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Prepare your Grad with Financial Knowledge

General Trish Pigott 5 Jul

Financial Tips for Recent Graduates: Managing Money After School Ends

Whether you are a post secondary graduate or a high school graduate, it’s never too early to gain financial knowledge to build a bright future.  As a graduate, you’ve endured years of hard work, late-night study sessions, and perhaps a few too many instant noodles.

As you step into the “real world,” one of the most crucial skills you can develop is financial literacy. Here are some tips to help you navigate the exciting yet challenging journey toward financial independence.

1. Create a Budget and Stick to It

The cornerstone of financial stability is creating a budget. Start by listing all your income sources, whether from your job, side hustles, or any other avenues. Next, list all your expenses, including rent, utilities, groceries, transportation, student loans, and entertainment.

Once you have a clear picture of your income and expenses, allocate your money accordingly. Aim to save at least 20% of your income and allocate the rest to your costs. Apps like Mint or You Need a Budget (YNAB) can help you track your spending and stay within your budget.

2. Build an Emergency Fund

Life is unpredictable, and unexpected expenses can arise when you least expect them. Building an emergency fund to cover these unforeseen costs is crucial without dipping into your savings or turning to credit cards.

As a rule of thumb, aim to save three to six months’ worth of living expenses in your emergency fund.1 Start small if you need to, but make consistent contributions until you reach this goal. Consider opening a high-yield savings account separate from your checking to reduce the temptation to spend this money.

3. Tackle Student Loans Strategically

If you have student loans, you’re not alone; but if you don ‘t have student loans at this point but plan on it, start by understanding the details and the process.  This includes interest rates, repayment plans, and grace periods. Then, create a plan to pay them off efficiently without sacrificing your financial well-being. Every graduate’s repayment plan may look different depending on their financial situation, but staying on top of this debt is important.

4. Start Saving for Retirement

Retirement might seem like a lifetime away, but the earlier you start saving, the more time your money has to grow. If your employer offers a RRSP program or employee stock option plan, take advantage, especially if they match contributions.

Consider opening an Tax Free Savings Account or a First Home Savings Account if a workplace plan is unavailable. This will allow you to save your money and withdraw it tax free.

5. Set Financial Goals

Having clear financial goals gives you direction and motivation. Whether it’s saving for a down payment on a house, traveling the world, starting a business, or retiring early, define your goals and create a plan to achieve them.

Break down your goals into small, manageable steps. Celebrate milestones along the way, and don’t be afraid to adjust your plan as life circumstances change. Regularly reviewing your goals keeps you accountable and focused on your financial journey.

6. Seek Professional Financial Advice When Needed

While educating yourself is crucial, don’t hesitate to seek professional financial advice when needed. A financial advisor can provide personalized guidance based on your unique situation and help you pursue your financial goals.  If you want to purchase a home in the future, work with a Mortgage Broker now to find out how to prepare.  Speak to Realtors to understand real estate and how the market works.  You are never too young to start learning these things and the younger you are and learn them, the more financially stable you will be in the future.

This is often the most neglected topic that new graduates learn or focus on yet it can have the biggest impact on their entire future.  The choices made today will shape the financial landscape tomorrow.

If you would like recommendations for professionals listed above, call our office, we work with the best.  604-552-6190

Mortgage Renewals in 2024

General Trish Pigott 12 Jun

Canadians are leaving money on the table by not negotiating their mortgage renewal rates.  Why?  Most likely because they do not have a professional representing them.

In the face of higher costs more Canadians are changing their grocery shopping habits, hunting for bargains, and switching to lower-cost brands — yet many are leaving money on the table when it comes to their single largest transaction, their mortgage.

According to a recent survey conducted by Mortgage Professionals Canada, homeowners are doing less haggling at renewal, despite most facing higher interest rates.  The study found that 41% of borrowers accepted the initial rate offered by their lender, up from 37% two years ago. Furthermore, just 8% say they “significantly” negotiated their rate at renewal, down by half since 2021, when 16% haggled aggressively.

Part of our job as your Mortgage Broker is to negotiate those rates on your behalf and there is no cost to you as the home owner.  Generally we will review what your bank is offering you, negotiate with them to ensure you are receiving the best rates in the market and if your lender does not come to the table, then we will arrange a new mortgage for you with a lender that wants your business.

I find it truly unethical that a bank rewards it’s customers for their past years of business by not offering them the best rates available and better yet, rates they are offering new customers.  It’s like they are punishing home owners for being loyal clients.  More often than not, banks are offering higher rates in hopes that you sign on the dotted line without negotiating and everyone just moves on.  Then if you do ask for a better rate, they get you to go find out what the competitors are doing and then “maybe, just maybe” they will match the rate.

Leave the haggling to us, let us shop the market and let us do the leg work to ensure you finding the best rate possible for your next mortgage term.  A bit more on mortgage renewals;

When renewing your mortgage, you have a few different options to consider;

  1. Renewing your current balance and amortization (total time left on your mortgage) with your current lender into what ever rate they are offering you, and not making any changes at all.  This does not require re-qualification in most cases.
  2. Renew with a *new* lender, keeping your current balance and remaining amortization the same, but shopping the mortgage with all lenders for best rates in the market.  This is the same process of a new mortgage and requires re-qualifying.
  3. Refinance (means changing the mortgage amount and/or amortization) at best rates in the market which involves seeing a lawyer or notary. Most commonly done when accessing equity to renovate, consolidate debts or make another large purchase. This process requires re-qualifying.

Renewal Timeline:

  • 6 months before – we update your file with your current employment and financial situation so that once we are within the 4 month timeline to hold rates, we have all accurate information on file to make the process easier
  • 6 months before – we start discussing if there are any potential changes you want to make to your current mortgage as well as your current cash flow
  • 4 months before – we can hold a new rate for you with the best lender and rates in the market. This is important as the rate market is so volatile that there can be drastic differences (nearly 2%) by securing a rate early vs leaving it to the last minute.  Even though we have a rate held for you, we will continue to then monitor all other banks and if rates come down lower than what we have held with any other lender, we will secure that rate as well so you are protected
  • 2 months before your maturity date, we will ask you to obtain or we will request on your behalf, what your current lender is going to offer you so we can compare it to what we have held for you
  • 30 days before your maturity date you should have made your decision with what route to go as it does take time to either switch your current mortgage to the new lender or refinance your mortgage.  Leaving it to the last minute leaves you at risk of missing on out on previous rate holds or having to accept whatever your current lender offers you
  • Reminder: we have room for negotiation with either a new lender or your current in getting the most competitive rate for you
  • If we did NOT arrange your current mortgage and would like our help with your upcoming renewal, please reach out to our office
6 Key benefits of have us handle your mortgage renewal for you:
  1. Full product and lender review across all banks
  2. Expert advice and individual mortgage strategy developed based on your personal situation
  3. Rate negotiation on your behalf
  4. Zero cost for our services
  5. Full VIP service at our office rather than be treated like a number
  6. Accessibility, we are available by phone, text or email 7 days a week

CLICK HERE  to book a call to discuss your upcoming mortgage renewal.  Remember to do this at least 4 months in advance of your mortgage maturity.

If you want to receive regular updates about the mortgage market, join hundred of homeowners who trust our newsletter to keep them informed by CLICKING HERE.

New 30 Year Amortization for First Time Buyers

General Trish Pigott 11 Jun

Calling all First Time Home Buyers! Did you know that as of August 1, 2024, you will be eligible for a 30 year Amortization when you have less than 20% down? Today the maximum time frame is 25 year amortization so this is a big help for affordability.
The example below is based on a new purchase price including GST of $816,900, with the minimum down payment and a rate based on 5.34% for a 3 year fixed rate.

To get a 30-year insured amortization:

  1. At least one of the borrowers on the application must be a first-time home buyer, meaning they meet one of the following criteria:
    • The borrower has never purchased a home before;
    • In the last 4 years, the borrower has not had a principal residence that either they or their current spouse or common-law partner owned; or,
    • The borrower recently experienced the breakdown of a marriage or common-law partnership.
  2. The new home must not have been previously occupied for residential purposes. (Note: This does not exclude new condos that have had an interim occupancy period.)
  3. The mortgage must be high-ratio insured (20% down payment or less)
  4. This measure applies only to mortgage applications on or after August 1, 2024
  5. The difference in the insurance premium is minimal and can be added to the mortgage.  There is a .20% premium added to the current insurance premium
  6. A 30 year Amortization results in roughly $200-$300 per month in a lower payment depending on mortgage amount

Like any new government initiated program, details will unfold as we get closer to the roll out date and we will continue to report on it

If you would like more information or to see how you specifically can benefit from this, please reach out to our office.

June 2024 Rate Announcement

General Trish Pigott 5 Jun

From our partners at First National Financial, here is some insight on the Bank of Canada announcement and rate drop.

Today, the Bank of Canada reduced its overnight policy interest rate by 0.25% to 4.75%. This welcome and widely expected decision comes on the heels of evidence pointing to a deceleration of the rate of inflation.

We examine the Bank’s rationale for this move by summarizing its observations below, including its all-important outlook comments that are sure to shape market expectations for the remainder of the year.

Canadian inflation

  • Inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) eased further in April to 2.7%
  • The Bank’s preferred measures of core inflation also slowed and three-month indicators suggest continued downward momentum
  • Indicators of the breadth of price increases across components of the CPI have moved down further and are near their historical average,
  • however, shelter price inflation remains high

Canadian economic performance and housing

  • Economic growth resumed in the first quarter of 2024 after stalling in the second half of last year
  • At 1.7%, first-quarter GDP growth was slower than the Bank previously forecast with weaker inventory investment dampening activity
  • Consumption growth was solid at about 3%, and business investment and housing activity also increased
  • Labour market data show Canadian businesses continue to hire, although employment has been growing at a slower pace than the working-age population
  • Wage pressures remain but look to be moderating gradually
  • Overall, recent data suggest the economy is still operating in excess supply

Global economic performance and bond yields

  • The global economy grew by about 3% in the first quarter of 2024, broadly in line with the Bank’s April Monetary Policy Report projection
  • The U.S. economy expanded more slowly than was expected, as weakness in exports and inventories weighed on activity
  • In the euro area, activity picked up in the first quarter of 2024 while China’s economy was also stronger in the first quarter, buoyed by exports and industrial production, although domestic demand remained weak
  • Inflation in most advanced economies continues to ease, although progress towards price stability is “bumpy” and is proceeding at different speeds across regions
  • Oil prices have averaged close to the Bank’s assumptions, and financial conditions are little changed since April

Summary comments and outlook

The Bank cited continued evidence that underlying inflation is easing for its decision to change its policy interest rate. More specifically, it said that “monetary policy no longer needs to be as restrictive.”

Also welcome was the Bank’s statement that “recent data” have “increased our confidence that inflation will continue to move towards” its 2% target.

However, it also added this to its outlook: “Nonetheless, risks to the inflation outlook remain. Governing Council is closely watching the evolution of core inflation and remains particularly focused on the balance between demand and supply in the economy, inflation expectations, wage growth, and corporate pricing behaviour.”

And has it has been doing for some time, it said the Bank “remains resolute in its commitment to restoring price stability for Canadians.”

Next up

The Bank returns on July 24th with its next monetary policy announcement.

What Will the Bank of Canada do on June 5, 2024?

General Trish Pigott 4 Jun

Home owners and real estate and mortgage professionals have all been waiting patiently for the past two years for some relief in interest rates and June 5, 2024 may be our lucky day!

Last Fridays reporting on GDP (gross domestic product) came in at a disappointing number for the Bank of Canada (BoC) at 1.7% with an expectation of 2.2%  This signals a weakened economy in simple terms. This along with all other data collected over the past few months such as inflation and employment, is what we have been waiting for to have enough of an impact to trigger our first rate drop.

Keep in mind, this weeks rate announcement if it does drop, will only affect the Variable Rate mortgage holders or anyone with a loan attached to Canada’s prime rate of 7.20%.  We may see that come down to 6.95%  if we are all lucky.  After Friday’s announcement on GDP, 75% of economists are predicting a rate cut, up from 66% last Thursday.

The Fixed rates are affected by the Bond market which did see a drop in as well with Friday’s news so we could potentially see fixed rates being affected tomorrow as well but we will report more on that on June 5th.

So many home buyers are waiting on this announcement before making any sort of move but what some are forgetting is that the minute we see a slight reduction in rates, the market will pick up steam and offers become more competitive and often end up over asking.  So if you are waiting to see, be reminded that there is no time like the present as today you could be the only offer yet as soon as rates drop, there will most likely be many more home shoppers out there costing you a lot more in purchase price than the slight difference in rate.

Here’s a few quick reminders;

  • If rates drop by .25% next week, it means about $16 per month for $100,000 in mortgage
  • Most home buyers and home owners are choosing the 3 year fixed rate right now as it’s over 1% less than the current Variable Rate so they will not be impacted by the next announcement
  • Getting  Pre-Approved and Pre-Qualified is your best attempt at a smooth offer without any delays or extensions needed. Always be prepared and get the process started in advance of looking at properties

Stay tuned for tomorrows full details once the BoC announces it’s next move.

Property Transfer Tax and Flipping Tax Update

General Trish Pigott 14 Mar

Our partners at Spagnuolo Real Estate Lawyers has provided some clarity to the recent changes announced for Property Transfer Tax in BC and First Time Home Buyers.  Here is an outline below:

PTT Exemptions: Based on Completion Date or Contract Date? The Completion Date appears to be the only thing that matters. There does not appear to be any exclusion of contracts entered into prior to April 1, 2024 or any other conditions related to the date of the contract. It appears that a property will qualify for the First Time Home Buyers or Newly Built Home Buyers exemption so long as the fair market value of the property does not exceed $835,000 or $1,100,000 effective April 1, 2024.

Flipping Tax: Pre-Sale Contracts. Based on current guidance, a pre-sale purchaser is deemed to acquire the pre-sale as of the date of the pre-sale contract. Accordingly, if a person enters into a pre-sale contract, completes the purchase and sells within two years of the original pre-sale contract, they will be subject to the BC Flipping Tax. The two year window does not get extended by the actual close of the unit at the Land Title Office. More details on this will emerge when legislation is introduced. They would also be hit if they assigned the pre-sale contract within two years of signing the pre-sale.

Here are more details on their website: CLICK HERE FOR THEIR KNOWLEDGE CENTRE


Our calculators on our App My Mortgage Toolbox have been updated so head over to our page to download the app if you haven’t already.  You will see a calculator that has a comparison of today’s PTT vs the new exemption.  CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD OUR APP

March 2024 Rate Announcement

General Trish Pigott 14 Mar

On Wednesday, the Bank of Canada (BoC) left rates unchanged, noting it still remains concerned about the risks of inflation, even as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) came in at 2.9% in January. It also reiterated its pledge to continue its policy of quantitative tightening.  Although inflation came in under expectations and data is leading towards rate cuts, they are not quite ready to do so.  Most analysts are predicting we will not see a rate drop until June of this year and some are expecting that we will see two rate cuts by the end of 2024.  If that was the case, then that would be a rate reduction of .50% to Prime.  Currently Prime rate is at 7.20% so we could see it dropping to 6.70% by year end. Time will tell.

The bond market has dropped this week which has a direct impact on Fixed rates so  you will be happy to hear we are seeing some relief on those rates as well.

Here are some of the economic insights from one of our great lender partners First National Financial.  They have summarized the Bank’s comments below.

Canadian inflation

  • Shelter-price inflation remains elevated “and is the biggest contributor to inflation”
  • Underlying inflationary pressures persist: year-over-year and three-month measures of core inflation are in the 3% to 3.5% range, and the share of CPI components growing above 3% declined but is still above the historical average

Canadian economic performance and employment

  • The Canadian economy grew in the fourth quarter by more than the BoC expected, “although the pace remained weak and below potential”
  • Real GDP expanded by 1% after contracting 0.5% in the third quarter
  • Consumption was up a modest 1%, and final domestic demand contracted with a large decline in business investment
  • A strong increase in exports boosted growth
  • Employment continues to grow more slowly than the population, and there are now some signs that wage pressures may be easing
  • Overall, the data point to “an economy in modest excess supply”

Global economic performance and bond yields

  • Global economic growth slowed in the fourth quarter of 2023
  • U.S. GDP growth also slowed but remained “surprisingly robust and broad-based,” with solid contributions from consumption and exports
  • Euro area economic growth was flat at the end of the year after contracting in the third quarter
  • Inflation in the U.S. and the Euro area continued to ease
  • Bond yields have increased since January while corporate credit spreads have narrowed
  • Equity markets have risen sharply
  • Global oil prices are slightly higher than what was assumed in the January Monetary Policy Report (MPR)


The Bank’s statement this month was relatively short and its forward-looking comments limited, except its observation that it expects inflation to “remain close to 3% during the first half of the year before gradually easing.” However, it noted that its Governing Council is still concerned about risks to the outlook for inflation, particularly “the persistence in underlying inflation.” Governing Council wants to see “further and sustained easing” in core inflation and said it continues to focus on the balance between demand and supply in the economy, inflation expectations, wage growth, and corporate pricing behavior.

Once again, the Bank repeated its mantra that it remains “resolute” in its commitment to restoring price stability for Canadians. So for the timing being, the policy rate will remain at 5.0% where it’s been since July of 2023.

Next Rate Announcement

On April 10, 2024, the Bank returns with another interest rate announcement including updated economic commentary.

If you want to discuss the market with us, book a call with Trish by CLICKING HERE

Housing Market Update from Dr. Sherry Cooper

General Trish Pigott 15 Feb

Canadian Home Sales Continued Their Upward Trend in January As Prices Fell Modestly
The Canadian Real Estate Association announced today that home sales over the last two months show signs of recovery. National sales were up 3.7% between December 2023 and January 2024, building on the 7.9% gain in December. The chart below shows that despite the two-month rise, sales remain 9% below their ten-year average. According to Shaun Cathcart, CREA’s Senior Economist, “Sales are up, market conditions have tightened quite a bit, and there has been anecdotal evidence of renewed competition among buyers; however, in areas where sales have shot up most over the last two months, prices are still trending lower. Taken together, these trends suggest a market that is starting to turn a corner but is still working through the weakness of the last two years.”

National gains were once again led by the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Hamilton-Burlington, Montreal, Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, Calgary, and most markets in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe and cottage country.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) number of transactions was 22% above January 2023, the most significant year-over-year gain since May 2021. While that sounds like a resounding rise in activity, January 2023 posted the weakest transaction level in nearly twenty years.

There is pent-up demand for housing, and recent buyers are lured back into the market by the recent price decline and the fear that prices could rise significantly once the Bank of Canada starts cutting interest rates. 

New Listings

The number of newly listed homes increased 1.5% month-over-month in January, although it remains close to the lowest level since last June.

“The market has been showing some early signs of life over the last couple of months, probably no surprise given how much pent-up demand is out there,” said Larry Cerqua, Chair of CREA.

With sales up by more than new listings in January, the national sales-to-new listings ratio tightened further to 58.8% compared to under 50% just three months earlier. The long-term average for the national sales-to-new listings ratio is 55%. A sales-to-new listings ratio between 45% and 65% is generally consistent with balanced housing market conditions, with readings above and below this range indicating sellers’ and buyers’ markets, respectively.

There were 3.7 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of January 2024, down from 3.8 months at the end of December and 4.1 months at the end of November. The long-term average is about five months of inventory.

Home Prices

The Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) fell by 1.2% month-over-month in January 2024, adding to the 1.1% price decline in December.

Price descents of late have been predominantly in Ontario markets, particularly the Greater Golden Horseshoe and, to a lesser extent, British Columbia. Elsewhere in Canada, prices are mostly holding firm or, in some cases (Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador), continuing to rise.

The Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI was up 0.4% year-over-year in January 2024, similar to readings over the past six months.

Bottom Line

Sales in December and January generally run at about half the peak spring season pace. That could be especially true this year, with interest rates likely to begin falling by mid-year. A strong housing rebound is coming. Housing markets have bottomed, buyer sentiment is improving and fixed mortgage rates have started declining.

Housing markets in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal are relatively balanced again, and with the spring season, we will see a rise in new listings.

In other news, the inflation data released yesterday in the US were higher than expected, pushing rate-cut forecasts further out. With the strength in the US economy, the 5-year government of Canada bond yield has quietly risen more than 50 basis points this year.

Canada’s Housing Minister, Sean Fraser, said he expects the fall in interest rates this year to encourage builders to ramp up their activity, helping to alleviate some of the country’s crunched housing supply. At a news conference yesterday, the minister said, “My expectation is if we see a dip in interest rates over the course of this year, a lot of the developers that I’ve spoken to will start those projects that are marginal today.”

Sean Fraser, asked whether he’s concerned that Bank of Canada rate cuts will unleash pent-up demand and higher home prices, said lower borrowing costs should also lead to an increase in supply. Fraser said whatever happens with rates, the government’s course of action will remain the same. “We need to do everything we can as quickly as we can to build as many homes as we can. And that’s going to be true today and six months from now, regardless of what may happen in the interest rate environment that we’re dealing with.”

At a news conference last week, Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said that while he’s heard from developers who’ve indicated higher rates are delaying projects, lowering rates would have a more significant impact on demand.

“It’s very clear in the data that the effects of interest rates on demand are much bigger than those on supply,” he told reporters.

CLICK HERE to read the full report

Do You Have an Outstanding CEBA Loan?

General Trish Pigott 11 Jan

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The Canada Emergency Business Account Loan is a program that offers interest free loans to small businesses and not-for-profit companies of up to $60,000. Thousands of businesses have taken advantage of these loans during the pandemic.

Businesses have until January 18, 2024 to repay their CEBA loan. After this date, outstanding loans will convert to non-amortizing term loans, with full principal repayment due by December 31, 2026.

If businesses are unable to repay their CEBA loan by the forgiveness repayment date, their financial institution will contact them for a lump sum repayment. Failure to comply may result in the loan being assigned to the government’s CEBA Program for collection efforts.

If paid back on or before January 18, 2024, up to $20,000 of the outstanding balance will be forgiven.

“There’s only one week left to repay the loan while securing the up to $20,000 forgivable portion. And with over 900,000 small businesses holding CEBA loans and 22% not in a position to repay at this time, this decision has huge implications for Canada’s economy.” Says Dan Kelly, CFIB President.

If you need assistance paying back your CEBA loan at this time, contact us! We would love to help.


Trish & The Primex Team


A Guide to Home Winterization

General Trish Pigott 13 Dec

Winter home maintenance is important to ensure your property remains in good condition & you and your family stay warm. Here’s a checklist to get you started and ready for whatever conditions come your way!

Indoor Winter Maintenance:

  1. Heating System: Schedule a professional inspection and maintenance for your heating system. Replace the furnace filter to ensure optimal efficiency. Bleed air from radiators, if applicable.
  2. Fireplace and Chimney: Inspect the fireplace and chimney for any blockages. Clean the chimney to remove creosote buildup. Ensure the damper is functioning correctly.
  3. Windows and Doors: Check for drafts around windows and doors; use weatherstripping or caulking to seal gaps. Consider using thermal curtains to retain heat.
  4. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Test detectors and replace batteries if necessary. Ensure detectors are strategically placed throughout the house.
  5. Humidifier: Clean and maintain your humidifier to add moisture to dry winter air.

Outdoor Winter Maintenance:

  1. Roof and Gutters: Inspect the roof for damaged or missing shingles. Clean gutters and downspouts to prevent ice dams.
  2. Exterior Faucets: Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses. Turn off exterior water faucets, and insulate them with faucet covers.
  3. Tree Maintenance: Trim tree branches away from the house to prevent damage from heavy snow or ice.
  4. Snow Removal Equipment: Check and service snow blowers, shovels, and any other snow removal equipment. Stock up on ice melt or sand for walkways and driveways.
  5. Deck and Patio Furniture: Clean and store outdoor furniture or use covers to protect them from winter weather.
  6. Winter Emergency Kit: Prepare an emergency kit with essentials like blankets, flashlights, and non-perishable food items.
  7. Car Maintenance: Prepare your car for winter by checking the antifreeze, tires, and battery.

Remember that regular winter maintenance helps prevent costly repairs in the future and keeps your mind at ease while being cozy in the comfort of your home.

If you need to make some of these changes or improvements and need access to your equity, call us, we have great solutions for that and can help.

Trish & The Primex Team