Using the CHIP Reverse Mortgage to Supplement your RRIF.

General George Macris 28 Jul

As you near retirement age, the years of diligently contributing to RRSPs are about to pay off. Understanding Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) becomes crucial, especially if you have registered retirement savings or pension plans.

What exactly is a RRIF?

Unlike a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), which serves as a retirement savings account where you contribute money, a RRIF allows you to take out a certain amount each year once you reach a certain age.

Now, let’s explore how a RRIF works.

When you turn 71, the money you’ve saved and invested in your RRSP accounts must be moved into a RRIF, an annuity, or withdrawn as a lump sum. If your spouse is younger, you can delay this until their 71st birthday.

What’s the advantage to convert to a RRIF?

A RRIF acts as a tax-deferred retirement income fund, which means any interest or earnings generated within the account won’t be taxed until you withdraw them. However, when you take money out of your RRIF, it becomes taxable income. Each year, you must withdraw a minimum amount from the RRIF.

If you need funds before reaching 71, you can convert your RRSP into a RRIF and start withdrawing money immediately. However, there are some important tax considerations to be aware of:

  1. Taxes on Withdrawals: The amounts you withdraw will be taxed, but the tax will be based on the minimum required withdrawal and any additional amount you take out.
  2. Minimum Withdrawal: Once your RRSP is converted into a RRIF, you must withdraw a minimum amount each year, determined by the government and based on age. For instance, at 64 years old, you must withdraw 4% of your total investments; at 71, it increases to 5.28%, and at 85, it goes up to 8.51%.
  3. Withholding Tax: A withholding tax will apply if you withdraw more than the minimum required amount. The withholding tax rates are 10% for amounts up to $5,000, 20% for between $5,000 and $15,000, and 30% for payments over $15,000.

What if I don’t have enough in my RRIF to generate sufficient retirement income or if I outlive my RRIF?: The CHIP Reverse Mortgage Option

The CHIP Reverse Mortgage allows you to access tax-free cash from the equity you’ve accumulated in your home. Using this money as retirement income allows you to preserve your investments for an extended period while enjoying an improved cash flow. Additionally, there are no monthly mortgage payments with the CHIP Reverse Mortgage, helping you increase your monthly cash flow even more.

Contact your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage expert today to discover how the CHIP Reverse Mortgage can help you enhance your retirement income.

Home Renovations – Reality vs Television.

General George Macris 28 Jul


Watching home renovation shows is inspiring, often providing us with ideas for our own spaces. However, there is a bit of a downside when it comes to these shows – they can be misleading when it comes to the renovation process.

While we may want to recreate something from one of these shows, without knowing all of the ins and outs, you could be starting a project you’re not ready for! In order to sort out what is real and what is television magic, we have broken down some of the components that go along with a renovation.

Budget & Financing

When it comes to most home renovation shows, there is little to no discussion regarding finances. In reality, if you’re looking to renovate your home you would want to discuss with your mortgage broker or a mortgage expert from Dominion Lending Centres to determine your options.

Some of the ways that you can finance a renovation include:

  1. Mortgage Refinancing: This option will allow you to borrow up to 80% of your home’s appraised value (less any outstanding mortgage balance). Refinancing your mortgage (if approved) will provide you to access funds immediately and tends to have lower interest rates than a standard credit card or personal loan. This is best suited to large-scale renovations or remodels. You will want to refinance at the end of the mortgage term whenever possible to avoid breaking your mortgage and owing penalties.
  2. Purchase Plus Improvements Mortgage: This is a great option if you haven’t yet bought that home and will allow you to finance your renovation at the time of purchase. This type of mortgage is available to assist buyers with making simple upgrades, not conducting major renovations where structural modifications are made. Simple renovations include paint, flooring, windows, a hot-water tank, a new furnace, kitchen updates, bathroom updates, a new roof, basement finishing, and more. Depending on your mortgage, the Purchase Plus Improvements (PPI) product can allow you to borrow between 10% and 20% of the initial value for renovations.
  3. Financing Improvements Upon Purchase: Similarly to Purchase Plus Improvements, this option allows you to finance your renovation project at the time of a new purchase by adding the estimated costs to your mortgage with CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance. You can obtain financing with only a 5% down payment for both the purchase of your home and the renovations for up to 95% of the value after renovations! Plus, there are no additional fees or premiums and you can earn added rebates for energy-saving renos.
  4. Line of Credit or Home Equity Loans: Lastly, you always have the option of utilizing a secured line of credit or home equity loan to pay for your renovation. Securing your renovation loan against the equity in your home can typically be up to 80% of the property value; accessible at any time. This will typically provide lower interest than non-secured financing and allows you to access funds at any time.

Once you have your source of renovation financing, you need to create a budget. On television, it is very hard to determine whether a renovation budget that is listed is accurate. In fact, in some cases the network or show itself even adds to the budget behind the scenes! As viewers, we are simply not aware of what has been factored into those numbers by the television producers such as design fees, permits, labour, material costs, promotional giveaways, etc.

Fortunately, when it comes to reality, you can easily create a realistic budget for your renovation by simply doing some research and requesting quotes. Working with a professional contractor in these cases is crucial to ensure all the work done is to code and to avoid any surprises down the line. A professional can also help you create a detailed budget and timeline for your project so you know what to expect. During all stages of the renovation from picking out paint and new tile to labour costs, be sure to consult your budget. You don’t want to be partway through your renovation only to find out that you’ve run out of money due to making changes or selecting more expensive materials!

Renovation Timeline

Perhaps one of the least realistic aspects of home renovation shows is the timeline. It can seem like just a few short weeks to re-do your entire kitchen, but in reality, that timeline is often stretched.

Working with your contractor to create a realistic timeline based on your goals will help make the process less stressful and ensure you know what you’re getting into BEFORE you start.

Keep in mind, just because you’re ready to renovate, that doesn’t mean a contractor will be available. You may also run into snags such as material shortages or other issues so keep that in mind when you are planning out your timeline.

Planning & Design

When it comes to home renovation television, there is often an interior designer who comes in and makes decisions without the clients; in reality, that is not the case. When it comes to a real-life renovation, all the changes would be well-documented and planned out in advance with the clients (or by the client). In addition, unlike television shows that don’t show certain aspects, you will need to ensure you get building permits and inspections done throughout your renovation. While it can be time-consuming, this is extra important to ensure that your renovation is legal and therefore covered by insurance should anything happen.

While doing a home renovation in real life is different from television, with the right planning and support team for financing and contracting, you can bring your vision to life! Contact your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage expert to get started.

RESP a No-Brainer when it Comes to Education Savings.

General George Macris 28 Jul

Another school year is over, and we all know what that means…. your kids have inched another year closer to graduation and in many cases, heading off to another “school” to further their education and skills. Whether it’s university, career college or vocational school, it would be nice to be in a position to help them out with the cost, but it isn’t going to be cheap!

A quick look at this list shows that just the tuition fee for a Canadian university now runs $5000 to $10,000 per year. That could add up to $40K by graduation and you still haven’t bought books or other supplies or paid for food and a place to live if they are leaving the nest to pursue that education.

The good news is that there is a no-risk education savings account that pays a 20% dividend for the first year on new deposits, and you can get that same dividend offer every year for 14 years! Your scam-alert detector may be going off full blast, but it’s true, and it is called a Registered Education Savings Plan or RESP.

You may have noticed the word “registered” in the name and just like an RRSP or TFSA, it isn’t a regular savings account. There are government controls on how much you can deposit in the account and how and where the beneficiary (your kids) can spend the money. However, it is free and easy to open one and the rules and regulations are not that onerous given the benefits. Some of the need-to-know facts are:

  • Contributions up to $2500 annually receive a 20% Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) from the federal government regardless of your income level (low-income earners may also qualify for additional grants). CESG grants are deposited annually into the RESP and can be invested along with the rest of the funds. Some provinces offer additional education savings programs that work in conjunction with an RESP.
  • Just like an RRSP or TFSA, the funds in the account can be invested — individual stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, GICs, cash, bonds, etc. This allows the fund to grow over time and you can adjust the risk to suit your preference and timeline to when your kids will need the money.
  • It isn’t just for university – colleges, technical training institutions, correspondence courses, even out of country programs often qualify.
  • The CESG is only for kids under 18 and there is a lifetime maximum of $7200. Best to start early if you want to max out the benefits, although there are some rules to catch-up if you get started late.
  • There are no tax deductions for contributions (unlike an RRSP), but there is no tax on your original contributions when withdrawn. Grant funds and any profits from investments are considered income and taxable when withdrawn, but students normally have a low tax rate so the effects can be minimal.
  • The funds can be used for a wide variety of education related expenses – food, transportation, tuition, books, computers… and a lot more!

There is a ton of information out there on the ins and outs of RESPs and it can get a little tricky if you have a couple of kids. A good place to start is the federal government RESP website.

Being knowledgeable about how the program works is the place to start, but it won’t help you find the $2500/year (per child) you need to max out the grant opportunities. As mentioned, you can catch up with contributions down the road (and get that free grant money) as your income grows, but you will shorten the timeframe for growing your investments in the account. One convenient option is to tap a portion of your monthly CCB payment — even $100 month would get you $250/year in CESG grants.

Investing in education/training is usually money well spent and delivers a solid return, and a RESP is a complete no-brainer when it comes to paying for that education. The earlier you get going with one the better it will work out, and the more relief you will feel with every passing school year.

Strata Insurance: The Importance of Deductible Coverage.

General George Macris 28 Jul


Strata insurance has been steadily rising across Canada, but many homeowners are unaware of changes to their policies. In some areas, deductibles are doubling (or even tripling!), which can result in extremely high costs if you are not updating your individual policy.

To ensure that you remain up-to-date with your strata insurance policies, it is vital that homeowners living within a strata building check with their strata management for a copy of the most recent insurance policy. While it is good to check over the entire policy, a few key areas to review are your deductibles and comparing your coverage with your individual homeowner policy to ensure all gaps are filled.

Unfortunately, many homeowners within strata buildings do not realize the importance of having individual coverage. Typically, strata insurance covers the building itself. This means that, in the event of an accident, such as a fire or flood, the building can be re-established. Unfortunately many homeowners think this is enough coverage, but it is equally important to ensure that you have your own individual homeowners insurance policy.

The purpose of an individual policy is to help to protect the contents of your apartment, townhouse or condo in the event of an accident. This means that any upgrades you made to your unit would be covered, as well as your belongings. More importantly, however, is these policies also serve to fill in the cost gap relating to the strata building deductible.

Historically, deductibles in strata managed buildings averaged $25,000. This means that, in the event of an accident (flooding, fire, etc.), you would need to pay $25,000 upfront to have the repairs made. However, as the costs of strata insurance increases across the country, these deductibles are changing.

For many homeowners, there has been no change to the insurance cost or strata fees, leaving them unaware of any adjustments to their policy. Instead, the changes are being made directly to the deductible to cover the increased costs. In fact, in some cases the deductibles are doubling or even tripling, leaving homeowners with a hefty bill in the case of insurance coverage. Instead of having a $25,000 deductible, many homeowners are seeing this increase up to $250,000.

With so many increases to various fees and changes to policies within strata organizations, it has become even more important to maintain vigilance and be aware of any changes to your strata policies. Typically, these are shared with homeowners via meeting minutes and e-mails which every homeowner in a strata building should have access to.

If you receive any updates from your strata management, you must be sure to review them. Always take your strata and individual policy to an insurance agent to ensure you are aware of your coverage and that your individual homeowner’s policy is working in your favor. Investment property owners especially need to check their existing deductible against the updated deductible and insurance policies to avoid any future issues.

What’s being done about title fraud?

General George Macris 28 Jul


Your home is one of the greatest investments you’ll make in life. The idea of something happening to it is one of the worst images you can have as a homeowner. You can protect your property from damage or even break-ins, but identity thieves can threaten your ownership.

Title fraud can leave you out tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Depending on what the fraudster is after, you could lose your equity, or even your home.

FCT is committed to protecting homeowners by catching fraud before it happens, providing education on fraud prevention, and stepping in to prevent losses if a scam succeeds.

a quick breakdown of title fraud

Title fraud starts with stealing a homeowner’s identity, then follows one of two main paths:


  • Someone impersonates a homeowner to sell their property.
  • To the innocent buyer, it looks like a regular home sale. The “seller” often has property access as a tenant or AirBnB guest and can show buyers around.
  • The fraudster disappears after a quick sale, usually for below market value.
  • The homeowner often learns about the fraud when the buyer attempts to move in.

Depending on where you live, what happens next can be different: In B.C., the innocent buyer gets to keep the house, while in Ontario, the homeowner gets to keep it. In either scenario, someone is left with no home and without the equity to buy another.


  • Someone impersonates a homeowner to take out a mortgage on their property.
  • To the lender, it just looks like the homeowner wants to refinance or take out some home equity.
  • The fraudster walks away with the money, sometimes making a few payments on the new mortgage to cover their tracks.
  • The homeowner often learns about the fraud when the fraudulent mortgage goes into delinquency and the lender starts to take action.

Title fraud fact: Did you know that seniors are especially vulnerable to title fraud?

If you’re the homeowner, you can’t sell your property or take any equity out of it until your title is restored. This usually means tens of thousands in fees.

An underwriter at FCT recently caught an attempted mortgage title fraud in a town near Calgary. After spotting an issue with one piece of ID in a routine refinance deal, she flagged it with the team’s Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), who investigated and confirmed the fraud. Someone was pretending to be the homeowner and taking $400,000 out of the property. We put a stop to that deal.

how is fct protecting homeowners?

To FCT, being protected means having peace of mind. Here are just some of the ways we’re making sure homeowners have that:


Our underwriting team identified $350 million in suspicious transactions in 2022, from residential deals alone. The team monitors for the red flags we’ve identified over three decades of experience, and prevent hundreds of millions in losses every year.


We aren’t the only ones working to protect consumers. Lending and legal professionals across Canada are stepping up to educate themselves about title fraud and how to help prevent it. We provide free seminars, articles and videos to both professionals and the public—the more everyone knows about title fraud, the harder it gets for the fraudsters.


When FCT looks at a deal, it’s because a lender, legal professional, or homebuyer wanted to protect it with title insurance. That protection means that the buck stops with us. If we don’t catch a fraudulent deal before it goes through, we’re the ones who pay for it, not you.

Beyond the coverage, every policy we issue carries a duty to defend. That means if there’s a possible fraud, we step in to navigate the process on your behalf. We take on the work and costs it takes to make you whole, hiring investigators, retaining counsel and even going to court so that you don’t have to.

The threat of fraud is on the rise, but you don’t have to face it alone. Learn more about title fraud by following the links in this article, and if you don’t have title insurance yet, get protected now. It takes minutes to do, and lasts for as long as you own your home.

Insurance by FCT Insurance Company Ltd. Services by First Canadian Title Company Limited. The services company does not provide insurance products. This material is intended to provide general information only. For specific coverage and exclusions, refer to the applicable policy. Copies are available upon request. Some products/services may vary by province. Prices and products/services offered are subject to change without notice.

What is Alternative Lending?

General George Macris 28 Jul

When traditional lenders (such as banks or credit unions) deny mortgage financing, it can be easy to feel discouraged. However, it is important to remember that there is always an alternative!

If you’re seeking a mortgage, but your application doesn’t fit into the box of the big traditional institutions, you’ll find yourself in what’s commonly referred to in the industry as the “Alternative-A” or “B” lending space. These lenders come in three classifications:

  • Alt A lenders consist of banks, trust companies and monoline lenders. These are large institutional lenders that are regulated both provincially and federally, but have products that may speak to consumers who require broader qualifying criteria to obtain a mortgage.
  • MICs (Mortgage Investment Companies) are much like Alt A lender but are organized in accordance with the Income Tax Act with an incorporated lending company consisting of a group of individual shareholder investors that pool money together to lend out on mortgages. These lenders follow individual qualifying lending criteria but tend to operate with an even broader qualifying regime.
  • Private Lenders are typically individual investors who lend their own personal funds but can sometimes also be a company formed specifically to lend money for mortgages that carry a higher risk of default relative to a borrower’s situation.  These types of lenders are generally unregulated and tend to cater to those with a higher risk profile.

All classifications noted above price to risk when it comes to a mortgage. The more broad the guidelines are for a particular mortgage contract, the more risk the lender assumes. This in turn will yield a higher cost to the borrower typically in the form of a higher interest rate.

Before considering an alternative mortgage, here are some questions you should ask yourself:

  1. What issue is keeping me from qualifying for a traditional “A” mortgage today?
  2. How long will it take me to correct this issue and qualify for a traditional lender mortgage?
  3. How much do I have to improve my credit situation or score?
  4. How much do I currently have available as a down payment?
  5. Am I willing to wait until I can qualify for a regular mortgage, or do I want/need to get into a certain home today?
  6. Is this mortgage sustainable? Can I afford the larger interest rate?
  7. Can I exit this lender down the road in the event the lender does not renew or I cannot afford this alternative option much longer?

If you are someone who is ready to go ahead with an alternative mortgage due to a weakercredit score, or you don’t want to wait until you’re able to qualify with a traditional lender, these are some additional questions to ask when reviewing an alternative mortgage product:

  1. How high is the interest rate? What are the fees involved and are these fees paid from the proceeds, added to the balance or paid out of pocket
  2. What is the penalty for missed mortgage payments? How are they calculated? What is the cost to get out of the mortgage altogether?
  3. Is there a prepayment privilege? For example, are you able to avoid penalties if you give the lender a higher mortgage payment once a month?
  4. What is the cost of each monthly mortgage payment?
  5. What happens at the end of the term. Is a renewal an option and what are the costs to renew if applicable
  6. What is the fine print?

When it comes to the alternative lending space, things can get complex. Contact a DLC mortgage expert today if you’re considering an alternative lender and we can help you source out various mortgage products, as well as review the rates and terms to ensure it is the best fit.

What insurance protection does your new home need?.

General George Macris 28 Jul

With interest rate hikes on pause, more buyers are coming off the sidelines and looking to enter the market. Prices are high, so protecting your investment and your home is more important than ever.

What insurance will you need to protect your new home? A quick Google search will turn up entries for title insurance, as well as for home insurance. They each protect consumers, but from very different things.  Here’s a quick breakdown on each type of insurance and why properly protecting yourself takes both:

title insurance


Title insurance protects your right to own your property. It deals with hidden issues your home may have, as well as future risks like fraud. This is just some of what title insurance covers:

  • Title defects that can keep you from selling,
  • Title fraud and home title theft,
  • Encroachment and access issues,
  • Tax arrears and unpermitted work from previous owners.

Want to know more about title insurance coverage?


You only pay once for title insurance, usually between $150—$800, depending on where your home is and how much you bought it for. There are no monthly or annual payments, and your coverage lasts for as long as you or your heirs have an interest in the property.

home insurance


Home insurance covers four main things:

  • Damage to your home or other structures on the property,
  • Lost, damaged or stolen valuables, depending on your policy,
  • Liability for accidents or injuries that happen on your property,
  • Losing use of your home because of an event covered by your home insurance (usually to do with damage to the home).


It varies, but the average cost for home insurance in Canada is currently a little less than $1,000 per year.1 Your cost can change from year to year if you switch providers or update your coverage. Many home insurance policies also give you the option to purchase additional coverage, like flood protection, which increases your premiums.

which do you need, home insurance or title insurance?

They cover very different things, so you need both. It’s the only way to protect both your home itself and your ownership of it.

  • Title insurance doesn’t cover most property damage, lost or stolen items, or medical/injury liability.
  • Home insurance doesn’t cover fraud, back taxes, or the City forcing you to alter or remove structures on your property.


A north Ontario homeowner and her neighbour had discovered that her water and sewage lines didn’t connect to her street. Instead, they connected to the next street over via her neighbour’s property. They forced her to relocate her water and sewer lines at huge expense.

But fortunately, she had a title insurance policy in place with FCT. We stepped in to resolve the issue for her, and we were able to cover the full cost of moving her water and sewer lines.

Paid: $115,284.32

Without title insurance, where would the homeowner in that case have come up with $115,000? The risks title insurance protects you from are unpredictable and can be hugely expensive. If you don’t have title insurance and home insurance, the truth is that you’re at risk.

how can you get protected?

You can get title insurance coverage, even if you already own your home with an existing homeowner’s policy. But the best time to start protecting your new home is while you’re purchasing it. Talk to your lawyer or notary about title insurance from FCT, or learn more about residential title insurance here.


Insurance by FCT Insurance Company Ltd. Services by First Canadian Title Company Limited. The services company does not provide insurance products. This material is intended to provide general information only. For specific coverage and exclusions, refer to the applicable policy. Copies are available upon request. Some products/services may vary by province. Prices and products/services offered are subject to change without notice.

Debt Reduction Key as Interest Rates Soar.

General George Macris 28 Jul


There are lots of reasons people fall into debt but only one way out — and it requires a combination of planning, discipline, and persistence. With the rise in interest rates, there is no better time to map out an action plan to reduce your debt.

Start by gathering information about all of your debts — student loans, credit cards, lines of credit, car loans, overdue bills — everything. Make a list of all the debts with the details of the amounts owed, interest rate, and minimum monthly payments. This will help you set goals, create a timeline, and prioritize your repayments.

Your first goal is to make sure everyone gets paid the minimum amount required to avoid your debts going into arrears. Overdue bills and missed payments are going to play havoc on your credit score and it can take a lot of time and effort to rebuild.

The next step is to figure out how much more you can allocate from your current income for debt repayment. One common debt pitfall is to look at your situation and conclude that more income is the solution — and immediately start looking for ways to make extra money. While more income can obviously help you reduce debt, it shouldn’t be your first step.

The most important step is to create a realistic budget. Reducing the expense side of your monthly budget is going to free money to pay off debt much faster than pumping up your income on the top line. You need to identify areas where you can reduce expenses and channel those savings to your debt repayment fund. It’s critical to start accurately tracking your expenses and get the actual data on your spending, not just a guesstimate based on your feeling.

When it comes to who to pay first, there are two commonly used strategies for prioritizing debts: the debt avalanche method and the debt snowball method. With the avalanche method, you focus on paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first while making minimum payments on other debts. The snowball method involves paying off the smallest debts first, regardless of interest rates, and then moving on to larger debts.

From a financial perspective, the avalanche method is the best way to pay off debt, especially if the interest rate differential is large. The snowball method may improve your motivation, but it makes no sense to pay off a small home equity loan at 6% if you are carrying credit card debt at 20%!

Interest rates on credit card balances haven’t been affected by Bank of Canada rate changes (unlike other loans!), but they are already so high that in almost every case they should be the starting point for your debt reduction efforts. If you have been making payments and your credit rating is not too bad, you may be eligible for a credit card balance transfer offer with a promotional 0% interest rate for a specific period. Make sure you have a realistic plan and are disciplined before you sign up for any balance transfer options or credit card consolidation loans. They are a good option for managing credit card debt as they lower or defer the interest, but you need to stay on the payment schedule. If you have any investments (TFSA?), selling them to pay off credit card debts usually makes financial sense.

Paying off debt is a long-term commitment that requires discipline — there is no quick way out. Once you get started and see some progress, your mindset will begin to shift, and a huge weight will start to lift. Becoming debt-free or at least in a position where debt stress doesn’t consume your life will do as much for your mental health as it will for your financial health.

Understanding Mortgage Rates.

General George Macris 28 Jul


While not the only factor to look at when choosing a mortgage, interest rates continue to be one of the more prominent decision criteria with any mortgage product. Understanding how mortgage rates are determined and the differences between your typical fixed-rate and variable-rate options can help you make the best decision to suit your needs.


The  chartered  banks  set  the  prime-lending  rate  (the  rate  they  offer  their best customers). They base their decisions on the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate, because that’s the rate that influences their own borrowing. Approximately  eight  times  per  year,  the  Bank  of  Canada  makes  rate announcements that could affect your mortgage as variable  mortgage  rates  and  lines  of  credit  move  in  conjunction with the prime-lending rate. When it comes to fixed-rate mortgages, banks  use  Government  of  Canada  bonds. In the bond market, interest rates can fluctuate more often and can provide clues on where fixed mortgage rates will go next.

To put it simply: a variable-rate is based off of the current Prime Rate, and can fluctuate depending on the markets. A fixed-rate is typically tied to the world economy where the variable rate is linked to the Canadian economy. When the economy is stable, variable rates will remain low to stimulate buying.


Fixed-Rate Mortgage

First-time homebuyers and experienced homebuyers typically love the stability of a fixed rate when just entering the mortgage space.

The pros of this type of mortgage are that your payments don’t change throughout the life of the term. However, should the Prime Rate drop, you won’t be able to take advantage of potential interest savings.

Variable-Rate Mortgage

As mentioned, variable-rate mortgages are based on the Prime Rate in Canada. This means that the amount of interest you pay on your mortgage could go up or down, depending on the Prime. When considering a variable-rate mortgage, some individuals will set standard payments (based on the same mortgage at a fixed-rate). This means that, should Prime drop and interest rates lower, they would end up paying more to the principal as opposed to paying interest.

If the rates go up, they simply pay more interest instead of direct to the principal loan.

Other variable-rate mortgage holders will simply allow their payments to drop with Prime Rate decreases, or increase should the rate go up. Depending on your income and financial stability, this could be a great option to take advantage of market fluctuations.

Want to learn more about rates or need mortgage advice? Contact a DLC mortgage expert today!

Alberta title fraud caught: why expertise matters.

General George Macris 28 Jul


Think title fraud is just a risk in places like Toronto and Vancouver? Think again. FCT just prevented $400,000 of fraud in a city of 20,000.

It seemed like a standard refinance deal from a community east of Calgary, just a homeowner leveraging some of their equity. But the owner had nothing to do with the deal.

The underwriter working on the transaction spotted an issue with one of the ID pieces she received. She escalated the issue to the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) on our underwriting team. Our CFE quickly noticed more issues with the “owner’s” ID, and with the deal in general.

A fraudster had impersonated the homeowner and was trying to walk away with almost half a million dollars, leaving them with the monthly mortgage payments. We quickly put a stop to the transaction and notified the lawyers involved in the deal.

what would have happened if the fraud succeeded?

Imagine being that homeowner if there hadn’t been experts looking at the deal and asking the right questions. Restoring an owner’s title can take tens of thousands of dollars—that expense would have fallen on the owner out of nowhere. How many homeowners have enough money ready to handle that kind of emergency?

Cases like this show just how important it is to work with experts in fraud prevention on every deal. The perception that fraud is an Ontario-only threat gives fraudsters more room to maneuver in other regions. Homebuyers and real estate professionals across Canada need to stay vigilant as the rate of fraud rises.

Remember, there’s at least one fraudulent deal every week. How will you know if your deal is that attempt?

how to protect yourself against title fraud

Whether you’re a homeowner, homebuyer or legal professional, you need protection against title fraud. The consequences can be disastrous: consumers can be out tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, and without a way to compensate for that loss, the fraud poses a risk to the legal professional who conveyed the deal, as well.


The best way to protect against the consequences of fraud is to stop it in its tracks. FCT’s underwriters identified $350 million in suspicious residential transactions in 2022 alone. We have the experience and the expertise to help keep consumers and professionals alike safe.


If a fraudster succeeds, title insurance is often the only recourse to make victims whole. It can cover claims in the hundreds of thousands, and carries a duty to defend. That means FCT takes on the responsibility of resolving the situation—hiring investigators, retaining counsel and arguing the case in court if need be.

Learn more about residential title insurance.

With such a high rate of fraud, there really is no substitute for title insurance. As a legal professional, any deal that comes in could be a scam. As a homebuyer, any home listed for sale could have been listed by a fraudster.

Title fraud is rising—don’t leave yourself at risk. Rely on the experts and the protection of an existing homeowner’s policy from FCT.

Insurance by FCT Insurance Company Ltd. Services by First Canadian Title Company Limited. The services company does not provide insurance products. This material is intended to provide general information only. For specific coverage and exclusions, refer to the applicable policy. Copies are available upon request. Some products/services may vary by province. Prices and products/services offered are subject to change without notice.

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