8 of the Best Home Updates to Get Your Money’s Worth

Nearly all home updates can improve the aesthetics and function of your home, but some give you more value to each of your dollar spent. We’ve compiled the best home updates that are worth your money to give you an idea which home upgrades to go for more so if you’re planning to sell in the near future.


Adding a backsplash can be as good as a remodel for your kitchen and obviously a lot cheaper. Subway tile backsplash is very popular amongst buyers too and can potentially increase a home’s asking price by as much as 6.9% according to statistics. They can also be installed in your kitchen in just a day or two.

Bathroom Vanity

The bathroom is one of the rooms that can make or break a sale. People truly appreciate bathroom vanities these days so adding one will not only give your bathroom an overhaul that has the same effect as a renovation but will also add to your home’s buyer appeal. A vanity can be installed over the weekend and relatively cheap compared to other home upgrades.

Barn Doors

Barn doors are not just for following trends but also a smart way to free up space while updating a room. They can be installed over closets or in rooms that have little floor space to begin with.


There is a huge difference between attractive functional cabinets versus new cabinets, with form and function winning most of the time. If your cabinets are already a good style, repainting or refinishing them will do. If your cabinets needs to be replaced, choose a Classic style as they tend to appeal to most people.

Energy Saving Thermostat

Using an energy-saving thermostat is not going to magically increase the resale value of your home but this is is an investment that you can benefit from in the long run in terms of potential savings on your energy bill. Some homeowners who did this reported a savings in their power bill of about $200 to $300.

Functioning Fireplace

Most home buyers still appreciate a functioning fireplace in a home. It isn’t just for beautiful holiday photos! Survey says that a functioning gas burning fireplace can increase a home’s buyer appeal, more so if you have a wood burning fireplace.


Your home’s curb appeal will not only increase your home’s resale value but will make you love your house even more (humans inherently love beautiful things). Get to planting some flowers, adding turf to your lawn, and trimming bushes. Its good weekend exercise, adds so much value for a little investment, and psychologically proven to improve your mood. What is not to love?


Painting a new color is the easiest and perhaps the cheapest way to update and freshen up a room, more so if you choose good colours with a nice contrast. Don’t get overboard though and keep most walls neutral. A pretty grey can modernise an otherwise outdated room in a jiffy!

Ready to go for the best home updates described above but need help with funds? We can help at Mortgage Central Nationwide. We’re here to assist you with mortgage refinancing, getting a second mortgage, accessing your equity via home equity loan, or applying for a private mortgage. Contact us for details!

How to Use Home Equity to Unlock Tax Deductions

Do you know that there is a way for the CRA or Canada Revenue Agency to allow something that would be akin to letting taxpayers deduct mortgage interest from their taxes just like what our American neighbours have down south?


By using the Smith Maneuver, a way to deduct from taxes created by retired financial strategist Fraser Smith from Victoria, BC two decades ago. The Smith Maneuver goes around the fact that although mortgage interest is not tax deductible in Canada, loans on investment are.

How to Use the Smith Maneuver

By making use of the Smith Maneuver, a Canadian who has some substantial non-registered investments can use the funds from the investments to purchase a residence or pay off an existing mortgage. Now, you have to note that depending on your mortgage and whether it is closed or open, paying it off before the end of term may warrant prepayment penalties. You have to keep this in mind to assess whether using the Smith Maneuver would truly benefit you.

Let’s say that the numbers are in your favour. A few days after using the Smith Maneuver, you will be able to use your property as collateral when applying for a separate loan for investing purposes. Also keep in mind that a substitute of collateral may later be agreed to between you and the lender if you decide to move houses while this is ongoing. Once this is done, you can then reinvest funds from your loan into qualified, non-registered investments and deduct the interest on the investment loan from your taxes. Be sure to stay away from RRSPs and TFSAs as those are categorized as registered investments!

How the Smith Maneuver Can Benefit You

Strategizing using the Smith Maneuver allows you to use your home equity to invest and grow your assets over time because it lets you deduct from your taxes as you continue to grow your investments. It is making your money work for you and not the other way around while still keeping everything legal. Yes, this deduction is legal and permitted by the CRA though it would be best to ensure that you still keep a record of all tax deductions just so you have complete documentation in the event that your deductions are questioned.

When Would the Smith Maneuver May Not Work for You

The Smith Maneuver isn’t the answer everyone is hoping for. In the case of Canadians who take out mortgage loans to buy rental property, the high interest rates associated (because lenders usually add a premium to homes that are not occupied by the legal owners) may not make the maneuver worth it at all. It is therefore helpful to compare mortgage interest rates and really do your research to ensure that you won’t be at the losing end.

Just to add, under CRA rules, if you’re someone who does at least half of your work from home (in your home office), you may be able to deduct some or your home office’s cost from your taxes although note that this does not allow deductions of your actual mortgage. This is still a win, right?

Do you want to know more about how some loans can help you out? Contact the mortgage experts at Mortgage Central Nationwide or apply for your own home equity loan in minutes today!

Is It Time to Leverage Your Home Equity?

If your homeowner with equity, you can cash in and start making equity in your home work for you with a home equity loan. After all, you’ve been saving for years, making your payments on time, isn’t it time you started getting something back? This kind of mortgage, also known as a second mortgage, can help you remodel your home, start a business, pay for retirement, or help you buy a new home. Under the current mortgage rules, you can burn up to 80% of your home’s worth; you may not actually borrow this much though! Here were going to talk about equity, how one of our Toronto mortgage brokers can help you, and if this is the right choice for you.

What Is a Home Equity Loan?

After years and years of payments, you’ve started building value in your home, and that’s equity. The less debt you owe on your home, the more equity you have. As Canada mortgage brokers we can help you unleash the power of your home’s hidden equity to get the money you need for your next project.

But before we talk about qualifying for a home equity loan we need to talk about loan-to-value ratios or LtV. No one will ever get 100% loan to value, even with the 720 or above credit score. You’re most likely to get between 60% and 80%, and you’ll only be able to borrow up to 80% of your home’s value – and that’s after they subtract whatever you still own it. This is why you to have as much equity available as possible.

Who Can Qualify for a Home Equity Loan?

If you have equity you can qualify for home equity loan – the trouble is finding the RIGHT but home equity loan. When you work with us as your Toronto mortgage broker you’ll understand what your real options are. We don’t work for the banks, we work for you, so you’ll know what you’re supposed to be getting. Credit, employment history, and payment history all play a role in your eligibility.

Understanding the Risks of Borrowing

Anytime you borrow against your home there will be risks. What we can do as mortgage brokers is mitigate those risks, helping you understand if now is the right time to get a second mortgage on your home. After all, what’s the point going through with it if you’re only going to end up losing your home?

Let Us Help You

Working with us will help you save time, money, sanity, most importantly your home. We’ll help you understand if your lender is on the up and up, you can find a better deal somewhere else, or if maybe you should just wait to borrow against your home. A little time can do a lot of things for your credit, and the better your credit is, the better your mortgage terms will be. Visit our home equity loans page today, and see how much you could save on your next mortgage!

Put the Equity in Your Home to Work with a Home Equity Line of Credit

With a home equity line of credit, or HELOC, you’ll finally be in the equity in your home to work. But if you were to find the lowest HELOC rates, fantastic and easy access to your credit line, and the flexibility that suits your life you’re going to need one of our Toronto mortgage brokers help you! Here were going to talk about how HELOCs work, the benefits and pitfalls, and everything else you need to know if this is the right decision for you. You want to make sure you’re getting the lowest rate possible – the lower the interest the less you have to pay!

How does a home equity line of credit work?

Instead of you having to worry about things like dealing with a large lump sum or planning far ahead, a HELOC works a little different. Open one for a rainy day and use it when you need it with the flexibility and easy access options you need. Open one right now and fund your retirement, start a business, pay your kids’ Uni tuition. Unlike a second mortgage or home equity loan, you borrow just what you need and pay it back when you use it, and borrow it again if you need to. If you never use it, you don’t have to worry about paying it back – it’s just that easy.

Who is eligible for a home equity line of credit?

If you have equity in your home, you’re eligible for a HELOC. The more equity you have the better the deal you’re going to get – but you’re also going to want to have good credit, a good job and proof to back it up. The lender needs to know that you’re going to be able to pay back this loan; if you don’t have good credit or a good income, you may still qualify for a HELOC – but you may have to pay more in less favourable terms and interest rate penalties.

Can I pay off my home equity line of credit early?

This depends on the lender you’re working with. When you choose us as your Toronto mortgage broker we’ll help you through the process. From figuring out whether you should go with Lender A that offers a great rate but a penalty if you pay early, or Lender B which offers the ability to pay it off early with a slightly higher interest rate, you might want to take Lender B.

Get the best rate with us

If you want to get the best rate on your next HELOC, you’ll want to work with us! As Canada mortgage brokers we can help you figure out how much you can save – you might even be surprised at how much it could be! If you’ve already worked with your current lender to find a HELOC, we can help you find a better rate – so give us a call today!

Also, visit our home equity line of credit page today to learn more!

Planning to Turn Your Basement into an Apartment or Income Suite? Read This!

Plenty of people are converting their basements into an apartment or income suite to be a source of extra income to help pay for mortgage and many other things. Other people simply have too much space and don’t want to waste an income opportunity. However, before you pool your resources and start construction or renovation, keep in mind that there are so many things to consider before transforming your basement into a basement apartment.

Questions You Must Ask Yourself

  • Do you really need to do this?
  • Do you know where to get funds to push through with this project?
  • Will converting your basement into an apartment be legal?
  • Will your plan for the basement apartment comply with the retrofit guidelines from the fire code?

If the answers to the questions above are all favourable, then you are on your way to having a basement apartment that can increase the overall value of your home and give you extra income. Note that doing anything illegal such as failing to comply with local fire codes and zoning laws mean that you will have to pay thousands of dollars in fine once reported to authorities such as your Town’s Building or Fire Department.

Things to Check

In the event that you will be buying a home with basement apartment that needs fixing, keep in mind that just because it is there does not necessarily mean that it is legal. You will have to check with your local Fire Department or with the city municipal standards department to find out if your baseline apartment is registered as a second unit. If this isn’t the case, then you will have to research how to secure a permit for it to be legal and comply with the fire code.

Also note that your area may or may not permit the building or conversion of a basement apartment. An example would be that basement apartments that were rented out prior to the 31st of October 1995 are considered legal although the local zoning code does not permit it.

Toronto Basement Apartment Considerations

In 2000, the City of Toronto has permitted having second suites on all semi-detached and detached homes in the city as long as they meet the following conditions:

  • The house and any additions should be at minimum 5 years old
  • The second suite must have its own bathroom and kitchen, a self-contained unit
  • The second suite cannot have a floor area that is larger than the rest of the house
  • The home with the second suite on most cases, must have a minimum of two parking spaces
  • Existing second suites should comply with the property standards, zoning standards and Fire Code in Ontario

All homes that do not meet the above must apply to the City for permission and note that other areas such as Vaughan, Mississauga, and Brampton, still do not permit second suites unless built or rented prior to November 1, 1995.

The four basic requirements of the Fire Code must also be upheld as well. They are as follows:

  • The main home and the second suite must have adequate fire separation
  • The basement apartment must have its own separate fire exit
  • Smoke alarms must be installed
  • The Electrical Safety Authority must conduct an electrical inspection to ensure that all occupants of the home and basement apartment will have access to sufficient electricity

More technicalities have to be observed but the above are the main requirements.

Should you still wish to build a basement apartment and need extra cash to fund such a renovation, or need some funds to ensure an existing suite is made legally compliant, a second mortgage or a home equity loan would surely help. Contact us to know more!

Open Up the Tap on Your Equity with a Home Equity Loan

You’ve been making timely payments all these years, isn’t it time your home started to give a little back? With the right mortgage broker (us!) and a home equity loan you can get all the money you need to consolidate your debts, send your kids to university or even start a business. With any kind of equity loan the devil is in the details and you don’t want to try and negotiate this one your own. Let’s explore how they work and why you would want one.

What is Equity?

If you don’t know, equity is how much you have invested in your home. If your mortgage(s) are completely paid off you have 100% equity. If you’re still paying off half your house you have 50% equity. You can figure out how much equity you have in your home by subtracting the remaining debt from the most recently appraised value of the home. This way you’ll be able to know exactly how much of a home equity loan you can take out.

Don’t Take Out a Large Home Equity Loan

Just because you’re approved for a big amount doesn’t mean you should actually borrow that much! You’ll want to work with one of our Toronto mortgage brokers; we understand the market, the tricks lenders pull and we’ll work hard to help you get the best equity loan possible. Every situation is different, don’t take a cookie cutter mortgage that just isn’t in your best interest. Also be careful about what the terms are before you sign on that dotted line.

Plan Ahead

When it comes to home equity loans you need to have a plan for the future. Why are you borrowing this money? Will you get some kind of return on it? Are you going to be able to pay it back? How much will you need to pay each month to pay back your home equity loan? If you don’t know the answers to these questions one of our Canada mortgage brokers can help. We have a lot of experience when it comes to home equity loans and we’ll be able to show you how to get the right loan.

Your Equity is Important

Each time you make a mortgage payment you’re socking away money for the future – that future is now. Why should you get robbed of your equity because you didn’t know any better? We’ll work with you to help you understand your rights and obligations as a borrower and to really understand what you’re signing. From finding the right mortgage lender to signing we’ll be there with you for every step of the way.

You’ve worked hard for your home and you shouldn’t have to lose it. Working with us as your Toronto mortgage broker will help you not only get the money you need now but keep your home in your future for years to come. Don’t get a bad deal, get the right deal!

Discover our home equity loans today!