Blog

How can I protect myself online?

Connectsmart

Using the internet for things like banking, shopping, emails and social media means you’re often giving out your personal and financial information online. The good news is that improving your digital security is easy – it’s not complicated or expensive to take basic steps to protect yourself and your personal information. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Protect yourself, your family and your friends by following the tips below.

Easy tips for protecting yourself online…

www.connectsmart.govt.nz

Protecting Your Investment

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Your property might be one of your bigger investments and there are things you can do to protect its value.

Good maintenance will help you:

  • keep your property safe, healthy and durable
  • keep any warranties or guarantees valid (for example, regularly cleaning claddings)
  • save money, by fixing problems before they get bigger
  • protect your financial investment.

Many modern homes are described as ‘low maintenance’, but this does not mean ‘no maintenance’.

There is no such thing as a maintenance-free house.

Read More @ Building.govt.nz

 

Selecting the right Tradesperson

Select a good Tradie

If you are wanting work done on your home, whether it be a leak repaired, or an extension built, you need to know that you can trust the tradie that you choose. There is nothing worse than paying through the nose for a service that is not worth it.
When selecting the right tradie, or tradies for the job, you should definitely follow these 6 steps to make sure you get someone hardworking and reputable.

Step 1: Ask For Recommendations
It can be so hard to know who is good and who isn’t. But one of the best ways to know for sure is talk to people who have recently used tradies and ask for their recommendations. You will very quickly get to see an example of their work and know if they were good to deal with or not.
A tradie relies on a good reputation, so make sure yours has one. Bad news spreads like wildfire through a community, so you will quickly learn the tradies to avoid.

Step 2: Do your research
Don’t just pick up the phone book… wait, does anyone still pick up the phone book? What I mean to say is, don’t just type ‘builder’ into Google and take the first result the pops up. Or don’t just take it as gospel that your friend’s recommendation will work out alright. You want to make sure you do your homework first.
Any tradesman worth employing will have ensured that he is accredited by the relevant organisations that sanction his particular field. So, check for those accreditations and qualifications before you go ahead and hire them. If they haven’t taken the time to become accredited, then run away in the opposite direction very fast!
Check out their online presence to see if they present a professional front. That means their website and their social media. Most businesses will want to show a good representation of their business, so will have taken the time to develop and administer a professional website.
Also, ask for references and examples of the type of jobs they have done before. You will then be able to tell if they are capable of doing the job you need.

Step 3: Get a Proper Quote In Writing
If it is a small job and the tradie will not view the work beforehand, then explain exactly when you need via phone or online. If it is a larger scale job, then you need to ensure the tradie comes to view exactly what is required before quoting.
You need to get the quote in writing as is will help you know exactly what you are paying for. Examine the details provided like exactly what is included in the price, will they charge extra for materials, how many coats of paint will they apply, and how many hours of labour have they quoted.
A written quote does more than tell you the details, it can also tell you a lot about the business. Professional looking quotes that include licence numbers and accreditations will show that you are dealing with a professional tradesman. If it is just scribbled down on a plain sheet of paper, that might be cause for concern.
A written quote will act like a contract, allowing the job to be completed on time and at the agreed rate. The final result can only differ if changes had been made to the original quote.

Step 4: Shop Around
The only way to know if you are getting a fair quote is to get a number of tradespeople to quote on the same thing. You will then be able to compare their approach, their pricing and the materials they will need. It is recommended to get 2-3 quotes for larger scale jobs. Just remember, that the cheapest quote is not always the best!

Step 5: Agree on the Finer Details
Discuss timeframes – when the job will begin and when the tradesman expects it to be completed. Also agree on payment terms, or a payment plan. Expect to pay a deposit on larger jobs to secure the booking. Also discuss what will happen if the plan has to change for modifications, bad weather, or personal choice.

Step 6: Keep Up Your End
Make sure that you are clear on what you want and communicate that through to your tradies effectively. Don’t drag the chain on making decisions, or change your mind 6 times. There needs to be a commitment from both sides for the relationship to run smoothly.
Remember, that if you are good to them, then they will be good to you. So pay their invoices on time, give them the information that they need and treat them as you would expect to be treated.

Maintain your home, maintain your cover

AA Maint

Keeping your home in good nick sounds like a chore, but the benefits actually out-weigh the time it takes to maintain, repair and replace. And not only does it help you have a safer home, while protecting your investment, it also ensures your insurance cover stays in place. AA’s Insurance home claims building experts share a few tips to help you keep your home in good working order:

  • Ensure the roof is checked for any cracks, leaks and damage. Water damage, mould, or blistering paint on your ceiling could also indicate a leaky roof.
  • Clear gutters regularly to prevent water backup. Make sure all gutters and drainpipes are attached properly, and water is draining away from the house or garage. The last thing you want to see in a storm is a deluge of water heading your way.
  • Check walls and timber throughout the home (and garage) for decay, dry rot, or water damage.
  • Don’t let gardens build up too close against external walls of the house, and keep an eye on mature trees growing next to fences, foundations and power lines.
  • Maintain your fences and retaining walls, especially if they are starting to shift or fall, and look out for any cracks or movement from walkways and steps.
  • Check for any changes to walls and floors around showers and baths for any indication of leaks.
  • If you have an inexplicably high water bill make sure you check for a leak or damage to water pipes.
  • Check that all power points, light switches and smoke detectors are working properly.
  • Remember to check your garage and other outbuildings you have listed in your insurance policy. If a structure is rotten, rusty, leaking or generally in need of repair, then get onto it! Making repairs when they’re needed will not only prevent further damage, but will also save you time and money in the long run.
  • If you know, or suspect, your home has asbestos then seek the help of a professional before you disturb it.

See more tips at AA Insurance

Prep the Deck for Summer…

The BBQ season is upon us! Here’s some top tips to prep your deck for the warmer times ahead.

Deck

There’s nothing quite like having your friends and family over for a cook-up & a relaxing time in the summer sun. Having a clean bbq alongside with a spectacular view can certainly help in this department…

CLICK HERE for the full article

www.homes.co.nz

 

 

OK Home, make me a cuppa please…

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Picture this,
You wake up at 6:15, the blinds have been opened, the lights have switched on to help you get up, and the smell of fresh coffee is starting to permeate the walls. When you leave for the day you forget whether you turned the lights off or if you closed the front door, so you attempt to turn it off from your device. ‘I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t let you do that.’ Science fiction aside, everything else is festered with apps, & automation, so why hasn’t the house & home caught up with it?

Raj Baker from www.homes.co.nz discusses Home Automation… CLICK HERE