Condominiums typically have an overall insurance policy covering the building but it’s nonetheless still important for individual condo owners to look into their own policies. Shared insurance doesn’t cover personal belongings, for example, or other costs that an owner could incur in the case of an emergency.
Insurance is particularly noteworthy when it comes to special assessments, a levy or financial contribution that can be imposed on condo unit owners.
Usually, special assessments and other costs like strata fees are explained and disclosed at the time of purchase. In the case of an emergency though, a special levy can be announced — usually after a strata vote.
This money is collected in instances, for example, where the shared insurance policy doesn’t cover the full cost of the damage and can add up quickly for condo owners.
Loss of assessment coverage can mitigate this.
Types of insurance:
1. Title insurance
It’s not unheard of to hear horror stories of condo buyers getting stuck with special assessments after they’ve bought their unit.
Title insurance protects buyers against several risks, including situations like this where special assessments crop up that were not disclosed at the time of purchase.
This kind of insurance covers the condo owners’ portion of any special assessment.
2. Special assessment insurance
It’s also possible to get insurance that specifically covers special assessments.
Problems can come up where this is needed, for example, when a condominium corporation faces a crisis where its own insurance policy isn’t sufficient enough to cover the costs and so a levy is collected.
Special assessment insurance covers the owner in this case.
These are just two examples of insurance that can cover an unexpected special assessment. Dozens of other policies exist to cover personal items and other costs, sometimes even moving costs or unexpected living costs.
Other types of condo insurances
- All-risk insurance
- Personal liability
- Contents insurance
- Replacement cost
- Additional living expenses coverage
- Improvement and betterments protection
- Loss assessment
Know how you are covered by your insurance so you can fill in any gaps as needed for full protection and peace of mind.
Your credit score affects many areas of your life from your spending abilities to your stress levels.
Missing a couple of payments on a credit card can dramatically drop your score, even after years of consistently meeting payment deadlines.
Your credit report tracks your spending history for the past six years and bad credit (FICO score) makes it nearly impossible to get financing for a home, car, credit card or even cell phone.
So if, for whatever reason, your score has plummeted — there’s a few things you can do to repair it.
1. Know your score
Finding out your credit score and history is the first step to knowing what went wrong and how to fix it.
You can get a copy from two main credit bureaus in Canada: Equifax (the most highly recognized) and Trans Union. If you send it in by mail, you can receive a copy for free or you can pay for a digital version for the benefit getting it faster.
2. Review your history
Make sure that there are no errors. It’s not likely but not impossible either.
Check that no late payments have been erroneously added to your account, all the charges made are accurate and that your payments went through correctly.
3. Start making payments
This may be easier said than done but it really is the key to improving your credit score.
Set up a reminder schedule and make sure you are paying off your debt bit by bit each month — and on time. If you want, you can set up payment reminders or automatic withdrawals.
The general rule is to keep debt within 65% of your credit limit. When it comes to paying off debt, start with the one with the highest interest rate first.
It may seem overwhelming but, chunk by chunk, it is possible to pay off debt if you stay consistent with it.
4. Avoid more debt
Be aware of the credit limit on your card and don’t go over that limit. Also keep in mind that having too many credit cards, especially newly open accounts, can also negatively impact your rating.
5. Pay off debt as soon as possible
Although it seems strange to go into debt to pay off debt, and contrary to the previous step, sometimes taking out a loan or borrowing money is the best way to save your credit score.
Balance what the interest looks like, how quickly you can pay it off and whether a loan will ease your credit history.
Sometimes, borrowing money with a low interest rate can help pay off high-interest credit card debt. Repaying debt on a credit card will help speed repairs to your credit history.
6. Take the initiative
Check your credit at least a few months before you need to make a big purchase or re-finance something so you have time to improve your score if needed. This will help give you the best interest rates when you most need them.
Lenders make a lot of their financing decisions by looking at your history. If you pay off debt the day before, you score and reputation is much less credible.
If you absolutely cannot make the minimum payment on your card, consider calling the lender and explaining the situation.
They may have advice or ways to help you; people often look favourably at those who reach out with honesty and initiative and are therefore more willing to help in return.
7. Protect your credit score
If you have bad credit, don’t panic — it’s easy enough to repair it by paying off the highest interest rates first and being consistent with debt management.
If you have good credit, make sure you protect it — set up payment reminders and don’t fall into debt if you can avoid it.
Keep old accounts, even if you are not using them very often, and don’t open too many accounts too soon because the age of an account positively impacts your score. Use fraud alert services and be careful of who you give your information to in order to avoid identify theft.
A rose by another name wouldn’t smell as sweet, as the old adage goes, and the same can be said about homes. A wall by any other colour just wouldn’t suffice.
Choosing the right shade for your brush can be tricky, and like anything in life, paints go through ups and downs of popularity from the burgundy oranges of the ‘70s to the darker tones of the ‘90s.
In order to decide on the most up-and-coming colours, experts delve into what’s popular in the world of fashion, arts, pop culture, and even the automotive industry to create a palate of popular paints.
Consumer Reports, a non-profit organization providing unbiased product ratings and reviews, took a look ahead at the hottest colours of 2018 to paint a home.
Using their research, we’ve compiled a list of the top five trends of paint for your home this year:
A vivid, lively red that creates impressions of strength and character. Some might find it too bold for an entire room but it’s the perfect shade for details — a door, a trimming or a window frame. Reds work especially well in the kitchen.
If you can’t escape to the seaside, why not bring the vibe of the sea to you? This mysterious blue hue, with a touch of green, will bring to mind images of mermaids and seashells. Works particularly well in a bedroom or bathroom, combined with creams or whites.
In The Moment (T18-15)
A much more subtle shade of blue-green, this colour is both calming and restorative. Slightly paler than a mint green, it can be used to paint an entire room to open it up and give a feeling of more space.
A rich golden yellow that is halfway between sunshine and egg yolk, this colour is energetic and cheerful. It’s best used to accent an otherwise plain room or as a backdrop to a wall that is otherwise covered behind shelves or plants.
River Rapids (29B-3)
A sea foam green that lightens up a room while not being overwhelming. Perfect for a living room that has either cream-coloured or deep, dark furniture. It adds a touch of sophistication to any room.
Check out these paint color trends you can definitely use for your home this year.
Last March, for the first time since 2001, a NDP government delivered a budget to British Columbians for the coming year.
The name of the game in the new budget is affordability — huge investments were promised in everything from childcare to healthcare to housing.
With pledges of money, though, comes a need to generate revenue to fund it. With that came a plethora of new regulations and taxes in the property market, outlined the budget.
The main take-aways for real estate in B.C. are:
1. Speculation Tax
This new annual tax will apply to foreign and domestic property owners who are not residents of B.C.
Some exemptions may be made for principal residences or long-term rental properties but it will include properties that are left vacant.
The tax will be introduced this fall and apply initially apply to homes in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and some other capital regional districts like Victoria, Nanaimo, and Kelowna.
It will start at tax rate of 0.5 per cent of the assessed value in 2018 and increase to 2 per cent of assessed value next year.
2. Enhanced Foreign Buyers Tax
Starting this month, the previously-introduced foreign buyers tax will be increased from 15 per cent to 20 per cent. It will extend to other areas across the province and no longer cover just Metro Vancouver.
3. Property Transfer Tax on Homes Above $3M
An additional 2 per cent property transfer tax will be applied to homes above $3 million, on top of the previous transfer taxes.
4. Pre-sale Condos
The government will be cracking down on the pre-sale condo market, requiring developers to collect and report comprehensive information and building build a database on pre-sale condo assignments.
5. First Time Buyer Program
Details have not been finalized but the previous home partnership loan that matched first-time buyers with down payments up to 5 per cent will be replaced with a different program to support the development of affordable housing options.
6. Affordable Housing
The province promised $6 billion over the next decade to build 114,000 affordable homes units including modular, student and social housing.
1. Doors and Windows
The cost of a new door is almost entirely recouped when it comes to selling and greatly improves both look and security. A steel door costs an average of $1,162 and would recoup nearly 97 per cent of that cost, according to a survey by Cost vs. Value Report.
The same is true for windows. Dual pane windows in particular are popular and, in addition to improving attractiveness, can cut heating costs in the winter.
With warmer weather come fresh flowers and plenty of yard work. “Curb appeal” is hugely important when it comes to selling. Use your garden’s size and dimensions to your advantage — cutting back overgrown bushes and planting a delicate perimeter of flowers can do wonders for a small garden. Even for large gardens though, don’t overcrowd it.
3. Kitchen Remodel
This is a costlier upgrade than some of the others but one that will spike your home’s value. Kitchens are one of the rooms that can most obviously date a house and one of the biggest selling points for a prospective buyer.
If major renovations are not on your to-do list, consider smaller upgrades: new appliances, a fresh coat of paint on the cupboards or more storage space.
4. Bathroom Remodel
Similar to the kitchen, bathroom remodelling is an extremely valuable project albeit it can be costly. New fixtures, shelving and shower head are easy additions that can quickly improve the look. Fresh paint and fixing any water-stained marks are also must-dos.
5. Paint and Other Small Tasks
Small hardware changes – burnt out light bulbs, broken cabinet fixtures, squeaky cupboards and leaks are all little fixes that don’t take long but make all the difference.
A fresh coat of paint, particularly in a neutral colour like cream or pale yellow, can immediately brighten a room and make a home appear much more current.
Lindi Ortega (March 16)
Canadian Country Music Award winner, she has worked with musicians like K.D. Lang and Carrie Underwood before. Her raw vocal power and roots rhythm is not to miss.
Northern Lights Folk Club (March 24)
Featuring singer, songwriter and guitarist Roy Forbes.
Anneke’s Antique Sale (March 30 – 31)
More than 130 collections of antiques and old glories from vintage jewellery to furniture are for sale.
Adding an eye catching and stunning rug in your living room can automatically elevate your home. Check out some of the design trends for floor rugs this year.
Homeowners in Edmonton began receiving their 2018 property assessment notices in the mail at the beginning of the year.
By now, everyone should have received one and have a clear idea of the assessed value of their property. This is important because this value determines the property taxes that must be paid.
Property assessments in Edmonton were fairly stable this year, with an average increase of less than one per cent compared to last year.
The one exception was single-family detached homes in neighbourhoods along the river valley like Windsor Park, Quesnell Heights, Glenora and Oliver.
You can look up different property assessments on the City of Edmonton’s website to compare different 2018 property assessments.
In order to assess the value of the property, a number of key factors such as location, size, land surface, age and condition of the building are taken into consideration.
A large increase in property assessments does not always translate into a corresponding increase in property taxes, however. It also takes into account changes relative to your community.
Property taxes in Edmonton make up about half of all revenue that the City receives. It helps fund essential services like police, fire fighting and emergency rescue. They also support community programs, recreation centres, public libraries, parks and much more.
Property taxes bills arrive in May and must be paid by June 30.
They can be paid in multiple ways; in person, online banking, credit card or cheque. You can set up a Property Tax Monthly Payment Plan to avoid paying them all at once.
Assessments can be appealed up through a customer review period until March 12, 2018. A complaint can be made online or in person about property assessment, but you cannot appeal your property tax bill.
From smart watches to smart kettles, technology is entering homes at the speed of light.
One of the biggest home technology trends for 2018 is that devices now provide many uses — just one function won’t cut it anymore.
A new voice activated mirror recently came out that changes the lighting, tells you the weather and plays music as you get ready. There’s a door alert system that not only provides lighting but also extends the home’s wifi.
Part of it is an issue of space and availability of outlets — why buy an item that only does one thing when the same sized device does many functions?
Home security is a key example of how technology in the home is taking off.
Many of the security systems on offer are fully integrated and often include functions that are not typically associated with home safety like lighting and doorbell ring tones.
Almost all the systems now include an option to lock and unlock doors and keep an eye on the situation remotely via wifi.
Technology is not always cheap but when used right can help you save money in the long run.
For example, monitoring devices can help curb energy use because it gives you real-time data. Smart thermostats and lighting systems, which are programmable, can also help save money by only using energy when you need it.
Simple safety improvements like smart thermostats, smart fire detectors and smart carbon monoxide detectors are a bonus when selling a home too.
A survey by Smart Home Marketplace recently found that 70 per cent of homebuyers want these kinds of features in a home and so a few inexpensive touches can really make it stand out to buyers.
Silver Skate Festival (Feb. 9 – 19)
Nearly three decades of sports celebrations, this festival is rooted in Dutch tradition and love of winter.
Proteus Saxophone Quarter (Feb. 17)
Redefining the tradition of saxophone in this vibrant and vivacious concert.
Indian-inspired meals (Feb. 22)
Who needs to order in when you can learn to make your own delicious meals.
Intersect (Feb. 23 – 24)
Dynamic ballet performance, bringing together two very different pieces.
Swing n’ skate (until Feb. 25)
Local bands bring the swinging, the swaying and the jazz to this free event every Sunday.
The holidays may be over but stock your bar with these chic and beautifully designed champagne glasses you can bring out to celebrate those memorable moments with loved ones.
After a busy month of holiday planning and party-going, what better way to bring in the New Year that to relax with a spa treatment. No need to look far, everything you need for top notch pampering is right at home.
With just a few steps, you’ll have real relaxation at your fingertips with a home-based spa:
1. Creating an atmosphere
Part of the luxurious vibe of a spa is how it engages all five of your senses. Dim the lights (avoid harsh fluorescent lights) and light some scented candles. Play some low, soothing music without lyrics. Pour yourself a drink – wine, water with fresh cucumber or tea are all good choices.
Having the right towel – fluffy, soft and big – makes all the difference (and you can reuse it or keep it as a guest towel set!). If you are going to splurge, this is the item you should focus on. Choose a high grams-per-square metre count for a luxurious feel and always tumble dry to keep the softness.
3. Home-based products
Many of the hair treatments, facial masks and moisturizers can be made from all natural ingredients that you already have in your kitchen, such as:
• Olive oil and brown sugar face scrub
• Lime mint foot soak
• Oatmeal, cinnamon and rosemary face mask
• Coconut oil and avocado hair conditional
• Cool camomile teabags for eye mask
4. Spa-like shower
Use a high pressure shower hose setting to exfoliate your back. Alternate between warm, cool, cold, warm temperature in that order to get the blood flowing and improve circulation.
If you make a habit of at-home spas, consider making some renovations to your bathroom – like a bigger bathtub, heated towel rack or different lighting – to improve the experience even more.