Issue 1, December 2012

How Your Assets Fit into the Mortgage Process
Buyers – especially first-timers – have all sorts of questions about the mortgage process. Many of these are related to assets: what they are and how they fit into this process. Below is an overview of how assets are used when taking out a mortgage.Assets are what you, as a borrower, use to contribute to a transaction, either in the form of a down payment or closing costs. Assets must be liquid, such as cash in your bank account or a retirement plan that you can access. Money you plan to use for a down payment must have been in the bank for 90 days.

Anything you decide to use as an asset must be accompanied by complete documentation. If you are going to use bank accounts, you must account for all deposits (other than payroll deposits) that have been made in the last 90 days. This documentation may include copies of the actual deposits from your bank, accompanied by a letter of explanation; you also can use check stubs from, for example, expense cheques.

Be aware that lenders are very careful these days and they will scrutinize the documentation..

Your mortgage professional will help you decide which assets make the best sense to use.

If you’re concerned about the tax implications of cashing in stocks or bonds, you also may want to discuss this with your accountant.

‘Tis the Season…to Decorate
Holiday seasonThe holiday season is about the only time we can indulge our decorating fantasies. Whether your dream decor is over the top or simple and elegant, the following will give you ideas to make your holiday fantastic.

  • Pinterest ( is a great source for inspiration and home for the latest design trends. For example, during Halloween, we saw painted pumpkins (even gold-leafed) used as flower centerpieces. For Christmas and Hanukkah, we’ll see more clever ideas for reimagining and repurposing holiday decor items.
  • The DIY trend continues: Make your own Christmas ball garland by stringing your favorite ornaments on fish line, twine or ribbon. It works beautifully on your fireplace mantle or stair railing (but don’t forget to leave spaces for hand holds).
  • Last year the emphasis was on mercury glass, but this year there’ll be a reversion back to natural materials that focus on a central theme such as a classic winter wonderland.
  • Consider clusters of beribboned ornaments on tabletops and use flameless candles and strings of lights to brighten up darker corners.
  • Advent calendars are making a comeback – in an unexpected and fun way. Stretch a string across your fireplace and hang 24 numbered and handmade paper cones containing small gifts and candies. The kids can pull off one a day from December 1 to 24.

Deep Six the Eight-Glass Myth WaterYour mother always told you to drink eight glasses of water a day. Now it seems she’s wrong.

More and more health experts agree that drinking eight glasses of water isn’t necessary to stay hydrated.

Why not? Because we tend to get enough fluids from the foods and beverages we ingest throughout the day – even from drinks like coffee and tea.

Foods like lettuce and watermelon contain enough water to keep you satiated and hydrated for a few hours, so you don’t have to chug a glass or two with every meal to feel virtuous.

What do the experts recommend? Drink when you’re thirsty. And while it’s not a bad thing to drink eight glasses of water a day, it’s not been proven scientifically that it’s the only way to stay hydrated. Sorry, mom.

Property Insurance: What You Need to Know
When you purchase a home, you will likely have to approach a lender for financing, and your lender will require you to have property insurance in place as protection for that lender’s interests. Here’s a primer on what you need to know about homeowners’ insurance in order to be an informed consumer:Protection from the unexpected

First of all, standard homeowners insurance will help protect you from unexpected events such as a tree falling on your home. Other unexpected events can include fire, wind, hail and theft. Homeowners insurance also protects you from liability in the event someone suffers an injury while on your property. Even if you weren’t already required to have homeowners insurance, you would still want it for your own peace of mind.

You can select whether you want to be protected against everything that could potentially damage your home. If you select All Perils coverage you are pretty much covered against the vast majority of risks, excluding those that are listed in your policy. Specified Perils coverage protects you against the most common risks, which are noted in your policy.

You can reduce the cost of insurance premiums by raising the deductible.

Don’t underinsure

You can buy practically any coverage you could ever want because there is such a wide range of policies, but the standard ones cover liability, the property itself and the contents of the property.

Most homeowners policies include the term “Dwelling replacement cost.” This means that if your home was completely destroyed, you would be paid the full cost of replacing the property and its contents in today’s dollars (not deducting for depreciation).

The coverage needs to reflect the current cost of rebuilding your home, regardless of what you paid for it.
Ask your mortgage professional about lenders’ requirements for homeowners insurance.