Learning the Difference between Mold Contractors

  Mold removal in a home or business is an expense that most property owners do not plan for. However, when toxic mold spores infest a residential or commercial building due to excessive moisture, flooding, sewage backup, or any other water damage, remediation is necessary to prevent harmful health risks to occupants of the property as well as preventing deadly structural damages to the building itself. Due to the inherent health risks, mold remediation is part of an industry that is heavily protected by third-party governing bodies like the Institute of Inspection Cleaning Certification (IICRC) as well as the United Sates Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and OSHA. Hiring a mold removal contractor is a process in which property owners must exercise extreme precaution before choosing the right company for the job. Finding the right contractor means more than finding the best bargain price for services. Residential and commercial mold remediation requires certified technicians and project managers to carefully map out a scope of work while completing the service with precision and caution. Knowing the difference between mold contractors who follow these strict guidelines as opposed to the general restoration companies who may potentially cut corners to save time and money can save property owners a lot of time, money, resources, and property damage. First and foremost, proper containment must be set up in order to ensure the safety of...

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How to Find a Qualified Window Installer

  If you’re thinking about replacing the windows in your home, make sure to invest as much time in finding a qualified window installer as you do in selecting the right windows for your house. Locating a qualified window installer in your area may be easier than you think. Along with the traditional ways of locating installers, such as the Yellow Pages and searching businesses online, here are some fast and easy recommendations from the experts at Simonton Windows to help you find the best installers in your area: Tip #1 – Go to a window manufacturer’s website to see if they have a preferred installer program. Many window manufacturers require contractors to go through classes and training sessions to make sure they understand the specifics of proper window installation. Once they achieve a preferred installer status, these professionals are then promoted on the company’s website in a geographic breakdown, so it’s easy for you to locate an installer that meets the company’s criteria in your area. Tip #2 – If you’re purchasing your windows through a major home improvement center, such as The Home Depot, they will have an installer program. You can hire your installers through the home center at the same time that you order your windows. Tip #3 – Ask your local lumberyards, distribution centers and building product dealerships for recommendations on quality window installers...

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Valuable Fraud Prevention Tips for Homebuyers and Homeowners

  March is Fraud Prevention Month. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has consistently been a leader in the fight against mortgage fraud and offers the following tips to protect yourself from becoming a victim of mortgage fraud. Misrepresentation of Information Mortgage fraud occurs when someone deliberately misrepresents information in order to obtain mortgage financing that would not have been granted if the truth had been known. This can include: • Misstating one’s position or inflating one’s income or length of service at their job; • Misstating employment status (ie. salaried/full time versus contract, part time, hourly or commission-based or self-employed); • Misrepresenting the amount and/or source of the down payment; • Purchasing a rental property and misrepresenting it as owner-occupied; • Not disclosing existing mortgage and/or debt obligations; • Misrepresenting property details or omitting information in order to inflate the property value; • Adding co-borrowers who will not be residing in the home and do not intend to take responsibility for the mortgage. Another common form of fraud is when a con artist convinces someone with good credit to act as a “straw buyer.” A straw buyer is someone who agrees to put his or her name on a mortgage application on behalf of another person. In return for their participation, straw buyers may be offered cash or promised high returns when the property is sold. Often, straw...

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Freshen your Closet this Spring with These Tips

    Spring is the perfect time to give your home a fresh start, and one of the best places to begin is with your clothes closets. Admit it: There are items lurking there that haven’t seen the light of day in a very long time. Follow these tips from the cleaning experts at The Maids to rejuvenate your wardrobe and your storage spaces. 1. It’s time to be ruthless and save only the items that you are excited to own and wear. Alternately, follow the one-year rule (or the two-year rule if you are a softie) and get rid of everything you haven’t worn in that time period. The only exemptions should be for garments that hold special meaning for you. Gently worn items can be sold or donated to charitable organizations. Or, gather friends together for a clothing swap. 2. Some people might prefer to take everything out of the closet to begin the cleaning process. But if that sounds overwhelming, plan to break up the cleaning task over a few days. Sort out shoes one day, pants and skirts on another, and so on until you have examined everything. Launder any items that need it. 3. Organize the space in a way that makes sense to you. For instance, place warm-weather clothing on one side and cool-weather items on the other. Place like items together: all...

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A Fixer Uper To Do List

I Liked this article so much, I wanted to pass it on to you.  Enjoy…… Gas fixtures take precedence over leaky pipes, roof Barry Stone Inman News™   DEAR BARRY: We just bought an old house that needs fixing up. There’s so much to do, we hardly know where to begin. How would you suggest that we prioritize all this work? –Mary DEAR MARY: The first items to repair are those that involve safety, such as electrical violations, faulty gas-burning fixtures, problems with the fireplace, or defective guardrails. Second on the list are things that leak, such as plumbing fixtures, corroded pipes, faulty drains and the roof. Next are items that affect the use of the home, such as heating and cooling systems, cooking appliances, and showers. Finally, there is the long list of cosmetic upgrades, renovations, and routine maintenance and repairs. Doors, windows, cabinets, and other fixtures will need various repairs or replacements. Before you begin, a professional home inspection would help to know which issues are most in need of attention. DEAR BARRY: We bought our home two months ago, and our home inspector said the roof was in good condition. But we just had a big rain, and now the living room is all wet. The roof repairs will cost $680, and we just paid $250 for some outlets that didn’t work. According to the home...

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Lease-Options Are Back!

A lease-option is utilized when a potential buyer wants to lease or rent the property with an option to buy it at a later date. The potential buyer pays separate consideration for the option to purchase at a later date to remain open for a specified period of time. If the potential buyer does not exercise the option, or does not pur­chase the property within the option time period, then the potential seller keeps the option consideration and retains the property. Generally, lease-options are done in a slower real estate market where the seller cannot simply sell the property outright. In this situation, a buyer, who may not have enough money for a down payment, can lease the property while they accumulate the money for a down payment. Often a portion of the monthly payment by the potential buyer will go toward the down payment. The option agreement must desig­nate a price or state the price that will be determined by some Objective stan­dard when the option is exercised. Because the parties have entered into a binding agreement, the potential buyer may sue for specific perfor­mance on the option, requiring the potential seller to sell the property to the potential buyer under the terms of the agreement. The agreement must, therefore, contain all “material” terms for a purchase and sale to proceed. Before proceeding with the lease­ option, the...

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Tax Season – 6 Advantages of Homeownership

As we enter tax season, it’s a great time to review the tax advantages associated with owning your own home. Of course, consulting your tax advisor is always the key to ensuring that you receive the most updated, accurate information and that your write-offs are right-on, but here is a brief overview of what are generally considered some of the typical deductions that might help maximize the returns on your investment, as well as some new developments that took effect in 2007. 1. Mortgage Interest Payments. A major tax advantage for homeowners, mortgage interest is usually deductible on a primary residence, as well as on a second home meeting certain requirements. Every January your home loan lender should provide you with a Form 1098, which outlines the amount of interest you paid for the year.“For example, if a homeowner’s monthly mortgage payment is approximately $2,000, he or she may pay only a few hundred dollars to the principal per month, particularly if the homeowner has only been paying on the mortgage for a few years,” says Charlie Rogers, managing director of Countrywide. Of course, the balance of the payment is applied toward the interest. In just one year, that can add up to thousands of dollars in deductions. 2. Mortgage Insurance Payments. Your 2007 mortgage insurance payments may be tax-deductible, since Congress extended the mortgage insurance deduction for an...

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