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 →
Purchasing real estate is one of the biggest investments one can make in their lifetime, which is why it is so important to fully understand the associated legal implications. Can an offer to purchase be cancelled? What is a latent defect? A defect of consent? Interview with Martin Janson, real estate lawyer at Janson, Larente, Roy in Montréal.
1. Is there a difference between an offer to purchase and a promise to purchase?
The term “offer to purchase” is often used, but the correct term is actually “promise to purchase”. In this document, the buyer proposes an amount to the seller to acquire the property and sets a deadline for a response. Once the promise is signed, there is to a certain extent a contract. One party is obligated to purchase, while the other is obligated to sell. However, the buyer can stipulate conditions to the promise to purchase. The most common are obtaining the necessary financing, the sale of their current property, and a satisfactory inspection report. Continue reading →
If we compare the expense of an inspection to the cost of buying a home, it really isn’t that expensive after all! But too often, we still skip this step.
“You would never purchase a used car without hiring a knowledgeable mechanic to inspect it first. So why wouldn’t you do the same thing before making one of the most important investments of our life?” asks Jean-Claude Fillion, an architect who specializes in pre-purchase inspections.
“It’s important to know where you stand before buying a home,” he continues.
Before you sign on the dotted line, here are five good reasons to get a home inspection before you buy a house. Continue reading →
What are the first things you should ask yourself before buying rental property? First of all, will you live there or not? From a fiscal point of view, if you are renting out the entire property, you could deduct all of the day-to-day expenses related to the building from your income. But if you’re an owner-occupant, only expenses related to the rental units will be deductible. On the other hand, when you go to sell, the portion of the building occupied by the owner is exempt from capital gains tax. If it is completely rented out, all of your capital gains will be taxable.
In addition, when you have a specific property in mind, you need to consult the assessment roll to ensure that the number of units on the realtor’s listing is correct. If a livable basement is considered to be a dwelling by the city, this counts as one more unit. If this is the case, you might have to make a bigger downpayment.
Speaking of which, how much of a downpayment do you need for this type of purchase?
If you’re renting out all of the units, you need to make a minimum downpayment of 20% of the building’s purchase price.
If you’re going to be an owner-occupant, you could lower the downpayment to 5% of a duplex’s purchase price with mortgage loan insurance. For a triplex or quadruplex, you’ll need to put down a minimum of 10%.
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 →
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