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A month into the new year and 2015 has already been a great year for our team. We have kept busy by meeting new clients, organizing our upcoming mini series and helping 8 clients move this month alone! 

 

Read on for mortgage brokers vs banks, market analysis tools and great apps. 

 

5 Reasons Why We Choose Brokers Over Banks 

 

1. Options: Mortgage brokers have a database of lenders and mortgage rates and they will do the shopping around for you whereas a bank relies on their rates. Brokers may also be able to negotiate you a better rate than your bank.
 

2. Service: Brokers do not represent any one lender so they are able to give independent advice based on your best interest. Brokers will look at your long term goals and find ways to save you money and pay off your mortgage faster. If you can't make it to an office during business hours, you may be able to arrange with a broker to meet you at your home in the evening.

 

3. Speed: When you have an accepted offer, there is a limited amount of time to get a financing approval. In our experience, brokers work faster than banks. 
 
4. Credit Reports: If you shop around to different lenders, your credit report may be pulled multiple times which could negatively effect your score. Brokers will only pull your credit score once and if your credit score is low, a broker can give you advice on how to bring the score up.
 
5. Potential Penalties & The Fine Print: Whether you want to pay off your mortgage before the fixed term is up, port your mortgage to a new property or have someone else assume your mortgage, a broker will be able to navigate the fine print of every lender. Banks typically have the largest penalties compared to lenders that only brokers have access to. 
 
 
 
Housing Market Information Portal 
 
For all of our past clients, keep your eyes peeled on your inbox the next few weeks as we will be sending out valuable market information about your home and surrounding area. We'll be providing you with a great snapshot of what has been happening in the housing market in your neck of the woods. 
 
In the meantime or if you have not bought or sold your home with us, check out this awesome portal hosted by CMHC. Poke around this interactive map to find out vacancy rates, population, average rental prices and housing need in different areas. 
 
 
 
 


Never Miss a Pick-Up Day! 
 
You have a millions things to think of on any given day - don't think about garbage! If this is the first you are hearing of the CRD's recycling reminder app, you may have just saved yourself from running out to your curb in your slippers and robe. Visit the CRD's website to download an app for your phone that will notify you on pick up days - even on those tricky statutory holidays. Check your municipality's website if they have one for waste/food scraps like the City of Victoria's
 
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Winter and the holidays are quickly approaching which leaves us turning to creative ways to keep the house warm and save a little money while we're at it! Here are a couple of our suggestions of how to keep warmth in your house and cash in your pocket!

 

Let your drapes do some work

 

During the day, pull those curtains wide open and allow the sunshine to help heat! Even on cold days, the sun is still warm so take advantage of the sunny side of your house. Once the sun sets for the night, close the drapes and let them work as a barrier keeping the heat from escaping through the windows. You may also want to consider getting some insulated curtains for your windows. 

 

Get a helping hand from technology

 

You've got a million things on your mind - don't make energy efficiency another one of your worries! Look into installing some programmable thermostats - many will allow you to set up a heating schedule to maintain the warm in your home instead of constantly adjusting it manually. This way, you can program your home to stop heating when your cozy in bed or out at work. 

 

Take the opportunity to redecorate

 

Moving some furniture around your home may help keep your house toasty. Take a walk around the rooms in your home and be sure you aren't covering up any vents or baseboard heaters. Not only can furniture covering them be a fire hazard but it also prevents warm air from circulating. 

 

Ceiling fans aren't just great for summer

 

Your ceiling fans may be sitting needlessly dormant during the cooler winter months. Check your fans to see if they have a 'winter' or 'reverse' setting. This will reverses the fan's rotation; pushing the heat back down into your rooms. Be sure to have your fan on its lowest setting so it doesn't cool the air though. 

 

Lower your heated square footage

 

Just like turning off a light when you leave the room, remember to close the door behind you too! By closing off rooms that aren't in use, this will allow the warm air to better circulate throughout the house If you have floor vents, you can also shut these in the unused rooms - just be sure to reopen them before your in-laws take over the spare room during the holidays! 

 

Look for leaks

 

On a particularly chilly or windy day, take a stroll around your home and feel for drafts and leaks. There are often great hiding spots for leaks including attics, basements/crawlspaces and kitchen hood vents. Many of these spots have direct access to the outside of your home through vents that should be closed in the winter and open in the summer. Don’t forget to check the seals/weather stripping around doors and windows. Check out

 

Heat the house and fill your belly

 

That's right! Two birds with one stone folks. Instead of jacking up the radiator or gas fireplace, take it to the kitchen and cook up some great meals. Comfort food goes hand in hand with a warm home so preheat that oven and get to casseroling. Roast a chicken, bake some cookies or cook a lasagna !

 

Add layers to your wood floors

 

Did you know that uninsulated wood floors can account for up to 10% of a home’s heat loss? Adding carpets and rugs to your décor not only looks great but it also helps to keep your rooms warm.  So check out those holiday sales and add some warmth where you walk!

 

Finally - Heat the person, not the home 

 

Toss some cozy throw blankets on the couch, brew a cup of hot chocolate and slip on your favourite slippers. Heating the person instead of the house is certainly the most cost efficient way but wearing a hat and mitts inside your home is not a good look. Make a few changes to make a big difference and find the perfect balance in order to be comfortable.  

 

Stay warm this winter Victoria! 

 

 

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