Monthly Archives :

March 2017

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The Importance of Hiring a Licensed Contractor

A bid from an unlicensed contractor in Saskatoon will probably be much lower than one you’ll get from a licensed contractor. They’ll promise to do the same work (and oftentimes for less money) and while it may be tempting to take it, know that there are risks to hiring a contractor that is not licensed in Saskatchewan. If you’re finding your contractor on buy and sell websites, make sure you do your due diligence and in comparing quotes, make sure you comparing apples to apples. There is nothing more frustrating for a reputable contractor than to find out that you chose a fly-by-night contractor because they came in lower and when looking at their estimate, it didn’t include x, y and z.

What does it mean when a contractor has a license?

The Contractor Is Backed By the Province

In Saskatchewan, licensed contractors are required to have insurance which provides the homeowner with some financial recourse if problems arise.

Most provinces have a dispute resolution program and only by using a licensed contractor will you be allowed to take advantage of it. Provincial funds will be available to you to help you resolve disputes and compensate property owners.

All contractor members of Kijenga are required to carry a valid license. If you encounter any problems with a licensed contractor or a tradesman, the provincial licensing board will be your ally in resolving any disputes.

The Contractor Has Insurance and/or Bonding

As required by the city or town, the contractor must hold the minimum insurance and/or bonding to obtain a contracting license. The contractor is required to demonstrate proof of insurance whether you live in Saskatoon, Warman, Martensville, or rural Saskatchewan.

The Contractor Can Apply For Permits

A licensed contractor can apply for a building permit on behalf of the homeowner with written consent. Before a contractor can obtain a building permit, they must prove to their municipality that they are licensed and insured.

The Contractor Is Competent

The Ministry of Government Relations certifies Gas-Fitters and Electricians while the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission (SATCC) regulates all other trades in the province.

Before working in the field, compulsory trades require tradespeople to have their Certification of Qualification. Basic competency is tested during the licensing process as a way to screen out the dishonest contractors. A qualified contractor should have a valid license.

Will a license always be required?

Because each city, municipality and province has a different set of requirements, ensure you know what they are specifically for where your home is located. Most provinces will require contractors to be licensed and/or bonded while some may not. Because licensing requirements change, check with both your provincial and municipal office to verify if there have any updates or if additional licences or permits are required.

For homeowners in Saskatchewan, remember that contractors are required by law to have a direct seller’s licence before soliciting you for work. Ask to see their licence and request for the contractor’s full business name and address. You can confirm if the licence is valid by searching for them on FCAA411. If they work for a company, check their registration status.

If you’re looking for a licensed and certified contractor, post your project for free and we will match you up with reputable and certified contractors we have already verified for you. Get a few quotes, compare the home professionals and make a hire! It’s that easy. If you’re looking to find some sweet deals, you have to check out our online marketplace. There is something for everyone.

Happy Hiring!

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5 Home Improvements to Increase the Value of Your Property

Whether you plan to live in your Saskatoon home for a very long time or are considering selling it sometime in the future, making improvements to your home’s basic elements is crucial to protecting your property’s value.

Even the smallest improvements are an investment and may yield to future returns. And if you don’t plan on selling anytime soon, upgrades to your home is certainly still a lifestyle enhancement that you deserve.

If you’re thinking of remodelling your home this summer, consider starting with the following upgrades.

  1. Upgrade the Exterior

There are endless possibilities for improving your home’s exterior. You could start with a new coat of paint or upgrade the gutters. However, it’s best to put your focus on what is essential first.

Saskatoon’s frigid temperatures that rapidly change can cause damage to your roof with ice damming. With the snow melting on rooftops and re-freezing along the roof’s edge, your roof may have suffered some damage over the winter season.

Your gutters, siding, and foundation are good places to start looking for signs of wear, cracks, and any damage that is visible. You can potentially save yourself thousands of dollars in future repairs by detecting and repairing these problems early on.

With the essential elements of your home exterior like the roof and gutters in working order, you can now start considering aesthetic upgrades like a new coat of paint, dressing up the front or door, or adding accent trim.

  1. Remodel Your Kitchen

Many start with the kitchen when they want to increase the value of their home dramatically. Adding new energy-efficient appliances and phone charging stations are great ways to modernize any kitchen. But if you’re seeking to add more timeless appeal, think about natural stone surfaces and wood flooring. Nice new touches would include lighting fixtures, additional storage and waste areas, and devoting a unique space for pets.

And if you want to go beyond remodelling your kitchen, consider upgrading your home with the addition of an outdoor kitchen that boasts a built-in grill, a fire pit, and even a stone pizza oven.

  1. Invest In Natural Stone

There are materials that simply never go out of style and one of them is natural stone. It’s true that installing natural stone like granite can be quite expensive. However, when you take into consideration the longevity and durability of granite, it proves to be a good investment.

Natural stone isn’t just limited to your kitchen and can also be used in pathways, entryways and other exterior areas of your home where it will add to the home’s aesthetic value.

  1. Rework the Bathroom

Because the bathroom is one of the most used rooms in any home, it will probably need the most refreshing particularly if it’s been neglected. Even the smallest bathrooms can use some reworking, and it can be as simple as adding new lighting or adding additional storage.

You may want to remodel your bathroom because it is completely outdated, has plumbing problems, or no longer safe to use. Or maybe you just want to increase the value of your home.

Whatever your reasons, the best place to start is by replacing any construction materials that have been infested by mold or mildew. From there, you can make additions to your bathroom that will reduce the future growth of mold like additional ventilation or radiant heat flooring that naturally heats the rooms evenly.

  1. Create Curb Appeal

Before getting too caught up in the endless garden and landscaping possibilities for your home, remember that the best environment for your home should complement your house’s proportions and existing features.

A Saskatoon landscaping contractor will present you with a sitemap of your home that will show where it is most fitting to add paths, trees, grass, flowers, fountains, and lighting. From there, you can start to plan the details like choosing the plants for your flower beds and landscaping rocks like gravel, crushed stone or river rocks. Additionally, a landscaping professional would advise you on the best plants and materials that are ideal for Saskatoon weather.

When it comes to home upgrades, you’ll have endless options for aesthetic enhancements, and improvements. Partner with a home professional for the specific areas of your home that you want to invest in to ensure that you have someone experienced to give you the best advice on home improvement that will last and most importantly, fits your lifestyle.

If you’re planning a bigger project or renovation, post your project for free and we will connect you with multiple contractors we have certified and verified for you.

If you’re simply looking to get things done and tackle a few home improvement projects, you can save a little money by checking out the deals available on our Kijenga Marketplace. There is something for everyone!

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How PST Changes Affect You as a Homeowner in Saskatchewan

The provincial government announced their 2017 budget this week and it has hit the construction industry hard. Saskatchewan construction companies and contractors must collect provincial sales tax on new contracts starting April 1, 2017.

The move targets builders’ labour and overhead costs. It’s expected to add $345 million each year to provincial coffers. It’s one of the single largest contributors to government revenue in this year’s budget.

How does it affect you as a homeowner? Let us explain.

The budget decision by the Government of Saskatchewan to apply the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) to construction labour puts the province at a competitive disadvantage, raises new barriers to investment, and triggers the potential to an ‘underground’ economy, according to the Saskatchewan Construction Association (SCA).

With the average new home in Saskatoon and Regina selling for close to $450,000, it is estimated taxes will now raise the sticker price of that house to $478,500. That’s significant! As a homeowner, you’re directly affected by these changes that come into place next week.

It’s going to have a huge impact on affordability. It is estimated this will raise the prices of new homes by at least five per cent in Saskatchewan. Imposing PST on renovation contracts may backfire, as it may encourage more builders to take on cash-only jobs.

To soften the blow for contractors, they will be exempt from paying PST on materials starting April 1, 2017.

Saskatchewan is now the only province in Western Canada to fully tax construction labour which will inevitably leads to higher costs in new development and renovations. By applying this tax on construction labour, people are going to sit on their wallets and we’re likely going to see homeowners seek out and hire unregistered and uninsured contractors as a result.

As we have heard numerous times over the last couple days, the addition of the PST onto construction labour is a tax on growth. Combine that with the economy and the softened market – it’s a big blow. It does make Saskatoon and Saskatchewan a less competitive and less attractive market for investors.

Construction remains the second largest private sector employer in Saskatchewan and it’s important to recognize the role of construction to facilitate growth. The announcement by the government will make it more difficult for the construction industry to prosper, now and for years to come!

Saskatchewan’s finance minister noted the change will no longer allow contractors from out-of-province to bring in cheaper materials, then outbid local firms on the final construction cost. I guess that’s a positive if you’re going to make lemonade out of lemons.

Now as a final takeaway, if you’re planning a renovation, building a home or tackling a few home improvement projects this summer, try get into an agreement with a home professional prior to April 1st and it could save you a ton of dough!

Starting April 1st, you will be forced to pay that 6% PST on your home projects. If you’re looking to get a quote on your project and get scheduled in with reputable and certified contractors, post your project today and let us help you out! Here is how it works with Kijenga!

If you have any questions, please contact us at 1-844-545-3642.

Happy Hiring!

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5 High-Tech Trends to Improve Your Home

There are countless home improvements that homeowners can make in Saskatoon. They can be as big as knocking down a wall to make the kitchen and dining rooms flow into one big space or retiling your master bathroom, or it can be as simple as changing your cabinet knobs and drawer pulls.

When deciding to make upgrades to your home, why not consider these five high-tech home upgrades that were designed to make your life easier, more efficient, and safer.

  1. Solar Panels

Homeowners are not only getting smarter but more responsible when it comes to making improvements to their homes. Greener and energy-efficient solutions are now on many property owners list of upgrades.

According to the EnergySage Solar Marketplace Intel Report, solar panels can satisfy more than 85% of a home’s electricity demands. Solar panels produce electricity minus the noise and the emissions and make financial sense. They’re great for the environment and based on an average amount of sunlight, home, and system; you can cut back on about half your monthly electric bill.

Fun fact – Saskatoon is one of the Sunniest cities in Canada! Solar panels are ideal for Saskatoon homeowners because there is approximately 2,268 hours of bright sunshine a year and 319 where the sun is shining.

  1. Smart Locks

Smart locks, much like regular locks, keep your home secure by keeping intruders and thieves out thus keeping your valuable possessions and loved ones safe. Smart locks, however, have an added functionality that makes life not only safer but easier. It automatically turns on your home’s smart lights when you unlock the door. The many smart lock options allow you to work with other smart home products and your mobile devices.

  1. Smart Thermostat

Speaking of smart products, the smart thermostat is intelligent home technology that will help you save on electricity, heating, and cooling. The smart thermostat works with other smart products like the smart lock and will turn on to your preferred settings when the door is unlocked.

If you’re looking at getting a NEST thermostat but the installation is a daunting task, you have to check out this deal on our marketplace. Get it done for you! View Deal

  1. Surveillance Cameras

According to Statistics Canada, there were 9,407 property crime violations that included breaking and entering in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 2015.

Installing cameras around your home will give you an extra layer of protection and those placed outside your house will let thieves know you’ve got a security system in place. And beyond keeping your home secure, indoor cameras can help you keep an eye on things around your house like your children and your pets.

  1. Vacuum Baseboards

Also known as sweep inlets, vacuum baseboards can be easily installed in a new or existing home. This clever addition to your home will make you get rid of your old dustpan by letting your central vacuum do all the work. Just sweep the debris you’ve gathered with your broom near the opening of the inlet, open the valve, and let your central vacuum system suck it away!

There’s a common misconception that technology comes with a hefty price tag. While some do, consider them as investments on the overall appeal and value of your home. Some home trends will only add to the beauty of your home while others, like the high-tech trends mentioned here will prove to be ingenious ways to make life so much easier.