Minnesota Mortgage – What to Expect When Buying a Home in Minnesota

Maybe you’re buying your first home in Minnesota, or perhaps you’re relocating to Minnesota from another state. Either way, it’s important that you educate yourself on Minnesota home loans before shopping for a home and mortgage. This article explains what you’ll need to know before buying a home in Minnesota:

The median price of a home in Minnesota is $122,400. The price of homes in Minnesota varies widely between zip codes. For example, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the median price of a home in the summer of 2005 was $320,000; however, in Plymouth, Minnesota, the median price of a home was $214,000, and in Forest Lake, Minnesota, it was $225,000. Average interest and job growth rates in South Dakota are both below the national average.

Minnesota law prohibits the financing of points and fees on a mortgage that are more than 5% of the loan amount. Additionally, Minnesota limits the ownership of agricultural land to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, and corporations owned at least 80% by U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

The state of Minnesota does not regulate home radon levels. This means that home buyers must test for radon levels in the home they are purchasing and decide for themselves how much radon is acceptable in their home.

Jessica Elliott recommends that you visit Mortgage Lenders Plus.com for more information about Minnesota Mortgage Rates and Loans.

Author: Jessica Elliott
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Lung Disease: What Is It and how Can You Prevent It

Did you know about 35 million Americans are suffering from one kind of lung disease or the other? Did you know that lung infections are believed to be one of the most important causes for infant mortality in America? Probably you also did not know that diseases related to lung claim one in seven lives every year. Well, it is an alarming statistics, isn’t it? But what does a lung disease mean? Precisely, Lung disease refers to any kind of disorder in which the functions of respiratory system get affected and impaired and this impairment manifest in several ways, such as, troubled breathing, nagging cough, short of breath, pain or uneasiness in the chest, inability of taking up physical labor and likes.

The medical science divides all kinds of lung diseases into two broad categories: Obstructive lung diseases and Restrictive lung diseases.

In obstructive lung diseases, the airways get narrowed or blocked and the result is a decrease in exhaled air flow. The disorders like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), emphysema, asthma, and bronchiectasis are cause by such obstructions of lungs.

Restrictive Lung Diseases result into either loss of lung tissue or decrease in the lung’s ability to expand. It may also decrease lung’s ability to transfer oxygen or carbon dioxide into the bloodstream. The killer disease of lung cancer is a kind of restrictive lung disease. Pulmonary fibrosis and pneumonia are also caused by the same lung disorder.

Probably lung cancer is the most common form of ling diseases that the people are more familiar with. Another commonly found diseases among Americans–asthma– is also a kind of lung disorder. Tuberculosis is also the result of bad lungs. Then you might have heard of such diseases like Cystic Fibrosis, Emphysema or Mesothelioma…they all are the manifestation of some kind of lung disorders.

Are you a heavy smoker? Well, you run the maximum risk of developing lung disease. What did you tell, you don’t smoke? Well this is not adequate; you have to stay clear of the smokers, for it is the passive smokers who are at higher risk than the smokers themselves to develop some kind of lung disease, even cancer. Make it a point to request a smoker to enjoy his cigarette in a secluded place so that the others are not forced to inhale second hand smoke.

Then if you work in mines or somehow exposed to radon gas, you run the risk of developing a bad lungs. In the USA, radon is sometimes found in the households also and so it is important for everybody to invest in a kit for measuring the concentration of radon at your home and take the steps accordingly.

If you are working in the sectors which use asbestos, you are required by the Federal Law to use protective gears including a face mask. The same is necessary if you are constantly exposed to dust or harmful chemical fumes, for these also considerably damage your lungs in the long run.

Last of all, the medical authorities always recommend a healthy diet for preventing lung cancer. A diet consisting lots of anti- oxidant rich fresh fruits and vegetables, considerably reduces the risks of cancer. Also go for regular Spirometry testing to make sure that your precious lungs are in perfect shape.

Barney Garcia writes about various lung diseases. Visit: Help Lung Cancer [http://www.help-lung-cancer.info] and Help Lung Disease [http://www.help-lung-disease.info] for more lung cancer and lung disease information.

Author: Barney Garcia
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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How Much Does Your Home Inspector Charge?

We are in tough economic times and people are looking for ways to stretch their dollars and make every dollar count. Home buyers, like everybody else, are looking for a deal. And this entire real estate market is in a major slump right now, which only makes things worse. One third of the agents and one third of the home inspectors across this country have gone out of business and moved on to other lines of work in this last year. In an effort to save a few dollars, many people are forgoing their home inspection and buying a home outright… with no inspection at all.

For a few months now I have been debating with myself whether I should even write on this topic. All you have to do is Google your nearest large city and the words “home inspector” and you can quickly compare the home inspectors in your area. The vast majority of them do not advertise their prices. Why? They force you to call them, knowing you will ask what they charge… then they have a prepared sales pitch that is designed to convince the caller to hire them. They all have a “base price” that is real cheap, in order to spark the caller’s attention. Then, they ask a series of questions such as square footage, year built, and several other things which help them gather important information, but also gets the caller to respond over and over… and places the inspector in the proverbial driver’s seat. The caller is unconsciously committing to the sales pitch, one step at a time. Then, after they add in the extra cost for distance, square footage, age, and other things… they tell the caller their real fee. Problem is… the caller already decided to hire this guy based on his “base price”. The real price is often much higher.

My point here is that you need to shop around, and do not get tricked into hiring an inspector based upon a well designed and executed sales trick. There are some inspectors out there who advertise their rates right on their web sites. They have nothing to hide from you and I recommend you give these inspectors more serious consideration. It is clear they are not trying to hook customers with a sales pitch, and they are not trying to hide anything.

Next, I recommend comparing a few inspectors and see what you are really getting for your money. Most of them have a basic inspection… but then allow you choices based upon your individual needs or desires. Some will offer mold inspections, termite inspections, radon inspections, infrared thermography, and a host of other details, but usually at an additional price for each level of enhancement. Also, take a good look at how long will they really be inside your prospective new home. The vast majority of home inspectors across this country will complete your inspection in about 2 hours. 2-3 hours is the industry norm. Many inspectors will actually do the inspection in 3 hours. A few inspectors take as long as 4 hours. Ask yourself… why is this? Here is the single overriding reason why: MONEY. This allows them to “inspect” at least 2 houses per day. Many inspectors can make between $600 and $1,200 per day when times are good and the market is moving.

What do most Home Inspectors charge? This varies a great deal based on the market and also based on geography. In some areas, home inspectors charge $800 or more per inspection. However, in most areas of the country the average seems to be around $200-$300. Unfortunately, because of the housing market slump of this last year, and also the economic condition in general, there are lots and lots of “inspectors” out there who are charging as little as $99 per home inspection. These jokers are doing three homes per day when they can, so they can still make a tidy income. That will get you a one hour inspection, if you’re lucky. Unfortunately, a lot of home buyers will hire these guys in an effort to save a few hundred dollars. I challenge you this: Go into your crawlspace. Inspect every square foot of the soil, footings, piers, posts, stem walls, and the floor above. Go all the way from corner to every corner. Make notes, take photos, take moisture samples, and deal with the spiders and the dead mice. See how long it takes you to do this. And then ask yourself if you are still willing to hire an inspector that will look at your house in less than three hours. On average, I spend around two hours of every inspection just in the crawlspace. All my inspections take over 5 hours… and my average is around 7 hours. Day before yesterday I inspected a 2,100 square foot house (built in 1991) and it took me nearly nine hours. Why is this? I am thorough. I care about my clients. I inspect every home as though it were being purchased by my daughter. I am not trying to do two homes per day just to maximize income. Never have done two in a day, and I never will. Too easy to confuse the details, or forget some details when writing the reports.

Look real closely at what you are getting. Also, ask this of yourself… “This inspector charges $xyz”. “Am I getting a good value at this cost?”. Realize this: What your inspector charges is a reflection of what your inspector feels his services are worth.

In the counties I serve, most homes sell between $150,000 and $300,000. The average tends to run around $200,000. Most home inspectors charge around $250… of course, some are higher and some are much lower. This means that for an average $250 inspection, the buyer would be paying 0.125% of the price of their home for a professional home inspection. That is, just under one eighth of one percent! Now, let’s put that $250 inspection fee into perspective:

o Cost to replace one natural gas-fired water heater: $700
o Cost to replace one toilet: $450
o Cost to upgrade a substandard electric service entrance and panel: $1,500
o Cost to replace a garbage disposal: $350
o Cost to install a new asphalt shingle roof: $3,500
o Cost to replace an air conditioning unit: $1,200
o Cost to replace five floor joists in crawl space damaged by termites: $1,250
o Cost to replace 8 feet of damaged sill plate: $1,500
o Cost to repair a foundation that has been damaged by tree roots: $8,200

The part that gets me is that many people do not think twice about paying an auto repair shop $80 per hour to fix their car. Yet thousands of people will spend hours “shopping’ for a home inspector who gives them the lowest price. The auto mechanic simply fixes the car. While important, yes… consider that against what is likely the most expensive and longest term investment of your entire life: your house. A good home inspector can identify issues before you purchase… often allowing you to reduce the cost of your purchase by thousands of dollars. A good inspector can even help prevent you from making a colossal mistake by purchasing a house that will end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars. A good inspector allows you to go into this investment with your eyes wide open… giving you a real good idea of things that will need repaired or replaced in the near future. A good inspector will also provide (in their report) valuable home maintenance tips and will also include ideas for reducing your energy consumption. Additionally, it never ceases to amaze me why some people will hire my competitor because he charges $100 less than I do. He will also do the inspection in 2 or 3 hours (I take 6 or more). He will also not test for Radon, not inspect for wood destroying insects, not test for mold, and not use infrared thermography (I do all these things). http://www.oxbowinspections.com/difference.php

This is one of the reasons I advertise my fees on my web site for all to see. I cannot compete for those clients who are price shoppers, because I do a complete and thorough inspection. The price shopper will see my fees and call my competitor instead. I think I have only had 4 or 5 phone calls in the last two years where I was asked how much I charged. This allows me to focus on my inspection at hand, rather than becoming a slave to my phone… trying to lure in every caller with a sales pitch in the hopes of hooking my next inspection. The clients who choose me do so because they want someone who is up front and honest about everything, including my prices. They want someone who will spend 2 or more hours in their crawlspace… not 2 hours on the whole inspection. They want someone who will check every outlet… not just a “representative sample”. They want someone who will check for mold, termites, anobiid beetles, radon, carpenter bees and ants, and hidden things that can only be seen through infrared thermography… in addition to the things normally checked by home inspectors.

Don’t get me wrong… there is a use for and a need for the “bargain” version of home inspectors. Some home buyers actually should seek out these types. But, if you are simply looking to save a few dollars (that 1/10th of 1% of the cost) then I submit that you just might not be able to afford that particular home. In other words… if you can’t pay $350 for an inspection on a $300,000 house, but you are willing to pay $250 for the inspection… what are you gaining (or losing) by saving that $100? Saving $100 on an inspection for a $300,000 house is like saving $4 on a new Chevrolet. That’s just silly. My point is… why would one even try to save a few tenths of one percent on such an important and expensive investment? Ask your inspector if he offers discounts. Some do. I give 10% off to all Firemen, First Responders, Police, and Veterans. Ask your inspector if he offers payment options. Virtually all inspectors demand payment in full at the completion of the inspection. I do not. I allow a variety of payment options, to include payment at closing, so you can actually roll the cost of your inspection into the loan for the house, and then let your loan company send me the payment. This option adds less than $1 per month to your mortgage payments.

I am not averse to turning down business from prospective clients who are looking for the lowest cost inspector. As an experienced professional, I know the value of my work. I do not claim to be the “best”, nor do I claim to be the most thorough. In my humble opinion, people who believe they have no equal are most often very wrong. However, at the end of each day I go home and ask myself: “did you give 100 percent and did you give a fair day’s work for a fair day’s wage?”. I was raised with a stern hand and was instilled with a deep sense of fairness. I believe that people deserve their money’s worth from the home they are buying, and from their inspection service.

Dappy Jones
OxBow Home Inspections and Radon Testing

Dappy is the owner/inspector of OxBow Home Inspections. OxBow is the premier hi-tech home inspection service in southwestern Idaho. Learn more about the author at http://www.oxbowinspections.com/aboutus.php Dappy is a retired engineer (United States Navy|A different kind of home inspector. He goes places where other inspectors won’t.

Author: Dappy Jones
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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Discover the Amazing Health Benefits of Using a Shower Head Water Filter

Anyone who has ever spent much time swimming in a chlorinated pool knows the harsh drying and itching effect chlorine has on skin and hair. That drying, itching and aging effect comes about because chlorine removes the natural protective oils from our skin and hair. In this article we will discuss the only type of shower head water filter that will solve not only these cosmetic issues but the more alarming health concerns recently reported in such sources as The American Journal of Public Health, the EPA and Rutgers University as well. These issues concern the tremendous toxic burden our bodies take on when we take hot showers and baths in chlorinated water.

Now most people reading this would probably think a little chlorine, in minute quantities, in our tap water would not cause a health problem when showering, even if we did not use a shower head water filter. But, did you know the EPA, who oversees the quality of our tap water, allows more chlorine to be in tap water, to kill bacteria and viruses, than is allowed in swimming pools! That is not to say all tap water has chlorine concentrations at that level, but I have tested the level of chlorine in homes, especially ones closer to the municipal treatment plants, that had much higher levels than a swimming pool is allowed.

Another thing you should know is chlorine is not the only harmful chemical pollutant in our water that evaporates easily in hot shower water. There is a whole class of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and radon gas possibilities as well. The EPA’s own scientists have identified 600 cancer causing byproducts of chlorine and some of them exist in virtually every chlorinated water supply in America. You can count on at least some of them being in your water.

When we bathe in water containing these toxins, some of them are absorbed into our bodies through our skin, and our bodies have to become their filter. But, by far the most dangerous health risks come from the effects from breathing in the chemicals and radon gas which evaporate into the air after they are released by the hot shower water.

For example, chloroform is one of the common byproducts of chlorine, and Rutgers University researchers recently showed we receive as much chloroform into our bodies in a ten minute shower as we would from drinking a couple liters of unfiltered tap water. And the EPA agreed, saying that “Due to chlorine and showering, virtually every home in America has a detectable level of chloroform gas in the air.” Chloroform is a strong respiratory irritant that also causes fatigue.

The American Journal of Public Health linked chlorine to “significant increases in certain types of cancer, asthma and skin irritations”, noting that, “up to two-thirds of the harmful exposure was due to skin absorption and inhalation of chlorine in shower water”.

Scientists tell us 98% of the tap water goes down the drain, but 70% to 90% of the volatile chemicals in the water will vaporize into the air before the water hits the shower floor. And this leads to serious health risks since we are inhaling steam while we are showering, taking toxins from our lungs directly into our blood streams in concentrations up to 20 times the concentrations of chlorine and other synthetic chemicals found in tap water.

The only way to protect yourself and your family from inhaling VOCs or radon gas is to filter the water before you use it. To filter the bath water would require a costly whole-house water treatment system and a good one runs about $1,000. However, you can do a pretty good job of it by getting inexpensive shower filters and a kitchen faucet filter for drinking and cooking water.

For the shower head water filter you will want to get the type having both a carbon filter and a redox filter. The carbon will remove VOCs, radon and most of the chlorine that might be in your shower water. The redox filtration will remove all the chlorine and reduce any pathogen growth in the filter. You should be able to get a shower head water filter for about $70, and a good kitchen counter top unit around $100 (add $50 for an under counter unit).

About The Author: David Eastham is a health enthusiast who learned the hard way that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. His website at http://www.Good-Safe-Water.com offers the way, not only to the best dollar for dollar buys in water filtration products, but the best products over all, regardless of price.

Author: David Eastham
Article Source: EzineArticles.com
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