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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

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3 Storm Preparedness Strategies for Homeowners

October 6, 2015 1:51 am

Believe it or not, many homeowners fail to take necessary steps to prepare for storms. In fact, according to Kim Brooks, president and CEO of ServiceMaster DSI, disaster restoration experts still come across mold damage in homes months or even years later.

"We can't stress enough the importance of having a plan," says Brooks. "Unfortunately, people often don't take weather warnings seriously, and once they do, panic sets in and they run out of time to take care of simple precautions to secure their property. Knowing what to do before and after a major storm, and knowing when to call in the professionals for assistance, including who to call, can help home and business owners avoid costly damage to their properties in the long run."

Brooks suggests a three-part strategy to help reduce potential damage, expense and inconvenience following severe weather:

1. Prepare in Advance - Once severe weather is predicted, begin boarding up windows and ensuring rain gutters are clear. Secure loose outdoor items and have a fresh supply of batteries on hand, as well as emergency supplies such as water, medication and non-perishable food. Take photos and make lists to document essential possessions.

Most importantly, have a plan for post-hurricane repairs and information on hand for professional restoration companies to help lessen damages in a timely manner.

2. Assess Aftermath
- Safety after a heavy storm is critical. Debris, live power lines and electrically-charged water are just a few of the safety risks to keep in mind. Evaluate the situation and structural damage before entering the home or attempting DIY cleanup, which can cause more damage and lead to additional expenses.

When possible, water cleanup should begin right away (within 24-48 hours) to avoid mold, rust and further damage. Remove wet area rugs to prevent seepage of water up drywall and discard damp, non-valuable items to help avoid potential mold contamination. To mitigate loss, contact a professional restoration company immediately.

3. Recognize Lingering Problems - Be on the lookout for mold following water damage or flooding. Mold needs wet conditions to grow and is most often detected by sight or smell. If you notice mold stains or a musty smell in a room or area, remove any lingering wet items.

Don't rely on products that promise to kill mold, including bleach, as it only causes mold to go dormant. The only way to truly get rid of mold is to cut it out of an area -- an undertaking best left to professionals to avoid spreading it across the property, causing further costly damage and inadequate cleaning.

Source: ServiceMaster Restore

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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5 Things to Know about Credit

October 6, 2015 1:51 am

Though most of us have basic knowledge about credit, major gaps still exist. According to the nonprofit organization American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC), more than half of Americans are unaware that credit scores measure the risk of not repaying a loan on time, rather than their ability to pay based on their annual salary.

“Credit has a major impact on so many aspects of an individual’s life, from the ability to rent an apartment to buying a car or securing a mortgage,” says Steve Trumble, president and CEO of ACCC. “Despite its importance, many Americans not only have trouble managing their credit, but they don’t fully grasp how it works and what it means – particularly when it comes to understanding their credit scores.”

The ACCC shares five things to know about credit:

1. A good credit score secures financial wellness. Credit is more than just a plastic card you use to buy things—it is your financial trustworthiness. Good credit means that your history of payments, employment and salary make you a good candidate for a loan, and creditors—those who lend money or services—will be more willing to work with you.

2. All credit scores are not the same. There are three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion), and they each have their own model for calculating your score. They also may not all be using the same information. Each score matters, and different lenders may be using different scores to evaluate you.

3. Bad credit scores are fixable.
A bad credit history can haunt you for a long time—seven years or more. Make sure you correct any errors on your report. Asking for help from your creditors can go a long way in terms of fixing bad credit. If you have a poor credit score, take the necessary steps to start fixing it by paying down debt where possible and making payments on time.

4. Make the right choice.
Consider fees, limits, interest rates, and benefits, which can vary substantially among credit card issuers, when opening a new card. Some credit cards that look like a great deal at first glance may lose their appeal once you read the terms and conditions of use and calculate how the fees could affect your available credit.

5. Discipline goes a long way.
Try to pay your bills on time and in full as much as possible. This will help you avoid late fees, and build a positive credit history.

Source: ACCC

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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