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Are you planning on buying your first home? Or are you moving and will be refinancing your mortgage? We met with one of our mobile mortgage specialists recently and she gave us some tips on improving your chances of getting a good mortgage. We also checked online and found some advice, so here's a compilation of top mistakes that hurt your credit score.

1. Paying bills late. Even paying just one day late can hurt your score. Mark your calendar or set up an automatic payment plan with your bank.

2. Not checking your credit reports. You really should try to do this once a year. Apparently there can be some mistakes on there or unfortunately, identity fraud, so it's prudent to do this. Check out www.equifax.ca or www.transunion.ca for more info.

3. Maxing out your credit cards. If you do that, it shows that you are using too much of your available credit. Try to give that credit card a break and use another one... but try to keep it at less than half of your available credit.

4. Using cash over credit. If you use cash, you can't show your lenders how well you handle debt. So then you don't have much of a credit history.

5. Applying for extra cards. Not a good idea as it may look like you are desperate for credit. Closing credit cards on the other hand is not a good sign either. You are ultimately shrinking your amount you are allowed to borrow. However, if you are concerned about identity theft, annual fees,etc, then by all means close the account.

If you find out that your credit score isn't very good, some mortgage specialists will work with you to improve your score. It may take 6 months to a year, but that is well worth it to get your financing in order to ultimately get the home you want.

If you have any questions about applying for a mortgage to buy a home or finding a good mortgage broker, feel free to contact us info@holmesteam.ca.

* Please note, this is general information only and should not be taken as specialist advice. If you need more specific information, contact your mortgage specialist/broker.


Cheers,

Greg & Liz

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Nobody likes to move...but it's a necessary evil to get to a new home. Being organized can help a lot:

About a month before moving day:
- as a client of ours, you will receive a "Holmes Team After the Sale/Moving Checklist"
- call a moving company and book moving date
- notify post office for change of address
- notify school(s) of change of address
- contact your home insurance company to update info
- notify bank of change of address

A couple of weeks before moving day:
- contact your lawyer/notary to ensure they have all the information needed regarding the sale/purchase of your home
- arrange to have utilities disconnected at current home and connected at new home
- hold a garage sale to sell unwanted items
- arrange for transportation and care of your pets
- start packing and labeling boxes
- discontinue newspaper delivery
- plan to carry valuable documents/jewelery with you on moving day
- take down curtain rods, drapes and shelves

A day or two before moving day:
- confirm with Greg and Liz what time you will be leaving your home and moving to your new home
- clean fridge and oven
- finish packing personal items
- set aside items to go into your vehicle with you
- confirm contact information, address and moving time with movers
- verify that utilities have been/will be connected at new home

Moving day:
- have vacuum ready
- empty and clean out your fridge and freezer
- make a final inspection of house before leaving
- check all rooms, closets, cupboards and drawers
- get keys from Greg and Liz for your new place
- enjoy your new home!

If you have any questions about moving, feel free to contact us at info@holmesteam.ca or call us at 778.834.9929. We would be happy to help. 

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Planning on buying a home or already own a home? Here are 10 grants & rebates that will help you save $$$!

1. Home Buyer's Plan
Qualifying homebuyers can withdraw up to $25,000 (couples can withdraw up to $50,000) from their RRSP's for a down payment. Homebuyers who have repaid their RRSP may be eligible to use the program a second time. (Go to www.cra.gc.ca enter "Home Buyers Plan" in the search box or phone 1-800-959-8287).

2. GST Rebate on New Homes
New homebuyers can apply for a rebate of the federal portion of the HST (the 5% GST) if the purchase price is less than $350,000. The rebate is up 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. (Go to www.cra-arc.gc.ca enter "RC4028" in the search box or call 1-800-959-8287).

3. BC New Housing Rebate (HST)
Buyers of new or substantially renovated homes priced up to $525,000 are eligible for a rebate of 71.43% of the provincial portion (7% of the 12% HST) paid to a maximum rebate of $26,250. Homes priced at $525,000+ are eligible for a flat rebate of $26,250. (Go to http://hst.blog.gov.bc.ca/faqs/new-housing-rebate or call 1-800-959-8287).

4. 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. (Go to www.rev.gov.bc.ca/rpt or call 250-387.0604).

5. First-time Home Buyers Tax Credit (HBTC)
This is a non-refundable income tax credit for qualifying buyers of detached, attached, apartment condominiums, mobile homes or shares in a cooperative housing corporation. It's calculated by multiplying the lowest personal income tax rate for the year (15% in 2009) by $5,000. For 2009 the maximum credit was $750. (Go to www.cra-arc.gc.ca/hbtc or call 1-800-959-8281).

6. BC Home Owner Grant
Reduces school property taxes by up to $570 on properties with an assessed value up to $1,050,000. For 2010, the basic grant is reduced by $5 for each $1,000 of value over $1,050,000 and eliminated on homes assessed at $1,164,000+. An additional grant reduces property tax by a further $275 for a total of $845 for seniors, veterans and the disabled. This is reduced by $5 for each $1,000 of assessed value over $1,050,000 and eliminated on homes assessed at $1,219,000+. (Go to www.rev.gov.bc.ca/hog or your municipal tax office).

7. LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive Program
Homeowners improving the energy efficiency of their homes who hire a certified energy advisor may qualify for cash incentives through this provincial program provided in partnership with Terasen Gas, BC Hydro, and FortisBC. (Go to www.livesmartbc.ca/rebates or call 1-866-430-8765).

8. BC Hydro Appliance Rebates
Mail in rebates of $25-50 for purchases of ENERGY STAR clothes washers, refrigerators, dishwashers, or freezers between June 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011 or when funding is exhausted. (Go to www.bchydro.com/rebates_savings/appliance_rebates.html or call 1-800-224-9376).

9. BC Hydro Fridge Buy-Back Program (different from Applicance rebates)
This ongoing program rebates BC Hydro customers $30 to turn in spare fridges measuring 10-24 cubic feet in working condition. (Go to www.bchydro.com/rebates_savings/fridge_buy_back.html or call 604-881-4357).

10. BC Hydro Mail-in Rebates/Savings Coupons
BC Hydro offers rebates including 10% off an ENERGY STAR cordless phone, 50% off an E2TM dual-flush toilet, $15 off a clothes drying rack, and 50% off Earth Massage showerheads. Check for deadlines. (Go to www.bchydro.com/rebates_savings/coupons.html or call 1-800-224-9376).

Bonus - couldn't help but provide you with another one!
11. Terasen Gas Rebate program
Rebates for homeowners include $25 gift cards for furnace servicing, $50 rebates for upgrading a water heater, $150 rebate on an EnerChoice fireplace, $1,000 rebate for switching to natural gas and installing an ENERGY STAR heating system. (Go to www.terasengas.com/homes/offers/lowermainlandsquamish.html or call 1-888-224-2710).

Adapted from REBGV The Open House August 13, 2010


For all your real estate needs, contact Greg and Liz Holmes, The Holmes Team.
If you have any questions about the above rebates and grants or have a real estate related question, please call us at 778.834.9929 or email us at info@holmesteam.ca

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