Archive for the ‘Homeowners’ Category

Up In Smoke? Chimney Maintenance

June is a good time for chimney maintenance. In recent years more than 23,600 residential fires annually are related to solid fuel appliances and equipment. An additional 5,500 fires or so are attributed to chimneys and chimney connectors serving heating systems burning liquid and other fuels. Hundreds of people die or are injured, and property losses total about $200 million annually. Generally, North American homeowners are unaware that chimneys are an integral part of a home heating system and that they require regular evaluation and maintenance. They seem to have little working knowledge of chimney and venting systems. Homeowners who would quickly replace a faulty and dangerous automobile exhaust system allow their home’s exhaust system, the chimney or vent, to go years without checks or maintenance. The threat of chimney fires and unsafe indoor air quality can be greatly reduced if these systems receive regular inspection and maintenance. See our article for more details.

Check Ceiling Fan Rotation Direction

Most fan blades can be reversed for summer/winter settings so that cool air flows down in the summer and warm air is propelled up in the winter. Some fans use an electric switch to reverse the direction of rotation (typically on the outside of the motor housing) and some require that you reverse the blades by unscrewing and remounting them. Observe the fan while it’s running. In summer, the leading edge of the blades (the part that goes around first) should be higher than the trailing edge (the part that rotates last). When set correctly for summer, you can stand beneath the fan and feel the breeze. This should allow you to adjust your thermostat higher (or set the air conditioning lower), saving fuel while enjoying the cooling effect. Reverse for winter so that the airstream flows upwards.

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Consider Gutter Guards

If your gutters fill up frequently with debris, you might want to investigate installing gutter guards (or screens, filters or covers) to reduce-perhaps eliminate-cleaning. There’s a wide variety, made from various metals or synthetics. Costs vary from around 60 cents per foot to $7 per foot, plus installation (the average house has roughly 200 feet of gutters), which means you could pay up to $1,500 for materials alone. You could hire someone to clean the gutters (at around $75 each time) for many years for that amount. And, while gutter protection is aggressively marketed, systems vary in effectiveness. Check claims by searching product names on the Internet, and get three or more references from customers who’ve used the product for several years. Then, call and interview each company.B

Created by Grail Media, LLC
For information visit www.homehintsenews.com

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Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to refinance!
Take advantage of the recent dip in interest rates and put more cash in your

pocket by reducing those monthly mortgage payments. Saving you money is a priority,

 so let us help you be part of this good news!
                    30 Year Fixed                                    15 Year Fixed

Note Rate: 4.875% with no points                  4.375% with no points

APR:          4.932%                                            4.472%

**Rates subject to FICO score, loan to value and loan purpose.  Based on a loan amount of $300,000, 80% or less loan to value. Rates are subject to change daily. This information is provided as an estimate to assist you in your financial decision


Mark J. Mohamed
Senior Executive Vice President
Drew Mortgage Associates
Phone: (508) 421-8116
Fax: (508) 756-3957

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Watch this informative video to see what is happening in the Real Estate Market as well as great tips on buying and selling real estate.


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Whenever a home is sold in Massachusetts, it is required that the home is inspected by the local fire department for properly working smoke detectors, as well as carbon monoxide detectors. Massachusetts has had their smoke detector law in place for decades and is designed to save lives. A property can not change hands without a certificate issued by the local fire department.

One of the 1st things I always do when meeting with a perspective home seller is to educate them on all the laws they will need to know about in selling their home. The smoke and carbon monoxide detector by-laws are very important along with the Massachusetts Title V Septic law if the home does not have public sewer.

Effective April 5, 2010, a new regulation relating to the installation and maintenance of certain smoke detectors will be put in place. Staying up to speed on a change in the law like this is critical for landlords, home owners and Realtors alike.
It goes without saying that it is imperative that home owners ensure that their properties comply with these laws, both from a public safety and liability stand point. In order to know exactly how your property could be impacted it would be prudent to speak with the local fire Marshall or a lawyer that is well versed in this new amendment.

There are two primary detection methods used in todays smoke detectors. They can be either ionization or photoelectric.

Ionization detectors typically have a constant current running between two electrodes. When smoke hits the device, it blocks the current which causes the alarm to trip.

Ionization detectors are usually faster to go off than photoelectric detectors. The problem with ionization detectors though is that they are unable to differentiate between smoke and steam.

This makes them prone to false alarms when steam from a shower or other source interrupts the current. This is especially true when the ionization detector is placed near a kitchen or bathroom.

Photoelectric detectors send a beam of light. This beam passes in front of the detector in a straight line. When smoke crosses the path of the light beam, some light is scattered by the smoke particles causing it to trigger the alarm. Photoelectric detectors are less sensitive to false alarms from steam or cooking fumes but can take longer than ionization detectors to work.

Another major concern was that ionization detectors do not offer the best protection in smoldering fires which are some of the deadliest blazes across the country. Photoelectric smoke alarms are more sensitive to smoldering smokey fires. Most of the homes across the country have ionization detectors which are more sensitive to flames.

In 2007, WBZ News in Boston tested both types of smoke alarms. In a smoky fire the photoelectric detector sounded the warning first. While took almost 17 minutes into the fire before the ionization alarm finally went off!

The debate in Massachusetts has been whether to require property owners to replace their ionization detectors with photoelectric detectors.

Home owners have raised concerns about the cost of replacing smoke detectors that still function properly. Fire departments have suggested that the elimination of false alarms outweighs the additional expense that home owners will need to deal with.

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Pending Home Sales Rise 21.1%:

Pending sales of previously owned homes from March of 2009 to March of 2010 rose 21.1%, showing continued strength in the housing market.

The National Association of Realtors said its Pending Home Sales Index, which is based upon contracts signed in March, increased 5.3% on a monthly basis – building on the prior month’s revised rise of 8.3%.

It is clear that we have seen a steady increase in housing demand. Now is the time to start to seriously consider buying now before prices start to accelerate.

Payrolls Increase Again:

The Labor Department reported that Non-Farm Payrolls increased by 290,000. This is the second consecutive week where our economy has added jobs. Plus, they revised March’s numbers from 162,000 all the way up to 230,000.

Hiring for the census accounted for 66,000 of the new jobs. If you subtract the jobs added by the federal government, we can see that the private sector accounted for 224,000 new jobs. This shows that our economy is adding jobs. This is the largest increase since March of 2006. This is very important because housing is not about location, location, location. It is about jobs, jobs, and jobs!

What Happened to Rates Last Week:

Mortgage backed securities (MBS) gained +81 basis points last week which caused 30 year fixed rates to decrease for both government and conventional loans to their best levels since March. MBS pricing increased (which causes mortgage rates to go down) due primarily to Greece. Yes, Greece. With concern about their looming default on their sovereign debt and the subsequent “domino affect” all across Europe, money flew into U.S. treasuries and MBS. This artificial (and temporary) demand helped to push mortgage rates down.

What to Watch Out For This Week:

The following are the major economic reports that will hit the market this week. They each have the ability to affect the pricing of Mortgage Backed Securities and therefore, interest rates for Government and Conventional mortgages. I will be watching these reports closely for you and let you know if there are any big surprises:

11-May 10:00
March Wholesale Inventories

12-May 8:30
March Trade Balance

12-May 10:30
Crude Inventories

12-May 14:00
April Treasury Budget

Continuing Claims

Initial Claims

April Export Prices ex-ag.

April Import Prices ex-oil

April Retail Sales

April Retail Sales ex-auto

April Capacity Utilization

April Industrial Production

Mich Sentiment

Business Inventories

Drew Mortgage Associates

Brought to you by:

Mark J. Mohamed
Senior Executive
Vice President
Office: (508) 421-8116
196 Boston Turnpike Road
Shrewsbury, MA 01545
Licensed Loan
Originator # 18342
Drew License # MC0020
Drew NLMS #2856
Licensed by NH Banking Department

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From the Metro West News

— Jim Hillibish, Wicked Local Staff

I heard the other day that the airport got a trace of rain. Who lives at the airport?

At the same time, we had a cloudburst in my neighborhood. This points to an embarrassing problem. Weather bureau stats on rain are often useless. The same storm will dump different amounts as it rolls past.

Many of our summer storms are very local, meaning we could get rain and a mile or so away the sun is shining.

So who cares about the rain? If you have a garden or lawn, you need to know how much rain has fallen. This can save you a money on your water bill, keep you from wasting water, and you’ll know exactly when you need to water and how much.

We need an inch of rain a week to keep plants green and healthy. If Ma Nature doesn’t provide it, we’ll have to make up for it ourselves with the sprinkling can or hose.

Water bills are getting higher, so measuring irrigation makes sense. In some cities, your water bill determines your sewer bill. The bureaucrats rationalize that what goes in must come out. Sprinkling your garden then sends your sewer bill up.

Measuring the rain in your backyard vastly improves accuracy. All it takes is a simple device properly installed.

Although rain gauges now come with lasers and digital output, the most accurate ones are the least expensive. These are called standard rain gauges. They consist of a tube with a funnel on top and a measurement scale in inches and millimeters clearly printed on the side.

You can find good ones for way less than $10, quickly recoverable in city water savings.

Situating the gauge is critical to its accuracy. The perfect location is on a fence post that is not under a tree or near a roof. Both drip excess water and will skew your measurement.

The gauge must be level. Handy ones have a cap on the bottom for easy cleaning. That is important as the tube will grow green stuff over time.

Some of the latest gauges do double duty as a rain and sprinkler device. A sprinkler gauge is mounted on a spike for easy movement. The same rules apply for accurate measurements.

Taylor makes a glass gauge with an adjustable aluminum holder for a post and a spike for sprinkling at $4.29. The Timex plastic gauge has all that and a magnified dial visible at a distance, $2.99. Timex also bundles separate rain and sprinkler gauges at $4.99.

Starting around $20, you can automate the chore. The P3 gauge has a digital readout and counts rain by the hour, day, week and month. This allows it to be self-emptying. For less than $40, you can add wireless readout and never have to visit the gauge. Some models include temperature.

Jim Hillibish writes for The Repository in Canton, Ohio. Contact him at jim.hillibish@cantonrep.com

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