Programs for affordable housing

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Regardless of how low mortgage rates remain, buying a home is still a large financial responsibility. Between the expense of home loans and closing costs, not to mention renovation and maintenance, it’s important to make sure you’re taking advantage of every opportunity to save. Fortunately there are a number of programs geared toward helping Canadian home buyers find an affordable deal.These are not the only programs available to home buyers looking to save money, but they are some of the most popular. For Canadians looking to make the home buying process more affordable, the smart move would be to research all your options when it comes to qualifying for special programs and rebates. Finding one that suits your needs can result in significant savings.

Home Buyers’ Plan
The Home Buyers’ Plan allows Canadians buying their first home, people with disabilities, or people buying on behalf of someone with disabilities, to take money out of their registered retirement savings plans in order to buy or build a qualifying home. The amount that can be withdrawn goes up to $25,000 per calendar year. This program allows borrowers to take out the money without having to pay tax at the time. Typically, the money must be repaid over the course of no more than 15 years, with a certain amount repaid into the savings plan each year until the balance is zero. Continue reading

Home renovation programs

While renovating an existing property can be a costly proposition, there are programs available for qualified Canadian homeowners that help with expenses. Taking advantage of home renovation programs can ease financial strain and ensure that your home is in peak condition.

Homeowner Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP)
This program is offered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to low income homeowners looking to make vital repairs to their property but can’t afford to pay for them. Homeowners looking to apply for the RRAP should make sure that their property is eligible.

Eligible properties must be valued below a certain amount, be at least five years old and need major repairs for either heating, structural, electrical, plumbing or fire safety issues. In addition, the RRAP may be available to homeowners who need help to reduce overcrowding in their property. However, in order to qualify, homeowners must have a total household income at or below the CMHC’s income threshold.

The Homeowner Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program will assist homeowners with a fully forgivable loan. The loan does not have to be repaid as long as homeowners agree to continue owning and living in the property during the earning period of the loan. Continue reading

Don’t get burned when planning home renovations

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So, you were able to secure a mortgage and buy your dream house. OK, so maybe it isn't your dream house as it currently stands, but it has tons of potential, right? All it takes are a few tweaks and renovations and voila! It will be the perfect property and exactly what you've always wanted.

The first step is to secure a contractor for the job or jobs, depending on how large a project you're taking on. Whether you know a friend of a friend who is talented – or so you've heard – and will accept cash under the table or you go the route of hiring a true-blue professional, remembering one key factor: Always get everything in writing. All the time. No exceptions.

Still thinking about that cash-under-the-table contractor? You know, the one who promised you the moon, stars and a granite countertop at a quarter of the price? Before shaking hands and sealing the deal, it's wise to make sure this person is aware of laws and rules surrounding home renovations. OK, so if it's a bathroom tiling project, it's probably fine, but what if you're looking for someone to help you build a deck or add a room onto the house? Continue reading