Stay Cool This Summer

General Trish Pigott 28 Jul

Can you believe we are already halfway through Summer?! To maximize your enjoyment for the remainder of the season, we have some great tips for staying cool AND saving money.

1. Cook in the Great Outdoors

Summer is all about enjoying the sunshine, spending time with friends and family, and relaxing in your own personal backyard oasis. Avoid cooking in your house to reduce heat in the kitchen and fire up that BBQ.

2. Take Advantage of Fans

Instead of cranking the A/C (and your electricity bill), consider cooling down your home with portable fans – That is if it’s not too hot! Portable fans work by creating a breeze, helping to circulate the air and causing a wind-chill effect that hits your skin and helps keep you cool.

PRO TIP: For an extra blast of coolness, place a bowl of ice in front of the fan to create a refreshing mist of air!

3. Shut Out the Heat

On days where the temperature is especially warm, keep the blinds and curtains drawn to reduce the heat coming into your home. It will reduce the stress on your air conditioning and portable fans and allow your home to stay cooler and more comfortable.

4. Maintain Your Air Filters

An often-overlooked aspect of home maintenance is changing the air filters. With summer in full swing, we suggest you check the filters in your home. Dirty filters slow airflow and make the system work harder, thereby reducing airflow and causing the heat to build up in your home. Plus, ignoring the maintenance on these can lead to expensive repairs down the road. Replacing your air filters every three months is ideal to keep dirt and dust out of your system and ensure they are working optimally.

5. Swap to Energy Efficient Lighting

You have probably heard some of the reasons why LED lights have become so popular, but did you know that they also produce 75 percent less heat than incandescent bulbs and can help keep room temperature down? This not only keeps your home cooler during those toasty summer months, but it can also help reduce monthly bills!

Whether you implement one or all of these handy cool-down tips, we hope you have an amazing remainder of your summer!

How to Create a Monthly Budget

General Trish Pigott 26 Jul

Creating a monthly budget is the quickest way to take control of your finances and understand where your money is going. You can then review your monthly spending habits to get a snapshot of your incoming and outgoing transactions, and determine areas for improvement.

Step 1: Calculate Your Income

The very first step to creating a budget is determining your income. It is important to know what your net income is each month, so that you know what you have available to spend.

Step 2: Track Your Spending

Once you have determined your income, you will want to take a look at your spending. Reviewing and categorizing all your monthly bills can help you break things down. To start, list out your fixed expenses – these are things like car payments, loans, rent or mortgage costs that do not change on a monthly basis. Next, take a look at your variable expenses – things like groceries, gas, entertainment, etc., and determine your average spend. This is typically the area where people are able to cut back.

Step 3: Set Realistic Goals

Realistic goals are vital for long-lasting financial health. It is important to determine what you cannot live without and where you can cut costs or scale back on spending. Ideally, when it comes to your monthly budget, you want to consider the 50/30/20 rule, which applies the following:

  • 50% of your spending is for NEEDS such as rent or mortgage payments, car payments, utilities and groceries
  • 30% of your income goes to WANTS such as shopping, vacations, streaming services, etc.
  • 20% of your income goes to SAVINGS OR DEBT such as emergency funds, retirement, child’s education and/or credit card payments

Step 4: Make a Plan

Once you have your goals set, you can now make a plan to tackle your financial position and ensure a healthy cashflow each month. For some, setting realistic spending limits for each category works well. For others, taking a look at their expense list and re-prioritizing can free up funds.

Step 5: Adjust Your Spending

Now you can take a look at adjusting your spending to ensure you remain on budget. This is also a great time to review your fixed expenses. Perhaps you can save money by getting a better interest rate on your mortgage or changing your payment schedule for your loan.

Step 6: Stay on Track With Your Budget

Lastly, once you’ve tracked all your spending and income, and determined a monthly budget, you will want to stay on track. Tracking your budget on a monthly basis is important to catch any changes in your spending habits. It is also a good idea to conduct an annual review and take into account any increase in expenses or wages that may require shifts in your overall plan.

Remember! A healthy, well-thought-out budget is key to financial freedom and comfort.

Financial Advice That Never Gets Old

General Trish Pigott 19 Jul

Looking for financial advice on your personal finances? Here are five timeless recommendations:

1. Start Investing Small and Early

Only around 5% of Canadians under 25 have a TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account), which means 95% have already missed out on seven years of compounded returns. Starting small could be as little as $100 month, and starting early means now! Invest what you can and don’t ever think that any amount is too small.

Investing $100 month at 5% for 47 years (age 18 to 65) will give you $68,754 more than someone who did the same starting from age 25.

2. Make More OR Spend Less?

Our financial advice is to do both, but there are limits on how much income you can generate and cutting back on expenses has a bigger impact on your bottom line. If you’re lucky, you may find some expenses you could easily do without, like that lightly used gym membership or seldom watched 200-channel cable package.

A part-time job or side hustle isn’t a bad idea, but you will spend more time working and less time enjoying life. Don’t forget that any extra income is fully taxable — you might need to earn $10 in order to get the same result as a $7 spending cut.

3. Re-Evaluate Your Wants and Needs

A 1200 square foot bungalow was the standard for most families in the early 1970’s. These days, houses are now over 2000 square feet on average and come with plenty of high-end finishes. Being able to live comfortably later in life will come from making smart spending decisions.

4. Understand Credit and Debt

131 months! That’s how long it takes to pay off a $1000 credit balance paying the minimum amount — Plus it will cost you almost $1000 more in interest charges! Many people carry a credit card balance and are blissfully unaware of just how much it is costing them each month.

The key is to be knowledgeable about your debt. Track what you owe and how much that debt is costing you. For example, refinance your mortgage or draw on home equity to pay off higher interest loans and credit cards.

5. Get Financially Literate

Managing your money has become more difficult as we have a lot more spending, saving, and investing options. But, we also have access to a lot more information and tools to help us. For example, diving into the real impact of those investment fees on your mutual funds (it’s a lot!) can easily be investigated online in just a few minutes.

Bank of Canada Increases Prime Rate Again

General Trish Pigott 14 Jul

Yesterday the Bank of Canada surprised all economists and financial industry professionals by an increase to the overnight target rate of 1.00%. This was in response to the continued rise of inflation across the country.  Most were only predicting an increase of 0.75%, so the 1.00% was higher than expected.

Here’s what you need to know about yesterday’s increase:

  • The Prime rate pertaining to mortgages and lines of credits will increase to 4.70%; most will be today or at the first of the month
  • Your discount off of your mortgage will still apply, meaning that if you have a mortgage at Prime -0.90%, your new rate would be 3.80% (4.70% – 0.90% = 3.80%)
  • For every $100,000 in mortgage amount, it will cost you an extra $55 per month
  • A Variable Rate or Adjustable Rate will determine if your payment changes when Prime does; call our office if you need help to clarify that
  • The Bank of Canada indicated that they are predicting we will see additional increases by the end of the year in order to combat inflation.  Until Canadians slow down on spending, whether it’s cars, houses, entertainment or shopping, the Bank of Canada will do what it can to curb spending. You need to budget and plan accordingly with your finances in the next 12-24 months
  • Avoid jumping to conclusions when you hear things in the media. We can do a full analysis of your mortgage if you reach out to us.  Please call us directly at 604-552-6190 or email
  • There are a number of options that we can look at when deciding how to handle future rate increases, whether it is locking in, transferring your mortgage, extending your amortization or consolidating other debts

As we have said before, it is important that you do not panic! Let us help you work out the best strategy for your unique situation.

What to Look for During a Home Tour

General Trish Pigott 12 Jul

Have you found your dream home and can’t wait to check it out in person? Here are a few important things to look for when you go for a home tour.

  1. Odor: Unusual smells can indicate problems such as mold or mildew issues.
  2. Plumbing and Electrical: Check water pressure and electrical systems to ensure there is no erosion or exposed wires. You should also check for a properly functioning HVAC system, sealed water heater, etc.
  3. Noise: This can often be overlooked. Pay attention to any noises in the house, as well as the street and neighbourhood.
  4. Home Layout: Does the layout and function of the home suit your needs?
  5. Number of Rooms: Does the property have enough bathrooms and bedrooms?
  6. Wall and Flooring Condition: What is the condition of the walls and floors? Defects such as warping, cracks, watermarks, etc, can be indicative of larger issues.
  7. Additions or Updates: On occasion, you may go to view a home that was listed as having 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, only to find that it actually has an extra bathroom. As great as this might be for your needs, you’ll want to double-check that permits were pulled with the city. Construction done without permits can create issues when it comes to insurance coverage and potential structural headaches if not done professionally.

Remember, things like furniture, decor, wall or floor treatments, and fixtures can be easily updated. These are things that can be changed if the rest of the home suits your needs!

In addition to the above items, there are also a few specific questions you should be asking your realtor. These include:

  1. Is there a deadline for offers?
  2. Have any offers been made?
  3. Why are the sellers moving?
  4. What are the sellers’ preferred possession and completion dates?
  5. Do they have any concerns with the property?

It is important that you work with a professional to ensure that they guide you through the home buying process and find answers to all of the questions above. If you do not have a realtor that you are currently working with, we would be happy to refer you to someone in your area.

As always, we are here if you have any questions. Please reach out to us here or by calling 604-552-6190 or emailing

3 Advantages of a Pre-Approval

General Trish Pigott 7 Jul

Mortgage pre-approval means that a lender has stated (in writing) that you qualify for a mortgage. They will specify the term, interest rate and amount you qualify for based on the documentation you submitted of your current income and credit history.

There are three benefits to getting a mortgage pre-approval:

1. It confirms the maximum amount you can afford to spend

People are always tempted to start their search at the top of their budget but it is important to remember that there will be additional fees. Closing costs can range from 1% to 4% of the purchase price. By factoring these into your budget, it can help you narrow down a home that is affordable and ensure future financial stability.

2. It can secure you an interest rate for 90-120 days while you shop for your new home

Getting pre-approved guarantees that the rate offered to you will be locked in from 90 to 120 days. This helps if interest rates rise while you are still shopping. However, if the rates decrease, you would be offered the lower rate.

3. It lets the seller know that securing financing should not be an issue

Lastly, having a pre-approval lets the seller know that you are able to make the purchase. This can be very helpful in competitive markets.

Once your pre-approval is in place, you’ll want to make sure that you do not jeopardize it. It is important that you don’t quit or change jobs, buy a new car, transfer large sums of money between accounts, leave bills unpaid or open up new credit cards.

If you have any questions or want to get your pre-approval started today, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 604-552-6190 or by applying online here.