It’s not too late!

By Shandel Chakalall

Schedule your home improvement projects now to take advantage of the one-time Home Renovation Tax credit worth up to $1,350.

The Federal Government’s tax incentive has created a huge demand for contractors in the renovation market as homeowners rush to take advantage of the credit before it expires.  Only the work completed between January 27th, 2009 and February 1st, 2010 will qualify for the one time grant of up to $1,350.

The president of Homeservice Club, Rick Felton, is recommending that members book their renovations as soon as possible to ensure the work is completed before the deadline.  He commented that, “the renovation market is strong right now and contractors are busy.  Leaving your projects until the last minute might end in disappointment. And, if you want home improvements done in time for the holiday season, it is essential to get things underway now.”

The pay-off to residents is furthered by the current strong housing market and the best financing rates in years. Any renovations completed prior to the deadline will increase the value to your property.

Here are a few things you should know prior to calling in the pros for an estimate.

You should know the scope of your project and your renovation budget; keep in mind that upgrades and/or changes made to projects during renovations will also add to the cost.

Also, get at least three estimates for your job. To make sure your quotes are truly comparable, provide each contractor with the same information and specify the quality and type of materials you wish to have. Take a critical look at the condition of your home.  Make notes on any underlying problems that may need to be addressed before or during your renovation. If for example you have a low water flow issue in your home, then before putting in a new bath, it may be more practical to work on increasing water flow first.

When speaking with your contractor, or on your own, look into what energy-saving retrofits can be incorporated into your project.  Remember, there is also a Government ecoENERGY Program which allows for up to $10,000 in rebates. Your improvements may also qualify you for this program, provided that you follow the guidelines.

Ensure that once you have chosen your contractor, you are not simply choosing them because they have the lowest quote. An unusually low quote could indicate that the renovator does not completely understand the scope of the job or they may lack experience.  If choosing one of the lower quotes, you could look into any recommendations the contractor may have from prior jobs and ask about their experience.

Finally, a rule of thumb, do not work without a contract.  No matter how large or small the job, it is recommended that you stay away from cash deals as they can easily cause long-term issues should your renovation go wrong.

For further information on the Home Renovation Tax Credit, the ecoENERGY program or a recommendation for a contractor, feel free to contact me at any time.

Shandel Chakalall is a Sales Representative with Royal LePage R.E.S./ Johnston & Daniel Division. Shandel is a regular contributor to the Toronto’s Muddy York Real Estate Blog.

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