If you are finding that your work, family and social life is leaving little or no time for cleaning, you are not alone, many people are in the same boat and are turning to out-sourcing their cleaning to a third party. There are a variety of different things people choose to do, some people advertise for and then interview and hire themselves a part time cleaner, thus making themselves an employer. Whereas others choose to hire the services of a cleaning company, finding that there are plenty of advantages to using a professional service:
• Cleaning companies typically have insurance which is included or can be included in their charges to you, this covers your belongings in the event of anything getting damaged, lost or stolen. If you hire an independent cleaner you will not be covered and so will have to pay for damages or loss yourself.
• A cleaning company has a number of employees working for it, this gives you the peace of mind that if your cleaner is off sick or on holiday, you will still have someone to clean your home.
• Using a cleaning company cuts out the need for you to advertise for a cleaner, then go through applications to find suitable candidates set up and conduct interviews, before eventually making a decision on who your cleaner will be. The cleaning company hires and fires the cleaner and will allocate a cleaner to your home.
• As the cleaning company is the employer of the cleaner not you, it is them who is responsible for paying the taxes in the money earnt by the cleaner. Furthermore it means that you do not need to familiarise yourself with the employment laws and your duty of care as an employer, if you hire a cleaning company you are a customer and nothing more.
• Cleaning companies more often than not, supply their own materials and products, whereas if you were to hire a cleaner you would need to supply all of this and would be responsible for re-stocking products and materials as they run out or reach the end of their usable life.
• If you need a more thorough clean (for example if you have guests staying over) a cleaning company can provide more than one cleaner to you.
• Cleaning companies offer a range of specialised cleaning services that most independent cleaners are unable to undertake:
- Traditional Domestic cleaning: This is basically cleaning your entire home, the things that need to be done. This includes vacuuming, cleaning and mopping hard floors, dusting and wiping over all surfaces, ornaments, furniture and the ceiling an lights. Cleaning the kitchen, including the oven, the surfaces sink and taps and floors, this is also the case with the bathroom.
- Deep Clean: this is similar to the traditional domestic clean, however, it cleans absolutely everything. This is ideal if, for example, you are moving into a new home and you want it to be cleaned first, or you are getting your home ready for viewings, and especially if you have put off cleaning your home for a while and things have now become stained in a way that you’re not sure how to clean.
- There is no obligation to hire a cleaner on a weekly basis with a cleaning company, you can have a one off service to get your home clean and help you to keep on top of the housework.
- Oven Cleaning: companies are able to thoroughly clean your oven inside and out using non-toxic and fume free, odourless products so that you can still use your kitchen.
- Carpet Cleaning: companies have specialised carpet cleaning equipment that will deep clean carpets removing all dirt and bacteria, as well as all stains and marks, making the carpets look and smell cleaner and feel fluffier and newer.
- Upholstery Cleaning: companies have equipment to clean the fabric of sofa’s and chairs, along with the materials to clean and polish wooden furniture, removing any stains and marks.
- Rug Cleaning: usually companies will need to take your rug away to clean it, and then return it back to you, however some firms will clean the rug in your home. The service includes deep cleaning the rug to remove dirt and germs as well as odours and stains.
Nicole is a passionate writer, devoted mum and housewife. She enjoys writing about healthy home organizing. More at: http://www.0800carpetcleaning.co.uk/
Paying off your home should be a priority, no arguments there. Are you concentrating on that goal so much that other retirement savings plans are on the back-burner until you’re comfortably mortgage free? Does this give you a level of diversity that protects you from economic or market fluctuations?
There are two schools of thought on this issue. One is that if you are mortgage free not only will you have a low cost home when you retire, you will have a large asset that will hold its value and give you a reliable nest egg when you’re ready to down-size. That’s definitely a solid plan.
The other view point is that by putting all your eggs in one “nest” means you are limiting your ability to maximize on other, possibly more lucrative, investment vehicles that could put you further ahead come retirement.
If you are making extra payments towards your mortgage but not investing in an RRSP is that the best way to go? If you put lump sum payments on your mortgage or double up or increase payments regularly you could be shortening the life of your mortgage at the cost of other benefits. You are saving perhaps 4% in interest on the amount you pay your mortgage down by but what if you could earn 9% on those same funds? Is it worth giving up 5% in interest rate earnings to see your mortgage balance go down faster?
For example, if you were to take any extra cash you receive and put it into a TFSA with a higher return on investment you could theoretically take the earnings generated in your TFSA once a year and put a lump sum payment on your mortgage. Earn the money for the lump sum by making your money work for you.
Also, if you were to invest in an RRSP the tax break you get by way of a refund would make a nice little lump sum mortgage payment each year while building up a tax deferred savings account.
Another option if you have significant equity in your home is to get your home working for you.
Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) are separate from your actual mortgage. They give you on-going access to your equity. The Government of Canada restricted HELOCs to 65% of your home’s value. But for the right client the HELOC can be a powerful investment tool.
Being separate from your mortgage you can use a HELOC strictly for investment purposes and therefore any interest you pay on funds drawn from that credit line can be written off.
Some saavy homeowners will use a HELOC to buy an investment property with a level of mortgage and property costs that can be supported by the rental income generated from that property. Thus they have a self-sustained investment building yet another nest egg.
Other owners draw on the credit line to make short-term, high-return investments that they then cash in to pay off the credit line and put any earnings from the investment itself back onto their original mortgage. The Smith Manoeuvre is a shining example of this technique.
There are lots of different ways to look at the retirement issue and each plan needs to be built around your lifestyle and goals. A comprehensive analysis by a financial planner is highly recommended as well as a consultation with your accountant.
Kristin has been in the mortgage finance industry for 11 years and independently licensed since 2002. She currently works for Dominion Lending Centres. For information, you can contact Kristin at www.kristinwoolard.ca or call her at 604-319-6573.
Visiting a friend or family member’s new home for the first time is a special occasion, and you can help your loved one celebrate the transition by offering a creative gift. If your pals are former renters, they may not have all the things necessary to make a house a home. Their landlord likely took care of chores like yard work, and they may not have had space for many appliances or special touches. Consider what they may need, then select a thoughtful and useful gift from these suggestions.
Housewarming Gift Ideas
Most former renters do not have basic yard tools, but they will wish they had them during the first spring in their new home. Include these items packed in a basket or wheelbarrow:
- Hose nozzle
- Grass Shears
- Weeder – Rake
- Knee Pad
- Packets of seeds or a selection of bulbs
- Gardening gloves
- Pruning shears
Tools can be difficult to find when moving, and the new homeowners are sure to need these basic tools as they transition. There are full lines on tools designed for women now that are light weight and smaller in scale:
- Screwdriver with interchangeable tips
- Measuring tape
- Utility knife and blades
- Adjustable wrenches
- Putty knife
- Safety goggles
If they are planning on painting, add a paint roller, brushes, tray, painter’s tape, drop cloth and other helpful tools.
Help them keep the celebration going with a kit that has everything they need to throw a party once all the boxes are unpacked.
- Board games
- Wine glasses
- Cheese board
- A mix CD with party music
A Kitchen Starter Kit
If your friends are used to takeout and microwave meals, outfit their new kitchen with basics that will have them cooking real meals in no time. Give a small appliance, like a crock pot, coffee maker, food processor, tea kettle, can opener or hand mixer, or put together this kitchen starter kit.
- Large, medium and small skillets
- Sauté pans
- Small sauce pot
- Cake pans
- Cookie sheets
- Pie dishes
- Casserole dishes
- Serving spoons
- Knife set
- Wet and dry measuring cups
- Spice rack with common spices, like oregano, thyme, rosemary, chili powder and cinnamon
A Cleaning Kit
The new home most likely needs a good cleaning. Make it easy with this creative kit:
- Broom and dustpan
- Mop – Sponges
- Cleaning solutions
- Latex gloves
- Paper towels
- Dish rags