The Number 1 Home Security Mistake

There are many home security mistakes that we all make. This includes the obvious mistakes that most of us know better than to try, such as putting a spare key under a doormat, to mistakes we know we ought to avoid but still do, such as not activating our alarm systems when we leave the house for only a short period of time or not putting lamps on timers to make it look like we’re home when we’re not. It even includes less-well-known items (that I strive to make people aware of) such as improving the quality of the windows, doors, locks and even the strike plates on our door frames, all which help tremendously to keep burglars out of our homes.

All of these mistakes should be avoided and improving any of them can go a long way toward feeling safe at home.

There’s an even bigger mistake

But, there’s still one more big mistake that people make. It’s a mistake that I think is bigger than any of the ones mentioned earlier! It’s more important than any others! This #1 biggest mistake? Assuming that it won’t happen to you.

No one is completely immune

There is no city, community or neighborhood that is completely immune from crime. There are definitely some that are safer than others, but burglaries can and do happen anywhere. Since there is some randomness as to whether you’ll ever experience a break-in, be prepared under the expectation that it can happen to you, rather than living under the false assumption that it won’t. Living in a “safe neighborhood” doesn’t mean it can’t happen to you. It only means that it may be less likely to happen to you.

This mistake arises from the assumption that it can’t (or won’t) happen to you just because your neighborhood is “safe”.

If you’ve ever put off thinking about home security because you live in a safe neighborhood, you’re not alone. But don’t put it off any longer. Your safety is too important!

Be aware of what goes on in your neighborhood

Have you ever done any checking around to find out just how safe your neighborhood really is? Thanks to easy internet access to almost anything, it’s not at all difficult to do some quick research into crime rates in your neighborhood. Crime can and does happen anywhere, so don’t let a few reports of crime shatter your view of your neighborhood. But you should be aware of what goes on around you.

Periodically check community, city or regional web sites, talk to neighbors, look at crime reports and neighborhood crime rates published by local police departments. Don’t be oblivious to what’s going on around you and as a result, not do much to protect yourself against crime.

With the economic mess we’re in, crime is up almost everywhere. Even safe neighborhoods are more vulnerable now. There are more desperate people out there.

If you live in a safe neighborhood, congratulations! Take full advantage of the comfort that can provide. But be cautious about not being lulled into a false sense of security!

Home Improvement Loans – 7 Tips You Should Consider When Getting Home Improvement Loans

From time to time it becomes necessary to acquire home improvement loans to help you “upgrade” your house. Whether you are renting the house out to tenants or you live in the house yourself, home improvements always add value to the property.

There are many home improvement loans you may decide to go after depending on your circumstances such as your credit score and the amount of down payment you may have. You also need to check on other requirements of the type of loan. Here are 7 practical steps you can take to get a home improvement loan approved.

1. Know How Much Money You Need to Get from Lenders.

Determine which areas of the house need improvements. Get contractors to give you an estimate of what needs to be done and how much it will cost to have them done. This will give you a rough idea of how much you need to borrow.

2. Documentation.

Put all the needed documents that lenders require together. These usually include tax returns, prove of employment, income in the form of bank statements and other data such as your debt-to-income ratio.

3. Know Credit Rating.

You are entitled to a free credit report from the credit reference agencies each year. So request a copy of your report. Go through carefully and if you see any mistakes, file a dispute with the appropriate agency to have the mistake removed. This would improve your credit score.

4. Look for Appropriate Lenders

Look for reputable lenders to borrow from. Know the average interest rates and the rates at which you are being offered the loan. Stay away from lenders whose credibility you cannot establish. If their offer is too good to be true, they probably are. If you make your application online, protect yourself against identity theft.

5. Home equity loan or home equity line of credit?

Each of these are somewhat like a second mortgage. Which one you go for is entirely up to you. A home equity loan is a lump sum of money with a fixed interest rate. It is based on the equity of the home you want to make improvements to. On the other hand, a home equity line of credit has a variable interest rate based on the principal (i.e. loan amount). A home equity line of credit is similar to a credit card, where you pay interest on the amount of money you take from the line of credit, calculated every thirty days. Talk to your banker if you do not understand any of these fully.

6. Understand Everything Before You Sign.

Unfortunately, many people never read the fine print because it is time consuming and boring to read. However, the little time you spend reading the terms of service of the lender is nothing compared to the money you will have to pay if you did not understand something and signed anyway.

7. Create a Budget.

Getting a home improvement loan means you are getting a second mortgage on your house. If you default you stand to lose your home. So create a budget to ensure you make your payments on time without any defaults. It will let you know how much money you can afford to put towards making repayments.

These are some of the best steps you need to consider when you are preparing to get a home loan meant to help yo improve you house.

How to Avoid Common Mistakes in Home Improvement

Spring and summer are the ideal seasons for home improvement, whether you’re just focusing on window replacement or you’re knocking down walls to turn your dining room into a bowling alley – the weather is ideal and it can create a bit of chaotic zeal in homeowners. Sometimes the excitement of the seasonal change as well as the potential change in the home leads to mistakes in the home improvement process. Here are some of the more common mistakes… hopefully with the proper forethought you can avoid them.

Water Cutoffs – Before you start any renovation project in your home, even if you’re using a general contractor, you need to locate the water cutoff in your home as well as at the street level. This is especially true if you’re doing any renovation or improvement on the wet work areas of your home (kitchen, bathroom, etc.) If you know where the cutoff is you can quickly address an issue if disaster strikes.

Minimize Dust and Debris – Homeowners often neglect to consider that renovation and remodeling is messy. If there’s demolition involved of any sort, it’s even more so. Take the time to prep the work area for containment to minimize dust and debris from traveling around your home. Use plastic sheets for floors and hang drapes or screens in the work area. At the end of every work session, go over your area with a shop vac.

Don’t Rush – It might be fun to start swinging a sledge hammer to take down a wall, but don’t rush into any home improvement gig, especially where there’s demolition involved. Informed and careful remodeling is safe remodeling. Shut down electricity, check for load-bearing wall placement, cut water to the demo area, locate studs, pipes and wires, cut investigative holes in walls – make sure you know what you’re getting into when you prep to rearrange the floor plan of your home.

Protect Surfaces – If you have finished surfaces in your home, then mask them off. This includes cabinets, walls, baseboards, flouring, trim, etc. If you have tile work and finished countertops, cover those as well. There’s always the potential for dropped tools, flying debris, sharp debris, spills and other incidents that could mar the surfaces in your home.

Plan Around Plumbing – You might think you’ve got this home improvement gig in the bag but plumbing has a way of being a pain for many homeowners that shoot for DIY projects. Jobs also have a way of expanding suddenly as they deviate from the plans. Make sure you have end-stop fitting caps to close off pipes if you can’t finish in a day. This way you can turn your water back on.

Protect Floors – If you’re remodeling in a space with appliances then you need to protect your floors. Put down carpet or Masonite so that you can roll appliances around easily. Make sure the floor is clean and swept so that debris, dust and dirt can’t scratch the surface while you’re moving items around.