Flood Insurance Coverage; Do You Have It?

 

If hurricanes Irma and Harvey have taught us anything is the fact that natural disasters can occur quickly, and with disastrous consequences.  Hurricanes in the United States are commonplace, specially in Florida and the coastal regions of the country. 

With the hurricanes or heavy rains, flooding is a natural disaster that can occur to any of us.  Flooding can affect people in  every state, and is one of the most common natural disasters in the country.

As homeowners, we cannot control the occurrence of hurricanes, nor  predict the severity or the financial implications that come along with those disasters, but we can help our homes and our financial stability  by ensuring that we do have flood insurance for our homes.

If you have homeowners insurance, it does not mean you have flood insurance.  Make sure you buy it separately through your home insurance agent, so you know you are protected.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) one inch of water in your home can cost you more than $20,000 in damages, why risk not having flood insurance coverage?

For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


What Flood Insurance Does and Does Not Cover

Hurricanes Irma and Harvey puts renewed attention on the policies. Here’s what you need to know.

The devastation from Hurricane Irma is far from over, but property owners in Florida—as well as those who faced Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana—are already facing the daunting task of rebuilding.

Beyond the human tragedy, the widespread flood damage caused by the storm serves as an important reminder to homeowners in the region—and around the country—about what is covered by insurance and what you need to know about protecting yourself.

As most property owners know, homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage. But even in Florida, Texas and Louisiana—where many people live in coastal areas—only about 20 percent have flood insurance, according to a study by the Washington Post.


About 80% of Hurricane Harvey victims do not have flood insurance, face big bills

NEW YORK – Homeowners suffering flood damage from Harvey are more likely to be on the hook for losses than victims of prior storms — a potentially crushing blow to personal finances and neighborhoods along the Gulf Coast.

Insurance experts say only a small fraction of homeowners in Harvey’s path of destruction have flood insurance. That means families with flooded basements, soaked furniture and water-damaged walls will have to dig deep into their pockets or take on more debt to fix up their homes. Some may be forced to sell, if they can, and leave their communities.

All these people taken out in boats, they have a second problem: They have no insurance,” said Robert Hunter, director of insurance at the Consumer Federation of America.


What You Need To Know Before Buying A Home

Buying or selling a home? There are different reasons why people buy or sell homes.  If this is your first home, buying one seems like establishing ownership and perhaps equity in a home.  If this is not your first home, maybe upgrading to a bigger one seems like the thing to do.  Regardless of the reasons why you are thinking of buying a home, there are many pitfalls you have to be aware of before you commit the though to the actuality. 

Even if a home inspection is done, it does not mean you won’t encounter issues with the home you are buying.  Home issues that are undisclosed by the seller can be fought over in a court of law, but it is better to be prepared before you get to that point.

For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


How to determine if you have a case against a home seller over an inaccurate disclosure form

I have a question about disclosure. My sellers gave me a disclosure statement that said there were no defects in the home. After we moved in and took down some drywall we found big cracks in the basement foundation. We also found major dry rot.

We called our buyer’s agent and she went to the seller’s agent. Apparently, they gave us the wrong disclosure statement. The old disclosure statement in the file mentioned the cracks. We didn’t get any of that. Should the listing agent pay for repairs?

When we usually get these questions, there is lots of smoke but no smoking gun. In this case, it seems you just found one. A seller is supposed to be truthful when answering the disclosure statement for the buyer. The buyer is entitled to rely on that disclosure statement in buying a home. And, if a seller lies, the buyer is entitled to go after the seller for damages sustained because of an omission in the disclosure statement given to the buyer.


First-Time Homeowner Mistakes

When you own a home, repairs and improvements are inevitable, but keep in mind not every job is DIY. Before you head to the home improvement store, check out these common first-time homeowner mistakes.

Using Bleach for Everything

Bleach is a heavily corrosive material that can eat through sealant on stone surfaces like granite. It can discolor laminate and colored grout, fade enamel and acrylic tubs, and corrode seals within your disposal. It is the often the “go-to” for removing mold, and while it may be successful in some areas, it can actually feed mold growth on absorbent and porous materials, such as grout.

Good ole’ water and vinegar are really all you need for most household cleaning jobs. However, heftier mold or mildew issues, may require a commercial anti-fungal product.

Improper Caulking

Caulking seems like an easy enough job, but there are a million different products out there and choosing the right caulk is critical. The final choice depends on the project. Is it interior or exterior? Does it involve concrete, gutters, roof, moulding, windows, plumbing, etc.?


Yes, You Can Sell a Fixer-Upper As Is, but Should You?

So your home has foundation problems and you just got an estimate for fixing it. Ouch! Or maybe a leak in your roof has led to the discovery that the entire thing needs to be replaced. Or termites have been eating their way through the wood frame of your home, and you’re just now catching on. Whatever the calamity, you always have the option of selling your home even if it needs major repairs. But does it make more sense to sell your house  as is, or put big bucks toward a renovation?

Selling a fixer-upper—even without fixing the major issues

The good news is you can, in fact, sell a fixer-upper. (Let’s not forget where Chip and Joanna Gaines get those dumps to renovate on HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”!) Deciding to sell a home with foundation problems, for example, depends on your financial situation, your equity in the property, and the potential sale price for it, says David Long, a real estate agent with Ebby Halliday Realtors in Plano, TX.


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Home Improvements For The Fall

There are many home issues to keep mind when buying or remodeling  a home.  The biggest home tickets are the roof, a foundation stabilization problem, basement waterproofing and the installation of an Air condition and heating system.

A roof in need of repairs can be visible from the outside.  Loose shingles or other issues like water getting into some parts of your home are visible to you and do not need a home inspector to tell you that.  A new roof is an expensive project for the homeowner, but one that cannot be postponed.

For the foundation of your home, there are two types of foundation problems: cracks that are visible to you and can become a bigger issue if ignored.  And the  displacement from unstable soil, faulty construction, old concrete , tree roots that are too close to the foundation, or the foundation has been exposed to too much water through out the years and has deteriorated over time.  Some of the early signs that you have a problem with the stability of your home are: Uneven flooring, cracked tiles or windows, and windows and doors not closing properly.

Like the roof, a foundation repair can be costly.  And if you had problems with the foundation and ignored the issues, the problems likely got worse, and so will the price.  The roof and the foundation are issues that if ignored can be costly later on.  The damage will be more and the work and material needed to solve those issues are going to cost you more.

The air conditioning and heating system is an expensive addition  to any home, but the financing is almost always available through the same companies that offer you the system.  Nowadays, the refinancing for a heating and cooling systems is about three years.  After that, you only need to maintain the upkeep of the system. With a new system, it is only a yearly checkup for the AC and the furnace in the home .

You can follow the link below to read more about home repairs.


Home Improvement May Be More Affordable Than You Expect: 3 True Stories

Would you love to upgrade or repair your home? Is there a home improvement project you’ve had simmering on the back burner for ages … but never got around to because you assumed you couldn’t afford it? Well, think again. Home repair and upgrade may be more affordable than you thought. You just need to be a little flexible, do your homework, and find a contractor who’s right for you. Read 3 true stories of homeowners who discovered that high-quality home improvement didn’t have to bust their budget.

WE GOT THE “NEW DECK” LOOK WE WANTED AT A PRICE WE COULD AFFORD

When we bought our home a year ago, we really wanted to rip out the ugly old deck (which was splintered, with loose boards and peeling paint) and do brick pavers instead. However, we couldn’t afford everything on our “to-do” home repair list all at once.


 

Basement Waterproofing and Foundation Repair

According to the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness, peak tornado season for the state of Ohio is officially between the months of  April and July. It does not mean however that tornados won’t happen at any other time. In 2016, there were 24 tornados in Ohio and the severity of each was different. According to the Ohio weather safety page, the basement of your home is the safest place to be in case of a tornado warning. 

Extreme downpours or a few inches of rain can easily tell you whether you have a dry basement or not.  If there is a problem with the drainage of your home, the few inches of rain can find a way to the basement  and make the basement unlivable.

Finding a safe, comfortable place in case of a tornado warning becomes a bit unlikely if the basement has issues.  But, that is not the right reason to find a waterproofing company. If you have water in the basement of your home, the structural integrity of the home becomes an issue, and a huge liability if you ignore the problem.

There are many problems associated with a wet basement:

  • Structural damage to the home
  • Damage to the walls, floors and belongings stored in the basement
  • Respiratory Issues
  • unlivable wasted space
  • Mold and mildew
  • humidity that can affect the air quality of your home

Finding the right waterproofing company to take care of your basement issues is not difficult.  At Pioneer Basement Solutions, we have a long history in the community with great customer satisfaction.  We let our work and customers speak for our workmanship and professionalism. If you want to tackle the basement problem, contact us, we will be happy to work with you.


Inspecting Your Home For Damages

After a nice holiday break, how about making a through inspection of your home?  Many of the issues we have at home can be remedied right away with a through inspection of its surroundings. Water sitting around the foundation of your home because the drainage system in your home is faulty, can be remedied by cleaning the gutters, replacing them or fixing them if damaged, and making sure the water drains away from the foundation of your home.

Tree branches that are too long are okay if there is not wind during a storm, but you do not want them damaging windows, roof or siding during a storm.  Trimming all bushes that are growing too big around the foundation should be taken care of as well.

For more about this topic, follow the links below.


Waterproofing Basements

Learn how to spot a water problem in your basement, and get tips on how to resolve the issue before it causes serious damage to your home.
“Wet basement” is a phrase that strikes fear into the hearts of most homeowners. More than half of U.S. homes have this problem, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors. The most typical causes are condensation, runoff and groundwater swelling. Solutions depend on the cause of the problem and can range from using a dehumidifier to installing a perimeter drain system. If you notice dampness and a musty odor when you enter your basement, you may be experiencing the first signs and should make it a priority to combat the water before more serious damage occurs to your home.

Considerations

  • Never ignore a persistent musty smell.
  • Find out the cause of a wet basement before beginning any modifications to your home.
  • Seek professional advice before attempting to combat a groundwater swelling problem.

5 tips to keep your home safe from nature’s tricks

All it takes is one storm to cause damage to your home. You need to make certain your house is prepared to withstand rain, wind and other possible damage.

The following are five suggestions to keep your home safe from natural damages. These are simple tips to get your house on the path to safety.

  1. Keep surrounding trees healthy

Unfortunately, the same trees that give you shade during a sunny day can give you damage on a stormy one. Make sure your trees are healthy and appropriately pruned. You may want to consider removing the tree if it is dead or too close to the house without a good root system.

A little maintenance and upkeep now may save you from a tree or branch falling on your home later.

Remember to always be careful when trimming your trees. Better Homes and Gardens points out, “Trimming branches that threaten power lines avoids serious problems, but leave this task to the pros. Large dead or dangling branches should be removed, as well as branches that could interfere with vehicles or lawn mowers. Branches that contact the house on windy days should be cut before they cause damage.”


House Works: Drying basements with dimpled membrane and wet wood with fans

Dimpled Drainage Membrane Really Works

Q: Is dimpled drainage membrane worth putting around a basement wall? We’re installing weeping tiles this year to make a wet basement dry, but the contractor doesn’t want to use dimpled membrane. He says they only use it in southern areas because they put sand around basements. He wants to use gravel only. Does this make sense?

A: The short answer is “no”, this advice doesn’t make sense. It always amazes me how some contractors can latch onto ideas that have no merit in reality. They’ll usually say something like “I’ve been doing it this way for 25 years and never had a problem,” even though it’s difficult or impossible to thoroughly check previous jobs. The fact is, dimpled drainage membrane offers a huge advantage for keeping basements dry no matter where a person builds. I’ve seen it cure wet basements everywhere.


 

Home Issues You Should Not Ignore

According to research done by the MacArthur Foundation between 2012 and 2014, more than half-52%-of Americans have had to make sacrifices in order to pay their mortgage.

Recent research also shows that almost 12 million Americans spend more than half of their income on housing ,which according to many analysts, that is way too much. They believed you should spend 30% of your income on housing, and considering you need to put aside 1% of the buying price of your home for yearly maintenance, that is a big stretch for many families.

The 1% you need to  put aside for maintenance does not include home insurance, that is only for the upkeep of the house.  Some of the upkeep includes, but is not limited to these:

  1. Basement waterproofing
  2. Loose shingles on your roof or other major roofing problems
  3. Fixing and restoring the rain gutters in your home
  4. Basic yard and gardening upkeep
  5. Air conditioning and the Ventilation system in your home
  6. Siding that comes loose or needs replacing
  7. Critter Infestation? Do you need to replace vents, or siding due to squirrels or other critters in your home?
  8. Painting a room or two require many supplies. Budget for them. Basic painting keeps the house looking pretty and healthy.
  9. Installing a humidifier in your basement can save you money and some headaches down the road.  Buying a good quality one is the only way to go.
  10. Leaking faucets can damage the wood under the sinks, the floor and even the walls in your home.  Don’t ignore them even if they don’t seem to be leaking too much.  You would be surprised the amount of water it can waste in just a few days.

Every home is different and so are the people living in them.  The issues listed here may not seem a problem to you, while they can be huge catastrophes for others. This list is obviously a short version of the problems one may faced at home, the point is to try to take care of the problems as they occur.  Postponing them may be worse down the road, and more expensive.


Protecting Your Home

Flood Insurance is not included in your policy in most cases.  You need to verbally ask and be offered flood insurance by the Insurance company and go from there.  Insuring your home is not only advisable but extremely important.  It can be a financial catastrophe if a natural disaster occurs and you are unprepared to face the consequences.  If you are in an area where flooding is likable, make sure you have flood insurance to make sure your home is protected.

Structural home problems start with a leaky basement that is not taken care of and is left unattended.  Cracks on the wall and bowed walls are serious problems that can play havoc with the structure of your home.

Mold and mildew are dangerous pollutants in your home. Clean air becomes a luxury if you have a wet basement.  Water seeping into the basement of your home jeopardizes the stability of the foundation, making your home less valuable in the long run.

Basements have served many families as storage facilities for many years, but leaky basements can damage and ruin your belongings.  With flood insurance you can protect your personal belongings and replace them in case of a flooding.  Make sure you talk to your insurance agent and understand the type of insurance you need and for the quantity you need to insure your home and your belongings.

There is a minimum amount you need to insure your home, but it does not include your personal property.  Ask questions before you agree to sign anything.  Make sure you have enough insurance to be properly covered.

Nobody can protect themselves from natural disasters, but it does pay to be protected in case the need arises.  Don’t procrastinate and leave something as important as your home for another day.  If you have a basement or foundation problem, call today to make sure your home and your family are safe.


Home Improvement Checklist

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have programs that help people renovate and repair their homes with the assistance of the U.S. Government.  They received many complaints of contractors that do shoddy work, and because of the financing, these contractors believe they can do the shoddy work with impunity.

The Ohio Attorney General’s website provides a list to follow for all people living in Ohio that want or need to have home repairs.

The list includes among others:

  1. Checking the contractors references
  2. Not signing anything without making sure you have read everything carefully
  3. Not signing with the first contractor you talk to
  4. The contractor has shown you proof of Licenses, insurance, and bonding
  5. You have checked with the Better Business Bureau for the company’s credentrials

At Pioneer Basement Waterproofing, we pride ourselves with the work we do, the commitment to our community, and the customer satisfaction history we have worked for since 1979.  We are a locally owned and operated company that is fully licensed, bonded and insured for the protection of our customers. We treat our customers the same way we treat our friends and family; the way we want to be treated.

If you are thinking about a home repair or improvement, inform yourself before starting any big or small project.

To read more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


7 Explosive Ways to Increase Customer Satisfaction

Follow these seven strategies to keep customers coming back again and again.

Customer satisfaction is crucial for any business to succeed, but satisfying increasingly demanding consumers can become a challenge. Poor customer experience is a catalyst for customer churn, and the damage of one unhappy customer is the 9-15 people they will tell about their encounter. Customer satisfaction is priceless when acquiring new customers—a process that’s 4-5 times more expensive than maintaining an established customer base.

So, customer satisfaction is important, but what can businesses do to drive their customer satisfaction up and keep it there? Below are seven effective ways to improve your customer experience and increase customer satisfaction.

Respect Your Consumers

Just as a bad experience can have a dramatic effect on your business, so can a positive one. Word of mouth packs a punch in the buying world, so treat your customers with respect and watch your customer satisfaction flourish. The secret to building a loyal customer base is creating respectful experiences for your consumers to share with their friends and family.

It all sounds pretty straightforward. However, finding the right balance and approach to respectful interactions can be tricky for both you and your customer. Respect your customers by providing them with tools to help themselves. Ensuring that your consumers can easily access frequently asked questions and information about your product on your user-friendly site is one simple way to create a respectful customer experience.


5 major tips to measure Customer Satisfaction

When it comes to mobile app customers, there is no better friend and foe for a mobile app business, especially in the current market conditions. Earn the customer’s trust and they would be devoted to your brand but if you treat them poorly then the tables can turn towards you. In addition, the major issue is that only 5% of unhappy customers really express their discontents. And sometimes it might happen that some of them won’t even come back. So what can you really do to determine the satisfaction of your customers?

The most effective way to measure that is using feedback surveys and communicating directly with the customers. Being cautious regarding the customer experience and its influence on your business conversions is vital to the business’s success. Consider the following tips to measure the effectiveness of your app’s customer experience.

 


Do Your Customers Promote You?

Getting the right information about how satisfied your customers are with your services is the first step toward getting them to recommend you to others.

Few would argue that satisfying customers is a “must” if a company hopes to grow and prosper. Most companies even have some established means for measuring how satisfied customers are with their products and/or services, and they take these measures seriously. Too often, however, these internally developed measures do not provide a true picture of how satisfied customers really are. In fact, I would argue that many of the measures used by companies tend to skew results to be artificially favorable. This can lead to customer service complacency based on a mentality of “we haven’t heard otherwise, so things must be OK.”


Humidity In The Basement? Read This

Where is the humidity in your basement coming from:  There are a few reason as to the why, but the three main reasons are:

1. Ground water or rain water seeping into the basement

2. External air that enters the basement and condenses on cool surfaces

3. Leaks from pipes in your basement, bathrooms or leaky faucets that are constantly on.

How do you know you have too much humidity in your basement?

Having a humidifier in the basement of your home is a great solution to your humidity problems, but if you are collecting a gallon of water in the container of the humidifier every single day, then you may have other issues that are far more serious.  Sitting water around the foundation of you home and seeping to the basement of your home may be a reason why you have so much humidity in your basement.  Making sure water does not sit around the foundation of your home, could be the only solution you need. 

Providing a clear and an unobstructed path for the rain water to find a way far enough from the foundation of your home, is a solution that does not cost a lot of money and can solve a problem for your in the future.

What to do in case you need a waterproofing Company?

A Google search for a basement waterproofing company will give you about 896,000 results in about .82 seconds.  How do you  choose one?  I researched landscaping companies by doing a Google search once.  Their rating ( 5 stars, 4stars, etc…) were very good. When I tried to find them at the BBB online, some of them didn’t even exist even though they were rated as a 4 start company using other home improvement sites. They were either long gone, or their rating at the BBB was very bad.Be careful when choosing.  Not all home improvement sites have the same level of ratings for the companies that advertise there. Waterproofing companies, or landscaping companies that are listed on those sites should be checked thoroughly using the BBB, or asking those companies for testimonials that are not from family members or friends. And you should truly check those testimonials before committing to anything with a company. Don’t sign anything and do not advance huge quantities of money before the work begins.

Do you need to check a company using the BBB?

Then, here is a link for you to do so, but remember that is only the first step.  You need to talk to the people that will be doing the work at your home, and if you don’t feel “right” about them, choose another one with a good rating and begin the process again.

BBB – The Better Business Bureau Locator

BBB of Akron, Ohio  – It serves the counties of  Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit & Wayne Counties.


Home Safety Tips For The Holidays

christmas-tressThe fire statistics during the holiday season is not something to take lightly.  According to the American Red Cross, approximately 47,000 fires occur during the holiday season costing more than 500 lives, 2,200 injuries and more than $500 million in property damage.  A time of joy can be turned into a tragedy if we do not take the necessary steps to make our families safe. Christmas trees, Christmas lights, and candles used during the holiday season have to be used properly in order to reduce the possibility of a fire in your home. If you haven’t check your smoke detectors lately, it is imperative to do so now.  Having a working smoke detector decreases your chances of injury in case of a fire.

For more about this and other safety tips follow the links below.


IEMA highlights safety during the holidays

SPRINGFIELD – If you’re trying to find the perfect holiday gifts for everyone on your list, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) is offering ideas that will help your loved ones stay safe when disaster strikes.

IEMA is focusing on holiday safety throughout December as part of its annual preparedness campaign.

“As we saw with the flooding last December, disasters can happen at any time and without much warning,” said IEMA Director James Joseph. “Giving friends and loved ones items that will help them be better prepared for the unexpected shows how much you care about their safety.”

Joseph said preparedness gift ideas include the following:

-National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather alert radio with battery backup, a tone-alert feature and Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) technology. These radios provide warnings and critical post-event information for tornadoes and other severe weather, natural, environmental and public safety hazards.


10 SAFETY TIPS FOR PREVENTING HOLIDAY FIRES, KEEP YOUR HOME SAFE

WRONGLY USED LIGHTS OR OVERCHARGED EXTENSION CHORDS CAN CAUSE HOLIDAY FIRES.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, especially since people have started taking out their holiday decorations. While the whole holiday vibe is warming our hearts, firefighters are advising caution as during the holiday season the number of electrical fires, or holiday fires, goes through the roof.

There are a few easy tricks that will help you keep you and your family safe during this holiday season. A simple feat as knowing the difference between indoor and outdoor lights can protect you from a possible fiery disaster.

Firefighters say that the most frequent fires start because people use indoor lights to decorate the outside of the house. Manufacturers usually mention on the box if the lights can be used outdoors as well as indoors. However, if the information is not on the packed, just check the UL code. If the code is red, then the lights can be safely used outside if it is green, the lights are meant for indoor use only.


Kitchen safety: How to keep your family safe during the holidays

It’s the scene in a Rockwell painting: The family is over for Thanksgiving and the house is crawling with rug rats. Friends, family and food create a heartfelt and festive environment — a shield of warmth against the shivering temperatures outside.

But with the bustle of bodies come potential dangers. So many bodies in the kitchen can create conditions that don’t happen the rest of the year, and children often want to be where everyone else is: right around the stove.

Nobody wants to spend the last half of the holidays in the hospital, caring for the child with burns all over his body. No parent wants to even imagine little Johnny pulling the oven door down, stepping up, and causing burning grease to spill.

If you prefer to keep your family safely cocooned inside your home for the holidays, here are just a few tips to help you do just that.