Diamond Certified Blog

Tip Sheet: Five Ways to Prepare Your House for Market

Any successful home sale requires a number of preparatory measures. Photo: The Bower Cole Group (2015)

Any successful home sale involves a number of preparatory measures. Photo: The Bower Cole Group (2015)

It’s no surprise that homes which sell for the highest prices are the most attractive to buyers. That’s why Michelle Carr Crowe, owner of Michelle Carr Crowe and the Get Results Team, says sellers should utilize every available means to boost the appeal of their properties. Read Michelle’s top five tips for getting your home primed for the market. Continue reading “Tip Sheet: Five Ways to Prepare Your House for Market” »

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Posted in Consumers, Real Estate Tips | Tags: , , , , , ,

Cool Tips for a More Efficient Refrigerator

You may not realize it, but your refrigerator might be consuming far more energy than normal. Photo: Earl Farnsworth Express (2015)

You may not realize it, but your refrigerator might be consuming far more energy than normal. Photo: Earl Farnsworth Express (2015)

Most people assume their refrigerators are working fine as long as they don’t notice any obvious problems, but few realize they’re paying far more than necessary to keep their food fresh. The reality is that an inefficient refrigerator can consume up to three times the amount of power used by a properly functioning unit, often without anyone noticing. That’s why it’s a good idea to periodically inspect your refrigerator and address any issues that may be causing energy loss.

The first thing you should check is the condenser coils, which, depending on your refrigerator’s design, will be located on the back or across the bottom front. When these coils are dirty or otherwise obstructed, it inhibits efficient operation and requires the unit to work harder to maintain the desired temperature. In addition to making sure there’s adequate room to facilitate proper air flow, you should clean your coils at least once a year. Continue reading “Cool Tips for a More Efficient Refrigerator” »

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Diamond Certified Experts: Basic Flooring Maintenance Tips

In addition to distinctive aesthetic attributes, different flooring styles require specific kinds of maintenance. Photo: LPC Enterprises (2015)

In addition to distinctive aesthetic attributes, different flooring styles require specific kinds of maintenance. Photo: LPC Enterprises (2015)

You probably know the importance of having a roof over your head, but another crucial consideration is what’s under your feet. Preferences vary when it comes to flooring, which is reflected in the vast array of products available. From the sleek sheen of hardwood to the natural coarseness of stone to the soft pile of carpet, there’s no shortage of options for consumers with sensitive soles. Along with distinctive aesthetic attributes, however, different flooring styles require different kinds of maintenance, which is why we’ve asked five Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to give their tips on proper floor care.

Hardwood floors
There may not be one right way to clean a hardwood floor, but according to Roy Nelson of Roy’s Woodcraft Flooring, Inc., there are certainly a few wrong ways. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: Basic Flooring Maintenance Tips” »

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Posted in Consumers, Diamond Certified Experts, Home Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

No-Nonsense Customer Service

Recently, when I needed a new set of tires for my Toyota Avalon, I got just what I wanted: no-nonsense customer service.

For Chris, a recent trip to the tire shop turned into a lesson in great customer service. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2015)

For Chris, a recent trip to the tire shop turned into a lesson in great customer service. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2015)

I called a tire shop and scheduled an appointment for the next day. When I arrived, the salesman waited on me right away and gave me a straightforward explanation of my options with no upselling. When I asked him to find out where the tires were manufactured (Consumer Reports had recommended against some brands made in China), he had the answer for me in a few minutes. Continue reading “No-Nonsense Customer Service” »

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Posted in Consumers, Personal Stories | Tags: , , , , ,

Spotlight: Social Media and the Diamond Certified Resource

Here at American Ratings Corporation, creators of the Diamond Certified Resource, we love social media. Why?

Consider small-town America. Fifty years ago, the community epicenter might have been the local diner—you’d stop in for a cup of coffee and stay for the fellowship. In today’s world, small-town America is online and community centers have gone digital. Whether you’re catching up with a friend from high school, scrolling through pictures of your niece’s wedding or wondering how to remove wine stains from your carpet, social media channels are the places to connect. Continue reading “Spotlight: Social Media and the Diamond Certified Resource” »

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Posted in Consumer News, Consumers, Diamond Certified News, Savvy Tips, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

A Local’s Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area

Yoda statue in San Francisco Presidio

Visit Yoda in San Francisco’s historic Presidio. Photo: American Ratings Corporation: 2015

Welcome to the Bay!

Since most of our readers are Bay Area residents, we spend a lot of time on this blog writing about domestic concerns like landscape design, plumbing and the Giants. But today, I get to write for a different audience. Have you recently bought a sweatshirt at Pier 39? Did you get stuck driving up Divisadero yesterday? Did last week’s earthquake wake you up? If so, then today I’m writing for you: our beloved Bay Area visitors.

American Ratings Corporation (ARC) is a local company that serves local consumers, and 80 percent of our staff members are Bay Area natives. Below, we share our favorite off-the-beaten-path places to visit and things to do. Continue reading “A Local’s Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area” »

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

Preparing for Design

When planning a kitchen remodel, it’s important to pay attention to detail. Photo: HOUSEworks, Inc. (2015)

When planning a kitchen remodel, it’s important to pay attention to detail. Photo: HOUSEworks, Inc. (2015)

Remodels can add style, function, and safety by way of updating electrical and plumbing systems to current building codes. Not only can this enhance your enjoyment of your home, it can also add value to your house upon resale. The most popular rooms to remodel are kitchens and bathrooms—they’re the most used rooms in the house and the spaces where we interface the most with materials, so they require the most planning and attention to detail. It’s your designer’s job to take the information you provide and develop a plan that targets your needs and budget.

Serious customers prepare for satisfaction.
Here’s a simple formula: if you get what you want, you’ll be satisfied. Over the years, design professionals have learned that it’s in everyone’s best interest to work with serious customers. Continue reading “Preparing for Design” »

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Posted in Consumers, Home improvement | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Summer School: ARC and the Marin County School to Career Partnership Program

Over the course of the past year, American Ratings Corporation (ARC) has been looking for more ways to become involved with our community in Marin County. This summer, we’ve had the opportunity to host an intern from the Marin County School to Career Partnership program. The program helps high school students (and new graduates) develop on-the-job, real world skills by connecting them with local businesses. For the past five weeks, Ryan Tooker has been working with ARC’s Digital Team, analyzing media data, assisting with production and going on video shoots. He has also shadowed in our Ratings Department, witnessing firsthand how a company qualifies to become Diamond Certified. It’s been such a pleasure to have Ryan around. He’s competent and professional, and he loves bacon! We hope he has enjoyed being here this summer as much as we’ve enjoyed having him. Here’s what he has to say about his internship:

Ryan Tooker, intern at the Diamond Certified Program, from Marin County School to Career Partnership

Ryan Tooker, summer intern at American Ratings Corporation, heads off to the University of Michigan in the fall. Photo: American Ratings Corporation, 2015

I recently graduated from San Rafael High School. This summer, I decided to partake in the Marin County School to Career Partnership program, and they placed me with American Ratings Corporation, the creators of the Diamond Certified Resource. As an adept student heading toward a four-year university, I arrived confident in my overall competence and learning abilities. My ego, however, was checked shortly after being assigned my first task: analyzing a data set. Continue reading “Summer School: ARC and the Marin County School to Career Partnership Program” »

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

Man the Battlements: How to Secure Your “Castle” in Not-So-Medieval Times

When it comes to maximizing home security, there are several aspects to consider. Photo: Quick Key (2015)

When it comes to maximizing home security, there are several aspects to consider. Photo: Quick Key (2015)

It’s often said that a person’s home is their castle, but try telling that to a burglar—not to mention the fact that our modern edifices lack the thick stone walls, turrets and drawbridges that secured those specimens of medieval architecture from intrusion. That’s why ensuring security in modern homes takes a lot more than a pot of boiling oil…or, more pertinent, a standard front door deadbolt. Read on to learn a few essential aspects of home protection.

Get a lock on things. While any exterior door should have a lock, simply having one isn’t enough. The reality is that most standard locks do little to deter burglars, who are able to circumvent subpar hardware by lock-picking or simply kicking in the door. That’s why it’s a good idea to upgrade your standard locks with a high-security product. Today’s sophisticated lock technology includes tamper-proof cylinders and keyways, high-grade steel that resists drilling attempts, and unique key cuts and styles that are difficult to forge. Continue reading “Man the Battlements: How to Secure Your “Castle” in Not-So-Medieval Times” »

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Posted in Consumers, Home Tips |

Tip Sheet: Door and Window Screen Options

Wesco Screen Company Inc18

When it comes to replacing your home’s door and window screens, there are several options to choose from. Photo: Wesco Screen Company Inc. (2015)

When planning to replace the window screens in their homes, most people don’t realize the full extent of their options. With the increasing specialization of the window covering industry, various products are now available to suit homeowners’ individual preferences. In the following tip sheet, James Hislop of Wesco Screen Company Inc. briefly lists some popular choices. Continue reading “Tip Sheet: Door and Window Screen Options” »

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Posted in Consumers, Diamond Certified Experts, Home Tips | Tags: , ,

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