HOMESandWEALTHinTacoma it pays to know

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Turn Key Real Estate



IT PAYS TO KNOW(A check list to add to your prosperity and  contentment.)homesandwealth roof


PROBLEM(maybe):  YOUR ROOF.  A good roof should last you 30 years.  That's why most of us don't even look at the roof until we are selling the house or the roof leaks.  El Wrongo!  Just as you check your oil regularly to be sure you don't run low, you should check your roof from time to time.  A leak might be a small patch.  Left uncorrected it could lead to a flood and that's always trouble.


While you can climb up the ladder and look it over yourself, I recommend calling an expert roofer.  They can spot dried or curled shingles before they cause you trouble and it's usually a small fee.  If you're roof needs replacing, they usually waive the fee and give you a free estimate.  There are several good roofers around.  Currently, I recommend Pedro and P&C Roofing.


Also, someone needs to look over your roof once or twice a year; be sure it is free from leaf accumulations or moss.  Either one is bad for roofs.  When it comes to cleaning or working on your roof, whether you do it or bring in hired help, I don't like people walking on roof shingles.  A single crack can cause a leak which is always troublesome.  Same goes for high pressure washing.  It's fun to play squirt gun but those machines have pressure that cn break or crack your shingles.

My preference:  whoever cleans your roof should work from a ladder using an ordinary garden hose or chemical treatment.


PROBLEM:  YOUR CREDIT REPORT.  Your credit report is a legitimate inquiry when you are asking to borrow money.  But lately, people find that credit reports are being used to block them from job openings, insurance, and home ownership.  Even on line daters may use your credit report as a screener.  Usually without your consent.

If you think your report must be OK because you pay your bills and return all your library books on time and are a good guy,  consider what these good guys discovered in their credit reports.  The Chamber of Horrors:


*  A lady's car was ticketed for overtime parking, ticket blew away or otherwise, unapid ticket turned over to collection, became loaded up with late penalties and interest and showed as delinquent account.

*  A lady was deemed a good credit risk and so was frequently invited by retailers to open up a credit account.  She accepted just to have them if she should someday need them.  Then she found she was rated down because of such a large volume of "open lines of credit".


*  A gentleman had several retail accounts and bankcards; was in the habit of charging up to the maximum on each ( usually $100 or so ) and then paying off the entire balance at the end of the month.  El wrongo!  The Credit reporters penalize you for this.  For them, you look better if you run the account up to about half of the max and then pay it off slowly.  (?)


*  A guy shopping for a car did some comparative shopping.  Thereby he allowed several different dealerships to "run his credit" for him.  The mere fact of calling for a credit report counts against you.  Repeat it enough times and it can lower your score. 

SOLUTION:  Check your credit report to see what's there.  I would skip the commercials that sell you your own report because you are entitled to a free report at least once a year.  To get all 3 reports at once, you can go to or if you like being placed on hold you may call 1 877 322 8228. 

Then show your report to a friendly banker or insurance man and ask if there company would mark you down for something therein.  (For home mortgages, I recommend Mel Schckenbrock, PNC Mortgage:  222 1104.  For Insurance I use Scott Seitz, Solomon Insurance, 566 1069 or Randy Melquist 759 6922.


IF YOU HAVE  FALSE OR UNFAIR NEGATIVES ON YOUR CREDIT REPORT, you could begin vigilante action and probably drive yourself to exasperation.  The mind set is that you are a deadbeat and scofflaw and it's their job to ruin you and they have a whole bagful of unfair tricks to throw at you.  So if you want to change it, you probably need a professional.

I'm very wary of most "credit cleaners"; I  have found them to be flakes who milk their clients for money and achieve little. In any case, you will need to be very clear about your costs and the results you can expect.   The two credit counselors that I have faith in:


SHAWN STEWART, Guiding Hands, 877 908 9990.

MARY JO LAMB, MJL  Consulting  253  514 8506


Cleaning up your credit report will cost you a few dollars and, like most paperwars, it will require time and patience.  So you might want to begin before you need the action.


PROBLEM:  BUGS AND MICROBES IN YOUR HOUSE.  Something most of us prefer not to think about, so we don't think about it. Until we want to sell the house.  Then we have gnashing of teeth, remorse and regret, anger ( usually aimed at the pest inspector, and furious, expensive last-minute repairs.  

In my experience, about 1 out of 3 homes in our area have termites, ants, rot (most often around kitchen and bathroom fixtures) , mildew, rot, or some other organisms having dinner on our wood members.  Guess what:  in fact their insect e mail system is inviting their friends and relatives to come in an join the feast!


SOLUTION:  Just as it pays to have a medical checkup now and then even when you feel healthy, so it can pay to have a pest inspection now and then even though your house feels OK.  Maybe every 5 to 10 years.  Worst thing would be you pay a small fee and learn that you're OK.  Even if he spots sbugs or rot and you have to pay a bundle to have it repaired, you can be sure that's a good deal less expensive than letting it sit there while the microbes silently take their 2nd and 3rd helpings of your house. 


WHO TO CALL:  Personally, I have never had a good experience with the heavily advertised national chains.  And I worry about the guy who searches for problems and then offers you a bid to correct the problems that he finds. 

For me the best in the business would be Bradford Inspections:  405 9238.  He is not the cheapest but in 20 years, I have never had a client who did not agree  that Brad Cyrier was worth more than his fee.


PROBLEM:  INADEQUATE INSURANCE COVERAGE.  Fire insurance on our home is required by our mortgage banker ( plus our own Common Sense ).  Minimum auto insurance coverage is required by state law and our own sense of fairness.  The people who sit, fat-dumb-and-happy with Grampa's insurance protection are underinsured and wide open to unsustainable loss and lawsuits.  Consider what happens to:


* the guy who has the minimal $50,000 auto liability policy and then totals out somebody's Ferrarri?  (MSRP:  $86,000.)  Or, as happened recently in Japan:  6 Ferarris, 2 Lamborghinis, and 1 Mercedes.  {I can't count that higho.})


*  the lady who allowed a relative to drive her car to pick her up at the Mall.  Unfortunately the kid took out  a 37 year-old heart surgeon with a forecasted 20 year career of at least $500,000 per.  The lady's liability limit:  $100,000.


* a great many of my contemporaries who think they are well-insured with Medicare plus a supplemental.  Statistics tell us that about half of them will need extensive care in some level of nursing home.  Medicare covers about 4 months.  After that they will pay out-of-pocket til their cash runs out ( which won't be long at $4000 to $6000 per month).  After that we don't throw people out in the street.  Medicaid will pay for the lowest level of care.  You are welcome to visit these places but nobody enjoys going  there.  AND, the staste places a lien on all your property and your estate to cover those bills.


This is not a rare occurence.  It happens right here and happens all the time.


*  My brother, who had excellent medical insurance, was run down in a crosswalk by an uninsured driver.  Broke his leg which, fortunately healed up in a little over 6 months.  But, he was unable to work during that time and with 4 children, was never more than 1 paycheck away from financial disaster. (Hmm!  Sound like anyone we know?) He had life insurance but no disability insurance.

The fact is that most of us carry life insurance but nothing to replace our income if we are in the hospital and unable to work.  The fact of the matter is that for most of our life death is far less probable than disability. 

SOLUTION:  I would be charry of a quick fix here.  The best beginning is to meet with a reliable, truly professional insurance agent for a comprehensive review.  And here's the part I like.  In many cases, once you pay for the basic, minimum coverage, the extra coverage or rides will cost you just a few dollars more.  And you'll feel better knowing that even when Fate deals you a bad hand, you can cover your responsibilities.

I don't like cheapy insurance coverage sold from the back of old magazines and which arrive carrying more fine print and legal loopholes THAN <<<XZXZXZX>>>.   I prefer to put my trust in a local, responsible insurance agent who lists his home number in the phone book.  I have had very good results with:


GABE MAUSTEN                          SCOTT SEITZ                         RANDY MELQUIST

Bankers' Life                             Solomon Insurance                 Massachusets Mutual

564 8521                                  566 1069                               759 6922


PROBLEM:  No estate plans. Benjamin Franklin, frquently wise, said "nothing is certain but death and taxes."  We can't do much about taxes except gripe, which doesn't seem to make a difference.  But many of us shy away from wills and trusts where a little   preplanning will be a great boon to our family and heirs. 

Some of you have attained or  are heading toward a net worth in the 7 figures; there couold be  estate taxes in your future.  [Diane Colclough:  call Steve;  272 4208)}But if you're only starting out with total assets that you hide in your freezer compartment, you may find that a few standard legal forms could spare your heirs the expense and exasperation of probate.  And they will be thankful that you took the trouble to leave a neat package rather than a motley mess.  For professional guidance call:


TIM WILLIAMS, Atty.                 RON HENDRY, Atty.                    ALICE ASKOV,  We the People

1111 S Fawcett  # 101 98402     902 S. 10th, 98405                   6109  93rd St. SW, 98499

591 7088                                 272 2206                                 588 8811


(I hope you will pardon me for mentioning something many people don't like to think about it.  Here's why I do it.  Once you have executed your will, trust, power of attorney, medical power of attorney, medical directive, and "Living Will", you're set for life and never need to think about it again.  You can walk down the street with a smile on your face, knowing that your family and heirs will bless you because you have acted in a correct and responsible manner. 


PROBLEM: Your bathtub.  Modern Americans have transformed the family bathroom from a neccesary evil to a resplendant chamber;  a showplace.  We are proud of our bathrooms and want them to reflect well on us.  OK.


But what if your bathtub has a nick? a scratch? a blemish?  Replacing a bathtub is hugely expensive and you have to find a Chuck Norris to wrestle the tub into its assigned space.  And having a crew work over your bathroom not only runs up a bill in the thousands but is also a major invasion of your home.


Solution:  Many times, small nicks and scratches can be easily touched up with a special enamel. Your tube will be looking good again for just a few minutes of your time and less than $5.00.  Go to :


Lincoln Hardware

3726  S. G St., 98418

472 1425


I offer this check list as part of my attempt to help you take care of your HOMESandWEALTH.


STEVE FORTSONhomesandwealth It Pays to Know

Turn Key Real Estate

1310 -C- North I St.

1 888 301 4221










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