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Make Your Home More Energy Efficient with the Canada Greener Homes Grant

The federal government launched the Canada Greener Homes Grant in May 2021, giving homeowners throughout the country the opportunity to make their home more energy efficient and receive a grant to cover up to $5,600 of the cost. This announcement comes following nearly a year of record demand for home improvement and maintenance projects, and saw over 30,000 applications within just the first week of its launch. If you’re a homeowner looking to improve your home’s energy efficiency in a more affordable way, your future home upgrades might be eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant.

About the Canada Greener Homes Grant
Thousands of homeowners around Canada were ecstatic after the announcement of the Canada Greener Homes Grant, making it easier and more affordable to explore energy efficient home upgrades. The initiative will provide up to 700,000 grants, EnerGuide evaluations and expert advice, as well as recruitment and training of new EnerGuide advisors to help meet the growing demand and create jobs. The Grant provides up to $5,600 per household for eligible upgrades.

Before qualifying, homeowners are required to undergo an energy audit which is paid out of pocket. After the energy audit is conducted, homeowners can find out which energy efficient upgrades their home requires and which ones may qualify for the grant. For example, if you want to replace your windows and doors with energy efficient models, this upgrade needs to be recommended after the energy audit.

Not all projects will qualify for the full $5,600 grant, making it important for homeowners to carefully consider which project they embark on. Prior to receiving the grant, the upgrades performed must first be certified, with the government reimbursing homeowners within a month of the upgrades.

Who is eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant?
In order to qualify for the grant, homeowners must actually be able to prove that they live in the house – no landlord living off site is eligible. Qualifying homes must not be new, and must be single or semi-detached, row houses, townhomes, all-season cottages, or select types of houseboats and mobile homes. While the majority of condos aren’t eligible for the grant, those in low-rise condo buildings can qualify. First Nation band councils, Indigenous housing management bodies and land claims organizations are also eligible to apply for the Greener Homes Grant.

Which projects are eligible for the Canada Greener Homes Grant?
Not all energy efficient upgrades qualify for the grant – only those approved by Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN) are eligible. These upgrades include insulation, air-sealing, door and window replacements, the installation of heat pumps, hot water equipment and solar panels, resiliency measures including house foundation waterproofing, batteries and roofing membranes, and installing smart thermostats, though this must be combined with other retrofits in order to qualify. In order to remain eligible, all materials and equipment must be purchased in Canada or from a Canadian distributor.

With the Canada Greener Homes Grant having stirred up so much buzz, it’s expected that consumer demand for home improvement and renovations projects is about to surge once again. If you were planning to perform one of the eligible upgrades in the next couple years, now might be the time to rethink your timetable in order to save some money.

The grant likely won’t cover the entire project, but it’ll certainly make home improvement projects a far more attractive proposal. While the grant is poised to be around for the next seven years, the Greener Homes Grant will only be going to 700,000 homeowners, so it’s critical that you submit your application as soon as you’re ready. Grants aren’t dispatched until after energy audits and upgrades are performed, so time is of the essence.

For energy audited Muskoka homes and all-season cottages that qualify for new energy efficient windows and doors, the experienced team at Muskoka Window & Door Centre is ready to provide you with a free estimate and walk you through the door and window installation process. To find out how our team can help make your home or cottage more energy efficient, get in touch with us today.

Muskoka Cottage Real Estate Market – Should I Wait to Buy My Cottage or Not?

The Canadian real estate market has seen an unparalleled surge throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Homeowners around the country suddenly found themselves stuck at home with plenty of time on their hands, causing many to upgrade their home to better suit their lifestyle, seek out that cottage property that always seemed to elude them, or even explore the world of real estate investing. No matter what the cause, it’s undeniable that the pandemic’s impact on the housing market in Canada has been felt everywhere – even here in cottage country.

The sale price of Muskoka cottages, like properties everywhere, have increased during the pandemic, and are poised to continue growing over the next year. The still hot housing and recreational property markets has led to many potential buyers wondering whether or not they should take the plunge and invest in the surging Muskoka cottage real estate market, or if they’d be better off waiting it out. The answer to these hesitations is further complicated by low inventory and the fact that even experts aren’t sure what’s going to happen to the market once restrictions are relaxed throughout Canada and the rest of the world.

The state of the Muskoka cottage market in 2021
With cities everywhere experiencing red hot real estate markets that are only now just beginning to cool slightly, the Muskoka cottage real estate market is still feeling the heat. Muskoka’s real estate market has been affected by people migrating from the city and those looking to purchase a second home or cottage. In fact, Royal LePage recently reported that home prices in the Ontario recreational property market increased 19.4% from 2019 to 2020, and that prices are expected to continue to climb through 2021 – possibly as high as 17% in Ontario.

The market as a whole has experienced record high demand for real estate, with low inventory across the board which has resulted in tense bidding wars in markets where such a thing rarely ever occurred. Some real estate agents are reporting that they’re witnessing up to 10 offers on every listing. Cottages in particular are quite sparse in terms of inventory, meaning buyers looking to purchase a Muskoka cottage have limited options. While most years would see little activity during the winter months, 2021 started with an unprecedented amount of activity, once again showing the consistent sense of urgency felt by many home and cottage buyers.

Should you buy a Muskoka cottage now or wait it out?
While experts are suggesting that the Ontario real estate market is finally beginning to cool after months of growth, the high demand and low inventory being seen throughout cottage country is reason to believe that the market will remain hot in Muskoka for the foreseeable future – at least until things return to normal and the housing market as a whole begins to stabilize. With low inventory, consistently low interest rates and many buyers facing the dreaded fear of missing out, now might be the time for buyers to jump into the Muskoka cottage market if it makes financial sense for them to do so.

The inventory scarcity means that if you see your dream cottage on the market, it might be a while before another perfect property is listed. If you decide to buy a Muskoka cottage, be prepared to be met with plenty of competition – other buyers will be ready to swoop in at a moment’s notice with a higher or more aggressive bid. If you’re looking to take advantage of interest rates and secure the cottage of your dreams, and aren’t scared off by the very real possibility of being involved in a bidding war, then now’s the time to get in.

On the other side of the argument, the unknowns about what the rest of the year may look like are enough to make even the most confident buyer a little gun shy. If the market returns to “normal” quicker than expected due to COVID-19 restrictions being relaxed at the end of the summer season, demand may ease up and inventory could return to its normal level.

The truth is that nobody can predict what’s going to happen, though experts continue to suggest that a return to normalcy for the Ontario real estate market will likely take quite some time. If a cottage is in your future but isn’t necessarily something you need now, waiting out the market could save money and the headaches that could stem from bidding wars and aggressive buyers, but may mean that you lose out on the possibility of the low interest rates currently being offered by lenders.

With so much happening in the real estate market and the situation changing almost daily, it’s highly recommended that you speak to a real estate professional and mortgage specialist before making any big decisions about a purchase.

If you’re buying a cottage, chances are very good that it’s going to need some new windows. In a hot market, sellers don’t tend to do the renovations they normally would to increase a property’s sale price. Muskoka Window & Door Centre is cottage country’s preferred supplier of high performance doors and windows. Our expert team has years of experience in door and window installation, working with the biggest and best names in the industry. For years, we’ve worked with Muskoka cottage owners, builders and architects to help create unforgettable views that can be enjoyed for years to come. To find out more about the window and door products and installation services offered by Muskoka Window & Door Centre, get in touch with us today.