Property Damage & Disaster Restoration Blog: Long Island & New York City

Do You Know Anyone Looking to Buy or Sell a House?

Posted on Mon, Jan 18, 2010 @ 10:53 AM

Tell them about this most important educational opportunity!
Thursday, January 21st at 7PM...

house

Buying or selling a home can be an intimidating process. Before you make one of the largest financial transactions of your lifetime, attend our free seminar. You will empower yourself with the knowledge and skills you need to make wise decisions - before you begin to shop for a home or place one on the market. The program runs 1½ - 2 hours including questions and answers related to everything you would want to know about buying or selling a house.

Just some of the topics we will discuss:

What you can afford on your present income

Credit scores and optimizing your credit score

The mortgage process

Closing costs

Down payment assistance programs

The tax advantages of owning a home

What a realtor does

Getting the most out of your Realtor

Benefits of working with a Realtor as your Buyer Representative

How to find a home that meets your needs

What title insurance is all about

The important ways a good Real Estate attorney can help you

Critical information to be learned from a thorough home inspection

...and much more!

 For location and more information, please Click Here

 

Tags: Product Information, foreclosure, foreclosures, advanced restoration, restoration, home repair, Announcements, resources, buying a home, selling a home, free real esate seminar

HUD Inspector General Probes Mortgage Companies With Significant Claim Rates

Posted on Fri, Jan 15, 2010 @ 12:12 PM

WASHINGTON - U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Inspector General Kenneth M. Donohue and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner David H. Stevens announced today an initiative focusing on mortgage companies with significant claim rates against the Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance program.

HUD Office of Inspector General (OIG) subpoenas were served to the corporate offices of 15 mortgage companies across the country demanding documents and data related to failed loans which resulted in claims paid out by the FHA mortgage insurance fund.

Inspector General Donohue said, "The goal of this initiative is to determine why there is such a high rate of defaults and claims with these companies and whether there is wrongdoing involved. We aren't making any accusations at this time, we have no evidence of wrongdoing, but we will aggressively pursue indicators of fraud. We are members of the President's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force and today's activities reflect our commitment to seeking information on red flags that may arise from data analysis.

" This initiative was prompted, in part, by the FHA Commissioner, David Stevens, who was alarmed by the incidence of claims against the FHA insurance fund by a number of poor performing companies and reached out to the HUD OIG for assistance.

FHA Commissioner David Stevens said, "We are taking risk management extremely seriously. In addition to the policy changes we are implementing and additional changes we plan to announce later this month, we need to hold FHA lenders accountable for the high rates of defaults and claims against FHA. The Inspector General's initiative will help us determine whether there is fraud and better manage risk in the long run.

" The HUD OIG identified these direct endorsement companies from an analysis of loan data focusing on companies with a significant number of claims, a certain loan underwriting volume, a high ratio of defaults and claims compared to the national average, and claims that occurred earlier in the life of the mortgage. These are key indicators of problems at the origination or underwriting stages. The HUD OIG wants to see why these loans failed.

Some actions available to the HUD OIG are audits, investigations, and inspections and evaluations. In addition, we rely on the support of the Department of Justice (DoJ), and of State and local law enforcement. The DoJ is available to pursue both civil and criminal legal actions against wrongdoers. HUD is available to proceed with administrative sanctions such as suspensions, limited denial of participation, debarment, and civil monetary penalties.

The probe will be conducted by the HUD OIG's Audit and Investigation staff jointly. They will assess why these companies have high default rates, especially at this unprecedented time when the FHA mortgage insurance program represents such a significant percentage of mortgages currently in force in our country.

This probe is a new type of approach in which HUD OIG is focused on corporate offices rather than individual branch offices. This is a starting point for more detailed reviews if abuses are uncovered, and the HUD OIG anticipates that more probes may follow.

"The FHA market share has skyrocketed," Inspector General Donohue further said. "Our job is oversight. We work for the American taxpayer. Each loan on this list will be thoroughly examined and we will track down the reasons why it failed. Once we determine the causes, we will look to see whether there is a need for further review or remedial action. We want to send a message to the industry that as the mortgage landscape has shifted we are watching very carefully and that we are poised to take action against bad performers."

    The following companies were served OIG subpoenas today:

    First Tennessee Bank N.A., Memphis, TN
    Alethes LLC, Lakeway, TX
    Security Atlantic Mortgage Co., Edison, NJ
    Pine State Mortgage Corporation, Atlanta, GA
    Birmingham Bancorp Mortgage Corporation, West Bloomfield, MI
    Alacrity Financial Services, LLC, Southlake, TX
    Assurity Financial Services, LLC, Englewood, CO
    D and R Mortgage Corporation, Farmington, MI
    Webster Bank, Cheshire, CT
    Mac-Clair Mortgage Corporation, Flint, MI
    Americare Investment Group, Inc., Arlington, TX
    1st Advantage Mortgage, Lombard, IL
    American Sterling Bank, Independence, MO
    Sterling National Mortgage Company Inc., Great Neck, NY
    Dell Franklin Financial LLC, Columbia, MD

###

For more information, visit the HUD Website.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General is statutorily authorized to detect and prevent waste, fraud and abuse, and to promote the effectiveness and efficiency of government operations. The Federal Housing Administration provides mortgage insurance on loans by FHA-approved lenders throughout the United States and its territories. The FHA insures mortgages on single family and multifamily homes including manufactured homes and hospitals. It is the largest insurer of mortgages in the world.

Tags: 203(k) loan, property damage, foreclosures, hud loan, advanced restoration, restoration, suffolk county restoration, restoration company, disrepair, home repair, buying a home, refinance, 203k, 203k streamline, rehab, mortgage companies

Town of Babylon - Long Island Green Homes Program

Posted on Thu, Jan 14, 2010 @ 11:44 AM

Town of Babylon's Long Island Green Homes featured on CNN

 

 

Tags: long island green homes, long island, green, town of babylon, advanced restoration, town of babylon long island green homes program

Disaster Kleenup International (DKI) Going Green

Posted on Thu, Jan 07, 2010 @ 02:37 PM

Wood Dale, IL - Disaster Kleenup International (DKI), North America's largest disaster restoration contracting organization, announced today that they are the first organization to have achieved the Green Risk ProfessionalTM designation established by Vale Training Solutions.
dki, disaster kleenup international in ny

DKI made the decision to partner with Vale Training Solutions for Green Risks training in response to the market's demand for green building. DKI is the leading provider of quality emergency and reconstruction services for commercial, residential and insurance clients throughout North America and the curriculum provided in Vale's Green Risks courses has allowed DKI to continue at the forefront of industry trends.

"We have pioneered this movement by being the first and only disaster restoration and reconstruction organization to be green risk certified in building reconstruction and restoration services," said Dale Sailer, president of DKI. "DKI understands that in today's marketplace, individuals and organizations continually strive to do their part in building or creating green environments."

Property owners understand the long term advantages of 'going green' and insurance carriers have responded with green coverage for new environmentally sustainable construction or renovation following a loss.
Jon McCreath, President of Vale Training Solutions, says "As more carriers offer green coverage, independent adjusters, restoration professionals, and engineers must be adequately trained and possess the expertise and professionalism necessary to understand the makeup of green construction and building products, rating systems and insurance coverage."

McCreath continued, "GRPTM adjusters and restoration professionals provide the expertise necessary when buildings are insured with 'upgrade to green' endorsements or where restoration/repairs include green measures to replace damaged traditional products" DKI is the only Green Certified Services Organization that is adequately trained to provide a superior level of knowledge, expertise, professionalism and customer service to property owners, managers, facility directors, and insurers of green buildings. Not only does DKI understand the makeup of green buildings, products used in green buildings, rating systems and insurance coverage as it relates to these elements, but DKI can ensure that if a green building sustains damage, the building will be restored using the most efficient green products in the marketplace.

About DKI
Disaster Kleenup International, Inc., headquartered in suburban Chicago, is the largest disaster restoration contracting organization in North America. DKI member companies provide full service restoration to their customers: emergency response, water damage mitigation, fire and contents cleaning, mold remediation, complete reconstruction and much more, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. DKI returns damaged property to its pre-loss condition quickly and efficiently, delivering complete satisfaction to our consumer, insurance, and corporate customers. For more information about Disaster Kleenup International, Inc., contact Michele Donahue at (630) 741-7262.  Advanced Restoration Corporation is a DKI Member Company that services the New York Metro area. If you require Emergency Service in New York, please call (800) 693-6263.

Tags: property damage, fire restoration, floods, ny water damage company, puffbacks, restoration companies, water damage, water damage restoration, structural drying, flooding, nassau county restoration, dki, babylon, advanced restoration, advanced restoration corporation, long island water damage, mold remediation, reconstruction, restoration, suffolk county restoration, water extraction, emergency service, homeowner tips, restoration company, disrepair, rebuild, disaster kleenup international

Ice Dams and Protecting Your Home!

Posted on Wed, Jan 06, 2010 @ 08:11 PM
As if we need more snow, another storm is expected on Friday. Whenever there is snow, you are guaranteed to have troublesome ice dams to follow. Ice dams can cause major water damage and flooding to your home, which requires immediate attention.
ice dams, water damage,water extraction
As winter advances through cycles of freezing and thawing, buildings and homes experience ice buildup and roof damage. In general, ice dams are formed when attic heat moves up to warm the roof and melts snow at or near the ridge. Snow melts, runs downward and hits the edge of the cold roof, resulting in re-freezing snow. These cycles cause ice to accumulate and back up under shingles. Damage appears in the form of soaked insulation, stained, cracked and damaged sheet rock, damp, smelly, rotting wall cavities and stained, blistered and peeling paint.

Preventing Ice Dams
To prevent an ice dam, don't heat the roof, keep it cold. That way, the snow on the roof eventually dissipates without making large amounts of meltwater. The underside of the roof deck should not exceed 30 F. The best way to maintain low temperatures is by ensuring that there is adequate insulation and sealing gaps that let warm air pass into the attic from the house. The attic must also be ventilated, so that cold air is introduced into it and heated air escapes rapidly. Some remodeling contractors are under the impression that heat passing through the attic helps prevent ice dams, when just the opposite is true. Although excess heat moving from the attic through the roof rapidly melts snow, once the meltwater touches the cold eaves, it quickly freezes and forms an ice dam.

If you have a furnace in the attic, it may not be possible to prevent ice dams. Increased insulation, however, should help. First, insulate the areas between the roof rafters. It is important to keep an air space between the roof deck and the insulation in order to prevent a condensation buildup that can delaminate the roof deck. Prior to insulating, install polystyrene rafter air channels, which are available at home centers. Next, lay insulation blankets over the furnace's heating ducts to help reduce the heat buildup in the attic. If there's a hatchway into the attic, build a cover for it out of rigid poly-styrene insulation.

If the gable and ridge vents do not generate sufficient air movement to dissipate the heat, you will need a motorized vent at one end of the attic to exhaust the heat, and an adequately sized vent on the opposite end of the attic to draw in cold air from the outside.

Check your home carefully when ice dams form. Investigate even when there doesn't appear to be a leak. Look at the underside of the roof sheathing and roof trim to make sure they haven't gotten wet. Check the insulation for dampness. And when leaks inside your home develop, be prepared. Water penetration often follows pathways difficult follow. Don't just patch the roof leak. Make sure that the roof sheathing hasn't rotted or that other less obvious problems in your ceiling or walls haven't developed. And then detail a comprehensive plan to fix the damage. But more importantly, solve the problem.

If you experience water damage that requires a water damage/flood restoration expert, please contact Advanced Restoration at (800) 693-6263. Advanced Restoration is a full service property damage restoration company that can respond 24/7 to your water damage situation. We use state-of-the-art equipment to handle structural drying. Our professional staff is also available to handle mold situations that may occur as a result of a water loss. Our service area includes Nassau County, Suffolk County and the New York boroughs. Enjoy the snowfall and stay dry!

Tags: disaster, preventing frozen pipes, floods, ny water damage company, water damage, flooding, winter storm, ice damage, cold winter, advanced restoration, advanced restoration corporation, long island water damage, restoration, water extraction, emergency service, homeowner tips, restoration company, rebuild, flood damage, storm damage, storm, water leaks, frozen pipes, nor'easter, ice storm

FHA 203K Rehab Loan Q&A Summary

Posted on Mon, Dec 21, 2009 @ 11:13 AM
If you are thinking about purchasing a foreclosure in disrepair (needs rehabilitation), you should look into applying for an FHA 203k loan. The 203k program is HUD's primary program for the rehabilitation and repair of single family properties. As such, it is an important tool for community and neighborhood revitalization and for expanding homeownership opportunities.
Listed below are some general questions & answers regarding 203k loans to help you better understand the 203k concept:


Is the Section 203(k) program restricted to single-family dwellings? No. The program can be used for one-to-four unit dwellings. Maximum mortgage limitations are the same as for properties under Section 203(b).
Can Section 203(k) be used to improve a condominium unit? Yes, however, condominium rehabilitation is subject to the following conditions:
A. Owner/occupant and qualified nonprofit borrowers only;
B. Rehabilitation is limited only to the interior of the unit. Mortgage proceeds are not to be used for the rehabilitation of exteriors or other areas which are the responsibility of the condominium association, except for the installation of firewalls in the attic for the unit;
C. Only the lesser of five units per condominium association, or 25 percent of the total number of units, can be undergoing rehabilitation at any one time;
D. The maximum mortgage amount cannot exceed 100 percent of the after-improved value. After rehabilitation is complete, the individual buildings within the condominium must not contain more than four units. By law, Section 203(k) can only be used to rehabilitate units in one-to-four unit structures. However, this does not mean that the condominium project, as a whole, can only have four units or that all individual structures must be detached.

Example: A project might consist of six buildings each containing four units, for a total of 24 units in the project and, thus, be eligible for Section 203(k). Likewise, a project could contain a row of more than four attached townhouses and be eligible for Section 203(k) because HUD considers each townhouse as one structure, provided each unit is separated by a 1 1/2 hour firewall (from foundation up to the roof). Similar to a project with a condominium unit with a mortgage insured under Section 234(c) of the National Housing Act, the condominium project must be approved by HUD prior to the closing of any individual mortgages on the condominium units.


Can a six (or more) unit building be done using the 203(k) program? No. However, the building could be renovated and reduced to a four unit building.

Can nonresidential (storefront) property be eligible for a 203(k) insured loan? Yes. Mixed-use residential property is acceptable provided the property has no greater than 25% (for a one story building); 33% (for a three story building); and 49% (for a two story building) of its floor area used for commercial (storefront) purposes. The rehab funds can only be used for the residential functions of the dwelling and areas used to access the residential part of the property.
Can HUD-owned properties be purchased using the 203(k) loan? Yes. However, the property must be advertised that it is eligible for financing with a 203(k) loan. If the HUD-owned property is purchased with other funds, a 203(k) loan can be made after the property is in the buyers name. In this case, cash back will be allowed to the borrower for a period of six months from purchasing the HUD-owned property.
Can an investor use the 203(k) program?
No. In October, 1996, the Department placed a moratorium on investor participation in the 203(k) Rehabilitation Mortgage Program.

Can a local government agency or a nonprofit organization use the 203(k) program?
Yes. The same qualification requirements will be used as for an owner-occupant of the property.

What is the definition of a First-Time Homebuyer?
A single person or an individual and his or her spouse who have not owned a home (as a tenant in common or as a joint tenant by the entirety) during the three years immediately preceding the date of application for the 203(k) loan. Any individual who is legally separated or divorced cannot be excluded from consideration, because the three-year waiting period does not apply, provided the individual no longer has an interest in the home.

Tags: 203(k) loan, homeowner, property damage, fire restoration, restoration companies, fha, advanced restoration, emergency service, homeowner tips, rebuild, home repair, buying a home, refinance, 203k, 203k streamline, rehab

Time to Light Your Fireplace

Posted on Fri, Dec 18, 2009 @ 09:28 AM


The holidays are just around the corner, and that means families will be entertaining around their fireplaces.fireplace, fire tips,fire damage

Fire safety is a primary ingredient to enjoying the holiday season.  Some firepalce tips include: 

Installation & Use

  • Check the fireplace to make sure it complies with the local building codes.
  • Use protective devices like glass doors or a screen which stops sparks.
  • Install a removable cap on the chimney.
  • Avoid using flammable liquids or garbage to start a fire.
  • Clean out all flammable materials near the fireplace.
  • Use only seasoned hardwood and approved fire tools.
Cleaning
  • Make sure the previous ashes are cleaned out before starting a fire.
  • Use non-combustible containers to remove ashes and remove immediately from the home.
  • Fireplaces require annual inspections and cleaning by a certified chimney sweep.
  • Regular maintenance is needed to remove obstructions and creosote.
Safety

  • Only close the damper when the fire has completely gone out.
  • Never leave a fire burning unattended.

Tags: disaster, property damage, restoration companies, fire recall, fire prevention, smoke damage, christmas tree fire, holiday fire prevention, advanced restoration, restoration, water extraction, emergency service, homeowner tips, restoration company, home repair, fire protection, smoke restoration

Common Origins of Fire Damage

Posted on Fri, Dec 18, 2009 @ 09:11 AM
Fire Startersfire,smoke damage,water damage
Fires have their origins and are classified accordingly.  Like any other kind of manmade disaster they have a starting point. The following are the most common starting points of fire along with some description of how they generally start:

Electrical - fires that originate from this source are due to overblown fuses and short circuits that throw spark.  Frayed wires which overheat in time make combustion possible.  Improper wire connections within the house structure must be promptly corrected.  Many fires that come from an electrical source do not emit any flame at first to show that fire is present.  But a smoke coming from any electrical source should not be taken lightly because of the fact that electrically originated fires are not known to cause a full blown flame.

Candles - candles are normally used when electric power is out and during special occasions.  To be on the safe side, trim the candle's wick once it gets too long making the flame too large. Remove any flammable material like paper, linen, etc that may be caught by the flame.  Always position the candle at a safe distance from wind blown curtains, and use appropriate candle holders that will hold the candle upright to prevent it from toppling and causing a fire.  Be sure to put off any lighted candles before going to sleep.

Smoking - it is better not to smoke inside the house, but if you do then make sure to use ashtrays and to put out the cigarette before you retire to sleep or rest.  Also make it a habit to throw your unlit cigarette butts into proper waste receptacles to avoid littering.

Cleanup and Restoration
In case of a fire disaster, most residential owners due to the lack of any financial resources may want to do the cleaning and restoration procedures by themselves along with the other family members.  While this may sound practical and cost saving, the truth is you are facing a very daunting task of cleaning up the mess and restoring the house to its pre-fire disaster condition, consequently spending more money than expected. 

It would also entail an unnecessary length of time to accomplish the task because you do not have the appropriate tools, equipment and gear necessary to do the job efficiently and properly.  It is commonly suggested that an expert or professional fire damage cleaner is hired to do the job.  For at least they have the experience, the knowledge, correct equipment and adequate manpower to engage with the after effects of the fire.  Just make sure that the professional fire damage cleaner you hire has all the legal documents and certificates to prove that they can do the task of proper cleaning and restoration.

Fire may be inevitable but with the steps and tips above, it can be prevented or at least, damages may be mitigated.

Tags: property damage, fire restoration, water damage, water damage restoration, nassau county restoration, fire prevention, smoke damage, holiday fire prevention, advanced restoration, long island water damage, restoration, emergency service, homeowner tips, restoration company, flood damage, fire protection, smoke restoration

Why Renovate With a 203K Streamlined Loan?

Posted on Mon, Sep 28, 2009 @ 02:19 PM

Because You Can!

I'll keep this very brief...


You are purchasing a home that needs minor repairs (repairs under $35,000 qualify for a streamlined loan). Incorporating the rehab into your mortgage payment allows you to have just one payment. Some highlights include:

  • Loan amounts up to 110% of the home's appraised value; renovation amounts up to $35,000.
  • No work write-up, no inspection required if repairs are less than $15,000 and no HUD consultant required.
  • There is no longer a minimum of $5,000 in repairs for a 203K Streamline.
  • On a 203K Streamline, up to 50% of the rehab amount can be requested immediately following the closing. After closing the work can start.
  • For a 203K Streamline, there is a maximum of 2 draws per contractor.
  • Loan can be used for many improvements, including repair/replacement of: roofs, plumbing, electrical, flooring, minor remodeling, windows, doors, etc.
  • Available for mortgage refinance transactions including those where the property is owned free and clear.

203K Streamlined Loans are available through HUD approved lenders. For more information on how Advanced Restoration can be your 203k contractor, please contact Gary Matzelle at (516) 903-4107.

Tags: foreclosure, 203(k) loan, mortgage, fha, advanced restoration, disrepair, rebuild, home repair, buying a home, 203k, hud, 203k streamline, rehab

Chimney Fire Safety In Your Home

Posted on Fri, Sep 18, 2009 @ 12:53 PM

Source: NY State Office of Fire Prevention & Control

Chimney maintenance for wood burning appliances.

Chimneys are one of the most common locations of residential structure fires in New York State. The Chimney Safety Institute of America reports that creosote accumulation is the leading cause of chimney fires.

A chimney that is dirty, blocked or is in disrepair can inhibit proper venting of smoke up the flue and can also cause a chimney fire. Nearly all residential fires originating in the chimney are preventable.

An annual chimney inspection by a qualified chimney sweep can prevent fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

To keep your home safe from chimney fires follow these guidelines.

Maintenance - Good maintenance is a very important step in preventing chimney fires!

  • Have your chimney checked every year by a qualified chimney professional.
  • Burn only well seasoned hardwoods.
  • Install a chimney cap.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Have your chimney sweep ensure that your chimney has an appropriate liner.
  • Following a violent storm, earthquake, flood or lightening strike, have your chimney inspected for damage - inside and out.

Prevention - Remember prevention is your best defense against fire.

If you have a wood or coal stove, be sure it is installed at least 36 inches away from the wall. Keep combustible materials well away from the stove and chimney connector. Place an approved stove board under the unit to protect the floor from heat and hot coals which might drop out.

Be Prepared - Know what to do in case of fire. If you suspect a chimney fire, evacuate your home and call 9-1-1


Advanced Restoration Corporation is a family-owned and operated full-service property damage restoration company with a combined 75 years experience in dealing with Fire Damage Restoration, Water Damage Restoration, Flood & Storm Damage, Mold Remediation, Smoke Damage Restoration and Reconstruction. We service Long Island (Nassau County, NY; Suffolk County, NY) and the New York Metro area.

When disasters strike, Advanced Restoration is ready to respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You are guaranteed to speak with one of our knowledgeable, caring team members, day or night. Our immediate response to a claim/property loss helps minimize the damages to the structure, contents, and ease the sometime catastrophic effect that a disaster may have on an owner or occupants.

Tags: disaster, fire restoration, burn hazard, fire prevention, smoke damage, puff-back, advanced restoration, restoration, emergency service, home repair, fire protection, smoke restoration

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