23 Jun

Transform your vacation rental into a welcoming oasis, on a budget.


Posted by: Peter Paley

Transform your vacation rental into a welcoming oasis, on a budget.

Are you dreaming of buying a vacation rental property, have just bought one, or are strongly considering it? If so, your mind is probably abuzz with design ideas and thoughtful touches you could add to the home.

In order to make a rental property into a viable business, you need to set a reasonable budget and stick to it. And everything in the home should be geared towards rental guests. Some elements may not align with how you would design and furnish your own home, but what matters is that it appeals to guests. Keep in mind that as a rental, it has to be able withstand wear and tear, and items should be reparable or replaceable.

How I approached the design of my vacation rental property was to learn about who stays in the area, what they value, and how I could tie that in with the character of the home to create a great experience. In my case, the main guests are groups of women between the ages of 25-40, who come to tour wineries and enjoy Instagram-worthy decor. My house is about 100 years old, so I decided to work with its charm and quirks to create an airy and open design with accents of ecru and foliage.

To furnish your vacation rental without sacrificing comfort or experience, there are many different tactics you can employ.

First and foremost, ensure that everything you bring into the home can reasonably be maintained. That means, don’t plant rose bushes if you can’t trim them, don’t bring in a white shag carpet if you won’t be there to vacuum it every day. As a guest, you want to arrive at a home that’s clean and well taken care of. If your ideas are so ambitious that you can’t manage the upkeep, it will take away from the guest experience and potentially their overall impression of the place. Put it this way: how would you feel if you pulled up to a house with overgrown shrubs and stained carpets?

Re-use, re-purpose, and be thrifty. Everything you bring into the space doesn’t have to be shiny and new. Thrift stores, grandparents’ basements and garage sales can be full of treasures like antique books, frames, artwork, lamps or other accents. Clean them up and paint them, if needed. Placing out a few selectively chosen antiques can add uniqueness and visual interest to the room. For simple items like frames that can easily be painted, it can save you a bundle on decor.

Remove any personal items from the home, such as family photos, paperwork, storage bins, clothing, etc. Leaving these items around will make guests feel like they are intruding on someone else’s personal space; it doesn’t feel like a getaway. That’s not to say that you can’t add personal touches. For example, I have an old chest that belonged to my grandparents in my vacation rental. But keep in mind that personal touches tell a story and are different than personal items.

You can also add homey touches before guests arrive, like a bottle of wine (is there a brand or product that your area is known for?), a hand-written card, a bag of coffee, some toiletries, etc. These thoughtful extra-somethings make the guests feel welcome and valued.

Consider guests’ comfort as they use the house. Ensure the linens are plentiful. That includes towels, hand towels, sheets, blankets, pillows, etc. They don’t have to be pricey linens, IKEA or Costco works just fine. Everyone has their own way of getting comfy on the couch or in bed. Some guests may only want one pillow, while others may want three. Have extras available in a linen closet or shelving area so that they can freely use what they need.

Spills and messes happen, kids may wet the bed, or someone might want to take a nap on the couch, so a few extra blankets, towels, sheets, and pillows will be greatly appreciated. I once stayed in a rental apartment that only had two thin pillows available, and I felt like I was asking a lot for the host to drop off another pillow to me that evening. Aim to make the experience as smooth and comfortable as possible.

In addition to comfort, make it as easy as possible too. Provide a house manual detailing everything they need to know about check-in, check-out, info about the home and the area, if certain things are not allowed, how to contact the host, etc. Put helpful labels or markers on closets or storage areas that house extra bedding, kitchen supplies, recycling bins, etc. The goal should be to provide your guests with all the handrails they need to have a fantastic and streamlined experience, without having to call you to ask anything.

Finally, create a statement somewhere in your home that stands out and is memorable. It could be artwork, a wall decal, or mural that your guests want to take pictures of. It could be a really fabulous gallery wall (showcasing all those thrift store frames) that displays your interests and tells a story. Or maybe it’s a stylish and comfy room with plush couches, lots of pillows, blankets, and interesting books.

If you were staying at a vacation rental, imagine what details you would appreciate or want to take a picture of. What type of spaces would you be drawn to relax and unwind in? In my home, I created a room for ultimate relaxation and comfort; it has large, plush couches, tons of pillows, movable coffee tables, and a curtain that runs along the length of the doorway so that you can block out the action happening in the rest of the house. Guests are always drawn to this area because it’s a cozy place to read, hang out or watch a movie.

No matter what your budget is, you can turn your vacation rental into a welcoming oasis that will make guests feel comfortable and valued, and give them a fabulous experience.


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3 Jun

When Was Your Last Credit Check-Up?


Posted by: Peter Paley

I can’t even begin to explain how many peoples credit reports are messed up.  Correcting the errors can be time consuming and frustrating.   At Mainstream Mortgages, we alway ensure that our client’s credit bureaus are reporting correctly and if there are any errors we have then corrected at EQUIFAX using their investigation form.  The best part is that they are usually really fast and it only cost about $15.00.   We are happy to do this for our clients.  Enjoy the blog post!

A few simple steps to healthy credit…

Just like you should have a physical every year to make sure you’re healthy, you should do the same for your credit report and score.

Don’t wait until you go to buy something and you are turned down. And don’t worry… chequing your own credit does not affect it. So, what should you be looking for?


Make sure your personal information is correct and up to- date. Also, check that your date of birth and any other identifying information is correct as well.


Even creditors make mistakes sometimes so carefully look over any negative information appearing on your credit that isn’t true. Creditors are required to change any errors that you find on your report.

HINT: Send a letter to the credit bureaus, as well, to let them know there was an error and send a copy to the credit agency that incorrectly reported to motivate them to take care of it in a timely manner.


Credit agencies are required to remove certain information from your credit after a certain number of years. For example, if you got behind on your payments but then went back to your normal payment schedule, that late history is to be removed after 6-7 years. Don’t assume it will be. Be proactive and follow up to make sure it was done.


We all know someone who has had their identity stolen and nothing wrecks a credit score and report more than someone hijacking it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a stranger either. Family and friends have been known to “borrow” someone’s credit. Be smart and make sure to protect your credit from the known and the unknown.


Even minor errors like a misspelled name or a wrong address can keep you from getting a loan or even lower your credit score. Keep your credit as healthy as possible by checking it every year. Choose a day that will be easy to remember like your birthday or the day you file your taxes.


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2 Jun

Bank of Canada increases policy interest rate by 50 basis points, continues quantitative tightening


Posted by: Peter Paley

The Bank of Canada today increased its target for the overnight rate to 1½%, with the Bank Rate at 1¾% and the deposit rate at 1½%. The Bank is also continuing its policy of quantitative tightening (QT).

Inflation globally and in Canada continues to rise, largely driven by higher prices for energy and food. In Canada, CPI inflation reached 6.8% for the month of April – well above the Bank’s forecast – and will likely move even higher in the near term before beginning to ease. As pervasive input price pressures feed through into consumer prices, inflation continues to broaden, with core measures of inflation ranging between 3.2% and 5.1%. Almost 70% of CPI categories now show inflation above 3%. The risk of elevated inflation becoming entrenched has risen. The Bank will use its monetary policy tools to return inflation to target and keep inflation expectations well anchored.

The increase in global inflation is occurring as the global economy slows. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, China’s COVID-related lockdowns, and ongoing supply disruptions are all weighing on activity and boosting inflation. The war has increased uncertainty and is putting further upward pressure on prices for energy and agricultural commodities. This is dampening the outlook, particularly in Europe. In the United States, private domestic demand remains robust, despite the economy contracting in the first quarter of 2022. US labour market strength continues, with wage pressures intensifying. Global financial conditions have tightened and markets have been volatile.

Canadian economic activity is strong and the economy is clearly operating in excess demand. National accounts data for the first quarter of 2022 showed GDP growth of 3.1 percent, in line with the Bank’s April Monetary Policy Report (MPR) projection. Job vacancies are elevated, companies are reporting widespread labour shortages, and wage growth has been picking up and broadening across sectors. Housing market activity is moderating from exceptionally high levels. With consumer spending in Canada remaining robust and exports anticipated to strengthen, growth in the second quarter is expected to be solid.

With the economy in excess demand, and inflation persisting well above target and expected to move higher in the near term, the Governing Council continues to judge that interest rates will need to rise further. The policy interest rate remains the Bank’s primary monetary policy instrument, with quantitative tightening acting as a complementary tool. The pace of further increases in the policy rate will be guided by the Bank’s ongoing assessment of the economy and inflation, and the Governing Council is prepared to act more forcefully if needed to meet its commitment to achieve the 2% inflation target.

Information note

The next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is July 13, 2022. The Bank will publish its next full outlook for the economy and inflation, including risks to the projection, in the MPR at the same time.