22 Nov

What’s Next for your Home After a Separation?


Posted by: Janelle Bentz

Growing up, most people dream about living a fairytale with a wonderful partner and a life of bliss. Unfortunately, real life is not always a fairytale and not every relationship lasts forever. In fact, latest statistics show that 38 percent of all marriages in Canada end in divorce.

Separating, whether through divorce or ending a common law relationship, is never an easy step. Losing someone close to you (whether for the better or not) is hard – but it doesn’t have to mean losing your home too. Most individuals who are going through a separation feel as though they are forced to sell their home and split the equity depending on your agreement, but there is another way.

spousal buy-outs

Spousal buy-outs are one of the mortgage industries best kept secrets and we want to blow the lid on this great alternative! While not everyone will want to remain in their home, many individuals may opt to remain rooted – especially for those with children who are already enrolled in school and happy in their neighborhood. This is where the Spousal Buy-Out Program comes in.

Backed by all three of Canada’s mortgage insurance providers (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Sagen™ and Canada Guaranty), this program is designed to allow one party to refinance the shared home up to 95 percent of its appraised value. In order to qualify, both you and your ex-partner must currently be on the deed to the property. As a one-time opportunity, the Spousal Buy-Out Program can also be used to pay off other debts outside the separation agreement, further assisting with the transition.

Now you may be thinking “I wish I could, but I can’t afford it”. Well, don’t sell yourself short just yet! We understand the cost of purchasing a home, whether outright or from your partner, can be high. Fortunately, The Spousal Buy-Out Program was designed to help YOU and mitigates these costs by allowing individuals to bring on a cosigner, such an existing family member or even a new partner, to assist.

If you are separating from your spouse or partner and would really like to hold onto your shared home, there are a few things you will need including:


An appraisal report will likely have been obtained to determine Equalization of Assets. However, in some cases the appraisal may not be acceptable to a lender unless it was originally ordered by a third party. The appraisal must also have been produced within 90 days (less with some lenders) to ensure accuracy. If the original report was previous to 90 days, a new one must be obtained.


To qualify the lender must be provided a signed copy of the separation agreement. The details of asset allocation must be clearly outlined.


A standard agreement of sale indicating the new ownership.


This is required so the lender can verify your ability to manage your mortgage payments.


This is an optional one-time option for paying off additional debts outside of the separation agreement. The proceeds can only be used to buy out the other owner’s share of equity and/or to pay off joint debt as explicitly noted in the signed separation agreement.

Moving on in life can often be difficult, but this program allows you to maintain some of your routine and security by ensuring you – and your children – can remain in the home you love.

Blog courtesy of Dominion Lending Centres Canada.

22 Nov

The Cold Buster Smoothie


Posted by: Janelle Bentz

Boost your immune system with this vitamin-packed thirst-quencher!

Cold and flu season is upon us. If you’re experiencing symptoms of illness or looking to fight them before they start, then this tasty drink recipe will help your immune system do its work.

Here’s why the combination of ingredients in this smoothie packs a big punch: It’s high in antioxidants.

  • It helps clear toxins through the liver.
  • It’s filled with Vitamin A, which helps clear congested lungs.
  • It’s a great source of energy fuel and brain food.
  • It’s free of dairy products, which will help suppress mucus production when you’re under the weather.

Bursting with flavour and nutrients, the mixture of blueberries, oranges, kale, apples, carrots, and beets are not only adult-approved, but popular with sick kids too!


Total time: 10 mins

Serves: 2-3


  • 3 cups of blueberries
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 2 cups of kale
  • 1 apple, core and seeds removed
  • 1 small raw red beet
  • 1/3 cup ice
  • 1/2 cup water


Place ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more water until mixture reaches desired consistency.

Blog courtesy of Dominion Lending Centres Canada.

1 Apr

The Top 7 Misconceptions About Reverse Mortgages


Posted by: Janelle Bentz

How much do you really know about reverse mortgages? Maybe you know that reverse mortgages can help Canadians 55+ access the equity in their home, tax-free. Maybe you know that tens of thousands of Canadians are using a reverse mortgage as part of their financial plan. But did you know that there are 7 common misconceptions when it comes to understanding reverse mortgages in Canada. As Canada’s leading provider of reverse mortgages, HomeEquity Bank can help set the record straight.

Common misconceptions about reverse mortgages.

1. If you have a reverse mortgage, you no longer own your home

Nothing could be further from the truth. You always maintain title, ownership and control of your home – HomeEquity Bank simply has a first mortgage on the title.

2. You will owe more than the value of your home in the end

Also, untrue. Every CHIP Reverse Mortgage from HomeEquity Bank comes with a No Negative Equity Guarantee(1) which states that as long as you – the homeowner – have met your obligations, the amount you will have to pay on the due date will not exceed the fair market value of your home. In fact, over 99% of HomeEquity Bank’s customers retain equity in their home when they decide to sell, with over 50% of the home’s value remaining after the loan is paid back (on average).

3. Only people younger than 62 can apply for a reverse mortgage

In Canada, the CHIP Reverse Mortgage is available to Canadian homeowners aged 55 and older. In fact, as you age you are more likely to qualify for a higher amount on your loan. A reverse mortgage is a lifetime product and as long as the property taxes and insurance are in good standing, the property remains in good condition, and the homeowner is living in the home full-time, the loan won’t be called even if the house decreases in value.

4. Failure to make payments can result in eviction

This myth is one of the most common when it comes to reverse mortgages. The CHIP Reverse Mortgage does not require any monthly payments, meaning you can’t miss payments in the first place.

5. Arranging a reverse mortgage is very expensive

This is also untrue. Much like a conventional mortgage, an appraisal of your property and independent legal advice is required, and your responsibility to pay for. The only remaining cost is a one-off closing and administration fee. When you compare this to the costs of “rightsizing” to another home, you will find a much more affordable option in a reverse mortgage.

6. Reverse mortgages have much higher interest rates than conventional mortgages

While it’s generally true that interest rates are a bit higher than a traditional mortgage, the difference is not excessive. Plus, making monthly mortgage payments is simply not a viable option for many retired Canadians, and – even if it were – many would struggle to qualify for a traditional mortgage in the first place. For these reasons, many retired Canadians are choosing reverse mortgages over conventional solutions.

7. You won’t be able to pass on your home to your children

The idea that your children won’t be able to inherit your home is a complete myth. Your heirs will always have the option of keeping the property by paying off your reverse mortgage after you pass away. Plus, HomeEquity Bank’s No Negative Equity Guarantee, (1) states that if the home depreciates in value and the mortgage amount due is more than the gross proceeds from the sale of the property, HomeEquity Bank covers the difference between the sale price and the loan amount. Therefore, you will never owe more than the fair market value of the home.

To find out how much you could qualify for, try our reverse mortgage calculator, or contact your DLC Mortgage Professional.

[1] The guarantee excludes administrative expenses and interest that has accumulated after the due date.

Written By: Agostino Tuzi

Post Sponsored by HomeEquity Bank

14 Jan

Five ways to keep your home maintained throughout the year


Posted by: Janelle Bentz

It is a New Year and it’s that time again to inspect your home to ensure everything is in good condition and working order! To help you, we compiled a list of five simple ways to keep your home maintained throughout 2021.

Seal up any cracks.

The colder months are the perfect time to winterize your home. Be sure your house is properly insulted and check for any cracks in your windows, walls and doorways. You can use a sealing product to repair any drafts. This will help you save money on your heating bill.

Check your roof.

It is important to ensure that your roof is in good condition. Inspect it occasionally for any damage, leaks, loose or missing shingles and water damage. This can save you from a hefty repair bill down the line.

 Spruce up the exterior.

The summer months are a great time to groom the outside of your home. Take the time to touch up the exterior paint and pressure wash your deck and patio. Make sure to check for any damage to your home’s exterior that could worsen in the winter months.

 Prevent damage from insects.

Particularly in the summer months, insects can damage your home. To prevent this damage, be sure to secure and seal the outside of your home to minimize the risk of any pests entering. Consider hiring a licenced exterminator if necessary, especially if you live in a highly active area.

Check your A/C unit.

Air conditioning units should be inspected and serviced annually to make sure that they are running properly and at optimal efficiency. Ensuring that your A/C unit is running efficiently will save you money over time!

For more tips or to speak to one of our mortgage brokers, call us at 403.589.2777

15 Sep

Fall Financial Fix


Posted by: Janelle Bentz

Back to school is not just for kids! Now is the perfect time to get your finances and credit in check. We have compiled a list of our top five tips to save money and get your habits back on track this fall:

Buy in bulk and plan your meals!

Step one? Write that grocery list, but write it out for the whole month. Step two? Head to a bulk food store for things like dry goods, toiletries and things that can be frozen. Use your weekly shops for fresh items and stretch your budget. You will be amazed at how much you can save when buying in bulk.

Pay off debts 

You may think that saving is the most important thing, but you’ll also need to pay down debt if you have any. Consider paying debt down while simultaneously saving for maximum results and consolidate debt into one place; a line of credit often has far less credit than a credit card – and finally, pay debts from highest to lowest to avoid higher interest rates.

Set-up automatic savings

Consider your financial goals in 2021 and automatically save for them! By setting up auto transfers each week or month, or each time you get paid, you won’t risk accidentally spending the money you should be saving.

Consider needs vs wants. 

When making larger purchases, a 24-hour rule is key. Sleep on it. Consider, is it need or a want? Will this item add value to your life? If the answer is yes, we salute you!

Master DIY 

Looking forward to some home renovation projects? Hop on Pinterest and check out the world of DIY! Many home renovations can be done for a lot less than you think!

We are part of Canada’s largest and fastest-growing mortgage brokerage. We work for you, not the lenders. Looking for a new home? Contact us at (403) 589-2777.

8 Jul

Prepping your Home for Fall Weather and Protection


Posted by: Janelle Bentz

Whether we like to admit it or not, fall is just around the corner and there’s work to be done if you want your home to be cozy and protected during the colder months. Here’s our top four favourite tips to get ready for autumn.

Seal any cracks on the outside (and inside) of the foundation of your house. 

Sealing cracks does a couple of different things. It stops leaks from getting inside your house as well as controls unwanted pests like spiders and other critters, from taking up residence in your home during the colder months.

Empty water from hoses or any other moisture bearing devices. 

Do this before the frost hits in October so that you can avoid damage to watering devices as well as, leaks.

SYOD! “Store your outdoor decor”!

Some of your garden friends might survive the colder months, so bring ’em inside!

Did you know that plants like tropicals and succulents and even tomatoes thrive inside? Quarter off a room that you do not mind getting a little dirty and bring them in to enjoy through the fall!

We’re more than just your broker. If you need home advice, give us a call or throw us an email at dlccalgary@dominionlending.ca

3 Apr

Rebooting your budget during Covid-19


Posted by: Janelle Bentz

As we all continue to adapt to an interim reality, we have to plan ahead to ensure we can continue to live responsibly.

Everyone is juggling new challenges, questions, especially where our finances and jobs are concerned. You’re not alone. Most businesses/employers in Calgary are or will be filling for a number of Federal Government initiatives, including payroll subsidies and cash infusion loans. Some of these items are helpful, but remember, loans still have to be paid back, as do deferrals.

In order to keep accountable to your finances in order to succeed financially post-Covid, we recommend the following steps:

Trim the fat.

Look at any personal or business budgets. What can you afford to cut? What is a luxury item? If it’s a want versus a need, it should go for now.

Look at your income, assets and debt.

If you aren’t bringing in as much income as before the crisis, determine your new baseline and how much you are projected to bring in moving forward – this will help with budget cuts. Take a peek at your assets, can you afford to liquidate or pull any of them out? Your mortgage can also potentially be re-financed if needed. Look at your debt. If possible, keep paying it off. Any good financial expert will tell you to do two things simultaneously, save and pay off debt. This will support your overall financial health.

Spend strategically.

Having your budget in tact is more important than ever. Itemize your expenses by fixed and variable and know what you can afford to cut. Check out cash back apps or services to support in savings and take back old school – coupons are still a great way to save, especially with gas or groceries.

In short, re-consider your spending, be organized and be cognizant of your spending.

If you need support or have questions about your mortgage, reach out to us!

16 Nov

No need to panic after rate increase


Posted by: Janelle Bentz

Awesome read from my colleague Mike …. check it out

No need to panic after rate increase


You may have already seen the more technical BANK OF CANADA RATE ANNOUNCEMENT on October 24th, or you may not have. The Coles Notes (the simplest version) are as such:

  • Global economy remains strong, the USMCA will reduce trading uncertainty
  • Canadian economy is balanced for the foreseeable 2 years
  • Household spending will increase, but backed by income growth
  • Housing activity across Canada is stabilizing


On October 24th the Bank of Canada did what we all expected, they increased the Overnight lending rate by 0.25% to 1.75%. This equated to a PRIME being increased by 0.25% to 3.95%. All variable rate mortgages and lines of credit utilize PRIME to calculate the current interest rate.

Now the BIG QUESTION, how do we as mortgage consumers respond? First, ask your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker how they plan to react in accordance to his own financing.

No need to ask me, I will tell you. Variable, with no hesitation. I will stay the course by not pushing the panic button.


Because if I decide to move, re-finance, consolidate, leverage equity or to simply break the mortgage for any reason my penalty will only be 3 months interest. I also need to consider how much money I have saved over the term by utilizing a variable rate mortgage rather than a fixed. During my current mortgage the spread between variable and fixed is approximately 1%.

Please excuse the following ‘tongue & cheek…’To go with a fixed mortgage tells me that you can predict the future with absolute certainty.

I know I can’t, so I rely on statistics. 65% of all fixed mortgage consumers will break their mortgage in 33 months, the penalty that follows is unavoidable. For the average B.C. mortgage of $350,000 the penalty is approximately $14,000. By opting for a fixed rate mortgage, you have declared to the universe that there is a zero percent chance you will need to access equity, amend the current mortgage or consider applying for a secured line of credit.

Real estate wealth is a long game, building net worth doesn’t happen overnight. Gains are not made in the short term. Just like other markets (stocks, bonds, mutuals, GICs RRSPs), there will be highs and lows.

What does this increase mean?

Dollarize it for your own personal consumption. For an increase of 0.25% the payment will go up $13 per every $100,000 borrowed. For some variable rate borrowers, the payment hasn’t even changed as the lender only adjusts the principal and interest allocation.

Now the question becomes, what do you do? Remain with variable or lock into a fixed. I recommend staying the course.

Michael Hallett

Michael Hallett

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional

15 Nov

Growing cannabis at home? Let’s weed through those mortgage issues!


Posted by: Janelle Bentz

Growing cannabis at home? Let’s weed through those mortgage issues!

As many of you already know, Canada just became the second country in the world to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational purposes. Of course, this historic moment in Canadian history has cannabis activists jumping for joy while others are not s-toked on the idea.

With legalization comes the realities of growing your own pot at home which already has Global News giving Canadians a step-by-step guide on how to do so properly and legally — sorry Manitoba and Quebec!

We always have clients contacting us for restructuring advice on their current mortgages. However, through our initial discussions, we have found out that some have started growing pot plants within their homes. Since this legislation is new to everyone, including the mortgage community, we had to do some research.

Prior to September 17, growing cannabis at home was a legal grey area. Mortgage wise, it was a red flag. Any home that has previously or is currently being used in the growing of cannabis was treated as a “grow-op” and as a result is NOT financeable.

grow-op: a concealed facility used for marijuana plantation.

Since legalization day on October 17, the federal government officially set a limit of four pot plants per household — NOT by person. This information DOES NOT have to be disclosed on a property disclosure UNLESS damage has occurred within the household because of cannabis cultivation.

Just as a FYI — ALL property owners should consult their realtor or lawyer about how to properly disclose when selling their household.
After talking to our local Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation representative (CMHC), she notified us that mortgage insurers are currently leaving lenders to create their own policies on how to deal with marijuana plants and their effect on existing mortgages. We contacted lenders about this ‘budding’ home-grown industry but were met with no answers.

This situation is certainly a waiting game and we’re all holding our breath waiting for the first move!

Let us share our advice.
If you are looking to sell your property or refinance your mortgage — get rid of those pot plants now!
Any home appraisal company can disclose in their report that cannabis is present within your home which could place your home on a list that DOES NOT foresee future sales or refinances.
It is your safest bet to keep your cannabis plant growth up to the licensed growers located across the country.
If you have any questions, contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

Chris Cabel

Chris Cabel

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional