Avoiding basement flooding

basement floodingMagnifying glass


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.

Continue reading

Tax benefits for homeowners

While tax season can be a stressful time for most Canadians, it also gives homeowners a little something extra to smile about. The Canada Revenue Agency has a number of programs geared toward helping homeowners, and by taking advantage of these services, Canadians can ensure that purchasing a property results in added savings. After all, once a homeowner braves the world of home loans and mortgage rates, it’s nice to receive a break on their investment.

First-Time Homebuyers’ Tax Credit
As its name implies, the First-Time Homebuyers’ Tax Credit helps first-time buyers pay for the expenses incurred while purchasing a property. Taxpayers can claim $5,000 on a home purchase as long as it’s a qualifying home and they did not live in another home during the year of purchase, as well as the four preceding years. In addition to first-time home buyers, this tax credit is also available to persons with disabilities. Continue reading

Mortgage renewal

When it comes to home loans, obtaining one is only part of the process. After locking in mortgage rates, negotiating terms and paying closing costs, there will likely come a time when borrowers have the chance to perform a mortgage renewal.

What is a mortgage renewal?
A mortgage renewal acts as a new agreement between a borrower and lender regarding the terms of a mortgage. Home loan agreements typically stay in effect for a specified period of time. When this time comes to an end, borrowers must either pay off the remainder of their mortgage or renew it. However, mortgage renewals can also be used to change the terms of a mortgage.

The benefits of mortgage renewals
While most borrowers simply renew their mortgage with their current lender, the end of a mortgage agreement presents the opportunity to not only change a home loan’s terms, but also switch lenders completely. Continue reading

Getting your home ready to sell

The continuation of ultra-low mortgage rates in Canada has many buyers ready to upgrade their current homes for properties they can suddenly afford. However, in addition to home loans, the profits from selling a home are often essential in order to afford a new property. It’s with that in mind that Canadian homeowners should do everything in their power to make sure their current property is ready to sell.

Your home will be up against brand new properties competing for buyers’ attention. Keep that in mind when you begin getting ready to show it off. Walking through a new home lets buyers see it spotless and bare, allowing them to imagine what they could do with the space. While it’s usually impossible to make a home you’re currently living in look the same, there are things you can do to give it that feel. Firstly, get rid of the clutter. If your home is filled to bursting with possessions, invest in a storage unit. It’s hard for buyers to imagine themselves in your home if all your stuff is in the way. Next, make sure that your property is as clean as possible. Who wants a house with carpet stains and crayon drawings on the walls when there’s a pristine property available just down the road? Your home should be odor and garbage-free. Do everything in your power to make the space feel fresh. Continue reading

Dealing with home emergencies

no powerMagnifying glass

After dealing with mortgage rates and home loans, the last thing you want to do is add more stress to the home owning experience. However, it’s essential that homeowners understand how to keep their family and property safe in case of an emergency.

While less dangerous than other emergencies, power outages can still wreak havoc when it comes to your health, security and comfort. Besides the obvious inconvenience of your home’s appliances failing to work, power outages leave you vulnerable to things such as fire or carbon monoxide poisoning if your detection devices lose power. In addition, losing power could mean losing heat, something that could lead to serious damage and discomfort in the middle of winter.

One way to deal with power outages is to make sure that you have a backup system in place. Purchasing a generator will allow your home to continue functioning in case of a power outage, although you will likely need to ration power to the most important parts of your home. You can help cut down on wasting back up power by installing energy efficient appliances. Not only will these help in the case of using a back up generator, but they will save you money on energy costs as well. Continue reading

Hiring a contractor

contractor renovationMagnifying glass

When it comes to owning a property, paying off home loans isn’t the last expense owners will experience. At some point, you will likely want to make repairs or renovations to your property, and unless you plan on undertaking these projects yourself, you’ll want to hire a contractor. When you decide to let someone work on your home, it’s important to know what you’re getting into, especially when you’re paying that person. Taking the time to find the right contractor and understand how the process works will not only save you money and stress, it will give you peace of mind.

Before you hire a contractor, make sure you have a solid idea of what kind of work you want done. It won’t help matters to approach a contractor with vague ideas. Once you know what you’re in the market for, you can narrow your search for contractors who specialize in that type of work. Continue reading

Saving time and money on landscaping

When you’re filling out a mortgage application, you’re usually thinking of the house you want to buy – the walls, windows, doors and roof. However, purchasing a property means becoming the owner of more than just a house. Your front and back yards are a part of the bargain, and they can add their own unique challenges to the home owning process. Enjoying a beautiful lawn or garden shouldn’t mean spending excess time and money, and by using some smart strategies, it doesn’t have to.

Low maintenance lawns
Properly taking care of a lawn means mowing, watering, edging, fertilizing and treating for pests on a regular basis. If you’re not doing it yourself, chances are you’re paying someone else to do it. Either way, it’s possible to cut down on the time and energy it takes to have a beautiful lawn.

While the type of turf used for traditional lawns may make for a more uniform appearance, low-maintenance lawns more than make up for it by cutting down on labor-intensive work and costs. By using special turfgrasses, fescues and broadleaf species, you can make your lawn hardier, healthier and slower growing without constant upkeep. Continue reading

Healthy Housing

healthy housingMagnifying glass

While focusing on home loans and mortgage rates is well and good for your finances, shouldn’t purchasing a home be good for your health too? There are a number of ways to ensure that your property is not only protected, but protecting you from illness and poor health.

It seems strange that something as vital as water could cause so many health problems, but anyone who has ever dealt with mold in their home understands the dangers moisture can pose. Moisture can lead to mold, microscopic fungi that grow and spread rapidly. Not only can mold damage household materials, but the chemicals and spores released by mold can cause severe health problems, ranging from allergic reactions to respiratory disease. Mold also weakens the immune system, making it especially dangerous to children, the elderly and pregnant women. Continue reading

Paying for home renovations

home renovationMagnifying glass

Purchasing a property may be the first step to living in your dream home. Whether it’s adding a room, building a pool or anything in between, home renovation can be a financial burden outside the world of mortgage rates and closing costs. Luckily homeowners have a number of options when it comes to paying for home renovations. The important part is figuring out which method works best for you.

Credit card
Qualifying for a credit card may be easier than getting a loan from a bank, but it can also be riskier. Credit card interest rates tend to be high, meaning that if you use your credit card for large renovation projects and don't pay your balance in full each month, the amount you owe can skyrocket quickly. Also keep in mind that keeping the balance for too long can harm your credit score. If you do plan on using a credit card to pay for home renovations, use it sparingly and only for smaller projects. Also try to find a credit card with low interest rates and generous repayment terms. Continue reading

Deciding on a home

sold homeMagnifying glass

It’s no secret that Canada’s housing industry has become a buyer’s market. Prices are declining, homes are becoming more affordable and excess inventory has made it easier than ever for prospective homeowners to weigh their options when selecting a home. On top of all that, mortgage rates remain near historic lows, allowing buyers to finance their properties with very attractive interest rates.

In fact, according to Scotiabank, Canada’s current housing climate has created the perfect storm for prospective buyers. Lax home sales are making properties more affordable, but the industry has entered a soft landing, as opposed to a crash that would make buying a home a poor investment.

In a report from Scotiabank, economist Adrienne Warren predicts that while the market will remain soft in the short-term, prices will not be plunging to a dangerous degree. Continue reading