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Find out how a simple“mortgage check-up”
can help you. A single call may be all the care you need.
It’s important to protect yourself against market conditions. But how do you know you have the right mortgage if you haven’t seen what’s possible?
Simply call us today for a “mortgage check-up” and you’ll be better prepared.
Spring cleaning do’s and don’ts
It’s spring and for some reason, the entire country gets obsessed with cleaning out their entire house, from the closets to the file cabinets to the shelves in the garage.
Here are some tips to follow:
DON’T: TRY TO DO IT ALL AT ONCE
“The biggest mistake is to try and do it all in one weekend and try and do too much.
DO: TAKE ON ONE AREA OR TASK AT A TIME
Whether you are cleaning or organizing, pick a small area and focus on that alone. Choose the closet, or the kitchen, or the bathroom, do not move, do not pass go, do not collect $200.
You should just organize two or three hours at a time. Do what is obtainable
DON’T: SPRING CLEAN
Clean or organize a couple of times a year. Better still, do it throughout the year.
DO: FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED
This goes hand-in-hand with Don’t Try to Do It All at Once, Not going through stuff all the way, and getting started and stopping is one of the biggest mistakes people make.
There’s a practical method to the madness, for your kitchen to function well, you have to have gone through all the drawers and know where things are.
DON’T: CLEAN WHENEVER YOU FEEL LIKE IT
‘Put it in your calendar.’ Once you make your appointment — even with yourself — you tend to adhere to it.”
DON’T: OVERLOOK THE SMALL THINGS
Cleaning some easy-to-miss items can make a big difference.
The big things are probably baseboards and spot cleaning on the walls that really make a house look and feel a lot cleaner but we all tend to overlook doing. Wash the baseboards and the wall, light switches, anywhere someone would put their hands or a dog or boot would scuff up.
DO: CLEAN FROM TOP TO BOTTOM
Go from top to bottom, knocking down dirt clouds from counters, move from top to bottom. Start with wiping off the top of windowsills and door frames. Work your way down, spot clean all upper cabinets, move down a layer, wipe all appliances, pull them out. Wipe all counters off. Always work from the top down. Floors are the last thing to do. Go through the whole house and vacuum, and then go through the whole house and mop.
DO: ASK FOR HELP
When the task seems too large, call upon friends, family, or — if it’s really overwhelming — a professional.
If you have someone to talk to while you are doing it, it makes it more fun.
|Welcome to the April issue of Consumer’s Home Digest
Winter has left the country (let’s hope), spring has sprung, the days are getting longer, it smells like BBQ outside, and we’re all feeling good! In this month’s edition let’s take a look at how to avoid having your house stolen from you (yes, you read that correctly) and six things you can do to make sure your house is in tip-top shape heading into the summer months.
Thanks again for your continued support and referrals!
To enter, close a mortgage through Neighbourhood Dominion Lending Centres (including switches and refinancing) OR refer others to do the same. For each deal that closes, you and your referral will receive an entry ballot!
The more referrals you send, the better your chances of winning!
Call me for more details
Contest closes December 1st, 2016 at midnight EST.
Contest Rules and Regulations
|Can Someone Actually Steal Your House?
It might sound unbelievable, but it’s absolutely possible for someone to steal your house. It’s called title fraud, and it’s a problem that has been around for a while in Canada. And although exposure to title fraud is minimal compared to, say, debit or credit card fraud, the damage to its victims is considerably more severe. Title fraud is potential big money for perpetrators, and their schemes can be complex to say the least. Don’t underestimate the lengths to which they will go to cash in on a big payday.
Let’s break down title fraud, identify who is most at risk, and look at the best ways to protect yourself from having your house stolen out from under you!
Title fraud almost always starts with identity theft. When someone steals your identity, they actually become you (well not really, but as far as anyone who doesn’t know you is concerned, they are you). So once they become you, they are acting as you, the scope of the fraud starts with what you could carry out as normal business, and then grows from there with increased deception and elaborate plans.
Here are some common scenarios. The perpetrators could do any of the following:
- Using your identity, they could discharge your current mortgage and replace it with one at higher value, pocketing the difference in cash, using a bank account they created in your name, only to disappear before the loan/mortgage goes into arrears and a collection agency calls seeking repayment.
- Using fake id and forged documents, they could transfer the title of your property out of your name, register a home equity line of credit or mortgage against the title, advance the funds in cash, and disappear, leaving you with a foreclosure notice a few months down the road.
- Depending on market conditions, if it’s a real seller’s market, they could even potentially sell your property sight unseen, close the transaction, and skip town before the duped buyers show up at your house in a moving truck, ready to take possession.
The scary thing is, as the victim of identity theft and/or title fraud, there is legal precedence set that as the mortgage was taken out in your name and it was done so as a legal transaction, the onus is on you to prove that you were the victim of fraud. Until you do so, you are responsible for the repayment of the debt or it will damage your credit score.
As in the case of someone fraudulently selling your house out from under you, there is legal precedence set where the new buyers could actually be awarded possession of your house, because you were the victim of identity theft and title fraud, they weren’t. As far as everyone else is concerned, the buyers executed a perfectly legal transaction. It falls on you to prove otherwise!
Who Is Most At Risk?
The more equity you have in your property, the more likely you are to be targeted. Let’s say your property is worth $450k, and you owe $150k on your mortgage — there is potential access to $300k of equity. However, as the maximum refinance amount in most cases is 80% of the property’s value, in this case $210k would be accessible. And as most lenders limit the amount of cash you can refinance out of a property to $200k, this is a perfect target.
Properties that are owned clear title (no mortgage or line of credit registered against the home) are considerably more susceptible than properties with a mortgage because there is no mortgage to discharge. Essentially, there is one less hurdle for the fraudster to register a new mortgage or transfer the title.
Unfortunately, if we have to label an age group that is most at risk, it would be the older generation. Seniors are more likely to own their properties clear title and are less savvy about identity theft and may take longer to realize something is going on.
Okay, if your heart is beating a little faster now, don’t worry, it will be okay. Here are some practical steps you can take to protect yourself!
The first line of defence to prevent title fraud is to protect yourself from identity theft. The financial consumer agency of Canada has some good information that outlines the basics. But a lot of it is common sense: keep your ID close, don’t disclose your personal information to strangers on the phone, and if something smells fishy, make sure to investigate before proceeding!
Now, in order to protect yourself from title fraud directly, you can purchase something called title insurance! If you have recently purchased or refinanced your property, chances are you already have it. With the increasing amount of mortgage fraud, a lot of lenders make title insurance a mandatory condition of lending you money. This is a really, really good thing.
There are two types of title insurance available from a few different providers, offered directly from your lawyer’s office. The first is title insurance that covers the lender in case of title fraud, and the second covers the lender and you. It’s smart to go with the more comprehensive policy that covers you!
Title insurance is relatively inexpensive and covers you as long as you own the property (even if you discharge your mortgage). It can be purchased at any time, so if you aren’t sure if you have title insurance, might be worth a look through your mortgage documents. And if you can’t make heads or tails of them, take them to your mortgage broker and they will be happy to work through everything with you.
What to Do if You Suspect Fraud?
If you suspect or find out that you are the victim of title fraud, you should do the following:
Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, at 1-888-495-8501 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Report the situation to the police.
Report the fraud to both credit reporting agencies Equifax andTransUnion.
Contact your provincial land registry and let them know.
Keep all documents and record the exact time you became aware that you were a victim.
|6 Things to Check On Your Home This Spring
Ah spring, a time when the sun pours in the windows, plants are growing, things feel alive, and we give the house a good spring clean!
Although this winter was relatively mild, we certainly had some proud Canadian winter moments. You will probably want to make sure that your property weathered the storm and is in good condition. So here are six things to check on your home this spring!
Your roof will have undoubtedly received the brunt of the winter weather, so when you can, it’ll be important for you to ensure that everything is still working as it should; that your shingles are securely fastened and (obviously) that none are missing. Additionally, for those who live in wet climates, check to make sure your roof is free from any kind of developing growth (moss etc.).
Shingled roofs should last approximately 20 years (depending, again, on variables such as climate) so as the years go on, don’t be surprised if and when sections of your roof begin to break down and deteriorate. A good idea to be prepared for such eventualities is have a separate account where you put money away, little by little.
Check your gutters for any loose connections, leaks and cracks, as well as for debris that may have gathered throughout the winter months. Keep in mind, as well, that downspouts should always be pointed away from the foundation.
Low-lying sections of your property (especially near your home’s foundation) can be problematic. These pools, if left to form in the wrong location, can lead to water coming through your home’s foundation. Not to mention, they can become an excellent breeding ground for all sorts of pesky insects.
Avoid these pitfalls by leveling the ground, sloping the soil away from the house (and adding soil as necessary).
Outdoor concrete (patios etc.) can shift or crack during those months when the ground around said pad freezes and thaws. So, as you come into spring, check to make sure that the concrete that surrounds your house hasn’t begun to slope into your foundation (starting to see a trend here? Hint: water = good. Water leaking into house = bad).
Additionally, if you do find cracks, or if the aesthetic appeal of your concrete has declined, take the time to clean and re-seal.
Paved driveways have a tendency to crack and wear over time (not unlike concrete). Springtime is the perfect time to reseal, while you’re in that spring cleaning mood! This job will restore the color to a fresh black, while also ensuring that your driveway is free of bumps and weed protrusions.
Keep in mind, however, that most sealers will take about 48 hours to dry properly, so watch the weather, and don’t start anything that might be compromised by rain or windblown elements. Popular Mechanics has a great article to get you started!
The AC Unit
The reality is that air conditioning units run constantly throughout the summer months, so in addition to servicing your unit after the summer, consider having it serviced in the spring as well, since it will have been sitting dormant for several months.
There you have it. Six home/property areas to pay attention to as winter gives way to spring. I trust these will be helpful to you as you invest time and love into your property.
However if you are considering a little more than just regular maintenance this spring, mortgage rates are at an all time low, now might be a great time to talk about using some of the equity in your property, to renovate and/or increase your property’s value!