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A programmable thermostat can save you money this winter

Every winter and every summer, Canadians fight tirelessly to keep their homes at a comfortable temperature. Temperature swings in both seasons mean we have to adjust our thermostats constantly, but there is a better way: smart thermostats turn down the heating and cooling of your home when you don’t need it automatically, saving you money on your utility bill. Here are the latest insights into how a programmable thermostat can help.

  • 10-15% savings on your energy bill: Installing a programmable thermostat can save you up to 15% a year on your overall power bill if you have electric heating, according to the most conservative estimates. That’s about $145 for the average Canadian.
  • There are more potential savings: Many manufacturers claim smart thermostats save their customers up to 30% of their heating and cooling costs per year. These numbers are often based on ‘factory testing,’ but using your programmable thermostat properly could yield higher-than-average savings in the long run.
  • There are rebate programs: Enbridge is just one company that has put a rebate program in place for customers who buy a smart thermostat. It’s offering a $100 rebate for homeowners who buy one before the end of the year.
  • They add to resale value: Millennials rate homes with programmable thermostats and other smart technology higher: 70% feel smart technology will make their homes more energy efficient. This could be a great selling point if you’re hoping to market your home to young families in the future.
  • ‘Vacation mode’ can save you money: Many programmable thermostats can keep your home from getting too cold while you're away on a much needed winter holiday. They adjust the indoor climate automatically depending on the temperature outdoors, avoiding unnecessarily heating your house until you return.

Four warm winter drinks your guests will love

When the weather gets cold outside, nothing will make your guests feel more at home than by serving these warm, winter cocktails. Whether you’re just having a couple friends over or throwing a full blown holiday bash, here are a few cocktails that will make you a hero of a host. All of them can be served with or without alcohol.


  1. Hot cider toddy Pour apple cider into a saucepan and set over medium-high. Bring to a simmer and cover for about 15 minutes. Remove the cider from the heat and stir in ½ cup of lemon juice along with orange liqueur and brandy, if you’d like. Garnish the cider with cinnamon sticks and orange slices to finish.
  2. Warm chai toddy Boil water with a cinnamon stick, then remove from the heat and add chai and orange pekoe tea bags. Let it steep for five minutes, then remove both the cinnamon and the tea bags. Add the juice of two oranges and 1 tbsp of dark rum (optional) for each mug you pour. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and twists of orange rind.
  3. Mulled wine Heat wine with sugar, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, and allspice until the mixture is warm (be sure to take it off the heat before it boils). Serve the mulled wine with slices of clementine for the ultimate flavour. Feel free to substitute the wine with apple juice for a non-alcoholic option.
  4. Mexican hot chocolate Bring milk to a simmer on the stove, then whisk in chocolate, cocoa, cinnamon, and cornstarch. Bring the mixture to a boil and keep whisking until it’s slightly thick and smooth. Add coffee liqueur, if you’d like, and serve with whipped cream and a cinnamon stick. Yum!

Flying this winter?

Pack these essentials in case you get delayed


December really can be the ‘perfect storm’ for anyone travelling by air. Snow storms, combined with very high passenger numbers mean delays are a reality for anyone criss-crossing this vast country. Here are some ‘must pack’ items to help get you through. Make sure to tuck them in your carry-on and not in your checked bag:

  • A comfortable change of clothes, including socks, underwear, and a jacket
  • An iPod/MP3 player and its charger, books, and magazines to pass the time
  • A list of contacts, including phone numbers for your airline and travel agent
  • Snacks/granola bars and water (you’ll have to buy a bottle after security)
  • A travel toothbrush, travel toothpaste, wet wipes, kleenex, and a comb

These items should provide some much-needed comfort if you’re stuck in an airport for a few hours. If you’re delayed for longer, you’ll want to scout out a place to have a hot shower or even get a hotel room in the airport until things get moving again. Bon voyage!




Be aware so you can prepare when buying your home


Changing the Locks: One of the first things you’ll want to do after closing is to change all exterior door locks for security. It’s the only way to ensure only you can access your new house, and not the previous tenants too. To save money, you can change the locks yourself or you can call a locksmith to do the job.




Cleaning Costs: You’ll have to clean your old home and your new home at moving time. Whether you hire a professional cleaner to do this or do it yourself, the cost of materials can really add up. While most sellers will do a thorough clean of their home before handing it over, there is nothing forcing them to make sure your new home is spotless.



Decorating Costs: When budgeting, consider ‘must-do’ redecorating and renovations. Repainting, replacing light fixtures, refinishing hardwood floors or redoing carpets can all affect your comfort level in your new home, but they can also be expensive projects. Prioritize what needs to be done right after closing, and what can wait.



Appliances: If your new home doesn’t come with appliances and you don’t have your own, you will have to buy them after closing. A fridge, stove, dishwasher, and microwave can all add up, so make sure you're aware of the costs before you move in. Some appliances, like those that need to be hooked up to a water line, may come with installation charges too.



Tools and Equipment: Many new homeowners don’t have tools and equipment, like snow shovels. When you no longer have a landlord to call for maintenance and repairs, you have to do them yourself or call a repairman. Tools can be an expensive initial purchase, but learning to maintain your home with the right equipment will save you money in the long term.






A Purchase Plus Improvements Mortgage, allows qualified purchasers to borrow up to 20% of the post renovation value of a home, even with as little as 5% down. Here's the five easy steps for the home of your dreams.


1. Obtain a mortgage pre-approval to determine your maximum approval amount. 

2. You must find a house and have a general idea of what renovations need to be done as well as the cost of the renovations. The purchase price plus the renovation cost cannot exceed your maximum approval amount.

3. Once your offer is accepted, provide the accepted offer, as well as the quotes for the work to be done to me. I will have the lender approve the mortgage with the cost of the renovations included in the mortgage.

4. Once you take possession of your home, you can begin the renovations. The Lender will instruct the Solicitor to hold the additional Renovation funds, until the lender confirms the works has been completed. Once the renovations are completed let me know so I can arrange an inspection to verify the work is completed as per the quotes that were provided. 

5. The lender will receive the inspection report from the appraiser, and validate that the work has been completed in a good manner and as per the quotes provided. They will instruct the lawyer that they are able to release the funds to you, to pay the contractor.





Mortgage Industry Update

Bank of Canada Maintained Their Rate - At 10:00 am EST, Wednesday October 19th, the Bank of Canada maintained their overnight rate which in essence means no change to the interest rate on your variable rate mortgage, line of credit and/or student loans..


Next Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement - December 7, 2016


New Mortgage Qualification Rules - The new Mortgage qualification benchmark rate has been implemented as of October 17th 2016. The change is for insured mortgages going forward from this date. Any insured mortgage will be qualified at the benchmark rate of 4.64% and no longer at the lower discounted rate for terms 5 years and over.


TD Bank Raises Mortgage Rates - As of November 1st 2016 TD Bank created a new mortgage Prime Rate of 2.85%. This change will only effect those in variable rate mortgages. So far TD Bank is the only major bank to do this, only time will tell if other banks will as follow.


Compliments of

April Dunn

Mortgage Broker/Owner

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