Our handy checklist for every home owner
As the temperture and leaves begin to fall, now is the time to prep your home for the chilly days and nights ahead. We've complied a list of the top fall maintenance items you may want to tackle over the next few weeks before Old Man Winter comes knocking on your door.
- Clean the combustion air or makeup air intake vents.
- If you have an air exchange system, such as a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) or energy recovery ventilator (ERV), clean it. Regular maintenance items for an HRV include cleaning the exterior intake, the filters, and the core.
- Clean the clothes dyer duct. The damper at the exterior should move freely and close properly.
- Check the bathroom and kitchen exhaust dampers for wasp nests. Nests in those terminals will prevent the dampers from opening.
- Clean the soffit vents. These can get clogged up with lint, dust, insulation, and paint. They are located under that roof overhangs.
- Check the roof for birds nests. These can typically be seen from the ground.
- Clean the gutters after all the leaves have fallen.
- If your downspouts or sump pumps dain into an underground system, re-direct them to drain to the ground surface when possible.
- Outdoor covers are NOT necessary. If a cover is used, it should be the type that only covers the top, not a full enclosure.
- If the furnance of water heater vent blows exhaust gas onto the air conidtioner, a plastic cover an be used to shield the air conidtioner from the corrosive exhaust gasses.
- Don't cover heat pumps.
- Seal any gaps around your home's 'envelope': check for loose or dried-out caulking around pipes, ducts, faucets, air conditioner refrigerant lines, etc.
- Replace any damaged or worn weather-stripping around windows and doors.
SMOKE & CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS
- Smoke alarms should be located inside every bedroom, plus one in a common area on every level.
- If you don't have a photoelectric smoke alarms in your home, add them. (If you don't know what type you have, you probably don't have photoelectric ones.)
- CO alarms should be located within 10 feet of every sleeping room, but NOT in your furnance room, kitchen, or garage.
- Replace the batteries in your alarms and test them using the built-in text buttons.
- Check the age of your smoke and CO alarms: smoke alarms are good for up to 10 years while CO alarms are good for 5-10 years. If they're any older, replace them.
- Have a professional furnace or boiler tune-up performed annually.
- Replace the batteries in your thermostat. (Otherwise, if your thermostat fails while you're out of town, you might come home to a winter wonderland!)
- Clean or replace the furance filter. This should usually be done every 1-3 months depending on the tpe of filter. The arrow on the filter should point toward the furnance.
- Have the flues professionally cleaned on all wood burning fireplaces if they get used regularly - every 30-50 fires is a good rule of thumb.
- Clean the dust out of the bottom of any gas fireplace inserts.
- If you have a gas log installed in a wood burning fireplace with an adjustable damper, make sure there is a damper stop installed to prevent the damper from closing all the way.
- Disconnect any garden hoses. If they are left attached, even to a frost-free faucet, you have the potential for a burst pipe.
- If the exterior faucets are not frost-free, drain the water out.
- Remove any pond pumps and store the pump in your basement in a five gallon bucket filled with water. This will help to prevent the seals from drying out.
- If you have a utility sink in your garage, drai the water of the pipes and dump some RV anti-freeze into the drain.
- If you have a lawn sprinkler system, it needs to drained and blown out with compressed air. Hire a pro to do this.
What you need to know before applying to BC's new mortgage program to help 1st-time homebuyers with your down payment
As of January 16th, 2017, first-time homebuyers can now apply for a loan to go towards their down payment with the B.C. government's new Home Owner Mortgage and Equity (HOME) Partnership Program. If accepted, a homeowner could receive a maximum of $37,500 - or up to 5% of the purchase price - with a 25 year loan that is interest-free and payment-free for the first five years and is registered on title as a second mortgage.
Since applications opened, more than $1 million in loans have been granted to first-time home buyers. The HOME program is set to run until March 31st, 2020, as an effort to alleviate some of the financial burden of saving up for a down payment in the province's pricey housing market.
If you're thinking of applying for this program, here are the criteria you must meet in order to qualify for the loan:
- Timing: Any deals with a closing date of earlier than February 15th, 2017, will not be considered.
- Price: The property purchase price must be equal to or less than $750,000 (excluding taxes and fees.)
- High-ratio, insured mortgage pre-approval: Before applying to the program, applicants must be pre-approved for a high-ration, insured mortgage. A high-ratio mortgage means the down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price. The minimum down payment required in order to obtain mortgage insurance from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation depends on the purchase price:
• If the purchase price is less than $500,000, the minimum down payment is 5%
• If the purchase price is above $500,000, the minimum down payment is 5% of the 1st $500,000 and 10% on the remaining balance
- Principal residence: All individuals on title must live in the home as the principal residence for 5 years after the purchase (or less if the loan is repaid in full.)
- First-time home buyers: Applicants must be a first-time homebuyer who have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time and have never before received a first-time homebuyers' exemption or refund.
- Income: The total annual household income for all individuals on title cannot be more than $150,000.
- Residency: Applicants must have resided in BC for the past 12 months prior to applying for the program.
- Location: The property must be located in BC.
- Citizenship: Program applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents that have resided in Canada for at least 5 years.
- Possession: Under this program, purchasers are required to take possession of the purchased property within 30 days of closing and must move in within 6 months.
• The first 5 years are interest and payment free. However, once year 6 hits, interest will start accruing and principal/interest payments will begin, amortized over the remaining 20 years. The interest rate will be set at the Royal Bank of Canada Prime Rate, plus 0.5% at each of the 10th, 15th, and 20th anniversary dates.
• You should speak with your mortgage broker or bank representative before applying to make sure your lender will allow you to register the program loan on title as a second mortgage, which traditionally lenders do not permit on mortgaged properties.
• You may have your options reduced when it comes to re-financing your mortgage after year 6. This is because of the new stress test for loan eligibility which sets a debt ceiling of no more than 39% of household income going to home carrying costs, such as mortgage payments, heat, and taxes. While the HOME program loans are designed to be interest and payment free for the first 5 years and are presumably wouldn't impact that calculation of home-carrying costs during this time, home owners could have their re-financing options reduced after year 6 due to the emergence of a new debt obligation.
For more information about this program, including the application process, visit gov.bc.ca/housingaction
The 6 steps to purchasing a Court Ordered Sale
- Buyer or Buyer's agent will present an offer to the REALTOR® representing the Seller (Bank or Finance company), the Seller's REALTOR® will negotiate on behalf of the Seller just like on a typical Real Estate Listing (at this point the Buyer can have Subjects on the offer such as financing, inspection report, etc)
- After the Buyer has done their due diligence and removes all the Subjects (making the offer unconditional) a court date will be booked (typically 2-3 weeks)
- Once the court date is scheduled, the local Real Estate offices are made aware of the date
- On the court date the Buyers or REALTOR® representing the Buyers must have an unconditionalContract of Purchase and Sale (no subjects), a deposit (bank draft) for the amount which the Seller has requested, and a signed copy of the Schedule 'A' (a disclosure written by the Seller typically making the Buyer aware that they warranty nothing about the property and it is to be sold 'as is, where is' )
THE MOST TYPICALLY MISUNDERSTOOD part of the process is what happens at court:
- If the Buyer who made the initial offer is the only interested party who shows up to the court proceedings, the judge will most likely approve the purchase and the Buyer is now the new owner of the property (usually takes 2 weeks for the court to process documents and register the property in the Buyers name, after which the new owners can take possession)
- If more than one potential Buyer arrives at court, with all their due diligence completed (bank draft, schedule 'A', unconditional offer) the judge will ask all parties to submit their BEST offer. The judge will most likely award the home to whomever he/she considers to have the BEST offer. Typically theBEST offer is the highest dollar figure however this decision is at the Judge's discretion.
*There is no auction bidding, there is one chance to submit the top dollar you are willing to pay for the property*
I hope this was helpful Kelsey, don't hesitate to call or email if you or anyone of your friends have morequestions or would like to request any Real Estate information.