Every January we are offered a new beginning and with this come goals and/or resolutions. Over the years I have noticed that most of these goals/resolutions seem to be an offshoot of one of the following items: 1) Weight Loss/Self-image, 2) Money/Finances and 3) Relationships.
I do not feel qualified to offer weight loss tips and know better than to offer you all relationship advice, but as a Real Estate Advisor there are a few tips that I can offer in terms of saving money. The following are nineteen of the top grants and rebates that are available for property buyers and owners. Not all of these will apply to you but it is worth your time to take a quick look to see if there are any that you are unaware of that may save you money in 2014.
1.) Home Buyers’ Plan: Qualifying home buyers can withdraw up to $25,000 (couples can withdraw up to $50,000) from their RRSPs for a down payment. Home buyers who have repaid their RRSP may be eligible to use the program a second time. Canada Revenue Agency www.cra.gc.ca Enter ‘Home Buyers’ Plan’ in the search box. 1.800.959.8287
2.) GST Rebate on New Homes: New home buyers can apply for a rebate for the 5% GST if the purchase price is $350,000 or less. The rebate is equal to 36% of the GST to a maximum rebate of $6,300. There is a proportional GST rebate for new homes costing between $350,000 and $450,000. At $450,000 and above the rebate is nil. Canada Revenue Agency www.cra.gc.ca Enter ‘RC4028’ in the search box. 1.800.959.8287
3.) BC Property Transfer Tax (PTT) First-Time Home Buyers’ Program: Qualifying first-time buyers may be exempt from paying the PTT of 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the remainder of the purchase price of a home priced up to $425,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes priced up to $450,000. At $450,000 and above the rebate is nil. BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/business/Property_Taxes/Property_Transfer_Tax/ptt.htm 250.387.0604
4.) First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC): This federal non-refundable income tax credit is for qualifying buyers of detached, attached, apartment condominiums, mobile homes or shares in a cooperative housing corporation. The calculation: can be found at www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/ncm-tx/rtrn/cmpltng/ddctns/lns360-390/369/menu-eng.html 1.800.959.8281
5.) BC Home Owner Grant: Reduces property taxes for home owners with an assessed value of up to $1,295,000. The basic grant gives home owners:
a. A maximum reduction of $570 in property taxes on principal residences in the Capital, Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley regional districts;
b. An additional grant of $200 to rural homeowners elsewhere in the province; and
c. An additional grant of $275 to seniors aged 65+, those who are permanently disabled and war veterans of certain wars.
BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue www.rev.gov.bc.ca/hog or contact your municipal tax office.
6.) BC Property Tax Deferment Programs:
a. Property Tax Deferment Program for Seniors: Qualifying home owners aged 55+ may be eligible to defer property taxes.
b. Financial Hardship Property Tax Deferment Program: Qualifying low-income home owners may be
eligible to defer property taxes.
c. Property Tax Deferment Program for Families with Children: Qualifying low-income home owners who
financially support children under age 18 may be eligible to defer property taxes.
BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/individuals/Property_Taxes/Property_Tax_Deferment/ptd.htm
7.) Canada Mortgage and Housing (CMHC) Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP) Grants: This federal program provides financial aid to qualifying low-income home owners to repair substandard housing. Eligible repairs include heating, structural, electrical, plumbing and fire safety. Grants are available for seniors, persons with disabilities, owners of rental properties and owners creating secondary and garden suites. www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/prfinas/prfinas_001.cfm 1.800.668.2642 | 604.873.7408
8.) Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI): A program jointly sponsored by the provincial and federal governments provides up to $20,000 to help eligible low-income seniors and disabled home owners and landlords to finance modifications to their homes to make them accessible and safer. BC Housing www.bchousing.org/Options/Home_Renovations 604.646.7055 or toll-free 1.800.407.7757 extension 7055
9.) CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium Refund: Provides home buyers with CMHC mortgage insurance, a 10% premium refund and possible extended amortization without surcharge when buyers purchase an energy efficient home or make energy saving renovations. www.cmhc.ca/en/co/moloin/moloin_008.cfm 604.731.5733
10.) Energy Saving Mortgages: Financial institutions offer a range of mortgages to home buyers and owners who make their homes more energy efficient. For example, home owners who have a home energy audit within 90 days of receiving an RBC Energy Saver™ Mortgage, may qualify for a rebate of $300 to their RBC account. www.rbcroyalbank.com/products/mortgages/energy-saver-mortgage.html 1.800.769.2511
11.) Low Interest Renovation Loans: Financial institutions offer ‘green’ loans for home owners making energy efficient upgrades. Vancity’s Bright Ideas personal loan offers home owners up to $20,000 at prime + 1% for up to 10 years for ‘green’ renovations. RBC’s Energy Saver loan offers 1% off the interest rate for a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000 or a $100 rebate on a home energy audit on a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000. For information visit your financial institution. www.vancity.com/Loans/TypesOfLoans/BrightIdeas and www.rbcroyalbank.com/products/personalloans/energy-saver-loan.html
12.) BC Hydro Appliance Rebates: Mail-in rebates for purchasers of ENERGY STAR clothes washers, refrigerators or freezers. www.bchydro.com/powersmart/residential/rebates_savings/appliance_rebates.html
13.) BC Hydro Fridge Buy-Back Program: This ongoing program rebates BC Hydro customers $30 to turn in spare fridges in working condition. www.bchydro.com/powersmart/residential/rebates_savings/fridge_buy_back.html 604.881.4357
14.) FortisBC Rebate Program: A range of rebates for home owners include a $75 rebate for upgrading to an ENERGY STAR clothes washer, $300 rebate on an Ener-Choice fireplace anda $1,000 rebate for switching to natural gas (from oil or propane) and installing an ENERGY STAR heating system. www.fortisbc.com/NaturalGas/Homes/Offers/Pages/default.aspx 1.888.224.2710
15.) FortisBC Rebate Program for Businesses: For commercial buildings, provides a rebate of up to $60,000 for the purchase of an energy efficient boiler, up to $15,000 for the purchase of a high-efficiency water heater and receive funding towards a new construction energy study. www.fortisbc.com/NaturalGas/Business/Offers/Pages/default.aspx 1.866.884.8833
16.) LiveSmartBC Small Business Program: Business Energy Advisors (BEAs) delivers free energy assessments. Help business owners tap into available product incentives and cash rebates for lighting, hot water, heating and ventilation improvements. Help business owners coordinate product installation. NOTE: this program expires March 31, 2014. www.livesmartbc.ca/incentives/small-business/index.html 1-866-430-8765
17.) City of Vancouver Rain Barrel Subsidy Program: The City of Vancouver provides a subsidy of 50% of the cost of a rain barrel for Vancouver residents. With the subsidy, the rain barrel costs $75. Buy your rain barrel at the Transfer Station at 377 W. North Kent Ave., Vancouver, BC. Limit of two per resident. Bring proof of residency. There is a also a limited time offer for short rain barrels for small yards. Cost $50. http://vancouver.ca/engsvcs/watersewers/water/conservation/programs/rainbarrel.htm Other municipalities have similar offers.
18.) Local Government Water Conservation Incentives: Your municipality may provide grants and incentives to residents to help save water. For example, the City of Coquitlam offers residents a $100 rebate and the City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, and District of West Vancouver offer a $50 rebate when residents install a low-flush toilet. Visit your municipality’s website and enter ‘toilet rebate’ to see if there is a program.
19.) Local Government Water Meter Programs: Your municipality may provide a program for voluntary water metering, so that you pay only for the amount of water that you use. Delta, Richmond and Surrey have programs and other municipalities may soon follow. Visit your municipality’s website and enter ‘water meter’ to find out if there is a program.