Are You Paying To Much in Real Estate Taxes?

Real Estate Taxes effect all property owners in Canada and are often not something property owners pay close enough attention too.  In Ontario the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) assesses properties for their estimated market value, the municipality then takes this assessment and applies its mill rate (depending on your property type) which determines the taxes payable by the property owner. The City of Windsor’s residential and commercial mill rates have been the highest in Essex County, and one of the highest in Canada for several years. With high mill rates, I always recommend  paying  close attention to your assessment.   Checking the value of your property is something that should be done every few years to ensure you are not over paying in taxes. Contrary to what many believe, a increase in your property assessment from MPAC, does not necessarily mean your property has increased in value.  While MPAC tries to ensure all assessments are fair, it is possible for a property to become over-assessed. A high assessment not only means a property owner is paying to much in taxes each year, it can also mean a property will be harder to sell, as Buyers add the current taxes to their expenses when deciding to purchase a home. MPAC reassesses all properties every few years, with the last base assessment year being 2012.  Each year a property owner is given the current years assessment from MPAC and given a deadline to accept or question the assessment. I you do not agree with your current assessment you can have someone file a request for reconsideration for you, or you can file a request for reconsideration yourself. The deadline to submit a Request for Reconsideration for the 2014 tax year is March 31, 2014. Appealing taxes can be a stressful process. Having a third party handle a notice of reconsideration, offers an arms length discussion with MPAC and eliminates much of the stress.  I have filed many notice of re-considerations for both residential and commercial  clients, and in most cases have been successful in reducing a properties assessment and a reduction in property taxes. I have seen assessments reduced by as much as 30%  ($400,000) on commercial property, which resulted in a tax savings of over $19,000 per year.   Filing a notice of reconsideration should only be done when it is seems clear that the value is over assessed, as there is always a risk the assessment could go up if a property is under assessed. If you feel your assessment is too high and would like assistance, please feel free to contact me.  A Third Party Authorization  is required when you want someone else to handle your notice of reconsideration...

Read More

Mold and Water Damage in Homes – Windsor Essex Real Estate

Compliments of www.cameronpaine.com Homebuyers often have concerns about mould, but are their fears justified? Although thousands of types of mould exist, only a few are actually harmful to people. Toxic varieties, such as moulds from the genus Stachybotrys, can produce chemicals linked to various health problems including sinus infections, asthma and certain respiratory infections. However, mould must generally be present in large quantities to have a noticeable effect on most people. Mould eats wood cellulose and can potentially affect the structural integrity of wood. Some insurance companies have excluded mould damage from both first party and third party coverage. Property owners may be able to obtain costly site-specific environmental insurance that specifically includes mould coverage. Mould is caused by water damage or excessive humidity, poor ventilation systems, wet construction materials or poor construction or design. Mould travels on air currents and is all around us, and so it is difficult to find a house that is completely mould-free. The smell should be the first red flag. Just because a house is nicely renovated and freshly painted doesn’t make it mold free, if there’s a musty, mouldy smell, and lots of plug-ins and potpourri, you should investigate further. The best advse is use common sense. During a home inspection, the inspector cannot open walls. Therefore, you may need to rely on your sense of smell. If moisture damage has built up in the basement over the years, the smell will reveal it right away, regardless of how nice it looks If there’s mould in their home, it can be a minor issue involving lack of circulation in the basement, or it could be a serious case of black mould coming through the drywall or baseboard, which probably needs to be ripped out. You can’t just wipe it off.  Either way, the issue causing the mould must be solved and the area has to dry out. Whether inspecting a home you should always look for signs of water damage. You should hire a home inspector or other mold professional  if there is a concern Be sure to inspect moisture-prone areas such as basements, bathrooms and kitchen cupboards. Mould behind a wall will not be visible to you, but signs of mould include: discolouration on finishes staining spotty patterns revealing visible mould growth (which may indicate a larger, unseen problem) musty smells. Mould issues can usually be resolved. The moisture or water source needs to be located and stopped, and then the mould needs to be removed. If the problem turns out to be widespread and remediation is necessary, it’s important to ensure that the entire problem area is remediated, otherwise the mould infestation could return. A proper home inspection may uncover...

Read More

Tips for Showing a Home Windsor Real Estate

6 Tips to a Great Home Showings Compliments of www.cameronpaine.com When it comes to showing your home to potential home buyers, you want to make sure that they are focused on the home’s potential to become theirs rather than constantly distracting them with outside issues. The following tips will help showings . Home Showing Tip  #1 Dont have Family and friends just hanging outWhen you decide to sell your home, you really do need to consider how you will show your home. It is definitely unsettling for home buyers to walk through a home only to find that there are kids sleeping in the rooms or someone is frying up a steak as they arrive. A home showing must be treated like a business transaction and in order to drive a sale, you must behave in a professional manner. Ask family members to look after your kids and make sure that the only people in the home are the ones who will be showing it. Home Showing Tip #2 Being Present for Showings You have right to be excited about showing your home to potential hom buyers and you may want to gauge their opinion about your home. But  best if the home owner is not present during showings. If the home owner is home, people often feel rushed and do not give the home enough time. By letting the Realtor handle the showing, it gives the buyer time to look around and discuss the home with their Realtor. Home Showing Tip #3 Knowing  your homes strengths and weaknesses From the moment home buyers walk toward your home, they are searching for flaws and drawbacks, as most skeptics tend to do. I often find it helpful to do a summary of the strengths of a home and show the value of improvements, as well I can often do a cost analysis of any potential weaknesses ie. cost of a new roof or windows.  If a home needs a major repair, it will be obvious to any buyer. Having a quote before hand can often elimante any fears a buyer might have. Home Showing Tip # 4 Removing any OdoursNothing says “don’t buy my house” quite like the smell of wet dog. Add the smell of synthetic roses to the mix, and you might essentially be telling home buyers to run not walk away from your home. As well, cooking before or during a home visit is not appreciated, as no one wants to leave a home smelling like fried food. Boil some cinnamon in water and keep the scent of your home welcoming and delicate rather than invasive. Home Showing Tip #5 Temporary removing pets If possible Pets should not be presetn for showings....

Read More

Making a Room Feel Bigger – Windsor Essex Real Estate

Compliments of www.cameronpaine.com Most of us can’t afford a home with massive rooms – not just because the square footage is costly, but also because it would cost an arm and a leg to keep that home heated and comfortable. There are, however, a vast array of tricks and methods that lend themselves to creating an illusion and will help you make a room feel bigger. That said, here are seven ways to make a room feel bigger: Ways to make a room feel bigger #1 Get Roman blinds Window treatment are an important part of making a room feel bigger and using roman blinds instead of curtains takes away that cluttered feeling and the look of extra and unwanted material draped over the living room floor, getting in your way and causing more problems than it’s worth. Ways to make a room feel bigger #2 Use color In terms of illusion, light colors will always make a room seem larger, so try and avoid darker colors when painting the walls, opting instead for a light shade of blue or white. This method will make rooms appear open and airy, and they are also naturally reflective colors, which leads me on to the next point. Ways to make a room feel bigger #3 Opt for natural lighting Letting natural light stream into the room will really open it up, making it feel larger. Make as much use of natural light as possible; add skylights, windows, anything that will open your house up. If this is not possible, then ensure the room is adequately lit as shadows can make a space seem smaller and cramped. Ways to make a room feel bigger #4 Hang mirrors Perhaps an odd choice, the use of mirrors is recommended by experts due to the way it gives the illusion of depth. Place it at a specific point in the room, angle it in a way that is going to ensure maximum depth and it will give you the illusion of more open flow. Like light colors, it can also reflect natural light, and helps brighten up a room. Ways to make a room feel bigger #5 Go for built-ins over closets Instead of moving each bit of furniture back against the wall, a built-in closet enables you to gain extra space and effectively move a lot of your junk out the way by placing it in the wall closet. The extra space built into the closet will have little effect on the size of the room, and means you are effectively not losing any space, but gaining more room to place decorations, mirrors, and anything else you might want. Ways to make a room...

Read More

What to do when your assessment is too high, Windsor Real Estate

Compliments of www.cameronpaine.com Source MPAC brochure: If you don’t agree with your Property Assessment from MPAC you can file a Request for Reconsideration. The deadline to file your RfR is April 2, 2012. There are two ways to file a RfR: • The preferred method is to submit a RfR form. Request For Reconsideration 2012 Form Forms are available at www.mpac.ca, or call us at 1 866 296-MPAC (6722). You may also choose to file your RfR electronically through AboutMyProperty™ on MPAC’s website. You will be able to attach documents, pictures and reports to accompany your RfR. Your personalized User ID and Password for AboutMyProperty™ are included on your Notice. 1. Write a letter requesting a reconsideration. In your letter, please include the 19-digit roll number on your Notice; your full name, address and phone number; and the reasons why you feel your assessment is not correct, including any information you have to support your claim. 2. File an Appeal with the Assessment Review Board (ARB) You may also choose to file an Appeal with the ARB, an independent tribunal of Ontario’s Ministry of theAttorney General. Residential, Farm and Managed Forest Properties If your property, or a portion of it, is classified as residential, farm or managed forests, you must first file a RfR with MPAC before you are eligible to file an Appeal with the ARB. The classification of your property is indicated on your Notice. If you are required to, or choose to file a RfR first, you have 90 days after MPAC has notified you of its decision on your RfR to file an Appeal with the ARB. The ARB has its own Appeal process. For more information, please contact the ARB at 1 866 448-2248 or 416 212-6349 or visit their website at www.arb.gov.on.ca. To request that your property be eligible for the farm or managed forests classes or conservation land exemption, you must file a RfR with the respective program administrator. For more information, please contact MPAC or visit www.mpac.ca. Other Property Types For any other property types, you can choose to file a RfR with MPAC or file an Appeal with the ARB. The deadline to file your RfR and/or Appeal is April 2, 2012. MPAC’s Role at an ARB Hearing At an ARB hearing, the onus is on MPAC to prove the accuracy of our assessed value. MPAC will present comparable properties as evidence and will share that information with you prior to the hearing. You will also be asked to provide evidence to support your position. Ideally, you should select properties that are most similar to yours (for example, neighbourhood, lot dimensions, living area, age of structure(s) and quality of construction). Please...

Read More

Understanding Smart Meters – ENWIN

Compliments of www.cameronpaine.com Smart Meters are Here As part of a provincial initiative to encourage energy conservation and help Ontario consumers manage their electricity costs, ENWIN is now installing Smart Meters throughout Windsor. The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has directed energy providers, like ENWIN, to install Smart Meters in all Ontario homes and small businesses, encouraging the development of a province-wide “culture of conservation”. As Windsor’s energy provider, ENWIN is mandated to complete local Smart Meter installations by early 2011. Everything Stays the Same It is important for customers to realize that everything will remain the same, following your Smart Meter Installation: An ENWIN employee will still come to read the meter, EnWin bills will still look the same, and electricity charges will still be calculated in the same way as before. Eventually, the province is expected to switch over to a new rate structure called Time-of-Use (TOU) pricing. But for now, only the appearance of the meter will change. TOU Pricing is NOT in Effect Smart Meters are here, but Time of Use Pricing isn’t. Not yet. You will not automatically move to time-of-use rates once your smart meter has been installed. Provincial legislation requires ENWIN to install Smart Meters as one step towards conserving energy and building for the future. Smart Meters will be installed this fall – but that will NOT have an immediate impact on how you are billed for your electricity. ENWIN customers will be billed differently ONLY after the Province requires us to move to Time of Use billing – likely some time in 2012. When a firm date is set, ENWIN will contact customers directly, and make sure you have all the information you need to benefit from the change. At the present time you will not notice any difference in your billing. ENWIN Respects and Protects Your Privacy As we move forward with Smart Meter installations, remember that Time of Use pricing is not yet in effect. In the future, when the Province requires ENWIN to move to this new system, Smart Meters will help customers reduce their energy costs by offering clear information about much energy is used at specific times of day. How and why you consume energy will remain, as always, private. ENWIN will ensure you are aware of all changes before they occur, and we thank you for helping Ontario build a brighter future. Quick, Efficient Installation Installation only takes a few minutes. A representative from ENWIN’s contractor, Olameter, will knock on your door to inform you that they are there to install your smart meter. Your power will be interrupted briefly, while the old meter is exchanged for a new Smart Meter. If you are not...

Read More

New Home Buyer Tarion Protection

New Home Buyers Page Content If you’re considering purchasing a new home, congratulations! It’s an exciting and rewarding process. A new home may also be the most significant purchase you ever make. In addition to the financial commitment, there are a number of lifestyle and home design options you may need to consider. That’s why it’s so important to do your homework and gather as much information as possible about your potential new home before you sign the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. To help prepare you for your purchase, we’ve created Top Ten Tips for New Home Buyers. It’s a step-by-step list that provides research ideas, financial and legal resources, as well as practical maintenance advice. Together these tips will go a long way to ensuring that you’re very happy with your new home. Tarion provides important protection before and after your new home purchase When you buy a new home or condominium in Ontario, you enjoy the benefits of a comprehensive builder warranty. To learn more about this warranty, you can preview or print a copy of our concise, easy-to-read brochure entitled “Warranty Coverage for New Homes in Ontario“. You can also order a copy of this brochure. Your new home warranty begins before you even move in. Once you provide the down payment for your new home, it’s protected. You also have a right to compensation if your builder delays the closing of the sale without giving you proper notice. See Understanding Deposit Protection and Understanding Delayed Closings and Occupancies to learn more. Before you take possession of your new home or condominium, your builder will walk you through a pre-delivery inspection (PDI). Tarion provides a PDI Checklist to help you ensure that this critical inspection is thorough and complete. After moving in, you’re entitled to a 1 Year, 2 Year and 7 Year warranty against defects in work and materials. This warranty comes with certain obligations, so it’s important to understand the statutory warranty process. Protecting your new home warranty also requires that you properly manage the systems in your new home. Tarion offers tips on Maintaining Your Home to help protect your most important investment for years to...

Read More

Understanding Delayed Closings and Occupancies Windsor Real Estate

Understanding Delayed Closings and Occupancies for Freehold Homes and Condominiums Compliments of www.cameronpaine.com Page Content Under the delayed closing and delayed occupancy warranty, your builder guarantees that your home will be ready for you to move in either by a date specified in the purchase agreement or by a date that has been properly extended if circumstances occur that delay the home’s completion. In many cases, your builder will be required to compensate you if a delay occurs. For more information about delayed closings and occupancies, including Addendums and Statement of Critical Dates calculators, please see below. Freehold Buyers Delayed Closing Protection To learn more about Delayed Closing protection, click on the link below that corresponds to the signing date of your purchase agreement: • Your purchase agreement was signed on or before June 30, 2008 • Your purchase agreement was signed on or after July 1, 2008 Delayed Closing Addendums If your new freehold home’s purchase agreement was signed on or after July 1, 2008, click on the link below that corresponds to your type of closing to download an addendum: • Freehold Firm Closing Date – Statement of Critical Dates and Addendum • Freehold Tentative Closing Date – Statement of Critical Dates and Addendum However, if project viability conditions are permitted and included in your purchase agreement or the deal is conditional on the sale of the purchaser’s existing home, you must use one of the forms below: • Freehold Firm Closing Date – Statement of Critical Dates and Addendum – Econonic Conditions • Freehold Tentative Closing Date – Statement of Critical Dates and Addendum – Economic Conditions Statement of Critical Dates calculator To create an Addendum with a Statement of Critical Dates, click on the link below: • Statement of Critical Dates calculator for freehold homes To view or download a Statement of Critical Dates paper calendar, click on the link below: • Freehold Tentative Critical Dates Paper Calculator – July 2010 to Dec. 2016 Condominium Buyers Delayed Occupancy Protection To learn more about Delayed Occupancy protection, click on the link below that corresponds to the signing date of your purchase agreement: • The purchase agreement for the first unit sold in your condominium project or phase was signed on or before June 30, 2008 (Ask your builder to provide this information to you.) • The purchase agreement for the first unit sold in your condominium project or phase was signed on or after July 1, 2008 (Ask your builder to provide this information to you.) Delayed Occupancy Addendums If the purchase agreement for the first unit sold in your condominium project or phase was signed on or after July 1, 2008, click on the link...

Read More