Tag Archive for: blaire bourcier

Zoning Changes: City of Nanaimo Responds to Bill 44

Bill 44 – zoning changes

The Provincial Budget announced in April includes Bill 44-Small Scale Multi Unit Housing (SSMUH) initiative.  Municipalities in BC had to take action and announce their zoning bylaw changes by June 30, 2024.

On June 18, 2024 the City of Nanaimo’s response was announced.

What is Zoning?

Zoning refers to designations that are set out by a city or regional district that outline what is and isn’t allowed, including conditions for development and land use.  Previously, the bulk of Nanaimo’s residential zoning was R1 – this allowed for one single residential dwelling, or for two principal dwellings on certain corner lots.  R1 zoning has been changed to R5 for the most part; R5 allows for development of small scale multi family residential dwellings of up to 3-4 units.  Many homeowners can now add a secondary suite, and a carriage house.

Click here to check out this City of Nanaimo Zoning Map

Other Changes

Among the changes to zoning types, Nanaimo now recognizes suites in duplexes, row houses and townhouses.  Lot size restrictions for secondary suites are removed, and R5 zoning have decreased front yard setbacks.  Units zoned R14 Old City Low Density, allow for fourplexes, and have special density provisions if the integrity of existing homes are being retained.  For specific details and questions please contact the City of Nanaimo.

The Province’s action of SSMUH addresses the ongoing housing shortage being faced by British Columbians. With multiple programs available, homeowners should ensure they are aware of the tools and resources at their disposal.  The Secondary Suite Incentive is available for those who are building a suite in their principal residence.  This is a $40,000 forgivable loan that assists homeowners with the cost of renovations. The rental suite must be rented at below market rents for 5 years.  To find out what ‘below market rents’ means in your area, please click Here

Our May Blog Post has the basics on the Secondary Suite Initiative. 

For further details of the Suite Assistance Initiative, visit BC Housing Assistance – Suite Initiative.

Our team is here to answer any questions you have. We will help determine the options for turning equity into cashflow. Call us 250-753-2242.



2024 Federal Budget Announcements and Thirty Year Amortization Period

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced April 11, 2024 that the federal government will allow a thirty year amortization period on insured mortgages for first-time homebuyers purchasing newly built homes. Some say expanding the policy to all Canadians would help make home ownership more affordable. The change takes effect Aug. 1, 2024.

Under the current rules, with a down payment less than 20 per cent of the home price, the longest allowable amortization is 25 years. Extending amortization, to a thirty year amortization makes monthly mortgage more affordable for young Canadians who want to buy their first home.

This will allow more opportunities for home ownership and will ultimately contribute to economic revival and economic recovery. Enabling some Canadians to stop renting and become homeowners.

First Time Home Buyers Withdrawal Plan – RRSP

Freeland also announced the government will raise the amount first-time homebuyers can withdraw from their RRSPs to $60,000 from $35,000 to buy a home. That will take effect April 16, 2024 the day the federal budget is set to be released. The size of a down payment and the amount of time needed to save up for one are much larger than they used to be. Withdrawals will also have an extended timeframe for repayment.

People who have made or will make withdrawals between Jan. 1, 2022, and Dec. 31, 2025, are also getting more time to begin repayment — up to five years rather than two. 

Ottawa said the changes are meant to work in tandem with the First Home Savings Account, which it launched last year. The rules governing that program allow prospective homebuyers to start saving for up to 15 years once they open an account, with an annual $8,000 (tax deductible) deposit cap and a lifetime contribution limit of $40,000. Unlike the RRSP First Time Home Buyers Withdrawal Plan, qualified withdrawals do not require repayment and are non-taxable.

Freeland said more than 750,000 Canadians have opened an FHSA to date. While the program came online April 1 of last year, most Canadian financial institutions only began offering the account as of last summer or fall.

Ottawa also announced changes to the Canadian Mortgage Charter that will include an expectation that financial institutions offer permanent amortization relief to protect existing homeowners who meet certain eligibility criteria.

That would allow eligible homeowners to reduce their monthly mortgage payment to a number they can afford for as long as needed.





Did someone say “Second Home” ?


University will start in the Fall. For some of our kids that means seeking accommodation options.  Perhaps your looking to buy a second home to reside in for commuting purposes, or want to buy a vacation property to enjoy.  Others might want to purchase a property to move a family member closer.  Canadians are allowed to purchase a second home with minimum down payment as long as the use of the home meets certain requirements.   


The kids may have graduated high school, but that doesn’t always mean providing for them is done.  High rent amounts and cost of living make it challenging for young adults to get ahead.  Even with full time jobs.  Challenging stressful times await these young adults, going to school, having limited time to work to pay bills, living on their own for the first time and studying to achieve their education goals to secure their future employment. Having housing in place is a monumental difference maker and a stress relief, allowing them to concentrate on schooling.  The second home program can help.


The caveat to this program is that the home must be occupied by an immediate family member. Buying property for a child in University is a great example. Helping a child with housing in that way not only gives them shelter, but provides them the life lesson of homeownership.  They will learn how real estate can produce wealth, and how getting your money to work for you can be a life changer. Help your kids save on rent, while you invest in Real Estate and their future.   University is a massive expense–maybe the real estate you purchase increases in value while they are in school, offsetting the cost of their education.  The return will be worth it! 


The fast ferry is making its maiden voyage in Nanaimo.  With Vancouverites being able to commute to Nanaimo with a short sail across the ocean, housing in Nanaimo will be that much more desirable. More people who already commute that “hour plus” drive in Vancouver to their job can look at purchasing a property in Nanaimo. They could buy a home in Nanaimo as a second property.  Mortgages are possible!


Summer weather comes with heat, and the desire to be by the water. While travelling around during the summer months you might find that special spot you and the family fall in love with. You can look at purchasing a property in that area, creating family memories for generations. That summer cabin can be bought with minimum down, and you can start making your own family memories this year.  

Do you have that family member living far away who has a desire to live closer to you? Help them relocate by purchasing a property with the minimum downpayment: get the family together again. 

With as little as 5% down on the first $500,000 and 10% on the balance, a mortgage for a second home can be achieved.  Applicants are required to qualify for the mortgage without rental income on the new property.  The property has to be for your own, or a close family member’s, use.  This is not the program for a rental purchase.  


For clients in any of these categories, Kevin, Jason and Blaire would be happy to explore options.  Call 250-753-2242 or apply now or email: 






“The wise young man or wage earner of today invests his money in real estate.” -Andrew Carnegie

Mortgage Options for Self Employed

Self Employed : Mortgages

Woman working hard at her business

Business Owner? There are options for mortgage financing.

Being self employed has many advantages, like setting your own schedule and being your own boss.  You also have the advantage to write off items to decrease your taxable income.  This is great when it comes time to pay the Government, but can create challenges when you are planning on borrowing.  There is a major advantage to working with a broker who is well versed in Business for Self (BFS) programs available.

The Gold Standard for Self Employed

The most universal method to calculating self employed individuals income is by taking a 2 year average.  To achieve ideal interest rates, a 2-year average of your NET income is used.  That means your gross income is not the amount being used to calculate your capacity for a mortgage.  All write-offs and deductions are used to calculate your Net Income.  If your Net income has been declining, the lower amount is used for qualification purposes.  In an ideal world, real estate transactions would be planned a few years in advance–allowing for pre-planning with your accountant.

Traditional Lending – New to BFS

There are programs available through traditional lenders for clients who have less than 2 years self employed.  The requirements include having to have worked in the same industry as before they became self employed.  The client needs to be able to show that they have a history in the industry to qualify for this program.

Subprime Lenders

Subprime lenders offer solutions to a variety of self employed individuals.  Clients could be new to their industry, or well established but their past years net income isn’t an accurate reflection of current income.  Regardless, there are Subprime lenders who might be able to help.  Subprime lenders will complete a review of your business bank statements for the past 6-12 months. Lenders review deposits and deduct expenses to arrive at an income amount that will be used for qualification.  Having flexibility in income qualification does come with additional costs.  Interest rates are generally 1-2% higher than a traditional lender, plus there is a lender fee.

Why use a Mortgage Broker

Mortgage Brokers have access to a variety of programs and options for self-employed individuals.  If you’re working with clients who are BFS it’s important they know what’s available.  Brokers have access to multiple programs and lenders, and can ensure that client’s buying power is at it’s full potential.  This gives the client an advantage; providing them with multiple possible solutions.

For more information please call Kevin, Jason or Blaire today 250-753-2242

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