aren’t easily accessible. And don’t forget the cord on your baby monitor! Make sure it doesn’t hang over or behind their crib.


If the nursery needs a fresh coat of paint or wall treatment be sure to finish the project at least eight weeks before the baby is due. This will help reduce their exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOC) and other fumes. If your home was built before 1976 it’s best to have a professional come look at any paint that’s flaking or peeling as it could contain lead, which is harmful if ingested.

Heavy furniture and décor accessories

A functional piece of furniture to adults looks like a fun climbing challenge to toddlers! Bookcases, cabinets, dressers, media units, and other top-heavy furniture should be secured to the wall to prevent tipping. TVs should also be tethered or mounted to the wall away from reach. If your nursery features a gallery wall above the crib, ensure the frames are mounted securely to the wall. In addition to the standard picture hanging hardware, 3M command strips can be used to ensure those frames aren’t going anywhere! Remove and store any décor accessories that might be unsafe, such as glass candle holders, vases with beads, tabletop picture frames, or sharp objects.   


There are so many benefits to keeping plants in your home, but once your baby starts crawling around the house, be sure you know what types you’re growing. Peace Lily, Philodendron, Pothos, Oleander, Ivy, and Arrowhead are all toxic if ingested, so if you have these plants either give them away or place them out of reach.

Pet food and toys

No, you can’t baby-proof a cat or dog, but you can be conscious and aware of how your baby or toddler interacts with them! Even the friendliest dogs can become possessive of their food and toys when an unpredictable guest is in the vicinity. Move your pet’s food and toys into another room or corner, away from grabby hands and curious mouths. Never allow your pet to sleep with your baby as they can smother them unknowingly. Lastly, no matter how comfortable your pet seems around children, never leave them alone with a baby or toddler. It takes mere seconds for a cat to scratch or a dog to nip delicate skin. 


Pools are great for families, offering hours of fun and exercise, but if you don’t take pool safety seriously, tragic accidents can happen. If you have a pool, install a self-locking fence at least four feet tall. You’ll also need to consult your local bylaws to see what safety protocols are mandatory for your area. Hard pool covers or nets can also prevent a baby or toddler from accidentally falling in. Alarm systems on doors or pool gates can alert you if your child (or an intruder) has entered your pool. Keep the pool clear of floaties, toys, and other objects that can be a temptation for children to reach in and try to grab. Lastly, if you own a pool, take a CPR course. It’s something you hope you will never need, but it could save a life if you do.

Doors and drawers

Imagine the joy and excitement you would feel every time you opened a door or drawer and found something new inside! For your baby or toddler, exploring those doors and drawers is endless fun, but if you don’t want pots and pans or the contents of your freezer scattered around the kitchen, it might be best to invest in a variety of locks! And don’t stop at the kitchen—lock-up cabinets in the bathroom, mudroom, dining room, and bedrooms.  


We know, baby gates can be a bit of an eyesore, but they do prevent your little one from taking a big tumble. Install baby gates at the top and bottom of stairs, or in front of any room you don’t want your baby exploring. There will also come a time when your child will start climbing the stairs on their own. If you have wooden treads that can become slippery, try installing a carpet runner, making it easy for them to gain traction.

Without a doubt, kids will find a way to grab, pull, poke, stand on, and touch anything in their little paths. If you’ve baby-proofed your home but are still unsure of what hazards could lie ahead, get down on your hands and knees and crawl around. Seeing the world from your baby’s point of view might help you identify hidden dangers and address them before accidents happen. 

Enjoy your newly baby-proofed home!


Source - https://www.realtor.ca/blog/oh-baby-what-you-should-always-baby-proof-at-home/21758/1363

15 Expensive Decorating Mistakes Designers Won’t Make Again (and How You Can Avoid Them, Too)

white modern kitchen island bench with high chairs and terrazzo floor
Credit: Jodie Johnson/Shutterstock

Let’s face it: Some lessons in life are learned the hard way. Often, making a mistake is the best way to figure out what not to do in the future. When the stakes are high and the outcome is costly, you tend to remember an experience and grow from it, with the hope (in theory) that you’ll never repeat it again.

Well, this same sentiment applies to decorating your home. Seemingly trivial design decisions can turn into expensive issues fast—and often, these things could have been avoided with a little bit of planning, prep, or research. Curious about what rookie mistakes might cost you major moolah in the long run? Here, a handful of interior designers are sharing their insight on the pricey decorating mistakes they’ve made in the past. Hopefully, you can vicariously learn through them—I know I will!

1. Not checking out big-ticket furniture items in person

It might seem like a hassle or an extra step in the decorating process, but it’s always worth taking the time to visit a furniture showroom or a brick-and-mortar store (once they’re open) to see a piece in real life before buying it, if possible. “Products don’t always look like the pictures online,” says designer Anna Filippova of Hyphen & Co. “Seeing a product in person or requesting a [fabric or finish] sample can prevent this mistake from happening. Samples are specifically helpful in the situation of visualizing the product with the rest of the elements in the space before the purchase.”

Many companies often charge restock fees and won’t pay for return shipping either, so it’s always a good idea to know exactly what you are getting before it shows up on your doorstep. You could save yourself a substantial amount time and money in the long run this way, even if you have to shell out a little cash upfront for a sample or waste an hour window shopping.

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Credit: Rawpixel/Getty Images

2. Forgetting to test paint colors in different lighting situations

Whether it’s sunlight streaming into your windows or the color of your light bulbs, designer Rachel Cannon of Rachel Cannon Limited Interiors says lighting can alter the color of your paint. “On one of our projects, after painting the walls of a room a nice gray color, their contractor installed pink LED bulbs throughout,” says Cannon. “The bulbs completely changed the look of the gray paint and made the walls look pink, to which our client expressed great concern and even thought repainting the entire house was necessary!”

Ultimately, Cannon bought the right temperature bulbs, and all was well. For best results, however, you should test paint on all of the walls you plan on painting in a given room or rooms before committing to a color. Remember to look at swatches at different times of day, too, so you can see how the sun and artificial lighting will impact the look of the shade.

3. Using small-scale wallpaper designs in big rooms

Make no mistake about it: designers Tavia Forbes and Monet Masters of Forbes + Masters say that installing wallpaper with a small-scale texture or print in a large room can be a costly mistake. “Beautiful textures and prints wind up getting lost in the space and read as solid color from a distance,” Forbes says. “Small-scale wallpapers are better suited for powder rooms or small entryways,” adds Masters. 

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Credit: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz/Getty Images

4. Not measuring furniture before buying it

If you ask designer Linda Sullivan of Sullivan Design Studio, nothing is worse than falling in love with a furnishing only to discover that it’s the wrong size for your home. “Take out that measuring tape and blue painter’s tape and map out the exact dimensions of your desired new purchase to help you understand how it will work in your space,” she says. “Informed decisions save money (and the hassle of returns)!” 

Better yet, measure twice just to be sure you have the right dimensions. Consider recording those numbers in a note on your phone to reference later. If you don’t have a specific piece in mind, measure the spot on your floor and wall you’d ideally want to fill. That way, if you’re shopping for a piece at an outdoor tag sale or later at a store, you won’t have to guess at what a proper sized piece would be.

5. Leaving your design plan up in the air

Sure, you may be head-over-heels in love with an expensive sofa, but designer Justin Q. Williams of Trademark Design Co. believes blowing your entire decorating budget on a single piece of furniture isn’t a very smart idea—particularly if you haven’t taken the time to make a design plan before your start shopping. “There’s nothing worse than walking into an empty room with a stunning sofa and nothing else,” he says. “Make a plan and budget for your space before you start decorating.”

Your design plan doesn’t have to include a fancy drawing or mood board. It can be as simple as a Pinterest board, a list of items you need, and a figure that you need to stay under for the entire project that’s itemized out for particular furnishings, give or take a bit.

6. Cheaping out on window treatments

Although it might seem savvy to buy inexpensive window treatments up front,
Haley Weidenbaum, interior designer and founder of Everhem, says it could cost you in the long run. “As a designer, I’ve realized that every window has different dimensions, thus, you can’t buy one size to fit all your windows,” she says. “Investing money in custom window treatments, versus prefabricated panels, ensures you get the perfect look and fit so you won’t have to replace them later.” 

white living room and kitchen
Credit: Cavan Images/Getty Images

7. Buying white or pale upholstered furniture

If you’re thinking about ordering a sofa or armchair upholstered in very light colored fabric, designer Danielle Fennoy of Revamp Interior Design says you might want to reconsider. “My biggest design mistake to date has been ordering an egg chair in white wool fabric,” she says. “Within a very short period of time, it was a hot mess. Moving happened, then a baby, and eventually the chair was unrecognizable. Save yourself the headache and always go with something with a little color or pattern.” 

Four white wire sculpture Bertoia chairs around an Eero Saarinen style Tulip Table in a bay window PREMIUM ACCESS  Extra small  Small  Medium 1415 x 2126 px (4.72 x 7.09 in) 300 dpi | 3.0 MP  Large DOWNLOAD AGAIN Notes      Editorial use only DETAILS
Credit: Andreas von Einsiedel/Getty Images

8. Overdoing designer goods

If you aren’t mixing both high and low budget furnishings into your decor scheme, designer Erin Hackett of Hackett Interiors says you’re missing out on an opportunity for true variety in your space. “People oftentimes make the mistake of thinking that in order to get a luxurious feel in their homes, they have to splurge on every item within each room,” she says. “The best way to create balance in your home—and your budget—is to purchase one or two statement pieces in each space such as a sofa, bed, or dining set, and then you can add in playful, personal accent details and accessories that won’t break the bank such as art, vases, greenery, and pillows.” 

9. Failing to pad a wallpaper order

When it comes time to dress up the walls of your home, designer Anne Carr says not ordering enough wallpaper can be a simple but expensive mistake. “Even if you order more of the exact same wallpaper, sometimes the colorways won’t match,” she says. “Always have the installer give you an estimate, as they typically do this for free.”

In addition, a good rule of thumb is to order about 10 to 20 percent more wallpaper than you actually need to complete your job. That way, your dye lots will definitely match should you have measured wrong, and you’ll have extra paper should a mistake be made in install. If all goes perfectly, having an extra roll or so means you’ll also have the ability to replace a panel or two, if need be, in the future.

10. Ignoring your room’s scale

When investing in quality furniture, designer Liles Dunnigan of The Warehouse Interiors says it’s essential to make sure the scale of a piece is proportionate to the size of the room. “A huge sectional in a small room will feel cramped, no matter how luxurious or beautiful the piece of furniture may be,” she explains. “On the other hand, if you have a spacious room, do not skimp out on a small sofa or loveseat. It will feel as if it’s floating in a sea of emptiness. Furniture pieces need to be proportional as they relate to one another.”

11. Not measuring the legs of your dining chairs

Nothing ruins a dinner party faster than a dining chair that won’t fit at the table. “Always measure to make sure the legs of your dining chairs fit between the legs of your table,” says designer Marika Meyer. “In my rookie days, I neglected to measure for the ‘extra’ chair that would be added when a client’s dining table was fully extended. We got a call on Christmas Eve from the client because the extra chairs wouldn’t fit—now I always remember to measure twice!”

While you’re at it, be sure that the chairs you are picking are also high enough for the table—and not too high either. Generally, chairs fall into a standard range, but sometimes there are outliers. Measure twice here, too, since it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Minimalist home working space with green plants
Credit: Morinka/Shutterstock

12. Filling up a space quickly just to “finish” it

No matter how enticing the price tag on an inexpensive piece of furniture may be, Sullivan says investing in a bunch of poorly made furnishings just to complete your room almost always ends in regret. “We suggest pausing on the cheap chair or lamp if it is not absolutely necessary for your space and waiting to save up for the dream one you want to carry with you to all your future homes,” she says. “This will not only save you money, but you will start to curate a collection of items you adore.”

13. Using “postage stamp” sized rugs

If you thought buying a bunch of small rugs—instead of one large area rug—was a smart way to save money when decorating a room, designer Kendall Wilkinson says you’re mistaken. “Rugs serve to anchor the entire room’s design and unify the overall aesthetic,” she explains. “When the rug is too small, it feels like a postage stamp, and the scale as a whole and proportion of the space will suffer.”

According to Wilkinson, a cluster of too-small rug screams “mistake” and is often a costly fix. Typically, the only option is to purchase an entirely new rug in the proper size, since it’s also tough to layer similar smaller rugs without a larger anchor rug underneath them. You’d be better off buying a cheaper, less fancy large rug than trying to make something more decorative but smaller work in your space, even if you have multiples.

14. Not double-checking natural materials before installing them

If you plan on using any natural finishes in your home, such as stone tile or countertops, designer Ashley Moore of Moore House Interiors says to make sure to inspect everything prior to installation. That way, you are sure that materials you have received are what you actually had in mind. 

“For one project, we installed natural stone in the shower without checking the tile beforehand,” she explains. “Since natural stone varies, as opposed to man-made materials, there can be major differences in color and detail [of individual pieces]. It ended up having so much variation that it didn’t look cohesive and had to be completely redone. That’s a mistake we won’t be making again—it’s always better to send back or reorder before something is installed!”

15. Not measuring your elevator—or doorways

While you may have double checked the dimensions of the sofa you ordered to ensure it’s the right size for your living room, designer Megan Hopp advises you to measure your doorway and elevator (if applicable), too. “Early on in my career, I ordered not one but two oversized velvet sofas for a loft space I was working on in Manhattan—no question the sofas would fit the space perfectly—but did I think about the elevator ride up?” she says. “No, and it wasn’t even a close fit: There was no way I was getting those sofas in and up. They immediately needed to be loaded back on the truck and returned to the vendor with a steep restocking fee.”


That’s a mistake in the world of elevators that Hopp will never make again, but even if you don’t live in on a high floor of an apartment building, something like this could happen with your doorways. To cover all of your bases, it’s best to think about the process of physically getting items into your space as much as their fit in the spots that will ultimately be their final destinations.

Caroline Biggs





Selling your home takes some preparation! Here’s some things you can do to minimize the last-minute chores and tasks that come with selling:

  1. Figure out how much cost you may incur for repairs and upgrades so that you can either budget for it or know how much would be appropriate for buyers to knock off the sale price, if you want them to take on those costs.
  2. Deep cleaning is not fun, but it’s very necessary when you’re getting ready to sell. Don’t want to pay for a cleaning crew? Depending on how large your home is, you may want to recruit a squad of friendly volunteers. Just offer some delicious food and perhaps a future ride to the airport.
  3. Make sure your yard is at its peak! This is something you can and should start improving a few months before you actually list. Yard work and gardening can hardly be drastically improved overnight.
  4. The majority of homeowners have a lot of stuff, nothing in particular, just stuff. Pack the non-essentials and store it elsewhere when it’s getting close to listing time. Uncluttered floors appear larger, cleaner, and more attractive. Don’t worry, your go-to recliner will be waiting for you in your new home, I promise!
  5. You know what gets pretty dirty and needs a checkup from time to time? Chimneys and fireplaces! If you have one or more, get them cleaned and inspected by experts to make sure they look pristine, and to prevent a nasty repair surprise!

What Every First-Time Home Buyer Needs for Their Pet


First-time home buyers usually have a long list of things they're looking for in a home. But there's one family member a lot of people forget about when they're house hunting. Your pet.

Here's how to find a home that works for you and your furball. 

Check out the yard

The yard is your dog's de facto domain, so you'll want to make sure it's appropriate for him.

Think about the things that might be a problem down the road. Is it big enough? If all you have is a little patio, you can still make it work, but it's going to mean a lot more walks to help keep your pup in shape.

Do you need a fence in your yard? Does it need to be high because your dog is an acrobat? Remember, not having a fence isn't necessarily a dealbreaker for the house as long as you're allowed to add one later.  

Make sure there are pet-friendly spaces

It's not just your yard you need to look at through your pet's eyes.

Make sure your potential home is set up to accommodate your pet. That might mean a laundry room or closed off the kitchen where your pup can stay safe and contained when you're out of the house or it might mean a sunroom where your indoor cat can monitor the outdoors. 

Look for a neighborhood that's friendly to first-time buyers and their pets 

Look for a neighborhood that's close to the types of things you like to do with and without your pet.

If your perfect Saturday is walking to the dog park and then heading over to the local coffee shop, then be sure to let your Realtor know so she can look for neighborhoods where that's possible.

If you have a dog or an outdoor cat, you should also be sure to check that some of your neighbors are also pet owners. Those people will likely be more understanding when they see your cat outside or when your dog decides to chase a squirrel across the street.

While you're thinking about the neighborhood, you should also check to see if there are any restrictions on pets. Some cities have breed-specific bans or only allow a certain number of pets in a home. Even if your city is pet-friendly, your HOA might have a few other restrictions on your pet and the last thing you want is to have to decide between your first home and your furbaby. 

So, start revising your list of things you're looking for and get ready to find a home for the whole family. 

5 Steps Toward Energy Efficiency at Home


Energy bills are something every homeowner must deal with, but there are ways to reduce your energy bill without sacrificing your comfort. Here are a few ways you can make your home more energy efficient.

Replace Your Water Heater

Water heaters make up approximately 15-25% of energy costs, so getting a more efficient water heater could help you save a significant amount on your bill.


Make Sure Your Home is Properly Sealed

Making sure there are no leaks letting large amounts of air in or out of your home is an easy way to save on energy costs. This can happen with in the doors, windows, attics, or basements. Seal those leaks!


Add Insulation

In the same vein as sealing leaks, adding insulation is an effective strategy to make sure your home isn’t drastically affected by the weather outside. Obviously if you can keep your home from getting too hot or too cold, you don’t have to spend as much on energy costs!


Install a Programmable Thermostat

With a programmable thermostat, you can easily reduce energy costs by setting the climate control systems to achieve the optimal temperature for lower costs.


Less Air Conditioning, More Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans circulate air around your home at a cost that’s significantly cheaper than running the air conditioner all day, everyday.


Header: Backyard Olympics

Summer means time to get outside and have a party. Whether it’s with friends, neighbors, or a family reunion, there’s always an excuse to have a good time safely. Every good party needs a theme, and with the Summer Olympics set to begin at the end of the month, we thought we’d share a few ideas on how you can host your own backyard Olympic-themed party.

Backyard Games

​A little friendly competition won’t hurt anyone. Set up several games for teams to compete in throughout the party. Swap out the real Olympic sports for fun classic yard games like horseshoes, cornhole, frisbee golf, yard darts, and giant Jenga are a few classics.

Gold Medal Decorations

​Create your own Olympic rings and have them featured throughout your yard and house. String up flags representing different countries, and to top it off, you can build a small winners podium for the winners to collect their medals at the end of the day. You can create Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals for the winners.

Championship Food

​Every competitor needs to satisfy their appetite, so here are a few snack ideas for your Olympic party. Try making edible torches, a gelatin swimming pool, or medal cookies. You can check out the recipes and other ideas here.


We hope these ideas inspire your Olympic spirit and you conquer your backyard Olympics. We’d love to hear about your favorite backyard games. If you’re looking for a new home for your backyard fun, our Team would be happy to help you with all of your real estate needs. Reply to this email or give us a call to set up a time to talk.

Are you the right fit for a hybrid mortgage?

A paltry 4 per cent choose hybrid (a.k.a. combination) mortgages, Mortgage Professionals Canada says. A hybrid mortgage lets you split your borrowing into two or more rates. The most common example is the 50/50 mortgage, in which you put half your mortgage in a fixed rate and half in a variable rate.

Some hybrids let you mix the terms (contract lengths) as well. You might put one-third in a short fixed term, for example, and two-thirds in a long term. With certain lenders, such as Bank of Nova Scotia, National Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, HSBC Bank Canada and many credit unions, you can mix and match rates and terms in almost infinite combinations.

The point of a hybrid mortgage is to reduce your exposure to unexpected adverse interest-rate movements. If variable rates shoot up and you have half your borrowing in a long-term fixed rate, you'll feel less pain than if you had your entire mortgage in a variable or shorter term. Conversely, if rates drop, you still enjoy part of the benefit.

Hybrid mortgages can fit the bill for folks who:

  • Are torn between a fixed and variable rate;
  • Think rates should stay low but who can’t bear the thought (or cost) of them soaring;
  • Want a lower penalty if they break their mortgage early (big penalties are a common curse of longer-term fixed rates);
  • Have a spouse who has the opposite risk tolerance.

So why, then, is only one in 25 borrowers choosing hybrids, a number that hasn't changed much in years?

Well, for one thing, hybrids are misunderstood. They're also insufficiently promoted, entail more closing costs and (often) have uncompetitive rates. But not always.

The costs

One knock against hybrids is that they're more expensive at renewal. They must be refinanced, which usually entails legal fees. By contrast, when you switch lenders with a standard ("non-collateral") mortgage, the new lender usually pays your legal and appraisal costs.

This disadvantage is most applicable to folks with smaller loan sizes. If your mortgage is $200,000 or more, those refinance costs equate to a rate premium of less than a one-10th of a percentage point on a five-year mortgage. That's peanuts for the diversification benefits of a hybrid rate, especially if you can find a lender or broker to cover those refinance costs.

Hybrids to avoid

There's a strategy in bond trading called laddering. That's where you buy multiple bonds with different maturity dates to lower your risk. If rates dive, your long-term bonds will still pay higher interest. If rates soar, your short-term bonds will mature quicker, letting you reinvest in better rates sooner.

Homeowners can ladder, too. One method is to get a combination mortgage and set up five segments: a one-, two-, three-, four- and five-year term. That way, only a portion of your borrowing will mature every year. So you'll never have to renew the entire mortgage balance at unfavourable rates.

That may seem appealing on the surface, but it's really a sucker's play. The problem is, whenever any segment comes up for renewal, the lender has you over a barrel. Lenders aren't charities. They maximize revenue at maturity by evaluating your available options. They know that people with staggered terms have to pay a penalty to leave if they don't like the lender's offer. Those penalties can cost thousands (or tens of thousands). So lenders typically give lacklustre renewal rates to borrowers with differing maturity dates.

Quick perspective: If you have to pay a rate that's even two-10ths of a percentage point higher, that's roughly $1,800 in extra interest over 60 months on a typical $200,000 mortgage.

The best combos

If you're going to go hybrid, match up the terms. For example, pair a five-year fixed with a five-year variable. That way, both portions mature at the same time. Then, if you don't like your lender's renewal quote on one portion, you can fly the coop with no penalties.

And by all means, shop around. The majority of hybrids have junk rates. Look for rates that are within 0.15 percentage points of the market's best, for each segment in the mortgage.

Should you get one?

Virtually no one on Earth can consistently time interest rates. No banker, no broker, no economist, no Bank of Canada governor, not even money managers paid millions. But with hybrids, timing matters less. They take the guesswork out of rate picking.

Granted, if you're a well-qualified, risk-tolerant, financially secure borrower, you're often better off in the lowest-cost standard mortgage you can find. And there's historical research to back that up. But if your budget has less breathing room or rate fluctuations make you slightly queasy, hybrids are worth a look.

Just be sure that your mortgage is big enough, that all portions renew at the same time and that you avoid hybrids with uncompetitive rates on one or more portions.




Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/mortgages-and-rates/are-you-the-right-fit-for-a-hybrid-mortgage/article31280880/


6 Ways to Avoid Delays on Your Remodel

Unexpected delays can quickly turn a fun home remodeling project into stressful misery. But you’ve got more power than you think to keep your project on schedule — and it all comes down to what you do before a single nail is hammered. These six proactive tips will help you avoid remodel problems so your project runs smoothly.

1. Choose your team carefully

When you hire a contractor, the burden of verifying their credentials falls squarely on your shoulders. Start by checking the Better Business Bureau’s website for red flags, as well as visiting LexisNexis online (which requires a subscription) to see if any lawsuits have been filed against potential contractors.

It’s also important to get valid references, stresses David Merrick, president of Merrick Design and Build in Kensington, Maryland. Rather than simply trusting online reviews, Merrick suggests doing some legwork.

“Visiting a project that is actually in progress is the best way to get a reference,” says Merrick, who also serves as the chairman of the Government Affairs Committee for the National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s Metro D.C. chapter. “So if you’re serious about hiring a contractor, and you want to take the time to check their references, ask to talk to [a current client] or visit a job they have in production.”

Merrick goes on to explain that homeowners should also check contractors’ license statuses online and “request a certificate of insurance. This comes directly from the insurance agent without going through the contractor’s hands, so you know it’s not forged.” This official document also lets you know whether the contractor’s policy is sufficient for your project’s size, and if workers’ compensation coverage is included.

2. Build in a budget cushion

Setting aside money for unexpected costs could help prevent your project from being delayed indefinitely.

Although good contractors usually spot evidence of costly problems during the initial estimate, some issues don’t reveal themselves until the walls are opened up, explains Rebecca Davila, owner of Building Dreams, a construction and renovation company in Hawthorne, California. For this reason, she suggests homeowners protect themselves by factoring in a substantial budget cushion.

“You have to look at having at least 20% to 25% [more] money on the side of your project,” she advises, “just in case of unforeseen conditions.”

3. Order materials early

Backorders and slow order fulfillment can stop renovations in their tracks. That’s why it’s essential to select and order tiles, fixtures and other materials your contractor requests as early as possible. It’s also crucial to choose products that are in stock and can be delivered quickly.

“Make sure you have everything ready and available,” Davila says. “You don’t want to order something and find out you’re on hold for six weeks, and your whole project stops for that item.”

4. Pay attention to permits

To maintain building codes and regulations, renovations often require permits. Be aware that the larger your project is, the longer it may take for permit approval — and for very large jobs, it could take months.

Professional contractors generally have a good feel for permit requirements and lead times and should know when to file to keep your project on schedule. Merrick warns that if a contractor asks you to get a permit yourself, that’s a major red flag.

“Any time a contractor asks a homeowner to pull a permit, there’s a reason,” he cautions. “They’re either lazy or they’re not properly licensed. They’re usually doing it because they’re not licensed.”

Having your contractor pull permits is also preferable for liability reasons. “The contractor’s name should be on it because they should be liable for it,” Davila says.

5. Get everything in writing

Before any work begins or money changes hands, you’ll need to sign a detailed contract. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and protects against being left high and dry with your project unfinished.

Renovation contracts should cover all the work being done and materials used, along with a clear payment schedule based on either time intervals or project completion levels. Know that a reputable contractor will never ask for full payment upfront or expect your final payment before the entire project is completed to your satisfaction. If you don’t understand the details of your contract, consider having a lawyer look it over.

6. Avoid change orders

One of the simplest ways to prevent remodeling delays (and budget disasters) is to be sure of what you want and stick with it. Changing your mind midstream results in change orders, which are contract amendments that occur when a customer decides to change project details like the location of a wall or the type of flooring.

Change orders not only create delays when new materials don’t arrive on time; they also can easily derail your well-planned budget. As Davila explains, “When a contractor gets a job, that’s when their prices are the lowest. When a change order comes in, they know that you have to do it so they can charge you anything.”

 The article 6 Ways to Avoid Delays on Your Remodel originally appeared on NerdWallet.