News, Photos & Up-Comming Events of the CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes Sales & Marketing Team

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Monday, July 19, 2010

9 Tips for Hiring a Contractor

Thinking about making some improvements to your home before placing it on the market? If you’re planning to do more than minor cosmetic upgrades, you’ll probably need a professional contractor.

Finding the right contractor can save you not only time and money, but headaches. While the process may seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips for streamlining the selection process and ensuring you hire the right contractor the first time:

  • Get at least three written estimates from companies doing business in your local area.
  • Check references carefully. Try to see projects the contractor has already completed.
  • If your state requires contractors to be licensed, ensure that the license is active. The licensing agency may also be able to tell you whether any complaints have been filed against the contractor.
  • Ask the contractor for proof of insurance. Most states require not only liability insurance but also coverage for workers compensation and property damage.
  • Contact your local Better Business Bureau or consumer affairs office to make sure there have been no prior problems or complaints.
  • Once you’ve selected a contractor, make sure the contract is in writing and clearly spells out all necessary terms, including, but not limited to, price, payment schedule, start date, completion date and the scope of the project.
  • Make sure the contractor obtains all necessary permits. If he says he can save you money by doing the project without a permit, show him the door.
  • Guarantee that the materials the contractor will use meet your specifications.
  • Hold back the final payment until all work is completed in accordance with the contract and to your satisfaction.

Interested in selling your home, or want a referral to a qualified licensed contractor in your area? Give our CENTURY 21 offices a call today.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer is Here: Maintenance Tips for Your Air Conditioner

Summer is here, and along with it the hot temperatures that make our air conditioning systems blow at full blast.

Regular maintenance can help extend the life of your central air conditioning system. “An air conditioner is like any other machine—it requires some basic maintenance to keep it functioning properly,” says Nicole Ritchie, a spokeswoman for American Home Shield, a provider of home warranties. “Unfortunately, many people don’t think about their air conditioner until that first hot day.”

Here are some tips for maintaining your system:
  • Check your air filter monthly, and clean or replace it as necessary. Changing your filter regularly helps keep dust from collecting on the evaporator coil and can also cut energy usage by 5 to 15 percent, according to the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute.
  • Trim shrubs and plants near the condensing unit so it has adequate air circulation. Clear grass clippings and other debris from the area.
  • Clean the condenser periodically by spraying it with water.
  • Consider planting trees to provide shade to the condenser. A unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10% less electricity than the same one operating in the sun, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Have your system “tuned up” annually, at least a month before the cooling season starts.

Remember, if the worst happens, and you need to replace your air conditioning system, there’s some good news too: You may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $1,500 for a central air system through the end of this year.

To learn more about the maintaining your AC or other systems in your home, or for a referral to a qualified contractor, give our CENTURY 21 offices a call today. Monrovia 626.358.1858 or Glendora at 626.963.7621

Monday, July 5, 2010

Do You Have and iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch? If you do, have you tried the new CENTURY 21 App?

The CENTURY 21 system introduced today a new tool that today's savvy consumer can use to engage actively with our world-renowned brand. They have done so understanding that modern real estate shoppers like you want information immediately and conveniently, any time and any where.

Our corporate and local teams are meeting the needs of today's consumer with the launch of the CENTURY 21® Real Estate iPhone app which is also available on iPads and WiFi enabled iPod Touches!

This application is a highly functional tool, bringing CENTURY 21 innovation to life. It delivers local listings, open houses and community information based on the phone's internal GPS.

Users have direct access to more information through the user-friendly List View, Map View, and Property Detail pages. Buyers researching local communities or pondering a move can enter any location nationwide and view neighborhood information, property values and school ratings.

With this new app, you the consumer can use the built-in camera to take photos of properties. You can add personal notes and attach the saved listings. Most important, you have the ability to find our agents at either of our CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes offices and start a dialogue.

Our agents now, are pumping much more detailed information into CENTURY 21's databases so that our listings featured on CENTURY21.com and the branded iPhone app are comprehensive resources of information. More photos, descriptions and area information are key to help you make smart decisions about your next home.

For sellers, this gives another great tool for our agents to optimize marketing and exposure and get homes sold quickly. This is the "must have" tool for today's real estate consumer. Download the app today!

About CENTURY 21 Adams & Barnes

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Monrovia, California, United States