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Commercial Business Advice Homeowner Advice

ASK YOUR LAWYER A LOT OF QUESTIONS

You’re involved in a real estate deal and you realize you need the assistance of a professional. It’s reasonable to first determine how much the service is going to cost. You want to know up front how much the attorney charges. This can eliminate some unpleasant surprises down the road. Fees often depend on the type of case. Billing can be based on an hourly rate or a flat fee. For billing by the hour, you can expect to pay between $150 to $450 per hour. The rate generally fluctuates according to the complexity of the case and adds up very quickly. Most attorneys require a retainer upfront as well. The cost is a big part of choosing a real estate attorney, impacting your overall budget for the deal. However, it shouldn’t be the only consideration. Sometimes it’s advantageous to invest a bit more to achieve a successful outcome. Always request an estimate and feel free to negotiate for a more reasonable price. Like any other professional service, you typically get the quality you pay for. Settling for the cheapest attorney may cost you more in the end. If you’re looking to hire a larger firm, start by asking whether assistants other than your attorney will be working on the case. It’s not unusual for a portion of the workload to be managed by paralegals or junior attorneys. Make sure you’re agreeable with the people who will be sharing your information. You also want to know who you’ll be contacting in the event of a question or concern. An open line of communication is extremely important and the opposite can prove terribly frustrating. It’s essential that you know when and how you can reach your attorney and who else is available if the attorney isn’t accessible. Sharing information is vital to the working relationship and a swift, smooth completion.

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Commercial Business Advice Homeowner Advice

CHOOSING A REAL ESTATE LAWYER

Whether you’re buying or selling real estate, in most situations it’s advantageous to have the assistance of a qualified legal professional. If you’re considering real estate investing, attempting to purchase a foreclosure or faced with unexpected difficulties with a simple transaction, a real estate attorney can help simplify the process. Before hiring a lawyer, it’s best to ask some questions and make sure of their qualifications. Start by asking how long the attorney has been practicing. Experience is one of the most important factors. Experience comes into play when transactions become complicated. If they’ve already resolved a similar situation, they are familiar with proper procedures. However, you’re most likely going to pay more for an attorney who’s been practicing for 20 years as opposed to one who’s one a couple years out of law school. Find out where they earned their law degree, whether or not it’s an accredited school and if they specialize in any particular area of real estate law. If they graduated from law school in a different state, you’ll want to know how many years they’ve practiced law in your state. Real estate laws vary from state to state and you want an attorney who is aware of the local regulations. It’s to your benefit to choose an attorney who has familiarity with situations similar to yours. Having prior experience in the type of transaction ensures an understanding of possible issues that can come up and how to handle them quickly and properly. Although you can’t request information about specific cases they’ve dealt with, you can ask for their thoughts when dealing with your situation. You’re looking for a real estate attorney who can provide a detailed course of action rather than a generic promise of a successful outcome.

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Commercial Business Advice

WHAT IS PPC?

Pay-per-click or PPC is a means of internet marketing. Advertisers pay a fee each time someone clicks on one of their ads. It’s a strategy that buys visits to your site rather than earning that traffic organically. Search engine advertising is one of the most widely used forms of PPC. Advertisers are able to bid for ad placement within a search engine’s sponsored links for keywords related to the specific service. For example, if you bid on the keyword “furnace repair,” your HVAC company ad might show up in the very top spot on the Google results page. Every time the ad is clicked, a potential client is directed to your website and you pay the search engine a small fee. The fee is typically minimal and the traffic is worth more than the payment. The idea is that each visit is a potential sale of your product or services. Quite a bit is involved with building a successful PPC campaign. It requires researching and selecting the ideal keyword as well as organizing those keywords into proper campaigns and ad groups. PPC landing pages need to be optimized for conversions. Relevant and articulate pay-per-click campaigns are rewarded by search engines, paying less for ad clicks. When the ad is satisfying and useful, Google charges less per click, resulting in higher profit margins. In other words, it’s not enough to use PPC, you need to do it properly to get the most out of it. To manage an effective PPC campaign, you might want to enlist the help of knowledgeable professionals. SEO agencies and consultants are in the business of maximizing the results. 

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Commercial Business Advice

WHY IS SEO IMPORTANT?

Paid advertising, social media and other online platforms successfully prompt website traffic. However the majority of online traffic is generated through search engines. Organic search results blanket more digital real estate, seem more legitimate to informed searches and earn more clicks than paid advertisements. SEO is one of the only online marketing opportunities that, when handled properly, can continue to supply dividends over time. If you create an intelligent piece of content that merits ranking for the right keywords, the traffic can steadily increase over time, unlike advertising that requires regular funding to drive traffic to your site. Search engines are steadily getting smarter but still need some assistance. Optimizing your site ensures better information reaching the search engines so that your content gets indexed and displayed properly within the search results. There is some debate over whether it’s wise to hire an SEO professional or agency. It’s possible to complete some basic SEO on your own. Since your expertise probably lies in other areas, it can be extremely helpful to take advantage of professional expertise. Like any growing industry, there’s lots and lots of agencies and consultants to choose from. While these companies may all provide SEO services, the quality varies. Understanding how to choose a worthwhile SEO company saves time and money.

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Commercial Business Advice

WHAT IS SEO?

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a means of maximizing the quantity and quality of traffic to the website. It increases exposure to your brand through organic or non-paid search engine results. While SEO is centered around technology, it’s also about people. SEO needs to cater toward what people are searching for online. The answers and services they are looking for, the words they’re typing in and the style of content they find most appealing directly impact the success of an SEO campaign. The goal is to connect with people who are searching online for the services you provide. Once the client’s intent is identified, the next challenge is supplying results in a way search engine crawlers can find and understand. So what are search engines? They pour over billions of bits of content and consider thousands of factors to choose which content is most likely to satisfy your query. They work by finding and cataloguing the vast amount of content on the internet, including web pages, images, videos and etc. This process is known as crawling and indexing. They then order the information by how closely it matches the query and put it in order or ranking. The organic search results are those that come up through effective SEO. They are not paid advertising. The paid ads used to be easily identified. Today, search engine results pages or SERPs are filled with a lot more advertising and more dynamic organic results formats or Serp features than ever. Search engines make money from advertising. The priority is to solve queries within SERPs in the best possible way to get searchers to return and keep them on the SERPs longer.

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Commercial Business Advice

CHANGES IN MARKETING STRATEGIES

Not too long ago, advertising was limited to advertisements in the newspaper and the yellow pages. While options for marketing a business were few, the process was much more simple. It wasn’t difficult to call up the local newspaper and work out the layout of an ad. You chose the size of the ad, the font and added your logo. You didn’t need to be technologically savvy to advertise your business. With the introduction of the internet, the marketing work has changed drastically. There’s also sorts of new terms to learn and managing an online presence is both necessary and a challenge. While online marketing is much more expensive, it provides much greater benefits. In this day and age, it’s just about impossible to run a successful and productive business without a website at the minimum. When potential clients look for a specific type of service, they typically start with Google. They type in keywords that narrow their search. For example, a homeowner having a problem with their furnace might type in heater repair. The goal is to have your business show up on the first page of the search results. Getting the client to click on the link to your website is the goal. Now you need an informative and visually pleasing website that encourages the client to browse your services and hopefully contact you. While a phone number used to be enough, people now expect the option of an online contact form. This means of communication is less personal but also quick, simple and efficient. The client avoids the back and forth of a conversation, potentially getting up on hold and taking up needless amounts of time. This is why an online marketing campaign could be great for your business.

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Homeowner Advice

LANDSCAPING & FENCING BEAUTIFY PROPERTIES

A fence and landscaping can beautify a residential or commercial property, adding value and curb appeal. Consider the opportunities of custom designed gardens, sculpted shrubberies, decorative railings and properly installed fencing. From scissor gates and chain link to add safety and security to the maintenance free aesthetics of vinyl fencing, the opportunities are nearly endless. Even such a simple touch as the right railing improves convenience and safeguards against injury. There’s a broad selection of railing material and styles that require very little care and suit any indoor or outdoor application. However, like any speciality field, it helps to have knowledge, experience and the proper tools. Hiring a licensed and insured team of professionals to handle fence removal, planning and new installation ensures the fulfilment of local codes, avoids problems and provides the right solution to your specific goals. You want to invest in a long-lasting upgrade to increase the usability and appearance of your home or business. Opportunities such as land grading and mulching can take your property a whole new level. Plus, experienced fencing and landscaping contractors can offer suggestions, inspiration and ingenuity. They’ve worked with different manufacturers and materials and know what works best in specific situations, holds up to time and weather and resolves difficult challenges. While some fences are suited for flat areas, others accommodate sloped property. Before you get started, take the time to read reviews, find a company with a proven history and satisfied customers. Consider exactly what you’re hoping for from the finished result and get an estimate. A new fence and landscaping services can really improve the value of your home!

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Homeowner Advice

HIGHER QUALITY FURNITURE

When you shop for furniture at the local big box store, the items have come off the assembly line and each step of the manufacturing process has prioritized profit. From the original lumber and materials to the factory, shipping company and store, everyone is making money off the piece. This results in cookie-cutter pieces of furniture on the showroom floor. It also leads to inferior materials and workmanship. If you’re looking for higher quality mass-manufactured pieces, you’ll need to visit a designer showroom and be prepared to pay a hefty price. Another option is custom created furniture. These pieces are designed and constructed to your specifications by a master craftsman. The builder takes pride in their craft and the finished product. There’s no cut corners or a bunch of different businesses all demanding a few extra dollars. You might end up paying a bit more, but you’re investing in long-lasting reliability and piece built from scratch.  

Custom built furniture isn’t the same as designer furniture. Getting a piece built to your specifications doesn’t necessarily mean higher prices. Designers partner with custom furniture manufacturers to remain within your budget for the project. They work with you to decide on the type of wood, style of furniture, fabrics and details to achieve a unique look. You’re able to realize your vision and accommodate the demands of your space. Maybe the room is oddly shaped, unusually small, large or the piece needs to serve a special function. Whatever your needs, dreams or desires, custom furniture is where imagination and reality meet. Plus, you can be sure you’ll never see the same furnishing in your neighbor’s house

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Homeowner Advice

ESSENTIAL ROOFING CHECKS

A roofing inspection should include interior and exterior checks. For the interior, the contractor verifies proper insulation levels, ventilation and looks for any signs of moisture and mold. For the exterior portion, the contractor will get up on the roof and look for leaks and proper flashing and check the condition of the shingles and chimney. Upon completion of the inspection, the contractor can provide detailed recommendations of any necessary repair and estimate of the cost. The priorities during an inspection vary according to the roofing materials involved. For a shingle roof, the most common troubleshooting involves:

  • Indications of water damage – A number of concerns can lead to water damage, including clogged gutters preventing water from draining properly and water seeping in because of improperly installed or damaged flashing and storms that have blown shingles off. 
  • Mold – Excessive water damage frequently results in mold growth around the chimney and on attic insulation. 
  • Clogged gutters – An excessive amount of loose shingle granules located in the gutters is an indication of wear and tear on the shingles. Granules add weight to the shingles and protect against ultraviolet rays. 
  • Shingle deterioration – Rotting shingles, missing or loose shingles and algae growth on the shingles are a concern.

For a metal roof, the focus is also on leaks and the reason for them. During an inspection of a metal roof, professionals will play close attention to:

  • Separated seems – Weather changes cause metal roofs to expand and contract. This can result in screws loosening and seams coming apart. If not resolved, the roof’s underlying structure is exposed to damage caused by condensation and the buildup of water.
  • Rust – Rust is the enemy of your metal roof, leading to large holes that allow water to leak into the home and destroy roofing panels.
  • Damaged flashing – If flashing is allowed to pull apart, a gap is created where water can seep underneath the metal roof and result in corrosion on the underside of the panels.
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Commercial Business Advice Homeowner Advice

ANNUAL ROOF INSPECTIONS ARE ESSENTIAL

One of the most important aspects of your home or commercial building is the roof. The condition of the roof impacts the entire structure. Taking good care of it should always be a priority. Depending on the quality of materials and protocols of installation, most roofs can be expected to provide a life expectancy between twenty and fifty years. Most licensed contractors offer free roofing inspections and back their work with lifetime guarantees. Having a certified roofing professionals perform a thorough evaluation reveals problems and allows for proactive measures through repairs or replacement. They can also suggest ways to improve energy efficiency.

Every roofing project begins with inspection. A detailed inspection identifies concerns at the early stages to prevent much worse damage before an emergency arises. The National Roofing Contractors Association advocates roofing inspections in the fall, spring and after any big storm that includes high winds, hail or flying debris. Frequency can also depend on the age of the roof. It’s a good idea to schedule a roof inspection at least once per year. If you should notice any leaks or drafts, you definitely want to have the roof checked out by a professional. Darks streaks and stains on the ceiling are signs that the roof is leaking. This moisture can cause severe damage to the roof as well as the home’s interior. Drafts aren’t always caused by problems with the roof, but certainly can be and result in issues with air circulation, ventilation and higher than necessary energy bills. 

Roof inspection benefit include:

  • Documented history assists with potential insurance claims
  • Meets the requirements of warranty
  • Reveals concerns before they graduate into major problems
  • Supports safety and efficiency
  • Regular roof maintenance protects against liability
  • Generates a certified report of current roof status
  • Trims long-term expenses

Learn more about commercial and residential roofing services!