In Canada, winter is synonymous with snowy landscapes, cold-weather sports… And soaring electricity bills. What if you could make changes to your house, or plan the construction of your next home to reduce the amount of energy you consume? From little fixes to major work, here’s how you can make your house more eco-friendly, increase your comfort level and save on heating and lighting.
Adopt eco-friendly habits
“If you want to reduce your energy bill, your priorities should be ensuring that the house is well insulated and replacing energy-sucking appliances,” explains Martin Lambert, Founding President of Ecosolaris. “It always costs less to invest in conserving energy rather than producing it.” Guilty parties include incandescent light bulbs, which could be replaced by LED lighting, and old appliances that you’d be better to replace with Energy Star-certified appliances. Products that carry this certification are required to meet strict technical specifications related to energy efficiency and are tested extensively before being certified.
“Control systems can also be a good way to save,” adds Brian Wilkinson, President of Energie Matrix Inc. “A smart thermostat that can be controlled remotely could save you up to 20% of your electricity bill.” Continue reading →
You’ve decided to buy your very first home in 2017. You’re about to start looking for houses on the market. Let’s review your decision to ensure that you’re in fact ready for this step. Continue reading →
According to Jonathan Haziza, a product manager for mortgage solutions at National Bank, the scale of the costs linked to buying a property tend to be underestimated by first-time buyers. So without further ado, here are some expenses to keep in mind for a realistic portrait of what lies ahead.
Your financial institution may ask for an evaluation of the property’s market worth. This happens when the cost is steep or the property contains various risk factors. Requesting an appraisal is a means of protection: either to ensure that payments won’t be above your means, or to verify that the property is truly worth what you’re about to pay. You’ll therefore need to hire an appraiser to produce the necessary documents.
Inspection fee Hiring a building inspector to check for hidden defects in pre-existing houses is crucial. This will help you avoid bad surprises that could cost you a lot; you’ll have peace of mind knowing that everything is as it should be. Continue reading →
While nearly half of Canadian homeowners don’t plan to sell their homes when they retire, many are still unsure what they’ll do. Moving to a new city or downsizing to a more compact home can offer advantages but, depending on your goals, a few disadvantages as well. If you’re thinking about a post-retirement move, consider these pros and cons before you start packing:
When you relocate to a new city or property…
PRO: Save money on daily expenses: If you relocate to a less expensive area, you’ll be able to stretch your retirement savings further. Consider the benefits of a suburb vs. city, and look to exotic areas that provide a lower cost of living. Need a little inspiration? Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica are popular post-retirement spots for Canadians. Or, look to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where you can rent a one-bedroom apartment (in a good area!) for as little as $400 a month.
CON: Spend money on moving costs: Even if you’re exchanging your current digs for a less expensive property, moving isn’t cheap — real estate agent expenses, land transfer tax and moving costs can dissolve a big chunk of money. In Toronto, for example, land transfer costs, legal fees and moving expenses alone could be $15,000 or more. Plus, you’ll have to consider the cost of traveling to visit family, but if you pick a tropical locale, Canadian relatives may be more likely to come to you.
You’re thinking of buying your perfect home? You’re prepared for the down payment as well as the loan and tax instalments and insurance. You’re sure you’ve thought of everything. But have you really anticipated everything?
Buying a home is not only a matter of making loan payments! It’s important to anticipate other expenses. And since these expenses can impact the amount you put down, you need to keep them in mind during the buying process. These expenses* can include: