Trusted Tips and Resources

Trusted Tips & Resources

MARLA JANZEN a Trusted SASKATOON REAL ESTATE Expert shares a Trusted Tip on keeping your home safe on vacation on the SASKATOON DIRECTORY

Marla Janzen is an award winning SASKATOON REALTOR she takes action to sell her client's homes and find them the perfect new place to live while negotiating the best terms and price possible. She loves what she does and takes great pride in providing excellence in customer service to all of her clients. Sheis one of our 3 Real Estate listings on the SASKATOON DIRECTORY and loves to provide Trusted Tips that help the public! 

Here Marla share a useful tip that everyone can take notes on:

Keeping your home safe when you are on vacation!

Murphy's Law for travelers: If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong while you're on vacation -- which is arguably the worst time a household calamity can strike. Coming home from your honeymoon, African safari or Mediterranean cruise can be gloomy. But returning from a memorable journey and learning something has gone seriously wrong at home can be downright devastating. To make matters worse, a house or apartment left empty while its owners are traveling is a tempting target for criminals. I don't want to scare you -- or leave you fearing for your treasured belongings while basking on a Caribbean beach. But it's imperative that every traveler take certain key steps to keep his or her home safe and sound while seeing the world.

Basic preventative measures (which take only minutes to complete) can work wonders to help you avoid power surges, broken pipes, home invasions and more.

1. Ask a Friend to Help A simple, albeit crucial, way to gain peace of mind while traveling is to ask a friend or neighbor to keep an eye on your house while you're away. First, bribe your friend with some freshly baked cookies or cupcakes. Next, ask him or her to drive by your home once every day or so and check on the place. Give this person a key so that he or she can bring your mail in, feed your cat, water your plants, rake your leaves, etc. If you don't use a garage, you may also want to give this person a key to your car -- you never know when your vehicle may need to be moved. He or she should also have your contact information and a copy of your itinerary in case of emergencies. Do you have more than one person visiting your house while you're away? If so, tell them about each other! If the watchful neighbor you asked to keep an eye on your abode calls the police on your elderly cat sitter, don't say we didn't warn you.

2. Don't Tip Off Criminals on the Web In a world where it seems everyone is blabbing about their business on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, it's important to stop and think: who exactly is reading this stuff? The anonymity of the Internet can encourage us to share personal information without fully realizing that there may be hundreds of complete strangers receiving our daily musings. Would you announce to a crowd that you will be leaving your house unattended for two weeks this December? If not, then you should think twice about posting your detailed vacation plans on Twitter or Facebook -- especially if that information is visible to Internet users other than your friends and family (and it probably is). Be careful what you say on your answering machine or voice mail too. Callers don't need to know that you're not home -- they just need to know that you can't come to the phone right now.

3. Do Tip Off the Police Always notify the police if you're going on vacation. No need to let the cops know about a weekend getaway, but do call them if you're leaving town for longer than a week. It's possible the police may go out of their way to drive by your house while on patrol, especially if you live in a small town. You may also want to contact your local neighborhood watch program if there's one in your area.

4. Curtains Closed -- or Open? Before you leave for vacation, you may decide to close your curtains to prevent people from peering inside your home to see whether you're there. However, closed curtains also stop those who aim to help -- the police, your neighbors or friends -- from seeing inside your house. So what's your best bet? Leave your curtains exactly as you usually keep them when you're home, since noticeable changes could hint that you're not around anymore -- especially if your curtains are uncharacteristically left closed for two weeks. Move expensive items, like jewelry or cash, out of plain sight if they're visible from the window.

5. The Lights Are On But No One's Home Don't leave your lights on at home throughout your entire vacation in an effort to make it look like someone is in the house. Your electric bill will end up more costly than your mortgage, and, of course, leaving the lights on is not exactly "green" behavior. Plus, house lights blazing throughout the night might look a bit odd, no? Instead, purchase a light switch timer that can turn your lights on and off automatically according to a programmed schedule. Criminals keeping an eye on your house will notice lights flipping on and off, and will probably assume someone is doing the flipping.Nextag.com offers a comprehensive list of light switch timers available for sale online at a variety of price points.

6. Stop Your Mail Either place a "stop" order on mail and newspapers or arrange to have a friend or neighbor pick up your mail while you're away. Otherwise, a week's worth of letters piled on your front step could signal to criminals that this particular homeowner is out of town. It's easy to put your mail on hold; that's why there's no excuse not to do this. Just go to the United States Postal Service Web site and you can place a "stop" order in a matter of minutes.

7. Put That in Your Pipe If you live in a cold region of the world and your pipes are in danger of freezing during winter, you have another compelling reason to leave a house key with a friend while you're traveling. Ask your friend to stop by and check your faucets. If he or she turns on a faucet and only a few drops of water come out, your pipes may be frozen. Take other precautions like making sure your pipes are properly insulated or keeping your heat on while you're away. Show your key-bearing companion the location of the water main shut-off in case a pipe breaks.

8. Pull the Plug Unplug your television, computer, toaster oven and other appliances to protect them from power surges. Do this to save power as well. According to theConsumer Energy Center, many appliances use power even when they're turned off.

9. Remove Your Spare Key That plastic rock isn't fooling anyone. If a criminal figures out you're away on vacation, it's likely that he or she will check your porch for a spare key. So reach under the mat, into the mailbox, above the door frame or into the flower pot and remove your spare key before you leave on your vacation.

Find Marla Online at http://www.century21.ca/marla.janzen  she is a Century 21 Fusion Realtor Sakatoon based at 703 Circle Drive, Saskatoon..or checkout her listing in REAL ESTATE SASKATOON here on www.trustedsaskatoon.com  , Marla Janzen is your SASKATOON REAL ESTATE EXPERT.

Stay Trusted my friends

 

DECORA HOMES a SASKATOON HOMEBUILDER expert answers a Facebook Fans question on the SASKATOON DIRECTORY of Tips and resources

www.trustedsaskatoon.com  the SASKATOON DIRECTORY of expert's  FaceBook fan Cathie Calarco-Watson asked a great question..

“ What is the checklist to follow when seeking a new home builder or renovation company? (credentials, references, association memberships etc). As it is the largest investment one typically makes, it is critical to know you can trust your contractor, particularly in a time of economic growth where "everyone" is a builder/contractor. A friend of mine just lost over $20,000 to a contractor who never completed the job and is nowhere to be found. Do your "homework"”

We have already heard from one of our Trusted SASKATOON CONTRACTOR and RENOVATION experts J.A.B.A. Construction in a previous tip ..now here is a response from Heather Kehoe from Decora Homes, a Trusted SASKATOON HOME BUILDER expert!

"Hi Cathie, Thanks so much for your question, and I am sorry to hear about your friend's unpleasant experience. I agree with all of the points and the checklist that Dave from J.A.B.A Construction has given you. In the home building and renovation market it can be confusing and overwhelming trying to find someone who is reputable,reliable and trustworthy,especially when you have so many options. My advice would be to follow Dave's checklist, whether you are building a new home or getting renovations done.

A few other key points:

  • Go and see the homes/and or renovations that have been done by the builder/contracter, check the quality and speak to the clients who purchased the home or had the renos done. Find out what they have to say about the builder and how their experience was. References and referrals are how a business grows.
  • What associations are they a part of and what is their warranty?
  • Does the builder/contractor have a service manager and project manager? These are key components to a successful build or renovation. This assures that the project timelines and possession dates are followed, product arrives, is inspected and is accounted for, the tradespeople are arriving to their jobsites on their scheduled dates, trades and suppliers are following quality and safety standards and install of product is completed as per blueprints and plans. The service manager also communicates with the clients to provide service during and after the build to followup on any warranty or touch ups that need to be looked after. Service and followup are key!
  • How long has the builder/contractor been in business? Is it their fulltime job, or is it part-time or a hobby?
  • Who are the sub-trades and suppliers that they use and how long have they been working with them? This is very important. Having established a committed working relationship with your trades and suppliers shows trust, loyality,consistency and reputablity.
  • What locations do they build in and how many homes do they build a year?
  • Awards and recognition.- Has the builder/contractor had special recognition for quality, customer service, uniqueness,etc? DECORA HOMES Ltd was recently awarded a 2011 Bridges Award and is nominated in 3 categories for the 2012 SABEX Awards in May.

From a reputable home builders percpective they key is to know and understand the clients budget and expectations. Communicate constantly, be honest and have the customer be involved. Does the business owner come on site? What is his/her involvement in the company? At DECORA HOMES, Ricky and Rhonda Iula make it a priority to meet each and every client, and are in the office and on the job site on a daily basis . They ask clients about past experiences they have had with builders/contractors. What did they like/dislike? Contractors and Home builders should ask cliemts what their main concerns are, do not assume that you know the answer to this question! Does the builder/contractor use any online tools? At DECORA HOMES we use an online tool marketed towards builders, trades, suppliers and clients. Clients can log into their buildertrend account and have access to their account 24/7. Each client can view a calendar of what is scheduled to be done at their home daily, which trades are at their home that day and changes to schedule. They can also send messages to us, or suppliers, view what products they have picked, access and approve change orders, view and add pictures, and see documents such as plans, quotes,etc. It is also a easy and reliable way for trades,suppliers,project and service managers to communicate. It is a fantastic tool!

Does the builder have an dedicated Sales Representative/Interior Coordinator to assist clients from beginning to end through their build or renovation? At DECORA HOMES my job is to assist clients in creating and designing the home of their dreams. For most people this is the largest investment that they will make in their life, and it is extremely important that there is constant communication between myself and the client and that they are informed and involved in all decisions regarding their home. Every client is different therefore everyone's ideas and home will be unique. I work directly with the client to establish rapport and a relationship built on trust and honesty. I take the time to get to know my client, what is important to them in a home, what type of floorplan would idealliy fit their lifestyle/household , what are their likes/dislikes. Together we design or make alterations to a floorplan. We work together to create the home or renovation they have envisioned within their budget. One of the benefits of my job is I get to spend time with the clients and suppliers, assisting the client in picking out all their product, getting quotes, coordinating samples,etc. For some clients this can be the most daunting part of a build /renovation. I schedule adequate time with the clients and suppliers to go over the plans in detail, and make sure timelines are followed. I confirm all product from shingles to flooring, stucco to plumbing fixtures. I love this part!! Assisting a client with kitchen cabinets, granite, flooring,plumbing,etc and watching everything come together is amazing! Thank you again for your question! Feel free to contact me with any other questions or concerns!"

Sincerely, Heather Kehoe Sales Representative

Decora Homes and Renovations

tel:306-260-1711

email: heather.kehoe@decora-homes.com

 

 

What GREAT advice from Heather at Decora Homes for anyone building a home or thinking about major Renovations!  

 

www.trustedsaskatoon.com  is the SASKATOON DIRECTORY of Trusted experts...yet we are MORE than just a Saskatoon Directory, we are a growing library of resources across many many categories.

 

Stay Trusted my Friends SAFE and TRUSTED Of course...always PURELY POSITIVE!

SASKATOON MORTGAGE BROKER Tammy Wandzura answers SASKATOON DIRECTORY fans MORTGAGE questions!

www.trustedsaskatoon.com  has evolved from just a SASKATOON DIRECTORY into a comprehensive Saskatoon resource tool when people are doing research BEFORE they buy.

We know that 95% of Canadians 25million plus internet users, do research online before they purchase...generally the more money something is...or the less they know about the subject ( that could be something like painiting and design or perhaps they want to learn more about Investing their savings) the more time will be spent researching and educating....now on each of the 40 category pages there is a link next to the category title: click here for tips and resources...when you click you are taken to our blog directory....just select the subject you are interested in from the Trusted Tips..or simply pick the category from the TAG cloud and see everything we have from our experts on the subject you are interested in........Smart and Simple...as always!!

Here our SASKATOON MORTGAGE EXPERT Tammy Wandzura answer some really timely FB fans questions on MORTGAGES in SASKATOON!

Summer Walker asked “ I want to know how to get the best mortgage rate possible from banks. What do you need to go in with to guarantee you get a low rate. What are the right questions to ask to get the lower rate. I know banks won't just offer it right away. First time home buyer here”

 

Tammy Wandzura a Trusted Saskatoon Mortgage Broker Expert said:

 “ Hi Summer, the traditional lenders do not offer their best rates up front. There is no way to know if they are offering their best rate. Typically they start high and only lower the rate if they know they are in a competitive situation. That is the beauty of working with a Mortgage Broker. We offer the best rates up front (from the same lenders that you are struggling with)

 

Kimberly Denis Robillard asked “ realistically, How much money should I have for a down payment on my first home? I won't be looking for another 2 yrs and I will be looking for a modest 3 bedroom. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed when it comes to home ownership.”

Tammy Wandzura a Trusted Saskatoon Mortgage Expert answered

“ Hi Kimberly, the current rules (subject and rumoured to change in the future) is that you require 5% down to purchase a home. We have numerous programs available at this time to assist clients with Free down payment options, but there are many benefits to larger % down payments.”

There you have it folks...Trusted Tips from a Trusted SASKATOON MORTGAGE Expertsright here in Saskatoon...we are the Peoples SASAKATOON DIRECTORY and we care about you! 

 

Thanks Tammy Wandzura...you gave us Smart and simple responses....and to the point...

Stay Trusted my SASKATOON Directory friends..SAFE and TRUSTED of course!

WISEGUYS MATTRESS are SASKATOONS MATTRESS Experts..here they share a Trusted tip we all need to hear!

Wiseguys Mattresses Saskatoon offer incredible value to their customers through a boutique style shopping experience, customized service and unbeatable prices. They aim to have every customer leave the store confident in their decision to buy, and with a guaranteed good night's sleep on their best SASKATOON MATTRESS.

Mark from Wiseguys Mattress,  Saskatoon Mattress experts, shares a Trusted tip

Everyone always asks me ' Mark..what's the best bed I sell?'  I always answer, "The one that works best for you."

When buying a bed, the person you are dealing with should be asking you questions to guide you towards something designed for your sleep needs. Every body is different and there are general rules to go by, but at the end of the day you should go with what you find comfortable. Here are two things to keep in mind when looking for a new mattress...

1: Always make sure you get a minimum 30 day sleep satisfaction with your purchase

YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE TO BUY ANYTHING ELSE BUT THE MATTRESS TO GET THAT. If you are told that you must purchase a mattress pad or protector to receive a sleep guarantee; then they don't care if you’re happy, they just want more money from you. I sell protectors and HIGHLY recommend them, but you should never have to buy one just for a warranty. Some places will even tell you that you would have no warranty on your bed unless you buy their mattress pad. THIS IS TOTALLY FALSE. You ALWAYS have a manufacturer’s warranty on a new product. I would never recommend purchasing extra or extended warranty for your mattress; the manufacture’s warranty and a good mattress protector are all you ever need. Paying for extra warranty is simply a way to separate you from your money.

2: Never fall for terms like pedic.., chiro.., back.., doctor.., posture... etc on mattresses or brands.

These terms are thrown around all the time to give you the illusion that they are "good" for your back. Every manufacture will use terms like this on mattresses which will have nothing to do with back support at all. Many manufactures have endorsements from institutions or organizations, or work in conjunction with institutions, which is great, but if this is their main selling point, well maybe that’s all they really have, just a paid endorsement. Some brands that I carry have endorsements, but I don't even mention it to my customers. Why? Because nothing should be influencing your decision except comfort. Nobody can tell you what’s right for you, except YOU.

Listen to Mark...he's " Da Boss"  after all..and he works in YOUR best interests..guaranteed!

Find Wiseguys Mattress , Circle Dr. E. Saskatoon,fan them on Facebook or check out their listing here in the Saskatoon Furniture Category on THE Saskatoon Directory of excellence. They are YOUR Trusted SASKATOON MATTRESS Experts right here in Saskatoon!

Trusted SASKATOON CONTRACTOR and RENOVATIONS Expert answers a Question from a Trusted Facebook Fan!

A Trustedsaskatoon.com Face Book fan Cathie Calarco-Watson asked a great question

  “ What is the checklist to follow when seeking a new home builder or renovation company? (credentials, references, association memberships etc). As it is the largest investment one typically makes, it is critical to know you can trust your contractor, particularly in a time of economic growth where "everyone" is a builder/contractor. A friend of mine just lost over $20,000 to a contractor who never completed the job and is nowhere to be found. Do your "homework"”


“ Cathie, I am very sorry to hear about your friend's unpleasant experience with his contractor. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for homeowners to be ,let’s say " ripped off " by a contractor that is suddenly nowhere to be found. I hear about these all the time. I advise homeowners to look at a process which involves some homework. Everyone has a track record in this industry and simply following up with referrals of previous customers is one of the easiest ways to start your research. Another great starting point is finding out if they belong to any associations and if there are any complaints registered against them. You should also find out how long have they been in business, if they are registered to work in Saskatchewan, if they have liability and WCB insurance and if they "get it in writing" with written contracts, receipts for work invoiced and deposits that are taken in advance.

Feel free to use the checklist below as a tool to find your contractor.

  __ Ask for references from previous customers - follow up by actually contacting them and find out their work, their service and their professionalism

__ Ask for an actual copy of their business liability certificate and letter of good standing from WCB

__ Ask if the contractor will take out a permit and if they can meet the inspection requirements

__ Ask for a copy of their business registration or GST number

__ Ask if there is warranty

__ Find out if there are any complaints registered against them

__ Ask how long they have been in business

__ Find out what associations they belong to

__ Review their construction contract (you may even want to have a laywer review each clause before you enter in to the agreement)

__ Meet with your contractor and find out if they are a suitable match to your needs - can they bring suggestions to the table, are they clear, are they are responsive to your questions / concerns. "

Dave Anderchek, President Platinum Homes Plus Incorporated

 

As always, the BEST advice is to choose a TRUSTED SASKATOON CONTRACTOR expert ..you'll be glad you did!

 You don't want a house like this

Stay Trusted my friends..SAFE & TRUSTED of course!

 


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