I have sold a property at 407 1405 West 15th AVE W in Vancouver.
This is the south facing patio suite you've been looking for! Located centrally on a quiet street in the Fairview area of South Granville. Beautifully updated suite with newer floors, paint, and built in pantry. Very well laid out, this spacious bright ground floor home has a completely private walkout patio and garden for the green thumb or just kicking back. The building has been extensively updated with all new windows, new exterior upgrades, intercom, etc. Extremely well maintained, with meticulous gardens and landscaping. Just steps to shopping, coffee, groceries...Home includes one parking and one storage.
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Over the next couple of blogs, we'll be providing a list of grants and rebates for property buyers and owners to make the purchasing process a little more affordable. The first five grants were listed out in the previous blog, which can be found here: Grants & Rebates Part I. Follow along to see how you can keep your wallet feeling a little fuller!

(6) BC Property Tax Deferment Programs
Once you receive your property tax notice, you may be able to apply for a low interest loan to pay your current year property taxes on your principal residence given you satisfy the requirements.

There are three different property tax deferment programs available: [1] Property Tax Deferment Program for Seniors [2] Financial Hardship Property Tax Deferment Program [3] Property Tax Deferment Program for Families with Children. See if you qualify by clicking the link below.

Additional Information: Property Tax Deferment

(7) Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI)
Sponsored by both the provincial and federal governments, this program provides eligible low-income seniors and disabled homeowners up to $20,000 to finance home modifications to make them accessible and safer.

Additional Information: HAFI Program

(8) CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium Refund
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is Canada’s national housing agency. CMHC is Canada’s premier provider of mortgage loan insurance, mortgage-backed securities, housing policy and programs, and housing research. This refund provides home buyers with CMHC mortgage insurance, a 10% premium refund and possible extended amortization without surcharge when buyers purchase an energy efficient home or make energy saving renovations.

Additional Information: CMHC Refund

(9) RBC Energy Saver Mortgage
Being mindful of the environment by being energy efficient has its perks! The RBC Energy Saver Mortgage is a unique financing solution that offers a $300 rebate on a home energy audit to help you make improvements to your home's energy efficiency. Go green and save some green!

Additional Information: RBC Energy Saver Mortgage

(10) Low Interest Renovation Loans
Another advantage of going green involves Vancity's Bright Ideas personal loan offer. This loan offers home owners up to $20,000 at prime + 1% for up to 10 years for 'green' renovations to make your home more energy efficient. RBC follows suit with their RBC Energy Saver loan. This loan offers home owners 1% off the interest rate for a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000 or a $100 rebate 

Additional Information: Vancity's Bright Ideas & RBC's Energy Saver Loan

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Over the next couple of blogs, we'll be providing a list of grants and rebates for property buyers and owners to make the purchasing process a little more affordable. Follow along to see how you can keep your wallet feeling a little fuller!

(1) Home Buyers' Plan
Qualifying home buyers can withdraw up to $25,000 (or $50,000 for couples) from their Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSP) for a down payment. It allows you to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself or a related person with a disability. Home buyers who have repaid their RRSP may be eligible to use the program a second time.

 Additional Information: CRA Home Buyers' Plan

(2) GST Rebate on New Homes
New home buyers can apply for a rebate for the 5% GST if the purchase price is $350,000 or less. The rebate is equal to 36% of the GST paid to a maximum rebate of $6,300. For homes between $350,000 and $450,000, there is a proportional GST rebate available.

 Additional Information: CRA GST Rebate

(3) BC Property Transfer Tax (PTT) First Time Home Buyers' Program
For properties purchased in BC, the government has levied a tax payable called the Property Transfer Tax (PTT). The tax is 1% on the first $200,000 of the property value and 2% on the remaining balance. However, first-time home buyers may be qualified for $7,500 in tax savings on the purchase of a home up to $475,000 (Effective as of February 19,2014). 

 Additional Information: BC Property Transfer Tax Program

(4) First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit (HBTC)
This federal non-refundable income tax credit is for qualifying buyers of detached, attached, apartment condominiums, mobile homes or shares in a cooperative housing corporation. To calculate the tax credit, you will multiply the lowest personal income tax rate for the year (15% in 2012) x $5,000. The maximum credit is $750 in 2013.

 Additional Information: Home Buyers' Tax Credit

(5) BC Home Owner Grant
This grant reduces property taxes for home owners with an assessed value of up to $1.1M. You (or your spouse) can only claim the home owner grant for your principal residence each year. The grant is available to qualified residents that pay property taxes to a municipality or the province in a rural area

With this grant, home owners are able to receive:
- A maximum reduction of $570 in property taxes on principal residences in the Capital, Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley regional districts;
- An additional grant of $200 to rural homeowners elsewhere in the province; &
- An additional grant of $275 to seniors aged 65+, those who are permanently disabled and war veterans of certain wars.

 Additional Information: BC Home Owner Grant

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With a considerable increase in energy costs followed by an incline in Canadian inflation rates in the recent months, there is some speculation that the effect on the consumer price index (CPI) caused by high energy costs should fade later this year. CPI is the Bank of Canada's preferred measure of inflation. There does seem to be some underlying momentum in core CPI which, if kept continuing, will be much harder for policymakers to brush aside.

Global economic growth was weaker than forecasted for the first quarter in 2014 but is expected to pick up in the second half of the year. As for now, the rates are anticipated to remain unchanged until 2015. There is much consideration that the new normal for interest rates is that it will be much lower than previously. The interest rate will see fluctuations in the short-run, however, in the long-run, the interest rate should be in line with the economic growth.

Canada's potential growth rate has slowed down in the recent years due to the low productivity growth, the global financial crisis aftermath and the aging workforce. The Canadian labour force growth is correlated with the production of goods and services growth. Thus, both growth rates will follow the same declining pattern. Economic growth in the coming periods may be a little slower than in previous eras and thus, the appropriate interest rates for the Canadian economy may consequently be lower than in previous eras.

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Buying a home involves sneaky hidden costs that are often overlooked. Be prepared for fees that go beyond the mortgage. The time for you to budget for those "end" expenses is now!

Concluding our three part series is the evaluation of potential additional fees you may be faced with during the buying process. Our previous blog posts regarding MANDATORY FEES & MORTGAGE FEES can be found here: Hidden Costs I & Hidden Costs II

Home Inspection Fee: While this is not required, it is highly recommended to have a thorough home inspection in order to check for any major issues that may arise. Typical costs range from $500 to $700 for an inspection. Given the situation in which there are some complications, the inspector may recommend an external specialist to review such suspicions. 

Land Survey Fees: Only if required by lender.

Appraisal: Typical costs for an appraisal run at $300 and this fee may be charged back to you by the lender.

Contract Buyouts: In situations in which there is a contract buyout, you are required to reimburse the seller for any prepaid contracts that are currently in place such as monthly security services.

Moving Expenses: Prepare yourself for any additional expenses that may potentially arise from the actual moving process. Think about moving truck rentals, strata move-in/move-out fees, incidental costs relating to your move etc.

Lastly, once you're finally settled into your new home, be prepared for ownership expenses as well. These include home insurance, utilities expense, property tax etc.

By being adequately equipped with knowledge of these often overlooked fees, you are now prepared to budget accordingly. Don't let these hidden costs frighten you but rather, let this enlighten you and prepare you for the purchase of your new home!

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Buying a home involves sneaky hidden costs that are often overlooked. Be prepared for fees that go beyond the mortgage. The time for you to budget for those "end" expenses is now!

Our previous blog post regarding MANDATORY FEES can be found here: Hidden Costs I

Mortgage Application Fee: The fees charged vary from lender to lender. If you're lucky, some don't charge at all.

Mortgage Default Insurance: For buyers with less than a 20% down payment, you are required to buy the default insurance which is calculated as being 0.65% - 2.75% of the mortgage amount. It'll be in your best interest to have at least 20% down in order to save thousands of dollars.

Mortgage Life Insurance: Having mortgage life insurance is a great safeguard that protects you and your family in case of death or illness. Research different term policies to align yourself with a insurance policy that is best suited for all your needs. A quick tidbit: Generally speaking, a term life policy offered from an insurance company is a better deal in contrast to a policy offered from your lender.

Sales Tax: This is applicable to only newly built homes with a rate of 12% HST or 5% GST + 2% transition tax which is dependent on when the construction was completed.

*But wait! You'll get a rebate on your Federal Income Tax if you paid less than $850,000 (HST) or $450,000 (GST) for your newly built home.

Stay tuned for our last post on additional hidden fees of buying a home!

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Buying a home involves sneaky hidden costs that are often overlooked. Be prepared for fees that go beyond the mortgage. The time for you to budget for those "end" expenses is now!

Deposit: Prepare ~5% of the purchase price readily available in cash.

Legal Fees: Lawyer and notary fees are dependent on the complexity of the transactions. A lawyer or notary public represents your needs and interests and will facilitate transactions between you, the seller and the bank on closing day. For straightforward transactions, the average cost will range from $600 to $1,200.

Property Transfer Tax (PTT): For the first $200,000, you pay 1% and 2% for the remaining balance.

Great News for First-Time Home Buyers! Effective as of February 19, 2014, the government has announced a reduction in the tax burden for first-time buyers. Under the PTT First-Time Home Buyers' Exemption program, qualifying first-time buyers can buy a home worth up to $475,000. The previous threshold was $425,000. 

More information regarding the reduced tax burden can be found on our previously published blog post: Government Reduces Tax Burden on First-Time Buyers

Stay tuned for additional hidden fees of buying a home in subsequent posts!

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If you haven't paid your property taxes yet, today is the last day before late penalties kick in. July 2, 2014 is the deadline for property tax payment and various applications as listed below:

- Deadline to pay your rural property taxes
- Deadline to apply for the home owner grant without late payment penalties
- Deadline to apply to defer your property taxes without late payment penalties
- Deadline to apply for the Farm Extension Program

Before paying your property taxes, make sure to complete the Home Owner Grant Application. There are 6 ways you can pay property taxes:

1) By Mail: Mail the cheque or money order with the remittance portion of the property tax bill to the local municipality. Taxes must be received by the due date.

2) At a Financial Institution: Pay online, by phone, in person or ATM. Submit the Home Owner Grant application directly to the municipality or by using the municipality's electronic Home Owner Grant Application System.

3) At City Hall: In person using a cheque, money order, cash or debit card. You can also remit payment through the drop box. Place the cheque or money order in an envelope with "Property Taxes" written on it. Use the envelope provided with the tax notice.

4) Through a Mortgage: A lender can pay property taxes on behalf of a taxpayer if this service is arranged beforehand.

5) By Installments: Check with the municipality to see if prepayment options are available.

6) Online: Visit www.epost.ca or by using the municipality's own online payment system.

 *Credit card payments are not allowed for property tax payments.

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Purchasing a home in itself can be stressful enough. Being bombarded with unfamiliar jargon can add to that stress. Fortunately for you, we've created a helpful cheat sheet that will make you a mortgage expert in no time!

Collateral Mortgage
While this financing tool is generally not in the forefront in terms of mortgage plans, it has definitely been around for quite some time. With a collateral mortgage, you still have some elements of a conventional mortgage such as a predetermined interest rate and term. This loan agreement is secured by the collateral security of a mortgage against your home. Depending on the lender, you may be able to have your mortgage registered for up to 125% of its value. 

Advantages of a Collateral Mortgage
- You're able to diversify your mortgage with multiple components (Ie/ Part fixed-rate, part variable-rate, part secured line of credit)
- You're able to separate different portions of your mortgage for tax purposes.
- Easy to tap into your equity for debt consolidation, renovations or to invest in property or investments easily and in a cost effective manner. In addition, there are no legal fees associated with this.

Disadvantages of a Collateral Mortgage
- Having a collateral mortgage ties you to one bank
- No freedom to switch or transfer to another lender like a conventional mortgage. If you're wanting to switch to another lender for their attractive interest rates or features, you must start from the beginning which generally means incurring legal costs of $500-$1000.
- Not offered by all lending institutions

 This concludes our 4-part series. Hopefully we have equipped you with the tools necessary to be able to make wise decisions on what plan is best suited for your needs. Good luck in choosing a plan that is perfect for you!

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