Word of the Day

Loan servicing. Task of collecting monthly payments, handling insurance and tax impounds, delinquencies, early payoffs, and mortgage releases.


How to Find a Qualified Roofer

Many homeowners may opt to bring in a roofing contractor instead of performing a roofing evaluation themselves. So in this report, we’ll tap Clement and the experts at DaVinci Roofscapes for some additional advice on finding a good roofing contractor.

First, check to make sure the roofer you are considering is insured and licensed. Then, ask for a written job estimate and references along with warranty information for both the roof you select and the roofer’s installation services.

Here are some other recommendations to help find qualified installers in your area:

1. Go to a roof manufacturer’s website to see if they have a preferred installer program. Many manufacturers have special designations for roofing contractors that are skilled at installing their roofs.

2. Ask your local lumberyards, distribution centers and building product dealerships for recommendations on quality roofing installers in your area. You can also ask architects and general contractors if they have a recommendation for a roofer they feel does exceptional work.

3. Visit a website like 1800contractor.com, Home Advisor or Angie’s List. Let them match you up with installers in your specific geographic area to receive installation quotes. And, make sure to check the Better Business Bureau and Chamber of Commerce for roofer listings in your area.

4. Ask family, friends and colleagues for recommendations of reputable roofers they’ve used in the past. Select those whose services have been stand-out top quality with your friends.

5. Visit the National Roof Contractors Association (NRCA) website. In the “Consumers” section on the homepage there’s a “Find a Contractor” button – plug in your zip code to find an NRCA member roofer in your area.

You’ll also find other valuable information on this website regarding your roofing project.

Q: Is Buying a Fixer-Upper Good Idea in “Bad” Areas?

A: It depends. So-called “bad” areas—often described as those that are residentially unstable or poor—have offered an affordable means of homeownership for many—particularly young, first-time buyers and low- to moderate-in…

7 Legal Tactics That May Help You Avoid Layoffs

Layoffs are an unpleasant task for any small business, and if they can be avoided, all the better.

That may have been a discussion within Microsoft prior to its announcement that the company would be cutting 18,000 jobs. The New York Times reports the tech giant will be making the lion’s share of cuts from its Nokia-acquired groups — about 12,500 jobs. Severance pay and other layoff costs add up for any company, and Microsoft estimates it will dole out between $1.1 to $1.6 billion to cover the massive cuts.

While your business isn’t as big as Microsoft, you may be able to avoid layoffs by considering these seven legal tactics:

1. Reduce Benefits.

Employers may need to comply with some minimum requirements for health care under Obamacare (starting in 2015, anyway), but you could ask employees to take on a larger share in paying for benefits. This may mean dropping fringe benefits like company cars, which can be a source of liability anyway.

2. Change Your PTO Policy.

Your employees technically have no legal right to paid time off, so you could consider changing your vacation or sick policy to save your business some scratch. Avoid making this policy apply retroactively, though, as vacation days that have already accrued may be considered wages owed to the employee.

3. Offer Unpaid Vacation.

On the flip side, during the summer months and holidays, you can offer unpaid vacation time for employees to spend more time with loved ones. During tense times, a vacation may be just what your employees need.

4. Turn Full-Time Workers into Part-Time Workers.

Many companies have slowly been converting their workforce away from full-time to part-time employees (some claim it’s because of Obamacare). By doing this, employers may be able to avoid terminating employees while keeping their businesses afloat.

5. Freeze or Delay New Hiring.

Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder.com, recommends that companies facing layoffs either freeze hiring or at the very least postpone the start dates of new staff. Without the added overhead of new hires, a company may be able to weather a rough quarter/year.

6. Offer Early Retirement.

Instead of laying off several entry-level employees, you might be able to convince some high-level earners to retire early — with a generous severance package, of course.

7. Be Honest.

Employees appreciate honesty and transparency in their employers, and they may surprise you with their loyalty if you’re straightforward about the business facing tough times.

These legal tactics may rescue companies from ruin and save business owners from laying off a substantial part of their staff. For more ideas, you may want to talk things over with an experienced business lawyer near you.

Source: FindLaw

Q: Can I Refinance a Home Loan More Than Once?

A: You most certainly can. During the most recent refinancing boom, for example, many homeowners refinanced their home loans two or three times within relatively short periods of time because interest rates kept treading downward, making it extremely a…

Word of the Day

Interim financing. Short-term loan usually made during the construction phase of a building project or until a permanent, long-term loan can be obtained. Also called a construction loan.

Word of the Day

Lien. A debt on a property which encumbers it until the obligation is paid; a mortgage, back taxes, or other claim.

Q: Should I Buy a Vacation Home?

A: The second home market has more ebbs and flows than the primary home market. Sales are iffy in a bad economy except, perhaps, on the high-end. That said, there is a growing trend toward the purchase of vacation homes. They are being bought for inves…

Roof Check: Evaluating Your Roof

Think your home is in great shape? How about the part you can’t see! I’m talking about one of your home’s largest assets – the roof. DaVinci Roofscapes of Lenexa, Kansas recently developed a roster of insightful tips for evaluating one’s roof, in partnership with home improvement expert and contractor Mark Clement of MyFixitUpLife.com.

Clement’s tips for Evaluating Your Roof include:

1. Using either a ladder or binoculars from across the street, look for problem areas, such as missing or broken shingles, along with roofing tiles that may be “flapping” in the wind. These are all indications that a new roof may be in your future.

2. If you have a steep sloped roof or a roof with multiple valleys, hire a professional roofing contractor to inspect your roof. They have the proper safety equipment to accurately inspect your roof and know exactly how to look for rodent and animal damage around chimneys.

3. Check the sides of your roof. The southern exposure weathers significantly faster than the other sides of the roof, so make sure to carefully examine this area. Also, shallower pitches weather faster than steeper pitches.

4. If you have a real cedar roof, consider your geographic location. Many West Coast homeowners are proactively replacing these wooden roofs with fire- and impact-resistant polymer shake roofs. Along with helping protect the home from potential wildfires, these roofs oftentimes come with a homeowner insurance discount.

“If a new roof is in your future, strongly consider one made of composite products that resist impact-, fire- and even insect infestations,” says Clement, who chose a polymer slate roof from DaVinci with a 50-year limited warranty. “When you select a polymer roofing product, you’re investing in long-term security for your home.”


Clement says an added bonus is these roofs are so durable that your homeowner’s insurance company may offer discounts if you choose to install them on your home.

Installing a Slider? Maybe It’s Time to Go Trackless!

In our last report, I covered the finer points of hanging a conventional interior sliding door. In the course of researching the topic, we came across the latest innovation from the folks at Johnson Hardware (johnsonhardware.com).

For as long as anyone can remember, bypass and multi-pass sliding pocket doors always required bottom guide tracks to deliver the best opening and closing operation.  But Johnson Hardware isn’t one to follow that same well-worn track.    

Providing a more streamlined appearance, new Johnson Hardware Trackless Door Guides eliminate the need for a threshold or bottom guide track. So it’s now much easier to travel through an entryway, especially for people who use walkers or wheelchairs.  

And since there aren’t any tracks or thresholds to gather dirt and dust, maintenance chores are a lot easier as well. With no bottom guide track or threshold needed, bypass and multi-pass pocket door systems install easier and faster than ever.

Johnson Hardware trackless door guides all feature fully adjustable/removable door hangers for a precision installation, and smooth rolling nylon encapsulated ball bearing wheels for easy gliding operation.

Designed for heavy-duty commercial grade applications, with a maximum door weight of 400 lbs. each, the 200MP and 200BP guide kits feature a precision extruded heavy-gauge aluminum I-beam top track and can be used on door thicknesses from 1-¾ inch (45 mm) to 2-¼ inch (57 mm).

Engineered for standard commercial grade and residential applications, the 100MP, 111MP, 100BP and 111BP track kits feature a top precision extruded aluminum “jump proof” box track and can be used on door thicknesses of 1-3/8 inch (35 mm), 1-¾ inch (45 mm) or 2-¼ inch (57 mm).

So if you’re thinking about installing sliding doors in your home, consider the possibility of going trackless with the help of Johnson Hardware..