Benefits of a Home Inpection

The Benefits of a Home Inspection   For Buyers:   If you’re serious about buying a home, a qualified home inspection is a small investment that offers major returns. The inspection determines the structural and mechanical soundness of the home, and identifies existing and potential problem areas. A standard report by a qualified home inspection company also lists practical suggestions and provides cost estimates for repairs. You will then have precise information about the condition of the home and full knowledge of any work that may be required. It’s a cost-effective way to buy peace-of-mind while undertaking one of life’s most important investment decisions.   Your Buckingham sales representative will be happy to provide you with a list of qualified inspectors.     For Sellers:   Preparing for Home Inspection   If you are selling your home, there is a very good chance you will receive a visit from a professional house inspector. It is wise to be prepared and fully understand what inspectors will be looking for. An ounce of prevention will help ensure your home inspection is a success.   You may wish to familiarize yourself, or have an advance inspection, to identify the condition of your home in the following areas:   1. Structural: Inspectors will be looking for structural damages caused by renovations, termites or dry rot, or signs of cracks from the settling of the foundation. The condition of support beams and joists will be inspected for integrity.   2. Electrical: Correct loose or incorrectly wired receptacles, switches or electrical box problems.   3. Water: Correct any water leaks, which can cause extensive damage over time. Check for basement and roof leaks, as well as areas where there are drain pipes, plumbing fixtures and appliances that use water. Ceilings and floors will show evidence of water damage, as will the underside of sinks.   4. Plumbing: An inspector will look to see if all plumbing fixtures are working, protected by grouting or caulking and free from cracks. Also ensure that drains are clog-free.   5. Heating and Cooling Systems: Your heating and cooling systems will be checked for working condition, up-to-date servicing and cleanliness.   6. Safety: Ensure all windows and doors lock securely and open easily. Remove any potential hazard such as loose railings or rotting...

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Knob and Tube Wiring

   The majority of homes in Downtown Windsor were built prior to 1940.  As a result most still have knob and tube wiring. Knob and Tube  was an original form of wiring and was used from 1880 to the 1930s. As existing Knob and Tube (K& T) wiring gets older, insurance companies may deny coverage due to a perception of increased risk.  Several companies will not write new homeowners policies at all unless all K&T wiring is replaced, or an electrician certifies that the wiring is in good condition. Also, many institutional lenders are unwilling to finance a home with limited ampacity (current carrying capacity) service (which, as noted above, often goes hand-in-hand with K&T wiring), unless the electrical service is upgraded. It is usually easily seen in unfinished basements by the Cermamic knobs and tubes used.  Knob and tube wiring was eventually displaced from interior wiring systems because of the high cost of installation compared with use of power cables, which combined both power conductors of a circuit in one run (and which later included grounding conductors). Many home owners have removed visible knob and tube from their basements, as some insurance companies felt the old exposed wiring was unsafe.  However removal of knob and tube from within walls and ceilings throughout a house is often not completed do to its expense. As well some insureace companies only require removal of exposed wiring.   I have seen some home owners run steel armoured BX conduit outside of walls to replace knob and tube. While this may provide a ground, it is  unattractive.         Another way of recognising the potential presence of knob and tube wiring in a home is two prog plug receptacles.  As knob and tube never had grounds, older plug receptacles had only 2 sockets without a ground. 2 prong plug (receptacle) Two prong outlets are rather inconvenient as grounded plugs to not fit into them. In additon two prong plugs can create a safety hazard. The third prong on a plug is designed to give a fault path in the event the hot wire, or device that is connected to should short out. The absence of a ground path can lead to a electrical shock. For example a metal light fixture could become energized on its exterior, and the lack of grounding will not allow the breaker to trip. The problem is that you cant  necessarily just replace them with a three prong plug.  If the wiring system is not bonded to ground, then that would be an illegal fix. A three prong plug tester will show “open ground”.  In fact it is a good thing you can do yourself. Go around and check every...

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First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC)

  Source From Canada Revenue Agency http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/bdgt/2009/fqhbtc-eng.html 1. What is the home buyers’ tax credit (HBTC)? For 2009 and subsequent years, the HBTC is a new non-refundable tax credit, based on an amount of $5,000, for certain home buyers that acquire a qualifying home after January 27, 2009 (i.e., generally means that the closing is after this date). 2. How is the new HBTC calculated? The HBTC is calculated by multiplying the lowest personal income tax rate for the year (15% in 2009) by $5,000. For 2009, the credit will be $750. 3. Am I eligible for the HBTC? You will qualify for the HBTC if: you or your spouse or common-law partner acquired a qualifying home; and you did not live in another home owned by you or your spouse or common-law partner in the year of acquisition or in any of the four preceding years. If you are a person with a disability or are buying a house for a related person with a disability, you do not have to be a first-time home buyer. However, the home must be acquired to enable the person with the disability to live in a more accessible dwelling or in an environment better suited to the personal needs and care of that person. 4. What is a qualifying home? A qualifying home is a housing unit located in Canada acquired after January 27, 2009. This includes existing homes and those being constructed. Single-family homes, semi‑detached homes, townhouses, mobile homes, condominium units, and apartments in duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, or apartment buildings all qualify. A share in a co‑operative housing corporation that entitles you to possess, and gives you an equity interest in, a housing unit located in Canada also qualifies. However, a share that only provides you with a right to tenancy in the housing unit does not qualify. Also, you must intend to occupy the home or you must intend that the related person with a disability occupy the home as a principal place of residence no later than one year after it is acquired. 5. Who is considered a person with a disability for purposes of the HBTC? For the purposes of the HBTC, a person with a disability is an individual who is eligible to claim a disability amount for the year in which the home is acquired, or would be eligible to claim a disability amount, if we ignore that costs for attendant care or care in a nursing home were claimed for the Medical Expense Tax Credit. 6. If I buy a house, can my spouse or common-law partner claim the HBTC? Either one of you can claim the credit or you can share the credit....

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