Posts Tagged ‘tracy realtors’

Keeping Your Children Safely Away From Sexual Predators

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

When you are moving to a new location, it might be prudent to give some consideration to the possibility of sexual predators in the neighborhood. If you have children or if you plan to have children at some later point, or have children visit, you need to know they will not be subjected to the threat of this particular kind of peril.

The law requires convicted sexual offenders to register with the local law enforcement agency and keep them informed of changes in location. While it sometimes happens that a convicted offender will avoid registering, this system is the most reliable means of identifying the location of convicted sexual predators.

Regardless of whether you have children or not, when you are thinking about buying a home, it is certainly in your best interest to know about the presence of convicted sex offenders in a neighborhood before you decide to enter into a sales contract. Once you sign your name on the contract, you have no leeway to get cold feet and will forfeit the deposit that you might have made if you decide to back out of the purchase because of becoming informed of sex offenders in the neighborhood.

A great deal of information about convicted sex offenders is available on the Internet. In the state of California, as an example, the sex offender registry is published at www.meganslaw.ca.gov/. You can learn about sex offenders in any given neighborhood. The published information gives the individual’s name, address when registered, date of conviction, offenses, and when the offender registered. In some jurisdictions it will provide information on how serious the offense is and whether it involved someone in stated age groups and so on. Although the law was initially intended to protect children, requiring sex offenders identify themselves in this manner helps protect more of the population from these kinds of acts of violence toward both adults and children.

Some people prefer to make face to face contact instead of using their computer. If that’s your inclination, you can start your search with the local police in the area where you are thinking about buying your new home. Each area may have a slightly different way to get the information, but if you check with the police department, they can either give you the list directly, or advise you where you need to go.

Research Paired with Sound Judgment is the Key

If you have various potential areas in mind, you may want to check on all of them, so you can make a decision about the one that may be the safest. It is possible that you might not find a neighborhood that is completely free of convicted sexual predators; in that case you may need to find out the specific charges before deciding the best action.

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Keeping Your Children Safely Away From Sexual Predators
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Planning The Landscaping Of Your Garden

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Author: Owen Jones

Landscaping techniques allow the gardener to transform a simple backyard into a lovely garden. There are many paths to having a beautiful garden, because there are many types to choose from and there are different tastes too. Chacun a son gout. Some types of garden need a great deal of maintenance and others less so, but even a slabbed or concrete backyard requires some maintenance.

The best way of going about making something beautiful out of your backyard is planning and perhaps the easiest way of planning is to create a plan or a drawing of your garden.

If you decide on this route, the first thing you will have to do is obtain some graph paper and plot the exact size and shape of your garden onto it, using as large a scale as will fit on the sheet of graph paper.

When you have done that, put in in unmovable objects like a brick shed, a drain or septic tank, a fish pond and doorways et cetera. Then you should photocopy it, maybe five or ten times. This is so that you can make mistakes, change your mind or even allow everybody in the household to make their own design from their own investigations and imagination.

If you consider that this is beyond your abilities, you are probably wrong. It really is not difficult, kids draw on graph paper all the time in maths lessons. Nevertheless, if you do not want to do it this way, then you will have to rely on plans cut out of magazines.

So, collect all your ideas from magazines and place them in a file. Similarly, if you are making a diagram on paper, save your ideas in a folder, but also draw them on your graph paper.

Set yourself or your team a deadline of say, a fortnighy or a month, but you do want to do the majority of your work in the spring or the summer, when the weather is warm. On the appointed day, get together and combine all your plans into one.

Put all the superfluous material aside and forget about it. Do not overcomplicate the situation by having all the designs in the active file. Now you are ready to go to work and instigate the ideas.

The choice is now whether you do the work yourself or whether you get a contractor in. A builder will have experience, and so will be able to get the work done quickly. They will also be able to offer practical suggestions, if what you want to accomplish is tricky. The other side of the coin is that it is a great deal more expensive.

If you decide to do it yourself, you might find it a good idea to divide your plan into segments. It could be done in quarters of the garden at a time, if that is feasible, or you could do all the groundwork first, followed by the brick and blockwork, then the pond etc. Depending on your plan. The only thing that should to be done last is the planting of the plants

Owen Jones, the writer of this article writes on quite a few topics, but is at present concerned with outdoor accent lighting. If you would like to know more or check out some great offers, please go to our website at Outdoor Wall Lamps.

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About the Author: [Owen Jones has traveled extensively for many years and has various websites]

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Is Composite Decking More Eco-Friendly Than Cumaru?

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Author: gwatson

You definitely have choices when it comes to quality decking. By far, wood decking is the most diverse and offers advantages that are unique to each species. Cumaru wood is one species known to be the most superior decking material available. It is a high quality natural material that is grown as a sustainable wood. Its durability, strength, versatility, and density make it the perfect option for any outdoor project. Cumaru is naturally durable and has a flame spread rating of Class A, the same as concrete or steel. Cumaru wood offers a lifespan well over 40 years without preservatives. If you do treat it, you can expect an average lifespan of over 80 years. Due to its strength and high density, it is also naturally resistant to rot, decay and damage from wood boring insects like termites. Its versatility makes it a great choice for both commercial and residential decking. Cumaru makes the most beautiful longest lasting decks in the world. Its density helps make Cumaru remain smooth and splinter free. It doesn’t absorb water, twist, splinter, or bow like softer woods.

Cumaru wood is also extremely rich in color and appearance. Its color varies from a golden tan to reddish brown with some dark grain accents throughout the wood. It has an irregular, slightly interlocked grain which is coarse and wavy in texture. Unlike most exotics, Cumaru endures very little color change due to sun light. Its color will slightly mute over time into a more consistent color. It is also very low maintenance and easy to work with. Cumaru wood is far greater than most composite decking products.

Composite decking tries to compete with high end decking materials, but is unable to when it comes to quality. It is made of a mixture of recycled materials and glue. The recycled materials typically consist of a 50/50 mixture of wood fibers and waste plastic. This plastic includes high density polyethylene and PVC (polyvinyl chloride). Many people think that because composite decking uses recyclable resources it is eco-friendly. That is not the case because PVC is known as a toxic plastic and is obviously not good for the environment. Due to the manufacturing process of composite decking, it is extremely porous and soaks up water very easily. This causes it to be prone to rot, decay, mildew, mold and fungus. Also, it will expand and contract according to the temperature, causing loosening of screws and plates. Many of the cleaners for composite decking are extremely dangerous and clean only the surface.

Composite decking products claim to be cost competitive, but they are actually significantly more expensive than real wood products. When you factor in installation costs, maintenance fees, and possible replacement costs, it turns out to be much more expensive than a wood deck made of Cumaru.

Most composite decking materials haven’t been thoroughly tested, but it sure has been thoroughly marketed. This causes home owners to think that composite decking is a great choice. However, with some research, you can find complaints and problems about the quality of the product. You can avoid all this and simply build a deck with Cumaru. Cumaru wood is the ideal choice in decking.

Discover why wood decking such as Cumaru and other species of Brazilian Hardwood is superior to composite decking materials. Grayer Watson enjoys building decks, installing floors and working with people to make their homes better.

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Evaluating the Schools in Your New Neighborhood

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

If your family includes kids and you’re thinking about moving to a new area, the schools are be among your first considerations. Does the neighborhood have good schools? Are the teachers and staff well-equipped to teach your children? Is there a good PTA that addresses the concerns of parents? These are pertinent questions you might need to look into before you commit to a decision on a new home.

Graduation Rate

Especially for families that have children who are in high school, the school’s graduation percentage may have a bearing on the decision. Schools that do not have good graduation rates have a bad reputation are categorically coming up short in their most basic job. For this reason, many parents want to live in neighborhoods where the high schools have a good graduation percentage that shows a dedication to a good education.

Standardized Test Scores

When you are checking out an area’s schools, one of the primary things to look into is the overall test score rankings. While these are not the only thing you should consider in judging the quality of a school, as some parents appear to believe, they can be a good indicator of how good the teachers are at the overall charter of providing their students a relevant education. Some high schools may even disclose the average ACT or SAT scores achieved by their students to be an indication of their competitive success rate.

Per Capita Expenditures

Some websites will disclose how much a school district budgets and spends to educate each student each year. This is the amount they provide to ensure that each student has everything they need for success in their academic career. The per-capita figure includes teacher salary, books, supplies and other equipment and classroom materials that are involved in the education process.

Location

Finding a neighborhood in which schools are located close by is the ideal situation for parents with young children. When your home is situated close to the schools, you can walk with your small children to and from school each day. If you have a busy schedule, your kids can walk to and from school by themselves as they get older. It’s a terrific way for them (and you!) to get fresh air and good exercise besides.

Ratio of Students to Teachers

How many students there are for each teacher is often thought of as playing a big role in the successful outcome of the education process. The national average is between 16 and 17 students for each classroom, though as school districts are experiencing budget pressures that may be on the increase. In a school that goes over those numbers by too much of a margin, your child may not get the individualized attention they need if and when it is needed.

Enrichment Activities and Clubs

Have you looked into whether the schools in your new home’s district offer extracurricular activities? Do the schools have interesting groups and enrichment classes that will keep your young students involved in learning? This could be a major factor when you are making a decision about a new area to live.

Schools are one of the biggest factors of your decision when you are deciding on a new home. You want to find a place where your kids are comfortable and a place where you feel comfortable as well. By carefully researching schools in the different areas where you’re considering a next home, you can find the best place for you and your entire family in one spot.

If you ever want to check out Longmont CO real estate for sale, it’s easy to Search Colorado real estate at Automated Homefinder.


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Will A 5-Day Delivery Schedule Save The U.S. Postal Service?

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

According to the U.S. Postal Service, they will lose $23 billion a year for the next ten years if something doesn’t happen right away.

Since its inception 235 years ago, the USPS has not only delivered the mail, but profits as well. Not so much anymore; in 2008 the USPS agency began to lose money for the first time in their history.

By the end of this fiscal year, the U.S. Postal Service will have lost an additional $7 billion, and will owe the U.S. Government $13.8 billion. By the year 2020, the USPS will have lost an astonishing 238 billion dollars.

But the Postal Service has a plan to save itself – a plan that cost them $5 billion to develop.

The plan, believe it or not, is to simply stop delivering mail on Saturdays.

The U.S. Postal Service says that by delivering mail only five days a week, they will save an estimated $3.5 billion a year. The Postal Regulatory Commission however thinks the savings will be more like $1.9 billion. But either way, the money saved isn’t nearly the amount the agency is projected to lose.

The PRC will likely take six to nine months to crunch the numbers. If it approves the plan, the issue goes to Congress, which has been circling the growing fiscal crisis of the post office for nine years now, ever since the Government Accountability Office placed it on a “high-risk list.” For the last several years, Postmaster General John Potter, who makes $845,000 a year and has struggled to bring the agency into the 21st century in his nine years on the job, has asked Congress for a number of fiscal fixes. In 2003, Congress reduced the Postal Service’s pension costs by about $9 billion. In 2006, it relieved the agency of $27 billion in pension obligations to employees with military service. And last year, Congress cut the agency’s annual retiree health benefits by $4 billion. With each fix came a promise of “fiscal solvency” from Potter, so to say that Congress is losing patience with the Postal Service is an understatement. Even if the House and Senate do pass the plan to cut Saturday delivery, it’ll be a miracle if that happens before the plan is set to go into effect in 2011. In the meantime, the Postal Service will just keep losing money and probably raising postage rates, which it has done eight times since 1999.

Full Article Lost in the Mail By Matthew Philips, Newsweek

So what do you think? Will a 5-day delivery schedule save the day?


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Bank of America Corp. Cutting More Loan Balances

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

In an attempt to avoid more foreclosures, the Bank of America Corporation said it will be offering more borrowers reductions in their mortgage-loan balances.

This move enhances an agreement Bank of America reached 18 months ago with state attorney generals and is the mortgage industry’s boldest move yet in addressing the dilemma facing millions of homeowners across the country who owe more on their house than it’s currently worth.

The relief is available only to those Bank of America customers who are at least 60 days overdue on payments, whose loan balance is at least 120% of the estimated home value, can prove a financial hardship is preventing them from affording payments. The bank is estimating that 45,000 customers will qualify for the program.

Reductions of as much as 30% in loan principal will be offered to struggling borrowers who have subprime or so-called option adjustable-rate mortgages, known as option ARMs. (Option ARMs, no longer available, allow borrowers to start with minimal monthly payments and face steep increases later.) Also included will be certain loans that have a fixed interest rate for the first two years before starting to adjust annually.

…banks are finding that many deeply underwater borrowers aren’t willing to keep making even reduced payments because they believe they have little hope of ever having equity in their homes and would be better off renting and perhaps buying a cheaper home later. The Bank of America program is aimed to give such borrowers more hope by reducing their loan balances to current estimated home values.

Full Article Bank of America to Cut More Loan Balances By James R. Hagerty, Wall Street Journal


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Understanding The Federal Housing Tax Credit

Monday, November 16th, 2009

The $8,000 First Time Home Buyers tax credit has been extended – and expanded – the Government is now offering a $6,500 credit to repeat buyers.

I know a lot of people are confused about the details, so here’s a little help in understanding all the ins and outs of the Federal Housing Tax Credit.

For complete information and answers to your questions visit FederalHousingTaxCredit.com

$8,000 First-time Home Buyer Tax Credit at a Glance

  • The $8,000 tax credit is for first-time home buyers only. For the tax credit program, the IRS defines a first-time home buyer as someone who has not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase.
  • The tax credit does not have to be repaid.
  • The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the home’s purchase price up to a maximum of $8,000.
  • The tax credit applies only to homes priced at $800,000 or less.
  • The tax credit now applies to sales occurring on or after January 1, 2009 and on or before April 30, 2010. However, in cases where a binding sales contract is signed by April 30, 2010, a home purchase completed by June 30, 2010 will qualify.
  • For homes purchased on or after January 1, 2009 and on or before November 6, 2009, the income limits are $75,000 for single taxpayers and $150,000 for married couples filing jointly.
  • For homes purchased after November 6, 2009 and on or before April 30, 2010, single taxpayers with incomes up to $125,000 and married couples with incomes up to $225,000 qualify for the full tax credit.

The $6,500 Move-Up / Repeat Home Buyer Tax Credit at a Glance

  • To be eligible to claim the tax credit, buyers must have owned and lived in their previous home for five consecutive years out of the last eight years.
  • The tax credit does not have to be repaid.
  • The tax credit is equal to 10 percent of the home’s purchase price up to a maximum of $6,500.
  • The tax credit applies only to homes priced at $800,000 or less.
  • The credit is available for homes purchased after November 6, 2009 and on or before April 30, 2010. However, in cases where a binding sales contract is signed by April 30, 2010, the home purchase qualifies provided it is completed by June 30, 2010.
  • Single taxpayers with incomes up to $125,000 and married couples with incomes up to $225,000 qualify for the full tax credit.

federal housing tax credit