Is Fraser Valley the next big market in the B.C. housing sector?
How To Buy A Home The Right Way (According to CMHC)
Updated CMHC homebuying guide encourages long-term thinking
Feb. 28th, 2017
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., has updated its free guide to the process of buying a home, with an emphasis on encouraging Canadians to think long term about what kind of home they should buy — or whether they would be better off renting.
The national housing agency first released the guide, called Homebuying Step by Step, in 1998, but has updated it over the years. The latest version streamlines the document, splitting off workbook content and making it available online as a series of interactive printable checklists and questionnaires.
The previous iteration of the guide received almost eight million unique page views in 2016 alone, according to CMHC.
The guide is meant for any prospective homebuyer, but first-time buyers could particularly benefit from reading it, said Ina Wielinga, a consultant at CMHC who updated the guide. She said the new version puts a greater focus on calculating the true cost of owning a home over time, emphasizing costs like taxes, utilities and repairs.
"This used to be peppered through the document, but we're bringing it up front because people often get focused on acquisition," said Wielinga.
The new guide also encourages readers to reflect on what kind of home suits their lifestyle, and whether or not homeownership is a better financial choice than renting.
"It's not just buying that house that's brick and mortar," said Wielinga. "There's a lifestyle that goes with it also."
By asking would-be homeowners to consider how a home will fit into their lives over the long term, Wielinga said, the guide could help users feel more confident about their purchase.
Key concepts to consider
The most confusing concept in the guide is also one of the most important ideas to understand before buying a home, according to Wielinga: calculating your gross debt service ratio (also known as the gross debt-to-income ratio) and total debt service ratio (also known as the total debt-to-income ratio).
Click on image below for your copy:
The CMHC guide for homebuyers is available for free online. (CMHC)
The gross debt service ratio includes total monthly housing costs, which CMHC says should be no more than 32 per cent of average gross monthly income. The total debt service ratio covers all monthly debt payments, including housing costs. CMHC recommends that ratio not exceed 40 per cent of average gross monthly income.
"You have to understand that, even if you're the best person in the world and you know you can afford it, you have to follow that kind of guideline," said Wielinga.
Financial axioms like these are often left unexplained to potential homebuyers, said Wielinga.
"Honestly, it's not talked about enough," she said. "I think when we do explain it to people, then they do get it."
The rules for Canadian homebuyers have been changing quickly, especially as the government tries different policies to mitigate risk in the real estate market.
For that reason, the guide avoids getting into the details of certain aspects of homebuying, like calculating mortgage loan insurance. Instead, it refers readers to the CMHC website, where the details of mortgage rules can be quickly updated as the government changes them.
Lauren Haw, CEO of an online real estate brokerage, lauded CMHC for its interactive workbook for prospective homebuyers, although she's skeptical that many people will actually take the time to sit down and read the guide in full.
"People like to have it and hold it, but most first-time homebuyers don't seem to ingest the information in this format very well," said Haw. "Because even if you give them these documents, very few people are the personality type that will read it and really truly understand it."
Haw said real estate brokers often end up explaining these concepts to their clients as they go through the buying process.
"If everybody would sit down and read one of these things, I think we'd have much more informed buyers," she said.
15 Features That Sell Homes Fastest & at Best Price
courtesy of Business Insider
It turns out homebuyers are really into barn doors.
When Zillow looked at design features that sell homes at the best price and with the shortest listing time, that feature topped the list.
Anything craftsman-style, like rectangular farmhouse sinks, also got homes off the market at a premium.
Zillow Digs screened over 2 million listings for homes sold between January 2014 and March 2016 and looked for the keywords that had the best effect on how much more than the expected price and how much faster they sold.
Here are the top 15 design features:
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 3.7%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 19
Tankless water heater
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 43
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Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.1%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 46
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 38
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.2%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 42
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 28
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 38
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 48
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.9%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 36
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 5.4%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 14
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 6.0%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 50
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 6.9%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 63
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 58
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 9.6%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 45
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 13.4%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 57
Annual Realtors Care Blanket Drive
Caring for our neighbours
November 14 - 21, 2016
Each year our volunteers collect donations of blankets and warm clothing for those in need throughout the Lower Mainland.
Since we began 22 years ago, more than 290,000 disadvantaged people have been helped by the REALTORS Care® Blanket Drive.
How you can help
Please donate the following items for all ages:
• gently used or new blankets or sleeping bags
• warm clothing, coats
• hats, gloves, scarves
• new socks and underwear
Here's where to drop off your donations: real estate offices
South Surrey & White Rock Garage Sales - May 7th
Wow! May already!
We have some Neighbourhood events coming up in the coming weeks, including an event in the McNally Creek/South Meridian Neighbourhood.
Click on the SemiDryGrad image to go to today’s map. And remember, we need you to send your friends and family our way when the topic of Real Estate comes up!
Flickr Tags: south surrey garage sales,south surrey yard sales,south surrey moving sales,White Rock garage sales,White Rock yard sales,White Rock moving sales,White Rock homes for sale,White Rock real estate,White Rock realtor,White Rock condos,White Rock townhouses,White Rock agent,south surrey agent,south surrey raltor,south surreyhomes for sale,south surrey townhouses for sale,south surrey condos for sale,hudsonhometeam,garage sale signs,SemiDryGrad
Will This Help First-Time Home Buyers in BC?
Renting out property to get easier as CMHC changes rules
by Steve Randall28 Jul 2015
The rules around the income from rental units considered in home loan applications submitted to the CMHC are changing.
The agency announced Monday that, from September 28, it will allow 100 per cent of the rental income from a unit to be considered for new loan applications submitted to it for mortgage insurance.
That means that a secondary rentals suite’s income, minus costs including property taxes, will boost the size of the loan that buyers can secure.
Qualifying units must have sustainable income, proven by two years of rental rent payments. These payments will be averaged to assess the unit’s income. Applicants will also need a credit rating of at least 680.
Properties with more than a single rental unit will have slightly different rules and this change is most positive for homeowners with one rental unit.
Province Not Biting on Surrey School Trustees’ Bid for Moratorium on Development
Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver's News. Vancouver's Talk
It appears the province has no plans to slow down the growth happening in some Surrey neighbourhoods.
It comes even after school trustees passed a unanimous motion on Thursday calling for a halt in development.
The motion tabled by Laurae McNally suggested provincial funding for new schools isn’t keeping up with the pace of population growth in the fastest growing city in the province.
That’s why they called on the city to halt the development happening in the Clayton, Grandview/South Surrey, and Newton areas.
But education minister Mike Bernier is singing a different tune.
In a statement to CKNW, Bernier says he understands the challenges facing the school district, but hints at major projects already being underway with more slated to come.
He says as the city moves forward, Surrey and other districts experiencing similar growth will be a priority for future capital investments.
I understand the challenges Surrey has and I’ve discussed them with the board when we met a few months ago.
My Ministry is working closely with the Surrey district to find ways to deal with the intense pressures from growth.
As we move forward, Surrey and other districts experiencing growth will be a priority for future capital investments.
There are several major projects underway and more slated to come – the new Clayton North Secondary and additions to three elementary schools are under way – projects worth $64.6 million.
These projects will create 1,870 spaces for Surrey.
Since 2001, we’ve invested more than $337 million for 55 capital and seismic projects, and 12 site acquisitions in Surrey.
Last year we completed Goldstone Park and Katzie elementary schools, and additions to Fraser Heights and Panorama Ridge Secondary. These projects, worth a total of $44.2 million, created 1,160 spaces for elementary and 500 secondary spaces in Surrey.
Earlier in the school year we had the opportunity to experience one of the Semiahmoo Music Society's various concerts. While we had heard great things about the school music program, we were blown away...
Semiahmoo Music Society
Earlier in the school year we had the opportunity to experience one of the Semiahmoo Music Society's various concerts.
While we had heard great things about the school music program, we were blown away by the quality of musicianship of the various levels of bands the school has. Afterwards, we had the opportunity to meet and talk with the Music Department Teachers, all so very enthusiastic and passionate about what they do.
We talked about the students, the funding and how financing the program has it's challenges. Mr. Lowe, the department head, mentioned how they are constantly looking at way to fund-raise for the purchase/upkeep of instruments as well as funding for festivals, workshops and trips, sometimes to far-off places in the world.
We realized we have an opportunity to do our part. We enjoy supporting the community through various fund-raising efforts for food-banks, hospital charities, neighbourhood events and sports participation, but we had no focus on the music. And without music... well, what is there to dance to?
As a Team, we would like donate $400 towards the Semiahmoo Music Society for every house marketed to completion or bought through us in the South Surrey/White Rock area.
If you have experienced the joy of the Semi Music Society's talented students, please keep us in mind when the topic of Real Estate comes up in conversation.
With your assistance we can help the music in our neighbourhood play for years to come.
For more information please contact Andrew at 604-773-3940 or Info at HudsonHomeTeam.com
Potential home sellers in Vancouver, Toronto worried about becoming buyers: report
The Canadian Press Published Thursday, April 21, 2016 10:21AM EDT
TORONTO -- A new report suggests the red hot real estate markets in Vancouver and Toronto are discouraging some potential sellers from listing their homes because they're afraid of becoming buyers themselves.
The spring market trends report by real estate firm Re/Max on Thursday says while homeowners in those cities know their homes will sell quickly, many are reluctant to become buyers in the highly competitive market.
Re/Max says some are also reluctant to list their homes because they believe that prices could move even higher.
Vancouver and Toronto have been the hottest real estate markets in the country, raising questions about affordability, the role of speculators and the influence of foreign buyers.
The average residential sale price in Vancouver in the first quarter was $1,103,586, up 24 per cent from a year ago, according to Re/Max.
The average price in Toronto was $675,492, up 14 per cent.
The report suggested the strength of Toronto and Vancouver are helping drive prices in neighbouring regions as buyers move further out in search of an affordable home.
The report noted that Hamilton-Burlington and Barrie in Ontario as well as Victoria have seen prices rise 10 per cent or more compared with a year ago.
"The population growth in these regions, driven by housing demand, is growing local economies as restaurants, shops and services expand," the report said.
#SouthSurrey & #WhiteRock Garage, Yard & Moving Sales – Apr 16
Looks a bit cloudy this AM but it should be nicer later on.
Watch for a schwack (not a real word) of Neighbourhood Garage Sales coming up over the next coupe of months.
So far we have confirmed South Meridian, Bayridge and Rosemary Heights school catchments for Spring.
Look for our new logo’s signs in coming weeks as well!
Click below, on our (complimentary for your use) directional sign to go to this weekend’s map.
Click our new logo below to take you to the latest Open Houses and listings in South Surrey & White Rock.
Spring Cleaning: A Classic Motivator to Get Your Home “Sell Ready”
It’s probably not a coincidence that spring is a popular time to deep clean your house and also a great time to list it for sale. Any good agent will tell you that cleaner houses always sell faster and for higher prices, so taking some time to really make your home sparkle is almost always worth the extra effort.
Of course, clean is also a very relative term. What some people see as clean, others just won’t be satisfied with. And when you are expecting to welcome a steady stream of potential buyers into your home, you definitely want to make sure that you have all of your bases covered.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at six areas that sellers often overlook when spring cleaning their homes with the intention of listing them for sale.
The Windows: Both Inside and Outside
One of the most important things that you can do to really help your home shine is clean the windows.
And it’s not enough to simply wipe them off from the inside. Getting the outsides clean too will more than double the positive impact this job will have on the way your home looks.
Having crystal clear windows has two specific benefits. First, clean windows will let in more natural light, brightening your entire home. As if that wasn’t enough, clean windows will also invite perspective buyers to appreciate whatever views you might have.
Inside the Kitchen Cabinets
Everyone who plans on listing their home knows that they need to clean the kitchen countertops and scrub the floors. But not everyone realizes that home buyers will want to see what the insides of your kitchen cabinets look like.
Would looking inside your cabinets cast your home in a positive light? What about that junk drawer in the kitchen?
Drapes & Light Fixtures
Another commonly overlooked area that could probably use some cleaning is your drapes and light fixtures. Dusting them off is a good place to start, but why stop there?
Take those light fixtures down and wash them out, and when was the last time that you actually washed the drapes? You’ll be shocked at the difference clean light fixtures and freshly washed drapes will make in the way your home presents itself.
The Office Area
You know that one spot where all the bills tend to pile up while you are putting off sitting down to pay them? That’s another place that lots of sellers forget to take care of during their spring cleaning.
In addition to being neat and tidy, your home office area needs to look functional. Make sure that anyone who walks through your home will be able to see themselves working productively there.
The Overstuffed Linen Closet
The linen closet upstairs (the one that has never really been big enough) is another place that can really turn off potential buyers. In order to make it look more roomy, take as much of your stuff out of it as possible and put it in storage until your home sells!
You should also make sure that everything in the bathroom medicine cabinet is neat and tidy.
While most spring cleaning efforts are focused on the inside of the house, you definitely don’t want to overlook the outside of your home.
Make sure that there isn’t anything in the yard that doesn’t belong there, and spruce up any landscaping that looks like it might detract from a potential buyers first impression.
While you’re at it, you might also want to get out the ladder and give those gutters some attention.
One of the best practices to make sure that your spring cleaning efforts are successful is to simply start over every time you think that you are finished. There is literally no end to the amount of cleaning you can do, and every single bit of that effort will help to sell your house faster for a higher price.
Seedy Saturday–Historic Stewart Farm
April 2, 2016
Start your garden with heritage seeds
Get a great start on this year’s garden at the Historic Stewart Farm’s annual seed and plant sale and seed exchange.
Shop for rare heirloom vegetable, herb and flower seeds grown in the Stewart Farm’s heritage gardens. Find seeds for centuries-old varieties such as echinacea, stately hollyhocks, wildflowers, 200-year old pole beans, and rare peas.
Get tips from the heritage garden volunteers about the historic varieties they grow and how to save seeds.
Master Gardeners and other experts will be on site to answer your gardening questions.
Visit the heritage flower and vegetable gardens.
Tour the beautifully restored 1894 farmhouse with costumed guides, and sample fresh baked goods from the woodstove.
Kids get a start on their gardening skills through "seedy" crafts and activities.
Drop in, all ages
Location: Historic Stewart Farm, 13723 Crescent Rd
Time: 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Category: Heritage Kids and Family
Town Centre: South Surrey
Heritage South Surrey farm hosts Seedy Saturday - Peace Arch News
Connect with Us Community Heritage South Surrey farm hosts Seedy Saturday Garden enthusiasts line up to buy Chinese chives from Gail Hall (left) during Historic Stewart Farm’s Seedy Saturday. — image...
MAKE GARDENING A FAMILY AFFAIR Now that Spring has finally arrived, it's time to get outdoors and into your garden. But don't forget to bring your family along! As adults, we often assume that garden...
Seeds to Start in August Here’s our list of seeds to start in August for fall and winter harvests. These fast-growing seeds are cold hardy, and will thrive as the nights get cooler in late August and ...
8 Things to Know Before You Renovate Your House
Want some insider advice on updating and upgrading your home? Real Simple asked readers what they wish they had known before—or would have done differently with—their renos.
By Betsy Goldberg
Photo by Robert George Young/Getty Images
“I would have made sure there was more insulation in the wall where the bathroom butts up against a bedroom. My daughter is awakened by every sound in the bathroom. We should have put the closet where her bed is now.” —Ali Dubin
“I would have stuck to my original plan for a stainless steel sink instead of doing a black stone composite sink. Softened water leaves a haze on it, and the sink chips.” —Jennifer Mason Theroux
“Have a guaranteed end date in the contract with your contractor, with a fee for any day that goes over. Mine went months over while the contractor worked on jobs for other people.” —L.S.
“Set aside extra money for unforeseen expenses like rotted wood, consults with a plumber, and the replacement of exterior fixtures. It isn’t realistic to think that everything will work out exactly the way it’s supposed to.” —M.P.N.
“I would have put in more electrical outlets on our kitchen island.” —Jennifer Lijertwood
“Don’t underestimate how much construction dust will permeate the rest of your living spaces through the air and ducts. Remove valuable objects from the walls or displays so you’re not having to micro-clean, and seal off any closets that contain clothes, linens, and food.” —Deborah Fairchild
“Make sure you have all the materials before starting. Some of our items took months to come in after ordering, which held up the work. Four months is a long time to be without a kitchen!” —Victoria Wagner
“When we redid our kitchen, I wish we had included ‘eating out’ in the budget!”—Maria C. Kuntz
Article courtesy of realsimple.com
5th Annual Ocean Park Eastern Egg Hunt
We hope you can join us Saturday, March 26th, for Easter fun at our 5th Annual Easter Egg Hunt!
Bring the kids, grandkids, nieces or nephews.
Saturday, March 26th, 2016
Rain or Shine!
Warm Up starts at 10:45 AM
Easter Egg Hunt starts at 11:00 AM
Kwomais Point Park, South Surrey
(1367 128th Street, Ocean Park)
Sponsored by Dreyer Group Mortgages
Hosted by Ocean Park Community Association
Hope to see you there!
When you do business with Dreyer Group, a portion of every mortgage funded goes towards providing safe housing, support programs and education to youth and children at risk. Thank you for your support.
Moving To The Vancouver Suburbs is HoT!
Yesterday our Monthly Real Estate Stats post noted the hot hot suburban markets in #WhiteRock & #SouthSurrey.
Well it seems the media agree with us!
Check out this GlobalBC report (then check out the January stats post below).
January 2016 Real Estate Stats for Fraser Valley
Here is some information on the January Real Estate market in #SouthSurrey #Whiterock (and the rest of the #FraserValley).
Look for the link at the top to visit our website. And below the video for links to this months stat documents.
|Month to Month Variance||Year to Year Variance|
|MAP DET Monthly 2016 Jan||MAP DET Annual 2016 Jan|
|MAP ATT Monthly 2016 Jan||MAP ATT Annual 2016 Jan|
THE LATEST IN KITCHEN FIRE PREVENTION.
More fires start in the kitchen than in any other room.
Those fires can be expensive; since even a minor incident, with no injuries, can result in significant damage.
That’s why it’s important to keep up with the latest in fire prevention.
The most recent research tells us:
- Never leave cooking food unattended. Doing so is the number one cause of kitchen fires.
- Make sure cooking appliances, especially deep fryers, are safety certified by the appropriate government agency.
- When using oil in a frying pan, always heat slowly at no more than a medium heat setting.
- Always turn off stove burners and other cooking appliances immediately after cooking.
- Never attempt to put out a grease fire with water. Use baking soda or a fire extinguisher.
- Never remove or cover up a smoke detector due to nuisance alarms. The one alarm that isn’t a nuisance may save your life.
Finally, experts say that if you can’t put out a fire immediately, get everyone out of the home and call emergency services.
Get more useful tips and learn what makes HudsonHomeTeam better when you are looking to sell your #SouthSurrey #WhiteRock home.
Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement - January 20, 2016
The Bank of Canada will maintain its target for the overnight rate at 1/2%.
The Bank of Canada announced this morning that it is maintaining its overnight rate at 0.5 per cent. In the press release accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that inflation is evolving as expected with total CPI continuing to test the bottom of the Bank's 1-3 per cent target range due to low energy prices. However, the Bank expects that inflation will rise over the next year, reaching its 2 per cent target by mid-2017. On the economy, the Bank sees economic growth firming after a slowdown in the fourth quarter of last year. The Bank projects that the Canadian economy will grow a modest 1.5 per cent this year before strengthening to 2.5 per cent in 2017.
In not moving on interest rates this morning, the Bank is recognizing that there is little that monetary policy can do to offset a significant supply-side shock such as the dramatic decline in oil prices. Indeed, given Canada's floating exchange rate, the loonie has already adjusted to help partially absorb the negative impact of falling commodity prices on exports. Keeping in mind that the Canadian economy is still projected to grow at a rate very close to its somewhat diminished potential for 2016 and that inflation will be spurred by a dramatically lower Canadian dollar, we anticipate that the Bank will reassess the need for monetary stimulus once the worst of the oil-shock had passed. That means, barring a significant deterioration in the economy, the Bank will more than likely remain sidelined for 2016.
For more information, please contact:
Should I Refinance My Mortgage?
This article is designed for home owners with 3 years or less on their mortgage term. If this does not apply to you today, feel free to pass it on to friends and family.
It's the holiday season and thinking about your mortgage is likely that last thing on your mind. However, if you're sitting with a lot of equity in your home yet can't seem to manage your debt payments, perhaps thinking about your mortgage is the best thing you can do. With credit card interest rates often pushing the 20% range, five-year fixed-rate mortgages at 2.69% to 2.89% range and variable rates even lower, you may want to consider paying off high-interest debts. Like many financial decisions, you need to look at the big picture. Here's what you need to know.
A refinance alters the terms and conditions of your mortgage; specifically you are increasing the amount of your mortgage to pay off debt. Your mortgage payment may or may not increase, depending on a number of factors, and you may incur a penalty to break your existing mortgage if you are refinancing mid term, but you will be paying off the refinanced debt at a much lower interest rate, which could save you thousands of dollars in interest in the long run. Here are some reasons to refinance:
- Decrease your overall monthly debt payments by using your equity to pay off those high-interest credit cards or unsecured loans, which can help you better manage your budget.
- You can refinance to purchase another property. Using the existing equity in your home can be a great way to buy a rental property which, if done right, can also make the interest you pay tax deductible.
- You could also take out some of the equity for investment purposes -- an option that many homeowners consider this time of year as they look ahead to the new year
- And there are more uses for your equity such as helping putting your kids through school.
Remember that borrowing against your property is not free money. You still own the home so the mortgage loan has to be repaid.
While using the equity in your home to pay off debt certainly eases financial stress, there may still be challenges. However, some people have experienced a job lay-off or an illness that contributed to their unmanageable debt loads. Make sure you understand what got you into your current situation.
Real Estate Market
Equity measures the fair market value of your property against the balance owing on your mortgage. If you borrow against your property, you may worry that the market will drop and your home value with it. However, the government added a few safeguards over the last few years with respect to refinancing: where once you could refinance up to 95% of the value of your home, that percentage has dropped to 80% of the value of your home. By making that change, the government is basically saying it is somewhat confident that house prices will not likely fall far enough for you to lose equity.
Speak to a Professional to Understand Your Options
As you can see there are many factors to consider before deciding to refinance. Each individual's financial situation is different. Let's talk about your unique situation and the options available to you.
Contact us today to put you in touch with John Charbonneau, one of our best Mortgage Specialists
Home Insurance Tips
Pools, finished basements and shingled roofs are a few of the 14 home elements that can increase your home insurance costs.
Some of the costliest items, according to Alexey Saltykov, co-founder and CEO of InsurEye Inc., a Canadian insurance-services company, are the old home elements that haven’t been upgraded: oil-based heating, wooden stoves, knob and tube wiring, and aluminum wiring.
“Some insurers will not insure you at all, some will require an inspection, and some will classify you as high-risk,” Saltykov said.
And then there are costs for using your home as a business that you might not even have considered.
Most elements are “pretty intuitive,” according to Saltykov. Yet homeowners love to add some of the newer elements, or perceive them as adding value to their home.
Let’s assume an average cost to rebuild value, or building limit, of $300,000. A finished basement leads to 20 per cent more in insurance payments, due to potential flooding, according to the president and CEO of Square One Insurance Services Inc., Daniel Mirkovic.
And a pool “increases the estimated cost to rebuild your home by about $5,000, or six per cent. That will drive the classification of a home into a higher building limit,” while adding about $30 a year in personal and premises liability premiums, Mirkovic said.
Mirkovic says wood shake or shingle roofing can push insurance up over 10 per cent in some cases, if the home is in an area prone to hail or wind. Further, “If your home’s roof is nearing (or has passed) the end of its expected useful life, you may pay as much as 10 per cent more on your home insurance.”
Stone or metal roofs are the best options to reduce insurance costs, according to Saltykov, because they are more durable.
And gardens? According to Mirkovic, traditional pre-packaged policies include coverage for landscaping, fences and gardening equipment, allow you to apply up to five per cent of your building limit towards trees, shrubs, etc. “In our [$300,000] example, this would provide up to $6,000 of coverage for landscaping.” These policies, however, will not pay more than $1,000 for any one tree.
Saltykov says home improvements such as home alarms, upgrading wiring and plumbing, and fire-monitoring systems, will bring premiums back down again.
Here are 14 elements, some old, some new, for your consideration.
- Expensive items: Jewellery, art, musical instruments, wine collections, high-end watches, sporting equipment and bicycles – lead to extra premiums, or “riders,” for coverage. Keep track.
- Swimming pools: Pools obviously represent higher liability because of the potential for drowning,
liability goes up when not protected by a fence.
- Fireplace/woodstove: Wood stoves are a source of fire and smoke damage. Insurers will look for additional premiums and/or require a home inspection first.
- Oil-based heating: You’ll have trouble getting insurance if you still have an oil-based heating system
since these result in environmental hazards and can cause fire. Insurers prefer electric heat or
forced-air gas furnaces.
- Business property: Double the trouble: both your personal contents and business property could be lost
or damaged, stolen or vandalized.
- Home being a part of your business: Bed and breakfasts, daycare, and customers or suppliers visiting your home: will all send you back to the policy drawing board.
- Aluminum wiring: A type of wiring used in houses up to 1970, insurers don’t like it because of its
potential to overheat and cause fires. Policies for houses with aluminum wiring will be either more expensive or harder to get.
- Knob and tube wiring: This very old wiring – not well-suited to today’s high energy consumption levels – requires connectors that use knobs to keep the wires isolated. Insulating tubes guide wires through walls. You’ll either have to get the house rewired or pay an additional premium.
- Old house elements: Roofing and other aging house factors leads to more expensive insurance or sometimes not at all until there’s an upgrade.
- Galvanized or lead pipes: Galvanized or lead pipes are older types more likely to build up corrosion, resulting in a negative impact on water pressure and water quality. Insurers prefer modern plastics or copper pipes.
- Roof type: The least reliable roofs are wood shake or shingle, because of vulnerability to weather hazards, which are on the rise.
- Building frame: Wood frame homes are more likely to suffer from fire. Insurers like concrete or brick homes.
- Basement: Finished basements drive up costs because of potential damage if a pipe bursts or sewage backs up, or there’s flooding.
- Garden and Trees: No risk here! But in most cases you do have to pay extra if you want this type of coverage, if you’ve spent a lot of money and are worried about losing this beauty to weather, vandalism,