Ontario Rebates That Can Help Fund Your Home Renovation

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On the eve of a provincial election, we decide to look at all the ways the current government helps homeowners fund different renovation projects. While this might change in the next few weeks, it’ good to be informed about what you can do with the help of government funding.

There are different grants, programs and incentives offered by your local and provincial governments that can help to cut costs when it comes to renovating your Toronto home.

GST/HST New Housing Rebate Program

Have you completed significant renovations to your home? Have you hired a contractor to construct a new build for you? Or have you hired a contractor and design team to substantially renovate your existing home? If so, you may qualify for the GST/HST New Housing Rebate.

The GST/HST New Housing Rebate lets individuals, who met all of the specified conditions, recover some of the goods and services tax or the federal part of the harmonized sales tax paid for a new or substantially renovated house. Note, that the house must be used as the individual’s primary place of residence to qualify for this program.

Home Energy Loan Program (HELP)

The Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) is a program run by the city of Toronto. Through HELP, homeowners can qualify to receive a low-interest loan of up to $75,000 to cover the cost of home energy improvements like:

  • Insulation
  • Windows/doors
  • High-efficiency furnaces/boilers/air conditioners
  • High-efficiency water heaters
  • Rooftop solar PV panels
  • Solar hot water systems
  • Drain-water heat recovery systems
  • Air Sealing
  • Toilets

HELP aims to make it easy for homeowners to avoid the upfront costs associated with renovations by providing interest rates as low as 2% and terms of up to 15 years. It also gives homeowners access to up to $2,250 in incentives from utility companies.

You can hire the contractor of your choice once funding is approved and complete the renovations as you so choose.

Green Ontario Fund

The Green Ontario Fund is a not-for-profit agency that is helping Ontarians reduce their greenhouse gas pollution. Using programs and rebates, they are helping people affect change when it comes to climate change. Their programs help to reduce energy use and also help Ontarians save money in the process.

A few of their current programs that allow homeowners to save money on potential renovations include:

  • Receive up to $20,000 for a geothermal, ground source heat pump

  • Get rebates of up to $7,200 for insulation

  • Get $5,000 for installing select high-performance windows

  • Get a $100 rebate for installing a smart thermostat

  • Get up to $5,000 back for making efficiency upgrades throughout your whole home

Renovating for a senior or person with a disability?

There are a few different programs that can help to fund a home renovation for a senior or a person with a disability that you should be aware of. These programs can help to make it easier to afford to make renovations that will make homes more livable for senior citizens and people with disabilities.

Eco-Roof Incentive Program

Installing a green or cool roof can help you save energy, which in turn helps you to save on energy costs. But you might be wondering, what is a green roof or a cool roof?

A green roof “supports the growth of vegetation and consists of a waterproofing membrane, drainage layer, organic growing medium (soil), and vegetation.” A cool roof actually “reflects the sun’s rays and reduces heat build-up through a coating applied over an existing roof system, or a new single-ply waterproofing membrane.”

There are many benefits to eco-roofs beyond saving you money on your energy bills. They also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce urban heat and improve air quality.

Currently, the Eco-Roof Incentive Program is offering support to Toronto homeowners who install either a green or a cool roof on their Toronto homes. For a green roof, the program offers up to $100/square metre of roofing installed, plus up to $1,000 for a structural assessment. They also offer $2-$5/square metre for cool roof installation.

Toronto Condo Renovations: Everything You Need To Know

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The condo market in the GTA is as hot as ever. Even though sales of condos have fallen by 26% year-over-year as of April 2018, the prices of condos are still on the rise. The reason? According to the president of Realosophy, John Pasalis, it has to do with the decrease of new listings coming onto the market.

During the same period when condo sales dropped by 26%, listings fell from 21,571 in April 2017 to 16,273 in April 2018. And the drop in supply isn’t necessarily tied to a lack of market supply. Instead, it has to do with the mentality of sellers.

“While it’s difficult to say why new listings for condos are down, my instinct is that a larger number of people who are upsizing from their condo are deciding to hold on to their current unit to rent out as an income property rather than putting it up for sale,” Pasalis wrote in a recent report.

Whether you are looking to renovate your condo to rent, resell or simply make improvements for your own enjoyment, the process of renovating your condo is very different from renovating a house.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about condo renovations in Toronto and the GTA.

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1. Get your condo corporation involved

Renovating a condo has one big perk compared to renovating a home. You most likely won’t need a building permit (but you might need an electrical permit so be sure to check).

What you will need to do is get approval from your condo board. By involving your condo board early on, you will be able to streamline to process and avoid potential problems that may arise.

The first step in getting permission from the board is to submit a proposal. Reach out to your property manager, who will be able to give you the low-down on how to get approval from the board.

2. What can you renovate?

While it might seem like an annoying step in the process, submitting a proposal to your condo board is actually going to protect you. There may be areas of your building that you are not allowed to renovate because of potential damage to the condo. It’s all about protecting your property and safety.

Determining what you can and can’t renovate before you start your renovation can help you accurately plan and helps to keep your project running efficiently.

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3. Determine when you can work

While Toronto’s Noise Bylaw restricts the use of construction equipment from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm on weekdays and 9:00 am to 7:00 pm on Saturdays, condos often have different restrictions in place.

You may find that your condo restricts hours to 9:00 am to 5:00 pm during the week and doesn’t allow weekend hours. It’s important for you to know what days and hours you’ll be allowed to have work done on your condo. This will also help ensure you get an accurate quote from contractors.

4. Do you need insurance?

While you own your condo, you don’t own the entire building. And because of this, you may be required to get insurance or pay a damages deposit to the condo to cover any potential damages that happen to shared areas like elevators and hallways.

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5. Book the elevators and any needed parking spots

Much like when you first moved into your Toronto condo, you will need to book the elevators for any days that you will need during your renovation. You will also need to look into booking visitor parking spaces for your contractors. Toronto parking is always at a premium, so booking in advance will save you time and money on your condo renovation.

6. Determine how to transport and dispose of materials

It’s not as easy as renting a big container, parking it in your driveway and using it to dispose of all the materials that are produced while renovating. You don’t have the luxury of a driveway or excess space when it comes to a condo renovation.

You’ll need to spend some time figuring out how you will get materials, tools and other equipment into and out of your condo. Odds are your condo will have specific rules about how to bring in and dispose of materials and it’s in your best interest to follow these rules.

Make sure your contractor knows about your condo’s regulations and they will be able to adhere to the rules.

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7. Dealing with plumbing and electrical issues

Another issue that is unique to condo renovations is how you deal with planned renovations to plumbing and electrical systems. Plumbing systems are often shared between units in condos, so you may not be able to move sinks, toilets or showers. You may be able to extend the piping in some places, but any planned plumbing changes should be included in your proposal to the condo board. And because plumbing renovations may require the water to be turned off for the entire condo, these changes will need to be approved by the condo board.

While electrical work will be less likely to affect your neighbours, there are many of the same concerns with electrical work. You may be limited in what you can change and add. So again, be sure to add all electrical work to your proposal.

8. Find an experienced contractor

The best way to ensure you cover all your bases is to find a contractor who has experience with condo renovations in Toronto. As mentioned before, condo renovations are very different from home renovations. By finding a contractor who has experience renovating condos in Toronto, you will set yourself up for a successful renovation.

Images from our Marina Del Rey Penthouse Renovation.

Cleaning Up After Your Home Renovation: Everything You Need To Know

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Renovating your home is a messy business. It involves a lot of dust, power tools running constantly and people walking in and out of your home. Once the renovation is complete, you may want to kick back, relax and enjoy your beautifully renovated new home. But first things first—you’re going to need to do a top-to-bottom clean to ensure you get rid of all the dust before it gets into your air ducts.

Check your contract with your contractor—extensive cleaning isn’t usually a part of a contract. More often than not, contractors will include a “broom-sweep” in their contracts. That means they will vacuum the place and do a quick Swiffer or dusting of the place. If your contract does include a deep clean, that’s great. If it’s something you’d like your contractor to take care of, speak to them beforehand to have it included in your contract. Keep in mind that this may incur additional costs.

If you decide to go the route of taking care of the cleaning yourself, kudos! Right after the renovation is a great time. It allows you to take advantage of the fact that your furniture is out of the house or moved to a corner and covered in plastic. Part of the job is done for you already!

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But what else will you need to do to ensure that your newly renovated home is spic and span? We’ve put together a checklist so you can ensure you enjoy your home to its fullest.

  1. Clean your walls, including all molding. If you didn’t paint, wipe the walls down with a damp towel. If your walls are newly painted, stick to a simple dry dusting to preserve the paint job. Are your walls wallpapered? Use a wet cloth and don’t forget to do a spot check to make sure you don’t damage the wallpaper.

  2. Sweep and/or vacuum all the surfaces in your home. This includes the ceilings.

  3. Mop all wood, tile and linoleum floors after vacuuming. Be sure to use a good, disinfectant cleaner.

  4. Make sure to vacuum all of your furniture. From your couches to your mattresses, give everything a good vacuum with the upholstery attachment even if it was covered in plastic during the renovation.

  5. With a damp cloth, wipe down all wood or metal furniture, knickknacks, door knobs and other items in your home.

  6. If they weren’t already removed, take down all light fixtures and clean them.

  7. Clean inside all of your closets, cabinets and shelves to ensure there is no dust.

  8. Give your bathroom and kitchen a thorough wipe-down with a sanitizer.

  9. Dust and wipe-down all windows and window sills.

  10. Remove all of your vents and clean them with warm, soapy water.

  11. Replace any exposed air filters with fresh ones before replacing the vent covers.

If this isn’t something you feel like doing yourself, there are a lot of great services that specialize in after-renovation cleaning. But keep in mind that this will undoubtedly add to the cost of your renovation. The cost will be dependant on the size of your home, so you should get some quotes and build this into your budget.

So whether you take on the work yourself or outsource the job, the effort or the price tag will be well worth it!

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