eNatures’ ParkGuides (www.enature.com/parkfinder) have detailed visitor information and wildlife data for over 300 National Parks, Wildlife Refuges and National Monuments throughout the United States.
The interactive map allows you to focus on the region you’re interested in visiting, while the Park of the Day feature provides a quick look at a new location each day.
For instance, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was recently featured. Located 185 miles west of Boise, Idaho, it has an august reputation among birders. Some breeding species are American White Pelicans, Trumpeter Swans, American Avocets and Sandhill Cranes. Activities include biking, fishing, hiking, horses and paddling. It is handicap-accessible.
Difficult to determine homeowner interest in maintenance
The weak economy and uncertainty in housing markets remain key hurdles for remodeling activity according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. The Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) points to homeowner improvement spending declining at an annual rate of 12 percent by the second quarter of 2009.
The second quarter 2008 release introduced a re-benchmarked LIRA, which was necessitated by the recent discontinuation of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Residential Improvements and Repairs Statistics, also known as the C-50 series. The LIRA now projects future trends in homeowner improvement activity, where previously it estimated trends in both owner improvements and maintenance and repairs.
The LIRA measures and projects only a portion of the U.S. home improvement market, namely spending by homeowners on property improvements. Other components of the broader market, such as homeowner maintenance and repairs, rental improvements, and rental maintenance and repairs, are not included in the LIRA figures. While the Center and other industry sponsors support this change, there is no longer market information available for small businesses that respond to homeowners concerned about maintenance — including maintenance inspections.
Source: Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, www.jchs.harvard.edu
ASHI supporter publishes book for homeowners
To the public, Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segret are known as home improvement experts and call-in radio hosts of the Money Pit™ Home Improvement radio show. To home inspectors, Kraeutler, a retired ASHI member, is known for educating consumers on the value of an ASHI home inspection.
In August, Kraeutler and Segret published a new book for homeowners: My Home, MyMoney Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure.
It is based on their extensive experience with answering calls on the radio show and e-mails from millions of stressed out people. As with all his projects, ASHI is promoted repeatedly in the section on Home Selling Tips.
The paperback book is 256 pages and is published by Knack™, an imprint of The Globe Pequot Press. If you’d like to buy the book for yourself or for your customers, it’s available at Amazon, Books-A-Million and Borders.
ASHI’s Web sites
This site is dedicated to consumers, real estate professionals and the media. Most importantly, consumers and real estate professionals looking for a home inspector can use the Find an Inspector search tool, learn about home inspection and find out why it’s important to choose an ASHI inspector. There are monthly news releases for media, as well as advertising kits and affiliate information.
Dedicated to home inspectors, this site includes ASHI Members Only features, as well as general information for all home inspectors. Go to this site to take advantage of your ASHI membership benefits. Click “Members Only,” log in and access a wealth of resources, including information on education and training, disaster training, partner programs, interpretations of the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics, and much more. ASHI members can set up preferences for Find an Inspector, download logos and forms, find news and participate in the Discussion Forum. This is a membership benefit worth exploring.
Seven years of ASHI Reporter magazines are available online at this site. Each month, find all the content from the print version online and with live links. Search by key word to find the article you’re looking for. Click on Archive to browse through old issues. Click on an author’s name to send him or her an e-mail. Take
advantage of this great resource for ASHI inspectors.