May 18, 2017

Right time, wrong questions

MAY 18, 2017

Since starting The Cardinal's Nest in 2010, pretty much every conversation I have or overhear (yes, I'm listening!) can inspire me to write a blog....I type in my head while you talk, people. Today's story (a combination of characters, rolled into one couple) is no exception.

A lunch date with my self-employed artist friend, Bella, revolved around the question of whether she and her husband Bo should buy a house. She really wants to take the next step; her family is growing and so is the business that she runs out of her apartment. Life is increasingly getting crowded and, last time I checked, kids don't take up less space as they get older. #fact

The real estate conversations between Bella and Bo, however, were going nowhere. After a few questions of my own, the reason why became infinitely clear: 


They were asking the wrong questions.


While your financial preparation toward buying a home is crucial (save, pay off debt, and repeat) there are a few things that need to be sorted out first.




TIMING: In this story, it turns out Bella has less than a year to give birth to her 2nd baby...her PHD. But with life getting in the way, the expense of school, a brief, and unexpected health emergency (everyone is fine) Bella needed to ask the question of whether or not she wanted to continue on the last arduous stretch if her studies, and how long, exactly, that would take. Buying a new home at this moment might not be as practical as she had hoped - all energy and funds need to go toward getting that crisp piece of paper with PHD at the end of her name....and then, a job.

LOCATION: Bo, on the other hand, has a secure, flexible job. It's not, however, in a city where Bella can be employed to her maximum earning potential, or where they can afford a house, quite frankly. (I'll let you guess which city they might have to leave). Bo can work anywhere in the country at a high level, Bella can't, so location is the second question they need to consider, along with: How long will it take for Bo to secure a position in a city that also has employment potential for Bella? Right now, we're looking at a minimum of 9 -10 months before we start their real estate journey. We can prepare, get our ducks in line, but we need to wait to act.

EMOTIONS: Bella is comfortable with the idea of taking the next financial step to homeownership, as well as furthering her career. They are a win/win combo in her eyes. Bo, however, is not fond of risk, especially when the added element of moving away from his family is a part of the equation.

SACRIFICE: Something has to give, it always does. If they don't choose a new location, Bella may not be able to live out her full career potential. If she fulfils her dream, he may have to move away from his parents and siblings. This, understandably, is the hardest question to face, and is often the one that keeps people on hold the longest. Once answered, however, it's full speed ahead.

I certainly have my opinions on the situation but, the only opinions that matter are those of Bella and Bo. Their friends and family will not be paying their mortgage, mowing their lawn, or building their careers. The answers must come from the heart, not just their wallet, or the peanut gallery. 

We can certainly look at their current numbers and point them in the right direction, but until they figure out the timing, location, emotions, and ultimately, who will have to sacrifice what, their file will be put on pause.


What questions do YOU need to ask yourself? 


• Do I want/need to go back to school/training?
• How long will that take?
• How will that affect me financially? 
• Am I in the right city?
• Do I need to re-locate?
• Can I afford to buy/work in that location?
• Can I still live in a rental, but buy a small rental property to get the real estate ball rolling?
• How will my spouse/partner contribute/influence my decisions/location/schooling?
• What can I give up? 
• What can't I do without?
• Do I want to have a family?
• When do I want to start a family? 
• Do I have debt?
• Do I have savings?
• Has my income been steady for two years in a row, on paper?
• Do I have any unaddressed financial issues that need to be eliminated?
• Do I have any unaddressed emotional roadblocks that might interfere with the questions listed above?
• Am I basing my decisions on facts or assumptions?

There are no right or wrong answers, and there are certainly moatre questions to add to this list, but before you talk money (I know some peeps) you need to clean up your emotional house before you get the keys to the one that you will eventually buy. You'll thank yourself (and ME!!) in the end. 


Bella and Bo, let's get to work! 

Thanks for reading
and sharing on 
FACEBOOK and TWITTER

March 24, 2017

It's not about numbers, it's about habits


MARCH 24, 2017

After my first, "Hey, can you sing two songs for $100?" gigs in University, my accompanist and I headed straight to the bank to cash our HUUUUUUUGE paycheques. At the ATM I heard him whispering to himself, 

"10%....and....done."

Sitting at earls, eating away a RIDICULOUS portion of our riches, I asked him what he was whispering at the bank machine.


"Oh, that. 10%. My dad always has me put 10% of anything I earn intosavings account. It's just a habit. Don't you?


I think we all know the answer to that question. No, I was not in the habit of saving 10% of everything I earned. Clearly, he didn't know how much the beautiful shoes I was wearing for the gig had cost. I needed that entire $100. If I put 10% away, I would have less to use....


Oh man, what a slippery slope. I believed that lie. I really did. It never occurred to me that that saving was not a method of deprivation, it was a way to provide comfort and security for the future...especially not while I was sitting at earls eating a $14 hamburger and fries. And that was the 90s, people!

In a recent article, Ontario launched its plan to teach High School kids Financial Skills. 

*blink*



Applause for waking up to the obvious, gang. I think they're on the right track, of course, if only because the education system finally realized that if kids are going to grow up and make money, they should know how to use it.


My beef? They're introducing it in MATH CLASS.


While yes, financial skills involve numbers, duh, the bigger issue that I see with my adult clients, now wanting to buy a home, is HABITS. Their spending and saving habits which reveal, glaringly, what makes them comfortable and secure. And that, my friends, is a SOCIAL SKILL


On a weekly basis, I have at least one of my teenage music students go into a meltdown over an upcoming math test (during their singing lesson). They're preaching to the choir, of course. I understand where they're coming from. Math isn't their strong suit (male or female), and they are convinced that they are terrible at math. 


My concern is that these bright kids, who associate 
MATH CLASS with FAILURE
will also associate 
SAVING and SPENDING HABITS 
with how well they do in math class. 
Full. Circle. Moment.


If you teach these saving and spending skills in tangible ways that incorporate the social consequences of their actions, I think you're going to get a much more balanced generation of savers. That way, the kids who are great in English, History, Music, and Drama class don't assume that, because saving skills are taught only in math class, they'll be a failure before they start. 


Seriously, the way kids spend money is almost ENTIRELY SOCIAL, or it was for me. Nice shoes. Eating out. Fancy gadgets. Down Jackets for goodness' sake! (As a Winnipeger, that last one is hysterically funny. Being warm is "cool"...bah ha ha ha ha!) And the list goes on.


THESE are the habits that turn them into over spenders in their adult lives: Keeping up with their friends' appearances because no one will ever see their beautiful savings account. 


And, not to put too fine a point on it, but GIRLS need to learn the habit of saving MORE than BOYS. Yep. If women continue to make less than men and also live increasingly longer lives, in this economy, they will remain vulnerable for generations to come.


Not to mention the fact that often (and I have seen this now a handful of times while preparing mortgages for my hard working clients) the income statements of the female in a couple is always LESS for 2 years at a time when there is a new baby in the family. The catch 22? THAT'S when we need to prove the most income, OR MORE SAVINGS FOR THE DOWN PAYMENT, to allow this growing family (who now needs more space) to qualify for a mortgage. 


(*aside: I mention the topic of women having children and what it does to their provable income on paper NOT to blame, but solely to empower these same women and families to be prepared for ALL future financial decisions, children or not. Knowledge is power. We're good? Good.)


So, great, Ontario, you're teaching finances in the schools. Just don't fuck it up like Ottawa did by not discussing mortgage changes with, you know, the MORTGAGE INDUSTRY (???)....during a HOUSING CRISIS (!!!)....Ok. I'll stop now.


Thanks for reading and sharing!















November 05, 2016

Sitting pretty: The definition of beauty

NOV 05, 2016

I hate my couch. Yes, yes, I'm grateful I have one and I'm grateful for the roof over top of it, but if I'm being honest; it's ugly and I want a new one. A fancy one. A beautiful one so that the biggest thing in the room actually coordinates with everything else. It'll say,

"Yes, you're a grown up. You have a nice couch. You can go home now."

Growing up, I had a beautiful couch, beautiful furniture in general. Some of it was inherited but most of it was purchased by my mom who had an eye for pretty things. I also wore very nice clothes while sitting on that jazzy couch from the fancy shop. Oddly, I didn't care about having a nice couch at the time. You'd think it would have been a life long obsession the way I go on about it today. My school friends commented on how nice my "stuff" was but, sitting in it, living with the beautiful stuff, the novelty wore thin like a slip cover; its removal would expose the real story.

DEBT + BEAUTY

In our house, debt was a "hidden in plain sight" symbol of beauty. The only thing that we owned out right was the anxiety that brought us the pretty things before we could actually afford them.

Debt had many names: Holt Renfrew card, Bay card, Visa card, Eaton's card, Birks card, Sears card, and Mastercard. It was room after room of deception from our front door to the expensive soap in the bathroom. The trickiest part about managing the perception of beauty, as a child, was trying to explain why I couldn't afford to do things or go places when my outfit cost more than my friends' television sets.

Don't get me wrong - I wasn't deprived. I was provided for, handsomely, with the best of intentions every day of my life, but every corner of our beautiful apartment was filled with financial anxiety that I think we all could have done without.

Now I realise that some of you reading this are parents, and I put a lot of responsibility on my mom's shoulders when I talk about money. It's a long and complicated relationship that was/is wrapped up in a straight jacket of financial panic. She DID DO the best that she could, and today, so do I.

I could have gone either way: I could have ended up being a spender, too. Fortunately, some part of me knew that paying cash left no burden, quantity was overrated, and quality was king.

In this moment, I HAVE the means to buy a new couch, a beautiful one, with cash or credit. I could do it today - I could stop typing for 7 minutes and tell the mid-century modern collector where to deliver that one of a kind, newly reupholstered Norwegian "sitting machine." It would be beautiful. I'd Tweet out a photo and Toronto Life would say,

"Hey, you have the most amazing couch we've ever seen. We need to feature your great style on page 36 of next month's edition."

My couch and I (because I would buy new clothes to wear for the photo shoot and they would be equally as beautiful and stylish) would be famous for 9 seconds. It would be awesome. And most importantly, I'd have what I bloody well wanted.

Right?
*Cue my practical side (of which I have in abundance)
to remind me and my guests:

"Don't touch the couch, it's not paid for."

Guests always feel at ease when you tell them not to sit on the furniture, by the way. We would then all laugh, thinking it was so funny that I finally had this beautiful couch that wasn't, as I'd hoped, making me happy at all.

I would rope it off until I knew that the credit card was at zero, or my emergency fund was full again because...wait for it... it wasn't REALLY mine; it was the credit card's. It was the emergency that would happen the next week that a couch couldn't solve, and I REALLY might have needed the cash that I gave to the dude with the Mid-C-Modern treasure whose email address no longer works. It would be the slip cover of my youth all over again, hiding the ugly truth behind page 36 of a trendy magazine.

Beauty: it's awesome. I highly recommend that you pursue all things beautiful in this world, surround yourself with it, especially if it is an extension of how you share your home with friends and family. But I also recommend that beauty not come before your peace of mind.

If you can't pay it off, then it shouldn't be bought.

*goes to hug ugly old couch*
*calls roofer instead*


Thanks for reading!

October 11, 2016

What a difference a day makes

OCT 11, 2016

This Saturday I met some potential artist clients in a cozy coffee shop on the east end. They were smart, funny, talented, and wisely preparing for their future. Their awesomeness, however, isn’t the point of today’s blog; it’s the TIMING of this coffee date that established a plot twist as soon as we said, hello.

MONDAY.

Monday, October 3rd, 2016
(blissfully ignorant at a cabin without internet that morning #timing) was the day that the Government of Canada announced sweeping changes to their mortgage lending requirements. I’ve been relatively quiet about it up to this point, waiting for updates from my brokerage who are, in turn, waiting for the unusually silent lenders to react to how the new rules will affect them directly.

It’s still premature to give my final word on the situation, but I do think it’s time to start acclimatising to inevitable, albeit drastic, changes.
Leave panic at the door, move forward, and follow the rules like they have been there all along.


Easy, right?


QUALIFYING FOR A MORTGAGE
a.k.a.
AFTER MONDAY


Without going into too many of the
gory details - and there are a LOT - HOW you qualify and WHO will accept your qualifications (insert the lender here) rest in newly altered positions of power.


BEFORE MONDAY, I would have sorted out your numbers, established your maximum qualifying budget, and THEN investigated which lender would serve you best in your situation. There are always hiccups, but, the basic qualifying info remained relatively the same, regardless of the lender.

AFTER MONDAY, the BIG BANKS and the smaller MONO-LENDERS (who I prefer, actually) will not be following the same rules so, neither will your file. Automatically, the WHO (the lender) in your life will play an even bigger part in your qualifying process than ever before.

In short: some lenders will be allowed to qualify you at a lower contract rate (ie: 2.44%) on conventional deals, which gives you more buying power, and some lenders will only be allowed to qualify you at the higher benchmark rate (4.64) no matter WHAT your down payment, conventional or high ratio.

*slow blink*
silence


I know, it’s a bit much, really.

LET’S PRESS THE PAUSE BUTTON

||


Conventional Mortgages: if you are qualifying with your NET income, and you have a 20% down payment, you avoid the whopping insurance premium attached to your mortgage. If you are qualifying with your GROSS income, Conventional refers to someone who has a 35% down payment before you avoid the insurance premium.

High Ratio Mortgages: if you are qualifying with your NET income, and you have LESS than a 20% down payment, you will require an insurance premium to be added to your mortgage. If you are qualifying with your GROSS income, then it signals that you have LESS than a 35% down payment, and will also require an insurance premium to be added.

PRESS PLAY
|>

As we currently understand it, with the new rules, if you are a High Ratio file: less than 20%down (using NET income to qualify) or less than 35% down (using GROSS income to qualify) you will have to qualify at the benchmark rate of 4.64 instead of the lower, and more advantageous contract rate of, for example, 2.44% that we used BEFORE MONDAY’s announcement.

Starting on October 17th
, unless you already have a signed commitment in place on a property; no matter the lender, no matter who you are, no matter how many chocolate chip cookies you try to bribe me with (and you can TRY!) the days of qualifying at the contract rate for a fixed, high ratio mortgage are gone.

The end.
B’Bye.
Ciao.


If High Ratio sounds like your situation: save more, deduct less, get a co-signer, change your budget, change your desired location, and repeat. Or talk to me.

BUT.

BUT!!!!!!!

Let’s say you DO have a
Conventional file; you have 20% down, qualifying with your NET income; or 35% down, qualifying with your GROSS income - good for you!!! But, there is something about that property (maybe a small bachelor condo with only 400 sq. feet) or something about your file personally (a gift, low credit score, changed jobs, changed industries) that, overall, will only be accepted by lender X.

If 
lender X happens to be a mono - lender, your slam dunk down payment could be moot, and you will have to qualify at a higher benchmark rate (4.64%) eliminating your previous qualifying power at the lower contract rate, not because you don’t have enough cash, but because the lender is being held to a different standard than one of the other lenders, and passes that limitation along to you. Plot twist 101.

Well, then, why don’t I choose one of the BIG BANKS in my broker channel if they have been granted more flexible rules? 
Because the BIG BANKS might not accept the self-employed, or gifts, or you need a minimum square footage, or you need to personally guarantee that Donald Trump won’t win the American election. There are SO many boxes that need to be checked off for all lenders, I can’t just say, “let’s put you with THIS lender” because THAT lender might have a condition that you simply can’t meet. It’s a little like snakes and ladders: move ahead 5, go up the ladder, roll again, and you’re sliding back to the start. GAH!


*insert going to the fridge to see if there’s any pumpkin pie
left over from Thanksgiving*


I hope the pie helped because there’s a more detailed cause and effect summary
HERE
via First National.

My storytelling scenario (before your eyes glaze over and you unfollow me on Twitter and Facebook) touches on the more obvious, basic implications for the average Canadian (artist) home buyer.

If you fall into the other categories
(foreign buyer, rentals vs. owner occupied, capital gains tax implications, low ratio mortgage insurance, refinancing, 30-year amortisations...) we may need more than a meeting in a coffee shop to get us through the rules.


Thanks for reading...and sharing...and tweeting!
cardinalmortgages.ca



note: all opinions expressed on this blog are
my own entirely, and do not express the opinions or
views of Mortgage Brokers City.

This blog is intended to educate via the entertainment forum of a blog.
For your own, unique financial situation, contact me directly.

September 04, 2016

Bossy banter: 101

SEP 04, 2016

“Oh God...you’re going to write about us in your blog, aren’t you?”


As a matter of fact, I am!


But, fear not, awesome artist, it won’t really be about you, it’ll be about MEEEEEEEEE and the inevitable bossy banter clients can expect to hear, regardless of who they are, where they’ve come from, or where they’re going. Because while everyone’s situation is unique, and every file takes on its own personality, there are some things that you can ALL count on me asking, telling, or insisting upon when we get the mortgage ball rolling.


(See? Bossy).
Psst...

To lighten the mortgage mood -
apparently I can be edgy in my delivery, *sigh* - remember to read this with
Tina Fey’s voice as Sarah Palin in mind because that’s how it sounds in my head. You’re welcome. : D

• HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU HAVE? Please know your numbers (Income, Down payment) to the penny. $50,000 sounds great, but if in actual fact it’s only $46,500, that missing $3500 at the last second can make or break your qualifying power. Don’t fret, I’ll point you in the right direction.

• WHERE IS YOUR MONEY? Is it CASH, RRSPs, TFSAs, a GIFT, an INHERITANCE etc.? Is it in your name? Everything needs an explanation, on paper, and not all forms of money are alike. Best not to assume that you are allowed to use your RRSPs or a GIFT, you might learn too late that you’re out of luck. As well, avoid focussing on money you hope to make in the future. An exact breakdown of where your money is at right NOW will be the best way to help me help you.

• DON’T MOVE YOUR MONEY AROUND - Initially I wrote a long paragraph about why I don’t want you to move your money around (DOWN PAYMENT, RRSPs, GIFTS, INVESTMENTS etc.) until I give you the green light, but it’s that important, I’m going for the less is more approach and just sticking with: Don’t move your money around. xox, Me

HOW MUCH CAN YOU AFFORD? This is a tricky one at the very start of our conversation. I don’t expect you to know the first thing about mortgages but you’ll feel much more in charge if you have calculated how much you can afford for rent (mortgage +property taxes) and we can take it from there. I’ve been exactly where you are right now and will never encourage you to spend more than you can afford. Ask any of my clients. I’m a fiercely protective (and a bit scary) when it comes to your money.

DON’T GO HOUSE HUNTING, YET. Until I have all of the details of your finances, and we have decided upon your absolute maximum budget, don’t employ a real estate agent to go house hunting. I know, that ruins all of the fun (my job: party pooper extraordinaire) but your real estate agent will work 10x harder for you if you know your budget to the penny and are in a position to bid immediately. You’ll be happier, too. Also, it’s a courtesy to the real estate agent. They don’t get paid unless you are in a position to buy. That simple consideration will generate the good real estate karma that you really, really, really want.

DON’T LIST, IF IT DOESN’T EXIST. As artists, we live in the world of pending contracts, future gigs, and a lot of ifs and maybes. Unfortunately, unless you’re salaried, there are no future projections allowed on your file. All I can use to qualify you is what you have earned in the PAST two years, not the money that might be on the horizon. Pretty frustrating, right? But you know as well as I do how quickly a gig or contract can vanish for any number of reasons. Take it from me, you don’t want a mortgage based on the income you have yet to earn....amen.

HOW MUCH DEBT DO YOU HAVE? Nobody likes to talk about debt, but it is a necessary evil to a successful mortgage approval if you give me all the facts up front...psssst... it’ll show up on your credit bureau, regardless. No judgement, gang. I’m here to help. Full transparency is the best way to get you on the right path.

DO NOT TAKE ON NEW DEBT. If you are about to apply for a mortgage, please, PLEASE do not take on new debt during our qualifying process. Your new car, line of credit, or credit card will not help you. NOOOOOOOOO. First, your credit gets pulled (and lowered), and all the mortgage lender will see is the perfect reason not to give you money.

A PRE-APPROVAL IS NOT AN APPROVAL. Ok...*pause*... Go back and read that one over again: A pre-approval is NOT an approval. It is a RATE HOLD. That’s it. It holds the rate for you if, in fact, you are approved within the next 120 days at that particular lender. It is based on information that I put into the system, not info that I prove. It’s when we submit for an approval on a live deal (the house you just bid on) that we will have to PROVE everything. I’ll stop there because this particular topic could be a blog unto itself. Just don’t get too comfy with that piece of paper. It’s only the beginning....

PUT A 5 BUSINESS DAY FINANCING CLAUSE IN YOUR OFFER. This is a tricky one, especially in Toronto or Vancouver, because often it is a restriction the seller doesn’t want to deal with in a hot market. But, you take on a lot of risk (your deposit, namely) when you give up the time to prove your conditions (taxes, income, down payment, etc...). It’s up to you. I’ve only felt comfortable with one client waiving their conditions because they were salaried, had a LOT of cash for their down payment, and nothing unusual about their file. Even then, it was a risk, and I cannot legally guarantee anything. Self-employed folks, I’ll wrestle you to the ground if you try to sign off your 5-day financing clause before I give you the green light. (Yep, still bossy.)


I think that’s enough of my bossy banter, but you have to admit,
it’s much better using Tina Fey’s voice in your head. There’s more, MUCH more to discuss, and I’m sure my clients would even say,


“You forgot one.”

Ha! I probably did. I’m bossy, not perfect! : )

Thanks for reading, gang!

cardinalmortages.ca

note: all opinions expressed on this blog are
my own entirely, and do not express the opinions or
views of Mortgage Brokers City.

June 20, 2016

Confidence and compassion: Teaching kids about money

JUNE 20, 2016

If you had asked me where money came from when I was five years old I probably would have said, “It comes from cheques.”I knew what cheques were. I saw that when you wrote one you received things in return. I had a bank account. I had a piggy bank. What I didn’t have was a conversation, an allowance, or anything consistent or concrete that taught me anything GOOD about money...other than the fact that it was GOOD to have it.

I don’t know whether it was a generational or gender issue in my house, I suspect it was a bit of both, but the overall vibe was that money was something that happened TO YOU, like a fairly tale or tragedy, not something that you DID, MANAGED, SAVED, CONTROLLED or to which you would pay the least bit of ATTENTION.


By the time I was 8 or 9, wandering down to the ATM on a Saturday to get cash for my mom (yep, I did) I quickly saw the correlation between my mother’s mood and the remaining balance, which was always too low, and a surprise, EVERY - SINGLE - TIME.


My mom was a well-educated, well-paid spender whose financial plan was based on HOPE. Hoping that she still had some room on the overdraft. Hoping that a cheque hadn’t gone through so this face to face purchase would not go awry. In her defense, she did the only thing that she knew how to do. That’s all parents can do, I think. I see that now, at least. That was how she functioned, and that was how (more or less) I learned about money as a kid.


I have thought about many ways to address talking to kids about money but, as I’m not a parent, WHO AM I to give advice? I have no idea how parents manage to do all that they do on any given day, let alone talk to their kids about money. Being a former nanny, I know that success in a day with a toddler can sometimes only be measured by how many healthy things you were able to sneak into a smoothie because they won’t eat anything else!!!! (*exhale....5...4...3...2...1....)


So, instead of trying to come up with a master plan, I’m sharing this brief post that showed up on FaceBook from Humans of New York. It sums up what, in my mind, will instill the basic money tools that kids need to learn before anxiety ridden emotions, and real, adulthood consequences attach themselves to the almighty dollar.


“Every week I get one dollar for allowance. Then I get to choose the section where I put my dollar. There are four sections: spend, save, donate, and invest. If I put a dollar in the ‘invest section,' my parents give me two extra pennies at the end of every month. I’ve only used my 'spend section' twice! I have way over $10 in my 'invest section.' I used to have more but I took some money out and put it in my 'donate section.' We used to it to buy food for people who don’t have much money in their 'spend section.'”


That’s it.One paragraph (from the voice of a child) that can turn financial confidence and compassion into a habit. Genius.




Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 1.07.40 PM

Thank you for reading!

cardinalmortgages.ca

June 09, 2016

Mademoiselle Holt Renfrew, meet Diva of the Depot

JUNE 9, 2016

I have made it no secret that the majority of my weekends as a child were spent happily lunching & shopping with my mom and grandmother in the buzzing metropolis of Winnipeg. First stop was the 
EATON’S dining room for lunch, then we’d wander over to Holt Renfrew to visit the “family”, next up Birks, Marks & Spencer (mmmm... the salt and vinegar crisps effectively removed the roof of my mouth), and a final drop in at The Bay before our chauffeur (the bus) took us home.

I grew up as a city girl who knew more about jewellery and fine clothing than your average 7-year-old, so it never ceases to amaze me how buying a house has turned my 
“Holt Renfrew Tendencies” into “Home Depot Domination.”

Growing up, I don’t recall anyone in my household doing repairs or touch ups in the house...well...unless you include the pink surgical tape holding up the subway tiles in the corner of our shower. It was not done, taught, or expected. What I know of my grandfather, a well-dressed officer turned businessman, he wasn’t doing the repairs either and was happy to pay a professional to get the work done.


These days, my weekends usually include some form of improvement around our fixer upper. Thanks to TV, magazines, and let’s face it, Martha Stewart, I am less and less intimidated by projects around the house, and I have the pink, steel toed boots to prove it.



(yes, my tool “kit” is a shower caddy - don’t judge)

Now, would I be a home reno diva if I didn’t have a handy dandy hubby?

Probably not...or at least not as much.

But, by being a home owner (sorry, let me rephrase that: Being the payor of a mortgage) you quickly realise that learning how to do “stuff” might not be such a bad idea.We’ve done the math and if we had paid my husband and his team to do all of the labour in our home (not including materials) we would be in the high $$, $$$ range.


My point?
(this is why I suck at Twitter...talk talk talk...)


You’re never too old - or too fancy - to become a Depot Diva or Divo:


Renovation + Garden shows
YouTube “how to” videos
Pinterest
Instagram
Twitter
Blogs
Friends, Neighbours, and relatives


There are endless FREE ways to learn a new skill that you never imagined for yourself and, if I can do it, you can do it too! I’m not saying you should learn how to do it ALL (ie: electrical, plumbing or gas work) but, if you can learn how to do one thing really well, just ONE THING, you’ll feel like a million bucks every time you look at your miraculous handy work. Your wallet will feel a lot better too.


Thanks for reading!