Diamond Certified Blog

Category Archives: Consumers

Tip Sheet: Four Preventative Measures for a Tenancy

When it comes to filling a rental vacancy, a preventative approach can help you avoid future problems. Photo: The Dave Keefe Real Estate Team (2017)

While part of preparing a rental property for market is getting the physical space move-in ready, the other part is addressing non-physical details such as tenant screening. Due to the potential consequences of oversights or poor decisions in this area, it’s important to take a meticulous, preventative approach. To learn a few critical steps, read the following tip sheet by Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Sam LaPlaca of CM Property Management Inc.:

1. Verify income. Accepting a tenant who can’t afford the rent is a mistake that can cost you a lot of time, money and frustration. That’s why, in addition to asking for pay stubs and bank statements, you should run a credit check to further verify an applicant’s income. Continue reading “Tip Sheet: Four Preventative Measures for a Tenancy” »

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How to Prepare a Rental Property for Market

From basic maintenance to upgrading outdated features, there are several steps involved in preparing a rental property for market. Photo: Howard Blood – Intero Real Estate (2017)

If you own a rental property that has recently been vacated, you’ll need to prepare it for going back on the market. While this primarily consists of cleaning and basic maintenance, a vacancy also provides an opportunity to increase the property’s value and maximize your investment. Here are some steps to consider:

Address maintenance needs. Four to six weeks before your intended market date, make a list of maintenance items that need to be addressed. This should include standard maintenance measures like cleaning the carpets as well as deferred tasks such as fixing a roof leak or broken window blind. It’s also a good idea to have preventative HVAC, plumbing and pest inspections performed during this time. Continue reading “How to Prepare a Rental Property for Market” »

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Is there a “Right Way” to Give Feedback?

Delivering feedback isn’t always easy. Before deciding to speak up, you may wrestle with competing goals of personal and social responsibility versus a desire to avoid conflict. At some point, every service provider has needed constructive feedback to better serve their customers. In speaking to thousands of consumers over the years, I’ve found that some people prefer to silently move on and not use that company’s services again. In those cases, everyone loses. Armed with the following tips, you may feel empowered to turn an unsatisfactory situation around and experience increased goodwill and satisfaction.

Talk to management before posting on social media.

Bob had a puzzling exchange with an electrical technician who charged him to flip a breaker. Bob and the technician couldn’t reach an agreement. After paying his bill, Bob posted a lengthy narrative of his experience on Yelp. He also contacted Diamond Certified and the Better Business Bureau. Continue reading “Is there a “Right Way” to Give Feedback?” »

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Seven Summer Scams

If you’re adopting a pet this summer, stay alert for online scams by fraudulent sellers. Photo: American Ratings Corporation, 2017

Along with rising temperatures this summer, we’re going to see a rise in seasonal scams. I’ve been getting warnings from consumer protection agencies about what to watch out for, and I want to pass them on to you. You may have heard of some of these rip-offs before, but be aware that new variations always pop up and can catch even the savviest consumers off guard.

1. Magazine scams
This scam ramps up in the summer with young people going door-to-door selling magazine subscriptions. They claim they’re working their way through college and need to make a certain number of sales to earn points for scholarships. That’s not true. Most of the time, the orders are never placed with the publishers, and even if your order is fulfilled, you’ll pay too much for the subscription. Continue reading “Seven Summer Scams” »

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Fire-Safe 2017: Defending Your Home Against Wildfires

With fire season in full swing, California residents need to be vigilant about maintaining fire-safe conditions on their properties. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2017)

This year’s ample rain brought relief from the longstanding drought, but its deferred aftereffects have many California residents feeling an opposite sentiment. Following a profusion of spring growth, the onset of summer heat has transformed the landscape’s verdant splendor into a dry tinder, setting the stage for what fire authorities predict to be a harsh wildfire season. So far, this forecast appears to be accurate: According to a recent CNBC report, as of June 24, the amount of California acreage burned by wildfires is up threefold compared to this time in 2016.

While most of the fires thus far have taken place in Southern California, the state’s northern regions have an equally incendiary potential, with wildfires having ravaged Lake and Mendocino Counties in recent years. That’s why Northern California residents—particularly those situated in the wildland-urban interface—need to be vigilant about maintaining fire-safe conditions on their properties. Continue reading “Fire-Safe 2017: Defending Your Home Against Wildfires” »

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Happy Customer Highlights

While we love receiving all kinds of feedback from consumers about Diamond Certified companies, we particularly love hearing the kudos! Here’s what some happy customers have to say about their recent experiences with Diamond Certified companies.

Consumers are saying great things about Atlas Landscapes. Photo: Atlas Landscapes (2017)

Linda emailed to tell us she’s been using the Diamond Certified Directory for years. She hired Atlas Landscapes last fall and says “…they were exceptional in every way and truly surpassed my expectations. The customer service and quality of work were what I thought I’d get and more.” Continue reading “Happy Customer Highlights” »

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What’s Worth Splurging On?

Savvy consumers always search for ways to save money, but sometimes they’re willing to splurge a little. Photo: Closet Factory, 2017

I’ll be the first to admit that I really like getting good deals and saving money, but like most of you, I also like to splurge on some things. Sometimes I find that saving money can actually mean spending more on a quality product that will last a long time. For example, during a kitchen remodel, I bought a faucet that was on sale and it failed in the first year. The second faucet I purchased was three times more expensive, and so far it has lasted seven years. I’m so happy that I decided to splurge for a quality product. Continue reading “What’s Worth Splurging On?” »

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The 2017 Summer Diamond Certified Directory Update is Here!

Have you received your free copy of the 2017 Summer Diamond Certified Directory Update in the mail? It provides instant access to hundreds of local, top rated Diamond Certified companies across a wide range of service industries, from auto repair and landscaping to optometry and dentistry.

Every Diamond Certified company must continue to deliver on its promises to you, the consumer. That’s why we conduct ongoing customer satisfaction research, perform credential-based ratings, monitor each company’s performance, and back you up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Continue reading “The 2017 Summer Diamond Certified Directory Update is Here!” »

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Camp Grandma and Grandpa: Tips for Hosting Your Grandkids This Summer

This year, countless children will be spending at least part of their summer at one of their favorite destinations: their grandparents’ house. If you’re planning on welcoming your grandkids this summer, you’re likely thinking about how to fill those special days. Maybe you’re planning beach outings or trips to the museum; maybe you’re also dreading the mess or worried someone might get hurt. Find out how you can get your home and yard ready for those rambunctious kids (and how to get your home back to normal once they’re gone).

grandchildren enjoying the summer outdoors

If your grandchildren are visiting this summer, create an outdoor space that’s fun and safe for play. Photo: American Ratings Corporation, 2017

Start with safety

The safety precautions you take will depend on your grandchildren’s ages. For the youngest visitors, put any hazardous products (cleaning products, bug repellants) out of reach. Continue reading “Camp Grandma and Grandpa: Tips for Hosting Your Grandkids This Summer” »

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Keeping Your Cool: 4 DIY Air Conditioning Maintenance Steps

diy-air-conditioning-maintenance

Annual maintenance will help maximize your air conditioner’s performance. Photo: Kelly Plumbing & Heating, Inc. (2017)

Your air conditioner is designed to keep your home cool during the summer, but like any system, it requires ongoing maintenance to sustain peak operating efficiency. While some maintenance steps are best left to an HVAC professional (such as handling refrigerant), there are others you can perform yourself. Here are four DIY air conditioning maintenance steps:

1. Change the air filter. Before turning on your air conditioner for the season, inspect the air filter and replace it as needed. A new air filter will provide cleaner, fresher indoor air in addition to optimizing airflow and general system performance. Continue reading “Keeping Your Cool: 4 DIY Air Conditioning Maintenance Steps” »

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