RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

An Architect's Disaster Safety Checklist

July 21, 2015 1:15 am

In the eyes of an architect, preparing your residence for a natural disaster requires a thorough understanding of the home’s structure. If you don’t know details relating to the construction of your home, the American Institute of Architects Disaster Assistance Committee recommends following this checklist:

1. Document your home before disaster strikes. Take photos of the inside and outside of your property and share with your insurance company prior to a natural disaster.

2. Become familiar with your home’s history. Seek out details like the age of your home, the type of framing used in construction, how recently the roof has been repaired or replaced, etc. This information will help guide you on what design changes or updates should be made before a disaster.

3. Prioritize inexpensive fixes and phase repairs, maintenance and retrofits so they are manageable. Use wind-resistant nailing patterns to secure roof sheathing

4. Communicate your building performance goals. Make your desire for storm-resistant and resilient design elements known to your contractor or architect from the outset of a project and include site selection, program and building life cycle in your conversations. Make sure that you are comfortable with their expertise in this area before proceeding with work.

5. Designate a safe room within your home
for certain hazards including tornadoes and earthquakes. Examples include a mud room, laundry room or even a powder room as space allows.

6. Design to meet your needs. Building codes are a life safety standard that affords minimal protection of property only. Hazardous conditions may not be up to date in local maps and regulations to reflect current realities and risk. A qualified architect can advise on additional measures to take.

Source: AIA.org

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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5 Ways Students Can Avoid Borrower's Remorse

July 20, 2015 1:12 am

With no end in sight for tuition rate hikes, funding a higher education has become one of the most challenging financial issues for Americans. Students relying on loans have the added burden of paying off debt after graduation – and many aren’t even sure where to begin. To avoid borrower’s remorse, keep in mind these tips from the experts at Edvisors.com.

1. Exhaust free money first. By the time loans are repaid in full with any interest, it typically costs students about two dollars for every dollar they borrow. Rely on free aid first, such as grants, scholarships and education tax benefits. Consider earned income, such as student employment, education awards for volunteer service, employer tuition assistance or military student aid as options, as well. If you must borrow, consider a short-term tuition installment plan, instead of long-term debt.

2. Avoid taking on too much debt.
Families should only take on as much debt as they can afford to repay student loans in ten years or less. A good rule of thumb is to keep student loan debt at graduation less than the student’s expected annual starting salary – ideally, a lot less.

3. Borrow federal student loans before private ones. Always borrow federal student loans first because the loans are less expensive, more available and have better repayment terms and conditions than private student loans.

4. Know the difference between fixed and variable interest rates. Fixed interest rates remain unchanged for the life of the loan, while variable interest rates may change periodically. Even if the interest rate on a variable-rate loan is initially lower than the interest rate on a fixed-rate loan, the variable-rate loan may ultimately be more expensive if the interest rate increases significantly over the life of the loan.

5. Understand the consequences of cosigning. Cosigning a loan may help the borrower qualify for a loan and may reduce the interest rate. But, a cosigner is also a co-borrower, equally obligated to repay the debt. The cosigned loan will be reported on the credit history of both the borrower and cosigner. This may affect the cosigner’s ability to qualify for other debt, especially if the borrower is late with a payment or defaults on the loan.

Source: Edvisors.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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