Maintaining a home

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Your household budget

Beyond the long list of costs related to buying a home, maintaining a home costs money, too.

To help you manage and track the costs of maintaining a home, keep an up-to-date household budget.

Use the Budget Planner to make a household budget.

Mortgage and condo fees

Your mortgage payments are one of your biggest ongoing expenses. Most lenders allow you to make your mortgage payments monthly, bi-weekly or weekly. Speak with your financial institution to determine a schedule that works best for you.

Condo fees

If you are a condo owner in a building, you have to pay monthly condo fees. It doesn’t matter whether or not you use the services covered by the fees.

These fees can vary widely depending on:

  • the building
  • the services and amenities the building provides
  • the size of your condo

Condo fees typically cover:

  • general maintenance of the building’s common areas
  • additional services and amenities, such as a swimming pool, gym, security guard or concierge

Part of your condo fee goes to a reserve fund to cover expected large expenses relating to building maintenance. Condo fees change from time to time. The increase reflects the costs of utilities and services and the status of the building’s reserve fund.

There may also be large one-off fees called special assessments. Condo owners must pay these fees. This happens when the regular condo fees and the reserve fund don’t cover an unexpected major repair.

Your building’s condominium association or board will tell you about the fees you can expect to pay and why.

For more information about buying a condo, check out the Condominium Buyers Guide.

Property taxes

As a homeowner, you have to pay property taxes. The amount you pay depends on the value of your home and where you live. For example, if the value of your home is $350,000 and your annual property tax rate is 1%, you have to pay $3,500 each year.

Most municipalities offer several options for paying your property taxes. Learn more about property taxes in your area by visiting your municipality’s website.

Some financial institutions collect and pay your property taxes for you. This may also be a condition of financing. Speak with your financial institution for more information.

Utilities and telecommunications

Costs associated with utilities and communications can quickly add up.

These can include:

  • water
  • heating
  • electricity
  • cable and steaming services
  • internet
  • telephone

The cost of utilities and telecommunications varies by region. To learn more about utilities in your area, visit your municipality’s website or consult company websites.

Repairs and home maintenance

Maintenance and repairs are a normal part of homeownership.

These can include:

  • roof replacement
  • furnace and air conditioning unit maintenance
  • pool maintenance
  • snow removal services
  • landscaping costs

To avoid an unexpected financial shock, you should save for repairs and other unexpected expenses. Regularly set aside savings to pay for these ongoing costs.

Saving for emergencies

Setting aside savings in an emergency fund can help you deal with unexpected events. These include job loss, unexpected repairs to your home and serious illness.

As a general rule, try to maintain enough emergency savings to cover 3 months of household expenses.

To help you save, set up automatic transfers to a savings account.

Find out more about setting up an emergency fund.

Home renovations

The Government of Canada offers programs and services that help with the renovation of your home.

The GST/HST New Housing Rebate program

This program provides a rebate on part of the GST or the federal part of the HST paid on the construction or purchase of most newly constructed or substantially renovated houses. To qualify you must use your house as a primary place of residence.

Find out more about the GST/HST new housing rebate.

Energy and pollution-saving upgrades

Energy and pollution-saving upgrades are also available. Programs and incentives will help you use less energy, switch to renewable energy, and produce less waste.

Find out more about incentives and programs.

Other programs

Your provincial or territorial government may offer credits and grants to help you buy and renovate a home.

Find out what credits and grants are available in your province or territory.

Home insurance

Home insurance can help protect your home and its contents. It typically covers the inside and outside of your home or property in case of theft, loss or damage. It may also help you cover additional living expenses if you’re temporarily unable to live in your home. These can include the cost of living in a hotel or renting a home.

Find out more about home insurance.

Tax credits and deductions for homeowners

There are tax credits and deductions available for homeowners.

Find out what homeowner income tax rebates you may qualify for.

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