Archives for Homeowner tips

3 Tips For Making A Major Homeowners Insurance Claim

Home insurance is one of the costs that come with home ownership. You pay your premiums to your insurance company and when disaster strikes, you expect that they will pay for most, if not all of the bill.  But will they?

Here are 3 tips to help you get the most out of your homeowner’s insurance claim.  

  • Know your limits, deductibles and what your coverage includes. Depending on your policy, your insurance company may or may not cover things like water damage. By reviewing your policy, you’ll know how much you can expect to pay out-of-pocket, which will help you decide which repairs are essential, and which can wait. You’ll also want to know whether your insurance company will pay actual cash value or replacement costs for personal property that has been damaged.  Cash value may not be enough to cover replacement costs so get the details before you rush out to replace everything.
  • Document all of your damage. Take photos of EVERYTHING before you start cleaning up or begin repairs.  Document damage to every item.  If you make any repairs before filing a claim, keep your receipts.  After you file your claim, typically your insurance company will send an adjuster to your home to provide an estimate of the damage, but this can be well after you’ve started the cleanup and repair process. Providing photos and documentation to your insurance company is essential to ensuring they can make the most accurate assessment of the damage.
  • If you disagree with the insurance company’s estimate, and decide to dispute, know your rights under your policy. Usually there is an appeal procedure that should include your right to submit a second estimate by a public adjuster that you hire yourself.  This adjuster will work for you through the claim process to help ensure you get the full entitlement under your policy.

3 Tips For Making A Major Homeowners Insurance Claim

Home insurance is one of the costs that come with home ownership. You pay your premiums to your insurance company and when disaster strikes, you expect that they will pay for most, if not all of the bill.  But will they?

Here are 3 tips to help you get the most out of your homeowner’s insurance claim.  

  • Know your limits, deductibles and what your coverage includes. Depending on your policy, your insurance company may or may not cover things like water damage. By reviewing your policy, you’ll know how much you can expect to pay out-of-pocket, which will help you decide which repairs are essential, and which can wait. You’ll also want to know whether your insurance company will pay actual cash value or replacement costs for personal property that has been damaged.  Cash value may not be enough to cover replacement costs so get the details before you rush out to replace everything.
  • Document all of your damage. Take photos of EVERYTHING before you start cleaning up or starting any repairs.  Document damage to every item.  If you make any repairs before filing a claim, keep your receipts.  After you file your claim, typically your insurance company will send an adjuster to your home to provide an estimate of the damage, but this can be well after you’ve started the cleanup and repair process. Providing photos and documentation to your insurance company is essential to ensuring they can make the most accurate assessment of the damage.
  • If you disagree with the insurance company’s estimate, and decide to dispute, know your rights under your policy. Usually there is an appeal procedure that should include your right to submit a second estimate by a public adjuster that you hire yourself.  This adjuster will work for you through the claim process to help ensure you get the full entitlement under your policy.

Contracts and rentals to consider in home ownership

When it comes to buying a home, there are always additional fees to be considering when you make an offer. Typically, a first-time home buyer needs to be aware of the costs associated with buying a home – legal fees, mortgage rates, home insurance, closing costs, property taxes, land transfer fees…But what about those little extras not everyone considers? The contracts and rentals associated with the home such as furnaces, hot water tanks, and in some locations even your septic tanks – and what that could cost you.

The main point is to understand EXACTLY what you are buying. Some of these costs are minimal, and won’t make a significant impact on your decision when it comes to home buying. However, if you’re looking at a home that requires you to take over a rental furnace, for example, some furnace contracts can cost hundreds of dollars per month to maintain. What can you do to know what you’re getting yourself into before the costs start rising?

To begin with, ensure that you have an experienced realtor who can go over all appliances, and their extra associated costs (such as a hot water rental tank). Then have your lawyer go over the information provided and share their opinion and expertise with you. Be sure to do your research when it comes to the costs of rental furnaces (if that is your situation) in the area that you are looking to purchase the home, and understand what their associated terms and costs are. Carefully consider all options when it comes to these expenses, and what exactly you agree to take over. Smaller appliances, such as hot water tank rentals, and propane tank rentals are relatively low cost/inexpensive to take over and have precise terms and conditions. When it comes to taking over a furnace or septic tank rental, be sure to thoroughly evaluate all the options in the contracts provided, as well as research the typical costs associated with such items.

Property taxes are a necessary part of owning property in Ontario. Anyone in Ontario who owns land or a property has to pay a certain amount of tax to the municipal government.

Although these taxes are unpopular, as all taxes are, property taxes are important because they are the main revenue source for Ontario’s municipalities. Property taxes are separate from other forms of taxes, and the amount that each person owes is based on a unique assessment for their particular property and the tax rate of the municipality the property is in.

How property taxes are determined for each individual property is quite simple. Each municipality within Ontario has its own municipal tax rate, which is determined based on the municipality’s budget and expected revenue. Each municipality also has an education tax rate, which helps to pay for schools and related services within the municipality. These education tax rates can vary within a municipality, depending on where a property is located in relation to schools. On an individual level, every property in Ontario has an assessed value based on property assessments that are carried out periodically. In order to find the total amount of property taxes owed, a simple formula is followed. The municipal tax rate is added to the education tax rate that is applicable for the particular property (and in some cases other taxes are applied as well), and then the result is multiplied by the property’s assessed value. The resulting amount is the total property tax that you will owe for the year. For clarity, an example is below:

 

Property’s Current Value (by assessment): $285,000.00

Total Tax Rate: 1.05%

Property Taxes Owed: $2,992.50

 

It can be tricky to find details of the municipal tax rate in your area, especially since it can vary on what type of property you own, but there are also estimators online to help you with your budgeting. When tax time comes you will also receive a notice of the amount you owe from your municipal government, so you do not need to worry about sending in the wrong amount.

 

If you live in a part of the province that is not incorporated into a municipality, the process for determining your total property taxes is very similar. The only difference is that you will multiply your property’s assessed value by the provincial land tax, instead of an individual municipality’s property tax value. Generally, the provincial land tax is lower than that of incorporated municipalities.

 

It is important to remember property tax when it comes to budgeting for tax time, and it is always a good idea to use an estimator to get an idea of what you will have to pay, so that you are not caught off-guard by an unexpectedly higher rate.

Property taxes are a necessary, though disliked part of owning property in Ontario. Anyone in Ontario who owns land or a property has to pay a certain amount of tax to the municipal government. Although these taxes are unpopular, as all taxes are, property taxes are important because they are the main revenue source for Ontario’s municipalities. Property taxes are separate from other forms of taxes, and the amount that each person owes is based on a unique assessment for their particular property and the tax rate of the municipality the property is in.

 

How property taxes are determined for each individual property is quite simple. Each municipality within Ontario has its own municipal tax rate, which is determined based on the municipality’s budget and expected revenue. Each municipality also has an education tax rate, which helps to pay for schools and related services within the municipality. These education tax rates can vary within a municipality, depending on where a property is located in relation to schools. On an individual level, every property in Ontario has an assessed value based on property assessments that are carried out periodically. In order to find the total amount of property taxes owed, a simple formula is followed. The municipal tax rate is added to the education tax rate that is applicable for the particular property (and in some cases other taxes are applied as well), and then the result is multiplied by the property’s assessed value. The resulting amount is the total property tax that you will owe for the year. For clarity, an example is below:

 

Property’s Current Value (by assessment): $285,000.00

Total Tax Rate: 1.05%

Property Taxes Owed: $2,992.50

 

It can be tricky to find details of the municipal tax rate in your area, especially since it can vary on what type of property you own, but there are also estimators online to help you with your budgeting. When tax time comes you will also receive a notice of the amount you owe from your municipal government, so you do not need to worry about sending in the wrong amount.

 

If you live in a part of the province that is not incorporated into a municipality, the process for determining your total property taxes is very similar. The only difference is that you will multiply your property’s assessed value by the provincial land tax, instead of an individual municipality’s property tax value. Generally, the provincial land tax is lower than that of incorporated municipalities.

 

It is important to remember property tax when it comes to budgeting for tax time, and it is always a good idea to use an estimator to get an idea of what you will have to pay, so that you are not caught off-guard by an unexpectedly higher rate.

Landlords and Legalization: What budding weed laws may mean for Landlords

With the legalization of marijuana on the horizon, property owners of rental units are wondering what that will mean for them. As all the rules and regulations surrounding cannabis use have yet to be ironed out, it’s only natural that landlords are beginning express concern, or in some cases excitement surrounding the opportunities legalization will present.

The legalization of medical cannabis passed in 2001, but as Canada moves forward to legalize the use of cannabis across the country, there are many different views surrounding the changes. With multiple angles to consider, it’s no wonder that landlords across the country are beginning to question, challenge, and prepare for the pending legalization. What are the pro and con sides of the debate surrounding legalization for landlords, and how might rental properties be affected by the new legislation?

Firstly, one of the stipulations surrounding the new legislations is that marijuana can only be smoked in private residences. With this stipulation, there are two clear opinions stemming from landlords surrounding the pending legalisations:

  • Against – due to questions of property value, maintenance, and lack of control over their rental units
  • For legalisation – viewing legalisation as an opportunity in the rental market, as there will be a need to fill

Looking initially at those against legalization, and their concerns surrounding property values, costs of fumigation, and loss of control within their rental units, it is understandable why landlords are questioning how they will be able to control their properties once smoking weed becomes a legal right, contained to private residences. Much like how many landlords have clauses surrounding not allowing pets within their units, it is likely that there will be a surge in rental units that are anti-weed smoking, meaning that tenants are not permitted to smoke weed in these units. Although it is a tricky situation to regulate, as smoking weed is going to be a legal right, it is possible to see landlords increasing their rents, and tightening up conditions of leases in order to accommodate the new legislation and the costs that could be ensued. In the same way that landlords try and regulate the type and number of pets permitted in each unit, it is possible that they will attempt to make these same regulations surrounding marijuana in order to protect their property from damages, the need to fumigate, and to ensure the well being and happiness of al their tenants. A potential surge in rent increases could lead renters to be searching for weed-friendly apartments, (much like pet-friendly apartments), which could see a rise in vacancies in some places, along with some renters seeking out the option to purchase a private residence in order to enjoy their space freely, and as they see fit.

On the other hand, some landlords are viewing this new legislation as an opportunity to take advantage of what will be a need in the market, much like those who take advantage of the need/want for pet-friendly rental options. The legalisation of marijuana opens a new need in the rental market for properties that will allow tenants to smoke, and grow their plants hassle free. With this opportunity, landlords can specialize their units with these new stipulations in mind, allowing those who wish to be able to smoke without hassle to find living arrangements that are both suitable, and enjoyable to them. With some landlords pushing to ban cannabis smoking in rental units, it is possible that cannabis users could end up with no where left to go, unless units like these exist. Although they may see a slight increase in the cost of renting these units, the ability to partake in cannabis use without issue is attractive to those seeking to exercise their legal rights. Much like those individuals who look specifically for rental units that allow pets, these tenants may result in fewer vacancies and longer tenancies, as the accommodations will be difficult to find with many landlords being against the new stipulations. Although the desire to smoke and grow cannabis would not be a requirement to live in a rental unit such as this, new tenants would have to be okay with the fact that the building does allow tenants to partake in their legal right, and therefore would minimize possible complaints surrounding smoke and pot smell. Although there is much to still be decided and ironed out in terms of details on these types of rental properties, it is certain to be a wise investment and a new opportunity to take advantage of within the market.

The new legislation is a topic of discussion all around, surrounding use, growth, and ability to purchase marijuana, and it’s regulation. Landlords are preparing themselves for the coming changes, whether they are pro, or con, in terms of the new legislation and how their properties may change for existing and new tenants. It is possible there will be a rise in tenants seeking out marijuana friendly rental units, willing to pay premium prices for personal privacy and their ability to smoke hassle free.