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!

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.

19 Dec

Mortgage Edmonton Refinance: Why You Should (And Shouldn’t) Do It

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Vaughn Leroux

When Canadian interest rates were flirting with record-lows in 2016, more people than ever turned to refinancing to get the most out of their home.

In Edmonton, this was no different.

Edmonton mortgage rates – along with the rest of Canada – have increased in the past year. Although they aren’t nearly as high as they have been in the past, they are still something that needs to be monitored by homeowners and potential buyers.

You may have heard from family and friends that they recently refinanced their mortgage and got a great deal. While that may be true, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good path for you.

Without further ado, here are some reasons why you should (and shouldn’t) refinance your current mortgage in Edmonton:

Should Refinance

The current mortgage rate is lower than the one you have on your current mortgage. One of the main reasons that people opt to refinance their mortgage is to take advantage of the interest rate when it falls lower than the rate they are currently signed with on their existing mortgage.

How does this help? You get a lower interest rate and can contribute smaller monthly payments.

Should Not Refinance

You want access to the equity in your home. This may seem tempting (especially if interest rates are reasonable), but you should not refinance a mortgage for the sole reason of withdrawing equity from your home.

You may be tempted to complete home renovations, pay off a credit card, or contribute to a post-secondary education, but ultimately you will be extending the amount of time that you will be paying your mortgage.

Should Refinance

Shrink the term of your current mortgage. Refinancing to get a shorter term length on your mortgage is a good reason to act. In doing so, you have the ability to pay smaller monthly payments while reducing the number of years that it will take to pay off the mortgage.

Even the smallest change in rates can make an enormous difference over a typical 30-year loan. Of course, this only works if interest rates fall to a number that makes sense to do this!

Should Not Refinance

You are planning a move soon. If you know that you aren’t in your forever home, refinancing your mortgage doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. You should consider that if you did refinance, how long would it take for you to pay off the costs of closing your new mortgage? If you aren’t going to be in your home long enough to break-even, refinancing may not be a good idea.


Are you currently in the Edmonton area and have an existing mortgage? Refinancing could be for you. Before deciding whether you want to refinance and if it will benefit, speaking with a mortgage Edmonton broker like Vaughn can give you the insight, advice, and guidance you need to make an educated decision.

Reach out to him today and find out how he can help.

8 Aug

4 Tips for Your Mortgage Renewal from Edmonton Mortgage Brokers

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Vaughn Leroux

It happens with every person who has ever had a mortgage: a mortgage renewal. Vaughn Leroux, a professional with a reputation of being one of the top Edmonton mortgage brokers, is quite familiar with the renewal process.

As someone who has been involved in the industry for years, Vaughn has helped hundreds of people renew their mortgage. Along the way, he has been asked and provided answers to many questions regarding the renewal process and how people can benefit the best from their new mortgage.

Here are 4 Tips for Your Mortgage Renewal:

  1. Hire a broker

By consulting a mortgage broker, you will instantly be in a better position to get a more favourable mortgage. Vaughn will do all of the shopping that is needed to obtain the best mortgage solutions that fit your unique situation. Not only will he find you the best mortgage rates, he will also do all of the negotiating and paperwork to save you valuable time. Edmonton mortgage brokers like Vaughn have relationships with a variety of lenders and are much more likely to find the best mortgage packages than you would on your own.

  1. Don’t go for the posted rate

This is something that your broker will do for you, but if you decide to try to renew your mortgage on your own then you should know not to agree to the advertised rate from a lender, like a bank. Rates are always negotiable and if you take a proposed rate to a different lender they may be able to sweeten the deal in order to get your business. Again, a mortgage broker would handle all of these duties.

  1. Begin the process early

The best time to begin planning and researching for a mortgage renewal is typically four-to-six months in advance of your current mortgage expiring. This gives you (and your broker) time to shop potential rates and see what the best offer is. This is crucial to do because six months is generally the longest period that lenders are able to promise a discounted rate with protection. Don’t wait until the last possible minute.

  1. Negotiate!

Similar to Tip #2, you can and should always negotiate. Whether it be the rate, term or anything else related to your mortgage, you should always be trying to get the best deal possible. This is where a broker like Vaughn can be of great benefit to you as he has the knowledge, experience and skills needed to negotiate with many lenders at once and walk away with the best package for you.

With these four tips, you are now better prepared for when it’s time to look at renewing your mortgage. Some people choose to stick with their old mortgage and agree to the same rate and terms that they had and this is one of the biggest mistakes they can make! Rates are always changing and the odds are that you can get a better deal by exploring other options than what your previous lender is offering.

If your mortgage is up for renewal soon, contact Vaughn Leroux today and work with one of the leading Edmonton mortgage brokers! You won’t be disappointed.