Diamond Certified Blog

Missing Money: How to Find and Claim It

Did you know the State of California is currently holding $8 billion in unclaimed funds in the names of more than 30 million individuals and organizations? I was one of them until a few weeks ago, when I went searching for missing money. The law requires companies to turn over funds after three years or more if there hasn’t been any activity or contact with the rightful owner.

What motivated me was my sister-in-law posting on Facebook about her successes tracking down unclaimed funds in a variety of states where she and her husband have lived over the past 30 years. Continue reading “Missing Money: How to Find and Claim It” »

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Posted in Consumers, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

Midcentury Modern Design: A Conversation with J. Hettinger Interiors

midcentury design doesn't have to feel old.

For a midcentury “tone,” mix midcentury furnishings such as the chair on the left with more contemporary elements. Photo: MSK Design Build and Nathanael Bennett, 2014

Last fall, the New York Times called midcentury modern design “the decorating style that just won’t die.” Co.Design went a step further, calling it the pumpkin spice latte of interior design: a “tabula rasa that is easy to produce, easy to ship and difficult to object to.” It’s not surprising that the design media has grown weary writing about midcentury modern; after all, the style has been trending for at least a decade. However, these publications might not recognize that for those who live in small, urban spaces and value light, air, and the natural world in their homes, midcentury modern design may be more than just a fad. For some, it’s the real deal—an enduring design aesthetic they plan to live with for years to come.

To learn more about midcentury modern design and how you can incorporate it into a contemporary home, we sat down with Ron Smith, Roselle Bernardino and Laura Ficenec of J. Hettinger Interiors, a Diamond Certified interior design firm. Continue reading “Midcentury Modern Design: A Conversation with J. Hettinger Interiors” »

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The 2017 Diamond Certified Directory is Coming!

The 2017 Diamond Certified Directory is in the final stages of production, which means printing is just around the corner! More than 800,000 copies of the Directory will be sent to homes and businesses throughout the Greater Bay Area. Each Diamond Certified company is presented with a full-page profile that includes:

  • Contact information (address, phone number, website, email)
  • Services and service areas
  • Business profile and philosophy
  • Verbatim survey responses from real, verified customers
  • In-depth ratings information, including customer loyalty and customer satisfaction rankings
  • Legal information (insurance coverage, California business license)

Continue reading “The 2017 Diamond Certified Directory is Coming!” »

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Posted in Consumer News, Consumers, Diamond Certified News | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Diamond Certified Experts: Home Loan Documentation Tip

Earlier this week, we posted an article featuring expert tips on applying for a mortgage loan. One of the aspects mentioned was gathering documents, which can be a painstaking process due to the exhaustive amount of documentation required by today’s mortgage lenders. To learn more about what’s involved, watch this informative video by Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Dan Eichhorn, owner of West-Cal Mortgage.

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Diamond Certified Experts: Applying for a Mortgage Loan

Due to the intensive process involved, it’s important to be well-prepared when applying for a mortgage loan. Photo: George L. Duarte – Horizon Financial Associates (2017)

When preparing to buy a home, it’s natural to be preoccupied with thoughts about your future residence. However, it’s important to not overlook the more technical (read: less exciting) aspects of purchasing a property, such as applying for a mortgage loan. Getting approved for a home loan has always been an involved process, but since the subprime mortgage crisis that preempted the 2008 recession, it has become even more rigorous, so you’ll want to be well-prepared. We asked four Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to give their tips for making the most of a mortgage loan application.

Check your credit. Several factors go into determining what kind of mortgage loan you’ll qualify for, from your employment standing to your debt-to-income ratio. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: Applying for a Mortgage Loan” »

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Savvy Consumer Tip: Dealing with Mold in a Closet

Do you suspect you have mold in your closets? Watch this video to learn what to do.

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The Sump Pump Solution: How I Dealt With Water Damage in My House

My family and I moved into our home at the height of the California drought, and before this winter, we’d never experienced any significant rainfall while living there. After a major storm system passed through in February, we checked the crawlspace and, to our dismay, found several inches of stagnant water beneath the house. The forecast called for more rain. As the water in the crawlspace continued to rise and fall with ongoing storms, we knew we had to do something. But what would be the best solution?

There are several options for preventing water saturation in your home. In this article, I’ll review some of them and share how we came to the decision to install a sump pump.

soil in blue tarp

Installing a sump pump required removing a massive amount of dirt from the crawlspace. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2017)

Continue reading “The Sump Pump Solution: How I Dealt With Water Damage in My House” »

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Posted in Consumers, Home improvement, Home Tips, Personal Stories | Tags: , , , ,

Tip Sheet: Five Guidelines for Gardening

Spring is coming – are you ready to grow? Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2017)

Following the heavy (and much needed) rainfall of the past winter, gardening enthusiasts in the Bay Area can look forward to a bounty of opportunities come spring. In addition to the finer points involved in planting flowers and crops, here are some basic guidelines to consider for optimizing your gardening experience.

Plan for all seasons. While many assume gardening is only for the spring and summer, if you plan correctly, you can keep yours looking beautiful through the fall and winter seasons as well.

Remember, plants grow. A common mistake gardeners make is installing plants that don’t fit within the schemes of their gardens. Don’t be a victim of “cute in a gallon can” syndrome—just because a particular plant looks good at the nursery, that doesn’t mean it’ll be right for your garden. Continue reading “Tip Sheet: Five Guidelines for Gardening” »

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Posted in Landscaping Tips | Tags: , ,

Is Saying “Thank You” a Lost and Underappreciated Art?

I’ve been saying “thank you” a lot lately and it feels good. After my last flight on Southwest Airlines, I stopped to tell the pilot and attendants how much I appreciated their attentiveness and on-time performance. I wrote a thank-you email to my Diamond Certified tree company in December because the crew did an excellent job pruning my large trees. When I had trouble resolving a problem with my health insurance company, a staff member kept communicating with me even though it took a few weeks to untangle. Afterward, I asked for her supervisor’s name so I could write a complimentary letter for her personnel file. The last time I was in the grocery store, I told the cashier and bagger how much I love shopping there because of their smiles, quality produce, and service. Continue reading “Is Saying “Thank You” a Lost and Underappreciated Art?” »

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Savvy Consumer Tip: Cleaning Stainless Steel Appliances

Watch this video to learn a simple way to keep your stainless steel appliances clean.

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