Archive for March, 2011

Is Your Home an Energy Hog?

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Tips to save on your Home Energy Costs

All homes were not created equal when it comes to energy use. Newer dwellings are typically built with conservation in mind, whereas older houses often have a few shortcomings to address. 50% of Canadian households have made at least one home improvement intended to reduce energy consumption. 36% of Canadians now have a programmable thermostat, 33% have switched out five or more standard lights with energy-saving CFLs, and 9 out of 10 homebuyers say they are likely to look for an energy-efficient home in the future.

How do you know if your home is wasting valuable resources on a regular basis?

A home Energy audit detects specific deficiencies and suggests improvement projects that will have the biggest impact. Correcting any issues that are found should work to reduce your home’s overall energy consumption and trim your monthly household budget.

You can conduct an inspection yourself. Contact your local utility company or hire an independent energy auditor for a thorough review. A professional may use sophisticated equipment such as blower doors, infrared cameras and surface thermometers to isolate air leaks and drafts.

Assess insulation levels in attic, walls, ceilings, floors and any crawl spaces. Reducing the flow of warm and cold air between the inside and the outdoors will also make the interior more comfortable year round.

Look for cracks or openings around walls, ceilings, chimneys, windows, doors, plumbing fixtures, electrical switches and outlets or any other place that air can leak into or out of your home. Pay special attention to the fireplace flue and areas with noticeable drafts.

Make sure appliances and heating/cooling systems work well and are maintained according to the manufacturers’ recommendations.

If you’re looking for ways to reduce your monthly costs, investing in upgrades that make your home more efficient should do the trick. It will also impress cost-conscious homebuyers and potentially enhance your home’s market value if you decide to sell.

Source: Buffini and Company, Statistics Canada

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New Windows and Doors Boost Curb Appeal & Make You Money!

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

25 to 30% of the energy used to heat or cool the typical Canadian home escapes silently through its windows and doors. Replacing drafty old models with energy-efficient designs is one improvement project that pays off right away, and the savings are printed in black and white on a homeowner’s energy bills.

6 Great Reasons to Replace Older Doors and Windows:

  1. Superior Curb Appeal: Renovating with good-looking classic or modern styles can add architectural distinction or personality.
  2. More Comfortable: New technologies reduce air flow between the interior and exterior which helps to maintain a more consistent temperature inside your home.
  3. Lower Maintenance: Durable designs and modern materials minimize upkeep and may be covered by manufacturer warranties for many years.
  4. Safe and secure: Some models offer multiple-point locking systems and have been designed to resist forced entry.
  5. Peace and Quiet: High performance windows can stifle some traffic sounds, commercial clatter or other types of noise from outside.
  6. Higher Resale Value: All of these benefits may also appeal to potential buyers, so a significant portion of the cost could be recovered when the property is sold.

Replacing inefficient windows and doors can produce a return of 50-75% of your initial investment. Energy savings, in addition to the time savings associated with lower maintenance materials can also help offset your costs.

The front of your home is what neighbours, guests and buyers see first. Installing a new insulated entry-door or garage door is a relatively quick and easy project that can have a dramatic impact on the look of your home’s exterior.

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CMHC Mortgage Changes on March 18, 2011

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

CMHC Mortgage ChangesSome big news this morning regarding some upcoming changes to both mortgage amortizations and refinance loan to values.  Please note that these changes come into effect on  March 18, 2011.

Maximum Amortization – 35 to 30 Years

For the average purchaser  this will not make much of a difference.  As with last year, when the maximum amortization moved from 40 years to 35 years it did not have the negative impact the lenders feared, as the mortgage brokers and lenders worked hard to get even 1st time home buyers to fit into their debt service guidelines.  We’ll need to do more of the same this time around.  With interest rates at all time lows this shouldn’t be an issue.  **Note.  Home buyers can continue to purchase with a minimum of 5% downpayment! And some special cases we can still get you into home ownership with zero down **

Loan to Value Changes on Refinances ONLY

Of the two changes coming into effect, the change to loan to value limits on refinances will have the biggest impact.  Effective  March 18th, 2011 clients will only be able to withdraw up to 85% of their home’s current value (as opposed to 90%).  This represents at drop of 10% in the amount of equity that we can refinance from two years ago.

So if you are looking to refinance or restructure your debt, now is possibly your last chance to get it done before the new rules come into effect! Did you know we have an on site Mortgage Broker at our St. Catharines Remax Office. Why not take advantage of our one stop shopping here at Remax Garden City Realty Inc.

If you are looking to buy or sell a home in St. Catharines don’t hesitate to contact the Atalick Team, St. Catharines Real Estate Agents.

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