Top 26 Grants and Rebates for Property

Buyers and Owners


1 Home Buyers’ Plan

Qualifying home buyers can withdraw up to $25,000 (couples can withdraw up to $50,000) from their RRSPs for

a down payment. Home buyers who have repaid their RRSP may be eligible to use the program a second time.

Canada Revenue Agency Enter ‘Home Buyers’ Plan’ in the search box.



2 GST Rebate on New Homes

New home buyers can apply for a rebate of the federal portion of the HST (the 5% GST) if the purchase price is

less than $350,000. The rebate is up to 36% of the GST to a maximum rebate of $6,300. There is a proportional

GST rebate for new homes costing between $350,000 and $450,000.

Canada Revenue Agency Enter ‘RC4028’ in the search box.



3 BC New Housing Rebate (HST)

Buyers of new or substantially renovated homes priced up to $525,000 are eligible for a rebate of 71.43% of the

provincial portion (7%) of the 12% HST paid to a maximum rebate of $26,250. Homes priced at $525,000+ are

eligible for a flat rebate of $26,250.


4 BC New Rental Housing Rebate (HST)

Landlords buying new or substantially renovated homes are eligible for a rebate of 71.43% of • an additional grant

of $770 to rural homeowners elsewhere in the province; and • an additional grant of $275 to seniors aged 65+,

those who are permanently disabled and war veterans of certain wars.

BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue or contact your municipal tax office.


5 BC Property Transfer Tax (PTT) First Time Home Buyers’ Program

Qualifying first-time buyers may be exempt from paying the PTT of 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the

remainder of the purchase price of a home priced up to $425,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes

priced up to $450,000.

BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue



6 First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC)

This federal non-refundable income tax credit is for qualifying buyers of detached, attached, apartment

condominiums, mobile homes or shares in a cooperative housing corporation. The calculation:

multiply the lowest personal income tax rate for the year (15% in 2011) x $5,000. For the 2011 tax year, the

maximum credit is $750.

Canada Revenue Agency




7 BC Home Owner Grant

Reduces property taxes for home owners with an assessed value of up to $1,285,000. The basic grant gives

home owners • a maximum reduction of $570 in property taxes on principal residences.


8 BC Property Tax Deferment Programs Property Tax Deferment Program for Seniors

Qualifying home owners aged 55+ may be eligible to defer property taxes. Financial Hardship Property

Tax Deferment Program. Qualifying low-income home owners may be eligible to defer property taxes.


Property Tax Deferment Program for Families with Children. Qualifying low income home owners

who financially support children under age 18 may be eligible to defer property taxes.

BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue


9 Canada Mortgage and Housing (CMHC) Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP) Grants.

This federal program provides financial aid to qualifying low-income home owners to repair substandard

housing. Eligible repairs include heating, structural, electrical, plumbing and fire safety. Grants are available for

seniors, persons with disabilities, owners of rental properties and owners creating secondary and garden suites.

1.800.668.2642 | 604.873.7408


10 Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI)

A new program jointly sponsored by the provincial and federal governments provides up to $20,000 to help eligible

low-income seniors and disabled home owners and landlords to finance modifications to their homes to make

then accessible and safer.

BC Housing

604.646.7055 or toll-free

1.800.407.7757 extension 7055


11 CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium Refund

Provides home buyers with CMHC mortgage insurance, a 10% premium refund and possible extended

amortization without surcharge when buyers purchase an energy efficient mortgage or make energy saving




12 Energy Saving Mortgages

Financial institutions offer a range of mortgages to home buyers and owners who make their homes more energy

efficient. For example, home owners who have a home energy audit within 90 days of receiving an RBC Energy

Saver™ Mortgage, may qualify for a rebate of $300 to their RBC account.



13 Low Interest Renovation Loans

Financial institutions offer ‘green’ loans for home owners making energy efficient upgrades. Vancity’s Bright Ideas

personal loan offers home owners up to $20,000 at prime + 1% for up to 10 years for ‘green’ renovations. RBC’s

Energy Saver loan offers 1% off the interest rate for a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000 or a $100 renovation

on a home energy audit on a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000. For information visit your financial institution. and


14 LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive Program

Home owners improving the energy efficiency of their homes may qualify for cash incentives through this

provincial program provided in partnership with FortisBC, BC Hydro, and FortisBC. Rebates are for energy

efficient products which replace gas and oil furnaces, pumps, water heaters, wood stoves, insulation,

windows, doors, skylights and more. The LiveSmart BC program also covers $150 of the cost of a home energy

assessment, directly to the service provider.



15 BC Residential Energy Credit

Home owners and residential landlords buying heating fuel receive a BC government point-of-sale rebate on utility

bills equal to the provincial component of the HST.



16 BC Hydro Appliance Rebates

Mail-in rebates for purchasers of ENERGY STAR clothes washers, refrigerators, dishwashers, or freezers.



17 BC Hydro Fridge Buy-Back Program

This ongoing program rebates BC Hydro customers $30 to turn in spare fridges in working condition.



18 BC Hydro Windows Rebate Program

Pay no HST when you buy ENERGY STAR high-performance windows and doors.

604.759.2759 for a free in-home estimate.


19 BC Hydro Mail-in Rebates/Savings Coupons

To save energy, BC Hydro offers rebates including 10% off an ENERGY STAR cordless phone. Check for new

offers and for deadlines.



20 FortisBC Rebate Program

A range of rebates for home owners include a $50 rebate for upgrading a hot water tank, $300 rebate on an Ener-

Choice fireplace and a $1,000 rebate for switching to natural gas (from oil or propane) and installing an ENERGY

STAR heating system.



21 FortisBC Efficient Boiler Program

For commercial buildings, provides a cash rebate of up to 75% of the purchase price of an energy efficient boiler,

for new construction or retrofits.



22 City of Vancouver Rain Barrel Subsidy Program

The City of Vancouver provides a subsidy of 50% of the cost of a rain barrel for Vancouver residents. With the

subsidy, the rain barrel costs $75. Buy your rain barrel at the Transfer Station at 377 W. North Kent Ave.,

Vancouver, BC. Limit of two per resident. Bring proof of residency.


Other municipalities have similar offers.


23 City of Vancouver Greenest City 2020 Pilot Home Energy Loan Program

The City of Vancouver in cooperation with Vancity, FortisBC, BC Hydro and Natural Resources Canada offers

access to loans for energy retrofits including heating systems, insulation and air sealing. The Home Energy Loan

from Vancity is a 12 month pilot program that will end October 21, 2012. For more information attend a workshop

(see third link below). The goal is 500 homes and loans are offered at 4.5% fixed rate over 10 years. The program

also helps with accessing grants from the federal ecoENERGY program, the provincial LiveSmart BC program

and FortisBC. and




24 Vancity Green Building Grant

In partnership with the Real Estate Foundation of BC, Vancity provides grants up to $50,000 each to qualifying

charities, not-for-profit organizations and co-operatives for projects which focus on building renovations/retrofits,

regulatory changes that advance green building development, and education to increase the use of practical

green building strategies. The deadline for applications was January 23, 2012. If you are still interested in this

grant open the link, and consider contacting Vancity to express your interest.



25 Local Government Water Conservation Incentives

Your municipality may provide grants and incentives to residents to help save water. For example, the City of

Coquitlam offers residents a $100 rebate and the City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, and District

of West Vancouver offer a $50 rebate when residents install a low-flush toilet. Visit your municipality’s website and

enter ‘toilet rebate’ to see if there is a program.


26 Local Government Water Meter Programs

Your municipality may provide a program for voluntary water metering, so that you pay only for the amount of water

that you use. Delta, Richmond and Surrey have programs and other municipalities may soon follow. Visit your

municipality’s website and enter ‘water meter’ to find out if there is a program.


Selection broadens and demand eases to kick off 2012 in the Greater Vancouver housing market

Home Buyer-Fred Carver


The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver

reached 1,577 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in January 2012. This represents a 4.9 per cent decrease

compared to the 1,658 sales recorded in December 2011, a decrease of 13.3 per cent compared to the 1,819 sales

in January 2011 and an 18 per cent decline from the 1,923 home sales in January 2010. January sales in Greater

Vancouver were the second lowest January total in the region since 2002, though only 146 sales below the 10-year



“We’re seeing trends emerge in our market that favour buyers, such as increased selection and more stability in

pricing compared to this time last year,”  Rosario Setticasi, REBGV president said. “Last month’s activity tells us that

competition amongst home buyers was reduced in January, which means that individuals looking to purchase a

home had more time to do their homework, consult with their REALTOR®, and make a decision.”


New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,756 in January. This

represents a 19.9 per cent increase compared to the 4,801 new listings reported in January 2011, and a 253.3 per

cent increase compared to the 1,629 new listings reported in December 2011.


Last month’s new listing count was the highest January total in Greater Vancouver since 1995. The total number

of properties currently listed for sale on the Greater Vancouver MLS® is 12,544, a 12.5 per cent increase

compared to December 2011 and an increase of 20.2 per cent compared to January 2011.



Property transfer tax - we all hate it.


It is applied whenever someone moves and purchases a new home.


First introduced 25 years ago, the rate is one per cent on the first $200,000 of a home's market value at

the time of sale and two per cent on the remainder.


In 25 years, the one per cent ceiling of $200,000 has not changed, while home prices have increased 601 per cent!


For more details on the property transfer tax and the actions being taken by the Real Estate Board of Greater

Vancouver to correct this inconsistency please see the Vancouver Sun article below:




Province's footdragging led to uncertainty

By Deb Abbey, Vancouver Courier February 24, 2012


With the new rules, anyone about to buy a newly built home or condo will want their completion date to be on or after April 2, which is a Monday.


Every sector of the economy needs certainty to function efficiently and real estate is no exception. The recent HST

debacle has affected real estate more than any other sector. Our homes are, quite simply, the single biggest

purchase that many of us will ever make.


Housing affordability is a huge issue in Vancouver. After the HST referendum, the government promised to revert

back to the GST and PST within 18 months but has subsequently dragged its heels over implementation.

That uncertainty about how the provincial government would transition from HST back to GST and PST has

affected the market for new condominiums and houses for several months. To be clear, the HST does not apply to

resale housing.


As a result, buyers have been playing wait and see or simply not looking at any newly built houses or condos. That

has prompted many local builders and developers to eat the tax and many buyers to wonder whether they were

being baffle-gabbed and still paying the tax one way or another.


None of this has been good for new construction in B.C. and the government has finally responded with

transitional rules that will even the playing field between April 1, 2012 and April 1, 2013, after which, no PST will be

charged on new housing in BC.


Here is how it's going to work. For completion dates between now and April 1, 2012, the current HST with the

current rebates will be in effect.


Naturally, anyone about to buy will want their completion date to be on or after April 2, which is a Monday.

For sales of new homes completed between April 1, 2012 and April 1, 2013, the transitional rules will apply. GST

and PST will be charged but the new housing rebate will be available for homes with a value of $850,000 or less

up to a maximum rebate of $42,500. That's up from the previous threshold of $525,000 with a maximum rebate of



The new rebates will apply to 90 per cent of new housing in B.C. The upshot is that you'll pay the usual GST plus

PST of two per cent after the rebate.


Why two per cent? Because prior to the HST, purchasers did not pay PST on new construction, but the builder paid

PST on the materials to build the home. It's estimated that that added up to approximately two per cent of the cost

of a new home. After April 1, 2013, builders will once again pay seven per cent PST on their building materials.

The transition rebate will also apply to secondary, vacation or recreational homes outside of Vancouver and the

Capital regional districts as well, giving a much-needed boost to workers and communities in recreational areas

in B.C.


This is all good news for buyers in B.C. The HST rebate was useless for many first-time buyers purchasing newly

built houses or condos in Greater Vancouver. And it just wasn't fair when the B.C. government was and still is

taking a piece of the action on every single real estate transaction in the province through the property transfer tax

(PTT). (There are some exemptions for first time homebuyers.)


The tax is one per cent on the first $200,000 and two per cent on the balance every time you buy a new home. If the

same house is sold 10 times in 10 years, the government collects PTT on each sale.


The B.C. Real Estate Association [BCREA] has recommended that they increase the one per cent PTT threshold

from $200,000 to $525,000 with two percent on the remainder of the fair market value. Better still, they'd like to see

that indexed to Statistics Canada's New Housing Price Index and adjusted annually. Sounds good to me. Now that

he's sorted out the HST, Minister of Finance Kevin Falcon can work on fairer implementation of the PTT.


Check out these links for more details on the new tax programs: FEB.pdf and buying_goods/buying_a_ home/new_home_tax_calculator

Read more:


When it comes to dating, homeownership can be the ultimate aphrodisiac.


 @CNNMoney February 14, 2012: 5:30 AM ET


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- When it comes to dating, homeownership can be the ultimate aphrodisiac.

In a survey of 1,000 single people, more than a third of women and 18% of men said they would much rather date

a homeowner than a renter.


Only 2% of women said they preferred to date a man who rents, while only 3% of men said they would choose a

woman who rents over one that owns her home, according to the survey, which was conducted by Harris

Interactive for real estate site Trulia.


Both sexes also clearly prefer it when there's no roommate in the picture; 62% of survey respondents, men and

women, prefer to date singles who live alone.

I'm home! Adult children move back in with parents


And there was bad news for the growing number of boomerang kids -- the young adults who went off to college,

graduated and then wound up back in their old bedrooms. It's going to be hard to find love, except (perhaps) from

your parents. Less than 5% of all singles surveyed said they would date someone living in their childhood homes.

"That's a real deal-breaker," said Michael Corbett, a spokesman for Trulia. "If you're still living with your folks, you're

dead-on-arrival for dating."


Trulia also asked which home features are the biggest turn-ons. Number one turned out to be a master bath. Men

(64%) love that private sanctum almost as much as women (75%) do.

Cool and unusual homes for sale


Walk-in closets were cited by 55% of men and 72% of women and gourmet kitchens got 51% of the male vote and

62% of the female. Hardwood floors, outdoor decks and home theaters also came in high on the list.

Interestingly enough, hot tubs got a lot less love from respondents. Only 26% of men and 22% of women cited the

old standby in the science of seduction as an amenity they would truly want.
























There are definitely some significant measures being taken to stimulate the purchase of new homes in BC

and to boost activity amongst first time home buyers.


While we await the transition from HST to PST, which will significantly alleviate the tax costs of new home

purchases, the government has also introduced a new tax credit for first time home buyers buying newly

constructed homes.


This is great news for first time buyers and these changes will definitely stimulate new construction

development and purchases in BC!


If you are a first time home buyer, take advantage of this great tax alleviation, which is available until

March 31st, 2013. The bonus, a one-time refundable personal tax credit, is equal to five per cent of the

purchase price of the home to a maximum of $10,000.

Read more:



New Home Purchases: Transition from HST to PST


New Housing Transitional Rules

On Feburary 17th, 2012 the Government announced the transitional rules for returning to the PST. Below you will

find information as well as the detailed tax information notice on these rules.

The housing transition rules help ensure when people buy a newly constructed home under the PST, whether built

entirely under the HST, entirely under the PST, or partly under HST and partly under the PST, they will all pay a

consistent and equitable amount of tax. The transition rules provide certainty for new-home construction and

sales, particularly during the transition period.

For newly built homes where construction begins before April 1, 2013, but ownership and possession occur after,

purchasers will not pay the seven per cent provincial portion of the HST. Instead, purchasers will pay a temporary,

transitional provincial tax of two per cent on the full house price. This ensures equitable treatment among

purchasers and will help mitigate distortive market behaviour. Builders will receive temporary housing transition

rebates to offset PST on materials to help prevent double-taxation on homebuyers.

  • Average amount of embedded sales tax in newly built homes under PST: two per cent.
  • Tax paid by purchasers on an $850,000-newly built home after HST rebate: two per cent.
  • Tax rate on a newly built home during transition: two per cent.

The B.C. new housing rebate threshold will be increased to $850,000, meaning more than 90 per cent of newly

built homes will now be eligible for a provincial HST rebate of up to $42,500. It is important to note that the HST

does not apply to resale housing.

To help support workers and communities in B.C. that depend on residential recreational development,

purchasers of new secondary vacation or recreational homes outside the Greater Vancouver and Capital regional

districts priced up to $850,000 will now be eligible to claim a provincial grant of up to $42,500 effective April 1,



B.C.’s portion of the HST will no longer apply to newly built homes where construction begins on or after April 1, 2013.


Builders will once again pay seven per cent PST on their building materials.


On average, about two per cent of the home’s final price will again be embedded PST.


The temporary housing transition measures will be in place for two years, until March 31, 2015.


The tax only applies to homes where construction begins before the transition date and ownership and possession

occur after.


The temporary housing transition tax and the temporary housing transition rebates will be

administered by the Canada Revenue Agency on behalf of B.C. The Province is administering the grant for new

secondary vacation and recreational homes.



To calculate the PST/HST charges on your new home purchase, go to:



See for more details on the return to PST!




What's hot and not in home styles this year

By Marcelle Sussman Fischler, Yahoo! Real Estate
February 6, 2012



This year's designated New American Home is being featured as part of the International Builder's Show.
Photo: flickr | International Builders' Show


Modern gets the thumbs up.


Spa-like and eco-sensitive, the  “New American Home 2012” being unveiled in Orlando this week by the National Association of Home Builders in conjunction with the International Builders’ Show, is a warmer take on the classic “White Box” of mid-20th century modern design.


“A lot of people want a spa feeling and a spa look that’s very analogous to modern,” said Luis Juaregui, aTexas-based American Institute of Architects accredited architect. The 4,200 square foot, $3.5 million gray stone and glass home has free flowing entertaining spaces,  floor to ceiling sliding glass doors, a stone staircase with open risers, clear glass balustrades and clean geometric lines, tempered by dark wood cabinets, area rugs and soft furnishings.


Still, to fit into more traditional looking neighborhoods, architects are increasingly going hybrid, mixing distinctly modern, techno-savvy interiors with colonial details, Tudor-style roofs or Craftsman-inspired touches on the exterior.


A home to call one’s own has long been part of the American Dream. But as tastes, technologies and regional preferences change, propelled by demographics and the socio-economic climate, the style, scale and comforts of that coveted real estate evolve.


During the bigger- is-better 1980s and 1990s, homes ballooned in size.  Compact single story ranch and cape cod styles gave way to ever grander two-story neo-colonials. When the economic bubble burst, they retrenched. These days, downsizing is cool; supersized McMansions towering over smaller homes are not.

Stephen Melman, director of economic services at the National Association of Home Builders said that houses shrank about 10 percent from their 2,500 square foot peak in 2007, and are expected “to get smaller and more efficient” with open floor plans, master bedrooms on the first floor and dining rooms distinguished only by a chandelier or architectural detail.

One-story ranch homes, post World War II suburbia’s signature easy style, are slowly regaining favor, thanks to first time buyers with tiny tots and aging baby boomers seeking accessibility.


Craftsman style homes, popular before World War II, are also enjoying a revival, said Gary D. Cannella, an architect in Bohemia, N.Y.  “It’s the style not the size.” Adaptable to sizable abodes or small bungalows, these one or one and a half story homes boast  low-pitched rooflines, tapered columns, oversized eaves, gables and the front porches “that everyone wants and no one sits on.”


The split level, a hallmark of suburbia in the Brady Bunch era, is nearly obsolete. Despite the aerobic benefits of tri-level living, “all you do is walk up and down stairs all day long,” Cannella says. “You can’t go anywhere without steps.”


Here are the hot and not-so-hot home styles for 2012:

What's Hot in 2012

Style: Modern
Price: $399,000 to $29 million


The New American Home in Winter Park, FL looks ready for entertaining.
Photo: flickr | International Builders' Show


Description: Aligned with the mid 20th-century counter classic design movement, modern is characterized by no fuss floor plans with combined dining, relaxing and entertaining spaces,  clean, geometric lines, low slung roofs, and technologically advanced materials like concrete, steel and glass.


Why They Are Appealing:  Easy, functional and bright, with walls of glass and open spaces, today’s modern is eco-sensitive and forward thinking, with state of the art kitchens and “smart house” technologies, though developers often prefer modern interiors with more traditional skins. 


Where You’ll Find Them: Nationwide, with striking examples in the HamptonsSanta Monica and other tony beach environs.


Style: Neo-Mediterranean
Price: $300,000 to $6 million-plus


Neo-Mediterranean home styles are becoming the Sun Belt standard.
Photo: Jauregui Architect


Description: Red tile roofs, stucco walls, archways, towers and heavy wooden doors with a Spanish or Tuscan flavor.


Why It’s Appealing: The Southern European style and materials work well in warmer climates and match the landscape. 

Where You’ll Find It: California, Florida, Texas, Southwest


The Flip Side: While northern European style homes are vanishing from the Sun Belt, in chillier climates such as the Northeast, two story center hall colonials still reign.


Style: Craftsman
Price: $249,000 to $2.8 million


Craftsman-style homes have become an American classic.
Photo: flickr | roarofthefour


Description: Often referred to as Arts and Crafts bungalows, Craftsman-style homes have low-pitched roof lines, overhanging eaves supported by decorative brackets, gables, front porches with tapered square columns,  exposed roof rafters, handcrafted wood and stone flourishes.


Why They are Appealing: This one to one and a half story style shouts cozy. With an emphasis on natural materials and decorative details, it works well for larger homes and small bungalows.


Where You’ll Find Them: coast to coast

What's Not So Hot in 2012

Style: McMansions
Price: $350,000 to $10 million +


McMansion's were a sign of success before the bubble burst.
Photo: flickr | FunnyBiz


Description:  Sometimes called colonials on steroids or oversized neo-eclectic houses, these super-sized jumbles of   styles and decorative details from colonial to Victorian, have  brick, stone,  vinyl or composite veneers.  A product of the  latter part of the 20th century and the knock-down era of the bubble before the burst, they often replaced smaller homes on lots  not suited to their hulking size.


Why they are not appealing: Pretentious, over-sized energy guzzlers, overshadow surrounding homes and out of sync with the economic climate’s downsizing trend. 

The Flip Side: Well-designed mansions on properly sized lots and in appropriate settings such as golf course or lakefront communities are still hot.

Style: Split Levels
Price: $91,900 to $2,850,000


Split-level homes, with many steps, have lost market appeal.
Photo: flickr | Sportsuburban


Description: A Ranch style house divided into at least three parts by short flights of stairs leading up on one side, down on another, dividing entertaining spaces  from private areas such as bedrooms and separating formal rooms from more casual playrooms and dens. 

Why they are not appealing: This darling of the 1950s, 60s and 70s is outdated and complicated to maneuver with steps at nearly every turn.


Where You’ll Find Them: 1950s/60s/70s suburban subdivisions nationwide.

Style: Victorian
Price: $299,000 to $2,850,000


Victorian homes are charming, but almost no one builds them like this anymore.
Photo: TBoard


Description:  Turrets and towers, wraparound  or granny porches and gingerbread trim with Queen Anne, Gothic or  Italianate flourishes  are the hallmark of these turn- of-the-20th-century two and three story homes with plenty of nooks and crannies.

Why They Are Not Appealing: While it’s hard not to love their colorful eccentricities, Victorians are challenging to rehabilitate or maintain. Their warrens of small rooms aren’t conducive to 21st century lifestyles.


Where You’ll Find Them: Urban neighborhoods, historic districts, small towns, older suburbs 

The Flip Side: Newer neo-eclectic homes borrow whimsical features from true Victorians, touting turrets, towers and porches in maintenance free materials.


50 Ways to Green Your Home and Save $$$ in Greater Vancouver 


1) Choosing Where You Live
Green neighbourhoods. Buy a home in a neighbourhood close to work, transit, 
shopping, community centres and other services.

2) Transit-oriented density (TOD) 

New, compact, complete green neighbourhoods are being built with transit as their 
focus. Instead of owning a car, join a car share cooperative, take transit, cycle or walk. 

3) Lower Cost Luxury

If it’s features such as a gym or pool you want, buy a strata unit with these amenities 
and share costs. 

4) Score your Location

Walkable neighbourhoods offer health, environmental, financial and community 
benefits. Enter your address or the address of a home you want to buy at This tool calculates a walkability score based on the home’s 
proximity to transit, grocery stores, schools and other amenities. 


5) Heating and Cooling

Get an energy audit LiveSmart BC will cover $150 of the cost.

6) Install a High-Efficiency Heating System
Make sure it’s ENERGY STAR rated. 

7) Weatherize your Home
From windows (BC Hydro provides grants of $60-$120) to doors to insulation and 
weather stripping. Don’t forget to seal your ducts. 

8) Insulate your Pipes

It will prevent costly heat loss. Here’s how.

9) Insulate your Hot Water Heater

Buy a pre-cut jacket or blanket for $10–$20. You’ll save up to 10% on heating costs.

10) Install a Programmable Thermostat

Set it lower at night and during the day when you’re away. Lower the temperature. 
Each degree below 20C saves you 3-5% on heating costs. 

11) Clean your Furnace Filter

This optimizes performance.

12) Get the Most from your Fireplace
Here’s how to make it efficient. 

13) Use Curtains 
In the daytime during summer, close to help cool your home. 

14) Install Ceiling Fans
The energy it takes to run a fan is less than an air conditioner. In summer, make sure 
the fan’s blades are rotating anti-clockwise for a cooling effect. In winter, the fan should
 be running clockwise, pushing the warm air down. 

15) Use an Electic Fan
Skip the air conditioning. On hot summer days, place a bowl of ice in front of a fan to 
cool down. 


16) Fix Leaks
Fix leaking taps. One drop per second equals 7,000 litres of water wasted per year. 

17) Install a Filter
Stop buying costly bottled water which adds to the landfill. 

18) Change your Light Bulbs
Lighting accounts for 15% of your energy bill. Replace old bulbs with ENERGY STAR
 rated bulbs. Check for rebates. 

19) Sensor Lights
Turn lights off outside when not in use.
20) Keep it Dark 
Light pollution is an increasing problem. Turn off outdoor lights to save energy and 
encourage night life such as bats and frogs. A single bat can eat tens of thousands of 
mosquitoes nightly. If you have safety concerns, use motion detector lights – which 
come on, only as needed.

21) Holiday Lights

Use LED lights.


22) Replace your Fridge
An old energy guzzling fridge costs you about $85 a year to operate. Replace it with 
an ENERGY STAR fridge. BC Hydro will rebate you $50. BC Hydro will also not only
 come and pick up your old fridge free-of charge, they’ll rebate you $30. 

23) Replace your Dishwasher
Buy an ENERGY STAR appliance. BC Hydro will rebate you $25. 

24) Replace your Freezer
Buy an ENERGY STAR appliance and BC Hydro will rebate you $25.


25) Low Flow Shower
Hot water accounts for 25% of your energy costs. For a $15 investment you can save 
half the water of a standard shower say experts. 

26) High Efficiency or Dual Flush (you choose the amount of water used) Toilets
These are now required in new homes because of water savings.


27) Use Smart Strips
Also known as power bars, this lets you power off all equipment at the same time. 

28) Buy Energy Smart Electronics

There are rebates available.

29) Recycle your Old Electronics
Look into safe recycling options for old electronics.


30) Conserve Water
Fresh water comprises just 3% the world’s total water supply, so conserve. Get a rain 
barrel and harvest water you can use in your garden. Local governments such as 
Vancouver and Richmond will subsidize the cost. 

31) Drip Irrigation
It saves water compared to sprinklers. 

32) Elbow Grease
Don’t power wash your driveway. Sweep it or use a scrub brush and pail. 

33) Less Lawn
Lawns waste water. Instead conserve and beautify using indigenous plants such as 
ferns, tiger lilies and hostas. 

34) Grow your Own
How much more will you spend on food this year? Even a few miniature fruit trees 
and a small vegetable garden in a raised bed or in containers will help keep you 
healthy and save you dollars. Lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries 
and blueberries thrive in our climate. 

35) Preserve your Produce
Invest in home canning jars and equipment and a small freezer and enjoy your 
produce year round – at considerable savings. 

36) Bee Friendly
We need bees to pollinate, so get a few plant bee-friendly annuals such as asters, 
marigolds, sunflowers, zinnias; or perennials such as clematis, foxgloves, hollyhocks, 
roses or shrubs such as Buddleia. 

37) Go Chemical-Free
“Get rid of weeds without using chemicals that harm us and our pets,” advises 
REALTOR® and Richmond City counselor, Derek Dang, who led the way to a bylaw 
banning cosmetic pesticides. His suggestion, “Use dish detergent or weed by hand.”
38) Plant fruit trees 
They’ll give you shade and fruit. Plum, apple, pear and more. 

39) Compost
It will make your garden grow and divert waste from the landfill. 


40) Clean Green
Vinegar, baking soda and lemons clean as well as expensive, chemical-filled cleaning 
supplies for a fraction of the cost. 

41) Green Laundry Detergent
Use phosphate-free, biodegradable detergent. 

42) Upgrade your Washing Machine
Replace your old washing machine with an ENERGY STAR washer that gets clothes 
clean using cold water and BC Hydro will rebate you $75. Wait until you have a full 
load instead of washing clothes as you need them. Clean your lint trap after every use. 

43) Install a Clothesline
Dryers use a huge amount of energy. 

44) Get a Rack
If your neighbourhood or strata prohibits clotheslines, buy a small drying rack. 


45) Recycle 
Replace your old washing machine with an ENERGY STAR washer that gets clothes 
clean using cold water and BC Hydro will rebate you $75. Wait until you have a full 
load instead of washing clothes as you need them. Clean your lint trap after every use. 

46) Buy Local
Your food doesn’t travel long distances, you support local farmers and the local 
economy and you consume less pesticides. 
47) Don’t use Paper or Plastic
Use cloth bags when you shop or reuse your plastic bags.


48) Borrow Green
Most financial institutions offer “green” mortgages, including: 

BMO Eco Smart Mortgage - offers home buyers a 3.89% rate on qualifying green 

RBC Energy Saver™ Mortgage - gives home buyers a $300 rebate for a home energy
 audit and a five-year 4.34% rate. 

TD Canada Trust - offers a Green Mortgage and Green Home Equity line of credit. 
For each green mortgage TD donates $100 to the TD Friends of the Environment 

Vancity - offers a Bright Ideas home renovation loan at prime +1% to home buyers 
owners making green renovations. 

The City of Vancouver with Vancity and others - offers an energy loan program for 
home buyers and owners making energy efficient upgrades at 4.5% fixed rate over 10 

CMHC - offers a 10% Mortgage Loan Premium refund and possible extended 
amortization for buyers purchasing an energy-efficient mortgage or making energy 
saving renovations. 


49) Green Tool Kit
BC Real Estate Association’s Green Tool Kit provides information, references and links. It also provides comprehensive information on rebates and incentives. 


50) Loan Programs 
Pay-as-you-Save (PAYS) loan program will help home owners and businesses 
finance energy efficiency improvements through a loan from BC Hydro or FortisBC. 
Expected to launch in 2012. 

Source: REBGV. 

Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver • January 2012


February 2012



February 2012 Market Update


Last month, the Bank of Montreal, in an attempt to gain market share during the slower winter housing months, surprised the mortgage industry by introducing a posted 2.99% 5-year fixed rate mortgage to the marketplace. The move prompted a bit of a mortgage war as other lenders played catch-up to match what was done by BMO. The result of all of this maneuvering is that consumers now have some of the lowest rate options in history.

But why would the Bank of Montreal want to start a mortgage price war?

The reason is that many of the big banks see mortgage lending as an effective loss-leader in order to capture more overall banking market share. After all, a mortgage is often a 20+ year commitment. During that time, your lender will have a good reason to contact you about an assortment of lucrative financial products: banking services, credit cards, commercial loans, lines-of-credit, private banking, investment products, etc. So it makes financial sense for the banks to sacrifice profits in their mortgage division in order to attract more customers to their higher margin products.

This explains BMO's strategy for offering the 2.99% mortgage. You see, this product is offered as a no frills mortgage, which effectively means that the bank is locking its customers into a contract, with punitive penalties for breaking it (and without a bona fide sale it cannot be paid in full). That's a good option for the bank, which is counting on being able to up-sell other products during that time, and it's a good option for borrowers who know how their lives are going to unfold over the foreseeable future. But beware: a lot of things can change in one's life over 5 years.

So what should you do?

While it's always nice to get the best rate possible, remember that there's more to a mortgage than just the rate. This price war has resulted in the lowering of MANY different types of mortgages so now should be the time to sit down with a professional mortgage specialist or broker and see what is best for your set of circumstances.

Please contact me at the address above if you have any questions, or would like to be referred to a mortgage broker.


  (Click chart to see larger image)  
*This communication is not intended to cause or induce breach of an existing agency agreement.

*Although this information has been received from sources deemed reliable, we assume no responsibility for its accuracy, and without offering advice, make this submission to prior sale or lease, change in price or terms, and withdrawal without notice.


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