Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spring into a finished basement for added space!

(NC) After a winter of hibernation, the spring is a perfect time to begin renovation projects that will impact your home's overall energy efficiency and save you money. An unfinished basement can be a major source of energy loss costing you more on your heating and cooling bills. 

Finishing your basement is a renovation project that will keep your house cool in the coming summer months and reduce energy consumption. By simply finishing the space with wall and floor coverings, you will notice a difference on your energy bills. A renovated basement offers more than additional storage and living space. It can provide room for a growing family or a space where you can retreat for some privacy. 

Insulation is a key component in making your basement look and feel comfortable, inviting and dry. For the best results, install a rigid board insulation (like Roxul ComfortBoard IS) against the concrete foundation before you stud the wall. The board is mechanically fastened or adhered to the concrete foundation wall, preventing thermal bridging through the studs, offering a higher R-value and better thermal performance. It will ensure your basement is not a source of energy loss, but rather an inviting space all year round.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

How much is my stuff worth?

(NC) Most of us might be surprised to learn the actual value of our accumulated belongings—and this could leave us vulnerable in the event of loss, theft or damage. Taking a home inventory is a major first step. 

“You probably have a rough idea of how much your home is worth, as well as how much you have saved,” says Ryan Michel, spokesperson for Allstate Insurance Company of Canada. “But do you know how much all of your belongings are worth? If you have made any significant purchases since you last checked your home insurance it's important that your policy reflects that.”

Most insurance policies have a limit on how much they will cover if household items are lost, stolen or damaged. More expensive things like jewelry, electronics, or sporting equipment may only be covered up to a certain value and could require additional coverage. 

By creating a home inventory, it will be easy to keep track of how much money your possessions are worth and how much insurance you need to cover them. A home inventory checklist to help you get organized is available at 

Here are a few helpful tips to get you started:
• Take on one room at a time.
• Make a note of valuable items.
• Take photos, write down serial numbers and collect original receipts, if possible.
• Organize items into categories.
• Check that these items are covered by your personal insurance policy, if necessary by sharing your inventory with your insurance company.
• Store a copy of your list and photos in a safe separate location, either in a safety deposit box, or with your insurance company. 

If you find a difference between what you're covered for and what you now own, call your insurance provider. Updating your policy to ensure you're properly protected is easy and can save you money if the unexpected

Monday, March 3, 2014

Increase in CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance Premiums

Mortgage loan insurance helps protect lenders against mortgage default and enables consumers to purchase homes with a minimum down payment of 5% with interest rates comparable to those with a 20% down payment. Mortgage loan insurance is typically required by lenders when homebuyers make a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price.

Effective May 1, 2014, CMHC is increasing its homeowner mortgage loan insurance premiums to reflect its increased capital targets. The increase applies to mortgage loan insurance premiums for owner occupied, self-employed and 1-to-4 unit rental properties, including low-ratio refinance premiums.

For the average Canadian homebuyer requiring CMHC insured financing, the higher premium will result in an increase of approximately $5 to their monthly mortgage payment. This is not expected to have a material impact the housing market.

Click here to view the rate increases and further information. . .