It's that time again!  You will be soon be receiving (if you haven't already) your Property Tax Notice in the mail.

 



Here are a couple of things to remember:

 

Claiming Your Home Owner's Grant


     If your property is your principle residence, you are responsible for claiming your Home Owners Grant (which is likely $570 - in some cities it's less).  There are 2 ways you can claim it:

1.  Signing the tax notice and mailing or dropping it off to City Hall.

2.  You can also complete it online if your city has an electronic payment capability on their website.  If you are doing this online, you will need the folio number and access code which is on your notice.  Remember to print off a copy for your records!

 

Paying Your Property Taxes


There are four ways to do this:

1.  Some lenders allow you to pay your property taxes throughout the year with your mortgage payment.  If that is the case, the lender will remit the payment directly on your behalf.  Be aware your taxes can change from year to year so it's a good idea to call your current lender to ensure you have enough in your account.  If you don't have your lender contact number, call your mortgage broker to get it.

2.  If your lender doesn't collect your taxes, you can write a post-dated cheque for July 2nd and mail it to the city.

3.  You can also make your payment at most chartered banks.

4.  A great way to pay your taxes is to use your city's monthly pre-authorized debit program.  If you aren't doing that, it's something to consider.  Instructions will be on your city's website or attached to your tax notice.

 

 

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I spend a lot of time listening to and talking with people about houses.  Houses they want to sell.  Houses they want to buy.  Houses they're trying to maintain.  One of the common denominators in all of those conversations is  "what needs fixing and when".  My recommendation to many of these people is to have a home inspection done by a skilled, creditable building inspector.  Here's why.


The Sellers' Market of a few years back is long gone.  There is lots of competition out there on the market now and homes that have been well maintained are the ones that sell sooner for a better price.  Lending rules are stricter now; buyers are being very careful about how they spend the money they work hard to secure.  Many buyers have neither the time, extra money nor skills to do repairs.


Sellers should know that buyers will have a building inspection done when they offer to buy a home.  Why not have a pre-inspection done to ensure there aren't any surprises?  Any issues that need to be dealt with can be taken care of before the house hits the market.  You can price your home with confidence and negotiate with that knowledge.


Buyers should do a building inspection of any property they plan to buy to ensure there aren't any hidden problems that could be expensive and damaging down the road.  Attending the inspection will give you a good introduction to how your home "works" and outline any maintenance items to keep an eye on in the future.  Photos you can keep on file along with the inspection report information will act as a benchmark for your new purchase to refer back to in years to come.


On-going maintenance of one of your biggest investments is a very smart move.  Even if you have no plans to sell, why not call in an inspector to help you develop a plan for what you need to do to keep your property in top shape.  There may be some issues that you can't see now but that your inspector can catch that need to be dealt with sooner than later to avoid more costly repairs in the future. 


When you choose an inspector, make sure that inspector is registered with the Canadian Association of Home and Property Inspectors.  See www.cahpi.bc.ca for more information.  That way you're assured of a level of expertise, ethics and accountability.  

 

Talk to your realtor and see who they recommend.  I work with a wide range of clients and can tell you who my clients have used and how well it's worked out for them.


 



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