How to take advantage of the Home Renovation Tax Credit

Part of “Canada’s Economic Action Plan” includes a Home Renovation Tax Credit that could help you save up to $1,350 on eligible home improvements when goods are purchased or professional services are performed after January 27, 2009 and before February 1, 2010.

The Home Renovation Tax Credit is a federal non-refundable tax credit based on eligible expenses for improvements to your house, condominium, or cottage. The 15% tax credit applies to eligible expenses that exceed $1,000, but not more than $10,000. For instance, if you installed new windows at a cost of $5,000 and new shingles at a cost of $5,000 your tax credit is calculated as follows. ($10,000 – $1,000) x 15% = $1,350 tax credit.

You must get your contracts in writing, keep your receipts and claim the credit on your 2009 tax return.

Eligible expenses must be of an enduring nature and integral to your property.

Examples of eligible expenses

Renovation of a bathroom, basement, or kitchen
New windows, doors, or flooring
Building an addition, garage, deck, shed or fence
A new furnace, fireplace, water softener, or water heater
A new driveway, or a new surface on an existing driveway
Re-shingling a roof, or painting a house
Landscaping projects like new sod, perennial shrubs and flowers, trees, etc.
Swimming pools (permanent – in-ground and above ground)
Fixtures – blinds, shades, shutters, awnings, lights, fans, etc.
Associated renovation costs such as permits, professional services, equipment rentals, etc.

Examples of non-eligible expenses

Improvements made to rental units even if located with your primary residence
Furniture, appliances, tools
Audio and visual electronics
Routine repairs, maintenance and cleaning costs
Financing costs

For more information on the Home Renovation Tax Credit click here.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Real estate geeks can follow our daily updates on Twitter @Norm_Fisher.

Our Saskatoon home search tool offers MLS listings represented by all real estate brands, presented with more detail than you’ll find anywhere else. Check it out here.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

City council caves on Grover’s demand for more money

In a five up, five down decision, Mayor Don Atchison broke the tie between Saskatoon city councillors to move forward with a purchase contract for one of Jack Grover’s properties at a higher price than the two parties originally agreed to. Approximately six weeks ago Jack Grover agreed to accept $104,000 for the house at 408 Avenue P South from an undisclosed buyer. Upon learning that the City was the buyer Grover claimed that the deal was not done in good faith and threatened to withdraw from the agreement unless the City agreed to a higher price of $119,000.

City administrators recommended that council agree to the higher price to avoid the costs of litigation, as well as the time that could be lost to such an action.

Apparently the Avenue P house was the last holdout on land that has been set aside for an affordable housing project as part of the Pleasant Hill revitalization project.

Some things are worth paying for.

Star Phoenix story here.
Pleasant Hill Revitalization Project Blog here.
Pleasant Hill Local Area Plan here.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Follow our daily updates on Twitter @Norm_Fisher.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Sutherland residents push council for area traffic solutions

Some Rutherford Crescent residents are pushing city council for a solution to what they call “a recipe for tragedy,” claiming that the high density development on this Sutherland street is creating a dangerous situation for children playing in the area.

They contend that a number of illegal suites are contributing to a problem caused by the large number of single-family homes that were built in the area just a few years ago. Often, cars line both sides of the street creating dangerous conditions in an area with a high population of children and a park that attracts them in droves.

Residents are calling for speed bumps, crosswalks, a reduction in the speed limit, an elimination of parking in front of the playground, and a clamp down on illegal suites.

Ward 1 councillor Darren Hill will present his ideas on solving the problem to council this evening.

See the Star Phoenix story here.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Follow our daily updates on Twitter @Norm_Fisher.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Update: At the September 28 council meeting Ms. Elizabeth Cooney was heard and “expressed concerns regarding the speed of traffic and parking issue in the Rutherfor infill area and provided suggestions on how to help alleviate traffic congestion.” It was moved by councillor Hill, and seconded by Councillor Paulsen that the matter “be referred to Administration,” and that motion was carried.

Meeting minutes can be found here.

Saskatoon real estate week in review – Sept 21-25 2009

Saskatoon real estate sales retreated again falling to just sixty-seven properties, down eighteen units from last week, and just slightly short of production for the same week last year when seventy Saskatoon homes were reported sold. This is the first week that failed to beat last year’s numbers since the week of June 12.

New listing activity was also lower, but just marginally. Local agents brought one hundred and eight new house and condominium listings to the Saskatoon MLS system this week, three fewer than last week, and down fourteen properties compared with the same week in 2008.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

Active residential real estate listings held steady at 1088, down just three units from last week, but well below the 1758 properties that were available during the same week last year when active listings reached their peak for the 2008. At this time, there are six hundred and thirty-three single-family homes and three hundred and seventy condos displaying an active status on our multiple listing service. Last year, those numbers were at one thousand and ninety-four and five hundred and forty-three respectively. Typically, unit sales and new listings both begin to slow in the weeks ahead, and usually we would expect to see active listings continue to decline through the fall.

Active Saskatoon real estate listings at September 26 2009

Canceled and withdrawn listings fell to just twenty properties this week and eleven of those came back for another run at the market as a “new listing.” Forty-seven Saskatoon home sellers adjusted their asking price.

The average selling price of a Saskatoon home remained steady at $273,700 while the six-week average fell roughly eight hundred dollars from last week to $284,114, lower than last year’s number by about $10,000. The four-week median increased eight thousand over the previous week to $273,000, ahead of last year’s number by just fifteen hundred dollars.

Click the image for a larger version of the graph.

The average underbid was nearly identical to last week at $10,150, and about 3.3% of the asking price. The percentage of home sellers who managed to bag a sale within five thousand dollars of their asking price fell sharply from 39% last week to just 25% this week but fewer high dollar discounts kept 45% of all done deals in the $5001-$10000 discount category.

Map displaying the boundaries of Saskatoon real estate areas
Data collection and calculation for our statistical reports

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Real estate geeks can follow our daily updates on Twitter @Norm_Fisher.

Our Saskatoon home search tool offers MLS listings represented by all real estate brands, presented with more detail than you’ll find anywhere else. Check it out here.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Tell us what you love about your Saskatoon neighbourhood

I’m feeling pretty good about completing the first phase of a project that I’ve wanted to get at for the past three years. It wasn’t a lack of enthusiasm for the project that kept me from completing the work before now, but rather, the scale of the work involved. At every given moment over the past few years the job just felt so overwhelming that I was often tempted to just forget about it. I’m glad I didn’t.

Over the past sixty days I have visited every school in Saskatoon, and I’ve walked every single park in every neighbourhood of our great community. It has been an excellent way to re-connect with the city that I grew up in, and that I love, but that was really a side benefit unrelated to my original reason for going. I went to take pictures. I went to capture these areas in images, hoping that they might be helpful to someone trying to choose a neighbourhood from afar in a city that they’re largely unfamiliar with.

Phase two of this project is a pretty major overhaul of our “Saskatoon neighbourhoods” pages to include some of the best information available on every area of the city as well as a decent photo tour that gives the visitor a bit of a feel for the area. We’ve put a good dent in the work on most of the area pages, and a number of them are already complete. Over the next sixty days we will finish them all.

Our City Park page provides a pretty good idea of what we’re ultimately after for each Saskatoon neighbourhood if you’re interested in having a look.

Generally, I’m pretty happy with the way these are turning out but I can’t help think about how much better they could be with a little help from you. I can write about my impressions of an area, and even share some photos that provide a limited view of the neighbourhood, but nothing could be as helpful to a newcomer as the comments of someone who has lived in and experienced an area firsthand.

May I call on those of you who live in Saskatoon to share some of your thoughts on the neighbourhood that you live in? You can do that in the comments section of the page for your area. You’ll find your area on a list here. Feel free to tell us what you love about your neighbourhood, and don’t be shy about sharing something that you wish was different. No neighbourhood is perfect and all of your impressions have the potential to be helpful to someone.

Thank you for helping me with this project.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions. All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Real estate geeks can follow our daily updates on Twitter @Norm_Fisher.

Our Saskatoon home search tool offers MLS listings represented by all real estate brands, presented with more detail than you’ll find anywhere else. Check it out here.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate