Renewing your mortgage?

Renewing your mortgage is an important step, and you should never underestimate the financial impact. Angela Iermieri, a financial planner with Desjardins Group, has a few ideas.

What’s right for you right now?

“Our financial, personal or professional situation often changes,” she says. “If your salary went up, you’re thinking about selling your home in the near future or you want to remodel your kitchen, this new information will have a significant impact on the type of mortgage that will be right for you.”

You also need to consider other factors, like current interest rates and how well you tolerate fluctuations.

Your personal finance advisor will take this information into account when recommending a personalized solution for you. Continue reading

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Count on Trees to Protect You Against Heat Waves

This hot summer we’re having will surely repeat itself in the years to come due to global warming. What are your biggest allies to protect you against heat waves? The trees. Let’s think long term now.

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Planting trees in your yard can help mitigate against rapid climate change. In addition, your quality of life will improve tremendously, and your property’s value will increase. Here are interesting facts about nature to help convince you. Continue reading

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Building a Water Feature

Amid this lingering heatwave, simply looking at a freshwater feature in the backyard is a visual delight. Dipping your toes and listening to the sound of the water trickling is even more enjoyable. Here are a few tips on how to build a cool summer refuge.

Begin by digging a hole until you reach the target depth, following the manufacturer’s instructions, then cover the bottom with a 3-5 cm layer of sand. Make sure you take the time to remove anything that may damage the water basin first, like rocks, roots, buried pieces of wood, etc. Continue reading

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Let’s Decorate the Backyard!

A well-designed backyard is so inviting! You’ll want to spend hours outside. Are you looking for ideas? Here’s a list of decorative details that will make your recreational space the ideal place to enjoy life.

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Trees are the focal point of any outdoor design. Choose your tree species carefully because they don’t offer the same decorative potential. The tortured trunk of an oak tree, the slender trunk of a poplar tree and the drooping branches of a weeping willow tree look nothing alike. If there’s already a tree in your backyard, why not plant flowers around it? A sober tree emerging from a super colourful floral design always looks stunning. A paved circle or one made of small stones will serve as a place to linger. Use plants of your choice to form a second circle around it and place a bench somewhere in the midst of it all.

You’ll only need a few shrubs to provide depth in the backyard. A tiny woodland allows you to create a clearing to welcome guests in a setting decorated to your taste. Continue reading

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Thinking of buying abroad?

Robert* fell head over heels for a million-dollar home in Costa Rica and closed the sale while he was there. Barely a year later, he asked us how to sell his property without losing all of the money that he invested.

“His home definitely wasn’t worth a million… it never was,” states Louise Rémillard, a realtor specialized in foreign properties.

“If we think a foreign property is a good deal based on our frame of reference, it might not be after all,” she adds. “This is why you need to deal with a professional that knows the local market.”

Local expertise is key

“It’s impossible to know the ins and outs of every country,” notes Rémillard.

“You’d want to work with a realtor specialized in the country — and region — that you’re interested in.”

To find the right professional, contact a Canadian realtor affiliated with an extensive international network who can put you in touch with an expert in the region. Your local advisor can help you determine the best location for your needs, what you should budget, financing conditions and the regulations in effect. They can also help you figure out the local paperwork, which is often in a foreign language. Remember that what may seem straightforward at first can quickly become complex if any issues come up.

“You want to avoid paying too much, or buying a property on the wrong beach, where you can’t swim with your grandkids,” says Rémillard. “And it can be costly to buy a condo in a complex with a mismanaged contingency fund.” Continue reading