16 May

5 ways you can kill your mortgage approval

General

Posted by: Rabinder Dhillon

So, you found your dream home, negotiated a fair price which was accepted. You supplied all the needed documentation to your mortgage broker and you are waiting for the day that you go to the lawyer’s to sign the final paperwork and pick up the keys.

All of a sudden your broker or the lawyer calls to say that there’s a problem. How could this be? Everything has been signed and conditions have been removed. What many home buyers do not realize is that your financing approval is based on the information the lender was provided at the time of the application. If there have been any changes to your financial situation, the lender is within their rights to cancel your mortgage approval. There are 5 things that can make home financing go sideways.

1 Employment – You were working for ABC company as a clerk for 5 years making $50,000 a year and just before home possession you change jobs. The lender will now ask for proof that probation for this new job is waived and new job letters and pay stubs at the very least. If you change industries they will want to see more proof that you are capable of keeping this job.
If your new job involves overtime or bonuses of any kind that vary over time, they will ask for a 2 year average which you will not be able to provide.
Another item that could ruin your chances of getting the mortgage is if you decide to change from an employee to a self-employed contractor just before possession day. Even though you are in the same industry, your employment status has changed . This is a big deal killer.

2. Debt – A week or two before your possession date, the lender will obtain a copy of your credit report and look for any changes to your debt load. Your approval was based on how much you owed on that particular date. Buying a new car or items for the new home need to be postponed until after possession of your new home.
Don’t be fooled by “Do not pay for 12 months” sales campaigns. You now owe this money regardless of when the payments start. Don’t buy a new car and don’t buy furniture for the new home. This will increase your debt ratio and can nullify your financing.

3. Down payment source – And yet again I reiterate that the approval is based on the initial information you have provided. You will be asked at the lawyer’s office to verify the source of the down payment and if it is different than what the lender has approved, then you may be in trouble. For example, you said that you were going to save the funds and then at the last minute Mom and Dad offer you the funds as a gift. There’s no problem accepting the gift if the lender knows about it in advance and has included this in their risk assessment, but it can end a deal.

4. Credit – Don’t forget to make your regular credit card payments. If your credit score falls due to late payments, this can kill your financing. If you have a high ratio mortgage in place which required CMHC insurance, a lower credit score could mean a withdrawal of their insurance once again , killing the deal.

5-Identity Documents – This can be a deal killer at the lawyer’s office. The lawyer is required to verify your identity documents and see that they match the mortgage documents. Many Canadians use their middle names if they have the same name as their parent. Lots of new Canadians adopt a more Canadian sounding name for their day-to-day lives but their passports and other documents show another name.

Be sure to use your legal name when you apply for a mortgage to avoid this catastrophe . Finally, keep in touch with your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional right up to possession day. Make this a happy experience rather than a heartbreaking one.

 

This article was written by David Cooke of the DLC Network. Original publication can be found here:  https://dominionlending.ca/news/5-ways-you-can-kill-your-mortgage-approval/

12 Apr

Vacant Possession

General

Posted by: Rabinder Dhillon

DISCLAIMER: This post is written for buyers, in other words people who do not currently own a tenanted property.
This post is not suggesting in any way that the rights of an existing tenant be infringed upon

Purchasing a residential property?

Two words that matter this Spring; Vacant Possession

Your contract had best contain a ‘Vacant Possession’ clause.

Why?

Mortgage lenders will not concern themselves with your best intentions; it is not about what will be – it is purely about what is.

And if the property is tenanted at the time of possession, then you are effectively applying for a rental mortgage. This means a minimum 20% down payment, higher interest rates, and far more stringent qualifying criteria.

‘But wait, we only have 5% down and we plan to give notice and move in 60 days after we take possession’

There is virtually no lender that will approve this under any circumstances, and this has to do with the recent changes made by our federal government. The lenders want to trust you, the lender wants to help you, the lender wants to approve you, but the new government guidelines eliminate lenders’ ability to be flexible. Lenders must answer to Big Brother, and Big Brother is very rigid.

Vacant Possession – demand it.

‘But wait, we’re buying the property as a rental anyways, so it’s a good thing that it already has a tenant… right?’

No, an existing tenant is rarely a good thing.

How is their lease written?
Does it protect you?
Are rents reflective of current market rents?
Is there a provision for annual rent increases?
Your costs will be increasing every year, cover yourself.
What is your duty for notice to evict the tenant?
Why is the seller refusing to give simple notice?

Don’t risk inheriting the seller’s errors and/or headaches.

Whether your new purchase is meant to be owner occupied, or an investment property, demand vacant possession or walk away.

 

This article was written by Dustan Woodhouse of the DLC Network and was originally published here:  https://dominionlending.ca/news/vacant-possession/

 

23 Mar

Spring Into Action: Refinance Your Mortgage With the Help of a Mortgage Broker

General

Posted by: Rabinder Dhillon

We sprung forward last earlier this month by changing our clocks one hour ahead. For some, their microwave and oven clocks are once again displaying the correct time since the last time we needed to adjust our clocks (in the Fall). Patience is a virtue – except for when it comes time to refinance a mortgage!

The Spring is a busy time for mortgage brokers across the country. We welcome this change in season knowing that we are in the best position to give families mortgages that make sense for them.

This is the time of year that banks begin to send out their mortgage renewal notices. Some people will simply sign the documentation sent over from their bank and take on a new mortgage at the rate the bank has suggested. However, this may not be the best rate for which you and your family can qualify.

What is a Mortgage Renewal?

A mortgage renewal is when the current terms of your mortgage come to an end and you sign on for a new mortgage term.

The time is now to spring into action, up to three months ahead of your mortgage renewal deadline. By shopping around for the best mortgage rate for your financial circumstances, you may save yourself thousands of dollars. To do that, you may want to consider working with a seasoned professional – your local mortgage broker.

The benefits of working with a mortgage broker to help find a mortgage solution that works best for you are three-fold.

A mortgage broker gives you a second opinion.
While your current mortgage lender claims to have your best interest at heart, getting a second opinion on your financial situation does not hurt. There may be new options and products available for you that your current lender is forgetting or unable to offer. A second opinion on your changed financials may be able to save you money or highlight some new options that may be better suited to your needs.

A mortgage broker does the work for you, at no cost.
Some people are still concerned that hiring a seasoned professional to look at your finances and find new mortgage rates will cost a lot of money. This is a myth! Mortgage brokers provide their services at no charge (yes, free!) and take a fee from the lending institution, not the client. So, let us look around for the best mortgage rates available to you on your behalf – all at no cost to you.

A mortgage broker does ONE credit check but can check MULTIPLE lenders without lowering your credit score.
One of the biggest advantages to having a mortgage broker shop around on your behalf is having them conduct one credit check and then using that information to shop around among several different lenders. If you wanted to shop around on your own, you would have to allow each institution to run a credit check and, as a result, lower your credit score. Working with a lender also means a lot less paperwork for you, too!

In short, a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker does the legwork on finding the best mortgage rate for you, at no cost and with only one credit check. Be sure to spring into action this Spring to and get a jump on your mortgage renewal process.

 

This article was written by Max Omar of the DLC Network and was originally published here:  https://dominionlending.ca/news/spring-into-action-refinance-your-mortgage-with-the-help-of-a-mortgage-broker/

 

22 Mar

History of Mortgage Changes

General

Posted by: Rabinder Dhillon

The mortgage industry seems to be ever-changing. What was applicable one day seems to no longer apply to the next and at times, it can be confusing to navigate through what all of these changes mean–and how they impact you directly. As Mortgage Brokers, we firmly do believe that although the industry has gone through MANY changes over the years, each time our clients are able to overcome them by practicing the same sound advice–which we will reveal at the end! But first, a walk through of the mortgage changes over the past few years and how the industry has changed:

LOOKING BACK

Before 2008

During this time, lending and mortgages policies were much more lenient! There was 100% financing available, 40-year amortizations, cash back mortgages, 95% refinancing, 5% down payment required for rental properties, and qualifications for FIXED terms under 5 years and VARIABLE mortgages at discounted contract rate. There was also NO LIMIT for your GROSS DEBT SERVICING (GDS) if your credit was strong enough. Relaxed lending guidelines when debt servicing secured and unsecured lines of credits and heating costs for non-subject and subject properties.

July 2008

We saw the elimination of 100% financing, the decrease of amortizations from 40-35 years and the introduction of minimum required credit scores, which all took place during this time period. It was also the time in which the Total Debt Servicing (TDS) could only be maxed to 45%.

April 2010
This time period saw Variable Rate Mortgages having to be qualified at the 5-year Bank of Canada’s posted rate along with 1-4 year Fixed Term Mortgages qualified at the same. There was also the introduction of a minimum of 20% down vs. 5% on investment properties and an introduction of new guidelines on looking at rental income, property taxes and heat.

March 2011

The 35-year Amortization dropped to 30 years for conventional mortgages, refinancing dropped to 85% from 90% and the elimination of mortgage insurance on secured lines of credit.

July 2012

30-year amortizations dropped again to 25 years for High Ratio Mortgages (less than 20% down). Refinancing also dropped down this time to 80% from 85%. Tougher guidelines within stated income mortgage products making financing for the Business for Self more challenging and the disappearance of true equity lending. Perhaps the three biggest changes of this time were:

● Ban mortgage insurance on any million dollar homes
○ 20% min requirement for down payment
● Elimination of cash back mortgages
○ Federal guidelines Min; requirement of 5% down
● Introduction to FLEX DOWN mortgage products

February 2014

Increase in default insurance premiums.

Februrary 2016

Minimum down payment rules changed to:
● Up to $500,000 – 5%
● Up to $1 million – 5% for the first $500,000 and 10% up to $1 million
● $1 million and greater requires 20% down (no mortgage insurance available)

Exemption for BC Property Transfer Tax on NEW BUILDS regardless if one was a 1st time home buyer with a purchase price of $750,000 or less.

July 2016

Still fresh in our minds, the introduction of the foreign tax stating that an ADDITIONAL 15% Property Transfer Tax is applied for all non residents or corporations that are not incorporated in Canada purchasing property in British Columbia.

October 17, 2016: Stress testing

INSURED mortgages with less than 20% down Have to qualify at Bank of Canada 5 year posted rate.

November 30, 2016: Monoline Lenders

Portfolio Insured mortgages (monoline lenders) greater than 20% have new conditions with regulations requiring qualification at the Bank of Canada 5 year posted rate, maximum amortization of 25 years, max purchase price of $1 million and must be owner-occupied.

AND HERE WE ARE NOW…

January 2018: OSFI ANNOUNCES STRESS TESTING FOR ALL MORTGAGES + NO MORE BUNDLING AND MORE RESTRICTIONS

•If your mortgage is uninsured (greater than 20% down payment) you will now need to qualify at the greater of the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada or the contractual mortgage rate +2%

•Lenders will be required to enhance their LTV (loan to value) limits so that they will be responsive to risk. This means LTV’s will need to change as the housing market and economic environment change.

•Restrictions will be placed on lending arrangements that are designed to circumvent LTV limits. This means bundled mortgages will no longer be permitted.

*A bundled mortgage is when you have a primary mortgage and pair it with a second loan from an alternative lender. It is typically done when the borrower is unable to have the required down payment to meet a specific LTV.

BOTTOM LINE: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

As you can see, the industry has always been one that has changed, shifted and altered based on the economy and what is currently going on in Canada. However, with the new changes that have come into effect this year, we recognize that many are concerned about the financial implications the 2018 changes may have.

The one piece of advice that we promised you at the start of this blog, and one that has helped all our clients get through these changes is this: work with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker!

We cannot emphasis the importance of this enough. We have up to date, industry knowledge, access to all of the top lenders and we are free to use! We guarantee to not only get you the sharpest rate, but also the right product for your mortgage.

 

This article was written by Geoff Lee of the DLC Network and was originally published here:    https://dominionlending.ca/news/history-of-mortgage-changes/

14 Mar

New Refinance Rules

General

Posted by: Rabinder Dhillon

Recently there were changes to the mortgage rules yet again, and one of the rule changes was regarding refinancing your home. At one point in the last 10 years you could refinance your home all the way back up to 95% of its current value, which in many cases has put that property what we call under water or upside down. Basically, real estate markets ebb and flow and if you refinanced to 95% when we were at the crest of a market wave then as markets rolled back you were underwater… clever huh.

Fast forward a few years and the government said ‘what a minute, that is dangerous’, and it was. Clients now had no options for that property except to keep it, hoping values came back or turn it into a rental and hope to break even. At this point the government now said you can only refinance your home to 80% of the value which of course meant you needed to have equity in the property of at least 20% to make a change. This was an insurable product for many of our monoline lenders at this point, so it was something that was competitive in the market.

Welcome to 2018 and today you can still refinance your home to 80% but the Office of the Superintendents of Financial Institutions (OSFI) and CMHC now say that as a lender you can no longer insure this product. What does that mean for the average consumer? First off, it means that lenders across the board are not offering the same rate for insured mortgages as they are for refinances. The point spread between insured and uninsured mortgages has grown to, on average, .30% higher for 5-year fixed rates and it is .55% higher for variable rates.

To add to this extra cost, the new rules of qualifying at 5.14% which is currently the benchmark rate, applies to all mortgages including refinancing. Overall, the changes make it tougher to refinance and forces Canadians to seek alternative options to take equity out of their homes. In many cases this will mean looking to the private sector at higher rates when they need that money. If you have any questions about refinancing, contact your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

This article was written by Len Lane of the DLC network and can be found here: https://dominionlending.ca/news/refinancing-in-2018/

7 Mar

Mortgage Renewing?

General

Posted by: Rabinder Dhillon

Is your mortgage coming up for renewal this year?

There is a good chance that you or someone know has a mortgage coming due. Some 47% of Canadians, almost one out of every two households, that currently have financing in place will mature within the next 12 months with a major lender in Canada.

Here are a couple simple rules to follow if you, a friend, a family member or colleague are renewing your mortgage this year.

  • DO NOT just simply sign the renewal letter that comes in the mail.
  • INVESTIGATE your options.

70% of all mortgagors simply sign the renewal letter that comes in the mail. You would think that because you have been with the current lender for so long that you would receive the BEST rate out there. NEWS FLASH, that is 100% false. Remember, lenders are in business of making money for their shareholders. Your current lender has done their homework, you should do yours. They know that most of the borrowers will sign and send back the form for ease and convenience. We are lazy by nature and we possess too much trust. As finance consumers, there are scenarios I’ve seen where we are leaving 20-40 (0.20% – 0.40%) basis points on the table.

I recently read an article online that indicated the average mortgage amount in the Metro Vancouver area was $438,716 for 2016. Let’s round that amount to $450,000 for ease of calculation. For every 0.25% difference the mortgage payment increases (or decreases) $13 per every $100,000 extended. If your current lender offered you a rate 0.25% higher than another lender then this scenario would yield an annual increase of $936. Are you able to invest 4-5 hours of your time to save that kind of money? Heck ya you can! That is $187.20 – $234 per hour.

Renewing with your existing lender may or may not be your only option. When 47% of you out there receive the renewal letter in the mail this year, I have 936 reasons why I would strongly advise you to reach out to a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist to discuss ALL your options – switching lenders to save money and/or leveraging equity for financial planning purposes.
Here is an example of how I just re-financed my home to access my equity. We were able to obtain a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) mortgage product from a major Canadian charter bank.

  • Current residence appraised at $1.15MM.
  • Current mortgage balance, $445,000.
  • Maximum loan limit, $920,000 (80% of market value: 1,150,000 x 80%).
  • Opted to secure the current balance into a variable rate mortgage
  • The equity of $475,000 was set-up access from a line of credit
  • These clients now have access to funds for any future needs: renos, emergency, investment opportunities, post-secondary education for their children.

But while a HELOC allows for product diversification and long-term planning, it is not for everyone. It can be a bad idea if it’s just used as access to easy cash. One needs to possess high self-discipline, as the funds are extremely accessible. A HELOC is also not available to all homeowners as there must be greater than 20% equity in the home before a lender will consider it.

With 13 modifications to the lending policies since 2006 the time to plan is now. If I were to attempt the same re-financing maneuver today to leverage equity I would qualify for 20% less ($95,000) or $380,000. This would be one less rental property added to the portfolio. Before anymore changes happen, you should consider accessing your money today.

 

This article was written by Michael Hallett of the DLC network and can be found here:https://dominionlending.ca/news/time-for-a-mortgage-renewal/

 

6 Mar

Fixed or Variable?

General

Posted by: Rabinder Dhillon

It’s the first and only thing anyone usually asks when you talk about your mortgage: What’s your rate? While everyone can recall their rate off the top of their head, it’s the only detail of the mortgage they remember or care to know. Though the rate is obviously important, your mortgage is so much more than a rate, and if you’re not paying close attention, it can cost you money.

Before we dive deeper, let’s talk fixed rate vs. a variable rate and which one is better. Well, that all depends. First-time homebuyers and older homebuyers typically love the stability of a fixed rate. Keep in mind, seven-in-ten fixed mortgages are broken before the term ends. A fixed rate for five years is fine as long as you stick with a lender that’s going to calculate the penalty if you break your mortgage on the contract rate versus the Benchmark rate. That’s because the Benchmark rate, or as it’s sometimes called the Bank of Canada rate, is higher than your contract rate. Typically a credit union or monoline is the right choice for this mortgage.

Variable rates are great with any lender as it just comes down to who offers the best discounted variable rate. There’s a pretty simple way to decide whether a variable or fixed makes sense, based on rate alone. It’s called the 50-basis point rule. Basically, take the best fixed rate out there and the best variable rate out there and subtract the two. If the number is less than 50 basis points, there is strong argument to go for a fixed rate. However, if the difference is more than 50 basis points, there’s a solid case to go with a variable.

Pretty simple right? What’s not as simple is the personality of your mortgage. It may not seem like it, but yes, your mortgage has a personality. Think of it like a shiny sports car. It may look amazing when it rolls off the lot, but as the years go on, does it meet your daily needs? Besides your mortgage rate, you need to consider portability, and whether it can be blended and extended and how penalties for breaking the mortgage are calculated. When people start looking for a mortgage, they’re usually getting advice from friends or their parents, and the only question they’re asking is, what’s the rate? But if they don’t know the details of the mortgage like the ones listed above, you can tell them to stick their head in the sand, because they’re giving you bad advice. And if a mortgage broker is only fixated on the rate, you’re working with the wrong one.

Life happens and our circumstances change. You really want to make sure the mortgage will work for you in the future before you sign on the dotted line.

1 Jun

Pre-Approvals, more important and less concrete than ever

General

Posted by: Rabinder Dhillon

Going through the pre-approval process is more important than ever to both you and your Realtor, but the actual term ‘pre-approval’ is potentially misleading.

You may be pre-approved for a certain mortgage amount, however there are still a number of variables that can enter the picture once an offer is accepted. That’s why it is imperative that one always include a clause in the offer along the lines of ‘subject to receiving and approving financing’. (There are variations to be discussed around the specific wording.)

Often clients are reluctant to write the initial offer on a property without feeling like they are 100% pre-approved.

An understandable desire. The risk, though, is that some may falsely believe that they have a guarantee of financing. They don’t.

A lender must review all related documents – not just those of the clients, but also those from the appraiser and the Realtor – as the property itself must meet certain standards and guidelines.

The pre-approval process should be considered a pre-screening – a first step only.

It does involve review and analysis of the client’s current credit report; it should also include a list for the client of all documents that will be required in the event that an offer is written and accepted. Clients should also come away from this initial process with a clear understanding of the maximum mortgage amount they qualify for, along with the various related costs involved in their specific real estate transaction. Equally important: with the completed application your broker is able to lock in rates for up to 120 days.

Why won’t a lender fully review and underwrite a pre-approval?

  • Lenders do not have the staff resources to review ‘maybe’ applications – they have a hard enough time keeping up with ‘live’ transactions.
  • The job you have today may well not be the job you have by the time you write your offer.
  • If more than four weeks pass, all of the documents are out of date – by lender standards – and a fresh batch needs to be ordered and reviewed.
  • The conversion rate of pre-approvals to ‘live transactions’ is less than 10%. 

It is this last point that makes it so difficult to get an underwriter to completely review a pre-approval application as a special exception.

The bottom line is that a client’s best bet for confidence is the educated and experienced opinion of the front-line individual with whom they are directly speaking – and that’s their Mortgage Broker. This individual will not be the same person who underwrites and formally approves the live transaction when the time comes.

This disconnect between intake of application and actual underwriting of a live file makes having a ‘subject to receiving and approving financing’ clause in the purchase sale agreement so very important.

Perhaps the most significant factor in undermining the solidity of a client’s preapproval is the relentless pace of change of lending guidelines and policies – changes implemented not only by the Federal Government but also by the lenders themselves. It is very easy to have a pre-approval for a certain mortgage amount rendered meaningless just a few days later through changes to internal underwriting guidelines. Often these changes arrive with no warning and existing pre-approvals are not grandfathered.

It is absolutely worthwhile going through the pre-approval process before writing offers, and in particular before listing your current property for sale or accepting offers. This will give you a good idea of your maximum mortgage amount as well as securing a rate for you. It is a worthwhile endeavour.

Just be aware that aside from the key advantage of catching small issues early and securing rates, a pre-approval is not a 100% guarantee of financing.

But the good thing is, I can help you with this process! 

5 May

Will a ‘credit inquiry’ lower my credit bureau score?

General

Posted by: Rabinder Dhillon

Your ‘beacon score’ is an indicator for a lender as to whether a client is likely to make payments on time and in full. Beacon (credit) scores are sometimes referred to as FICO scores, and both names are derived from the credit bureaus that developed the scoring system. Keeping track of this important number is vital. Inquiries to your score are recorded and tracked on the credit report as well. However not all inquiries are created equal.

Credit Inquiries

Each time a creditor (potential lender) checks your credit report, a record is created of this event. There are two types of inquiries, soft and hard. A soft inquiry occurs when you pull your own credit report. (Worth doing on an annual basis and FREE via mail at either Equifax or TransUnion.)

A hard inquiry occurs when submitting loan or credit applications with your written authorisation to inquire. A lender cannot process a hard inquiry without your written permission. There is a process to have non-authorized credit inquiries removed from your report.

Effects on Your Score

Soft inquires do not affect the credit score. Consumers can pull their own credit score as many times as they wish without repercussions. Hard inquires affect the score to varying degrees. Multiple inquires that occur in a 14-day span are (typically) counted as just one inquiry. This helps those who are credit shopping (mortgages, personal loans, etc.) and need to have their credit pulled several times. Multiple inquiries are rarely the reason that people are denied credit, unless the score was borderline to start with.

     
This said, inquiries for‘good debt’ such as a mortgage have far less impact on one’s credit score than multiple inquires for ‘bad debt’ such as a car loan/lease or debt consolidation.

Who has access?

Only individuals with a specific business purpose can check your score. Creditors, lenders, employers and landlords are some examples of approved business people. The inquiry only appears on the credit report that was checked. For example, if a landlord uses Experian to check the creditworthiness of an applicant, the credit check will only appear on Experian’s report, not TransUnion or Equifax. To limit the number of soft inquires made on your credit report, contact the credit reporting agencies and request that they remove your name from marketing distribution lists.

Conclusion

Having a few inquiries in a period of a couple of weeks while determining whether to purchase or not will not be detrimental to your credit score. If your score is at or near 600 or 680 then one must be more cautious with inquires as this affects certain mortgage product availability.

Working with an independent Mortgage Broker such as myself, typically results in one inquiry on your bureau for the use of multiple lender partners that I deal with. Thus more than one rate-hold can be placed with more than one lender without negative credit consequences. Yet another great reason to work with me, Rabinder Dhillon, as your mortgage broker!

8 Apr

Spring Lawn Care

General

Posted by: Rabinder Dhillon

As the ground thaws across Canada, except for those on the West Coast who have forgotten what a snowflake looks like at all, the time for gardening and lawn care is upon us.

Aeration is often referred to as the best fertilizer for your lawn – and it’s fairly simple to do. The process involves the removal of small cores – or plugs of soil – which are then deposited on the surface. Within a month or so, these soil plugs will work their way back into the grass thus ensuring a lush thick lawn requiring a weekly cut. Perhaps also a reason to avoid aeration for some! However for those pursuing Greenskeeper perfection, aeration should be followed by sanding and overseeding. Between the bulky, heavy aeration machine and load of sand required, this is often a task best coordinated with a few neighbours, ideally ones with fiscally motivated teenagers. The aeration and overseeding should lead to a reduction in weeds throughout the summer as well.

Allow your local garden centre expert to suggest a proper fertilizer and schedule to suit your lawns needs.

Some gardeners prefer no lawn at all, as do some non-gardeners. Yet as much as I may prefer a yard that is palatial decking from fence to fence the reality for children is that a lawn is a canvas on which to paint many a summer memory. From picnics, to slip and slides, from cloud watching to earning an allowance lugging a mower around. Lawns absorb water and release clean oxygen all while being aesthetically pleasing with a modest amount of effort.

May yours be stunning and low maintenance.