20 May

Renovations That Pay Off

Edmonton Mortgage Broker

Posted by: Vaughn Leroux

Whether you’re upgrading your home or getting it ready to sell, there are some renovations that are more beneficial than others. Doing renovations that add value to your home is a good investment to make. However, not all renovations are worth doing, and our Edmonton mortgage broker team is here to show you which renovations are the most beneficial when it comes to adding value to your home. 


Freshening up your paint, both indoors and outdoors, is one of the simpler, and less expensive renovations that you can make. If you are getting ready to sell your home, it’s beneficial to hire a professional painter to do the job. They know the best paint type to use for each room, and they will do minor repairs, such as sealing and repairing any minor damage and skimming the walls to make the surface even. Giving your home a fresh coat of paint can give you a 60% return on the cost.

Structural Issues 

No one wants to buy a home that has structural issues, so taking care of things like the roof, windows, doors, gutters, and foundation of the home is important. Some things to consider doing are waterproofing the foundation of the home, replacing old windows with vinyl windows, and putting on a new roof that is watertight will all add value to the home. In many cases, you can recoup 75% of the cost. 

Hardware and Doors

Adding some hardware, such as crown mouldings, baseboards, wainscoting, and trim to your doors makes a home look more put together. You should also consider replacing any old doors in the home, as well as locks on doors that may not be working. It all gives a home a nice finished look. Adding that bit of a wow factor can give you a 50$ return on the cost.


You don’t have to rip out and replace your kitchen to give it an upgrade. Start with something simple, such as replacing your countertops, cabinet doors, and old appliances. It will not only save you a lot of money, but it can also give you between a 75% to 100% return on the cost of the project. 


This is another area that doesn’t need to be ripped out and redone to raise the value of the home. Focus on details, like replacing fixtures, putting in a shower enclosure, adding some classy-looking tiles, or swapping out the countertop. You can end up with a 62% return on the costs.


Your floors take the most abuse in your home and can easily succumb to wear and tear over time. Replacing any damaged or ageing flooring is a beneficial renovation to make. Putting in a new hardwood floor, resurfacing and staining an existing one, or laying down laminate, a fresh-looking floor can work wonders. One thing to consider carefully is carpeting. While many people love the warmth and comfort of a carpeted room, others will see it as a lot of maintenance. Uncarpeted floors have a cleaner look and are often easier to maintain. This is another renovation that can give you 100% or more return on the investment of a new floor.

There are so many ways that you can update your home without breaking the bank, while still adding value to the home. Sometimes simpler is better and not everyone needs to gut their kitchen or bathroom to add appeal to a home. If you are thinking of renovating your home and want to know more about refinancing your mortgage to get it done, give our Edmonton mortgage broker team a call today!

24 Mar

Why Do Rates Fluctuate?

Edmonton Mortgage Broker

Posted by: Vaughn Leroux

When house hunting or looking for a mortgage, many people look to get the lowest interest rate possible. Your interest rate will depend on your credit history and financial situation, so not everyone gets the same rates. If you ever had a variable rate mortgage, you’ll know that rates can often change in the market. But what causes rates to fluctuate like this? Our Edmonton mortgage broker team is here to tell you.

Growth in the Economy

The economy is quite sensitive and can be negatively impacted by what is going on in the world, such as natural disasters, war, or a worldwide pandemic, like we have been dealing with since last year. When our economy has been growing at a healthy rate, there is a rise in the demand for money. This causes interest rates to rise. When there is an unhealthy slowing of the economy, we see rates falling. As a result, we see a rise in inflation. When inflation hits a growing economy, it can cause prices to rise and spending power to drop. As a result, lenders will protect themselves by raising interest rates. 

How This Impacts Fixed-Rate Mortgages 

For fixed-rate mortgages in Canada, bond yields are what impact things. A fixed-rate mortgage will mirror government bond yields that have the same term. Fixed-rate mortgages tend to lock in a rate for a specified time, such as 5 years. When it comes to the market, bond yields are seen as safer than stocks. Bond yields are how much you will recoup as an investor when the bond matures. When we see a rise in bond prices, we also see a drop in bond yields. Having bond prices drop will cause bond yields to rise. Fixed-rates will follow the rise and drop in bond yields.

Fixed-Rate Mortgages and the Stock Market

The stock market also has an impact on rate fluctuation. When the stock market is healthy, we see a decline in bonds and a rise in fixed interest rates. This occurs because investors will see a better investment return in stocks, so the demand for bonds drops along with their prices. We also see a rise in bond yields and fixed interest rates dropping.

How This Impacts Variable Mortgage Rates

It’s a different story with variable mortgage rates. These rates are determined by the overnight lending rate target and the Bank of Canada. We see variable-rates fluctuation monthly based on what the prime rate of mortgage lenders is.

Variable Rate Mortgages and Overnight Rate 

The overnight rate impacts funds that are short-term, along with their costs of borrowing and lending. The overnight rate also has an impact on the Prime Rate. When we see a rise in the prime rate, we see this rise mirrored in variable-rate mortgages, which affects your monthly repayments. Larger banks rely on the overnight rate when it comes to the daily borrowing and lending of funds amongst themselves.

For example, let’s say that the overnight rate is 0.5% and the major bank’s prime rate is at 2.50%. In order to determine the variable rate, we would need to subtract the overnight rate from the prime rate, giving us a 2.00% variable-rate. We then have the Bank of Canada raise the overnight rate by 0.25% to 0.75%. This will cause the larger banks to raise their prime rate by 0.25% to 2.75%, giving us a variable rate rise to 2.25%.

Now, let’s apply those rates to a mortgage loan of $250,000 with a 25-year term. The 0.5% rise causes a rise in your repayments of $30.40. 

This is why we can see fluctuation in interest rates, which is impacted by bonds, bank rates, and the overall health of the economy. If you want to take advantage of the current low rates, give our Edmonton mortgage broker team a call today.


12 Mar

Budgeting Apps for Down Payment Savings

Edmonton Mortgage Broker

Posted by: Vaughn Leroux

A lot of home buyers find it hard to save for that all-important down payment on a home. It’s something that you should start doing a couple of years before you start house hunting. It also requires you to set out a budget to follow. Thankfully, there are a number of tools and apps for budgeting that you can find online. Our Edmonton mortgage broker team is here to explain which apps are best for you.

Overview of Budgeting Apps

A budgeting app can be a really powerful tool that helps you save, improve and monitor your finances. Many of these can be customized for your preferences and needs. Most financial institutions in Canada offer their own spending apps and mortgage calculators, which can be used in conjunction with other budgeting apps for your smartphone. From planning for your down payment to making sure you don’t overspend, here are some examples of the apps that you can use in 2021.

Mint Budgeting App 

This is a free app that is user friendly and can link up with your bank account. The main feature of this app is to track your budget and expenses. It lets you set up a savings goal, will alert you to bills that are due, and warns you if you are going over your budget limit.

You Need A Budget

Also referred to as YNAB, this is another popular app to help you save. You can set financial goals, track your spending, and monitor bank accounts. It’s a user-friendly app that offers tips for saving and budgeting that will help you to live within your means so that you can save or get yourself out of debt. It’s good for beginners because it teaches you how to make each dollar count, develops your awareness of what you spend when you spend it, shows you how to create a rainy day fund, and overall money mindfulness. Keep in mind that the app isn’t free. You have a 24 day trial period and then pay $6.99 a month.


The Wally app offers a savings slider tool that can be really helpful when it comes to tracking your money. It allows you to set up a percentage of your income to set aside for savings. It also offers the standard tools for tracking your budget and learning how to use your money better.


Mylo is another app that connects to your bank and will help you save by rounding up your debit and credit purchases and depositing the extra into an account. You are able to set customized goals or choose one of the three basic goals the app offers. It also offers you cashback perks if you buy from one of its partnered businesses.

Some may feel more comfortable using the mortgage and budgeting tools offered by their lenders. These can work alongside savings apps because they let you set up your budget and allow you to use different scenarios to see how much you could be spending or saving each month. For example, choosing to refinance your mortgage can help you lower your monthly repayments and get you a better interest rate. The extra funds that you save can be implemented into the budgeting app on your smartphone and put into a savings account for a down payment on your next home. There are many ways to start saving for your down payment and the tool that is right for you will depend on your own needs. They definitely can help you get your budget under control and keep track of where your money goes. Just being more aware of your daily spending can make a huge difference.

If you have questions about budgeting apps and tools to help you save, give our Edmonton mortgage broker team a call today!

9 Aug

Market Update on the Edmonton, AB Area

Edmonton Mortgage Broker

Posted by: Vaughn Leroux

The 2018 real estate market in Edmonton was quite a challenge for both buyers and sellers due to a record-high amount of homes for sale.  As an Edmonton mortgage broker, I have to keep tabs on trends and quarterly reports for 2019 in order to give my clients useful information and updates. The Realtors Association in Edmonton has predicted that there will be further drops in average prices and sales as we continue through 2019.

It’s a bit of a double-edged sword for buyers at the moment.  On one hand, this is a good time to buy because of the level of inventory.  On the other hand, it’s not the best time as a result of the federal mortgage stress test, which has made it difficult for some buyers to qualify for mortgages.  It seems both buyers and sellers are needing to be a bit patient for now.

High Inventory, Low Sales

The higher level of inventory on the market now is a result of properties last June taking longer to sell with a record number of 10,000 homes that came into the market.  In average, last June it took 62 days for a home to sell.   So, this current decrease in demand and increase of supply has created downward pressure on prices that looks to continue into the 2nd half of 2019.

For duplex and single-family homes, sales are forecasted to remain stable as we move through 2019, perhaps having some slight declines in units sold and the average prices.  The market is expecting single-family homes to have an average price of around $428,900, which is down from last year’s $434,028.

Trouble for Condos

Where condos are concerned, things have been struggling along and it looks like this will continue through 2019.  It’s expected that there will be a 2.06% drop in sales, in comparison to the 4,000 units sold this time last year.   In 2018, condominium prices hit a 5-year low with a 4.69% drop.  It is expected that it will drop a further 1.63% during the remainder of 2019.

There are a few factors involved with the falling market, such as the energy sector experiencing recent hits.  Situations in Alberta are having a knock-on effect with everyone.  It’s also expected that we won’t see any major improvements economically until the end of this year, but it is not believed this will be a result of a booming energy sector.

What Lies Ahead

It is expected that, by the end of 2019, we will see a housing market that has become more stable.  Part of this will be down to interest rates and the economy stabilizing.  The Bank of Canada has recently announced its decision to maintain the 1.75% benchmark, which will give many people that push needed to move into the housing market rather than just sitting on the fence.

For both potential buyers and sellers this year, there doesn’t seem to be any immediate cause for concern.  However, patience will be needed.  It isn’t a case of nothing selling because properties are moving.  It’s just happening at a slower pace.

One detrimental aspect has been the federal mortgage stress test, which is causing less movement than needed in the market.  However, the new addition of housing incentives for first-time buyers in the recent federal budget may help to balance things out a bit.  How it will affect things in the market is a bit uncertain for now.

If you would like to know more about what is happening in the market in your area, give your trusted Edmonton mortgage broker a call today!

7 Jun

Different Mortgage Terms in Canada

Edmonton Mortgage Broker

Posted by: Vaughn Leroux

Different Mortgage Terms in Canada

Choosing a mortgage term is something your Edmonton mortgage broker can assist you with. The term of a mortgage is the time frame that you are committed to a certain lender, mortgage rate, and any conditions set out by the lender. There are a number of mortgage term options that you can choose from when securing a home mortgage. It can be a bit confusing, however, to know which terms will be most beneficial to you.

Speaking with an Edmonton mortgage broker, we found that mortgage lengths can run from 6 months up to 10 years, with many customers going for a 5-year mortgage. In Canada, when a mortgage term expires, you need to renew the mortgage on the principle that remains unpaid. Many customers will choose to renew their mortgage terms several times through the whole of the amortization period.

Choosing a Mortgage Term

Depending on your financial situation, tolerance risk, and your long and short-term goals, choosing the right mortgage term is important. For example, choosing a mortgage term that is longer will ensure that you are locked into an interest rate that will be good for a longer time frame. With a short term option, you get a bit more flexibility, however, there is less protection if interest rates rise.

Personal Circumstances

You should consider your personal circumstances when choosing a mortgage term. For example, should you feel there is a good chance that you will be selling your home in the next few years, choosing a short mortgage term would be beneficial. It will help you avoid paying prepayment penalty fees that you would be hit with if you had to break a longer mortgage term.

Interest Rates

Something to bear in mind is that whichever mortgage term you go with will have a direct effect on your rate of interest. To date, its shorter-term mortgages that have lower rates of interest. The longer the term you choose, the more protection you have against fluctuations in interest rates. However, you will have to pay your lender a premium for this.


Mortgages in Canada are subject to what is known as a stress test. This means that a home buyer needs to qualify at a higher interest rate than what is given by their mortgage lender. This is usually 2 percentage points added to the rate your lender offers you.

Breaking a Mortgage Term

There are times when your personal situation changes, such as having to relocate, refinancing, or another major life event. This may mean that you have to break the term of your mortgage early, which can result in having to pay a significant penalty fee for prepayment.

There are some alternative though to breaking your mortgage term, such as porting your mortgage to your next home. Another option is having the buyer of your home assume the current mortgage. Speaking to your Edmonton mortgage broker about which terms are best for you and how to avoid these prepayment penalties will save you thousands in the long run.

15 Apr

Edmonton Residential Market Update

Edmonton Mortgage Broker

Posted by: Vaughn Leroux

The springtime is approaching, which means the snow will soon be melting, the flowers will be blooming, and numerous homes will be available for purchase all throughout the province. Spring and summer months are said to be the peak season for home buying. Few sales are made throughout the winter and most seller’s wait to put their homes for sale until April – June.

Therefore, if you are interested in becoming a homeowner, then now is the time to start getting your finances in order and schedule an appointment with your Edmonton mortgage broker today. That way you will be prepared before you start viewing different homes on the market.

So, to help you get started, your local broker, Vaugh Leroux with Dominion Lending Centres, has listed the most recent market update for the Edmonton region.


Edmonton Market Update

Zolo.ca is one of the top real estate marketing websites and has some of the most reliable data. According to their statistics, the current average sold price for all property types in Edmonton is $353,000. This is a 0.1% increase over the past 30 days, but it is a 4.9% decrease in price since this time last year.

With the Edmonton mortgage rates currently lower now than they have been in the past, there is no better time to lock in a rate than now. Real estate experts are predicting that the housing market is going to increase over the next few months, which means housing prices will be more expensive and rates will go up. Therefore, lock in a rate now to take advantage of these recent low prices.

In reference to the housing inventory in Edmonton, there have been 1,329 new listings posted in the past month and during that time, 596 homes have sold. Properties also spend an average of 46 days on the market and the selling to listing ratio is at 97%.

Edmonton has a very healthy residential market and would be an excellent investment for your future, as well as a great place to settle down in.


Contact Us

If you would like to receive more information on the current market update or if you are ready to begin your application for an Edmonton mortgage, please contact Vaughn Leroux with Dominion Lending Centres at 780-431-5600.

8 Feb

Tips for Raising Your Credit Score

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Vaughn Leroux

The New Year is officially here and 2019 is all about achieving your goals and making your dreams come true. So, if you have always dreamt of owning your own home then now is the perfect time to make that happen.

Interest rates and housing prices are at an all-time low, which means if you act now, you could benefit from these affordable rates.

If you are still a little hesitant on taking the plunge into homeownership because your credit score is a little low, then do not worry because your Edmonton mortgage broker, Vaughn Leroux with Dominion Lending Centres, has listed some useful tips on how to raise your credit score.


Tip #1: Pay Off High-Interest Loans

Once you begin the application process, you will see that your income and credit score make a huge impact on whether or not you can qualify for a mortgage, as well as what home loan rates you might receive. So, in order to get the best Edmonton mortgage rates, it is important to raise your score as much as possible. A useful tip to do so would be to pay off high-interest debt.

Credit cards typically carry the largest interest, so if you could pay off your credit cards as much as possible before you begin the application process, this could help improve your score.


Tip #2: Make Payments On Time

Nothing can hurt your credit worse than failing to make a payment on time. If you have a hard time remembering when a loan payment is due, set a reminder on your phone to go off every month so you never forget. By making regular payments on time, this can help improve your credit and thus have a better outcome on your Edmonton mortgage application.


Tip #3: Avoid Opening Up Additional Lines Of Credit

Don’t fall into the new homeowner trap where those who buy a new home feel like everything else they own has to be new too. Instead, put off making any additional large purchases until after your loan has been approved for because every time you apply for a new line of credit, your score will drop, even if only temporarily.


Contact Us

For additional details on how to raise your credit score or to get started on your application for an Edmonton mortgage, please contact Vaughn Leroux at 780-431-5600.

4 Sep

How To Consolidate Debt With Equity In Your Home

Edmonton Mortgage Broker

Posted by: Vaughn Leroux

Having extreme amounts of debt is something a lot of Canadians are facing today. Reviewing your finances and talking with an Edmonton mortgage broker can help you figure out what the best way is to go about paying off your high-interest debt.

So, to provide some guidance, Vaughn Leroux with Dominion Lending Centres, has explained how you can consolidate your debt with the equity in your home.

What Is Equity?

If you are a current homeowner, chances are you have started to accumulate some equity in your home over time. Equity is the difference between your home’s appraised value and the balance you owe on your Edmonton mortgage. Therefore, the more payments you make towards your loan, the more equity you will have.

Another way you can build home equity is with time. Most homes appreciate in value, which means they become more valuable over a period of time. Thus, the longer you are in your home, the more equity you could have.

How Equity Can Help Consolidate Debt

If you have at least 20% of the equity in your home, you could obtain a second mortgage. This is where you take out another mortgage on your house, in addition to your primary mortgage.  With a second mortgage, you borrow against the value of your home that you owe, which would be your equity. So, the more equity you have, the more money you could borrow.

You could then use this money to pay off high-interest loans, such as credit card loans. Edmonton mortgage rates are significantly lower than the interest on credit cards, so if you obtain a second mortgage, you could have your loans consolidated into your second mortgage and have cheaper payments. That way you only have to worry about making payments every month for your first and second mortgage.

Second Mortgage Requirements

To qualify for a second mortgage, you need to be sure and have at least 10% equity in your home. You will not be able to qualify for a second mortgage if you owe too much money on your first mortgage. So, if this is the case for you, pay off your loan more before you begin the application process. Also, be sure and have a good credit score and a sufficient amount of savings.

Contact Us

For more information on how to consolidate your debt by using the equity in your home or to begin your Edmonton mortgage application, please contact Vaughn Leroux at 780-431-5600.

14 May

New Canadian Mortgage Rules

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Vaughn Leroux


Congratulations on making the decision to buy a home. Before you get started, you should be informed of the new Canadian mortgage rules. As of January 2018, these new rules have been enacted, which could affect your finances. To help you get a better idea of how the new rules affect Edmonton mortgage rates, Vaughn Leroux at Dominion Lending Centres has described the recent changes below.

Stress Test

The new Canadian mortgage rules include a mandatory stress test for all new and existing homeowners. The purpose is to see if you can financially handle a rise in interest rates without accruing more debt and stretching your finances too far.

Mortgage debt is a major issue throughout Canada and could greatly affect the entire financial system. To prevent and system-wide problems,  the government decided to implement a stress test to reduce the amount of mortgage debt homeowners are carrying and to help cool down the residential market.

Showing you can make payments with an increased rate will be determined in one of two ways:

  • Using the Bank of Canada five-year benchmark qualifying rate of -5.34% or
  • Using the mortgage rate you are offered by your lender plus an additional 2%

Who is Affected?

Anyone who is looking for a mortgage is affected; this includes those who already have a first mortgage and would like to change banks when their loan period is up. Even if you pay 20% or more towards your down payment, you still are required to take the stress test.  However, you are not affected by these new rules if you wish to renew or refinance your Edmonton mortgage with your original lender.

Financially, the new stress test has been affecting Canadians affordability by as much as 15%. We recommend getting a pre-approved mortgage to determine your options.

Contact Us

For more information on the new Canadian mortgage rules, or to see if the stress test affects your finances, please contact your local Edmonton mortgage broker at 780-431-5600.