Renovate to Navigate: Leveraging Home Improvements as a Strategy Against Low Inventories

Hey there! Dreaming of buying or selling a home in Saskatoon? Whether you're looking to step into a new home, sell your current one, or simply enhance where you live, understanding the power of renovation can be your key to success. With the current tight listing inventory, finding or creating the perfect home might require a bit of creativity.

For buyers, the challenge of finding a home that ticks all the boxes right away might seem daunting. However, purchasing a home with solid fundamentals in your desired area and renovating it to suit your tastes and needs can turn it into your dream space. It's a strategy that can unlock potential you might not have seen at first glance.

For sellers, sprucing up your property before listing can make a huge difference. Strategic renovations can not only help your home sell faster but also potentially increase its sale price. It’s about showcasing your home’s best features and making it stand out in the market.

And for those not looking to move, renovating your existing space can rejuvenate your love for your home, adding functionality, style, or even value if you decide to sell down the line.

Looking to Buy and Renovate for Personal Enjoyment or Resale?

If the perfect home seems just out of reach you might want to consider these strategies:

  • Purchase Plus Improvements - For buyers, this option allows you to add renovation costs into your mortgage, making it easier to transform an almost-right house into your ideal home from the start.

  • Government Assistance Programs - Available to both buyers and sellers, these programs offer financial support for renovations that improve energy efficiency, accessibility, and more, potentially increasing your home's appeal and value.

Enhancing Your Current Home

Looking to boost your home's value or enjoy your space more? Here are some financing options to consider:

  • Home Equity Loans and HELOCs - A great way to fund significant renovations, whether you’re aiming to increase your home's market value or just upgrade your living conditions.

  • Mortgage Refinancing - Refinancing can provide the funds for extensive renovations by tapping into your home’s increased value, allowing for a wide range of improvement projects.

Expert Guidance for Your Real Estate Journey

Choosing a realtor with construction knowledge and experience can be a game-changer. Jamie and Ross at Tait Real Estate are not just experts in the Saskatoon real estate market; they also bring a wealth of construction know-how to the table. This expertise is invaluable, offering personalized suggestions for potential modifications and renovations to make any house feel uniquely yours.

Having an agent with a background in construction means you’ll get insights into what aspects of a home you can (and cannot) renovate, along with advice on the renovations that will bring you the most value, whether you're planning to sell in the future or want to enjoy your home for years to come. They can help you see beyond a property's current state, envisioning the transformation that can turn a potential home into your dream space. This perspective is especially crucial in a market where finding a ready-to-move-in home that meets all your criteria can be challenging. With their guidance, you can make informed decisions, ensuring your investment is not just safe but also potentially more rewarding.

Financing Your Renovation Dreams

Whether you’re eyeing renovations to sell for a higher price, buying a new place to make your own, or just wanting to love your home a little more, we recommend contacting Deb Murdoch to help with all your financing needs.

Deb Murdoch
The Mortgage Group
(306) 222-7900

Together, we’ll navigate the best options to fund your renovations, aligning your projects with your financial goals.

Get in touch today, and let’s make your home dreams a reality!

🏡 Tait Real Estate - Realty Executives Saskatoon 🌟

Saskatoon's Premier Real Estate Experts

Jamie Tait
📞 Phone: 306-203-0004
📧 Email:

Ross Tait
📞 Phone: 306-230-2338
📧 Email:

🌐 Website:

Reach out today and let's make your property dreams a reality in the heart of Canada!


Bank of Canada Holds Rates again: What this means for you?

Hey there!

Just wanted to drop in with some news from the real estate world. The big headline is that the Bank of Canada's key interest rate is staying put at 5.00%. After a bunch of hikes last year, they're hitting the pause button for now.

So, what's the deal with all this? Well, the Bank's been really focused on inflation, trying to keep it from getting out of hand. They're hoping things will start to cool down, with the economy growing a bit slower this year.

Now, let's talk about what this means for you, especially if you're thinking about buying a home or you've got a mortgage. If your mortgage rate changes with the market (that's a variable-rate mortgage), there's no change for now – your rate stays the same. And if you locked in your mortgage rate (that's a fixed-rate mortgage), you're also not affected by this news.

We're keeping an eye on the next update from the Bank, which is coming up on March 6. And here's the thing – if all this talk about rates and mortgages feels a bit like a puzzle, don't worry. We’re here to help make sense of it all. Whether you're looking to buy soon or just trying to figure out how these changes might affect your plans, let's chat. We can help you understand what this means for you personally and explore your best moves in the current market.

Feel free to reach out anytime. We’re here to help you navigate the real estate world with ease.

Catch you later,

🏡 Tait Real Estate - Realty Executives Saskatoon 🌟
Saskatoon's Premier Real Estate Experts

Jamie Tait
📞 Phone: 306-203-0004
📧 Email:

Ross Tait
📞 Phone: 306-230-2338
📧 Email:

🌐 Website:

Reach out today and let's make your property dreams a reality in the heart of Canada!


Mortgages for Investment Properties – What You Need to Know

Has the idea of buying an investment property ever crossed your mind?

Maybe you’d like a place to rent out and have someone else pay some or all of your mortgage while you build equity in a tangible real estate asset, or perhaps as a home for your child to live in.

Whatever your reason, investing in an additional property (or multiple properties) can be a good way to accomplish those goals, but there are also some key considerations before you dive in.

Aside from the potential challenge of finding a good tenant, there are some financing hurdles that you should be aware of.

Mortgage Rules for Investment Properties

While there are many Canadian lenders that will finance rental properties, the Department of Finance tightened mortgage lending criteria as part of its rule changes introduced in 2016.

That included eliminating mortgage default insurance, for certain mortgage types, including those for investment properties with less than 5 units.

As a result, you need at least 20% down to purchase a non-owner-occupied rental property. If you plan to live in one of the units, then you can put down as little as 5% (5% on the valued that is less than $500,000, and 10% on the portion above that amount).

Another factor to consider is the number of units the building has. Those with four units or less are typically zoned residential, so qualifying for a mortgage would be similar to the one on your principal residence. Multi-unit properties with five or more units are generally zoned commercial and involve a different type of qualification for a commercial mortgage, which I can advise you about.

Mortgage Rates for Investment Properties

Because the best mortgage rates are generally reserved for those putting down less than 20% or more than 35% of the property value, rates for investment properties (which require at least 20% down) are sometimes priced a little bit higher.

Most lenders will also upcharge at least 10 to 20 bps more for non-owner-occupied rental properties, as they entail some additional risk. For one, if the borrower came into financial trouble, they’re more likely to prioritize payments on their principal residence before payments on their rental property.

Fixed or Variable for an Investment Property?

This is probably the most commonly asked mortgage question for homebuyers, but it’s a particularly important consideration for investment property owners.

The majority of mortgage holders in Canada opt for the stability of a fixed mortgage rate—72%, or 4.45 million borrowers, according to the latest data from Mortgage Professionals Canada.

But many investment property owners will tell you that a variable rate is the way to go thanks to the flexibility they offer. One of the biggest advantages of a variable rate is a lower prepayment penalty of just three months’ interest should you need to sell or if you want to pay down your mortgage more quickly than the annual prepayment privileges permit.

I Can Help

Everybody’s situation is unique, and no advice applies to everyone equally. If you’re interested in exploring your options relating to buying an investment property, be sure to contact me and I can review your personal situation and offer custom-tailored solutions.

Call me today!

Deb Murdoch
(306) 222-7900


Impending Mortgage Rule Changes - what you need to know!


OSFI (Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions) has propose a change to the uninsured stress test rate. OSFI regulates and supervises more than 400 federally regulated financial institutions (80% of all mortgage lenders). They do not watch over provincial credit unions and private lenders. OSFI reports to parliament through the Minister of Finance and regulates the conventional space.

Proposed change - Effective June 1st the qualifying rate for conventional (uninsured) mortgages will be based on a stress test of 5.25%

Note that Department of Finance regulates insured mortgages who currently have a stress test rate of 4.79%

Timeline - On May 7th the public was invited to provide feedback to the change. By May 24th the feedback will be taken into consideration and the final amendments will be made. As of June 1st the changes will take effect.

What does this mean to clients?

• If you have a signed accepted offer dated prior to June 1, 2021, your mortgage broker can submit and qualify using 4.79% It will not matter when the closing date is or if its insured or uninsured.

• If you have a signed accepted offer dated June 1st or later, your mortgage broker will be qualifying you using 5.25% on conventional files (20% + down payment) and 4.79% on insured files (***this may change) We are hearing whispers that the insured files will be changing to the 5.25% stress test as well but have had no confirmation of it as of yet.

When looking at the numbers and running the scenarios, there will be approximately a 5% decline in buying power.

So for instance: Teacher & research assistant have a combined income of $143K
Today: 4.79% conventional @ 30 yr AM – would qualify for $735K
June 1: 5.25% conventional @ 30 yr AM – would qualify for $700K

If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me.


Mortgage Rates Are Rising. What Does it Mean for You?

Mortgage rates have spent the better part of the past year in near-freefall, with numerous terms setting fresh record lows.

But a couple of weeks ago, rates pulled a U-turn and have been starting to climb higher ever since. And here’s why. Since the beginning of February, 5-year Canada bond yields, which typically lead fixed mortgage rates, have surged. They’ve risen nearly 60 basis points over the past month to a 12-month high.

With funding costs being pushed up and margins being squeezed, lenders could no longer hold rates at those record-low levels.

As for why bond yields are rising—which often coincides with market optimism—the answer is multi-fold.

For one, yields have been soaring south of the border, and when U.S. bond yields move, Canadian yields often follow. Given expectations for rising vaccination rates and ultimately an end to lockdown measures and a return to normalcy, many see greater inflationary pressure ahead, which usually leads to rising interest rates to keep that inflation in check.

Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem addressed rising bond yields in a speech last week. "To some extent, the back-up that we’ve seen in rates reflects the success of the fiscal stimulus, the monetary stimulus, combined with the rollout of vaccines,” he said.

Current Rate Increases Apply to Fixed Rates Only

It’s important to note that only fixed rate mortgage products are currently on the rise. Most lenders have increased rates on several key terms by anywhere from 10 to 30 basis points, again due to higher funding costs.

Variable mortgage rates, on the other hand, take their lead from prime rate, which rises and falls according to the Bank of Canada’s overnight target rate.

That rate is largely expected to remain as is for at least another year, or possibly two.

“We have committed to keeping our policy interest rate at the effective lower bound until economic slack is absorbed so that our inflation target is sustainably achieved," Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said last week. The Bank has repeated previously that it doesn’t see that happening until “into 2023.”

Keeping Things in Perspective…

Rates Are Still at Historic Lows

Despite the recent 10- to 30-bps rise in some rates that we’ve seen so far, it’s important to note that rates are still not far off their historic lows.

Consider that the lowest nationally available 5-year fixed rate was north of 3.00% just two years ago. Today, you can still find many terms available for under 2.00%.

Speak to a Mortgage Broker for More Insight

Are you considering refinancing or looking for a new mortgage and are concerned about rates trending higher? There are still plenty of options available to you, and I’d be happy to review them with you.

Call Deb Murdoch today!

Deb Murdoch

The Mortgage Group


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