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Industry News

After sifting through Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s latest keep-the-opposition-from-voting-us-out budget, I’m sorely tempted to adopt the analytical approach of Carl Weinberg, the estimable chief economy watcher for High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, NY. 

 
The budget does not merit analysis, because there’s going to be an election anyway, he told clients long before Flaherty tabled the document on Tuesday. “[W]e see no reason to invest a lot of time worrying about the economic impact of today’s budget. We doubt it will be implemented.” 
 
But that’s precisely why this exceedingly modest and deliberately cautious budget is important. 
 
Flaherty plainly crafted it with two potential outcomes in mind: Either it would offer just enough to keep the New Democrats onside and prolong the life of the minority government or it would provide the key fiscal plank for the Conservatives’ next election campaign. Given the instant and entirely predictable thumbs down from NDP and the other opposition parties, it’s a safe bet that we’re looking not at the next budget but the economic underpinnings of the Conservatives’ election platform. 
 
Click here for the full Globe and Mail article.
 
The most common mistake homebuyers make is that they buy with their heart instead of their head. This often means they pay more than they should or are disappointed when they uncover defects in the home or find out the neighbourhood isn’t quite what they thought.
 
Click here for 10 ways to avoid buying the wrong house from The Star.
 
When my husband and I bought our first home, it was obvious, even to our untrained eyes, that the previous owners had let a few things go. Actually, they had let pretty much everything go. 
 
But the price and location were right, and we were young, energetic and undaunted by the work that lay ahead. We spent countless weekends and thousands of dollars replacing the aging roof, repairing the damaged floors and fixing the grading that was causing water to leak into the basement. It was a labour of love, or so we told ourselves. 
 
Eight years later, what we’ve learned is that homeownership is a huge responsibility that sometimes requires tough choices, like deciding to spend $10,000 last fall on a new furnace, air conditioner and attic insulation, rather than putting the money toward the new kitchen I so desperately wanted. 
 
Too often, however, owners ignore the important, practical repairs their homes need in favour of renovations with more pop, says Kristi Hansen, host of the new W Network show Homewreckers. “People don’t value the work that they can’t see,” says Hansen, owner of Pretty Plumbing Co in Vancouver. “They only understand the prettiness around them: the nice, painted walls, the beautiful furniture, the new carpet.” 
 
Click here to read more in the Globe and Mail.
 
Whether you’re moving out of town, moving up or splitting up, everyone has the same goal when they’re selling their home: to make as much as they can.
 
One way to get the best sale price is to invest a few dollars to spruce up your place for prospective buyers. One rule of thumb is that you should set aside 1% of your asking price, so, if you’re listing for $400,000 a renovation budget of $4,000 isn’t out of line.
 
Of course, certain projects will get you more, though in most cases you won’t get all your money back. The return can be anywhere from nothing, for skylights and pools, to an average of 75% on high-performing kitchens and bathroom projects. 
 
Click here for some tips from The Star.
 
Buying a vacation property is one of the most rewarding things you can do. But it can also be a complex and stressful experience with pitfalls that are different from those you encounter when you buy a house.
 
Click here for 10 things you need to know from The Star.
 
When my kids were little ones, the RESP wasn’t the RESP we have today and I wasn’t convinced it was the best deal going. But over the past 15 years or so, the product has improved, the legislation has become more user-friendly, and the reasons to use it have become crystal clear.
 
So why are there still so many people who aren’t using an RESP to save for their children’s future education? Only about 35% of eligible kids receive the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG). That’s the money the Federal government is giving you to put away for your kids. Really? The Feds want to GIVE you money and you don’t want to take it?
 
Most people’s first response to, “Why aren’t you saving?” is, “I don’t have any money to save.” Did you know that the Canada Learning Bond provides $500 for low-income families to establish a RESP account and allows for an annual contribution of $100? And yet the program only has about an 8% participation rate.
 
If you haven’t been contributing to an RESP for your kids, it’s not too late to catch up on the whopping grant money gift. As of 1998, the CESG accumulates every year for a child until December of the year she turns 17.
 
Click here for the full MoneySense article. 
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