Step By Step Guide For Buying Your First Home

One of the first things that first-time home buyers should know is that it is going to take a lot of time and effort to find and finally close on a home of their dreams.  In order to make the process as easy as possible and to help buyers make the best choices when purchasing a home.  Below is advice from real estate experts to help you throughout the buying process.

First things first, start researching as soon as you decide to buy a home.  Look through magazines, search the internet, look through trade papers, and so on to find real estate listing and industry news.  With the real estate listings that you have found, follow them through to their sale.  Analyze the time it takes for a house to hit the market through to close.  Note what the asking price was initially and what the home closed for.  These trends will allow you to see the larger picture for homes in your specific location.

The next step is to determine how much you can afford overall and monthly.  Most often lenders recommend that buyers spend no more than 3 to 5 times their annual income on a home when you are able to put down 20%.  It is also imperative to eliminate outside debts as much as possible.  It is also key to figure out the monthly costs of maintaining a home.  There are several online tools that help first time home buyers with calculating costs when purchasing a new home.

It is also important to meet with a lender or mortgage broker to get preapproved for a mortgage.  Obviously before you can buy a home you need the means to do so.  Prequalification means that you have met the requirements set forth by the lender.  Taking into consideration your income, debt, savings, and investments your lender of mortgage broker will tell you how much you qualify to borrow.

Your next step is to find a local real estate agent to work with. Hiring an agent literally costs you nothing; you have nothing to lose when you have a realtor working with you.  The seller compensates the realtor through commissions on the house when it sells. A real estate agent will provide you insight that only comes from living in an area.  They also provide invaluable skills such as negotiations. After going through the process hundreds of times they understand the process better than those of us who only go through it a few times in our lives.

When you start shopping for a home it is important to tour many of the homes in your price range even if they aren’t exactly what you have been dreaming of.  It will help you see what is available.  Take a note pad and camera with you to keep the homes you visit straight.  After time it will be difficult to keep the homes you have toured straight.  In each home you are serious about test out certain features such as the plumbing, windows, electrical, and appliances.  Take a look around the neighborhood and evaluate how well the homes on the block are maintained, the traffic volume, parking, and such.

It is important not to rush the home buying process.  You will find the right home, but it may not happen right away.  Make sure you negotiate a fair price, evaluating the cost at which other homes in the neighborhood have sold for, and reach an agreement.  When your home goes into escrow it is time to finish up the remaining steps within the buying process.  

A home inspection is a must to make sure the home is a good investment and free of costly repairs.  Home offers should be made on a contingency that the home passes inspection.  If major issues are found the seller has a chance to fix the issues or renegotiate the sale.  You as a buyer can withdraw the offer if you decide it is not in your best interest to purchase the residence after the inspection.

Working with the lender you will then select your loan and have the home appraised.  This process should be fairly simple and straightforward. As long as you are responsive in working together it will make this process painless. Once the paperwork is coordinated and you have determined the seller is the rightful owner and can legally sell the house you are buying you are good to set a closing date. 

Last but not least close on your home.  Sign all of the paperwork (there will be a lot of it) and move into your new home!

C21 Lady of the Lakes is a full-service realtor serving Livingston County and the surrounding areas with all their real estate needs.  More information can be found at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com/.



Fighting Cancer With External Radiotherapy

There are several questions that come along with a cancer diagnosis. One of the first questions that patients ask is regarding the treatment of their newly diagnosed cancer.  Patients want to know how they are going to rid their body of cancer.  The answer most often, external radiotherapy.

External radiation, radiotherapy is treatment of cancer using a machine known as a linear accelerator to directly aim radiation beams to the cancerous tumors from outside the body.  These beams are meant to shrink and/or destroy the cancerous tumor without harming the healthy tissue surrounding it.  This is different from internal radiotherapy where radiation is delivered to the cancerous tumor within the body.

Radiotherapy works through a process of damaging the DNA that exists within the cancer cells.  A patient’s personal DNA, which is genetic, is the code that controls how a patient’s body will behave during treatment.

Before a patient starts treatment their team of experts will create a plan and introduce it to the patient.  It will include several elements including the short and long terms side effects of radiation.  Most side effects are short terms and will disappear with medication and time. 

Radiation therapy begins with a wide range of tests.  These often include:

  • X-Rays
  • CT Scans
  • MRI’s
  • PET Scans

These scans and images will allow experts to develop a treatment plan that allows the highest dose of radiation to the cancer while trying to reduce the effects to the healthy tissues surrounding it.

When you are set to receive external radiotherapy you will have treatment in a radiotherapy department.  Radiotherapy machines are large and can vary.  The most common machine in delivering radiation is known as a linear accelerator, LINAC.  A linear accelerator uses an electricity to create the beams of radiation.  Patients will not feel the radiation that a LINAC gives off. There are possible side effects however these are rare. 

Radiation therapy works because it can treat the cancerous cells and the bordering healthy tissues without harm.  A high dose of therapy is given directly to the cancer and lower dose to the surrounding tissues.

Radiation is delivered in individual fractions that are smaller than the full dose.  This ensures that the healthy cells surrounding the cancer to recover between treatments.  Patients will have what is known as a series of smaller dose treatments which is known as radiotherapy fractions.

Radiotherapy is intended to relieve the symptoms of cancer including pain.  This is known as a type of palliative radiotherapy, fewer fractions and sometimes just one.  The radiotherapy dose with each radiotherapy fraction is larger but there are fewer fractions.  Overall the radiotherapy dose is lower.  Palliative treatment has a decrease in side effects and is used as a cure for cancer. 

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale.  More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.



Preventing Complications With Proper Care After LASIK


Eye care after laser vision correction is crucial in ensuring the success of your surgery.  Complications can occur with LASIK but are lessened with proper care before, during, and after the procedure.  One of the most important aspects comes just hours after the surgery.  It is recommended to rest for a minimum of four hours after surgery.  Take a nap and rest your eyes.  Some patients choose to wear protective eye shields. 

Eye shields are recommended to use when sleeping for the first few days after surgery to prevent unnecessary rubbing from occurring.  It is crucial to prevent any eye-rubbing while your eyes are healing after laser surgery.  It is important not to rush recovery which is easy to do since most patients experience a return in eyesight quite quickly. 

Post LASIK care has a great deal of importance, it is as important as the surgery itself.  In order to receive the most out of your LASIK experience follow the tips below.

  • Plan Follow-Up Appointments:  Appointments will be scheduled to follow up with your eye doctor/surgeon during the first three months after the surgical procedure.  After this time period annual eye exams are necessary to ensure the health of your eyes. 
  • Follow Your Doctor’s Orders:  Along with keeping follow up appointments with your LASIK surgeon it is imperative to schedule appointments with your primary eye doctor, ophthalmologist to keep up on changes in your vision.  Annual eyes exams allow future issues to be caught quickly and immediately.

LASIK Healing Timeline

  • The First Week: Rest your eyes.  Use prescribed eye drops to prevent dry eyes, infection, and inflammation.  If you experience any issues, big or small, immediately call your LASIK surgeon.
  • Months After: Continue to follow up with your eye doctor and report changes that occur during the healing process.  Monitoring the health, comfort, and vison changes of your eyes is necessary for preventing complications.

Returning to Normal After LASIK

For many patients they will return to work within a day or two of the LASIK procedure.  The restrictions below are a guide to follow until you are feeling ready to return to normal activities.

  • Don’t drive until your LASIK eye surgeon says your vision has returned.  This normally occurs within a day or two.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes all the time but especially the first week after LASIK.
  • Use restraint in reading and computer usage for the first days after your procedure.
  • Makeup should not be worn for at least a week after laser vision correction surgery.
  • As stated above do not rub your eyes for at least once a month after LASIK.
  • Exercise should be avoided for at least once a week. Contact sports should be avoided for a month.
  • Patients should avoid swimming, hot tubs, or whirlpools for a week after LASIK surgery.
  • Prevent dust and dirty environment to help eliminate the risk of getting something in your eye while your eye heals.

Rohr Eye & Laser Center offers the most advanced technology available to suit your lifestyle and visual needs.  As a leader in laser vision correction and cataract surgery, our goal is to help you achieve the best vision possible without glasses or contact lenses.  More information can be found online at https://michiganlasik.com.



Common Mistakes That Occur in Pool Maintenance


We all make mistakes when it comes to maintaining our homes and our pools are not exempt.  When caring for your pool a simple mistake while adding chemicals can take the pool out of commission for weeks.  Unfortunatly however, mistakes in maintaining your pool occur both big and small.

Large mistakes in caring for your swimming pool turn into valuable lessons to learn.  Pool maintenance education is imperative to prevent mistakes and in turn your pool is safer, cleaner, and more efficient without extra frustration on your end.

One of the biggest mistakes pool owners make is with the addition of a chemical commonly referred to as pool shock, a large dosage of chlorine. When dosages of chlorine are too high your pool water will essentially bleach out the color of your clothing.  Although you technically can’t over-shock the pool it can cause issues with more than your clothing.  Too much chlorine can lead to pitted plaster, vinyl liner discoloration, or brittle tile pieces breaking off.

One way to ensure this doesn’t occur is to dissolve the shock chemicals in a bucket of water prior to shocking the pool.  This allows the shock chemical to disperse more evenly throughout the water and in turn protects the pools finish.  As a norm, in pool maintenance a good rule to follow is to dissolve chemicals thoroughly before adding it to the pools water.

Another common mistake when owning a pool that homeowners make is that they don’t take the necessary time or care when brushing and vacuuming your pool.   A good brushing pushes the build up out into the water and settles on the bottom of the pool and then can be vacuumed up. Take the time to brush behind all those hard to reach places like pool ladders, steps, and stairs.  Corners, crevices, and water lines especially in plaster pools should be scrubbed really well.

Pool chemicals are a huge source of the mistakes made by homeowners when caring for their pool.  Your pools plaster can literally be destroyed if the chemicals in the water are not properly balanced.  Don’t ignore your pools pH and alkalinity levels.  A low pH indicates acidity and a high pH indicates alkalinity, too much of either one is bad for your pools plaster. Too low of a pH can damage the equipment used in the pool such as a pool pump and filter, plaster or vinyl linings, heaters, automatic pool cleaners and more.  Proper water chemical balance in a pool is easily accomplished by testing your pools water on a regular basis and making adjustments as needed.

Pound Pool Plastering offers several options when it comes to servicing your pool including plaster, caulk, tiling, cement decks, plumbing, and coping in both commercial and residential settings.  More information can be found at http://www.pound-pool-plastering.com/.



Making Your Home Accessible With a Wheel Chair Ramp

Making your home more accessible for handicapped aids like wheelchairs is a must for many of people with either disabilities or for the elderly. Typically the first step to make in a lack of mobility situation is to install a wheelchair ramp.  Having a ramp installed on your home will improve a person’s life tremendously by entering and exiting the house freely and independently with little to no help from other members of the family.

There are many options for installing or building a wheelchair ramp that can be quite easy to accomplish and have a few options to consider. One choice you can decide on is to take the route of DIY and have the family join together for a weekend project or option #2 is to hire a professional to install one for you. No matter your choice of individual you decide to complete the job, there are some key elements to building and designing the ideal wheelchair ramp for you.

Choosing a ramp that’s right for you

Each accessibility ramp is unique and choosing one that is the right fit for your needs is most important. There are many factors to consider when finding the perfect wheelchair ramp for your home. First question to ask your self is; what type of mobile aid(s) will the person use? Also, there is a chance that the mobile aid that the person is currently using could evolve and change over time. Maybe they currently use a cane or walker but as the years go on, a person may need to switch to a wheelchair as they continue to age.

The next question to consider is; what entrance of the house is the accessibility ramp going to be installed on? Some homes will have obstacles that need to be taken into consideration such as landscape features that will need to be built around. It is also important to check with any zoning requirements in your area through the township or HOA that may require special requirements. Next, deciding on the material you want to use in the construction of the ramp needs to be chosen. Your budget and preference on whether function is more important than curb appeal will help in these decisions. Also Depending on the material chosen, this may or may not make it harder to move at a later time if the ramp is not intended on being a permanent fixture on the home. Lastly, a question to ask yourself about your unique ramp is; how much time do you want to put into construction? It is sometimes best to consult a professional contractor to complete the ramp installation.

Designing the Ramp

The design and requirements of your ramp will be unique because of the factors such as layout of the home or yard and the height needed for ramp. A short ramp would do perfect for a situation with only a couple steps or less than 3 foot incline but if your home is higher off the ground, a ramp will need to be designed with platforms so the incline is not so steep. Platforms are flat landing areas that help break up a ramp to allow the incline to only reach 30 inches. The Recommendation from ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) that platforms are minimum 60 inches square in order to allow a user enough space to turn in a wheelchair as needed. This also allows a person to stop moving and take a break when needed. Platforms also assist in navigating around obstacles or allow ramps to fit in smaller areas.

The width of the wheel chair ramp is another important aspect to measure for your design. It is recommended by ADA a minimum of 36 inches in between hand rails. This specific measurement should allow even manual wheelchairs the ability to fit comfortably. A reminder to measure in between the closest part of hand rail not at the base otherwise it could cause a person in wheelchair to hit their elbows on the railing if too close.

Guidelines are put into place by ADA to insure that the utmost safety is guaranteed. If working with a contractor, be sure they are building your ramp to be ADA compliant in order to successfully build and design a ramp with safety in mind. If installing a ramp at a business and is not ADA compliant, you can expect it to lead to fines in future as well. Some of these guidelines include: no- skid surfaces, handrails on both sides for any ramp longer than 6 inches, platforms installed if ramp is over 30 feet, and at least a 2 inch flange on bottom sides of ramp to prevent slipping off.

Ramp Materials

Two materials that you can choose from when building your ramp is either wood or metal. Of course with every option, each has their advantages and disadvantages. In the end, no matter the material you choose a ramp should be secured strongly to the ground and anti slip surface added. Taking a closer look at wood ramps, they are typically used in a permanent setting and if built correctly they can last for many years and add true value to your home. The surface of the decking is very important to ensure it is non slip. If ramp is made with a bad type of wood, it will quickly become very slippery in wet weather for everyone using it not only for the disabled. Make sure to do your research on companies who produce ADA-compliant composite materials such as Trex Accents that help increase traction on its surface.

When taking a look at metal for material of choice on your wheel chair ramps aluminum is a top contender. A primary advantage of metal as your material is the ease of installation. Some installs can be done in an hour and also easily removed and transported to a new home if and when needed. If needing a more complex design, metal ramps are great options for this as well and can be custom designed with platforms. The overall appearance of a metal ramp is much pleasing to your curb appeal but there are some that have been designed to look less medical looking.

Prebuilt or Custom Wheelchair Ramps

There are several companies through medical supply or home improvement stores that can assist when choosing a pre-built ramp that is ready to be installed and can be easier route for many compared to building new from scratch. On the other hand, if deciding to build and design your own wheelchair ramp it can be a cost savings on materials but will take more time than installing a pre- built option. Another great advantage of a custom ramp is that is can fit an individuals needs and overcome any special challenges. Hiring a professional contractor to help with your ramp needs will save you time and make this project much less stressful from start to finish.

Glen Miller the Home Doctor is a licensed general contractor servicing Livingston County and the surrounding areas.  Glen offers a wide range of services including home maintenance plans, age in place remodeling, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, finished basements, and hardwood floor refinishing.  More information can be found online at https://www.glenmillerthehomedoctor.com/.



A Fresh Financial Start


Each year when the New Year rolls over, we all begin to think of New Year’s resolutions and how we want to improve our lives from the previous year. We start to set goals for our future to improve certain aspects of our lives whether it is health, personal hardships, or financial difficulties. We sometimes take a step back and realize life did not take us down the path we were expecting to be on and instead of sitting back and relaxing on a beach somewhere we are stuck with piling personal debts from student loans, credit cards, home foreclosure and are now feeling the sting of bankruptcy. Making the first steps after bankruptcy can sound difficult but you can and will bounce back from it and below are some tips on how to get started.

Let Go of Your Shame and Negativity

When hearing the word “Bankruptcy” we instantly are given such a negative image of this situation. Growing up, we are taught what obligations and responsibilities we have and as adults, we pay our bills no matter the circumstance. Unfortunately, life is never that simple and the honest truth is that it is not always possible to repay all of our debts even when trying our best to do so. If thinking that bankruptcy is your only answer, you are not alone. The fastest growing group of bankruptcy filers is people older in life. A study done in May 2011 by University of Michigan Law School found that 1 in 8 adults in the U.S. which is about 13% of general population have thought about filing for bankruptcy.

Even when people know that bankruptcy is a common practice, people still can’t help but feel guilt and disappointment when filing. The best advice is to turn those negative emotions into a more purposeful thought and think of bankruptcy as a learning experience. Truly take the time and look at what you could have done differently to prevent this situation from occurring. The next step is to accept your failure and free yourself by forgiving your mistakes and start to move on.

Recovering From Foreclosure

Studies done by AARP’s Public Policy Institute shows a record amount of homeowners above the age of 50 that went through foreclosure or at least 90 days or more overdue on house payments from 2007 through 2001. One of the biggest issues after losing your home is a good chance you have probably drained most of your savings as well. Some people may never want to own a home again and are content just renting the rest of their life but one way to bounce back from foreclosure is to start rebuilding your savings account or rainy day funds. These accounts typically have $500- $2000 saved in them. The reason of having this type of account is to help deal with emergency or unexpected expenses like a car or home repair that suddenly needs attention. Without this type of savings, you would be forced to use payment options like credit cards to pay everyday expenses that will in turn make you overuse them and hurt credit even further.

Setting Up an Emergency Fund

An Emergency fund differs from a rainy day mainly by being a larger amount saved in a separate account. This account should accumulate anywhere between $3,000 and $10,000 or above if can afford it. The reason for this larger amount saved is for this fund to assist you longer term if something should occur in a personal dilemma such as losing your job or medical issues arise for example. An emergency fund can also help you in a financial disaster such as a bad business investment or loaning money to a family member that never got repaid. These funds should have enough money saved to be able to keep you afloat for 3 to 6 months by paying all your current bills in that time frame. Of course it will take time and energy to make a savings such as this but is a important goal to have in mind.

Get Help From the Professionals

Investment mistakes whether it is watching your 401(k) change drastically or you invest in a friends/ family’s business that doesn’t make it will always take a toll on your confidence. If you are uncertain and nervous on how to manage your assets, it may be best to consult with someone who specializes in this field like a financial planner. A professional can help evaluate your needs and develop a plan to guide you through your financial plan and set new goals after a setback has occurred.

Repairing your credit after divorce

Divorce’s can be very draining on an emotional standpoint as well as financially. Once the worst part is over, you can start to move on from this set back as well. To start fresh from a financial view, you will first need to reestablish your credit in your own name. You can find where you stand credit wise by obtaining a credit report from three of the credit bureaus- Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Secondly, it is best to get rid of any joint credit accounts with previous spouse and be sure to pay all new bills on time to sustain your credit rating. Some people may not have very much credit in their own names so it may be a good idea to look into a secured credit card. These types of cards need to be paid cash up front for the credit line. It can be somewhat surprisingly how quickly after filing bankruptcy an bank will allow regular unsecured credit cards mainly because lenders know that a user can not file for bankruptcy protection again for several years.

 Bohikian Law Group specializes in bankruptcy services including chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy.  More information can be found at https://bohikianlaw.com.



Preserving Your Water Softener Brine Tank

Hard water is known to contain higher than normal levels of calcium and magnesium.  This causes issues with lime scale build up that interferes with household and daily functions.  Issues range from clogged plumbing to soap’s ability to clean properly.  For most homeowners the installation of a water softener system is vital in bringing higher quality water to the household.  Most water softening units will continue to function for years with little maintenance.  Regular check ups and cleaning does help to improve their lifespan.

One important aspect in maintaining your water softening equipment is caring for the systems brine tank.  In order to properly maintain the tank, the salt levels should be checked and if low replaced on a monthly basis. Salt is essential in the ion exchange process that takes place in water softeners.  As the system regenerates the hard water will flow through resin in the softener and the hard ions trade place with the soft ions on the resin beads.  This creates soft water.

Your specific softener should come with a manual that instructs you on the perfect level for the salt in your brine tank.  Generally, the tank should be kept half way full and three inches above the water level.  High levels of salt can improve the overall efficiency however should be reduced is the salt sticks to the sides of the unit.  If salt is allowed to build up in the brine tank users should carefully separate the salt to avoid thick bridges from forming. 

It is also important that you put the proper water softener salt into the brine tank.  The manual should explain if your system best operates using granular, tablet, or block salt.  Granular is the most common as it easily dissolves.  On top of different types of salt there are grade variances as well.

  • Water Softener Rock Salt: This is a cheaper source of softener salt and therefore contains more impurities.  These impurities often decrease the efficiency of the softener, dirties the tank, and requires more regular cleaning and maintenance than other salt grades.
  • Water Softener Solar Salt: This option is purer than rock salt.  For most water softeners this salt option is chosen by homeowners
  • Water Softener Evaporated Salt: This option is the highest quality grade of water softener salt that can be purchased.  It is also the most expensive.

If a salt bridge occurs, it is important that it is broken up and not allowed to “build up”.  A solid layer of brine known as a bridge occurs when the salt in the brine tank binds together preventing loose salt on top from mixing with the water below the bridge. This of course prevents the softener from properly functioning.  These bridges can be broken up using a large broom handle and tapping it around the tank several times. If the layers are not easily broken with a long handle a homeowner can pour hot water over the bridge.  If bridges become a common issue in your water treatment system you can try using less softener salt which would allow the salt to drop between refills.  Cleaning out the brine tank also helps.

Another common issue with salt inside of brine tanks is that the salt can become a mushy pile at the base of the tank.  This causes the water to rise around the salt instead of mixing in with it.  A large broom handle can be used to break up the mush mound.  Mush should be scooped out, dissolved in a bucket of hot water, and then poured back into the water softener tank. 

The experts at Reynolds Water Conditioning have a solution to your homes unique water quality needs including: arsenic, bacteria, chlorine, rotten egg smell, fluoride, hard water, iron, lead, acid, tannins, radon, and more.  More information on our water treatment solutions including water softeners and conditioners, water filtration and purification, reverse osmosis drinking water, and iron & odor removal can be found online at https://reynoldswater.com.



Proper Maintenance Increases The Lifespan Of Your Roofing Materials


Let’s face it, your homes roof is not an everyday priority.  As homeowners we lose sight of the essential exterior elements that are important in safeguarding the interior of our homes.  It is crucial however, that we do take the maintenance and care of our homes roof serious. Asphalt shingle roofing is designed to protect your home. In order for it to perform its job regular roof inspections are needed to ensure it is functioning properly.  Inspections of your homes roof should be done twice a year.  Maintenance and repairs should follow when necessary.  This will allow your roof to remain at peak performance.

Professional roofing contractors are experts at identifying issues with your roof that will lead to interior issues with your home.  It is important to hire a professional contractor to inspect the exterior elements of your home at least once every few years. It is crucial that you as a homeowner take time during the spring and fall seasons to do your own roof and exterior home inspection.

Considerations with Your Roof

  • Before you purchase a home, it is crucial to have the home inspected and a roof assessment performed.  A professional roofing contractor will inspect and report on the future of your roof.  This information gives you insight on repairs that are needed immediately, will be needed in the future, and how much longer you have before a full roof replacement is required.
  • When looking at the exterior of your home and are considering renovations remember to take a look at the landscape. Trim branches and large trees that overhang your roof.  This will prevent the shingles form scratching and gouging roofing materials.  Trimming back trees and branches helps to prevent damaging and puncturing the materials used on your roof.
  • Keep your homes gutters clear.  This is especially important during the winter season to help prevent roof damns from occurring during the thaw and freeze that occurs throughout the season.  If leaves and debris are allowed to build up, your gutters will no longer freely flow, and these backups will occur.
  • Allow your roof to breathe by adding in proper ventilation if it is not already set up correctly.  Heat and moisture needs to be released from the roof to prevent the sheathing and rafting to breathe.  Without this in place the roof with buckle and the insulation will lose its effectiveness.  This causes the roof system to be ineffectual.
  • Proper insulation protects the longevity of your homes roof.  Your home needs protection from heat gain and loss.  The most ideal situation is to include a gap-free layer of insulation on the attic floor along with vapor retarder under the insulation next to the ceiling.  This will help stop the moisture from rising into the attic.  Properly placing vents in the roofing will allow air to pass freely which also helps to prevent issues with your roof.
  • Roofing is prone to the build up of debris, streaks, mold, algae and fungus.  When left untreated this causes a great deal of deterioration in the materials on your roof which in turn shortens the roofs lifespan.  One method that is effective in preventing these issues is to install zinc strips along the roof ridge.  The zinc will protect against the growth of fungus, moss, mildew and algae. 

Your homes roof is the most important element in creating structural integrity of your home. Taking time to do bi-yearly inspections will help preserve and protect your home for years to come.

As a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all Southeast Michigan, Kearns Brothers, Inc. offers clients a wide range of services to meet their construction needs including: roofing, siding, window, masonry, chimneys, gutters, and insulation services.  More information can be found at www.kearnsbrothers.com.



Maintaining Large Scaled Medical Equipment While Cutting Costs


The pressure is high for the leaders of medical facilities to keep up on the changing technology of medical equipment, improve the quality of patient care, and reduce costs of medical equipment maintenance and care. Creating a cost saving strategy in medical equipment maintenance allows facility leaders to stay ahead of their competition without budget concerns.  One way many healthcare facilities have chosen to do this is through outsourcing.  This allows medical facilities to purchase service and repair contracts from companies that specialize in the service and repair of large scaled medical equipment such as linear accelerators and CT scanners. 

Healthcare centers rely on medical equipment to provide the highest quality of care to patients at all times.  It is crucial that your facility have a system in place to manage, maintain, and repair high end, technologically advanced medical equipment like LINAC.  This can be done simply by contracting services through an OEM or third-party service provider.  Facilities must have a strategy in place that fits their exact needs including both maintenance and repair.

Considerations in Medical Equipment Service Contracts

When you are purchasing a contract, it is important to make sure you know exactly what is and what is not covered.  Full-service contracts, through an OEM or third-party provider should normally provide parts, labor, and preventative maintenance.  Analyze your facility’s medical equipment needs.  Ask yourself the following:

  • What times of the day is equipment used for patient care?
  • Are back-up systems available if the main piece of equipment is down?
  • How old is the current equipment? What is the service history of the equipment?

Ways Facilities Can Save When Contracting an OEM or Third-Party Provider

  • Choose an 8 am to 5 pm, Monday-Friday option for service and maintenance.
  • Combine equipment and facilities into a single contract.

In-House Strategies to Support Contracted Services

Even with contracted services there should be an in-house program to support it.  There are quite a few cost saving strategies including the assessment of available staff, the competency of your staff, the history of equipment, and the level of risk the hospital wants to assume.

  • Determine your staff’s availability and capability.  The staff should attend training and expectations of the level of support to be given for each piece of equipment should be determined.
  • Do a complete cost/benefit analysis between a full-service contract vs a combination of contracted services and staff maintenance.  Remember to consider the costs associated with training, parts, and additional tools/equipment that would be needed.
  • Review the historical data on the expense of labor and parts for each piece of equipment.  This will help you determine the cost of parts and labor under contract if you wouldn’t have had a contract in place vs having the contract in place.

As mentioned earlier there are a number of different medical equipment service, maintenance, and repair plans beyond full-service contracts. These include:

  • Preventive Maintenance Contract
  • Parts Only Contract
  • Biomed Support Contract

After doing research and analysis on your existing equipment you should have a good idea on which type of service contract best suits your company.  Linear accelerator maintenance, repair, service, and parts will obviously cost more than then the same services on a hospital bed.  These are the things that facility leaders need to account for when contracting with an OEM or third-party service company.

As an independent LINAC service company, Acceletronics is dedicated to delivering the best equipment performance and services for linear accelerators and CT scanners across all major brands and models, as well as new and refurbished LINAC systems for sale.  More information can be found online at https://www.acceletronics.com/.



Improving Your Business With Google Ads


Google Ads is a form of paid advertising through the search engine, Google.  Ads are shown to users based on their searches.  The major benefit of using Google Ads is that consumers are seeing ads targeted to their searches while they are actively searching for your good or service.  Google Ads makes up for over 40% of the digital ad revenue for the entire world. 

Internet presence makes or breaks businesses throughout a number of industries.  Marketing professionals must transition from traditional marketing methods to digital marketing methods such as Google Ads to preserver. This situation makes the internet cluttered with intense competition.  Both businesses and consumers rely on the internet in making purchasing decision, product research, and more.

Benefits Google Ads Can Have on Your Business

Improved Brand Awareness

In the past brand awareness between business and consumers came from a variety of methods including newspaper, billboards, radio, and television advertisements.  This was a great method of marketing between business and consumers however left business to business advertising suffering.  Digital marketing, specifically through Google Ads, has transformed the way in which we create brand awareness within the marketplace.

Google Ads allows brands to advertise to targeted audiences that are researching specific products or services using specific keywords or keyword phrases that relate to the advertising business. Brand awareness is one of the many benefits businesses have advertising on Google Display and Search networks.

Quicker Than SEO

Google Ads works faster than search engine optimization.  SEO is a slow, methodically way in which to increase your organic presence online.  For businesses looking for a long-term presence within search engine rankings benefit from a combination of both organic and paid advertising.  Google Ads allows businesses to pay for visibility in the form of Google Ads amongst top competitors.   They allow your business to advertise directly to a target audience that is actively seeking out your products or services. 

Google Ads brings brand awareness about faster than traditional SEO methods.  There is a tremendous amount of competition with paid advertising.  The benefit however is that the business owner is in complete control of the amount they are willing to bid for top positions of their ads. A number of elements go into the amount each of the clicks on your ads will cost as well as the position at which your ad will sit on Google Search Networks or Google Display Networks.  These include: Keywords Quality Score, Ad Relevancy, Landing Page Relevancy, and Expected Click Through Rate.

Google Ads is beneficial for a number of reasons including:

  • The Ability to Outrank Competitors Ads
  • The Ability to Influence Audiences to Make a Purchase
  • The Ability to Increase Brand Visibility to a Targeted Audience
  • The Ability to Test Variations of Ads and Keywords
  • The Ability to Create Different Campaigns and Strategies Based on User Demographics
  • The Ability to Schedule Ads to Reach Targeted Audiences at the Right Time
  • The Ability to Remarket to Audiences Who Have Showed Interest

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