top of page - Real Advice With Rita: Line of Credit, Flowers and Negotiations

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Rita is back with answers to your décor, real estate, and general home questions. Do you have something you want to ask? Send it to for a chance to have it answered in an upcoming article!

Hi Rita, I want to buy a house. I have almost $60,000 in savings but my husband has a loan and a line of credit. Can we still get approved for a mortgage or will my husband need to clear his line of credit first before we can get pre-approved? -Savvy Saver

Hi Saver,

You’ve accumulated quite the savings! That will be a great contribution to your down payment and closing costs when you’re ready to buy.

Before you head to the bank (or your lender of choice), I recommend using the Affordability Calculator to get an idea of how much you can realistically afford. The calculator considers several factors, including debt payments, when providing you with an estimate.

This will give you a better understanding of where you stand financially before applying for a pre-approval. You may also want to shop around for a mortgage broker. Mortgage brokers and specialists have the tools and knowledge at their fingertips to help borrowers make informed decisions about their home financing.

There are different types of mortgage lenders, and each has different qualifications a borrower must meet to qualify. For example, B lenders offer a lower barrier for borrowers who may not qualify through an A lender due to lacklustre credit history or unpredictable income. Private lenders fall outside of the regulated sector and tend to have lower qualification rates compared to A and B lenders.

Regardless of which type of lender you go with, they will assess your credit score and history, employment, down payment, and other qualifications to determine how much of a loan you qualify for. They’ll also review your debt ratio to see how much debt you (and your partner) currently have and how well situated you are to pay it off.

Depending on the lender, and the type of lender, the line of credit and loan may have more or less of an impact on your ability to get a pre-approval.

Dear Rita, My garden is my pride and joy; however, my home has become too much for me and I’ve decided to downsize. Can I take some of my plants with me when I sell? -Gardener Grandma

Hi Gardener,

While your garden may be green, this situation is a bit of a grey area.

There are two scenarios when you can take your plants with you when you sell your home.

  1. If your flowers are growing in a pot or planter.

  2. If you’ve included that you’re removing certain plants in your sale agreement.

Flowers that are planted in the ground are typically considered a permanent part of the property (you can’t remove them without changing or damaging the landscaping) and would be considered a fixture and part of the transaction. Plants can be looked at in the same way as many other fixtures such as chandeliers, mirrors installed in bathrooms or central air conditioning.

If there are certain plants or landscaping features you know you want to take with you, it’s best to be up front about those in the listing. Start by discussing all chattel and/or fixtures with your REALTOR®. You’ll want to be specific, especially when documenting the items that aren’t included in a sale agreement. Don’t just say “plants”. You’ll want to say, “the yellow rose bush, approximately 65 centimetres tall, on the right side of the front door,” for example. You may also want to photograph the plants you’d like to remove.

There can be disputes over what constitutes a chattel and what constitutes a fixture. Thorough documentation can avoid any confusion.

Good luck and happy gardening!

Hi Rita, I’ve never bought a house before. I’ve heard people talk about the negotiation process. Is money the only thing people are fighting over? -Negotiation Naive

Hi Naive, Money isn’t everything. While it’s certainly important, it’s only one factor of the home buying/selling process. There are a lot of things a seller can consider when looking at offers for their house. Putting in the highest offer doesn’t always guarantee the home will be yours. Things like occupancy dates, fixtures, chattel could all affect how your offer is received. Unfortunately, it may be hard to know what the sticking points are until you’re in the middle of it. Depending on current market conditions you may be able to negotiate more. Your REALTOR® will be able to advise if you’re in a buyer or seller’s market and what that means for your negotiating power. Home inspection and financing conditions are popular terms to include. In some cases, you may have requested something be fixed or replaced as part of your offer, but you may need to waive that to make your offer more attractive. If you’re competing with other buyers, your REALTOR® might suggest being flexible with some conditions but going in with your best offer first. Some buyers also opt to include a personal letter with their offer. If you go this route, just be sure to proofread carefully before giving it to your REALTOR® (always go through your REALTOR® for any communication with a seller, especially with a personal letter). A good real estate lawyer is also essential in the buying and selling process. You’ll want to use them in combination with a REALTOR® to ensure you fully understand all the jargon, contracts, conditions and clauses mean.

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The article above is for information purposes and is not legal advice or financial advice, nor a substitute for legal counsel.


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