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Today’s Housing Market

Today’s housing market benefits both the buyer and the seller!

It is definitely a seller’s market due to strong prices and minimal days on the market regardless of the type of property. However, buyers are also realizing great benefits from conditions such as low interest rates and property value appreciation, rates in the double digits in some situations according to a recent article http://bizwest.com/homebuyers-head-east-find-best-opportunities/. If you are considering selling your property, now is the time to list with Orr Land Company as we have numerous buyers and low inventory.

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A Quick Mortgage Loan Breakdown

A Quick Mortgage Loan Breakdown

Approved Mortgage application form with a calculator, pen and glasses

The importance of being pre-approved for a loan cannot be understated. In today’s market, it’s helpful to know your price range to save time, for flexibility and it makes purchasing a property easier by showing the seller you are serious and can afford the purchase.

Being pre-approved for a mortgage means that a financial institution has researched your credit history and decided you would be a good candidate for a mortgage. A pre-qualification simply means that a lender looks at your overall income, assets and debts to give you an idea of how much money you can borrow. This is mainly informational and can be beneficial to those who have very little credit or credit that needs improvement. This will start the ball rolling and give you the power you need to either build your credit or continue with the home buying process. The pre-approval process takes time, and begins before you begin your search for a home, but will benefit you greatly in the long run.

But where do you start? How do you know which loan options will be right for you based on your needs? Here’s a quick breakdown of the most common loans to assist you in your decision making process. Also, please don’t forget to utilize our Resources page for a list of Orr Land Company’s trusted vendors, feel free to visit your local bank, or ask friends & family for recommendations based on their knowledge and experiences!

Conventional Loans (Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae)
  • High loan to value ratio
  • More monthly financing options available
  • Typically for clients with good credit scores
  • Used for all occupancy types
  • Used for Purchases, Refinancing and Renovations
  • There are 10-30 year fixed loan terms
  • There are 5, 7 & 10 year arm loan options
  • Available for 1-4 units
FHA Loans (Federal Housing Administration)
  • High loan to value ratio
  • Typically have low monthly payments
  • There is an option for clients with lower credit scores
  • Typically easy to qualify for this type of loan
  • Used for Purchases, Refinancing and Renovations
  • There are 15 & 30 year fixed loan terms
  • There is a 5 year adjustable rate
  • Available for 1-4 units
USDA Rural Housing Loans (United States Department of Agriculture)
  • Typically at a 102.5% loan to value ratio
  • Offers a $0 down payment to clients
  • Typically have low monthly payments
  • Typically for clients with good credit scores
  • Loan is limited specifically to rural areas
  • Used for Purchases and Refinancing
  • Offered at 30 year fixed loan terms
  • Available for 1 unit only
VA Loans (United States Department of Veteran Affairs)
  • Offers a $0 down payment to United States Veterans, Active Duty Military, and Service Members
  • Typically have low monthly payments
  • Loan is limited only to eligible veterans
  • Does not require monthly mortgage insurance
  • Used for Purchases, Refinancing and Assumptions
  • There are 15 & 30 year fixed loan terms
  • There is a 5 year adjustable rate
  • Available for 1-4 units
There are many loan options out there and the loan that is right for you will depend on many factors including type of property you are seeking, your credit score, length of the term you can afford, as well as military status, and more. You may choose any institution you would like to go through, or ask around and see if your friends, family or a trusted real estate agent have resources for a good lender.

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Why Real Estate Should Be Handled By The Pros

Why Real Estate Should Be Handled By The Pros

Why Real Estate Should Be Handled By The Pros

Buying or selling a property can be a tedious job, especially with the new real estate rules and regulations, constantly changing market demands, and piles of paperwork. Licensed real estate agents are required to complete 160 hours of schooling, as well as pass state and federal exams with specific scores in order to become licensed. In addition to all this coursework, agents are also required to take annual and quarterly classes to keep up to date on the most recent legal and state changes. This education, coupled with an agent’s expertise in his/her field gained from experience over the course of years is why it’s always best to let real estate be handled by the pros.

Below is information we have compiled some information from our agents on why they believe this is true.

Why Real Estate Should Be Handled By The Pros

~From The Pros~

Brokers provide guidance and protection through the transaction by utilizing their experience and expertise. They are better informed as to the path of a transaction, who to contact when, and what types of things to watch out for. More importantly, licensed real estate agents have knowledge of the market so clients are protected from buying too high or selling too low, knowledge of county practices and codes, and how to handle transactions specific to a type of property (land, residential, agricultural, easements, etc.). –Trevor Thiel

Brokers are better equipped to handle the real estate process as they have experience negotiating prices, additional provisions, and understand title issues such as easements, right of ways, dry up covenants, etc. Negotiation is the hardest thing to do and one on one interaction can be very stressful and a buyer or seller without an agent to suit them may not be able to get what they want/need out of a property contract. –Tammy Ellerman

Brokers are usually paid on performance rather than by the hour. In other words, the client only pays commission if the transaction closes. So you know the Broker is working only for what is in your best interest. –Greg Smith

Brokers keep the entire process moving smoothly . The real work is behind the scenes after the contract is written (i.e.: lenders and title requirements). Also, listing with a real estate company typically gives you more exposure to the public across many different types of media including print, electronic (website, Facebook, Twitter, Google+), and physical such as open houses. –Tomm Owens

Real Estate agents have been trained to review title work to look for and research items such as previous liens on the property which could be detrimental to closing the deal. –Chad Wahlert

Due to the changing market pricing, laws and practices (which can be state, county and city specific),  as well as the numerous ins and outs of contracts/disclosures/title work/etc., it is always best to hire a licensed broker to help you navigate through the real estate process. Not only is it their job to understand the intricate workings of the entire process from start to finish, but by utilizing their experience and expertise chances are incredibly high they will save you money, time, and the risk of potential legal issues that could arise from the improper handling of transactions in the real estate transaction.

For more information and helpful tips, take a look at our other blog posts.

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Why Are Barns Painted Red?

Why Are Barns Painted Red? The last afternoon light cast a warm glow on the Autumn country side of Vermont

Why Are Barns Painted Red?

Have you ever been driving down a country road and noticed the numerous bright red barns dotting the countryside, adorning the picturesque farms and ranches? If you happened to notice, most of those barns are painted the classic red with white trim. So why are barns painted red? Is it a trend? Did farmers countrywide meet together and decide cohesively they would all paint their barns this color? Perhaps. But we have a much more likely reason behind why country barns are often painted red.

Hundreds of years ago many farmers would seal the wood of their barns with linseed oil, which has a naturally occurring orange hue since it is derived from the seeds of the flax plant. Many times farmers would add a variety of other items to the oil they happened to have on hand to help preserve and seal the wood. For instance, some farmers would add rust to their mixture as it was plentiful on farms and counteracts the effects of many fungi, including mold and moss, which were known to grown on barns. These types of fungi would trap moisture in the wood, increasing decay.  Other additions to the mixtures included milk, lime, ferrous oxide and in some theories even blood from recent slaughters.

However this “barn red” pigment that had been used throughout history is no comparison to the fire engine red we see on many of today’s barns around the country. Through the centuries, as traditional pigment paints become more readily available, brighter and more distinct red colors were developed and used (typically by the wealthy as it was fairly expensive) until later when white washing was a cheaper solution.

So while red barns today may be considered only a trend or perhaps a time honored tradition, the real reason behind a red barn was simply farmers using the means they had at their disposal to seal and protect their barn’s wood from the elements. There you have it!

Don’t forget to take a look at our other blog posts for more helpful and fun information!

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The Basics: Farms Vs. Ranches

The Basics: Farms Vs. Ranches

Farms vs. Ranches

In real estate sometimes clients and agents alike will use terms interchangeably. There are two terms which continually show up in client questions and throughout the real estate process where there is confusion between the two. The terms “farm” and “ranch” are often used to explain the same thing. However, those who have grown up around either of these know they aren’t the same thing. Many people who did not have the opportunity to grow up in rural areas often misinterpret these two terms. To help clear up the confusion here are:

The Basics: Farms Vs. Ranches

Farms A farm produces a commodity from the soil, whether it be vegetables, grains or hay. In our area of Northern Colorado, there are two types of farms: Irrigated and Dryland. Vegetables require soils that are richer in nutrients and mineral. These types of soils are usually in the proximity of a river or natural drainage. Vegetables also need a steady supply of irrigation water. Corn, alfalfa and sugar beets are crops that also need irrigation water, but will produce well in  most soils. Grains, such as milo, wheat and sunflowers produce best in irrigated ground, but also do well in the more arid and dry land farm ground. Ranches Ranches consist of more acreage than farms, any crops grown (grass or natural vegetation) are used as feed for livestock (i.e. cattle, bison, sheep, or any forage grazing animals). Some ranches may have a small portion of the acreage designated for hay fields that are not grazed, but rather cut and baled for hay for winter feed after the grazing season is over. Also, if the primary use of the property is to raise and produce pork and hogs are the commodity, then typically this is called a farm, even though it is livestock that is actually produced. So there you have it. To sum it up, a farm is primarily used to raise commodities such as vegetables, grains or hay, while ranches are typically used to raise livestock such as cattle, bison or sheep. Still have questions? No problem! Feel free to contact us and let us know how we can help!

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Orr Land’s Top 8 Restaurant Picks: 2015 Edition

Orr Land Companies Top 8 Restaurant Picks

-2015 Edition-

Top 8 Restaurant Picks It’s that time of year again, and we’ve got fresh, new picks for the top restaurants in Weld County! Once again we’ve broken down the goodies into categories and encourage you to support your local businesses. Here are Orr Land’s Top 8 Restaurant Picks: 2015 Edition.

~A Little Bit of Everything~

Fat Alberts: This small family restaurant has a cozy atmosphere, great staff and the food is the classic comfort food you remember from your childhood. From their best selling Monte Cristo sandwich, to French Dips, massive burgers and generous fries, chicken fried steak and the best pie around! And don’t forget the oh-so-delicious Corned Beef and Cabbage served every St. Paddy’s day, but also once a month to help appease those CBC cravings! Swing by Fat Alberts and dip your toes in the water, you won’t regret it!
  • Located at: 1717 23rd Ave, Greeley, CO 80634 (Next to the bank)
  • Phone #: (970) 356-1999
The Paragon Family Restaurant: This family owned restaurant may not be anything fancy, and the decor is slightly outdated, but we promise you won’t be disappointed. With great sandwiches, tasty Greek food choices, gigantic breakfast portions, and an unbeatable price, you can’t lose! The Paragon is a comfortable place to enjoy a nice, hearty meal and has so many menu items there is sure to be something to please everyone. Oh! I recommend the Chicken Fried Steak Benedict (TO SHARE) – it’s to die for!
  • Located at: 2725 W 10th St, Greeley, CO 80634
  • Phone #: (970) 356-8400
The Outback at Boomerang Links: This cozy little restaurant is the hidden gem of Greeley! Enjoy a few strokes out on the golf course and come in for some cold drinks, or come in for the fantastic food. With a smaller menu but BIG taste, you will be sure to find something to sink your teeth in to and satisfy those hunger pangs. Their specials are priced so well and change often and they also offer sumptuous Prime Rib every Friday and Saturday. Don’t forget to try the Buffalo Sandwich and Buffalo Chips – Yum!
  • Located at: 7309 W 4th St, Greeley, CO 80634
  • Phone #: (970) 351-8958
Corleone’s Drive Thru: Okay, so while this is technically not a sit down restaurant, I assure you Corleone’s offers just as much in its current capacity as many larger restaurant chains. They offer a convenient drive thru and even have delivery options for a small fee. From breakfast burritos, to warm & delicious soups, cold and hot sandwich options and daily specials, you’re sure to find something you’ll soon love. Did we mention their delicious potato, pasta and garden salad options (in LARGE proportions & we recommend the Blackened Chicken Salad – MmmMmm!), and brownies that are finger licking good? With so much homemade goodness, this little place packs a punch in your mouth, not in your wallet!
  • Located at: 900 23rd Ave., Greeley, CO 80634
  • Phone #: (970) 515-6492

~Italian/Greek~

Santeramos: Ahh, Santeramo’s. A most delicious guilty and fulfilling pleasure. This restaurant tucked away in a cove of trees where you can sit in shade on a summer day or in the cozy confines of the restaurant was one of our greatest finds. The food is so flavorful, zesty and bountiful in proportion it’s sure to knock your socks off! Momma says “No One Leaves Hungry” and boy did she mean it. This pizza house offers classic Italian dishes with homemade pastas, savory and juicy meats and sauces, homemade breads and crusts for the pizzas, calzones and sandwiches and even has low-calorie options! Now if that isn’t the perfect comfort food, I don’t know what is! Enjoy a platter (and we mean platter) of Italian Nachos to share with friends while sipping on an insanely cheap 32oz beer, or gobble down a healthy portion of meat lasagna and finish with a delicious dessert option. Whatever you choose, you won’t be disappointed!
  • Located at: 1229 10th Ave., Greeley, CO
  • Phone #: (970) 353-4844
Cafe Athens: Okay, so this restaurant isn’t in Weld County but rather Larimer County, but it’s so darn close you could nearly skip across the county line! We thought it was so good, we made an exception and have added it to our list! Best Greek around, hands down! Not only are the gyros the most amazing thing to touch your tongue, with their homemade pita bread and hearty portions of meat, but their tzatziki sauce is creamy and should be world famous! Looking for vegetarian options? They’ve got them! The Spanakopita is melt in your mouth good and comes with tzatziki dipping sauce. There are dozens of options from gyros, to platters, pizza, salads and pasta salads, and their dessert leaves your tummy happy (if you can save room for it! We dare you to try!). If for some reason you’re not craving Greek, they also offer American food options and kids menu items. Go ahead and try it, your stomach will thank you!
  • Located at: 5864 Sky Pond Dr., Loveland, CO 80538 (The Promenade Shops at Centerra) & 2842 Council Tree Ave.,Ste 149 Ft Collins, CO 80525
  • Phone #: (970) 619-8467/ FoCo: (970) 232-9084

~Asian~

Ambrosia Asian Bistro: This newly remodeled Asian restaurant will knock off your socks with their bold and spicy flavors. Not in to spice? They’ve got plenty of options for you too! From their unique side salad with peanut sauce, to chicken and beef dishes, delicious and plentiful noodles and even several sushi options from Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese roots. Their helpful and friendly staff will be sure to keep your glasses and your stomach full with their amazing customer service and food choices. With so many options available, you can’t miss the chance to dine at Ambrosia Asian Bistro!
  • Located at: 3636 W 10th St, Greeley, CO 80634
  • Phone #: (970) 392-2925

~Mexican~

El Cielo: El Cielo is a wonderful little Mexican restaurant which quite possibly serves the best Queso Fundido ever (melted cheese and chorizo for those of you scratching your head), tasty chili rellenos with just the perfect crispness and covered in your choice of mild-hot green chili, build your own choices with some of the best carne asada around, seafood and children’s options, breakfast burritos (ah-mazing), the fluffiest sopapillas (don’t forget the honey!) and even to-go options for those with little time but a rumbling tummy. One of my favorite traditional dishes with a twist are the Alambre Fajitas which are traditional fajitas but are topped with a heaping pile of melted mozzarella cheese, and served with the normal garnishes (lettuce, tomatoes, guac & sour cream) Yummy! The cheese just makes them pop! Hurry down there today and find something delectable that will make your tummy smile. Oh, and don’t forget to ring the bell if you liked it!
  • Located at: 3645 W 10th St, Greeley, CO 80634
  • Phone #: (970) 352-1800
Well that wraps up Orr Land’s Top 8 Restaurant Picks: 2015 Edition, but we’ll be back again next year to add to the list! Do you have any favorite restaurants we should try? Let us know!

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Saving Options For a Down Payment

Saving For A Down Payment

Saving Options For a Down Payment

Here are some tips on how to save for the down payment on your future home. This may help you effectively tap into your resources and budget your finances. The more money you have saved for a down payment, the more choices you will have when negotiating your mortgage. Keep Track of your Finances and Cut-back on Non-essential Spending Write down your monthly income, savings, and spending. Even a couple bucks for your daily Carmel Macchiato at Starbucks adds up. So instead of spending money on the small stuff, put that into your savings. Open a savings account specifically for the down payment. Calculate how much you can afford to contribute to this account and arrange to make regular deposits. Pay Off your Debt Don’t focus solely on saving for your down payment at the expense of paying interest charges on credit cards. The interest rates on these loans are much higher than the average rate for a home mortgage, meaning you are actually wasting money by accumulating a larger down payment while carrying credit card debt. Also, realize that the amount of debt you already have will determine how much you can borrow for your home. After minimum payments, start with the card with the highest interest rate and pay as much as you can. If you have more than one card, repeat this process after you’ve eliminated the debt in the first account. You’ll be amazed how much money you can put into savings once it is not paying for interest on credit card debt. Make your Savings Work for You Rather than saving all of the money yourself, let what you’ve already saved earn you interest at the best rate possible. Often the best option is a Certificate of Deposit. Although the earnings on CD’s are lower than some other types of investments, this is offset by a lower amount of risk. However, CD’s can carry very low rates of return when interest rates are low. In these times, it is advisable to buy several certificates with different maturity dates. This strategy is known as laddering; if interest rates rise, the short term certificates can be reinvested at a higher rate. If rates should fall, then the longer term CD’s have locked in a higher rate of return. Use Special Programs There are many programs for home buyers in down-payment distress. Borrowers in a wide range of incomes, locales and professional groups may have access to aid from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored offices that buy mortgages and package them as investments. Some lenders and government agencies will let you buy a foreclosure with no down payment if you have good credit and they are anxious to have the home occupied, or if you have skills that you can use to increase the home’s value. Various nonprofit and community groups also lend a hand to buyers struggling to put money down on a home. And don’t forget about assistance from state agencies. To qualify for a down-payment assistance program, the purchaser typically can earn no more than 80% of a region’s median income. Call your state housing finance authority, county housing and community development office or mayor’s office for an application. Use IRA Funds Tax laws allow you to use up to $10,000 in Individual Retirement Account funds as a down payment if you have never owned a house. If you are married and you both are first-time buyers, you each can pull from your retirement accounts, meaning a potential $20,000 down payment. The IRS defines a first-time buyer as one who did not own a principal residence at any time during the two years prior to the purchase of the new home. If you are eligible, the IRS waves the penalty fee for early withdrawal. Although, you are likely to owe state and federal income tax on the amount withdrawn depending on the type of IRA you have. If you do not qualify as a first-time buyer, early withdrawal will include a 10 percent penalty as well as income tax. Borrow from your 401(k) Consider borrowing against your 401(k) for the down payment. Unlike an IRA home-related withdrawal, you’ll have to pay back any money you take out. Even though your account contributions were made with pretax money, your repayment will be made with after-tax dollars. Make Money on Items Lying Around the House One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Go through your house and sell unwanted items. Have a garage sale or post items on eBay. Perhaps you’ll even find a savings bond hiding in a drawer that is ready to be cashed in! Receive a Gift Tax law allows gifts of several thousand dollars a year to be bestowed without tax consequences to either the giver or recipient, and it is not limited to relatives. Check with the IRS to determine the gift-exclusion amount as it is adjusted annually to reflect inflation. If no one is in a position to give you the money, perhaps they will agree to co-sign a loan. We hope this gives you some options available for saving up money for a down payment on your dream home courtesy of Diverse Solutions!

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Featured Agent: Trevor Thiel

Featured Agent

This quarter’s featured agent is Trevor Thiel who began his real estate career at Orr Land Company by locating irrigated farms for developers in need of water rights and raw land for residential developments. After the sale, he continued to be of service to the sellers by locating triple net properties which replaced his client’s income stream. Check out his stats and get to know this quarter’s featured agent!

TT RP

Featured Agent: Trevor Thiel

About Me:

  • Over his 11 year career, Trevor has continued to specialize in serving each client’s individual needs by finding properties that fit their specific requirements-even if there were no matches currently on the market. As the market and client’s demands changed, he has sold a wide variety of property ranging from building sites for custom homes and country estates to working cattle ranches. Throughout his career, Trevor has made it a priority to serve each client individually by listening to their needs when locating or listing a property, keeping them informed throughout the transaction and communicating with everyone involved. When you are ready to purchase the perfect property or market your current holdings, call Trevor to develop a plan tailored to fit you.

Agent Type:

  • Transaction Broker assisting both buyers and sellers

2015 YTD Stats:

  • Properties listed and/or sold between January 2015-August 2015 had a 95.72% listing price vs. selling price success rate

Days to Offer Stats:

  • A 3 bedroom/2 bathroom home in Greeley listed only one day before offer
  • Sold a 4 bedroom/2 bathroom home in Windsor which exceeded the market for neighborhood sales value
  • Listed and sold a 3 bedroom/2 bath ranch two times with a repeat customer
  • Listed and sold a 4 bedroom/3 bath home exceeding previous subdivision sales price by nearly 10%
A Few of His Testimonials:
  •  I liked Trevor’s professionalism and promptness when working with him. I chose him because of our existing friendship and the ease of the process with this real estate process. I would recommend Trevor to our friends and family.
    • Kari B. – Berthoud, CO
  • Trevor made it so we did not feel pressured to buy, less stress, and we were able to call all the shots. Excellent communication, knowledge of real estate and attention to special needs.
    • Garet & Crissy G. – Galeton, CO
  • We chose to work with Trevor because we had come to know [him] on a personal level and felt that he was knowledgeable and trustworthy. We were confident that he could get the job done and felt that Trevor and the team at Orr Land Co. would be the best choice. Trevor was very responsive and timely with answering our questions and conveying information. Together we worked out a plan and a timeline for the sale of our property and I don’t think that it could have been executed any better. Our home sold in less time than we were expecting, for more money than expected and closed early.
    • Tyler & Heidi W. – Berthoud, CO
Networking:
  • Trevor has a vast network of reliable and efficient mortgage lenders to assist clients on an individual basis.
If you’re considering buying or selling a home, call Trevor (970)978-0800 or email him to find out how he can help you achieve your real estate goals!

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Conservation Easements Bring Many to Financial Ruin

Conservation Easement 2Colorado Conservation Easements

Did you know that Conservation Easements bring many to financial ruin? A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement that allows a landowner to limit the type or amount of development on their property while retaining private ownership of the land. But what are the cons of these types of encumbrances? This article is a must read for those owner’s considering placing conservation easements on their property and the potential ramifications of doing so, and also for those who are the purchasers of the tax credits on these properties. Third parties who purchase these properties are confronted with land trust organizations that apply restrictions which reach far beyond the rights they actually own, contained within the conservation easements.

Conservation Easements Bring Many to Financial Ruin

What happens when a standard used to protect land and landowners for the enjoyment of future generations turns into a litigation nightmare that instead strips owners of their rights and their money? The Fence Post recently came out with an article covering exactly that: Landowners left bankrupt and forced to settle out of financial burden. And it’s happening right at your back door. Read more about this struggle at The Fence Post Volume 36, Number 33.

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Prepare For What You Can’t Prevent

Prepare For What You Can't Prevent Disaster can strike at any time. Fires, flood, tornadoes, burglary, and more of the unseen can change your life in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, there’s not much anyone can do to prevent it, but, on the other hand: you can prepare for what you can’t prevent.

Prepare For What You Can’t Prevent

To begin, the best way to prepare for disaster and the unknown would be to document your possessions, and whenever possible take photographs. Having your items documented and photographed can assist with insurance claims and help police potentially locate your missing items much more quickly and efficiently than if you aren’t prepared. It is recommended to keep at least one copy of your home contents inventory list in a safe place away from your home, and another perhaps in a fireproof safe within your home. It is best to keep your list up to date as possible and to keep important contact information for insurance agents and local police departments handy. Whether you’re purchasing a new home, living in your existing home, or moving to another, a home contents inventory list can be an invaluable tool for those times when unplanned incidences occur. Click here to download your free Home Contents Inventory List and protect you and your possessions today, and save yourself a headache tomorrow! Also, check out our other blogs about Safety Preparedness with tornadoes, snow, fire, and excavation.


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