Spring Maintenance Checklist

Gutters and downspouts: Pull leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. Reattach gutters that have pelled away from the house. Run a hose on the roof and check for proper drain. If leaks exist, dry the area and use caulking or epoxy to seal the leak.

Siding: Clean siding with a pressure washer to keep mold from growing. Check all wood surfaces for weathering and paint failure. If wood is showing through, sand the immediate area and apply a primer coat before painting. If paint is peeling, scrape loose paint and sand smooth before painting.

Exterior caulking: Inspect caulking and replace if deteriorating. Scrape out all of the eroding caulk and recaulk needed area.

Window sills, door sills, and thresholds: Fill cracks, caulk edges, repaint or replace if necessary.

Window and door screens: Clean screening and check for holes. If holes are bigger than a quarter, that is plenty of room for bugs to climb in. Patch holes or replace the screen. Save bad screen to patch holes next year. Tighten or repair any loose or damaged frames and repaint. Replace broken, worn, or missing hardware. Wind can ruin screens and frames if they are allowed flap and move so make sure they are securely fastened. Tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.

Drain waste and vent system: Flush out system.

Hot water heater: Lubricate circulating pump and motor

Evaporative air conditioner: Clean unit, check belt tension and adjust if needed. Replace cracked or worn belt.

Heat pump: Lubricate blower motor.

Foundation: Check foundation walls, floors, concrete, and masonry for cracking, heaving, or deterioration. If a significant number of bricks are losing their mortar, call a professional. If you can slide a nickel into a crack in your concrete floor, slab or foundation call a professional immediately.

Roof: Inspect roof surface flashing, eaves, and soffits. Check flashings around all surface projections and sidewalls.

Deck and porches: Check all decks, patios, porches, stairs, and railings for loose members and deterioration. Open decks and wood wings need to be treated every 4-6 years, depending on how much exposure they get to sun and rain. If the stain does not look like it should or water has turned some of the wood a dark gray, hire a professional to treat your deck and fence.

Landscape: This is a natural for spring home maintenance. Cut back and trim all vegetation and overgrown bushhes from structures. Limbs and leaves can cut into your home's paint and force you to have that side of the house repaired. A little trimming can save a lot of money and time.

Sprinklers: Check lawn sprinkler system for leaky valves, exposed lines, and improperly working sprinkler heads. If there is an area of ​​your yard that collects too much water or does not get enough, run the sprinklers to figure out the problem. If it's not something you can fix yourself, call a professional before your lawn needs the water.

Offshore Translation Agencies – Reducing Your Translation Costs

Naturally, the language centers are aware of the existing cultural differences and the possible difficulties that may arise during the process of negotiations.

The offshore translation agencies usually cooperate with other language agencies, and they will gladly assist you in finding a translator of a certain language, if they cannot offer the services of the translator themselves. Besides the quality of translations, offshore translation offices can offer cost-reduction options, just like many IT outsourcing services due to their location in low-economy countries.

As for the most common services, provided by offshore translation services, this is first of all translation, interpretation, localization, reviewing of documents in various languages. Most translators specialize in a certain area of knowledge, for example, engineering, software and IT, advertising and marketing, economy, finance, tourism, medicine and many others.

The jobs, outsourced to offshore translation offices, can be performed in a short period of time, or they can be done in a few hours. The ready made projects are forwarded to the customer using the most modern techniques, available today. Also there is a chance to communicate with an employee of an offshore translation agency, using all the possible means of communication.

The rates for the translations can be more than competitive if compared with the rates in, say, America. The rates are usually based on the per-word model; however there are offshore translation agencies, which prefer the per-page model (usually 1800 characters). You can also request a quote per book or article.

Offshore translation agencies are very handy if you plan to visit the country, in which it is located. If you are in need of a language assistant, you can also make a request to an offshore translation agency. Consider employing an offshore translation agency and see how you will benefit from it.

Think Credit Scores Do Not Apply To Young Adults? Think Again

By the time you turn 28, you will probably have a career and possibly a family. When you want to make big purchases like buying the car of your dreams or buying a house to raise a family, your credit score becomes more important than ever. Your credit score is also referred to as a FICO score and is typically a number between 300 and 850. Bank lenders who will loan you money for a house or a car will look at this score very carefully before lending you the money and deciding your interest rate. According to the article Starting Out by Kelly K. Spors in The Wall Street Journal, FICO scores above 760 qualify you for the best loan terms, while scores below 600 can mean unappealing terms and higher interest rates – or bar you from getting a loan all together. The breakdown of the FICO score includes a 35% weighting for payment history; 30% for the amount owed, especially as compared to your credit limits; and 15% for the length of your credit history. Also, having too many credit inquiries and loan applications by you or too many accounts opened in a short time can hurt your score.

So I made a mistake, how do I improve my credit score?

1. The first thing to do is to start paying your bills on time. If you have Internet access, it may be a good idea to set up an automatic bill pay (either through your bank's website or the actual credit card or loan company's website). This way, the bill will be deducted out of your checking account at the same time every month and will reduce your chances of your payment being lost in the mail. Paying your bills on time every month for about a year will dramatically improve your score.

2. The second thing to do is to check your credit report from all three major credit bureaus once a year. If you check it more than once a year, this may hurt your score. You can access your report for free at http://www.annualcreditreport.com . Be careful, many sites say they provide free credit reports but there is often a catch. Identify inaccurate information in your credit report and write a letter to the addresses listed below explaining your situation.

Equifax PO Box 740241 Atlanta, GA 30374

Experian PO Box 2104 Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion PO Box 2000 Chester, PA 19022

3. The third thing to do is to be smart with your credit. This means avoiding mall shopping sprees or playing online poker. Use your credit cards wisely. It is also smart to keep your credit card balances at 30% or less of your limit. This keeps your score up and leaves room on your credit card for emergencies like auto repairs and house repairs.

Copyright 2006 Debt Management Credit Counseling Corp.

Do It Yourself Home Improvement

Many of us are participating in the home improvement thing today. There are a number of great benefits to be derived from doing your own home improvement. We can save money of course. We can also design our own projects so that they typically satisfy our needs and add the personal touch exactly as we envision it.

A number of software packages are available to produce a 3D home design and show us the results before we ever spend a penny on materials. This new home design software has not only become much easier to use, while becoming much more sophisticated in what it can produce, it has also become wider ranging.

Packages are now available that target specific home projects. You will find that these products allow you to fully design a new deck, complete a new landscape design outside, modify your house interior design, or the big one will let you design a new house from start to finish.

The computer and software are great but more help is available today. The big box home improvement stores have come a long way since the original Lowes concept. These big box stores maintain a complete inventory covering every imaginable product you may require in your project. The also carry a large educated staff that is most often quite willing to offer you assistance. That is good but they also appear to be well founded in the knowledge required to provide you with assistance.

If that is not good enough, the big box home improvement stores also conduct routine seminars to educate you regarding specific products. All this assistance comes at no cost to the customer. The intention is to encourage and help you to complete your own home improvement.

Not only will these projects save you money but they will also increase the value of your home. It is quite practical for the average handyman to purchase a fix it up house, do some small improvements itself and then resell the house at a profit.

A wide range of near professional quality tools is available at your home improvement stores. Competition in the marketplace has been beneficial to the consumer. You can now purchase excellent quality tools to complete any phase of the job from preparation of raw, rough lumber to spray painting the completed project. All this is available at very competitive pricing.

One final benefit to this whole experience may be the chance to work together with the rest of your family. It will never be lost time when you pass on some of your knowledge and abilities to children and grand children. A world of opportunity is available.