We're in The Home Stretch
A new year is on the horizon, and as we enjoy the "indoor season" many of us take the opportunity to reflect on the highlights of the outgoing year. From a real estate perspective there's been plenty of news and opinion as housing markets across the country remain, in many cases, resilient. Yet, some areas continue to ebb and flow in sync with more local events.
Yes, there are positive economic signals here and south of the border. There's an eye on interest rates as the U.S. Fed continues to send mixed signals that their rate cuts are on hold for the time being. On December 4th, the Bank of Canada indicated that Canada's growth performance is as forecast and once again held the Key Rate steady at 1.75%.
Yes, it’s a season of celebration. And "home" is where we celebrate. One of the real joys of this time of year is the opportunity to reconnect with friends and family.
Wishing you, your friends and your family a wonderful holiday season. Together, let’s all look forward to a wonderful 2020.
Are the Facts Your Credit Score is Built on Correct?
A good Credit Score can make a big difference on the interest you pay when getting a loan. Yes, your Credit Score is important but more important is that the information it's based on is correct. A credit application you make can land in a "higher risk" category because of wrong facts used in building your Credit Score - which could then have you paying a higher interest rate, or even outright refusal of a loan.
Do an annual Credit Report review. If you see a lot of Credit inquiries by lenders or credit card companies, but have done nothing to initiate them, it's a red-flag that your credit profile is likely being scammed.
Fix errors immediately. With data breaches, identity theft, card hacks and card frauds, your Credit Score may be blemished by false or mistaken data – that you don’t even know about. Fixing wrong information is not always easy and it takes time because information needs to be verified as incorrect.
Keeping tabs on your Credit History today can mean smooth sailing instead of a delay to "fix an error" when you decide that it's time for a move or need credit approval in a hurry.
Contact both Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada, as each may have different information on file.
Get your Credit Report - Free!
Equifax Canada, 1-800-465-7166, http://www.equifax.ca
Click "Credit Report Assistance" and then click "Get Your Free Credit Report"
TransUnion Canada, 1-800-663-9980, http://www.transunion.ca
Free Report: https://www.transunion.ca/product/consumer-disclosure
There are apps that you can use to get a rough idea of your Credit Score. These apps may also send alerts of Credit Score changes which can help you spot signs of identity theft. Checking your credit on these apps won't affect your score.
Whether you live in a house or a condo, there are a few things to take care of before you head out on vacation:
• Check your insurance policy to see how many days you can be away without it affecting insurance coverage.
• Leave a key with a trusted neighbour or friend so your place can be accessed if necessary. In a condo, make sure the Condominium Management knows who to call in case there’s a need. And leave a phone number where you can be reached.
• If snow is in the forecast, arrange for show clearing or ask a neighbour to drive in an out of your driveway so it looks like there's activity at your place.
• Test the water-leak alarm. If it's battery powered, replace the batteries too.
• Pre-pay monthly expenses such as: cell phone, electricity, taxes, cable, internet, and condominium fees to be sure everything's up-to-date while you're away.
• Set lights and radio on a timer, or if you have a Smart Speaker you can create a Smart Home routine.
• Get a "Fake TV" light. Plug it in, set the timer and the different coloured LED lights flicker with the same kind of pattern that a television makes. It looks like the television is on and to a potential intruder it makes the house an unappealing target. Check out: www.faketv.com
Winter Ice Surprise
Weather patterns are becoming more unpredictable, no matter the season, there are items we now know to keep on hand:
• Cash money - ATMs may be down.
• A hand-crank flashlight and hand crank radio.
• Non-perishable food - snack bars, nuts, canned food.
• Bottled water. Plus, at first sign of utility problems fill some containers with water.
• An "old-fashioned" plug-in phone.
Stuff to know:
• Cell phone networks or individual towers may stop working - their electric supply is usually on the same power grid as the neighbourhood’s.
• Cell phone battery time should be conserved until you locate a recharge station. Invest in a battery power pack or hand-crank battery re-charger.
• When there's a weather warning, fill your gas tank. In a storm, gas stations may run out fast.
• If your Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide alarms are wired-in, be sure to also have battery-powered smoke and CO alarms that can be used in an emergency.
During a winter power outage:
• Keep faucets running at a trickle to prevent water pipes from freezing.
• Unplug appliances & electronics - a power surge, when the electricity returns, may cause damage.
• Switch one light on - to show when power has returned.
• If you use a generator, only operate it in a well-ventilated area. Not inside. Not even in a garage.
• Assume any low hanging or downed line is energized and dangerous.