Archives for Homeowner tips

3 Tips For Making A Major Homeowners Insurance Claim

3 Tips For Making A Major Homeowners Insurance Claim Home insurance is one of the costs that come with home ownership. You pay your premiums to your insurance company and when disaster strikes, you expect that they will pay for most, if not all of the bill.  But will they? Here are 3 tips to help you get the most out of your homeowner’s insurance claim.   Know your limits, deductibles and what your coverage includes. Depending on your policy, your insurance company may or may not cover things like water damage. By reviewing your policy, you’ll know how much you can expect to pay out-of-pocket, which will help you decide which repairs are essential, and which can wait. You’ll also want to know whether your insurance company will pay actual cash value or replacement costs for personal property that has been damaged.  Cash value may not be enough to cover replacement costs so get the details before you rush out to replace everything. Document all of your damage. Take photos of EVERYTHING before you start cleaning up or starting any repairs.  Document damage to every item.  If you make any repairs before filing a claim, keep your receipts.  After you file your claim, typically your insurance company will send an adjuster to your home to provide an estimate of the damage, but this can be well after you’ve started the cleanup and repair process. Providing photos and documentation to your insurance company is essential to ensuring they can make the most accurate assessment of the damage. If you disagree with the insurance company’s estimate, and decide to dispute, know your rights under your policy. Usually there is an appeal procedure that should include your right to submit a second estimate by a public adjuster that you hire yourself.  This adjuster will work for you through the claim process to help ensure you get the full entitlement under your policy.

3 Tips For Making A Major Homeowners Insurance Claim

3 Tips For Making A Major Homeowners Insurance Claim Home insurance is one of the costs that come with home ownership. You pay your premiums to your insurance company and when disaster strikes, you expect that they will pay for most, if not all of the bill.  But will they? Here are 3 tips to help you get the most out of your homeowner’s insurance claim.   Know your limits, deductibles and what your coverage includes. Depending on your policy, your insurance company may or may not cover things like water damage. By reviewing your policy, you’ll know how much you can expect to pay out-of-pocket, which will help you decide which repairs are essential, and which can wait. You’ll also want to know whether your insurance company will pay actual cash value or replacement costs for personal property that has been damaged.  Cash value may not be enough to cover replacement costs so get the details before you rush out to replace everything. Document all of your damage. Take photos of EVERYTHING before you start cleaning up or begin repairs.  Document damage to every item.  If you make any repairs before filing a claim, keep your receipts.  After you file your claim, typically your insurance company will send an adjuster to your home to provide an estimate of the damage, but this can be well after you’ve started the cleanup and repair process. Providing photos and documentation to your insurance company is essential to ensuring they can make the most accurate assessment of the damage. If you disagree with the insurance company’s estimate, and decide to dispute, know your rights under your policy. Usually there is an appeal procedure that should include your right to submit a second estimate by a public adjuster that you hire yourself.  This adjuster will work for you through the claim process to help ensure you get the full entitlement under your policy.

Buying a Home: What The Extras Cost

Contracts and rentals to consider in home ownership When it comes to buying a home, there are always additional fees to be considering when you make an offer. Typically, a first-time home buyer needs to be aware of the costs associated with buying a home – legal fees, mortgage rates, home insurance, closing costs, property taxes, land transfer fees…But what about those little extras not everyone considers? The contracts and rentals associated with the home such as furnaces, hot water tanks, and in some locations even your septic tanks – and what that could cost you. The main point is to understand EXACTLY what you are buying. Some of these costs are minimal, and won’t make a significant impact on your decision when it comes to home buying. However, if you’re looking at a home that requires you to take over a rental furnace, for example, some furnace contracts can cost hundreds of dollars per month to maintain. What can you do to know what you’re getting yourself into before the costs start rising? To begin with, ensure that you have an experienced realtor who can go over all appliances, and their extra associated costs (such as a hot water rental tank). Then have your lawyer go over the information provided and share their opinion and expertise with you. Be sure to do your research when it comes to the costs of rental furnaces (if that is your situation) in the area that you are looking to purchase the home, and understand what their associated terms and costs are. Carefully consider all options when it comes to these expenses, and what exactly you agree to take over. Smaller appliances, such as hot water tank rentals, and propane tank rentals are relatively low cost/inexpensive to take over and have precise terms and conditions. When it comes to taking over a furnace or septic tank rental, be sure to thoroughly evaluate all the options in the contracts provided, as well as research the typical costs associated with such items.

Understanding Property Taxes

Property taxes are a necessary part of owning property in Ontario. Anyone in Ontario who owns land or a property has to pay a certain amount of tax to the municipal government. Although these taxes are unpopular, as all taxes are, property taxes are important because they are the main revenue source for Ontario’s municipalities. Property taxes are separate from other forms of taxes, and the amount that each person owes is based on a unique assessment for their particular property and the tax rate of the municipality the property is in. How property taxes are determined for each individual property is quite simple. Each municipality within Ontario has its own municipal tax rate, which is determined based on the municipality’s budget and expected revenue. Each municipality also has an education tax rate, which helps to pay for schools and related services within the municipality. These education tax rates can vary within a municipality, depending on where a property is located in relation to schools. On an individual level, every property in Ontario has an assessed value based on property assessments that are carried out periodically. In order to find the total amount of property taxes owed, a simple formula is followed. The municipal tax rate is added to the education tax rate that is applicable for the particular property (and in some cases other taxes are applied as well), and then the result is multiplied by the property’s assessed value. The resulting amount is the total property tax that you will owe for the year. For clarity, an example is below:   Property’s Current Value (by assessment): $285,000.00 Total Tax Rate: 1.05% Property Taxes Owed: $2,992.50   It can be tricky to find details of the municipal tax rate in your area, especially since it can vary on what type of property you own, but there are also estimators online to help you with your budgeting. When tax time comes you will also receive a notice of the amount you owe from your municipal government, so you do not need to worry about sending in the wrong amount.   If you live in a part of the province that is not incorporated into a municipality, the process for determining your total property taxes is very similar. The only difference is that you will multiply your property’s assessed value by the provincial land tax, instead of an individual municipality’s property tax value. Generally, the provincial land tax is lower than that of incorporated municipalities.   It is important to remember property tax when it comes to budgeting for tax time, and it is always a good idea to use an estimator to get an idea of what you will have to pay, so that you are not caught off-guard by an unexpectedly higher rate.

Understanding Property Taxes

Property taxes are a necessary, though disliked part of owning property in Ontario. Anyone in Ontario who owns land or a property has to pay a certain amount of tax to the municipal government. Although these taxes are unpopular, as all taxes are, property taxes are important because they are the main revenue source for Ontario’s municipalities. Property taxes are separate from other forms of taxes, and the amount that each person owes is based on a unique assessment for their particular property and the tax rate of the municipality the property is in.   How property taxes are determined for each individual property is quite simple. Each municipality within Ontario has its own municipal tax rate, which is determined based on the municipality’s budget and expected revenue. Each municipality also has an education tax rate, which helps to pay for schools and related services within the municipality. These education tax rates can vary within a municipality, depending on where a property is located in relation to schools. On an individual level, every property in Ontario has an assessed value based on property assessments that are carried out periodically. In order to find the total amount of property taxes owed, a simple formula is followed. The municipal tax rate is added to the education tax rate that is applicable for the particular property (and in some cases other taxes are applied as well), and then the result is multiplied by the property’s assessed value. The resulting amount is the total property tax that you will owe for the year. For clarity, an example is below:   Property’s Current Value (by assessment): $285,000.00 Total Tax Rate: 1.05% Property Taxes Owed: $2,992.50   It can be tricky to find details of the municipal tax rate in your area, especially since it can vary on what type of property you own, but there are also estimators online to help you with your budgeting. When tax time comes you will also receive a notice of the amount you owe from your municipal government, so you do not need to worry about sending in the wrong amount.   If you live in a part of the province that is not incorporated into a municipality, the process for determining your total property taxes is very similar. The only difference is that you will multiply your property’s assessed value by the provincial land tax, instead of an individual municipality’s property tax value. Generally, the provincial land tax is lower than that of incorporated municipalities.   It is important to remember property tax when it comes to budgeting for tax time, and it is always a good idea to use an estimator to get an idea of what you will have to pay, so that you are not caught off-guard by an unexpectedly higher rate.

Landlords and Legalization: What budding weed laws may mean for Landlord

Landlords and Legalization: What budding weed laws may mean for Landlords With the legalization of marijuana on the horizon, property owners of rental units are wondering what that will mean for them. As all the rules and regulations surrounding cannabis use have yet to be ironed out, it’s only natural that landlords are beginning express concern, or in some cases excitement surrounding the opportunities legalization will present. The legalization of medical cannabis passed in 2001, but as Canada moves forward to legalize the use of cannabis across the country, there are many different views surrounding the changes. With multiple angles to consider, it’s no wonder that landlords across the country are beginning to question, challenge, and prepare for the pending legalization. What are the pro and con sides of the debate surrounding legalization for landlords, and how might rental properties be affected by the new legislation? Firstly, one of the stipulations surrounding the new legislations is that marijuana can only be smoked in private residences. With this stipulation, there are two clear opinions stemming from landlords surrounding the pending legalisations: Against – due to questions of property value, maintenance, and lack of control over their rental units For legalisation – viewing legalisation as an opportunity in the rental market, as there will be a need to fill Looking initially at those against legalization, and their concerns surrounding property values, costs of fumigation, and loss of control within their rental units, it is understandable why landlords are questioning how they will be able to control their properties once smoking weed becomes a legal right, contained to private residences. Much like how many landlords have clauses surrounding not allowing pets within their units, it is likely that there will be a surge in rental units that are anti-weed smoking, meaning that tenants are not permitted to smoke weed in these units. Although it is a tricky situation to regulate, as smoking weed is going to be a legal right, it is possible to see landlords increasing their rents, and tightening up conditions of leases in order to accommodate the new legislation and the costs that could be ensued. In the same way that landlords try and regulate the type and number of pets permitted in each unit, it is possible that they will attempt to make these same regulations surrounding marijuana in order to protect their property from damages, the need to fumigate, and to ensure the well being and happiness of al their tenants. A potential surge in rent increases could lead renters to be searching for weed-friendly apartments, (much like pet-friendly apartments), which could see a rise in vacancies in some places, along with some renters seeking out the option to purchase a private residence in order to enjoy their space freely, and as they see fit. On the other hand, some landlords are viewing this new legislation as an opportunity to take advantage of what will be a need in the market, much like those who take advantage of the

Selling in the Summer

Selling your home in summer? It can be grueling to prepare a house for sale in the summer heat but many experts believe that summer is one of the best times to sell a house. Why?… People are out and about! Summer holidays mean that people have more time to devote to buying a home and, for parents of school age children, moving in the summer offers an easier transition for families changing neighbourhoods/schools. Selling your home in summer may also give you more time to devote to preparing your home – it’s a win-win! The Ottawa real estate market remains strong and steady with June stats showing an average price increase of over 7% year over year.  Inventory is down over 25% from this time last year, and with fewer homes for buyers to choose and an increase in multiple offer situations it’s a great time to get your home on the market. Here are some tips… Look at similar properties Setting the right price for your home can be one of the hardest parts of selling, but fortunately there are resources available to you. Contact a Realtor  to provide you with a list of comparable properties. A professionally-prepared current market analysis will include homes that are currently offered for sale and properties that have sold,  including the sale price and number of days on market.  This information that is essential in determining the list price that will get you top dollar.  At Royal LePage, our Realtors  provide a complimentary, no obligation consultation for Sellers.  Looking at similar properties may also give you a few ideas when it comes to staging.  If you see something that works in another house, don’t be afraid to borrow the idea for yours.  Pinterest is also an amazing resource for DIY projects and design inspiration. Make your home anyone’s home You surely love all the unique touches that go into making your house a home, but the point of selling it is to have someone else make it their home. When setting up your house for sale, make sure to tone down the elements that you think might turn potential buyers away. De-cluttering, making sure you’re up to date with home maintenance/repairs and a adding a fresh coat of paint, are just a few ways you can make your house a little more welcoming to people who are looking to make it their own. Maximize your outdoor space While the idea of “dressing up” your outdoor space with a garden gnome in every corner might attract some attention (see the “Clown House” for sale earlier this year in Brantford) clean details, practical storage, comfortable seating and a pop of colour are the fundamentals of an inviting outdoor space, simple is best! Easy access from indoor to outdoor can also help make your home feel bigger and brighter! Increase curb appeal More than at any other time, curb appeal is important to selling a house in the summer. When you have a house for sale, make sure you

Bang For Your Buck: Renos That Will Increase Your Home’s Value

If you are a homeowner, you’ve probably spent money on your property over and above the regular carrying costs.  Investing in your  property has the obvious benefits of making your home nicer to live in, but smart renovations can also have the side benefit of increasing a home’s value when it comes time to sell. Below is a list of some of the home renovations that have been shown to add the most to a home’s value, as well as some renovations to avoid. Flooring Flooring can be a costly renovation, but can also add to a home’s value if it is done properly. Generally speaking, wall-to-wall carpeting is not as desirable as it once was, and some potential buyers may even see it as a nuisance that they will have to replace. Hardwood floors, and tiled floors for bathrooms, on the other hand are in higher demand and are likely to increase your home’s value. A particularly easy way to do this is to refinish existing hardwood floors, getting the benefit at a much lower cost than installing new ones. Fixtures Fixtures are a bit more complicated when it comes to improving the value of your home. Generally speaking, installing new fixtures will improve your home’s value up to a certain point. It is worth adding in new fixtures or updating old ones that improve the function and look of a room, especially the bathroom and kitchen, like new faucets and light fixtures. However, spending extra money on high-end fixtures and appliances will likely end up costing you more money in the long run, since they may not match a potential buyer’s plans. High-end upgrades don’t generally increase a home’s value if they are inconsistent with the rest of the home, and specific high-end features like media rooms or swimming pools rarely make back their cost. Kitchens and Bathrooms The kitchen and bathrooms are some of the most important rooms in a house in terms of value, and are worth paying attention to when it comes time to renovate. Renovations to these rooms often add to the home’s value, as long as they are functional and not purely decorative improvements, and adding a bathroom to a home can increase the value substantially. When aiming to improve a home’s value, the kitchen and bathrooms should be one of the first places to look. Updating fixtures, replacing older plumbing and making everything look clean and functional are good steps to a more valuable home. Income Suites & Coach Houses The single greatest improvement you can make to your home’s value will be through the addition of an income suite or a coach house. By converting a basement into a rental unit or adding a coach house, you can bring in supplemental income while you are still living in your house. An income suite is also a valuable thing when it comes time to sell, since it is a wise investment for potential homebuyers as well. Of course it’s vital that an

Homeowners Can Earn Extra Income Using Airbnb

Congratulations, you’re a homeowner!  With all of the joys of home-ownership also comes the task of paying off your mortgage, paying property taxes and keeping up with regular maintenance as required.  While you’ve purchased a home within your means, paying off a mortgage can be daunting; however, there are ways in which you can make your payments a little more manageable. If you’ve decided to purchase a home, you’ve put down a certain percentage as a down payment, and you’ve agreed to pay into a mortgage (over the course of x-amount of years with an interest rate of x-percent). You can’t help but to ask yourself, “what can I do to reduce the costs associated with being a homeowner?” Airbnb might just be the answer you’re searching for. With Airbnb you’re able to rent out your home (or second home, depending on whether or not you’ve decided to take out a second mortgage on a retirement property, for instance) to people who are traveling from around the world and need a place to temporarily stay. According to their site, as an Airbnb host you can earn $182 CAD by sharing a single, private room in Ottawa in only 1 week and $331 CAD by sharing your entire home in Ottawa in the same amount of time. And the best part? It’s easy! Simply visit their website, select the “become a host” button, and answer a few basic questions. It’s an extremely reasonable option for you to earn a few extra dollars while renting out your home for only a few short stints at a time, rather than for a full season (or vice versa depending on which home you choose to rent out). Before renting out your home through Airbnb, or any other related service, it’s wise that you first do your homework. Check with your bank: more often than not, you must inform them of the intended use of your property. It goes without saying that receiving a little extra help in lessening your mortgage will undoubtedly feel awesome, but simply make sure you’re providing diligence where it’s due – throughout the entire process. The post Homeowners Can Earn Extra Income Using Airbnb appeared first on Team Realty. Source: Blog

Winterizing Your Yard

Winterizing your home for the cold snap is one thing; winterizing your yard, however, is another. And as much as most of us would like to avoid prepping our yards for the inevitable cold that is to come, it’s something that’s simply unavoidable – especially if we’re looking to save both time and energy when spring and summer rolls around next year. Rest assured, however, winterizing your yard is not as complex as most of us may think it is, in fact, it’s actually quite simple.   We’ve provided a list of ways below that will help you and your family maintain the quality of your yard, regardless of how cold it gets this winter:   Move your hoses into a shed or a garage: It’s advised that we unhook and empty out all the water in our hoses and store them in a warmer place (for example, in your shed or in your garage). You certainly don’t want to leave your hose out in the cold as they can “suffer from [the cold’s] exposure” – a common misconception that can lead to us having to replace them more frequently.   Take care of your BBQ and its grills: If you have either of these installed in your backyard, make sure that you move them indoors before winter hits. A garage, storage shed, or storage unit works great for your BBQ when they’re not in use. Keep in mind that your propane tanks stay outdoors – we wouldn’t want you putting your home and your family in danger!   Tear down your lawn furniture and its accessories: Sturdier lawn furniture (wrought iron, for example) can be left covered outdoors over the winter months. If, however, your furniture set is less sturdy and/or plastic, it might be a good idea to bring it indoors – cushions too! A helpful hint: give your set a good cleaning before putting it away, it’ll save you some hassle come spring/summer.   Prepare your swimming pool: “Winterizing your swimming pool protects it from damage due to the water freezing and keeps it clean for the next swimming season”. You’ll want to check the water chemistry, the alkalinity, the calcium hardness, and the chlorine levels in addition to covering your pool to avoid winter “debris”.   To read an extended version of this article, follow this link and learn more. All elements in/of your backyard should be given the proper care and attention they deserve before the cold snap of winter falls upon us. Follow these tips, make a check list – anything that will help you and your family prepare and preserve your backyard for the winter season.   The post Winterizing Your Yard appeared first on Team Realty. Source: Blog

Costs on Your Home Over the Christmas Season: Trimming the Holiday Stress

Christmas is indeed a time for many things. It is time well spent with our families and our friends, a time for celebration, a time for passing down holiday traditions (as well as creating new ones); and, of course, with the end of year approaching, it is a time of reflection and resolution. Moreover, with the abundance of festivities that our communities offer over the holidays, it’s a time to try new things, and to collect memories with your loved ones.   With the joys of Christmas comes, of course, the stresses of the season. It’s only natural. We host parties, allow for relatives to spend a night (or two), and typically spend a little more money on maintaining our homes, among other things. This said, it’s important to plan accordingly. One of the biggest factors that tend to impact our pocketbooks is our hydro usage. And with all the hustle and bustle that is the holiday season, we must be cautious with when and how often we use it. Luckily, Hydro One has set, off-peak hours (that include weekends and holidays) with set, off-peak prices. What this means is that on Christmas Day, on Boxing Day, and even on New Year’s Day, these off-peak prices, when you utilize your main hydro sources between 7:00 PM and 7:00 AM, will apply. Furthermore, being mindful of your guest’s access/usage of such amenities as cable and/or WiFi is also key. It’s important to be diligent with whom you share your passwords with, and cautious as to how often you turn on your television in order to entertain. Failure to keep track can result in a relatively hefty bill at the end of the month. Less money spent, and less stress to be had.   With respect to controlling your stress levels over the holidays, there are several ways that you can host and entertain your guests inexpensively and effectively. To avoid the cable costs of perhaps always having the game on, why not host a movie night instead? There’s nothing like reminiscing over the classics that we all grew up with. Games are also a great way to create memories on a low budget. They allow for us to bond with our friends and our families, all while creating new traditions along the way. Want to transform your home into the winter wonderland you’ve always imagined? Tree-trimming parties are an excellent way to decorate your home for the holidays, and host an unforgettable evening filled with laughs and creativity.   So turn on those catchy Christmas tunes that we all (secretly) admire and enjoy, sing aloud to the words you know and love, cook up some munchies and capture all that this holiday season has to offer. Lastly, and above all else, remember the importance of togetherness. Volunteer. Donate to your local charities. At Royal LePage, we are committed to strengthening the communities we live in – that’s why we have The Shelter Foundation – our very own charitable foundation that helps