We tend to examine the yard quickly. In our minds, it’s not very important. The condition of the home and its financing are of greater significance. Yet, taking the time to observe the four corners of the yard may save you many problems.
If you’re only planning to stay for a few years, you may think the yard doesn’t really count for much. Caution! If the yard hides a defect, it will affect the home’s resale price. If you intend on staying there permanently, the yard will require much thought for future projects. In both cases, a basic examination is required.
If an old tree is near the house, its roots may be so deep and spread out into the ground that they are about to crack the foundations, especially if they’re already fragile. Continue reading →
At last! We can now unwind and enjoy the beautiful warm summer evenings. Time to head for the patio or terrace. Maybe you are just about to set it up? Or perhaps you wish to change the way it looks? Here are some ideas that will surely inspire you. The Holy Grail of recreational spaces is the convivial atmosphere they evoke. Remember, the space you are about to set up is the ideal area to relax and entertain. Here, you can decompress, alone, amongst family members or friends. Everything needs to be light, warm and easygoing.
The lounge style is always very popular. You can find designer furniture usually made of polyethylene, chic umbrellas, copper or silver accents, metal lanterns, refined lighting and a flashy decor. The fancy bar is never too far away.
Many people love lounging around in a laid-back atmosphere like the African way of life. This style comprises many decorative accessories. Take your pick: a leopard-printed footstool, a zebra-striped fabric, a rug with a tiger motif, a low wooden table, terracotta vases, amber-tinted jugs, brass lanterns, a Moroccan-style modular couch, masks and a solid bamboo balustrade. What about the colours? They are warm, of course. We’re in Africa, after all! Continue reading →
It increases the value of the property by adding an extra room. It lets in plenty of sunlight. It reduces the energy bill by trapping in heat. It enhances the look of the exterior. Are you thinking about a veranda? Then, you’re absolutely right.
This space, called a veranda, features large windows and was unpopular among the baby boomers. It looked old-fashioned, so they said. The ecological trend has changed that mindset. Besides trapping in heat during the day and dispersing it throughout the house at night, the veranda pleases plant-lovers too. It’s the ideal place to grow many plant species.
From the practical perspective, a well-equipped veranda can easily become a dining area, a reading space, an office, a place to play board games, listen to music or watch a movie. It can even include an indoor pool. Continue reading →
Down payment options. Pre-arrange your mortgage. Get ready for your big move! Either way, you need to be financially prepared and comfortable enough to make one of the biggest purchases of your lifetime.
STEP 1: How much can I afford?
There are many factors that determine how much you can afford when it comes to buying a home and having a mortgage. Some of the key considerations are:
principal and interest payments
outstanding loan and credit card balances
maintenance costs/condo fees
money available for down payment
closing costs such as legal fees, land transfer taxes, moving expenses, insurance and so on.
Whether you’re buying a home, condo or cottage, Desjardins advisor Patrick Champagne has some exercises for you to make sure your dream doesn’t turn into a disappointment or hassle. “There’s some prep work to do before you start visiting homes and talking loans, rates and mortgage terms.”
What can you afford?
The first order of business is to figure out how much you can afford to spend on a home, which you can determine by using our calculator on desjardins.com. Be as financially realistic as possible.
This calculator considers your household’s gross income and overall financial commitments1, the amount you plan to use as a down payment and the approximate fixed costs of your future home (e.g., municipal and school taxes, condo fees).
Remember that the higher your down payment, the less you’ll have to borrow and the less interest you’ll have to pay. The minimum required down payment is generally 20% of the property’s cost.
However, if your down payment is between 5% and 20%, you’ll have to take out mortgage insurance from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) or Genworth Canada. The premium will be between 0.6 % to 4.5% of the mortgage loan depending on the percentage of your down payment. To pay your premium, you can either add them to your mortgage loan or pay them with a lump sum up front. Continue reading →
Articles on home financing, home decor & renovations