Most homeowners believe a home inspection from time to time is a necessity to avoid home maintenance problems and save money. About two-thirds of homeowners surveyed said a home inspection helped them avoid potential problems and saved money in the long run because the inspection uncovered minor issues that were easily remedied.
Many believe, however, that a home inspection reviews all things in and outside the home. Unfortunately, that is not true. A standard home inspectors checks for visual and mechanical defects, but does not do invasive or destructive testing. So, items like septic systems, electrical wiring, plumbing behind drywall and swimming pools are not included in a standard home inspection. If you need a septic, pool, foundation or chimney inspection, you can order these independent of the home inspection. There are specific trades’ people for hire to perform these inspections.
Remember, it is a good idea to get your home inspected periodically, including a pest inspection. Do not wait until you are ready to sell. And for buyers, make sure to do inspections upfront so you know what to look out for while owning the home. I can help you in this area if you have any questions or concerns.
Did you know that according to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft has become the fastest growing crime in the United States? It’s estimated that almost 10 million people like you and me will have their identities stolen each year. That accounts to almost 30,000 identities stolen each day! I myself just had to cancel my credit card, YET AGAIN, because someone stole our number and began using it! It is amazing how easy it seems for people to steal one’s identity.
What is identity theft?
Identity theft is a crime that occurs when your personal information is stolen and used without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes. Stolen identity enables criminals to open credit lines, get driver’s licenses and other documents in your name. This can result in destroying your credit and cost you dearly in time and money to get your affairs straightened out. The average time to resolve cases of fraud was 21 hours in 2009.
Tips to Prevent Identity Theft:
1. Protect your Social Security number. Memorize it and then put it away in a safe place.
2. Shred any and all personal documents. Buy and inexpensive shredder and shred anything you discard that contains personal information. This includes items such as financial records, pre-approved credit offers, ATM receipts, and medical statements.
3. Require photo ID verification. Rather than signing the back of your credit cards, write “See Photo ID”. This will give you a little extra security of having to have your picture match the name on the credit card.
4. Watch for shoulder-surfers. When entering a PIN number, be aware of who is nearby and peering over your shoulder.
5. Select strong and unique passwords. Password protect all of your accounts with a combination of letters and numbers. If you make up a word or phrase that does not exist in reality, then your password is much stronger.
6. Be internet savvy – Be on guard. Never give out personal information or account numbers over the phone, the internet or through the mail unless you know for certain whom you are dealing with.
7. Inspect your credit report annually. Running your credit report on an annualized basis will not affect your credit…be safe rather than sorry.
8. Know your payment cycles. Call if your statements are late; identity thieves could have requested a change of address.
9. Secure your computer. Be sure your anti-spyware/anti-virus software programs are up to date.
10. For more information, please visit http://www.ftc.gov
Now that summer vacation is upon us, looking for something to do? How about a trip to a local animal park or zoo. Here are some good ones.
SAN FRANCISCO ZOO: San Francisco; Feeding time for the grizzlies and penguins is great fun; or try the carousel and steam train. (415)753-7080, www.sfzoo.org.
FOLSOM CITY ZOO SANCTUARY: Folsom, Calif.; Not a typical zoo; Includes rescued wild animals such as golden eagles, hawks, coyotes, cougars and even a feral cat. (916)351-3527, folsom.ca.us/depts/parks_n_recreation/zoo.
OAKLAND ZOO: Knowland Park, Oakland. Very family friendly with 660 native and exotic animals; open evenings durring the holidays with lighted pathways and holiday music. Train rides too. (510)632-9525, oaklandzoo.org.
SACRAMENTO ZOO: William Land Park, Sacramento. All the usual animals except elephants. River otters and reptile house are favorites. (916)808-5885, saczoo.org.
SAFARI WEST: Santa Rosa, CA. A fun safari ride in open vehicles with some 800 animals, including giraffes and cheetahs. (707)579-2551, safariwest.com.
Enjoy and have fun!