Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Federal Budget -- more of your money for you

As noted in a previous post, there is money available to you from government programs for energy efficiency upgrades.

The new federal budget added a tax credit for renovations that goes beyond specific energy upgrades -- just do something ! spend money ! hire somebody ! NOW ! ... you get the idea. Here is a useful Q&A on how the HRTC (Home Renovation Tax Credit) works:

While we're at it, here are a couple more info documents on budget stuff that relates to real estate:

... Not Really First-Time Home Buyers Tax Credit (you can actually quality if you haven't owned a home recently)

... Looting your RRSP to help with a home purchase (OK, they call it the Home-Buyers Plan , and it does make sense FOR CERTAIN PEOPLE, but be careful...)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Yikes ... market commentary

It's very scary out there, isn't it?

I can find compelling, logical analysis that says this thing will turn in a year and that it's a great time to buy (with care)

On the other hand, our very own financial advisor suggests that we sell our own house and hunker down for a decade or so !! He, too, has the "proof" to support his thesis.

The US Secretary of Commerce, VP, and President are all saying variations of "don't know ... we'll screw some stuff up ... but we'll get it eventually"

Right now, a short term prediction beyond "I don't know" is probably either stupid, naive, or dishonest.

Our Toronto-area market started to slow down noticeably last Fall as everyone got nervous.

December and January were dead, but they nearly always are.

January and February (to date) were also affected by weather -- much like they were last year even though the Spring Market ended up doing fine.

To be more confident of the short term market health we will have to wait for March.

Trouble is, a "good" March would really just be "less bad" if you are thinking of selling. By the time you know how good or bad the market is, you may have left money on the table. If you are going to sell, we suggest you do it NOW. The market may not crash, but it isn't going up for a while.

Most people's decision is not that cut and dried. Are you buying AND selling? In this market or another geographic area? And so on. Too complex to go into here, but obviously we would be happy to talk to you.

Whatever you do, consider BOTH the risks and the opportunities. No matter what you think is going to happen, you (and we) are probably wrong ! No offence -- it's just too complicated and "different" to know with confidence. Sorry, but that's the way it is.

"Saving Money while Saving The Planet"

The title is stolen from a CarsonDunlop report. If you are looking for a good summary of all the grants currently available for doing energy efficient upgrades (furnace, air conditioner, insulation, windows, even toidies !), you may want to start at a good CarsonDunlop page ....

As you will see, it's not just the feds giving grants. The Province, provincial and municipal electric utilities, Toronto Water, and gas utilities are all giving loot out in different ways for different things. It's your money, go get it!

Nothing is exactly free here -- all will require a pile of your money too. But they make the changes easier and will save you money every month on your utility bills while doing less damage to our one-and-only world.

By the way, we are just completing our training and will become certified "NAGAB" green agents. It doesn't mean we will show up with a hammer, but we will have a lot of information to help you determine what you might be buying or what you should consider doing.