27 Sep

A Take Charge Woman’s Guide To Surviving Financial Ruin And Other Odds And Sods During A Divorce


Posted by: Peter Puzzo

A Take Charge Woman’s Guide To Surviving Financial Ruin And Other Odds And Sods During A Divorce

A Take Charge Woman's Guide to Surviving Financial Ruin and Other Odds and Sods During a DivorceIf you find yourself in the unfortunate position of getting divorced, have no fear, because help is here!

Divorce, while often times feels like a death, it is also the beginning of your new life.  And while it can be scary it can also be exhilarating and life changing.

As women, we often make the mistake of being too trusting or giving the proverbial “benefit of the doubt”.  But in a divorce that cannot happen.  In my career as a mortgage broker, I have seen too many women have their credit ruined because they trusted that the ex-spouse would pay the bills as agreed to.  BIG BOWL OF WRONG!!

If you have not done it before, then divorce is the time to take charge of your finances.  It’s vitally important to keep your credit intact and in good standing because bad credit haunts you and follows you for 7 years.

Here are a few tips to keep you on track and ensure your credit does not take a beating like your poor little heart has.

  1. Ensure that if you have joint debt (credit cards, lines of credit etc.) that you know who is paying what.  DO NOT trust your ex to pay the bills, because as soon as some other woman (or man) comes along and he wants to wine and dine her, those debts take a back seat.  Often the debts don’t get paid or are paid late, and because you are jointly responsible, your credit takes a hard hit as well.  So if you have agreed as to who is paying what debt, ensure that you have yourself removed from that joint debt as soon as you can.
  2. If you have a mortgage and you are both equally responsible for the payments until you either reach a settlement or sell the house, make sure that you continue to make the payments from an account you can monitor.  Have your ex-spouse pay their share of the mortgage to you and then you pay the full amount from an account that is in your name.  Recovering from a mortgage that shows late payments, NSF payments and missed payments, is a long hard process. Do not fall for the “I’m paying my share, don’t worry”
  3. Treat the divorce like a business.  Get everything that you can in writing.  The sooner that you hammer out an agreement the easier and quicker and most cost effective it will be. Even if you do not negotiate a separation agreement right away, ensure that you agree, who is responsible for what. It is crucial to keep your credit in good standing.  Divorce is already hard enough and emotionally draining without having to deal with creditor phone calls, and juggling missed payments.  And try getting your own credit card with a bad credit rating, you’d likely have more success getting a sitting with the Pope than a credit card!

Look, I am not trying to scare you, I am just reminding you to embrace your independence and take care of your financial well-being.  Take charge of your finances.  It is such an empowering feeling to be in control of your bills and your money!

If there are children involved, remember this, they are children!  Do not make them a pawn in your divorce.  Do not pit your children against one parent.  It causes anxiety and confusion as they feel that they have to choose a parent and that they can’t love them both.  Your children only have one childhood.  Do not take that away from them.  Lastly do not talk badly about the ex in front of the children.  Talk about what a “loser” or “cheat” he is over wine with your friends when the children are not around.  It is an unfair and stressful position to put the children in.  Remember they did not choose you as parents and they are a casualty of the divorce, so make sure you children know, that they are loved, that they do not have to choose between the parents, and that lastly, none of it is their fault.

Finally, know this, it does get better and in time, you will likely acknowledge that getting divorced was one of the best decisions that you made.  When you feel yourself faltering and feeling nostalgic and missing your ex, simply remind yourself what brought you to the position of getting divorced in the first place. Give your head a shake and snap out of it!!!

Trust me; I know what I am talking about.  I have lived through divorce, bankruptcy as a result of divorce, cheating, bad credit etc.  You name it and I experienced it.  My climb back out of financial ruin was a situation that I would not wish on my worst enemy….OK maybe one or two!!!  The climb out was hard.  It made me who I am today (a pretty awesome lady boss).

I hope that sharing this information will save you some grief in your own struggle.  There is life after divorce, there is love after divorce, there is money after divorce and there is mortgage help in just such a situation from Dominion Lending Centres.

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Maria Kyle


Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Maria is part of DLC Vintage Financial based in Duncan, BC.

19 Sep

8 Things To Avoid Before Buying A Home


Posted by: Peter Puzzo


8 Things To Avoid Before Buying A HomeThe following is a list of things you’ll want to avoid if you plan on purchasing a new home in the near future.

1. Don’t apply for new credit: It may seem natural to apply for a credit card at a home improvement store or a furniture store when you are about to become a homeowner, but applying for credit can lower your credit score. Not only will you lose a few points because of a credit inquiry, and if you are approved for new credit, a lender may worry that you will spend up to your new credit limit and then default on your loan.

2. Don’t close any credit accounts: You may be feeling that this is a good time to get your financial house in order by closing unused credit accounts or transferring your debt to a new credit card with a zero-interest balance transfer offer. While that’s a smart move financially, it’s a bad one for your credit score because you lose points when you have a higher usage of debt compared to your limit on one credit card and to your overall credit availability. Wait until your closing is complete before you make these changes.

3. Don’t move your money around without a paper trail: Your lender will need the most recent bank statements before you go to settlement, so if you have any unusual deposits you will need to provide complete documentation of where the money came from. If possible, it’s best to move the cash you will need for your home purchase into one account before you apply for a mortgage. If not, make sure you have complete and accurate records readily available.

4. Don’t increase your debts: In addition to your credit score, your debt-to-income ratio is extremely important to your mortgage approval. If you take on more debt you could be in danger of going above the maximum acceptable debt-to-income ratio.

5. Don’t skip a payment or make a late payment: One of the most important elements of your credit score is your history of on-time, in full payments; so don’t get so caught up in your move that you forget to keep up with paying basic bills.

6. Don’t buy a car: You may be feeling that a new car would be a nice addition to the driveway of your new home. Resist that feeling. Even if you can easily afford a new car, the depletion of your savings or the addition of a new car loan could derail your mortgage application. Wait until after you have moved to switch to a new car.

7. Don’t change jobs if you can help it: While a job change could mean a raise or a path to a better future, it could also delay your settlement.Your lender needs to verify employment and will need pay stubs to prove your new income before your mortgage conditions are fully satisfied. 

8. Don’t spend your savings: You’ll need cash on hand at the acceptance for your down payment and closing costs and your lender may even verify your cash reserves one more time, so make sure the funds stay in place.

In other words, no matter how hard it is at this exciting time, it’s better to do nothing than to do anything.

If you have any other questions regarding this please call a mortgage professional at Dominion Lending Centres.

Brent Shepheard


Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Brent is part of DLC Canadian Mortgage Evolution West based in North Vancouver, BC.

15 Sep

From Pre-Approval to Getting The Keys – Your Step By Step Guide


Posted by: Peter Puzzo


keys-to-houseAfter diligently saving your pennies and carefully managing your credit to be as strong as possible you are finally ready to start house hunting for that perfect dream home. Between you and your new life lies the seemingly terrifying mortgage process so let’s go over what you can expect so there are no surprises along the way.

1. Pre-approval

The first step should always be to choose a great mortgage professional (like the fine folks at Dominion Lending Centres!). Referrals from friends and family and your real estate agent can help with this. You are trusting the largest loan you are likely to take to this person so make sure they know what they are doing. They are going to take an application, pull your credit, and determine what your maximum purchase price will be. You will be asked to provide a whole bunch of paperwork to verify your information

  • Letter of employment and pay stub
  • Down Payment Verification
  • 2 Year’s Notice of Assessment and/or T4’s
  • Void Cheque

This list is the very least of what you may be asked for. If you are self-employed, separated, previously bankrupt, new to Canada, receive bonuses or many other scenarios then you will likely be asked for much more. Given the current state of the economy and the record levels of attempted mortgage fraud, the banks have to be very careful these days.

The other real benefit to the preapproval is that you can house hunt with confidence knowing that your entire situation has been assessed. You will not look at homes out of your price range either which can save you the heartache of falling for a home you cannot afford. It also makes your offer very strong if you find yourself in a competition with another buyer.

2. Approval

Hopefully, you provided the bulk of the paperwork for the preapproval but you may be asked for updated information such as a more recent paystub or bank statement.

At this point, your application is re-assessed by the lender. They will take a look at the property you are purchasing and make sure it fits their guidelines. Then it is sent off for mortgage default insurer approval and once then you will get the official approval to sign. Make sure that you do not remove the financing condition until all lender conditions are met. Your mortgage professional will tell you when that is.

3. Final steps

Once you have met all of the conditions, the lender will send the paperwork over to the lawyer’s office. It takes the lawyer a few days to get things ready for you to sign and when you go you will be asked for:

  • Balance of the down payment in the form of a bank draft
  • 2 forms of ID
  • Void Cheque

The day of funding, the lender sends the funds to the lawyer who sends them to the seller’s lawyer who upon receipt of the funds gives the all clear and you will be given the keys to your new home.

It is a great idea to call your lender a bit after the mortgage closes to make sure everything is set up the way you wanted.

Make sure to ask questions at each stage of the mortgage process. The onus is on you as the person signing the contract to understand the loan you are being offered and the terms it comes with. There are so many resources available to you as a home buyer that it is easy to learn a bit about mortgages before you sign.

It can seem a bit daunting but we broke it down into bite size pieces so you will be ready to navigate it like a boss and before you know it the realtor will be handing you your keys and your new life can begin.

If you are ready to start talking about your mortgage, call any of the mortgage professionals at Dominion Lending Centres today!


Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Pam is part of DLC Regional Mortgage Group based in Red Deer, AB.

7 Sep

Rates On Hold Again, Bank Of Canada


Posted by: Peter Puzzo


Bank of Canada Cautious About the OutlookBank of Canada Hold Overnight Rate at 0.5%

The Bank of Canada’s decision to hold rates steady once again was very much as expected, even though first-half growth was well below the forecast in the July Monetary Policy Report. US growth in the first half of this year was also disappointing, reflecting weakness in business and residential investment. US consumer spending was strong, held up by a buoyant labour market.

Rebounding US growth in the second half bodes well for a sustained rebound in Canadian exports. The recently released July trade report for Canada showed a major improvement in exports to the US, a long-awaited sign of a revival in Canadian growth.

Other recent indicators suggest that Canada’s economy entered the third quarter on a stronger footing following the wildfire-related slump in the second quarter. Q2 growth was also depressed by the larger-than-expected contraction in exports. The Bank expects a strong rebound in Q3 growth as oil production resumes and rebuilding in Alberta begins.

Fiscal stimulus will also play a role in the second half economic revival as consumer spending is boosted by the July 1 introduction of Canada Child Benefits payments. Federal infrastructure spending should also begin to impact growth by the final quarter of this year. Nevertheless, the Bank suggested that growth for the remainder of this year will remain below their July forecast.

Inflation is in line with BoC expectations. Total CPI inflation is below the 2% target largely owing to the decline in consumer energy prices. “Measures of core inflation remain around 2%, reflecting offsetting effects of excess capacity and past exchange rate depreciation”.

As always, the final paragraph of the Bank’s statement assesses economic risks. The report suggests that the inflation profile has trended downward since July. As for elevated household debt levels, long a concern, the Bank alluded to the recent slowdown in the Vancouver housing market suggesting that while still early days, it might well be the start of a soft landing. Recent data for Toronto, however, suggest that housing activity remained as robust as ever in August. Clearly, household imbalances continue to rise and heighten financial vulnerabilities.

Given the likely path of economic growth in Canada, I expect the Bank to maintain the current stance of monetary policy through 2017. This means that Canadian interest rates will remain well below rates in the US, as the Fed will likely hike the overnight rate once again either later this year or early next year. Mortgage rates will remain low for longer.



Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres
Sherry is an award-winning authority on finance and economics with over 30 years of bringing economic insights and clarity to Canadians.