10 Mar

Home Ownership Startup Expenses

General

Posted by: Brent Adair

If you are in the market for a new home and have already saved a substantial amount for a down payment. Sure, you have already sought out a mortgage or gotten a preapproval, but have you thought about some of the other costs associated with home ownership? Here are some expenses to keep in mind with your home ownership budget.

Change the Locks

The day you finally get the keys to your new home is one of the biggest days of your life! However, after getting these keys be sure to get a new set as soon as possible. Expect to spend a couple of hundred dollars when you are rekeying all the locks in your home and making extra for family members.

Appliance Breakdown

Not only are the new owner of a home, but also owner of many appliances from the fridge in the kitchen all the way to washer and dryer in the laundry room. Each of these appliances could cost hundreds to replace or fix. Hopefully you will make it through a few years without having a breakdown of these appliances, but it is important to start building an emergency fund for this purpose.

New Furniture       

If you are planning on moving from a small apartment to a large home, you most likely will have to buy additional furniture at some point. You might find that the furniture you got for your apartment just doesn’t fit in in your new home. A great way to save a buck or two is to look for used furniture, you may just find that special piece.

Small Repairs

Even if you have a very thorough inspection of the home, eventually you will encounter an unpleasant surprise. You will also want to start to budget for cosmetic upgrades, from small designs to in and around the house, all these will eventually add up, so make sure to put aside some extra money in your home ownership budget.

Deposits for Home Services

You might be required to put a down deposit for setting up a phone or internet service to get these services up and running. While the deposits might vary, it is important to include these costs in your budget. If they do run under budget, you can always use the funds somewhere else.

Buying your first home is costly but there is additional start up costs you need to know about. While being aware of these issues will not make them go away, but it will make it easier for you to deal with them.

 

10 Mar

Help To Improve Air Quality in Your Home

General

Posted by: Brent Adair

Sometimes the air inside a home can be more polluted than the air that is outside. To help you take a breath of fresh air just follow these simple steps:

Develop Good Habits

  • When it comes to renovations/painting/cleaning choose paints, solvents, tapes and varnishes that do not contain any volatile organic compounds
  • Keep the humidity in your home at 45%. This is the ideal level to have, as it will not be too dry and help to minimize the spread of mould. Open the windows often and maintain the appropriate humidity level by also using a dehumidifier if it is necessary.
  • Clean or change filters within the home, these can include the air purifier, vacuum and central heating unit.
  • Instead of using commercial perfume diffusers use a more natural option
  • If you have a pet, regularly brush them to minimize the amount of pet hair in the home

Cleaning Products

You can minimize certain contaminants simply by changing your cleaning habits. When it comes to cleaning there are three natural ingredients that are very helpful: baking soda, lemon and white vinegar.

Get Rid of Dust

Investing in a good quality vacuum cleaner is a very effective first step. When you are looking for vacuum cleaners, make sure you look for ones with a high efficiency particulate air filter. These types of vacuums can harvest more particles from your home than regular vacuums.

When you are cleaning make sure you are thinking about all your nooks and crannies, like the edge of windows, along the walls, behind appliances. When it comes to fabrics in the house, make sure you wash them every three months, as they are the real germ catchers in the home. Finally, bathrooms, make sure you pay special attention to these rooms in your house due to humidity levels and bathrooms are conducive to the spread of fungus.

10 Mar

4 Strategies to Help You Get Approved for a Mortgage

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Brent Adair

So, you have finally decided to take one of the biggest steps of your life and take out one of the biggest loans of your life; a mortgage. Applying for a mortgage can be a bit nerve racking, especially if you might have a not so perfect financial history. Don’t let your denials get you down! There are some things you can do to help and get a handle on your finances and improve your chances for approval. Before applying for a mortgage consider the following 4 things:

Have a Good Amount in Your Savings Account

Having a good amount in your savings account is an absolute must before you walk into any lenders office and asking for a mortgage. Most lenders will require some sort of down payment, meaning some sort of large payment up front. Lenders will more likely give you the loan if they see you have the means to pay them back in the foreseeable future. If you come into a lenders office with little cash to your name, you may be too much of a risk.

Try to Bring Down Your Debt

Before asking for a loan it is best you are bringing down your total debt, while of course having some money in your savings. You do not have to pay off eerie single credit card you have, but you shouldn’t have creditors chasing you for overdue payments. Any mortgage lender will want to know how much debt you have currently and how you are dealing with the payments, so try to have this under control before you apply for a mortgage.

Set Your Sights on a More Affordable Property

If your mortgage application is constantly denied despite the fact you have a decent savings amount and very little debt, then it might be the property you are looking at and maybe choose one that is more affordable. If you need to ask for a smaller loan, then you’ll most likely have an easier time getting approved.

Find a Financially Stable Co-Signer

If none of the above strategies work for you and you are keen on becoming a homeowner, then you could also consider getting a co-signer on your loan. You will need to find someone who is financially stable and has a great deal of trust in you and your ability to make monthly mortgage payments. Having a co-signer will help you appear as less of a risk to lenders.

10 Mar

Avoid These First Time Homebuyers Mistakes

General

Posted by: Brent Adair

Buying a home is exhilarating experience, but the transaction also involves a lot of stress, particularly for first time homebuyers. After all there are a lot of things to consider and decisions to be made in such a short period of time.

Here are some of the mistakes made by first time homebuyers and some tips for avoiding these mistakes:

Buying a House that is Too Small

This is one of the biggest regrets made by first time homebuyers. When you are looking for a home, make sure that your new home will provide you with the space you need to live comfortably. Some areas of the house you might want to pay attention too is the kitchen, number of bedrooms and storage space available. One thing to keep in mind, is that your family could grow over the next few years.

Poorly Evaluating Your Budget

Many first-time buyers say they thought they bought a house that was too expensive for their means or did they not make a large enough down payment. Make sure you evaluate your financial situation with a financial advisor and find out about the maintenance costs associated with owning a home.

Neglecting Your Choice of Neighbourhood

Sometimes we forget that buying a home also means choosing a neighbourhood. Is the property you are interested in located in a quiet or busy neighbourhood? Is it close to various services, schools and public transit?

Forgetting about the Parking Situation

This is one of the most overlooked aspects that accompanies first time homebuyers. If you are buying a home in an urban area, does the property have its own parking space? If not, is street parking available? If you’re buying in the suburbs, it is preferable to have a driveway that can fit two cars side-by-side. Otherwise, you will be constantly moving cars around to allow other occupants to leave the house.

10 Mar

Renting Your Home

General

Posted by: Brent Adair

Claiming Tax Deductions

One of the benefits of being a landlord is that you can claim tax deductions against your rental property. The Canada Revenue Agency has a list of taxable expenses you can claim as a landlord. Obviously the more expenses you are able to claim, the more you can reduce your taxes payable.

Canadians can’t normally deduct mortgage interest paid on their principal residence. The only exception is when you rent out part of your home. So if you have a mortgage, you can claim a portion of the interest as a tax deduction. For example, if you rent out 25 percent of your home, you can claim a tax deduction for 25 percent of your mortgage interest you paid in the year.

 

Designating Your Principal Residence

Before you decide to rent your home, it is important to consider the tax implications and how they differ depending on whether you rent out your principal residence or standalone investment. If you rented out your house for part of the year, you can still name it as your principal residence, as long as you were living there for some part of the year. It should be noted that you can only name one property as your principal residence per tax year, but you don’t have to name the same home each year.

 

Claiming Capital Cost Allowance

By renting your house, you have the ability to amortize the house at 4 percent per year. The only downside to it, is that if your house has appreciated in value when it is sold, there will be a recapture of the full amount of amortization already claimed plus capital gains on the difference between the selling price and the original purchase price.

 

Stay Organized

If you are a landlord it is important to keep track of everything. You will want to keep track of the rent you receive and claim any expenses you incur on your rental property. It is very important to keep all receipts for expenses.

 

10 Mar

How To Buy a Home Using the Home Buyers’ Plan

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Brent Adair

Do you plan on buying a home, but don’t have enough for a down payment? The Home Buyers’ Plan could help give you a boost in accumulating and making a sufficient down payment.

What is the Home Buyers’ Plan?

The Home Buyers’ Plan is federal government program that allows you to withdraw up to $25,000, tax free from your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to buy your first home. If you are looking to buy a home with your spouse, both spouses can each withdraw $25,000 and therefore can put $50,000 towards the down payment.

Requirements

While this is greatly beneficial for anyone looking to buy a home, and have help with their down payment, there are some requirements to participate in this program. The eligibility criteria are as follows: you must be considered a first-time home buyer, you must have a written agreement to buy or build an eligible home, this home can be for yourself or for a person with a disability that is related to you.  

Withdrawing from your RRSP

To be able to withdraw from your RRSP, you must first be a Canadian resident at the time of your withdrawal. You must also be able to receive all the withdrawals in the first calendar year. If you have multiple RRSPs, you can withdraw from them as well, you must however be the owner of the RRSPs that you are withdrawing from. As part of the Home Buyers’ Plan you must repay the amount back. However, do not worry about repaying the amount back immediately, as you normally have 15 years to repay the amount back and it must be at least 1/15th of the loan every year. Of course, you can also choose to repay back faster if you so choose.

 

To learn more about the Home Buyers’ Plan, visit the Government of Canada website.

 

10 Mar

6 Ways to Heat Your Home

General

Posted by: Brent Adair

6 Ways to heat your home

Looking for some ways to help heat up your home this winter? Here are 6 modern solutions that will help heat your home and keep you nice and cozy this winter.

Flat Panel Radiator

Flat panel radiators can be used in every room of your home to help provide a level of heat like a central heating system. They also help with maintaining a consistent temperature without large fluctuations.

Baseboard Heating

This one is easy to install and provides a gentle and consistent heat in your home from floor to ceiling. This type of heating is fully modular and can be installed anywhere: living room, bedroom, entryways to your home, etc. There is also a thermostat option available, which can help save money on your energy.

Heated Floors

A low temperature heating system, heated floors are something that offer a very pleasant warmth. This type of system can be used on all types of floors (tiles, parquet, carpet) and is a real space saver.

Designer Stainless Steel Radiators

Stainless steel radiators come in a variety of versions including: chrome, stainless steel, brushed or polished, in all shapes, finishes and colours. One of their advantages is that they don’t take up much space and since they come in a variety of shapes and colour, you can make them fit with the rest of the décor in the room.

Suspended Fireplace

This option is very unique and decorative! Suspended fireplaces come in a variety of models. They can provide your home with excellent heat output and enable you to heat a room to a consistent temperature.

Pellet Stove

The latest versions of Pellet Stoves are very efficient, and their overall energy consumption is quite moderate. Compared to wood heating, pellet stoves work freely for several hours and are less harmful for the environment, as they reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions.