Connect with us

Real Estate

Ordering flowers online and funeral home upselling: CBC’s Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

Editor

Published

on

[ad_1]

Miss something this week? Don’t panic. CBC’s Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need.

Want this in your inbox? Get the Marketplace newsletter every Friday. 

Testing ‘Canada’s official florist’

After hearing from Marketplace viewers, we tested one of the biggest online florists to see if what we bought would match what we got. Ottawa-based Bloomex advertises “fast, fresh and fair service,” but Pat Hodnett told us the bouquet she ordered for her sister-in-law’s funeral was ruined when it arrived as a handful of “cheap” carnations. After Bloomex refused a discount off her next order, it took a complaint to Ontario’s Ministry of Government and Consumer Services for her to receive a refund.

Pat Hodnett says the bouquet she ordered last year from Bloomex for her sister-in-law’s funeral was incredibly different than what was advertised on the site. (David MacIntosh/CBC)

WTF happened to romaine lettuce?

You might want to order the fries and skip the salad. The Public Health Agency of Canada is warning Canadians in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick to avoid romaine lettuce, but still hasn’t issued a formal recall. Grocery chains across the country moved quickly to take the product — which could be contaminated with E. coli — off their shelves. If there’s some in your fridge at home, experts warn there is no point in trying to wash the bacteria away. 

A similar outbreak last year sickened people and it also wasn’t met with an immediate recall. The outbreak has made at least 22 people sick in Canada and the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the contaminated greens likely came from California. 

The E. coli contamination of romaine lettuce has made at least 22 people sick in Canada. (Marina von Stackelberg/CBC)

Back-to-work bill for Canada Post

Your parcels may still be stuck in the Canada Post backlog, but the federal government is trying to change that. The Liberals have begun the process to force postal workers back on the job, but the union representing the carriers says that’s a violation of their constitutional rights. The labour minister says the government still hopes for a negotiated settlement, but that people in rural and remote communities are relying on mailed cheques to pay bills.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says back-to-work legislation will be used if the two sides in the Canada Post dispute can’t come to an agreement. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

Why some experts argue we need pharmacare

Do you find yourself reducing spending in order to pay for drugs prescribed by your doctor? New research from the University of British Columbia says Canadians are going into debt to pay for their medications. The study found those going into debt tended to be younger, had lower household income, chronic medical conditions and no prescription drug insurance.

Younger Canadians and those without private insurance were more likely to take on debt, researchers from the University of British Columbia found. (Shutterstock)

Cloth vs. disposable diapers

Have you considered a greener alternative to diapers for your infant? Some Canadians have started using cloth diapers in order to avoid sending thousands of diapers to landfills. But it can take a lot to get a cloth diaper clean, and another option is recycling disposables. The City of Toronto has been turning parts of disposable diapers into compost since 2002.

Each year, billions of disposable diapers make their way to landfills across North America. (Lindsay Bird/CBC)

What else is going on?

Loblaws is ramping up self-checkout with new technology called “shop and scan.” Customers can scan items while shopping with a phone app — part of an effort to streamline the shopping experience and reduce labour costs. Some shoppers are rejecting the idea because they prefer interacting with a cashier.

An online glitch left a retiree on the hook for an Air Canada flight he didn’t book. Claude Neblett spent months trying to get a refund from Air Canada. He eventually got his money back after CBC’s Go Public contacted the company.

Whirlpool refused to honour this Oakville, Ont., man’s 10-year fridge warranty. Naji Alimam’s seven-year-old fridge hasn’t worked since August. He wanted to warn others about companies not living up to its warranties.

This week in recalls

This plastic doll and furniture toy set could pose a chemical hazard; these vaping products do not meet requirements of the Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations; this play tent could pose fire and burn hazards; this air compressor could cause injury.

Watch this week: Flower Delivery & Death Inc. Part 2

We tested one of the biggest online florists by ordering five bouquets for ourselves. Experts call what we received “embarrassing.” Plus, we’re back on the case checking in on funeral homes. A new hidden camera investigation reveals some are still upselling and rule breaking.

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Real Estate

Window repair or replacement is the responsibility of the condo corporation

Editor

Published

on

By

If the windows in your condo are hazy, drafty, or have rotting frames, it’s an indicator that they need repairs or outright replacement.

However, under the Condominium Act, it is the responsibility of the condo’s board to carry out such changes as a replaced window is a common element.

“Under the Condominium Act, a declaration may alter the maintenance or repair obligations of unit owners and the corporation but cannot make unit owners responsible for repairs to the common elements,” said Gerry Hyman is a former president of the Canadian Condominium Institute and contributor for the Star.

“A declaration for a high-rise condominium invariably provides that the unit boundary is the interior surface of windows. That means that the entire window — whether it is a single pane or a double pane — is a common element. Necessary repairs or replacement of a broken pane is the obligation of the corporation.”

According to Consumer Reports, selecting an installing windows replacement can be very overwhelming for homeowners. Therefore, if you aren’t covered by your condo’s corporation, it would be necessary to hire professional hands.

Wood, vinyl and composite windows need to be tested on how they can withstand various natural elements. For wind resistance, a window can be very tight when it’s warm but get quite cold too—especially when it begins to leak a lot.

Whatever the case may be, the bottom line remains that replacement windows can save you heating and cooling costs, but it’s best not to expect drastic savings.

Additionally, while getting a new window might help you save on your electric and gas bills, due to their expensive cost, it may take a long time to offset their cost.

Mid-last-year, the government withdraw a $377 million Green Ontario program that provided subsidy on windows to installers and repairers. Window companies had to install energy-efficient windows in order to qualify for the government subsidy that pays for up to $500 of a $1,000 to $1,500 window.

Due to the largely generous subsidies from the government under the Green Ontario program, a lot of window dealers were fully booked for months—even after the program had ended.

“We’re fine with the program ending, we just need more time to satisfy consumers,” said Jason Neal, the executive director of the Siding and Window Dealer Association of Canada, the industry group representing window dealers in a report.

According to Neal, the Progressive Conservatives acted hastily, making massive changes with no prior notice.

“No notification was given to us by anyone,” he said, noting he learned about the change through one of his dealers.

“It’s created a ripple effect.If they had just given us notice we would have pushed that down the line from the manufacturer right into the dealer right down to the consumer.”

Neal noted that he wasn’t particularly sad to see the Green Ontario program end, as it was “the worst rebate program in the history of the window industry.”

“It’s been horrible,” he said. “$500 a window has created such hysteria.”

However, despite the program ending about a year ago, numerous homeowners have been contacting window dealers consistently with concerns that they might not be able to afford replacement windows without the government’s subsidy.

“I understand their concern,” said window dealer Chris George. “I would suggest they reach out to their local representative of the government in their riding and let them know about their concerns.”

Continue Reading

Real Estate

7 Vancouver Real Estate Buying Tips

Editor

Published

on

By

The real estate market in Vancouver is turning around for good for everyone looking to purchase a home.

Previously soaring prices are now beginning to ease up, making it a perfect time for buyers—with real estate agents already getting ready for a very busy spring and summer season.

However, before splashing cash on a new property, there are some very important tips you need to know to ensure you make the most of the buyer’s market.

Here are some few expert tips that would guide you when purchasing a home in the sometimes frustration Vancouver seller’s market.

  1. Get adequate financing

It is very important that before you make the move to purchase a property, you put into careful consideration your credit score.

Normally, home buyers with lower scores use the secondary mortgage market to finance their purchase, as they’re more likely to pay a higher interest rate.However, it is advisable to get loan approval long before purchasing the house. This way, you are fully aware of how much you are able to spend—but never be tempted to borrow the maximum amount of money available.

“What’s your mortgage payment that you’re comfortable with? And take into the fact the taxes you’re going to have to pay, if it’s a strata – what the maintenance fees are, if it’s a home what type of maintenance are you going to have to pay in the future?” said Phil Moore, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver in a report.

Always be careful of the type of loan you secure and ensure that you can comfortably afford it over a long period of time.

  1. Get a real estate agent

Buying a property without professional help is a very risky move and can be likened to choosing to represent yourself in court without a lawyer. While you might trust your negotiation skills, only realtors are permitted to present offers directly.

Therefore, it is necessary to get a professional real estate agent in the area to represent you. So, screen a few agents and select the best one who has in-depth knowledge of the markets and has a great reputation.

“They’re there to protect you. They’re there to walk you through each step of the process,” Moore said.

  1. Sign up for automated alerts

Most—if not all—realtors have access to the Vancouver real estate board’s database which is updated approximately two days before the public MLS website.

Therefore, you can request from your realtor to sign you up for automatic real-time alerts of all new listings. Doing this gives you an edge as you’re among the very first to know about new properties.

  1. Do a thorough inspection

After receiving an alert for a new listing, it is necessary to push almost immediately for an inspection from your realtor. In this current market, buyers now have time to make an inspection.

Making a quick inspection eliminates any surprises—as there could be major maintenance or repair issues that could spring up. Therefore, you can now table your offer based on the outcome of the inspection, with clauses about claiming your damage deposit back if everything isn’t as was advertised.

Additionally, if you notice that renovations were done, you need to be sure that it was permitted work and carried out appropriately. Failing to do this would ultimately lead to further cost down the line and simultaneously affect the resale value.

  1. Have a back-up plan

There’s always the possibility that everything may not go as smoothly as you’d want. From the inspection being a failureto the property not living up to your expectations—or not being able to agree on the closing date that matches with your needs.

However, a professional real estate agent will definitely help you get past all of these things. If you plan on selling the property as you buy, you can table that and make it part of the deal.

“You’ve got an option, especially in a buyer’s market: you can put in an offer subject to selling your place. So maybe you want to have a place lined up,” Moore added.

Additionally, building contingencies into your buying plan is necessary. Things such as unexpected delays in closing the deal, closing cost and moving costs that could result in added living expenses if that’s your permanent home.

  1. Don’t fall for the buyer frenzy

The Vancouver market buying frenzy that caused a serious climb in the prices a couple of years ago has ended. Thus, it is important not to get caught up in bidding wars with properties that have been deliberately under-priced—with the hope of initiating multiple offers.

“Some of the sellers have been on the market for over a year and they’re eager to sell. So what I’m saying to consumers is: you have a lot of choices, you’re in the driver’s seat, let’s go out and take a look at what’s available,” said Moore.

  1. Never be wary of multiple offers

When purchasing a property, don’t be afraid of multiple offers as you have the same opportunity as anybody else.

Typically, there are just a few offers below the asking price: a couple priced fully, and two or three above the asking price—depending on how close the fair market value is from the asking price.

Continue Reading

Real Estate

Do you know what kind of condo you’re buying?

Editor

Published

on

By

(NC) Condominiums can come in all shapes and sizes. But it’s important to know that not all condos are created equal when it comes to warranty coverage.

Whether you’re buying a condominium townhouse, loft-style two-bedroom or a high-rise studio, they are all classified as condominiums if you own your unit while at the same time share access (and the associated fees) for facilities ranging from pools and parking garages to elevators and driveways, otherwise known as common elements.

The most common types of condos are standard condominiums and common elements condominiums. The determination of how a condominium project is designated happens during the planning stage when the builder proposes the project and the municipality approves it.

When you’re in the market to buy, you need to know how your chosen condo is classified because it affects the warranty coverage under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act. Standard condominiums have warranty coverage for units and common elements, but common elements condominiums only have unit coverage.

How could this affect you as the owner? If your condo complex has underground parking and, for example, there are problems with leaks or a faulty door, the condo designation will determine whether there’s warranty coverage.

If your unit is a standard condominium development, then the common elements warranty may cover the repairs. If it’s a common element condominium development, then repairs might have to be covered by the condo corporation’s insurance, which could impact your condo fees or require a special assessment on all the owners.

To avoid surprises, you should have a real estate lawyer review the Declaration and Description attached to your purchase agreement to be sure that you know the designation and boundaries of the unit you’re looking to purchase. Find more information on the types of condos and their coverage at tarion.com.

Continue Reading

Chat

Trending