Posts made in February, 2015

Is Your New Home Really Secure?

Walking away from the closing table with a set of shiny new house keys is a wonderful feeling of accomplishment for home buyers. However, have you ever thought about who else may also have a set of keys to your house? 

The Previous Owner

This one is pretty obvious to be sure, but new owners should remember that every member of the previous owner’s family most likely had a key to the house. Where are all those keys now? 

The Previous Owner’s Ex-Spouse or Lover

If the previous owner divorced or had a live-in partner during their ownership of the home, chances are good that keys to your home are still out there floating around. It isn’t very likely that these keys would be retrieved and given to you at closing, is it?

The Previous Owner’s Neighbor

A lot of home owners leave a key with a neighbor in case of an emergency or for those times when the neighbor will be watering the plants or feeding the cat while the owner vacations. Did the previous owner retrieve that key when the house was listed for sale? 

The Previous Owner’s Babysitter, Housekeeper, Furnace Repair Person, Dog Walker, Etc. 

Most home owners are busy people and cannot take off work to meet the furnace repair person or let the housekeeper in to clean each week. How many keys were given out in this manner through the years and where are all those keys now? 

The Real Estate Brokerage

Most real estate brokerages keep a copy of all the homes they have listed for sale and these keys are usually accessible to all agents and office personnel. In addition, if a key safe was installed on the property to enable other agents to show the home, duplicate keys were probably cut for this use. Did the real estate brokerage give you, the buyer, every copy they had for the house you just bought? 

The Home Inspector, Carpet Cleaner, Plumber, Electrician, Etc. 

Did you have a home inspection performed before you closed on your home? If so, and the seller was not present at the time of the inspection, the home inspector probably had access to either the key in the key safe or a duplicate key provided by the listing brokerage. This also applies to any service person who may have needed access to the home to clean or make repairs prior to closing. Can you be sure that all those keys were given to you at closing? 

What New Homeowners Should Do to Protect Themselves

More than likely, there are several keys in existence that fit the home you just bought. The only way you can be absolutely sure that your family is safe and secure in the new home is to contact a reputable locksmith and have every exterior door rekeyed. If there are gates or outbuildings that lock, make sure these are also rekeyed. Then you can sleep peacefully instead of laying awake and wondering who might someday let themselves into your home with an old key. 

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Oh Where, Oh Where Have My Sweaters Gone: Tips For Keeping Your Storage Unit Organized

Placing seasonal clothing and decor into a self storage unit is a great way to keep your home clutter free without giving up any of your less frequently used possessions. Unfortunately, you may also find that placing these items into storage is a great way to lose track of where each item is located. Consequently, returning to your unit to find that one box of winter sweaters or holiday ornaments can become a very unpleasant, time consuming, and labor intensive task.

Thankfully, you can avoid this situation all together by simply using the tips below to help you keep your storage unit organized so that you can quickly locate the items you need.

Tip 1: Always Use Large, Color Coded Box Labels

Most people label their storage boxes by using a marker to simply write on the side of the box. The problem is, not only can this ink fade over time, but it can also be impossible to see once the box is stacked in the back of your storage unit. In order to quickly identify the basic contents of each box, you should always make use of large, color coded labels that can be easily seen from a distance.

By assigning a specific color to each type of item you will be storing, you will be able to quickly identify the boxes you need when you return to collect certain items. For instance, you may wish to use a red label to identify all of your Christmas decorations, while using a blue label to identify all of your winter clothing.

Tip 2: Don’t Forget To Leave Room For You

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when packing their storage unit is that they pack the entire unit from wall to wall. While this approach will allow you to fit more into a smaller unit, it will also require you to physically remove the items in the front of your unit before you will be able to access the items in the back of the unit.

In order to ensure you always have easy access to all of the items in your storage unit, you will need to ensure that you have left room for you to move around within the unit after it has been packed. The most effective way to do this is by creating aisles between each row of stored items.

Tip 3: Make Yourself A Map

After spending hours packing your storage unit, you may think that you know exactly where everything is located. However, as time goes by, your recollection of each items placement is likely to be less than accurate. In order to ensure you are always able to find the items you need quickly, consider making yourself a map that indicates the exact location of each major item in your storage area. Just be sure to update this map when adding items to your storage unit or removing items. This will ensure that your map always remains accurate.

(for more information, contact King Arthur Self Storage)

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3 Ways To Make Your Business Stand Above Your Competition

As a business owner, your goal is to supply your customers with great services and products while making the most profit possible. Competition is one of the hardest things to deal with when you own a business. No matter what industry you are in, you are going to have rival competition. It is important that you make your business stand out to gain more exposure and appeal to more customers. 

Live answering service

When a customer calls your business, this may be the first impression they get. Rather than having them leave a message only to be called back, the customer is ready to speak with someone right away. Most people who call and have to leave a message, hang up. You want to show your customers that they matter. By answering each call with a live person, you can handle calls more efficiently. This allows you to take care of your customer’s needs quickly. 

During off-hours, it is important that your customer’s needs remain a priority. A 24-hour live answering service can help retain a disgruntled customer. Because everyone’s schedule is different, it is important that you have someone available to handle customer service around the clock. When you are available and your competition is closed, guess who is going to get the business?

Trimming costs running more efficiently

Having the money to be able to roll out incentives can be tough in any economy. The key strategy for any business that wants to run more efficiently is trimming the excess. When it comes to trying to be above the competition, you need to be able to try new paths and you cannot do that without the money to be able to try it. All companies can cut back in some areas with just a some simple tricks like cutting out services or switching your packaging. See how St. John’s Regional Health Center was able to trim some of their fat. 

Bring in your focus

Marketing is one of the best ways to not only get your name out there, but also to help identify what your business does. Billboards and television commercials are great for marketing, but they do not focus on your key audience. You could be spending too much money when you do not have to. If you own a motorcycle shop, it makes more sense to advertise in a motorcycle magazine than it does on television. You can reach more of your key audience with less money. Smartphone apps are easily becoming one of the more popular ways to advertise and can be one of the most cost-efficient ways. 

For more information, contact a business such as Answer-All Secretarial Service Inc.

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February 2015
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