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3 Steps for a Fast and Easy Mortgage Process

If the thought of applying for mortgages strikes you with dread, you are not alone. Many people who have never applied for mortgages in the past may be intimidated by the process. Even those who have experience in this area from past transactions may be anxious about learning about their final loan approval status. While there is no guarantee that you will be approved for the home loan that you have applied for, you can decrease your stress level and improve your chances for loan approval by following a few helpful tips.

Be Honest With Your Lender Up-Front
Many home loan applicants are fearful that some situations in their financial profile may make them less likely to get approved for a loan. For example, you may have recently changed jobs, or you may have a late payment on a credit card account in your recent past. Some may even attempt to hide debts and financial obligations. There are a wide range of loan programs available, and some loan programs may be more lenient in certain areas than others. Your loan officer can steer you toward the best program for your situation if you present all of the facts to him or her up-front. Keep in mind that the lender will ask for a great deal of documentation during the loan process, so these and other factors will almost certainly become known to the lender at some point.

Avoid Maxing Out Your Loan Amount
When you initially apply for a home loan, you will receive a pre-qualification letter that shows the maximum loan amount you may qualify for. While you may be inclined to purchase the nicest home that you can qualify for, it is important to avoid maxing out your loan amount. This can make it much more difficult to underwrite and approve the loan in some cases, and it also may eat up your down payment funds. Keep in mind that you need to keep some funds in reserve to pay for the property inspection, appraisal and more. You also need money to buy new furnishings, make repairs to the house and more after closing. The WFCU Credit Union website has more online resources available.

Do Not Change Your Credit Profile
One of the most important tips to follow when applying for mortgages is to avoid changing your credit profile. This includes maxing out existing credit cards and applying for new credit. Both can change the underwriting of your loan and may create delays in the loan process. This can also decrease the loan amount you qualify for and may require you to bring more money to the closing table as a down payment.

While applying for mortgages may still be stressful, these tips can help you to reduce your stress level. Furthermore, they can prevent delays and help you to get approved for the loan that you were pre-qualified for.

How to Protect the Walls in Your Restaurant

In your restaurant setting, you probably have a whole lot of people coming in contact with your walls. Between all of the heavy traffic that can come in contact with your walls and all of the cleaning that you and your employees have to do, you probably worry about damage to your walls costing you money. Luckily, implementing stainless steel corner guards and a few other things can help you focus on protecting walls and preventing unnecessary future renovations (and costs) in your commercial business.

food-plate-black-square Use Stainless Steel Corner Guards

As mentioned above, stainless steel corner guards can be very handy in any restaurant setting. It can be easy for you or your restaurant employees to bump corners when pushing dish carts or anything else in and out of the kitchen and elsewhere in the restaurant, which can lead to scuffs and other damage over time. Installing corner guards is a good way to help keep your corners in good shape.

food-plate-black-square Install Hard Plastic Wall Protectors

Have you ever thought about installing hard plastic wall protectors on the walls in heavy traffic areas in your restaurant? You can purchase them in various sizes and thicknesses, but even the thinnest ones can be a good option for providing protection.

In fact, hard plastic wall protectors can work well in all areas of your restaurant. If you install them in the dining area, you can help protect the walls from fingerprints from children (and adults) who might have food or grease on their hands. They can also be used to protect the walls from chairs being slammed against them and causing holes.

In the kitchen area, hard plastic wall protectors are great for protecting the walls from grease splatter, spills, bumps from carts or trays and more. It can also make the walls a whole lot easier to clean.

food-plate-black-square Choose the Right Paint

For painted wall areas in your restaurant, you’ll need to choose the heaviest duty paint that you can find. The paint should be designed for commercial applications, should be stain resistant and should be durable enough that it can be wiped down with bleach and commercial cleaners on a daily basis without wearing out quickly. Working with a good commercial painting crew that has experience in painting restaurants is a good way to choose the right paint and make sure that it is applied correctly.

As you can see, there are steps that you can take to protect the walls in your restaurant. If you are worried about your restaurant walls wearing out and showing signs of wear and tear, taking some or all of these steps can make a big difference and can save you a whole lot of time and trouble in the future. If you need any more information, Boss Corner Guards may be able to provide you with further insights and resources.

How Real Estate Agents Can Improve Direct Mail Marketing Results


Direct mail marketing is one of the more popular marketing avenues that real estate agents pursue, and there is good reason for this. Direct mail puts a tangible option in the hands of potential property buyers and sellers, encouraging them to take a look at your marketing message. It also gives them something to hold onto for future use if needed. However, this method of real estate agent marketing is not always as effective as it could be for some. If you are looking for ways to improve upon your results from REALTOR marketing, take note of these helpful and proven tips.

mail-blue-square Improve Your Mailing List

The results of your direct mail marketing campaign are only as good as your mailing list. Many real estate agents have purchased a mailing list from a third party provider, and others have scoured property tax records to create their own mailing list of local property owners. These are some of the options available for obtaining names and mailing addresses for those in the area, but another great idea is to use your website. Through your website, you can create an opt-in feature that allows interested parties to opt into receiving your marketing materials. Without an opt-in feature, you are reaching out to potentially cold leads. With an opt-in feature, however, you are reaching out to leads that have shown interest in your services. This can improve the results of your marketing campaigns, and it is a very affordable option to pursue.

mail-blue-square Create a Marketing Plan

The next step to take when improving the results of REALTOR marketing efforts is to create a firm and well-researched marketing plan. Some real estate agents will simply work on a direct mail marketing campaign when business gets slow, but you may generate more interest when you strategically space out your mailers so that contacts are touched on a regular basis. This is because it keeps your name at the front of their minds and helps them to remember who you are and the services you offer. Your marketing plan may include ideas for generating more opt-in leads as well as the content and frequency of marketing campaigns. If you would like to learn more about real estate agent marketing, visit Morris Real Estate Marketing Group.

Direct mail has proven itself to be a great marketing avenue for real estate agents, and most agents will see some results off of any direct mail campaign they complete. However, when you want to experience the best results possible from your efforts, take time to put these tips into action.

Worried About Online Business Banking Risks? How To Go Back to Paper Cheques

With all the phishing and hacking attacks on businesses today, sometimes it’s best to keep as much of your banking data off the Internet and your servers, and to use the old fashioned way of banking instead. When you choose to use paper cheques to pay your bills and for business transactions, there are not worries that someone will steel your digital information online. Here are a few of reasons why paper cheques instead of debit or credit cards are sometimes best.

money-bag-red-square Have a Paper Trail

When you write business cheques for transactions you have a paper trail to prove what payments you made. Not only will the cashed cheque be shown in your banking statements, with the amount and what you wrote the memo to read as a reminder, but the person or company that cashed the cheque will also have it in their statements.

It’s nice to have this trail, instead of automatic electronic transactions that don’t always show the exact time and date that the transaction took place because of electronic delays. Also, it will be easy to verify handwriting on cheques. More information about business cheques can be found at D+H, providing you with additional resources and references.

money-bag-red-square Avoid Providing Too Much Information

When people have your debit or credit card information, they can accidentally process multiple payments at once, or just do a double payment. This takes money out of your account, you may not notice it right away, and then you’re forced to try to get the money back. People can’t double cash a cheque, so you don’t have to worry about some company having your automatic information on file when you still use paper cheques.

money-bag-red-square Avoid Over Spending

When you frequently use a company debit or credit card it’s easy to overspend. When you have to write out a cheque for everything that needs purchased, and you have to get it from the office or a secretary, you will second guess how much you’re spending and what you’re spending the money on.

If you are looking for a reliable way to pay bills and to manage your business money and you feel like using a debit card or credit card has gotten too risky, it’s time to start using business cheques for all your transactions. You won’t have to worry about the checks getting stolen because you can easily call the bank and have all the cheques cancelled, and no one will ever be able to use the cheques in the future.

Smart Ways to Search for Real Estate Properties

Gaining access to a real estate database and a propery search within it is easy with the variety of technological devices that are in common use today. Technology includes a wide selection of handheld and desktop devices that allow anyone to easily access the Internet. Computers, smartphones and tablets provide instant connection to databases that contain maps in various views as well as other important information.

Making a trip to a property appraiser’s office to conduct research on properties that are for sale is no longer necessary. In fact, it is a waste of time. Driving to a government office that is usually located in a city and finding a parking place are inconveniences that are easily avoided.

Using Public Records
Detailed data is compiled and updated regularly by local taxing authorities, and it provides everything that a potential buyer or seller needs to know. Facts that are usually the most influential in a purchase or sale relate to sales price, attributes of a property such as square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, features and street address. Public records are maintained regularly, and they are available for use at no charge.

Making Use of Helpful Devices
Mobile technology that is helpful for potential property owners allows immediate access to details and images of a parcel or home without the assistance of a real estate agent. Property assessments and propery searches are easy to obtain at online subscription sites like GeoWarehouse. Valuable information that can provide the basis for buying a property is provided confidentially. A property appraiser’s appearance at a home gives a clear signal to curious neighbors that someone is considering selling or moving to another neighborhood.

Doing Personal Research
Real estate agents provide a necessary service after a potential buyer conducts basic research on properties. Initiating the process of viewing houses in the company of an agent without doing preliminary research often results in confusion and frustration. Many decisions face home buyers that require time to consider them. Technology that allows buyers to examine real estate databases online is readily available. An online property search typically includes these facts among many others:

• type of construction and date built
• roof covering
• architectural style
• number of bedrooms and bathrooms
• neighborhood or subdivision
• legal description
• market value
• taxes
• property lines

Information about the sales history of a property as well as for comparable properties gives potential buyers a valid basis for making decisions about buying or selling real estate.

Acceptance of Technology
The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism recently reported that more than 75 percent of adult Americans own a laptop or a desktop computer, and about 44 percent use a smartphone. The use of tablets is increasing rapidly, and the total number of technological devices that can access the Internet reflects the willingness of the public to adapt to change. Having access to real estate databases is a motivating force for people to use technology for a propery search as often as needed.

Look Younger with IPL Technology

Are you looking for a treatment that is non-evasive that will improve the surface of your skin? Do you wish to reverse the effects of aging and make your skin feel younger and more refreshed? There is hope for those who wish to experience all the benefits of a new and effective skin treatment. Get ready for a new skin resurfacing procedure called Intense Pulse Light Technology.

Intense Pulse Light Technology (IPL) has been effectively used for the reversal of skin aging or photorejuvenation for many years. The procedure involves a non-laser filtered lamp that flashes light directly into the skin from a glass tip. In comparison to a laser that emits wavelengths of light, the intense pulse light system delivers a broader spectrum of light that is directed to the skin. The light energy is absorbed into the skin and is converted into heat that treats the targeted areas. Several wavelengths are emitted in a short period of time. It allows a wide variety of skin issues to be treated during a single treatment. In some cases, a topical anesthetic is applied to the area to be treated. After the procedure, a cooling gel is applied to ease any pain or discomfort. The treatments are effective and quick with minimal down time. The process resurfaces the skin allowing the skin to go back to its former smoother texture.

A great benefit of this treatment is that it is a non-invasive pain free procedure that you can have done in a very short period of time and continue on with your daily routine right after the procedure. There will be no redness, rawness or swelling following the treatments. In fact, patients can have this treatment done in less than 30 minutes and return to work without any discomfort. Unlike procedures with similar results such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels, Intense Pulse Light Technology is quickly becoming a popular procedure that patients turn to for solutions to their skin issues because the results are discreet and undetectable.

Multiple skin conditions and imperfections can be effectively treated with one IPL treatment. There will be no need to pay for several different treatments for different conditions. Other treatments similar to IPL can be very expensive and budget restrictions may prevent a patient from having a procedure they really need. The treatment combats many issues at once with much greater results and a shorter time period.

Another great benefit is that no one will know that you are having any treatments performed. The treatments are spaced out weeks apart and the skin will begin to gradually look better. Unlike plastic surgery, your skin will not appear like you are going through any treatments. No one will know unless you tell them. Large areas can be treated at the same time because the pulse of light covers larger areas of the skin instead of just one small area.

Intense Pulse Light Technology is a very effective form of treatment for all types of skin. Consult your healthcare professional to be evaluated as to the treatments that will work best for you. It is never too late to have softer, smoother more youthful looking and feeling skin.

Understanding Business Technology Management

Social media has revolutionized how people connect with each other. While social media services can be a powerful way for people to communicate, they pose several significant challenges for businesses and organizations. With many younger people using social media networks like Facebook every day, it’s important for businesses to implement new ways for employees to communicate with each other. However, it’s also essential for businesses to protect their intellectual property and restrict employee communication when necessary. The following guide provides simple tips and tricks on how businesses can protect themselves from social media.

It’s important to restrict access to public social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. While these can be an excellent way for a PR department or marketing department to connect with potential customers, they should not be used internally by employees. Since a company can’t control the privacy policies of Facebook and Twitter, it may be impossible to prevent leaks of valuable or proprietary information. For example, labor law posters may use public social media networks to spread their views while at work. In addition to labor law posters, social media networks can also be used by a company’s competition to steal valuable intellectual property and other information.

Social media networks can be an excellent way for employees to share ideas with each other. However, it’s important to block popular social media networks like Facebook. Instead of public services, it’s a good idea to provide a specialized internal social network for employees. This network will only contain profiles from active employees and managers at a company. In addition, it will have a specialized set of privacy policies that will prevent leaks of valuable information.

An internal social network can also be a great way for a company to covertly gain information about employees. While it may be illegal to monitor an employee’s private social network accounts, there are no restrictions on the information a company can gather from its internal social network. All messages, communications and other information can be logged and stored. This can be a great way to minimize liability and increase information security.

It’s also important to have restrictions on company-provided smart phones and other devices. Since many companies provide smart phones and other devices for employees, it’s essential to have restrictions on the applications that can be installed. Many Android and iOS applications can leak valuable company data and other information. In addition, employee information can be profiled by competitors.

All company-provided smart phones should have restrictions on the applications that can be installed. In addition to banning services like Facebook and Twitter, all company-provided phones should have limitations on the type of information that can be transmitted to and from the phone. This can help prevent any accidental data leaks. It’s important to have good business technology management programs.

Internal social media networks can reveal lots of valuable information about employees. For example, it can be difficult to discover some trends that are hidden in the actions of employees. While it may not be possible for an individual manager or supervisor to tease out trends in employee behavior, certain patterns of behavior can reveal lots of information. This can include an employee’s morale, job satisfaction, reliability, loyalty and more.

Internal social media networks can be a powerful tool for many companies. While it’s important to restrict public social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, internal networks can be an excellent way to supervise and manage employees.

5 Ways Technology Makes Your Home Safer and Smarter

Programmable timers, computers and processors enable homeowners to operate a variety of appliances and systems, such as coffee pots, HVAC units and sprinkler systems. While some devices are best incorporated during the construction period, you can integrate a wide array of new technologies into an existing home. Many of these innovative devices can be controlled wirelessly over the Internet with your computer, a tablet or mobile phone. This guide provides an overview of five ways that technology can make your home safer and smarter.

Wireless Detectors for Environmental Hazards

Homeowners can use wireless smoke detectors equipped with heat and smoke sensors that operate with lithium batteries. These detectors are easier to install because you do not have to wire the equipment into your home’s electrical system. Some devices have a pre-freeze detector that triggers an alarm when the ambient temperature falls below 41˚ degrees Fahrenheit. Homes can also be equipped with monitors that detect carbon monoxide and gas leaks.

Home Monitoring Systems

Advances in automation now enable homes to monitor themselves. Automated security systems protect and secure your home by notifying authorities if someone breaks in. When coupled with video surveillance, the system can provide the evidence required to identify and convict the perpetrator. Some programs enable you to access your home monitoring system cameras and have a video feed sent to your smart phone or tablet. These systems work 24 hours whether someone is home or not, which ensures that your property is always protected.

Programmable Lights and Thermostats

As the seasons transition, certain regions of the country can experience significant temperature fluctuations throughout the day. New programmable thermostats can automatically adjust the temperature in your home based on environmental conditions as well as your lifestyle. These smart thermostats use weather forecasts to raise or lower the temperature as needed. Homeowners can also save money by programming exterior security lights to turn off at sunrise. By scheduling some of your interior lights to come on at dusk, you can make your house a less inviting target even when you are not home. Another way to conserve energy is to program the system to activate your dishwasher or washing machine when the electric rates are lower.

Keyless Entry for Controlling Access

Keyless entry systems prevent burglars from picking the lock. These systems require the use of a key card, a pin code or a combination of the two in order to open the door. Many systems have advanced features that enable homeowners to provide access to out-of-town guests or other authorized individuals by controlling the lock over a wireless connection.

Smart Televisions for Customizing, Limiting and Monitoring Programs

Smart televisions enable you to schedule recordings when you are not home. You can typically access your entertainment system through a smart phone or tablet app. It may be possible to transfer the recording to the cloud and watch the program at another location. Smart televisions can provide a record of viewing history while enabling parents to control access with pin codes.

Biofertilizers- Tertiary Treatment Produces Valuable Products from Wastewater

For several decades it has been an accepted practice in the United States for the final product from wastewater treatment plants, sludge, to be applied to large tracts of land. This is usually done by spraying, as the sludge is still liquid or semi-solid. This practice depends on the availability of many acres of land, and the area usually has to be fenced from public intrusion due to the possibility of the remaining presence of pathogens in the biosolids.

Increasingly, land application of wastewater treatment products is being questioned. Although it was a better practice than the landfilling of sludge, and much better than discharge into bodies of water, sludge is still an incomplete, secondary treatment product causing environmental concerns. Currently, several technologies are being developed to convert biosolids into biofertilizers. This is a tertiary treatment option.

Biofertilizers are different from chemical fertilizers in that they depend upon the presence of living organisms for their effectiveness. Types of life forms in biofertilizers include fungi, bacteria and algae. Each of these groups forms specific relationships with plants, particularly in the rhizosphere, the root zone, which enhance the ability of plants to grow. While a chemical fertilizer contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, a biofertilizer may contain only low levels of these nutrients, but the primary advantage is that the biofertilizer helps plants use these nutrients. Typically, these organisms enter into the plant roots and form symbiotic relationships with plant cells.

The concept of producing biofertilizers from wastewater is not new. Several brands of compost made from municipal waste have been on the market for years. Heat processing has been used to kill pathogens, and reduce the sludge to a solid condition where it can be handled, which is known as dewatering. Lower water content also reduces the weight, making transportation more economical. However, dewatering is an expensive process.

In recent years, other methods of converting municipal wastewater sludge to biofertilizer have been explored. One such method uses vermiculture. This is the addition of worms to a solid sludge. Over a period of 21 days the biological processes of the worms increased nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels in the sludge. Their biomass also increased.

Specific wastewater streams, those from particular industries rather than general municipal waste water, lend themselves to transformation.

Another trial has used Azolla (a small water fern) to treat waste from pig farming. In this case the growth of the Azolla plant also increased the nitrogen and phosphorus content of the waste product, and made it suitable for use as a biofertilizer.

The palm oil industry creates huge quantities of waste. Transformation of husks into biocharcoal creates a composting material that provides a soil amendment product to trap nutrients near plant roots, making them readily available for use.

Land application of wastewater products after secondary treatment has been the industry standard. However, advances in treatment options are providing possible ways to reduce the volume of waste sent for land application and to transform waste products into valuable biofertilizer commodities.