Home Inspection Checklist Benefits

HOME INSPECTION GUIDE

home inspection guide will allow home buyers to better understand the home inspection process. Our inspections are performed to the  National Association of Home Inspectors’ (NACHI) Standards of Practice. It is a thorough visual assessment of the readily accessible features of the property. It is not invasive or destructive in nature.

A general home inspection is a non-invasive, visual examination of the accessible areas of a residential property (as delineated below), performed for a fee, which is designed to identify defects within specific systems and components defined by these Standards that are both observed and deemed material by the inspector.  The scope of work may be modified by the Client and Inspector prior to the inspection process

The general home inspection is based on the observations made on the date of the inspection, and not a prediction of future conditions.

The general home inspection will not reveal every issue that exists or ever could exist, but only those material defects observed on the date of the inspection.

Exterior

including lot grading, drainage, eaves and downspouts, stairs, railings, walkways, decks and porches, exterior finishes, all protrusions through the home, to the outside, including intake and exhaust vents, windows and doors, electrical service entrance, natural gas service, central air conditioning components, garages, garage doors, exposed foundation walls and more.

Structure

Consisting of the foundation, walls, floors, ceilings, columns, beams and roof members. These are the essential components that incorporate the structural integrity and strength of the home.

Roofing

including, coverings, drainage, flashings, drip edges, chimneys, skylights, eaves and soffits and downspouts, vents and all protrusions through the decking and covering and any visible roof-related issues.

Attic

insulation, ventilation and framing.

Interior

walls, floors, ceilings, stairs, railings banisters, windows, doors, egress and insulation and vapor barriers in unfinished spaces.

Kitchens

Including sinks, faucets, drainage, ventilation, outlets and lights

Laundry Rooms

plumbing, ventilation, receptacles, lights, tubs, taps and faucets.

Bathrooms

showers, tubs, sinks, taps and faucets, toilets, valves, exhaust fans, drains, piping and functional water flow.

Heating

outputs of furnaces and boilers, radiators, flues, piping, ducting, air flow at registers, thermostat controls.

Cooling

outputs, thermostat controls, line temperatures and air flows at registers.  Air conditioners are not operated when temperature is below 65 deg F

Plumbing

main shut-offs, piping materials, supply and waste piping, cross connections, hose bibs, clean-outs, water pressure, flow, hot water heaters, gas supply pipes, meter and main shut off, traps and venting.

Electrical

service entrance, main and distribution panels, amperage and voltage of service, main shut off, branch circuit conductors and their over current protection, receptacles, polarity and grounding, switches and light fixtures.  When additional wiring has been added panel board covers are removed and wiring examined.

Garage

Vehicle doors, openers, automatic closers, floors and fume barrier protection.

Home Inspection Tips for Buyers

Out of a sea of homes, you think you’ve found the one that is just right for you and your family. Congratulations! As a buyer, you still have a lot to figure out and many steps to take. One of the most important tasks? The home inspection

Home Inspections Are Important

To help you navigate the process, here are our top five home inspection tips for buyers.

Hire a qualified, experienced home inspector.

Do your own pre-inspection.

Be neighborly.

Know what to expect and be there.

Understand the report and use it to negotiate the best deal.

Hire a qualified, experienced home inspector.

A home inspector’s sole responsibility is to provide you with the information you need to make a buying decision and negotiate a fair contract. It’s really the only way to get a thorough, unbiased, third-party opinion about the state of the house you’re considering. But not all home inspectors are created equal

Before hiring, do your homework. Consider whether you want to go with a large, multi-inspector firm or a small, one- or two-person shop. Large firms may offer you discounts and extra warranties, but you may not know who will actually do the inspection or how much experience on the ground they really have. In smaller companies, like ours, owners are usually very experienced. They continue to inspect homes to stay up to date on changes in the building industry and home inspection best practices. We’ve written about the importance of this decision on our blog

Additionally, know what to look for in a home inspection company. We’ve created a list of questions buyers should ask and what you should look and listen for in response. But there’s one question that stands out as the single most important question to ask: “What will be inspected?” An inspector should demonstrate his understanding of your needs and be willing to go above and beyond the minimum requirements to give you the most comprehensive inspection report. He should show you specifically how he’ll go the extra mile. And he should explain not just the inspection itself, but also what is included in the inspection report in detail.

Halloween Home Inspection Checklist: Bats, Rats and Rotting Flesh

Ask any prospective homebuyer and they’ll tell you how easy it is to fall in love with what looks like a perfect home. In the bright light of day, they’ll declare that home to be made of sunshine and rainbows. Butterflies and unicorns frolic in the back yard. It is utterly, undeniably perfect.

But many homes hide ugly secrets. Deep, dark, dank secrets. From the creepy crawly to the putridly disgusting, there’s plenty you may not know about that perfect home. You have just two ways to discover the truth: One is to simply move in and allow time to reveal the skeletons hiding in your home’s closets. Or you can work with your real estate agent to get a home inspection.

shared a story in which the home seller blocked the inspector’s access to the attic and prevented a complete review of the heating and cooling system. The buyers purchased the home anyway and ended up

Who Does That?

Dealing with creepy critters—dead or alive—is bad enough, but sometimes it’s people who leave you feeling like you should keep the lights on while you sleep. wanted to buy was built in 1925 and had been vacant for several months. Thanks to her home inspection, she discovered that thieves had broken into the home’s crawlspace and stolen all the copper pipe.

Find a Good Inspector Through Your Real Estate Agent

After hearing all these stories, it’s no wonder that 99% of real estate agents recommend their clients get a home inspection before they buy. Problems revealed through home inspections were the top reason buyers cancelled their home purchase contracts last year. Most of the time, however, buyers and sellers are able to renegotiate the contract so the problems are either resolved before closing or the home price is reduced.

Buyer’s Guide To Home Inspections

The home inspection is one of the most important parts to go through during the buying process. This should be a time where you get to go back inside the home and meet with a local inspector at the property. These usually take a few hours, but you will learn a lot about the house during those hours. The home inspection can bring many emotions out of you.

I typically attend all inspections with my buyer because I like to be there if and when something major comes up. I also like to be there so that when it’s time to write up the inspection response, I know exactly what’s in the inspection report.

Your Inspection Checklist:

Roof: What is the age of the roof? Are there any missing shingles? 

Foundation: You will want to make sure there are no obvious cracks in the foundation. Your inspector will point out normal cracks. 

Plumbing: Depending on the age of the house, it wouldn’t hurt to have the sewer line scoped (with a camera) to make sure there are no cracks. Make sure you know if the house is on a septic or sewer, and all is up to code. 

Electrical: This always comes up on older houses. You want to make sure the outlets are grounded, and GFCI outlets are installed where needed (Bathroom, Kitchen, Garage). 

HVAC: When was the last time the system was serviced? How old are the units? 

Exterior: Always check to make sure the trim and other wood areas are free of wood rot. Make sure gutters are properly ran to push water away from the house. 

Windows: Do the windows appear to be fogged up? They may have broken window seals. That’s an easy fix, but usually when 1 or 2 seals are bad, the others may be going bad soon. 

Basement: Be sure to look in the rafters to see any signs of mold. Check the corner walls to see if it looks like water is an issue. 

Grounds: Make sure the grounds aren’t sloping towards the house. This would mean water would drain towards your house which would cause foundation issues. 

Appliances: Not all inspection companies inspect appliances. You will want to open these up and look for any damage or signs that they aren’t working. 

Crawl Space: Check for signs of water, wood rot and termites while your looking down there (or while the inspector is down there).

This is just a quick checklist you can look at while you are there. Most things that you find should be something that the seller may not know about. Usually they will disclose any known problems on their Seller Disclosure forms that you have already reviewed and signed at this point.

Just keep in mind, inspectors aren’t perfect. You will typically find little things pop up after you move in. That is why it’s always good to ask for a home warranty for your first year of owning the house. The day I moved into my house, my garage springs broke on my garage door and I couldn’t get my door to open. Welcome to home ownership!

Home Inspection Checklist

Did you know that 44% of Americans have regrets about the house they bought or the home buying process they went through? To make sure home buying or selling goes without a hitch and all parties involved are satisfied with the transaction, there are home inspection checklists.

What Is a Home Inspection Checklist?

The home inspection checklist is a document that helps both the buyers and the sellers move property easier. They can help sellers inspect the property, measure the comps, and identify the key selling points.

They also help buyers assess the condition of the property during the initial walk-through. Home inspection checklists can be paper-based and electronic. In this article, we will be focusing on the latter.

Why Use an Electronic Property Inspection Checklist?

home inspection checklists are a convenient tool to inspect and record the condition of both the structural and decorative components of a property. Evaluating these items helps the buyers get an insight into the state of the house and its true value.

They also prepare the buyers to ask the homeowner or seller the right questions during walk-throughs and negotiation. Electronic property inspection documents create, store, and edit checklists on mobile devices while avoiding the paperwork that can get lost or damaged.

How To Become A Tax Preparation

Tips of Avoiding a Devious Tax Preparer

There are many taxpayers who have found themselves on the wrong side of the IRS because they used the services of unscrupulous tax preparers. There are also others who have had their refunds embezzled by preparers. It is therefore, important that you research a tax preparer before signing up for his or her services. Below are some tips that will help you spot a crooked preparer:

  • Rate Depends on Amount of Refund – Avoid preparers who base their consultation fees based on the amount of a tax refund that they are able to get you. This is because such preparers use dubious ways of increasing your refund, such as inflate figures or including non-existing dependents. Such deceptive ways of increasing your tax refund can easily lead to both civil and criminal charges and therefore, it is important that you avoid such people.
  • Preparers Who Promise Large Refund – Another red flag for dubious preparers is ones who promise to get you a very large refund check as a way of enticing you to hire his or her services. Once again, such preparers may use illegal ways of raising your refund amount and this may easily get you into trouble with the tax authorities.
  • PTIN Qualifications – When searching for a preparer to hire his or her services, it is important that you ensure that the preparer has a Preparer Tax Identity Number (PTIN). As from a policy started in 2012, the IRS is requiring all preparers to apply for the PTIN after meeting certain meticulous qualifications. Once the IRS authenticates the credibility of the preparer, they issue the preparer with the PTIN. Therefore, confirming that your preparer has a PTIN is an important precaution to avoiding shady tax preparers. Besides having the PTIN, the preparer also ought to sign the tax return form before submitting.
  • Deposit Refunds to Preparer Account – Tax preparers who request you to indicate their address for the tax refunds or deposit tax refunds into their bank account are another red flag sign. A tax preparer should always indicate the taxpayers account for the tax refund.
  • Signing Blank Form – Tax preparers that prepare tax returns and submit without you going through the returns is yet another red flag. Some tax preparers will request you to sign a blank tax return form. They will then tell you that they will prepare and submit the return on your behalf and you do not need to confirm the details. Such an arrangement can lead to the preparer giving false information for selfish gain. Even when a taxpayer uses the services of a preparer, he or she is still held responsible for all the information provided on the return. Therefore, ensure that you verify the information indicated on the return before signing the tax return form.

Tax Refund Identity Theft

Tax refund identity theft happens when bad actors get their hands on your personal information, such as your name, date of birth and/or Social Security number and use that information to file a fraudulent tax return and obtain a refund, redirecting it to their account. It does not matter if your legitimate tax return indicates that you owe taxes or that the government owes you a refund.

Common Warning Signs

  • Rejected return: If an identity thief files a fake tax return for a refund, any additional returns filed using the same Social Security number will be rejected. You may be the victim if the IRS or tax preparer notifies you that your return has been rejected due to a previously filed return under the same Social Security number.
  • Fake wages/employer: Identity thieves will file false tax returns using employer data that does not match your true employer.
  • Collection attempts: The IRS or a tax professional may notify you in writing about additional taxes owed, collection action taken against you or a refund reduction due to unpaid debts known officially as a refund offset. While honest mistakes happen among legitimate taxpayers, it could also indicate a fraudster using your Social Security number.
  • Unpaid taxes in your minor child’s name: If you receive an IRS notification about unpaid taxes in your child’s name, it may indicate his or her identity has been stolen. Identity thieves can use a child’s Social Security number to file fraudulent tax returns and secure fraudulent credit and debt that can often go undetected for years.

Summing it Up: Smart Steps to Tax Safety

Is it easy to avoid being the victim of a tax scam? It is if you know the tell-tale signs of a scam. Following these general guidelines will take you out of the pool of easy targets and set you on a path that is much more secure:

  • File early.
  • Be diligent about account passwords.
  • Don’t listen to calls from the IRS or respond to IRS emails.
  • Think before you act—honest institutions will never force you to make a decision or act on the spot. Commit to never responding immediately out of pressure.
  • Don’t EVER use public Wi-Fi for tax filing or banking.
  • Don’t click on links or download attachments in emails that claim to be from the IRS.
  • Always check with the IRS about a bill you’ve received—even if it comes in the mail, but especially if the amount doesn’t seem right to you.
  • For all things taxes, make www.irs.gov your home base

Red Flags that Might Trigger a Tax Audit

Generally speaking, the IRS audits slightly more than 1% of all individual tax returns each year. The IRS simply does not have the personnel necessary to examine too many more than they currently do, so they purpose to audit specifically-selected returns by finding and identifying the tax returns that will most likely result in uncovering unreported income, overstated deductions, false claims, or tax payers that haven’t filed tax returns in a while. So while the odds are in your favor that you will fall into the 99% of non-audited tax returns, there are some IRS Red Flags that, IF YOU CAN AVOID, will help keep you from the audit pool group.

Your chances for being contacted or audited by the IRS are dependent upon many factors, including your annual income, if you omit income yet the IRS has filings and notifications to the contrary, the types, sizes and ratios of deductions or losses you claim, whether you work for a company and in what field you work, if you own a business and the type of business you own, and if you own foreign assets or bank “offshore.” Sloppiness in tax return preparation, errors in math, discrepancies between state and federal tax returns, or wide fluctuations in reported earnings from one year to the next year may also trigger an IRS inquiry, but may not expand into a broad audit. Although there is no guaranteed way to avoid an IRS audit, you should be aware of common IRS red flags that will certainly increase your chances of drawing unwanted attention or an audit from the IRS.

Common IRS Red Flags that could trigger a Tax Audit:

You make too much money

There’s not much you can do about this KEY RED FLAG, but the cruel reality is that government tax agencies are tasks with collecting as much money as they can, so they naturally go “where the money is!” Although the overall individual audit rate is about 1.11%, the odds increase dramatically for high-income filers. IRS statistics prove that in 2011 taxpayers with incomes of $200,000 or more had an audit rate of 3.93%. A 400% greater likelihood! That $200,000+ group is subject to audit —1 of 25 returns in that group. Taxpayers who reported $1 million or more suffered a 1 in 8 chances for being audited. The audit rate drops dramatically for taxpayers reporting less than $200,000 where only 1.02% of tax returns were audited during 2011.

You make too little money

Your income is suspiciously low for your job description or profession and the computer tables will point you out as making much less than others in the same profession.

Significant changes in income

Unexplained fluctuations in income can indicate that something may have been under reported in one of the low income reporting years. Most taxpayers do not have income that swings dramatically up-and-down, and the IRS will want to know what’s going on.

Failing to report all taxable income

Remember, the IRS gets copies of all 1098’s, 1099’s, and W-2’s. If you miss some and your income reporting does not match the records the IRS has, you are more likely subject to audit.

You own a business

Business owners are simply “low hanging fruit” for revenue agents who know that they can almost always find overlooked or underpaid tax liabilities. You are a targeted group.

You own a mostly-cash business or work in a “cash business”

If it can get worse than a sole proprietor this is it! You have a billboard-sized target painted on your back if you operate a business know for mostly-cash transactions. Examples: taxis, limo services, car washes, bars, restaurants, dry cleaners, laundromats, vending routes, waiters and waitresses, etc. Advice? Play by the rules. Keep good records. IRS Revenue agents know how to conduct forensic accounting which is very effective at identifying under reporting taxpayers.

Family members on business payroll

One common method to dodge taxes is to “hire” a family member (perhaps a college-aged student) in order to take more money out of a business at a lesser-taxable rate. There is nothing illegal in hiring a family member so long as they are actually doing the work and you can prove it when asked by an IRS revenue investigator.

Unlikely business deductions

 It may be tempting when doing your taxes in April to book your 18-year old’s computer purchased on December 22nd as a business deduction. What about the iPad you purchased the day prior to your wife’s birthday? How about that ski trip to Colorado for your wedding anniversary – are you really going to expense the gas, hotel, and meals as a business trip? Auditors will have the birth dates of your family members, possibly your wedding date, and are trained to look for significant purchases and expenses in the days immediately prior to birth dates, anniversaries, Christmas, etc. to verify large-dollar purchases, travel, and that entertainment expenses are really business-related. IRS revenue officers would make great party guests —oh the stories they could tell. Be conservative and responsible in booking business expenses and deductions.

The Importance Of Eye Care

Retina Problems: Warning Signs You May Have a Retinal Disease

A Quick Eye Lesson

Before we get into the warning signs, it’s important to understand the different parts of the eye to understand what the retina actually is.

The retina itself is the layer of tissue found at the very back of the eye. When light enters your eye and hits the retina, the retina will process that light information and send signals to the brain through your optic nerve.

Without the retina, your brain won’t receive any signals about what you’re seeing. If the retina is damaged, or degenerated, it can result in vision loss and eventual blindness.

Warning Signs of Retina Problems

Now that you know how the retina works, let’s look at some of the top symptoms that could indicate you have retinal problems.

Flashing Lights

Flashing lights can be a symptom of a number of conditions including migraines, eye injury, and retina problems. If you don’t often suffer from headaches or have never experienced random flashing lights before, this can be a sign that you could have a retinal disease or problem.

As we went over earlier, the retina is responsible for sending light signals to the brain. When the retina is damaged or diseased, it can send incorrect and/or abnormal signals to your brain, which could cause you to experience this “flashing light” phenomenon.

“Dimmer” Vision

Dim vision can be characterized as things looking darker than usual, being “muddied”, and seeing less contrast. Some compare it to how it looks when you wear slightly tinted sunglasses or dimming the light switch on an overhead light.

Double Vision

Double vision is when you see a duplicate version at the same time as the real version. The doubled version is often blurry and less sharp compared to what you’re actually seeing. The two images are often overlapping, layered, and/or blurry, which can be disorienting and uncomfortable for people with this symptom.

While double vision can be a symptom of various disorders, it often points to a retinal issue.

Distorted Vision

Double vision can be classified as one type of distorted vision. However, most people with retinal problems experience a few types of distorted vision, including:

  • Double vision
  • “Wavy” lines
  • Things appearing crooked
  • Blurred vision

The severity of these vision problems can vary, and many people mistake their blurry vision as simply worsening vision related to age. However, you should always be evaluated by an eye care professional to rule out serious issues like a retinal disease.

Specks and/or Lines in Vision

We’ve all experienced this before: you see random dots or lines in your vision for a few minutes before they disappear. These are normal and happen to all of us at some point.

However, if you notice this happening more often, or the lines/specks don’t go away, that could be a sign there’s something serious going on. This is a common sign of retinal damage or degeneration: damaged retinas send incorrect signals to the brain, which can cause you to see these random lines/squiggles.

Blind Spots

We all have one blind spot in our peripheral vision because of how the optic nerve is situated in the back of the eye.

Developing larger or an increased number of blind spots is cause for concern and a definite warning sign of retinal issues. These could be in the form of complete blind spots, large shadows, or something “blocking” your vision in a certain area.

Diabetic Retinopathy

The National Eye Institute reports that about 40 to 45% of diagnosed diabetics “have some degree of diabetic retinopathy,” a form of eye disease in which the retina is damaged. The retina is a thin sheath of tissue that adheres to the inside wall at the back of the eyeball. It contains millions of light-sensitive cells called rods and cones that receive and organize visual information and send it on to the optic nerve for processing.

In diabetic retinopathy, blood vessels that support the retina are damaged by high blood sugars. It’s more likely to develop in people who’ve had diabetes for a long time and in those whose blood sugars have not been well controlled. It usually develops in both eyes. Diabetic retinopathy causes several symptoms including:

  • Spots or dark floaters
  • Blurry or hazy vision
  • Impaired color vision
  • Vision loss

What is the thyroid gland?

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that is normally located in the lower front of the neck. The thyroid’s job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body. Thyroid hormone helps the body use energy, stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working as they should.

What are the symptoms of graves ophthalmopathy?

Eye symptoms most often begin within 6 months of diagnosis of Graves’ disease. Very rarely eye problems may develop long after the thyroid disease has been treated. In some patients with eye symptoms, hyperthyroidism never develops and, rarely, patients may be hypothyroid. The severity of the eye symptoms is not related to the severity of the hyperthyroidism.

Symptoms of Graves’ eye disease include: Feeling of irritation or grittiness in the eyes, redness or inflammation of the conjunctiva (the white part of the eyeball), excessive tearing or dry eyes, swelling of the eyelids, sensitivity to light, forward displacement or bulging of the eyes (called proptosis), and double vision. In more advanced eye disease there may also be decreased eye movement and eyelids, incomplete closure of the eye with corneal ulceration, compression of the optic nerve and rarely, loss of vision.

Prevention

Graves’ disease and usually the associated eye disease cannot be prevented. However, radioiodine therapy used to treat hyperthyroidism is more likely to worsen the eye disease and should be avoided, if possible in patients with moderate or severe eye disease. Treatment with antithyroid drugs or surgery does not affect the course of eye disease.

If radioiodine is used to treat hyperthyroidism in patients with moderate or severe eye disease, taking a corticosteroid drug (prednisone) at the time of the treatment, which is tapered over several weeks may help prevent worsening of Graves’ eye disease.

Smokers are more prone to develop Graves’ Ophthalmopathy than nonsmokers and they should try to stop smoking. Second hand exposure to smoke has the same effect as active smoking and should be avoided.

Eye Infections

The Facts

Many of the viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi that can invade the human body are also capable of attacking the surface or interior of the eye. Infectious eye diseases can be categorized in two ways.

Firstly, doctors normally talk about the part of the eye that’s infected or inflamed. Conjunctivitis, for example, is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the membrane that covers the front surface of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelid. Other possible locations of inflammation include the eyelid (blepharitis), the cornea (keratitis), the liquid inside the eye (vitritis), the retina and the blood vessels that feed it (chorioretinitis), or the optic nerve (neuroretinitis). These are just a few examples – the eye is a complex organ of many parts.

Secondly, eye infections are also classified according to what’s causing them. Ocular histoplasmosis syndrome (OHS), for example, is caused by a fungus (the condition is a type of chorioretinitis). It generally attacks the blood supply of the retina, on the inner rear surface of the eye.

The most common eye infection is conjunctivitis caused by an adenovirus (a type of common cold virus). This type of infectious conjunctivitis is sometimes called pinkeye and is most common in children. Viral conjunctivitis is very contagious because the virus can be spread from the eye to hands that then touch doorknobs and other surfaces that other people use.

There are other causes of infectious conjunctivitis, such as bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus. Bacterial infections occur most commonly in children and tend to result in longer-lasting cases of pinkeye.

Treating thyroid eye disease

If you have thyroid eye disease, your treatment may be in several stages. This is because the condition tends to progress through 2 main phases:

  • an “active” phase, when dryness and redness are prominent and you may be at risk of vision problems
  • an “inactive” phase, when the condition has settled down, but you may be left with some long-term problems (including protruding eyes)

The active phase can last for several months to 2 years.

Correcting thyroid hormone levels

If you have an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) or an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism), you’ll usually be offered medicine to correct the level of thyroid hormones in your blood.

For example, an overactive thryoid can be treated with medicines such as thionamides, which prevent your thyroid gland producing excess thyroid hormones.

Treating your thyroid problems will not necessarily improve your related eye symptoms, but it may help prevent other problems associated with abnormal thyroid levels. It may also prevent bulging eyes from getting worse.

Self-care

You may also be advised about treatments and things you can do yourself to relieve some of the symptoms associated with the active phase of thyroid eye disease.

These include:

  • stopping smoking if you smoke, as smoking can significantly increase the risk of eye problems getting worse
  • using extra pillows in bed at night to help reduce some of the puffiness around your eyes
  • wearing sunglasses if you have sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  • trying to avoid exposing your eyes to irritants such as dust
  • using eye drops to help relieve soreness and moisten your eyes if you have dry eyes
  • wearing glasses containing special prisms designed to help correct double vision

If thyroid eye disease is mild, self-care and medicines to correct your thyroid hormone levels may be all the treatment you need.

Some Aspects You Need To Know About Snake Control

Snake bites

Are snake bites serious?

Knowing whether a snake bite is dangerous or not can be difficult. This article explains what to do — including providing the proper first aid treatment — if you are bitten by a snake. It’s also important to be aware that bites from snakes can cause a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) in some people.

How do I provide first aid for snake bites?

You should always provide emergency care if you or someone else is bitten by a snake — including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), if required.

Keep calm, and follow these steps:

Get the person away from the snake.

Ensure they rest and help them to stay calm.

Call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.

Apply a pressure immobilisation bandage (see below).

Don’t wash the bite area — venom left on the skin can help identify the snake.

If you can’t use a pressure immobilisation bandage because the bite is on the trunk or stomach, apply constant, firm pressure. Do not apply a tourniquet, cut the wound or attempt to suck the venom (poison) out.

Pressure immobilisation bandage

A pressure immobilisation bandage is recommended for anyone bitten by a venomous snake. You should firmly bandage the area of the body involved — such as an arm or leg — and keep the person calm and still until medical help arrives.

Follow these steps to apply a pressure immobilisation bandage:

First, put a pressure bandage over the bite itself. It should be tight and you should not be able to easily slide a finger between the bandage and the skin.

Next, use a heavy crepe or elasticised roller bandage to immobilise the whole limb. Start just above the fingers or toes of the bitten limb and move upwards on the limb as far as the body. Splint the limb including joints on either side of the bite.

Keep the person and the limb completely at rest. If possible, mark the site of the bite on the bandage with a pen.

HOW TO GET RID OF GARTER SNAKES

There are 35 species of garter snakes. These snakes are easily identified by their slim bodies that feature body-long stripes. These stripes come in a number of colors, including red, gray, orange, yellow, and green. It’s also not unheard of to find a garter snake with turquoise stripes. The underbelly scales of all garter snakes are distinctly lighter in color.

Garter snakes don’t have fangs and aren’t venomous. However, they do have a few rows of small teeth and can bite. Their bite can become infected if not cleaned and cared for properly, and some people are allergic to their saliva, although this condition is rare. Even though garter snakes are mostly harmless, they can cause quite a few problems in your home or garden. Need help identifying what snake problem you are having? Check out our Solution Finder for help with identifying and solving your snake problem.

WHAT DO GARTER SNAKES EAT?

Like all reptiles, garter snakes are cold-blooded creatures, so they are often found in locations that offer warmth and food. These slender snakes can enter your home through fairly small cracks. Garter snakes often snack on small mammals, too, such as mice, and small amphibians, such as toads and frogs.

While garter snakes can act as a natural pest control, most people who discover snakes in their home find it to be a frightening experience. Most importantly, garter snakes give off a distinct, foul smell that can infiltrate your home and some experts say garters may be one of the smelliest snakes.

While garter snakes are generally solitary creatures, they generally hibernate in large numbers to prevent heat loss and keep their bodies warm. Due to their combined smell, a large group of garter snakes in or under your home can make your residence uninhabitable.

Snake Mites: Vet Approved DIY Home Treatment

Do you think that you see small bugs on your snake?  If so, these could very well be snake mites. But where did they come from and how do you get rid of them? Truth be told, there are many ways that these mites may have gotten into your snake’s enclosure (more on this later).

Rest assured, even the best snake keepers may get mites into their snake’s enclosure, and getting rid of them without a trip to the vet is possible! There are many different ways that you can get rid of these unwanted creatures. This article will explain what snake mites are and outline the best treatment plan to get rid of them.

Snake mites are very little parasitic bugs that feed off the blood of not only our slithery companions but other reptiles too. Despite their tiny size, mites ARE visible on your snake and easy to see with the naked eye.

In terms of appearance, these mites look like tiny black, red, or grey bugs. The best place to find them is in the thin-skinned areas of your snake, such as their eyes and ears. You can also find them on your hands after you touch your snake, or in their water dish in your snake’s enclosure.

Causes of Snake Mites: Where Do They Come From?

While parasitic mites are most commonly found on snakes, they can also appear on other reptile species such as lizards, turtles, and even alligators. Most often, the color of these mites will range from a dark yellow to a dark red appearance. As far as location goes, snake mites can be present by the vent, eyes, heat pits, and on the underside of the snakes head.

Rattlesnakes

Be Rattlesnake Safe

With the coming of spring and warmer weather conditions, snakes of many species are through hunkering down, making human encounters with these elusive creatures more likely. Although most native snakes are harmless

Rattlesnakes are widespread and are found in a variety of habitat throughout the state from coastal to desert. They may also turn up around homes and yards in brushy areas and under wood piles. Generally not aggressive, rattlesnakes will likely retreat if given room or not deliberately provoked or threatened. Most bites occur when a rattlesnake is handled or accidentally touched by someone walking or climbing.

On rare occasions, rattlesnake bites have caused severe injury – even death. However, the potential of encountering a rattlesnake should not deter anyone from venturing outdoors. The Poison Control System notes that the chances of being bitten are small compared to the risk of other environmental injuries.

The dos and don’ts in snake country

Rattlesnakes are not confined to rural areas. They have been found in urban areas, on riverbanks and lakeside parks and at golf courses. The following safety precautions can be taken to reduce the likelihood of an encounter with a rattlesnake.

Be alert. Like all reptiles, rattlesnakes are sensitive to the ambient temperature and will adjust their behavior accordingly. After a cold or cool night, they will attempt to raise their body temperature by basking in the sun midmorning. To prevent overheating during hot days of spring and summer, they will become more active at dawn, dusk or night.

Wear sturdy boots and loose-fitting long pants. Never go barefoot or wear sandals when walking through brushy, wild areas. Startled rattlesnakes may not rattle before striking defensively.

Children should not wear flip-flops while playing outdoors in snake country.

When hiking, stick to well-used trails. Avoid tall grass, weeds and heavy underbrush where snakes may hide during the day.

Do not step or put your hands where you cannot see. Step ON logs and rocks, never over them, and be especially careful when climbing rocks or gathering firewood. Check out stumps or logs before sitting down, and shake out sleeping bags before use.

Never grab “sticks” or “branches” while swimming in lakes and rivers. Rattlesnakes can swim.

Be careful when stepping over doorsteps as well. Snakes like to crawl along the edge of buildings where they are protected on one side.

Never hike alone. Always have someone with you who can assist in an emergency.

Do not handle a freshly killed snake, as it can still inject venom.

Teach children early to respect snakes and to leave them alone.

Leash your dog when hiking in snake country. Dogs are at increased risk of being bitten due to holding their nose to the ground while investigating the outdoors. Speak to your veterinarian about canine rattlesnake vaccines and what to do if your pet is bitten.

ways to snake-proof your house and garden

Big snakes, small snakes, brown snakes, black snakes. We’ve researched proven methods of dealing with every sort of unwanted slithery creature.

NOTE: Not all snakes are bad! The one pictured is an green tree snake, native to our northern states. These snakes are harmless and an important part of the food chain, feeding on fish, frogs and other small animals.

COVER ALL HOLES LEADING TO HOUSES AND GARAGES

Snakes love crawling into hide-y spots such as roofs, underneath houses, garages etc. Make sure to keep doors closed and install screens on doors and windows.

MAINTAIN A TIDY GARDEN

Keep a well-maintained garden and shed. Keep the lawn low in height and garden beds away from the exterior of the house. Ensure that wood piles are neatly stacked to prevent snakes and rodents from sheltering.

BLOCK CAVITIES IN WALL STRUCTURES

Snakes love rock walls. They’re a ready source of energy (reptiles sun themselves on rocks to warm up their cold blood and muscles), shelter (when they’ve had enough sun) and food (preying on the rodents and frogs which also shelter in the rocks).

MICE AND RAT BAIT

Placing rodent bait around your house and garden will get rid of mice and rats – and therefore reduce the likelihood of snakes. It’s important to place the bait in places where pets can’t get it, such as in grooves and places that are off the ground.

Buying Off Road Truck Tires

Tips To Save Money On Tires For Your Commercial Truck Fleet

If there is one thing that your company might spend a lot of money on, it’s tires for your commercial truck fleet. Unfortunately, tire costs can really add up, but there are a few changes that you can implement to save your company a lot of money while ensuring that you always have safe tires on your trucks.

1. Balance and Rotate Tires

Just as it is important to balance and rotate the tires on your personal vehicle, it’s also smart to do so with your commercial trucks. It will need to be done more frequently than on your personal vehicle, however, since your trucks are probably on the road a whole lot more each month. Ensuring that the tires are balanced and rotated on a regular basis helps ensure that there is regular wear and tear on all of the tires. This can help prevent some from wearing out too quickly and having the need to be replaced.

2. Ask Drivers to Check Air Pressure Regularly

Even though your drivers might think about checking the oil on their rigs when they are filling up, they might not check the air pressure on all of the tires as frequently as they should. Along with having your maintenance crew check the air pressure on all of the tires on your commercial truck when maintenance is being done, ask your drivers to check the air pressure each time that they fill up their rig. Not only can this help preserve the tires so that they last longer without the need for replacement, but it can also help keep your drivers — and other people on the road — as safe as possible and can help your company save money on fuel.

3. Consider Retreading

Instead of always replacing your truck’s tires, you can always consider retreading instead. This allows you to keep your tires for longer without replacement and can be more affordable than buying brand new tires. Once you find that you can save money while keeping safe tires on your commercial trucks, you might find that you actually retread them more frequently than you replaced them in the past.

Buying tires for a commercial truck fleet can be very expensive. If you feel that the costs are really adding up and affecting your company, now is the time to think about making some changes. By making these three changes, you can not only save money, but you can also help keep your drivers and everyone else on the road safe from potential accidents.

What Are Your Options To Cover the Cost of Semi Truck Repair?

Most importantly, year truck maintenance and repairs are estimated to cost around $15,000 annually. Common issues include air/line hoses, alternators, wiring, and brake repairs. Additionally, annual tire expenses can run around $4,000 a year to replace 16 out of 18 tires on an 18 wheeler. So what happens when you run into trouble and need cash to finance inevitable semi truck repairs or maintenance? Commercial vehicle lenders provide a range of financing options.

1. Commercial Vehicle Title Loans

Commercial vehicle title loans can function as a means toward cash for repairs. You can utilize commercial lending for title loans when you own your semi truck and want to use that capital for a loan to cover the expense of repairs. When you take out a title loan, the lender holds your title as collateral for your loan. You make payments to buy your title back and regain ownership. The terms of your loan may depend on the value of your truck as well as your overall credit. You may also be able to approximately determine the your monthly payments and down payment using a loan calculator, or even a commercial loan calculator. While these tools are not definitive, they could help put your finances in perspective. As you consider your options, note that many commercial vehicle financing companies offer commercial truck title loans as well.

2. Refinancing

If you already have a commercial vehicle loan but need fast cash for repairs, you may consider refinancing your loan. If you’re refinancing, you’re already familiar with commercial truck financing, but you may not realize that refinancing could help reduce your monthly payments and save you money. You can use the money you save monthly towards the repairs your semi truck needs. Refinancing can help you direct money toward the demands of your business including tires, regular maintenance and repairs.

3. Personal Loans

It might be tempting to pursue a personal loan when your truck needs repairs and you’re short on funds. However, commercial vehicle loans for bad credit are readily available. Commercial vehicle loan rates can be slightly higher, but are usually more flexible on issues like bad credit or child support issues. Factors like established credit, collateral, a history of payments on a semi truck or home, and a clean record of bankruptcy or repossession will improve your rates on a semi truck repair loan. If you decide to pursue a personal loan, know that a credit check will be a part of that process. Personal collateral as well as business collateral can be useful when you’re trying to obtain any type of loan.

4. Commercial Vehicle Repair Loan

Many lenders offer loans tailored to your truck repair needs. Repairs on one semi truck can frequently run between $10,000 and $20,000. When you work in the commercial transportation industry, you know that every day you’re off the road is a day of revenue or income lost. Many lenders have flexible requirements to qualify for a truck repair loan, and offer loans for less experienced drivers or drivers with bad credit.

If you’ve run into some trouble with your semi truck and need options fast, don’t hesitate. You can finance your repairs to get back on the road and continue earning your living. Consider refinancing, a title loan, a commercial vehicle repair loan, or a personal loan when you’re at a crossroads.

Leveling Kit vs. Suspension Lift Kit

Now that you’ve decided to raise your ride-height, the next step is finding out just how much lift is right for your rig. Whether you’re just looking to run larger tires or you want enough ground-clearance to crawl over any crag, it’s easy to customize your truck’s inch-count to suit your driving style. But with suspension upgrades that range from average to extreme and affordable to expensive, finding the right lift can be overwhelming. You don’t want to go too big or too small — so find one that’s just right with a little help from AutoAnything.

Leveling kits

A leveling kit can deliver the up to 2.5” of additional space you need to clear up to 33” all-terrains. Leveling kits are far less expensive than an entire suspension lift and, therefore, much easier to install. If you want to go higher than a few inches, though, you’ll need more suspension components to keep your vehicle in proper alignment. Below, we’ll give you a sampling of the different kinds of leveling kits on our site, and an example for you to investigate.

  • Airbag kits, exemplified by the Air Lift Air Bag Suspension Kit
  • Coil spacer kits
  • Coilovers, Lifting coil springs
  • Rear block kits
  • Torsion key kits.

Lift kits

If the goal for lifting your ride is greater ground-clearance and off-road capabilities, a suspension lift kit is the way to go. This pricier solution delivers an overall boost of anywhere from 4” to 6”, but, if you’re looking to roll with 35” tires or larger, you’ll probably need to go north of 4 inches. While this may be the more labor-intensive and costlier option, a quality lift kit will guarantee every component is raised right. That way, you can count on years of rugged rock-crawling.

  • Body lift kits
  • Coil spacer kits
  • Lifting coil springs
  • Lifting leaf springs
  • Rear block kits

How will lifting my truck affect the ride?

Just the Facts

Choosing your lift kit is the first step to gaining the modifications you desire. Unfortunately, there is no “one kit fits all” option available, so finding and choosing your lift is very important. First, you must determine your budget. Once you have that established, you need to consider what the vehicle will be used for, what size tires you want, and the factory suspension specifications for your vehicle type. This will help you determine whether you need a body lift or a suspension lift.

A body lift uses blocks and spacers to lift the body 2-3 inchers higher on the frame without altering the suspension. This is a great option if you are looking to modify the look to allow for bigger wheels and tires at an affordable price! With a body lift, the stability of your truck can be impacted due to the increased ride height, so if you are looking to take your vehicle off-roading, a suspension lift is the right choice for you.

Once you have established your desired aftermarket equipment, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Stability

When you lift a vehicle you increase its center of gravity. It is not unusual for vehicles with higher and wider tires to have greater stability, but you should still take the time to get to know your new modifications and their limitations.

Suspension and Ride

A rough-riding kit can cause unexpected issues—like additional fatigue on long trips and wear on the truck itself. Generic suspension tuning can lead to loss of suspension damping which could lead to a much more serious problem. You may consider torsion bar twisting to cut costs, but it’s really only acceptable for the purpose of leveling. Torsion bar twisting only adjusts the level at which the truck sits in during its suspension travel. This means tires that rub at stock height will still rub with the twisting. To maintain smooth ride and suspension, consider spending the extra dime for reservoir shocks, coilover shocks, custom leaf springs, or traction bars to tame your suspension and improve your ride.

Driveline

The vehicle’s frame and body move up and away from the differentials when you alter a truck’s suspension to make it higher. Driveshaft angles can become extreme and often cause vibrations, bind, and can experience premature wear. It can also cause issues with your CV joints. While many kits contain spacers, they are not always your best solution. Custom-length CV axles are the preferred method, but you can also consider installing pinion wedges between the axle and the spring pack to avoid driveline issues and extend the life of your lifted truck.

Gearing

When you up the tire size, you lose engine power. The bigger the tire, the greater highway cruising power you get, but for pretty much any other kind of driving, it’s not an improvement. This can be avoided by ensuring your truck is regeared accordingly. A simple calculation tells you what gear ratio would get you back to your stock equivalent. It’s derived from your new diameter, your old diameter, and your old axle ratio. Together they offer your new axle ratio. And if you drive a 4×4, you will need both your front and your back differentials regeared to the same ratio.

Tips For A Successful Home Renovation Project

What Costs Are Included in a Home Renovation Estimate?

When you decide to hire a contractor to help you with a home renovation, the first step is to have the contractor provide a quote or an estimate for the price of the project. Many homeowners choose to request multiple quotes from different contractors, because most contractors will provide this service for free.

Building Materials Needed for Home Renovation

Typically the largest cost listed on an estimate will be the materials cost. When consulting with you regarding your project, your contractor should take detailed measurements. These measurements are used to determine how much material will be needed for flooring, painting, drywall, and other elements of the project.

Labour Costs for All Man Hours

When you work with a professional home renovation team, you are also paying for the skilled team that will be working on your project. While some contractors may charge a flat rate for different types of projects, many estimate the number of hours it will likely take to complete the job and use this number to calculate the number of payroll hours that will need to be covered.

Why Do Contractors Mark-Up Prices?

You may be thinking that you can save money by purchasing materials and completing the work yourself because contractors mark-up the prices when they give you a quote. It is important to remember, however, that contractors need to cover additional overhead costs, such as training and insurance costs, in order to provide a superior product to their customers. By paying for a contractor to complete your project, you enjoy a better, trusted end result.

Will the Cost of the Project Change?

In most cases, the cost that you see on your estimate is the price you ultimately pay for your project. However, there can be unforeseen surprises during the construction process, such as hidden damage that needs to be repaired, that can cause the price to change. Your contractor should keep you aware of any changes before the work proceeds.

What Are Common Mistakes Made During Home Renovations and How Can I Avoid Them?

Especially if you are doing a whole house renovation, there are many different ways these projects can go wrong very quickly. There are many design and construction elements that must be completed perfectly. Below are home renovation mistakes the Pros see and help to rectify frequently throughout

Skipping Planning and Designing Steps

The best way to complete a successful house renovation is to have a clear, precise, and detailed plan in place. Take measurements and then take them again. Before any work begins, you should know the materials and tools that are going to be used and for what purpose. Failure to do so leads to problems such as running out of materials, incorrect installation, and other costly mistakes.

Cutting Costs By Choosing Cheap Materials

Home renovation can be expensive. Homeowners will often try to cut corners by purchasing the cheapest materials possible. This can lead to materials that fail during the remodelling process or soon after. These materials often also create a finished space that does not look as aesthetically pleasing as it could have with quality materials. When the cheap materials fail, you then find yourself not only buying all new materials, but also having to remove and replace the cheap materials.

Forgetting to Get Permits

Even minor home renovation projects often require one or more permits. While you may know plenty of people who have completed renovations without getting a permit, this is illegal. If your renovation is discovered, you may be required to pay a fine or completely remove new structures. In the worst case scenario, your house could even be condemned until the structure is removed.

Going Over Budget

Be careful not to underestimate how much it will cost to renovate your home. Remember to account for building materials, labour, and any new appliances. Always leave extra room in the budget for unexpected costs, as they almost always occur.

What are some ideas for custom home renovations?

A lot of creativity goes into custom home renovations. Whether you prefer the traditional look, modern look, country styles, or something else, you can make your home uniquely and completely yours. Reliable contractors and designers will help you come up with a custom solution just for your home, both indoor and out. Even if you don’t have a large budget, there are still many changes and upgrades you can make.

Turn your attic into something useful.

Don’t just let your attic be a dusty storage area. Take advantage of the space it provides. You can fix it up and turn it into anything from an office to a home theater. Need a guest bedroom? Just add a bed or sofa and fix the walls up to make the attic more inviting.

Utilize dead spaces

If there is a lot of extra space in the house, fill it up with something useful. For instance, you could turn dead space under a staircase into a storage room or bookcase. Add a wine wall in kitchen dead space. For bathroom or laundry room dead space, add towel racks. The possibilities are endless. Just don’t add too many items – you don’t want the house to look cluttered.

Design the kitchen properly

In a small kitchen with limited space, have the storage space and counter placed on the same wall as the appliances. The single wall kitchen design makes the room appear to be less cluttered.

Get a custom wall treatment.

Improve the tone and mood of each room with a custom wall treatment. There’s no rule that says you have to use the same wall scheme in every single room. Some choices include wood paneling, wallpaper, drywall, and fabric. Fabric panels especially can add a lot of creativity to a room by enhancing any colour theme. As for drywall, some companies can create custom patterned panels and intricately textured panels.

Should I Tear Down and Build New Or Do a Home Renovation?

As you are considering all of the changes that you want to make during a home renovation, you may start to think about just tearing the entire home down and rebuilding the new house you want. There are circumstances that make this the better option

Making Major Structural Changes

There are certain structural changes to a home that are simply easier to achieve by building new. This might include changing the number and size of bedrooms and bathrooms, adding a floor or more to the house, or making other significant alterations to the overall layout of the property. Trying to salvage what little of you can of the home while you change the entire floor plan may actually make the project more difficult than it would be if you just tore down and started from scratch.

The Home Is No Longer Structurally Safe

Some older homes may no longer meet safety regulations. If the damage is extensive, such as a weak foundation or a large mold problem, large parts of the home may need to be removed and rebuilt. It could be wise to take this opportunity to completely redo the house.

Permit Restrictions

Before you make a decision regarding renovating or building new, it is important to consider the permits and approvals you will need to proceed with your work. In some areas, building new may require more steps and paperwork than if you choose to renovate the existing property. The regulations that must be met can significantly affect the cost and the amount of time it takes to complete the project.

Weighing the Costs

You will of course want to calculate the estimated costs of each possibility. When you tear down and rebuild, you have to take into account the cost of demolishing the existing property in addition to the construction project. If you choose to renovate an existing property, you will need to determine the cost of all repair and new construction costs that will be associated with this choice. You can contact the Pros to request a free quote for each of these routes.

Important Considerations When Hiring Home Renovation Contractor

No matter how big or small your remodelling project is, you always get what you pay for. It’s not a good idea to hire the cheapest home renovation contractor you find because you will ultimately pay for their mistakes. Think about it: your house is your largest asset. It’s the most expensive thing you own. Why would you want to place it the hands of somebody just because they promise you cheap labour?

Experience and skill level

You must work with renovators who have experience with your type of home. Look for before and after pictures to see what a contractor is capable of. For a large project, you will also need a manager who is capable of handling all of the responsibilities. Some home remodelling companies also offer design services.

Communication

The contractors you work with should be available to answer your questions in a timely manner. They should not withhold any information. Communication is extremely important, as you will want to receive regular updates on how the project is going. If there is anything you don’t understand, your renovation experts should be willing to explain things to you clearly. On the flip side, an ideal renovator is also a good listener who is able to turn your goals into a workable plan.

Protection

Make sure everything is covered with insurance. Don’t just accept written promises. The contractor should be able to provide you with proof of liability insurance. You never know what might go wrong with a renovation project. What if somebody gets hurt? Some tasks and tools are potentially dangerous. Even a professional isn’t immune to accidents.

Educating yourself

Know exactly what you want with your renovation project and what is required of you as the homeowner. Know what permits to get and what laws and regulations need to be followed. At least have a basic understanding of how each task must be completed and which tools need to be used. Do a bit of homework on what goes on behind the scenes as well. Don’t let the project begin without the permits. If you educate yourself, you will have some idea of whether or not a contractor would be suitable for your project.

How Adding Home Builder Can Reduce Your Heating Bills

Tips for Choosing and Working With a Builder Successfully

But the reality is that the vast majority of builders are both professional and capable, and you can do a great deal to avoid bad experiences simply through the way you choose, manage and communicate with them. Here’s why it’s worth laying the foundations for a good relationship with you builder – and how to do it well.

Don’t approach a builder too soon

It might seem logical if you’re thinking of having some building work done to start by approaching a builder, but don’t be too hasty. Builders are (generally) good at building – and at pricing – once they know exactly what is wanted, but asking for a price before there are any drawings or detailed information about the project is as good as inviting them to tell you simply what they think you want to hear. My advice is only approach builders once you have a set of drawings and a list of what will (and will not) be included, often known as a ‘schedule of works’. Otherwise, you might base the whole project on a figure that could be miles off the eventual cost.

Establish whether you need a specialist company or just a general builder

A really good general builder is, unsurprisingly, really good at building work and will be suitable unless the work in question is incredibly unusual. For example, a good general builder is perfectly capable of building a loft extension or forming a basement. You can, of course, go to a loft or basement company and they, too, may do a great job. The most important thing is to find someone good who will do good work for the right price. Similarly, you can use a staircase company to make a staircase or a door company to sell you doors – or just use a good joiner to make such things. With a clear design, a good builder will be able to coordinate the right people – joiners, electricians and so on – to source and build exactly what you want.

Aim for one point of responsibility

Rather than using one main contractor, it might seem wise to try to save money by directly engaging separate tradesmen, such as plasterers, electricians, carpenters and so on.While it’s true that a main contractor will take a small slice of cost from all the sub-contractors, I would argue that this money is very well earned. Managing and coordinating all of the separate trades on-site takes a great deal of mettle and experience. I’ve seen lots of people who try to do this themselves get into a horrible mess and end up with a botched job that goes over time and over budget – not to mention the stress they’ve suffered. While it can work to pull certain specific and well-defined parts of the work out (such as carpet-laying, for example), I strongly recommend using one main building contractor who will take responsibility for the project overall.

Interview Your Potential Builder

Before signing a contract, address any questions or concerns you may have, and never hesitate to ask for more information. It is vital before “breaking ground” to have a clarified, mutual understanding of the building timeline and expectations, as well as your involvement. It is also wise to identify with your contractor what documentation and criteria you’ll encounter throughout the building process and when you can expect it. As a final, less subjective interview question, consider asking what sets the particular builder apart from other competitors.

The Q&A interview process is crucial to deciding if a prospective builder is right for you. If you need more information, you can also ask some of the questions outlined in the e-book “What You Need to Know Before Building a New Home.”

Gather Information

After planning, budgeting, and designing the initial outline for your home, make a list of prospective builders that have experience with projects similar to yours. Because some companies excel, or focus primarily, on a particular style or type of home, they may not be the best choice if your house fits a different mold.

If you need help finding builders, your community yellow pages should provide a generic list of local contractors, while online resources and customer reviews can better your opinion on each. For a more interpersonal approach, try contacting your local home builders association. This organization will provide you with a contact list of construction agencies; you can directly call or request information about their experience, turnaround time, and price range, and ultimately narrow down your list.

Once you’ve shortened your list to three or four potential builders, it’s time to conduct more in-depth research. Visit and review each company’s finished projects or nearby homes. Use online sites such as the Better Business Bureau for detailed customer assessments. The information you utilize in the initial research process will ensure your builder confidence along the way.

What to Expect: Builder and Team

Expect the builder and/or sales and site staff to be:

  • Open and upfront: good service begins with honesty, trust and good communication.
  • Knowledgeable: good service depends on in-depth product and process knowledge.
  • Prompt and efficient: good service sets and respects realistic timelines.
  • “On your side”: customer-oriented builders and staff work for you and with you.

Before You Build Your New Home

The process of building a new home long before the foundation is poured. The construction process is most efficient and exciting if you first develop a good plan and find an honest, competent builder. To avoid costly mistakes during the construction process, start with these five important steps. As you move from dream house to real house, be sure to ask questions and share your progress with people who have gone through the process.

Plan Your Budget

Begin considering the budget from the very moment you start thinking about building your house. Develop a realistic idea of how much you can afford to spend and how much it will cost to build a new home. The budgeting phase is really about balancing your wants with a realistic assessment of what you can afford.

Chances are you will need a construction loan and a mortgage. It’s not too early to find out how large a loan you can qualify for, based on your income and other financial obligations. Today, most banks and other financial institutions are eager to prequalify you for a construction loan, which will give you a ballpark idea of the maximum amount of money you can spend. At the same time, this early stage involves looking at what different elements of your new home will cost, including the land itself, the architect or designer, the general contractor who will manage the project, the construction materials, and appliances and interior features.

Choose Your Lot

If you have not yet purchased a building lot for your new home, talk with realtors to get a rough estimate of land costs in the areas you are considering. Although land costs vary greatly depending on local land costs, in general, you plan for 20 to 25 percent of your new home cost to go toward the purchase of the land.

Whether you are building your home in a suburban development or a site with sweeping ocean views, you will almost always need to choose the land before you select floor plans or other details. You (and any pros you hire) will need to investigate factors such as soil condition, drainage, zoning, and building codes in the region. Costs will be higher if your house design needs to be customized to fit the lot. If the house can be built on the lot using stock blueprints, it will help your budget.

Pick a House Plan

Many new homes are built using stock plans from a printed catalog or an online source. Finding the right plan can take some time. One place to begin might be deciding on your favorite house style. Get ideas from the many catalogs available, and if necessary, have a builder or another building professional—an architect or designer—help you choose the best stock plan for your needs. A home designer can also make minor modifications to the stock plans in terms of room size, window styles, or other details. Some builders can make slight modifications to stock home plans.

Line Up Your Team

Once a working budget, a building site, and home design are selected, you can now begin assembling the team of experts to design and construct your house. Key players can include a builder, an excavator, a surveyor, and a home designer or an architect, if needed. In most cases, homeowners begin by selecting the builder (general contractor). That pro then selects other members of the team. However, you may also opt to hire an architect or designer first.

The Pros And Cons Of Commercial Stucco Repairs

When should stucco be repaired?

To repair stucco, you can use any number of commercially sold products. While some are designed to remedy larger gouges and holes, others are meant specifically to fix cracks like the one you describe. Quikrete, for example, manufactures a sanded (textured) acrylic caulk that’s both easy to use and effective.

The first step may seem counterintuitive: Using a cold chisel and hammer, widen the crack to at least a quarter inch. The edges of the crack should be chiseled perpendicular to the wall. If possible, back cut the crack so that its base is slightly wider than its top. Then clear all loose debris from the crack with a wire brush.

Now use a standard caulk gun to apply the stucco repair compound along the crack. As you go along, trowel the patch so that it matches the surrounding stucco finish. Allow the repair to cure for 24 hours, then cover it with a water-based paint, preferably the same color as the home’s exterior.

You may notice that despite having cured, the finished job feels flexible to the touch. That elasticity actually attests to the strength of the repair. Should the wall move slightly in the future, the patch will adjust rather than come undone. With the crack now properly repaired, you can rest assured that precipitation will not be able to get behind the stucco.

Types Of Stucco Cracks

There are several types of cracks that will occur in stucco walls. They come about due to different factors, and these will inform how you repair stucco cracks. Here’s what you should be looking for, to identify the types of cracks you have in your stucco.

  • Hairline Cracks: These cracks are very thin, usually about 1/16 of an inch wide, or smaller. These are the most common types of cracks that you’ll see. They come about for several different reasons. They’re most common in new homes, as the plaster settles and moves during construction. Drying timber, shifting foundations, and construction work will all sometimes lead to hairline cracks.
  • Foam Trim Cracks: The foam trim used on stucco will sometimes form cracks too. If you see cracking here, it’s a sign that fiberglass mesh tape wasn’t used in installing the foam trim. Expansion and shrinkage will then lead to cracking over time.
  • Spider Cracking: These cracks in your stucco look like spider webs, hence the name. If you’re seeing this in your stucco, it’s a sign that the base coat wasn’t allowed to cure properly. This could be because there was too much water in the mix, it dried too quickly, or the temperature wasn’t right the day it was applied.
  • Pattern Cracking: You may see cracking that follows a pattern on your walls. Most commonly, it shows up like a grid of horizontal and vertical lines on your stucco. This cracking happens because there are problems with the way the lath was installed. It’s probably not nailed on properly, which will lead to more cracks over time.
  • Diagonal Cracking: These cracks, as the name implies, are diagonal in nature, and often are seen around doors and windows. These happen due to seismic changes in the foundation, leading to them shifting. If these cracks are wider than other cracks on your stucco, you’ll want to attend to these first.

What is Stucco Repair?

Stucco repair refers to the fixing of damage at the surface level. Most often, repair is used for damage resulting from an outside force such as something striking and breaking the material. Cracks may also develop in certain areas over time that can be quickly repaired.

Benefits of Repair

The two main benefits of repair over remediation are that it’s both quicker and cheaper. Since repairs are generally surface-level fixes, they don’t require the extensive work that remediation does. Additionally, because repairs can be performed by less-skilled workers, the cost is cheaper than remediation would be.

When Should You Repair?

Repair should generally only be done if the damage to your stucco is surface level. If there are small cracks, no mold or moisture present, and the stucco is relatively new, repair might be all you require. However, in some cases, it will take a thorough check by an experienced stucco repair person to determine whether the damage is surface level or the result of larger, underlying issues.

Why it goes wrong

From the smallest of cracks to blistering walls– not addressing your stucco’s damage quickly and properly could lead to big problems and even bigger repair costs. Here are some of the most common causes of stucco damage, and how you can identify them.

Water Damage

Water damage is the most common and most expensive form of stucco damage. It can occur for several different reasons:

  • Weather: Things like rainstorms, earthquakes, hailstorms or strong winds can easily damage your stucco.
  • Improper Composition: When stucco – a mixture of Portland cement, sand and water – isn’t balanced and mixed properly it can result in water damage.
  • Improper Installation: Even properly balanced and mixed stucco can’t avoid water damage if it was installed improperly. This can occur if a flashing – an attached piece of metal used to prevent water from passing through – is installed incorrectly, or if your stucco was installed with gaps or holes.
  • Interior Issues: Though environmental causes are most common when it comes to stucco water damage, your problem could be coming from indoors. Water damage can be caused by a burst pipe, a leaky air conditioner or even a misplaced sprinkler that has water landing on your walls, not your flower beds.

What you should know about repairing stucco

If you already have plaster or stucco on the exterior walls of your home, you should know that it can be significantly more expensive to remove it entirely and start from scratch than to work with a professional stucco contractor to repair and refinish it. Plus, you can avoid making a big mess of your house by getting a professional involved right from the get-go.

The pros will come out to your property and perform a close inspection of the stucco. The first thing they’ll want to find out is how well the stucco on your walls is still attached to its lath (the wooden slats that keep it attached to the wall’s framework). This will help them determine if repair is truly an option or if the stucco needs to be entirely replaced. They’ll also want to get a sense of the surface quality of the stucco to determine the extent and type of repairs they’ll need to make.

Based on this inspection, the pros will be able to determine the best techniques to use to reattach the stucco layer to the lath, then repair the surface damage and repaint it to make sure the stucco looks like it’s brand new.

A big factor to look at is the size and shape of the cracks, as this will indicate the type of problem you’re facing. Minor stress cracks occasionally happen because of the natural expanding and contracting that happens through the seasons. These types of cracks can easily be filled with a strong mesh fabric that expands and contracts along with the wall. Larger cracks often run diagonally, and can indicate a surface pulling away from the lath. This can be fixed by installing a “plaster button,” a sort of washer that runs through the plaster to affix it to the lath.

The only situation in which stucco pros will really wash their hands of the job and suggest replacement is if there is significant crumbling of the surface.

Tips And Advices About Transmission Repair

An Inspection Will Reveal If Transmission Repair Is Necessary

An Inspection Will Reveal If Transmission Repair Is NecessaryThere are external inspections, which are the simplest. There are internal inspections, which are much more in depth. Then, there are also transmission diagnostic tests, which can be very helpful in identifying specific problems.

Most customers come into our shop assuming they have transmission problems. Perhaps a transmission fluid leak was noticed. Maybe the gears are grinding more than normal. The vehicle may not be shifting into gear, or it just may be unusually sluggish. These are all signs that there is something wrong with the transmission. As with any automotive repair, some repairs are simple and some are way more complex. That’s why we perform the inspections as needed.

Let’s look at the different inspection processes

External Inspection

When you bring your car into Ralph’s Transmission, we’ll gladly perform an external inspection of your transmission for free. It can be done without having to remove the transmission from the vehicle. One of our technicians will take a detailed look at the transmission and common issues such as transmission fluid levels and viscosity. If the fluid is low or burnt, it could be a sign of a major transmission problem or the vehicle may just need a standard transmission service where we change the fluid and filter.

Diagnostics

In most cases, we’ll perform diagnostic tests in conjunction with an external inspection. However, it is a much more technology based procedure. Your car’s computer will reveal fault codes if something wrong is detected in the engine or transmission. A diagnostic test may show any number of fault codes. Again, some may be minor and others may be major. Between the computer diagnostics and the hands-on external inspection

Internal Inspection

A proper internal inspection of the transmission requires us to remove it from the vehicle, so we can actually look inside the housing and inspect specific internal components. Sometimes, the whole transmission needs to be disassembled to get to the source of the problem. However, an internal inspection will always reveal everything that is wrong with a transmission, which will allow us to accurately quote recommended repair prices. In many cases when there are major issues, we will simply recommend a full custom transmission rebuild. Our flat rate price is often less expensive than a bunch of a la carte repairs, and the rebuilt transmission will be backed completely by our 3 Year, 100,000 Mile Warranty.

Times when a transmission repair can be the better option

Transmission RepairWhen only one part is broken or needs replaced. Because a transmission repair only entails replacing or fixing the minimum number of parts (as few as one), it can be a great option for transmissions with a lot of mileage left in the rest of its parts. Parts like the input shaft, clutches, seals, rings, or torque converters can often be replaced with an overhaul kit and without rebuilding or remanufacturing the entire unit. In these cases, repairs can be both time- and cost-effective.

When you’re dealing with an older vehicle. Your customer is wary to invest in a rebuild or reman unit for a vehicle that doesn’t have many miles left in it. As long as the transmission still has minimal issues that can be solved by replacing very few parts, a repair is a great option for a car that only needs to be on the road for a little while longer.

When you’re working on a commonly repaired unit or transmission type. Ultimately, the ability to simply repair a transmission depends on the type of failure you’re working with. However, some transmissions may be known to experience issues that can are generally resolved with minimal repairs, as opposed to a full rebuild. Researching a specific unit or type of transmission before starting your work might reveal that in general, it’s a good candidate for a repair. Reach out to other technicians or shops, industry professionals, or suppliers who can help you learn more about the transmission you’re working with.

The true costs of transmission repairs

The key trait of any transmission repair job is that the transmission is only experiencing the failure of one (or very few) parts. If the damage to the transmission is too great and affects too many components, a repair job will end up costing almost as much as a rebuild, but without the security of fully replacing all worn parts or updating to the latest transmission technology. At that point, a repair might not be the smartest option.

Additionally, if something else within the unit fails, it may cause more damage and effectively undo the repair you completed. Depending on your warranty, your shop may be left responsible for a comeback to correct the repair, and if more work is necessary, your customer might be less than satisfied to pay for that additional work. Repairing transmissions inherently come with more risk, in this respect.

While a transmission repair can be a useful option, especially in terms of saving time and money, you should always consider each transmission job as an individual case. Know your options; you might be surprised by the benefits of a full reman, the positives of rebuilding the transmission in-house, and the quick solutions a repair can provide. With all that in mind, you’ll be well-prepared to make the best service choice every time.

Commonly Asked Transmission Questions:

We often get several questions regarding the health and upkeep of the average transmission. Here are answers to the most popular ones from our service center professionals:

How frequently should I get my transmission inspected?

In general, it’s best to come in for an inspection once a year, or at the longest, every 15 months for a full multi-point inspection which would include a transmission check. In other words, don’t go more than 15,000-miles between inspections to stay safe and minimize your chances of a large repair. However, this time frame might differ based on the type of transmission you have and the age of your model.

How do I know if my transmission is damaged?

Unexpected gear changes with an automatic transmission, difficulty shifting with a manual, fluid leaking beneath your vehicle, and an illuminated transmission light on your dashboard are all signs that your transmission might be damaged.

How can I keep my transmission healthy for longer?

In cold weather, warm up your car before driving, check your transmission fluid yourself with a dipstick, don’t drive on a spare tire for long periods of time, and don’t tow extremely heavy loads. Additionally, if you drive an automatic transmission, never change gears while your vehicle is moving.

Choosing Between Small Immigration Lawyer Firms

Immigration Basics

Many people think they can show up at a U.S. embassy or border post, describe why they’d make a good addition to U.S. society, and be welcomed in. Unfortunately, this is the exact opposite of how the U.S. immigration system works.

Instead, people who want to come to the United States, whether temporarily or permanently, must determine whether they fit into an eligibility category for either permanent residence (a “green card”) or a temporary stay (“nonimmigrant visa”).

Then they must submit an application—in fact, often a series of applications—to one or more of the U.S. agencies responsible for carrying out the immigration laws, requesting either a visa (if coming from overseas) or a particular immigration “status” (if already in the U.S.).

What Permanent Residence (a Green Card) Is

If you want to be able to make your permanent home in the United States, you’ll need what is called permanent residence, which is evidenced by a green card. Green card holders can live and work in the United States and travel in and out, with very few restrictions (though they can’t vote and can be deported if they abuse their status or break U.S. laws).

What a Temporary (Nonimmigrant) Visa Is

People who want to come to the United States for a limited time need what is called a nonimmigrant visa. This lets them participate in specified activities (such as studying, visiting, or working) until their permitted time in the U.S. (as shown on a document called an I-94) runs out

REASONS TO USE AN IMMIGRATION LAWYER

At Legal have a friendly, highly competent and capable team of lawyers who are specialists in their areas of expertise

It is not mandatory to have an immigration adviser or lawyer, but if your case is risky or complicated, it will make the process smoother

It is illegal to give immigration advice unless you hold a license, or are exempt from this requirement

This applies to offshore advisers, as well as those located

Immigration Advisers can begin practising after completing a brief course on Immigration

Lawyers are equipped to deal with legal issues which may arise in any of the spheres which touch on the immigration process (fraud, employment, commercial and corporate matters)

Lawyers are generally held to a higher standard of care than licensed immigration advisers

It is not legal for immigration advisers or lawyers to demand a fee in exchange for a job offer

It is not legal for employers to demand a fee in exchange for a job offer.

Legal leverages expertise and technology to deliver the best outcome for clients. creative at delivering solutions, thinking outside the box – that’s why office is entirely Apple Mac.

have a personal and individual approach, do not tell you what you want to hear but discuss with you the true prospects of your case. do not dangle carrots, as is fashionable, or give a percentage chance of success:  that would be a guess in the dark. Instead, identify what the risks are with your case and work out how to mitigate them. immigration lawyers provide a reality check and develop sound immigration strategies to help your visa application case.

When things go wrong with visa application, they can really go wrong,  despite the best of preparations. Delays with immigration processing can happen for reasons outside the client’s control or because of clients’ misunderstandings.

A World of Difference in Immigration

For Businesses

Whether you are running a large multi-jurisdictional immigration program, or need assistance with immigration in a particular country or region, can help you seamlessly manage the movement of your workforce. Designed to meet your need for comprehensive support, full range of work permit and authorization services help to ensure process compliance with immigration regulations in more than 170 countries/territories worldwide

These services include:

Application preparation and filing for temporary work and residence permits, entry clearances, entry visas and immigrant matters

Visa issuance assistance

Guidance on entry and departure procedures

Guidance for successful security and medical clearance processing

Guidance for complex cases, including advocacy before government agencies

Advice on dependent and family member visa processing, ability to work matters, student-related matters and maintenance of status

designated teams of experienced professionals take the time to understand your company’s business objectives, immigration goals and assignees. They communicate openly with you and your assignees throughout the immigration process, building trusted partnerships and providing holistic, customized support.

For Individuals

Even the simplest immigration requirements can be hard to understand—never mind the parameters of a multi-layered immigration scheme. If you find yourself lost in a sea of immigration regulations, can help. We will make the complex simple as guide you and your family through the immigration requirements of your new country/territory. With clear, concise and personalized support, you will understand your role in the immigration process and know exactly what you need to do to get you and your family to your new home as quickly as possible.

VALUE-ADDED SERVICES

know that running a streamlined immigration program requires much more than transactional immigration services. It requires strategic “big picture” guidance; information that allows you to keep up with evolving laws; training for your employees; leading-edge technologies and analytics, and much more.

Strategic Planning Recommendations

Strategic immigration program planning can help you meet your global mobility goals in a timely and cost-effective manner. To support this, leverages experience to provide you with specific ideas about strategies and practices that reduce your immigration compliance risk and offer you the greatest chance of success.

Attorneys

attorneys have a reputation for excellence, not only among their clients, but also within the legal community. They are recognized by their peers for their outstanding legal services and continued commitment to finding practical solutions to complex immigration issues that span the immigration law field.

“Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise

Ranked firms, presented in tiers, are listed on a national and/or metropolitan scale. Receiving a tier designation reflects the high level of respect a firm has earned among other leading lawyers and clients in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism and their integrity.

Attorneys Recognized in Who’s Who Legal – Corporate Immigration Law

provides personal attention and customized solutions to U.S. and Global immigration matters for employers, families and individuals . What makes special is unique ability to provide best in class expertise and service to clients for a broad range of immigration matters through team of attorneys who include nationally and internationally recognized leaders in their field with specialization within some of the most complex areas of immigration law

“Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must have a lawyer listed in The Best Lawyers in America, which recognizes the top 4 percent of practicing attorneys in the US.

Lawyers, Answer Questions & Get Points

Q: Hi . My boyfriend came to USA crossing the border . But since I m a USA citizen we will get married so.

Hi . My boyfriend came to USA crossing the border . But since I m a USA citizen we will get married so he can get his green card license. But I’m scared about my family knowing I want to keep it a secret until the right time .will all the documents come in my address is there a way I can put his address instead. Please do let me know.

A: Hey, contact an Immigration Attorney before you file to ensure that your boyfriend can prove lawful admission. Lawful admission is required for adjustment of status to greencard holder. Otherwise, the applicant needs to return to his country and file through consulate process.

Q: I am on H1B, my children are born citizens. Can they continue to go to school if I were to change my status to B2?

Changing status from H1B to B2 due to job loss or personal reason, need additional time to dispose things in the states.

A: Supreme Court case law affords children an education up through and including high school, notwithstanding their immigration status. Of course, a child in B-2 visitor status who attends school would be violating the terms of his/her visitor status, but the school would not (should not) prevent the child from attending classes. As your children are U.S. Citizens, according to your statement, not only would they be entitled to attend classes, but it would not even be considered a violation of any nonimmigrant status, like B-2 visitor status. If you have further questions about your children’s situation or your own, consider scheduling a consultation with a competent immigration attorney. Many law firms, including mine, offer telephone or online video consultations during the COVID-19 crisis.

Q: Hello, I’ve been going through the requirements for a permanent resident can vote

I’ve been living in for almost 11 years.

A: Good morning. I hope you are feeling better healthwise. Except you have a criminal background that disqualifies you, a greencard holder for 3 or 5 years can apply for naturalization. Some requirements for u.s citizenship application includes A copy of your greencard, filing fee $725 total, note that the fee will increase drastically on October 2, 2020. You will also need to pass a civics and English test. I will be glad to discuss more details about your particular case and help you get started. Please feel free to reachout.

Q: Can I reinstate my green card?

I received my green card in 2005 and exited the United States in 2007 while having a re entry permit that would let me be a permanent resident till 2009 if i returned to the US. Unfortunately I could not return as I was a minor and the decision was because of my parents. I know that for an abandoned green card, a person could I apply for an SB1 visa to come to the US as a legal permanent resident again, but that is not possible for me. It is because i am already in the United States on a student visa, is there any way I could have green card reinstated? such as presenting my case in front of an immigration judge?

A: If you did not qualify for the SB-1 visa and you were given a student visa, you would have to re-apply for a green card from the beginning. Unfortunately, there is no way to reinstate a green card before a judge in your situation.

Q: I voted on Greet Card Mistakenly

back in 2014 I took My Green card and was in MVA to apply for my Drivers Licence ,

A: I have had cases where clients were registered to vote by the DMV and were forgiven. However, I have never had a client that actually voted who was forgiven. When you receive an immigration status the government expects you to educate youself on the terms of your status and what violates that status.

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