Roof Repair Contractors

How can I temporarily cover a hole in my roof?

What is the best way to temporarily patch my roof?

Tomorrow I’m going to be taking two chimneys out of my house. They are both brick and mortar chimneys. Both of them stick out the middle of my roof — i.e. neither is on the side of the house. I’ve got an air hammer and will be removing them brick-by-brick.

Once I get the chimneys below the roof, I’m going to want to temporarily patch the roof. I’ve seen online how to tarp a roof. But it looks like you have to nail the tarp to the roof. Doesn’t that damage the integrity of the roof? I wonder if I could just use that tacky felt paper and cover it for a day or so.

One of the problems is that since I live in Seattle, it will likely be raining tomorrow — and for the rest of the week — and likely for the rest of the month. So I need something that will give me some immediate coverage until I can get a roofer out.

The Best Methods for Patching Holes in Your Roof

Imagine for a moment that you have just arrived home after a windstorm and notice water dripping from the ceiling. Upon further investigation, you discover that a tree limb has fallen and punched a hole in the roof. There are some things you can do yourself to keep things under control until the permanent repairs can be made.

Call for Help

One of the first things you will want to do is to call your local home improvement contractor for help. The sooner this is done, the sooner the repairs can be made that are done permanently and correctly. The contractor may be able to advise you of some temporary measures that can be taken until someone arrives to make the repairs. Remember that temporary repairs are just that: temporary. For that reason, you don’t want to delay having a professional do the permanent repair so you won’t have to worry about it leaking again.

Safety

When attempting to patch a hole in the roof yourself, the number one thing to keep in mind is safety. Doing work on a roof by nature puts you at risk of injury due to falling, either falling off the roof or falling from the ladder while trying to access the roof. Make sure the ladder is stable and secure by checking it before climbing. Also make sure enough of the ladder is sticking up beyond the edge of the roof to provide a hand hold for getting on and off the roof.

Never try to get onto the roof while the storm is still going on. There are too many dangers. You could be struck by lightning or blown off the roof by the wind. You could also be struck by another falling tree limb. In addition, while the roof is wet, it will be slicker than it is when it is dry.

Instead of trying to get onto the roof while the rain is still going on, you should do what you can to minimize the damage from below. This includes putting pails or other containers under the leak to catch the water. You might need to move furniture or other items that are not permanently installed out of the way.

Cover the Hole

The easiest way to keep water from coming through a hole in the roof until it can be fixed is to cover it. This can be done with the use of a tarp. Simply lay the tarp across the hole and place things around the edge of it to keep the wind from blowing it off. If possible, you should place the tarp in such a way that the upper edge of it overlaps the ridge of the roof. This will help keep water from running down the roof, under the tarp and into the hole.

Patch the Hole

If you are a bit handier with using tools for projects around the house, there are some things you can do to patch the hole. The shingles can be removed from the area adjacent to the hole. The hole can then be plugged with using wood and roofing tar, or you can purchase a kit that is especially designed for this purpose. However, either of these methods can be quite involved so you might want to leave this to the professionals.

How to Fix a Hole in the Roof

A hole in the roof invites disaster–from water damage on drywall and flooring to animal infestation. Temporary patch jobs are only effective until the rain starts. Repairing a roof should be a top priority for any homeowner. Handyman types who are comfortable on a roof can use basic carpentry skills to make this home repair without hiring a roofing contractor.

Step 1

Wear safety goggles and rubber-sole work shoes. Use an extension ladder with the third rung against the eave to access the roof. Carry tools in a tool belt.

Step 2

Take up the shingles over the hole. Slip a pry bar under the shingles above the affected area to pull out the nails holding the damaged shingles. Use hammer claws to help remove all nails from the shingles over the hole.

Step 3

Prepare the plywood or sheathing around the hole. If the hole is a cutout for a vent, the wood may be ready for repair. A hole from tree damage will be oddly shaped and splintered. Use a reciprocating saw to cut a square or rectangle shape around the hole and remove all splintered wood. Cut the plywood in half between the rafters if the hole is big enough.

Step 4

Patch the wood with plywood of the same thickness. Install a 2-by-4 brace under a small hole that extends three times the width of the opening. Hold it against the inside of the plywood by pulling up through the hole while driving deck screws through the roof and into the brace. Use a jigsaw to cut a rounded shape from the plywood to the exact size of the hole. For large patches, nail 2-by-4 braces inside the existing rafters with 10-penny nails. Replace a plywood section with new plywood cut to fit the exact size. Nail the plywood sheet section to the braces with 8-penny nails. Cover the wood borders and bracing screws on top of any roof patch with roofing tar.

Step 5

Lay roofing felt or tar paper over the missing shingles. Slip the top of the paper in under the flaps of the shingles above the repair. Lay the upper sheet of tar paper 2 inches over the lower if two sheets are needed to cover the section. Nail tar paper on with roofing nails over every 18 inches of the perimeter and along any overlapping sheets.

Step 6

Lay new shingles over the repair section. Remove the adhesive cover strip and lay the bottom row of shingles first. Use three roofing nails across the horizontal center line to secure each shingle. Cover the lower row with the flaps from the next row up. Tuck the straight edges of the uppermost row under the remaining shingles and nail them under the flaps. Dab roofing tar over each fresh nail for added water protection.

Temporary hole-in-roof fix

Was your roof severely damaged in a recent storm? If strong storm winds ripped up your roof shingles, the rest of your home is at risk from leaking water or additional wind damage. A quick and cost-efficient fix is to simply cover the damaged area of your roof with a durable plastic tarp. Plastic tarps come in a variety of sizes; because of its inexpensiveness it’s a good idea to buy plastic tarps in different sizes. That way you’ll have different tarp options depending on the damage size of your roof.

One of the most durable types of tarps comes in polyethylene weaves with border piping and heat-sealed seams. We usually don’t recommend nailing anything to your roof, because the possible damage made to your shingles. But in the event where you need an emergency fix where you’ll eventually reinstall shingles in a roof repair, nailing is a necessary option for keeping covering a large hole on your roof with a tarp. Nail down the edges  and if you can, cover the nail heads with roofing cement to prevent rain from entering your home.

Temporary shingle fixes

Have any of your shingles been damaged to the point where they’re loose, curling, or even ripped off of your roof? You can use a heat gun to soften and then straighten out any curling shingles, or use high quality glue to glue down to your roof loose or ripped off shingles.

Have any 2-inch 6D galvanized nails? Another temporary fix for loosened shingles is to nail them down securely with your 6D nails. Make sure that once all nails have been securely put in place on your roof to cover the nail heads with roofing cement. This ensures that the storm or wind that originally loosed the shingles won’t loosen the nails.

Don’t have 6D nails but you do have roofing cement? Help seal up your roof by applying the roofing cement to any damaged or cracked shingle joints, or to your roof flashing to help seal the roof.

Custom Home Builder And Your Roof

What to Know Before meeting with a builder?

You’ve likely heard the cliché “new year, new you” more than a few times already this year. But what about your living arrangements? As people flock to gyms striving to get in shape and sign up to diet plans with the intent of eating better in 2019, it’s important to realize that where you live plays a major role in your overall well-being.

Psychologists assert that how you view your living space (and how comfortable you are in your home and neighborhood) makes a powerful impact on emotional and mental health. That’s why it’s essential to find accommodations that match your unique desires and requirements, and complement your values and ambitions. 

Thankfully, there’s a simple and straight-forward way to accomplish all of those goals this year. Read on to discover how building a new custom home could be a life-changing experience, and how you can get started with the process today.

Know Your Wants and Needs

Maybe you’ve always wanted a flex room/multi-purpose space where you can exercise, accommodate guests, work or study, and accomplish all the tasks you’ve set out for yourself. Perhaps you’re never more at home than when you’re cooking or baking up a storm in the kitchen. Or, you might seek a relaxing outdoor space where you can unwind after a long day, and reconnect with nature.

Bring all your “must haves” to a meeting with your home builder. This sets the stage for what will eventually become the high-quality custom home you’ve always dreamed about.

Collect Documentation

It’s a good idea to have at least a basic framework of long-term plans for your custom home, including financial considerations. In addition, any other material you can provide helps your custom home builders get on the same page with the vision for your future residence. So, those interesting Pinterest items you’ve been browsing (along with other images and ideas) are certainly relevant during this stage.

In addition, if you have floorplans you’ve been considering or other essential inclusions for your custom home, this is an ideal moment to bring up and present your thoughts and ideas.

Prepare Your Questions

As you perform research, it’s wise to think of specific questions for your home builder. Don’t be afraid or hesitant to present these topics or share your concepts. This is the only way to ensure that everyone is on the same page, and shares a unified vision for your custom home.

Popular questions include:

  • How long have you been in business? How many homes have you built during that time?
  • How are you different from other builders? Have you won awards or received major accolades? Do you have customer testimonials?
  • Who will oversee my custom home construction? Who is the point of contact?

You’ll likely have your own specific questions to ask. It will also be helpful if you can provide answers and personal preference details to your builder. That includes information concerning:

  • what you most like/dislike about your current residence
  • desired rooms and living space
  • preferred activities and “must haves”
  • budget, timeframe, and other details
  • building/design preferences (green elements, energy-efficiency)

Any information or insight you can provide during the first meeting with your builder will help ensure the accuracy and efficiency of your custom home building project.

What to expect:

It’s one thing to plan your home from the comfort of your computer, poring over an endless stream of Pinterest boards, blog posts, and spreadsheets. But the day inevitably comes when it’s time to prepare for your first face-to-face meeting with a homebuilder. Obviously, everyone wants to feel prepared for their first homebuilding consultation. It’s natural to want to start off on the right foot. By now you probably have a pretty good idea of who you want to work with. You’ve done your homework and settled on a homebuilder that checks all your boxes and has already demonstrated they’re easy to work with.

It’s time to take action and schedule your initial consultation. Here’s what you need to know.

GOALS OF YOUR FIRST MEETING?

Typically, what are the goals of your first in-person consultation with a homebuilder? Well, that depends entirely on how far along you are, but the main goal should simply be to establish what you want. Typically, there are two distinct scenarios that play out in our office, based on whether or not a customer arrives with house plans in hand.

SCENARIO 1: “I HAVE MY PLANS!”

Great, this means we can jump right into discussions of finishes, materials, and costs. In order to put together an initial estimate, we’ll begin nailing down details such as …

  • Exterior Finishes: Do you prefer brick, stone, vinyl?
  • Foundation-Type: Will we be building your home on top of a basement, crawlspace, or slab?
  • Interior Finishes: We’ll want to determine a laundry-list of interior selections including cabinet-types, floor-coverings, lighting and plumbing fixtures, window and door designs, fireplaces, and trim packages.
  • Homebuilding Extras: Will you be expanding on your home’s footprint with the addition of decks, porches, and/or patios?

SCENARIO 2: “I DON’T HAVE MY PLANS.”

Don’t worry, most of our customers come to us with a general idea of what they want, but most look to us to help them choose and refine a design that fits their needs. If this is the case, expect your homebuilder to start asking questions — lots and lots of questions.

  • What size home do you need? How much livable square-footage?
  • How many baths, bedrooms?
  • Can we find an existing plan that fits your needs?
  • What home layouts fit your style and plans?
  • What’s your budget?
  • Within your budget, which trim-packages do you like?
  • Do you need purpose-specific rooms?
  • Will you build on a slab, basement, or crawlspace?

The list goes on.

In this scenario, there might be two or three meetings prior to building out a quote, depending on whether or not your builder has a plan that perfectly fits your needs.

Things to bring when meeting with your builder

Your first meeting with your home builder can be a little intimidating, especially if, like most people, this is your first time building a home. You know this is the person you want to build your home, but how does that process start, and how can you be sure you’ll be getting exactly the home you want? It all starts with that first meeting. It’s a good idea to put a little prep work in before you get to the meeting, so you know what you’re looking for, and you can tell your builder your vision. To make it a little easier on you, here’s a list of 5 things you should bring with you to that initial meeting with your builder:

Your budget

The first thing any builder is going to want to know is how much you’ll be spending. It’s important to have your budget all figured out before you even go into that meeting. You and your builder both will make all future decisions based on the budget you’re working with, so it’s important that you know exactly how much you can spend by the time you meet your builder.

Potential floorplans

If you have ideas about potential floorplans, or if you found your ideal floorplan online, definitely bring it to that first meeting. This will help give your builder a better idea of what you’re looking for, and they’ll be able to tell you if the floorplan you want will fit into the budget you have. Additionally, if you have pictures representing the type of exterior architecture you’d like to incorporate into your new home, it’s a good idea to bring those in too. The more information you have for your builder, the easier it will be for them to give you an estimate on the home you want.

Likes and dislikes about your current home

Since you’re not a builder, it can be difficult to put into words exactly what you’re looking for. That’s where the list comes in. When you write down all of the things you don’t like about your current home, along with the things you love, it gives your builder room to come up with a few different solutions to fit your needs. From there, you can pick the option you like the most, and that best fits into your budget.

A point of contact

It’s really important that you designate one person to be the builder’s first point of contact. Just as you’d like one person to ask any questions that you might think of, it’s helpful to your builder to have a go-to person to call with their questions. Typically, this is the person that knows everything about the type of floorplan you want, the fixtures you like, and the type of wood flooring you’re looking for. This definitely doesn’t mean you can’t consult your spouse on decisions, it’s just that having one number to call makes your builder’s job a lot easier, and it makes the process go a little quicker.

Relevant paperwork

Finally, you should bring any relevant paperwork with you to your initial meeting with your builder. This includes things like sketches, pictures, and county records of the lot you’ve purchased or intend to build on. If you’ve been pre-approved for a loan, it’s a good idea to bring a copy of that with you as well. This shows your builder that you’re serious about the project, and affirms the budget you’re working with.

Tips On Finding A Really Good Wedding Photographer

Things Wedding Photographers Can Do To Make It Through COVID-19

Entrepreneurship is risky to being with, but few business owners are equipped to handle the effects of a pandemic. Nonetheless, 2020 began with the spread of the coronavirus, and it’s hitting self-employed workers especially hard. Unfortunately, wedding photographers, as well as the entire event industry, are in that number.

While no one can erase what’s happening right now, we can work toward a better future – one that keeps your wedding photography business strong despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep reading for advice on retaining your bookings, managing your expenses, and helping others do the same.

ENCOURAGE YOUR CLIENTS TO POSTPONE/RESCHEDULE INSTEAD OF CANCELING

As a business owner, your first goal is to assure clients that keeping their booking is a low-risk act, even during a pandemic. So before they reach out with cancelation requests, give them the option to reschedule.

This gets people to slow down and realize they have more options than they think. Naturally, most people will want to cancel everything except their streaming services. But if you remind them that they’ve already paid their photography deposits, and rescheduling is as simple as selecting a date, you can maintain your hard-earned bookings. And speaking of bookings, continue to accept them if you can. These weddings can be shot in the future, and you can give clients the option to delay deposits due to COVID-19.

IF YOU STILL PLAN TO SHOOT/DO BUSINESS, FOCUS ON LIMITED-CONTACT SERVICES

While large weddings are out of the question right now, weddings photographers can still make money elsewhere. All it takes is a willingness to explore new revenue streams.

Real Bride Diary: Why is Choosing a Wedding Photographer So Hard!

what’s worse, despite being as involved as I in almost every other aspect, this was one area where said he’d leave it up to me. After all, looking at wedding pictures is literally what I do for a living!

In today’s instalment of my Real Bride Diary, I’m going to share how we came to choose our awesome wedding photographers (but how it’s still a choice that keeps me awake late at night!)

Choosing a wedding photographer meant I had to take off my blog editor hat, and stick on my civilian bride one! You see as a wedding blog editor, I look for certain things when it comes to the images I choose for a real wedding. I want close-up details, romantic portraits, long vertical images (so they stand out on Pinterest) but most importantly, it’s all about inspiration

I’ve written before about how I feel a silly pressure to have an ‘extra special’ wedding because of my job, and that extends to the photography more than anything else. I had a lot of anxiety about choosing a photographer because I felt like our pictures would be scrutinised more than others.

When you look back on your own pictures, in two, ten, or thirty years time, chances are you’ll gloss over those so-Instagram-worthy-right-now pictures of your dress billowing in the breeze, your just-right table styling, or your carefully chosen Etsy cake topper.

TIPS WHEN LOOKING FOR YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

Urgh, so many choices, so many options! I don’t even know what half of it means?’ Here’s a guide to help you to find the photographer who’s right for you, what questions to ask and what to be aware of. So I’m going to give you some tips and help finding your perfect wedding photographer but I won’t be talking finances, everyone has different budgets and I’m not about to open that can of worms!

So let’s go shopping, we’re going to assume that you already like their photos;

1.  Can you see real wedding examples, not just a few hand picked images? If a photographer is at a wedding for 12 hours then they’d be hard pushed to not get a couple of awesome shots, but you’re going to want consistency.

2.  Read their ‘about me’ page, do they sound like the type of person you want at your wedding or do they sound like they might just clash with your ideas for your big day. In our defence it is tricky to not sound like you think the sun shines out your arse when you’re trying to promote yourself!

3.  Where are they based and what are their travel fee’s? Some photographers insist on over-night stays depending on your location. Which if they’re perfect for you is totally worth it

4.  Will they meet up with you before taking the booking? Can you at least FaceTime them? When I meet my couples they think that I’m there to show off my work, but I’m they’ve already seen my work, they’re just making sure I’m not weird. Well not too weird anyway.

5.  How legitimate is their business, will they give you a contract, do they have public liability insurance? Basically do you trust that they will still be trading by the time you get married.

6.  What rights do you have over your photographs? If they’re telling you that they’re copyright free then they don’t understand how photographic copyright works. What you should be looking for is a print release along with your high res photos

7.  Do they have any awards? Now I’m gonna cause some controversy with this next statement but unless the awards are from Fearless Photographers, Wedisson Awards, Masters of Wedding Photography, A camera brand back award (like Sony etc) and a handful of others then they’re not really awards, they’re just paid-for-titles.

8.  Remember, having two photographers doesn’t necessarily mean more photographs. In some cases it can mean a lower quality of photographs, are they both awesome photographers or is one just a glorified bag holder? Find out about the second photographer, see their work, not just the work of the first photographer.

9.  Are they available for your date? There’s no harm in messaging a load of photographers for quotes and seeing how they get back to you. You’ll probably get a personalised response which will give you even more of an indication of how well they’ll fit into your big day

WHY A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY CONSULTATION IS A MUST!

As a bride, one of the most important aspects of your day will be your photographer.  And choosing the right one is vital – after all, your wedding photographs will be one of the few things you have to remember your day!   I’ve already shared a bit about how to choose a great photographe

so now you’re at the point of needing to decide who will be your photographer.  Many brides make their decision based solely on information gathered online from websites or by comparing listed prices.  But you are missing out on one very important step in the process.  Having a consultation with your photographer is very important!  I recommend that every bride makes sure they set aside time for a consultation with any vendor they are choosing for their day, but in particular with your wedding photographer.

View a FULL wedding gallery, not just the highlights.

Many photographers have highlights galleries on their website, showing prospective brides the best of the best, typically from a large number of weddings they’ve shot recently.  In order to get a more complete view of their work and what you can expect on your wedding day, it’s important to view a FULL wedding day gallery, particularly if they do not have one on their website.  (You can view several of my full wedding galleries here)  If these images are the same quality you’ve seen elsewhere in their marketing, that’s good!  But if you’re noticing a lack of consistency, or worse yet the photographer lacks the experience or is new to weddings and doesn’t have a full wedding to show you, those are all warning signs.  It’s also a good opportunity to ask to view a gallery for an event similar to yours – say you’re having an indoor ceremony in a very dark church, you’ll want to make sure your photographer has the skills (and equipment!) to handle this!

Look for authentic and genuine photos you LOVE and CONSISTENCY!

While an online portfolio gives you a good idea of what to expect from a photographer in terms of general style, viewing a few albums in person helps you get a better sense for how a couple blossoms on camera.  What does that even MEAN, Jen?  You want to look natural on your wedding day, not stiff and awkward.  Can your photographer capture emotions and interactions in a way that is genuine?  Is there a mix of smiles and joy from real moments, or is everything forced?  Does everyone look like a deer caught in the headlights, or are their natural interactions between the bride and groom in their photos?  Is their gallery full of real weddings of real couples, or is it mostly styled shoots and models?  Do you see the same poses over and over, or is there variety?  Are the images sharp and consistent in editing and style throughout the wedding AND in multiple wedding albums?  I know this is probably a lot to remember, but it is SO important!  If your photographer can’t demonstrate consistency in ALL areas, than you are entering into the unknown and will have no idea what to expect for your images or on your wedding day.  Make sure you can envision yourself in those albums and those photos, that you really LOVE the look, and that the look and style is CONSISTENT –  because that’s what you’re probably going to look like in your wedding photos too!

Make sure you personalities MESH well.

You don’t need to be best friends with your wedding photographer (that’s why you have a maid of honor!) but you should definitely like your wedding photographer!  And while their online about me page probably does a decent job of sharing some information, you definitely want to meet in person!  When you meet for your consultation, does the photographer seem excited by your ideas and vision for your wedding?  Can you envision this person interacting with your friends and family throughout the day?  This person will be with you for most of your day, so it’s important that you aren’t irritated by them!  Your photographer needs to be both creative and understand light, but also have enough social capital to direct guests and family members as needed, yet also put you at ease during portrait time.  They need to coax out authentic smiles when it matters, yet be unobtrusive when it’s critical.  Your photographer needs to know how to speak professionally and efficiently to guests and vendors, yet also be enjoyable to be around.  Take note during your consultation if your photographer doesn’t stand up to your standards, and make sure you hire someone that is qualified and talented AND that you like.

HOW TO SURVIVE YOUR FIRST WEDDING CONSULTATION

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY CONSULTATION

As a photographer and small business owner, our business, brand and our personal identity are endlessly linked. There is no big corporate logo to hide behind and no sales or public relations team to handle all your interactions with clients. It is just you out there, trying to make a good impression.

MY PLACE

Pros: I’m in control of every aspect from the décor to the music that is playing. I can offer the clients drinks and snacks and make them feel at home.

Cons: I have two (pretty loud) dogs, that cannot be around during the consultation. That, and I have to clean my house (or at least the first floor) pretty heavily before guests can come over.

THEIR PLACE

Pros: They have the opportunity to show me aspects of their wedding such as their dress or color scheme. Being at their place also makes them feel 100% comfortable, which puts them in a good mindset to make decisions.

Cons: I have no control over any of the settings. Maybe I prefer sitting at a table, but they lead me to a couch instead. Your ability to be flexible is the key to success here.

COFFEE SHOP

Pros: I can arrive early and choose the best table. I can offer to buy them drinks, all while supporting a good local business.

Cons: Sometimes my clients feel awkward letting me buy their drinks, so they decline, and I am left sipping my drink alone (you can’t meet at a coffee shop, use their business space, and not buy something).

SAMPLE WEDDING ALBUMS

I bring one wedding album, one parent album, and one mini album. Do not let anyone tell you can’t book a wedding with only one sample album. Lies… all of it. I’ve been using one album for the past 2+ years, and have never had an issue, nor had anyone ask to see another one.

Becoming A Pro Accountant

Skills you need to nurture as an accountant

If you are striving for a successful career in accountancy, there are a number of key skills which you should look to develop and build upon throughout your career. A combination of accredited qualifications and excellent interpersonal and professional skills will enable you to pursue the successful career you are aiming for.

Adaptability

The accounting industry is changing rapidly. The role of the accountant is becoming more of an advisory one as technology automates processes and removes the need for paper. Clients have new expectations, and accountants can now collaborate and work with their customers in real time.

Openness

Honesty is highly valued in the accounting world. Accountants and the firms they work for pride themselves on adhering to the highest ethical standards and always treating their clients with honesty and integrity.

Strategic decision-making

Automation of many administrative tasks means accountants have more time to focus on the strategic decision-making side of their role; and clients know this.

Information technology expertise

Accountants should look to be knowledgeable in general IT and accounting software, especially when it is likely your client will know how to use it too.

Should I Be an Accountant? Questions To Help You Find Out

You’ve done the research. You know that accountants are in demand and that earning an online accounting degree could lead to a secure career with plenty of opportunity for advancement. But have you asked is accounting right for me, or have you answered the question should I be an accountant?

Not everyone is cut out to be an accountant. You need to enjoy both technology and numbers as well as working with people and being a leader. You need to be able to sweat the details yet understand the big business picture.

Are you detail oriented?

If you’re a detail-oriented person, you pay attention to the little things. That means you may like sharp creases in your jeans and crisp shirts, but it goes beyond attire or an obsession with making lists. It means you’re conscientious and focused on accuracy and precision. You pride yourself on being a perfectionist. You’re also patient and persistent in pursuing answers to challenging questions.

Are you a good communicator?

Bet you thought accounting was just about math. While it is a numbers-based profession, real-world business problems do not present themselves as mathematical equations, even if math is required to solve them. You need to be good with words – a careful and critical reader, and a good oral and written communicator, able to present and explain financial data, new regulations, financial results and business projections.

How do you feel about being the center of attention?

Some people think that accountants work in solitude in a back office where no one will bother them. While that may have been true generations ago, with the reshaping of today’s business environment, accounting has moved to the forefront. Accountants are called upon to make presentations. They lead teams. So even if you have the best accounting skills in the world, you may not get hired unless you’re also outgoing.

Why is Accounting Important?

Accounting is important for small business owners as it helps the owners, managers, investors and other stakeholders in the business evaluate the financial performance of the business. Accounting provides vital information regarding cost and earnings, profit and loss, liabilities and assets for decision making, planning and controlling processes within a business.

The main objective of accounting is to record financial transactions in the books of accounts to identify, measure and communicate economic information. Moreover, tax reporting agencies require you to keep books at a minimum level that tracks income and expenditure.

What Is the Purpose of Accounting?

Accounting is often referred to as “Language of Business”. It is a means of communicating financial information to different users for decision making.

RECORDING TRANSACTIONS

The primary role of accounting is to maintain a systematic, accurate and complete record of all financial transactions of a business. These records are the backbone of the accounting system. Business owners should be able to retrieve and review the transactions whenever required.

BUDGETING AND PLANNING

Business owners need to plan how they allocate their limited resources including labor, machinery, equipment and cash towards accomplishing the objectives of the business.

Things Every Accountant Needs at Their Desk

Want to make your day-to-day at the accounting firm more enjoyable? Check out our list of things you need at your desk to see how you can upgrade your work experience.

You spend a lot of time at work. Your desk is practically a second home, which means you should make it as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. To that end, we’ve put together a list of four things every accountant should keep at their desks to make the time you spend at work better.

Noise-Canceling Headphones

When it’s time to buckle down and focus on your work, you need to be able to control your environment as much as possible. That means you need to be able to block out the sounds of your busy office—printers whirring, phones ringing, co-workers chatting. And unless you prefer total silence, noise-canceling headphones are going to be your best option. Noise-canceling headphones come in all kinds of shapes and sizes (as a well as a variety of price points) so you can find a pair that suits your preferences. Best of all, they’re easy to use; just plug them in and only listen to what you want to, no matter how noisy your office is.

A Nice Keyboard and Mouse

Accountants spend a ridiculous number of hours at their computers. Your computer is your primary workspace, and you should make that workspace as comfortable as you reasonably can—including the way you interact with your computer. A keyboard and mouse can easily be overlooked as the least important part of your computer, but those are the pieces that you touch, tap, and hold all day long. Your interface with your computer shouldn’t feel like it was made as cheaply as possible.

Computer Glasses

Computer glasses are a must-have for anyone who spends more than a few hours staring at their computer screen each day. This is especially true if you find that your eyes feel tired or strained after a long day of work. If you’re getting dry eyes and headaches every day, stop taking so much Motrin and grab yourself a pair of computer glasses. They don’t have to be complicated or fancy. Computer glasses are essentially reading glasses designed to focus at slightly further distances than traditional reading glasses. That means that it’s easy to find a nice pair for under $20, so there’s no excuse not to keep a pair or two at your desk.

Accounting Basics

Introduction to Accounting Basics

This explanation of accounting basics will introduce you to some basic accounting principles, accounting concepts, and accounting terminology. Once you become familiar with some of these terms and concepts, you will feel comfortable navigating through the explanations, quizzes, quick tests, and other features of Accounting

Some of the basic accounting terms that you will learn include revenues, expenses, assets, liabilities, income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows. You will become familiar with accounting debits and credits as we show you how to record transactions. You will also see why two basic accounting principles, the revenue recognition principle and the matching principle, assure that a company’s income statement reports a company’s profitability.

A Story for Relating to Accounting Basics

will present the basics of accounting through a story of a person starting a new business. The person is Joe Perez—a savvy man who sees the need for a parcel delivery service in his community. has researched his idea and has prepared a business plan that documents the viability of his new business.

With thousands of such transactions in a given year, is smart to start using accounting software right from the beginning. Accounting software will generate sales invoices and accounting entries simultaneously, prepare statements for customers with no additional work, write checks, automatically update accounting records, etc.

By getting into the habit of entering all of the day’s business transactions into his computer, will be rewarded with fast and easy access to the specific information he will need to make sound business decisions. Marilyn tells Joe that accounting’s “transaction approach” is useful, reliable, and informative. She has worked with other small business owners who think it is enough to simply “know” their company made $30,000 during the year (based only on the fact that it owns $30,000 more than it did on January 1). Those are the people who start off on the wrong foot and end up in office looking for financial advice.

Are Car Dealer Websites Important For Used Car Dealers

Buying a used car: things to know

there are about four used ones that exchange hands. As you can imagine, the used car market is thriving, and how. The reasons to consider going for a pre-owned car are centred around, but not limited to, how much financial sense they make. With new cars losing value literally the moment they roll out of the showroom, you can save big money by even going for a car that’s just a few months old. For others, the decision to go for a used car opens the doors to multiple options to suit a limited budget.

WHOM SHOULD I BUY FROM?

There are three main avenues for buying a used car – an individual, a used car broker and the franchised pre-owned dealer. The customer-to-customer model certainly seems to be the easiest choice if the seller is known to you. The fact that there’s no middleman involved to make a quick buck out of the transaction also gives you more leeway to fix a good price. Used car classifieds in newspapers, and websites are also a fast way of getting in touch with private sellers. But do not buy on face value itself, do all the checks necessary and be prepared to do a little bit of running about for the vehicle transfer.

WHAT SHOULD MY HOMEWORK COMPRISE OF?

First up, be sure if the car you are eyeing is suited to your needs and offers a hassle-free ownership experience. Read reviews of the car and try to speak to a couple of existing owners to get an idea of running costs, the typical problems associated with it and the price of spares and maintenance.

WHAT ABOUT MY BUDGET?

Make up your mind on the amount of money you want to spend, including the room for stretching it. When shopping, it is very easy to get tempted by an enthusiastic salesperson into buying above your means for the sake of a larger car or more features. So, it’s up to you to be vigilant and remain grounded during the purchase. If finance is what you are looking at, then be aware that interest rates for used car loans are usually higher than those for new cars and as a result you might pay a lot more than the sticker price. If finance is a must then opt for short-term loans with lower interest rates. Check with your regular bank for loan options. Facilities like an overdraft on your fixed deposit could work out to be cheaper options.

SHOULD I TRUST THESE GUYS?

Sales personnel and brokers are usually smooth operators who are trained to sweet-talk buyers into making purchases they may not be in the market for. With sales commissions at stake, they usually go all out in convincing customers to part with their money. So, take everything thrown at you with a pinch of salt, what they say, how they say it, facial expressions and even the tone of voice. For example, they might steer a customer towards a lemon (a model that’s not selling), paint a rosy picture of its virtues and offer higher discounts, without mentioning any of its drawbacks. Filter the facts from the fluff coming your way and argue on any point you feel is a false claim; this is where your homework comes into good use. Pay for a car’s worth and do not be swayed with freebies like a full tank of fuel or car polish coupons.

THINGS TO ASK A CAR DEALER

Is there a balloon payment?

With a balloon payment, your weekly repayments are less than they’d otherwise be, but you pay a large lump sum payment at the end of the loan term (up to a quarter of the loan value).

Are the repayments all-inclusive?

It’s not uncommon for finance offers to include costs like stamp duty, servicing and insurance. This means your repayments will include these costs, plus the purchase price of your car.

Does the dealer get commission?

Car dealerships get commission when you purchase a car—and a higher commission when they use their own finance company.

Do I need an extended warranty?

Car dealers also earn a commission from ‘add-ons’, such as extended warranties and alarm systems. Be sure you understand exactly what your finance agreement covers and do not sign anything until you understand what’s included.

Can I see the invoice price?

This shows you the exact itemised price of the car. For instance, you may pay $20,000 for a car that’s actually worth just $18,000. That extra $2,000 might be made up of car mats, mud flaps, bull bars and so on. These items can often be bought outside of the dealership for much less.

things your car dealer doesn’t want you to know: How to not to get cheated!

Driving home a shiny new car is always an occasion here’s how you can get the best deal and make it even more fun for you and a little less fun for the dealer.

Buying a new car is an occasion, what can be better than that shiny new paint job on the car you’ve been saving up for. Not to mention that wonderful “new car” smell, wafting through the vents as you scoot through town on your flashy new wheels. The thing is car dealers know this all to well and will not hesitate to take advantage of your excitement. Here’s the thing though just like they count on your predictability, we can count on theirs. Because the only thing better than a new car is having one knowing fully well that you got the best possible deal, that they have to offer. Because from the time you enter a dealership, the dealer throws in a elaborate stage play to ensure that they make you spend the most of your moolah. To beat these odds, here’s our list of top five things your dealer doesn’t want you to know, because sometimes just knowing what’s up keeps you from a deafening blind side.

Try to push your purchase to the end of the month:  Car salesmen like the rest of us have targets, and while the rest of us have the privilege of three months before our targets get met. Salesmen work on more of a monthly format. The idea is they make hold back their margins to push profits till months end, and on the last few days of the month, they switch this strategy up to favour numbers slimming out their margins as far as possible. This won’t be out in the open, they will hold out as long as possible without compromising on the margin if they know you’re keen on the purchase, so haggle away, and get the best deal at months end.

VIN number and offers that look too good to be true: If an offer from your salesman sounds too good to be true it probably is. Ask to see the VIN number of the car you’re putting your booking down for, insist on seeing it before they register it. The VIN number is usually the best way to know which year the car he intends to sell you has been manufactured. The dealer will try to clear out his older stock first and this might mean you will end up with an older car than the month your buying from. These older models will then be wrapped in seemingly irresistible discounts, and most often sent forward with a time-bound. This is usually to make sure you put down your initials and moolah before you properly look the gift horse in the mouth.

Trade-ins are not the best deal: You know how dealers seem excited when you say that your interested in a trade in and then somehow lose the enthusiasm when you pull into the dealership. Well, don’t be surprised that’s what they are trained to do. They will drive down your car, and then make you feel like it’s the best deal you’re going to get. It’s probably not. You’re likely to get a better deal on the free market, but it usually makes sense to check in both places before you put down your final decision.Always bargain:  When dealers start talking discounts at the get-go you know to look a gift-horse in the mouth. The discount they are offering is usually already been taken care of by the manufacturer without really encroaching on their margins. Always ask them to give you their final price, if you have followed rule one. This should get you some exciting results.

How to Negotiate for a Used Car

A couple of months ago, I wrote about how to buy a used car. I went through all the steps except for negotiating because it’s a topic deserving of its very own post. A post which I’ll tackle today.

And it becomes really apparent whenever I negotiate for big purchase items like cars. When Kate and I had to buy a “new” car last year, I stunk it up. It wasn’t for a lack of trying. I was actually excited about the chance to improve my negotiating chops. I felt ready to walk into the dealership and make a deal.

Thankfully, Kate is a kickass negotiator. I think it’s her Italian heritage that makes her so good. Maybe the Polish. I don’t know. She’s just good at it. She saw that I was flubbing it up and took over the reins and got us a good deal.

As we drove away in our new car, I’ll admit that my manly ego was bruised. And I could tell Kate was disappointed that I hadn’t been able to take the lead. I thought, “I’m the man damnit! I should know how to negotiate and not have to let my wife do it.”

Knowledge Is Power

In the negotiation game, knowledge is truly power. And in the car buying business, the car salesman usually has the most information. Think about it. When the average buyer walks into the dealer, he’ll immediately divulge to the salesman which car he wants, how much he can pay per month, and which vehicle he’s trading in.

Auto Shopping Moments Every Brand Must Own

The average car shopper today makes just two dealership visits in the search for the perfect vehicle. That’s because today car shoppers turn to mobile to research models, find deals, and get real-time advice

Some of my fondest memories as a child were spent with my Dad, shopping for a new car. Going from dealership to dealership, climbing in and out of the vehicular jungle gyms perfectly arranged on the showroom floors.

Which-car-is-best moments

Six out of 10 car shoppers enter the market unsure which car to buy. To help narrow their choices, many start by consulting someone they trust. This can come in the form of reaching out to that one friend we all have who is bizarrely obsessed with cars (a hat I proudly wear), by reading blogs or forums, or by searching for review sites like Edmunds, KBB, and Car and Driver.

Is-it-right-for-me moments

At some point, a shopper needs a reality check: will this car fit my needs and my life? Information about practical considerations, like seating accommodations and the number of airbags, are the hallmark of this stage.

Can-I-afford-it moments

Once consumers can imagine owning a particular vehicle, they need to know if they can afford it. And again, people are grabbing their smartphones to find a fast answer. Search interest for MSRP & list prices is at its highest levels ever, growing 25% in the past year, driven in large part by mobile, which accounts for 70% of these searches

Should You Hire Professional Local Moving Or Go DIY For Either Local Or Long-Distance Relocation

Don’t Stress Over a Short, Local Move

Moving just a few blocks over might seem easy, but you still have to pack your entire life into boxes and load it into a moving truck.

the process quick and easy. can move everything in your home – even large items like pianos! talented moving professionals help families, individuals and college students move to their new homes.

want to help our clients make their moves as stress-free as possible. Here are five tips to help you make a local move easier:

1. Label every box clearly with the items inside.

2. Make sure the items you will need immediately are easy to access.

3. Wrap your toiletries in saran wrap to avoid spills and leaks.

4. If you have to take apart furniture, keep the nuts and bolts in a clearly labeled sandwich bag.

5. Call a charity organization to pick up any items you don’t want to take with you.

Must-Have Packing and Moving Supplies Checklist

Packing and moving can be a huge task, but just like with any big job, it suddenly becomes easier with the proper tools. In a time when there are entire stores dedicated to selling different types of containers, a person planning a move could easily get lost just in preparation before packing a single box. Finding perfect boxes for each item is great if you’ve got that kind of time, but for those who do not, we’ve put together this helpful list of must-have packing and moving supplies.

Generally, anyone planning a move needs boxes of various sizes. While large items may require large or extra large boxes, remember that heavy things need to be placed in as small boxes as possible. Conversely, lightweight things can go in larger boxes and still be moveable with ease. Another helpful tip about boxes: Check with your local liquor stores to see if they have emptied liquor boxes. These typically have dividers inside, making them perfect boxes for protectively packing your glassware. Lastly, fill boxes to capacity, as overfilling gives them lumpy surfaces making them hard to stack, and underfilling them makes them vulnerable to collapse under weight. When it’s time to stack them in the moving truck, you’ll be glad to have neat, level towers of boxes that stay in place.

Along with boxes, people packing for a move need tape. Be sure to stock up on shipping tape for sealing boxes, masking tape for labeling boxes, duct tape or strapping tape for reinforcing and closing heavier boxes, and painter’s tape for any immediate painting and frame hanging projects in your new home. Buy at least two rolls of each to ensure you don’t run out or lose a roll in the process of packing and moving. Scissors and box cutters are also things you should have on hand in multiples, especially if you have helpers in the unpacking process.

Along with those basics, Sharpie permanent markers for labeling boxes are essential. Some experienced movers use stickers or colored markers to establish a color code system, assigning a color to all boxes from one particular room of the house. That’s also an effective method for protecting your valuables, as it allows only you to identify each box’s contents without writing the actual contents on the side of the box and tempting thieves. 

Some type of protective packing material is needed for most household moves, but don’t believe you have to spend a lot of money to keep your fragile items intact. Lots of people prefer bubble wrap or packing paper purchased from a home improvement store, but you can also used recycled newsprint, end rolls of newsprint often available at your local newspaper or even your own clothing, towels, sheets and blankets.

Use our Must Have Packing and Moving Supplies Checklist to gather these and a few other items within a month of moving day, as you’ll likely use some when you begin packing away non-essential items early on.

Moving Services

Packing delicate to heavy household items into a few moving boxes can be a challenging job for you. You can lose your composure because you have too many things to plan for the big day and end up with chaos.

Purge Out Unnecessary Items‍

To reduce the stress and load out of your packing, make a list of items that you no longer needed. It can be anything- old clothes, furniture, crockery, artificial jewelry, etc.

Rent Cardboard Boxes‍

Instead of purchasing boxes, you can borrow them from any grocery store. You can ask them to provide you with cardboard boxes which will help you quickly pack

Organize Small Stuff‍

Organize your move transparent using ziplock bags. They’re not only perfect for packing and securing essential papers, cords, furniture screws. You can also name it, but

Pack your fragile items in Bubble Wraps‍

It’s important to provide extra coverage when packing fragile items such as antiques, jewelry, cutlery, and other electronic items. Cover them with a double layer of bubble wraps before they are placed in bags. That will protect them during the loading and unloading process from damage and loss.

LOCAL MOVING

If you are planning a DIY move, you have three primary options for transportation and storage: a rental truck, a portable storage container, or a “you load, we drive” moving company. Since 70% of all domestic moves in the US are intrastate, 30% of those moves use a portable storage unit

If you are considering a portable storage unit, here’s some helpful info and tips about what they are and how best to use them. In some cases a portable storage container may seem more expensive, but it addresses both movement and storage of your household goods. So, in determining if this is the right choice for you, you will need to take into account the expense of storage as well when comparing options.

What is a Portable Storage Container?

It is a storage container that is delivered to your home. You then pack it with your household goods, and the company picks it up and transports it to a storage facility or your new residence. This has become a popular and convenient method for moving, and it allows you to organize your goods as you see fit.

What are the Benefits of a Storage Container?

The primary benefit is its versatility. You load your household goods only once. You do not need to load a truck, unload the truck into a storage unit, reload a truck, and unload it once again to move your personal belongings into your new home

When Should You Use a Container?

A storage container makes the most sense when you need to store your personal belongings prior to moving them to your final destination, regardless of whether you are moving locally or long distance. If you cannot move into your new home immediately, then a container is most likely your best choice. This is very common if you have sold your previous residence, but you are still searching for a new home. Or, you may be making a temporary move.

Local Movers

Whether you are moving around the block or many miles can ensure that your personal possessions are moved safely, quickly, and affordably. will provide old-fashioned, customer-oriented service using modern equipment to efficiently move your goods in a simple, stress-free manner, so that you can get on with your life without worrying about your move.

home move estimate.

This in-home estimate will insure that all aspects of the move are observed and insure an accurate estimate of the move cost and timecome out to your residence in order to assess the final weight and dimensions of the items that require to be relocated. Once the weight and size are determined,

you are working with highly motivated, pleasant, trained and experienced moving professionals who understand the details of domestic and international moving, and who really care about providing the best possible service.

You Need To Ask Before You Hire A Mold Inspection

Mold Remediation – A Helpful Guide To Remediating Mold

Black Mold is toxic mold. It can cause health problems and is dangerous to have in your home. Black mold is a challenge that many people will run from, and for good reason.

Unfortunately, not everyone can run from black mold and this fact forces them to search for other solutions, and mold remediation is one of them. This article will provide you with insight into the mold removal process for black mold, and will hopefully help you to better understand how to deal with your mold infestation.

Mold And Black Mold Remediation

Apartment tenants have had to move out because they saw the black substance creeping up their walls. It is a toxic compound and prolonged mold exposure to black mold can be quite dangerous. It is not a problem that should be taken lightly, so mold remediation might be a valuable option to addressing this problem.

DOES MOLD REMEDIATION REALLY WORK?

To answer this question, it is best to understand the basics of the black mold remediation process. For instance, the sight of mold means that you don’t have to have pretesting done.

You only need to pre-test if you suspect mold but can’t see it. Why even mention pre-testing at this point then? It is to illustrate how urgent a black mold situation is.

Things You Need to Know About Mold

For many years now, mold has been a hot topic.  Barely a week goes by that you can’t find something in the media about water damage or mold.  Trying to find out more information can be a daunting task, with many half-truths, biased stories and outright lies propagating on the internet. 

Mold is everywhere and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing!

From pharmaceuticals to beer, wine and cheese, we use and benefit from molds every day.  There are literally over 100,000 different types of mold known today.  Some are harmless, some bring great benefit, but some also bring problems.  Even the “problem” molds can be no big deal in a normal environment.  Mold levels fluctuate constantly indoors and outdoors and are influenced by factors such as seasonal variation and weather effects

How does mold growth develop?

Molds reproduce by creating tiny spores that usually cannot be seen without a microscope. Mold spores continually float through the indoor and outdoor air and are not usually a problem unless the spores land on a damp spot and begin to grow. When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains uncorrected. While it is impossible to eliminate all molds and mold spores, controlling moisture can control indoor mold growth.

What is “black” or “toxic” mold?

I am sure you have all seen and heard the media reports about “black mold” or “toxic mold.”  The mold that the media outlets are referring to is Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys).  Stachybotrys is black in color, typically indicates a long-term problem and can cause severe health implications, particularly in the elderly, children or immune-compromised people.  It’s a particularly nasty mold, but not the only one to be concerned about

If you think you have a problem, what should you do?

Some of you may have seen the Mold Test Kits available at many home improvement stores and are asking yourself if that is a viable solution.  The simple answer: No.  The test kits allow the user to test the air in a building and require you to send your sample to a laboratory for analysis to tell you what the sample contained.  So where is the problem with that?  As we mentioned earlier, mold is found everywhere, even in a normal environment, so what does that lab report tell you?  Nothing useful if relied upon alone.

Mold Inspection Services

mold inspection and mold testing services leverage our extensive knowledge of mold and mildew (black mold, black toxic mold, Stachybotrys, and other molds) and the conditions conducive to mold growth as well as building construction, air flows, building materials, and heating ventilation and air-conditioning systems.

Moisture Detection

Where we find mold, find moisture. By locating the source of moisture and identifying hidden water intrusion sources can focus our mold investigation in the right areas. Where there is water damage from a flood, leak, or natural event can inspect and asses the water damage along with identifying the presence of mold and make recommendations on the best ways to return the home or office to a healthy state.

Infrared Technology

use FLIR infrared camera technology to enhance our inspection services. This advanced, non-invasive technology allows inspectors to zero in and identify potential sources of moisture to more accurately determine testing and sampling investigations. This, in turn, will allow us to make conclusions and recommendations for action during the inspection.

Certified Mold Inspectors

value certification, education, and experience. Performing quality mold inspections requires all three. Each of our inspectors, consultants, and project managers is a Certified Mold Inspector (ACAC and/or MICRO). To protect your liability, property, and health, it’s important to engage the services of a professional and certified mold inspector.

No Conflict of Interest

don’t perform mold remediation, repair, or construction. have no interest in the outcome of inspections other than to ensure you have the information needed to return your home or office to a healthy state

BUYING A HOUSE AFTER MOLD REMEDIATION

You think you’ve finally found “the one” – the house that might become the home that you’ve been dreaming of. How exciting! But there are so many things to think about during the home purchasing process, especially if you’re considering buying a house after mold remediation has been done by the previous homeowner. Hopefully the sellers disclosed the mold-related issues that they dealt with and you’re not discovering evidence of previous mold remediation that you weren’t aware of when you bought. If that’s the case, then you might be stuck with whatever mold-related issues are still lingering. But if you haven’t closed yet, here are some key things to consider. Every home purchase involves risk, of course, but by thinking about these important factors, you can follow through on your negotiation and closing – or walk away – with a greater degree of confidence in your decision.

If mold remediation has been disclosed, ask the sellers: “How long ago did it happen?”

Mold issues that are older could signal that the home is now in good shape if the mold remediation was done properly and the sellers have continued to maintain a clean and dry indoor environment to minimize the risk of mold returning to the structure. But by the same token, older issues might also mean that there’s been plenty of time for more mold to creep back in. On the flip side, if mold remediation was done recently, then this could mean that the home has been rid of the mold and it’s now good to go. Or, once again, it could mean that the issues are just starting to develop and more could be just over the horizon after you get the keys. So how can you know what’s the real deal?

Ask the sellers, “Who did your mold remediation?”

If they assure you that their cousin Frank, who is the family’s resident mold expert, thoroughly cleaned out all of the mold, then maybe you should exercise some more caution. Is Frank certified by the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors (NORMI)? Does he have the latest mold inspection and mold testing technology, and has he been trained in the best techniques for removing and remediating black mold and other types of harmful spores? So depending on both the timeline and the mold mitigation service provider, you can make a more informed decision about the possible condition of the home.

Review your home inspection report thoroughly.

Ideally, you were able to walk with your home inspector as she or he went through every nook and cranny of the home you’re thinking about buying. But if you weren’t present for the inspection itself, then review the written report which should include pictures of all deficiencies which the inspector found in the home. Even previous mold remediation services might be evident to the inspector based on the condition and appearance of certain surfaces. If the inspector found current mold damage but didn’t make specific recommendations in the report on how to go about remediating the mold, then contact him or her to ask for further details about the nature of the mold infestation and any thoughts on how serious the problem might be (and how extensive and costly a mitigation service might be). This information can give you leverage in the negotiation process with the sellers – or, if the issues are bad enough and your gut is telling you to bail, then you might have just saved yourself from discovering the issues later and wondering why you bought the place at all.

What if you need additional mold remediation?

If you’ve already bought the house and you’re stuck with a mold-related problem, try not to panic. If the issues weren’t disclosed or caught on your home inspection, you might have recourse to hold the sellers liable. Although this may be difficult to accomplish legally, an attorney can give you sound advice on what your options are for getting the sellers to do the right thing. Maybe the mold won’t require litigation, but regardless it will require mitigation. (We couldn’t resist the rhyme on that one.) In all seriousness, mold is nothing to mess around with, and if you’re going to have it removed, then you need to have it done the right way the first time.

Frequently Asked Mold Questions

Do I literally have to clean everything in my house (i.e. plastic storage containers, books, toiletries, candles, knickknacks, canned food etc) or just the major things like clothing and furniture?

Yes, everything.

Is it possible to clean electronic devices that may have mold spores inside of them, seeing as I have no way to clean the inside of these devices (i.e., DVD players, computers)? Is it good enough to simply clean the outside of them?

Clean the outside and vacuum the openings

Do pictures and documents have to be scanned/copied or can the originals be kept?

Photos can be washed. Porous frames are trash. Documents need to be copied.

What about books, journal? How do you clean them? Or do they have to be thrown out?

Books are difficult. If the books are on a shelf and not opened, HEPA vacuum each one. Opened books are trash.

Do I need to use a new cloth for every item that I clean (one clean cloth per moldy item) or can I use the same cloth for several items?

One cloth can be reused. You will be vacuuming, then wiping and vacuuming again anyway

Home Mosquitoes Control

3 Natural Dog Mosquito Repellent Options

Spring has been wet and cool in most states this year and that means increased mosquito and black fly activity this summer. Those pesky bugs are a painful nuisance for you and for your dog…and mosquito bite prevention can be an important step in preventing heartworm in your dog. Luckily, there are effective ways to repel bugs without using harmful chemicals or DEET.  There are many natural products available with different active ingredients so how do you know which ones work and which don’t? Here is a brief guide to help you protect your dog safely and effectively.

Lemon eucalyptus oil

The most effective natural mosquito repellent at the time of writing is Repel Lemon Eucalyptus. A 2002 study in the New England Journal of Medicine compared different synthetic chemical and herbal repellents: Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Repellent provided 120.1 minutes of mosquito protection, more than a repellent with a low concentration of the chemical DEET (Off Skintastic for Kids with 4.75% DEET provided 88.4 minutes of protection) and less than Off Deep Woods with 23.8% DEET, which provided 301.5 minutes of protection. A study by the US Department of Agriculture compared four synthetic mosquito repellents and eight natural mosquito repellents and found that Repel Lemon Eucalyptus was the most effective repellent, more so than a 7% DEET repellent.

Lemon eucalyptus oil repellents, in addition to the chemicals DEET and picaridin, have been registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (which means that the materials have been reviewed and approved for effectiveness and human safety) and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for mosquitoes that may carry the West Nile virus. A June 2006 Consumer Reports article stated that after conducting their own tests, Repel Lemon Eucalyptus was the best non-DEET mosquito repellent. However, volunteers criticized its odor. Repel can be found online or is available at REI, Target and Wal-Mart.  They do not produce a product for dogs and the product has a strong odor, so use caution when applying.

Geranium oil and soybean oil

A repellent called Bite Blocker ranks second.The New England Journal of Medicine study found that Bite Blocker provided 94.6 minutes of protection against mosquitos. This is slightly more effective than Off Skintastic for Kids (containing 4.75% DEET), which provided 88.4 minutes of protection. The study by the United States Department of Agriculture ranked Bite Blocker number two in effectiveness after Repel. Bite Blocker was rated more effective than a synthetic 7% DEET mosquito repellent.

Citronella

A well-known natural mosquito repellent. The oils from the plant are used to make lotions, sprays, and candles. A University of Guelph study assessed the effectiveness of 3% citronella candles and 5% citronella incense in protecting subjects from bites. They found that subjects who were positioned near the citronella candles had 42.3% less bites and those near the citronella incense had 24.2% fewer bites. Based on these results, citronella candles shouldn’t be used as a stand-alone repellent, although they may help in combination with topical repellents.

How To Protect Your Dog From Mosquito Bites

It’s summer, but to us dog owners we know what season it really is: flea/tick/mosquito season. It’s that time of the year when you become wary of letting your dog walk through ominous-looking grass and uncut lawns. After all, mosquito bites carry deadly consequences and can transmit diseases like heartworm and West Nile. But if encasing your dog in a protective, unpenetrable bubble doesn’t work for you, here are some ways to keep your dog safe and bite-free all summer.

DON’T use human insect repellent on your dog

Human bug sprays are great for us, but they’re toxic for our furry friends. DEET, the main ingredient in most drugstore bug sprays, can cause vomiting, seizures, and skin irritation when exposed to dogs.

When applying bug spray, make sure your dog doesn’t lick your skin, and if they do, contact your vet immediately.

DO avoid leaving stagnant water around your home

Mosquitoes, much like humans, need water to live. Restricting their access to water is the best way to keep adult mosquitoes from breeding and, thus, unleashing more mosquitoes into your home.

To prevent this, eliminate any standing water around your home (like the puddle of water behind your air conditioner or the dish of three-day-old water under your plants). You might also want to empty your dog’s water bowl at night when you know they won’t be drinking it.

DON’T walk your dog during peak mosquito times

Just like how us humans have rush hours, mosquitoes have their own time of the day when they’re the most active, and those times are at dawn and dusk. Avoid walking your dog during these hours and they’ll be less likely to be bitten.

Here are a few other key points to keep in mind when shopping for bug prevention and repellents:

  • Do not use DEET products. These are meant for humans — not animals!
  • Use only feline-friendly repellents, sprays and treatments. Many pet treatments are specifically designed for dogs and are too strong for cats.
  • Permethrin is not safe for cats. (You should also avoid letting it contact human skin). According to International Cat Care, permethrin poisoning in cats is one of the most commonly reported poisoning in cats worldwide.
  • When outside with your kitty, keep moving! It is much harder for a tick or mosquito to land on a moving target.
  • Many mosquitoes are most active around dusk and dawn, so consider letting your kitty roam in the afternoon.

Limited mosquitoes from breeding in your yard and garden

You are first in line to be bitten by mosquitoes that breed in your own yard and garden! Mosquitoes can breed even in the tiniest amounts of water. Remove stagnant water so mosquitoes can’t breed

  • Clean up your yard and remove anything where water can collect, such as unused pots and tyres.
  • Cover or overturn trailers, wheelbarrows, boats, tools and children’s playground toys to avoid water
  • Regularly clean gutters and drains so water runs freely.
  • Mend leaking taps.
  • Change pet drinking bowls, bird baths and vase waters at least once a week, and more regularly in very warm weather.
  • Put sand around the base of pot plants.
  • Keep swimming pools well maintained or empty or securely covered if not in use.
  • Keep lawns and gardens trimmed back to reduce the areas where mosquitoes rest.

So, How Can I Best Protect My Dog?

Since prevention is the best way for you to keep Fido from these irksome insects, use the following guidelines to minimize risk and reduce exposure:

  • Get rid of any stagnant water in your yard. Check for areas of standing water where mosquitoes breed, including buckets, dog bowls, tarps or umbrellas that may have collected rainwater, leaky irrigation systems, and anywhere else that water can collect and stand.
  • Consider growing plants that naturally repel mosquitoes. Not only are they beautiful, these plants give off a distinct odor that naturally keeps mosquitoes and other pesks at bay. Some such plants (that are totally safe for dogs) include Lemongrass, Lavender, Catnip, Rosemary, and Mint. Unfortunately, while Citronella is great at naturally keeping mosquitoes away, the plant is toxic to dogs and should be kept well out of reach. Check out this article: 6 Dog-Safe Plants that Naturally Repel Mosquitoes (And other Pests!)
  • Use dog-safe insect repellents. There are a variety of dog-safe mosquito repellents available in the form of sprays, wipes, and lotions that can effectively keep the tiny winged bloodsuckers at bay. Never, ever, use insect repellents made for humans as they can be toxic to your dog.
  • Use dog products designed to repel mosquitoes. New to market is a huge collection of essential dog products made with a dog-safe, insect repelling material called InsectShield. InsectShield dog beds, blankets, and raised cots give your dog a comfy spot outside to rest while safely shielded from mosquitoes. Or, outfit your pup with an InsectShield bandana, t-shirt, or hoodie to keep pests away on the go. Best of all, they’ll protect you and your dog at the same time.
  • Keep doors and windows closed when mosquitoes are in season. If you prefer the feel of fresh air from open windows and doors, install window and door screens to keep mosquitoes from entering the home.
  • Keep your dog indoors as much as possible. This is especially important in the early morning and early evening when mosquitoes are at their most active.
  • Use a heartworm preventative. Because heartworm disease is so prevalent, every dog should be protected with a monthly heartworm preventative. Remember, preventing heartworms is easy and inexpensive while treating heartworm disease is very costly and very hard on your dog.

Health And Safety Tips And Advice For Residential Painting

Becoming a Professional Painter.

Why would anybody want to become a painter? Why should young men or women even consider employment in the trades? These are both valid questions stemming from incorrect assumptions that young people have about the trades. Let’s examine why being a painter or working in trades is a great career choice based on some undisputable facts.

Unemployment rates of University and College graduates are high,

Many graduates that are working, have jobs not related to their field of study.

Almost every student graduating is burdened with thousands of dollars worth of student loans. This is not an ideal way for young men or women to start their working life.

Learning a trade does not mean that you don’t have what it takes to complete College or University. You can be intelligent and still choose to make your living with your hands. In fact, more and more young men and women end up working in trades after getting another degree. We see this in our company all the time. Our average painter or job manager has some College or University education.

What Does a Painter Do?

Painters prepare surfaces and apply coatings mostly for protective and decorative purposes. These surfaces can be wood, drywall, plaster, concrete, steel etc. Interior surfaces are inside commercial or residential buildings such as homes, offices, factories, institutions and other facilities. Exteriors of homes, buildings and other structures are mainly painted to protect them from the weather elements. Coatings come in many colours and can also be used to decorate and beautify.

How Does someone Become a Painter?

Some painters learn their skills working for companies mostly under the wing of more experienced painters. It takes a painter at least 2 or 3 years to acquire most of the relevant and useful skills a company uses. It’s a good idea to ask a contractor you want to work for if they have a training program

Things To Do After You Finish A Painting

It’s a great feeling once you finish a painting which you have long worked on and you are satisfied with the result. But your work does not finish there. There are a number of tasks which I recommend you do once you finish a painting.

Consider if it is actually finished

Knowing when to put the brush down and calling it finished is a skill on its own. There are many times when I have considered a painting finished, only to get the paints out again, later on, to fix up something that was annoying me or an error which revealed itself.

Sign your painting

Signing your painting should be the last time your brush touches that canvas. Of course there will be times when you need to fix something up, but in general, your signature should be your last stroke.

Name your painting

You don’t need to get all deep and meaningful with your naming. It could merely describe what you have painted. That is how I have named most of my paintings.

Photograph your painting

This topic deserves an entire post. Photographing your painting will feel like it is the bane of your existence as an artist.

Interior & Exterior Painting

If you need your home or business made over with a fresh coat of paint, there’s no better time to plan than now.

Interior Painting

A perfect interior painting job has many factors. One of the main factors that can help achieve that flawless look is a consistent and thorough application of quality paint. Great things happen when the best painting materials (along with years of experience) are utilized for your interior modification ideas!

Exterior Painting

Depending on the size of your property, exterior painting can be a multi-step process. We invite you to look at our examples of exterior painting. We think you’ll feel confident in our high level of detail and quality

Residential Painting

residential painting professionals are detail-oriented, and we understand the value of delivering quality work on time and within your budget, so you can get back to living in your home as soon as possible.

Commercial Painting

Commercial painting work can have higher stakes: budgets can be strict and schedules can be tight, sometimes even more so than for residential jobs.

Tips on How to Paint Over a Painted Wall

One of the most effective ways to breathe life onto your home exterior or interior is a fresh paint job. A new coat of paint makes things not only brighter but makes the house or business property more appealing. While the prospects are exciting, many people are often caught in a rut when considering painting over an already painted wall.

Wash

Grease, dust, and grime will collect on any wall external or internal. Before applying a fresh coat, some scrubbing and wiping are necessary. If you paint on a dirty wall, ugly bumps and streaks will appear, causing an ugly result on something you were trying to spruce up. Cleaning the walls makes it much easier to apply paint.

Prime

Before repainting, use a primer to create a barrier between the old coat of paint and your new paint. Another benefit of priming is that it creates a porous surface that gives the wall a more finished look. Avoid choosing paints with built-in primer, as they are not effective on a wall with the old paint. Such products may work if you are painting the same color but if you are making a dramatic color change, a good oil-based primer is important. It is easy to prime a wall using a thick roller brush. Do not skimp on the primer, as it will not be seen once you have painted. If you can still see the old color through the first coat of primer, it means another coat is needed. You will need a thicker coat of primer if the old coat was a darker color. Remember, there are many types of priming products available so you will need to take your time comparing to find the best.

Fill and Sand

If it is an old wall, there may be some holes and cracks that need filling. To do this you need to purchase a filler and correctly apply it over the cracks and holes. After this, a thorough sanding is necessary to keep the surface smooth and even in readiness for the new color. Remember; bigger holes may need filling more than once to ensure that the surface is smooth and consistent. Some people think of filling and sanding as too big of a hassle but skipping this step only compromises the new paint job.

Repaint

After washing, priming and filing you are ready to start painting the new color. Choose your new color wisely and have all the right tools in place to achieve guaranteed good results. Depending on the wall, you will need more than one coat of paint to achieve a good finish. When you are done with the first coat, leave sufficient time for it to dry before applying the next one. We recommend waiting at least two hours before applying the next coat. If you are painting the same color as the old one, a single coat might be enough but if you are going with a different shade, use more than one coat. When shopping for paint, make sure to buy an extra can just in case you run out.

KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR PAINTING CONTRACTOR

The way a home looks says a great deal about the person living in that home, and most homeowners wish to make a good impression.  One way to achieve that is by giving a home a new paint job. Even more than that, the curb appeal of a home, that is, the first impression someone has of a home when simply driving by, can affect a home’s value and how quickly a home sells once it is put on the market

In addition to all of that, a good paint job also helps to protect a home from the potential ravages of weather, protecting and preserving wood and other materials.  For all of these reasons and others, it is important for a homeowner to choose not just a painting contractor who will do an acceptable job of painting a home, but one who will do a masterful job.

Do you have a list of customers who would be willing to verify the quality of your work?

Any painting contractor worth his lacquer should be able to supply a list of homes that he or she has recently painted and allow potential customers to speak with homeowners who have had first-hand experience working with the contractor.  Be slightly skeptical if only a very small number of homeowners are available to speak with, as they could be the contractor’s next door neighbor, sister-in-law or other “ringers.”

Do you cover all of your employees with Workman’s Compensation Insurance?

If a worker is hurt while on a customer’s property, the homeowner could be held financial liable if the contractor does not have sufficient insurance to cover each and every worker.  Ask a contractor if he or she has worker’s compensation; ask to see a copy of both the contractor’s General Liability coverage as well as their Workman’s Compensation policy.

How will my house be prepped for painting?

This is an important question and it is just as important that a contract provides a detailed answer and not offer vague generalities.  Have the contractor put the entire process of preparation in writing and make certain that he or she dates and signs it.  Holes and bad spots in walls must be repaired.  All surfaces to be painted must be scraped and/or sanded to remove as much of the old paint as possible.  Ask how many people will be part of the preparation process.  For homeowners who are unaware of it, preparation is equally as important as the painting process itself.

Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help After Attack

Who is liable for a dog bite?

In order to determine who is responsible for a dog bite, it is necessary to establish who owned the dog. In California, a dog owner is strictly liable for any dog bite regardless of whether he or she failed to protect others from the attack, or had no reason to know the dog was dangerous, provided that the victim was not trespassing or provoking the dog

In addition to the dog owner, other individuals may be held liable for a dog bite including anyone who is responsible for the care or custody of the dog such as a kennel, pound or animal shelter. A property owner can also be held responsible if he or she allowed the dog onto the property. Similarly, a landlord can be held liable for an animal bite caused by a tenant’s dangerous pet.

Who is responsible?

In Maine, owners are legally responsible (“liable”) for an animal bite. Even if the owner had no reason to believe that his or her animal was dangerous, if the animal bit someone, the owner would still be liable. A homeowner’s insurance policy, renter’s policy, or personal assets can all be used to pay for your pain and suffering if the owner or keeper of the animal is found responsible for your injuries.

Examples of valid animal injury cases where someone other than the owner or keeper of the dog could be held liable:

  • The dog was under the care of another individual, like a dog walker, kennel owner or groomer.
  • The dog’s owner or keeper is under the age of 18.
  • The dog was on someone’s property, other than the owner or keeper, and they did not take some type of action to have the dog removed, they could be held liable for injuries that someone receives.
  • For example, a 25-year old man kept his Rottweiler at his grandparent’s home during the day in an unfenced yard and left the dog unsupervised. The dog was known for harassing anyone walking by the home and sometimes lunging at people and other dogs. While it was owned by the adult grandson, the grandparents could be held legally liable for an attack simply because the dog was living on their property during the day.

Where do Dogs Stand?

As applied to dogs, the injured party must show the dog’s owner’s awareness the pet engaged in prior similar acts that showed its vicious nature.  This does not necessarily mean the dog had actually bitten or injured someone else before.  The injured party proves the dog’s “vicious” through evidence it growled, snapped or bare its teeth.  They can also show the manner they restrained the dog or kept it as a guard dog.  An injured party can show the dog acted in a way that placed others at risk of harm.

In past cases involving children, the courts have dismissed lawsuits where the injured party cannot show the dog had ever previously bitten anyone or exhibited aggressive behavior.  Barking or growling without anything else is insufficient proof.  The court will look at the facts and see whether the dog snapped or bared its teeth at the child. The court looks at how an owner restrained the dog at home. It also considers whether an owner trained the dog to guard the home.

What types of damages can I collect?

We can identify and document every possible source of damages for your claim, and request compensation based on the maximum value of your case. While damages vary based on the circumstances you endured, some of the most common damages we can collect for our clients include:

Medical Costs

Even the most minor dog bites require medical attention. More serious attack injuries require extensive cleaning and careful attention to prevent further complications. The risk of infection is high, and scarring is common. Bites on the face, neck, arms, and hands often require closure by a plastic surgeon and follow-up care. The most serious bites or infections may require amputation or lead to other permanent disabilities.

We make sure to request compensation for medical bills, ongoing and future medical care costs, therapy expenses, and any other expenses related to the treatment of your wounds.

Lost Wages

Major dog attacks could keep you away from work for weeks, longer if you experience complications. We can collect compensation based on the wages you missed, and wages you will likely miss out on in the future if you cannot return to work due to your injuries. We may be able to also claim lost benefits if you suffer from a disability that will prevent you from ever returning to your previous position.

“Pain and Suffering” and Inconvenience

Dog bites cause immense pain and suffering, and may lead to both physical and psychological scarring. We fight for full compensation for these damages based on the severity of your injuries and your actual monetary losses due to the accident. We can also recover damages for your inconvenience (e.g., having to attend doctor’s appointments, missing your child’s birthday party).

Punitive Damages

Occasionally, we need to file a personal injury lawsuit to get the compensation our clients deserve in their dog bite case. If your case heads to court, we might be able to persuade the judge or jury to award punitive damages. It is important to note that an award of punitive damages is rare and only occurs when the dog’s owner acted particularly recklessly or maliciously.

Who Could Be Held Responsible if a Dog Bites?

In order to pursue maximum compensation for your dog bite injuries, our dedicated legal team will need to build a strong case to prove who is at fault. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, that at-fault party may be:

  • The owner of the dog
  • A dog sitter or someone responsible for watching the dog
  • Dog walkers who may have been negligent in their duties
  • Owners of kennels
  • Landlords at apartment buildings