What Are Your Rights When It Comes to Nearby Construction?

Spring is near, and for many that means it’s time to gear up for construction season. But with unseasonably warm weather in many parts of the country, it appears development is already well under way.

Image result for What Are Your Rights When It Comes to Nearby Construction?In January, building permits were issued for nearly 1.3 million privately owned housing units in the U.S., an increase of more than 8 percent compared to January 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Whether you live in a downtown area experiencing significant new development of condominium and apartment buildings or in a suburb seeing expansion as more homeowners seek less-expensive property, construction near your home can be a headache.

From early-morning drilling to blocked sidewalks and street lanes, many residents are inconvenienced by construction projects that can last many months, and the growing volume of those projects are cause for ongoing suffering.

Most state and city laws specify that residents have a right to quiet enjoyment of their home, which includes limiting excessive noise from nearby properties under construction.

Construction in Your Building

If you rent and construction is going on elsewhere in your apartment building, excessive noise disrupting your work or relaxation time can feel a little more personal. This kind of disturbance should be taken up with your landlord, who is likely the one who approved the work.

Inquire with your landlord about the duration and expected noise level – whether it’s a single apartment unit renovation, building expansion or heavy-duty maintenance. If it’s a project expected to have intermittent hammering or periodic drilling, you’ll likely have to deal with it, explains Brenda Konkel, executive director of the Tenant Resource Center inMadison, Wisconsin.

“It’s going to be hard to argue that’s a problem,” Konkel says. “But if they’re running equipment that makes a lot of noise all day long, and for more than one day and maybe even past business hours, then it’s going to be a completely different situation.”

The best course of action is to try to work with your landlord to reduce your inconvenience while still completing the construction. If you work from home and live in a large building, it’s possible the landlord can offer you use of a vacant apartment or business center away from the construction during your work hours. Another option is the landlord notifying residents precisely when excess noise is expected.

If the building work makes it impossible for you to continue living there, you could pursue a constructive eviction, which means the landlord has been unable to fulfill your right to quiet enjoyment, effectively ending your lease.

But a constructive eviction is a process, Konkel stresses, and you can’t simply move out and stop paying rent. “The landlord has to be given a reasonable amount of time to try and fix it,” she says. If your landlord disagrees with the constructive eviction claim, you may have to argue your case before a judge, who will determine whether you owe money for the remainder of the lease.

Neighborhood Construction

In many cases, city ordinances identify specific decibel levels for various times of day. Any noise that exceeds the designated decibel level is considered a nuisance to the surrounding community.

Construction equipment like a jackhammer or pile driver can easily violate this level, and as a result must be permitted for use with the city so local officials are aware when construction noise will be excessive.

Unfortunately, nearby residents aren’t always notified of permitted loud work going on, even if it’s after normal working hours, which often extend from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. but vary based on local ordinances and are shortened on weekends. When you are bothered with excessive noise, document it by filing a formal complaint with the city. This way, any unpermitted noise can be investigated, while you may also get further details about how long any permitted noise is expected to last.

Who Do You Call?

Many U.S. cities keep noise complaints under the jurisdiction of the police department and recommend residents call the local precinct’s nonemergency line to file a complaint, as you would if your neighbor were having a loud party. Local government websites often provide details on how to file a formal complaint.

The New York City government, for example, has streamlined the construction noise-complaint process by creating online forms to report the location of the noise and time. Separate forms allow you to report after-hours construction, construction during permitted hours that’s too loud and noisy jackhammers, which require additional permitting to be used in the city. These same complaints can also be reported by calling the city’s nonemergency reporting number, 311.

Boston handles the noise-complaint process differently. The city delegates complaints about construction sites and equipment noise to the Boston Air Pollution Control Commission and lists construction sites with approved after-hours work permits on itswebsite.

When It’s Not Just Noise

Construction near your home isn’t always just a noise issue, as a nearby worksite can mean blocked sidewalks, damaged roads and even structural damage to your home. Heavy-duty work can cause vibrations in the ground strong enough to damage your property. John Zeigler holds a doctorate in organic chemistry and is the author of “The Construction Vibration Damage Guide for Homeowners,” which serves as a guide to consumers for identifying vibration damage from nearby construction, how to document it and properly filing an insurance claim.

Vibration damage can appear in the form of cracks on concrete patios, slab floors, door or window frames and in the corner of a room, according to Zeigler. He has reports on over 500 different construction projects homeowners believe have caused vibration-related damage to their homes.

“In most U.S. locales, insurers routinely deny coverage under homeowner’s policies by invoking ‘earth movement’ exclusion originally intended for earthquake damage,” Zeigler says.

You’ll likely need to work with an attorney to pursue a claim against either a private developer or the local government – depending on which is funding the construction – especially if the damage is estimated over $10,000.

As with simple noise complaints, Zeigler stresses the importance of documenting the problem with dated photographs, reports from structural experts and any correspondence you have with the city or a developer. You’ll want to keep track of the damage itself and equipment and procedures used at the nearby construction site, as well as use a seismograph to monitor vibrations. Otherwise, he says, “any damage claim is virtually certain to be denied.”

This Startup Might Have The Blueprint For Your House

Decorating a whole house or even one’s own bedroom isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.  From the sea of data on the internet, it is so hard to find out how you want the place you’ll live to look like. It’s your house and it should represent you. If only you had a team of architects to help you through!

This is exactly what these expert architects with 26 years of experience are doing. Knowing the home decor business like the back of their hand, these architects will leave a great legacy – loads and loads of data and information about the home décor business they’ve gathered over the years through a startup called ‘Renomania’. They claim that there is nothing you’ve wanted to know about building a house you wouldn’t find on Renomania. Co-founders Ritu Malhotra and Navneet are graduates from the School of Planning and Architecture who met their third Co-founder Rahul Lodha who is a graduate from IIT Kharagpur.

Interviewing Ritu, we found out that they say they are selling ideas and their idea can give you the house of your dreams.

From architecture to entrepreneurship

We have been entrepreneurs for 26 years now with A.A Design Consultants. Renomania.com has been a dream project that we, as architects, wanted to come up with after understanding the pain points of the homeowners. We have been in this industry long enough to understand how difficult it is for people to explain what they exactly want in their house. We have seen people getting magazine and newspaper cut-outs and online picture-prints which were all from international homes from international websites. The results, thus, were never really the same considering the difference in culture, weather and tradition. That’s when we decided to build Renomania as a solution for anything related to Indian home decor. From inspirations and ideas to a community of home professionals and homeowners, the idea was to provide the users with all information on a single platform. Our clients would ask questions regarding finishes and costs and sourcing of products seen on foreign sites or a hotel they visited. Renomania is providing all the answers.”

How does Renomania work?

We believe that home owners require inspiration, inspiration which comes from relevant content, variety of ideas and being part of a similar yet diverse community.

Most others in the Home space are in the Transaction space like selling furniture or in the Home service space that is to provide handymen. The content in these platforms is Transaction oriented.

Renomania is into the business of selling ideas. It is a community of homeowners and professionals where they can easily discover each other and interact. It is not a usual e-commerce website that sells furniture or a readymade look. It aims at attempting to maintain the fun and ease factor in home building and home décor experience. It is helping people ‘discover’ – the kind of house they’d like to live in and the professionals they would like to work with.

Why need a home décor database?

Renomania is an online platform that helps homeowners discover a million new ways to make their homes more beautiful.

Design Consortium

Since, we have a strong experience of 26 years in this field, we understood the problems that homeowners were facing, and we knew that someone had to work towards it. We built the largest catalogue of beautiful Indian homes, helping homeowners get ideas and inspiration for designing everything from a room or a corner to an entire house. Renomania also helps homeowners convert their inspired vision into reality, by connecting them with an ever-growing community of millions of other homeowners, interior designers, architects, contractors and product providers across the country. Whether you’re looking to renovate a room or a corner or an entire home, Renomania is everything you need to create a beautiful home. With over 1,00,000 high-resolution inspiring photos of home interiors that you can browse, save and share, we wanted the consumers to find everything related to their home at one place. We also have a 3000-member strong verified active professional community, from architects and contractors to designers and more, who help make your dream home a reality. Consumers can findout the source of the products tagged in the photos and above all, get hundreds of tips and recommendations to make their home remodelling a pain-free process.

Future of home décor data

The digital world is booming by the hour and everyone is perpetually connected to social media. This change has automatically resulted in the boom of the online home décor market as well. People go online for everything nowadays, whether it is to buy a product or to get ideas. We notice an increase in adoption of online purchasing by a younger audience. Statistically, Home interior is a $20 Billion market currently and the growth options are immense.

We are targeting to reach the half a million unique visitors on the website by end July orend August this year. Simultaneously, we are looking to grow our catalogue to beyond 100,000 pictures within this period. We have launched our mobile app for iOS and Android users and are awaiting a new feature that will allow users to discuss their home design ideas and dilemmas with one another.

How they document works of architecture

Firstly, most professionals in the industry have not documented their work and are offline. It took a lot of research and work to track all the architects in the country, reach out to them and explain how Renomania would actually prove to be beneficial for them. We hired photographers who documented the homes for these professionals across geographies. To get access of thousands of designers and create a library of curated high definition pictures of real Indian homes was a big challenge. But, this challenge has actually turned into an opportunity as we are building up this asset at great speed and of course our content is not copied and is our copyright.

Kumar Moorthy & Associates

Secondly, to build a discovery platform is a challenge in itself. There is a lot of back end coding that is required to be done in order to give the best experience to the user. When we started, we knew that we want to be a platform where users can search for anything related to homes and the search results they get are most relevant. Tagging and associating relevant and multiple keywords for each picture have been a task, something we knew will pay off well and it did!

These professionals are so good on the field but believe that they need to work on their social media game since they’re growing monthly unique at 50% month on month. Ritusays, “we are in the back to school mode. Spending nights understanding the nuances of the digital world.”

Edison Amtrak worker pleads guilty to over billing rail company

EDISON – A 64-year-old township man, who formerly worked as an Amtrak supervisor, has pleaded guilty to fraudulently over billing the rail company for overtime and regular hours.

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U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said Richard Vogel pleaded guilty Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph A. Dickson in Newark to converting federal government funds to his own use in connection with claiming to be working while Vogel was not present at Amtrak work sites.

According to court documents and statements, Vogel worked for Amtrak from January 1977 until July 2016 when he retired. Vogel supervised about 35 employees in work gangs on the construction signals side of the Communications and Signals Department, New York Division.

Between November 2015 and June 2016 Vogel billed Amtrak for 41 regular hours and 685.75 overtime hours when he was not present at Amtrak work sites, a loss that cost Amtrak $71,000.

With the plea Vogel faces a maximum one year in prison and fines up to $250,000 when he is sentenced on May 22. The plea agreement requires Vogel to make full restitution for $71,946 in losses to Amtrak

Garage Door Maintenance And Inspections

Garage doors are really important for the home. The problem is that so many just look at this item as something that will always work well. Unfortunately, the garage door is an access point to your home. Because of this and since the garage is not just a warehouse for your vehicles, be sure that you always think about maintenance and regular inspections. This will help you be 100% sure you will not have to deal with too many expenses on the long run and your home will be safe.

The realty good news is that you do not have to necessarily hire garage doors Brisbane specialists in order to check the garage doors. You can easily inspect for many different problems alone. Be sure that you arrange a schedule that will be followed every single month. Besides this, you should know the following.

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Home Security And Safety

A garage is a part of the home we normally see as being safe at all times. This happens only if sensors, doors and springs are working properly. Make sure that you periodically inspect your home. If you notice that there is something that does not work as it should, the important thing is to check and see what problem is present.

The Importance Of Fast Fixing

A complex problem will obviously lead to expensive repairs. What many do not know is that if you do not fix the minor problems when they appear, they eventually develop into something that is a lot more serious. Ignoring the routine inspection as you have a busy schedule normally means that you are going to miss the small defects. If you do not repair these in time, the damaged structure will be much more affected. Basically, if you have a good maintenance schedule and you fix the small problems fast, you will avoid having to spend a lot of money on repairs.

Potentially Harmful

There are so many cases that are reported every single month in which people are harmed by faulty garage doors. Remember the fact that in so many situations a garage door can be dangerous. You want to be sure you know if there is something that can hurt you. For most of the repairs you will have to call a repairman. So many individuals simply make mistakes by just trying to fix complex matters alone. Do not make this mistake as you can be hurt.

Conclusions

It is not a problem if you do not know how often you have to inspect your garage door. Just contact a repairman and ask for help. He will initially perform the inspection and will then simply talk about what you have to do in the future. It is really important you never make serious repairs alone. It is better to get an inspection done. In time you will be able to quickly figure out if you can get the job done alone or not. Have patience and do allow yourself the necessary time to perform inspections.

Going Solar? What Washington, D.C., Homeowners Should Know

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If you take a drive through the District of Columbia metro area, you might notice an increasing number of solar panels adorning roofs on colonials, ranches and even charming Victorians.

Solar panels have definitely gained popularity in the area over the last five to 10 years, says David Bediz of the Bediz Group, LLC. Environmental awareness may be one reason, but it helps that more people in the area can afford them, too. “Solar panels can be expensive, so it’s not surprising that you see them installed on homes in the D.C. area, where incomes are higher than other parts of the country,” he says.

In the spirit of going green while reducing energy costs, solar panels give people a renewed sense of responsibility. However, there are things prospective buyers or leasers should know before investing in this technology. We asked theDistrict’s top real estate agents listed by real estate data company OpenHouse Realty (a U.S. News partner) and solar panel experts for some guidance on getting a good return on investment with solar energy.

Energy trends drive usage. Solar use and its desirability often go up when gas prices rise. Tom Faison, an associate broker with RealEstateInDC, LLC, says he’s actually seen a dip in solar sales recently “because gas and electric are cheaper.” Once those prices go up, people will start investing in solar energy and fireplaces once more.

For the long haul, Faison sees solar energy continuing to grow in use, due to its reputation as a money-saver and “because state-of-the-art solar technology is getting better.”

Dan Whitten, vice president of communications with the Solar Energy Industries Association, agrees. “Solar [photovoltaic] systems can last a very long time,” he says. “Because they have no moving parts, they’re reliable and require very little maintenance. There are solar systems that have been running without incident for decades and with continued innovation we expect that to only improve.”

Most homes can accommodate solar. Just about any house with a roof that has southern or western exposure is a good candidate for solar. Many houses in the District of Columbia have flat roofs, however, so to get the best results from your panels, you often have to mount them at an angle. For townhouses with smaller roofs, solar panel installation can pose a challenge, Bediz says. In some instances, “there’s just not enough room to put them on,” he explains.

Also, make sure you understand what standards and requirements yourhomeowners association may have in place for solar panels before you install them. “Historic regulations in most cities, and the rules for most homeowners associations, will likely prohibit panel installations where the panels can be seen from the street,” Bediz says.

Future buyers may not be impressed. Solar panels will change the appearance of your house, and potential buyers may not like them.

“I think most people like the idea of solar for financial and environmental reasons, but homeowners should also keep in mind how the panels affect their home’s curb appeal,” Bediz says. “Since they’re not particularly attractive, they may also negatively affect resale value.”

Be careful what you sign. Different companies have different policies, so read the contract carefully. “These contracts are not always about saving the environment or reducing energy burdens,” says Bediz.

At times they might be structured to lock you into a deal that’s not to your financial advantage. One of Bediz’s clients tried to get out of a contract after they found out that they didn’t actually own the panels – and it ended up costing them a lot of money. “As with anything, be careful what you sign and read the entire contract so that you understand the issue.”

Numerous resources are available to educate consumers about solar, says Whitten. “At SEIA, we advise consumers to always do their homework so that they find a system that is the best fit for them.” SEIA offers resources such as theSEIA Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power, which outlines financing options and guides consumers on what to ask before entering into a solar agreement.

Different purchasing options are available. Solar panel systems can be purchased with cash or a loan. You “own both the system and all the power it produces,” Whitten says. Another option is to lease a system for a certain period of time. In this arrangement, the solar company owns the system and leases it to you to use it and benefit from the electricity it produces.

Before you decide to buy or rent solar panels, shop around and get bids from multiple solar companies. To find out if a company has a good reputation, check if it’s licensed and ask for references in your area.

“Make sure you fully understand what you’re getting and what you will be paying for,” Whitten says.

Yes, you can get a tax break. Homeowners who purchase solar systems are eligible for a residential solar investment federal tax credit of 30 percent of the cost of the system, meaning a dollar-for-dollar reduction in one’s income taxes. The credit is in effect through 2019, but drops to 26 percent in 2020 and once again to 22 percent in 2021. “Depending on where you live, other state and local incentives may be available, as well as programs from your utility,” Whitten says.

10 Ways You Can Lower Your Homeowners Insurance Premium

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As a homeowner, you probably have more bills to pay than you’d like to think about. On top of your mortgage payment, you have utilities such as electric, water and gas, as well as maintenance and repairs that pop up and possibly HOA dues, not to mention your homeowners insurance.

Being a service you pay for to protect against the unthinkable, homeowners insurance might seem like a less important payment than the rest. But when one of those unthinkable moments happens – like a fire or hurricane – you’ll be glad you have it.

Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t reduce your homeowners insurance premium, which costs the average U.S. homeowner $952 per year, according to personal finance website ValuePenguin. There are a number of strategies and upgrades you can make to your home that will not only make it safer from disaster, but also lead to well-deserved rewards for your efforts.

But first, homeowners insurance professionals stress it’s important to make sure your home is properly covered – and you’re not paying too much or too little to begin with.

You and an insurance agent must determine how much it would cost to rebuild your home if a disaster occurred, which is more significant for homeowners insurance purposes than assessing your home’s market value.

“If you have a home that it’s going to cost half a million dollars to rebuild it, that’s what you’re going to need to insure for,” says Bill Fitzgerald, vice president of sales and client services at Amica Mutual Insurance Company. “It could be a lot more expensive in the long run if you don’t.”

When you purchase a new home, your lender will often require you to take out a homeowners insurance policy for the amount you paid for your home, explains Marty Agather, senior vice president of client development at independent insurance network Trusted Choice. Since the requirement is not based on the cost to rebuild but the market value, it can be easy for homebuyers to insure their homes for the incorrect amount.

Whether you paid $150,000 or $800,000 for your home, if the insurance provider determines it will cost $250,000 to rebuild, being over or under that amount could prove costly. Agather notes that buying a $150,000 insurance policy on that home will leave you scrounging for $100,000 to cover out of pocket, whereas with an $800,000 policy, “the insurance company will never pay more than $250,000 to rebuild your home.” In that case, you’ve drastically overpaid.

An insurance agent should be able to provide you with insight into upgrades and preventive measures you can take to reduce your premium without being underinsured. Here are 10 things that may qualify you for a discount on your homeowners insurance premium.

Opt for a higher deductible. Most people only consider using homeowners insurance for major disasters, so there’s no need to have a deductible of less than $1,000 if you can afford to cover less-expensive claims with money from your bank account. “The more that a consumer can afford to pay out of pocket, the more money they will save,” says Fitzgerald, who notes deductibles can be as high as $5,000 or $10,000 if you are capable of covering those costs.

Bundle your insurance policies. Many insurance providers with a variety of policies covering auto, life or home will offer a discount for bringing them together under the same company. “It’s completely in the customer’s control. If they want to come to the carrier for both their lines of business, it’s a great way to get a discount,” says Pete Ducich, assistant vice president of home product management at Farmers Insurance.

Avoid making small claims. If damage occurs that you can easily cover without your insurer’s help, it will benefit your premium down the line if you handle it without making a claim. Agather notes many insurance companies pay to access a large database with notes on customer claims, so changing providers may not help wipe a slate clean from making excessive claims. “Even if you switch insurance companies, your insurance company may have access to that data, and your insurance will go up anyway,” Agather says.

Choose paperless billing. Like many other companies you pay monthly bills to, most insurers are looking to cut billing costs by switching to electronic invoices and payments. Fitzgerald says opting out of paper billing can be an easy way to get a small discount.

Pay annually instead of monthly. Premium payments often include a low processing fee, but many insurance companies offer the option of paying in larger amounts to reduce the total owed toward bill processing. Depending on the processing fees from your provider, you could be saving as much as $50 or more each year.

Install central station alarm system. Insurance companies want to prevent as much damage or loss to a home as possible, so a central station alarm system – which is monitored by a company that will notify first responders if any alarms go off – is a great way to demonstrate proactive steps toward safety while potentially earning a discount, Agather says.

Update your old home. If you own an older home, maybe a century old or more, completely replacing the electrical and plumbing systems can lower your premium, largely because you’re removing antiquated wiring or pipes that are more likely to lead to damage as they age.

Have a professional install storm shutters and doors. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes or major storms, your insurance provider will likely look favorably on installing storm shutters and doors to protect your home. But Fitzgerald notes professional installation is key, as nailing plywood over openings doesn’t have the same lasting effect because “they’re not professionally anchored.” Like with any other updates that can earn you a discount, your insurance provider may request receipts or proof of the professional work to lower your premium.

Set up an automatic generator. Power outages are never fun, but they can be disastrous in many parts of the country during winter. “If you lose your boiler, pipes can freeze and you’ve got a whole other problem on your hands,” Fitzgerald says. Having an automatic generator wired to the home’s electrical system that kicks on when the power goes out ensures the most important appliances remain running – and insurance providers will likely reward you for it with a discount on your premium.

Be a loyal customer. Many companies love to reward loyalty, and insurance providers are no different. Farmers Insurance, for example, will lower your homeowners deductible by $50 for every year you’ve been a customer without increasing your premium. “It rewards you for staying with the company by essentially lowering your premium – you don’t have to pay for that lower deductible,” Ducich says.

The Benefits of Having a Smart Home

Few things pair together as well as technology & the home. Everywhere you go, you hear about the wonders of today’s ‘smart’ homes. Home automation is completely transforming homes from the inside out. For those who aren’t tremendously tech-savvy and don’t know much about the capabilities of home automation, it typically include a range of features including:

  • Temperature Control
  • Lighting Control
  • Appliance Control
  • Door & Garage Control, etc.

Facilitates Daily Life

 You see, it’s getting harder and harder to manage both our daily schedules, the schedules of others and our home needs. Home automation enables a range of remote features to be accessed with a simple press of a button. For instance, remember that time you were going out of town and had to circle back home because you were unsure of whether you locked the front door? And there was that other time that you left the hall light on; which stayed on for countless hours while you were gone all day at work.

Home automation is single-handedly reshaping homes everywhere—in more ways than one. Not only is it making life easier to manage, it’s providing enhanced home monitoring while simultaneously making homes more energy-efficient.

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Enhances Home Monitoring

In recent years, home security systems have integrated home automation features to enhance their monitoring capabilities. For example, ADT Pulse provides remote home control. So now, people can remotely check the status of their alarm systems from virtually any location, while also having the ability to use the above mentioned home automation features. Having a smart home helps eliminate the anxiety leaving a house unattended—regardless of whether a person is simply going across town or heading thousands of miles away.

Reduces Energy Consumption

It’s expensive to heat, cool and run a home—and unfortunately, energy costs are only projected rise. Smart homes consume smaller amounts of energy. By being able to remotely do things like turning lights on/off, controlling the thermostat, turning appliances on/off, it’s easier to manage a household’s energy consumption. Forgetting or being too lazy becomes invalid excuses, when these things can be literally managed pressing a single button on a smartphone, tablet or computer.

Be sure to check out the latest smart home products and features. Not all brands are created equal. To get the best equipment for your home and family, make sure you select a trusted brand with a range of components that will fulfill your specific home automation needs. It’ll likely be an investment that will improve your home security and help you become more eco-friendly.

Home Gaming rooms – a luxury

Home Gaming rooms – a luxury that only the rich can usually afford – are nonetheless becoming much more popular in an age in which online gambling is starting to become a very standard pastime for everyone. Lots of the home gaming rooms that people will see are full of slot machines, roulette wheels, and almost everything else that people would associate with an operational casino. However, home gaming rooms are still taking on a very different social role in a world of gaming over the Internet.

Home Gaming rooms – a luxury for the rich – were once the only way that people could really enjoy playing casino games in the comfort of their homes or the homes of their friends. Few people can go to casinos on a regular basis, and few people are going to want to physically go to land-based casinos on a regular basis even with ample time and financial resources. People had to know someone who had a setup for an entire gaming room, and if they served that role in their circle of friends, they still needed to make sure that they had enough people to play the games with on a regular basis. Suffice to say, lots of people were never really able to enjoy online gaming the way they wanted.

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Being able to join the Euro Palace mobile casino for gaming on the go makes all the difference for the people who want to be able to play casino games on a regular basis, turning what used to be a pastime for a special occasion into a hobby. Home gaming rooms can only have so many different games and so many different slot machines, even if they are fairly well-stocked and the people who are operating the home gaming rooms are wealthy and committed to the hobby. People who are able to join the Euro Palace mobile casino for gaming on the go can play so many different versions of blackjack alone that they can keep themselves occupied for weeks or months.

There are more than five hundred quality slot games available at the Euro Palace casino. In a home gaming room, people would be really lucky if they were able to play around five different games, and many of these games would be fairly generic. The games that people are able to play at the Euro Palace casino are constantly going to surprise them. This is a casino that gets new games all the time, which is only going to stimulate the people who have played a few hundred or a few thousand casino games in their lives even further.

To make matters better, people can join the Euro Palace mobile casino for gaming on the go, so they will not be restricted to very specific areas when they’re trying to enjoy their online games. They won’t have to get stuck in any home gaming room, whether it is their home gaming room or the home gaming room of a friend. Really, online gaming is the luxury.

Starter Home, or Dream Home?

Dream-HomeIf you’re like most first-time homebuyers, you have a long list of must-haves and a tight budget. But while it can be tempting to hold out for a house that has everything you want (even if it comes at a price), there’s a lot to be said for the starter home.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re weighing the pros and cons.

A starter isn’t forever. Most people only stay in a starter home for five or so years, or until they need more room for a growing family. If you see yourself changing jobs or moving to a better school district, then there isn’t a lot of sense in buying something to grow into.

Just because you’ve been approved for a larger loan doesn’t mean you should use it. When lenders do the math on your mortgage, all they care about is whether you’ll be able to make your monthly payments, not whether you’ll be able to make them and have enough left over to take a vacation or renovate the bathroom.

Buying at the upper end of your limit may get you the features you want, but the heftier down payment could deplete your savings in the short term, and monthly payments could keep you from building them back up in case of emergencies. Whatever option you choose, make sure to do the math.

Even if the home you really want is out of reach, you can still build equity. Depending on your area, buying a small starter home can be cheaper than paying rent, and you get to build equity (at today’s fairly low interest rates) for your later move.

Starter homes can be good investments. A lot of starter homes have plenty of room for improvement, which means room for you to increase the value of your property. Plus, with real estate prices on the uptick in many areas, choosing wisely now may mean dollar signs down the road, even without a lot of work.

The bottom line?

It doesn’t pay to take on more house than you need, or can afford. If you have the income and the desire to stay put for twenty or more years, go ahead and buy your forever home. If not, there are plenty of other options, from cute bungalows to condos that could make you the perfect starter home.

5 Things Your Home Appraiser Wishes You Knew

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So you thought you were in the homestretch because you accepted a great bid on your home? Think again! The closing process has only just begun—and for most sellers, the appraisal can be one of the scariest parts.

For starters, lenders often require the use of their own, FHA-approved appraiser. That means you get zero say in who’s determining the financial value of the home you’ve lived in, loved, and sunk your savings into.

Here are some things sellers can do—straight from the appraisers’ mouths—to navigate the process.

Keep in mind that appraisers aren’t magicians

The appraiser won’t know what your home is worth the second he walks in the door.

“People think we know the value of the property as soon as we see it,” says Michael Coyle, the founder of The Coyle Group in Lafayette Hill, PA.

That’s simply not the case. A good understanding of the appraisal process will go a long way toward comprehending how your home’s value is determined.

First, an appraiser will pull comparable listings (called “comps”) from the nearby area. These are homes similar in style, location, and footage sold within the past few years. Then, he’ll come by your house to determine its condition and quality, as well as any other factors that would affect the cost of the home, and use that information—along with the comps—to make an accurate assessment.

This usually takes at least a few days—and definitely more than a few hours.

Prep your space—and its occupants

No, the appraiser isn’t coming by to judge the cleanliness of your homestead—but it’s still good form to declutter, dust, and mop beforehand to show your home in its best light, according to appraiser Adam Wiener, the founder of Aladdin Appraisal in Auburndale, MA.

A good appraiser won’t devalue your home because it’s messy—but a neat, organized home might help you.

“Even if they’re not consciously aware of it, the appraiser might value (a messy home) a little lower,” Wiener says.

Also, make sure the occupants of your home are prepared for the appraiser’s arrival, including teenagers who tend to stay holed up in their rooms.

“And make sure everyone’s clothed,” Coyle adds. “Sometimes, they forget to tell the teenager.”

Get your paperwork in order

Before the appraiser arrives, gather all the information you have about the house and send it over. Most appraisers will ask for this upfront, either directly or through the lender or broker.

Coyle recommends having on hand a list of major improvements as well as detailed info about the age and condition of the roof, HVAC systems, and major appliances. For any DIY projects, make sure you have the original permits.

“My favorite customers are the ones who have all the information ready for me,” he says.

There’s nothing worse than an appraiser pulling comps for a 1,200-square-foot 1920s Cape Cod–style house, only to realize on the day of appraisal that your master bedroom addition adds an additional 500 square feet.

When that happens “none of my comps are any good and my values are off,” Wiener says.

And that means more work—and more time before a final assessment can be reached.

So go the full-disclosure route.

“Hand it to them on a silver platter: Here’s my neat, gorgeous house, shown in its best light, and all the things that are awesome about it,” Wiener says.

Don’t put too much stock in home improvements

We’re sure your brand-new kitchen is stunning—but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t proportionally raise your home’s market value.

Appraisers stress moderation in assuming how much your shiny, brand-new kitchen will add directly to the worth of your house. If you spent $50,000, you’re likely to see only a fraction of that returned in value. That goes double for a new pool, which “does not bring as much value as people think,” Coyle says. (This might vary if you live in a hot climate where pools are near expected.)

As for your finished basement: Sorry, but that’s even less help. Most appraisers useANSI standards for measuring the square footage of a home, which excludes any rooms below grade. That doesn’t mean your basement has no value, but it doesn’t technically add space.

Don’t engage in listing ‘puffery’

Before listing, make sure you and your Realtor® take a realistic look at what your home actually offers. Are you including the basement square footage in the total? Are you hoping no one will notice your roof isn’t new? Preparing yourself ahead of time with a pragmatic estimate will ease the appraisal process.

And above all else, make sure not to fudge the numbers.

“There’s an epidemic of puffery,” Wiener says.

This is particularly rampant in areas where the assessor’s information isn’t accessible online. When you know potential buyers have to actually, gasp, go in person to look up the sketches, it might be a lot more tempting to pad some square footage here and there.

After all, who will notice?

Here’s who: Your appraiser—who’s happy to go to the office and pull 20 or 30 comps. And he won’t be fooled.