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A Tenant's Guide to Renting [Nov. 2nd, 2006|04:23 pm]
Columbus Real Estate
A Tenant’s Guide to Renting

The first challenge every tenant faces is finding an apartment for rent that suits their individual needs. For today’s tenant, the most effective apartment search can be done using an online apartment finder. Tenants should decide what they require in an apartment or house rental before beginning their search. For example: the number of bedrooms, location or distance from public transportation and how much the tenant can afford to pay in rent, furnished or unfurnished apartment, etc. By making these important decisions first, tenants can avoid renting an apartment or house only to regret it later. Many tenants today are taking advantage of the convenience of the internet to locate apartments for rent as opposed to the traditional print publications.

Once a possible apartment or home has been found, it is the tenant's duty to thoroughly inspect the premises making a commitment in the form of a security deposit. A tenant should not rely on the landlord or the landlord's agent to tell the tenant if anything is wrong with the property. The tenant must inspect the property carefully and ask questions about it.
Inspecting the condition and functionality of the following areas/features of the apartment before committing yourself as a tenant is highly recommended.
1. Kitchen appliances in working order.
2. Water pressure strong, plumbing without leaks.
3. Electrical outlets and wiring working.
4. Walls and ceiling painted or papered without cracks
5. Ventilation or air conditioning accessible.
6. Floors, railings and bathrooms in good repair.
7. Fire escape easy to use.
8. Stairs safe and well-lighted.
9. No rodents or insects.
10. Heating system in working order.
11. If furnished, check and write down condition of all furniture.
12. Windows and doors operable and weather-tight; screens provided.
The tenant should also check the security of the building to find out if there is a dead-bolt lock, security chain, or through-the-door viewer.
BEWARE OF EXISTING DAMAGES: In order to avoid being blamed for damages that already exist in the rental unit, the cautious tenant should take every step for self-protection. Before moving in (or as soon as possible thereafter), the tenant should make a list of all existing damages and repairs that need to be made. A copy of the list should he presented to the landlord and attached to the lease This way the landlord cannot blame the tenant for damages caused by others and the tenant will know what the landlord intends to repair. If the tenant keeps good records the landlord will not be able to keep the tenant’s security deposit for damages that were actually caused by others. Taking pictures before moving in is also strongly recommended.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Rossano, associated with www.AllSpaces.com who “Conveniently Connects All People with All Spaces in All Places” has been dedicated to the Real Estate rental market for over 8 years. He has assisted over 25,000 tenants with their renting needs. Any questions about renting apartments, houses or other rentals, feel free to visit www.AllSpaces.com or email him at Paul@AllSpaces.com.
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Bar codes must be monitored for accuracy [Jul. 5th, 2006|07:51 am]
Columbus Real Estate
[Current Location |Columbus]
[music |Country]

Bar codes must be monitored for accuracy

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Joe Testa

Does June 26, 1974, mean anything to you?

Well, at about 8 a.m. that day, (cue the trumpet) retail transactions were forever changed when a package of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit gum was the first product sold using a Universal Product Code (UPC) and a scanner at a grocery store checkout in Troy, Ohio.

The introduction of the UPC and the price scanner was so important, that the first transaction is commemorated by a display at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

For those of you old enough to remember prior to that, all pricing was done manually. As a teenager working in a grocery store, I remember stamping each can, box or package with an ink-stamping device that would change numbers at will and get ink all over me.

It has been estimated that the bar code saves $17-billion annually in inventory costs. They are fast, accurate and improve efficiency for both the store and the consumer.

The concern, though, is that when the stamp number changed we might have a price error on one or a few items. If a keying error is made when a new price is entered into the computer, perhaps hundreds of items in computers networked together are affected.

The Uniform Code Council estimates that as many as 10-billion bar codes are scanned worldwide every day.

Those bar codes are on much more than the grocery items originally envisioned more than 30 years ago. For example, the Army uses two-foot long bar codes to label boats in storage at West Point -- and you thought only the Navy and Coast Guard had boats.

Tiny bar codes have even been mounted to the backs of honeybees to track their flight patterns to help beekeepers improve productivity and profitability. The bar code is about 1/20th of the weight of the pollen a bee carries.

How would you like to have the job of applying those? A laser scanner mounted over the entrance to the beehive records the bees' activities.

When the UPC bar code was introduced, some felt that it would confuse consumers because individual items would not be labeled with a price.

And that's where the County Auditor's Office comes in. You're probably aware that each of Ohio's 88 county auditors has a Weights and Measures section working to protect consumers and merchants alike. A few cities in Ohio do too, including Columbus.

We check gas pumps to be sure a gallon is really a gallon, and we verify that scales used in commercial transactions are accurate. We conduct "package checks" to make certain you're only paying for the product inside and not the container.

And we also check the accuracy of the UPC price scanners at your local stores. A large supermarket, for example, may have 50,000 or more items in stock, and a shelf tag or sign may be placed for each of those items. With weekly sales, hundreds or even thousands of items may have price changes. Unless you can remember the advertised price of every item in the basket -- and I'm sure that some shoppers can -- it's difficult to know if every item matches. Although people should check the register receipt, I doubt that many do so.

In 2005, Franklin County Weights and Measures inspectors' results showed that about 1.2-percent of the items had a scanned price that differed from the shelf price. Of the items that scanned incorrectly, about 42-percent were undercharges in the customers' favor.

So what can you do to be certain you're being charged the correct price?

Do your best to watch the price display at the register, particularly sale items or specials which have changed prices lately. Ask the clerk to verify the price if you think it was scanned in error. If the scanned price does not agree with the posted price, ask the manager to correct it. They generally will.

Some stores have fairly generous price check policies. And save your cash register receipt in case you have a problem later on.

If you can't see the weights and measures decal at the checkout counter or if the store doesn't remedy the pricing problem, give us a call at 462-7380 or visit our Web site at www.franklincountyauditor.com and register a complaint.

We will check it out.

Nobody wants to go back to hand stamping. Certainly not I
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What $400,000 will buy: A Cross-Country Survey [Jul. 5th, 2006|07:42 am]
Columbus Real Estate
[Tags|, , ]
[Current Location |columbus, OH]
[music |Country]

What $400,000 will buy: A cross-country survey
By Julie Sturgeon

No matter what area of the country you're in, a new family car costs just about the same. Likewise, a 2-carat diamond ring will set you back pretty much the same amount whether you make the purchase in Albuquerque, N.M., Green Bay, Wis., or Hoboken, N.J. Same with a plasma TV, saxophone, laptop computer or your favorite fragrance.

But when it comes to real estate, standardized prices are unheard of. A million dollars buys a mansion in Peoria, Ill., and somewhat less than an average home in Beverly Hills, Calif. While the median price of about $100,000 in South Bend, Ind., means you can buy an average home for that price, that same amount won't allow you to break into the 90210 neighborhood without a mask and burglar tools.

With those stark contrasts in mind, Bankrate decided to look around the country to see how a given amount of money could deliver a variety of homes. With the national median existing single-family home price pegged at $215,900 for the third quarter of 2005, we picked $400,000 as our survey price because if seemed likely to produce the best range of homes, from shacks to mansions. It did
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Understanding the Closing Process [Jul. 5th, 2006|07:38 am]
Columbus Real Estate
[Current Location |Hilliard]
[music |Country]

Understanding the closing process
By Bankrate.com

On closing day, all parties will sign the papers officially sealing the deal and ownership of the property will be transferred to you. It's your opportunity to make any last-minute changes to the transaction.

The day before closing, be sure to gather all the paperwork you have received throughout the home-buying process: good-faith estimate, contract, proof of title search and insurance if necessary, flood certification, proof of homeowners insurance and mortgage insurance, home appraisal and inspection reports. You might need to refer to these documents at closing.

Most home-sale contracts entitle you to a walk-through inspection of the property 24 hours before closing. This is to ensure that the seller has vacated the property and left it in the condition specified in the sales contract.

If there are any major problems, you can ask to delay the closing or request that the seller deposit money into an escrow account to cover the necessary repairs.

At closing, your participation will be twofold: • Sign legal documents. This falls into two categories: the agreement between you and your lender regarding the terms and conditions of the mortgage and the agreement between you and the seller transferring ownership of the property. Be sure to read all documents carefully before signing them, and do not sign forms with blank lines or spaces.
• Pay closing costs and escrow items. Borrowers handle the numerous fees associated with obtaining a mortgage and transferring property ownership in one of two ways: they either roll them into the principal balance of the new loan or agree to pay higher interest rates and have their lenders foot the bill. Some buyers may have to pay these out-of-pocket fees.

Present at closing
Closing procedures vary from state to state (and even county to county), but the following parties will generally be present at the closing or settlement meeting:

Present at closing

• Closing agent, who might work for the lender or the title company.
• Attorney: The closing agent might be an attorney representing you or the lender. Both sides may have attorneys. It's always a good idea to have an attorney present who represents you and only you.
• Title company representative, to provide written evidence of the ownership of the property.
• Home seller.
• The seller's real estate agent.
• You, also known as the mortgagor.
• The lender, also known as the mortgagee.

The closing agent conducts the settlement meeting and makes sure that all documents are signed and recorded and that closing fees and escrow payments are paid and properly distributed.

Closing documents
You will receive the following important documents:

Closing documents

HUD-1 settlement statement: A detailed list of all costs related to the sale of the home. It is similar to the good-faith estimate you got weeks earlier, but the HUD-1 is not an estimate; it is a precise record of the settlement costs. Both you and the seller sign it. Compare the HUD-1 statement against the good-faith estimate to see if the actual closing costs differ significantly. By law, you have the right to review the HUD-1 24 hours before closing. Do so. Clear up any mistakes and resolve problems.
Final TILA statement: You received the first version of this statement after applying for your mortgage. This final version outlines the cost of your loan and APR and takes into account any modifications made to your rate and points between application and closing. Make sure that everything is in order.
Mortgage note: This document states your promise to repay the mortgage. It indicates the amount and terms of the loan, and what the lender can do if you fail to make payments.
Mortgage or deed of trust: This document secures the note and gives your lender a claim against the home if you fail to live up to the terms of the mortgage note.
Certificate of occupancy: If you are buying a newly constructed house, you need this legal document to move in.
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