Sunday, September 30, 2012

Top 25 Grants and Rebates for Property Buyers and Owners

Did You Know All These Rebates are Available from the Government for Home Owners?
(Too much to read? Stay tuned, we will bring you each of these rebates info in more detail one by one as the days pass .... there's lots of gold here though, so worth a read! )



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. 1.800.959.8287


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.1.800.959.8287

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 rebate of $26,250. choice/faqs/new_housing_rebate 1.800.959.8287

4) BC New Rental Housing Rebate (HST)

Landlords buying new or substantially renovated homes are Valley regional districts;
an additional grant of $770 to rural homeowners else-where 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 contact your municipal tax office.

5) BC Property Transfer Tax (PTT) First Time Home Buyer's 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


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 in the Capital, Greater Vancouver and Fraser

8) BC Property Tax Deferment Programs 

-Property Tax Deferment Pro-gram 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
-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. prfinas/prfinas_001.cfm
1.800.668.2642 | 604.873.7408 

10) 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 renovations. 

11) 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.

12) 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 personalloans/energy-saver-loan.html

13) Live Smart 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 Fortis BC, BC Hydro, and Fortis BC.
Rebates are for energy efficient products which replace gas and oil
furnaces, pumps, water heaters, wood stoves, insulation, windows, doors, 
skylights and more.
The Live Smart BC program also covers $150 of the cost of a home
energy assessment, directly to the service provider.  

14) 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. energy/residential_energy.htm

15) BC Hydro Appliance Rebates

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

16) BC Hydro Fridge Buy-Back Program

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

17) BC Hydro Windows Rebate Program

Pay no HST when you buy ENERGY STAR high-performance windows and doors. savings/windows_offers/current_offers.htm
604-585-2020 for a free in-home estimate. 

18) 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. 

19) Fortis BC Rebate Program 

 A range of rebates for home owners include a $50 rebate for upgrading a hot water tank, $300 rebate on an EnerChoice fireplace and a $1,000
rebate for switching to natural gas (from oil or propane) and installing an ENERGY STAR
heating system.

20) Fortis BC 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.

21) 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. programs/rainbarrel.htm604.736.2250
Other municipalities have similar offers. 

22) City of Vancouver Greenest City 2020 Pilot Home Energy Loan Program

The City of Vancouver in cooperation with Vancity, Fortis BC, 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 Fortis BC.

Email: 604.374.0507. 

23) 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.

24) 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.

25) 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.

For a full document of these rebates please visit:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

ACT NOW FOR NEW GOVERNMENT REBATE: Energy Star Tankless Water Heater Program

Replace Your Aging Water Heater with a qualifying natural gas ENERGY STAR Tankless model and you could save on energy costs, plus you’ll be eligible for a rebate of up to $500. For more quick info, Call House Smart Home Improvements now at 604-585-2020.


Heating water typically takes between 20 per cent and 35 per cent of your home’s total energy use. So it makes sense to install the most efficient model you can afford. Natural gas water heater efficiency is usually measured by an energy factor (EF) rating. The higher the EF rating, the more efficient the water heater. To qualify as ENERGY STAR, gas-fired tankless water heaters must achieve a minimum 0.82 EF rating.

Go tankless to boost efficiency

ENERGY STAR tankless models have an EF between 0.82 and 0.99, making them much more efficient than standard natural gas storage tanks typically found in homes today. They also take up much less space, freeing up valuable square footage.
House Smart Home Improvements professionally installs all Energy Star products. Call 604-585-2020
Tankless models don’t store hot water, so they may not be able to meet many simultaneous demands like a storage tank can. Before deciding if you want to go tankless, consider the ways you use hot water at home, including appliances, faucets and the number of people using hot water at any given time.

Tankless not for you?

Consider a hybrid or condensing storage tank. Hybrids offer the best features of a tankless model with the added convenience of a small storage tank. Condensing storage tanks provide all the benefits of a traditional gas-fired storage tank, but at a much higher efficiency. You won't find an energy factor if you choose one of these technologies, but you will find a thermal efficiency (TE) rating. Rebate qualifying condensing storage tanks and hybrid water heaters will not have an ENERGY STAR® label at this time (both technologies are currently under review to be eligible for the ENERGY STAR label). 

Available rebates

Water heater type​​Efficiency rating*​Rebate
Non-condensing tankless​0.82 - 0.89 EF​$400​
Condensing tankless​0.90 - 0.99 EF​$500​
Condensing hybrid ​90 - 99% TE ​$500​
Condensing storage tank​90 - 99% TE ​$1,000​
*Ef - energy factor; TE = thermal efficiency

Still not sure?

Deciding which technology is right for you can be tough. It’s a balance between how much you want to spend and how much you hope to save over time. You’ll likely pay more for a water heater with a higher EF or TE rating, but your utility costs should be lower.

How to apply

  1. Review the terms and conditions for Tankless & hybrid or Condensing storage tank.
  2. Have a qualifying water heater installed by House Smart Home Improvements registered with the BC Safety Authority (BCSA). House Smart's professional team can help you with the easy process to receive your rebate.
  3. Rebates take a minimum of 90 days to process and are mailed to you directly.


  • Water heaters must be purchased between July 6, 2012 and June 30, 2013.
  • Applications must be postmarked no later than July 31, 2013.
  • Applications must be submitted within 60 days of purchase.


Call House Smart Home Improvements at 604-585-2020 Today.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Latest BC Rebates for Home Improvements

BC rebates Update


BC rebates


BC homeowners can choose from a shopping list of renovation rebates from the Government of BC:
BC homeowners can also get ...

For a free estimate to see what grants you qualify for, call or visit House Smart Home Improvements Today! 604-585-2020

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Easily Make Natural Household Cleaners!

You Can Make Your Own Safe Cleaning Products

Have you ever wondered if  "green" household cleaners on the market today are really necessary? They are definitely more expensive.
But since most of our 'non-green' store-bought household cleaners are toxic, they are hard on our health; containing harmful chemicals studies show are known to cause everything from cancer to birth defects.
Disinfectants are also a threat; they are dangerous to inhale and have been proven to create super-bugs: stronger bacteria resistant to disinfectants. They can also weaken your immune system by creating a too-sterile environment, which inhibits your body from building immunity to common germs.

Most of your natural cleaning products can actually be made from natural ingredients you probably already stock in your cupboard.

(The following from
1) White vinegar inhibits the growth of bacteria by creating an unfriendly, acidic environment. It's preferred over apple cider vinegar since it won't stain, is completely non-toxic and it's easy to use. (Lemon oil or juice is a common alternative to white vinegar.)    
2) Baking soda
acts as a natural abrasive/scouring agent, deodorizer and cleanser and is gentle enough to use on nearly every surface.     
3) Olive or jojoba oil
will polish furniture and oil wood without      harmful additives. They are also less likely to go rancid.  
4) Hydrogen peroxide
will help remove stains naturally and easily.  Always be sure to check for color-fastness before use.

5) Soap nuts are a berry-like fruit harvested from a tree. They contain saponins, which clean anything from clothing to dishes, even hair! Where soap nuts are not available, try grated handmade soaps (often found at a farmer's market or online) or natural, biodegradable dish soap, if necessary. 
6) Essential oils are a nice, complementary addition to any natural household cleaner but not necessary.

Using the ingredients listed above you can make all of the following natural household cleaners:

All-Purpose Natural Household Cleaners
In a spray bottle, mix 9 parts water and 1 part white vinegar. You can a few drops of dish soap, as well. Add essential oils if you'd like to minimize the strong smell of the vinegar. Tea tree oil or lavender can be used as an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, or anti-fungal if necessary.

Natural Scouring Alternative
Simply sprinkle baking soda over the area to be cleaned or onto a rag and begin scrubbing.

Natural Furniture Polish
Mix 1/4 cup white vinegar or lemon juice with 1 tablespoon of oil. You can use this in a spray bottle or a small amount on a cotton rag.

Natural Oil or Wax for Wood
For wood surfaces that require regular oiling/waxing, switch the ratios to 1/4 cup oil and 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice. Allow it to soak in for at least 12 hours before wiping off any excess with a dry cloth.

Natural Soap from Soap Nuts

Soap nuts can be added whole to your washing machine or boiled to create a liquid soap nut concentrate: Add two soap nuts per cup of water and boil for approximately 30 minutes, mashing them periodically. Strain, add essential oils and store in a sealed container.




How to Clean Your Home Naturally

Below is an alphabetical list of how to clean anything in your home without using harsh chemicals or commercial products.
Carpet Cleaning
Use several tablespoons of liquid soap nuts per gallon of water. You can add in several tablespoons of baking soda and a half cup of white vinegar for deodorizing or additional cleansing. Spot treating with soap nuts, baking soda and/or vinegar may be necessary for tough spots. Counters*
Spray the surface with the all-purpose natural household cleaner recipe above, and wipe clean.
Use liquid or whole soap nuts in your dishwasher by filling the soap dispensers. Add white vinegar to the rinse-aid compartment. Every month or two, run a gallon of white vinegar through an empty dishwasher cycle. (For really bad build-up, dishwasher cleaners of 100% citric acid can be used on occasion.) Baking soda can be added to help soften water, deodorize plastics or assist in cleaning, but only in small amounts (1/8 to 1/4 cup per load) to prevent residue.
Dishwashing by Hand
A teaspoon of liquid soap nuts will suffice for a sink full of dirty dishes. A bit of white vinegar can be added to soften the water.
Use a "snake" (a long cable that goes down the drain to remove debris or buildup) to empty slow drains of buildup or debris. Pour baking soda followed by 100% undiluted white vinegar down the drain. This may be necessary several times as it works through the drain.
Dusting Electronics and Non-Wood Surfaces
Use the all-purpose natural household cleaner recipe above and spray the rag (never spray electronics directly).
Dusting and Oiling Wood
Apply the natural wood oil recipe above liberally to dry wood. Allow it to soak in for several hours before wiping off any excess. Repeat monthly or as needed.
Flooring - Hard Surfaces
For hardwood, tile, linoleum, or concrete flooring add one cup of vinegar and 2-3 tablespoons liquid soap nuts for every 2 gallons of warm water.
Garbage Disposals
Avoid using them whenever possible by scraping food into a compost bin or trash. For deodorizing, sprinkle with baking soda regularly and send lemon slices down the shredder.
Glass and Mirrors
Use 50% vinegar and 50% water to lightly spray the surface, then wipe clean with a dry cloth.
Place between 2-7 soap nuts in your washing machine (exact number depends on water hardness, temperature of water and the size of the load - experiment for best results). Or use 1-4 to 1-2 cup of liquid soap nuts for one full load of laundry. Use one cup of white vinegar as a fabric softener in the rinse cycle.
Fill a bowl with water and place it in the microwave for 5 minutes on high. The steam from the water will loosen any food particles. Spray with the all-purpose cleaner and wipe down. For deodorizing, mix 1/4 cup of baking soda in a bottle of water, shake well until dissolved, and spray the entire surface allowing it to sit for several minutes before wiping clean.
Pet Kennels, Cages and Beds
Use the all-purpose natural household cleaners recipe for hard surfaces and launder as described above. All these ingredients are safe to use around animals.
Pet Stains, Odors, and Areas
For a dog run use 100% white vinegar, usually a gallon or more depending on the size of the area to be washed, scrub with a push broom or similar and hose the area off. (Vinegar will kill plants and weeds so use it wisely outdoors.) For pet stains, wash the surface as you normally would but double the vinegar to remove any odor and discourage them from using the area again.
Shower and Tub
Use the natural household cleaner recipe above after showers or baths to spray a light mist over the walls and tub and prevent soap scum buildup. Use more of the same solution to clean. If scouring is needed, sprinkle with baking soda.
For general cleaning, use the all-purpose recipe above. For stubborn stains or grime, sprinkle on baking soda and scrub with an old toothbrush. Or spray the vinegar solution over the baking soda to create a fizzing reaction.
Stains on Fabric
Soak the stained area in water (temperature depends on fabric type) with 1 teaspoon of liquid soap nuts. Depending on the fabric, you can also try to gently scrub the area with a baking soda paste.
Stove and Oven
Sprinkle baking soda over charred food and scrub with a wet rag. For stubborn areas, spray the all-purpose natural household cleaner over the baking soda and allow it to sit for several minutes before resuming scouring.
The seat and outside of the toilet can be cleaned with the all-purpose spray recipe. Pour a half cup of baking soda in the toilet bowl, allow it to sit for 20-30 minutes, then spray with the all-purpose vinegar solution above and scrub with a toilet brush. For really dirty toilets, use up to 100% white vinegar.
Toys and Play Areas
Use the all-purpose natural household cleaners for all toys, desks, tables, etc. None of the ingredients will harm children and the strong odor from the vinegar dissipates quickly.
Walls, Doors, etc
Use the all-purpose natural household cleaner recipe from above for light cleaning. To prep wall for painting, fill a medium-sized bowl of warm or hot water with 1/4 of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar and scrub with a soft cloth.
If you ever encounter something that you feel needs a harsh chemical cleaner, it is important to consider the true necessity. If the item and its cleaning agent are truly necessary and you cannot find a natural commercial product for it, be sure to use the harsher product safely: eye goggles, a respiratory mask, and gloves should all be considered.
Also, be sure to use it according to its directions, protect against cross-contamination and dispose of it safely. And always keep it out of reach of children or pets.