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Everyone knows that owning your own home can be expensive, and the Internet has lots of useful advice and resources for both property buyers and owners. There are lots of local Fraser Valley real estate websites, provincial, and national websites dedicated to providing useful information on how you can save money, and protect the environment. There are lots of different grants available, both provincially and federally that many people just don't know about. These range from mortgage savings and renovation loans to appliance grants. Your local city council website is also a great source of information on grants and incentives that can save the average homeowner hundreds or thousands of dollars every year. Here's just a few top tips:

Energy Saving Mortgages. A 10% CMHC mortgage loan insurance premium refund and extended amortization period without surcharge may be available when you use CMHC insured financing to purchase an energy-efficient home or make energy-saving renovations. Read more on this at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) website

LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive Program. Tens of thousands of BC home owners are saving energy and money because of their participation in this program. There is lots of great info on this website on environmental rebates and ways you can save money around your home and help the environment at the same time. 

BC Residential Energy Credit. The Canadian government is providing a provincially administered energy allowance of the British Columbia component of the harmonized sales tax (HST) on residential energy, including electricity, natural gas, heating fuel, heat, steam, kerosene, propane, firewood and pellets purchased for residential use. Find out more on this on the BC Government website

BC Hydro Rebates and Buy-Back Programs for Home Owners. BC Hydro offers several rebates and buy-back programs for appliances to help the environment. Get up to $75 off select ENERGY STAR® labelled clothes washers, dish washers, refrigerators and freezers. They also offer incentives and rebates on everything from windows, to low-flush toilets to home electronics. Read more at the BC Hydro website.

FortisBC Rebate Program. If you are making home improvements or just shopping for new appliances, FortisBC provide offers to help home owners save even more money and help the environment. See all the details at the FortisBC website

BC Water Meter Programs. Depending on which city you live in in BC, the amount you pay for your water can vary. Either way, water metering is good for the environment. Find out more, and how you can save money by installing environmentally-friendly water-saving hardware at the City of Surrey website

Surrey's Waste Reduction Challenge is a call to all Surrey property owners and businesses to reduce the amount of waste ending up in landfills by creating less waste, and recycling more. The goal is to achieve a 70% waste diversion by 2015. There are lots of tips on the website for home owners, as well as a contest where you could win a trip for four to Whistler.