Avoid These Two Big Mortgage Mistakes

We all know that searching for and viewing potential homes is the fun part of the home-buying process. The not-so-fun part? The mortgage.

But if you don’t pay attention to the details, your mortgage can end up dragging down the enjoyment of your new home and cause some major regrets. Here are a few mistakes to avoid to ensure that you love your mortgage terms as much as your hew home.

Don’t find your home first: Shopping around for the best mortgage rate should be the first step in the home buying process. You may even want to talk to a mortgage broker a full year before you plan to buy. It’ll give you time to get your affairs in order to qualify for the best rate, could save you thousands of dollars in the long run, and you won’t feel rushed to accept an unattractive loan because you’re worried you’ll miss out on your dream home.

Don’t forget your real budget: There’s often a big difference between what a lender says you can afford and what you can actually afford. Your debt-to-income ratio doesn’t include the money you spend on hobbies, or the cost of commuting to work, or maintenance and utility costs.

Really sit down and examine your spending before committing to the loan amount the lender is offering. You won’t enjoy your home nearly as much if it’s eating into your favorite hobbies.

Top 5 Holiday Hostess Gifts For Under $50 from Givopoly



One of our favorite local businesses to work with is Givopoly. This Ottawa-based service has curated over 1000 gifts from over 70 local businesses into an efficient online marketplace. The best thing about Givopoly? They deliver! Not only can you shop for holiday and hostess gifts in the comfort of your own home, you can even have them delivered right to the recipient’s door, 7 days a week!

Here are some of our top favorite gifts under $50 from Givopoly!

1. Local Craft Beer Gratitude Pack – $37.96

This local Craft Beer Gratitude Pack is really fun way to say “cheers”, ” thanks” or ” Sip, Sip Hurray!” this holiday season. A 6 can pack of Kichesippi craft beer is encased in a beautifully locally hand made, walnut-stained carrier that makes it a handy keepsake. It also comes with a chalkboard that you can can personalize your message even more. You also have the option to have half beer or half soda!






2. Urban Gourmet Local Foodie Box – $40.00

A gift box for your favorite foodie! This box is filled with great local preserves, chocolates and food compliments. The contents are always changing because Givopoly is always hunting around for great local food artisans. Social Impact Bonus: The recipient will discover that with every Urban Gourmet Local Gift Cox is ordered, Givopoly will donate $5 to the Ottawa Food Bank!





3. Thyme for Cheese & Crackers – $50.00

This Gourmet Thyme & Again basket of local cheese, crackers, and a compote, is a no-fuss gift that can be served and enjoyed immediately. This delicious gift includes:

Local cheese from producers in Ottawa, Quebec, or Eastern Ontario

Thyme & Again Homemade Savoury Chrisps

Thyme & Again Homemade Spicy Pecans

Thyme & Again Homemade Jam or Compote



4. Coffee Connaiseur – $35.00

Know someone who loves coffee more than anything? This gift from Happy Goat Coffee Company includes 4 1/2 lb bags of whole bean coffee. Including the following varieties:

Babea’s Espresso Blend – Bitter sweet dark chocolate, very rich, crisp, smooth and clean.

Guatemalan Antigua – Bright, smooth, enhanced by its chocolate note

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe – Fragrant and flowery citrus note.

The “G” – Spicy, nutty, wine like characteristics.


5. Unrefined Olive Gift Package – $20.00

These lovely gift packages contain four 60ml bottles and give an overview of the olive oils and balsamic vinegars available from the stores most popular offerings.  The recipient can mix and match to their hearts delight.  The four offerings include:

The Classic –  Blood Orange Olive Oil, Eureka Lemon Olive Oil, Fig Balsamic, 18 Year Old Balsamic

The Savory – Organic Mushroom and Sage Olive Oil, Tuscan Herb Olive Oil, Sicilian Lemon Balsamic, Jalapeno White Balsamic

The Citrus and Bright – Persian Lime Olive Oil, Eureka Leon Olive Oil, Cranberry Pear White Balsamic, Honey Ginger Balsamic.

The Sweet and the Heat – Chipolte Olive Oil, Baklouti Green Olive Oil, Pomegranate Balsamic, Dark Chocolate Balsamic

How To Perfectly Stock Your Bar Cart This Holiday Season


When you are hosting a party you want to make sure your bar is fully equipped with all the tools, glassware, bar-ware, mixers and libations you will need for your perfect party!

Here are the 4 categories to perfectly stock your bar:



Liquors & Recommended Cocktails

Mixers & Garnishes

Not only is it great to have a fully stocked bar cart for all your beverage needs but it also makes for great decor!


Five apps for easy home decorating


Technology has made it easier than ever to bring your home decor ideas to reality. There are countless smartphone apps that help you plan a space or do some valuable comparative shopping. Here are five apps to use on your next decorating project. Most are available on both iOS and Android devices.

1. Color Capture: Ever see a color that would make for a perfect paint scheme? Benjamin Moore’s Color Capture app allows you to take a photo of anything and instantly get a matching paint color.

2. iHandyLevel: Hanging photos and artwork? Rather than searching through your toolbox for a level, you can use something that’s already in your pocket: Your phone. The iHandyLevel app functions just as well as a dedicated level, turning your phone into the ultimate picture-hanging companion.

3. LikeThatDecor: Let’s say you see the perfect Chesterfield sofa in a coffee shop, and you want to see where you could get one of your own. Use the LikeThatDecor app to take a photo of furniture and instantly see similar items from dozens of retailers.

4. IKEA Catalog: Forget about the nightmare of navigating the parking garage, showroom, and warehouse at your nearest IKEA. The IKEA Catalog app allows you to virtually place furniture in a room. If only there was an app for easy IKEA assembly!

5. DesignSponge: DesignSponge is one of the best DIY and home decor websites out there. Now there’s an app that makes it easy to access all of their awesome content on your smartphone.

515 St Laurent Blvd # 344 | Stunning 2 storey condo with terrace!


515 St Laurent Blvd # 344, Viscount Alexander Park

This stunning 2 storey unit features expansive windows that flood the living area and two bedrooms with natural lighting.

The fully renovated kitchen features stainless steel appliances, beautiful cabinetry with loads of storage space and eat up breakfast bar with dining room. An over-sized terrace opens up from the spacious living room which is perfect for enjoying the summer months.

Parquet flooring leads up to the spacious master bedroom and second bedroom which would be great as a guest room or home office. Stackable laundry unit with storage is also on this floor.

The unit features secure heated underground parking, gorgeously maintained grounds and an outdoor pool! Amenities include gym, sauna, party room, work shop, indoor and outdoor pools and a club house!

For full listing details, click here

Schools Near 515 St Laurent Blvd # 344

Elementary Schools:

  • Queen Elizabeth Public School
  • Manor Park Public School
  • Ecole Elementaire Catholique Montfort
  • Robert E. Wilson Public School
  • Our Lady of Mount Carmel Elementary School
  • Assumption Elementary School

Secondary Schools:

  • Rideau High School
  • Ecole Secondaire Catholique Centre Professionnel Et Technique Minto
  • Ecole Secondaire Catholique College Samuel – Genest
  • Ottawa Technical Secondary School
  • Ecole Secondair Publique L’Alternative
  • Ecole Secondaire Publique De La Salle

About Viscount Alexander Park

Viscount Alexander Park is a neighborhood in Rideau-Rockcliffe Ward in the east end of Ottawa. The neighborhood includes the Rockcliffe Airport, CFB Ottawa and Montfort Hospital.

Part of the the neighborhood, east of Codd’s Road is also know as Finter. It was named after Harold, Viscount Alexander of Tunis, Governor General of Canada from 1946-1952.

For full listing details, click here

Ottawa’s Best Dog Parks

Are you looking for that perfect dog park for your four legged friend? There are many factors you want to consider when finding the right park; is it off leash? Busy area?Which park is closest to your home? We have the top 3 dog parks in Ottawa that may be perfect for your dog!

Jack Purcell Park is located in downtown Ottawa off of Bank St. It is conveniently located behind Pure Gelato and other close by coffee shops. This off leash dog park is fenced in and has a fountain that is at a dog friendly height.  This park is perfect for anyone who lives in the downtown area and is looking for a larger space for their dog to roam and play.

Conroy Pit is located in the South End of Ottawa that is located off Huntclub Road. This park is a large piece of land that is not fenced in but offers multiple trails and fields for dogs to play and roam. Great for a family outing on a Fall day or a snowy weekend.

Bruce Pit is located in the West end of Ottawa off Cedarview Road. This park is also on a large piece of land that is not fenced in but has tons of trails and fields. This park hosts lots of dog breed meet ups where owners with the same breed meet up once a month for a giant dog play group. Great for socializing for both owners and pets.

New Rules Regarding Purchasing Power for Homes and Home Refinancing


B-20 Rule Changes from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI)

New rules in effect January 1st 2018 will reduce purchasing power for homes and home refinancing.

The new qualifying rules will come into effect January 1st 2018 requiring all conventional mortgages to qualify at the greater of; a rate 2% higher than the contact rate, or the qualifying rate (currently 4.89%). The new rules will impact mortgage affordability by approximately 20%.

What does that mean for the average Canadian?

If you are considering purchasing a home with 20% down payment, start looking more seriously and purchase prior to January 1st 2018. Your purchase agreement must be in place prior to January 1, 2018 to qualify under the existing rules; however, you do not have to have closed on a home prior to January 1st.

People looking to refinance their existing home for debt consolidation, home renovations, purchasing a cottage, or other major financial goals, should strongly consider refinancing prior to the qualifying rules changing on January 1st 2018!

Thinking about moving? Click on the contact link next to this post to get started!

National Remembrance Day 2017

Ottawa is a home to the National Remembrance Day ceremony every year, to honour Canadian veterans and those currently serving.

The ceremony will being at the National Military on Beechwood at 10:55 AM and then continues at the National War Memorial.

Be advised that the ceremony will mean that some roads downtown will be closed! From 7:30am to 1:00pm, the following roads will be closed:

  • Rideau and Wellington Street between Sussex and Colonel By Drive and Bank Street
  • Queen Street between O’Connor and Elgin Street
  • Elgin Street between Wellington and Albert Street
  • Metcalfe Street between Wellington and Albert Street
  • O’Connor Street between Wellington and Queen Street

OC Transpo

OC Transpo and Para Transpo will operate on a regular weekend schedule. If it is safe to do so, buses will pull over to the side of the road at 11 a.m. to observe two minutes of silence. The Last Post will be played over the radio of OC Transpo Buses.

Most businesses downtown will be closed until 12:30pm, including the businesses in the Byward Market, Rideau Centre, and Sparks Street Mall.

Businesses that are exceptions to the bylaw include:

  • Food/grocery, tobacco, antique and handcraft stores with less than 2,400 square feet used for serving or selling to the public.

  • Pharmacies with less than 7,500 square feet in total area used for serving/selling to the public (those in larger stores must close).

  • Book/newspaper dealers with less than 2,400 square feet used for serving/selling to the public.

  • Convenience stores.

  • Nurseries, gardening supply stores, florists.

  • Gas stations or businesses selling propane, diesel, natural gas and other fuel products.

  • Vehicle/boat rental and repair businesses, including those as part of a larger store (Canadian Tire).

Businesses that are not affected by the bylaw include:

  • Hotels/motels.

  • Restaurants.

  • Recreational facilities including fitness centres

  • Doctor/dentist/optometrist offices and medical centres.

  • Funeral homes.

  • Hair salons and spas.

  • Pet groomers.

  • Repair services for computers, furnaces, air conditioners, pools.

  • Pay-day loan services.


  • Dry cleaners.

  • Vendors at outdoor markets.

Choose The Right Paint Finish

It can be intimidating to stand in front of the paint swatches at the paint or hardware store and try to make a decision. Picking a color can be difficult enough—and then you have to choose the finish. Choosing the color is up to you, but here’s a simple guide to choosing the correct finish for your project.

High Gloss
High gloss paint has the most sheen, and will be the most durable. That durability is best suited for the kitchen, on surfaces like cabinets, door frames, and window trim. It’s best to avoid using high gloss on walls, because it will be too reflective.

It’s not as shiny as high gloss, but it’s still great for kitchens and bathrooms, because the sheen protects from drips, splatters, and other moisture.

Satin has a velvet-like look, but is still a durable finish, and works best in high-traffic areas. Be careful when applying, because satin paint will reveal sloppy brush strokes.

Eggshell and flat
These finishes have the least amount of sheen, and are the least durable. They’re great for hiding imperfections in your walls, but the low durability means they should be avoided if the room is subject to wear and tear from kids or pets. Use these paints in dining rooms, bedrooms, and other low-traffic rooms.

Is it worthwhile to improve your property, or is moving a better choice?

Unless you built a custom home, you probably have a long list of things you’d like to improve in your current home. Browsing online listings might get you in the mood to upgrade to a new home, or you might be thinking about renovating your current home after binging on HGTV. The answer to renovation vs. relocation depends greatly on what you’re trying to fix.

Thinking about a new kitchen?
If you’re dreaming of a chef’s kitchen with new appliances and beautiful cabinets, renovating your own kitchen gives you incredible ROI and is less costly than moving. You’ll increase the value of your own home if you ever decide to sell, and there’s a great sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a custom renovation.

Need more space?
If you’re running low on bedrooms, there may not be a lot of options. Converting an existing room to a bedroom doesn’t create any new space. If you’re in a condo, an addition is probably impossible. And additions can be expensive even if it’s a possibility. Moving is usually the best option.

If the neighborhood isn’t ideal
You may have seen some potential for your neighborhood when you first moved there, but perhaps it still isn’t welcoming the shops and restaurants you expected. If that’s the case, consider moving. There’s no sense in waiting years for the neighborhood to improve, especially if you can move to a house in the same price range in a more preferred part of the city.

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