19 Mar

Getting yourself and your home ready for spring!


Posted by: Gina Winters

Spring has almost sprung!

This means along with better weather we get in better moods, especially for us here in Northern Canada where sunshine is a rarity throughout the drab winter months. When we give in to the winter blues, we tend to overlook the simple things that can positively change the way we think. Your home really is the best place to start when making positive changes – tidy home, tidy mind. Why do your spring cleaning when it’s finally nice out? (especially since winter tends to overstay its welcome) – Start in winter or early spring when it’s still snowy and cold, so you can enjoy the warmer weather! During the winter months we tend to hibernate at home, so why not consider different changes you can make around the house to make you feel better about yourself and stay motivated and inspired!

So, how can you make these positive changes?

Look at areas of your home that you have been thinking of changing or upgrading and start to visualize the new changes in your home. Once you have given it some thought, find out financially what you can afford in your budget for your home face lift. Consider consulting with a mortgage professional about a renovation mortgage to fund your endeavour, as well as an interior designer to review your home projects with you. All of this can be done in the comfort of your own home. As investing in your home is an investment in yourself, working on a home project will keep you productive and looking forward to the future.

Maintain the health of your home and yourself – cleansing your home of clutter will also help to cleanse your mind. Give your home a cleanse and LET GO of anything you don’t use or need. We’ve all been there, telling ourselves to keep something “just in case”, but how many times do we actually end up needing it? If you haven’t used it in the last year, odds are, you don’t. Also, try filling your fridge and freezer with healthy foods. Winter is a good time to pre-make meals to freeze for later, and health-wise, what you are is what you eat. Soups, stews, sauces, and healthy loafs and muffins are easy and fun to make!

Making even little changes in your home can help keep you motivated, energized and inspired. Introduce budget friendly décor pieces into your home such as candles, some warm throws and pillows, fresh flowers, and you can also try filling glass vases with outdoor pieces like pinecones or grass stocks. There are also simple installments that can help update any room, including a change in cabinet hardware or light fixtures. Freshen up your bathroom by replacing old worn towels with new soft towels, or even simply changing your bathroom curtain and hooks can make it feel like a new space. Making these types of changes during the cold winter months can help you keep the winter blues away and make your house a home.

7 Mar

Mortgage Advisor and Interior Designer: How my dual services can give added value in the sale of your home


Posted by: Gina Winters

When selling your home, here are 2 important things to consider:

  1. Your mortgage finances – Interest rate’s, fees, and penalties

When making a change in real estate with a current mortgage, staying with your bank doesn’t mean that you don’t accrue penalties, fees, or receive better rates. From my experience working with clients, many are misinformed of how this process works. Initially, they’re lead to believe that there are no costs incurred if they keep their mortgage with the same lender or bank. But, they later find out that in fact penalties apply to pay out or transfer their mortgage to a new property, along with new CMHC premiums. There are many variables to consider when selling a home while holding an existing mortgage, which are often the last thing a homeowner reviews.  If you’re concerned with saving money, get a second opinion to review these details so there are no surprises. Don’t take the risk of making assumptions or not asking questions by learning from other homeowners’ experiences – including my own.

  1. Your selling price – How to get the best price for your home

Staging your home will elicit the best price, as buyers perceive higher value in the home when they see it at its best. This important marketing tool allows you to list your home at a competitive price, which means selling your home faster. As selling your home can be emotional, hiring a professional can help you to separate emotions from the task at hand for better decision making. Keeping focused on the goal to get the best listing price is key to achieving this.

For a complimentary review as to how I can assist with the processes of reviewing your mortgage and staging your home, please contact me today.

6 Mar

Purchasing a New Home – From Fear to Freedom


Posted by: Gina Winters

The inspiration to write this blog was sparked from a conversation I had with my 21 year old son, when he expressed his feelings about buying a home. It was apparent that home ownership was triggering a lot of fear in him. Troubling thoughts like, ‘how will I be able to make my mortgage payments’, or, ‘what happens if the interests rates go up?’ He was also questioning whether he even had the ability to maintain a home. Stepping into the decision of buying a home was clearly raising uncertainty and self-doubt as to whether he could take on the responsibility of being a homeowner, both financially and emotionally.

My son’s feelings were very real, which I’ve come to realize are very common feelings among new home owners. As a mortgage agent for 10 years, I see these same fearful feelings not only with first time home buyers, but with repeat buyers as well. This conversation with my son made me aware that unfortunately, many homeowners develop these types of feelings prior to buying their first home, which persists throughout their home ownership journey.

How can I help people shift out of thoughts of fear to thoughts of FREEDOM when purchasing a home? Please read on…

Let me take you back to when I purchased my first home. I was at the tender age of 19…even younger than my son. I had financial support from my parents as well as professional guidance from a real estate agent. I remember the day clearly as if it were yesterday – I was excited, because buying a home meant I was a responsible grown-up, and I was looking forward to being independent and able to decorate my home to reflect my own style. Contrary to my son, I was looking forward to having mortgage debt. To me, it meant I was going to financially improve my situation, and as time went on I would have a measurable asset of my own. I viewed home ownership as an automatic investment in myself. The mortgage rates at that time were at 8.75 for a fixed term – which is significantly higher compared to today’s rates. However, this rate did not deter or scare me.

In my career, I find clients tend to fixate on the interest rates. It is commonly believed that the lowest rate is going to save the clients money and help them pay down their mortgage more efficiently. The truth is, a few months after their mortgage is finalized, if I ask what their interest rate is most don’t even remember! Now, I am not discounting the importance of a good interest rate; however, we have no control over that number. Back when I was purchasing my home, I chose to focus my energy on the good feelings of becoming a home owner and what I could accomplish by that commitment, instead of the focusing on that which I had no control over – pretty smart of my young self!

Being a home owner encouraged me to grow and gain independence. It built my confidence by investing in my future and reaping the freedom of financial independence. Home ownership even allowed me the opportunity for self-expression and creativity by learning about home renovations and maintenance.

So what was the difference between my 19 year old self and my 21 year old son?

My 21 year old son
• Vision of buying a home meant a large repayment of debt, a continuous burden, and a constant reminder of that large amount of debt, which caused feelings of anxiety and stress.
• Upkeep of a home meant unforeseen expenses, which can take up time and added to his perceived financial burden.

My 19 year old self
• Visualized the end result of owning a home and the repayment of debt as an investment in myself, which accomplishes financial security and personal independence.
• Upkeep of a home meant an opportunity to grow looking beyond the financial aspect, to live in a place where I can be myself – a place of love and comfort. This resulted in positive feelings of relief and freedom.

In summary, it’s a matter of perception. What do you choose to focus on? You can either look at home ownership through the lens of it being empowering or disempowering. One will bring you feelings of fear, the other feelings of freedom. Which do you choose?

For a complimentary review of how I can help you with becoming a homeowner or managing your current mortgage, please reach out to me to book your one on one consultation. Buying a home can be an emotional experience. Let me help you move through this experience with ease.