Home Inspections

It seems the subject of home inspections, who does home inspections, why, what is inspected, are all questions both Buyers and Sellers have. Are those questions properly addressed? Although Real Estate Agents are not licensed to give opinions on the condition of the home and property, they should be able to explain the highlights of each inspection, or at least point homeowners and buyers in the right direction for answers about home inspections.

The state of Wisconsin has released a new set of forms Sellers should be filling out when it comes time to sell their homes and property. The new Wisconsin Residential Condition Report asks the homeowner questions about the home including roof, foundation, electrical and plumbing systems, and other aspects of the home. Let’s look at the roof. Most homeowners have not been on their roofs. Unless the roof has a leak, or is obviously in need of repair, the average homeowner has no idea what condition the roof is actually in. How does the homeowner answer the question on the state condition report? The best answer may be, to the best of their ability. It is not an answer from a trained professional, but an answer based on experience the seller had with the roof. The same goes for other questions on the state form.

I have to tell you, the state of Wisconsin does not allow Real Estate Agents to guess at the condition of the property nor tell sellers what or how to fill in the Residential Condition Report. What Real Estate Agents can do is point people in the right direction for answers. In this case a pre-listing home inspection by a state licensed home Inspector may be the right ticket.

It may be a scary feeling for some people to call in an inspector to look over their home. The home inspector may uncover something the homeowner didn’t know about that may cost money to repair. On the other hand, what happens after the Seller accepts an Offer to Purchase and the Buyer decides to hire a home inspector? Now the home inspector is working for the Buyer. Does that make a difference? It shouldn’t. But there can be difference down the road as the sale of the house goes through the process.

If the sale of the property is contingent on a loan, the lender sends out an appraiser that may uncover defects. In most cases those defects have to be corrected before the loan is approved and the sale can close.

Certain loans require some sort of verification that the work is complete and the issues corrected. The easiest, most reliable, and quickest way to provide verification the defects have been cured is to have the state licensed home inspector look over the repairs and write an amendment to the inspection report. In many cases the underwriter working on the loan is looking for verification from the licensed home inspector. The problem is, many home inspectors change fees to reinspect and write amendments. If the Buyer chooses not to send their home inspector back to the properly to reinspect, that can leave the seller in a difficult situation.

The Real Estate Agent working for the seller should monitor the repairs and request lien waivers from all the contractors involved. In some cases the underwriter may accept lien waivers as proof the repairs have been made. If that is not enough, the seller may have to provide pictures, a letter from each contractor, or other proof. The list could go one forever and take weeks to solve an issue that should have been solved with a simple amendment from the home inspector.

When the home inspector is hired by the Buyer, problems may come up. The Seller has little or no control. But if the Seller hires a home inspector to perform a pre-listing home inspection, the inspector, verification, and amendments are only a phone call away.

A pre-lising home inspection paid for by the seller could in fact save a lot of time, money, and aggravation on certain houses. A pre-listing home inspection is something every seller should consider.

Please follow and like us:

Electric Grinders

Which electric grinder is right for the job? This is more of an article on finding the right grinder for around the house, garage, and small shop. There are a variety of grinders available in a wide range of prices. Are the expensive electric grinders worth the price? When your income relies on your tools, the choice is obvious. Especially when those tools become a tax deduction. But what about around the house and for those weekend projects? We will look at a number of grinders, stones, cutoff wheels, wire wheels, and other attachments for electric grinders.

There are 2 basic sizes of electric grinders, larger 7 inch and smaller 4 ½ inch grinders. Grinders come in different speeds, have different attachment sizes, and offer different features. First we will look at the different sizes and some of the features.


 

Electric Grinder Sizes

Let’s start with the 4 ½ inch electric grinders. They are smaller, easier to handle, and have much higher RPM’s. That means they rotate at a much higher speed. There are advantages and disadvantages to higher speed. You have to match the stone or abrasive to the speed. Check stones, etc for speed ratings. The problem with a high speed grinder is, they can tear up a wire wheel in minutes. Not to mention, sending wires all over the place.

The 4 ½ high speed electric grinder come in speeds from about 7000 to 12,000 RPM. Slower speeds are normally found on cordless, battery operated models. There is a little trick to speed. There is an item called a Router Speed Control. You can buy one for under $20 and it will basically give you a 3 speed grinder. You can slow it down for wire wheels, and speed it up for rough stones. If they are rated for high speeds.

4 ½ electric grinders get into some restricted places. There are other choices for restricted areas we will discuss later. Prices vary, but consider how often you will be using to tool.

There is an advantage to economy electric grinders. You can purchase a few and set them up for different operations. Which saves time without having to change stones, wire wheels, etc, when moving from one task to another.

Harbor Freight offers a dependable 4 ½ inch electric grinder for well under $20. They last a long time, and with a good stone, have no trouble with just about anything you would grind. I’ve run a number of them through tests, and they are all still running.

Next up is the 7 inch grinders. Of course these are for larger jobs in open areas. They weigh more and are a bit more difficult to handle. Many 7 inch grinders come with a variable speed option. That can come in handy. The old tried and true Milwaukee 7 inch electric grinders and other brands seem to last forever. They are the choice of professionals as well as companies in many industries. The heavier they are, the more heavy duty they seem to be. Top brands also cost more, but will last the weekend user a life time. Again, check out on line ads and second hand stores for some real bargains. It seems this next generation has little or no interest in the tools dad or grandpa used. So lots of those old grinders wind up in second hand stores, or at the local junkyard. Small towns now have recycling centers where tools like these are taken out of the dumpsters and resold at very low prices. I’ve see it happen.


 

There are a number of other, smaller grinders, but to keep this article short, I will cover the majority of those in another article about pneumatic tools and grinders.

Dremel and other companies produce very small electric grinding tools. They are more along the hobby range. I don’t have a lot of experience with those, but if you want to add a comment about your favorite tools and grinders, be my guest.

One of the things I’ve noticed about those small electric grinders is they come with a cord, and are now offered as battery powered units. Look at the battery type to make sure it is the newer Lithium batteries, and not the older type that last maybe a year or so.

Grinder Speeds

Many 7 inch electric grinders come with variable speed controls ranging from very slow speeds to up over 8000 RPMs. 4 ½ inch grinders usually begin at about 10,000 RPMs and may go well over 12,000 RPMs. Does speed matter? In a sense it does. For one thing, you have to purchase and install a stone or other implement on the tool that exceeds the speed rating on the grinder. In other words, make sure your stone, wheel, or whatever you put on the grinder is rated for the maximum speed of the unit.

That brings us up to another issue, wire wheels. Wire wheels also have speed ratings. The faster a wire wheel rotates, the faster the wire breaks, is pulled off the wheel or cup, and wears down. Try and use wire wheels at slower speeds. Variable speed 7 inch grinders are best. If you use a wire wheel on a 4 ½ inch grinder, consider buying and using a speed control unit.


 

Amps

Amperage is a measure of the tool’s power, The higher the amperage, the more powerful the tool is. Amperage is also an indication of quality, and how long the tool will last. Higher amps can be a better buy, but do you need the maximum about of amps available? At times you need the power. A good stone will do the job, and you really don’t need to bear down on a grinder to get the job done. Let to stone or wheel do the work for you.

Stones

There are a variety of grinding stones and wheels to do a number of tasks. Rough stones are used to grind welds. Welded material is much stronger and harder than most normal metals. Stones come in different shapes and sizes. Thin wheels known as cut off wheels are used for cutting material as well as cutting through welds. Flat wheel are used for larger areas. Make sure the speed ratings on wheels and stones exceeds the maximum speed of the grinder you are using.

The main feature of stones and other attachments you need to pay attention to is the attachment point. 5/8-11 thread is the most popular for 7 inch grinders. Some grinders may come with a metric thread. Make sure the attachments you buy match the thread on your machine.

There are also open or non threaded attachments that use a large flat nut tightened by using a spanner wrench supplied with the grinder. Some wheels are universal fit. Check out all the features. And if you shop on line, read the reviews. You can tell a professional review from a backyard review in seconds. Not all wheels are created equal. Especially wire wheels. Some wire wheels have very good steel that will last a long time. Other wire wheels use cheap steel that shreds the first time you use it. Check the wire diameter. More expensive wire wheels and cups use a thicker wire. You don’t want to buy a wire cup, get half way through the job to find out, the wires are all over the floor. The last thing you want to do is track those wires all over the carpeting in the house. You know when you are going to find them. When you are walking around barefoot. And keep on mind, those wires can and will lodge themselves on your pet’s paws.

Cutoff Wheels

Cutoff wheels have their uses. Mostly for cutting off small object, cutting through rusted bolts, and cutting off welds. Cutoff wheels come in different diameters and thicknesses. Once again check the speed ratings. Also check the write ups on cutoff wheels to make sure they are designed for the material you will be cutting through.


 

Variable Speed

I can’t find a 4 ½ inch variable speed electric grinder. There are pneumatic die grinders and other grinders available I will cover at a later time. 7 inch grinder are available with built in variable speed control that comes in handy. Many of those are combination grinders/polishers. I’ve had a lot of luck with the lower priced Harbor Freight model. I also tried the router speed control that seems to work as a three speed control switch. Harbor Freight offers an extended warranty, but do you really need that if you plan on using it 2-3 times a year?

Safety

I can’t cover all the safety warnings here, but read the manual that comes with the machine. Here are a few common sense ideas you should follow.

Clean and double check your work area to make sure you are not going to bump into or get tangled up in anything. Especially the cord. Know where your cord is an how you plan on moving the grinder before you begin. Also look at where the sparks will be flying.

Wear eye protection, That us a given. Check out the full face masks available. Check the ratings on all eye protection gear.

Wear leather gloves. The newer gloves made from nylon will melt when sparks fly in them. By the time you are done you will have a nylon glove full of holes.

Clean up the floor and work area. You don’t want to be dragging grinder dust through the house or have children or pets walking through it.

Always be safe, take your time, and be safety conscience.

As always, if anyone has a copyright conflict, contact me on the DCMA Notice on top and I will take that information down.

Please follow and like us:

Bluetooth Not Connecting to Media

Having problems with your Bluetooth device connecting to media, in other words, playing music or listening to videos? My Bluetooth would not connect to media. I searched the Internet for Bluetooth not connecting to media. It seems like a wide spread issue. Why would your Bluetooth work one day then the not connect to media the next day? These seems to be the issues.

Bluetooth works fine then

Bluetooth Not Connecting to Media

Bluetooth connects to phone, but not media

Bluetooth takes longer to pair

Pairing is often lost

Settings in Bluetooth are both checked, Phone and Media

I finally had it with the problem. I looked back to see that changed, and came up with the solution. I just added a new Bluetooth connection to the car that plays music through the car radio. It took a while to pair. Worked fine for a few days, then everything went wrong. My regular Plantronics M165 stopped playing media and then took a long time to connect. The M165 would pair, then disconnect, and often not pair again. It seemed to be getting worse.

The Solution

I took all my Bluetooth devices off my phone. It is a Blu R1 Plus running Android 6. I added the Plantronics M165 and it worked fine. A few days later I added the car Bluetooth device. It paired the first time and after a few days still works fine.


 

The Problem

The problem seems to be in the operating system when you have too many Bluetooth devices paired to the phone. The system paired with one device, then tried to pair other devices. I’m not sure why, but when I had 6 Bluetooth devices connected to my phone, the media option went out the window.

Try disconnecting, which means deleting Bluetooth devices you really don’t need and add the devices you use one at a time. Give each one a few days. There may be a conflict between devices. Who know? All I know is this solution worked for me.

Please follow and like us:

My First Month with Internet Ads

I have to admit, trying to deal with Internet ads is a learning experience. At times, dealing with WordPress is like communicating in another language. Of course you have to know a little about HTML to get a few things done on your website. But for the most part, there are apps called plugins that get the job done for you. Most are free, and easy to install. That was one of the first things I had to learn before beginning my first month with Internet ads. One of the first things to learn is how to add plugins.

Not too many people who really know how to use a computer know how to explain step by step details. There are two ways to add a plugins.

The easiest way is to go to your admin website. When you are in the Dash Board, adding a new page or post, or just about anything, there is a column on the left in black. Hover the mouse courser over the PLUGINS. Then click on ADD NEW.

When the new window opens, there will be a number of suggestions below. You can look at those, if you wish. But the best way to find what you are looking for is to go to the little SEARCH window near the top on the right. Enter in whatever you are looking for and suggestions show up.

If you want to add a plugin to display ads on your website, enter AD INSERTER in the search screen. Hit enter and the choices pop up for you to choose from. Look at the ratings and don’t be afraid to try something different. I’m not sure what the other plugins will do. I chose to install Ad Inserter and stick with that plugin.

When you decide to install a new plugin, click on the INSTALL button and the plugin will install for you.

Click the ACTIVATE button and you are done. That’s it. Simple enough.

Now comes the problem. I just installed a new plugin and where is it? You can go to PLUGINS, click on the INSTALLED section, locate the plugin you just added, it opens up, but there is nothing there to do with the plugin. And seldom any instruction. Now what happens

I’m sure a lot of people get that sinking feeling. Look on the black column on the left. Some plugins will add themselves to the side bar. Some won’t. This can be confusing and frustrating. But wait! There is a simple answer.

Hover your mouse courser over SETTINGS in that black column. Look for the new plugin there. If you see it, click on it. A new window opens, and in most cases, the layout is self exploratory.

In this example, I am going to look at Ad Inserter. A new page opens, and you see a window to paste in your ad code. Each ad company is a little different, and I will go through a few later.

There is a set of tabs on top of the screen to paste your ad code. Pick a blank screen, paste in the code. CTRL V will paste. That is Control V, which is a keyboard short cut. Otherwise, right click the mouse button and choose PASTE.

There are a few choices to make on the screen, You can choose which pages and posts to display the ads. Click on the pages you want the ads to appear, and you can also choose which pages, posts, etc to omit ads. You can play around with location your ad will be displayed, look at your website, and see which setting looks best. That is one aspect I have to experiment with more. But so much to do and so little time.

Once you’re done, click on the SAVE ALL SETTINGS, and in a few minutes you’ll see ads on your website. And with a little luck, make some money. Now here is an important announcement.

Don’t click on ads on your own website. The ad companies all know the IP address of your computer and phone and know when you click on your own ads. The ad companies treat everyone like a criminal, and they are sure to let you know when they see you clicking on your ads. The thing is, they do not pay you for clicking on your own ads, they will not pay your IP address for a click, they have computers set to omit that click, but they still don’t like you clicking in your ads.

That really frustrates me to no end. I am in the Real Estate business and I’ve see people ripped off by so called, “Real Estate Investment Websites.” I was advertising with Google for a while. When I saw those ads pop up, I clicked on the site, and when they offered that free video for Real Estate Investment, I went to my Google page and took that ad off my site. A few hours later a similar ad connecting to another website popped up. It had the same exact same pages and videos, but on a website with a different name.

The question I have is, don’t have the right and responsibility to review and weed out harmful and misleading ads? Shouldn’t that be part of the plan? What are those ad companies trying to hide when it is forbidden for the site owner to review ads?

Well now it is time to review a few of the ad companies I’ve worked with in my first month.

Google

So far Google is the king of on line advertising. I must get 20-30 phone calls a week from people trying to put my sites on the top of a Google search, sell me Google ads, so on and so forth. For one thing, I am in both Real Estate and selling Christian books. I cannot hope to compete with the big Real Estate websites, brokers, and businesses for the top spot on a Google search. Those spots are open for bidding. And I am not about to bid against giants. The same is true in Real Estate and the religious world. Churches and preachers bid for the top spots on Google searches. Enough about buying from Google. Let’s look at taking a piece of that pie.

Google offers the best terms, layouts for ads, and is the only ad company that places a sense of control in the hands of the website owner. I can look at ads, not the sites, but the ads, and either accept or reject the ad. To me that is golden.

Google offers the highest pay per click. I was getting from $.40 to over $1 a click. Ads are focused on the viewing habits of the visitor. People have told me, the ad on my site offered a much lower price for the item they were looking for than the sites they were shopping on. That is the cutting edge of marketing.

Go to Google Adsense, create an account, copy the code and use Ad Inserter on WordPress to put the ads into your website. It is as easy as that. Google has no minimum traffic restrictions. Overall, Google is the best I have tried.

There is a page on Adsense to approve or reject ads. That is something I have not seen offered by anyone else. The set up is easy to use on Adsense. The reports are straight forward. But then I wonder why the numbers on Adsense do no match the numbers on Google Analytics on WordPress, nor the numbers on my Inmotion reports page.

Media.net

I wish I could tell you more about this company. It is the ad arm of Bing and Yahoo. The problem is, they require a minimum of 50,000 views a month and I am not close to that. You can look at their website, but they take about a week to reply to a request, and like I said, if you are not over 50,000 views a month, you are wasting your time.

Chitika

I tried Chitika for a few weeks They only put up two ads on my site. Maybe a third from time to time. Not very interesting ads. The ads were easy to add to my site using Ad Inserter. The problem was, I never received a single click.

Infolinks

I thought Infolinks was going to work. Their ad selection is limited. It required a special plugin installed on WordPress, but was easy to work with and the reports were easy to read. The problem was, the only ads they showed were paid based on 1000 views. I was making between $.01 and $.05 a day. Hardly worth the effort. Ads are very limited. They also place ads all over the web pages in the form of different colored words containing a hyperlink. And here is the catch.

I was in the bank talking to the loan officer about putting information about his bank on my website. He clicked on a few ads. Infolinks didn’t credit me with any clicks. How Infolinks pays is a mystery. All of a sudden his screen went blank and a window pops up with a voice telling him his computer system has a virus and call this 800 number to clean it up. Talk about embarrassing. That was the max. Needless to say, within the hour all ads and information from Infolinks was off my website. I will not allow that to happen again.

Clicksor

By far, Clicksor was the worst experience. They hijacked my website taking me all over the Internet no matter what I clicked or did. Stay away from this ad company especially if you are running a Windows system. I run Linux, so they didn’t get on my computer. It did take me over an hour to finally get around the way they rerouted my browser and get into my WordPress account to delete all the Clicksor information. Do a quick search on Clicksor virus before you enter their dark world.

I did check into a few other ad companies. Some do not deal with Real Estate or religion. Others never responded to my on line application. In the long run, try Google. I am sticking with them and I’ll see how that goes. But be careful. Look up company reviews on the Internet, and remember, you really don’t know who wrote those reviews. All you really know for sure is, there is a lot of money behind this ad business. I learned a lot of lessons in my first month with Internet ads. Feel free to share what you have learned. I’m sure we will appreciate it.

Please follow and like us:

Sheboygan County Car Shows

Like cars shows? I used to have a couple of show cars. You know how you sell those things before you find out what they are really worth. If only we knew back then what we know now. Old car prices have gone way up. We can still go see what other people have to show. Here is a brief list of websites showing some of the area cars shows. People have spent a lot of time putting these sites together, so don’t forget to share, and tell your friends. Let’s show these people how much we appreciate their work. See ya at the car show….

These lists may contain more than just Sheboygan County Car Shows. Who know, on a nice day you may want to cruise to more that just Sheboygan County Car Shows. If you have a car show or event you are helping with, or want to get tagged here, drop me a line or leave a comment. Feel free to advertise on this page. Check out some of my pages where I explain how to add all this neat stuff to websites. And leave a story about your car. Feel free to communicate. And don’t forget, I help people to find, but, and sell Real Estate up here in Sheboygan County and surrounding areas. I search long and hard to find those special places for people. Especially when they have interests that require more than a house on a foundation.

Please follow and like us:

Electric Power Drills

In an effort to keep this as short as I can, I am writing only on electric power drills in this section. As I buy and put more electric power drills through a vigorous trial, I will update this list. Hopefully the search engine will pick up the updates so you can find them. Just in case, you may want to bookmark this post, or leave a comment and choose the option for an email update when other comments are added. Hopefully other people will leave a few reviews. I will add a comment to this post when I add updates. That way everyone can receive an update via email.

Economy power tools have their place. I prefer quality tools over off shoot brands any day. But there is a time and place for less expensive electric power tool models. Do the less expensive models perform and last as long as the name brand models? That all depends on how much you use the electric power drills, how much you depend on each electric power drill, and of course, how well the electric power drills are built. Here we will go over a few different types of electric power drills, and explain how well they perform, and when it is important to purchase quality, and when it may be to your advantage to choose a less expensive electric power drill.

Electric Power Drills

I hope you don’t mind if I group 120 volt drills with cordless drills. Both are electric power drills. Before we get into the actual cordless tools, let’s look at batteries first. Of course you want to get the largest battery size. It has more power and lasts longer. You don’t want your power drill dying in the middle of a job. When shopping for cordless power tools, check out prices on spare batteries. That can be a determining factor. Good batteries are not cheap, and you can expect to pay $50 or more for a good battery. Maybe a little less depending on the brand. There is a lot of competition out there, and prices seem to drop from time to time.

The best batteries I have seen on the market and tried are Lithium batteries. They take a rather quick charge, hold a charge for a long time, even in storage, and recharge to full capacity time after time. You don’t really have to completely discharge a Lithium battery before charging it. I’ve recharged half full batteries plenty of times and have not seen any ill effects. The older NiCd (nickel–cadmium) batteries tend to have a memory, do not last on the job as long, and will refuse to charge over time. There are plenty of good articles on the Internet about battery types you can look at. I just wanted to mention a few basics.

Make sure you always use the original battery charge that can with the electric power drills. Don’t do anything stupid like try to make your own charger. And recycle your batteries. Places like Best Buy, Battery stores, and city drop off sites take in spent batteries. Once again, search the Internet for a place near you.

What to Look for in Electric Power Drills

There are a number of factors to look at in electric power drills. One is power. Some have power ratings like torque. The higher the torque, the more power the drill has. Amperage is another rating on corded drills. Everyday drills may have 2 to 4 amps. More powerful drills will have 5 to maybe 10 amps. They can just about tear your wrist off if you hit something that stops the drill, or you are driving down a screw and the screw stops. Do you need a drill with a lot of power? It helps when you are driving in 100 or so deck screws or drywall screws. Higher amperage drills are designed with better cooling fans and vent systems. Hence they will run cooler and longer before over heating.

Cordless drills usually have a torque rating. Voltage and battery size is also important. You want at least a 16 volt rating on a cordless drill if you are going to use it on projects a few times a year. 20 volts are at the top of the list at this point in time. Batteries come in different sizes, specified by amp/hours. (Ah) They normally range from 1.5-5.0 Ah. The amp/hours are related to how long the battery will last, and how long it will take to charge. For normal jobs around the house, 1.5 to 2,5 Ah should be adequate. No matter which battery size you buy, a back up battery is a good idea.

Hammer Drill Power Ratings

Here is a good article on hammer drill power ratings .  Click the picture on the left. 

Ball bearing construction is important. Cheaper drills use bronze bushings that are supposed to support the chuck. Bronze bushings are okay if all you are going to do is use the drill 2 or 3 times a year, not over heat it, and only use the drill to drill holes and fasten screws. But if you use drills with bronze bushings with a wire brush, you will wear out the bushings and they end of the drill, the chuck will wobble. That is another thing to check in a new drill. Lock the chuck down and see if the chuck wiggles in your hand. If it has any wiggle in a new drill, look at something with more quality.


 

Key-less Chucks

I appreciate key-less chucks on drills. They are quick and you don’t need that little key. As far as I know, you really can’t over tighten a key-less chuck. But I’m sure someone has accomplished that task. Chucks generally come in 2 sizes, 3/8 and ½ inch. That describes the capacity of the chuck and the maximum diameter drill or tool bit you can insert in the drill. Some drill sets come the drills turned down or machined on the end so you can fit drills larger that 3/8 in a 3/8 chuck.

Used Drills

Now here is an idea. Look at second hand stores, rummage sales, and Craigslist for low cost, used drills. If you think the old drills were built better, you are right. The old Skil drills had ball bearing construction and lasted forever. The old Milwaukee drills are still going. At least some of them. Most used drills will have a keyed chuck, but here is the idea. If you want to use a drill for sanding? I don’t know why, but some people do. I guess it is alright to use a drill to sand a rusty part. But not so good for wood, body work, or painted surfaces. Sanding will place a lot of wear on the drill bearing. So why not use a good used $5 drill with a real bearing to support the chuck? A good used drill can also be used for wire brushing. And here is the best idea. Older keyed drills can be used to set one up with one drill size, another with a different drill size, and maybe one with a wire brush. Look for quality if you are buying new or used.


 

As usual, Milwaukee, Dewalt, are the top name brands that get all the attention. I see both Milwaukee and Dewalt competing for the expanding, near top quality market. I have seen a set of Milwaukee electric power drill plus driver kit with 2 batteries and a charger for about $200. Is that really a top quality Milwaukee drill set? Ecclesiastically it is. Of course it does not come with a nice plastic case. The batteries may be on the small side. But it appears you are getting the same quality that goes into every Milwaukee electric power drill. Dewalt is competing for the same market and offers drill/driver combo kits for about $175. Again, look at the battery size, and a kit with 2 batteries. Other not so name brands are also entering the arena, and some websites have some rather interesting tests and comparisons. I can’t stress this fact enough. Look at what is actually included in the kit if you decide to buy one. Some great prices include the tool only. Which means there is no battery or charger. Some off brands include accessories such as drill bits, screw driver bits, and maybe a few other things.

Another Important Consideration

Another important factor to consider is, once you purchase one cordless tool you are pretty committed to that brand. As far as I know batteries are not inter-changeable between name brands. Check the other tools they offer like cordless saws,grinders, flashlights, and other tools you may want to add to your collection. And always work safe. 

Drill Bits

I just want to mention a little about drill bits. I’ve run across this amazing product referred to as a step drill I saw people using them and was surprised how quickly they cut through sheet metal. I saw one at Harbor Freight and decided to try one. When I try a product, I take it to its limit. I tried light gauge sheet metal, 16 ga and lighter. That is about 1/16 inch think. The step drill worked fine. I went up to 1/8 and the 3/16 thick steel. I was amazed at how well it worked. I went back and purchased the set. After hundreds of holes that Harbor Freight step drill is still going strong.


 

My steel drill set is probably as old as many people reading this article. The drill bits are made of high speed steel. I bought a set in a metal case from Sears long ago and they are still working fine. There are a lot of companies selling drill bits and the lowest price is not always the best. Drill bits are made from a precise combination of metals. Leave one ingredient out and the drill bits are too brittle. Cheap drill bits will normally break on the first use. I had a few bit sets that were included in the old cordless drill sets I bought. The drill bits are gone and so are the cheap cordless drills. They were the old NiCd batteries.

When it comes to wood drill bits, I prefer the spade bits with the ears on the side. The ears or spurs will show you just how straight you are holding the drill, and will provide a much cleaner cut with less break out in the other side. I bought a cheap set without the side spurs that works okay and a set from Skil with the side spurs that still works great. Auger drill bits for wood also work fine. Again, you get what you pay for, and cheap bits will break on auger bits. Spade bits may not break, but will not hold an edge as long as a good set of spade bits.


 

Brand names like Milwaukee, Skil, Dewalt, and others mentioned here have copy rights. Of course, if anyone has any complaints or issues, they can contact me through the DCMA web page.

 

I am surprised I found some prices on Amazon that are better than at Harbor Freight. I’ll see how many of these I can add as I find them. 


 


 

Please follow and like us:

Sheboygan County Real Estate Commission Sale

Are you looking for a new home? My little nitch in Real Estate is to find the prefect home outside the city with enough land to stretch out in, and maybe a few buildings on the side to set up for those special projects. If you are looking for a little hobby farm, like large gardens in your yard, want to have a few horses, or just want a larger yard near or outside the city, let’s get looking and get you settled in that new home. If building a new home is your dream, let’s find you that land with the perfect view, and start going over details and get a few bids on building that new house for you. There are little tricks and secrets we need to go over to make sure you are getting the highest possible quality at the best local price.

In most cases, you will have a house to sell. Let’s take a look at what the market has been doing over the past few months in the area you live. It doesn’t matter what the Real Estate market has been doing in the nation, state, a vast range covering a quarter of Wisconsin, all of Sheboygan county, or the entire city or town you live in. What natters is, how have houses been selling in your local area, what prices have they been selling at, and what condition were they in? The local market is what you set the price of your home at.

So we look at the local prices, get a good idea of what your house is worth, and know there are a number of fine homes you want to consider. All the pieces are falling into place. Now what do you do? We go through all the legal, boring paperwork, get the house cleaned up for pictures, do a great write up that is sure to attract buyers, and throw the information all over the Internet. There is that one little question people either ask first or save for last. What is this going to cost? There are a number of costs involved in selling a house. There is a special state tax on selling any property. There are title costs, charges and fees from the Title Company, and a few other costs. I have a list. My job is to give you an estimate of costs involved, and over estimate that cost a little bit so you are surprised on the good side when you get your check at closing. The biggest cost is usually paying off the old mortgage. And a few fees some banks charge to rubber stamp the mortgage as PAID. And there is that commission people pay to have a Real Estate Agent, market, sell your house, and of course keep all the paperwork in proper order. That is the reason for this article.

Why pay the average or normal commission rate around town? You didn’t get in this position to look at a new home by giving your money away. Why start when it’s time to sell that house of yours? I’m not afraid to talk about commission or the other costs involved in selling your house.

The market is rather slow these days and drastic times call for drastic measures. I have signs that need a home to set in front of. That’s why I am going to offer a 4.5% commission rate here in Sheboygan county. 4.5% commission to sell your house is not a cut rate commission that includes cuts on service. No, that would never be right. 4.5% is my personal Sheboygan County Real Estate Commission Sale. The same product at a lower price. That’s why it is a 4.5% Sheboygan County Real Estate Commission Sale! Does it include the same great and reliable service?

If you went in to buy a car, and you walk into one of the car dealers sales, would you expect the same car with all the same features at the best possible price? Of course you would. You wouldn’t expect the car dealer to swap put a smaller engine, or include only 3 tires at the sale price. That would never work. You expect to drive away in the new car that was a few thousand dollars more yesterday. The same thing is true with this 4.5% Sheboygan County Real Estate Commission Sale. The same quality service at a reduced price.

Please follow and like us:

Hey lets talk about auto parts for a minute. Where is the best place to buy auto parts. If you work on your own cars like I do, you want to make sure you put in quality parts at the best price. I’m going to share what I found.

Where I Buy Auto Parts

There are 5 basic sources I use, NAPA, Autozone, Advance Auto, Rock Auto and Amazon. These are listed in the order I have shopped with them. Things have changed, and I will get into those changes in greater detail. I don’t want to put one supplier over another, and there are other suppliers such as O’Reilly Auto Parts, and a number of other auto parts stores, many of them independent. I’m sure most of you have your favorite auto parts store, and you are loyal to them. That’s okay. That’s the way I am.

I used to own an auto body shop and I dwelt with independent shops. Wisconsin Auto and Lohman Color were the best places to deal with. The people in those store were experts. They worked at those places for a long time, and always knew the answers, and were able to find what I was looking for. That was back in the days with no computers. Those people were good.

Things have changed, and I will point out some of those changes later. The fact is, you need parts, and where to go to get the best part is an issue.

Advance Auto

I am going to list these companies in alphabetical order. So the order you see them is not an indication of how good or poor they are. Each has good and some have bad points. Advance Auto sells car parts and tools. The local Advance Auto has some people that have been there a long time, and that is important. They know the terminology, and how to find the part you need on their computer. As with all auto parts stores, there are a number of choices with each part. Some parts such as brake pads have different features, and different prices. The people at the local Advance Auto know the choices and are able to make the right recommendation. I like that.

One thing about Advance Auto I have to mention. They have one of the best websites and apps to work with. One reason Advance Auto is on my top choice at the moment is their phone app. They offer BIG discounts. I know people with business accounts at Advance Auto, and they get better deals and discounts using the app. Now don’t you think that is worth looking into? Auto parts stores are competing for your business. Download the Advance Auto app and let them prove it.

I order parts on line from Advance Auto and pick them up at the store. I get some huge discounts. And if the sales person at the store tells me why I should upgrade, or take a step down, I still get a discount at the store. What more can you ask for?

Amazon

Yes Amazon does offer car parts. The only problem is, you can’t really be sure where they come from. You can talk yourself into thinking, “all parts come from China these days.” That is true to an extend, but it is quite an exaggeration. There are of course companies offering American parts on Amazon, and a variety of good auto parts and tools. The things that push Amazon into my short list of auto parts stores is their rating system, the reviews, and free shipping. Amazon has been posing such a threat to the other auto parts supply companies that almost every one offers some form of free shipping. Usually on orders over $25. Think about this for a moment. As long as Amazon is in business, the others are pushing to keep prices low. On the other hand, Amazon does not provide any instant support, or advice. They do have a way of registering your car, and the computer checks the fit for you. But computers are only as accurate as the person inputting the information. And do you really think the computer guy is an avid car guy? Amazon may not be the go to auto parts store for me, but tools are a different subject. We all need tools. And just about every job these days requires a specialty tool or two. I have another page here on hand tools you can look at and get an idea of my thoughts and recommendations on hand tools.

There is another thing to consider with Amazon. What about those warranties? Are they good at a company in another state, or overseas? Then there is the old, order a part only to find out the part is being shipped from China. Wait about a month for the part to arrive. I have worked with some Chinese companies. Most do have US based offices and some have US based supply houses for auto parts and tools. That makes shipping much quicker. But you can’t be sure of the shipping origin until after you place an order. In most cases I have found that Chinese and overseas companies do ship the next day. But we have that long wait for parts to make it to the mail box. Is it worth the money?

Auto Zone

Auto Zone used to be my favorite auto parts store, but now Advance Auto is much closer. I still use Auto Zone because I purchased a number of parts with their life time warranty. How can you go wrong? If you are like me, you drive your car and rebuild it until it dies, those life time warranties are worth it. Of course you are not getting the cheapest part, but a the most reliable part. Doing your own work on your car doesn’t mean you want to work on it every weekend.

Those life time warranties set Auto Zone on top. Other stores now offer similar warranties. When choosing the right part at the right price, look at the range of warranties.

Auto Zone also has a fine website, and phone app. Auto Zone also offers a series of discounts and special sales on their phone app. Use it and you will find yourself saving money on the best parts for your car.

Auto Zone has some good sales people behind the desk. Most of them know cars and the parts that go in them. But I would rate them a notch below Advance Auto.

NAPA

I grew up with NAPA. They always seemed to have knowledgeable people behind the counter who knew little tricks to change parts on cars. I don’t think that has changed. Another feature NAPA has that sets them in the top group of auto parts suppliers is their selection of parts and specialty tools. If you can’t find it at NAPA, you can’t find it anywhere. I do drive older cars, and not everyone stocks every part for them. But NAPA has a way of finding rare parts. If you get stumped on a part you can’t find, call your local NAPA store to see if they can help. I have not looked into any NAPA app. If you used the NAPA app, leave a comment and share your experience with the world. This website gets viewers from all over the world.

Rock Auto

Rock Auto may be the lowest priced auto parts store I have found. I check out prices at Rock Auto and find huge savings. The only thing is, Rock Auto charges shipping, which can quickly cancel out any savings. Their website is far above any auto supply website. But the format has been copied by others. Just go down a list on the side bar and choose your car’s make, year, model, engine size, so on and so forth. Then click on the parts group, and then the actual part. A pop up comes up with a selection of parts. Scroll down. There is an economy list of parts, a group of every day driver parts, and all the way up to performance parts. You can find some really good buys on Rock Auto. That shipping can kill you though. Rock Auto is great for those maintenance items, and things you can stock up on. Look for their sales. You can have Rock Auto specials and sales emailed to yourself. And Rock Auto doesn’t send out spam email everyday like some companies do.

The only problem with Rock Auto is, they think their website is so great, they have no support. Order the wrong part and you get a run around like no one’s business. Call for help, and you get sent back to the Internet site.

I ordered a number of parts from Rock Auto for a project. One part came in wrong. It was not the part for the car. I looked at the part number and guess what. Two digits were in reverse order. It took me two days of calling on the phone and trying to find an email address to get in contact with someone to resolve the problem. Here is a little trick for Rock Auto. The only way to get in touch with someone if you need support is to send an email to the return address on the email confirming your order and shipping.

Someone at Rock Auto, actually their supplier, sent the wrong part. Plain and simple solution. Take the part back and send me the right part. But neither Rock Auto nor their supplier would bat an eye to admit they made a mistake and make good on the mistake. The problem was, it cost $150 to ship the part. Neither one was going to eat that mess. Not even to save their reputation. It took weeks before Rock Auto sent me an email telling me to put the part in the original box, with original Rock Auto packing tape, and call the trucking company for a pick up. They would take the part back, inspect it, and then determine if I was eligible for a refund. Refund the price of the part! What about the shipping? I was out at least $150. I demanded that Rock Auto take the part back and send out the right part. Rock Auto told me to send the wrong part back, and reorder the right part. I looked at their website, and the part I ordered doubled in price. Not only doubled in price, but I would have to shell out another $150 in shipping costs. Needless to say, I was not impressed with the Rock Auto process of handling mistakes. I ordered a part for a Dodge from their drop down computer system, and they sent me a GM part that ain’t gonna fit. I hate it when people think they can increase profits with computer systems and slice out the most important features of a business like customer support.

Other Great Auto Parts Companies

       

There are a number of other great auto part companies I had the pleasure of dealing with. I prefer to stick to a company that provides exceptional service. Original Parts Group is one of them. They have great phone support, and can easily find your order by name. Every time I call, I feel like I am chatting with an old friend, and they always come up with the answers in less than 10 seconds. That is the proper use of computers, to enhance customer service and support.

If you buy car paint, TCP Global is a great store who actually ships paints. Their prices are good, and they have excellent phone support from people who use their products.

Stylin Trucks is another web based auto parts store with great support. Have any doubts, call Stylin Trucks and they know how to ask the right questions to ensure you get the right parts.

Why A Real Estate Agent

You may be asking why a Real Estate Agent is writing stories about tools and car parts. Simple. I produce and maintain my own website. I work on my own cars, and fix just about everything on my house. I look into issues, and find answers. Look on the Internet these days and you can find a video on how to fix or make just about everything. I am more of a blue jean Real Estate Agent. Why is that important? After closing way over 100 sales in Real Estate, I have seen my share of unexpected issues pop up. One of the most irritating things that seems to reoccur is that one little issue that takes 5 minutes to fix, but can hold up a closing on a house for days, and require more paperwork than it is worth. I’ve seen so many little things pop up like a leaky faucet, a dripping faucet, a minor electrical problem, and a list of other issues. They may take 10 minutes to fix, but let’s face it, most of the people involved in closing the deal on a home don’t work on their own homes. I’ve left closings, got in my car, fixed the issue, and sent back pictures, or videos to show the drain is unclogged, the drip fixed, or whatever the problem was, has been resolved.

I guess it’s not a big mystery how people chose a Real Estate Agent these days. They click on the picture that appeals to their taste. A guy wearing a suit and tie, or a woman in a business suit or dress. If a problem comes up, what are they going to do? Crawl under a cabinet to fix the problem? In most cases they will produce more paperwork that requires other people to produce more paperwork, that causes more delays, and cost someone a great deal of money. That is the way of doing business in this day and age. What do you want in a Real Estate Agent? An agent who wants to look smart and impress you with paperwork, or an Agent in blue jeans who gets the job done? Better yet, an Agent who can identify a number of potential issues, and you can fix them yourself before the closing date.

There are other things like gardening, changing door knobs after the purcahse, and helping people when problems rear their ugly head after the sale is complete. When you do your own work around the house, you have a valuable service to offer. A service that sets me apart in this business. As you can see, I admire great service. And I offer service above and beyond what people often expect. That leaves a great impression. It also saves me a ton of money. I don’t have to pay agencies a boat load of money to plaster my picture all over the Internet so people can click on the face they think they can depend on.

Of course Advance Auto, Auto Zone, Amazon, NAPA, Rock Auto, Stylin Trucks, TPC Global, Original Parts Group, and other names mention here are registered trade names. Their images are have copy rights. If any of them have an issue with this, or any of the other posts I’ve written, contact me on the from the DCMA Notice page.

Please follow and like us:

Additional Items to Consider When Building a New Home

After the initial cost of building your new home is determined, you need to budget for additional costs required to finish the home/lot package. Following is a list of some of the costs to consider.

Landscaping

Before you begin laying a lawn you may want to plan where you are going to plant flower and vegetable gardens. It will save you a lot of work and a little bit of money if you stake and rope off these areas when applying seed or sod. You may also want to apply a few extra inches of top soil to these areas. When looking for plants search the Internet for landscaping ideas and mail order suppliers. Here are a few I have used.

Http://www.musserforests.com/

Http://www.bluestoneperennials.com/b/bp/index.html

You may want to use a professional contractor for this service. Make sure you ask for references and view some of the projects they have installed in your area. Ask neighbors which contractor they used. Ask for prices and written estimates. Unless you have specific plans it will be difficult to obtain comparable quotes. Contractors will quote plants they are familiar with and plants their suppliers have in stock.

Lawn sprinkler System

It is best to plan for a sprinkler system before the home is finished. Collect estimates for this addition and ask questions. Many firms will quote you a package price that may include top soil, final grading and seeding or sod. If estimates include different options, go back and have them supply a new written quote including the options you want. That way you are comparing quotes on a level field.

Top soil

If possible have the top soil mounded when the site is prepared for construction. It is often less expensive to pay for the mounding than have the top soil replaced after construction. Mounding means that the top soil is scrapped from the site and stored in a mound which is out of the way of the construction site. After the construction is completed the top soil is spread back over the lot. If this is not done, you may have to purchase top soil. It will have to be trucked in and later spread out on the lot during the final grading.

Final grading

This may or may not be included in your construction cost. Many builders include rough grading. Rough grading spreads the mounds of soil from the basement around the lot to promote proper drainage of rain water away from the house foundation. Final grading spreads the top soil on the lot preparing it for grass seed or sodding.

Grass seeding or sodding

 

 

Few builders include this in the cost of construction but some builders provide what is referred to as a, “turn key house.” A term meaning, “all you need to do after closing is turn the key, unlock the door and move in.” Most turn key homes include seeding. If your contact does not, this is another cost you have to allow for. Before applying seed most contractors will go over the soil with a machine that turns up the top few inches creating a habitat for seed or sod to root. You may be able to rake a small lot. On a larger lot you may be able purchase or build an attachment for a lawn tractor. Search the Internet for some ideas on preparing the soil, adding fertilizer, watering and the best time of the year to start a new lawn.

Driveway concrete or asphalt?

A lot has been stated about the durability of each product. The fact is you have to find a good contractor that will do the job right for either one of them to last. Preparing the surface under the pavement is the key to success. Both products will last much longer when a layer of stone is installed under the pavement. This promotes proper drainage and reduces damage from freezing and thawing water. Asphalt surfaces will require compacting of the stone before the pavement is applied. The better the preparation the longer the driveway will last.

Typically asphalt will be less expensive. As for the durability of asphalt, look at the roads you drive on. The quality of asphalt has improved over the years to a degree equal to or better than concrete. Most new and rebuilt roads are paved with asphalt. Parking lots also use the same material.

Some people prefer concrete. It is known for it’s durability and low maintenance. Concrete can increase the resale value of your home. More contractors are offering different colors and patterns. Concrete patios and driveways can become a work or art using multiple colors and patterns.

Mail box and yard light

This is one detail you want to take care of before or soon after moving in. Some subdivisions require you to purchase these items from the developer, preferring that all the mail boxes and yard lights be of the same style. If you are buying the lot from the developer you should get all of the details on the subdivision regulations. The price and details of these items should also be disclosed on the offer to purchase. If you are buying a lot from a third party you should question these details. You may want to have the electrician installing the electronics in the home to also install the yard light. This may be a detail to discuss with your builder.

Trees

Many subdivisions require a certain type of tree at a specific size be planted at a specific location in the front yard. This information should be disclosed in the subdivision regulations. You may also want to plant additional trees and shrubs. These can be expensive. Visit a number of nurseries, talk to people and gather prices and information about the trees that interest you. Look up when you plant. Make certain that trees will be far enough from the house so that when it is mature, 50 years down the road, it will not be a problem. Branches should not cover the roof. Make sure you are not planting trees under power lines. Call diggers hot line to make sure you are not digging the hole where power lines or gas pipes are located.

Insurance

You will need insurance on a home during the construction process. Your builder may require specific coverage.

Miscellaneous

Some of the other details to consider are electricity and natural gas or other heating. The house will need these services during the construction process. Register with the post office for your change of address when you move. Also contact the phone company to install service. Cable installation for television and computer or satellite installation.

 

Please follow and like us:

Milwaukee and the Great Depression

It worked once during the great depression, why wouldn’t it work again? During the great depression Milwaukee developed a plan. In stead of setting up the soup kitchens and feeding people day to day the County of Milwaukee created programs that put people to work. Among these projects was the creation of America’s greatest public parks system, including Alfred Boerner’s botanical gardens.

https://boernerbotanicalgardens.org/

Milwaukee embarked upon projects like Grant Park along the lake shore, County Stadium, the County Zoo and others.

Http://www.milwaukeecountyhistsoc.org/exhibits/past_exhibits.html

At first the country looked at these projects with scorn and ridicule, calling them a waste of money. It did not take long for other cities, states and the federal government to take notice of the first city in the United States to emerge from deficit spending to a city collecting more taxes than what was necessary to fund these enormous projects during the great depression.

Our elected representatives need to study history and find out how our forefathers defeated the last depression. Why not copy a system proven by trial and error and finally success during the bleakest economic turn down in the history of this world?

Please follow and like us: