Seller’s Disclosures And The Home Inspection In New York Closings

SELLER’S DISCLOSURES AND THE HOME INSPECTION

One of the more frustrating, but necessary elements of representing a seller or buyer of a house is getting through a home inspection. In order to better deal with this ordeal we must first look at why it is so important and then look at the best way to educate the parties as to what to expect. In order to avoid any problems during the process it is best for the parties to be forth right and make sure it is clear to all the parties as to what their obligations are.

WHY IS THE INSPECTION SO IMPORTANT

New York is what is known in legal jargon as a “Caveat Emptor state” which literally means “Let the buyer beware” This has been handed down through old English common law. The buyer in New York must insure that everything with the property is satisfactory before they sign the contract and unless the contract sets forth conditions which seller must correct the buyer is purchasing the property “AS IS”. There are certain customary conditions which seller will insure, such as the treatment of termites, and most contracts will provide that appliances, plumbing, heating and electric systems will be in working order AT THE TIME OF CLOSING. There are no guarantees or warranties provided. The electric system may be working at the time of closing, but a buyer may discover after they move in that the 60 amp service that was adequate for the 85 year old seller, who has owned the house for 70 years, is not adequate to run an air conditioner and charge a cell phone at the same time. There is no recourse once the contract is signed. First time buyer’s usually are surprised to find this out and I am often asked “What happens if the washer breaks the day after we close” of which I reply “Welcome to home ownership”.

ARE SELLERS REQUIRED TO DISCLOSE

Case law has created exceptions to the Caveat Emptor rule. Even though the buyer must do their own due diligence before purchasing a house, the seller can not intentionally conceal defects. So if a Seller knows of a defect they can not purposely cover it up and make it difficult for a buyer to discover. A Seller must also disclose any material facts which a reasonable buyer would want to know before committing to buying a property. The clearest example would be if there had been a horrific crime, such as the murders of the Difeos in the famous “Amityville Horror” house. It would be reasonable to assume that a buyer would want to know of such an occurrence. New York courts have found that a seller must even disclose the fact that a house has a reputation of being haunted, even though there have been no proven occurrences of any hauntings. The New York Supreme Court found that the fact that the house had a reputation in the community as being haunted required that seller, and their agent disclose this to potential buyers. I recently had a case where a buyer was purchasing a large estate and a new survey disclosed a small cemetery on the property. The grave markers were from the 18th and 19th Century. This was never disclosed and was in a wooded section of the property and not easily discovered. My client’s loved the property and actually found the presence of the cemetery “cool” so it did not effect their decision to purchase the home, however, if my client’s were not so open minded I am certain that we would have had reasonable cause to terminate the contract due to seller’s failure to disclose.

The New York State property condition disclosure act

In order to protect buyers from the harsh reality of the states “Caveat Emptor” tradition in 2002 New York State Legislature enacted Article 14 of the Real Property Law, known as the “property condition disclosure act”. The law, in my opinion, has provided the buyer with no further protections. The law requires a Seller to prepare an in depth property condition disclosure statement and provide it to prospective buyers at the onset of the transaction. You can find a copy of the required statement online by searching New York State property condition disclosure Statement. The statement goes into details of all known conditions to the property, however, imposes no liability upon seller if they are incorrect. What makes the law even more ineffective is the fact that the Seller can “opt out”. The seller can elect not to provide the disclosure and in turn will be required to give the buyer a credit of $500.00 at the time of closing. Oddly, this is roughly the cost of the home inspection. Even if a Seller is willing to give the disclosure I strongly urge that the purchaser obtain an inspection. I advise them that you can not rely on the sellers statement. If the Seller is mistaken or dishonest, your sole recourse would be to sue the seller. Nobody wins in such cases except the lawyers. Better to do your due diligence and greatly reduce any possible issues.

ADVISE PARTIES OF INSPECTION REALITIES

Outside of these exceptions it is up to the buyer to “discover” any defects. Most lay people, myself included, have no idea what they are looking at when they commit to buy a house. They look at the room size, the amenities, the appliances, the schools, the neighborhood the kitchen cabinets. All important considerations, however, most do not look at the foundation, the age of the roof, the condition of the heating or air conditioning system, the plumbing and electric. Of those that do look at these items only a very few actually know what they are looking at. Hence the need for a Home Inspection. Many brokers and sellers fear the home inspection and feel that many are deal killers. To some extent they are correct. But as I often say it is not WHAT is said it is HOW it is said. Expectation is everything.

When I am first contacted by a seller, I advise them to do their homework and make sure that they get the house ready. They should take an inventory and be aware of the defects and short comings of the property. They should be aware if any certificates of occupancy or compliance are needed, and when possible they should correct defects and obtain needed certificates. If they are unwilling to make corrections this should be disclosed to buyer when negotiating the contract and purchase price. If, using the example of the house with 60 amp service, you advise the buyer that the electric will need to be upgraded when negotiating the price, the buyer will not be able to renegotiate after the home inspection for this reason.

When a buyer retains me to represent them in connection with their purchase I encourage them to obtain a home inspection for all the reasons stated above. I feel it is very important that I explain that the inspector is hired to find things wrong and let them know that the inspection is as more an educational tool than a negotiating tool. I strongly encourage them to attend and stay with the inspector. Most of all, ask a lot of questions. The inspector will inform you of how things operate and what you will need to know to maintain all the systems of the home. Again, they will find problems, this is not a new house and there will most likely be things that are inadequate and need attention. I advise them that these things fall into 3 categories, The obvious, the acceptable and the deal breaker. The obvious being that the price was which agreed upon was based upon the apparent condition of the property, If the front door has a big crack down the middle of it is disingenuous to renegotiate the price after the inspection because the front door has a crack. This condition was obvious and taken into account when negotiating the original price.

Where the inspection comes more into play is where there are conditions disclosed which the buyer had no way of knowing when agreeing on the price. Lets use, for example, the roof. A buyer with out any disclosures otherwise given, will assume that the roof is in good shape when agreeing on the price. The inspection discloses that the roof has three layers of shingles and is at the end of it’s useful life and that it will need replacement in the next year at the cost of at least $15,000.00. When this happens I get the panicked call from the buyer saying that “THE SELLER HAS TO FIX THIS”. The first thing I say is that the seller does not have to do anything. The seller can simply say too bad take it as is or move on. It is important to immediately present this situation to the seller and see if they are willing to move off the purchase price or make other concessions towards resolution of the issue. A lot comes into play with this regard, and a lot has to do with market situations. If the Seller feels that they are “giving away” the house (and what seller does not feel that way) they are going to be less amenable to making any concessions. However if the seller is more realistic and does not want to lose the buyer, they may be willing to reduce the price.

Same goes for the buyers end. I explain to the buyer that it is great that they discovered the problem with the roof, but it does not necessarily mean that they should forgo the deal if the seller is not willing to make any repairs or concessions. With the knowledge obtained from the home inspection the buyer will reduce the “element of surprise” and will know what they are getting into and what to expect in the future. They will be able to budget for the repair and when the time comes they will be ready. The buyer must take all this into account. They know the market and may ffe that the house is still a good deal even though they will be faced with this capital expenditure in the upcoming year, or the costs of eventual repairs may cause the house to become unaffordable. When buyers decide to go forward with the deal with the bad roof, where the seller refused to negotiate any repair or reduction, I let them know that it is going to suck when it comes time to repair the roof, but at least you had the opportunity to prepare and by the way “Welcome to Home Ownership”.

Rolling Stock of the New York City Subway System

Subway Cars:

Subway cars are, in essence, the heart of any underground rapid transit system on rails and numerous types have served the New York network during its more than a century of operation.

The IND’s R-1s, for instance, ushered in a new designation scheme for the unified system. Initiated by the Board of Transportation and maintained by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), it employed an “R” prefix to denote revenue control combined with the number of the contract awarded to the subway car manufacturer. Consecutive numbers indicated successive contracts for identical or virtually identical coaches, which sometimes featured minor modifications, while a letter suffix, such as “A,” usually denoted an upgrade.

As the basic design for the IND’s fleet throughout the 1930s, the R-1 was succeeded by contracts R-4, -6, -7, and -9, which resulted in a 1,703-car production run.

The R-10, also for the IND, represented the first post-war and therefore new-generation type. Built by the American Car and Foundry Company between 1948 and 1949, it offered several advanced features, including all-welded construction; a single, 100-hp traction motor on each of four axles; both pneumatic and dynamic braking; a brake pipe pressure increase from 70 to 110 psi; and generators that served as brakes by reducing motor speed. A more rounded roof modified its external appearance, replacing the former, and sharper, clerestory one, while interior appointments included fluorescent lighting and smaller ceiling fans. Four hundred of these “SMEE”-or straight air motor electric-pneumatic emergency cars-were produced.

The R-12, dimensionally the IRT equivalent of the IND’s R-10s, incorporated the same propulsion, braking, ventilation, and window features in a 51-foot-long and 8.9-foot-wide (as measured at the door sill) car, but introduced double passenger doors, side seats (for 48 passengers), and poles to replace the former grab handles.

Manufactured by the American Car and Foundry Company, it became a welcomed sight when it appeared on the barge transporting it across the East River from the Hoboken Rail Terminal in 1948 because World War II-created material shortages had squeezed the last mile out of the coaches they replaced. The type was inaugurated into service on the IRT Flushing line.

Because of unsatisfactory performance, its predecessor R-11, constructed by the Budd Company in 1949, never preceded beyond the initial order for ten, although it had featured several innovations, including stainless steel bodies, modern interiors, germicidal lamps, public address systems, disc brakes, and electric door motors.

The IRT division’s fleet renewal needs were filled with several successive contracts whose cars were based upon the R-12. The R-15, for example, featured arched roofs, two portable windows in each passenger door, and leatherette longitudinal seats, and later sported maroon paint schemes with beige stripes.

Five years after car #6239 entered service, it was retrofitted with an air conditioning system, the first in the New York subway system to do so. But this apparently not ready for prime time novelty itself succumbed to the heat when it failed after only two weeks of operation.

The intermittent R-16, dimensionally conforming to the BMT and IND “B” division, was made by the American Car and Foundry Company between 1954 and 1955. Introducing a new body style, built up of steel sheets, it appeared in Pullman green colors with exposed screws, and sported rectangular-windowed passenger doors, fluorescent lights, recessed Axiflow ceiling fans, and public address systems.

Measuring 60 feet, like the IND cars, it was the heaviest at such a length, weighing 85,000 pounds and was used to inaugurate service to Rockaway Beach in 1956 on abandoned Long Island Railroad tracks.

The R-17, the “A” division counterpart, was manufactured by the St. Louis Car Company and the first of the 400 ordered were inaugurated into service in 1955 on the Pelham Bay-Lexington Avenue route.

Other than a few subtle style variations, the succeeding R-21s and -22s were identical to this standard.

The R-26, of which 210 were produced by the American Car and Foundry Company from 1959 to 1960, was the IRT equivalent of the articulated car, although it was operated in a “married pair” configuration in which neither was autonomous enough to run without the other. Even numbered ones, for instance, featured motor generators and batteries for low voltage power, while the odd numbered ones sported air compressors, main reservoirs, and brake equipment feed valves. Passengers were accommodated in molded fiberglass seats.

Three subsequent contracts, for 770 cars based upon this design, were awarded to the St. Louis Car Company and designated R-29s, -33s, and -36s, the first of which was deployed on the Broadway-Seventh Avenue local line.

The same company was also awarded the R-27, -30, and -30a contracts for 550 “B” division coaches, the first of which was delivered in 1960 and placed in service on the local Fourth Avenue and Brighton line route.

During the eight-year period from 1953, when New York State legislature created the New York City Transit Authority as a separate public corporation to operate all of the city-owned subway routes, and 1961, a prosperous period generated unprecedented rider demand, and the subway system itself embarked upon a substantial station improvement and fleet renewal program. The R-30s, along with R-27s and R-30as, replaced half of the BMT fleet at this time.

Operating as married pairs, the cars were able to share parts, thus offering both equipment and maintenance cost savings. Odd-numbered cars, for instance, were equipped with air compressors for their brakes, while even-numbered ones offered motor generators and batteries to power motorman controls. Retaining the dark green exteriors and blue and gray interior color schemes of the previous R-16s, the R-30s, as well as the R-27s and R-30as, sported plastic, lengthwise seating benches.

An historically important car was the R-33S. Nicknamed “bluebird,” it was a tri-door car painted with a unique powder blue and off-white livery and used on 11-car “World’s Fair Express” trains, shuttling more than 51 million passengers from Times Square to Flushing Meadow Park during the 1964-1965 event. Operated in a “married pair” configuration, it otherwise formed part of ten-car, or five-set, trains and most were later rebuilt in the Coney Island Overhaul Shop. The “S” in its designation indicated a single cab. All others had two, installed at either end.

Although these contracts enabled the “B” division to commence its modernization program, and the R-17, -21, -22, -26, -29, -33, and -36 series facilitated the “A” division’s own, the BMT itself had still been saddled with 600 of its original “A-B” Standards and all of its articulated D-types, while the IND continued to operate all of its 1930 designs. What followed, then, were the first next-generation cars.

Designated “Brightliners,” these 60-foot-long coaches were the first to introduce fluted stainless steel construction, replacing the previous conventional steel material, and represented the first contract (R-32) awarded to the Budd Company of Philadelphia. They featured several improvements, one of which almost became a hindrance. Although their lower gross weights-of 70,000 pounds versus the 80,000 of, say, an R-27-gave them sprightly performance, that very weight reduction exerted less pressure on their suspension systems and therefore decreased the clearances within the BMT route network.

Initial deployment saw operation on the line’s Sea Beach, West End, and Brighton routes.

A subcontract for the R-32a resulted in interior lighting modifications.

Nevertheless, both types enabled the BMT to complete its modernization program by 1965.

Refocusing its efforts on the IND side of the program, the Transit Authority ordered 200 R-38 cars in 1966 from the St. Louis Car Company, and these offered several innovations, including lower-body fluted siding; a single console for power controls, indication lights, and brake valves in the motorman’s cab; and an electrical load sensor, which adjusted their braking action based upon car weight, itself a function of passenger load. The type was placed in service on the “E” and “F” lines.

Although the subsequent R-40 “St. Louis Car” eliminated the boxy appearance characteristic of rapid transit rolling stock, it sacrificed practicality for aesthetics. Slightly curved sides and slanted ends, almost suggesting monorail lineage, precluded safe, inter-car passage during movement because of the excessive gaps between them, and end doors were consequently locked and supplemented with a tangle of side hardware, such as slanted grab irons, low handholds with and without pantograph gates, and high handholds.

Of the 400 cars produced by the St. Louis Car Company between 1967 and 1968, the last 100, designated R-40Ms, appeared with vertical ends, greatly increasing their subway application.

The follow-on R-42, of which another 400 were built, was identical and featured air conditioning systems from inception, others in the series requiring retrofits. The type saw service on all “B” division routes.

In order to reduce the net number of cars per train, along with their operational and maintenance costs, yet maintain overall passenger capacity, the Transit Authority ordered 352 coaches from the St. Louis Car Company under contract R-44, in effect introducing a third “B” division length of 75 feet after the 60 feet of the R-1s and the 67 feet of the “A-B” Standards. Fifty-two of these cars were operated by the Staten Island Rapid Transit System, which offers no inter-track connection with the New York City subway network.

Featuring four 115-hp motors and composition brake shoes to replace the formerly standard cast iron ones, the R-44 intermittently offered full-width cabs for the motorman and the conductor and re-introduced the mixed transverse and longitudinal seating configuration.

Equipment varied according to car type. “A” cars, for example, offered air compressors, main reservoirs, and low voltage equipment. “B” cars provided traction motors, control groups, air reservoirs, and brake controls.

Although the type achieved a subway car record of 87.75 mph when it was run on the 5.9-mile Long Island Railroad track from Woodside to Jamaica on January 31, 1972, its scheduled service, initially on the “A,” “D,” “E,” and “F” lines, revealed an excessive number of mechanical issues.

Pullman Standard was awarded the contract for its 75-foot-long complement, but its promise, despite a new design feature, quickly plummeted. The R-46, whose 750-strong order represented the largest single one in subway history, introduced a new truck with an air suspension system designed by Rockwell International to replace the quarter-century standard one made by General Steel Industries, but it ultimately developed cracks. Initial operations saw its deployment on the former IND Queens line.

The next round of subway car replacements, now targeted at the “A” division, signaled the next-generation of cars.

Because of the rapid and massive nature of the system’s 24-hour-per-day operation, the now-aging state of the IRT R-14s, -15s, -17s, -21s, and 22s wailed for replacement and funding provided by the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s five-year capital improvement plan facilitated acquisition of 1,150 of them, 325 of which were ordered from Kawasaki Heavy Industries of Japan under contract R-62 on April 12, 1982 and 825 of which were obtained from Bombardier of Quebec, Canada, under contract R-62A seven months later, on November 15. The later incorporated different types of motors and brakes.

Both incorporated heavyweight components for optimum longevity and minimum maintenance costs and a high degree of part interchangeability, but these 51-foot-long, 74,500-pound coaches also offered several innovations, including stainless steel construction with fiberglass end caps, multi-tone rubber flooring, heavy sound insulation, corner cabs, dual (power and brake) motorman handles, and contoured fiberglass seating.

The type entered service on the #4 line on May 7, 1984.

Its “B” division counterpart, constructed under contracts R-68 and -68A by, respectively, Westinghouse-Amrail and Kawasaki, were deployed on the “B,” “D,” and “G” lines and on the Franklin Shuttle.

21stCentury Rolling Stock and Routes:

The New York City subway system, by its very rapid transit nature, is not a static entity and can therefore only exist by creating the routes its riders need and purchasing the rolling stock to serve them.

Shortly before the 21stcentury dawned, it had turned its attention toward the latter by ordering two five-car R-110A sets from Kawasaki for “A” division routes and three three-car R-110B units from Bombardier for the “B” division network. Both were intended as new-technology prototypes.

Tested in order to provide performance and system evaluation, they featured welded steel construction, AC traction motors, battery power operation, air bag suspension, computerized traction and braking control, electronically controlled door motors, automatic announcements, automatic climate control, and electronic route and destination signage.

Most of these features were incorporated in the subsequently ordered R-142 (680 from Bombardier) and -142A (400 from Kawasaki) in 1997. With a 51-foot overall length and 8.9-foot width, the type offered a 70,000-pound empty weight and maximum, 62-mph design speeds.

Configurations of both varied. “A” cars, with a single cab and two motor trucks, offered seating for 34 and standing room for 148, while “B” units, devoid of cabs and equipped with a single motor truck, respectively accommodated 40 and 142.

Inaugurated into service on July 10, 2000 on the former IRT #6 line, the new Millennium R-142 cars replaced most of the earlier-generation R-26, -28, -29, -33, and -36 “Redbirds,” so nicknamed because of the red body and silver roof paint schemes they had sported.

The dimensionally comparable “B” division R-160A (400 ordered from Alstom of France) and -160B (260 from Kawasaki) were intended as R-32, -38, -40, -40M, and -42 replacements and were inaugurated into service on December 22, 2008 on the “E” line.

Although the New York City subway system’s foundation was laid when it became unified, its network, like the trains that ply its track, hardly remained stationary.

Both the Archer Avenue subway and the 63rdStreet tunnel opened between 1988 and 1989, for example, and the latter’s connection to the Queens Boulevard tracks was completed in 2001. Other projects included the South Ferry Terminal #1 line, the Fulton Street Transit Center, and the westward extension of the #7 line. But the most massive redimensioning of the system occurred when a significant gap in its coverage was definitively plugged with the Second Avenue subway line.

Thirteen years before the elevated tracks that had once plied the route had been razed in 1942, proposals to replace them with a subterranean passage had already been discussed and, with demolition of the Third Avenue el 14 years later, the service gap became more gaping than the excavations needed to plug it would have. Yet, while the plan behind it lapsed, its need only rose: East Side neighborhoods, once predominantly industrial, experienced their own metamorphosis, serving as a magnet for population redistributions as their profiles reflected decided commercial, corporate, and residential sides.

Microscopically, the very same conditions which had originally given rise to the subway system at the turn of the 20thcentury occurred in this pocket of Manhattan-namely, devoid of either elevated or underground lines, riders were forced to use the only remaining transportation artery-the streets, whose increasingly clogged conditions screamed of the need for an alternative before they were choked into motionless silence.

The closest subway lines, the IRT #4, 5, and 6 that ran below Lexington Avenue, were logistically too distant and, instead of serving as a rapid transit convenience, only became the opposite to those across town.

Although a second vision foresaw a dual-track routing from Lower Manhattan to the Bronx-and several tunnels facilitating it had already been dug-financial constraints during the 1970s served more of an obstacle to it than the rock through which its lines would have to be bored.

The idea, at least in theory, never fully died and, like a ten-car train, regained momentum at the end of the 20thcentury with the Manhattan East Side Alternatives (MESA) study of 1995, which determined that the existing #4 and 5 lines could not adequately meet the demand-and part of that demand stemmed from riders who lived or worked up to a half-mile from its stations.

One of the 20 proposed remedies was to continue to lay a Second Avenue subway line and it was selected, with ground broken for it on April 12, 2007. Running below its namesaked avenue from the Financial District to 125thStreet, the dual-track infrastructure provided West Side and Brooklyn access by means of a 63rdStreet tunnel link to existing tracks.

The four-phase construction project entailed an initial 96thto 63rdStreet line, itself an extension of the “Q” train, and then a westward, cross-town routing for an “F” line interchange at 63rdStreet itself. Following existing, but unused track below Central Park, it would resume its southerly direction beneath Seventh Avenue, crossing the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn.

After more than a century, the New York City subway system would ultimately be able to correct the inherent imbalance created by its West Side routing concentration.

Followed its own Track:

The New York subway system reshaped the city it served until it ultimately reshaped itself.

Currently divided into “A” division or former IRT numbered lines and “B” division or previous BMT and IND lettered lines, it is the world’s largest, 24-hour rapid transit system, with underground, elevated, ground-level, open-cut, and embankment routes, serving 468 stations via 842 duplicated revenue and non-revenue track miles plied by 6,282 cars, which, in 2011, collectively traveled 342.7 million miles and transported over 1.6 billion passengers.

More than anything, however, it ended up following its own track. Extending from its Manhattan heart, it pumped the population through it, like arteries, to its outer Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens boroughs, creating a cohesive metropolis that operated as a single whole, until three decades after it had first put wheels on its rails, it turned around and unified itself-as the New York City subway system.

Pre-Fabricated Steel Buildings In New York

When someone is talking about New York, most people think of New York City, NY with its skyscrapers, taxicabs, and Starbucks on every corner. However, outside of the city and the hustle and bustle of city life resides American workers who rely on the agricultural, manufacturing, and mining industries to support themselves and their families. Having a safe, reliable unit to house these workers is of the utmost importance in any industry.

In NY in particular, it is difficult to maintain a building cost effectively. Fortunately, innovations in pre-fabricated steel buildings solve the costly problems that others types of buildings have. New York’s unique climate takes its toll on a building. Hot humid summers and melting snow can cause mold and damage the structural integrity of most building types. Steel framed buildings however are not susceptible to mold. The high strength of steel is excellent for supporting heavy snow loads and withstanding heavy wind loads, such as those from hurricanes and blizzards. Steel buildings can also be made with special paints that are guaranteed not to rust. High quality steel buildings are not only stronger and more durable, they are also much more cost-effective. They typically cost up to 50% less than buildings composed of other materials; and as mentioned before, maintenance costs will be drastically reduced, adding further to expense savings.

In addition to being structurally cost-efficient, pre-fabricated buildings, when coupled with proper insulation, are exceptionally effective at reducing electric expenses. Pre-fabricated buildings are constructed of components that are specifically designed and produced for your building. This means that when built your building will fit together like a puzzle to seal out the harsh heat in summer and the bitter cold air in winter. Whether constructing a building as a storage and/or production facility, or a place of business or for your home, you and your products will be protected in a better temperature regulated environment. If you wish to take it one step further towards lowering your electricity bills-which less face it, we all could afford to do-here are a few other steel building options that would benefit any New Yorker:

Reflective sheet metal roof and siding panels to reflect the hot sun and reduce heat transfer
Solar panels mounted or integrated into the roof to reduce your dependency on the increasingly expensive electricity from your local electric company
Skylights to utilize natural light (make sure they are weather sealed to maintain efficient temperature regulation)
Come-on New Yorkers, with all of these benefits it should come to now surprise why steel buildings are common in the big city; so why not take advantage of these benefits in your life and business outside of the big apple? Steel buildings are still growing in popularity, especially for use in smaller sized buildings. Built faster to last longer, almost seems to good to be true. Right? Well it’s not, big or small; steel is the most cost efficient building material of our time today.

Cristina La Fevers is a Civil Engineer, E.I. currently finishing her MBA in international business. Her experience is in civil projects with a focus in construction management. She has a passion for sustainable building and is very interested in keeping up with the future trends of the construction industry.

New York Hostels

When you’re booking a holiday to New York you want to be able to take as much spending money as possible so you can come back with a new wardrobe! You can cut costs on accommodation by staying in a hostel rather than a hotel and there are some great ones to stay at in New York. I’ve written a short review on my top 2.

The first hostel is called The New York Loft which is one of the trendiest hostels located in Brooklyn. It looks like an old style New York warehouse with a minimalistic feel which makes the rooms even more spacious. Its only 10 minutes away from Union Square and is located right next to a subway giving you easy access to the sites of New York! The best bit about this hostel is that it has a Jacuzzi in the garden and a swimming pool on the roof which is perfect in the summer when you need to cool off. Its other facilities include free breakfast, free wireless internet and a common room complete with computers and a flat screen TV. Prices start from about £12 for a mixed dorm with an ensuite and the maximum stay is 29 days!

The second hostel has a more central location on 7th Avenue and is called L-Hostel (the ‘L’ stands for luxury). This is one of the more recently refurbished hostels in New York and is the best option for those who aren’t sure about the idea of staying in a hostel because it feels more like a hotel! They have tried to give L-Hostel a ‘hotel feel’ by having marble bathrooms, a private roof terrace and modern furniture. The top floor contains private rooms which have their own private roof deck! They even have their own cafe and grocery where you can buy food to cook in the recently decorated kitchen or on the barbecues outside. It also has a common room with TVs and free wireless internet. Prices range from £12 to £30 per night and the largest of the dorms can sleep up to 16 people.

How To Hire The Best Sign Company Out There?

A business sign is the immediate identity of your company. It helps create instant awareness about your store and builds up a steady clientele. Choosing the right company to handle your business signs is a crucial task. It is of paramount importance to ensure that a sign company has everything that it takes to create and manufacture signs that will boost your business further.

Choosing the best company can be a daunting task if you don’t know where to start. This article will help you decide the best signage manufacturers in your area. If you are in the process of hunting the most deserving company, try to consider the following:

1. Manpower and Staffing

If you want an indoor or outdoor signage for your new store, you want it to be there the moment you open your business or else it is of no use. Thus, make sure that the company you’re choosing has enough staff to handle the job on time. Besides this, you also need to take a look at their skills and qualifications. Select a company with competent layout artists and graphics designers that will turn your vision for the best sign into reality.

2. Sophisticated Equipment

Monument signs speak a great deal about your business. To ensure that your business sign will be made with the highest quality, assess the facilities and equipment of the sign design company. Old fashioned printers and manual fabrication will not be enough for intricate details of your signage. Companies that use cutting edge technologies in signage making have the edge as they have more flexibility in accepting business signs regardless of materials and layouts.

3. Installation Services

For a holistic service, choose a sign company with the capability to install your brand signage anytime, anywhere. It is recommended to select a firm that offers installation services to avoid spending additional money for installing the signs. Attempting to do-it-yourself is not recommended as any damage to the signage can void its warranty.

4. Check Previous Sign Projects

It pays off to check finished products previously done by the signage company for other clients. Should you feel that the product is not up to par with your standards, continue doing your hunt until you have found the company that suits your taste to get the job done well.

Never allow a second-rate signage represent your business. To ensure that you are not taken advantage of by scam signage companies, make it a habit of taking these tips into consideration in searching for the best manufacturer in your area.

Go on a Shopping Spree in Kansas City

If you are a shopaholic, Kansas City is surely going to be a paradise for you. Kansas City is known to be loved by shoppers from around the world since the city has a unique collection of various kinds of arts and crafts, jewellery, designer collections, apparels and footwear. The first outdoor shopping mall in the US was started here and that was just a beginning of the shopping revolution. Kansas City stores are filled with varied collections for different tastes. They have numerous items that you would love to take back home as souvenirs and if you are fond of collecting world arts, this city will truly amaze you.

Where to Shop

Kansas City shopping is filled with options for every shopaholic. You can go to local boutiques, beautiful shops, departmental stores, promotional stores, discount outlets and vintage stores that offer you a traditional shopping experience. If you want to spend a day understanding the shopping culture of this locality, you must visit The Country Club Plaza. It is the entertainment hub of the city and has everything you need to shop till you drop.

From designer labels, to local favourites, awesome accessories to fashionable apparels, you will find everything you need. With over 170 shops in this huge shopping plaza, it is no surprise that this is the most loved shopping destination here.

Few other places that offer an impeccable shopping experiences include the Oak Park mall, Zona Rosa, One Nineteen Leawood, Legends Outlets, Town Centre Plaza and many more.

Availing Discounts while Shopping

If you are a shopaholic, you will surely spend more money on shopping than you should. If you want to indulge in crazy shopping, Kansas City has a variety of discount stores where you can shop at affordable prices and take home much more in a small price. The Legends Outlets in Kansas City is a renowned discount shopping destination where you can get brands like Gap, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor and many more at reduced prices.

Feed your Mind, Body and Soul

Kansas City also has a number of malls that are all-inclusive. You can spend a complete day in the mall with shopping, indulging on delicious food, pampering yourself with spas and massages and enjoying a movie as well. With so many fun-filled activities along with shopping, it is truly going to be a day filled with happiness!

Shopping here is a complete experience filled with fashion, style, design, affordability and innovation. You will take home not just many shopping bags, but also a bag full of delightful memories.

Regaining Top Shape – The Benefits of a Tummy Tuck

Sometimes, no matter how much work you put into exercising, results just aren’t showing up in the intended fashion. This can become especially true for those who are a bit older, where fat deposits tend to find a solid resting place in the abdominal area. While this sort of trouble can impact both men and women, women who have undergone pregnancies are more likely to be experiencing the true frustration that comes along with wanting to lose weight, but feeling out of control when it comes to being able to actually make it work.

The good news is that there are a few different ways to get the help needed that will make diet and exercise seem to have a greater impact. One of the most common procedures in plastic surgery these days is actually a tummy tuck, which makes it possible to remove that excess fat. In addition to getting rid of the source of the problem, a tummy tuck can actually stretch the skin in a manner where there is less of a risk of experiencing any sort of drooping or sagging. This means that weight loss won’t have the unfortunate side effect of the appearance of extra skin, which can cause both men and women to think twice about sporting bare midriffs at the beach.

Whether you’re living in San Diego or Kansas City, a tummy tuck can do wonders towards improving self-confidence and making shopping for clothing easier. Since the look of a “beer gut” or chubby belly isn’t exactly what those on the dating scene might be looking for, despite what people tend to say about being open-minded, deciding to undergo the procedure can suddenly make it considerably easier to get out there and meet the right person. For women who are happily married but whose bodies are showing the wear of childbirth, the decision to get a tummy tuck can be to feel sexy again. After all of the strain of pregnancy, any woman who feels as though something as simple as a tummy tuck could reignite the flames of passion is more than justified in the decision to do something that boosts self-confidence.

It is important, when considering a tummy tuck, to remember that if there is more weight loss in the future, waiting on the procedure might be a better idea. This way, the final results will last longer and have more of an impact. Anyone else who is convinced that this is the right step on the path to a happier relationship with one’s body will find that a tummy tuck is definitely a helpful way to get things moving in the right direction.

Types of Storage Services

There are several types of storage services at Kansas City self-storage. When we say ‘types’, we not only point at the different types of services offered by a facility but also the different types of facilities that exist in this industry. The concept of storing has undergone several changes and up gradation.

It has seen remarkable improvement that is in the favor of end users. Though the shift has been gradual, there still exist the old-fashioned units. Whether it is a modern day unit or a traditional one, self storage has several advantages. Here, we shall discuss the importance and the shift in this industry from a simple storing facility to a technologically advanced facility.

Advantages Of Kansas City Self-Storage Services

Basic unit – As the name suggests, the basic unit provides limited facilities. These units may not have technologically advanced services or adopt fancy measures for enhancing the customer’s experience. They simply provide a facility for storing your belongings and their objective is very clear. They know the purpose of the facility and offer simple storing solutions. The unit may not offer privacy or confidentiality. The owner can access your unit or shift your belongings if the need arises. The unit is maintained with a simple lock and key system.

This method of storing may not have state of the art services but has one major advantage, i.e. low rental. The monthly rental charges at such Kansas City self-storage is a small amount. The facility provider can offer lower rates because there aren’t any overhead costs involved. The units are not fancy. They are not staffed well and do not have special security measures. They may not offer protection from theft or natural calamities etc. These are some of the disadvantages of a storage unit. Therefore, if you are looking for a unit to store your not so important or valuable items then an old-fashioned basic unit is good enough.

Advanced unit – As compared to the basic unit, an advanced Kansas City self-storage unit will have several facilities. For instance, it will be equipped with armed security guards, alarm systems, CCTV cameras, bio-metric card system etc. The unit will be staffed well and offer additional customer service through phone and internet. It will be accessible throughout the day or night unlike the basic unit that can be accessed only for few hours during the day. However, all these facilities will come at a premium cost; you have to pay a higher rental for such services.

State of the art unit – The advanced units have gone one-step ahead and offer technologically advanced services. There are several such state of the art facilities at Kansas City self-storage. For instance, the climate-controlled technology is a giant leap in this industry. Temperature controlled units will maintain an optimal temperature inside the unit to safeguard your belongings from humidity or weather damage. In fact, some of them will pump in dry air at regular intervals to ensure that the unit is free of humidity. Indeed, this industry has seen a lot of innovation and development.

Top 10 Fashion Designers on Earth

The fashion world is driven by some of the most inspiring and creative designers whose designs have been appreciated by all and sundry. Check out the top 10 fashion designers in the world, who have given a new dimension to the world of fashion.

Marc Jacobs

A top-notch American fashion designer, Marc is the head designer of famous brands Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs. Previously, he was the creative director of French design house Louis Vuitton and his designs turned Louis Vuitton into a fashion powerhouse from a luggage firm.

Kate Spade

If you love handbags, then Kate Spade is definitely your best friend. Born in Kansas, Kate started her journey in the fashion world by designing handbags and co-founded Kate Spade Handbags along with Joel Franklin in 1993. In 1996, she was awarded America’s New Fashion Talent in Accessories, for her designs by the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

Tom Ford

Tom Ford is not just a fashion designer, but also a movie director. Tom gained prominence after turning the fortunes of Gucci from near bankruptcy. After leaving Gucci, he launched his line of menswear, eye-wear and other accessories.

Donatella Versace

A noted Italian fashion designer, Donatella took the Versace Group to new heights after the death of her brother Gianni Versace. Donatella ensured that Versace has its presence in major fashion centers around the world. Presently, she is the Vice-President as well the chief designer of the Versace Group.

Valentino Garavani

Valentino started his career in 1959 when he established his own fashion house in Rome. Valentino became famous for designing dresses for Jacqueline Kennedy and since then he has designed clothes for many famous and powerful people.

Ralph Lauren

A legendary fashion designer, Ralph is best known for the Polo Ralph Lauren clothing brand. He is credited for inventing the first polo style logo for women’s suit that was designed around the men’s classic style. This became a rage and he is one of the first fashion designers to formulate the short sleeve shirt with the polo emblem.

Giorgio Armani

Giorgio has been in the fashion world for over four decades and he is known for his clean, tailored lines. He began his career as a window dresser and later shifted his focus to menswear. Giorgio is also known for his marketing skills in the fashion world.

Betsey Johnson

A famous American designer, Betsey is known for her feminine and whimsical designs. She designed her first line of clothes way back in 1970 and they became hugely popular among rock and roll musicians. She has also forayed into designing bags, accessories and scarves.

Karl Lagerfeld

Karl is a renowned German fashion designer, whose trademark high starched collars, black glasses and white hair make him easily recognizable in the world of fashion. Karl is also a well-known artist and photographer.

Jean Paul Gaultier

A famous French fashion designer, Jean served as the creative director of Hermès from 2003 to 2010. Apart from owning several labels, Jean has also licensed a line of perfumes in association with Puig.

Kansas Vital Records Can Replace Your Family’s Important Information

It’s not uncommon to experience a family tragedy and you lose much of your life’s belongings. Along with the loss of clothes, pictures, and furniture, documents like birth certificates or marriage licenses could be destroyed. Sometimes this information is kept in a safe, but not everyone is fortunate to have one in their home. This is why Kansas vital records is the place to go if you need information on your immediate family.

Only immediate family members can retrieve information like birth, death, marriage and divorce records. This protects the information from being used in an unlawful fashion and from people taking on new identities. Most of the records can be found at the state’s Department of Vital Statistics in Topeka, with records being kept up to 1911. The county clerk of courts may have information prior to this, so it’s worth a visit.

Another place to search for information prior to 1911 is the Kansas Historical Society and much of this is available to the public. However, if you’re in need of a new birth certificate, make sure you have all information in order proving your identity. The fastest way would be to visit the office in Topeka, but make sure you come prepared. A visit to their webpage or a quick phone call prior to coming may be helpful. If you request something via mail, it can take up to three days for a reply.

Pros:
* Walk-ins are acceptable and you may only have to wait 20 minutes.
* Kansas Historical Society is open to the public.

Cons:
* Only immediate family members can get information.
* Information from another state wouldn’t be available.

Don’t despair if vital documents are lost or destroyed in a tragedy, the Kansas vital records will be available to assist your family.