Practical Tax Planning Tips For Parents

Tax Planning Vs. Tax Optimization

What Is Tax Planning?

If you’re like many people who wait until tax season to focus on taxes, it’s too late for planning. Tax planning designs a customized game plan based off your previous, current, and projected future spending. The right tax professionals know, understand, and stay informed with changes on the IRS Tax Code so they can ensure you’re compliant with the law while reducing your tax liability. They advise you how to spend and report before you do anything. These plans can go as far as 20 years into the future, though it might need a revamp with any tax law changes. This strategy also requires a meeting with a CPA several times a year to ensure you’re making the most of your expenses.

This money-saving tax style isn’t for everyone. Usually, business owners or those with several or complicated income paths utilize this strategy. Most professionals will provide you with a blueprint with their suggestions and how to spend wisely.

While tax planning may cost more upfront, it can also save you much more than traditional tax preparation. Tax professionals spend more time researching and analyzing because it is unique to your situation. This can also ensure you’re staying on the good side of the IRS through the extensive knowledge and research of the professionals while keeping more in your wallet.

 

Key steps to the tax planning process include:

  1. Evaluating Your Tax Liability

You need to have a firm understanding of your current and short-term tax liability before you can make long-term tax planning decisions. The United States has a progressive income tax system with seven different tax brackets. You likely already know that the higher the bracket you are in, the greater your tax liability.

  1. Know Common Tax Deductions and Tax Credits

Thorough tax planning requires knowing which tax deductions and credits you can take. It’s impossible for you to know each one and when they apply, which is why tax planning is best done with a trusted financial advisor. Yet, you should be familiar with common situations that will impact your tax liability. Some examples include:

  • Capital loss deduction
  • Charitable contributions
  • Home office expenses
  • Medical expenses over a certain threshold
  • Deductions related to IRAs, 401(k)s, and other investments
  • Tax breaks for real estate investments
  1. Understanding Your Investment Choices

Tax planning includes making choices about where you want to save and invest your money for short-term goals and for long-term retirement planning. Once again, your financial advisor will walk you through your options and discuss which types of investments are the best fit for your financial circumstances, but you should have a broad understanding of different types of investments and accounts and the way your contributions impact your tax liability. Some examples include:

  • Traditional and Roth Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA)
  • 401(k)s
  • Employer-sponsored pension and retirement plans
  • Brokerage accounts
  • 529 plans, Coverdell Educational Savings Accounts (ESAs), and other ways to save for college tuition costs
  • Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
  • Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

 

What Is Tax Optimization?

When you have a broad understanding of the elements of tax planning such as your tax liability, deductions, and investment options, you can make informed decisions. Part of making tax planning decisions is optimization, which is the process of reducing or eliminating your tax liability through tax-efficient choices. Financial planners engage in tax optimization for their clients in many ways. You can think of tax optimization as one of those choose-your-own-adventure books. You have many choices to make about your financial future. Each choice has a different outcome, some better than others. Tax optimization is the process of making choices that lead to the best outcome for your current and future tax liability.

 

Some common tax optimization strategies include:

  1. Retirement Income Planning

Making the best investment and tax planning decisions now require thinking about the amount of income you want when you retire​, what age you want to retire, and what

required minimum distribution rules apply to your situation. Tax optimization when planning for retirement income means making the strategic choice to withdraw the most income when they have the lowest tax liability instead of taking money out of tax-deferred retirement accounts when their tax liability is high.

  1. Traditional IRAs vs. Roth IRAs

Another decision that typically falls under the umbrella of tax optimization is whether to invest in a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA. This also includes converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. When you contribute to a traditional IRA, you receive a tax deduction and taxes are deferred on your account until you take distributions. Conversely, you do not get a tax deduction when you make a contribution to a Roth IRA, but your account grows tax-free until distribution.

  1. Choosing the Right Investments

Tax planning means you have to understand and make choices about investments, but optimization means choosing the investment vehicles that grow or maintain wealth while reducing your tax liability. Making tax-efficient choices helps plan for the future, but you must also factor in any gains, losses, and fees associated with your investments. Fees and expenses associated with some expenses can cancel out any tax benefits. Unfortunately, many insurance and investment products have high fees that eat up 50 percent or more of expected returns, and they often get taxed at the highest rate as ordinary income.

 

What is Tax Preparation?

Tax preparation is the process of preparing and filing a tax return. Generally, it is a one-time event that culminates in signing your return and finding out whether you owe the IRS money or will be receiving a refund.

For most people, tax preparation involves one or two trips to your accountant (CPA), generally around tax time (i.e., between January and April), to hand over any financial documents necessary to prepare your return and then to sign your return. They will also make sure any tax reporting on your return complies with federal and state tax law.

Alternately, Individual taxpayers might use an enrolled agent, attorney, or a tax preparer who doesn’t necessarily have a professional credential. For simple returns, some individuals prepare and file their own tax forms with the IRS. No matter who prepares your tax return, however, you expect them to be trustworthy (you will be entrusting them with your personal financial details), skilled in tax preparation and to accurately file your income tax return in a timely manner.

Hiring A Residential Cleaning Service

HOUSE CLEANING CHECKLIST

Use our house cleaning checklist to clean your home efficiently and thoroughly:

Before you start going room to room, pause first to put on some great, lively music. That’s better. Now pick up clutter, and as you go, feel free to second-guess your belongings. The less you have, the less you have to put away, clean, and dust: scrutinize books, magazines, newspapers, DVDs, furniture, toys the kids have outgrown, old computers you’ve outgrown, old clothes and shoes in the closets…is it time to donate and recycle? Turn off light bulbs and ceiling fans as you go for the upcoming dusting work.

Speaking of closets, if you have any that you’re afraid to open, face your fears it’s time to minimize and organize.

Dust (go left to right, top to bottom) with microfiber cloths. This will lower allergens and improve the air quality in your house. Dampened cloths tied to the ends of mops and brooms work great for removing cobwebs. For slatted blinds, use the string to close them one way and dust, then close them the other way and repeat…it’s effective and a lot more efficient than trying to do one slat at a time. Don’t forget to hit the tops of doors, fans, light fixtures, picture frames and yes, each of your knick-knacks (keep them in display cases to reduce dusting work). For the face of framed photos, TV screens, and computer monitors, use glass cleaner on your cotton cloth or microfiber to avoid streaking.

Vacuum. Make sure your bag/compartment isn’t already full, and use the right settings and attachments. Hit the floors in the whole house, and upholstered furniture. Be amazed at all those missing items (socks, your favorite pen) that you find under your couch cushions.

Sweep/mop/treat floors (except kitchen). For mopping, start at the farthest corner of the room and move back toward the entrance. Rinse mop after completing each 4 x 4 foot area.

Furniture freshening. Every now and then, some wooden furniture needs a good waxing.

KITCHEN CLEANING CHECKLIST

Wipe down countertops and cabinets (start at immediate right of the stove).

Clean face of appliances (refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher).

Wipe down stovetop.

Clean inside of microwave.

Soak stove drip pans and knobs in sink.

Clean inside and around sink.

Sweep and mop floor (go light on cleaning product in the water to avoid build-up).

More kitchen cleaning tips.

BATHROOM CLEANING CHECKLIST

Remove rugs/wastebaskets (if you haven’t already when vacuuming earlier).

Remove everything from tub/shower.

Place bath mat in tub/shower.

Wet tub/shower walls with warm water.

Apply tile and grout cleaner, allow to sit.

Spray/clean everything with all-purpose cleaner except toilet, vanity, shower/tub, mirror.

Fill bucket with ¼ cup all-purpose cleaner and water to prep for floor cleaning.

Stand on bath mat and scrub tub/shower walls and door (use grout brush in-between tiles as needed).

Apply tile and grout cleaner to tub/shower floor and scrub.

Clean shower rack/soap dishes.

Clean shower track.

Rinse off walls of tub/shower and dry with cloth.

Vanity: spray tile and grout cleaner in sink, soap dish.

Spray countertop with all-purpose cleaner.

Scrub sink.

Use grout brush along faucet and drain.

Rinse the sink and your rag.

Wipe the vanity countertop.

Wipe down cabinet fronts.

Clean mirror: spray glass cleaner on soft cloth and buff.

Shine the faucets.

Wash the floor with solution in the bucket and allow to dry.

Replace rugs, bath mat and wastebaskets.

More bathroom cleaning tips.

 

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO WEEKLY HOUSE CLEANING

It never fails. When I get a call for a quote, and I head over to the house, I always get asked the same question, “How long will it take to clean my house?” When we get hired to clean, what folks often don’t understand or realize is we have a game plan as soon as we walk into your home.

It takes a professional far less time to clean your home than it will you because we have one goal in mind:  to clean your home in the most efficient way possible. We have a strategy that takes on cleaning in a systematic, organized way.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Professionals clean all day long. You don’t. But if you want to clean like a professional in the shortest amount of time, this cleaning strategy will help you accomplish that goal.

Get In the Mood

Before you start going room to room, pause first to put on some great, lively music. Most of my staff work with a headset on because music makes everything better.

Pick Up Clutter

Now pick up clutter, and as you go, feel free to second-guess your belongings. The less you have, the less you have to put away, clean, and dust: scrutinize books, magazines, newspapers, DVDs, furniture, toys the kids have outgrown, old computers you’ve outgrown, old clothes and shoes in the closets…is it time to donate and recycle? We’ll tackle the art of de-cluttering next week.

 

Household Disinfection: How Much Disinfecting Is Too Much?

Making sure your home is safe and healthy—and keeping it that way—is on everyone’s mind these days. To achieve and maintain a healthy home, both cleaning and disinfecting are necessary and important. Cleaning and disinfecting are often used interchangeably, but these two words actually have different and distinct meanings and functions.

Cleaning physically removes dust, dirt, and soil from surfaces, often taking away some germs in the process and reducing the amount of pathogens present. However, cleaning does not fully disinfect the surface—that is, germs are still present and viable. When it comes to disinfecting, it’s important to consider how frequently it should be done and how much disinfectant should be used to effectively kill germs.

Regularly Disinfect High-Touch Surfaces

How often should you disinfect your home? First you need to determine which surfaces require disinfecting. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends disinfecting surfaces considered “high-touch” on a regular basis. High-touch surfaces are those with which you and your family make frequent contact, like light switches, door knobs, counter tops, faucets, remote controls, and other things of that nature. Once you know your high-touch surfaces, you can decide what a “regular basis” means in your home. This can depend on your environment, how often you and your family come into contact with people or places outside your home, and how often your family touches those high-touch surfaces.

Proper, Effective Use of Disinfectants

Since pathogens can reside on surfaces and multiply, you might think using even more disinfectant across the entire home should reduce the risk of infection even further, right? False! Though it is true that cleaning and disinfecting can drastically reduce the amount of pathogens on surfaces, you should consider the following questions before embracing a more-is-better approach.

How frequently is the surface touched by someone’s hands?

We’ve already discussed the CDC’s recommendations for thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces. However, for areas that are not frequently touched, the CDC recommends regular cleaning with soap and water. It’s not usually efficient or economical to disinfect areas like walls, ceilings, the top of the refrigerator, baseboards, etc. The International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene (IFH) lists those “low-touch” areas as having the lowest risk of infection. By limiting disinfection to only the surfaces most likely to contribute to disease transmission, you reduce the risk of misusing the disinfectant, as well as reducing the cost of maintaining a safe and healthy home.

 

Expert Cleaning Tips

Have you ever wondered how professional cleaning companies turn even the dirtiest homes into beautiful masterpieces that sparkle? Some of the distinct advantages are teams of trained cleaning experts, state-of-the-art equipment, and commercial grade green cleaning solutions.

Your House Cleaning Guide by Room

Whether you are looking to clean your entire house or a particular room, we have guides to help you out.

Kitchen: From countertops to cabinets to floors, here are our best kitchen tips

Floors: Whether you’ve got hardwoods, laminate, carpeted or linoleum floors, here are some tested methods for getting your floors to sparkle.

Bedroom: Keeping a tidy bedroom can be a challenge, so these tips will help you tame the beast that is the bedroom, including how to fight allergens.

Bathroom: From beating grime and mold to getting the grout clean and the porcelain shining, bathrooms present a unique challenge. Here are some of our best bathroom cleaning tips.

Living Room Solutions: Eliminate dust and clutter with Maid Brigade’s living room solutions.

Spring Cleaning: When it’s time to clear your space with

a deep clean, Maid Brigade’s spring cleaning guide comes to the rescue.

For The Do-It-Yourself Homeowner

Whether it’s an unexpected visit from friends or relatives, untimely spills on the carpet, or simply in case “life happens”, we’re here to help, even if we aren’t the ones doing the cleaning. Because you need to know right now, we’ve compiled a list with some of our most popular house cleaning tips.

these household cleaning tips have your health, that of your family, your pets and our maids in mind. Our goal is to help rid your home of the dangerous toxins used in many everyday household products. Some of those include, but are not limited to:

Furniture Polish

Air Freshener

Dishwashing Detergent

Oven Cleaner

Floor Cleaner

Disinfectants

Glass Cleaners

Bug Repellents

Fabric Softener

to Keep Your Home Clean and Green

Practical green cleaning tips can help every homeowner keep their home organized, clean, and safe from toxins to ensure a clean and safe living environment. From using microfiber to making your cleaning products, these tips can contribute to making your home and the environment safer.

 

Free House Cleaning Guide: Insider Secrets For A Clean And Beautiful Home That Shines

Having a clean home is one of the easiest ways to immediately improve your day-to-day quality of life. And it makes having company over fun and stress free.

Your home, condo, or chalet is probably the biggest financial investment you’ll ever make so why not maximize the enjoyment you get out of it?

In it you’ll discover:

Where to start

How to avoid “multi-tasking paralysis”

The relationship between a clean home, organization, productivity and stress

How to create a healthy environment for your family

The cleaning products I recommend for the best possible results

The “little things” that set your home apart

How to clean your oven without creating even more mess

How to clean stainless steel without ruining it

If you follow every step in this guide, I guarantee you’ll have your house looking so good your guests will compliment you every time they come over. I put this guide together for those times when you’re feeling motivated to clean your home and want to capitalize on your will power but aren’t sure where to start.

Not only will I show you how to clean your house properly, I’ll also show you some important things to avoid so you don’t ruin any of your furniture or appliances. When I originally designed this guide, it was created as a training manual for my crew. As I was putting it together I had the goal in mind that “if we clean a house on a regular basis, the client should never have to clean anything.”

Find Pain Management For Your Multiple Sclerosis

Pain Medicine Doctor: Your Pain Relief & Pain Management Specialist

What is a pain medicine doctor?

A pain medicine doctor specializes in diagnosing, treating and managing pain and a range of painful disorders. A pain medicine doctor cares for the health needs of people with acute pain, chronic pain, and cancer pain. Because pain is complex and covers a wide spectrum of conditions, pain medicine doctors specialize in both the physical and mental aspects of pain management.

A pain medicine doctor typically:

  • Evaluates your medical history and any test results you have
  • Performs a physical exam
  • Evaluates your answers to pain questionnaires
  • Orders and interprets laboratory tests, imaging exams, neurologic exams, and muscle and nerve studies
  • Diagnoses and treats herniated discs, spinal stenosis, fibromyalgia, cancer pain, migraine headaches, diabetic neuropathy, sports injuries, and burn pain
  • Prescribes medications
  • Orders physical therapy, electrical stimulation therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and counseling
  • Performs therapeutic injections and nerve blocks
  • Refers you to an appropriate surgeon if necessary

A pain medicine doctor may also be known as a pain medicine specialist, pain management doctor, or pain medicine physician.

 

How is chronic pain diagnosed?

The pain medicine specialist will work with you and any other physicians, such as your primary care physician, surgeon or oncologist, depending on the source of your pain. While other physicians manage and treat your medical conditions such as arthritis or cancer, the pain medicine specialist is in charge of diagnosing and treating your pain.

Here are some things a pain medicine specialist may do:

  • Review your medical records, X-rays and other images.
  • Perform a complete physical examination.
  • Ask you to describe your pain, explain where it hurts, how long it has hurt and what makes the pain feel better or worse.
  • Request the completion of a detailed questionnaire about the impact your pain is having on your life, how it interferes with your daily activities and what your treatment goals are.
  • Order tests for diagnosis and treatment.

 

What are the options for treating chronic pain?

If you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from chronic pain, talk to your pain medicine specialist about treatment options, including:

  • Medication – Over-the-counter remedies, such as acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and more powerful drugs, such as opioids, may help ease your pain. Other medications can help too, including antidepressants, anti-seizure medications and steroids. Your physician may suggest a combination of medications to address different aspects of your pain. Because some of these medications, such as opioids, can be addictive, and other medications can cause side effects or interact with each other, it’s important that a qualified pain medicine specialist manages your medication plan.
  • Physical therapy – Some types of pain respond well to physical therapy, specific exercises that help build up or stretch muscles and ease pain. Your pain medicine specialist can work with a physical therapist, orthopedic surgeon or physical medicine specialist to prescribe a physical therapy program.
  • Medical procedures – A number of procedures can help with pain control, including nerve blocks, surgery and snipping overactive nerves. Extensive research is being done to develop high-tech techniques to block or minimize pain using radio waves, electrical currents or medication pumps.
  • Complementary therapies – Some people find relief using biofeedback, relaxation, meditation, acupuncture, visualization or other alternative therapies.
  • Lifestyle changes – You can help manage your pain by being as healthy as possible. If you smoke, get help so you can quit. Try to maintain a healthy weight to avoid the stress excess weight puts on painful hips and knees. Good nutrition is important, and exercising can often relieve or prevent pain.

 

Physical and occupational therapies

Physical and occupational therapies: Certified physical therapists and occupational therapists can play an important role in pain management through the various types of therapies and techniques they use with patients. Many occupational and physical therapists will use various forms of exercise to not only promote and restores normal function, but as a primary pain management tool as well. Physical therapy encompasses a wide range of treatments, such as massage, joint manipulation and dry needling. This means patients who do not respond to one method may find relief in another. Unlike some other methods of reducing pain, physical therapy aims not to stop pain quickly and temporarily, but over time and for the long term. This is why it is a good option for patients who want to avoid taking opioid medications.

 

Things Never to Say to Your Doctor About Chronic Pain.

So how to talk with your doctor seemed like a pretty good start to a blog series. Let’s start by talking about ways to improve your interactions with your physicians.

Here are 5 things never to say to your doctor about your chronic pain.

  • Don’t tell your doc “I hurt all over”. If you tell me this my next questions are likely to be “do your teeth hurt? Or do you toe nails hurt? Or do your eyeballs hurt? When your doctor asks you “where does it hurt” try to be specific; pick the 1 or 2 most affected areas or the areas where the pain started.
  • Don’t overstate you pain or overly embellish the description. Years ago, while working in an ER in St. Lucia, a farmer came in complaining of pain in his rectum “like a chicken bone stuck sideways up there”. Well, as it turned out he did. But most of the time try to use simple descriptors like ‘sharp’, stabbing’, ‘dull’, or ‘achy’.
  • Don’t suggest the pain is the result of long ago events, such as “I was in an auto accident 30 years ago” or “I fell of the swings”. Right. And who did not fall off the swings when they were kids? There are some health professionals that reach back and attempt find a ‘reason’ for the pain. In my experience, these usually mislead from the true cause of pain and result in ineffective, unnecessary treatment. A previous event or injury can be significant if you had specific, continuous pain in a specific spot since the event. Other than that, these types of explanations tend to be counterproductive.
  • Don’t say anything related to a work injury or auto accident, even if that is truly how the pain started. Sad but true, saying that your pain is from an auto accident or work injury will likely result in the doctor thinking that you are exaggerating your problems for “secondary gain”, like trying to get a big cash settlement.
  • Don’t ask for a specific pain drug. Nothing says ‘drug seeker and abuser’ to your doctor faster than saying the only thing that works is Percocet. You are establishing a relationship and asking the doctor for help; not asking for a specific treatment plan. It is counterproductive to pronounce what she should give to you. Especially if that is opioids. Let the doctor come up with her own treatment plan. Yes, it is frustrating and may take longer, but in the end you will establish a good relationship and may get a better care.

Myths About Cockroaches

Cockroaches

How to spot cockroaches

There are two main types of cockroach in Britain, Oriental Cockroaches and German Cockroaches. Cockroaches do not normally survive outdoors in our cool climate, but thrive around the heating and boiler rooms of buildings. They group around pipes, stoves, and sinks and will often stay hidden during the day.

Treat cockroaches yourself

It can be very difficult to get rid of cockroaches yourself, so it’s wise to get professional help.

To treat cockroaches yourself, you could:

buy insecticide spray from your local hardware store

clean the area you’re treating and remove any food or water nearby

following the instructions on the label

pay attention to cracks where eggs may be found

avoid sticky traps as they should only be used for monitoring

Prevention tips

To help prevent cockroaches, you should:

clean all surfaces thoroughly to remove any food residue

avoid leaving dirty dishes and utensils in the sink

keep bins covered, clean and emptied regularly

clean beneath your refrigerator regularly as warm areas attract cockroaches

seal gaps around doors, windows and wires to prevent entry

repair any leaks beneath the sink and on the sink top to remove a potential water source

 

Ultimate Guide To Cockroach Prevention

Most people see cockroaches and while they get grossed out, they don’t think much of it five minutes later after they’ve killed it. This is an issue, as cockroaches can be harmful to humans. If left unchecked, a cockroach infestation can ruin not only your home’s health but your own physical health as well. Knowing how to get rid of cockroaches is an important step in keeping your home safe.

Preventing Roaches – Eliminate Food Sources

The best thing you can do to prevent cockroaches from invading your home is by making it less attractive to them. Fortunately, the measures you take to deter cockroaches will also eliminate other pests such as ants and rodents.

The first defensive measure against these pests is to keep your home as clean as possible:

Clean up leftover or unfinished food messes.

Store you trash in a sealed container and empty it from your living space regularly.

Keep food in your pantry in sealed containers.

Vacuum your home regularly to reduce their food supply.

Eliminate possible entry points from the outdoors such as cracks around window casings, spaces around pipes, and gaps under doors.

Preventing Roaches – Eliminate Water Sources

In spite of your best efforts to keep your home clean, cockroaches still may become a problem. Cockroaches can survive for about a month without food and thus will wait it out until a food source becomes available. However, they can only survive for about a week without water.

It’s important to eliminate cockroach water sources by:

Cleaning up pet water regularly. If you have a problem with cockroaches, consider removing water overnight as this is when roaches are most active.

Checking for leaky pipes under the sink, around your washing machine, and in your utility room.

Cockroaches like damp, dark areas. Check crawlspaces and basements for potential leaks.

 

How to get rid of cockroaches

Cockroaches are an unfortunate reality of urban life, scurrying out when you least expect it. If their dull, brown bodies have you running for cover and gross you out, you’re not alone. Want to have a cockroach-free home? Read on for some practical tips that really work to get rid of roaches for good.

Sweeten the deal

Boric acid and diatomaceous earth are the unsung heroes to killing cockroaches at home. Boric acid acts like a stomach poison while diatomaceous earth pierces the cockroach’s outer skeleton. To make the cockroach poison, take three parts boric acid powder with one part sugar and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle this concoction in the areas roaches live, like under the sink and in the pantry – use a thin layer to avoid them walking around it.

Clean and then clean some more

Household pests – and roaches in particular – love greasy, grimy areas like kids love lollies. Survey your kitchen and if you find the following, you need to take immediate action

Stove or cooker spills

Greasy kettles or other kitchen appliances

Crumbs around the toaster

Open boxes of snacks and cereals

Dirty dishes in the sink or dishwasher

Pet food left opened and uncovered

Open garbage bags

Food scraps on the kitchen floor and benchtops

Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink and plug in drains when you’re not using them to avoid roaches crawling up through the pipes. Encourage your family to eat their meals and snacks in the kitchen and dining room instead of curling up on the couch to limit where roaches can crawl to in search of food

 

Cockroaches

What are cockroaches?

Cockroaches are scavenger insects that resemble beetles. There are many species of cockroaches, but one of the most common in our area is the German cockroach. German cockroaches are about 1/2 an inch long, oval-shaped, and have six legs. They are light brown in color and have two parallel stripes on their back near their head. Although they have wings, German cockroaches rarely fly, preferring instead to run. Cockroaches are scavengers, which means they feed on dead organisms. They’ll eat almost anything, such as animal carcasses, feces, garbage, book bindings, and toothpaste.

Are cockroaches dangerous?

Cockroaches are dangerous for a couple of reasons. First, their traveling and eating habits take them to many unsanitary places where they pick up bacteria, parasites, and other pathogens. If they then enter your home and walk around on your countertops, bathroom fixtures, and food, they will contaminate them with these germs, leaving you susceptible to serious illness. Cockroaches have been linked to the spread of thirty-three types of bacteria, six different parasitic worms, and at least seven other pathogens. Another reason to be concerned about a cockroach infestation is that they can trigger asthma symptoms, and even asthma attacks, in certain individuals.

Why do I have a cockroach problem?

Cockroaches sometimes enter homes when carried inside in boxes or bags, or by crawling in through any small opening they can find. If your home is humid or you have a moisture problem somewhere, and if you have a readily available food supply, roaches will be interested in staying in your home. They will also begin to reproduce, making your initially small problem quickly grow larger.

Where will I find cockroaches?

Cockroaches prefer warm, humid areas, and are most often found in kitchens, often hidden under sinks. However, they can also be found in bathrooms since moisture levels tend to be high in those rooms. Even a room with lower humidity may be at risk if it offers a food supply. Pantries, dining rooms, living rooms, or any room where you eat or leave food is at risk.

How do I get rid of cockroaches?

Cockroaches are some of the most difficult pests to get rid of. They have many defenses to protect themselves, including the ability to hold their breath for up to forty minutes. They can even live without a head for a week! Even if you figure out a way to kill them, cockroaches are excellent at hiding, so it’s unlikely that you’ll eliminate the entire problem through a DIY approach.

 

Turkestan cockroaches

What do Turkestan cockroaches look like?

Turkestan cockroaches are often called “rusty red cockroaches” or “red runner cockroaches.” They are closely related to the Oriental cockroach. What a Turkestan cockroach looks like greatly depends on whether it is a female or male. Females grow to about 1 inch in length and are dark brown to black in color. They have cream-colored markings along the edges of their body and behind their head. Females have short round wings with light-colored stripes along the wing edges. The males of this species are smaller than the females. They are brownish-orange in color and have yellowish-colored wings that extend past their slim abdomen. Males have the same cream-colored markings along the edges of their body as the females.

Are Turkestan cockroaches dangerous?

Like other species of cockroaches, Turkestan cockroaches are found inside homes and businesses and can cause significant health problems for people. Their saliva and excrement can trigger allergies and asthma and they introduce bacteria, parasites, and human pathogens that can make people quite ill. They will also contaminate food sources and food-prep areas. Keeping Turkestan cockroaches out of your home and away from your family is important for everyone’s health and safety.

Where do Turkestan cockroaches nest?

Turkestan cockroaches prefer to live outside in dark moist areas. They are often found nesting in compost piles, potted plants, leaf litter, in the cracks of concrete, in sewers, inside electrical boxes, or in or around the perimeter of homes and other structures.

Why do I have a Turkestan cockroach problem?

Turkestan cockroaches are commonly sold as food for pet reptiles because they are easy to care for and reproduce very quickly. However, regularly transporting these roaches across the country allows them to continually invade and infest new structures. While these roaches do prefer to live outside, when their population reaches its peak in the summer, they are more likely to find their way inside while out and about foraging for food sources. Male Turkestan cockroaches are attracted to light and are active at night. This makes it easy for them to find their way into a home through spaces around windows and doors.

How do I get rid of Turkestan cockroaches?

When dealing with a Turkestan cockroach infestation, the best thing to do is contact your local pest control company as soon as possible. At Pest Control, experts will come to your aid, perform a thorough inspection, and create a pest control program to help eliminate Turkestan cockroaches as well as prevent future invasions.

Time For A Transmission Repair

How to check for transmission problems

Whether you have an automatic or manual transmission in your car, you need it to be in working order if you want to drive anywhere. That’s because the transmission turns the power from the engine into a force that moves the wheels of the car. So if you have transmission problems, your car might not even be drivable. Luckily, there are a few ways to look for issues with this part so you can get a transmission diagnosis and repair as soon as possible. Here are some ways to check transmission problems on your car.

PAY ATTENTION TO WARNING LIGHTS

In most cases, transmissions problems will trigger the Check Engine light to come on in your car. This is especially the case with automatic transmission problems. If you see any warning lights on your dashboard, it may be time to take your car to a mechanic for a transmission diagnosis, or possibly to find out if there’s anything wrong with the rest of the vehicle.

CHECK TRANSMISSION FLUID

Checking your car’s transmission fluid is another way to find out if there is a problem with this part. To do this on your own, start your car and put it in park. Open the hood and locate the area where the transmission fluid is stored; then pull out the dipstick that covers it. Make sure the transmission fluid is at the right level, and then check the color.

Clean fluid should be reddish and almost translucent. It can be hard to tell what color it is by just looking in the fluid compartment, so wipe the dipstick on a white rag to check. If it’s pinkish or light red, it’s pretty clean. But if it’s very dark red or brown, it may be old, dirty and even burnt. You may even be able to smell if it’s burnt, in which case it’s time to change the fluid to fix or prevent transmission problems.

USE THE BRAKE PEDAL TO CHECK TRANSMISSION PROBLEMS

Another way to look for transmission problems is to hold down the brake pedal with one foot while stepping on the gas pedal with the other foot so you can rev up the engine. Make sure the parking brake is on during this time, and don’t rev the car for longer than a few seconds. The point of this technique is to ensure the engine revs up and the car tries to move when you press on the gas. If the engine does not rev up or cannot remain revved up for long, there may be transmission problems.

PAY ATTENTION TO THE TRANSMISSION AS YOU DRIVE

Transmission problems should be apparent when you’re on the road. So the next time you drive, pay close attention as you shift gears. The car should be able to shift from one gear to another easily and smoothly. If you notice any sudden jolts, vibrations or very high RPMs when you shift, your car might have transmission problems. And of course, if the car can’t shift from one gear to the next at all, it may be time to get a transmission diagnosis and repair.

If you’re familiar with cars and transmissions in particular, you can try making repairs yourself. Just buy the products you need to fix your transmission problems and you should end up with a car that functions as it should. But if you’re not confident about car repairs, you should take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic for everything from a simple transmission fluid change to a transmission slipping fix.

 

Common transmission problems

LOW OR DIRTY TRANSMISSION FLUID CAUSED BY LEAKING, CONTAMINATION, OR AGE

Manual transmission vehicles need transmission fluid to keep gears lubricated and to prevent grinding. Automatic transmission vehicles need transmission fluid to create the hydraulic pressure that actually powers movement within the transmission. Without the right amount of clean and debris-free transmission fluid, transmissions can overheat and essential gears can slip, surge, or become ground down, and – especially in the case of automatic transmissions – total vehicle failure can occur.

WORN GEAR SYNCHRONIZERS (MANUAL TRANSMISSION SYSTEMS ONLY)

In manual transmission systems, gear synchronizers – or synchros as they’re commonly called – are the transmission component that makes the gear you are about to shift into spin at the same speed as the gear you are shifting from. By having the two gears spinning at the same speed during the shift, gear synchronizers create a smooth, seamless shifting experience. Worn gear synchros are a common manual transmission problem, and if untreated, can cause transmission failure.

WORN CLUTCH (MANUAL TRANSMISSION SYSTEMS ONLY)

A worn clutch is another common manual transmission problem. The clutch in a manual transmission system can become worn due to mechanical error if there is a hydraulic fluid leak in the clutch master cylinder, or by human error if the driver is frequently accelerating and shifting through the gears without releasing his or her foot from the clutch. This can burn up a manual transmission clutch quickly and will result in a clutch replacement service.

FAILED NEEDLE ROLLER BEARINGS (AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION SYSTEMS ONLY)

Needle bearings are small, lightweight roller bearings that help prevent gears in the automatic transmission’s torque converter from grinding. If the transmission’s needle bearings become worn or sluggish you may hear grinding or brushing noises coming from your vehicle while the car is in motion. This sound can mean your transmission gears are moving inefficiently and being prematurely worn down.

 

Lack of Response or Shifting Delay

Ever notice that while driving that the car hesitates or refuses to go into gear? If you have, then there is definitely something wrong. The moment a driver shifts from park to drive the car should immediately go into the proper gear. For automatic transmissions, you might notice that when shifting into drive or park that there is a delay before you feel the gear engage. This is usually a transmission-based concern.

Manual transmissions can have the same lacking response issue, but after shifting into gear the engine’s RPMs will surge, but the car won’t move as fast as the engine sounds like it’s going. This is usually caused by a clutch that needs to be replaced, but may sometimes point to a more severe problem.

Whining, Clunking and Humming

It’s impossible to say exactly what your car will sound like when there is trouble with your transmission, but one thing is for sure, you’ll get a “I haven’t heard that sound before” feeling when you notice it. The sounds that are produced vary widely between different makes and models, but the best way to describe them is that you’ll probably hear a humming, buzzing or whining noise.

Manual transmissions will emit sounds that can be described as being slightly more mechanical, louder and abrupt sounding. A clunking sounds when you shift gears almost always lies within a transmission, while constant velocity joins or the differential may be the source if the clunking is coming from the underside of your car.

As mentioned already, it is always best to get the problem diagnosed and repaired as soon as possible and not wait until later when you “find the time” or “have the money”. If you wait until later what would have been a relatively inexpensive repair can easily become a much more costly one.

 

The Check Engine Light

Check engine light can mean many different issues are happening depending on your vehicles make and model. When you get a check engine light, even though it’s called a check “engine” light, it doesn’t necessarily point directly to your engine. It could be your transmission, brake system, air conditioning, or any system on the vehicle, so it’s important you have the codes retrieved from the vehicle’s computers to allow for a pinpoint diagnostic of the system and problem. If the light is flashing, that could mean a severe problem that is causing other damage to the engine and or transmission so do not delay.

Smells Like Burning

In most cases, a burning smell comes from the very hot or leaking transmission fluid. Preventing this requires checking your fluid levels regularly to look for indications of a leak. Low fluid levels often cause major problems if you don’t catch it quickly.

 

Slipping Gears

You have slipping gears if it seems like the engine is revving higher than it should when driving down the road and you lack power. There are other warning signs worth looking out for as well:

  • The transmission has a hard time shifting into the next gears
  • Weird sliding sounds between gears
  • High RPM
  • A burnt look and smell to the fluid
  • Low fluid levels
  • A Check Engine light

These symptoms sometimes come before or after your transmission starts to slip. These issues can occur when you haven’t replaced your fluid levels at the correct intervals, you have an ill running engine or the clutches are worn.

You can prevent a slipping transmission maintaining your fluid levels regularly and making certain you do not have any leaks. Burnt and low fluid can be easy fixes. Replacing, clutches, bands and other internal parts require a professional Technician.

If you plan on fixing slipping gears yourself, make sure your issues fall in the categories listed above before targeting your transmission – you can create issues on transmission by “fixing” the wrong parts.

Are They Qualified To Build You A Home Builder

HomeBuilder Grant guidelines

HomeBuilder provides eligible owner occupiers with a grant of $25,000 to build a new home, substantially renovate an existing home or buy an off-the-plan home/new home. A new home is one that has not previously been sold or occupied as a place of residence (e.g. a spec build) and where construction commenced on or after 4 June 2020

About HomeBuilder

On 4 June 2020, the Government announced HomeBuilder to provide eligible owner-occupiers (including first home buyers) with a grant of $25,000 to build a new home, substantially renovate an existing home or buy an off-the-plan home/new home.

HomeBuilder applications

HomeBuilder Grant applications are to be lodged via the online portal. Applications must be received by no later than 31 December 2020. Applicant(s) can lodge their application in a multi-step process with the initial lodgement being after an eligible HomeBuilder contract has been entered into. Once commencement of construction and the payment eligibility requirement milestones have been met, any additional supporting documentation should be lodged via the online portal.

will advise you whether your application has been approved or declined. Generally this will be within 15 business days of a complete application being received. Before lodging your application, please read the following eligibility criteria, and the section on the supporting documents you will need.

Eligible applicants

The HomeBuilder Grant is available to individual applicants and couples who are, or will be, registered as the owner on the certificate of title. If you are the only person who is listed, or will be listed, on the certificate of title as owner of the property, you must apply as an individual applicant. If there is, or will be, more than one person listed on the certificate of title, they must jointly apply as a couple provided they meet the definition of ‘couple’.

 

Experts that first home builders should get to know

You need a team behind you to help turn your dream of building your first home into a reality.

From working out how much you can afford and finding the best home loan, to navigating the sales process and ensuring your home is built on time and on budget, there’s many boxes to tick. Building your first home can be a simpler, more streamlined experience if you gather an expert team around you.

“You wouldn’t buy a yacht tomorrow and attempt a solo sail to Europe without any prior knowledge of sailing. It’s the same kind of mentality for building a house,” says

And if you choose to build with an established company then you will have a variety of experts at your fingertips whenever you need them. “There’s no way to become an expert on everything, so having a team with all the answers will save your sanity and help you make more informed decisions,”

Mortgage broker

Your mortgage broker is the middle person between you and your chosen bank or lender. They will help you assess your finances and organise your pre-approval. They’ll also help you coordinate any necessary documentation and advise you on the best mortgage products for your financial situation.

“One of the biggest benefits of working with a mortgage broker is that they’ll do your ‘rate shopping’ and they have great working relationships with lenders but they are 100 per cent in your court,” says

 

How to nail flooring and lighting in your forever home

dedicate hours to the spatial planning of our homes, but it’s the finishing touches – such as flooring and lighting – that can turn a house into a welcoming home.

The right kind of lighting and the perfect style of floor covering can turn each room of your home alternately into an ideal entertaining space, a quiet haven, or the perfect place to share relaxing time with the family.

People spend a lot of time planning the layout of their home and deciding how many bedrooms, bathrooms and living areas they need. But it’s just as important to think about the details of how each of those spaces will look and feel

“We want our spaces to feel warm and inviting and we want them to reflect our personal style. Luckily, the choice of special touches to achieve the right look for each of us are endless.”

From the ground up

Quality flooring that combines good looks with durability is an important part of a home. For areas in your new home where you want to create a sense of luxury, carpet is a favourite choice, says. “Carpet has always been a favourite choice for those looking for something a little luxurious underfoot, popular in bedrooms. It’s comfortable, soft and the variety of patterns and colours is limitless,” he says.

A neutral coloured carpet never dates, with shades of grey remaining an eternally popular option. For those who want to add a flourish of their own style, you can always add pops of colour with accessories like cushions and lamps.

 

Signs it’s time to upsize your home

You might love your current home and the memories it holds, but there comes a time when you just have to move to something bigger.

When you first moved into your home you had plenty of room. But lately you’re feeling a little cramped.

Maybe you’re expecting a new baby, perhaps your children are becoming teenagers, or maybe you’re fed up fighting over the TV and like the idea of having a separate theatre space. Some families are upsizing to accommodate an elderly parent, too. “Planning is the key. Don’t leave it until you are living on top of each other,”

Your family is growing

Your family used to consist of just you and your partner, but baby will soon make three, or four or more. Or perhaps your parents have become frail and are moving in. “We’re seeing more elderly parents living with their children,”

You’re feeling cramped

In no time at all, your toddlers have become teenagers. They used to be happy doubling up in bunks, but now they crave their own space. They need a quiet place to study and to listen to the kind of music that only teenagers can love. Upsizing may also include a multi-purpose room or a theatre room, or a second lounge room where teenagers can retreat to.

Your home feels cluttered

You’ve accumulated a mountain of stuff and even after an intense decluttering session, you still don’t have enough storage.

 

How much does it cost to build and add a second storey?

For home owners looking to add square meterage, there are only two options: extend the ground floor or “go up”. But how much does a second storey cost?

A second storey extension will normally cost around $1,800 to $15,000 per square metre depending on the “degree of difficulty” of the work required, according to three builders who specialise in extensions and second-storey additions.

Things to look into before building a second storey

Adding a second storey to your home is an exciting venture but before you get started it pays to consider the basics and foundations of your home first

“The easiest rule-of-thumb is that the cost to remove the existing roof covering and framework, plus putting down joists and a new sub-floor, can generally offset the costs involved in building from the ground up: excavation, formwork, concrete costs etc,” he says.

puts the cost of adding a storey at about $2,500 per square metre, “so 100 square metres equals about $250,000, which is around the average size for a second storey addition.” Another $10,000 to $15,000 worth of work needs to be added, though, for lower-ground floor works like stair access and plumbing, he adds

What rooms do you need upstairs?

“Unlike a ground floor extension, a second storey does not normally require any foundations or concrete slab to be poured – this is a big saving,” he says.

The Best In Kitchen Remodeling

Kitchen Remodeling – Questions To Ask

Planning to remodel your kitchen? There are a lot of possibilities when you’re upgrading your space. In most instances, people thinking about a remodel fall into one of two camps: the picture junkie who wants to daydream or the appliance enthusiast who can’t wait for a new stove. However, before you jump into either of these roles, we recommend you consider a few essential questions. After all, a kitchen renovation is a big decision.

How qualified are they?

Remodeling a kitchen or bathroom can be a great way to add the latest upgrades or simply give them a quick cosmetic makeover. You may even be able to increase the value of your home as a result of the remodeling project. However, not doing your homework when hiring kitchen or bathroom remodeling contractors can quickly turn your beautiful kitchen or bathroom you’ve been dreaming of into an expensive nightmare.

Most kitchen and bathroom remodeling contractors are reputable and capable of doing an outstanding job on your project. However, there are a few out there who you might be better off avoiding. Fortunately, there are a few questions you can ask each of the kitchen and bathroom remodeling contractors you interview that should separate the best from the rest.

Is Your Company Licensed and Insured?

This is the first question you should ask the remodeling contractors you are considering, because if the answer is no, they shouldn’t be working in your home. Even if they offer to do the project for a great price and seem to have a good reputation, the liabilities you incur are usually not worth the savings. If an uninsured and unlicensed contractor damages your home, they may not have the financial strength to take care of the repairs. Even worse – your homeowner’s insurance policy holder may not pay for any damages caused by kitchen or bathroom remodeling contractors without proper paperwork. Always ask to see proof of insurance, a copy of their license, and ensure that everything is up-to-date before hiring any contractor.

What Experience Do You Have With This Type of Remodeling Project?

Remodeling contractors often have different skill sets and while one might have done a great job on your neighbor’s garage or backyard shed, that doesn’t make them qualified to remodel your kitchen or bathroom. Ask potential contractors for a list of past projects they have completed that are similar in scope to what you have in mind. Don’t hesitate to contact prior customers for their thoughts on contractors work quality, adherence to schedule, and overall competence. The same can also be true when considering the dollar amount of a project – a $30,000 kitchen remodeling project often requires a different level of expertise than one that costs $3,000.

 

Will There Be a Written and Signed Contract?

Unfortunately, the days of sealing a deal with a handshake are long gone. Regardless of how friendly the remodeling contractors you are interviewing might seem to be, or how good you feel about them, those sentiments can change during the course of a project. There should always be a signed contract that spells out the complete scope of work, the financial terms, and an approximate completion date for the job. Ask your kitchen remodeling contractors to be specific and precise in detail so you can make a good evaluation and decision.

How Are Extras and Change Orders Handled?

When remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, no one likes surprises – especially when they involve more money. Ask the kitchen and bathroom contractors you are interviewing to thoroughly explain what their price includes, and even more importantly, what it does not include. If their price has allowances for fixtures, appliances, floor covering, and other finishes, make sure you have a firm understanding of how much they are and how they work.

You should also explain to the contractors that no changes or extra work that may cause the agreed upon contract price to go higher are to be done before you are given a cost and approve the addition. Keep in mind that kitchen and bathroom remodeling isn’t quite the same as new construction. There are often unanticipated issues lurking that may affect the price of your remodeling project.

 

How Long Will the Remodeling Project Take?

Even if you have another bathroom, or an outdoor grill that can be used for cooking, remodeling a kitchen or bathroom can be a disruption to your daily life. Unfortunately, this minor inconvenience can be escalated drastically if you don’t see any progress being made on the project. Or perhaps days go by without any contractors showing up for work. Experienced kitchen remodeling contractors should be able to provide a reasonably accurate schedule for project completion when giving you a cost estimate. However, it’s also important to remember that unforeseen factors can delay your project for a few days and any changes you make during the course of construction may also add to its length. Open communication between homeowners and contractors is critical.

How Will We Communicate During the Remodeling Project?

Perhaps the most important component of successful remodeling projects is constant communication between homeowners and contractors. Contractors should be accessible for answering any questions or addressing any concerns that homeowners may have and there should be someone in charge when they’re not available. You should expect that your phone calls or emails to the contractors be returned in a prompt manner. Kitchen remodeling contractors concerned about customer service will often walk the project with clients on a regular basis during the duration of a lengthy project in order to ensure progress and good communication.

 

Essential Questions to ask Before Your Kitchen Remodel

How will you use your kitchen?

Of all the questions this is the most important. Do you want your kitchen to be a place people linger during a cocktail party or gather for dinner? Do you want to cook with friends and family, bake cookies with grandkids or convince the hubby to help with meal prep?

While you’ll want to strive to maintain the resale value of your home, you’ll also want your kitchen to be functional for your lifestyle. Based on how you answer this question, we might recommend:

  • A large pantry for hiding your mess during dinner parties.
  • Bar seating to allow the cook and dinner guests to easily interact.
  • Easy access to the patio for the “grill enthusiast” in your life.

What is your budget?

At the end of the day, budgets matter. The perfect kitchen remodel is beautiful, functional, and within your spending comfort zone. Like house hunting and car shopping, the most successful kitchen remodel experiences happen when you plan with a budget in mind. This helps eliminate surprises.

Do you have the skill and/or time to do the project yourself?

Are you a DIY home remodel fanatic? Awesome! We’re peas in a pod. Updating home is our passion too! However, if you don’t have the expertise or time to upgrade your kitchen, don’t worry.

The worst kitchen remodeling mistake you can make is biting off more than you can chew. If you don’t have what it takes to update your space, it’s time to talk to a professional.

 

Who should you use?

When you’re picking a kitchen remodeling contractor, we always recommend you start by asking friends and family for a referral. You’ll also want to verify the contractor’s credentials and view their work.

Should you move out during the remodeling process?

Maybe. Moving out isn’t always essential, but it’s definitely more enjoyable. Even the cleanest job sites are still job sites. There is dirt, dust, and noise involved in any remodeling project. Plus, there’s the loss of your kitchen to contend with.

Car Dealer Tricks

Key Tips For Working With New Car Dealers

Purchasing another vehicle can be a debilitating and overwhelming experience. Be that as it may, on the off chance that you realize the nuts and bolts and how to manage the vehicle sellers, it is a serious straight forward undertaking. Managing new vehicle vendors at times can put off a forthcoming client, however in the event that you realize where to go and the correct spots to search for, you can do your dealings as though you are an expert and have the information about vehicles. Right off the bat, where would you be able to discover great vehicles and sellers? Springfield Auto vendors are the place you start and end your inquiry. With various rumored car sellers, and who have earned a name for unwavering quality and steadfastness, vehicle sweethearts crowd to Springfield as they are sure that they will get an incentive for their cash, additionally have the option to buy a vehicle to suit their spending limit. When managing new vehicle vendors, it will be useful on the off chance that you keep the accompanying tips in your brain:

  • Begin the procedure via telephone. Do your examination well. Have a couple of specific makes and models as a primary concern, and the cut off cost. This will make the hunt a lot of simple. On the off chance that the vendor won’t provide the cost estimate via telephone, it is best you look somewhere else, as the initial introduction and first discussion will assist you with feeling great whether you need to proceed with dealings with individuals who don’t co-work.
  • Note: Generally the vehicle vendors have a net revenue of 10 to 20 percent on a vehicle. (The distinction being the specific value they followed through on for the vehicle and the cost they anticipate from you).
  • If you can’t discover the vehicle at the vehicle seller, consider submitting a request for the vehicle, as you will acquire undesirable costs by buying a better quality vehicle that you had not expected. Maintain a strategic distance from, pointless postponements and searchers, get the vehicle of your decision from Springfield Auto sellers.
  • When haggling for a specific vehicle and you find that the cost cited by them is excessively high, make them realize that you won’t have the option to pay a dollar more for the vehicle. In some cases this can make the vendor descend on the cost or offer you a comparable sort of vehicle with a high rebate. This is one approach to make a decent arrangement.
  • Do not show your sentiments and feelings. Over energy about a specific vehicle can cause the vendor to accept that he has just got a forthcoming and affirmed purchaser.
  • If you are unsettled, leave the parcel. Vehicle vendors will attempt their best to show you around and cause you to go through hours in their showroom, and this can now and then be fairly humiliating for the client to state ‘no’. Try not to satisfy the vendor, yet please yourself.
  • Get the processing plant seller cost of the vehicles you mean purchasing. This can assist you with getting a decent cost for your vehicle and give you a reasonable information regarding what the estimation of the vehicle is. Vendors some of the time get additional impetuses from the vehicle makers, and all things considered, by being wary, you may have the option to arrange a superior cost for the vehicle than what you had foreseen.

 

How to start a car dealership

With the car sales industry holding so much potential for continued growth, you may be eager to jump in the market but are unsure how you should go about starting a dealership. The first step toward figuring out how to be a successful car dealer is deciding the kind of automobiles you want to sell. In general, starting a used car dealership is less expensive than establishing a new car dealership. If you’re on a budget, you may want to start a used car dealership with just a few vehicles. As you sell your cars, you can reinvest in your inventory and offer an increasingly larger selection of automobiles over time.

After you identify the sort of cars you’re going to sell, you need to conduct research to find a market that will support your business. You need to research the type of cars consumers are buying as well as the specific brands and vehicles that other dealers are selling in the area surrounding the prospective location of your future car dealership. If there is not enough demand or if the market is already saturated with vehicles similar to the ones you intend to sell, you’ll need to search for another location and start your research again.

Once you choose the kind of vehicles you want to sell and find a spot for your business, you need to prepare yourself for the additional steps and the related costs that are involved with becoming a car dealer. The amount you’ll have to pay to set up shop depends on many factors, including the number of staff you’re going to employ and your location. Across the nation, auto dealers have invested an approximate total of $234 billion in their businesses, which breaks down to an average of $11 million per location.

 

These startup costs and the critical tasks or steps associated with them include the following:

Retail space: How much you’ll pay for a retail space depends on a lot of factors, including where you’re going to establish your business and whether you’re going to buy or lease a retail location. The cost of buying commercial property can top millions of dollars regardless of whether it has a structure on it or it’s vacant. If you’re going to lease a commercial space, doing so can cost anywhere from $8,000 to $20,000 or more per month.

Business registration: Depending on the state in which you’re going to establish a car dealership, you can register your business as one of the following:

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • General Partnership
  • Limited Partnership
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Corporation

The amount you’ll need to pay to register your company also depends on the state you’re going to operate in and the kind of entity you’re going to register your business as. If you want to register a limited partnership in Texas, for example, you can expect to pay $750 while registering this kind of business entity in California will only cost $70. Registering a corporation in any state usually costs less than $300.

  • Inventory fees: It doesn’t matter if you’re going to sell new or used vehicles. You’re going to have to invest in inventory to have actual cars to sell to your patrons. If you’re on a limited budget, you should consider securing floor plan financing to finance your purchase of a set number of automobiles. This kind of financing is a short-term, interest-bearing loan that ordinarily has to be settled within 30 to 90 days.
  • Dealer license fee: Depending on your location, your state may allow you to buy and sell three to seven vehicles per year without a license. If you’re going to start your own car dealership, you’ll clearly need to sell more than seven vehicles to keep your business afloat and make a profit. To do so while remaining in compliance with the laws governing your area, you’ll need to secure a dealer license. Dealer license fees vary widely by state, but they can easily reach a five-figure dollar amount.
  • Surety bond premium: To protect consumers from dealer fraud, states require car dealerships to have surety bonds. The cost you’ll pay to secure a surety bond depends on several things, including your bond’s face amount and your own credit history. If you have poor credit, a surety bond may cost more than $10,000 per year.
  • Liability Insurance Premium: While a surety bond protects consumers from fraud, liability insurance is designed to protect you and your business. Depending on your location, its size, the crime rate in your area, and other considerations, you can anticipate paying anywhere from a few thousand dollars to more than $10,000 per year for the liability insurance your car dealership will need.

 

How Dealers Get Their Used Cars

Wholesale Dealer Auctions

According to the National Independent Auto Dealers Association, 97 percent of the nation’s used car dealers attend wholesale dealer auctions. These auctions take place all over the country, but they are not open to the public. Only dealers are allowed to attend, and they supply the bulk of used car inventory around the country. It’s estimated that nearly 10 million cars are sold at wholesale dealer auctions annually.

At these auctions, dealers bid on cars, trucks, and SUVs with varying histories, and most are bought without test drives. Sometimes these sales are specialized. There are auctions that only sell cars of a particular type, such a pickup trucks, or they concentrate on special dealer consignments or off-lease vehicles. Typically, vehicle histories of the cars at these auctions range from previous trade-ins and repossessions to vehicles that have been previously in severe accidents or that lived lives in rental fleets. At these events, vehicles are bought at prices well below their retail values. Wholesale prices usually range from a meager discount of 5 percent to as much as 50 percent off their retail sale potential.  Low-mileage late-model vehicles bought at these auctions sometimes qualify for certified pre-owned programs after inspection and some refurbishment, though many do not.

Trade-Ins

Vehicles traded in on a new car purchase are another robust source of any dealer’s used car inventory. To avoid the hassle of selling a car privately, many new cars buyers choose to trade in their older vehicle, selling it to the dealer and rolling its value into the purchase deal on the new model. Depending on the model, as well at the car’s age and condition, a dealer will usually offer the vehicle to customers as a used car, or possibly a certified pre-owned vehicle. Trade-in values are typically below the car’s retail value, so the dealer can make a profit when it sells the car to the next customer.

 

Lease Returns

At the end of any closed-end lease, the vehicle is usually returned to a dealer. These lease returns usually end up on the dealer’s used car lot. But lease returns are usually newer, low-mileage examples of a car model. Leases are typically just three years in duration and usually limit mileage to 12,000 miles a year. This is why lease returns usually qualify for a manufacturer’s certified pre-owned (CPO) program.

Closed Sale Auctions

The National Automobile Auction Association sanctions 360 auctions every year, from the colossal to the surprisingly small. Each falls into one of two categories: an open auction or a closed auction. Most auctions are open, which means any registered dealer may attend. Sellers usually include other dealers, fleet companies, lease companies, and financial institutions that have lease returns and repossessions. Closed auctions, however, limit attendees. For example, a car manufacturer will often host an auction that is only for its own franchised dealers.

Do Exterior Painting Yourself Or Hire A Pro

Benefits to painting your exterior

Increase its value.

A great way to secure or potentially even increase your home’s value is to keep its outside sharp and fresh. Studies show that painting your house can add to its resale value.

Protect it from natural elements.

Quality exterior painting works as an added layer of protection from the elements, helping to keep your home safe from weather damage, insects, and dust.

Repair damage.

In addition to solving problems, a decent coat of paint will help you identify larger issues to your home’s exterior that you might not have already noticed. Working to repaint your home can reveal an array of small flaws ranging from mold, mildew, and water stains to rotting wood caused by weakened paint.

Update to your style.

Our trusty old friend, paint, can update almost anything on virtually any budget, paint has always been there to help make things look a little better. Home color fashions change, but you don’t have to change with them. Choose your own updated trend!

Prevent staining and peeling.

Repainting exterior wood or wood trim is time-consuming,the paints that cover exterior siding and trim surfaces face some of the most demanding conditions, so it’s important to get it right. Newer paints repel stains and are resistant to flaking unlike older paints that are likely on your exterior at the moment.

 

How Much Does It Cost To Paint The Exterior Of A House?

Homeowners report that painting a home’s exterior costs an average of $2,900 with a typical range between $1,736 and $4,094. The average price per square foot ranges from $0.50 to $3.50 depending on your location, condition of your exterior and accessibility. Stucco and brick cost an average of $1 per square foot more than vinyl or wood. The average 2,500 square feet home costs an average of $4,000, though it can range from $1,250 to $8,750.

Paint the exterior of your home to boost its curb appeal, change a color you don’t like or refresh a dilapidated paint job. It’s a large job that requires proper planning, preparation and tools. In most cases, it’s best left to a pro. But before you call one, consider a few factors that will affect your project’s budget.

Cost to Paint a House

Painting an average home between 1,500 and 2,500 square feet can cost between $1,000 and $6,000. Professionals provide estimates primarily based on the area of walls or siding they’ll paint, , not the home’ssquare feet.

How to Estimate a Painting Job’s Area

It’s important to understand that a 2,500 square foot home does not always have 2,500 square feet of paintable walls. More likely, you’ll end up with anywhere from 1,600 to 2,700 square feet of paintable area for this home size

Use these two simple steps to determine to total coverage area:

Total Finished Area: measure the perimeter of your home and multiply by the height.

Total Paintable Area: Subtract the area of doors and windows from the total finished area. A standard door is 21 square feet. A standard window is 12 square feet.

 

How to Paint a Front Door – Top Tips to Revive Your Old Door

Learning how to paint a front door can give the exterior of your home a much-needed boost. Believe it or not, it can even increase the resale value of your home. So, if your front door is looking a little bit boring, keep reading to find out how you can revive it. We’ll show you how to paint a front door that’s made of metal or wood, and which colours you should choose. This guide will take you through the whole process, from prepping and priming to the right painting techniques, so that you can get great results.

Work Under the Right Conditions

With any external painting project, painting in the right weather conditions is essential. So, make sure before you begin that there won’t be any extreme temperatures while you are painting.

Deal with Your Hardware

Hardware such a letterboxes and door handles can impede the painting process. So, instead of awkwardly painting around them, if possible it’s a good idea to remove them before you begin. Use a flathead screwdriver to loosen the screws and slide the hardware away from the door.

Strip Any Old Paint from the Door

Just with any painting project, the amount of time you dedicate to preparing your front door will determine your results. Start by accessing the door. Are you working with wood or metal? Is the old paint peeling off? If the door is in a bad state, you might need to use a paint stripper and wire scouring pad to remove the old paint.

Sand down the Door

If your front door is made of wood, you will definitely need to sand it before you can begin painting. Sanding down the front door will leave you with a smooth surface that can be easily painted later on. Initially, you might want to begin by using an electric sander. An electrical sander will significantly speed up the sanding process, and it will save you a lot of hard work. Instead of buying a brand new sander, if you are on a budget you can rent one by the day.

 

Essentials of House Painting Equipment

Ready to invest in some essential painting equipment? Good choice! Whether you are a serious DIY painter or somebody who takes on the occasional painting project around the house, these ten pieces of equipment are the essentials you need to get the job done right!

Instructions

All professional painters know that getting excellent results requires the proper equipment. I consider these ten pieces of house painting equipment to be essential to almost every paint job–interior or exterior

Purdy 3-inch Angular Paint Brush

This paint brush is a great choice for almost all painting situations. When properly cleaned and stored it will last many years. For trim painting, a 2.5-inch Purdy brush is another good option, just slightly smaller

Wooster roller handle

This isn’t the most expensive roller handle Wooster sells, but it’s not the cheapie, either. It’s solid, spins smoothly, and will last for several jobs if you take care of it and clean it well. It helps to have a couple of them on hand

Red Devil multipurpose painter’s tool

You won’t find many professional painters who don’t carry this with them every day. The hammerhead handle works well to pound in errant nails as you go. This tool is also handy for opening paint cans, both one-gallon and five gallon buckets (use the sharp blade to cut the plastic on these). The curved part of the blade is meant for squeezing the paint out of rollers and getting it back into the paint can. This tool cal also be used for scraping paint, although I prefer a dedicated paint scraper for that (see below)

 

Major Benefits of Exterior House Painting

A new exterior paint job offers a whole lot more than making your home look pretty. Painting the exterior of your home can be one of the greatest investments you’ll ever make as an owner. Just like new windows offers multiple benefits like reduced energy cost, increased property value, temperature control, etc… an exterior paint job offers a homeowner a bundle of benefits. It’s time to brush up on your exterior painting knowledge!

Don’t underestimate the aesthetic value a fresh coat of paint can bring. Every time you pull into the driveway, you’ll feel a new sense of inspiration and connection to your home. Depending on your intention, you can use paints that will help you blend into your neighborhood, or you can go bold and choose to stand out, making your home the talk of the neighborhood.

Curb appeal isn’t just for you. If you’re planning on selling your home, you need to consider that the first thing a potential buyer will see is the exterior of your property. Setting the right impression from the start can lead to higher offers and more interest. If they enjoy the exterior, they’re far more likely to venture inside.

Renovations are key to increasing property value, but not all of them offer the same return on investment. According to a recent US News article, a major kitchen renovation can yield as low as a 65% return on investment. An exterior paint job, on the other hand, can produce a return on investment of up to 140%.

however, we do still get our fair share intense sunshine and also rain during wet seasons. Intense sun rays can lead to blistering, peeling, and cracking exterior paint. Over time, as the paint begins to crack and chip away, your home becomes much more exposed to the elements. This can be a major problem when intense rain or other moisture becomes introduced to the exterior.

Deciding Between A Free And A Pro Flickr Accountant

What are accountability skills?

Accountable leaders lay a path for teams to follow and are defined by being held answerable for accomplishing a goal or assignment. If it is approached correctly, accountability can allow you and your team to produce positive, measurable results for your business.

“Accountable doesn’t mean blaming people. It means we all as leaders own what we need to do and what we need to get other people to do.”

Accountability Gets Results

Being an accountable leader and insisting on accountability from your team can help you achieve results, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

The positive results of practicing constructive accountability include:

  • Improved performance
  • Better employee participation and involvement
  • Increased feelings of competency
  • More commitment to work from employees
  • More innovation and creativity
  • Higher satisfaction at work

 

Honesty and Integrity.

When your boss asks in a company meeting, “how’s that project coming?” do you honestly reply, “we are really behind” or “pretty good?”  Those who are accountable have the courage to tell the truth. This courage is often reinforced because people see their managers being open and direct with them.

Trust. We did some research on a set of leaders who were not trusted and found their employees had the following issues:

  • I am not confident that my efforts will be rewarded
  • I suspect the leader may take advantage of me
  • I constantly question the leader’s motives
  • I am sure they will take credit for my accomplishments
  • These are not factors that will build accountability. In contrast, the three pillars that build trust are positive relationships, knowledge, and consistency of leaders.

Clear Vision and Direction. There is an old Chinese proverb that explains this issue well: “The hunter that chases two rabbits catches neither one.” In organizations, people are often chasing multiple rabbits and they don’t catch any of them. How can you expect people to be accountable if they aren’t absolutely clear about the organization’s vision for where they’re going and what needs to be accomplished? Clearly, you can’t.

 

Problem Solving and Technical Expertise

It is impossible to feel accountable when a person is confused and doesn’t know how things work. Teach your people the skills and give them the training they need, and make absolutely sure they know how to do the job you expect.

Communication

When a leader can effectively communicate, others can understand what they are accountable for. This requires being able to tell, ask, and listen to others.

Ability to Change

We found that people who are really good at creating change in an organisation had employees who are operating at higher levels of accountability. Leaders who are good at instituting change are effective at the following behaviours: accepting feedback, taking on challenges, innovating, spreading optimism, showing concern, and setting clear goals.

On the long personal and organisational “to do” list, accountability should be at the top of the list. If you see a fatal flaw in yourself or your current leaders on any of these seven points, you should address it immediately.

 

Respectful Conflict Resolution

Change is never easy, especially as a company-wide initiative. The majority of organizations fail when trying to implement a switch in leadership or a call for improved accountability. Many of the challenges can be traced back to unhealthy conflict resolution. Do your employees know how to respectfully disagree?

Many people aren’t trained in conflict resolution and avoid conflict at all costs. While it’s not the most fun part of the job, it’s necessary in order to move forward. Address the conflict and talk through resolutions a team. Speak and listen with respect and remind each other of the common goal. Sometimes conflict is fueled by passion, which isn’t always a bad thing. It could just be that it needs redirecting.

When you begin to master these leadership accountability skills individually, it allows you to focus on what can be done collectively. It requires commitment, perseverance, and a strong belief that, as a leader, great opportunities come with an even greater responsibility. There is a higher standard required that separates those who say they want to be a leader and those who actually are.

 

Ways to Demonstrate Leadership Accountability & Ensure It in Others

Accountability occurs when individuals reliably deliver on their commitments, showing others they can be trusted to do what they say they’ll do. Leaders further demonstrate accountability by taking responsibility for the outcomes of their actions and decisions and successfully transforming effort into results.

“Gold standard” accountability is of such a high quality that others see it as the best possible combination of behavior and judgment, compelling others to follow it. It consists of performance excellence and the mastery of the key skills and behaviors necessary for any job. Drawing on some of the insights from In Your Hands, here are 5 ways to build “gold standard” accountability in leaders at every level of the organization:

Lead by Example

When individuals demonstrate accountability through their actions, they are setting the pace for leadership and performance excellence. They’re also showing others how to be accountable for doing what they say they’ll do. Leaders can be pacesetters and demonstrate accountability by exhibiting the following behaviors:

  • Discipline – staying on track and not getting derailed by competing priorities or desires
  • Integrity – being honest about the likelihood of delivering on commitments, and apologizing when something goes wrong
  • Execution – mastering new skills and behaviors and striving to achieve executional excellence

Develop Accountable Leaders

Training in specific skills and competencies can help leaders understand what it means to be accountable and which behaviors help to demonstrate accountability. By building accountability into your leadership development program, leaders at all levels will learn how to deliver on commitments and then see the importance of being reliable and trustworthy in the eyes of others. Leadership development can also help managers learn how to set and communicate expectations, and how to hold their direct reports accountable for the results they commit to.

Communicate and Share Information

Demonstrating accountability and ensuring it in others also involves sharing information and knowledge that will help others know how to behave in certain scenarios. Individuals learn by watching others and practicing desired behaviors, but they also learn from the advice and guidance of others who are already achieving “gold standard” accountability. For those who manage others, it is also important to communicate the importance of results, so that effort does not get confused with outcomes.

Build Individual Understanding

At the outset of any initiative or activity, it’s important for individuals to understand expectations, the resources and support available, and what they need to do to be accountable for their part. This helps to avoid the pitfall of over-committing and under-delivering. Some of the tools that can help support individual understanding of the need to be accountable include:

  • Mentorship and coaching – help individuals see different behaviors that can help them demonstrate accountability
  • Multi-rater assessments – show individuals how their own accountability (or lack thereof) impacts others

Team meetings – provide an opportunity for regularly reviewing and discussing the progress of everyone’s accountabilities and how they impact the team’s goals and objectives