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Articles. 

January 2010
  • HOMES of the FUTURE!
    What better way to open the year 2010 than with a look at the future.  In particular the technology and innovation behind homes of the future.  There is no doubt that as technology changes so many aspects of our lives it will soon also effect our personal sanctuary.  Last year we looked at how computers were changing how we watched television.  Other simple pastimes such as reading are also affected by computers and software notebooks that change our libraries.  Music collections can now be slimmed down from plastic CD and cassette cases to bits of data on our computer.  But what about the home structure itself?  How will new technology effect how we use energy, water, communications and the natural environment surrounding the home?  What might the homes of the future look like?  In this article, we take a look at some of the more fast approaching changes to residential buildings that we might see take hold in the next 10-15 years.

  • WINTER SAFETY at HOME!
    Winter brings many different celebrations, and during these various festivities we host dinners or gatherings and may have many house guests. And so up go the decorations! Decorating your home for special occasions can be fun, but displaying these items safely is very important. If you have children, pets, house guests, or crazy, exuberant relatives around the house this winter holiday season, you may want to consider some general safety tips. Even if you aren't hosting an event but will be using winter items, such as a fireplace, this article offers helpful tips and a simple, quick safety checklist for your winter fun!

  • VIDEOCONFERENCE MADE EASY!   
    I normally write articles as a detached third person, but for this one, I'm sharing a personal story - the experience I had using online videoconferencing when I took a trip to Poland and the Czech Republic.  Having been to Europe before, I knew I had three options regarding communication home in the States: 1) buy an international cell phone, 2) hunt down an Internet café, and 3) find an old fashioned payphone.  These options have their ups and downs and various levels of expense.  Since I was traveling on the cheap, I had decided to use option 3 and was relying on using payphones.  But this time I ran into a problem that I hadn't anticipated: I arrived in Gdansk, Poland on a late Sunday afternoon.  When I found my first payphone, I noticed that they did not accept credit cards or coins and, instead, you needed a phone card or account number purchased from where else - the post office, which wasn't open because it was late and it was Sunday.  For the life of me, I could not figure out how to make a collect call, either, so that meant no phone call home Sunday night for me!  How in the world was I going to let my family know I arrived safely?  VIDEOCONFERENCING, of course! 

December 2009
  • BUDGETING - for the Holidays & Special Events!
    Big events and holidays can often mean big spending. A little pre-planning can help to ease and avoid financial pain. In this article you'll find tips for avoiding overspending and sample worksheets that may be used when planning holiday or big event spending. 

  • WINTER HOME SAFETY!
    Winter brings many different holidays and celebrations, and during these various festivities we host dinners or gatherings and may have many house guests. And so up go the decorations! Decorating your home for the holidays can be fun, but displaying these items safely is very important. If you have children, pets, house guests, or crazy, exuberant relatives around the house this winter holiday season, you may want to consider some general safety tips. Even if you aren't hosting an event but will be using winter items, such as a fireplace, this article offers helpful tips and a simple, quick safety checklist for your winter fun!

  • HOLIDAY FOOD SAFETY!
    With the various fall and winter holidays upon us, we know everyone is busy. Here is a short list of food safety precautions to take during this holiday season. As always, enjoy the fun and have safe holidays this year.

  • CHARITY 101!   
    Giving to others in need seems to be a natural impulse the world over. Many of us enjoy giving to causes, programs or research that we agree with and believe in; however, sometimes we are caught unaware and asked to give by volunteers. We may love the idea of the cause but know little about the organization. Or we may like the idea, but prefer it were handled differently. So how do you find the best fitting charity and determine they are legitimate? In this article, we've compiled things to consider when choosing a charity, such as when to give, how to avoid scams, and other ways to give to the community rather than a cash donation.

  • VIDEOCONFERENCE HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!   
    I normally write articles as a detached third person, but for this one, I'm sharing a personal story - the experience I had using online videoconferencing when I took a trip to Poland and the Czech Republic.  Having been to Europe before, I knew I had three options regarding communication home in the States: 1) buy an international cell phone, 2) hunt down an Internet café, and 3) find an old fashioned payphone.  These options have their ups and downs and various levels of expense.  Since I was traveling on the cheap, I had decided to use option 3 and was relying on using payphones.  But this time I ran into a problem that I hadn't anticipated: I arrived in Gdansk, Poland on a late Sunday afternoon.  When I found my first payphone, I noticed that they did not accept credit cards or coins and, instead, you needed a phone card or account number purchased from where else - the post office, which wasn't open because it was late and it was Sunday.  For the life of me, I could not figure out how to make a collect call, either, so that meant no phone call home Sunday night for me!  How in the world was I going to let my family know I arrived safely?  VIDEOCONFERENCING, of course! 

November 2009
  • CHARITY 101: How to choose the best & avoid scams!   
    Giving to others in need seems to be a natural impulse the world over. Many of us enjoy giving to causes, programs or research that we agree with and believe in; however, sometimes we are caught unaware and asked to give by volunteers. We may love the idea of the cause but know little about the organization. Or we may like the idea, but prefer it were handled differently. So how do you find the best fitting charity and determine they are legitimate? In this article, we've compiled things to consider when choosing a charity, such as when to give, how to avoid scams, and other ways to give to the community rather than a cash donation.

  • VIDEOCONFERENCING: It's Not Just For Business Anymore!   
    I normally write articles for HomeCheck, and our sister sites, as a dethatched third person. This month, I want to share a little more of a personal story - the experience I had using online videoconferencing.

    This past June, I took a trip to Poland and the Czech Republic.  Having been to Europe before, I knew I had options of using an international cell phone, hunting down Internet cafés or even calling home from an old fashioned payphone.  The many options have their ups and downs and various levels of expense.  I was traveling on the cheap and was relying on using payphones.  But this time I ran into a different problem than I have encountered before: I arrived in Gdansk, Poland on a late Sunday afternoon.  When I found my first payphone, I noticed that they did not accept credit cards or coins and, for the life of me, I could not figure out how to make a collect call.  Instead, you needed a phone card or account number purchased from where else - the post office.  No phone on a Sunday night for me!  How was I going to let my family know I arrived safely?

  • MORE SPOOKY VACATIONS: Haunted Hotels, Inns, and Castles!   
    Today thrill seekers can go skydiving, cliff jumping, white water rafting or paragliding, just to name a few. Looking for a little adventure, but it's too wet outside to play? Why not snuggle indoors and thrill your imagination with a haunted vacation? Many hotels, inns, and even castles offer spooky weekend getaways. Perhaps a friendly ghost will fold your clothes and lay them out on the bed; a mischievous one might turn on the lights and radio at 2:00AM; or perhaps one with a chip on his shoulder might give you a little "bump in the night" to remind you he's there. You might find it a good laugh or a little fun to shake up the fall and winter humdrums. In this article, we've expanded a short list of haunted places to stay and have tried to collect from across the US and even added in a few international destinations just in case you wanted a ghost with an accent! Enjoy and have some fun!

October 2009
  • MORE SPOOKY VACATIONS: Haunted Hotels, Inns, and Castles!   
    Today thrill seekers can go skydiving, cliff jumping, white water rafting or paragliding, just to name a few. Looking for a little adventure, but it's too wet outside to play? Why not snuggle indoors and thrill your imagination with a haunted vacation? Many hotels, inns, and even castles offer spooky weekend getaways. Perhaps a friendly ghost will fold your clothes and lay them out on the bed; a mischievous one might turn on the lights and radio at 2:00AM; or perhaps one with a chip on his shoulder might give you a little "bump in the night" to remind you he's there. You might find it a good laugh or a little fun to shake up the fall and winter humdrums. In this article, we've expanded a short list of haunted places to stay and have tried to collect from across the US and even added in a few international destinations just in case you wanted a ghost with an accent! Enjoy and have some fun!

  • VIDEOCONFERENCING: It's Not Just For Business Anymore!   
    I normally write articles for HomeCheck, and our sister sites, as a dethatched third person. This month, I want to share a little more of a personal story - the experience I had using online videoconferencing.

    This past June, I took a trip to Poland and the Czech Republic.  Having been to Europe before, I knew I had options of using an international cell phone, hunting down Internet cafés or even calling home from an old fashioned payphone.  The many options have their ups and downs and various levels of expense.  I was traveling on the cheap and was relying on using payphones.  But this time I ran into a different problem than I have encountered before: I arrived in Gdansk, Poland on a late Sunday afternoon.  When I found my first payphone, I noticed that they did not accept credit cards or coins and, for the life of me, I could not figure out how to make a collect call.  Instead, you needed a phone card or account number purchased from where else - the post office.  No phone on a Sunday night for me!  How was I going to let my family know I arrived safely?

  • SUSTAINABLE SOLAR HOSTING!
    Ringen's Unbiased Inspections is a 100% SOLAR POWERED website.  It's the responsible thing, but it's also the smart thing to do. Why? Read on…

    In California, where we've known rolling blackouts in times of peak electrical demand, that's a smart decision. My site stays online. But that's only a small reason why I feel it's a smart decision.

  • BACK TO SCHOOL BASICS: Tips & Tricks to SAVE!
    Planning ahead can help prevent a lot of the headache in back to school shopping.  Many times, the quest for new supplies and clothes can seem like an endless scavenger hunt that quickly eats through money in the bank!  In this article, we have compiled tips on how to keep the costs low, as well as things to consider when deciding on which supplies will best fit your student's needs.  We have also taken a look at a few of the activities you can still be doing the final days of summer to keep your child's mind sharp and ready to jump into the next grade.  Students on average lose a month of learning during summer vacation and can lose over two months for harder subjects.*  Luckily, there are ways to battle the summer brain drain while still having fun!

September 2009
  • VIDEOCONFERENCING: It's Not Just For Business Anymore!   
    I normally write articles for HomeCheck, and our sister sites, as a dethatched third person. This month, I want to share a little more of a personal story - the experience I had using online videoconferencing.

    This past June, I took a trip to Poland and the Czech Republic.  Having been to Europe before, I knew I had options of using an international cell phone, hunting down Internet cafés or even calling home from an old fashioned payphone.  The many options have their ups and downs and various levels of expense.  I was traveling on the cheap and was relying on using payphones.  But this time I ran into a different problem than I have encountered before: I arrived in Gdansk, Poland on a late Sunday afternoon.  When I found my first payphone, I noticed that they did not accept credit cards or coins and, for the life of me, I could not figure out how to make a collect call.  Instead, you needed a phone card or account number purchased from where else - the post office.  No phone on a Sunday night for me!  How was I going to let my family know I arrived safely?

  • SUSTAINABLE SOLAR HOSTING!
    Ringen's Unbiased Inspections is a 100% SOLAR POWERED website.  It's the responsible thing, but it's also the smart thing to do. Why? Read on…

    In California, where we've known rolling blackouts in times of peak electrical demand, that's a smart decision. My site stays online. But that's only a small reason why I feel it's a smart decision.

  • BACK TO SCHOOL BASICS: Tips & Tricks to SAVE!
    Planning ahead can help prevent a lot of the headache in back to school shopping.  Many times, the quest for new supplies and clothes can seem like an endless scavenger hunt that quickly eats through money in the bank!  In this article, we have compiled tips on how to keep the costs low, as well as things to consider when deciding on which supplies will best fit your student's needs.  We have also taken a look at a few of the activities you can still be doing the final days of summer to keep your child's mind sharp and ready to jump into the next grade.  Students on average lose a month of learning during summer vacation and can lose over two months for harder subjects.*  Luckily, there are ways to battle the summer brain drain while still having fun!

August 2009
  • SUSTAINABLE SOLAR HOSTING!
    Ringen's Unbiased Inspections is a 100% SOLAR POWERED website.  It's the responsible thing, but it's also the smart thing to do. Why? Read on…

    In California, where we've known rolling blackouts in times of peak electrical demand, that's a smart decision. My site stays online. But that's only a small reason why I feel it's a smart decision.

  • BACK TO SCHOOL BASICS: Tips & Tricks to SAVE!
    Planning ahead can help prevent a lot of the headache in back to school shopping.  Many times, the quest for new supplies and clothes can seem like an endless scavenger hunt that quickly eats through money in the bank!  In this article, we have compiled tips on how to keep the costs low, as well as things to consider when deciding on which supplies will best fit your student's needs.  We have also taken a look at a few of the activities you can still be doing the final days of summer to keep your child's mind sharp and ready to jump into the next grade.  Students on average lose a month of learning during summer vacation and can lose over two months for harder subjects.*  Luckily, there are ways to battle the summer brain drain while still having fun!

  • INSURANCE COVERAGE IN AN ECONOMIC RECESSION: Limiting Your Risk When Cutting Costs! 
    Lately, when we turn on the news, we hear about a troubled economy and an unstable job market.  The constant barrage of bad news has encouraged most of us to cut spending wherever possible.  Perhaps a household will cancel cable TV for a year, limit their cell phone plans, reduce the number of times they eat out as a family, or tackle another cost reducing option.  As many different "belt-tightening" measures are taken, everyone should be careful they don't cut the essential items.  One annoying essential is the cost we pay for insurance - there is no guarantee we will need it in the near future (in fact, we hope to need it as little as possible), however, if an accident does happen and we don't have coverage, the costs could send us into bankruptcy.  Understandably, if a bread-winner of the household loses their job, it is tempting to cut costs where we cannot see the immediate need.  This said, it is far better to reduce coverage than to go with no coverage at all.

July 2009
  • BACK TO SCHOOL BASICS: Tips & Tricks to SAVE!
    Planning ahead can help prevent a lot of the headache in back to school shopping.  Many times, the quest for new supplies and clothes can seem like an endless scavenger hunt that quickly eats through money in the bank!  In this article, we have compiled tips on how to keep the costs low, as well as things to consider when deciding on which supplies will best fit your student's needs.  We have also taken a look at a few of the activities you can still be doing the final days of summer to keep your child's mind sharp and ready to jump into the next grade.  Students on average lose a month of learning during summer vacation and can lose over two months for harder subjects.*  Luckily, there are ways to battle the summer brain drain while still having fun!

  • INSURANCE COVERAGE IN AN ECONOMIC RECESSION: Limiting Your Risk When Cutting Costs! 
    Lately, when we turn on the news, we hear about a troubled economy and an unstable job market.  The constant barrage of bad news has encouraged most of us to cut spending wherever possible.  Perhaps a household will cancel cable TV for a year, limit their cell phone plans, reduce the number of times they eat out as a family, or tackle another cost reducing option.  As many different "belt-tightening" measures are taken, everyone should be careful they don't cut the essential items.  One annoying essential is the cost we pay for insurance - there is no guarantee we will need it in the near future (in fact, we hope to need it as little as possible), however, if an accident does happen and we don't have coverage, the costs could send us into bankruptcy.  Understandably, if a bread-winner of the household loses their job, it is tempting to cut costs where we cannot see the immediate need.  This said, it is far better to reduce coverage than to go with no coverage at all.

June 2009
  • INSURANCE COVERAGE IN AN ECONOMIC RECESSION: Limiting Your Risk When Cutting Costs! 
    Lately, when we turn on the news, we hear about a troubled economy and an unstable job market.  The constant barrage of bad news has encouraged most of us to cut spending wherever possible.  Perhaps a household will cancel cable TV for a year, limit their cell phone plans, reduce the number of times they eat out as a family, or tackle another cost reducing option.  As many different "belt-tightening" measures are taken, everyone should be careful they don't cut the essential items.  One annoying essential is the cost we pay for insurance - there is no guarantee we will need it in the near future (in fact, we hope to need it as little as possible), however, if an accident does happen and we don't have coverage, the costs could send us into bankruptcy.  Understandably, if a bread-winner of the household loses their job, it is tempting to cut costs where we cannot see the immediate need.  This said, it is far better to reduce coverage than to go with no coverage at all.

  • THE BIG BAD HOME INSPECTION:  Are You Afraid of Home Inspections?
    No matter whom you talk to that is involved in a home sale transaction, whether it be the owner, buyer or real estate agent, everyone has a certain amount of reservation concerning a home inspection or “termite” inspection. But why?  All that it entails is basically a visual inspection of the home and a short written report, right? So, who’s afraid of the big, bad home inspection? Everyone it seems!

  • How To Hire A HOME INSPECTOR!
    So, you are buying or selling a home and you feel that you need an experienced professional to inspect the property so that you go into the sale/purchase knowing everything that you need to know to make the proper decisions and arrive at the dollar/value amount that the property is worth to you. But, how do you go about it? All of the Inspectors’ ads seem the same - they all tout the same lines of how great they are, etc., etc. It’s impossible to get a referral because you really don’t know anyone who has bought or sold a home recently, and you surely don’t trust the Realtor's choice because you are pretty sure the Inspectors that they use are “their good Ol' boys” that solicit the Realtors for work. So, what’s a person to do?

May 2009
  • THE BIG BAD HOME INSPECTION:  Are You Afraid of Home Inspections?
    No matter whom you talk to that is involved in a home sale transaction, whether it be the owner, buyer or real estate agent, everyone has a certain amount of reservation concerning a home inspection or “termite” inspection. But why?  All that it entails is basically a visual inspection of the home and a short written report, right? So, who’s afraid of the big, bad home inspection? Everyone it seems!

  • How To Hire A HOME INSPECTOR!
    So, you are buying or selling a home and you feel that you need an experienced professional to inspect the property so that you go into the sale/purchase knowing everything that you need to know to make the proper decisions and arrive at the dollar/value amount that the property is worth to you. But, how do you go about it? All of the Inspectors’ ads seem the same - they all tout the same lines of how great they are, etc., etc. It’s impossible to get a referral because you really don’t know anyone who has bought or sold a home recently, and you surely don’t trust the Realtor's choice because you are pretty sure the Inspectors that they use are “their good Ol' boys” that solicit the Realtors for work. So, what’s a person to do?

April 2009
  • TV REINVENTED:  How television is adapting to the Internet!
    As many of us look to stretch our dollar a bit further, our money spent on entertainment is often cut.  However, entertainment is a good way to relieve stress and get a quick break from the real world.  Increasingly, the fee paid for an Internet connection is offering a bigger return on the entertainment dollar.  Improved connection speeds have created a mushroom of online content that allows users to watch streaming news broadcasts, missed TV shows, webisodes, viral videos (i.e. YouTube), free online games (and competitions), blogs, and chat rooms - to name a few.  Everywhere you turn, someone is trying to get their movie, TV show, or '15 minutes' noticed on the web.  Television alone has morphed from episode summaries and casting lists on a single webpage to deluxe sites with missed episodes online, behind the scenes footage, games, screensavers, additional back stories and character development, and much more.  So who is leading the pack with the best sites and content?  Who is side-stepping the pack altogether?  You might be surprised!

  • Paint-On Insulation: Is It Truly Green?
    Winter is here, and if that utility bill is high, you are probably already troubleshooting problem areas of your home. One of largest contributors to drafty rooms is a lack of insulation. Insulation is designed to stop air passage through ceilings, walls, and the floor. The intention is to keep the right air where you want it in each season. Obviously, the windows and heating source are also important to maintaining an overall energy efficient program, but having the right insulation is a key factor.

    In existing homes, it can be difficult to go back and insulate after the fact. If attic space allows, you can blow-in insulation. Under-floors and in-between walls can be difficult as well. Even with your best efforts, there is bound to be some location that is hard to reach. What if you had a product that you could apply from the exterior?

  • Eco-Friendly Home Improvement Tips!
    With all of the environmental problems our world is facing today, every day people are looking for ways that they can make a difference. Earth conscious individuals everywhere are recycling their paper, plastic and glass, purchasing hybrid and electric cars but what more can people do in their day-to-day lives to make a difference? When it comes to earth-friendly home improvement measures, you'd be surprised at the amount of "small stuff" you can do that really adds up in a big way. Here are a few of my favorite eco-friendly home improvement tips.

March 2009
  • CLEAN TO GREEN: Spring Clean Your Way To The Ultimate Garage Sale!
    The days are longer, the temperatures are becoming pleasant, and our energy levels are up as we begin to stretch out of our winter hibernation - spring has sprung!  Time to harness some of the new energy and get the spring cleaning out of the way.  Spring cleaning is a great opportunity to remove dust, mold, toxins and clutter from our households, and as we clean, we notice a pile emerge of unused and unwanted "stuff."  This gathered hoard of old décor, books, electronics and exercise gadgets should not be squirreled away for another year!  Instead, incorporate into your spring cleaning the determination to get this "stuff" out the door through a garage sale (real or virtual) or off to charity.  For tips, read on!

  • Paint-On Insulation: Is It Truly Green?
    Winter is here, and if that utility bill is high, you are probably already troubleshooting problem areas of your home. One of largest contributors to drafty rooms is a lack of insulation. Insulation is designed to stop air passage through ceilings, walls, and the floor. The intention is to keep the right air where you want it in each season. Obviously, the windows and heating source are also important to maintaining an overall energy efficient program, but having the right insulation is a key factor.

    In existing homes, it can be difficult to go back and insulate after the fact. If attic space allows, you can blow-in insulation. Under-floors and in-between walls can be difficult as well. Even with your best efforts, there is bound to be some location that is hard to reach. What if you had a product that you could apply from the exterior?

  • Eco-Friendly Home Improvement Tips!
    With all of the environmental problems our world is facing today, every day people are looking for ways that they can make a difference. Earth conscious individuals everywhere are recycling their paper, plastic and glass, purchasing hybrid and electric cars but what more can people do in their day-to-day lives to make a difference? When it comes to earth-friendly home improvement measures, you'd be surprised at the amount of "small stuff" you can do that really adds up in a big way. Here are a few of my favorite eco-friendly home improvement tips.

February 2009
  • WINTER DRIVING: Safety, Tips, & the Law!
    A little groundhog has told us to expect another six weeks of winter!  Already a tough season, many of us experienced firsthand or saw news coverage of winter storms bringing cities and counties to a virtual standstill.  Whether you live in a winter weather state or are just visiting, snow and other winter weather can drastically effect your ability to get around and keep to your plans.  Learning some basic driving safety measures and coping tips can help alleviate some of the aggravation.  Also, although varying by state, understanding winter related laws or the ways laws are interpreted to include winter conditions is vital to enjoying a safe winter.  In this article, we offer safety information we hope you find useful and that keeps you safe and warm this winter.

  • Eco-Friendly Home Improvement Tips!
    With all of the environmental problems our world is facing today, every day people are looking for ways that they can make a difference. Earth conscious individuals everywhere are recycling their paper, plastic and glass, purchasing hybrid and electric cars but what more can people do in their day-to-day lives to make a difference? When it comes to earth-friendly home improvement measures, you'd be surprised at the amount of "small stuff" you can do that really adds up in a big way. Here are a few of my favorite eco-friendly home improvement tips.

  • DON'T BREAK THE BANK: Recession Survival Tips for the Household Budget!
    January is the time of New Year's resolutions and an artificial restart for many of us.  This is a time taken to reflect on what goals we may want to achieve in the year ahead.  In many cases, financial security will be a primary objective for individual households as the recession continues through 2009.  Many people are cautiously hopeful for a gradual stabilization and recovery of the economy.  However, the recession may get worse before it gets better. Although the majority of us do not have direct influence on the big companies and banks, we do control how we run our individual households.  Many of us will be tightening our spending budgets and looking for ways to keep sane in the days ahead.  In this article, we have provided some online resources for everything from keeping a balanced budget to finding ways to shop a bit smarter.

January 2009
  • DON'T BREAK THE BANK: Recession Survival Tips for the Household Budget!
    January is the time of New Year's resolutions and an artificial restart for many of us.  This is a time taken to reflect on what goals we may want to achieve in the year ahead.  In many cases, financial security will be a primary objective for individual households as the recession continues through 2009.  Many people are cautiously hopeful for a gradual stabilization and recovery of the economy.  However, the recession may get worse before it gets better. Although the majority of us do not have direct influence on the big companies and banks, we do control how we run our individual households.  Many of us will be tightening our spending budgets and looking for ways to keep sane in the days ahead.  In this article, we have provided some online resources for everything from keeping a balanced budget to finding ways to shop a bit smarter.

  • THE CLEANER HOME: Make Your Home Environmentally Green!
    The old days of harsh bleach and chemicals used to clean around the house are slowly fading out.  Along with this trend is a desire of many consumers to adopt more environmentally friendly products for their home.  This can be anything from the new countertops and floors to the groceries bought at the local supermarket.  In addition to what you bring in (and take out) of your home, the maintenance of your home can be a way to become more green.  According to the energysavers.gov website, "Americans spend more than $160 billion a year to heat, cool, light, and "live" in their homes.  Everyone may not try every option or may find their budget does not allow for all of the products available.  However, a few home improvements and informed purchases can not only save you money in the long run, but these changes can also provide a healthier home for your family and the planet.

December 2008
  • BUDGETING - for the Holidays & Special Events!
    Big events and holidays can often mean big spending. A little pre-planning can help to ease and avoid financial pain. In this article you'll find tips for avoiding overspending and sample worksheets that may be used when planning holiday or big event spending. 

  • WINTER SAFETY TIPS - Whether celebrating a holiday or snuggling next to the fire.
    Winter brings many different holidays and celebrations, and during these various festivities we host dinners or gatherings and may have many house guests. And so up go the decorations! Decorating your home for the holidays can be fun, but displaying these items safely is very important. If you have children, pets, house guests, or crazy, exuberant relatives around the house this winter holiday season, you may want to consider some general safety tips. Even if you aren't hosting an event but will be using winter items, such as a fireplace, this article offers helpful tips and a simple, quick safety checklist for your winter fun!

November 2008
  • THE CLEANER HOME: Make Your Home Environmentally Green!
    The old days of harsh bleach and chemicals used to clean around the house are slowly fading out.  Along with this trend is a desire of many consumers to adopt more environmentally friendly products for their home.  This can be anything from the new countertops and floors to the groceries bought at the local supermarket.  In addition to what you bring in (and take out) of your home, the maintenance of your home can be a way to become more green.  According to the energysavers.gov website, "Americans spend more than $160 billion a year to heat, cool, light, and "live" in their homes.  Everyone may not try every option or may find their budget does not allow for all of the products available.  However, a few home improvements and informed purchases can not only save you money in the long run, but these changes can also provide a healthier home for your family and the planet.

  • SPOOKY VACATIONS: Haunted Hotels, Inns, Castles, and More! 
    Today thrill seekers can go skydiving, cliff jumping, white water rafting or paragliding, just to name a few.  Looking for a little adventure in your blood but it's too wet outside to play?  Why not snuggle indoors and thrill your imagination with a haunted vacation?  Many hotels, inns, and even castles offer spooky weekend getaways.  Perhaps a friendly ghost will fold your clothes and lay them out on the bed; a mischievous one might turn on the lights and radio at 2AM; or perhaps one with a chip on his shoulder might give you a little bump to remind you he's there.  You might find it a good laugh or a little fun to shake up the winter humdrums.  Below we have compiled a short list of some haunted places to stay.  We have tried to collect from across the US and added in a few international destinations just in case you want a ghost with an accent!  Enjoy and have some fun!

October 2008
  • SPOOKY VACATIONS: Haunted Hotels, Inns, Castles, and More! 
    Today thrill seekers can go skydiving, cliff jumping, white water rafting or paragliding, just to name a few.  Looking for a little adventure in your blood but it's too wet outside to play?  Why not snuggle indoors and thrill your imagination with a haunted vacation?  Many hotels, inns, and even castles offer spooky weekend getaways.  Perhaps a friendly ghost will fold your clothes and lay them out on the bed; a mischievous one might turn on the lights and radio at 2AM; or perhaps one with a chip on his shoulder might give you a little bump to remind you he's there.  You might find it a good laugh or a little fun to shake up the winter humdrums.  Below we have compiled a short list of some haunted places to stay.  We have tried to collect from across the US and added in a few international destinations just in case you want a ghost with an accent!  Enjoy and have some fun!

  • FLOOD! How to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a Flood. 
    Experience is sometimes an unforgiving instructor. At HOMECHECK, we learned the devastation caused by flood waters first hand when Cedar Rapids, Iowa was hit by a massive flood this past June (6/13/2008). HOMECHECK is parented by the company enlighten technologies™, which includes many other businesses in our family such as Lawchek®, LawyersListings, and HouseList, to name a few. Our headquarters on First Avenue in downtown Cedar Rapids was inundated with water after the Cedar River crested at 31.1 feet (19.1 feet over flood stage) to overtake 1,300 blocks of the city.* The first floor was completely lost, as was the second floor, when water reached 4 feet on the upper level. Reflecting on this experience and the lessons we have learned, we determined to write an article this month about what to do if a flood hits your home or business. We hope our readers never have to use the practical advice in this article.

September 2008
  • FLOOD! How to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a Flood. 
    Experience is sometimes an unforgiving instructor. At HOMECHECK, we learned the devastation caused by flood waters first hand when Cedar Rapids, Iowa was hit by a massive flood this past June (6/13/2008). HOMECHECK is parented by the company enlighten technologies™, which includes many other businesses in our family such as Lawchek®, LawyersListings, and HouseList, to name a few. Our headquarters on First Avenue in downtown Cedar Rapids was inundated with water after the Cedar River crested at 31.1 feet (19.1 feet over flood stage) to overtake 1,300 blocks of the city.* The first floor was completely lost, as was the second floor, when water reached 4 feet on the upper level. Reflecting on this experience and the lessons we have learned, we determined to write an article this month about what to do if a flood hits your home or business. We hope our readers never have to use the practical advice in this article.

  • UNMARRIED COUPLES - Your Property Rights: Moving in Together or Splitting Up!
    Recent nationwide surveys show many couples are deciding to live together before marriage or live together with no intention of marrying at all.  For these couples, buying a home is not necessarily more difficult but it does come with additional challenges and items to consider before signing the dotted line. Unmarried couples will find they have the common options of Tenants in Common or Joint Tenancy contracts when they purchase property.  In some states one of these options will be considered automatically for them so they should be aware of what type of contract they are signing in advance.
     

August 2008
  • UNMARRIED COUPLES - Your Property Rights: Moving in Together or Splitting Up!
    Recent nationwide surveys show many couples are deciding to live together before marriage or live together with no intention of marrying at all.  For these couples, buying a home is not necessarily more difficult but it does come with additional challenges and items to consider before signing the dotted line. Unmarried couples will find they have the common options of Tenants in Common or Joint Tenancy contracts when they purchase property.  In some states one of these options will be considered automatically for them so they should be aware of what type of contract they are signing in advance.

  • LANDSCAPE YOUR PARADISE - How to Select a Landscape Designer!
    Both the front and back yards of your house offer a buffer between your home and the outside world. Often, especially in the case of backyards, they may be manipulated into a sanctuary, giving you a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors at home. Many weekend warriors find outdoor projects fun and rewarding challenges for their spring through fall months. However, sometimes an idea may be too grand or a space too oddly shaped for you to visualize how to put it all together. This is where a landscape designer, the "exterior decorators," may be needed.  They can help in a wide range of outdoor projects whether it be redesigning a whole yard or helping incorporate one feature into your greater masterpiece. Read this article to better prepare yourself for hiring the best landscape designer to help you sculpt your outdoor paradise! 

July 2008
  • LANDSCAPE YOUR PARADISE - How to Select a Landscape Designer!
    Both the front and back yards of your house offer a buffer between your home and the outside world. Often, especially in the case of backyards, they may be manipulated into a sanctuary, giving you a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors at home. Many weekend warriors find outdoor projects fun and rewarding challenges for their spring through fall months. However, sometimes an idea may be too grand or a space too oddly shaped for you to visualize how to put it all together. This is where a landscape designer, the "exterior decorators," may be needed.  They can help in a wide range of outdoor projects whether it be redesigning a whole yard or helping incorporate one feature into your greater masterpiece. Read this article to better prepare yourself for hiring the best landscape designer to help you sculpt your outdoor paradise! 

  • A GREATER GREEN THUMB: Make your garden environmentally green! 
    We hear so much about "going green" in the news today that we sometimes forget that one of the best ways to be environmentally friendly is through a green thumb!  Whether through careful design of a major landscape renovation or small changes to a few habits, making your garden green can be as simple or complex as you want.  In fact, don't expect to make major changes in how you care for your yard overnight.  Instead, consider some ideas you can implement now and then slowly add to them.  As you begin to implement new gardening techniques you will also discover that making your landscape environmentally friendly is not just about saving mother nature - it can also save you money!

June 2008
  • A GREATER GREEN THUMB: Make your garden environmentally green! 
    We hear so much about "going green" in the news today that we sometimes forget that one of the best ways to be environmentally friendly is through a green thumb!  Whether through careful design of a major landscape renovation or small changes to a few habits, making your garden green can be as simple or complex as you want.  In fact, don't expect to make major changes in how you care for your yard overnight.  Instead, consider some ideas you can implement now and then slowly add to them.  As you begin to implement new gardening techniques you will also discover that making your landscape environmentally friendly is not just about saving mother nature - it can also save you money!

  • SELLING YOUR HOME IN A BUYERS' MARKET: How to Step Out from the Crowd! 
    The phrase "buyer's market" is used a lot in the news today.  Frankly, it is one.  The interest rates are encouraging; although not the lowest for 30 year loans, they are still low and make it a good time to buy.  Also, there is quite a choice for buyers to choose from on the market.  This only increases as we get into spring and summer.  So how do you get your home for sale to stand out from the crowd?  This article strives to help you do just that!

May 2008
  • Is ONLINE INSURANCE Right For You?
    The Internet is a powerful tool for the savvy online consumer.  You can review products, compare prices, research companies and purchase almost anything.  Following this trend is the increase availability of insurance online.  Insurance companies are providing coverage information, quotes and even contracts online.  This includes automobile, homeowners, life, medical and even pet insurance.  Insurance has traditionally been a high customer service field with direct human contact with your insurance agent.  Because of the change in customer contact, the migration towards providing insurance online has not always been a smooth one.  Instead companies are finding some tools work and others only cause frustration or confusion.  Indeed, the availability of insurance online is still fluctuating and developing.  Below we have compiled a few of the ways you can utilize online insurance options and determine if it is the right tool for you. 

  • SELLING YOUR HOME IN A BUYERS' MARKET: How to Step Out from the Crowd! 
    The phrase "buyer's market" is used a lot in the news today.  Frankly, it is one.  The interest rates are encouraging; although not the lowest for 30 year loans, they are still low and make it a good time to buy.  Also, there is quite a choice for buyers to choose from on the market.  This only increases as we get into spring and summer.  So how do you get your home for sale to stand out from the crowd?  This article strives to help you do just that!

April 2008
  • SELLING YOUR HOME IN A BUYERS' MARKET: How to Step Out from the Crowd! 
    The phrase "buyer's market" is used a lot in the news today.  Frankly, it is one.  The interest rates are encouraging; although not the lowest for 30 year loans, they are still low and make it a good time to buy.  Also, there is quite a choice for buyers to choose from on the market.  This only increases as we get into spring and summer.  So how do you get your home for sale to stand out from the crowd?  This article strives to help you do just that!

  • BANKRUPTCY LAW 101 
    As of December 2007, bankruptcy filings are up 28% from last year and are expected to increase in 2008 due to the combined factors of high household debt and rising mortgage costs.  - American Bankruptcy Institute  This is the article that no one hopes to need and we would prefer not to write. But instead of running away from this topic, it is time to demystify bankruptcy with a little 'Bankruptcy 101.'

March 2008
  • BANKRUPTCY LAW 101 
    As of December 2007, bankruptcy filings are up 28% from last year and are expected to increase in 2008 due to the combined factors of high household debt and rising mortgage costs.  - American Bankruptcy Institute  This is the article that no one hopes to need and we would prefer not to write. But instead of running away from this topic, it is time to demystify bankruptcy with a little 'Bankruptcy 101.'

  • HOW TO BE A GOOD LANDLORD: A Few Tips of the Trade! 
    Perhaps you inherited property or purchased property as a new investment and are now contemplating becoming a landlord.  If you decide to rent an extra piece of property, you should know some ground rules.  In this months article, we will discuss some of the basics that every landlord should know, such as your responsibilities as a landlord, how to advertise your property, how to avoid legal pitfalls, and how to evict a tenant if the relationship deteriorates.  Hopefully, this article will help you start with a little more direction and know-how!

February 2008
  • HOW TO BE A GOOD LANDLORD: A Few Tips of the Trade! 
    Perhaps you inherited property or purchased property as a new investment and are now contemplating becoming a landlord.  If you decide to rent an extra piece of property, you should know some ground rules.  In this months article, we will discuss some of the basics that every landlord should know, such as your responsibilities as a landlord, how to advertise your property, how to avoid legal pitfalls, and how to evict a tenant if the relationship deteriorates.  Hopefully, this article will help you start with a little more direction and know-how!

  • WINTER SAFETY TIPS - Whether celebrating a holiday or snuggling next to the fire.
    Winter brings many different holidays and celebrations, and during these various festivities we host dinners or gatherings and may have many house guests. And so up go the decorations! Decorating your home for the holidays can be fun, but displaying these items safely is very important. If you have children, pets, house guests, or crazy, exuberant relatives around the house this winter holiday season, you may want to consider some general safety tips. Even if you aren't hosting an event but will be using winter items, such as a fireplace, this article offers helpful tips and a simple, quick safety checklist for your winter fun!

January 2008
  • Streamline Home Inspections with HOMECHECK™ REPORTS! 
    HOMECHECK™ Reports provides Home Inspectors with a convenient, easy-to-use product that can expedite the inspection reports process so clients have access to in-depth results within minutes after an inspection. HOMECHECK™ Reports was created so Home Inspectors can offer accurate and detailed inspection reports quickly in a competitive field where they need access to a ' mobile office' at an affordable rate.

  • WINTER SAFETY TIPS - Whether celebrating a holiday or snuggling next to the fire.
    Winter brings many different holidays and celebrations, and during these various festivities we host dinners or gatherings and may have many house guests. And so up go the decorations! Decorating your home for the holidays can be fun, but displaying these items safely is very important. If you have children, pets, house guests, or crazy, exuberant relatives around the house this winter holiday season, you may want to consider some general safety tips. Even if you aren't hosting an event but will be using winter items, such as a fireplace, this article offers helpful tips and a simple, quick safety checklist for your winter fun!

December 2007
  • BUDGETING - for the Holidays & Special Events!
    Big events and holidays can often mean big spending. A little pre-planning can help to ease and avoid financial pain. In this article you'll find tips for avoiding overspending and sample worksheets that may be used when planning holiday or big event spending. 

  • WINTER SAFETY TIPS - Whether celebrating a holiday or snuggling next to the fire.
    Winter brings many different holidays and celebrations, and during these various festivities we host dinners or gatherings and may have many house guests. And so up go the decorations! Decorating your home for the holidays can be fun, but displaying these items safely is very important. If you have children, pets, house guests, or crazy, exuberant relatives around the house this winter holiday season, you may want to consider some general safety tips. Even if you aren't hosting an event but will be using winter items, such as a fireplace, this article offers helpful tips and a simple, quick safety checklist for your winter fun!

November 2007
  • INTERIOR DESIGN: Schools & Other Resources! 
    The interior design industry is booming and is expected to grow 17% by 2014.*  Those interested in this career should have strengths in interpersonal communication and project management.  Interior designers work on a regular basis with business and home owners, architects and various trades professionals from carpenters to electricians.  Planning these projects will take good communication and the ability to plan around various schedules.  Interior designers should also have an artistic and creative mind.  This month we look at interior design schools, what to look for in the school and where they are located in your state.  Perhaps it is time to begin that new career.

  • Streamline Home Inspections: HOMECHECK™ REPORTS! 
    HOMECHECK™ Reports offers Home Inspectors a way to expedite their reports so clients may be emailed results within minutes after an inspection. HOMECHECK™ Reports was created so Home Inspectors can offer accurate and detailed inspection reports quickly in a competitive field. This new program now offered by HOMECHECK.com is convenient, easy to use and offers detailed, in-depth reports for clients. We know Home Inspectors need a mobile office at an affordable rate.  This month, we want to take a moment to introduce this great new program!

October 2007
  • More FAMOUS HAUNTED HOUSES! 
    It is time to dust off one of our more popular seasonal articles - Famous Haunted Homes!  This year we have expanded our list of spooky places to visit!  Perhaps it wasn't the wind that slammed the door shut or there really is no one to match the footsteps down the hall? Or maybe it is a great marketing ploy for bed and breakfast inns and historical societies? For a little fun and change of pace, we have compiled a list of famous haunted homes and buildings in America. Dim the lights, sit back and enjoy a little Halloween-flavored fun and learn a little history too!

  • Streamline Home Inspections: HOMECHECK™ REPORTS! 
    HOMECHECK™ Reports offers Home Inspectors a way to expedite their reports so clients may be emailed results within minutes after an inspection. HOMECHECK™ Reports was created so Home Inspectors can offer accurate and detailed inspection reports quickly in a competitive field. This new program now offered by HOMECHECK.com is convenient, easy to use and offers detailed, in-depth reports for clients. We know Home Inspectors need a mobile office at an affordable rate.  This month, we want to take a moment to introduce this great new program!

September 2007
  • AUTUMN HARVEST: Gardening & Landscaping in the Fall! 
    Fall is traditionally associated with harvesting and stocking up for the winter ahead. However, many locations in the U.S., even those accustomed to getting heavy snow in the winter, may embrace the fall as a great time to extend their garden harvest and continue to play with their landscape.  Gardeners may continue to plant a regular 'salad mix' and root vegetables through November.  Fall is also a great time to plant bulbs and other plants for the following spring.  Landscapers who think ahead may already have some great flower varieties showing off their colors in the fall.  Finally, fall is a great time to take advantage of mild temperatures to prepare the plants and soil for the winter ahead.  There are many projects for the fall garden to keep all green-thumbs happy!

  • Streamline Home Inspections: HOMECHECK™ REPORTS! 
    HOMECHECK™ Reports offers Home Inspectors a way to expedite their reports so clients may be emailed results within minutes after an inspection. HOMECHECK™ Reports was created so Home Inspectors can offer accurate and detailed inspection reports quickly in a competitive field. This new program now offered by HOMECHECK.com is convenient, easy to use and offers detailed, in-depth reports for clients. We know Home Inspectors need a mobile office at an affordable rate.  This month, we want to take a moment to introduce this great new program!

August 2007
  • Streamline Home Inspections: HOMECHECK™ REPORTS! 
    HOMECHECK™ Reports offers Home Inspectors a way to expedite their reports so clients may be emailed results within minutes after an inspection. HOMECHECK™ Reports was created so Home Inspectors can offer accurate and detailed inspection reports quickly in a competitive field. This new program now offered by HOMECHECK.com is convenient, easy to use and offers detailed, in-depth reports for clients. We know Home Inspectors need a mobile office at an affordable rate.  This month, we want to take a moment to introduce this great new program!

July 2007
  • SUMMER SAFETY TIPS!
    The summer has a pull for us, no matter our age. It is a time to take a few days off work, barbeque in the backyard, go for a picnic, a hike, a swim, a bike ride or go out on the water on our boat. It is also a time to mow and weed the lawn, plant flowers and finish countless chores around the home that have been put off until the weather "cooperated." Needless to say, summer is a busy time when we do more activities and chores and can very easily overexert ourselves. That is why this month we are focusing on some tips that can help you have a fun and safe summer. Part of having fun is being aware of what precautions you should take and how you should plan ahead for whatever you choose to do. But we know you are busy, so here is the quick list for a safe summer!  

June 2007
  • Understanding HOMEOWNERS' INSURANCE!
    Many of us obtain our homeowners insurance when we purchase our home.  After this initial purchase, we do not give this insurance another thought.  It is not until the roof is damaged during a violent thunderstorm, a major appliance fails and floods our basement, or the neighbor's kid slips and fractures their wrist in our living room that we dust off the policy and ask ourselves, "Am I covered for this?"  Don't wait until damage or an accident happens to discover what your insurance policy covers.  Instead, you should have a good idea of what you are covered for and what is not included.  Every year you should assess if your coverage should increase or if there is any optional coverage you may want to add.  The purpose of this article is to point out some general characteristics of homeowners insurance and help in determining if you have the right coverage.  Obviously this cannot substitute for a consultation with your insurance provider, but it will give you a better idea of what questions to ask.

  • Some Myths and Realities about Real Estate Appraisals and Appraisers! 
    Discover the truth behind the myth as you gain a better understanding of appraisers and real estate appraisals. 

May 2007
  • KITCHEN REMODEL - Hints and Tips!
    Remodeling your kitchen is a major event. You may be without the room entirely for most of the remodel process. There will be many different contractors and specialists coming in and out of your home.  And changes in timelines may happen due to product availability or other unforeseen circumstances.  All said, it is a major project that takes careful planning and attention to detail for a satisfactory outcome. In this article, we have given you the short list of some things you will need to consider before and during a kitchen remodel. 

  • Some Myths and Realities about Real Estate Appraisals and Appraisers! 
    Discover the truth behind the myth as you gain a better understanding of appraisers and real estate appraisals. 

April 2007
  • BATHROOM REMODEL - Hints and Tips!
    Your bathroom is where you prep to start your day and where you wind down at the end of the day. From a nice hot shower to an at home spa, the bathroom is an important room in every home and to our daily lives. However, it can be the room most overlooked when it comes to decoration and/or remodeling. It shouldn't be. According to Contractors.com, remodeling your bathroom can give you an 80-90% return on the value of your home. Adding a new bathroom can also easily add a 90% return on the value of your home. Improving this room can, therefore, be a savvy investment in your property. But it can be more than just a wise investment. In this article we provide some hints and tips for your bathroom makeover. Whether just changing a few decorations or completing a major remodel, we hope you will find something beneficial for your remodeling project.

  • SELLING YOUR HOME? USE THESE TIPS!
    Review this checklist of important items to consider and projects to undertake before you sell your home to make sure you get the most for your home!

March 2007
  • PET FRIENDLY!  Making your Home and Yard Perfect for your Pet!
    For many, bringing home a pet is the same as bringing home a new addition to the family. Pets easily find their way into our hearts with their playful antics and friendly companionship. When you decide to add an animal companion to your family, it is imperative that you are willing to make some adjustments to your living space. This article is aimed at giving hints for all who have pets or will have pets in their home.

  • IMPORTANT HOME INSPECTION TIPS!
    In general, homeowners should order a home inspection soon after the purchase offer has been accepted. Real estate contracts typically allow a limited number of days to complete a home inspection and to request repairs, if applicable. Discover more tips in this months' article. 

February 2007
  • DECORATING ON A BUDGET: A Few Ideas For Decorating Without A Lot Of Money!
    For some of us there comes a point in our lives when we look around our dwelling and realize the college student look has to go.  Others of us look around and see an eclectic mix of sad and worn hand-me-down furniture.  And a few of us are just, well, bored with the décor we have had for the last five years.  To redecorate your home you don't need to spend a whole lot of cash.  Granted, a major remodel (such as a kitchen or bathroom) will be a whole different story (and an article to come later this year).  However, any space in your home can be given a fresh look with easy do-it-yourself projects at minimal cost.

  • ONIONS - PEELING BACK THE LAYERS OF DECEPTIVE TERMITE INSPECTIONS.
    Some states allow Home Inspectors to identify and report on wood destroying organisms if the inspector is properly certified/licensed. Other states, such as California, do not allow Home Inspectors to do so unless that inspector is also licensed as a Structural Pest Inspector, of which there are very few. But, if the inspector is properly licensed, then the reporting will be done on a report form mandated by the Structural Pest Control Board located in Sacramento, and the reporting process falls under a whole slew of regulations administered by the Structural Pest Control Board. This practice is unfortunate as that process breeds, in California anyway, a huge conflict of interest situation that revolves around the home sale/purchase activity. Now you're ready to peel off the first layer of the onion. 

  • IMPORTANT HOME INSPECTION TIPS!
    In general, homeowners should order a home inspection soon after the purchase offer has been accepted. Real estate contracts typically allow a limited number of days to complete a home inspection and to request repairs, if applicable. Discover more tips in this months' article. 

January 2007
  • ONIONS - PEELING BACK THE LAYERS OF DECEPTIVE TERMITE INSPECTIONS.
    Some states allow Home Inspectors to identify and report on wood destroying organisms if the inspector is properly certified/licensed. Other states, such as California, do not allow Home Inspectors to do so unless that inspector is also licensed as a Structural Pest Inspector, of which there are very few. But, if the inspector is properly licensed, then the reporting will be done on a report form mandated by the Structural Pest Control Board located in Sacramento, and the reporting process falls under a whole slew of regulations administered by the Structural Pest Control Board. This practice is unfortunate as that process breeds, in California anyway, a huge conflict of interest situation that revolves around the home sale/purchase activity. Now you're ready to peel off the first layer of the onion. 

  • IMPORTANT HOME INSPECTION TIPS!
    In general, homeowners should order a home inspection soon after the purchase offer has been accepted. Real estate contracts typically allow a limited number of days to complete a home inspection and to request repairs, if applicable. Discover more tips in this months' article. 

  • CUSTOMER DEPOSITS - ILLEGITIMATE REVENUE STREAM FOR BANKS?
    For quite some time now certain banks and other financial institutions may have been profiting from what some members of Congress are calling an illegitimate revenue stream, namely the deposits of its customers. Today many banks will place “holds” on customer deposits, allowing them to benefit from the interest on the customers funds. This has caused some outrage by the depositors and the concern of key members of Congress.

December 2006
  • Budgeting for the Holidays & Special Events!
    Big events and holidays can often mean big spending. A little pre-planning can help to ease and avoid financial pain. In this article you'll find tips for avoiding overspending and sample worksheets that may be used when planning holiday or big event spending. 

  • HOMEOWNER’S GUIDE
    In general, homeowners should budget approximately one percent of their home’s value for maintenance and repairs. If you make a habit of putting aside a small amount of money each month to be earmarked specifically for home maintenance, then it will be less painful when unexpected repairs are needed or when appliances must be replaced.

November 2006
  • HOLIDAY FOOD SAFETY!
    With the various fall and winter holidays upon us, we know everyone is busy. Here is a short list of food safety precautions to take during this holiday season. As always, enjoy the fun and have safe holidays this year.

  • So, who's afraid of the big, bad Home Inspection?
    No matter whom you talk to that is involved in a home sale transaction, whether it be the owner, buyer or real estate agent, everyone has a certain amount of reservation concerning a home inspection or “termite” inspection. But why, all that it entails is basically a visual inspection of the home and a short written report, right? So, who’s afraid of the big, bad home inspection? Everyone it seems!

October 2006
  • FAMOUS HAUNTED HOMES!
    Perhaps it wasn't the wind that slammed the door shut or there really is no one to match the footsteps down the hall? Or maybe it is a great marketing ploy for bed and breakfast inns and historical societies? Or maybe people are comforted or enjoy the idea of hauntings? Okay, so not all of us believe in ghosts, but the stories and histories behind many haunted homes can be just as unique as their "spiritual" residents. For a little fun and change of pace, we have compiled a short list of famous haunted homes and buildings in America. Dim the lights, sit back and enjoy a little Halloween-flavored fun and learn a little history too!

September 2006
  • Landscape Your Paradise - How to Select a Landscape Designer!
    Both the front and back yards of your house offer a buffer between your home and the outside world. Often, especially in the case of backyards, they may be manipulated into a sanctuary, giving you a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors at home. Many weekend warriors find outdoor projects fun and rewarding challenges for their spring through fall months. However, sometimes an idea may be too grand or a space too oddly shaped for you to visualize how to put it all together. This is where a landscape designer, the "exterior decorators," may be needed.  They can help in a wide range of outdoor projects whether it be redesigning a whole yard or helping incorporate one feature into your greater masterpiece. Read this article to better prepare yourself for hiring the best landscape designer to help you sculpt your outdoor paradise!

August 2006
  • How to start a NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH!
    Many people are skeptical when they hear
    about neighborhood watches. Many think it involves a lot of effort with minimal impact or effect. However, most police departments will inform you otherwise. A neighborhood watch can help police crack down on crime due to the simple fact that you are a resident in the area and will more readily notice suspicious, out of place behavior in your neighborhood before they will. An example that is often used is the scenario of the stranger hanging around your neighbor's car. You look out your window and notice a stranger by your neighbor's car and know the car does not belong to them. However, when a cop car drives by, the stranger casually looks up and waves hello. The officer cannot tell if the car belongs to the person or if the person lives in the neighborhood.  Therefore, the officer may wave back and simply drive ahead. So how does a neighborhood watch work? How do you set one up? How can you and your neighbors reduce crime and help the police in your area?

July 2006
  • SUMMER SAFETY TIPS!
    The summer has a pull for us, no matter our age. It is a time to take a few days off work, barbeque in the backyard, go for a picnic, a hike, a swim, a bike ride or go out on the water on our boat. It is also a time to mow and weed the lawn, plant flowers and finish countless chores around the home that have been put off until the weather "cooperated." Needless to say, summer is a busy time when we do more activities and chores and can very easily overexert ourselves. That is why this month we are focusing on some tips that can help you have a fun and safe summer. Part of having fun is being aware of what precautions you should take and how you should plan ahead for whatever you choose to do. But we know you are busy, so here is the quick list for a safe summer!

June 2006
  • PEST CONTROL - Reclaim Your Home From Pests!
    Bugs are a part of life and rodents often come wandering through.  These animals are part of the environment and serve their purpose in the great chain of things.  However, they can become a nuisance and may even be dangerous if they take over our homes.  They are then more aptly called 'pests' and need to be dealt with.  This quick article will give you some preventive tips about how to battle common pests.  You may adjust many of these tips to various bug and critter problems. 

May 2006
  • HOW TO HIRE A CONTRACTOR: Working As A Team On Your Next Home Project!
    You have a great idea of what you want to do but you just don't have the skills to implement it. Whether remodeling the kitchen, a spare room or adding on, some projects are better handled by professional contractors. However, make sure you do not get into an agreement with a contractor on impulse. Instead, picking a contractor should be a selective process that is well researched and prepared. This is not only a financial investment; this person (and their team) will be in your home and working with you on a project that may take days or, more likely, weeks to finish. A sound partnership is important. In this article you'll be given some suggestions for planning out your partnership with a contractor. Also included are a checklist guide and contract example forms from our partner Lawchek®. All are helpful suggestions and tools before hiring any contractor. 

April 2006
  • Setting Your BUDGET!
    You have evaluated the neighborhood and find that your improvement is consistent with general aesthetic and size parameters. You plan to remain in the house for some time. You find that a second mortgage payment will not strain your current monthly budget. You feel you can devote a certain amount of time towards planning the project. And finally, you are really sick of waiting in line to go to the bathroom in your own house!

March 2006
  • FENG SHUI - Another Look at Interior Design.
    Feng Shui (pronounced Fung Shway) has been used in China for centuries and has made a strong entrance into western culture. Best described as "the art of placement" Feng Shui was originally used to determine the placement of temples, official buildings, graveyards and homes in their natural environment. When the western world first came into contact with Feng Shui it was labeled as a form of geomancy which is considered "divination by means of figures or lines or geographic features." Although this may be a misrepresentation of the initial use of Feng Shui, this art is constantly in flux and today there are many different schools, some of which do concentrate on the use of this art as a way to impact ones fate in a favorable direction. This art of placement has some wonderful interior design techniques that everyone could adapt and find beneficial. This article will discuss many of these interior design solutions for cluttered and cramped spaces in the home and office, as well as some of the ideas behind the creation of balance that have become part of this art form. 

February 2006
  • HOME APPRAISAL - What to expect and how to prepare.
    Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines appraisal as, "a valuation of property by the estimate of an authorized person." This valuation is a determination of your property's market value - what it will likely sell for on the open market. So how is this "valuation" determined? Why does the idea of an "estimate of an authorized person" create so much apprehension about the process? What can you do to achieve a better home appraisal? What do you do if your home doesn't appraise well? In this article we offer answers to commonly asked questions and give clarity to home appraisals.

January 2006
  • Home Security - Keeping your family and possessions safe.
    According to the FBI, burglaries occur every 15.4 seconds in the United States. Therefore, home security is important - not only because the home is one of our biggest investments, but having reliable home security provides peace of mind regarding protecting our family and possessions. Many of us take our security for granted or believe our current security is all we need. There is a belief that burglaries happen to "someone else." Or, if one is robbed, it is just the result of "chance" and there is little that can be done about it. The threat to our inner sanctum and lifetime of possessions is very real. This article will take a look at the ways you can protect your home, one of the most common being a security system, and we will be concentrating on some of the common sense and easy to add options you can do to protect your home.

December 2005
  • Winter Safety Tips - Whether celebrating a holiday or snuggling next to the fire.
    Winter brings many different holidays and celebrations, and during these various festivities we host dinners or gatherings and may have many house guests. And so up go the decorations! Decorating your home for the holidays can be fun, but displaying these items safely is very important. If you have children, pets, house guests, or crazy, exuberant relatives around the house this winter holiday season, you may want to consider some general safety tips. Even if you aren't hosting an event but will be using winter items, such as a fireplace, this article will have a few helpful tips for you. We know you are busy, and the last thing anyone wants to do when planning a party is to think about all the details! Thus, here is simple, quick safety checklist for your winter fun!

November 2005
  • Historical Homes - How to Protect Historical Property.
    Historical landmarks throughout the country provide all citizens with a physical, present experience of our history. Through these landmarks you can not only observe but in many cases feel the original work and walk the spaces of the past. Historical homes help us remember important persons as we can view intimately how they lived; we get to see the most sacred of spaces, their internal sanctum, their home. Where did they read at night for inspiration, where did they write that novel, where did they meet the important guests and characters in their lives? All of these things we can glimpse through seeing history preserved in rock and mortar. 

  • Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Home Part VIII
    Another article by Rocky Fremin of Freminshomeimprovement.com, this month about maintenance tips for Fall Season.

October 2005
  • Got Attic Mold? How to Diagnose Common Sources.
    It happens to countless homeowners around the end of the year – you make the annual visit to your attic to collect the holiday decorations and what do you find? Spots and blotches covering the bottom of the roof sheathing. Worse yet – it turns out to be attic mold! What does energy conservation have to do with mold in the attic? Well if you take a step back and consider how the house behaves as system, they are often directly related. 

  • Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Home Part VII
    Another article by Rocky Fremin of Freminshomeimprovement.com, this month Part B about maintenance tips for Spring Season.

September 2005
  • Reduce Your Heating Bills This Winter
    Imagine leaving a window open all winter long -- the heat loss, cold drafts and wasted energy! If your home has a folding attic stair, fireplace or clothes dryer, that may be just what is occurring in your home every day. These often overlooked sources of heat loss and air leakage can cause heat to pour out and the cold outside air to rush in -- costing you higher heating bills. 

  • Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Home Part VI
    Another article by Rocky Fremin of Freminshomeimprovement.com, this month Part A about maintenance tips for Spring Season.

August 2005
  • Pet Friendly: Making your Home and Yard Perfect for your Pet
    For many, bringing a pet home is the same as bringing home new family. Pets easily find their way in our hearts with their playful antics and friendly companionship. When you first bring a new pet into your home it is imperative that you are willing to make some adjustments to your living space. This article is aimed at giving hints for all who have pets or will have pets in their home.

  • Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Home Part V
    Another article by Rocky Fremin of Freminshomeimprovement.com, this month about maintenance that should be covered every 2 years.

July 2005
  • Planning Your Garden Masterpiece
    Whether for an apartment with window boxes and porch containers or a house with acres to play, everyone can create a garden if they want one. There are many wonderful resources online that can help those who want to add plants around their home environment. First we collected some good, free, online landscaping planners that help you plot out your yard and garden before you plant a single seed. Most come with some plant information but we have also collected a list of plant reference sites that detail plant climate preferences, light requirements and much more.

  • Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Home Part IV
    Another article by Rocky Fremin of Freminshomeimprovement.com, this month about maintenance that should be covered once every year.

June 2005
  • Home Improvement Web Sties - Part II
    These days you can find a web site that covers anything. Included in this trend are home improvement web sites. Some of these helpful sites may be related to a television program (as discussed in our April article 'Home Improvement Television'). However, there are also many that are mostly web based that offer great home improvement hints, tutorials and visual aids.

  • Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Home Part III
    Another article by Rocky Fremin of Freminshomeimprovement.com, this month about maintenance that should be done every 6 months.

May 2005
  • How to Become a Home Inspector
    Home inspection is an involved career that requires self motivation, great people skills and small business acumen. If you ever wondered how to become a home inspector then read on and review the links provided for a quick guide to this growing career...

  • Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Home Part II
    Another article by Rocky Fremin of Freminshomeimprovement.com, this month about maintenance that should be done every 2 months, including a periodic checklist of every 3 months.

April 2005
  • Home Improvement Television Shows
    When it comes to home improvement projects, visual examples can teach volumes. Thus enters home improvement television. These TV shows have been around for over two decades and recently there has been an increase in the number of these shows available. However, viewers be savvy.

  • Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Home Part I  
    The first article in a series of 8 by Rocky Fremin of Freminshomeimprovement.com. This month an introduction to preventive maintenance you should do for your home.

March 2005
  • Galvanized Pipes in Older Home  
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question, "What is the life expectancy of galvanized pipes in older homes?"

  • Water Problems  
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector discusses the sudden onset of water problems in the home.

  • Landscape Your Paradise - How to Select a Landscape Designer!
    Both the front and back yards of your house offer a buffer between your home and the outside world. Often, especially in the case of backyards, they may be manipulated into a sanctuary, giving you a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors at home. Many weekend warriors find outdoor projects fun and rewarding challenges for their spring through fall months. However, sometimes an idea may be too grand or a space too oddly shaped for you to visualize how to put it all together. This is where a landscape designer, the "exterior decorators," may be needed.  They can help in a wide range of outdoor projects whether it be redesigning a whole yard or helping incorporate one feature into your greater masterpiece. Read this article to better prepare yourself for hiring the best landscape designer to help you sculpt your outdoor paradise!Brian Dineen of RCAC provides helpful hints about setting your budget for your next home project.

February 2005
  • New Home Warranty  
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question,"What is covered under a new home warranty and does it last past the final inspection of the home?"

  • Water Pressure: Too Much or Too Little  
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question,"Why should my water pressure be lowered?"

  • Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Home Part II
    Another article by Rocky Fremin of Freminshomeimprovement.com, this month about maintenance that should be done every 2 months, including a periodic checklist of every 3 months.

January 2005
  • Setting Your Budget  
    Brian Dineen of RCAC provides helpful hints about setting your budget for your next home project.

  • GCI Circuits in Older Homes  
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question,"Do three-pronged plugs ground if the home wiring is the original two wire non-gounded system?"

  • Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Home Part I  
    The first article in a series of 8 by Rocky Fremin of Freminshomeimprovement.com. This month an introduction to preventive maintenance you should do for your home.

December 2004
  • New Home Warranty
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question,"What is covered under a new home warranty and does it last past the final inspection of the home?"

  • Water Pressure: Too Much or Too Little
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question,"Why should my water pressure be lowered?"

  • Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Home Part II
    Another article by Rocky Fremin of Freminshomeimprovement.com, this month about maintenance that should be done every 2 months, including a periodic checklist of every 3 months.

November 2004

October 2004

  • Crack in the Sidewalk
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question, "Should I be concerned about cracks in the sidewalk in front of our home?"

  • Slab vs Crawl Space
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question,"Which is better, slab or crawl spaces?"

  • Setting Your Budget  
    Brian Dineen of RCAC provides helpful hints about setting your budget for your next home project.

September 2004
August 2004
  • Chimney Caps, Yes or No?
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question,"Chimney caps, yes or no?"

  • Fogging of Insulated Windows
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question,"What do I do about fogging insulated windows?"

  • Setting Your Budget  
    Brian Dineen of RCAC provides helpful hints about setting your budget for your next home project.

July 2004
  • GCI Circuits in Older Homes
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question,"Do three-pronged plugs ground if the home wiring is the original two wire non-gounded system?"

  • One Roof or Two?
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question,"Is placing new shingles on top of old ones a good idea?"

  • Setting Your Budget  
    Brian Dineen of RCAC provides helpful hints about setting your budget for your next home project.

June 2004
  • Galvanized Pipes in Older Home
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question, "What is the life expectancy of galvanized pipes in older homes?"

  • Water Problems
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector discusses the sudden onset of water problems in the home.

  • Setting Your Budget
    Brian Dineen of RCAC provides helpful hints about setting your budget for your next home project.

(For this month's current articles click here! 

January 2009
  • DON'T BREAK THE BANK: Recession Survival Tips for the Household Budget!
    January is the time of New Year's resolutions and an artificial restart for many of us.  This is a time taken to reflect on what goals we may want to achieve in the year ahead.  In many cases, financial security will be a primary objective for individual households as the recession continues through 2009.  Many people are cautiously hopeful for a gradual stabilization and recovery of the economy.  However, the recession may get worse before it gets better. Although the majority of us do not have direct influence on the big companies and banks, we do control how we run our individual households.  Many of us will be tightening our spending budgets and looking for ways to keep sane in the days ahead.  In this article, we have provided some online resources for everything from keeping a balanced budget to finding ways to shop a bit smarter.

  • THE CLEANER HOME: Make Your Home Environmentally Green!
    The old days of harsh bleach and chemicals used to clean around the house are slowly fading out.  Along with this trend is a desire of many consumers to adopt more environmentally friendly products for their home.  This can be anything from the new countertops and floors to the groceries bought at the local supermarket.  In addition to what you bring in (and take out) of your home, the maintenance of your home can be a way to become more green.  According to the energysavers.gov website, "Americans spend more than $160 billion a year to heat, cool, light, and "live" in their homes.  Everyone may not try every option or may find their budget does not allow for all of the products available.  However, a few home improvements and informed purchases can not only save you money in the long run, but these changes can also provide a healthier home for your family and the planet.

December 2008
  • BUDGETING - for the Holidays & Special Events!
    Big events and holidays can often mean big spending. A little pre-planning can help to ease and avoid financial pain. In this article you'll find tips for avoiding overspending and sample worksheets that may be used when planning holiday or big event spending. 

  • WINTER SAFETY TIPS - Whether celebrating a holiday or snuggling next to the fire.
    Winter brings many different holidays and celebrations, and during these various festivities we host dinners or gatherings and may have many house guests. And so up go the decorations! Decorating your home for the holidays can be fun, but displaying these items safely is very important. If you have children, pets, house guests, or crazy, exuberant relatives around the house this winter holiday season, you may want to consider some general safety tips. Even if you aren't hosting an event but will be using winter items, such as a fireplace, this article offers helpful tips and a simple, quick safety checklist for your winter fun!

November 2008
  • THE CLEANER HOME: Make Your Home Environmentally Green!
    The old days of harsh bleach and chemicals used to clean around the house are slowly fading out.  Along with this trend is a desire of many consumers to adopt more environmentally friendly products for their home.  This can be anything from the new countertops and floors to the groceries bought at the local supermarket.  In addition to what you bring in (and take out) of your home, the maintenance of your home can be a way to become more green.  According to the energysavers.gov website, "Americans spend more than $160 billion a year to heat, cool, light, and "live" in their homes.  Everyone may not try every option or may find their budget does not allow for all of the products available.  However, a few home improvements and informed purchases can not only save you money in the long run, but these changes can also provide a healthier home for your family and the planet.

  • SPOOKY VACATIONS: Haunted Hotels, Inns, Castles, and More! 
    Today thrill seekers can go skydiving, cliff jumping, white water rafting or paragliding, just to name a few.  Looking for a little adventure in your blood but it's too wet outside to play?  Why not snuggle indoors and thrill your imagination with a haunted vacation?  Many hotels, inns, and even castles offer spooky weekend getaways.  Perhaps a friendly ghost will fold your clothes and lay them out on the bed; a mischievous one might turn on the lights and radio at 2AM; or perhaps one with a chip on his shoulder might give you a little bump to remind you he's there.  You might find it a good laugh or a little fun to shake up the winter humdrums.  Below we have compiled a short list of some haunted places to stay.  We have tried to collect from across the US and added in a few international destinations just in case you want a ghost with an accent!  Enjoy and have some fun!

October 2008
  • SPOOKY VACATIONS: Haunted Hotels, Inns, Castles, and More! 
    Today thrill seekers can go skydiving, cliff jumping, white water rafting or paragliding, just to name a few.  Looking for a little adventure in your blood but it's too wet outside to play?  Why not snuggle indoors and thrill your imagination with a haunted vacation?  Many hotels, inns, and even castles offer spooky weekend getaways.  Perhaps a friendly ghost will fold your clothes and lay them out on the bed; a mischievous one might turn on the lights and radio at 2AM; or perhaps one with a chip on his shoulder might give you a little bump to remind you he's there.  You might find it a good laugh or a little fun to shake up the winter humdrums.  Below we have compiled a short list of some haunted places to stay.  We have tried to collect from across the US and added in a few international destinations just in case you want a ghost with an accent!  Enjoy and have some fun!

  • FLOOD! How to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a Flood. 
    Experience is sometimes an unforgiving instructor. At HOMECHECK, we learned the devastation caused by flood waters first hand when Cedar Rapids, Iowa was hit by a massive flood this past June (6/13/2008). HOMECHECK is parented by the company enlighten technologies™, which includes many other businesses in our family such as Lawchek®, LawyersListings, and HouseList, to name a few. Our headquarters on First Avenue in downtown Cedar Rapids was inundated with water after the Cedar River crested at 31.1 feet (19.1 feet over flood stage) to overtake 1,300 blocks of the city.* The first floor was completely lost, as was the second floor, when water reached 4 feet on the upper level. Reflecting on this experience and the lessons we have learned, we determined to write an article this month about what to do if a flood hits your home or business. We hope our readers never have to use the practical advice in this article.

September 2008
  • FLOOD! How to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a Flood. 
    Experience is sometimes an unforgiving instructor. At HOMECHECK, we learned the devastation caused by flood waters first hand when Cedar Rapids, Iowa was hit by a massive flood this past June (6/13/2008). HOMECHECK is parented by the company enlighten technologies™, which includes many other businesses in our family such as Lawchek®, LawyersListings, and HouseList, to name a few. Our headquarters on First Avenue in downtown Cedar Rapids was inundated with water after the Cedar River crested at 31.1 feet (19.1 feet over flood stage) to overtake 1,300 blocks of the city.* The first floor was completely lost, as was the second floor, when water reached 4 feet on the upper level. Reflecting on this experience and the lessons we have learned, we determined to write an article this month about what to do if a flood hits your home or business. We hope our readers never have to use the practical advice in this article.

  • UNMARRIED COUPLES - Your Property Rights: Moving in Together or Splitting Up!
    Recent nationwide surveys show many couples are deciding to live together before marriage or live together with no intention of marrying at all.  For these couples, buying a home is not necessarily more difficult but it does come with additional challenges and items to consider before signing the dotted line. Unmarried couples will find they have the common options of Tenants in Common or Joint Tenancy contracts when they purchase property.  In some states one of these options will be considered automatically for them so they should be aware of what type of contract they are signing in advance.
     

August 2008
  • UNMARRIED COUPLES - Your Property Rights: Moving in Together or Splitting Up!
    Recent nationwide surveys show many couples are deciding to live together before marriage or live together with no intention of marrying at all.  For these couples, buying a home is not necessarily more difficult but it does come with additional challenges and items to consider before signing the dotted line. Unmarried couples will find they have the common options of Tenants in Common or Joint Tenancy contracts when they purchase property.  In some states one of these options will be considered automatically for them so they should be aware of what type of contract they are signing in advance.

  • LANDSCAPE YOUR PARADISE - How to Select a Landscape Designer!
    Both the front and back yards of your house offer a buffer between your home and the outside world. Often, especially in the case of backyards, they may be manipulated into a sanctuary, giving you a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors at home. Many weekend warriors find outdoor projects fun and rewarding challenges for their spring through fall months. However, sometimes an idea may be too grand or a space too oddly shaped for you to visualize how to put it all together. This is where a landscape designer, the "exterior decorators," may be needed.  They can help in a wide range of outdoor projects whether it be redesigning a whole yard or helping incorporate one feature into your greater masterpiece. Read this article to better prepare yourself for hiring the best landscape designer to help you sculpt your outdoor paradise! 

July 2008
  • LANDSCAPE YOUR PARADISE - How to Select a Landscape Designer!
    Both the front and back yards of your house offer a buffer between your home and the outside world. Often, especially in the case of backyards, they may be manipulated into a sanctuary, giving you a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors at home. Many weekend warriors find outdoor projects fun and rewarding challenges for their spring through fall months. However, sometimes an idea may be too grand or a space too oddly shaped for you to visualize how to put it all together. This is where a landscape designer, the "exterior decorators," may be needed.  They can help in a wide range of outdoor projects whether it be redesigning a whole yard or helping incorporate one feature into your greater masterpiece. Read this article to better prepare yourself for hiring the best landscape designer to help you sculpt your outdoor paradise! 

  • A GREATER GREEN THUMB: Make your garden environmentally green! 
    We hear so much about "going green" in the news today that we sometimes forget that one of the best ways to be environmentally friendly is through a green thumb!  Whether through careful design of a major landscape renovation or small changes to a few habits, making your garden green can be as simple or complex as you want.  In fact, don't expect to make major changes in how you care for your yard overnight.  Instead, consider some ideas you can implement now and then slowly add to them.  As you begin to implement new gardening techniques you will also discover that making your landscape environmentally friendly is not just about saving mother nature - it can also save you money!

June 2008
  • A GREATER GREEN THUMB: Make your garden environmentally green! 
    We hear so much about "going green" in the news today that we sometimes forget that one of the best ways to be environmentally friendly is through a green thumb!  Whether through careful design of a major landscape renovation or small changes to a few habits, making your garden green can be as simple or complex as you want.  In fact, don't expect to make major changes in how you care for your yard overnight.  Instead, consider some ideas you can implement now and then slowly add to them.  As you begin to implement new gardening techniques you will also discover that making your landscape environmentally friendly is not just about saving mother nature - it can also save you money!

  • SELLING YOUR HOME IN A BUYERS' MARKET: How to Step Out from the Crowd! 
    The phrase "buyer's market" is used a lot in the news today.  Frankly, it is one.  The interest rates are encouraging; although not the lowest for 30 year loans, they are still low and make it a good time to buy.  Also, there is quite a choice for buyers to choose from on the market.  This only increases as we get into spring and summer.  So how do you get your home for sale to stand out from the crowd?  This article strives to help you do just that!

May 2008
  • Is ONLINE INSURANCE Right For You?
    The Internet is a powerful tool for the savvy online consumer.  You can review products, compare prices, research companies and purchase almost anything.  Following this trend is the increase availability of insurance online.  Insurance companies are providing coverage information, quotes and even contracts online.  This includes automobile, homeowners, life, medical and even pet insurance.  Insurance has traditionally been a high customer service field with direct human contact with your insurance agent.  Because of the change in customer contact, the migration towards providing insurance online has not always been a smooth one.  Instead companies are finding some tools work and others only cause frustration or confusion.  Indeed, the availability of insurance online is still fluctuating and developing.  Below we have compiled a few of the ways you can utilize online insurance options and determine if it is the right tool for you. 

  • SELLING YOUR HOME IN A BUYERS' MARKET: How to Step Out from the Crowd! 
    The phrase "buyer's market" is used a lot in the news today.  Frankly, it is one.  The interest rates are encouraging; although not the lowest for 30 year loans, they are still low and make it a good time to buy.  Also, there is quite a choice for buyers to choose from on the market.  This only increases as we get into spring and summer.  So how do you get your home for sale to stand out from the crowd?  This article strives to help you do just that!

April 2008
  • SELLING YOUR HOME IN A BUYERS' MARKET: How to Step Out from the Crowd! 
    The phrase "buyer's market" is used a lot in the news today.  Frankly, it is one.  The interest rates are encouraging; although not the lowest for 30 year loans, they are still low and make it a good time to buy.  Also, there is quite a choice for buyers to choose from on the market.  This only increases as we get into spring and summer.  So how do you get your home for sale to stand out from the crowd?  This article strives to help you do just that!

  • BANKRUPTCY LAW 101 
    As of December 2007, bankruptcy filings are up 28% from last year and are expected to increase in 2008 due to the combined factors of high household debt and rising mortgage costs.  - American Bankruptcy Institute  This is the article that no one hopes to need and we would prefer not to write. But instead of running away from this topic, it is time to demystify bankruptcy with a little 'Bankruptcy 101.'

March 2008
  • BANKRUPTCY LAW 101 
    As of December 2007, bankruptcy filings are up 28% from last year and are expected to increase in 2008 due to the combined factors of high household debt and rising mortgage costs.  - American Bankruptcy Institute  This is the article that no one hopes to need and we would prefer not to write. But instead of running away from this topic, it is time to demystify bankruptcy with a little 'Bankruptcy 101.'

  • HOW TO BE A GOOD LANDLORD: A Few Tips of the Trade! 
    Perhaps you inherited property or purchased property as a new investment and are now contemplating becoming a landlord.  If you decide to rent an extra piece of property, you should know some ground rules.  In this months article, we will discuss some of the basics that every landlord should know, such as your responsibilities as a landlord, how to advertise your property, how to avoid legal pitfalls, and how to evict a tenant if the relationship deteriorates.  Hopefully, this article will help you start with a little more direction and know-how!

February 2008
  • HOW TO BE A GOOD LANDLORD: A Few Tips of the Trade! 
    Perhaps you inherited property or purchased property as a new investment and are now contemplating becoming a landlord.  If you decide to rent an extra piece of property, you should know some ground rules.  In this months article, we will discuss some of the basics that every landlord should know, such as your responsibilities as a landlord, how to advertise your property, how to avoid legal pitfalls, and how to evict a tenant if the relationship deteriorates.  Hopefully, this article will help you start with a little more direction and know-how!

  • WINTER SAFETY TIPS - Whether celebrating a holiday or snuggling next to the fire.
    Winter brings many different holidays and celebrations, and during these various festivities we host dinners or gatherings and may have many house guests. And so up go the decorations! Decorating your home for the holidays can be fun, but displaying these items safely is very important. If you have children, pets, house guests, or crazy, exuberant relatives around the house this winter holiday season, you may want to consider some general safety tips. Even if you aren't hosting an event but will be using winter items, such as a fireplace, this article offers helpful tips and a simple, quick safety checklist for your winter fun!

January 2008
  • Streamline Home Inspections with HOMECHECK™ REPORTS! 
    HOMECHECK™ Reports provides Home Inspectors with a convenient, easy-to-use product that can expedite the inspection reports process so clients have access to in-depth results within minutes after an inspection. HOMECHECK™ Reports was created so Home Inspectors can offer accurate and detailed inspection reports quickly in a competitive field where they need access to a ' mobile office' at an affordable rate.

  • WINTER SAFETY TIPS - Whether celebrating a holiday or snuggling next to the fire.
    Winter brings many different holidays and celebrations, and during these various festivities we host dinners or gatherings and may have many house guests. And so up go the decorations! Decorating your home for the holidays can be fun, but displaying these items safely is very important. If you have children, pets, house guests, or crazy, exuberant relatives around the house this winter holiday season, you may want to consider some general safety tips. Even if you aren't hosting an event but will be using winter items, such as a fireplace, this article offers helpful tips and a simple, quick safety checklist for your winter fun!

December 2007
  • BUDGETING - for the Holidays & Special Events!
    Big events and holidays can often mean big spending. A little pre-planning can help to ease and avoid financial pain. In this article you'll find tips for avoiding overspending and sample worksheets that may be used when planning holiday or big event spending. 

  • WINTER SAFETY TIPS - Whether celebrating a holiday or snuggling next to the fire.
    Winter brings many different holidays and celebrations, and during these various festivities we host dinners or gatherings and may have many house guests. And so up go the decorations! Decorating your home for the holidays can be fun, but displaying these items safely is very important. If you have children, pets, house guests, or crazy, exuberant relatives around the house this winter holiday season, you may want to consider some general safety tips. Even if you aren't hosting an event but will be using winter items, such as a fireplace, this article offers helpful tips and a simple, quick safety checklist for your winter fun!

November 2007
  • INTERIOR DESIGN: Schools & Other Resources! 
    The interior design industry is booming and is expected to grow 17% by 2014.*  Those interested in this career should have strengths in interpersonal communication and project management.  Interior designers work on a regular basis with business and home owners, architects and various trades professionals from carpenters to electricians.  Planning these projects will take good communication and the ability to plan around various schedules.  Interior designers should also have an artistic and creative mind.  This month we look at interior design schools, what to look for in the school and where they are located in your state.  Perhaps it is time to begin that new career.

  • Streamline Home Inspections: HOMECHECK™ REPORTS! 
    HOMECHECK™ Reports offers Home Inspectors a way to expedite their reports so clients may be emailed results within minutes after an inspection. HOMECHECK™ Reports was created so Home Inspectors can offer accurate and detailed inspection reports quickly in a competitive field. This new program now offered by HOMECHECK.com is convenient, easy to use and offers detailed, in-depth reports for clients. We know Home Inspectors need a mobile office at an affordable rate.  This month, we want to take a moment to introduce this great new program!

October 2007
  • More FAMOUS HAUNTED HOUSES! 
    It is time to dust off one of our more popular seasonal articles - Famous Haunted Homes!  This year we have expanded our list of spooky places to visit!  Perhaps it wasn't the wind that slammed the door shut or there really is no one to match the footsteps down the hall? Or maybe it is a great marketing ploy for bed and breakfast inns and historical societies? For a little fun and change of pace, we have compiled a list of famous haunted homes and buildings in America. Dim the lights, sit back and enjoy a little Halloween-flavored fun and learn a little history too!

  • Streamline Home Inspections: HOMECHECK™ REPORTS! 
    HOMECHECK™ Reports offers Home Inspectors a way to expedite their reports so clients may be emailed results within minutes after an inspection. HOMECHECK™ Reports was created so Home Inspectors can offer accurate and detailed inspection reports quickly in a competitive field. This new program now offered by HOMECHECK.com is convenient, easy to use and offers detailed, in-depth reports for clients. We know Home Inspectors need a mobile office at an affordable rate.  This month, we want to take a moment to introduce this great new program!

September 2007
  • AUTUMN HARVEST: Gardening & Landscaping in the Fall! 
    Fall is traditionally associated with harvesting and stocking up for the winter ahead. However, many locations in the U.S., even those accustomed to getting heavy snow in the winter, may embrace the fall as a great time to extend their garden harvest and continue to play with their landscape.  Gardeners may continue to plant a regular 'salad mix' and root vegetables through November.  Fall is also a great time to plant bulbs and other plants for the following spring.  Landscapers who think ahead may already have some great flower varieties showing off their colors in the fall.  Finally, fall is a great time to take advantage of mild temperatures to prepare the plants and soil for the winter ahead.  There are many projects for the fall garden to keep all green-thumbs happy!

  • Streamline Home Inspections: HOMECHECK™ REPORTS! 
    HOMECHECK™ Reports offers Home Inspectors a way to expedite their reports so clients may be emailed results within minutes after an inspection. HOMECHECK™ Reports was created so Home Inspectors can offer accurate and detailed inspection reports quickly in a competitive field. This new program now offered by HOMECHECK.com is convenient, easy to use and offers detailed, in-depth reports for clients. We know Home Inspectors need a mobile office at an affordable rate.  This month, we want to take a moment to introduce this great new program!

August 2007
  • Streamline Home Inspections: HOMECHECK™ REPORTS! 
    HOMECHECK™ Reports offers Home Inspectors a way to expedite their reports so clients may be emailed results within minutes after an inspection. HOMECHECK™ Reports was created so Home Inspectors can offer accurate and detailed inspection reports quickly in a competitive field. This new program now offered by HOMECHECK.com is convenient, easy to use and offers detailed, in-depth reports for clients. We know Home Inspectors need a mobile office at an affordable rate.  This month, we want to take a moment to introduce this great new program!

July 2007
  • SUMMER SAFETY TIPS!
    The summer has a pull for us, no matter our age. It is a time to take a few days off work, barbeque in the backyard, go for a picnic, a hike, a swim, a bike ride or go out on the water on our boat. It is also a time to mow and weed the lawn, plant flowers and finish countless chores around the home that have been put off until the weather "cooperated." Needless to say, summer is a busy time when we do more activities and chores and can very easily overexert ourselves. That is why this month we are focusing on some tips that can help you have a fun and safe summer. Part of having fun is being aware of what precautions you should take and how you should plan ahead for whatever you choose to do. But we know you are busy, so here is the quick list for a safe summer!  

June 2007
  • Understanding HOMEOWNERS' INSURANCE!
    Many of us obtain our homeowners insurance when we purchase our home.  After this initial purchase, we do not give this insurance another thought.  It is not until the roof is damaged during a violent thunderstorm, a major appliance fails and floods our basement, or the neighbor's kid slips and fractures their wrist in our living room that we dust off the policy and ask ourselves, "Am I covered for this?"  Don't wait until damage or an accident happens to discover what your insurance policy covers.  Instead, you should have a good idea of what you are covered for and what is not included.  Every year you should assess if your coverage should increase or if there is any optional coverage you may want to add.  The purpose of this article is to point out some general characteristics of homeowners insurance and help in determining if you have the right coverage.  Obviously this cannot substitute for a consultation with your insurance provider, but it will give you a better idea of what questions to ask.

  • Some Myths and Realities about Real Estate Appraisals and Appraisers! 
    Discover the truth behind the myth as you gain a better understanding of appraisers and real estate appraisals. 

May 2007
  • KITCHEN REMODEL - Hints and Tips!
    Remodeling your kitchen is a major event. You may be without the room entirely for most of the remodel process. There will be many different contractors and specialists coming in and out of your home.  And changes in timelines may happen due to product availability or other unforeseen circumstances.  All said, it is a major project that takes careful planning and attention to detail for a satisfactory outcome. In this article, we have given you the short list of some things you will need to consider before and during a kitchen remodel. 
  • Some Myths and Realities about Real Estate Appraisals and Appraisers! 
    Discover the truth behind the myth as you gain a better understanding of appraisers and real estate appraisals. 
April 2007
  • BATHROOM REMODEL - Hints and Tips!
    Your bathroom is where you prep to start your day and where you wind down at the end of the day. From a nice hot shower to an at home spa, the bathroom is an important room in every home and to our daily lives. However, it can be the room most overlooked when it comes to decoration and/or remodeling. It shouldn't be. According to Contractors.com, remodeling your bathroom can give you an 80-90% return on the value of your home. Adding a new bathroom can also easily add a 90% return on the value of your home. Improving this room can, therefore, be a savvy investment in your property. But it can be more than just a wise investment. In this article we provide some hints and tips for your bathroom makeover. Whether just changing a few decorations or completing a major remodel, we hope you will find something beneficial for your remodeling project.
  • SELLING YOUR HOME? USE THESE TIPS!
    Review this checklist of important items to consider and projects to undertake before you sell your home to make sure you get the most for your home!
March 2007
  • PET FRIENDLY!  Making your Home and Yard Perfect for your Pet!
    For many, bringing home a pet is the same as bringing home a new addition to the family. Pets easily find their way into our hearts with their playful antics and friendly companionship. When you decide to add an animal companion to your family, it is imperative that you are willing to make some adjustments to your living space. This article is aimed at giving hints for all who have pets or will have pets in their home.
  • IMPORTANT HOME INSPECTION TIPS!
    In general, homeowners should order a home inspection soon after the purchase offer has been accepted. Real estate contracts typically allow a limited number of days to complete a home inspection and to request repairs, if applicable. Discover more tips in this months' article. 
February 2007
  • DECORATING ON A BUDGET: A Few Ideas For Decorating Without A Lot Of Money!
    For some of us there comes a point in our lives when we look around our dwelling and realize the college student look has to go.  Others of us look around and see an eclectic mix of sad and worn hand-me-down furniture.  And a few of us are just, well, bored with the décor we have had for the last five years.  To redecorate your home you don't need to spend a whole lot of cash.  Granted, a major remodel (such as a kitchen or bathroom) will be a whole different story (and an article to come later this year).  However, any space in your home can be given a fresh look with easy do-it-yourself projects at minimal cost.
  • ONIONS - PEELING BACK THE LAYERS OF DECEPTIVE TERMITE INSPECTIONS.
    Some states allow Home Inspectors to identify and report on wood destroying organisms if the inspector is properly certified/licensed. Other states, such as California, do not allow Home Inspectors to do so unless that inspector is also licensed as a Structural Pest Inspector, of which there are very few. But, if the inspector is properly licensed, then the reporting will be done on a report form mandated by the Structural Pest Control Board located in Sacramento, and the reporting process falls under a whole slew of regulations administered by the Structural Pest Control Board. This practice is unfortunate as that process breeds, in California anyway, a huge conflict of interest situation that revolves around the home sale/purchase activity. Now you're ready to peel off the first layer of the onion. 
  • IMPORTANT HOME INSPECTION TIPS!
    In general, homeowners should order a home inspection soon after the purchase offer has been accepted. Real estate contracts typically allow a limited number of days to complete a home inspection and to request repairs, if applicable. Discover more tips in this months' article. 
January 2007
  • ONIONS - PEELING BACK THE LAYERS OF DECEPTIVE TERMITE INSPECTIONS.
    Some states allow Home Inspectors to identify and report on wood destroying organisms if the inspector is properly certified/licensed. Other states, such as California, do not allow Home Inspectors to do so unless that inspector is also licensed as a Structural Pest Inspector, of which there are very few. But, if the inspector is properly licensed, then the reporting will be done on a report form mandated by the Structural Pest Control Board located in Sacramento, and the reporting process falls under a whole slew of regulations administered by the Structural Pest Control Board. This practice is unfortunate as that process breeds, in California anyway, a huge conflict of interest situation that revolves around the home sale/purchase activity. Now you're ready to peel off the first layer of the onion. 
  • IMPORTANT HOME INSPECTION TIPS!
    In general, homeowners should order a home inspection soon after the purchase offer has been accepted. Real estate contracts typically allow a limited number of days to complete a home inspection and to request repairs, if applicable. Discover more tips in this months' article. 
  • CUSTOMER DEPOSITS - ILLEGITIMATE REVENUE STREAM FOR BANKS?
    For quite some time now certain banks and other financial institutions may have been profiting from what some members of Congress are calling an illegitimate revenue stream, namely the deposits of its customers. Today many banks will place “holds” on customer deposits, allowing them to benefit from the interest on the customers funds. This has caused some outrage by the depositors and the concern of key members of Congress.
December 2006
  • Budgeting for the Holidays & Special Events!
    Big events and holidays can often mean big spending. A little pre-planning can help to ease and avoid financial pain. In this article you'll find tips for avoiding overspending and sample worksheets that may be used when planning holiday or big event spending. 
  • HOMEOWNER’S GUIDE
    In general, homeowners should budget approximately one percent of their home’s value for maintenance and repairs. If you make a habit of putting aside a small amount of money each month to be earmarked specifically for home maintenance, then it will be less painful when unexpected repairs are needed or when appliances must be replaced.
November 2006
  • HOLIDAY FOOD SAFETY!
    With the various fall and winter holidays upon us, we know everyone is busy. Here is a short list of food safety precautions to take during this holiday season. As always, enjoy the fun and have safe holidays this year.
  • So, who's afraid of the big, bad Home Inspection?
    No matter whom you talk to that is involved in a home sale transaction, whether it be the owner, buyer or real estate agent, everyone has a certain amount of reservation concerning a home inspection or “termite” inspection. But why, all that it entails is basically a visual inspection of the home and a short written report, right? So, who’s afraid of the big, bad home inspection? Everyone it seems!
October 2006
  • FAMOUS HAUNTED HOMES!
    Perhaps it wasn't the wind that slammed the door shut or there really is no one to match the footsteps down the hall? Or maybe it is a great marketing ploy for bed and breakfast inns and historical societies? Or maybe people are comforted or enjoy the idea of hauntings? Okay, so not all of us believe in ghosts, but the stories and histories behind many haunted homes can be just as unique as their "spiritual" residents. For a little fun and change of pace, we have compiled a short list of famous haunted homes and buildings in America. Dim the lights, sit back and enjoy a little Halloween-flavored fun and learn a little history too!
September 2006
  • Landscape Your Paradise - How to Select a Landscape Designer!
    Both the front and back yards of your house offer a buffer between your home and the outside world. Often, especially in the case of backyards, they may be manipulated into a sanctuary, giving you a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors at home. Many weekend warriors find outdoor projects fun and rewarding challenges for their spring through fall months. However, sometimes an idea may be too grand or a space too oddly shaped for you to visualize how to put it all together. This is where a landscape designer, the "exterior decorators," may be needed.  They can help in a wide range of outdoor projects whether it be redesigning a whole yard or helping incorporate one feature into your greater masterpiece. Read this article to better prepare yourself for hiring the best landscape designer to help you sculpt your outdoor paradise!
August 2006
  • How to start a NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH!
    Many people are skeptical when they hear
    about neighborhood watches. Many think it involves a lot of effort with minimal impact or effect. However, most police departments will inform you otherwise. A neighborhood watch can help police crack down on crime due to the simple fact that you are a resident in the area and will more readily notice suspicious, out of place behavior in your neighborhood before they will. An example that is often used is the scenario of the stranger hanging around your neighbor's car. You look out your window and notice a stranger by your neighbor's car and know the car does not belong to them. However, when a cop car drives by, the stranger casually looks up and waves hello. The officer cannot tell if the car belongs to the person or if the person lives in the neighborhood.  Therefore, the officer may wave back and simply drive ahead. So how does a neighborhood watch work? How do you set one up? How can you and your neighbors reduce crime and help the police in your area?
July 2006
  • SUMMER SAFETY TIPS!
    The summer has a pull for us, no matter our age. It is a time to take a few days off work, barbeque in the backyard, go for a picnic, a hike, a swim, a bike ride or go out on the water on our boat. It is also a time to mow and weed the lawn, plant flowers and finish countless chores around the home that have been put off until the weather "cooperated." Needless to say, summer is a busy time when we do more activities and chores and can very easily overexert ourselves. That is why this month we are focusing on some tips that can help you have a fun and safe summer. Part of having fun is being aware of what precautions you should take and how you should plan ahead for whatever you choose to do. But we know you are busy, so here is the quick list for a safe summer!
June 2006
  • PEST CONTROL - Reclaim Your Home From Pests!
    Bugs are a part of life and rodents often come wandering through.  These animals are part of the environment and serve their purpose in the great chain of things.  However, they can become a nuisance and may even be dangerous if they take over our homes.  They are then more aptly called 'pests' and need to be dealt with.  This quick article will give you some preventive tips about how to battle common pests.  You may adjust many of these tips to various bug and critter problems. 
May 2006
  • HOW TO HIRE A CONTRACTOR: Working As A Team On Your Next Home Project!
    You have a great idea of what you want to do but you just don't have the skills to implement it. Whether remodeling the kitchen, a spare room or adding on, some projects are better handled by professional contractors. However, make sure you do not get into an agreement with a contractor on impulse. Instead, picking a contractor should be a selective process that is well researched and prepared. This is not only a financial investment; this person (and their team) will be in your home and working with you on a project that may take days or, more likely, weeks to finish. A sound partnership is important. In this article you'll be given some suggestions for planning out your partnership with a contractor. Also included are a checklist guide and contract example forms from our partner Lawchek®. All are helpful suggestions and tools before hiring any contractor. 
April 2006
  • Setting Your BUDGET!
    You have evaluated the neighborhood and find that your improvement is consistent with general aesthetic and size parameters. You plan to remain in the house for some time. You find that a second mortgage payment will not strain your current monthly budget. You feel you can devote a certain amount of time towards planning the project. And finally, you are really sick of waiting in line to go to the bathroom in your own house!
March 2006
  • FENG SHUI - Another Look at Interior Design.
    Feng Shui (pronounced Fung Shway) has been used in China for centuries and has made a strong entrance into western culture. Best described as "the art of placement" Feng Shui was originally used to determine the placement of temples, official buildings, graveyards and homes in their natural environment. When the western world first came into contact with Feng Shui it was labeled as a form of geomancy which is considered "divination by means of figures or lines or geographic features." Although this may be a misrepresentation of the initial use of Feng Shui, this art is constantly in flux and today there are many different schools, some of which do concentrate on the use of this art as a way to impact ones fate in a favorable direction. This art of placement has some wonderful interior design techniques that everyone could adapt and find beneficial. This article will discuss many of these interior design solutions for cluttered and cramped spaces in the home and office, as well as some of the ideas behind the creation of balance that have become part of this art form. 
February 2006
  • HOME APPRAISAL - What to expect and how to prepare.
    Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines appraisal as, "a valuation of property by the estimate of an authorized person." This valuation is a determination of your property's market value - what it will likely sell for on the open market. So how is this "valuation" determined? Why does the idea of an "estimate of an authorized person" create so much apprehension about the process? What can you do to achieve a better home appraisal? What do you do if your home doesn't appraise well? In this article we offer answers to commonly asked questions and give clarity to home appraisals.
January 2006
  • Home Security - Keeping your family and possessions safe.
    According to the FBI, burglaries occur every 15.4 seconds in the United States. Therefore, home security is important - not only because the home is one of our biggest investments, but having reliable home security provides peace of mind regarding protecting our family and possessions. Many of us take our security for granted or believe our current security is all we need. There is a belief that burglaries happen to "someone else." Or, if one is robbed, it is just the result of "chance" and there is little that can be done about it. The threat to our inner sanctum and lifetime of possessions is very real. This article will take a look at the ways you can protect your home, one of the most common being a security system, and we will be concentrating on some of the common sense and easy to add options you can do to protect your home.
December 2005
  • Winter Safety Tips - Whether celebrating a holiday or snuggling next to the fire.
    Winter brings many different holidays and celebrations, and during these various festivities we host dinners or gatherings and may have many house guests. And so up go the decorations! Decorating your home for the holidays can be fun, but displaying these items safely is very important. If you have children, pets, house guests, or crazy, exuberant relatives around the house this winter holiday season, you may want to consider some general safety tips. Even if you aren't hosting an event but will be using winter items, such as a fireplace, this article will have a few helpful tips for you. We know you are busy, and the last thing anyone wants to do when planning a party is to think about all the details! Thus, here is simple, quick safety checklist for your winter fun!
November 2005
  • Historical Homes - How to Protect Historical Property.
    Historical landmarks throughout the country provide all citizens with a physical, present experience of our history. Through these landmarks you can not only observe but in many cases feel the original work and walk the spaces of the past. Historical homes help us remember important persons as we can view intimately how they lived; we get to see the most sacred of spaces, their internal sanctum, their home. Where did they read at night for inspiration, where did they write that novel, where did they meet the important guests and characters in their lives? All of these things we can glimpse through seeing history preserved in rock and mortar. 
  • Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Home Part VIII
    Another article by Rocky Fremin of Freminshomeimprovement.com, this month about maintenance tips for Fall Season.
October 2005
  • Got Attic Mold? How to Diagnose Common Sources.
    It happens to countless homeowners around the end of the year – you make the annual visit to your attic to collect the holiday decorations and what do you find? Spots and blotches covering the bottom of the roof sheathing. Worse yet – it turns out to be attic mold! What does energy conservation have to do with mold in the attic? Well if you take a step back and consider how the house behaves as system, they are often directly related. 
  • Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Home Part VII
    Another article by Rocky Fremin of Freminshomeimprovement.com, this month Part B about maintenance tips for Spring Season.
September 2005
  • Reduce Your Heating Bills This Winter
    Imagine leaving a window open all winter long -- the heat loss, cold drafts and wasted energy! If your home has a folding attic stair, fireplace or clothes dryer, that may be just what is occurring in your home every day. These often overlooked sources of heat loss and air leakage can cause heat to pour out and the cold outside air to rush in -- costing you higher heating bills. 
  • Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Home Part VI
    Another article by Rocky Fremin of Freminshomeimprovement.com, this month Part A about maintenance tips for Spring Season.
August 2005
  • Pet Friendly: Making your Home and Yard Perfect for your Pet
    For many, bringing a pet home is the same as bringing home new family. Pets easily find their way in our hearts with their playful antics and friendly companionship. When you first bring a new pet into your home it is imperative that you are willing to make some adjustments to your living space. This article is aimed at giving hints for all who have pets or will have pets in their home.
  • Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Home Part V
    Another article by Rocky Fremin of Freminshomeimprovement.com, this month about maintenance that should be covered every 2 years.
July 2005
  • Planning Your Garden Masterpiece
    Whether for an apartment with window boxes and porch containers or a house with acres to play, everyone can create a garden if they want one. There are many wonderful resources online that can help those who want to add plants around their home environment. First we collected some good, free, online landscaping planners that help you plot out your yard and garden before you plant a single seed. Most come with some plant information but we have also collected a list of plant reference sites that detail plant climate preferences, light requirements and much more.
  • Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Home Part IV
    Another article by Rocky Fremin of Freminshomeimprovement.com, this month about maintenance that should be covered once every year.
June 2005
  • Home Improvement Web Sties - Part II
    These days you can find a web site that covers anything. Included in this trend are home improvement web sites. Some of these helpful sites may be related to a television program (as discussed in our April article 'Home Improvement Television'). However, there are also many that are mostly web based that offer great home improvement hints, tutorials and visual aids.
  • Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Home Part III
    Another article by Rocky Fremin of Freminshomeimprovement.com, this month about maintenance that should be done every 6 months.
May 2005
  • How to Become a Home Inspector
    Home inspection is an involved career that requires self motivation, great people skills and small business acumen. If you ever wondered how to become a home inspector then read on and review the links provided for a quick guide to this growing career...
  • Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Home Part II
    Another article by Rocky Fremin of Freminshomeimprovement.com, this month about maintenance that should be done every 2 months, including a periodic checklist of every 3 months.
April 2005
  • Home Improvement Television Shows
    When it comes to home improvement projects, visual examples can teach volumes. Thus enters home improvement television. These TV shows have been around for over two decades and recently there has been an increase in the number of these shows available. However, viewers be savvy..
  • Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Home Part I  
    The first article in a series of 8 by Rocky Fremin of Freminshomeimprovement.com. This month an introduction to preventive maintenance you should do for your home.
March 2005
  • Galvanized Pipes in Older Home  
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question, "What is the life expectancy of galvanized pipes in older homes?"
  • Water Problems  
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector discusses the sudden onset of water problems in the home.
  • Landscape Your Paradise - How to Select a Landscape Designer!
    Both the front and back yards of your house offer a buffer between your home and the outside world. Often, especially in the case of backyards, they may be manipulated into a sanctuary, giving you a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors at home. Many weekend warriors find outdoor projects fun and rewarding challenges for their spring through fall months. However, sometimes an idea may be too grand or a space too oddly shaped for you to visualize how to put it all together. This is where a landscape designer, the "exterior decorators," may be needed.  They can help in a wide range of outdoor projects whether it be redesigning a whole yard or helping incorporate one feature into your greater masterpiece. Read this article to better prepare yourself for hiring the best landscape designer to help you sculpt your outdoor paradise!Brian Dineen of RCAC provides helpful hints about setting your budget for your next home project.
February 2005
  • New Home Warranty  
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question,"What is covered under a new home warranty and does it last past the final inspection of the home?"
  • Water Pressure: Too Much or Too Little  
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question,"Why should my water pressure be lowered?"
  • Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Home Part II
    Another article by Rocky Fremin of Freminshomeimprovement.com, this month about maintenance that should be done every 2 months, including a periodic checklist of every 3 months.
January 2005
  • Setting Your Budget  
    Brian Dineen of RCAC provides helpful hints about setting your budget for your next home project.
  • GCI Circuits in Older Homes  
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question,"Do three-pronged plugs ground if the home wiring is the original two wire non-gounded system?"
  • Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Home Part I  
    The first article in a series of 8 by Rocky Fremin of Freminshomeimprovement.com. This month an introduction to preventive maintenance you should do for your home.
December 2004
  • New Home Warranty
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question,"What is covered under a new home warranty and does it last past the final inspection of the home?"
  • Water Pressure: Too Much or Too Little
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question,"Why should my water pressure be lowered?"
  • Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Home Part II
    Another article by Rocky Fremin of Freminshomeimprovement.com, this month about maintenance that should be done every 2 months, including a periodic checklist of every 3 months.
November 2004

October 2004

  • Crack in the Sidewalk
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question, "Should I be concerned about cracks in the sidewalk in front of our home?"
  • Slab vs Crawl Space
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question,"Which is better, slab or crawl spaces?"
  • Setting Your Budget  
    Brian Dineen of RCAC provides helpful hints about setting your budget for your next home project.
September 2004
August 2004
  • Chimney Caps, Yes or No?
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question,"Chimney caps, yes or no?"
  • Fogging of Insulated Windows
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question,"What do I do about fogging insulated windows?"
  • Setting Your Budget  
    Brian Dineen of RCAC provides helpful hints about setting your budget for your next home project.
July 2004
  • GCI Circuits in Older Homes
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question,"Do three-pronged plugs ground if the home wiring is the original two wire non-gounded system?"
  • One Roof or Two?
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question,"Is placing new shingles on top of old ones a good idea?"
  • Setting Your Budget  
    Brian Dineen of RCAC provides helpful hints about setting your budget for your next home project.
June 2004
  • Galvanized Pipes in Older Home
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector answers the question, "What is the life expectancy of galvanized pipes in older homes?"
  • Water Problems
    Patrick Mahoney of Sherlock Home Inspector discusses the sudden onset of water problems in the home.
  • Setting Your Budget
    Brian Dineen of RCAC provides helpful hints about setting your budget for your next home project.

 

 

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