Christmas trees were involved in approximately 300 fires annually according to the National Fire Protection Association. These fires resulted in average of 14 deaths, 21 injuries, and $16.8 million in property damage per year.
As you deck the halls this holiday season, be fire smart. The following are best practices for Christmas Tree Safety.
Purchasing the Tree
Decorating the Tree: Lights
Decorating the Tree: Trimmings
Gifts Under the Tree
After the Holidays
Taking down the Christmas tree isn’t nearly as much fun as putting it up. But the longer a tree stays up, the greater a fire hazard it becomes. It’s best to discard trees within one month after purchase.
*Information in this publication is courtesy of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Naval Safety Center, the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office, and the National Fire Protection Association.
A Freeze Watch goes into effect tonight with an even colder night Wednesday!
Individuals are encouraged to take precautionary measures to protect plants and exposed pipes, provide adequate shelter for animals and ensure proper use of space heaters to prevent fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
PROTECTING THE 4 P’s
When cold temperatures are expected it’s important to remember to protect the 4 Ps (People, Pets, Pipes, and Plants).
- People should dress warmly, in layers, to avoid hypothermia (abnormally low body temperature).
- Pets should be brought indoors or provided with a warm place to sleep.
- Pipes that run outside or under a house should be wrapped in pipe insulation to avoid cracks due to water freezing in them.
- Plants may need to be covered or brought inside to avoid frost damage.
Safely Use Space Heaters
As temperatures drop, residents may seek to use portable space heaters to keep warm. The Fire Department reminds residents of the following safety tips:
Make sure you have a working smoke alarm.
Never leave children unattended in a room with a space heater – Children knock over space heaters especially if they are placed on top of wobbly tables or stools and near where the children play.
Children may also stick paper or toys in the grates of the space heaters especially gas space heaters.
- Keep all combustible materials, including yourself at least 3 feet from the heater
- Open face heaters should have a screen
- Provide ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning
ELECTRIC HEATER TIPS
- Never overload outlets or breakers
- Don’t use extension cords for the heater. If the cord is hot to the touch, turn off the heater and unplug it!
- Electric heaters permanently installed in the wall or ceiling should have lint and dust removed regularly. Lint and dust will burn!
Prevent Freezing Pipes
To prevent property damage and potential water leaks due to frozen or broken water pipes,
BEFORE FREEZING WEATHER
Wrap exposed pipes located outside or in unheated areas of the home
Remove garden hoses connected to outside faucets
IN FREEZING WEATHER
Open cabinet doors under sinks next to outside walls
In unheated garages, shut off water to washing machines
Take extra precautions to protect pipes that have frozen in the past
Castle Real Estate | 337-480-6555 | www.castlere.com
Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids, and to help them have a safe holiday, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
ALL DRESSED UP:
HOME SAFE HOME:
ON THE TRICK-OR-TREAT TRAIL:
©2018 American Academy of Pediatrics
Actual Cash Value: An amount equal to the replacement value of damaged property minus depreciation.
Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM): Also known as a variable-rate loan, an ARM usually offers a lower initial rate than a fixed-rate loan. The interest rate can change at a specified time, known as an adjustment period, based on a published index that tracks changes in the current finance market. Indexes used for ARMs include the LIBOR index and the Treasury index. ARMs also have caps or a maximum and minimum that the interest rate can change at each adjustment period.
Adjustment Period: The time between interest rate adjustments for an ARM. There is usually an initial adjustment period, beginning from the start date of the loan and varying from 1 to 10 years. After the first adjustment period, adjustment periods are usually 12 months, which means that the interest rate can change every year.
Amortization: Paying off a loan over the period of time and at the interest rate specified in a loan document. The amortization of a loan includes the payment of interest and a part of the amount borrowed in each mortgage payment.
Amortization Schedule: Provided by mortgage lenders, the schedule shows how over the term of your mortgage the principal portion of the mortgage payment increases and the interest portion of the mortgage payment decreases.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): How much a loan costs annually. The APR includes the interest rate, points, broker fees and certain other credit charges a borrower is required to pay.
Application Fee: The fee that a mortgage lender charges to apply for a mortgage to cover processing costs.
Appraisal: A professional analysis used to estimate the value of the property. This includes examples of sales of similar properties.
Appraiser: A professional who conducts an analysis of the property, including examples of sales of similar properties in order to develop an estimate of the value of the property. The analysis is called an "appraisal."
Appreciation: An increase in the market value of a home due to changing market conditions and/or home improvements.
Arbitration: A process where disputes are settled by referring them to a fair and neutral third party (arbitrator). The disputing parties agree in advance to agree with the decision of the arbitrator. There is a hearing where both parties have an opportunity to be heard, after which the arbitrator makes a decision.
Asbestos: A toxic material that was once used in housing insulation and fireproofing. Because some forms of asbestos have been linked to certain lung diseases, it is no longer used in new homes. However, some older homes may still have asbestos in these materials.
Assets: Everything of value an individual owns.
Assumption: A homebuyer's agreement to take on the primary responsibility for paying an existing mortgage from a home seller.
Balloon Mortgage: A mortgage with monthly payments based on a 30-year amortization schedule, with the unpaid balance due in a lump sum payment at the end of a specific period of time (usually 5 or 7 years). The mortgage contains an option to "reset" the interest rate to the current market rate and to extend the due date if certain conditions are met.
Bankruptcy: Legally declared unable to pay your debts. Bankruptcy can severely impact your credit and your ability to borrow money.
Capacity: Your ability to make your mortgage payments on time. This depends on your income and income stability (job history and security), your assets and savings, and the amount of your income each month that is left over after you've paid for your housing costs, debts and other obligations.
Closing (Closing Date): The completion of the real estate transaction between buyer and seller. The buyer signs the mortgage documents and the closing costs are paid. Also known as the settlement date.
Closing Agent: A person who coordinates closing-related activities, such as recording the closing documents and disbursing funds.
Closing Costs: The costs to complete the real estate transaction. These costs are in addition to the price of the home and are paid at closing. They include points, taxes, title insurance, financing costs, items that must be prepaid or escrowed and other costs. Ask your lender for a complete list of closing cost items.
Collateral: Property which is used as security for a debt. In the case of a mortgage, the collateral would be the house and property.
Commitment Letter: A letter from your lender stating the amount of the mortgage, the number of years to repay the mortgage (the term), the interest rate, the loan origination fee, the annual percentage rate and the monthly charges.
Concession: Something given up or agreed to in negotiating the sale of the house. For example, the sellers may agree to help pay for closing costs.
Condominium: A unit in a multiunit building. The owner of a condominium unit owns the unit itself and has the right, along with other owners, to use the common areas but does not own the common elements such as the exterior walls, floors and ceilings or the structural systems outside of the unit; these are owned by the condominium association. There are usually condominium association fees for building maintenance, property upkeep, taxes and insurance on the common areas and reserves for improvements.
Contingency: A plan for something that may occur but is not likely. For example, your offer may be contingent on the home passing a home inspection. It the home does not pass inspection, you're protected.
Counter-offer: An offer made in response to a previous offer. For example, after the buyer presents their first offer, the seller may make a counter-offer with a slightly higher sale price.
Credit: The ability of a person to borrow money, or buy good by paying over time. Credit is extended based on a lender's good opinion of the person's financial situation and reliability.
Credit Bureau: A company that gathers information on consumers who use credit. These companies sell that information to credit lenders in the form of a credit report.
Credit History: A record of credit use comprised of a list of individual consumer debts and a record of whether or not these debts were paid back on time or "as agreed." Credit institutions have created a detailed document of your credit history called a credit report.
Credit Report: A document used by the credit industry to examine your use of credit. It provides information on money that you've borrowed from credit institutions and your payment history.
Credit Score: A computer-generated number that summarizes your credit profile and predicts the likelihood that you'll repay future debts.
Creditworthy: Your ability to qualify for credit and repay debts.
Debt: Money owed from one person or institution to another person or institution.
Debt-to-Income Ratio: The percentage of gross monthly income that goes toward paying for your monthly housing expense, alimony, child support, car payments and other installment debts, and payments on revolving or open-ended accounts such as credit cards.
Deed: The legal document transferring ownership or title to a property
Deed-in-lieu of foreclosure: A Deed-in-lieu of foreclosure is a cancellation of your mortgage if you voluntarily transfer title of your property to your mortgage company. Usually you must try to sell your home for its fair market value for at least 90 days before a mortgage company will consider this option. A deed-in-lieu of foreclosure may not be an option if there are other liens on the property, such as second mortgages, judgments from creditors, or tax liens.
Deed of Trust: A legal document in which the borrower transfers the title to a 3rd party (trustee) to hold as security for the lender. When the loan is paid in full the trustee transfers title back to the borrower. If the borrower defaults on the loan the trustee will sell the property and pay the lender the mortgage debt.
Default: Failure to fulfill a legal obligation. A default includes failure to pay on a financial obligation, but may also be a failure to perform some action or service that is non-monetary. For example, when leasing a car, the lessee is usually required to properly maintain the car.
Depreciation: A decline in the value of a house due to changing market conditions or lack of upkeep on a home.
Down Payment: A portion of the price of a home, usually between 3-20%, not borrowed and paid up front.
Earnest Money Deposit: The deposit to show that you're committed to buying the home. The deposit will not be refunded to you after the seller accepts your offer, unless one of the sales contract contingencies is not fulfilled.
Equity: The value in your home above the total amount of the liens against your home. If you owe $100,000 on your house but it is worth $130,000, you have $30,000 of equity.
Escrow: The holding of money or documents by a neutral third party before closing. It can also be an account held by the lender (or servicer) into which a homeowner pays money for taxes and insurance.
Fixed-Rate Mortgage: A mortgage with an interest rate that does not change during the entire term of the loan.
Forbearance: Your lender may offer a temporary reduction or suspension of your mortgage payments while you get back on your feet. Forbearance is often combined with a reinstatement or a repayment plan to pay off the missed or reduced mortgage payments.
Foreclosure: A legal action that ends all ownership rights in a home when the homebuyer fails to make the mortgage payments or is otherwise in default under the terms of the mortgage.
Gift Letter: A letter that a family member writes verifying that s/he has given you a certain amount of money as a gift and that you don't have to repay it. You can use this money towards a portion of your down payment with some mortgages.
Good-Faith Estimate: A written statement from the lender itemizing the approximate costs and fees for the mortgage.
Gross Monthly Income: The income you earn in a month before taxes and other deductions. It may also include rental income, self-employed income, income from alimony, child support, public assistance payments, and retirement benefits.
Home Inspection: A professional inspection of a home to determine the condition of the property. The inspection should include an evaluation of the plumbing, heating and cooling systems, roof, wiring, foundation and pest infestation.
Homeowner's Insurance: A policy that protects you and the lender from fire or flood, which damages the structure of the house; a liability, such as an injury to a visitor to your home; or damage to your personal property, such as your furniture, clothes or appliances
Housing Expense Ratio: The percentage of your gross monthly income that goes toward paying for your housing expenses.
HUD-1 Settlement Statement: A final listing of the costs of the mortgage transaction. It provides the sales price and down payment, as well as the total settlement costs required from the buyer and seller.
Index: The published index of interest rates used to calculate the interest rate for an ARM. The index is usually an average of the interest rates on a particular type of security such as the LIBOR.
Individual Retirement Account (IRA): A tax-deferred plan that can help you build a retirement nest egg.
Inflation: An increase in prices.
Inquiry: A request for a copy of your credit report. An inquiry occurs every time you fill out a credit application and/or request more credit. Too many inquiries on a credit report can hurt your credit score.
Interest: The cost you pay to borrow money. It is the payment you make to a lender for the money it has loaned to you. Interest is usually expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed.
Keogh Funds: A tax-deferred retirement-savings plan for small business owners or self-employed individuals who have earned income from their trade or business. Contributions to the Keogh plan are tax-deductible.
Liabilities: Your debts and other financial obligations.
Lien: A claim or charge on property for payment of a debt. With a mortgage, the lender has the right to take the title to your property if you don't make the mortgage payments.
Loan modification: This is a written agreement between you and your mortgage company that permanently changes one or more of the original terms of your note to make the payments more affordable.
Loan Origination Fees: Fees paid to your mortgage lender for processing the mortgage application. This fee is usually in the form of points. One point equals 1% of the mortgage amount.
Lock-In Rate: A written agreement guaranteeing a specific mortgage interest rate for a certain amount of time.
Low-Down-Payment Feature: A feature of some mortgages, usually fixed-rate mortgages, that helps you buy a home with as little as a 3% down payment.
Margin: A percentage added to the index for an ARM to establish the interest rate on each adjustment date.
Market Value: The current value of your home based on what purchaser would pay. An appraisal is sometimes used to determine market value.
Mortgage: A loan using your home as collateral. In some states the term mortgage is also used to describe the document you sign [to grant the lender a lien on your home]. It may also be used to indicate the amount of money you borrow, with interest, to purchase your house. The amount of your mortgage is usually the purchase price of the home minus your down payment.
Mortgage Broker: An independent finance professional who specializes in bringing together borrowers and lenders to complete real estate mortgages.
Mortgage Insurance (MI or PMI): Insurance needed for mortgages with low down payments (usually less than 20% of the price of the home).
Mortgage Lender: The lender providing funds for a mortgage. Lenders also manage the credit and financial information review, the property and the loan application process through closing.
Mortgage Rate: The cost or the interest rate you pay to borrow the money to buy your house.
Mutual Funds: A fund that pools the money of its investors to buy a variety of securities.
Net Monthly Income: Your take-home pay after taxes. It is the amount of money that you actually receive in your paycheck.
Offer: A formal bid from the homebuyer to the home seller to purchase a home.
Open House: When the seller's real estate agent opens the seller's house to the public. You don't need a real estate agent to attend an open house.
Points: 1% of the amount of the mortgage loan. For example, if a loan is made for $50,000, one point equals $500.
Pre-Approval Letter: A letter from a mortgage lender indicating that you qualify for a mortgage of a specific amount. It also shows a home seller that you're a serious buyer.
Predatory Lending: Abusive lending practices that include making mortgage loans to people who do not have the income to repay them or repeatedly refinancing loans, charging high points and fees each time and "packing" credit insurance onto a loan.
Pre-Qualification Letter: A letter from a mortgage lender that states that you're pre-qualified to buy a home, but does not commit the lender to a particular mortgage amount.
Principal: The amount of money borrowed to buy your house or the amount of the loan that has not yet been repaid to the lender. This does not include the interest you will pay to borrow that money. The principal balance (sometimes called the outstanding or unpaid principal balance) is the amount owed on the loan minus the amount you've repaid.
Private Mortgage Insurance: See Mortgage Insurance
Property Appreciation: See Appreciation
Radon: A toxic gas found in the soil beneath a house that can contribute to cancer and other illnesses.
Rate Cap: The limit on the amount an interest rate on an ARM can increase or decrease during an adjustment period.
Ratified Sales Contract: A contract that shows both you and the seller of the house have agreed to your offer. This offer may include sales contingencies, such as obtaining a mortgage of a certain type and rate, getting an acceptable inspection, making repairs, closing by a certain date, etc.
Real Estate Professional: An individual who provides services in buying and selling homes. The real estate professional is paid a percentage of the home sale price by the seller. Unless you've specifically contracted with a buyer's agent, the real estate professional represents the interest of the seller. Real estate professionals may be able to refer you to local lenders or mortgage brokers, but are generally not involved in the lending process.
Refinance: Getting a new mortgage with all or some portion of the proceeds used to pay off the original mortgage.
Reinstatement: Your lender may agree to let you pay the total amount you are behind, in a lump sum payment and by a specific date. This is often combined with forbearance when you can show that funds from a bonus, tax refund, or other source will become available at a specific time in the future. Be aware that there may be late fees and other costs associated with a reinstatement plan.
Repayment Plan: This is an agreement that gives you a fixed amount of time to repay the amount you are behind by combining a portion of what is past due with your regular monthly payment. At the end of the repayment period you have gradually paid back the amount of your mortgage that was delinquent.
Replacement Cost: The cost to replace damaged personal property without a deduction for depreciation.
Securities: A financial form that shows the holder owns a share or shares of a company (stock) or has loaned money to a company or government organization (bond).
Short Payoff: If you can sell your house but the sale proceeds are less than the total amount you owe on your mortgage, your mortgage company may agree to a short payoff and write off the portion of your mortgage that exceeds the net proceeds from the sale.
Title: The right to, and the ownership of, property. A title or deed is sometimes used as proof of ownership of land.
Title Insurance: Insurance that protects lenders and homeowners against legal problems with the title.
Truth-In-Lending Act (TILA): Federal law that requires disclosure of a truth-in-lending statement for consumer loans. The statement includes a summary of the total cost of credit, such as the APR and other specifics of the loan.
Underwriting: The process a lender uses to determine loan approval. It involves evaluating the property and the borrower's credit and ability to pay the mortgage.
Uniform Residential Loan Application: A standard mortgage application your lender will ask you to complete. The form requests your income, assets, liabilities, and a description of the property you plan to buy, among other things.
Warranties: Written guarantees of the quality of a product and the promise to repair or replace defective parts free of charge.
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This low maintenance beautiful town-home is located in South Lake Charles in the Maison De Ville Subdivision. Boasting 3 Bedroom, 2 and ½ Bath it features an open floor plan, granite counter tops throughout and a nice sized kitchen with island. HOA dues are $180 per month and include water, sewer, trash pick up and lawn maintenance.
Call Castle for your viewing today 337- 480-6555.
Calcasieu Parish Mosquito Control Trying to Battle Mosquitoes - and Rainy Weather 8/11-18
Calcasieu Parish is in the midst of the worst mosquito outbreak it has seen in three years, according to Calcasieu Parish Mosquito Control officials.
“We’ve been getting a lot of phone calls,” said Mosquito Control Director Scott Willis.
Mosquito Control’s efforts to treat the outbreak have been hampered by all the rain and cloud cover – trucks can’t spray when it’s raining and Mosquito Control planes can’t fly when the cloud cover is too low.
Willis asked residents to be patient and Mosquito Control will be out there to help as soon as possible.
“We’re aware of the issues and we’ll be there to help,” said Director Scott Willis.
In the meantime, Mosquito Control asks residents to wear repellent especially during peak mosquito times – dawn, dusk and at night.
For information on mosquito control and what you can do to help visit https://www.cppj.net/…/mosquito-cont…/controlling-mosquitoes
KPLC reports on a confirmed case of West Nile Virus in Calcasieu Parish - http://www.kplctv.com/…/dequincy-woman-contracts-west-nile…/
(BPT) - The transition between summer and going back to school can be tough, especially for families with student athletes who are participating in fall sports. Whether your athletes are in high school or grade school, it’s difficult to balance schoolwork, practice, games, proper nutrition and rest. Mitzi Dulan, registered dietitian and nutrition consultant to professional athletes, has some great tips on how to help your child eat adequate, nutritious foods for their best performance in the classroom and on the field.
“As a working mom with two daughters who play volleyball, I understand the time crunch parents are up against to prepare healthy meals and snacks for their kids,” says Dulan. “Young athletes require optimal nutrition for fueling and recovery around practice and games, in addition to a well-balanced diet as growing adults. A little knowledge and planning ahead makes all the difference during busy weeks.”
Here are five tips from Mitzi for busy parents with young athletes:
1. Recover right: Immediately following a practice or competition, help your athlete refuel their muscles to optimize performance the next time they train or compete. Consuming a beverage with carbs and protein within the first 30 minutes is ideal. Chocolate milk has a great ratio of carbs and protein, making it a smart, quick and easy choice to stock up on.
2. Create a go-to grocery list: Get your athlete involved by having them help you create a go-to list of top fueling foods that you can save on your smartphone. Bring your child along for the first grocery trip to get their input and create a list of new options to replace old staples. Keeping this list handy on your smartphone will be helpful to keep their favorite foods stocked at home.
3. Set up fueling stations at home: Organize “fueling stations” with grab-and-go options such as string cheese, chocolate milk, sports drinks, protein balls, honey and more. You can also throw in whole wheat sandwich thins to make one of my favorites — an open-faced sandwich with peanut butter, banana and honey. Also keep a fruit bowl on your kitchen counter, filled with bananas, apples and other fruits. Fruit is great fuel, and kids are more likely to eat it when it’s readily available.
4. Equip yourself with the right tools: Staying connected is essential as a parent. My girls are very involved, which means there are plenty of practices and games to manage, so I rely on my smartphone to maintain it all with calendar and meal planning apps.
5. Get plenty of rest: With a hectic schedule, it’s important to recharge. Sleep is an essential step to the recovery process, and kids need time to hit reset after hitting the books and hitting the field. Make sure your athletes are getting enough sleep and have scheduled down time in between games and practices so they can let their bodies recover and build their energy back up.
3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2,525 sqft - $338,500
Beautiful 3 bedroom / 2 bathroom brick home on 4.39 acres with a quiet, country setting! This home features a large shop with additional covered storage that could easily fit a vehicle! If you enjoy the country life and animals, you will enjoy the existing stables with plenty of storage and the fenced in pasture! **all stainless steel appliances remain** **$5,000 allowance with full purchase price offer!!**
Call Castle Real Estate 337-480-6555.
Many homes and buildings are now equipped with video and audio surveillance. Property owners may have video and audio cameras at their front entrances. They may also have security cameras inside the building or home, or on the perimeter of the property. For example, they may have a doorbell, a security system, a “nanny cam” or baby monitor that records video or audio, or, in some cases, all of the above.
Generally, a property owner has the right to monitor what happens within the four walls of his or her property. A prominently displayed surveillance system and/or conspicuous signs alerting visitors that a system is in use can deter would-be criminals from taking an owner’s personal belongings. However, in the context of selling a home, they can also provide negotiating advantages to sellers: these surveillance devices may allow sellers to intercept conversations between prospective buyers and the buyer’s agent.
What obligation, if any, does a property owner have to notify their REALTOR® of the recording devices? What obligation, if any, does a REALTOR® have to notify potential buyers that video or audio equipment may be recording them while they are viewing a listing?
STATE AND FEDERAL LAW
Both federal and state laws apply to audio and video surveillance. Louisiana is a “one party consent” state. This means that a person may intercept communications in two instances:
1) if the person recording the communication is a party to the communication being intercepted, or 2) if the person doing the recording is not a party to the communication, one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to the interception of the communication. However, the recording is not permitted by Louisiana law if the audio or video recording is being done for the purpose of committing a crime or a tortious act.
1 La. R.S. 15 § 1303(c)(3) 2 A tort is a legal wrong committed upon the person or property independent of contract. It may be either (1) a direct invasion of some legal right of the individual; (2) the infraction of some public duty by which special damage accrues to the individual; (3) the violation of some private obligation by which like damage accrues to
Video surveillance without an audio recording has a different standard than recordings with both audio and video. The federal standard for evaluating video only surveillance is whether an individual would have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the location where the recording is taking place. Although a home owner enjoys a “zone of privacy” in their own homes, a prospective buyer generally does not have an expectation of privacy in someone else’s home. There are limits to this, however, as a potential buyer would not expect to be recorded while in the bathroom, where a reasonable expectation of privacy exists in any circumstance.
Louisiana law does not expressly prohibit the video recording or recording the image of someone, unless that video or image is recorded without consent and the video is to be used for a lewd or lascivious purpose.3 Accordingly, a videotape without audio is generally permissible under Louisiana law without providing advance notice or obtaining consent of the parties.
There are no Louisiana or Federal cases on point wherein an unsuspecting homebuyer's conversation has been recorded and used in negotiations. There have been some cases where conversations of buyers and/or their agents are intercepted through “pocket dialing”4 but these cases are distinct from the issue of a property owner’s right to maintain video or audio recording on his or her property. However, out of an abundance of caution, and to avoid a potential claim that an illegal or unethical recording was made, or a claim that ethical obligations were violated intercepting conversations of buyers, home owners may want to disclose the presence of video surveillance devices on the property to potential buyers prior to a showing of the property.
REALTORS® making audio recordings should generally be sure to obtain the permissions required under Louisiana state law. Listing brokers may want to inquire whether surveillance devices are present on the listed property, and whether the surveillance devices record audio, video, or both.5 REALTORS® may wish to include information such as the following in a listing agreement:
the individual. In the former case, no special damage is necessary to entitle the party to recover. In the two latter cases, such damage is necessary. 3 La. R.S. 14 § 283(a)(1) 4 Huff v. Spaw, 794 F.3d 543 (6th Cir. 2015) 5 Finley Maxson, “Window to the Law: Video and Audio Surveillance,” National Association of REALTORS® (available online at https://www.nar.realtor/videos/window-to-the-law/window-to-the-law-video-and-audiosurveillance-issues).
Once the REALTOR® knows that there are surveillance devices present on the property, if the surveillance devices record audio, the REALTOR® generally should disclose this knowledge with visitors to the property. This disclosure could be accomplished by posting notices on the property alerting all visitors to the property that they may be recorded during the visit or distributing a notice at the opens houses such as the one attached. There is no precise language required by law; however, here are a few examples of notices of surveillance devices on a property:
Another way to disclose the presence of surveillance devices would be to disclose such information in the MLS comment fields. Some MLS rules require a listing broker to disclose the presence of recording devices on a property.
Once the buyer’s agent is aware of recording devices present on property, the buyer’s agent generally should inform their clients of the presence of recording devices. Buyer’s agents may consider making this disclosure to their clients in writing, such as in the attached notice. Although the buyer’s agent is generally not legally required to make the disclosure, as the buyer’s representative is not the one making the recording, such disclosure may help protect the agent from an allegation 4813-7141-3600 v1 2937565-000001 05/11/2018 of an illegal or unethical recording by a client who later claimed to be unaware of recording device.
As availability and use of technology of home audio and video systems increases, the laws around their use has struggled to keep pace. Disclosure of devices on property is a good first step in making sure that information intended as private is not shared. This article provided for informational purposes only. Please contact your broker or legal counsel for advice regarding specific circumstances or incidents.
As Americans work hard to meet all the obligations that come with work, family and everyday life, many are challenged to find time to manage all the financial elements affecting their healthcare.
If you're among them you're far from alone, since the multiple details associated with healthcare insurance can be confusing. At the same time, you want to be smart about your financial resources when making decisions about the quality healthcare you and your family need.
Fortunately, by carving out time to research money-saving tips you may be able to minimize your out-of-pocket healthcare expenses. Such out-of-pocket spending rose by more than 50 percent between 2010 and 2017,
The Atlantic recently reported, partly because half of all health insurance policyholders in the U.S. are dealing with annual deductibles of at least $1,000.
Whether you're uninsured or simply facing a high insurance deductible, you can take several steps to better manage your healthcare budget. Consider how the following tips may offer you a better sense of control of rising healthcare costs.
* Read bills with a critical eye.
Any bill can include administrative errors, and some estimates have indicated errors on as many as 80 percent of medical invoices issued, reports the Medical Billing Advocates of America. That statistic makes it well worth your while to examine and question your expenses before you settle up.
* Lower the cost of your meds.
A free program known as Inside Rx is a prescription savings card that provides discounts on prescription medications for eligible patients. And it’s amazingly effective. According to the data, eligible patients have saved an average of 40 percent on the more than 100 featured brand medications included in the program, and even more on generic medications. Inside Rx is a great option to help the uninsured, those facing high deductibles or anyone trying to save money on their meds. Inside Rx even offers prescription savings for pets for qualifying medications. And the Inside Rx card is free and easy to download, with no registration process or sharing of personal information.
* Compare costs whenever possible.
Some medical services can be difficult to compare on an apples-to-apples basis, but it’s worth doing your homework before making appointments for more standard services such as annual check-ups, lab work and testing, dental care or dermatology services. Check vendor websites, make phone calls and conduct web searches to find online databases, such as HealthcareBluebook.com, that suggest fair prices for various services. If you're insured, your insurance provider can then clarify what portion of the bill will be covered.
* Be bold about negotiations.
It's OK to speak up. You have nothing to lose by politely asking your healthcare provider to work with you on the price of an upcoming service, especially when dealing with a private practice. Start the conversation by aiming for the Medicare rate or an amount close to that paid by commercial insurers. As an alternative, ask the office administrator to set up a manageable payment plan.
* Consider paying cash up front.
Some vendors offer discounts for simply paying cash for your services without funneling everything through insurance. Even if you're insured, you can still evaluate whether immediate cash payments will be lower than your post-insurance costs.
Keeping a close eye on where you might be wasting money on healthcare can pay off in a big way — and the remedies don’t have to be complicated. Conduct your due diligence on such costs to protect your financial health as vigorously as your physical health.
Castle Real Estate, Inc.
3519 Patrick Street, Suite 255
Lake Charles, LA 70605
(337) 480-6555 Office
(337) 480-6557 Fax