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4 Things to Consider Before Refinancing Your Home

With Covid still lingering and the fact that some of us have lost some income, resources or even lost your job and/or your business has been affected financially, Sherry has some great tips about re-financing and how you can avoid some common traps.

I want to stress how important it is that if you re-finance a property that you know what you are doing and what the pros and cons are. Every time you re-finance you set the clock back as well. There are many articles out there so check some reliable and reputable sources so that you understand what re-financing your home means. 

If you are struggling with your financials, I highly recommend you reach out to Sherry and get some information and maybe some help. Sometimes just having someone else make you accountable to look at and review your money is all you need. But if you need more she is available to outline her services and pricing given each individual person’s or family’s financial situation. She is great at what she does. 

I also can easily provide some contacts for your local lending institutions if you are not sure where to turn. You can also change lenders but you must know the costs of moving your mortgage if you are not satisfied with your current lender. Having some knowledge before you meet with your financial institution will go far in understanding your situation and what is best for your lending needs and concerns. It can feel overwhelming and knowledge is power so do yourself a favour and do some research first.

Here are Sherry’s tips:

Our money is very emotional. Add in some debt and it gets even more emotional. Top the emotions off with high interest debt, low mortgage rates, and the rising value of homes, and you could have the perfect recipe to save yourself a good chunk of money with a home refinance that includes your debt OR it could be a recipe for disaster!! 
Listen, I’m not trying to scare the crap out of you, but I want you to make this decision with all of the factors that come into play today and in the future! I want your home to be your sanctuary and not a financial burden, so I am sharing with you four things you NEED to consider when exploring a refinance.

 #1 – The cost to refinance. What fees will you be incurring to refinance. Make sure you fully understand what it is costing you. If your mortgage expert is not clearly explaining this to you, it may be time to look for a new expert! You need to have someone in your corner that you trust and that is giving you all of the details. Listen to your gut, if it doesn’t feel right, find someone new to help you. You don’t have to stay with your current lender, there are lots of options out there. It is also possible that you will find a lender that may cover some or all of these costs for you!

#2 – The interest numbers. Mortgage rates are very attractive right now. From a numbers perspective, you may have the potential to reduce your interest costs, maybe even a significant amount, if you have high interest debt AND equity in your home. This obviously depends on your specific situation and is another way that your mortgage expert should be guiding you. Don’t just look at the interest %, a lower percentage over a longer period of time (if you extend the payoff date of your mortgage) may not be a savings at all.

#3 – The new payment schedule. If you can save yourself on interest, that’s great, but you also need to be able to make the payments. If you are feeling strapped each month now, it’s time to take a hard look at your numbers and make sure that you can make the new payments work. If you are rolling in some other debt, don’t assume that everything works, you have to actually crunch the numbers!

#4 Your future spending habits. Okay, here is the MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR to consider. If your credit card and LOC debts have been slowly creeping up over the months and years, you are NOT READY to refinance. You are spending more than you make! First, you need to change your habits and get your spending under control. A refinance to ‘take care’ of your high interest debt is not the answer. If you think it is, you will be right back where you are now in 6 months or a year. If you keep refinancing every few years, adding in your other debts and extending the length of your mortgage, your payments will keep getting higher as the value of your home increases. You will eventually get to the point where you can’t make your payments and then guess what? You lose your house, you either have to sell it or it gets foreclosed on because you can’t make the payments and then you’re screwed! I don’t want that for you. I want you to take control of your money and really get your shit together to start growing your wealth! I know that is what you want too!

If you see yourself in #4, it is time to get to work. You need a budget; you need a plan for your money every month so you can make some serious changes. You need to focus on making changes to your spending habits. As you make changes to your spending habits, this should translate into your debt trending downwards and your savings growing. Do this for at least 6 months before you even consider a refinance!

There is so much information out there from various financial experts and random internet strangers, that it can feel very overwhelming and can translate into you doing nothing. If you are not sure where to start to make the changes you know you need to with your money, I have a tool that can help you. How about a free budget template that will do all the number crunching for you? Happy budgeting my friend!


See the full post on Sherry’s website:
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COVID Mental Health Tips

Amanda Prokopwicz, Psychiatric Nurse Woodstock General Hospital offers a wealth of experience and professional advice. I first met Amanda as a client. Both her and her fiance trusted in me to assist them with their first home purchase. I am happy to say they have decided to make their first home in Ingersoll in a beautiful older century home that will easily accommodate them plus Amanda’s son. After meeting and getting to know Amanda I learned that she was a Psychiatric Nurse and worked locally at the Woodstock General Hospital.

Amanda was easily a great fit to give some wonderful tips and suggestions to help us all cope during this very unprecedented time. Social distancing is something new to us and our communities across the globe. This time may be causing many uncertainties, emotions and anxiety. I reached out to

Amanda to provide us with some helpful tips to keep ourselves feeling more balanced and aware of how we are coping. I hope you find her information as useful as I did. Sometimes its the little things we do that keep us feeling somewhat “normal” in and “not-so-normal” time. 

Ensure you are maintaining regular routine. Whether it is maintaining a working from home schedule, travel to work, home-schooling schedule, or adapting to life with young children in the home. Ensure you attending to a regular schedule of work, play and home routine, along with self care. If you find yourself stuck in a rut in terms of motivation to maintain routine, research behavioral activation tips and examples online.

You owe it to yourself to freshen up each morning. Shower, take a hot bath, use a hair mask, moisturize, try on those outfits that you “never wear”. Spend time on a new self care routine for yourself with this extra time.

There is truly nothing more refreshing than taking in some good ol’ vitamin D. Make a routine to ensure you are getting outside for an hour a day. If you are high risk, or unable to access the outdoors at this time, sit near a open window, or opt for a “sun lamp”. Vitamin D is crucial not only for bone health but for proper brain development and functioning. Low levels of vitamin D are associated with depression, anxiety and seasonal defective disorder.

Spend a few minutes a day moving your body- whether it’s dance or exercising. An activity such as dance or exercising increases your heart rate and causes a release of feel-good endorphins into the bloodstream. Exercise also releases cortisol, which is a stress hormone. Shake what your mama gave ya! If you are unsure where to start, there are many exercise videos such as Zumba, and dance routines uploaded onto Youtube.

During this time, it may be easy to find yourself stuck in poor eating habits, forgetting or avoiding to eat. Research has shown links from poor diet including high levels of saturated fat, refined carbohydrates and processed food products to depression and anxiety. Seek a diet rich in Omega 3, Fruits and Vegetables- and support local if you can and challenge yourself to that recipe you have been dying to try! Lastly, be mindful of your fluid intake, the 8 cup a day rule still applies, but I’m sure you can challenge yourself to 10!

Keep in touch with your support system! Frequency is more important than duration, regardless if it is a quick visit with your grandparents through their front window, Facetime with wine with the girls, a Friday night zoom chat with the boys, a phone call to your niece to say goodnight, or a conference call with your colleagues. That friend from college that you haven’t spoke to in years? Reach out to her, chances are she sees your Facebook posts of your kids, and is wondering how you are doing as well! There is truly no time like the present. Stay connected, and don’t be afraid to be raw with verbalizing your emotions. Although struggle looks different for us all at this time, change of routine, and isolation will impact even the strongest link. And lastly, don’t forget to keep dating your partner! Whether you are quarantined together or apart, make a habit to engage in simple, home based (or virtual) date nights together.

Self care! We hear it over and over again, but do we really have time to practice it as much as we would like? We owe it to ourselves to show our bodies extra kindness right now! Studies have shown, successful, and simple self care start with a sensory component- you know, the stuff you were so focused on researching for your toddler. Engage with something you can see, hear, smell, touch, or taste! Whether it’s a photo of
your vegetable garden from last year, your favorite podcast, lavender essential oil, a soft blanket, or an ice cream cone. Studies have further shown cold sensations can aid anxiety, reducing overwhelming feelings or impulsive actions.

Find your space! This cannot be stressed enough. Allowing yourself a comforting space to unwind and unload and practice self care, especially during this time where space is of the essence can truly make an impact on your mental health. These spaces can be as simple as a cozy corner of the couch, or a backyard hammock.

Spend time with your children; expect behavioral issues and respond gently and effectively. Just as you, children thrive on regular routine, and prediction to feel safe. Continue to check in with your children, and allow for a “safe place” to unload emotion. Children historically struggle to endorse emotions verbally, therefore pay extra attention to behaviors. Provide reassurance and validation to their concerns, aid with homework as you can, and stick to a schedule. Provide as much certainty in this uncertain time as you can.

Be good, and see the good. Help others as you can- support small businesses, front line workers, reach out to assist the elderly, isolated, and those with poor supports at this time. Understand the struggles of co-parenting and parenting at this time, and develop a parenting schedule while rotating duties and emotionally checking in to ensure the physical and emotional load of isolation is well managed at this time. A kind reminder that this may be the times where your parenting partner requires extra support, and roles may fluctuate from 50-50. Remember, we cannot control the
circumstances, but we can control how we respond and manage.

It seems news articles are being issued hourly, and information changes rapidly. Find a trusted resource to relay on for a daily update, and set a daily time limit on how much you consume.

Utilize your supports! Many doctors, counselors, psychiatrists and several community based supports (such as Canadian Mental Health Association, Walk in Counseling of Oxford County, Narcotics anonymous, Alcoholics anonymous) are offering support by phone or video call. HERE 24/7(Waterloo Wellington) 1-844-437-3247 and REACH OUT (Oxford) 1-866-933-2023 are local mental health, crisis and addiction services to access or explore options for support for yourself or a loved one. Other helpful mental health supports include Bounce Back Ontario and Big White Wall – which can both be accessed online for free. Parents- continue to connect with each other to share home schooling successes and failures. Local food resources can be accessed through Salvation Army or Inn out of the cold.

Although we are distant, oxford county has ensured the community remains more supported now than ever.

The uncertainty of this time can cause heightened anxieties, frustrations, and confusions. It is important to focus on what we can control, live in the moment while slowly preparing for the future, and reflect on what we have learned from this experience and how we can utilize that knowledge to promote change. A kind reminder that this pandemic is temporary, but growth is permanent.

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Tips for listing your home

We all seem to have a bit of extra time on our hands right now, and we are staring at the walls around us – which is likely our homes.

What if you had planned on selling your home this season? Or what if you find yourself with the need for something to do …anything…to keep you busy. Either one needs an answer and that is invest time and some money into your home.

With budgets being carefully considered we put together a list of projects that are affordable and will increase the value of your home. We also invited Interior Designer Patrine Frey of Patrine Frey Creative Design to give us some tips.(

List of simple tasks to invest in:

  1. Paint fresh new colours ( neutrals best)
  2. Update cabinet hardware throughout house
  3. Street appeal matters – cleaning up the front lawn, placing coloured cushions on a chair or bench, hanging a seasonal wreath, clean driveway and sidewalk etc.
  4. New lighting or clean existing hanging lights.
  5. Updating the electrical covers and light switch covers throughout the house.
  6. Organizing linen closets and all closets to make them more organized and spacious.
  7. Wash the windows inside and out. Don’t forget the screens!
  8. Paint front door for a fresh new look

Another great idea is to tour your home and check off these tasks before selling:

  • updating the panel with an certified electrician and update the breaker labels if necessary
  • test the breakers
  • change out the furnace filter
  • clean out dryer vent inside the dryer and the venting outside
  • check the gas fireplace for the pilot light.
  • Make sure the attic is getting proper ventilation.
  • Turn A/C on to check its working.
  • Hard water can erode your faucets and shower heads so consider giving them a clean.

From our friend Patrine Frey

If Listing Your Home this Spring – Here are my thoughts!

Step 1
Emotionally detaching from your home may be difficult. It’s hard to realize your house is just a structure that will be filled by other people but you made it your home by living there. Your next house will be your next home.

Step 2
Lighting makes a huge difference in how a home looks to a prospective buyer. It’s really important to upgrade dated fixtures. Letting the light in for example really shows off your fixtures. You need to look at every room in your home and ensure the lighting is doing the work for you.

Step 3
Get all your paperwork ready regarding utility bills, renovations details, warranties, rental contracts etc. This will be important for your real estate agent as potential buyers will want to know the details of these.

Step 4
Start de-cluttering – one room at a time, starting with the bathroom.
Remove all toiletries you have visual. Put them in a basket & bring out when needed. Buy some white towels, put them in a basket, bring them out and hang them in place of your daily ones, for a showing or when photos are getting taken. Look around with a critical eye – would an upgrade of faucets make the space more appealing, is the space hyper-clean. Even if you can’t upgrade your bathroom make it super clean and with a minimalistic style, it will appear so much better.  A real quick fix is towel racks and toilet paper holders.

Step 5
The kitchen is the number one space most prospects are interested in. De-cluttering the countertops is so important. Only decorative items or two in these spaces. Do a spring clean inside the cupboards and wipe down the outsides.
Have a hard look at your appliances, are they good shape, are you keeping them? If you plan for these to be part of the sale then, they need to look great, no items stuck on the fridge.
Look at your facets could they be upgraded?  Could your kitchen walls use refresh paint? Always a neutral colour.
Is the floor in great shape? Are the counter surfaces in great shape? This space is where you could do a mini-renovation with a good return on investment. If you can manage it the best place to spend money is counters and floors.

Step 6
Living/dining rooms/great rooms
All of these spaces fall under the same view. It’s important that these spaces look spacious.
Remove extra furniture and furnishings, then leave what you believe is the “prettiest” and most useful. Take down personal pictures & the cluttered artworks.
Make sure the windows are clean and window treatments are in good shape.
Refresh walls with a neutral colour if needed.
Add fresh flowers as a decorative touch. Have a real discerning eye for the shape of the flooring. This is another space where an upgrade would return the investment.

Step 7
Every closet in the home must be de-cluttered. Every prospect opens closet doors. The storage space must look ample enough. So leave them half empty. You are moving so packing away what you do not need is smart.

Step 8
Your entrance to your home sets the tone for the buyer. They say a prospective buyer will form an opinion within 15 seconds of entering a home. You will want the initial reaction positive as soon as anyone enters. Make sure the space is open and clean – no clutter. The walls are freshened up with a neutral paint colour, the flooring is in excellent shape. The coat closet should be attractive & inviting. The lighting is bright & attractive.

Step 9
The lower level of your home, finished or unfinished needs to as de-cluttered as possible – the idea is to have the spaces as open visually as possible, the lighting perfect, the walls if painted in excellent shape. Flooring clean & I’m good repair. Remember prospective buyers will see your home first in pictures. What they are looking at is the space not your furniture, remember it is the shape of the structure that matters.

Step 10
The bedrooms – make sure the bed coverings are beautiful, simple & always made. Decorative pillows would be amazing. The bedrooms always look better with a made bed. The rest of the space only needs minimal furnishings, night stands & dressers cleaned off with only light fixtures or flowers. Windows clean & window treatments in excellent shape.  Lighting needs to be bright to show the space.

Step 11
The curb appeal matters. Take a real look from the street view of your home. Make sure your front door is in amazing shape, paint wise. The door handles are in good repair. Clean up your garden area, no matter what season. Your front door landing needs to be inviting, a simple pretty container plant is preferred, makes the space look uncluttered.
Your real estate agent will always be there to help you with getting for a home in selling shape. They may suggest a home stager, but always remember the professionals who you are working with are there to help you realize the best value for your home.

When you are ready to list, be sure to contact me for more help as we navigate this unprecedented time together. Also, check out my Virtual Services page on my website where I showcase how I showcase your property Virtually.