Avoiding basement flooding

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Sometimes the biggest issues concerning a property have nothing to do with home loans and mortgage rates. For many Canadian homeowners, one of those issues is basement flooding. This type of flooding is very common in many parts of Canada, and the damage it can do to a property should not be ignored.

Why do basements flood?
Unfortunately, basement flooding can be an issue in almost all seasons. Whether it be heavy rainfall or melting snow, the result can be a significant amount of water finding its way into a property's basement.

Cracked walls, plugged up drains, leaking downspouts, sewer cloggage – there are many reasons why water can end up where it doesn't belong.

Additionally, because basements are below ground, they are more susceptible to flooding from natural disasters than other parts of a home.

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Buying a condominium

When it comes to taking out home loans, there is no shortage of options on what types of properties to purchase. Some buyers may be hoping for a detached house with a yard, while others might prefer the simplicity and convenience of a condominium. If you find yourself in the latter camp, it's important to understand the ins and outs associated with purchasing a condo.

What is a condo?
A condo acts like a combination of a private home and an apartment complex. An owner's residence is owned privately, but common areas are owned collectively by all of a complex's residents.

Condos also feature associations that manage common areas and certain aspects of all properties.

Benefits of a condo
In areas with high property values, a condo can offer the comforts of home ownership at a more affordable price. Additionally, for buyers who may not need an excessive amount of space, condos offer tax incentives available to homeowners without worrying about constant upkeep and maintenance of a large property.

Condos are also often located in convenient, central areas that are close to offices, shopping centers, restaurants and entertainment venues. Continue reading

CMHC changes homebuilding forecast

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Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has changed its forecast for homebuilding for 2013.

Citing slower economic growth and job gains, the CMHC has said demand for new homes will decline, leading to less homebuilding.

"CMHC expects housing construction activity will trend lower in the first half of 2013, before gaining more momentum by the end of the year as economic and employment growth remain supportive of the Canadian housing market," CMHC Deputy Chief Economist Mathieu Laberge said. "In 2014, improving economic conditions may be partially offset by a slight moderation in the number of first-time home buyers, and potential small and steady increases in mortgage interest rates."

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Canadian housing becomes more affordable

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Thanks to the continuation of ultra-low mortgage rates, Canadian housing became more affordable during the second half of 2012, according to RBC Economics.

Data shows that during the fourth quarter of 2012, due to low mortgage rates and less buyer demand, home affordability increased for the second consecutive quarter. RBC Economics also projects that this trend will continue throughout 2013.

"Exceptionally low interest rates have been the key factor keeping home affordability from reaching dangerous levels in recent years," RBC chief economist Craig Wright said. "Residential property values are elevated in Canada and, for many households, ownership remains accessible only because of rock-bottom mortgage rates. It could be a different story if interest rates were to move swiftly and significantly higher."

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Making a rental property a success

With mortgage rates hovering near historic lows, home buyers looking to invest in a rental property have more opportunities than ever. Rental properties can offer a steady flow of extra money, making them a great way to supplement an income. However, in order to make a rental property a success, there are some general strategies home buyers should keep in mind.

Just as with purchasing a primary residence, where you buy a rental property will heavily influence the your investment. The neighborhood in which a home is located will affect the type of tenants you are likely to attract, as well as vacancy. For example, a home near a college is likely to attract students. This could also translate to fairly regular turnover in tenants. Meanwhile, a home in a more residential area will increase the chances of renting to families.

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Buying an energy efficient home

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Purchasing a property is a major life decision, so it only make sense that home buyers would want to ensure that their financial investment makes sense in the long run. One way to do so is by ensuring that they're purchasing an energy efficient home. Energy efficient homes are designed to reduce energy consumption, as well as other environmentally-unfriendly things like greenhouse gas emissions and nonrenewable resources. Properties can either be built from the ground up with energy efficiency in mind, or existing homes can be renovated to make them more energy efficient.

Determining energy efficiency
One of the simplest ways to determine a property's energy efficiency is to find out its EnerGuide rating. EnerGuide compares properties and rates energy performance on a scale of zero to 100. The higher the score, the better a home's energy efficiency.   Continue reading

Tips for moving

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Once mortgage rates have been found and home loans have been secured, it's time to put down the paperwork and get down to the nitty gritty of purchasing a property, namely, actually moving into it. Moving can be a stressful time, but by employing some simple strategies, home buyers can ensure a pain free process.

Before a move
The first thing people should do upon planning a move is so obvious that they often forget it entirely: collecting boxes. You have possessions to transport, so it only makes sense you'll need containers to put them in.

While you can purchase boxes from a retailer, it's just as easy to get them for free. Ask friends and family who have moved recently if you can borrow their boxes. Many retailers, such as grocery stores, also go through plenty of cardboard boxes on a regular basis. Another idea is to hop online and see if anyone is willing to give away boxes instead of throwing them out. Not only is this good for your wallet, but it's also good for the environment. Continue reading

The Benefits of CanEquity’s Mortgage Calculator

For many home buyers, figuring out how much they can afford is an essential part of purchasing property. While creating household budgets and accounting for debt obligations can be helpful when it comes to analyzing finances, determining the costs of home loans can be more complicated. Fortunately for these individuals, CanEquity has recently upgraded its mortgage calculators, refining them with client feedback to make them bigger, better and more beneficial.

It's easy to understand why CanEquity's mortgage calculator was rated the best by The Globe and Mail, as well as why it's used by both mortgage lenders and brokers. Continue reading

Protecting your home from carbon monoxide

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While most homeowners are aware of the dangers posed by fire and flooding, and have taken the necessary steps to protect themselves from both, the threat of carbon monoxide may not receive the same attention. While fire and flood are usually preceded by warnings or unmistakable indicators, carbon monoxide can enter a home without notice, making it a danger every homeowner would do well to take seriously. While it's easy to get wrapped up in mortgage rates and home loans, a homeowner's well-being, and that of their family, should come first.

What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a colorless and odorless gas that cannot be seen, tasted or smelled. However, since CO is toxic, even low levels of exposure to it can lead to serious health problems.

While CO is the result of fossil fuel burning that is common in homes through appliances such as stoves and chimneys, proper ventilation does away with the risk of CO poisoning. However, if an appliance is not working properly, it leaves homes vulnerable to a dangerous buildup of CO. Continue reading

The importance of inspecting a new home

Most home buyers understand the importance of having a home inspected prior to purchasing. Not every potential homeowner is a master builder, and having the expertise of a trained home inspector can be invaluable when it comes to spotting problems. After all, what’s the point of taking advantage of affordable mortgage rates if a home will require costly repairs down the line?

However, home buyers purchasing a brand new property may feel that a home inspection isn’t necessary. A home that hasn’t been lived in may seem pristine, but it can still feature a number of problems that only a home inspector might be able to find. This is why having a home inspected is just as essential for new properties as it is for resales. Continue reading