I Need Housecleaning Help – What Do I Do?

People hire housecleaning services for various reasons.  Sometimes, the job is only a one-time or short-term job such as preparing a house for a move in or move out.  Some people hire housecleaning help on an on-call basis.  Others need cleaning services Vancouver on a regular weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly basis.

You probably have a good idea of what kind of house cleaning Vancouver service you need and now you want to know what kinds of questions should you ask your candidates.

Before you ask the house cleaner…

First, ask some questions of yourself:

  • Referrals:  ask for referrals from friends and family who are happy with their cleaning service.
  • Frequency:  how often do you want house cleaning Vancouver services?
  • Special needs:  special needs can refer to specific tasks, scheduling, health issues, etc.

o   Which time of day and week do you need or prefer?

o   Are there specific areas or belongings of the house that you do not want to be cleaned?

o   Does anyone (or any pet) have chemical sensitivities or allergies?

o   Do you wish the house cleaner to use only your preferred cleaning products and equipment?

o   Do you have pets that will need to be secured during cleaning time?

o   Do you have standing appointments or errands that must be accommodated when scheduling house cleaning time?

Ask the future house cleaner…

Once you have identified what you want done, how, and when, create a list of questions for the future home maid services Vancouver.

  • Background:  ask for general information about each candidate’s background as a house cleaner – how long has the candidate been in the cleaning business, what services are provided, how many houses does the candidate clean, what sets that person’s cleaning services apart from others’?
  • References:  ask for and contact every reference.  References should be clients who have used the candidate’s cleaning services for at least six months.  You are seeking reassurance from each reference that the candidate does an excellent job and is to be trusted.
  • Written agreement of services and policies:  will the candidate provide a copy of what services will be provided as well as cancellation policy and payment forms accepted?
  • Rates:  what will the house cleaner charge to clean your house?
  • What won’t be done:  what types of jobs will the candidate not do, or only will do for additional payment?

Your sparkling clean house

You are about to build a new relationship that will hopefully be a long and happy one.  The success of it depends on clear communication, patience, trust, and a bit of trial and error.

It may take several cleaning sessions before your new house cleaner has got everything cleaned just right and in the time frame expected.   You may need to make some minor adjustments but the end result will be a clean house that is always welcoming to you and your visitors.

The Care and Feeding of Your Granite Countertops

Granite CountertopsThose granite kitchen and bathroom countertops Victoria, part of the pride and joy of your house, need to be cared for.  They require regular cleaning, occasional stain removal, and re-sealing.

Granite is a most obliging natural material.  It is scratch, heat, and stain resistant.  But while granite can resist scratches, heat damage, and stains, it is not impervious to damage.

Protecting your investment

Here are some simple cleaning and maintenance tips from your granite countertops Victoria specialists:

  • Keep countertops clean:  this is the first principal of granite care.  Clean your countertops with warm water and a few drops of a mild dish washing liquid (using only light-colored liquid dish soap that contains no aromatics).  Wash countertops, rinse them with clear water, and dry them with a soft cotton cloth.

NOTE:  Plain soap and water can build up on the surface over time, giving your polished granite countertops a dull appearance.

  • Sealant:  a commercially prepared granite sealant can protect your countertops from damage – up to a point.  When properly applied, sealant can reduce the absorption of liquids, oils, and stains into the slightly porous surface.

Eventually, sealant will wear off.  You can easily assess its protective condition by sprinkling some water drops on the countertop.  If the water soaks into the granite instead of beading up, the countertops need to be resealed.  Sealant can be done on a yearly maintenance basis or as needed.  You can reseal the surface or have it professionally done by a countertops Victoria stone specialist.

  • The DO NOTs:  there are several important things that you should not do to your granite countertops.

Don’t allow spills to remain: blot up all spills and smears as soon as possible using a paper towel or soft cloth; wiping them only spreads the spill.

Don’t use powdered cleansers on your granite countertops – ever: the pumice in powder cleansers is abrasive and will damage the stone.

Don’t use acidic cleaners containing ammonia or vinegar – ever.

Don’t stand on countertops:  although granite seems indestructible, inconsistencies in the slab may create weakened areas that are invisible to you.  Excessive pressure can cause the slab to crack.

Don’t place hot pans on countertops:  granite is heat resistant but an extremely hot item left for longer than a few minutes can harm the stone.  Use a trivet or mats to protect countertop surfaces.

It’s a good practice to use trivets, hot pads, mats or cutting boards:  place them under ceramic dishes to protect surfaces from scratches. (Granite may not get scratched by your knife, but your knife blade can quickly become dulled when cutting on a granite surface).

Your beautiful countertops were installed with pride by a countertops Victoria specialist.   With simple, regular care, those countertops can add to your pride of home and last through countless generations.

Unfreezing Your Frozen Pipes

Winterizing your pipes is a good plan when you live in an area where freezing conditions are a normal winter condition.  Frozen pipes are a major inconvenience; frozen pipes that burst can cause catastrophic damage.  You can protect your pipes and property during freezing weather conditions with a few simple steps.

The physics of frozen water

Water expands as it freezes.  This expansion places immense pressure on “containment structure” – the metal or plastic pipes, and can cause the pipes to break.

Plumbers Victoria BC are often called to fix burst exterior pipes.  They know that outdoor hose bibs, pool supply lines, water sprinkler lines, lines in unheated interior areas, and any poorly insulated lines located along exterior walls are all vulnerable to freezing conditions.

When the pipes are frozen

When your pipes are frozen, the most likely locations are where water enters your house.

Thawing frozen pipes takes patience and careful action.  Plumbing Victoria BC professionals recommend the following steps:

  • Keep the faucet open so that water can flow as the frozen area begins to melt.
  • Apply heat.  Wrap an electric heating pad around the pipe, or use an electric hair dryer or a portable space heater to warm the pipe.

o   Aim the heat stream in the vicinity of the pipe; don’t focus the heat from a hair dryer or heater directly on the pipe.

o   NEVER use a blowtorch, charcoal stove, kerosene or propane heater to thaw frozen pipes!

  • Keep applying heat until full water pressure is restored.
  • If you can’t locate the frozen pipe or it is inaccessible, call a plumber.
  • Check every faucet in your home:  there may be more than one frozen pipe.

Protect your pipes

It isn’t always possible or feasible to relocate exposed pipes to protect them from future freezing.  But there are some basic steps you can take to protect pipes from freezing and breaking.

  • Insulate –crawl spaces, attics, and basement, outside taps and pipes (including drain and overflow pipes).
  • Leave the heating system on at all times during cold spells.
  • Make sure that all leaks and dripping taps are repaired before cold weather sets in.
  • Remove outdoor hoses before winter.
  • Wrap or place hose bib covers over each bib.
  • When freezing conditions are expected, let cold water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes.  Even a small trickle helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Leave the heat on in your home (set no lower than 55°F / 12.7°C) when you are away during cold weather.

If you are an inexperienced home owner or renter, consider hiring a plumbing Victoria BC professional to evaluate the current condition of the plumbing, show you preventive steps to protect the pipes during freezing weather, and how to shut off water in case of a plumbing emergency.

Plumbers Victoria BC are experienced at handling frozen and burst pipes.  Be sure you keep their contact information easily accessible and call one of these professionals if a pipe bursts.

Building Your Dream Home on Your Dream Land

For some, it’s always about the land – inherited land, land bought because it’s the most beautiful place on earth, land for your future retirement home – land.  The house is almost an incidental item to the land.  Others see the merger of house and land, particularly if their house is to be developed and built by a custom home builder Victoria.

Call of the land

Building your custom home on land that you’ve selected can be tremendously rewarding.  But selecting the right property for your dream home takes careful consideration and investigation.  As a future home builder Victoria, there are some steps you should plan on taking, preferably before you actually purchase the land.

  • Have the site professionally assessed for feasibility and cost to build.  Your dream location may be so remote that it is inaccessible to power lines, gas, water and sewer connections, and transportation.

An expert builder can assess what it will cost in money and time to link your property to a power grid, water and gas resources, pave an access road linking your property with primary transportation routes, and hauling materials and supplies to the site.  Any of these potential obstacles may delay or completely halt the building of your home.

  • Your dream site doesn’t have to be a remote location.  It might be in an already developing suburban or even urban area.  An expert home builder can guide you through the potential challenges and possibilities of building on property in an existing developed area.

The custom home builder Victoria can determine if a site requires your future home to be supported by below-ground piers.  Another consideration is if there have been environmental damages, the site is on a known earthquake fault, situated in a flood zone, or on (or near) a landslide area.

Your expert will also investigate any easement requirements, zoning laws, architecture guidelines, permits, review processes, and property line restrictions that may pertain to your prospective home site.

Putting house to land

Thanks to some expert guidance, you have purchased land on which to build your dream home.  Now it’s time to put the house on the land.  What do you have in mind?

  • You can choose to have your new home completely custom-designed. This can be an exciting and creative time as you collaborate with a custom home builder and an architect.
  • You may want to consider selecting from a wide range of available house plans.  There may be one design that is exactly right for both the land you have purchased and all your dream house interests.
  • A third option is to customize an existing house plan so that it more fully meets your needs.

You’ve accomplished two major milestones toward building your dream home:  you have purchased your land and begun the process of designing your home.  Trust your professional custom homes Victoria builder to be one of your best allies and resources as you continue building your dream home.

Expats Guide to Settle in America


Life in the UK 

Moving from one place to another, especially having been settled is mixed with excitement and fear. Excitement comes due to change of life and environment, and fear, is because of un-expectation lying ahead. Living in the UK is a great achievement and wish for many people. In recent years, the standard of living has gone up surpassing many big cities around the world. Even though it depends on individuals circumstances, it is hard for an average person to maintain good and balanced life in the UK. Prices of basic things from housing, food, clothing, transport, and entertainment compared to many places worldwide have skyrocketed and hard to meet in the UK. The hard part is when accommodation is for long time.

Moving to the USA

Before moving to the US, it is better to consider the key things and areas you want to settle. It is always advisable to plan ahead of time after doing enough research, and stay within budget. Popular cities with high level of life equal to expensive way of life. For expats moving in the USA are mainly in search of jobs and therefore settling in cities with a stable economy is highly recommended. It is not wise to settle immediately in New York, San Francisco and so on since they are the big and most expensive cities in the USA. Most preferred places to settle are Dallas, Texas, Austin, and Houston among others. Further, note many Americans are moving to less expensive cities and urban.


Many expats around the world move to the USA and that is the reason it is popular multi-cultural country largely dominated by Spanish, Italian, African, Indians and many more. For new expat, it is easy to adjust and get used to life freely. This includes students, and varied professionals from all parts of the world.


Americans are friendly people and most diverse nation on earth. Getting along for expats is easy, though it is wise to gradually be-friend as time goes on until one is fully used and comfortable. While there, it is very hard to differentiate people’s nationalities, since they become easily assimilated by American culture and lifestyle.


The most improved and best transportation in the world is in the USA. Great transport has for long been enjoyed in this country, owing to its good planning. Majority of citizens owns a car, but for those without one or prefer otherwise, use well organized public transport ranging from buses, trains, and cabs. Public transport is very much affordable.


There are many possibilities and job offers that expats may not struggle much without settling. It is no wonder USA, is the world super power country, bearing in mind the number of expats move yearly. The country has a best system and guide on working conditions and job search.

House Rent

Majorities are homeowners, and therefore it is easy for expats to acquire their own homes with time. The process involved is not complicated, and therefore easy to go through. However, at first settling for rentals is a good start, before opting for other alternatives.

Moving is fun and part of learning. Staying in the USA is a good change of weather, environment, and expats adopt easily than any other nation in the world. The process of application is very easy through ESTA system online and no paper work as well as documentation is required.

The Fianancial Decision of Home Ownership

Home ownership is one of the biggest financial decisions we make and usually the costliest.  For some people they would prefer to be life time renters for reasons their own personal reasons.

The permanence of having your own place means being responsible for the maintenance and upkeep rather than leaving it to a landlord.  I believe the ratio of maintenance percentage is 10% of the value annually to attain this.

Our home is nearly twenty years old so some upgrades have been completed.  All the bathrooms have been renovated have been re tiled, the floors and tub surround also a new glass shower in the master bathroom. These were done just in time as we found the start of mould forming in both bathrooms. The home was constructed prior to the cement wallboard used now to prevent mold from forming.

Although the windows are double glazed we are now considering upgrading them to vinyl.  Also the extra insulation factor will help muffle the growing traffic noises since we moved here. One other thought is to install double French doors in place of the existing sliding glass door.

There are many questions to be answered as this is a new experience for us.  Just wondering if this affects the inside finish, drywall or window sills in any way.  And how much mess is left to clean up afterwards, it’s a given decision that we will have the install completed in the warmer months.

We have done new home construction previously, however this is really living in a construction zone. One or two estimates should be sufficient for comparison purposes as well we will check the Better Business Bureau for complaints. Hopefully we will not be required to cut back too much of the landscaping, which makes me think the early Spring may be the ideal time of year. Usually after we trim all the shrubs and trees close to the house it would allow easy access to complete the installation.

Relatives bought a new condo and the soundproofing the newer glass provides will be welcome to deaden the murmur of cars driving on what has become a very heavily used route. And really that’s the biggest issue that concerns us, aside from that it’s not like a new kitchen or something to stand back and admire how lovely it looks.  Although the new French doors onto our back deck will be much more appealing to the whole look of that area.

It’s a large cash outlay but it is important to keep your property in good repair in order to recoup your investment later on.  At some point, whether or we downsize or just feel ready for a change moving will become an option.  The decision now is to use our savings or apply for a small line of credit to cover the cost involved.

Like all projects once you do one change another one comes to mind pretty quickly. The idea is to spread these upgrades out over the years instead of tackling it all at the same time.

Renting vs Owning a Home

After many years of being renters we were discussing the possibility of once more entering the world of home ownership   Renting in the long term is paying someone else’s mortgage and helping them reach their financial goals.

There is also the lack of freedom to choose decorating or landscaping ideas, and a person never can be certain that the property owner may choose to sell the home at any given time. So we felt it was time to explore the feasibility of home ownership once more.

When you are buying your own home you feel you have some control over your  life and cannot be asked to move without warning just as you are getting comfortably settled.

With that in mind we explored our options within the parameters of our budget. Townhouse, condo or a house, would a new build, or an existing residence, which be our best choice. Each option has it’s benefits and of course challenges so which would be the better choice for our family. A condo might be too small and confining for our growing family, and there is the strata fees to be taken into account, The townhouse although a bit larger has the issue of little yard space and proximity to your neighbor  The next step up could be a home built on the smaller lot or a custom home built on a larger plot of land.

In the past we envisioned a home that would encompass all  of our creative ideas.  We had  blueprints drawn up by an architect, our dream home, five bedrooms, four and a half baths, two story Colonial with a walkout basement.

The prospect of building that once in a lifetime home was extremely appealing but budget as a major factor.

So off to see our friendly banker or a mortgage broker is always another route to take. Once we have the monetary concerns settled we could consult a realtor and talk to a general contractor or custom home builder to discuss price and options and compare.

Being able to have control over everything from the colors, counter tops, cabinets, light fixtures, and whether hardwood, carpeting or tile would be a good choice. Although very exciting it can be very stressful and overwhelming to take on such a huge task. With the right professional working with you this will proceed much smoother as they have the knowledge and experience to guide us.

We  will ask for referrals and for homes or any developments locally that they have been involved with.

A search of any available bare land will be one of the first steps and comparing the costs of purchasing a spec home over going with the custom build, it will be an interesting experience no matter what the outcome.

Whatever choice we decide on it will be nice to be a home owner once again.

Is home ownership right for you?

Recently I had a chat with a friend. We were talking about owning a home. She was mentioning a friend who was talking about trying to find a home to buy. But she wasn’t convinced that her friend should own a home.

So our conversation turned to the duties as a homeowner.

The first one is obviously financial. What is your budget when it comes to owning a home? Here’s a nice planner. Do you have enough money to pay for a good size down payment on the new home? If not you’ll have to worry about our next issue.

Are you going to be able to afford the monthly mortgage payments? I talk to many friends who are always stressed about the mortgage payments and other costs that we incur on a daily basis. If you have a family it costs a lot to feed and pay for entertainment.

The next issue thing to think about when it comes to home ownership is up keep. From cleaning the house to gardening, a lot of your time can be spend cleaning the home and maintaining it’s appearance. Do you have a lot of hobbies? Do you like to do the things above? If you answered yes to both questions, you may struggle to find time. One option is to hire a gardener and maid. But that will add to your costs.

Lastly, no matter what home you buy, you’re going to want to change things. Each room will require a lot of changes. This will require money no matter if you hire a contractor or do it yourself. Obviously if you do it yourself your time will be required to do those things. And one thing many people don’t think about is that your home will be under construction a lot. Are you able to live in a home that is always being worked on?

Just because society tells you you must own a home, you really need to think about the questions above before you start looking for a home.