September Newsletter Featuring 11 Things You Need to Know to Pass Your Home Inspection

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Each month, we publish a series of articles of interest to
homeowners — money-saving tips, household safety checklists,
home improvement advice, real estate insider secrets, etc.
Whether you are currently in the market for a new home, or not,
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This month’s features…

– Can Your Kitchen Pass the Food Safety Test?

– 11 Things You Need to Know to Pass Your Home Inspection
– 10 Questions To Ask When Choosing A Financial Planner


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3 Ways to Save Money for First Time Buyers

Three Ways to Save Money for First Time Buyers


As we move into February we begin to think of taxes and how we can minimize what we pay to the government. One way to ensure you are saving more of your money is to contribute to your RRSP. The money that you put into your RRSP not only provides you with a tax break, it can be used to make up some or all of your down payment for a house through the Government’s Home Buyers Plan (HBP).

This is a fantastic way for first time buyers to get into the housing market and use money you would normally pay in taxes to help you buy a house. Depending on your tax bracket if you put your down payment into an RRSP you will get tax relief. What better way to fund a down payment than with money the government sends you in a tax refund.

This plan began in 1992 and the Canadian Real Estate Association has been lobbing the government for many years to enhance this plan. In April the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) leaders went to Parliament Hill to lobby MP’s to index the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) RRSP withdrawal limit to ensure that it never loses its buying power. In 2008, the CREA lobby was successful in lobbing MP’s to raise the withdrawal limit from $20,000 to $25,000. Last year we also recommended extending the HBP to all homebuyers for two years as a temporary stimulus measure. Over 2,000,000 Canadians have already used the Homebuyers Plan to help their dream of home ownership come true.

Buying a first home is an exciting time. The funds can be used for down payment, legal fees, moving expenses and other things related to buying your first home. The money that you remove from your RRSP must be repaid into the account over 15 years. You must replace a minimum of 1/15th of the money your remove each year or repay the taxes on that same amount. There is no tax charged to take it out.

First time buyers also receive a Land Transfer Tax break/discount on the first $2000 for a resale home. If you are a first-time homebuyer, you may be eligible for a refund of all or part of the tax, depending on the price of the home you choose.

The government also assists first-time home buyers by providing up to $750 in tax relief to help with the purchase of a first home.

So if you are thinking of purchasing a home in 2010 contact me today at and I can help you confirm dates, deadlines and the definition of a First Time Buyer to ensure you get the most from it. There are some exceptions where previous homeowners may qualify. It may be away for you, your family and friends to use money you already have, or get more money by way of tax relief to purchase the home you have always wanted.

AVOID THE HST – Buy A Home Now!

The following appeared in the Brampton Guardian  today.

Avoid the HST – Buy a home now

The new harmonized sales tax being implemented in Ontario may end up being a friend of business but for consumers buying a new house prepare to be stung.

The HST will combine the current GST (5 per cent) and PST (8 per cent) to create one tax, HST at (13 per cent). This tax will apply to new homes and to many home closing costs, adding to the cost of a resale home and thousands to the cost of a brand new home.

Under the current system many of the services associated with the purchase of a resale home are only charged the 5 per cent GST. This means that mortgage insurance premiums, legal costs, real estate commissions, home inspections and title insurance will now all have an additional 8 per cent tax.

This chart, supplied by the Ontario Real Estate Association illustrates how closing costs on a resale home will be affected. (Based on a single detached home priced at $360,000.)

Table 1:

Taxable Service                             Current Tax Payable       New Taxes        HST Tax Payable

Mortgage Insurance Premiums      $752.40                            $470.25                   $1222.65

Legal Costs                                           $50                                     $80                         $130

Real Estate Fee/Commission            $720                                  $1,152.00                 $1,872.00

Home Inspection                                  $20.00                                $32.00                     $52.00

Title Insurance                                     $24.00                              $15.00                         $39.00

                             Total New Tax: $1,749.25-$2,325.25


The purchase of a new home will be hit even harder but thanks to lobbying efforts from many sources including the Home Builders Association and the Ontario Real Estate Association, the proposed HST on new homes will not be as severe as first proposed. The government has revised the rebate for new homes as 75 per cent of the provincial portion of the HST payable to a maximum rebate of $24,000. Originally the 75 per cent rebate only applied to houses under $400,000. This means an added tax of $6000 on a new $500,000 home. In May, as part of the Brampton Real Estate Boards Government Relations Advisory Council, we took our opposition to all of the MPPs in our area to ensure they understood the impact that this tax will have on homeowners and the real estate industry. The Brampton Real Estate Board opposes the HST because it will hurt the affordability of housing. You will pay significantly more to close on an existing home or to purchase a new home under the HST system that comes into effect in July 2010. So avoid the tax, if you are thinking of buying a home or moving up this year do it now and avoid the HST.

-Ruth Ballantyne

For more information on the new HST please visit: