Each month, we publish a series of articles of interest to homeowners -- money-saving tips, household safety checklists, home improvement advice, real estate insider secrets, etc. Whether you currently are in the market for a new home, or not, we hope that this information is of value to you. Please feel free to pass these articles on to your family and friends.

ISSUE #1218
FEATURE REPORT

Is Your Home Healthy and Safe For Children?
Each year more children die from preventable injuries than from all childhood diseases combined.  Taking preventive measures to protect your children against unintentional injuries at home is essential.  With foresight and action, you can help prevent burns, cuts, falls, poisonings, drowning, choking, and other serious injuries.




Also This Month...
13 Extra Costs to be Aware of Before Buying a Home
Whether you're looking to buy your first home, or trading up to a larger one, there are many costs - on top of the purchase price - that you must figure into your calculation of affordability. These extra fees, such as taxes and other additional costs, could surprise you with an unwanted financial nightmare on closing day if you're not informed and prepared. Some of these costs are one-time fixed payments, while others represent an ongoing monthly or yearly commitment.


 
 

10 Questions To Ask When Choosing A Financial Planner
You may be considering help from a financial planner for a number of reasons, whether it's deciding to buy a new home, planning for retirement or your children's education, or simply not having the time or expertise to get your finances in order. Whatever your needs, working with a financial planner can be a helpful step in securing your financial future.


Quick Links
Is Your Home Healthy and Safe For Children?
13 Extra Costs to be Aware of Before Buying a Home
10 Questions To Ask When Choosing A Financial Planner
 

 

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Is Your Home Healthy and Safe For Children?

Taking preventive measures to protect your children against unintentional injuries at home is essential. Each year more children die from preventable injuries than from all childhood diseases combined. With foresight and action, you can help prevent burns, cuts, falls, poisonings, drowning, choking, and other serious injuries.

Use these four checklists to ensure that your home is healthy and safe for the children living in it:

In the Bedroom

  • Install smoke alarms outside bedrooms and on every level of the home.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month and change batteries at least once a year.
  • Practice fire escape routes and identify an outside meeting place.
  • Place a baby to sleep on his or her back in a crib with no pillows or soft bedding underneath.
  • Use a crib that meets national safety standards and has a snug-fitting mattress.
  • Never use an electric blanket in the bed or crib of a small child or infant.
  • Keep small toys, balloons, and small balls away from young children.
  • Check age labels for appropriate toys. Make sure toy storage chests have safety lid supports.
  • To prevent strangulation, use safety tassels for mini blinds and avoid strings on children's toys and pacifiers.
  • Install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms outside bedrooms to prevent CO poisoning.

In the Bathroom

  • To prevent poisonings, lock away all medicines and vitamins, even those with child-resistant packaging.
  • Have syrup of ipecac on hand, but use only at the recommendation of a poison control center or physician.
  • Never leave a young child alone in the bathroom, especially in a bath.
  • Before bathing a child, always test bath water with your wrist or elbow to make sure it's not too hot.
  • To prevent scalds, set the water heater thermostat to 120° F and install anti-scald devices.
  • Make sure bathtubs and showers have non-slip surfaces and grab bars.
  • Keep electrical appliances, like hair dryers and curling irons, out of the reach of children and away from water.

In the Kitchen

  • Keep knives, plastic bags, lighters, and matches locked away from children.
  • Avoid fires and burns by never leaving cooking food unattended, turning pot handles to the back of the stove, and keeping hot liquids and foods away from the edges of tables and counters.
  • Make sure you and your children know the STOP, DROP, and ROLL procedure in case their clothes catch on fire.
  • Keep appliance cords unplugged and tied up. Replace any frayed cords and wires.
  • Securely strap young children in high chairs, swings, and other juvenile products.
  • Do not give young children hard, round foods that can get stuck in their throats — like hard candies, nuts, grapes, popcorn, carrots, and raisins.
  • Avoid scald burns by keeping children away from the hot water taps on drinking water coolers.

In all Living Areas

  • To prevent asthma attacks, eliminate sources of mold, dust, and insects, such as cockroaches. If you have a pet, keep it and its bedding clean and keep the pet off the furniture.
  • If you must smoke, avoid smoking in the house, and especially around children.
  • Make sure furnaces, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, space heaters, and gas appliances are vented properly and inspected annually.
  • Use safety gates to block stairways (and other danger areas), safety plugs to cover electrical outlets, and safety latches for drawers and cabinets.
  • Keep children — and the furniture they can climb on — away from windows.
  • Install window guards (on windows that are not fire emergency exits).
  • To prevent falls, keep hallways and stairways well-lit and use non-slip backing for area rugs.
  • Keep cleaning solutions, pesticides, and other potentially dangerous substances in their original, labelled containers, and out of the reach of children.
  • If you have guns or rifles in your home, store the firearms and ammunition in separate containers and lock them out of the reach of children.
  • Learn First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
  • Keep an updated list of emergency telephone numbers, including your local poison control center, physician and hospital emergency room, next to every phone in your home.
  • Make sure your family knows what to do during a natural disaster. In an earthquake, drop to the floor and get under something sturdy for cover; during a tornado, take shelter in a basement or an interior room without windows; and during a hurricane stay away from windows. Have handy supplies of food, flashlights, and water.

 

 

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13 Extra Costs to be Aware of Before Buying a Home


"The last thing you need are unbudgeted financial obligations cropping up hours before you take possession of your new home."


Whether you're looking to buy your first home, or trading up to a larger one, there are many costs - on top of the purchase price - that you must figure into your calculation of affordability. These extra fees, such as taxes and other additional costs, could surprise you with an unwanted financial nightmare on closing day if you're not informed and prepared.

Some of these costs are one-time fixed payments, while others represent an ongoing monthly or yearly commitment. Not all of these costs will apply in every situation, however it's better to know about them ahead of time so you can budget properly.

Remember, buying a home is a major milestone. Whether it's your first, second or tenth home, there are many important details to address, during the process. The last thing you need are unbudgeted financial obligations cropping up hours before you take possession of your new home.

Read through the following checklist to make sure you're budgeting properly for your next move.

1. Appraisal Fee

Your lending institution may request an appraisal of the property which would be your responsibility to pay for. Appraisals can vary in price from approximately $175 -$ 300.

2. Property Taxes

Depending on your down payment, your lending institution may decide to include your property taxes in your monthly mortgage payments. If your property taxes are not added to your monthly payments, your lending institution may require annual proof that your taxes have been paid.

3. Survey Fee

When the home you purchase is a resale (vs. a new home), your lending institution may ask for an updated property survey. The cost for this survey can vary between $700- $1,000.

4. Property Insurance

Home insurance covers the replacement value of your home (structure and contents). Your lending institution will request proof that you are insured as it protects their investment on the loan.

5. Service Charges

Any new utility that services your hook up, such as telephone or cable, may require an installation fee.

6. Legal Fees

Even the simplest of home purchases should have a lawyer involved to review all paperwork. Shop around, as rates vary greatly depending on the complexity of the issues and the experience of the lawyer.

7. Mortgage Loan Insurance Fee

Depending upon the equity in your home, some mortgages require mortgage loan insurance. This type of insurance will cost you between 0.5% -3.5% of the total amount of the mortgage. Usually payments are made monthly in addition to your mortgage and tax payment.

8. Mortgage Brokers Fee

A mortgage broker is entitled to charge you a fee in order to source a lender and organize the financing. However, it pays to shop around because many mortgage brokers will provide their services free to you by having the lending institution absorb the cost.

9. Moving Costs

The cost for a professional mover can cost you in the range of:

  • $50-$100/hour for a van and 3 movers, and
  • 10-20% higher during peak demand seasons.
10. Maintenance Fees

Condos charge monthly fees for common area maintenance such as grounds keeping and carpet cleaning in hallways. Costs will vary depending on the building.

11. Water Quality and Quantity Certification

If the home you purchased is serviced by a well, you should consider having your water checked by your local experts. Depending upon where you live, determines whether or not a fee is charged, to certify the quantity and quality of the water.

12. Local Improvements

If the town you live in has made local improvements (such as the addition of sewers or sidewalks), this could impact a property’s taxes by thousands of dollars.

13. Land Transfer Tax

This tax is applied whenever property changes hands and the amount that is applied can vary.


 

 

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10 Questions To Ask When Choosing A Financial Planner

These questions will help you interview and evaluate several financial planners to find the one that's right for you. You will want to select a competent, qualified professional with whom you feel comfortable, one whose business style suits your financial planning needs. An interview checklist has been included for your convenience.

1. What experience do you have?

Find out how long the planner has been in practice and the number and types of companies with which she has been associated. Ask the planner to briefly describe her work experience and how it relates to her current practice. Choose a financial planner who has a minimum of three years experience counseling individuals on their financial needs.

2. What are your qualifications?

The term "financial planner" is used by many financial professionals. Ask the planner what qualifies him to offer financial planning advice and whether he holds a financial planning designation such as the Certified Financial Planner mark. Look for a planner who has proven experience in financial planning topics such as insurance, tax planning, investments, estate planning or retirement planning. Determine what steps the planner takes to stay current with changes and developments in the financial planning field. If the planner holds a financial planning designation, check on his background with the CFP Board or other relevant professional organizations.

3. What services do you offer?

The services a financial planner offers depend on a number of factors including credentials, licenses and areas of expertise. Financial planners cannot sell insurance or securities products such as mutual funds or stocks without the proper licenses, or give investment advice unless registered with state or Federal authorities. Some planners offer financial planning advice on a range of topics but do not sell financial products. Others may provide advice only in specific areas such as estate planning or on tax matters.

4. What is your approach to financial planning?

Ask the financial planner about the type of clients and financial situations she typically likes to work with. Some planners prefer to develop one plan by bringing together all of your financial goals. Others provide advice on specific areas, as needed. Make sure the planner's viewpoint on investing is not too cautious or overly aggressive for you. Some planners require you to have a certain net worth before offering services. Find out if the planner will carry out the financial recommendations developed for you or refer you to others who will do so.

5. Will you be the only person working with me?

The financial planner may work with you himself or have others in the office assist him. You may want to meet everyone who will be working with you. If the planner works with professionals outside his own practice (such as attorneys, insurance agents or tax specialists) to develop or carry out financial planning recommendations, get a list of their names to check on their backgrounds.

6. How will I pay for your services?

As part of your financial planning agreement, the financial planner should clearly tell you in writing how she will be paid for the services to be provided. Planners can be paid in several ways:

  • a salary paid by the company for which the planner works. The planner's employer receives payment from you or others, either in fees or commissions, in order to pay the planner's salary.
  • fees based on an hourly rate, a flat rate, or on a percentage of your assets and/or income.
  • commissions paid by a third party from the products sold to you to carry out the financial planning recommendations. Commissions are usually a percentage of the amount you invest in a product.
  • a combination of fees and commissions whereby fees are charged for the amount of work done to develop financial planning recommendations and commissions are received from any products sold. In addition, some planners may offset some portion of the fees you pay if they receive commissions for carrying out their recommendations.
7. How much do you typically charge?

While the amount you pay the planner will depend on your particular needs, the financial planner should be able to provide you with an estimate of possible costs based on the work to be performed. Such costs would include the planner's hourly rates or flat fees or the percentage he would receive as commission on products you may purchase as part of the financial planning recommendations.

8. Could anyone besides me benefit from your recommendations?

Some business relationships or partnerships that a planner has could affect her professional judgment while working with you, inhibiting the planner from acting in your best interest. Ask the planner to provide you with a description of her conflicts of interest in writing. For example, financial planners who sell insurance policies, securities or mutual funds have a business relationship with the companies that provide these financial products. The planner may also have relationships or partnerships that should be disclosed to you, such as business she receives for referring you to an insurance agent, accountant or attorney for implementation of planning suggestions.

9. Have you ever been publicly disciplined for any unlawful or unethical actions in your professional career?

Several government and professional regulatory organizations, keep records on the disciplinary history of financial planners and advisers. Ask what organizations the planner is regulated by, and contact these groups to conduct a background check.

10. Can I have it in writing?

Ask the planner to provide you with a written agreement that details the services that will be provided. Keep this document in your files for future reference.

 

 

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#1 SALESWOMAN RE/MAX Real Estate Centre
Remax Real Estate Centre Inc. 766 Hespeler Road, Cambridge, Ontario N3H 5L8
Tanya Santoro Office: (519) 623-6200 Mike Napier Direct: (519) 240-9593
tanya@tanyasantoro.com
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