Home renovation tax credit deadline looms but there may still be time for you

The opportunity to take advantage of Canada’s Home Renovation Tax Credit expires at midnight on January 31. Obviously, the clock has run out when it comes to hiring a contractor but a quick trip to your favorite home renovation store might be in order if home improvements are part of your plan over the next few months. Items purchased before the close of business this Sunday may qualify for a 15% tax credit up to $1,350.

More info 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

Reduce energy costs and emissions while increasing the resale value of your home

Installing a high-efficiency furnace in your home is certainly good for the environment, and it’s also good for the household budget, in some cases reducing energy costs by more than thirty percent. In fact, according to SaskEnergy, “upgrading your heating equipment is the best improvement you can make to save energy and money.”

The chart below demonstrates potential savings derived from the installation of a high-efficiency furnace, based on average home owner’s use of natural gas and electricity in Saskatchewan. Electrical costs are based on continuous operation of the furnace motor during the winter months and utility rates that were effective on June 1, 2009. Actual savings may vary based on a number of variables.

In addition to the energy savings that you’ll see through the use of a more efficient heating appliance there are several other opportunities for savings when you upgrade.

•    There is no provincial sales tax payable on “ENERGY STARqualified furnaces and boilers.
•    You could qualify for an upgrade grant of up to $1,420 through the Saskatchewan EnerGuide for Houses Retrofit Grant Program.
•    According to ENERGY STAR, a programmable thermostat can further reduce energy consumption costs by as much as $180 a year, plus you can qualify for an additional $15 rebate with the Programmable Thermostat Rebate from SaskEnergy.
•    The ENERGY STAR Loan Program provides financing at prime plus 2% on approved credit. *
•    The cost of your new high-efficiency furnace qualifies for the Federal Home Renovation Tax Credit and could increase your saving by hundreds of dollars.

If all of that isn’t enough to convince you, here’s an added bonus; a high-efficiency heating system will increase the resale value of your home and make it more attractive to a growing number of energy conscious home buyers.

* Visit the SaskEnergy website for full details including terms and conditions.

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.

If you live in Saskatoon we’d sure appreciate hearing your comments about your neighbourhood. Please visit our “Saskatoon Neighbourhoods” page and let us know what you love about your community.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

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

Potential resale returns on various home improvements

People are often curious about how certain home improvements will affect the value of their homes. The chart of percentages displayed here presents some findings compiled by the Appraisal Institute of Canada from their 2008 membership survey. It is intended to give the homeowner a very general idea of the potential that certain improvements have in adding value to your home.

Sky lights 0-25%
Swimming pool 0-25%
Landscaping 25-50%
Fencing 25-50%
Brick walkways 25-50%
Home theatre 25-50%
Block paving 25-50%
Concrete paving 25-75%
Central air conditioning 25-75%
Deck 50-75%
New windows and doors 50-75%
New exterior siding 50-75%
Flooring 50-75%
Basement renovation 50-75%
Addition to dwelling 50-75%
Fireplace 50-75%
Garage 50-75%
Roof replacement 50-80%
Heating system/furnace 50-80%
Interior paint 50-100%
Kitchen renovation 75-100%
Bathroom renovation 75-100%
Energy efficient features Avg. 61%

Other considerations

  • Improvements that are commonly found in the area the home is located in will almost always deliver the highest returns.
  • Renovations in homes that have a lower market value when compared to other homes in the area generally see a higher return from home improvements.
  • Poorly done renovations have a smaller upward impact on the home’s value, and can actually have a negative affect on property value.
  • Renovations done on a home that is generally in poor repair overall have a minimal impact on its market value.
  • It’s rare that renovations recover their full cost in added value. Home owners should understand that there is some value associated with enjoyment of the improvement.
  • Not all improvements are created equal, even those that might fit in the same category. For instance, in a bathroom renovation a “spa type shower will add roughly 36% of it’s cost, while a Jacuzzi or whirlpool type tub recovers approximately 65% of its cost.

Asbestos in the home

Citizens of Canada’s are no strangers to asbestos problems. Used throughout the 20th century as a prominent building material and insulator, health hazards related to asbestos has affected millions worldwide. Highly regarded for its qualities as heat and fire resistant, homes, buildings, and other products built before 1980 could still contain asbestos materials.

If you are a potential homeowner or are seeking to remodel an older home, exposure can cause many health concerns for you and your family. If you are interested in living in a safe, healthy environment, free of health damaging materials, here is some information to get you on that track.

Asbestos exposure can cause a debilitating lung ailment known as mesothelioma. This asbestos-related illness is one of the hardest for physicians to diagnose for a variety of reasons. The disease typically has a latency period lasting anywhere from 20 to 50 years when it has already reached its later stage of development. Its symptoms also resemble many of other less serious conditions. Mesothelioma treatment is usually limited to a handful of procedures and results vary from patient to patient. If your home or jobsite has had asbestos removed, exposure may have occurred previously and receiving a medical checkup is of the upmost importance.

Health Canada offers assistance and information in the prevention, disposal and removal of asbestos. They are federally responsible for helping citizens maintain and improve health at home and the work place. Homeowners should not disturb any suspected asbestos themselves as this makes its fibers airborne. The inspection and removal of toxic substances must be performed by licensed abatement contractors who are trained in handling dangerous materials. They work under provincial and federal regulations to ensure no health concerns arise from improper removal.

Once the area is asbestos free, environmentally sustainable materials should be considered including cotton fiber, cellulose and lcynene, water based spray polyurethane foam that can reduce energy costs annually. With the constant growth in technology, there is absolutely no need for health damaging materials such as asbestos.

Click for a larger image displaying potential problem areas for asbestos in the home.

A qualified home inspector can often detect the presence of asbestos and other potentially dangerous products that may have been used in home construction over the years. Put “healthy living environment” for your family at the top of your “wants and needs” list when shopping for a new home.

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.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate