Are you planning on going on holidays soon? Now that the weather is finally sunny (sort of) and warm, and school is out for the kids, tis the summer season! Here are some tips to protect your home and save money (in the long run).

To decrease any chances of water damage from a running toilet, or leaky faucet, you may want to consider shutting off your water supply while you go away. If you have a fridge that has an ice maker, it might be a good idea to disconnect it, especially if you are going away for a long period of time. Sometimes the ice builds up and may potentially cause a problem with your fridge working efficiently and correctly. Don't leave your washing machine or dishwasher running when you leave - again you just never know if something happens.

Turn off any alarm clocks so that you don't annoy your neighbours! Turn off and disconnect computers, printers, iPOD docks and other items that continue to suck up your electricity and could potentially cause a fire. Check that the batteries in your smoke detectors are working or are replaced.

Cancel your newspaper delivery during your holidays. If you are expecting a package from canada post or fedex you may want to have a neighbour be a contact person for that delivery so that the package doesn't sit at your front door too long and acts as an indicator to potential thieves.

Ask a neighbour, family member or friend to check your home if you are going away for more than a few days. Have them check for any gas smells, water leakage, anything out of the ordinary. Another option is to have someone you know house sit. It will give you relief knowing your home is being looked after.

These are just a few things to do to make your home safe while you are on holidays. Now go relax and enjoy your trip!

If you have any questions about real estate or are thinking of buying or selling a home, feel free to contact us at or 778.834.9929.


Bathroom and kitchen fans are an important part of your home's ventilation system. They remove odours from your home, which improves indoor air quality. Most importantly, they also remove moisture, which decreases the level of humidity in your home. High humidity can damage building materials, therefore the diligent use of these exhaust fans is essential.

In order to avoid lint build-up in the dryer vents, homeowners can clean the dryer's lint trap after each individual load. In addition, the dryer should be run for ten more minutes after clothes are removed and traps cleaned in order to dry out any moisture in the ducts.

In the winter months, it is a good practise to open a window and allow moist warm air to escape and cold dry air to take its place.

Ensure that window coverings and interior doors are left open for the greater part of the day and don't keep interior doors closed for extended periods of time.


If you have any questions about your property, feel free to contact us at or call us at 778.834.9929. We would be happy to help.


You never expect it to happen but sometimes your belongings may be stolen or destroyed. To protect your possessions in your home from theft or a fire or some sort of disaster, putting together a household inventory would be very useful. When it's time to provide your home insurance company with a record of your items to make your claim, this will reduce your stress, anxiety and time during this process.

You probably received some nice gifts at Christmas, and now is just the time to record these items and put them into a list if not done already.

I'd suggest starting one room at a time, otherwise it's just too overwhelming. And don't try to do it all in one day. Also remember to include items in your garage, attic, basement or storage facility.

You can find lists online that you can print out or make your own spreadsheet and include the item's serial and model numbers, purchase date, cost, where you bought it and attach any receipts you may have.

Take photos of the items, sometimes it's good to have a family member in the photo to show ownership (if it's an expensive item). Video is great too. You may also want to include copies of wills, passports, birth certificates and credit card info with the inventory list.

Once you are done with the list, keep a copy and put another copy in a safety deposit box. If you don't have one, give a copy to a relative or friend to keep. It's good to update this list every six months or so.

I hope you never have to go through this painful process of theft or a disaster in your home, but thought I'd bring this up, as it's a new year, and a good time to protect your possessions.

For all your real estate needs, contact Greg and Liz Holmes - The Holmes Team to help you buy and/or sell your home! Call us at 778.834.9929 or email us at .


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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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

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