Taking care of your most important asset

March 12th 2012
Taking care of your most important asset

Taking care of our assets can mean a number of things today from the home, cars, boats, RVs and so on. The most important asset to me is family. I receive calls almost daily from family members asking what can be done to help their elderly parents with their home? The obvious concern is what is wrong with the home and almost every answer is the same - I do not know because I have never been a handy person. Another common call has been from recent widows who know there are things around the home that have to be done but their husband had always taken care of the maintenance and hiring of trades to do the work. Their family members often live too far away to be able to help.

The concern with almost all my callers here is that they want to continue living in their own home since they are close to their family, friends, shopping, church and transit.

Folks, you have no idea how much this disturbs me as I am well aware of the unscrupulous people out in the home improvement field who may prey on seniors. Home improvements are something you can really spend a lot of money on and not get the quality of work you require.

Two years ago I started to take care of requests for concerned family members who want their mother, father or both looked after and did not want to be concerned with having their parents taken advantage of by unscrupulous sales or trades persons.

I have taken it upon myself within the Greater Vancouver area to set up consultations with homeowners who have the type of concern outlined above. I will personally go out to the home and review any concerns, as well as inspect the home for important maintenance items that should be addressed. I follow-up to ensure the work gets done properly and as reasonable as possible.

Being that I am in my senior years myself, I am very much aware how nice it is to be able to live in your own home with the comfort and security you have always cherished. I have also found that my position within our company has been very satisfying not only to see the maintenance work get done properly, but the friendships I've made with homeowners that have required my assistance over the years.

I guess in a sense you could say your home is very much like an automobile; they cost a lot of money are definitely a large asset, but they have a similar requirements to your home - and that's maintenance.

One tip I would like to mention at this point, if you have "door knockers" coming to your door trying to sell you something you haven't asked for, make sure to ask them to show you their business licence for the city you live in. My bet is that most, if not all, will not be able to produce a business licence for you. All cities require business licences.

You may have heard me use this phrase in the past - the wolves are about to come out of the woods. The reason I say this is when a new grant or tax credit is introduced, it entices many shady characters to become more aggressive with their sales and marketing tactics, using the potential grant, rebate, or credit as a marketing tool.

Effective for the 2012 and future tax years, the government intends to introduce a Seniors Home Renovation Tax Credit. The credit will be a new refundable personal income tax credit to assist individuals aged 65 and over with the cost of permanent home renovations.

The maximum credit will be $1,000 annually calculated as 10 per cent of eligible expenditures. The credit will be available to individuals who incur eligible expenditures on or after April 1, 2012. The credit can be claimed by seniors, whether they own their home or rent, and by individuals who share a home with a senior relative.

Legislation will be introduced later this year at which time a list of eligible expenditures will be available. The government intends to include the following as eligible expenditures:

- upgrades to improve accessibility, including handrails, grab bars, walk-in bathtubs and wheel-in showers;
- wheelchair ramps, lifts and elevators;
- motion-activated lighting; and
- certain renovations to allow a first-floor occupancy or secondary suite for a senior relative.

Below are some expenditures that the government intends to exclude from eligibility:

- general maintenance, including roof repairs, windows, flooring, insulation and painting;
- standard appliances;
- equipment for medical monitoring and home security; and
- services, including home care, housekeeping and gardening.

The credit will be claimed when individuals file their personal income tax return.

Please don't take this as anything more than a heads up to bring it to your attention at this time, please if you require work or maintenance around your home and you have no one to fall back on, remember, one visit by me can save you many dollars in the future, I'm here to help.

Its Just That Easy!