Monthly Archives: February 2018

Selling Your House Effectively This Spring

For Sale sign outside houseSpring is officially here. For the real estate industry, it’s the most wonderful time of year.

The spring housing market is generally recognized as a goldmine, the best time to sell houses. As the winter frost melts away and warmth returns to the world, most buyers choose this time to search for potential homes, flooding the market between March to May and giving sellers a prime opportunity to make a killing.

Of course, a golden opportunity like this has to be used wisely. Here are a few tips to make the most out of your spring sale:

Start a little earlier

While spring is the best season to sell, there are advantages to starting as soon as winter ends. Since most have their eyes on spring, there’s less competition in the winter. And according to Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks, people looking to buy in winter are usually more motivated to make an actual purchase and aren’t just window shopping.

Find a good agent

Having a good agent by your side is paramount. They have real-time data about the market situation at their fingertips, which is key to determining the value of your home. Agencies like, for example, provide personalized neighborhood updates to help monitor other factors, like crime rates or new policies, that can affect market value.

Think like a buyer

If you want to sell, you have to know what your buyers are looking for. Think about what you saw in your house when you bought it, and plan accordingly to make a good impression. This also involves fixing up the place. Box up your winter clutter, spruce up your yard, and make the interiors as presentable as possible.

Spring is a good time for sellers, but success isn’t always guaranteed. Your mileage may vary, and taking steps to enhance your position goes a long way in giving you the most out of your sale. Look for a good agent, do a little spring cleaning, and prepare ahead.

US Trucking Industry Continues to Grapple with Driver Shortage

Truck driver at workThe U.S. trucking industry continues to struggle in recruiting new drivers, which remains problematic for the national economy.

A shortage of drivers has required a unique solution, in the sense that it differs from a similar dearth of workers in other industries. An American Trucking Association study showed that around 900,000 new drivers would be necessary for the next 10 years to meet growing demand.

Unique Situation

Truck shipments account for 70% of hauled freight volume by weight so that any disruptions can lead to higher prices. More expensive rates occur simply because manufacturers will be forced to pay a premium to deliver commodities, especially perishable shipments.

In other cases, producers will have no choice but to delay shipments that are not a priority. Still, this strains the efficient delivery of goods within the market. If you still find it hard to hire a person with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) for a truck driver job opening through Centerline Drivers, you should consider a staffing agency to assist you.

Unchanged Employment Level

A major reason for the dearth of new truck drivers stem from negative perceptions about the job. Most people think that the long hours on the road can be tiresome, aside from feeling homesick and the thought of leaving their families behind.

As a result, the pace of employment in the trucking industry has not changed since mid-2015, based on a Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Trucking companies want to fix this by rebranding drivers as a lucrative career without the long work hours. It remains to be seen, however, whether younger people will eventually apply for a job.


Trucks have been an essential part of the U.S. supply chain. While reversing the negative image of a truck driver’s job may seem daunting, companies need to consider all options to avoid business losses and to keep the economy alive.

Beautiful landscape garden

Landscape gardening in Balham: ideas for the year ahead

Landscape gardening has evolved through historyBeautiful landscape garden and continues to change to this very day. Before embarking on a landscape gardening project, it is well worth spending some time considering what kind of design will work best in the garden space available. Providers of landscape gardening in Balham, such as Town & Country Gardens, can provide helpful advice and ideas. But to start with, here are some trends for 2018:

Going alfresco

Alfresco dining is no longer the preserve of those living in the Mediterranean, with Brits increasingly getting in on the action too. 2018 will continue to see outdoor entertaining and kitchen areas rise in popularity. Sunken fire pits, pizza ovens and barbeque pits are features many will be considering.

Get growing

Clean eating, veganism and the like are all growing trends. This means more people are looking to make good use of their gardens for growing their own produce. Small gardens can make use of vertical space to grow legumes, squashes and pumpkins, while those with more room can invest in soil beds to grow all manner of fruit and veg.


Another lifestyle trend that has made it big in the last few years is mindfulness. The effect this is having on gardens is the incorporation of features that engage the senses, from scented therapeutic lavender to water features.


The Japanese art of wabi-sabi has been around for 600 years. At its heart is the idea of accepting life’s natural cycle. For a wabi-sabi garden this means going with the flow, such as enjoying overgrown perennials, weathered pots, and mossy stones.

Getting crafty

Why go mass produced when there are handcrafted pieces to complement a garden? Garden structures that are one-off pieces of art are coming into vogue, from stone arches to wooden shelters.

The verdure palette

The colour experts at Pantone have come up with a new palette called verdure that is all about colours you would naturally find in Nature’s forests, woodlands, and grassy knolls. This doesn’t mean it’s all about green – think purple berries and eggshell blues.

When it comes to landscape gardening in Balham incorporating personal preferences with upcoming trends can result in an idyllic garden that meets the needs of the entire family.

Why You Need to Practice Yoga and Meditation

Woman practicing yogaYou probably have one of those days when you feel like your own thoughts are consuming you. In a certain moment, you noticed that you easily get angry and it seems like everything is not right. This is the time to take a break and regain your composure.

Why not try meditation and yoga. It’s an effective combination that allows you to work on your mind and body. On sites like, you’ll find some fitness classes that mix the deep stretching and restorative poses of yoga with the energy of an intense full body workout.

The Benefits of Yoga and Meditation

Yoga can do more than improve your flexibility, respiration, and vitality. This ancient form of exercise can help with weight loss, stress relief, and awareness. The practice, more importantly, allows you to develop inner peace.

Meditation, on the other hand, enhances your concentration and induces relaxation to a point that it causes your blood pressure to drop. And like yoga, this practice boosts self-awareness and reduces stress. One study even finds that meditation could slow the process of aging.

Less Stress, Healthy Body

Mindfulness meditation not only enhances your sense of well-being but also encourages a healthy lifestyle. You’ll find that your food choices get better once you start to meditate. You may even stop smoking (if you smoke).

In a study published in U.S. National Library of Medicine, a practice of meditation can also help people overcome bad habits and addiction. Although meditation is only considered as an alternative, it has been proven to be a relevant factor to overcome powerful addictions to alcohol and drugs.

You’ll have good days and you’ll have bad days. Yoga and meditation are not going to make those bad days disappear. But when you do them regularly, both will allow you to move through the negativity and come out relatively unscathed. You’ll not only find that you’re not quick to anger but also feel your body’s healthier and better.

Guide to Taking the CompTIA Examinations

IT professional taking certification examYou can pass the CompTIA exams if you’re well-prepared for it. Many students, however, don’t know where to begin. If you’re one of them, you need a guide to help you succeed.
Here are some tips to help you:

1. Know the Exam

The first thing you should do is take the CompTIA Security+ practice test. This will give you an idea of what to expect in the exams. You can obtain resource materials online and most are free to download. Some examinees may consider this as enough material for taking the exams. You must take note, however, that the questions may vary.

2. Take a College Course

This is the traditional route that many students take. Your instructor will act as your guide who will assign homework and lab time. Choose a course that directly offers certification since the program’s cost is substantial. The course can also take three to four months to finish. Afterwards, you’re ready to take the CompTIA Security+ exam.

3. Take an Online Class

Some students see online schools as a practical option. They don’t have to spend time and money going to a college. All they need is a laptop and the Internet. An online program is also cheaper, and some schools even offer the exam as a capstone. Another advantage is that you get an online instructor while learning at your own pace. If you’re currently working, this option is suitable for you.

4. Enroll in a Work-based Program

Even if you’re low on funds, there are guides out there that can still help. There are several public and private groups that offer the program for free or at incredibly low rates. Such program is not considered as college credit. Instead, you receive the much-needed credential as an IT professional.

5. Consider IT Training Centers

Compared to other options, these centers offer a specialized program in getting you certified. The training can be expensive but can take less than a week to finish. Choose this option if you’re a professional or have an extensive understanding of IT. Most of the instructors here are pros and they make excellent networking contacts.

Many find taking the certification exams easier if they have someone to guide them. Some enroll in a school specializing in IT or an online school that offers training. The former is the traditional way while the latter is more time and cost efficient. Those who can’t afford both methods may enroll in a work-based program. Meanwhile, an IT training center offers intensive training in the least amount of time. With these tips, you are on your way to passing your CompTIA Security+ certification exam.

an fha loan form

Interested In An FHA Loan? Here’s All You Need To Know

an fha loan formFHA loans are one of the most popular loan products today. They are very attractive to home loan borrowers, especially those who will be buying a house for the first time because the requirements are much lower compared to private lenders.

In case the borrower defaults, the FHA loan lender like Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc. can get back the money from the Federal Housing Administration. Before rushing to get an FHA loan, keep these facts in mind when applying for one.

Low Credit Score and Down Payment Requirement

A typical private lender will first check your credit rating. It’s also the same with FHA loans, but you only need a minimum credit score of 580 to qualify. Also, you need to make 3.5 percent down payment. Those with credit scores below 580 but not lower than 500 can still be eligible, but this time, the down payment requirement is 10 percent. There are cases, however, where an applicant with a credit score of below 500 can get an FHA loan.

FHA is the Insurer, Not the Lender

Some people have the misconception that the FHA itself is the lender. The government agency only guarantees that it will pay the loan in case of default. This is why you need to make sure that the lender you are dealing with is FHA approved. The rates offered by these FHA-approved lenders are also not the same.

Pay Two Mortgage Insurance

On all FHA loans you pay, not one, but two mortgage insurance premiums. The first premium is equivalent to 1.75 percent of the loan. Pay this premium once you get the loan. If it’s possible, you can include this premium to the FHA loan.

The other one is the annual premium, but you pay for it monthly. The rate will depend on the size of the loan, the length of the loan, and the initial loan-to-value ratio.

FHA Loan For Home Repairs

Homeowners in need of cash for repairs can apply for a special loan known as 203(k). The loan amount you can get is not based on your home’s current appraised value. Instead, it’s based on the expected value after you have made the repairs.

Financial Relief Option

FHA loan borrowers who are undergoing financial hardships can apply for relief. If approved, lenders then can offer to lower the interest rate or extending the payback period. They may even allow deferring part of the loan without interest.

Possible Coverage of Closing Costs

Borrowers can include the closing costs in their loan application. The lender charges typically a higher interest rate if you choose this option. There are instances though that a home seller or builder will shoulder the closing costs to finalize the deal.

Small Businesses in Florida Rank Among the Most Polite in the US

Restaurant business ownerFlorida ranked among the top 25 most polite states in the U.S. based on invoices of small businesses in the Sunshine State, according to FreshBooks.

The list analyzed the politeness of small business owners through the use of “please” and “thank you” on their invoices. It considered almost half of small-sized enterprises in Oklahoma to be polite, while those in Florida achieved a 12% politeness percentage.

Starting a Business

While courteousness plays an important role in a business, existing and prospective business owners need to acknowledge other key factors for the success of a company. Marketing campaigns, for instance, should be a focus of any business especially start-up firms.

These campaigns should include online strategies such as digital advertising or website design in places like Naples, a service offered by firms such as Customer Finder Marketing.

Those who plan to set up a new company will also need to think about the type of legal structure such as a sole proprietorship or limited liability. If you are considering a franchised business, a proposal in the state’s legislature will make it easier for you.

Franchise Owners’ Rights

The Small Business Parity Act aims to broaden the protection of owners of franchised enterprises in Florida, by leveling the playing field between corporate franchisors and their franchisees. More than 40,000 businesses in the state will benefit from the proposal.

A certain benefit of the bill would protect franchise owners in the state from unfair termination of their contract with the national franchisor. This will also allow franchised business owners to transfer or sell ownership. In case of legal disputes, the legislation would require the conflict to be resolved in a court in Florida.


This year marks another opportunity to set up a new business in Florida. Marketing and good customer relations will be important, while those who seek a franchised business are expected to have better protection.

Ways to go with braces in Watford

woman wearing bracesIt is not unusual to have a tooth or two slightly out of place. Perhaps they stick out, or stick in. They may be slightly twisted, or have not quite descended. Wonky teeth may be no big deal to the onlooker, but their owners can often find them pretty embarrassing, even depressing, especially these days when it seems everyone on TV has perfect teeth. It’s hard not to translate that into one’s own life, which, when people work in public-facing jobs, can become a point of self-consciousness. Fortunately, there are many systems of braces in Watford that offer great benefits for straightening teeth.

These days, most dentists offer one or two ways to straighten teeth. But with so many different systems of braces in Watford, it’s important to find a reputable dentist, such as Cassiobury Dental.

Each braces system offers something different. Let’s take a look at a few:

Fixed braces

So called because the brackets and wires are fixed onto the fronts of the teeth. The brackets are fixed at carefully calculated angles and the wires are stretched and tightened through them. This creates the force that pulls the teeth into alignment. Treatment times vary from a few months for cosmetic changes, to a couple of years or more for serious bite correction issues. For milder misalignments, the brackets are smaller and made of clear ceramic and the wires are tooth-coloured.

Lingual braces

Brackets and wires again, but this time fixed to the tongue side of the teeth. Lingual braces are often made of gold alloy and each bracket is custom-made for each tooth. They are completely hidden from view and can be used for all misalignments, no matter how severe or complex.

Clear aligners

Not really even braces. In Watford and elsewhere clear aligners are a series of 3D printed mouth guard-style trays. Patients work their way through the set, wearing each aligner for week to 10 days, which gradually nudges their teeth into alignment. Aligners are removable for eating and teeth cleaning.

Front teeth aligner

A single removable appliance that works on the front teeth only. It uses spring-loaded metal bows, or sandwiches of clear plastic to align the teeth.

What Can A Full Stack Developer Contribute to Your Business

Person developing codeYou may have heard about this breed of “all-in-one” programmers. There have been lots of appraising talk about these full stack developers for business intelligence that even giant tech companies like Facebook are betting on and employing them.

What Do They Do?

In layman’s terms, a full stack developer is someone who knows how to code at every level of a computer, from front to backend. They understand the fundamentals of server processes, databases, and user interface functionalities.

A Good Match for Small Businesses

Being a “jack of all trades” in web development, full stackers make a good match for small businesses who can’t afford too many IT professionals. Larger companies often can hire teams of developers, thus each member can specialize in one process. Full stack engineers, on the other hand, can take care of all the coding and designing for start-ups. They bring a lot of knowledge and expertise to the table and can do many processes by themselves.

Skills to Check

Full stack developers know several languages, platforms, and frameworks. While they’re a minority, they exist – a kind of technological geniuses, one may say. A candidate has to prove his expertise in the following areas:

  • Back-end – PHP, Ruby, Python, API development/design, etc.
  • Front-end – JavaScript, CSS, SASSS, SML, Bootstrap, etc.
  • Database – MongoDB, MySQL, XML, Oracle, etc.
  • System/Infrastructure – Sphinx, UX, load balancing, server security, etc.

Focus on the programming languages that the developer knows. For the client side, the most important are CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. For the server side, check for their knowledge of PHP, Python, or Ruby on Rails.

While it is understandable for small business owners to feel hesitant with new, trendy things, hiring a full stack services provider may just be one of the best decisions they’ll ever make. From designing, developing, and deploying IT solutions, you can count on them to increase productivity throughout your entire organization.

Mechanic fixing the wheel alignment

An Insight into Wheel Alignment – Common Alignment Angles

Mechanic fixing the wheel alignmentHow your car’s wheels align can impact the way it responds to handling. It can increase wearing of the tyres and even affect movement. When you hit a curb or something that could mess your wheels alignment, you should see a mechanic.

You should visit an auto service in Clearfield if your steering wheel bends on one side while driving in a straight line. Also, if your car drives fine but tyres on one side wears out, visit a mechanic. Most of the time, the car’s manufacturer will recommend a wheel alignment check every 10, 000km.

That said, below are the three most common alignment angles.


The front suspension is usually located in a precise manner relative to the vertical position, which is the caster angle. The angle is not something you can see. Mechanics measure this angle. In most cars, this angle is positive to help steering and stability at high speed. It also helps the wheel to adjust after you have turned the steering wheel.


Unlike caster, you can see the camber angle. It is the tilt of the tyre at the top relating to the way it sits on the road. When wheels tilt towards the car, it is a negative camber while the opposite is positive camber. The vehicle would have a neutral camber to avoid wear of the tyres.


Toe angle refers to how tyres look when facing forward. If then the wheels point inward, it is toe-in, and if they point outwards, it is toe-out. Most vehicles will have toe equal to or close to zero. Too much in or out toe can cause the car to be unstable at high speeds and it can cause tyre wear.

Your mechanic should be able to determine if you need a wheel alignment after a test drive.  They will watch out for an un-centered steering wheel or a pull to one side. A noisy or shaky vehicle could also be about misaligned wheels.