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Quit Smoking Effectively With These 5 Tips

Refuse Smoking
Deciding that you are now ready to quit smoking is only half the battle. Knowing where to start on your path to becoming smoke-free can help you to take the leap. We have put together some effective ways for you to stop smoking today.
Quitting smoking can be tough, but we have put together some steps that may help you along the way.

Tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke are responsible for more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States, according to the American Lung Association.

Most people are aware of the numerous health risks that arise from cigarette smoking and yet, “tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and disease” in the U.S.

Quitting smoking is not a single event that happens on one day; it is a journey. By quitting, you will improve your health and the quality and duration of your life, as well as the lives of those around you.

To quit smoking, you not only need to alter your behavior and cope with the withdrawal symptoms experienced from cutting out nicotine, but you also need to find other ways to manage your moods.

With the right game plan, you can break free from nicotine addiction and kick the habit for good. Here are five ways to tackle smoking cessation.

1. Prepare for quit day

Once you have decided to stop smoking, you are ready to set a quit date. Pick a day that is not too far in the future (so that you do not change your mind), but which gives you enough time to prepare.

There are several ways to stop smoking, but ultimately, you need to decide whether you are going to:

Research that compared abrupt quitting with reducing smoking found that neither produced superior quit rates over the other, so choose the method that best suits you.

Here are some tips recommended by the American Cancer Society to help you to prepare for your quit date:

  • Tell friends, family, and co-workers about your quit date.
  • Throw away all cigarettes and ashtrays.
  • Decide whether you are going to go “cold turkey” or use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or other medicines.
  • If you plan to attend a stop-smoking group, sign up now.
  • Stock up on oral substitutes, such as hard candy, sugarless gum, carrot sticks, coffee stirrers, straws, and toothpicks.
  • Set up a support system, such as a family member that has successfully quit and is happy to help you.
  • Ask friends and family who smoke to not smoke around you.
  • If you have tried to quit before, think about what worked and what did not.

Daily activities – such as getting up in the morning, finishing a meal, and taking a coffee break – can often trigger your urge to smoke a cigarette. But breaking the association between the trigger and smoking is a good way to help you to fight the urge to smoke.

On your quit day:

You will almost certainly feel the urge to smoke many times during your quit day, but it will pass. The following actions may help you to battle the urge to smoke:

  • Delay until the craving passes. The urge to smoke often comes and goes within 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Deep breathe. Breathe in slowly through your nose for a count of three and exhale through your mouth for a count of three. Visualize your lungs filling with fresh air.
  • Drink water sip by sip to beat the craving.
  • Do something else to distract yourself. Perhaps go for a walk.

Remembering the four Ds can often help you to move beyond your urge to light up.

2. Use NRTs

Going cold turkey, or quitting smoking without the help of NRT, medication, or therapy, is a popular way to give up smoking. However, only around 6 percent of these quit attempts are successful. It is easy to underestimate how powerful nicotine dependence really is.

NRTs can help you to fight the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking.

NRT can reduce the cravings and withdrawal symptoms you experience that may hinder your attempt to give up smoking. NRTs are designed to wean your body off cigarettes and supply you with a controlled dose of nicotine while sparing you from exposure to other chemicals found in tobacco.

The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved five types of NRT:

  • skin patches
  • chewing gum
  • lozenges
  • nasal spray (prescription only)
  • inhaler (prescription only)

If you have decided to go down the NRT route, discuss your dose with a healthcare professional before you quit smoking. Remember that while you will be more likely to quit smoking using NRT, the goal is to end your addiction to nicotine altogether, and not just to quit tobacco.

Contact your healthcare professional if you experience dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, fast or irregular heartbeat, mouth problems, or skin swelling while using these products.

3. Consider non-nicotine medications

The FDA has approved two non-nicotine-containing drugs to help smokers quit. These are bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix).

Bupropion and varenicline are non-nicotine medications that may help to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you feel that you would like to try one of these to help you to stop smoking, as you will need a prescription.

Bupropion acts on chemicals in the brain that plays a role in nicotine craving and reduces cravings and symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Bupropion is taken in tablet form for 12 weeks, but if you have successfully quit smoking in that time, you can use it for a further 3 to 6 months to reduce the risk of smoking relapse.

Varenicline interferes with the nicotine receptors in the brain, which results in reducing the pleasure that you get from tobacco use, and decreases nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Varenicline is used for 12 weeks, but again, if you have successfully kicked the habit, then you can use the drug for another 12 weeks to reduce smoking relapse risk.

Risks involved with using these drugs include behavioral changes, depressed mood, aggression, hostility, and suicidal thoughts or actions.

4. Seek behavioral support

The emotional and physical dependence you have on smoking makes it challenging to stay away from nicotine after your quit day. To quit, you need to tackle this dependence. Trying counseling services, self-help materials, and support services can help you to get through this time. As your physical symptoms get better over time, so will your emotional ones.

Individual counseling or support groups can improve your chances of long-term smoking cessation.

Combining medication – such as NRT, bupropion, and varenicline – with behavioral support has been demonstrated to increase the chances of long-term smoking cessation by up to 25 percent.

Behavioral support can range from written information and advice to group therapy or individual counseling in person, by phone, or online. Self-help materials likely increase quit rates compared with no support at all, but overall, individual counseling is the most effective behavioral support method.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) provides help to anyone who wants to stop smoking through their support services:

  • smoking helpline: 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848)
  • local and state quitlines: 1- 800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
  • LiveHelp online chat
  • Smokefree website
  • SmokefreeTXT text messaging service
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram

Support groups, such as Nicotine Anonymous (NicA), can prove useful too. NicA applies the 12-step process of Alcoholics Anonymous to tobacco addiction. You can find your nearest NicA group using their website or by calling 1-877-TRY-NICA (1-877-879-6422).

5. Try alternative therapies

Some people find alternative therapies useful to help them to quit smoking, but there is currently no strong evidence that any of these will improve your chances of becoming smoke-free, and, in some cases, these methods may actually cause the person to smoke more.

Some alternative methods to help you to stop smoking might include:

E-cigarettes have had some promising research results in helping with smoking cessation.

  • filters
  • smoking deterrents
  • electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes)
  • tobacco strips and sticks
  • nicotine drinks, lollipops, straws, and lip balms
  • hypnosis
  • acupuncture
  • magnet therapy
  • cold laser therapy
  • herbs and supplements
  • yoga, mindfulness, and meditation

E-cigarettes

E-cigarettes are not supposed to be sold as a quit smoking aid, but many people who smoke view them as a method to give up the habit.

E-cigarettes are a hot research topic at the moment. Studies have found that e-cigarettes are less addictive than cigarettes, that the rise in e-cigarette use has been linked with a significant increase in smoking cessation, and that established smokers who use e-cigarettes daily are more likely to quit smoking than people who have not tried e-cigarettes.

The gains from using e-cigarettes may not be risk-free. Studies have suggested that e-cigarettes are potentially as harmful as tobacco cigarettes in causing DNA damage and are linked to an increase in arterial stiffness, blood pressure, and heart rate.

Quitting smoking requires planning and commitment – not luck. Decide on a personal plan to stop tobacco use and make a commitment to stick to it.

Weigh up all your options and decide whether you are going to join a quit-smoking class, call a quitline, go to a support meeting, seek online support or self-help guidance, or use NRTs or medications. A combination of two or more of these methods will improve your chances of becoming smoke-free.

In addition to trying out these steps, you could check out our selection of the best apps for quitting smoking.

 

Blog Source: Medical News Today | Five ways to quit smoking

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Tips to guarantee you’ll get your payment

One of the most well-loved lines in cinematic history is from the film Jerry Maguire. Picture the scene. Cuba Gooding Jr insists his agent, played by Tom Cruise, repeats the phrase “Show me the money” over and over, at the top of his voice.

We are not suggesting you need to do the same for your customers. But here we have some sound financial advice for businesses. After all, until you receive money from a sale then you are at risk of late or non-payment, making it tough for you to manage cash flow.

Evolving attitudes to making payments

How we shop and make a payment has dramatically changed in recent years. As a consumer, there are now so many ways we can pay for goods and services. Greater choice for the consumer is a double edged sword – it can be hard for a business to know which method of collecting payments is best.

The growth of the subscription economy with Netflix style monthly payments is an indicator of how consumer attitudes to making regular, lower value payments has changed. It is designed to keep customers engaged in long-term relationships and is built on experiences with a brand. Under this model, paying monthly via Direct Debit is convenient, simple and reliable – for both the consumer and the business owner.

However, in the business to the business world, many companies, especially larger ones, see paying late as being absolutely normal. In fact, according to a recent survey[1] 44% of large companies are consciously paying their suppliers late to protect their own cash flow.

This trend can hold back your growth and expansion, cause problems with paying your own suppliers and staff, and even threaten business survival when cash flow is tight.

Some companies are really bad at chasing outstanding invoices. Sometimes it is because business owners don’t like confrontation, or they are apprehensive about potentially damaging the customer relationship.

Monitoring your financial position

Understanding your financial position is an essential discipline and one that many business owners spend considerable time on. It is not surprising that cash visibility and forecasting is seen as the number one priority for small businesses[2].

If you have multiple bank accounts or trade in different currencies it can be challenging to maintain clear visibility over your true financial position. The introduction of Open Banking and the ability to pull in statements and balances from different financial providers in once place, is an opportunity to gain much needed improved visibility.

Financial ratios such as profitability and cash flow are established methods of monitoring and assessing how your business is performing. Carry out regular monthly or quarterly reporting. This will allow you to track income and expenditure against budgeted forecasts. That way, you can keep an eye on your revenue, expenses, and profits.

Clear financial projections

Good financial control is the cornerstone of a successful business. Managing every penny carefully and using your own funds wisely is essential to maximizing your working capital and cash flow. Start with financial projections and look at different scenarios, e.g. how would you cope if you started running out of cash or your biggest customer went out of business without paying you?

Your business plan should include a sales forecast, expenses budget, cash flow statement, balance sheet, and a profit and loss statement. It can tell you how much investment you will need to make in order to achieve your sales and growth goals.

Financial projections and business plans are really important when you are talking to prospective investors or the bank. It shows a degree of experience and forwards planning. Look ahead a maximum of three years in your plans as it is hard to predict further into the future.

Collecting payments

There are numerous ways of collecting payments. Choosing which one is suitable for your business will depend on your particular circumstances:

  • Payment by invoice allows you to extend credit terms to your customers (e.g. 7/30/60 days). They are simple and convenient to implement but many businesses suffer from regular late payments and chasing them up can be time-consuming.
  • Standing orders are automated payments where a customer has authorised fixed sums to be paid to you at regular intervals
  • Direct Debits are also automated but are organized by a business to debit a variable amount from a customer as payments become due as long as prior notice is given
  • Faster Payments are immediate payments (subject to bank’s fraud checks) and suited to urgent but low-value payments or supplier payments, payroll runs and staff expenses
  • Continuous payment authority from credit or debit cards, gives businesses the ability to debit money from a customer whenever a payment is owed (Note: they are not the same as Direct Debit and have attracted a fair amount of negative press in recent times)

Growth of Direct Debit collections

Some companies are really bad at chasing outstanding invoices. Sometimes it is because business owners don’t like confrontation, or they are apprehensive about potentially damaging the customer relationship. Or maybe they are too busy focusing on making sales and don’t have the resources for a credit management team to do this.

That’s why more and more businesses are turning onto the benefits of Direct Debits. For consumers, Direct Debit is the UK’s most popular method of making payments with the attraction of offering a money back guarantee.

For businesses, the benefits include a more predictable and stable source of income, a lower risk of payment default and failure, and with efficient automated technology, it can be both low cost and require the little resource to administer and maintain.

Become more efficient at managing cash flow

Busy business owners are often time poor. That’s why you should seize any opportunity to run an efficient and lean operation. Automated technology can help you to achieve this goal.

By eliminating paperwork and manual effort, organizations can reduce the time required to complete many common tasks such as sending invoices, taking payments and reconciling the two. The earlier you can identify unpaid items or unreconciled payments, the quicker you can resolve them.

Managing your payments in an automated fashion can also have a positive impact on your cash flow and give you back time to focus on growing your business.

Don’t jeopardize customer relationships

Maintaining regular cash flow is critical. There is a degree of trust in providing credit terms to any customer. But there are many reasons why you might not be paid on time. The law is on your side if you want to charge interest on late commercial payments but many businesses are understandably not keen to jeopardize the customer relationship.

Deliver fabulous service to them. But whatever you do, don’t let them take you for a ride when it comes to paying up.

Sadly, there is a list of excuses as long as your arm for non-payment: The invoice missed the payment run. The cheque signatories are not in the office. The invoice never arrived. We entered the wrong payment details. The cheque is in the post, etc, etc.

Customers are the lifeblood of your organisation. Nurture them. Cherish them. Deliver fabulous service to them. But whatever you do, don’t let them take you for a ride when it comes to paying up. You might want to treat good customers differently perhaps by offering early payment discounts or other advantageous payment terms.

Preventing and dealing with late payment

Although it does cost money, consider carrying out credit checks before you take on a new customer and extend a line of credit. A poor credit score is a good indicator of future potential problems and could help you work out whether to avoid a particular customer.

Have a proactive plan for dealing with late payers. It is worth distinguishing between those customers with valid reasons for not paying, such as temporary financial issues. Maybe you can offer to spread payments out so that you keep the customer and reduce the risk of not receiving full value from a sale.

Zero in on those customers that are habitual late payers. Start with regular email reminders that the invoice is due in 21/14/7 days etc. This can all be automated. Consider offering a ‘pay now’ option for immediate payment. It can be very compelling if a customer is telling you on the phone that they want to pay and you send them a link in real time that they can click on to make a secure card payment.

Show me the money

Be firm, persistent and polite. If you find it personally difficult to chase money, ask your accountant or bookkeeper to contact late payers. If you don’t have someone you can call upon, simply create a new email address in a fictitious name such as Fred Bloggs, and tell people they are your credit controller. You can then separate yourself from the act of chasing for payment.

 

Blog Source: Bottomline | Show me the money: a guide to getting paid

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Caring for Your Vagina On A Daily Basis

When it comes to taking care of your vagina, the first thing you should know is that “vagina” only refers to the vaginal canal. The lips, mons pubis, clitoris, etc. are all a part of the vulva. If you’re going to have healthy, happy ladybits, you should know the proper names.

When it comes to vaginal health, myths have sprouted from left to right. There are promises of vaginal tightening through surgery (gag), scented soaps, washes, and tampons aimed to “freshen” your nether regions. All of this is nonsense.

Here is what you need to know about taking care of your vagina and vulva on a daily basis.

Never use soap on your vulva or vagina

Soap is the enemy. When it comes to soap, it shouldn’t be anywhere near your vulva, let alone up inside your vagina. The vagina is self-cleaning. It doesn’t need to be soaped. Rinse the entire vulva with warm water and you should be good to go. Remember, it’s a vagina. It smells like a vagina. If it smelled like a rose, it would be a rose. OK?

And to that end, douching is also a big NOPE. Douching will throw off your pH balance and: A) Cause a yeast infection. B) Make your vagina even smellier.

If you must soap your pubes, use Dove original, and only on the very outside of the vulva. If you feel like your vagina smells fishy or just plain, uncontrollably dank, you might have an infection. You should book an appointment with your OB/GYN rather than shoving a bunch of water up there and saying a prayer.

Wear cotton underwear

Wearing the wrong kind of underwear is likely the number one culprit for a stinky vag. Your vulva has a delicate ecosystem that needs constant aeration to remain healthy. Cotton underwear is your safety net.

The lacey thongs might look cute, but if your smell is ripe (and not in the good, normal way) as a result, it kind of takes the sexy back, right? Plus, lace, latex, nylon, etc. can irritate your delicate vulva skin. And no one wants their vulva to be mad at them.

When you workout, be sure to strip out of your sweaty gym clothes ASAP. The moisture gathering around your vulva and the non-breathable nature of your latex workout pants is a yeast infection waiting to happen.

With summer coming up, now is the time to let you know that chilling in a wet bathing suit should also be avoided. Once you’re finished swimming, slip into a towel or your coverup.

Whenever possible, air out your lady bits. Sleeping naked is our personal favorite (and sexist) way to keep our vaginal health in check.

Do your Kegels

This is not some shame-y diatribe (lookin’ at you “vaginal rejuvenation”) wherein we tell you your vagina will get loose and no one will love you. What is true is that like all muscles in your body, you vaginal muscles need to be exercised in order to maintain optimal resilience.

It isn’t just about vaginal tightness; working your Kegels (aka: PC muscles) helps you avoid urinary incontinence (you know, when you sneeze-pee) and can even make your orgasms stronger.

Pop in some kegel balls and go about your day. They do the work for you. We love these from Lelo.

Stop shaving (or waxing) off all your pubic hair

As fun as those Brazilian waxes can be (shivers), they are not great for your vulva. We know, ripping the hair violently from your mons pubis and labia isn’t great for you. SHOCKING.

Waxing (and shaving!) all your pubic hair makes you more prone to infection. Your pubic hair was designed by nature to protect your vagina from bacteria and other irritants. You don’t have to go full bush if you don’t want to, but a landing strip (at least) is best for a healthy vagina.

Pee after sex

Always, always, always pee after sex. When you have penetrative intercourse, bacteria can build up in your urethra. Your vaginal canal and urethra are very close together. Once you’re finished having sex, go pee to clear out any lingering bacteria.

You don’t want to wind up with a UTI. That is not fun for anyone. You don’t have to run to the bathroom the minute you’re finished getting down. You can snuggle for a bit. Just be sure you do so within the hour.

Be nice to yourself and your vulva

This is the most froo-froo of them all, but it is VERY important. Your vulva is very aware of your mood. Many valvular disorders such as vaginismus and vulvodynia are believed to be rooted in the psychological. Trauma, shame, and self-effacement can contribute to pain during sex, a lack of orgasm, and lower self-esteem.

Be kind to your vulva. Take a hand mirror and check her out in all her glory. She’s unique and perfect just like you. All confidence is rooted in the body. Take some time to connect with your vulva rather than expending energy to change it.

Blog Source: Brides | How to Take Care of Your Vagina On A Daily Basis

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Learn what is a Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence — the loss of bladder control — is a common and often embarrassing problem. The severity ranges from occasionally leaking urine when you cough or sneeze to having an urge to urinate that’s so sudden and strong you don’t get to a toilet in time.

Though it occurs more often as people get older, urinary incontinence isn’t an inevitable consequence of aging. If urinary incontinence affects your daily activities, don’t hesitate to see your doctor. For most people, simple lifestyle changes or medical treatment can ease discomfort or stop urinary incontinence.

Symptoms

Many people experience occasional, minor leaks of urine. Others may lose small to moderate amounts of urine more frequently.

Types of urinary incontinence include:

  • Stress incontinence. Urine leaks when you exert pressure on your bladder by coughing, sneezing, laughing, exercising or lifting something heavy.
  • Urge incontinence. You have a sudden, intense urge to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of urine. You may need to urinate often, including throughout the night. Urge incontinence may be caused by a minor condition, such as infection, or a more severe condition such as a neurologic disorder or diabetes.
  • Overflow incontinence. You experience frequent or constant dribbling of urine due to a bladder that doesn’t empty completely.
  • Functional incontinence. A physical or mental impairment keeps you from making it to the toilet in time. For example, if you have severe arthritis, you may not be able to unbutton your pants quickly enough.
  • Mixed incontinence. You experience more than one type of urinary incontinence.

When to see a doctor

You may feel uncomfortable discussing incontinence with your doctor. But if incontinence is frequent or is affecting your quality of life, it’s important to seek medical advice because urinary incontinence may:

  • Indicate a more-serious underlying condition
  • Cause you to restrict your activities and limit your social interactions
  • Increase the risk of falls in older adults as they rush to the toilet

Causes

Urinary incontinence isn’t a disease, it’s a symptom. It can be caused by everyday habits, underlying medical conditions or physical problems. A thorough evaluation by your doctor can help determine what’s behind your incontinence.

Temporary urinary incontinence

Certain drinks, foods, and medications may act as diuretics — stimulating your bladder and increasing your volume of urine. They include:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Carbonated drinks and sparkling water
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Chocolate
  • Chili peppers
  • Foods that are high in spice, sugar or acid, especially citrus fruits
  • Heart and blood pressure medications, sedatives, and muscle relaxants
  • Large doses of vitamin C

Urinary incontinence may also be caused by an easily treatable medical condition, such as:

Persistent urinary incontinence

Urinary incontinence can also be a persistent condition caused by underlying physical problems or changes, including:

  • Pregnancy. Hormonal changes and the increased weight of the fetus can lead to stress incontinence.
  • Childbirth. Vaginal delivery can weaken muscles needed for bladder control and also damage bladder nerves and supportive tissue, leading to a dropped (prolapsed) pelvic floor. With prolapse, the bladder, uterus, rectum or small intestine can get pushed down from the usual position and protrude into the vagina. Such protrusions can be associated with incontinence.
  • Changes with age. Aging of the bladder muscle can decrease the bladder’s capacity to store urine. Also, involuntary bladder contractions become more frequent as you get older.
  • Menopause. After menopause women produce less estrogen, a hormone that helps keep the lining of the bladder and urethra healthy. Deterioration of these tissues can aggravate incontinence.
  • Hysterectomy. In women, the bladder and uterus are supported by many of the same muscles and ligaments. Any surgery that involves a woman’s reproductive system, including removal of the uterus, may damage the supporting pelvic floor muscles, which can lead to incontinence.
  • Enlarged prostate. Especially in older men, incontinence often stems from enlargement of the prostate gland, a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia.
  • Prostate cancer. In men, stress incontinence or urge incontinence can be associated with untreated prostate cancer. But more often, incontinence is a side effect of treatments for prostate cancer.
  • Obstruction. A tumor anywhere along your urinary tract can block the normal flow of urine, leading to overflow incontinence. Urinary stones — hard, stone-like masses that form in the bladder — sometimes cause urine leakage.
  • Neurological disorders. Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, a stroke, a brain tumor or a spinal injury can interfere with nerve signals involved in bladder control, causing urinary incontinence.

Risk factors

Factors that increase your risk of developing urinary incontinence include:

  • Gender. Women are more likely to have stress incontinence. Pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and normal female anatomy account for this difference. However, men with prostate gland problems are at increased risk of urge and overflow incontinence.
  • Age. As you get older, the muscles in your bladder and urethra lose some of their strength. Changes with age reduce how much your bladder can hold and increase the chances of involuntary urine release.
  • Being overweight. Extra weight increases pressure on your bladder and surrounding muscles, which weakens them and allows urine to leak out when you cough or sneeze.
  • Smoking. Tobacco use may increase your risk of urinary incontinence.
  • Family history. If a close family member has urinary incontinence, especially urge incontinence, your risk of developing the condition is higher.
  • Other diseases. Neurological disease or diabetes may increase your risk of incontinence.

Complications

Complications of chronic urinary incontinence include:

  • Skin problems. Rashes, skin infections and sores can develop from constantly wet skin.
  • Urinary tract infections. Incontinence increases your risk of repeated urinary tract infections.
  • Impacts on your personal life. Urinary incontinence can affect your social, work and personal relationships.

Prevention

Urinary incontinence isn’t always preventable. However, to help decrease your risk:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Practice pelvic floor exercises
  • Avoid bladder irritants, such as caffeine, alcohol and acidic foods
  • Eat more fiber, which can prevent constipation, a cause of urinary incontinence
  • Don’t smoke, or seek help to quit smoking

 

Blog Source: Mayo Clinic | Urinary incontinence

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Guide to Buying an Apartment Building For The First Time

Buying an apartment building can offer a rewarding income, but the process is more complicated than purchasing a single-family residence. Learn more about the pros and cons of apartment complex ownership, how to choose the right building, and how to finance your commercial investment.

Many people dream of owning real estate investments, but few know where to start when it comes to investing in an apartment complex.

Tackling commercial real estate investments is quite a challenge, but the potential return on investment (ROI) typically higher than with single-family investments.

If you’ve ever dreamed of owning your own apartment building, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know to get started.

The Pros and Cons of Owning an Apartment Complex

Purchasing an apartment building is trickier than single-family residences. While there are much more risk and capital required, there are clear benefits to owning your own apartment complex.

Pro: Steady, Recurring Income

Income is the main reason most investors opt for apartment buildings over single-family residences.

Having multiple tenants provides various sources of income, that can help you maximize your ROI.

If one or two units remain vacant for a few months, you should still be making enough money to cover all of your expenses.

Con: Risk of Tenant Turnover

Of course, with great reward comes great risk. As an apartment owner, you can handle a few vacancies, but what happens if tenant turnover becomes a common theme?

Apartments are considered transitional homes, so tenants are always coming and going. Finding good tenants can prove difficult and could have you renovating units as often as once a year, which can be expensive to maintain.

Pro: Small Rent Increases Improve Your Property Value

In general, the value of an apartment complex building is determined by the value of the units’ rents. Therefore, the higher the rent, the higher the value of your apartment.

While increasing your rent by $100 might be too drastic for the profile of tenants you’re marketing to, small increases like $15 or $25 per unit can slowly, but surely improve your building’s overall value.

Con: Professional Management is a Must

When owning an apartment complex, you can serve as the building’s property manager, but you should be aware that this is a huge time commitment.

You’ll need a way for tenants to easily pay their rent, a process for maintenance requests, and schedule for lawn care and other tasks.

Most apartment building owners hire a property manager and sometimes an assistant or two to help manage this workload. While it takes the pressure off of you, it also means you’ll need to pay a salary.

4 Tips for Purchasing an Apartment Building

Once you’ve decided to purchase an apartment building, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind throughout the process. The purchasing process is different from traditional single-family financing and can be more expensive up front.

1. Partner with an Experienced Agent

Working with a real estate agent who focuses on investment properties is a great first step to finding an apartment building with a strong, predictable ROI.

An experienced, local agent will understand the local market and can help you make smart financial decisions when it comes to choosing an apartment complex and procuring financing for your property.

2. Choose Your Property Type

You should decide early on if you want to purchase an already functioning or state-of-the-art apartment building, or if you’d rather invest in a property you can renovate.

There are pros and cons to each approach, so ultimately, the decision comes down to your finances and how much time and effort you’re willing to pour into your investment.

A functioning apartment complex will cost more, but allow you to start making money immediately, though your ROI could be minimal.

Renovating an old complex or commercial building is certainly riskier, but could provide stronger ROI in the long run.

3. Research the Building Before Committing

Not only is it smart to understand the average rent rates in an area before purchasing, but it’s also important to understand why the current property owner is selling the building.

While the owner may have made significant ROI and is ready to sell, there could be other factors in play.

You’ll want to make sure the units do not require major repairs that the seller might be trying to hide.

Additionally, requesting copies of current leases will allow you to familiarize yourself with the current tenants, to better understand risks of potential property damage from children and pets.

4. Understand the Financial Process

Unlike buying a single-family residence, there are expenses you’ll need to take into consideration when purchasing an apartment building.

This could include insurance, interest, taxes, maintenance fees, management costs, and advertising spends.

When it comes to financing, you’ll likely need to put down a 20% downpayment to be approved for an investment loan.

If you don’t have the money right away, you can look into crowdfunding options to help raise the downpayment through a network of investors.

For more information about the process of buying an apartment building, connect with an experienced agent near you.

 

Blog Source: Clever | A Beginner’s Guide to Buying an Apartment Building

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Guide in Choosing the Perfect Wall Art for Your Space

wall art

Wall hangings, art, and photos serve as the stylistic icing on the cake that is your home. Wall art draws the eye, pulls together space, and makes your home inviting.

The search and installation of pieces you love are worth the trouble because it genuinely improves your home.

While there is no set of rules in place for adorning a home, following these basic instructions will help you select the perfect pieces. Go by size, style, color, theme, inspiration, or floor plan. The options are limitless.

THE #1 TIP YOU NEED FOR CHOOSING THE PERFECT WALL ART

The top piece of advice every person needs to choose the perfect wall art is this: select what you like. If you see something and it does not foster feelings of enjoyment or relaxation, don’t put it on your wall. It is your home, your design, and your money being spent on wall art.

While it is common for family members to make compromises in selections, this definitely does not mean you need home décor that does not suit your style. You live in your home, so enjoy the pieces you have adorning your walls!

SELECTING WALL ART BY SIZE

When it comes to wall art, it gets tough if you are not particular about sizing. Go into your search for wall art with a size in mind for quick selection.

Looking to decorate a room? Many people find it easier to start with the larger pieces and work their way down. As you begin pulling together your space, purchases add up, and soon enough your home will be decorated to your preferences.

Here are the basics of wall art sizing, whether displaying pieces alone or together with a gallery wall, if you wish to use sizing for your defining feature:

  • Oversized: These parts are 100 centimetres in length or greater. Before buying a piece this large, measure your space to see if it can accommodate it. Oversized wall art acts as a focal point of a wall or a room.
  • Large: This size frame is from about 80 to 100 centimetres in length. Large wall art could serve as a centrepiece or be balanced on either side with mini or small pieces. One to two large pieces per room is standard.
  • Medium: Wall art in this category is from 60 to 70 centimetres long. Some pieces can stand alone, but medium pieces also go well when grouped with one another. Keep your space symmetrical when adding medium wall hangings.
  • Small: A small hanging goes well above shelving, pieces of furniture, and on short walls because it is 45 to 59 centimetres in length. Small art pieces go well in pairs or groups of three to six hangings.
  • Mini: The smallest size of frames are mini, falling in the range of 25 to 44 centimetres. Think about anything the size of a piece of paper or smaller as a mini piece of art. You often see them sold as collections; it is common to see at least three to four of these sold together.

When selecting wall art, go with a general idea about the size you are looking for in a room. Most bathrooms cannot accommodate oversized wall art, just as most living rooms aren’t decorated with minis.

There are some general sizing rules to think about:

SELECTING WALL ART BY STYLE

Of all of the ways to choose wall art, decorating your home based on style might be the most natural. More than anything, selecting wall art by style is personal. A few examples of styles to use include: a focus on antique pieces, a bright, bold form, or a Bohemian look.

A secret trick is to select a fashion designer you like and mimic your home based on the style of that designer’s clothing. Is your home a Levi house or a Ralph Lauren?

Make your decisions based on what you like after applying specific parameters like size or color scheme. Are you at a loss of where to start? Try to find a piece for each of the following categories:

  • Choose pieces that match the style of your room, including the furniture you already have or articles you have accumulated along the way.
  • Invest in at least one significant or oversized piece you’d love to see for years to come.
  • Purchase a set, a trio, and even a group of mini or small pieces. These go great above windows or on short walls.
  • Use frames to emphasize your style whether it is through matching or mismatched ones.
  • Mix materials by adding wooden art or a metal sign to space.
  • Add a sign with words but no more than two or three that you can switch out.

SELECTING WALL ART BY COLOUR

Did you know in the world of decorating, there is a big difference between room color palettes versus the colour palettes of art?  With art, there is more allowance for the use of bold colour schemes or the brights you may only reserve for an accent wall.

There are two major approaches to selecting your wall art by colour.

First, add art to your room that incorporates colours already present in the room. In the majority of cases, sticking to a consistent scheme is cohesive, sophisticated, and complementary. Basics of this style include:

  • Your most significant piece of artwork should have a background colour that matches your wall colour.
  • Reference the colour wheel when selecting complementary shades.
  • Use the same colour but in different shades. A light blue and white painting looks beautiful with a navy-blue wall.
  • Only choose wall art if that exact shade is already in your room. Most spaces should not exceed four colors to look pulled together.
  • Stick to black and whites when in doubt about colour. Black and white match everything while also adding to the elegance of a structure.
  • Stay away from bright colours and neons as these do not always match up with neutral wall colours.
  • Keep the colours in your wall art equal in proportion to their presence in the room. For instance, if your place is black and white with red throw pillows, select wall art that is black and white with a touch of red.
  • Make use of mirrors to reflect art. Reflections make the room look larger and duplicate the appearance of all wall art.

Alternatively, choose art for your room that introduces bolder shades on the same colour scheme. Your wall colour does not restrict your palette but instead serves as a baseline for your evolving sense of personal style.

  • Bright or neon pieces stand out against walls with neutral backgrounds.
  • Tie together the room with line work or style rather than colour. Pieces from the same artist could be different colours but pulled together with the style of painting.
  • Play with texture and colour in wall art, furniture, and accessories. Buy pieces made from mixed materials like wood and metal. Adding the colours of the artwork to the accessories of your room emphasises the boldness of your wall hangings.
  • Purchase based on undertones. The undertones of a painting are the underlying qualities of the picture. Dark brown undertones look great on light brown walls, even if light brown is not actually in the artwork.
  • Make use of photo frames to emphasise your favourite pieces. Frames do not necessarily need to be in standard colours like black, white, silver, or gold.
  • Introduce a new colour into the room in twos or threes. One occurrence of a bright pink could be accidental, but two circumstances make it intentional. Repeating colour increases its impact in the room.

SELECTING WALL ART BY THEME

Did you build your home around a certain theme or idea? Even if you did not start with this intention, many purchasers select items based on a theme, even if subconsciously.

For example, a home with a beachy feel has light or bright walls, artwork of sea life, pieces made of driftwood, and more.

Homes with a theme are simple to decorate because you can quickly eliminate items that do not fit your theme.

Whenever you are in a store selling home goods, merely scan the space for pieces specific to the theme. Also, pick up pieces when on vacation, with family or friends, or even in unexpected places like garage sales.

Homeowners that are patient in decorating with a concept, like a beach, in mind can save money by directing their attention down one path.

SELECTING WALL ART BASED ON AN INSPIRATION PIECE

Much like designing around a theme, an inspiration piece drives all of your other purchasing decisions. An inspiration piece for a room could be a piece of art, a sofa you love, or even just a trinket with a meaning you like. One woman’s antique paperweight is another woman’s grand piano – both potentially inspire the design of an entire room or even a whole house.

Once you find an inspiration piece, follow these tips for selecting wall art:

  • Use your inspiration piece to determine the colour scheme of your room. It is best to narrow it down to three or four colours. Focusing on a set scheme makes it easy to match an inspiration quote.
  • Select wall art that follows the colour scheme of the room. With a set colour scheme, you can combine patterns, geometrics, solids, and more. As a general rule, introducing a new colour requires you to add it in at least two places for a cohesive room.
  • Trust your natural instincts; it does not need to be perfectly matching to be a beautiful room. Surround yourself with things you love.
  • Don’t forget a touch of white. The room cannot be covered in colour, or the eye does not get a break from all of your design.

SELECTING WALL ART FOR AN OPEN FLOOR PLAN

With more and more homeowners purchasing or designing open floor places, picking wall art is tougher than ever. The most important rule to follow in selecting wall art for an open floor plan is to purchase and hang with the purpose of clearly defining space.

Create a cohesive look between rooms but place your wall art firmly in one space. For example, a wall shared between a kitchen and living room should have wall art specifically in the kitchen and then in the living room.

When you’re selecting wall art for an open floor plan, you need to consider space and how you use it. For example, if your dining room opens into your living room you may not want traditional food-focused artwork in that room.

WALL ART DEFINES YOUR HOME

The right wall art sets the tone for your space by keeping it inviting, communicating what type of family you are, and defining different rooms.

Whether you are focused on colour, size, a theme, or even an inspiration piece, choosing your wall art does not have to be difficult.

You deserve a home that is comfortable but also suits your sense of style. Have fun selecting your wall art. A cohesive home full of aesthetically pleasing artwork is in your future. ​

 

Blog Source: Brosa | How to Choose the Perfect Wall Art for Your Space

 

 

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Tips for Choosing A Co-working Management Software

Few people know that a coworking space is more than just a few designer chairs, an open plan office, and high-speed Wi-Fi. However, any owner or operator can tell you that a successful coworking space has numerous elements working behind the scenes.

Luckily there are a few agile management software systems that can handle a wide range of services for your space all at once. These systems allow managers and members alike to enjoy the flexibility they’ve come to expect in a coworking environment.

However, there are several platforms to choose from and it may be confusing to single out which one will excel for your coworking space. Below are a few criteria to consider which may help tip the scales when making this crucial decision.

The Advantages of a Coworking Management Software

A truly agile coworking software brings peace of mind to the owner or operator of the space. It streamlines tasks and provides a central dashboard where many of the services space provides can be monitored and adjusted.

Think of it as a CRM on steroids. For coworking members, the software might make signing into space and booking conference rooms easier or streamlining perhaps paying for or changing a membership plan is more streamlined. From the simple yet critical to the complex, a management software specialized for coworking spaces is designed to help things run smoothly and efficiently.

How to Choose the Right Software

 

  1. Focus on Your Unique Business Needs

Your first consideration should be on the problem areas or challenges that your coworking space regularly encounters and then finding a solution that addresses it.

For example, if you have a problem tracking people who are visiting your coworking members, there are numerous visitor management systems to choose from, but it would still result in being an additional expense on top of other apps and services you need to run the space efficiently.

A good coworking space management software will either provide this functionality or have it integrated into the platform.

 

  1. Flexibility and Ease of Use

Another factor that may tip the scales is how customisable the platform is. Can you customise invoices, newsletters or other business materials made through the platform with your own brand? Does it provide email templates to help you make invoices and other business communications?

A white-label option is important for maintaining consistency in your brand when presenting materials and assets to other companies and your coworking members. Small details, such as the lack of consistent logos across your emails and newsletters could undermine the quality of your brand.

You can also gauge the flexibility of the platform by the number of integrations it has. Many of the available platforms integrate with payment transaction services (like Stripe or Xero) to easily facilitate accounting and billing.

The more integrations the management software has, the more likely it has multiple solutions that fit the specific needs of your space.

 

  1. Member Experience

While it might be exciting to find solutions to management problems on the back-end, it’s important to remember that the member experience is what really sells your space.

So if the software has a member-facing app (e.g. room reservation, visitor management, networking tools, etc.) pay attention to their use cases and customer feedback on their websites and in reviews.

The platform itself should also be easy to navigate and have a user-centered design. After all, the whole point of leveraging an all-encompassing management platform is to cut down on time troubleshooting overly complicated apps and streamlining your operation.

 

  1. Pricing and Scalability

This might go without saying, but does the pricing of the software make sense for your business? Many of the platforms out there have different tiers of pricing, including flat fees per location and smaller fees for each coworking member.

Depending on the size of your space, and how much you project it to grow in the near future, one pricing system might look better than the other.

Investigate whether the platform’s pricing will change if you scale to multiple locations. You’ll have to weigh the benefits of the platform against your budget and consider how much you would spend without it.

 

  1. Security Features

In a world where sharing and community are heavily emphasized, security often goes overlooked. But in coworking spaces, this is just as important as anything else. It’s important to note how the coworking software handles the members’ data.

Take a look at the network security specs, how personal data is encrypted, the firewalls in place to guard against privacy theft, GDPR compliance, and so on.

You have to remember that the businesses occupying your space may have sensitive data stored in their computers and in their office,  so a coworking management software that emphasises security and resilience adds value for both managers and members alike.

 

  1. Data and Insights

Finally, investigate whether the management software provides useful analysis from customer data. Can you easily make expense reports, comparison charts, or draw insights from traffic through your space?

Can the software identify, new sales leads or highlight missed opportunities? Elements of marketing insight should be available so that your coworking space can continue to grow.

Conclusion – Know Your Business

In the end, it’s all about knowing your business front and back. Intimate knowledge of every aspect, from hunting and tracking leads, to simply ordering office supplies will help you pinpoint the most significant pain points that a management software will be able to address.

And above all, it’s essential to find a coworking software that is flexible and scalable enough to support you as you grow.

Ideally, your memberships’ will increase, and in turn the need for more reliable, full-stack technology to support it. A coworking management platform that scores high in the above criteria is sure to bring your space to the next level.

 

Blog Source: Essensys | Top Tips for Choosing Coworking Management Software

 

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Tips for purchasing genuine car parts

Modern Car

The car you are using is vulnerable to damages and wears no matter how carefully your drive. All the parts that come in direct contact with friction and movements can easily wear out making your vehicle inefficient. When that happens, the only best option is a replacement.

Most people don’t know what it takes to get a car working efficiently. They put all their trust in the repairer. Whereas this is a good choice, it only works if you get a trustworthy dealership. Otherwise, you need to understand the type of spare parts your car needs.

With the e-commerce expanding and changing the way people shop, one should always be able to tell genuine parts. It may seem like things have gotten easier, but there are challenges to look out. Buying spare parts on boodmo.com, for instance, assures you quality. Such is a dealer you can trust to get you the right car parts.

Not all online dealers are like that. The only thing that makes the difference will be your knowledge and experience with spares. You can compare what you get from other sources with what Boodmo offers.

What do genuine parts mean?

Have you ever opened the engine of a brand-new car for instance? You will discover all the parts have the logo of the car makers. These are also called original parts, meaning they come directly with the vehicle from the dealer.

A different company may manufacture these products. They only carry the logo of a car manufacturer, but they are from a third party. Such parts are quite costly because you must pay for that logo.

When looking for genuine spare parts, most people will look for those that carry the company logo. The assumption is that they get to keep the warranty. Well, the truth is, a warranty is not affected by types of spares you use. It only makes the difference where you repair the car from. Dealership repair shops will help you utilize the warranty while repairing from home or another shop will void it.

Why buy genuine parts only?

The reason why parts that come originally with the car are very is efficient is because they will never affect the vehicle’s performance. You can use the car as much as you want without any problem. This is why you need to get genuine spares that are also compatible with the operation on your machine.

You are assured of quality. Buying genuine parts means you have the same components in your car like the ones you bought it with. This means the same quality of performance for your new car is restored. They are costly yes, but they will keep your vehicle safe and operational to the maximum.

The best part is, they come from professionals who have tested them for functionality and compatibility. Well, your car will have a longer lifespan if you stick to getting the right genuine spare parts.

Another important factor in genuine parts is that they are easy to find. It as long as you know the dealership near you, walk to them and ask for it.

The dealerships never lack genuine spare parts tested from the manufacturer. Even if they don’t have it at the time of the request, they will ask you to wait as they order for you. In this manner, you don’t have to walk from shop to shop looking for the parts.

An added advantage is that they are parts that were used by the company and will not alter the performance of your car.

Because they are easy to find, you don’t have to risk your car with fake components. The logo makes it seem as though you never even replaced it.

Apart from the advantages above, genuine components come with a warranty. Many people buy genuine spares from dealerships because of this.

If for any reason you run into trouble with your car because of the part, the company will replace it for you within a given time frame. Everything will be done without you having to pay for anything, not even labor costs. This means you can relax knowing you are fully covered.

Original Equipment Manufacturer parts

Genuine parts can come from any manufacturer that has the authority of the car maker. OEM parts, on the other hand, are spare parts manufactured specifically by the company that built them for the automaker. It is just the same part as your new car.

The only difference is that OEM parts do not have the logo of the company. A company that manufactures parts for one automaker may sell them under their brand. Such parts are ok, but they have a few disadvantages.

For instance, they cost a little bit more than the aftermarket ones. This is because the same company manufactures them and so the cost is almost maximum.

They are not easy to find. OEM parts are limited to the company’s dealership. If you are living in remote Indian places, accessing such parts like you would replacement parts from your locality is not easy. Even the dealerships themselves make hard to get.

Though OEM parts are expensive, they may not match the quality of some aftermarket parts. If you are looking to save some cash, it is probably better to leave the OEM parts out of the picture.

When looking for spare parts for your car, consider the quality you are getting from the market. This is why OEM and genuine parts are most recommended.

 

Blog Source: SWNS | A guide to buy genuine car parts

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Basic Tips for Roofing Replacement

Of all major home repairs, installing new roofing is arguably as important as it gets. Though a new roof isn’t all that glamorous, you’ll understand its importance in a big way should an old roof fail, allowing water to destroy the inside of your home, from the attic insulation, down through the painstakingly remodeled kitchen, right on through to the basement family room with a big-screen TV. Fewer home problems can be more disastrous than a failed roof.

Roof replacement is not something to take likely, nor is it a repair that should be delayed. When you sense that your roof is nearing the end of its useful life, brush up on these basics before soliciting bids from roofing contractors.

The Basic Roofing Materials

Your choice of roofing materials often depends on your locality, as much as on your own personal taste. In some regions, for example, metal roofing is a common selection due to its fire resistance, while in other regions, the predominant home styles might call for a Spanish-influenced tile tool. Roof pitch (angle) also affects the kind of roofing materials you can use. For example, wood shake shingles can be used for steeper pitched roofs but are not suitable for flatter, low-pitched roofs.

The most common choices for residential roofing include:

  • Asphalt composition shingles:  These are cheap and easily obtainable, but they are less attractive than other options due to their flat appearance. This is by far the most popular type of roofing material.
  • Wood shakes or shingles: These are pricey but attractive shingles. They have great durability but aren’t a good choice in regions where there is a fire danger.
  • Metal Roofing: Metal roofs made of steel or aluminum have become more popular in recent years, due in part to their durability and because they are fireproof. These are expensive roofs that require specialty contractors for installation, but they may be cost-effective over the long run due to their long life. Several types of metal roofing systems are available, including raised-seam panels and products that mimic the look of composite shingles.
  • Slate roofing: This is a highly attractive, high-end roofing option, but it is expensive and very heavy. Slate roofs are extremely slippery to walk on and difficult to repair when damaged.
  • Composition slate: These synthetic tiles made from 95 percent recycled materials, including rubber, are gaining in popularity. They closely resemble slate and other forms of stone tile but are much lighter and less susceptible to damage.
  • Clay or ceramic tile: Long the most predominant image in Southern California and Florida, the so-called Spanish-style red tile roof is still common but is being gradually replaced by metal and composite materials that mimic the Spanish tile look. Other roofing materials are now available which meet ceramic tile’s fire retardant ability, with much less weight put on the roof. This type of shingle is called the half-barrel because it is essentially a cylinder cut in half length-wise, roughly 16 inches long.

Tear Off or Second Layer?

It was once common to lay a new shingle roof over the preexisting layer at least once, or sometimes even twice. This is no longer allowed in some jurisdictions, where complete tear-off of the previous roofing is now required. Even where layering is allowed, applying a new layer of shingles over the old should be carefully considered on the basis of its pros and cons:

  • Weight: The main argument against laying additional layers of asphalt shingles is that the roofing materials can get too heavy for the underlying roof framing. This can be a structural problem, especially for older houses. It is often said that a triple layer of asphalt shingles is equal to a single layer of slate shingles—an exceedingly heavy type of material.
  • Telegraphing: Another problem with shingling over existing shingles is that you are essentially repeating some of the surface irregularities that may already be present. If you’re contemplating putting on a new roof, there’s probably a good chance that you may have bubbles, bumps, and waves that should be remedied. Putting new shingles over existing problems can leave you with a rather unattractive new roof. One way to minimize this problem is to go over the old roof and correct as many problems as you can before re-roofing. It doesn’t take much more than a hammer, some roofing nails, and a handful of shingles to correct bumps, gaps, and protruding nails.
  • Work and waste reduction: The primary advantage of layering is that it reduces the work involved. Stripping off the existing layer and then laying down a new layer adds more work to the process. This isn’t a real problem if roofing professionals are tackling the job—they can strip most roofs in a morning—but if you’re doing the job yourself, it can be a strong argument for roofing right over the old roof.

Cost Considerations

Several factors go into the cost of a roof, beginning with your choice of roofing materials (ranging from cheap three-tab asphalt shingles up to architectural shingles or even slate). The roofing contractor you choose, the pitch (steepness or your roof), and the square footage of your roof are other factors that affect the cost. Rock-Bottom, three-tab composite roof for a small home may cost as little as $7,000. Nationally, a typical roof using architectural asphalt shingles costs between $3.50 and $5.50 per square foot—a cost that includes all demolition, permit fees, waste disposal, and cleanup.

Typical average costs of different roofing options:

  • Three-tab asphalt shingles: $7,000 to $12,000
  • 30-year shingles: $9,000 to $15,000
  • 50-year shingles: $11,000 to $20,000
  • EPDM rubber: $8,000 to $14,000
  • TPO or PVC membrane: $10,000 to $15,000
  • Wood shingles: $14,000 to $25,000
  • Steel shingles: $14,000 to $25,000
  • Aluminum shingles: $15,000 to $28,000
  • Standing seam steel roofing: $23,000 to $30,000
  • Natural slate: $25,000 to $50,000
  • Concrete tile: $20,000 to $40,000
  • Clay tiles: $25,000 to $50,000

Consider Off-Season Roofing Work

A well-coordinated roofing team is an amazing thing to watch—and this is why we pay them to do our roofs. While in most parts of the U.S. the optimal roofing season is from late spring to early fall, skilled crews are able to extend the work season, sometimes even roofing when snow flurries are threatening. There is no reason, in other words, not to hire a skilled crew to roof your home during off-season periods. You may even enjoy lower prices at these times since the labor demand is low. The trick behind getting your roof job shoehorned into the offseason is having a large team of professional roofers who can knock out the work in hours, instead of days, thus taking advantage of dry periods.

Understand the Roofing Process

You’ll be able to make advised decisions when hiring a roofing crew if you understand the process, as well as the jargon used in the roofing trade.

A moderately-sized, professionally installed roofing job might take only 3 or 4 days. The overall process followed by the roofing crew goes like this:

  1. Remove all existing shingles, deposit them in a roll-off dumpster. Damaged or old valley flashing and drip edging is also removed at this time. A good crew will use protect foundation plantings and shrubs during tear-off and will use magnetic tools to pick up nails and metal objects from the lawn.
  2. Make minor repairs on the roof if it is in good condition. If not, replace bad wood with new plywood sheathing or 1 x 6 sheathing boards, whichever is applicable to your type of roof.
  3. Install ice dam protection in regions that require it. Ice guard membrane is a synthetic waterproof barrier material designed to prevent melting ice from backing up under the shingles and penetrating through the sheathing, where the moisture can cause severe damage.
  4. Lay down asphalt roofing paper over the roof sheathing. The layer of roofing paper creates an inner barrier against water penetrating into the house. Rows of roofing paper are overlapped as they progress upward toward the peak, and are normally tacked or stapled in place.
  1. Apply metal drip edging around the edge of the roof, both the eave sides and gable sides. The metal drip edge is nailed in place over the roofing paper or ice guard.
  2. Where necessary, apply new valley flashing along with areas where two roof planes meet. The valley flashing is typically nailed to the roofing deck and sealed with roofing caulk.
  3. Apply the tab shingles, starting at the eaves and working upward toward the peak. Where roof vents are being installed, these are installed as the progress of the shingles toward the peak.
  4. Apply to flash around all areas where leaks might come into the house—against the chimney, around skylights and stack vents, etc. Flashing installation may happen as part of the roofing installation, occurring as the rows of shingles progress upward on the roof deck.
  5. Install the ridge vent. This continuous vent along the peak of the roof will help the air circulation in the attic space and can be integral in exhausting hot air and preventing winter ice dams. Ridge vents may not be included on older roofs, but installing them is a good idea whenever a house is re-roofed. If ridge vents are not practical, the should be other types of roof or gable vents installed to provide air circulation in the attic space.
  1. Complete the final cleanup and haul the debris away. Has the installation inspected and approved by a building inspector?

The roofing business uses some special terminology when estimating materials for a roofing job.

  • The term square, when used in the roofing business, is a unit of area. One square equals 100 square feet.
  • Shingles come in bundles. Three or four bundles of shingles typically will cover a square of roofing area.

 

Blog Source: The Spruce | The Basics of Roofing Replacement

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A Helpful Guide When Buying Used Car Parts

People are driving their cars with much longer lifespans. The average length of car ownership has gone up 60% in the past decade. To get that longer lifespan, people are replacing more parts to keep things running smoothly. Buying used car parts is an even better way to get more mileage out of your car. The word ‘used’ is often associated with lesser quality, but often these parts are “like new.” Where you get your parts and how you shop for them makes all the difference. This guide will show you the way to find used auto parts to keep your car running without breaking the bank.

1. WHERE TO BUY USED

Finding a reliable supplier is the first step to getting quality used parts. This can be online through eBay, auto parts stores, or the car wrecker. The average person probably won’t step foot into a car wrecker place without advanced car knowledge.

Regardless of where you source these used parts, do some price-comparing. Research the parts that you need and how much they go for new. Then, start calling or browsing online for what they average used.

The main advantage of shopping at a car wrecker is the ability to haggle. You can prove how much it goes for at big name stores or online sellers, so the car wrecker owner will undoubtedly sell it for less. It also helps to be able to see the part for yourself in-person.

Online sellers often take poor photos of the parts they’re selling. This can make determining the quality or authenticity of the part difficult. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions or for better photos when shopping online.

2. VERIFY THE EXACT ID OF THE PART

Whatever the part you need, no matter how common it is, make sure you know its exact identification. You can match your part with another used replacement with its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or chassis number.

You should bring the part into an auto parts store to get it identified if you cannot find a number on it. Then you can take the number and search for it used online.

3. HISTORY OF USED PARTS

One of the most important factors for buying used parts is making sure you don’t get a lemon. The part may look cosmetically perfect, but it may contain a defect or crack that causes failure later on. Then, you’re stuck buying that same part again if the seller offers no refunds or coverage.

Ask how old it is, the amount of mileage on it, and whether it has been repaired, modified or rebuilt. If the seller can’t answer these questions definitively, then the price should reflect the uncertainty.

4. RETURN POLICIES

Do not, under any circumstances, purchase a used auto part without a return policy. No amount of savings is worth the possibility of being stuck with a broken part. Read the return policy carefully and note any exceptions or exclusions.

Some parts are only covered for a short period of time, i.e. 30-days from purchase. Online sellers often put in high restocking fees if you happen to purchase the wrong part by mistake.

5. STYLE-CLASHING

This is probably a nit-picky stipulation to buying used car parts, but it does matter to many. Buying an aftermarket used car part, such as a headlight, door handle, or bumper can become an eyesore if it is mismatched.

Sometimes the style differences can even be a hindrance to the car’s functionality. Bumpers that are off slightly may cause damage over time. This will be something to look out for when shopping for used parts.

6. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE PART

There are certain parts that should never be gambled with when buying used. Large parts that play a key role in multiple functions of your car (radiators, transmission, or alternator) should be paired with a strong warranty. It should go without saying but never buy a second-hand spark plug.

Other parts that wear out anyway, like starters and brake rotors, should be purchased brand new. The savings just isn’t large enough to merit buying used. You want to squeeze out as many kilometers as possible from these parts.

7. AVOID BIG FRANCHISES

Second, only to car dealerships, big-name auto parts stores are not where you’re going to save any money. Plus, they’ll likely sell you some questionable used parts, but offer you worse coverage than a local business.

They make money off of people’s desperation and convenience of location. There are plenty of auto parts dealers out there to check out. Sign up for free with Auto Chain and get connected with a local supplier for your car parts needs.

8. ASK ABOUT THE WARRANTY

Even the car wreckers will extend a warranty to your used purchases. Make sure you read the warranty coverage that comes with your part. Online used car part stores may include some inconvenient catches to their warranties, so be diligent and carefully read them.

9. WATCH OUT FOR FAKES

You may be purchasing the exact VIN or chassis number matched to the part you need, but is it really the same part? There are a lot of parts out there that are duplicated but not made by the manufacturer. Counterfeit parts are a real issue online.

You can spot a fake by doing a few checks. Things like misprinted words, botched logos, and misplacement are a couple of examples of red flags. These fake parts can be significantly weaker, lower-quality, and poor performing than the real deal.

10. WATCH THE PAINT

Another potential hiccup for those buying online is getting an exterior part with the same colour. If you painted your car a completely different colour from stock, then you’ve no choice but to hunt down the detailer or can of paint to match it. If your car is the stock colour, yet the part isn’t, it could be fake.

If it isn’t a fake, then it might just be faded, which could be a potential eyesore driving around two different shades.

SHOP SMARTER, NOT HARDER

Car repairs get progressively more expensive as the age of the car. Some of us can’t afford to take it to the car dealership and order new parts. Buying used car parts doesn’t have to be a risky endeavor, you just need to be prepared.

 

Blog Source: AutoChain | Top 10 Tips for Buying Used Car Parts

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