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How To Effectively Use Your Home Equity

posted by Trusted    |   July 3, 2014 11:07

Is it time to renovate that kitchen or put an addition on your home? Or maybe you're tired of paying those high-interest credit cards. Or you're considering purchasing an investment property. If you're self-employed, you might need a cash infusion. So, where do you get the money? Well, if you have enough equity in your home you might be able to borrow against it.

Here, Deb Murdoch, your Trusted Saskatoon Mortgage Expert, provides some information about utilizing your home's equity. 

Your home's equity is an asset you can use, either by:

• borrowing against it with a second mortgage

• or a home equity line of credit (HELOC)

• or by refinancing

There are pros and cons to all three options. Let's take a closer look at the possibilities!


This is an entirely new loan on the property, and pays out the existing mortgage. You can choose to refinance to take advantage of a lower interest rate or take out cash to pay off debts or to renovate. There has to be sufficient equity since you can only refinance up to 80% loan-to-value (LTV) through conforming lenders. However, if you're in the first year or two of a fixed-rate mortgage, the penalty to refinance may be onerous.

Second Mortgage

A second mortgage is a separate loan on the property, but is still secured by the property. This is a popular way to get much-needed cash quickly -- the application process is fast, as is the turnaround time. Second mortgage lenders focus on the property and the equity available. The interest rate will likely be higher because a second mortgage is riskier than the first. For example, in case of default, the first mortgage lender has the first right to proceeds from a sale or power of sale. However, there are situations when a second mortgage can be advantageous, especially if you already have a great mortgage rate on your existing first mortgage.

Home Equity Loans and Lines of Credit (HELOC)

A HELOC can be a stand alone first mortgage or an all inclusive collateral mortgage. The loan is approved using the same basic criteria as a mortgage loan. The full amount of the money is made available up front, and you can access as much or as little as you want. It's an installment loan that acts as a revolving line of credit. You access the credit line online, by using a cheque, credit card or by using your debit card. The "credit limit" is determined by the equity, but you'll only pay interest on the funds you use.

Whether you choose any of these options depends on your financial needs and situation. For example, if current interest rates are lower than the rate on your existing first mortgage, refinancing may be the best choice. However, if rates are up, taking out a second mortgage might make more sense. Or, depending on what your needs are, selecting a HELOC may be the way to go.

Stay Connected

Together, we can determine the best option that fits your needs. I will work closely with you to ensure you're achieving your financial goals. To find out which of the three options suits you, call me today.


Check out Deb's Spotlight Profile for her contact details and more information about her services!

How Not to Build a Deck

posted by Trusted    |   April 22, 2014 11:21

Barbecuing, sun-tanning, and just relaxing in the fresh air with a book are some of the best things about summer. Looking to put in a new deck to enjoy as the weather gets warmer? If this is a task you are thinking you'd like to try to take on yourself, there are a few things that are important to know before tackling the job. While building a deck can be a fun and fulfilling project, simple mistakes could turn your project into a very costly or even dangerous nightmare. Here, your Trusted Saskatoon contractors share 5 of the most common mistakes to avoid when building a deck yourself. 

Selecting The Wrong Material

One of the worst mistakes to make when building a deck is to select the wrong building material. Often people buy the wrong wood or use nails where braces are needed, etc. Personally, I have come across dozens of decks built with fencing material. What seems like a cost cutting method could add up to major costs in just a few years. Most fence material has square edges, which chip and break off under the slightest amount of foot pressure. This wood also tends to be knotty and often warps in any weather condition. 

Not Sealing Your Deck

When a deck is built with pressure treated wood, it is recommended to avoid sealing it for 6 months. For some homeowners, six months can turn into a couple of years before they know it. When a deck is not sealed, it will start rotting in a hurry. Make sure to properly clean and seal your deck and check it often to make sure it doesn’t need to be sealed again. To check your deck before you wreck your deck, pour a little water on it to see if it absorbs. If the water is absorbed, it is time to seal it again. A little maintenance goes a long way. 

Incorrect Riser Heights

One of the most confusing aspects of building a deck for an aspiring carpenter, is cutting the stringer. There is a little math involved that often causes first timers to make the mistake of cutting incorrect riser heights. All of the risers should be the same length except for the bottom riser. All of the other risers will lose the depth of the tread once it is put on, so the bottom riser should be a tread depth smaller than the other risers. It’s an easy mistake to make when taking everything else into account. 

Improper Drainage

This mistake is actually a series of mistakes that many budding builders make. When building your deck, you want to make sure the water drains in an efficient manner. If the deck is attached directly to your house, it is important to use the proper flashing to make sure water doesn’t accumulate on the side of your house, rotting your structure. It is also important to leave a little space between your planks to allow for drainage. Last but not least, consider sloping your deck .25 inches for every 12 inches away from your house. Doing this will help keep water from accumulating on your deck. 

Incorrect Placement of Beam Splices

More often than not, beginning carpenters make the assumption that separating the distance of beam splices between the different plies is important. While it can help if done properly, It is more important to make sure your splices sit on top of posts. Some designs make it possible to stagger the splices and sit them atop separate posts but if this isn’t possible, make sure to sit your splices on top of your posts, even if they are only inches apart between plies. If you avoid this warning, you could be rebuilding after inspection. 

Building a deck can be a fun and rewarding experience as long as you plan ahead and avoid these costly mistakes.

Happy Building!

Trash or Treasure your Wedding Dress?

posted by Trusted    |   March 11, 2014 11:49

Has your wedding photographer offered you a "trash the dress" photography session? Do you want the fun of seeing yourself in your wedding gown in unfamiliar places? But you also love your wedding gown. Can you do both—"trash" your wedding gown and treasure it forever, too? Your Trusted Saskatoon dry cleaners, Family Cleaners, share a tip on preserving your wedding gown even if you choose to do a trash the dress photo shoot. 

Just because the wedding photographer calls it a trash the dress session does not mean your dress will be ruined. In fact, these sessions are sometimes called "free to flaunt" or "rock the frock". For a wedding photographer, it’s all about the creative shot, and some really creative ideas take you to dusty or damp places. But these shots can often be the ones you like best of all.

If the only unusual views your photographer intends to film are on dry land, don’t worry! We should have no trouble removing whatever soil you pick up from trailing across a field or beach or through some historic barn or covered bridge. 

If you want to pose with pizza or some other food—no worries. Cleaners, especially a cleaner who specializes in bridal gown cleaning and preservation, are used to dealing with food, grass, mud, grease, and wine.

However, if your trash the dress session includes paint balls, make sure the paint is water based. Water based paint can be removed from your bridal gown—although it is much harder to get silk bridal gowns completely clean than gowns made from artificial fibers such as polyester. That’s because natural fibers are hollow, and anything that stains a silk wedding gown penetrates the fiber and acts like a dye.

The most dangerous environment for your wedding gown is water. Unless your wedding gown is an artificial fiber such as polyester, be careful about wearing your gown while you swim. If your wedding gown is made from a natural fiber such as cotton, linen, and silk, it may shrink if you dive into the water—especially if the water is hot. Hot water is much tougher on fabric than cool water. There’s still another water problem if your wedding gown is silk: it can be almost impossible to remove all the wrinkles from a silk wedding gown that has been in water. That’s why so many brides who take their wedding gowns to the cleaner on the corner end up in tears. If the cleaner washes your couture silk satin wedding gown, it will look a rumpled bed sheet and not much can be done to fix the mistakes made by a cleaner who has little experience with wedding gown cleaning. For an experienced dry cleaner who can tell you exactly what will be safe for your wedding dress you intend to preserve, contact us! (306) 242-6944

Visit Family Cleaners at 132 Avenue B North, or find them on Facebook and Trusted Saskatoon

5 Cleaning Myths You Probably Believe Are True

posted by Trusted    |   February 5, 2014 10:02

Glass Slipper Cleaning & Concierge is locally owned and operated, providing reliable cleaning services for homeowners in Saskatoon and the surrounding area. They appreciate your trust and know they have to earn the right to keep it! Glass Slipper owner, Angela Sipko, is a hardworking, kind-hearted professional who believes in providing the best possible experience for her clients. Trusted Saskatoon is confident that after Glass Slipper Cleaning & Concierge has been to your home, it will pass anyone’s “white glove test”!

Angela, owner of Glass Slipper, debunks some myths about cleaning!

Disinfecting and cleaning are the same.

Although bleach and vinegar are seen as ‘super cleaners’, they have led to many misconceptions about disinfecting and cleaning. Cleaning and disinfecting are NOT the same thing. Cleaning is a way to remove dirt and grime at a surface level to prevent the spreading of bacteria and diseases. The more debris that is removed at the cleaning stage, the better your disinfectant will be able to do its job. Disinfecting makes a surface free and clear of all microscopic organisms by killing things like bacteria, viruses and fungi which can lead to infections or disease. Two common household solutions that get mixed up are bleach and vinegar. Bleach is a disinfectant. This means that it helps to kill bacteria and other viruses on a surface but does not clean it. If you are looking to disinfect an area, it is best to clean the surface with a cleanser to clean before disinfecting. On the other hand, vinegar can act as a great cleaning and deodorizing agent on a variety of surfaces. It can damage porous surfaces like stone and unsealed grout and dull the finish of hardwood floors so be mindful of what areas in your home it’s being used on. Unlike bleach, it does not kill microorganisms that can lead to infections.

You should vacuum first.

Unless your floors are so dirty that the thought of walking over them sends chills down your spine, always vacuum last. It’s always best to follow the top down cleaning rule for every room in your home. While you’re dusting and wiping down furniture, dust, hair and other particles will collect and fall to the floor. If floors are not vacuumed after you are finished dusting, it can resettle on areas you have already cleaned. Although it’s appealing to get what can be seen as the most time consuming task done first, vacuuming first will require you to do it a second time after you’re done cleaning the rest of the room. So much for a time saver! Did you know that regular vacuuming helps your carpet last longer? Dirt and grit are abrasive and when they get ground into the carpet, they can ruin carpet fibers.

Use furniture polish every time you dust.

Furniture polish is great for keeping your wood furniture healthy and new looking. For regular cleaning, it is best to use a microfiber cloth to remove dust. Polishes tend to contain oils that can create a sticky film that attracts dust. You should either skip it or use it once in a blue moon to get that ‘polished’ look. Our best advice is to use what is recommended by the furniture manufacturer, and use it sparingly.

If it smells good, it’s clean.

It’s been proven that scented and unscented versions of the same product clean equally well. So why do we assume a surface is clean because it smells good? The sweet smell of pine or lavender comes from the chemicals or natural oils in the product you’re using, not the cleanliness of the surface. The best way to know a surface is clean is to do the touch test. If it feels clean and looks clean, chances are you have sufficiently removed dirt and grime from the surface.

The more product, the better.

FALSE. Use the proper amount of soap or cleaner specified. We know how tempting it can be to add more ‘cleaning power’ for a bigger job. But when you can’t rinse all that excess soap away, it’s going to leave a sticky film that attracts more dirt and grime. Follow the directions and you’ll get better results. Extra isn’t always better. Just remember the only thing you need more of is a little elbow grease. So roll up those sleeves, get your trusty rubber gloves, and get to work!

Visit Glass Slipper's Spotlight Profile for contact details and to connect on social media!

How to Enjoy Doing Chores

posted by Trusted    |   January 14, 2014 11:20

Glass Slipper Cleaning Services is locally owned and operated, and they provide reliable cleaning services for homeowners like you in Saskatoon and the surrounding area. They appreciate your trust and know they have to earn the right to keep it! Glass Slipper owner Angela Sipko is a hardworking, kind hearted, professional who believes in providing the best possible experience for her clients. Trusted Saskatoon is confident that after Glass Slipper Cleaning Services have been to your home, it will pass anyone’s 'white glove test’.

Here, Angela, the owner of Glass Slipper Cleaning Services shares her latest Trusted Tip on cleaning!

Let’s face it. Nobody actually likes cleaning. It’s just something that needs to be done to keep our places from becoming dirty and looking like something out of an episode of Hoarders.

So, how do we make everyone’s least favourite chores a little more fun?

Well, I’ll tell you!

Get a friend to help you.

Cleaning can be quite time consuming and overwhelming if you’re doing it alone. As the old adage goes, ‘the more the merrier’…right? So maybe a friend won’t actually help, but a spouse, partner, roommate, or kids are great resources. Divide tasks evenly so everyone knows what to do and will avoid getting in each other’s way. When all hands are on deck, the job will get done quicker. Sure, there may be an IOU for their efforts, but do you really want to spend your Saturday cleaning house alone? I didn’t think so.

Rock out with your broom out.

I’m a huge advocate for playing music to get just about anything done. Something about a catchy tune helps me to get work done more efficiently. But when it comes to cleaning, I find it especially effective. There’s nothing like dancing around a room, blasting Madonna, and making your vacuum your newest dance partner. Not to mention that singing along and working to a beat makes it a little more entertaining than working in complete silence.

Make it fun. 

Come on downnnn…to The Clean is Right! If you have someone willing to help you clean, make it fun. Challenge roommates or siblings to see who can clean their room faster. Use a garbage bin as a hoop to toss garbage into. Or, you can play ‘what’s missing’- clean an area and see if someone can guess what’s missing that was there before. Games can be effective in teaching young kids how to clean, while making it a fun experience as opposed to a chore. Set a timer and challenge them to pick up as much as they can in a designated time. Be creative- the possibilities are endless!

Shape up while you clean up.

Why not take advantage of the opportunity to get 2 birds with 1 stone? For those of you who love to exercise, or for the ones that can’t get enough time in the day to do it, cleaning can help. Put on your favourite tunes, preferably something with a fast beat, to help you pick up your pace. Tighten your abs and stretch to reach extra-high areas. Making big movements, like doing big circles when cleaning a shower door, will help those arm muscles. Start lunging while vacuuming and it won’t just be your house that’s in tip top shape!

Break Time.

To avoid feeling overwhelmed (especially if your house looks anything like mine), take breaks as you clean. Set a timer for 10-15 minutes and rest for a minute or two, drink something or have a snack. Many people tend to get less and less motivated while cleaning, so try eating a favourite food, dress up funky, or pretend to be someone else to keep yourself from getting bored or tired and stopping.

Get someone else to do it.

The most fun way to clean is by not cleaning at all! If you’ve got way too much on the go or just don’t want to waste precious down time on cleaning, hire in the professionals. It will free up your social calendar so you can enjoy your free time but just be mindful that it will cost you. If money is an issue, look to do professional cleans on an occasional basis and mindfully manage your space in between.

You’ll notice it’s easier to clean in small doses on a daily basis than a big overhaul at the end of the week.

Find Glass Slipper Cleaning Services' Spotlight Profile for more information!

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