Income Tax Planning For Large Estates

Ways to Avoid a Tax Audit

Staying on the right side of the IRS

While audits are rare, most Americans would probably like to avoid them altogether. The percentage of people who actually are audited is extremely small, according to the Internal Revenue Service, but the number has risen slowly since 2008. If the IRS does decide to audit you, there is little you may do to stop it. You may, however, reduce the odds that you will be singled out for that extra attention in the first place.

Check your figures

One of the most common red flags for auditors – erroneous data entry – is also one of the most preventable. It seems simple enough to follow the advice to “double-check your return,” but surprisingly, people are often too careless regarding their taxes. In some cases, taxpayers make avoidable mistakes by forgetting about income or related forms they’ve received when filing.

A good practice is to wait for all your income reports, bank and investment statements and other applicable financial paperwork to arrive before starting your tax return. Correctly reporting dependents and exemptions, as well as ensuring that the numbers match, is also important. The IRS’s automated system will easily detect discrepancies, and it won’t be obvious whether or not a discrepancy is accidental or on purpose.

TurboTax helps to make sure your tax return is correct by completing thousands of error checks before you file, so you can be sure it’s accurate. It also features an Audit Risk Meter™ that checks your tax return for common audit triggers and shows you whether your risk is high or low. Learn more about how TurboTax helps you reduce your audit risk.

Honesty is the best policy

Perhaps it’s common sense, but being 100% truthful on your tax return is an absolute must to reduce the chances of an audit. Realistically and accurately reporting income, deductions, credits and other figures can help keep an audit at bay.

In general, you should be prepared to look an auditor in the eye and support any number you claimed on your return.

Self-employed filers, for example, should have receipts for every business deduction they claim.

Go vanilla

The largest pool of filers – which consists of individuals or joint filers who earned less than $200,000 but more than the lowest earners – tends to avoid overt scrutiny.

You’re more likely to be audited if you make more than $1 million a year or you’re in a very low income tax bracket. Both categories historically are fertile grounds for fraud and – because of the greater complexity – mistakes in data entry.

E-filing helps

On Jan. 24, 1986, the IRS received its first electronically filed tax return from a preparer. By 1990, taxpayers throughout the country who expected a refund could file electronically. Out of over 154 million individual tax returns received by the IRS in 2017, 135 million were e-filed. The IRS maintains that filing returns electronically can prevent mistakes and lower the odds of an audit.

The error rate for a paper return is 21%.

The error rate for returns filed electronically is 0.5%.

The most common tax problems for 2020

Here are some of the common tax problems of 2020 that we should all be aware of.

1. The individual mandate penalty

Demonstrators outside the Supreme Court in advance of the court’s rulling that the ACA was constitutionalAlmost all of the Tax Code changes stemming from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act went into effect during 2018. However, a few didn’t become active until this year. The change to the shared responsibility payment is one of these.

The shared responsibility payment, which is commonly referred to as the individual mandate penalty, was previously introduced under the Affordable Care Act. It essentially required people to have some form of health insurance (Obamacare, private or otherwise). If a taxpayer couldn’t prove they had health insurance, they owed a penalty with their taxes.

Starting with the 2020 tax season (fiscal year 2019), there’s no longer a federal penalty. However — and this is where the confusion exists — there are still some state-based penalties. For example, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., all still have some form of penalty in place. Taxpayers will need to be cautious in this regard and do their research.

2. Changes to retirement contribution limits

Starting with this year, taxpayers are able to stash away more money in tax-advantaged retirement accounts, which could allow individuals to lower their tax burden. Here’s a breakdown of the changes:

The 401(k) base contribution is up to $19,000 (it was $18,500 in 2018);

The 401(k) catch-up contribution remains unchanged at $6,000;

The IRA base contribution (whether Roth or traditional) is up to $6,000 (it was $5,500 in 2018); and,

The IRA catch-up contribution remains unchanged at $1,000.

While these may not seem like major increases, they’re important. The $500 increase in IRA contribution limits is especially noteworthy, as these limits hadn’t budged since 2013.

3. Changes to HSA contribution limits

hsa.jpgIn addition to increasing the amount of money taxpayers can contribute to qualifying retirement plans, health savings accounts are also getting a tiny boost this year. For those with high-deductible policies that qualify under HSA guidelines, the changes are as follows:

Self-only coverage: now $3,500 (up from $3,450 in 2018); and,

Family coverage: now $7,000 (up from $6,900 in 2018).

Again, these slight adjustments won’t make anyone rich, but they are worth noting and could cause some confusion come April 2020.

4. The medical expense deduction threshold

p1910cvfmemac4vv1b76klp1lqd8.jpgThere’s been a lot of back and forth regarding the threshold for deductible medical and dental expenses over the past decade. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act raised the number from 7.5 percent to 10 percent of adjusted gross income. This made it a lot more difficult for people to qualify.

Then came the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which brought the threshold back down to 7.5 percent in 2017 and 2018. Unfortunately, it’s returning to 10 percent this year.

What does all of this mean? Basically, if a taxpayer plans on itemizing in 2019, their unreimbursed medical and dental expenses need to exceed 10 percent of their adjusted gross income in order to qualify as a deduction.

Tips for investors

  • Keep these points in mind when you invest You have very little time to study investment options in detail. So don’t go for investments that require a multi-year commitment.
  • Don’t invest a large sum in equitylinked options such as mutual funds and Ulips at one go. Such investments are best made through monthly SIPs.
  • If you don’t have time, go for the safest bet: Bank fi xed deposits and NSCs. Returns are low because the in ..
  • Don’t wait till the last day to invest in PPF and Sukanya scheme. Give a margin of 2-3 days for cheque to be credited to the account.

File electronically to avoid most common errors

Filing electronically and choosing direct deposit remains the fastest and safest way to file an accurate income tax return and receive a refund. Filing electronically reduces tax return errors as the tax software does the calculations, flags common errors and prompts taxpayers for missing information.

An inaccurate tax return can delay a refund.

Some common errors to avoid include:

  • Missing or inaccurate Social Security numbers. Enter each name and SSN exactly as printed on the Social Security card.
  • Incorrect filing status. The Interactive Tax Assistant on can help taxpayers choose the correct status. Tax software also helps prevent these mistakes.
  • Math errors. Tax preparation software does all the math automatically. Math errors are common on paper returns.
  • Figuring credits or deductions incorrectly. Taxpayers should follow the instructions carefully, and double check the information they enter when filing electronically. The IRS Interactive Tax Assistant can help determine if a taxpayer is eligible for certain tax credits.
  • Unsigned returns. Both spouses must sign if filing jointly. Taxpayers can avoid this error by filing their return electronically and digitally signing it. Exceptions may apply for military families if a spouse is serving overseas.
  • Filing with an expired individual taxpayer identification number.

In most cases, tax software helps to reduce or eliminate these. Find complete details on all the benefits of filing electronically, including IRS Free File, commercial tax prep software or an authorized e-file provider from the File page on

Reasons to Stop Doing Your Own Taxes

Doing your own taxes really isn’t like changing your own oil.

Even if you enjoy such tasks, getting either one of them wrong as a do-it-yourselfer can be expensive. But as complicated as a car engine may be for a relative novice, an encounter with the tax code offers so many more costly ways for things to go spectacularly awry.

This tax season, consider the danger of human error: namely, your own.

Here are situations that may persuade you to turn the task over to a pro.

1. Small errors lead to expensive tax bills.

Tax software — or the old-fashioned paper forms and calculators — won’t help much when the numbers that human beings use in the first place are flawed.

Finding and entering tax information often isn’t always easy. “That part of the process requires reading comprehension and critical thinking skills, made more complicated by a specialized vocabulary

And mistakes are possible when you do it all yourself. A new client of Minnie Lau, a San Francisco accountant, recently made a misfire in declaring the cost basis of some employer-issued stock, thanks to a fumble involving the interplay between tax software and a brokerage statement. Ms. Lau fixed the return, and the client got $14,000 back.

2. Software can take you on a path of aimless numbers.

Many tax returns are an annual reckoning of elemental life choices: whom, if anyone, you marry; who depends on you; where and how you work; what you’re stashing away for later; the causes that move you.

Talking regularly about all these things with a human being is healthy, especially if anything has changed. And while some tax software makes one-off communication with a pro possible, it isn’t the same as establishing a relationship.

Professionals who truly know you (and prod you) can prevent the errors that may arise when a computer leads you on a mad dash through contextless figures. Scrambling on April 14 to figure out what counts as a donation isn’t ideal.

3. When a family member dies, why add taxes to the burden?

In the year after the death of a life partner, grief alone — the sheer weight of it — could be reason enough to hand the tax task off to a professional.

These include how to treat income before and after the date of death, which tax return any income belongs on, deciphering the tax implications of the will (if any), figuring out what value to set for the cost of inherited assets, and on and on.

4. That word, ‘divorce,’ now applies to you.

Filing taxes after a divorce can get contentious for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that your ex-spouse may get a new accountant with sharp red pencils ready to “correct” your past tax return handiwork.

You could defend that work yourself, to try to head off a demand that the two of you refile all the returns. Or you could hire your own ace to smooth things over and return to your favorite software next year.

Make Your Office More Professional With Affordable Ceiling


Ceiling paint products come in a variety of formulations and finishes. From latex, oil-based, matt and sheen products, there are a wealth of paints to choose from. But how can you make sure to choose the best one? And what characteristics should you consider?

A good ceiling paint must have a good viscosity to allow an easy application. Then, evaluate the environment. A living room ceiling paint may not be appropriate in a kitchen or bathroom.


The ceiling is usually painted in light colours to visually enlarge the environment, but this isn’t necessarily a rule. While dark shades reduce the perception of space in a room, they are an ideal choice in a house with high ceilings.

Choosing a colour for this surface is a delicate matter. Your preference counts, but only up to a point. Trends pass and tastes change which is why it is important to choose a matching or complementary hue that does justice to the room. In a small environment, light colours add brightness. But white is not your only option. Cream and beiges or pastel hues of blue, green, yellow, and pink are alternative choices that add a contemporary look to your home décor.

In a generous room, a ceiling painted in a bold colour adds personality. Purple, dark green and even black offer sophistication and opulence. Another great idea is to match the colour of the ceiling with that of the floor. This creates a unity between the surfaces, especially when the walls are painted in a dramatic shade.

Decorative Painting Techniques for Creative Ceilings

Decorative painting techniques are a great way to turn any interior home painting project into a masterpiece. So if you love decorating with paint but ran out of wall space, just look up – your ceiling is also a perfect canvas for many creative faux and decorative paint finishes!

In painting and decorating, ceilings are usually not given much thought and often overlooked – they are painted the same standard, boring white color by default and look identical from room to room, from house to house.

But did you know that in the most gorgeous and luxurious homes, professional interior designers devote as much attention to the ceilings as they do to the walls?

The result of those efforts really pays off: the ceiling design then ties all the other elements of the decor together, and crowns the room for a very impressive and finished effect.

Dome and tray ceilings look especially fabulous when decorated with faux finishes – it’s almost like they were meant to be adorned that way, and if you are leaving yours white, you are not doing justice to that beautiful architectural feature.

How to Clean Your Walls and Ceilings

Light, routine cleaning of your walls and ceilings will keep them looking fresh and delay the need for a major cleaning. Generally, walls and ceilings are painted with either latex or alkyd paint. Latex, a water-base paint, is easy to wash after it has “cured” or set for a period of time. Alkyd, or oil-base paint, is durable and washable. Both types come in four finishes: flat (for walls and ceilings), satin (for doors and trim), semigloss (for walls), and gloss (for kitchen and bathroom walls and woodwork). You can clean painted walls with all-purpose cleaners.


Most painted ceiling surfaces are washable, but some ceilings, especially the acoustic type, need special treatment. Remove cobwebs from all ceilings monthly, or as needed, with a vacuum brush attachment or a long-handle mop. Wash or clean ceilings first if you are cleaning the whole room. Do not allow drips to run down walls. Protect furniture and floors with drop cloths or newspaper while you clean. Use a sponge mop to clean ceilings so you won’t need a ladder.

Acoustic Finish

This rough sound-absorbing finish is often used in new construction and remodeling. While it is relatively cheap and quick to apply, spray-on acoustic finishes cannot be cleaned. When the ceiling becomes dirty, the best thing to do is to vacuum it using a brush attachment, and then respray it.

Ceiling Tile

Vinyl-coated ceiling tile can be cleaned with an all-purpose cleaning solution. Nonwashable tiles can be spot-cleaned with special products available at hardware stores. When an overall cleaning is needed, the tiles may be painted. There’s no need for special paint.


Decorative plaster ceilings — as opposed to flat, painted plaster ceilings — are really not cleanable because of the unpainted surface and deep texture. When a plaster ceiling becomes dirty, the best treatment is to vacuum it carefully, using a brush attachment.


A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other permanent surfaces. A distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.

Murals of sorts date to Upper Paleolithic times such as the cave paintings in the Lubang Jeriji Saléh cave in Borneo (40,000-52,000 BP), Chauvet Cave in Ardèche department of southern France (around 32,000 BP). Many ancient murals have been found within ancient Egyptian tombs (around 3150 BC)

the Minoan palaces (Middle period III of the Neopalatial period, 1700–1600 BC), the Oxtotitlán cave and Juxtlahuaca in Mexico (around 1200-900 BC) and in Pompeii (around 100 BC – AD 79).

During the Middle Ages murals were usually executed on dry plaster (secco). The huge collection of Kerala mural painting dating from the 14th century are examples of fresco secco

In Italy, circa 1300, the technique of painting of frescos on wet plaster was reintroduced and led to a significant increase in the quality of mural painting

Top Best Ceiling Paint

Use the best ceiling paint, it will make your work A LOT easier. We took a fresh look at all the ceiling paint and here is our review for 2020. Save time and money: only do one coat. This requires an excellent quality ceiling paint. Working and looking up is the hardest thing a painter does on a daily basis. Here’s how to just do one coat.

There are two things you might not know about how ceiling paint works. The best ceiling paint has stain blocking power that wall paint does not have.

Benjamin Moore is still the champ of ceiling white paint, but I’ve added a runner up below. You save time and money if you choose a long-lasting one-coat paint that you won’t need to repaint for a long time. The best ceiling paints hold their color (or whiteness) longer.

If you want to save money in the long run, you don’t want to be buying paint every 5 or even 10 years: you want your paint job to last. The paint you see shown here is a high-quality, ultra-flat latex ceiling white paint that does not yellow, and that covers the old paint in one coat.

costs a little more but it’s designed to cover in one. It will hide and cover most yellowing, aging, and the stray puck mark from when you were playing hockey inside. (Well, puck marks need 2 coats!) How to paint a ceiling with many marks? Spot prime with the best primer for this type of work.

Start A Successful Window Cleaning Business

Top Window Cleaning tips for clean, shiny and beautiful windows all the time

There is nothing as tedious as the chore of window cleaning especially when carrying out general cleanliness of the house. The fact that this type of cleaning is usually rarely effective coupled with the difficulty of balancing on ladders while cleaning are simply some of the things which make it such a tedious task. Good news is, at the moment there are a couple of cleaning options all of which serve as a guarantee to have your windows sparkling without necessarily stressing so much. These options are:-

  -Hiring a professional window cleaner

  -Installing the new revolutionary self cleaning glass widows

  -Cleaning the windows by yourself

Keep in mind, regardless of the options which you choose, the best approach to window cleaning and always looking steak is to make sure that they are cleaned on a regular basis. However, in case you choose to clean the widow by yourself then the following tips might help make your work easier.

How to clean the outside of windows after construction

window cleaning services in newton maCleaning the inside of windows after construction can be challenging enough; cleaning the outside of those windows can be even more difficult! Renting a power washer can be the best choice for removing thick construction dust on the outside of new windows, and especially windows on second stories, as trying to clean up after construction while balancing yourself on a ladder can be very dangerous, if not downright deadly.

When cleaning the outside of windows after construction, be sure to start with the lowest pressure on your power washer, so that you don’t scratch or even outright shatter a window. Start by cleaning the roof eaves and areas above the windows, to remove dust and other debris that might otherwise settle onto the window glass.

As with inside windows, get the outside glass very wet with the power washer and continue to move the wand back and forth as you do, to wash away as much dust and remnants of paint and adhesive as possible. Once you’ve done that, you might add some glass cleaner to the water of your pressure washer, to finish the job and get the windows sparkling clean.

You might also use a telescoping handle on a window squeegee, which allows you to use that squeegee on upper story windows, to remove all traces of dust and dirt and to give the windows an extra polish. This also keeps you safe on the ground while you clean those windows!

Cleaning the Inside of Windows

  • Fill a bucket or large pot with clean, cool water and add a few drops of liquid dish soap.
  • Place a large bath towel beneath the window to catch any spills.
  • Use a clean microfiber cloth or sponge to go over the surface of the window, starting at the top and working down to the bottom. Don’t forget to wipe down the frame as well, both inside and out.
  • Spray the window thoroughly with the vinegar and water solution, or if you prefer, a commercial window cleaning product (such as Zep or Windex, both available on Amazon, or any of the other best glass cleaners we recommend). Another option is mixing one capful of ammonia with two gallons of water.
  • Using a clean, lint-free towel (or the black-and-white pages of a newspaper), dry the window completely using a Z-shaped motion. You also can use clean paper towels to dry the windows, if you prefer.
  • If dirt or streaks remain, spray and dry again. (Dirty windows typically require two rounds of spraying and drying.)

Grab a Mop to Clean Your Windows

Try this recipe for getting glass sparkling clean:

  • Mix one part water to one part vinegar in a small bucket.
  • Dip a clean microfiber cloth or mop head into the solution, and attach to the mop handle.
  • Scrub your exterior windows with the mop.

Once most of the crud is gone, move on to the next step.

  • Spray a streak-free window cleaner onto the glass or on a clean microfiber cloth and wipe.
  • Wait for the window to dry.
  • Wipe the dried glass with newspaper for a streak-free shine. If your hands don’t reach the window, you can skip this step.

And most important, don’t be a daredevil. For example, never climb out onto a window ledge or dodgy fire escape to clean your windows.

Going Pro

If you’re hiring a window-cleaning crew, make sure they are insured and bonded and have good reviews. Dorn recommends checking to see how long the service has been in business. “I would go with a legitimate outfit and not just somebody working out of the back of their truck.

These people are going to be in your home. “You want someone you can feel comfortable with, and someone you can ask questions of, like, ‘What should I expect?’ Your cleaning service should be able to walk you through that process.

It’s also important to find out how many people they will be sending over for the job. If It’s just a team of one or two, it’s going to take a lot longer than a team of four. So consider those kinds of things. How long do you want those folks to be in your home?

Use A Flat Roof Storage Shed For A Durable Storage Option

Flat Roofing Contractor Publishes Helpful Information on Flat Roof Maintenance

As a result, the company suggests that all flat roofs be inspected on a yearly basis, even if no obvious problems are evident. If there is even a small leak that has been noticed, the company goes on to say that the owner should call in a professional to assess the situation as soon as possible. as this can help mitigate the potential cost of a major leak occurring

a leak is tackled at an earlier stage it can sometimes be addressed for less than a thousand dollars, depending on the problem. The average lifespan of a flat roof is in the neighborhood of ten to fifteen years

“One of the things that we take very seriously is that we will never leave a business or homeowner in any sort of danger. We don’t recommend repair if a roof needs replacing, and we don’t recommend replacing a roof necessarily just because of a leak.”

indicate a problem with the roof and these include: water stains on the underside of the roof deck, mold or mildew in an attic, visible cracks in the attic, or bowing or creasing of the roof material. Small puddles of water on the roof are another major thing to watch out for.

Home/building owners and manages should also watch out for damage to the flashing on a roof, as that can actually create or indicate leaks. “Flashing” is the proper term for the metal strips around things like chimneys and air conditioners.

Flat Roof Replacement Cost

Want to know how much a flat roof replacement or repair will cost? In this article we look at the prices of different roof replacements and repairs per square metre, including the cost of materials and labour. This makes it easy for anyone to calculate how much replacing a roof will cost them.

Constructing a flat roof is quicker and cheaper than a traditional pitched roof, flat roofs require fewer materials which they cost much less to install. they are also much simpler so are a better choice for DIY enthusiasts

But the big disadvantage of a flat roof is the potential for water and other debris to gather which over time will cause the roofing material to degrade and eventually leak, even though they are in fact built with a slight incline. This means that flat roofs also need a lot more maintenance than a pitched roof to keep them leak free and in good condition, but even with all the maintenance, they only last around 10 to 15 years.

To be watertight flat roofs need to be covered with roll asphalt, EDPM, uPVC, ethylene, TPO, fibreglass, modified bitumen membrane or flat-seamed metal. Although repairing or replacing a flat roof could fall within the scope of an experienced DIY enthusiast, most of us will need to hire a tradesman to do the work for us.

Things to consider

With flat roofs, you really need to get a roofer out to inspect the roof before giving a quote, as it can be difficult to assess the condition of the timber underneath the felt, without getting up on the roof and physically checking it. Though some roofing contractors will be happy to give you a separate quote to replace the wooden decking over the phone so you know how much it could cost in the worst place scenario. If the wood under the felt is in good condition, then this is obviously good news as it will reduce the costs of replacing the roof. But if the wood is rotten and sagging, then fitting new felt onto a rotten base is obviously not a good idea. Another point to consider is that flat roofs should have a slight slope so that rainwater will run off the roof and into the gutter.

Flat Roof Maintenance Services

You won’t believe how much dirt and debris can build up over the years. If left unattended for long enough, the potential for real damage greatly increases and the cost of repairing a commercial flat roof is much higher than a simple cleaning.

Flat Roof Maintenance Programs

One of the most cost effective and helpful things that you can do for your flat roof is scheduling a maintenance program to increase the overall lifespan of your flat roof by up to 15 years! With our maintenance plan, you will receive care to your flat roof that will directly eliminate the ongoing deterioration that takes place each and every day.

Our proven plan will maximize the performance of your rooftop and can save you thousands of dollars down the road. We respect your business and work place as if it were our own.

Your Roofing Guarantee – some things for architects to consider

Roofing guarantees are designed to offer peace of mind in case things go wrong, but in reality getting the right cover can be a minefield.  All too often, it’s only when they are needed that any shortcomings in the guarantees come to light. Then, rather than making a claim that will swiftly resolve the issue for you and your client, you may find yourself in a situation where no one will accept liability, or where one of the key parties involved in the roofing contract is no longer trading

What do you want cover for?

Some roofing guarantees are for product/materials, others for workmanship, installation or design. When you specify be clear what you want – if you are after latent defects cover or insolvency, for example, make sure you ask for it specifically – never assume it’s included. Always carry out due diligence on a guarantee up front to find out exactly what cover is being offered.

What’s the right insurance?

Increasingly, clients and specifiers request insurance backed guarantees as a way of reducing the risk. However this alone is not enough: you need to see the wording of the manufacturer’s and/or contractor’s guarantee and the detail of the policy behind it to assess if the cover is appropriate. All too often, specifiers and clients don’t really know exactly what is being covered because it isn’t clearly defined, and they haven’t asked enough questions to find out. Types of cover range from product guarantees to latent defects insurance (see right), but wordings vary depending on the insurance company.

Ask a professional about your roofing guarantee

Don’t rely solely on the manufacturer’s advice. Always seek additional information on the insurance being offered from an independent adviser who is Financial Conduct Authority regulated. Talk to them to better understand what the various insurance policies that could apply actually cover. Consider possible scenarios that you might need cover for, including worst case.

Do the due diligence on your roofing guarantee

Carry out financial due diligence on the stability and credibility of the manufacturer, designer or installer – how long have they been trading? Do they have a good reputation within the industry? Some companies offering guarantees for roofing may not be financially stable enough to sustain lengthy insurances, which could be on their balance sheets for 10 or even 20 years, and some policies may cease if the company stops trading. A lot of guarantees appear to have insurance backing but make no mention of any insurer or the Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates the sale of insurance products. These will invariably be guarantees backed by the manufacturer only, which is of no value if they cease trading. Always read the small print. Also be aware if some manufacturers are actually agencies importing other products, which might simply fold if claimed against.

Essential Tips For Maintaining A Flat Roof

Regular inspections are an important part of maintaining any roof, regardless of its style. The maintenance requirements for flat roofs, however, are slightly different than the requirements for roofs that are more steeply pitched. When it comes to maintenance-related expenses, the money that you spend on upkeep is worthwhile since it helps extend the life of your roof. Sticking to a regular maintenance schedule also allows any problems to be addressed early on while they are still easy and affordable to fix.

Frequently Inspect The Roof

The best way to catch problems is by inspecting your roof on a regular basis. That is a lot easier on a flat roof than on a pitched roof since walking on a flat surface requires far less balance. During your inspection, look for cracking, rusty areas, pooled water, raised seams, and bubbles or blisters. If you spot any potential problems, reach out to a qualified roofing company in Albany for help making any necessary repairs. Along with doing your own inspections, you should also have your roof professionally inspected on a biannual basis.

Keep The Roof Clean

Loose debris like dirt, leaves, and branches are more likely to accumulate on flat roofs than on steeper roofs. Objects like these can trap moisture, which can not only cause mold and algae to grow but can also damage the surface of your roof, increasing the likelihood of leaks.

Prune Back Any Vegetation

If any branches from nearby trees are hanging over or coming in contact with your roof, you should trim them back. Leaving an adequate distance between the surrounding trees and your roof helps minimize the amount of debris that accumulates on the surface. Consider seeking professional help when trimming branches that overhang your roof so that you don’t inadvertently damage the surface.

Identify And Correct Any Drainage Issues

Water is far more likely to pool on flat roofs than it is on angled roofs. Areas where water tends to collect may need to be leveled so that the water properly drains. You should also have your gutters and other drainage system components periodically inspected by a professional roofer to make sure hidden clogs aren’t interfering with the flow of water.

New Plastic Surgery Information That You Need To Know

Plastic Surgery Safety

Because your safety is our primary concern

The Importance of Preparatory Research

As an elective procedure, cosmetic surgery affords patients the time for thorough research. Patients should seek a specifically qualified, board certified plastic surgeon with extensive experience, as these are the most important factors in the success of your cosmetic surgery.

The Meaning of Licensing and Specific Plastic Surgery Board Certifications

While all US physicians must be licensed to practice medicine, board certification is a voluntary process that demands proof of skills beyond that required by basic licensing. A physician’s board certification is his most important credential; it ensures that he has fulfilled the comprehensive medical and surgical training required for excellence in his specialty. Any physician may claim to be a cosmetic or plastic surgeon, and may even be board certified in a given specialty. Therefore, it is important to establish that a cosmetic surgeon is board certified by American Board of Plastic Surgeons ( ABPS).

The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) includes twenty-four member boards. Together, these organizations have collaborated in the development and implementation of the rigorous professional standards that constitute a credential for qualified practice in each specialty. To earn an American Board of Plastic Surgery ABPS board certification, a physician must meet the education requirements and residency training standards in Plastic Surgery specialty, and pass a written and an oral examination. In further support of his expertise, the candidate must officially present several of his own cases as selected by the ABPS Board from the list of his past surgeries. In order to maintain his board certification, a doctor must also practice the latest advances in his specialty, and demonstrate best practices for patient safety, communication, and ethics.

The credential for the practice of plastic and cosmetic surgery granted by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is the only plastic and cosmetic surgery credential recognized by the ABMS. In addition, it is the only credential that ensures that a surgeon is qualified to perform plastic and cosmetic surgery on the entire body, including the face and neck.

Beauty Procedures This Plastic Surgeon Says ‘No’ To

Bogus tummy tuck marketing

While tummy tucks are one of the most common operations performed, many doctors will claim that they have a new or “better” version, or create a ‘branded’ tummy tuck. (Tummy tucks do continue to evolve in ways to reduce complications and hide scars, but this isn’t a “new” procedure.)

Some doctors may make up variations of a tummy tuck, particularly those that include liposuction, which Youn says many surgeons abandoned years ago. If you look up these branded tummy tucks in a scientific journal, there’s nothing on them.

There are standard ways of doing many of these procedures. [And] there are doctors who try to separate themselves by making variations of operations that aren’t necessarily better. But if the patient doesn’t have anything unusual, I’m not going to tell you that I’m going to do this very different than the doctor down the street from me.

Buccal fat removal (cheek)

During this procedure, fat from the inside of the mouth is removed to reduce the fullness of the cheeks. While Youn has been performing this procedure for about 15 years, he says he’s seen it recently become trendy on social media with influencers and other surgeons.

As a result, many doctors perform it on people whose faces are already thin.

Dr. David Shafer, board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City, agrees. When cheek fat removal is performed by an experienced surgeon on the right candidate, the procedure is not dangerous, and can have effective results.

Thread lifts for the face

Thread lifts were a popular procedure between 2005 and 2010, and are now making a comeback.

The point of thread lifts is to insert temporary sutures to subtly “lift up” skin. the skin may look better right after the procedure but the effects only last about a year.

“We realized that they didn’t work [because patients] would have these permanent sutures sticking out of their skin years later. Unfortunately, they’re back. At least the sutures today aren’t permanent so you don’t have to pull them out of people’s faces, but there is still the question of whether the procedure will last.

Noting that people often think thread lifts can create similar results as a surgical facelift.

There is a lot of confusion because there is the word lift in it. But you’re putting a barbed thread underneath the skin, which will pull and give you a little bit of a lift, but it’s very temporary. When you do a facelift, you are lifting up all the skin and moving it as a unit.

Still, Shafer says thread lifts do have a place.

We offer them for someone who has a big event in the next few days and wants more definition to their jaw line, so we might put in a few threads to get them that, but this is not for someone who has been saving up for years and thinks it will be equivalent to a facelift with less down time and less risk.

Top 3 Tips for Maintaining Your Cosmetic Surgery Results

Cosmetic surgery procedures boast high patient satisfaction rates, and most patients are thrilled with their results for many years after surgery. However, it’s important to understand that your results require upkeep to stay in shape, and that nothing can fully stop the effects of aging, lifestyle habits, and genetics.

The great news is that there are some things you can do to successfully maintain your results for years to come! Here are some suggestions for maximizing your cosmetic surgery outcomes:

1. A healthy diet & regular exercise are key

Body contouring procedures can transform your curves, providing a more pleasing and proportionate look. While the results may seem magical, the look you see now can only last if you remain at a healthy weight. For instance, fat removal procedures such as liposuction will permanently rid you of targeted fat cells, but if you gain weight, you will see it in other areas as remaining fat cells expand. It’s even more important to keep your weight within a stable range if you’ve had a surgical lifting procedure (such as tummy tuck or body lift)—you’ll want to avoid stretching your skin again and nullifying the improvements you worked hard to achieve.

The best way to maintain body contouring results is to continue exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet. The good news is that sticking to this rule will also help you feel great and improve your overall health, in addition to helping you retain the look you love after surgery.

Pro tip: Cosmetic surgery recovery can be a challenge for active patients, as required recovery time will put a damper on your regular exercise routine. Don’t become discouraged and know that it isn’t abnormal to gain a little weight during your recovery period. Eating the right things and introducing non-strenuous activity when it’s safe can help keep you healthy and make getting back to the gym easier once you’re healed.

2. Good skin practices make a big difference now and later

Immediately after your procedure, proper care makes a big difference in scarring. And as time goes by, great skin care will help your results look as good or better than ever.

First off, scarring is a necessary aspect of many surgeries and while your surgeon will take care to place your incisions where they can be most easily hidden, making sure they heal optimally and fade nicely over time is partially in your hands. First, it is critical to follow any postoperative activity restrictions; these rules will help you avoid straining your scars, which could cause them to become wider or more visible. Secondly, be sure to protect your incisions in the sun, keep the area clean, and use the topical scar care creams and ointments recommended by your doctor.

Later on, the right medical-grade skin care products can help enhance and maintain your cosmetic surgery results, particularly when it comes to facial procedures. Good skin care is so helpful that many surgeons have an aesthetician on staff to guide their patients to the right products for their skin. Even if you have an existing skincare routine, it’s best to ask about your products and see if you should adjust anything going forward.

Pro tip: Follow your surgeon’s aftercare instructions to the letter. There are a number of holistic scar care products on the market making unsubstantiated claims—and some of these can even cause wound healing problems. Save yourself the time, money, and potential harm by only using what is recommended by your cosmetic surgeon.

3. Healthy habits inside & out

What you put in and on your body not only impacts your surgical results, it can make a huge difference in your overall health. For instance, most board certified cosmetic surgeons require patients to quit smoking tobacco for at least a few weeks before and after surgery. Nicotine greatly impacts your body’s ability to heal, resulting in prolonged recovery times and, potentially, complications that can lead to pain, bleeding, and more visible scarring. Excessive alcohol consumption is another pitfall you’ll want to avoid; there are a number of health drawbacks to overdoing it when it comes to drinking.

Pro tip: Be honest with your surgeon about your lifestyle habits. Let him or her know if you smoke, how much you drink, any medications you are on, and even what supplements or vitamins you use both internally and externally. Your surgeon will let you know the steps you should take to prepare for surgery and what to avoid to ensure your results are optimal.


Liposuction, or suction-assisted lipectomy, uses thin cannulas, or hollow metal tubes, to vacuum fat from various parts of the body, usually the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, hips, backs of the arms, and neck. Liposuction may also be used for male breast reduction.

Tools used in liposuction include standard, ultrasound, mechanical, and laser devices. They all tend to involve suction of fat through a tube.

To prevent complications, there is a limit to the amount of fat that the surgeon can safely remove, depending on whether the patient will be discharged immediately after surgery or admitted to the hospital.

Liposuction should not be intended as a weight-loss procedure. When performed in the right patient, the goal is to improve contour and decrease limited areas of fat deposits.

Complications are rare but possible. They include the accumulation of blood under the skin, known as hematoma, infection, changes in sensation, allergic reactions, damage to underyling structures, and unsatisfactory results. The doctor must discuss these with the patient beforehand.

Liposuction does not reduce the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure.

Do Your Own Electrical Home Inspections Prior To Making An Offer

Tips for Sellers – How to Prepare for a Home Inspection.

A home inspector is required to inspect inside electrical panels, attic spaces and crawl spaces. Making sure the inspector has unimpeded access to these areas will help the inspection go smoothly.

If you have service records for any major components (such as furnaces and air conditioning), or invoices or engineering reports for any structural repairs that have been done to the house making them available to the inspector can answer questions he may raise and reduce the possibility of his calling for further evaluation on these systems

If there is any paper or wood scrap in the crawl space, or firewood stacked near the foundation, having it removed will greatly reduce the possibility of pest inspectors finding termites, which can result in an expensive treatment.

Be sure splash blocks or drain pipes are in place on all gutter downspouts, and that gutters are clean. Then check grading around the foundation to be sure all surface water drains away from the home. Water accumulation near the foundation is a primary cause of crawl space or basement water leakage, mold growth and foundation settlement. These can be expensive to repair.

Check the GFCI outlets around the house to be sure they trip when tested. This is one of the most common electrical defects found, and easily repaired by an electrician.

Electrical Safety Hazards & Safe Electrical Inspection Procedures

This electrical safety procedures article discusses safety hazards at residential electrical systems both outside and indoors, and suggests safety procedures for the electrical inspector, home inspector, or other professionals who examine residential electrical systems.

Safe electrical inspection procedures and safe use of volt meters, DMMs, multimeters, and similar electrical test equipment is discussed at the end of the article.

Homeowner advice for electrical panel safety: These safety suggestions are for professional inspectors and are not a guide for homeowners.

Homeowners should not remove the cover from an electrical panel – it is unsafe to do so. Homeowners should look at their electrical equipment for signs of trouble and should contact a licensed electrician to address any concerns that arise.

How much electrical energy would it take to kill a home inspector?

Wet skin (standing in water, sweaty) has a resistance of about 1000 ohms. (Dry skin will have a higher resistance, and of course an inspector wearing protective gear such as rubber gloves, rubber-soled shoes, standing on an insulated mat, will have still higher electrical resistance, and safety.)



A home inspection isn’t just about protecting your investment, but also about protecting you and your family. Our Warranty Program protects against surprises that show up when you take possession of your new home – that were not evident at time of inspection. Also included with each inspection is complimentary appliance recall check and technical advice for as long as you own the property.

Residential Home Inspections

A home inspection isn’t just about protecting your investment, but also about protecting you and your family. The home inspector understands this and take their profession very seriously.

Pre-Listing Inspections

For Sellers and Selling Realtors; No one likes to be the last to know something, especially when you are selling your biggest asset! Be the most educated person in the room by having your own home inspected prior to listing the property.

Home Maintenance Inspections

Home Maintenance Inspections are for homeowners who want to educate themselves, identify any safety concerns and protect their biggest investment!

Electrical Inspection

Electrical systems in homes are very complex and potentially dangerous. The Electrical system causes more deaths every year than any other single system. Is it the electricity causing the deaths or neglect and unsafe practices? Your Seven Stars Home Advisors Inspector will always check the electrical supply where it enters your home. We will describe to the best of our ability the capacity and any variance that may be present. Once the main Electric panel is inspected and deemed safe the inspector will move indoors and inspect all of the other major components that comprise your homes electrical system. All safety issues will be acknowledged. An inspector will review whether the panel appears to be in a safe, operable condition and whether it has sufficient energy for the appliances and energy consumption typical of a modern home.

A representative number of receptacles will be tested and any concerns will be reported. Grounding and reverse polarity are a concern, however they are common and in most cases they are easy fixes. Appliances are included in this. Some of these items use massive amounts of energy and determining whether or not they are grounded is a valuable asset to the home owner.

If the home has electrical heat or electrically-driven air conditioning, the inspector will examine that component of the electrical system. In addition, he or she will look at electrical wiring to make sure the wires aren’t showing signs of cracking or aging that could spark fires or not properly conduct power.

Home Inspections Has You Covered

Pre-Purchase Inspections

Purchasing a new home also means buying that home’s problems. With a pre-purchase home inspection you can see exactly what you’re buying. Problems discovered during the inspection could allow you to renegotiate to offset the costs of repairs — potentially saving you thousands of dollars. We’ll even help you become familiar with the property.

New Construction Inspections

Unfortunately, new does not always mean perfect. In fact, new doesn’t even guarantee good. Material defects and human error during the construction process can lead to expensive problems later on. A new construction home inspection can help identify these problems early, when they’re cheaper to fix. Some issues may even be covered under warranty.

Annual Home Maintenance Inspection

Homes are composed of several complex systems, with components wearing out over time. We’ll give you an overview of the current condition of your home so you can see potential expenses before they happen. We’ll also give you helpful tips on maintaining your home to keep things running smoothly for many years to come.

Pre-Listing Inspections

Sometimes selling your home can be just as much of a roller coaster as buying one. Getting a pre-listing home inspection can help ensure a quick and smooth transaction. You can enter the selling process with confidence that there won’t be any nasty surprises. You’ll also avoid delays, which could last for weeks or even months.

The Importance Of Water Testing Kits And Regular Legionella Risk Assessment

Water Quality Indicators

Volunteers test for several key water quality indicators. The resulting water quality data provide baseline information, helps identify trends or changes in water quality, and aids investigations into problems such as nonpoint-source pollution and nutrient enrichment.

Dissolved oxygen (DO)

The DO test measures the amount of oxygen dissolved in the water. Oxygen is essential for both plants and animals, but high levels in water can be harmful to fish and other aquatic organisms. Nonpoint-source pollution can decrease the amount of dissolved oxygen in water, which can be harmful to fish and other aquatic organisms. The decomposition of leaf litter, grass clippings, sewage and runoff from feedlots decreases DO readings. Dissolved oxygen is measured in milligrams per liter (mg/L). Expected levels: 4.0 to 12.0 mg/L

Water temperature

Aquatic organisms are dependent on certain temperature ranges for optimal health. Temperature affects many other parameters in water, including dissolved oxygen, types of plants and animals present and the susceptibility of organisms to parasites, pollution and disease. Causes of temperature change in water include weather conditions, shade and discharges from urban sources or groundwater inflows. Temperature is measured in degrees Celsius (°C). Seasonal trends: May to October: 22 to 35°C, November to April: 2 to 27°C


A pH test measures the alkalinity or acidity of water. A pH of 7 is neutral, below 7 is acidic and above 7 is basic or alkaline. Acid rain, from auto exhaust or other pollutants, causes a drop in the pH. Pollution from accidental spills, agricultural runoff and sewer overflows can also change the pH. Buffering capacity is water’s ability to resist changes in pH, and is critical to the survival of aquatic life. The limestone soils of Central Texas act to neutralize these acids and often result in a more basic pH. While young fish and insect larvae are sensitive to a low pH (acid), extreme values on either end of the scale can be lethal to most organisms. Expected levels: 6.5 to 9.0

Testing Your Water

Domestic wells should be tested annually for the presence of coliform bacteria, as an indicator of pathogens. More frequent testing is suggested if visual changes in the water quality are noticed or if unexplained health changes occur. The table below provides a schedule and list of analyses for testing. When water tests positive for pathogens, owners may choose to use shock chlorination to disinfect the well casing and household plumbing. This may not eliminate the contamination if it is found in the aquifer water itself. In that case, the owner should seek an alternate source of water or install a home water disinfection system.

Water Testing

Before purchasing or installing a water treatment system, test your water at the tap. Be aware that water testing is not an easy or inexpensive step. Laboratory fees for water quality analysis vary greatly from one parameter to another. In 2004, for example, testing for hardness, TDS, and pH may cost about $50. Testing for lead or nitrate may cost about $25. However, testing for all possible individual pollutants can cost more than $2,000 per sample.

If you suspect that your house plumbing may be contaminating your water, test your water at the tap for those contaminants that may be present. Carefully choose the list of contaminants to be tested with the assistance of a qualified water quality expert. See the table of water problems and suggested tests, and review the national drinking water standards.

Laboratory Test Results

Have the tests results explained to you by a qualified analyst or water quality expert. For example, terms mean that a pollutant could not be detected below a certain value or detection limit. We values should be listed in the laboratory report and they should always be lower than maximum contaminant level.

Determine which parameters have values above drinking water standards and which parameter you would like to lower in order to improve water quality. (Information below on health effects and likely sources is from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, its parent organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Environmental Protection Agency.)

Best Water Test Kits

Water is always at risk of being contaminated with harmful bacteria. Whether you use it for laundry, drinking, bathing, or swimming, there is always the risk of coming in contact with contaminants. Therefore, water quality is a concern for many people.

Did you know that you can test the quality of the water you use? There are water testing kits that allow you to check whether your water is good or not. There are various types of kits as well, and they come at multiple prices to let people use healthier water.

What Do Water Kits Test For?

Water test kits have one goal – to detect the contaminants in your water, so you can take the proper measures to ensure your safety. Water test kits detect many contaminants, such as iron, lead, nitrate, nitrite, alkalinity, pesticides, hardness, bacteria, and many others. Home water test kits could detect these and not only in different water sources, allowing you to live a healthy life with safe and contaminant-free water.

The Comfort of Your Home

What is great about home water test kits is that you can use them at home, and you don’t need to hire an expert to complete such a test. All you have to do is fill up some recipients with water and use the test kit you purchased. In various ways, the tests will show you if the water you use is safe or not. Thus, they help you take measures in case the water is bad.

No Contamination

Drinking water that is contaminated by chemicals could have a serious impact on you and your health. If the test is negative, then you know you have to take some safety measures to stop the contamination and start drinking clean water again.

Different Ways to Test Water Quality Professionally

Biological Indicators

Biological monitoring metrics is the simplest and least expensive method

Insects such as the mayfly, stone-fly and caddisfly. Generally, the greater the number found, the better the water quality. Organisations offer guidance on developing a monitoring program and identifying members of these and other aquatic insect orders.

Bivalve molluscs are largely used as bio-indicators to monitor the health of aquatic environments in both fresh water and the marine environments. A typical project today they are used worldwide

Macro-invertebrates (such as the aquatic earthworm) is a bio-monitoring tool that is used to measure river health. We are a simpler scoring system that can be used by anyone, even school children.

Test Strips

Test strips for various water quality parameters are available, such as pH, chlorine, etc. Here you dip a little paper strip with graduated colours into your water sample and match it with a colour on a printed list, to determine the level of the parameter

How You Can Reduce Exposure to Lead

Run your water to flush out lead. 

If the water has not been used for several hours, run each tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes or until it becomes colder before drinking or cooking. This flushes water which may contain lead from the pipes. This can reduce lead in water levels up to 90%.

Use cold, fresh water for cooking and preparing baby formula.

Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap; lead dissolves more easily into hot water. Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula.

Test your child for lead.  

Ask your physician to find out how to have your child tested for lead. A blood lead level test is the only way to know if your child is being exposed to lead.

Check whether it reduces lead – not all filters do. Be sure to maintain and replace a filter device in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions to protect water quality. Learn more about how to choose a water filter on the treatment page.

Particles containing lead from solder or household plumbing can become trapped in your faucet aerator. Regularly cleaning every few months will remove these particles and reduce your exposure to lead.

Things To Do Before Moving Out Cleaning A Mutual Exchange

Move In/Move Out Cleaning

A Difference You Can See

Let’s face it, moving can be a pain! It becomes a nightmare when you move offices, given all the equipment and staff belongings that need to be transferred. It’s hard to know exactly how much dust and dirt have accumulated over the years – until you move the desk. Then you can see it!

we provide quality move in / move out cleaning services for commercial properties that make the moving process easy. We handle the dirty work so you can focus on what truly matters. Additionally, with our cutting-edge technology and advanced methods, we leave the space spotless, which can help you save time and money.

Benefits of Our Move In / Move Out Cleaning Include:

In-Depth Cleaning – Our team has the tools and knowledge to clean beyond the surface. From deep carpet cleaning to window washing, we make sure no detail is left unnoticed.

Whether you’re looking to leave your old property clean and presentable for new tenants or want a clean space in which to move in, we’ve got you covered. We help make your property look its best.

Time Saver – In the business world, they say time is money. We respect both with our services by providing quality services that are effective. Allow us to handle the dirty work and focus on what really matters – safely moving in or out of your building.

The Ultimate Professional Move-Out Cleaning Checklist

House cleaning is hard. Moving is stressful. So when you’re faced with the task of house cleaning for when you are moving out, it can be overwhelming – especially if a damage deposit is on the line. Between all the packing, planning and paperwork, it can be easy to move cleaning to the bottom of your list. To bring this essential task back into the fold, we’ve created an easy reference printable checklist (skip to download) to use for cleaning an empty house while moving.

What’s included in a move-out cleaning?

It’s important to know what needs to be cleaned for a move-out regardless of whether you are cleaning yourself or using the services of a professional move-out cleaning company.

A good reference point to start is your rental or purchase agreement. Realtors often require certain levels of cleanliness be met so if they aren’t specified, it’s best to ask so that you avoid having to re-clean areas or losing part of your deposit. Our professional move-out cleaning checklist is a great place to start.

Cleaning bedrooms for a move

The most efficient approach to cleaning is to work your way through tasks from top to bottom. This rule applies if you’re cleaning a single room or cleaning your entire home. If you are working with two storeys, work your way from the rooms on the second floor to the first, and work on every room from top to bottom.

Move-out cleaning for bathrooms

Cleaning a bathroom when it is empty is much easier than routine cleaning because you don’t have to work around linens or personal products. This means you can lay some old towels at the door and really wet and wash your entire bathroom.

Tips for moving out

Clean the property thoroughly before you move out or hire a professional cleaning company to do it for you. 


clean all cupboards (inside and out)

wash all countertops and surfaces

clean inside and outside of oven, microwave, dishwasher, fridge, defrost freezer (if supplied)

clean cooktop, grill and rangehood

clean sink and taps (including descaling)

clean windows, window sills/tracks, window and door frames and fly screens

sweep/vacuum and wash floors 


clean sink, toilet and bath (including taps)

clean tiles

remove any mould from walls/tiles and ceiling

wash shower curtain/clean shower doors or enclosure

clean all surface areas, shower rails and mirrors

sweep and wash all floors

Other rooms

dust and wash all surfaces

dust and wash door and window frames and window sills/tracks

clean mirrors

dust fans

wipe outside of air conditioning units, clean filters

clean out any cupboards or wardrobes

dust and clean skirting boards

vacuum and wash floors

Outdoor areas

mow grass, weed and trim edges

clean out any leaves or debris in the pool (check for any special conditions in the tenancy agreement)

sweep external areas

empty and wash out bins

remove any oil stains on driveway or in garage

remove cobwebs


remove all rubbish from property

get carpets cleaned and pest control conducted if specified in the agreement

After the property is cleaned

move all your possessions from the property

complete the Exit condition report (Form 14a) or the Exit condition report (Form 14b) for moveable dwellings/sites, in a systematic way (room by room) and use extra pages if needed.

ask for a copy of the Entry condition report or the Entry condition report for moveable dwellings/sites from the property owner/manager if you do not have one. It will be compared to the Exit condition report.

provide your forwarding address and include it on the Refund of rental bond.

Move Out Cleaning – Tips from Start to Finish!

So, you’re moving house or moving country; either way, you’re moving out! The excitement of moving into a new house is one that no homeowner forgets, nor is the bittersweet memory of saying goodbye to an old home. Nevertheless, it has to be done and moving out is no walk in the park. What can make it easier though, are these move out cleaning tips.

For homeowners that are giving up the lease or planning to put their house on the market, cleaning the place up thoroughly is important. Upon the owner’s lease agreement, you may have to return the house in a clean, sanitary condition. On the other hand, a spick and span house increases your chances of getting a potential buyer to make a purchase. So now that we’ve established the importance of move-out cleaning, let’s tell you how to go about it from start to finish.


If you’ve already begun to move boxes to the new place, that’s great because the lesser stuff you have in the house, the easier it is to clean. If you’re planning to load the moving truck with all your stuff on moving day itself, we’ve got some suggestions for you. Try to devote one room for storing packed boxes so that the empty rooms can be cleaned first. Even if it means you have to clean one room every day, it beats having to clean the entire house in one day.


When you start cleaning an empty room, target the ceiling first. If you don’t have a long-handled broom, tie an old tee-shirt over your mop and use it to remove cobwebs from ceiling corners and wipe the entire ceiling to remove dust.


Use the same contraption you made to dust your ceiling, for cleaning your walls. Start from the top and make your way downward as you wipe from side to side. If your paint finish/wallpaper permits, gently rub away stains using a clean, damp cloth. Even if there aren’t any obvious stains, using a damp cloth to wipe all the walls will give them more life and look cleaner.

Cleaning Tips When Moving Out of Your Rental Property

When you are moving out of your rental property one of the things that you will want to ensure is that you get your bond back. Your bond can be worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and you’ll likely need this bond before renting your next property.

Talk to Your Landlord or Agent

The first thing you should do is talk to your landlord or agent. You should find out what they expect and what is required. What will make them happy? What will make them angry? It’s easier to make sure you’ve covered everything your landlord wants when cleaning before moving out if you have actually spoken to them. There’s no point doing more than you need to in order to get your bond back. By talking to your landlord you know what areas they will focus on, so you know where to focus your cleaning efforts.

Clean Kitchen Countertops, Sinks, Cabinets and Appliances

Cleaning the benches and appliances in the kitchen is super important. Yes, you have probably been a bit lax whilst you lived there but they need to look as good as new before you ask for your bond back. This includes wiping down the stove and cleaning the inside of your oven

Clean the Bathroom

Over time, bathrooms can build up a grime, soap scum, mineral deposits and mould. If it wasn’t there when you moved in then it needs to be gone when you move out. Wipe down the bath and shower. Wipe down the sink and taps. Clean the mirror. Clean the toilet bowl. Make sure you clean the bathroom thoroughly.

Clean the Floors

You need to clean all the floors. You may also need to steam clean your carpets. You need to scrub any tiles and you need to clean any floorboards as well. Make sure you do your best to remove any stains that may be there.

Bathroom Vinyl Flooring Provides Low Cost Advantages

Before You Buy Vinyl / Resilient Flooring

You’ve made your decision and are ready to select and install your new vinyl flooring. So let’s cover some important properties about vinyl and why you should consider it;

  • Vinyl is a decorator’s dream since it comes in so many colors, textures and patterns.
  • Vinyl is durable, water resistant, and doesn’t fade or dent.  Best of all, it is affordable.
  • Vinyl is the great imposter. It can look like wood, tile, even marble.
  • Vinyl is constructed in layers: the wear layer, the printed or decorative layer, an inner core consisting of a foam and vinyl layer, and a backing.

Before purchasing your luxury vinyl floor here are 5 Things to Know

5 Things you need to know about luxury vinyl flooring before purchasing and installing your new floors.

1. Subfloor

  • See Installation Instructions regarding approved subfloors for installation. Otherwise, you could experience telegraphing, adhesive release and peaking or gapping.

2. Moisture

  • Luxury vinyl is water resistant on the surface, but it may trap moisture between subfloor and luxury vinyl.
  • Check moisture levels subfloor first before beginning installation.

3. Sunlight

  • Exposure to sunlight can cause expansion and contraction (excessive movement) of luxury vinyl.
  • To avoid such movement use Hallmark 3 in a wet set application, in addition to controlling the environment. See installation instructions and Maintenance and Warranty brochure for environmental parameters.

4. Scratches

  • All Luxury vinyl scratches and is not covered under warranty.
  • For excessive scratching or high traffic wear use Hallmark ABC Recoat System to restore the surface coating.
  • Note: always test a small area before applying to the entire floor.

5. Maintenance

  • Hallmark Floors only recommends the use of Hallmark Trueclean for maintaining its luxury vinyl floors.
  • Other cleaners can leave a residue, hazing or incompatibility with the recoating process.

How to I clean a vinyl floor?

Cleaning is straightforward, with 
a vacuum and an occasional mop. Buy  vinyl-safe floor cleaner – nothing abrasive. It can stain if spills are left to puddle so wipe them up straight away. Heavy furniture can create indentations in vinyl so use felt or rubber covers on chairs and casters. Never drag heavy furniture across vinyl as it may scratch or dent the floor.

How do I know a vinyl floor is good quality?

Thickness is a good indication of quality, for both sheet and tiled vinyl. Cheap sheet vinyl starts at 1.1mm thick, which will make it easy to fit but not very long-lasting. Aim for 3.5mm upwards.

Vinyl Plank Flooring

The most popular vinyl flooring option is vinyl plank flooring. These planks typically mimic the look of solid hardwood, offering a warm, inviting and expensive feel to your home.

Today’s luxury vinyl planks even offer the texture and character of trending hardwood options, including handscraped and wirebrushed looks.

One of the major benefits to choosing vinyl plank flooring is the easy, approachable, DIY installation. Most vinyl plank options come as interlocking or “floating” floors and simply click together, similar to laminate. Other DIY options include loose lay (the easiest – just lay your floor down and you’re done!) and peel and stick.

For high-traffic and commercial installation, you can always glue down your vinyl planks for a permanent solution.

Pros of Vinyl Plank Flooring

  • Gorgeous wood looks: Luxury vinyl plank flooring mimics all the most popular colors and textures of solid hardwood. In fact, most people can’t even tell the two apart.
  • Easy, DIY installation: Most vinyl planks offer an easy interlocking or “floating” installation, perfect for most homeowners to do on their own without the help of an installation professional.
  • Comparable to laminate, engineered wood and hardwood: Other types of vinyl flooring can’t truly compare with long-standing industry leaders like laminate and wood. Vinyl planks totally can.
  • Easy to maintain: Vinyl plank flooring is super easy to take care of. Most options are water-resistant and many are fully waterproof. Just make sure you choose a thick wear layer to prevent scrapes and scratches.
  • Waterproof options: Yes, 100% waterproof. They are awesome!

Cons of Vinyl Plank Flooring

  • Doesn’t feel like real wood: To the touch, vinyl feels pretty different from solid hardwood. This feel is important to some homeowners.
  • Price: As you move onto waterproof and luxury options, this can run you more than other wood-look options like laminate. But they come with a whole lot more bells and whistles!
  • Low-quality planks scratch and dent easily. If you want a vinyl plank that can stand up to high traffic, family and pets, you’ve got to go with a high-quality plank with a thick wear layer. The cheaper options just won’t hold up.

How to Choose the Best Vinyl LVT Flooring?

LVT (Luxury Vinyl Tiles) can all seem similar on the surface. However, if we dig a little deeper there are several key features to consider.

LVT Vinyl Flooring Thickness

Vinyl flooring has different thickness grades, starting at 2mm and usually ending at 5mm.

If you are wondering “what thickness of LVT vinyl flooring should I use?”, it is often not the most important thing to consider. The wear layer (see below) is the most important aspect, however for low traffic areas, such as a cupboard or spare room, you can easily get away with a 2mm vinyl floor tile or vinyl sheet. For areas with more traffic, like the hall or living room, you may want to consider a thicker one , or one with a better wear layer.

Think thicker flooring is naturally durable?

Sometimes it is. However, with vinyl flooring, it is the wear layer that determines the overall durability of the floor. The best choice for ultra-sturdy and durable flooring is to pick a thick floor with a thick wear layer to match.

The wear layer itself is a protective layer that sits on top of the flooring. This protects the floor from any scratches and marks.

Registered Embossing Quality

Luxury Vinyl Tiles can be embossed the same way paper can. Embossing is simply adding texture. Now there are two kinds of embossing; 1) registered and 2) blind.

Registered: Registered embossing is where a texture has some logic behind it. This usually involves the embossing replicating a pattern that matches an image. This image can express delicate detail, such as texture, which can be replicated using registered embossing.

Blind: Blind embossing does not follow an image, rather a pre-set mould or punch. Some detail is achievable, but blind embossing is used mostly for bold, 2D elements.

The quality of registered embossing is important when choosing the best vinyl floor. The texture is an important sign of quality. Embossing is there to replicate the true wood feel on LVT flooring.

Design and Quality of Visual Layer

The visual layer is what gives your flooring the overall design. Vinyl flooring can be engineered to be both sturdy, durable and realistic but at the end of the day, we are all looking for flooring that looks beautiful in our homes. Nothing less.

Why Bathroom Remodeling Pays


If you’ve finally decided to remodel your home’s bathroom into the bathroom of your dreams, choosing the right bathroom contractor to work on your project is by far the most important decision that you will need to make over the course of taking your bathroom remodel from concept to finished result. In the end, the bathroom contractor that you choose to hire will impact the final results of your bathroom remodeling project more than any other single factor, meaning that it’s certainly important to make the right choice


The more experience that a contractor has with bathroom remodeling, the more you are able to rest assured that your bathroom is in good hands. Bathroom remodeling is a task that presents a number of unique challenges, and it is essential to work with a contractor who is used to overcoming these challenges in order to deliver exceptional results with each and every project. Hire a contractor who has been in the business of remodeling bathrooms for years and you won’t be disappointed with your choice.   


If you are looking for honest, reliable feedback about the quality of service offered by a contractor that you are considering, there’s no better place to look than reviews left by customers who have worked with that contractor in the past. Thankfully, in the Digital Age, it’s now easier than ever before to find customer reviews on most any company – bathroom contractors included. Yelp, Google+, and Angie’s List are a few great places to look for reviews. Once you’ve found a good source of customer reviews for the contractor that you are considering hiring, take the time to read as many as you can in order to get a good feel for how satisfied the average customer is with that contractor’s services.


Unless you happen to have an unlimited budget for your project – and most people don’t – it’ll be important find a bathroom contractor in Los Angles that offers competitive rates as well as high-quality service. Since bathroom remodeling projects tend to vary wildly in their scope and final price tag, though, most bathroom contractors are not going to list any kind of standard rate on their website or in other promotional material that they may publish. Instead, it’s standard for such contractors to offer a free quote on the cost of your project, and this is certainly something you should take advantage of. Take the time to request a free quote from the contractors you are considering and compare the numbers that they come back with in order to find the right services for the right price.

Most bathroom renovation projects will require you and your contractor to choose a number of materials, fixtures, and other products, and contractors tend to have suppliers that they partner with to procure these products. Of course, the quality of the materials you use to build your new bathroom is every bit as important as the quality in which these new materials are installed. This means that in addition to researching the contractor you are considering, you will also want to research the suppliers that they partner with as well. In some cases, this will be information that you can find on the contractor’s website. In other cases, you may need to call and inquire about the suppliers that a contractor partners with. Once you have the list of suppliers that a contractor works with in-hand, though, do your research and make sure that the products these suppliers offer are the right products for your new bathroom.

Reasons Why You Should Hire A Professional and Not DIY your Bathroom Remodel

If you’re considering a bathroom remodel for your home, you probably have just as many questions as you do dreams and ideas. Both large and small bathroom spaces can be a lengthy and stressful process, but if you hire the right professionals for the job, you’re more likely to have peace of mind and a better outcome when all is said and done

The end result is likely what you care about most, and with good reason. A professional will be able to offer guidance with selecting the appropriate materials for your home and will be well-versed in the best installation practices that deliver quality results. Hiring a bathroom design professional increases the likelihood that your dreams will become reality, and save you a major headache in the process.

Hiring the right professionals for the job eases stress and anxiety for you and your family. Professionals will be kind and courteous, respectful of your home and the remodel, and eager to please their clients. A professional will save you countless hours of running to showrooms and educating yourself on the various materials and installation processes needed for your beautiful remodel.

Hiring the right professionals also protects your hard-earned investment. Choose a licensed contractor who has insurance, and stands behind their work. This protects your home during the work and after completion, and leads to greater satisfaction with your bathroom remodel. Don’t choose the first contractor or designer in the phone book: ask for recommendations, speak to friends and family, and above all, ask for a consultation.

If you have been avoiding a bathroom remodel for years because you’re too busy, partnering with a designer is a huge help as you develop the plan for your project. A design professional can help you sort through the design specs, plumbing and electrical needs, and fun elements like choosing the right paint colors and accessories.

Bathroom Renovations

I used to be so uninspired when designing bathrooms. The options felt limiting and all the hard surfaces left me feeling cold. Well, times have changed. Pinterest and Instagram have raised expectations and the design threshold, bringing us colour, texture, interesting metals and thoughtfully designed vanity profiles.

While bathroom trends come and go, it’s important to remember that renovating a bathroom can add value to your home when you go to sell – so it pays to know what will be appealing to buyers down the track.


Nude, apricot, and peach tones have been dominating interiors of late and will continue to be a go-to colour into the new year and beyond.

For many people nervous about employing colour in general, these muted tones provide something that feels palatable and easy to live with long term while still making an impact

Shaped mirrors

Mirrors of all interesting shapes and sizes will continue to appear in bathrooms next year, as we turn our backs on the standard wall to wall rectangle.

Complete Bathroom Remodeling

If you’re looking for complete bathroom remodeling services or bathroom renovation company in Northern Virginia, then Baths by RJ can help! Since we ONLY do bathrooms, we are experts when it comes to full bathroom remodels, partial bathroom remodels, bathroom expansions, reconfigurations, renovations and more

Bathroom Remodeling Topics

When giving thought to remodeling a bathroom you may find the following information useful. Of course working with a professional to assist you with the overall bathroom design and who specializes in bathrooms will make the entire process much easier from start to finish.

Bathroom Flooring – Your flooring choice should be able to endure the wet, moist environment found in a bathroom.

Bathroom Lighting – You’ll need bathroom lighting that not only lights up the space properly, but that also is a true reflection of how you look. Natural lighting is a key factor.

Choosing A Bathroom Sink – Before choosing a bathroom sink, consider how the sink material might influence your bathroom style, how durable the sink will be and the maintenance it will require.

Choosing A Bathroom Vanity – Space is a key element in choosing a bathroom vanity. Choose a vanity that is appropriately sized for space.

Choosing The Right Bathtub – Will you replace the tub with one the same size? Will you decide on a free standing tub or to remove the tub entirely?

Custom Shower Installation – A custom shower can be designed to not only fit the space it can also be customized to meet your needs including handicap accessories (universal design) and more.

Tips on selecting the best material for Bathroom Remodelling

Shopping for the best bathroom material will not be difficult once you know what you need and what you want. When you have detailed list of material specification, you can browse on Internet for the best suppliers.  The Key to choose the right and best material for bathrooms is research, educating yourself with product literature and books in an effective way, to make sound purchasing decision.  You can even read some good blogs and some magazines to know the latest trend going on in bathroom remodelling

Sometimes if you don’t understand what you are reading, you should always take help of professionals for their interpretations and opinions. Well proportioned bathroom, presented in excellent order and spacious bathroom is always eye catchy. You should always select subtle colour bathroom fitting and suites for your bathrooms.

Good bathroom lights are very important in bathroom as lights have the ability to change the atmosphere of a complete room.  Track Lighting for bathrooms are gaining importance and are especially attractive in bathrooms and kitchens. Track Lighting is very affordable way to obtain a good lighting atmosphere in bathrooms.