- Melissa Kellerman
Buying or selling a home can be a stressful experience without the security of a trusted REALTOR in your corner.
Choose me to be your trusted REALTOR.
I will guide you through every step of this rewarding process with professionalism and dedication. My attention to detail, strong communication and 100% effort will deliver the results you deserve. It is my mission to build lasting relationships and earn repeat referrals. The key to this is providing my clients with personalized service before, during and after every transaction. I am here to help you with all of your real estate needs.
Feel free to call or email me anytime!
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Increasing your home's appeal can make all of the difference when trying to sell. By preparing your home now, you can control exactly how your property appears to potential buyers and hopefully stage it in a way that plays to its strengths. Here are even more recommendations for what to do when preparing and staging your home for showings.
Make minor repairs
The small stuff does count, especially with first-time home buyers. Focus on the minor repairs that will make your home visually appealing. The best ways to improve your home include:
-Repairing ceilings and wall cracks
-Repairing faucets, banisters, handrails, cabinets, drawers, doors, floors and tile
-Caulking and grouting tubs, showers, sinks and tile
-Adding fresh paint to ceilings, walls, trim, doors and cabinets
-Tightening door handles, drawer pulls, light switches and electrical plates
-Lubricating door hinges and locks
Showcase the kitchen
The heart of any home is the kitchen. If you are going to spend any money on renovations, this is the one area where you will see the greatest return. Even with a modest budget, focusing on a few key areas can make a great difference in getting the asking price for your property. The best ways to showcase the kitchen include:
-Replacing cabinet doors and hardware
-Installing under-cabinet lighting
-Replacing light fixtures
-Replacing outdated shelving with pantry and cabinet organizers to maximize space
-Baking cookies or cupcakes to create a homey smell during a showing
Furniture placement can enhance the space of your home while giving buyers an idea of how to best utilize the space with their own belongings. Take some time to rethink how different areas in your house could be used. Some ideas to think about include:
-Moving couches and chairs away from walls in your sitting and family rooms to create cozy, conversational groups.
-Creating a reading corner in the master bedroom
-Clearing an empty room to set up a reading space
-Turning an awkward space into a home office
-Setting the dining room table with your best china
-Set wine glasses in front of the fireplace or next to a Jacuzzi tub
Light up the house
Create a sense of openness and cheerfulness in your home through its lighting. To improve the lighting try:
-Opening shades and drapes to let the sunshine warm and brighten rooms
-Installing brighter light bulbs in rooms that tend to be dark
-Adding additional lamps for ambient lighting
-Turning on all the lights for a showing
Add fresh touches
You can easily add color and style to your home by adding fresh touches throughout. Some ideas to consider include:
-Placing fresh floral arrangements in the entry and master bedroom
-Placing bowls of bright-colored fruit in the family room and the kitchen.
-Filling an empty corner with a potted leafy plant
-Setting new hand soap in the bathrooms
-Displaying fresh towels near sinks
When selling your home, the goal is to sell it quickly for the highest price while investing as little as possible in renovations. With a limited budget and a little effort, you can greatly increase your home's appeal by focusing on what prospective buyers can see on their first visit. Take the following recommendations when preparing a house for sale and staging it for showings.
Tip #1: Refresh the exterior
First impressions count when it comes to selling a home. Most buyers won’t even leave their car if they don’t find the exterior appealing. The best ways to improve your home’s exterior include:
-Repairing and/or replacing trims, shutters, gutters, shingles, mailboxes, window screens, walkways and the driveway.
-Painting siding, trim and shutters and lamp and mailbox posts.
-Pressure washing vinyl siding, roofs, walkways and the driveway.
Tip #2: Spruce up the lawn and landscape
Home buyers associate the condition of your lawn and landscaping with the condition of your home’s interior. By improving the outside, you affect buyers’ impression of the entire property. The best ways to enhance the yard include:
-Mowing and edging the lawn.
-Seeding, fertilizing and weeding the lawn.
-Keeping up with regular lawn maintenance by frequent watering.
-Trimming and/or removing overgrown trees, shrubs and hedges.
-Weeding and mulching plant beds.
-Planting colorful seasonal flowers in existing plant beds.
-Removing trash, especially along fences and underneath hedges.
-Sweeping and weeding the street curb along your property.
Tip #3: Create an inviting entrance
The front door to your home should invite buyers to enter. The best ways to improve your entry include:
-Painting the front door in a glossy, cheerful color that complements the exterior.
-Cleaning, polishing and/or replacing the door knocker, locks and handles.
-Repairing and/or replacing the screen door, the doorbell, porch lights and house numbers.
-Placing a new welcome mat and a group of seasonal potted plants and flowers by the entry.
Tip #4: Reduce clutter and furniture
A buyer cannot envision living in your home without seeing it. A home filled with clutter or even too much furniture distracts buyers from seeing how they can utilize the space your home offers. If you have limited storage space, you may want to consider renting a temporary storage unit to place items you wish to keep. The best ways to declutter your home include:
-Holding a garage sale to prepare for your move, getting rid of unnecessary items.
-Removing clutter such as books, magazines, toys, tools, supplies and unused items from counter tops, open shelves, storage closets, the garage and basements.
-Storing out-of-season clothing and shoes out of sight to make bedroom closets seem roomier.
-Removing any visibly damaged furniture.
-Organizing bookshelves, closets, cabinets and pantries. Buyers will inspect everything.
-Putting away your personal photographs, unless they showcase the home. Let buyers see themselves in your home.
-De-personalize rooms as much as you can.
Tip #5: Clean, clean, clean
The cleanliness of your home also influences a buyer's perception of its condition. The appearance of the kitchen and bathrooms will play a considerable role in a buyer's decision process, so pay particular attention to these areas. The best ways to improve these areas include:
-Cleaning windows, fixtures, hardware, ceiling fans, vent covers and appliances.
-Cleaning carpets, area rugs and draperies.
-Cleaning inside the refrigerator, the stove and all cabinets.
-Removing stains from carpets, floors, counters, sinks, baths, tile, walls and grout.
-Eliminating house odors, especially if you have pets.
-Considering air fresheners or potpourri.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
“With nearly one in 15 homes affected by elevated levels of radon and thousands dying each year from radon-induced cancer, it’s time to step up our actions in the federal government,” EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson says. “Through the Federal Radon Action Plan, we’re working with partner agencies to raise awareness about the threat of radon in our homes and to take steps to mitigate this hazard. Together our efforts will help reduce radon exposure and make our homes, schools and communities healthier places to live, learn, work and play.”
The Federal Radon Action Plan brings together government agencies to demonstrate the importance of radon risk reduction, address finance and incentive issues to drive testing and mitigation, and build demand for services from industry professionals. The plan will help spur greater action in the marketplace, create jobs in the private sector, and significantly reduce exposure to radon. The plan includes strategies to reach low-income families, many of whom do not have the resources to make the simple fixes necessary to protect their homes and loved ones. With the help of all agency networks, approximately 7.5 million buildings and homes in the United States will be able to receive information and build awareness around this serious public health risk.
The plan includes federal government actions to reduce radon risks:
- Launching a cross-government outreach initiative to educate families about the health risks associated with radon exposure and the solutions to address the risks.
- Incorporating radon testing and mitigation into federal programs.
- Investing in new standards and updating codes for measurement and mitigation in schools, daycare facilities, and multi-family housing.
- Establishing incentives that drive testing and mitigation in the private and public sectors.
Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible and odorless radioactive gas. Approximately one in 15 American homes contains high levels of radon. EPA and the Surgeon General urge people to test their homes for radon at least every two years. For more information, visit http://www.radonplan.us/.
No one wants to buy a house with a mold problem but these sneaky little spores aren’t always easy to detect.
“Mold is a fungus and although some molds are visible and even odorous, mold can also grow between walls, under floors and ceilings, or in less accessible spots, such as basements and attics,” says Roger Harris, an inspector in Coral Gables, Fla. “Indoor mold can cause health related problems and is a costly, time-consuming problem to fix.”
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances. Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals, including hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people.
“Mold spores are very easily aerosolized,” says James Mallory, president of Washington-based Environix Air Quality. “Once they are disturbed, hundreds of thousands of spores can fill the air within a short period of time. Because of this, containment procedures are necessary to prevent contaminating the entire house or building.”
Mold grows best in water-soaked materials (paneling, wallboard, carpet, attics), but can survive in almost any damp location. Preventing water damage is one of the keys to stopping mold. Many indoor mold problems begin with an aging, weathered, leaky roof that may allow water to enter the home.
“Water can damage attics, walls and ceilings, and homeowners may not be aware of the problem until it is too late,” Harris says. “Mold thrives and spreads in water-damaged areas that are not properly dried and maintained. Prevent water damage by making sure that your home's roof is properly maintained.”
Over the years, there has been an increase in the number of disputes over mold between sellers and buyers. A wise seller would put a specific mold disclaimer into the real estate sales contract and encourage in the sales contract that the buyer hire and rely upon the buyer’s own independent mold inspection and testing of the home by a certified mold inspector.
“You do need to comply in good faith with all of your state’s laws,” says mold expert Phillip Fry, who has written five books on the subject. “If you know your home or property has a water, mold, or other environmental problem, or if you have a reasonable suspicion that there may exist such a problem, you would be wise to remedy the water problem, mold infestation, or environmental threat prior to even offering the property for sale and prior to even listing the property for sale with a REALTOR®.”
In some states, real estate agents or brokers have a duty to disclose problems they know exist. Appraisers should also notify you of any obvious sign of a mold problem if the value of the property can be affected.
Most home buyers rely on a home inspector to look for mold, and while they will mention obvious signs of water damage and the possible presence of mold, it is not their job to seek out mold. You should always be sure to ask an inspector of any possible mold damage.
Remember, if you are house hunting, you should learn how to detect mold in homes, get the seller to disclose mold issues, and negotiate around any mold problems that come to light in the course of the sale.
Monday, June 20, 2011
1. Avoid heat build-up in your home – The best way to keep your home cool is to keep the heat out. This can be done by closing the drapes on windows facing the sun (east-facing windows in the morning and west-facing windows in the afternoon). You should also try to avoid heat-generating activities, such as cooking, on hot days or during the hottest part of the day. If you are cooking, use your range fan to vent the hot air out of your house. By reducing the amount of heat in your home, you will have to use less energy to cool it.
2. Use ventilation and circulation to cool your home – Instead of automatically turning on the air conditioner on hot days, try cooling your home with window and ceiling fans. Circulating air can make your home feel cool and comfortable in a much more efficient way than air conditioning. There is also the option of a whole house fan (a large ventilating fan installed in the attic that expels hot air out of your home) which can circulate air throughout your entire home.
3. Keep air conditioning efficient and to a minimum – When you do have to use air conditioning, there are ways to make it more efficient. First of all, turn up the temperature setting on your air conditioner by a couple of degrees. Most people keep the temperature setting lower than it needs to be, hence using more energy than is needed to keep your home cool. It is recommended that you keep the temperature at about 25° C (77° F). Also, remember to turn off your air conditioner once your home has reached a comfortable temperature. By coupling minimum air conditioning with reducing the amount of heat entering your home, you can keep it cool without using excess energy. It isn’t recommended that you leave your air conditioner on when you leave your house, but if you’re going to do so, turn the temperature setting up a few more degrees to about 28° C (82° F) while you’re gone. Also, remember to turn off your air conditioner if you’re going to be away from your home for more than a day. It is also important to make sure your cooling vents aren’t blocked so that the energy being used is going towards actually cooling your home and not being wasted. Furthermore, keep rooms that don't need cooling, such as closets, closed off when the air conditioner is running.
4. Make sure your home isn’t losing cool air – By weather-stripping and caulking around windows, doors and electrical outlets on outer walls, you can prevent losing cool air from your home and prevent hot air from getting in. Improve your home’s insulation on outer walls, again to keep cool air in, and hot air out. You should also consider installing storm doors for the same reasons if your home doesn’t already have them. If you have a fireplace, keep the flue closed. This provides an extra barrier against the escape of cool air. All of these options will make cooling your home more efficient and will save you money on your energy bill.
5. Select energy-efficient cooling systems – If you’re in the market for a new cooling system, there are many new technologies that are much more efficient than older versions. As with other appliances, you should look for the Energy Star logo and compare the amount of electricity each uses.
6. Use the coolest parts of your home – On hot days, parts of your house will naturally stay cooler than others. For example, if you have a basement it will remain cool even during the hottest part of the day (this is because the cool air in your home will sink down to your basement). One way you can reduce the amount of energy used to cool your home is to do more in cooler areas of your home. This way, you won't have to use energy to stay cool.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
"Prepping your home for remodeling or improvements of any type is important whether you're working with professional installers or readying your space for a 'do it yourself' project," says Ann Sawyer, Power Home Remodeling Group's vice president of operations & installations. "Preparation is key to a smooth installation and avoidance of time-consuming project pitfalls."
Keep the following tips in mind before home improvement projects begin:
• Have a plan: Communicate with your contractor well before the scheduled installation date about project requirements. Open communication about expectations and a timeline will limit the chance of unexpected surprises after the project is underway. Also be sure to have a source of electricity readily available, especially when working outdoors.
• Start with a clean slate: Store knick-knacks, art work and family photos to ensure they don't become damaged during renovation. Dismantle window treatments and move furniture into a different room of the house. Store fixture plates, screws and hardware in individually labeled plastic bags for reinstallation when the project is finished. Also be sure to cover carpet and flooring in high traffic areas with a drop cloth to protect it from paint, dust and debris.
• Mesh new with old: When installing new flooring, counter tops or appliances, pay close attention to measurements. Baseboards that were installed with carpeting may need to be adjusted to accommodate wood flooring. Similarly, a dingy door and trim could be an eyesore in a freshly painted room. Be sure to match finishes when replacing hardware like drawer pulls, doorknobs and towel bars. An old brass doorknob is certain to clash with a sleek new pewter faucet. Keep these details in mind throughout the renovation to ensure a satisfying end result.
• Consider project requirements: Some of the most difficult remodeling projects involve electricity and plumbing. It's important to consider the voltage of the electrical current and outlets in your home before plugging in a new appliance. Wire and hose length are also vital considerations before remodeling. For example, it is important to remember that an appliance must be pulled away from the wall for maintenance when planning the layout of a room. Homeowners looking to complete a project themselves must also remember to obtain the appropriate licensure from their local municipality for major renovations.
For more information, please visit http://www.powerhrg.com/.
The HOI indicated that 74.6% of all new and existing homes sold in the first quarter of 2011 were affordable to families earning the national median income of $64,400. This eclipsed the previous high of 73.9% set during the fourth quarter of 2010 and marked the ninth consecutive quarter that the index has been above 70%. Until 2009, the HOI rarely topped 65% and never reached 70%.
"With interest rates remaining at historically low levels, today's report indicates that homeownership is within reach of more households than it has been for more than two decades," says Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder from Reno, Nev. "While this is good news for consumers, home buyers and builders continue to confront extremely tight credit conditions, and this remains a significant obstacle to many potential home sales."
Syracuse, N.Y. was the most affordable major housing market in the country during the first quarter of the year. In Syracuse, 94.5% of all homes sold were affordable to households earning the area's median family income of $64,300.
Also ranking near the top of the most affordable major metro housing markets were Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa.; Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind.; Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich.; and Toledo, Ohio.
Among smaller housing markets, the most affordable was Kokomo, Ind., where 98.6% of homes sold during the first quarter of 2011 were affordable to families earning a median income of $61,400. Other smaller housing markets near the top of the index included Monroe, Mich.; Cumberland, Md.-W.Va.; Elkhart-Goshen, Ind.; and Springfield, Ohio.
For more information, visit www.nahb.org/hoi.
1. Proper watering and water conservation is important at any time of year, but particularly when heat and a lack of rain lead to water deficits and drought.
2. Evaluate your lawn regularly for signs of irregular color and texture. These can be signs of damage that may result from pests or disease.
3. Proper year-round lawn care keeps a lawn healthy and prevents weeds, disease and pests. But sometimes, insects you may not notice can travel from the yard to your home. To stop them, hire pest control to keep the bugs on the outside. You can also reduce their outside presence by treating the lawn for insects such as fleas and ticks, and fire ants.
4. While lawns are generally the focal point of most yards, don’t forget about trees and shrubs. Well-maintained landscaping adds dimensionality to a home and increases its value.
5. In the heat of the summer, you may be tempted to mow your lawn in shorts and flip flops, but remember, you need to stay safe: wear long pants and closed-toed shoes.
6. Also, no matter what outdoor activity you’re enjoying, be sure to stay hydrated with plenty of water.
7. The essentials of good summer lawn care are watering, fertilizing and proper mowing. However, sometimes an underlying problem (such as bare spots or severely damaged turf) requires additional measures.
Follow these tips and take care of your lawn so that you can enjoy countless hours of outdoor fun and relaxation throughout the entire summer.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Decisions, decisions: Choose a finish that you'd like to use for your deck. Solid or opaque stains will provide the longest life, lasting 5 years or more, conditions depending. If showing off wood grains is desired, clear sealers or semi-transparent stains can be used, products that may last for a shorter period but will give the desired effect.
Work in the right weather: The job will require at least two days without rain. Aim for temperatures below 85 degrees Fahrenheit to clean the area and let it properly dry before applying the stain. Avoid days with high wind or direct sunlight, as stain can dry improperly.
Before getting started: Search for loose boards and make the repairs, as needed. Use a mixture of bleach and water (one quart to three quarts) or try a deck-cleaning product. Scrub the deck with a stiff bristle brush to ensure cleanliness. Rinse with water and tackle any remaining residue with a power washer, holding the stream at least 8 inches away to avoid from ruining the wood.
It's time to apply: Once the deck is completely dry, apply the stain with a synthetic-bristle brush for latex-based stains. If you have chosen an alkyd-based stain, use a natural bristle brush. Brush about three pieces of wood at a time, always following the grain. Don't forget to work the stain into the sides and ends of the planks.
Give it time: Check the stain's label to find the recommended time for drying. Give it at least 72 hours to dry before placing furniture back on the deck.
The new stain will give the exterior of your home a fresh appeal. With your newly refinished deck ready to go, you can now start enjoying your summer and hosting guests at your leisure.
Source: Consumer Reports
Monday, June 6, 2011
Planning a move can be hard, but planning a move with children can be even more difficult. When it comes to moving, most children aren't happy abandoning their childhood homes. Author Irene Agapion-Palamaris claims that children can be happy about moving if you prepare them in the right ways.
In her new children's book, Marilyn is Moving, Agapion-Palamaris tells the story of a spunky little girl named Marilyn and her emotions when she finds out she is moving. After her attempts at stopping the move proved to be unfruitful, she becomes involved in the selection process of her new home. It's then when she realizes moving can be fun.
With tips learned as a real estate agent, Agapion-Palamaris tells the story to help children understand the importance of a move. Here are a few tips to help make a move easier on children:
1. Be upbeat about the move from the start. Emotions are contagious. If your child notices your excitement for the move, he or she will feed off of your positive energy and will likely come around quicker.
2. Hold a family meeting to discuss the details and timeline. If your children feel that they are an important part of the process, they will be more open to conversation regarding the move. Allow them to help make simple decisions which will boost their feelings of self-worth.
3. Show children the new house (if possible). Show your child what his or her new room will look like and offer suggestions for what they can do with their new room. This will increase excitement.
4. Start making plans for the designs of their rooms. What child doesn't like a totally awesome paint job? Let the child choose a color or pattern for the walls. With the correct supervision, children will feel like it really is "their room."
5. Host a moving party with all your children's neighborhood friends. Reinforce that it is not a "goodbye," but a "see you soon." Make plans with other children and their parents for a visit to see the new home. By keeping in touch with his or her friends, your child will adjust to the move more quickly.
"Quite frankly, electrical safety is a key home safety component that is often overlooked," says Marjorie Kass, MXenergy managing director. "Yet the truth is, it is an essential element of any home safety plan. Proper education, awareness and action can go a long way in preventing tragedy."
Faulty or fixed wiring or improper use of electrical cords and other electrical items cause most home fires. Heed the following tips to maximize your home's safety:
• Pay Attention: Flickering lights, buzzing noises, and faceplates that are warm to the touch are all signs that a circuit may be overloaded or wiring may be wearing thin. Each one of these signs is cause for immediate attention from a licensed professional electrician.
• Listen to Your Breaker: If you are continually tripping a switch and having to reset your breaker box, your house is trying to tell you something. There may be a fixture with faulty wiring or too high an electrical load on the breaker. Again, seek professional help.
• Review and Replace: Frayed electrical cords, wobbly ceiling fans, and loose faceplates are more than mere annoyances. You should routinely inspect your home and replace or repair items in need of attention.
• Safety First: Even the best preparation and newest equipment is not a guaranteed protection against fire. Working smoke detectors on all levels of your home are an absolute must. Make sure you have a working fire extinguisher and you know the proper way to use it.
"The good news is many of these fires are avoidable," continues Kass. "In the case of electrical safety, just a little awareness and preparation can make an enormous difference."
For more information and safety tips, visit www.esfi.org and http://www.mxenergy.com/.
1. Wear light weight, loose fitting clothing. Cotton is much cooler than most man-made materials. Wear light colored clothing and a hat if you’re going out in the sun.
2. Spend as much of your indoor time as possible on the north side and lower levels of your home. Those areas will be the coolest.
3. Do as many of your outside activities as possible in the early morning, which is usually the coolest part of the day.
4. Use blinds and drapes on the southeast, and west side of your home to cut down on energy costs.
5. Drink plenty of water and other liquids.
6. Look for non-heat intensive exercise options. Jogging or biking during the hottest part of the day is not a lot of fun, and it’s not healthy in areas with poor air quality. Swimming is great exercise and summer and/or August swimming pool or health club memberships are great alternatives.
7. Eat lighter meals. If you can avoid cooking indoors you won’t have to cool the hot air you create and will save on air conditioning costs. If you have the ability to grill outside of your home you’ll also save on cooling costs.
8. Make sure you adjust your programmable thermostat so it isn’t using the air conditioning while you’re at work or away on vacation. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, get one—it will repay the investment faster than just about any other energy efficiency investment.
9. Let someone else pay for the air conditioning. The hottest part of the day is a good time to visit air conditioned places, such as shopping malls, grocery stores, libraries or movie theatres.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Clear the surroundings. One of the easiest ways to make your air conditioning unit operate more efficiently is to ensure it is clear from any immediate surroundings. If the air flow pathway is kept clear, air has an easier time getting in and the A/C unit doesn't have to work as hard. The same rule applies when using a window unit; always be conscious of clutter or debris that may inhibit air flow. When the air conditioner doesn't have to work as hard, you consume less energy.
Monitor your electricity bill. When you start using your A/C, use it sparingly to prevent a surprising bill. Be proactive and consider how much energy you're using to keep your home cool. Once you've seen the way your bill reacts to the first month of air conditioning usage, you can gauge how much or how little you should be running it during the coming months.
Clean those filters. Controlling outside clutter is great, but it won't do any good unless you keep your filters clean. Take out your air filters and give them a good cleaning every few weeks, and replace them mid-season.
Raise it up a few degrees. A great recommendation for saving energy is raising your thermostat a few degrees and keeping it a bit warmer than you may desire. Begin by turning the temperature up a bit before you go to sleep. For those with a time-enabled thermostat, you can even set it to get warmer in the middle of the night so you can fall asleep comfortably and still wake up feeling refreshed.
With these four tips, you can go green while still staying cool. Your wallet will thank you.
“Every threat, from wind storms, floods and wildfires, to power outages and computer system failures, reminds us to be proactive when it comes to building strategies to survive a disaster and recover quickly,” says SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills. “The catastrophic events of the last few years demonstrate the need for preparedness at the individual level, to diminish the risk to life and property.”
Disaster preparedness for homes and businesses should include:
- A solid emergency response plan. Find evacuation routes from your home or business and establish meeting places. Make sure everyone understands the plan beforehand. Keep emergency phone numbers handy. Business owners should designate a contact person to communicate with other employees, customers and vendors. Ask an out-of-state friend or family member to be your “post-disaster” point of contact—a person to call to provide information on your safety and whereabouts.
- Adequate insurance. Disaster preparedness begins with having adequate insurance coverage—at least enough to rebuild your home or business. Homeowners and business owners should review their policies to see what is not covered. Businesses should consider “business interruption insurance,” which helps cover operating costs during the post-disaster shutdown period. Flood insurance is essential. To find out more about the National Flood Insurance Program, visit www.floodsmart.gov.
- Making copies of important records. It's a good idea to back up vital records and information saved on computer hard drives, and store those items at a distant offsite location. Computer data should be backed up routinely. Copies of important documents and CDs should be kept in fire-proof safe deposit boxes.
- A “Disaster Survival Kit.” The kit should include a flashlight, a portable radio, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, non-perishable packaged and canned food, bottled water, a basic tool kit, plastic bags, cash, and a disposable camera to take pictures of the property damage after the storm.
For more preparedness tips for businesses, homeowners and renters, visit www.sba.gov/disasterassistance.