9 Tips To Restoration And Clean-Up After Smoke And Fire Damage

A recent wildfire in Herriman, Utah (20 miles south of Salt Lake City) caused well over 1400 families to evacuate their homes. It took firefighters several days to bring the blaze under control and only 4 homes were actually lost. The families who were able to return to their homes were faced with a daunting task. Even if their homes didn’t suffer actual fire damage, many homeowners were completely unprepared for the huge job of restoring and cleaning up the smoke, ash and carbon residue that covered every inch of everything they owned in their homes and around their property.

Here are 9 tips for cleaning up your home and property after a fire.

  • Pressure wash or scrub all exterior surfaces including walls, walks, drives, decks, windows and screens.
  • Wash all interior walls and hard surfaces with a steam cleaner. Don’t forget inside cabinets, drawers and closets. Steam undersides of furniture, tables and chairs.
  • Launder or dry clean all clothing, linens and bedding.
  • Wash all movable items, including picture frames, knick-knacks with a steam cleaner and a soft microfiber cloth.
  • Disinfect and deodorize all carpets, window coverings, upholstered furniture and mattresses with steam.
  • Upholstery, fabric window treatments, etc. can be spray-treated with deodorizing products available at most supermarkets, but do not use odor-masking sprays – it just covers up the problem and doesn’t last long term. Steam actually melts the tar and neutralizes the odor and carbon film left by forest fire, cigarette smoke or wood burning fireplaces and stoves.
  • Have heating, ventilating and air-conditioning units and all ductwork professionally cleaned to remove soot, ash and smoke residue. Change filters when you first return to the premises and at least once a month for the first year.
  • Vacuum up dry aerial fire retardant or firefighting foam residue from inside the house or car. Pressure wash the home/car exterior and use a steam cleaner to remove the stuck on residue from inside surfaces.
  • Ash and soot on the ground and in your landscaping will continue to generate smoke odors and airborne particles when the wind blows so water it down regularly. Until the ash and soot are diluted and absorbed into the environment, run an indoor mechanical air filtration system to help minimize the uncomfortable and potentially health-threatening impact of these pollutants.

Most of these tips can be completed with a few power tools – an outdoor pressure washer for the outside of your home and a steam cleaner, dishwasher or washer/dryer for the inside of your home. If you’re new to steam cleaning, you’re going to be pleasantly surprised how fast, easy and effective it is at getting into all those nooks and crannies that regular cleaning chemicals and techniques can’t.

You may not get all these tips finished in one day but once you’ve laundered, steamed or pressure washed from rooftop to foundation and from floor to ceiling, you and your home will no longer smell like a camp fire.

Tips taken from FEMA’s website and elaborated on.

Important Tips to Consider When Selecting a Real Estate Agent

The ample amount of online information regarding how to hire a real estate agent can be helpful for homebuyers and sellers, but finding the right one can still be a challenge. Professional agents should have the necessary skills and expertise to help find exactly what the client desires. These four qualities can clue in buyers and sellers that a real estate agent is a great choice.

Suggests Realistic Prices

When planning to sell a house, it is recommended to get listing presentations from several agencies. They will provide the market prices of comparable homes, as well as the amount of time it usually takes to sell similar properties. Working with professionals to ensure that a home is priced appropriately will make the process less time consuming and stressful.

Works Full Time

Some real estate agents connect home buyers with sellers as a part-time job; however, it is wise to choose one who works in the industry full time to get the best results. Such professionals are in a better position to provide accurate recommendations and tips as they have more experience and a deeper understanding of the industry. A full-time agent will likely spend more time scouting for a home on various listings or showing prospective buyers the house to ensure that the clients acquire or sell a property quickly and at the right price.

Charges an Appropriate Commission

In most states, the commission ranges between five and seven percent and is split between the selling and buying agents. Ask agents about commission rates when putting a home on the market or beginning a new home search. This is an ideal method to ensure that all parties understand the agreement. Also, be sure to ask about any offered rate rebates, as some companies actually pass on a percentage of the commission to the seller or buyer.

Has Experience in the Area

A buyer who is interested in purchasing a full-time residence should pick an expert who specializes in selling such properties in the area. On the other hand, people who are looking for investment properties are better off working with someone who has been facilitating such deals with other investors for years. It is also important to note that most professionals in this industry have multiple specialties.

Even if a candidate meets these four qualities, organize a face-to-face meeting with the home expert to get a full picture of his or her skills and expertise. Most professionals are more than happy to speak with potential customers to answer questions. Finding a real estate agent by following these guidelines will make the entire process of buying or selling a home far simpler.

For Sale By Owner – Advertising Tips to Help You Sell Your House

There are times when home owners want to sell their house on their own and they need to attract as many buyers as possible. There are some advertising tips that you must keep in mind in order to save you time, money and peace of mind.

One of the most effective means to attract buyers is to advertise on the internet as today most buyers first look online before they consult a broker or agent. Today there are many classified sites that allow you to advertise for free. Simply type “for sale by owner” into your Google or Yahoo! search bar and you will find many options right on the first page. To get better presentation and wider exposure some sites might ask for premium upgrades and these may be a good idea depending on the urgency of your specific situation. If there is no rush you can avoid these and only advertise on the free sites without spending any money.

The goals of most sellers are the same regardless of whether or not they list with a real estate professional. They want a quick sale with the highest possible price and the least hassle. For all houses for sale by owner it is imperative to have the right things in the advertisement so that they are able to attract the right kind and the highest amount of buyers.

In any advertisement the headline is by far the most important part. Some experts say it accounts for 80% of the effectiveness of the ad. I always like to use the stand alone test. If you place only the headline and a phone number in a newspaper, will the phone ring? Look at the ads that are already in the newspaper or wherever you are thinking of advertising. Which ones catch your eye? Don’t feel bad about copying what they do. It’s easier than starting from scratch.

Remember to also add photographs when possible. Take a bunch of photos and use as many of the best ones as allowed. You don’t need to hear too much about how to take photos so I won’t belabor the point. Just know that when looking for houses it makes common sense that the ones with photographs get looked at first.

One must also ensure that the price they ask for the house is a fair one and leave, at the very most, ten percent room for negotiation. Brokers/agents and some websites can help you determine the asking price of the property. Zillow.com comes to mind right away. Along with marketing and exposure, pricing is one of the most important aspects of selling a home so don’t just go to one website that tells you the “value” of your home and use that price. Do your research. What have comparable homes in the same school district sold for in the past 3 months?

Tips For Using Prudential Real Estate Bank Owned Foreclosure List

Investors and home buyers are discovering the Prudential real estate bank owned foreclosure list offers a vast array of discounted homes. Foreclosure houses are moving up the ranks as being the preferred choice for buyers since they are priced below market value.

The Prudential real estate bank owned foreclosure list encompasses all types of residential properties, as well as industrial and commercial real estate. Regardless of the type of realty you prefer, chances are the Prudential foreclosure list can help you locate it.

Bank owned houses are foreclosure properties that were not sold through public auction. Houses are returned to the servicing lender and banks list the properties through realtors. Their primary goal is to recover foreclosure costs and prevent future expenses. Banks are responsible for property taxes, insurance and general maintenance so they reduce the price to entice a quick sale.

Due to the extreme magnitude of bank foreclosures, several million distressed properties are available nationwide. Based on the number of homes it has become virtually impossible for banks to handle the sale of each property. Therefore, lenders enlist the assistance of local realtors to list bank owned properties, arrange showings, and mediate purchase price negotiations.

Buyers submit offers through Prudential realtors, just as they would when making an offer on other types of listed property. Agents present realty offers to the mortgage lender who in turn accepts, declines or provides a counter-offer.

Banks reduce the cost of foreclosure houses in order to remove toxic assets from their books. The Federal Reserve Bank provides money to lenders based on profit margins. If mortgage financiers hold a bounty of stagnant real estate the amount of money they receive for lending purposes can be discontinued until they become profitable.

For this reason, mortgage lenders are rarely willing to further reduce the asking price of bank owned homes. Buyers who plan on purchasing Prudential bank owned foreclosures should be prepared to pay the full asking price unless substantial damage is found during the home inspection.

In order to submit offers on Prudential foreclosure homes, buyers must obtain prequalified financing. Prudential realtors can help buyers locate mortgage providers or buyers can seek out lenders on their own. One of the most trusted sources for mortgage loan comparison is BankRate.com.

If buyers are able to purchase bank foreclosures with cash they might be able to further reduce the asking price. Banks are sometimes willing to reduce the price of bank owned properties when a cash offer is presented. Buying houses with cash eliminates the possibility of buyers not being approved for a home loan and lessens the time required for closing. Many real estate investors purchase bank owned real estate with cash in order to obtain the best deal and expedite closing.

Individuals interested in buying Prudential real estate bank owned foreclosures can review property listings and obtain contact information for the listing agent at PrudentialProperties.com.

Paper Recycling Tips

Paper is an integral part of everyday life today and tons and tons of paper waste is generated every year. Today, a lot of specialty recycling bins are installed in offices, homes, and public places to encourage people to dispose all kinds of waste properly. Many manufactures of paper recycling bins also strongly encourage paper recycling to contribute towards conserving natural resources and saving the environment. Paper can be broadly divided into two categories — high grade paper which includes print-out, white ledger, and colored ledger and low grade paper which includes cardboard, newspaper, magazines, and mixed office paper. One of the most popular items is our newspaper recycling bins. These need to be separated properly during the recycling process to generate good quality paper after recycling. Check out some of the tips below:

o Educate everyone about the benefits of recycling paper and how recycling can contribute towards making this world a better place to live.

o Encourage people to make use of recycle containers and throw paper in the recycle bins that are specially designed to collect paper waste as that will make separation of waste material easy.

o Place recycle bins at appropriate places, this will reduce the temptation of people to dispose paper products in the trash bin and make use of bins.

o Label the recycle bins to make it easy for the people to understand their use. Labeling is also very important if your deploying multi-purpose bins.

o Consulting the users about the location of the recycling bins can also make recycling more effective and can get you the much needed co-operation.

o Be extra careful about the kind of paper products disposed in the recycle containers, as mentioned earlier, make sure that the recycle bin gets only what is recyclable.

In the whole process the importance of education and recycle bins can not be stressed enough. A good recycling bin placed at the right location reminds people of recycling at regular intervals. Top companies manufacturing recycling bins have come with specific bins for specific places: schools, homes, offices etc.