Winter Checklist


Outside Items To Have On Hand :

Snow shovel
De-icing compound
Waterproof floor mats

Inside Items To Have On Hand :

Household emergency supplies should include enough food, water and supplies to last four days without power or help.


Basic checklist:

Canned meats, soups and stews, cereal, and energy bars
Manual can opener
Paper plates, cups and plastic utensils
1 gallon of water per person per day (allow enough for four days)
Flashlights and batteries
Battery-powered radio
Battery-powered clock
Cellular phone
First-aid kit
Four-day supply of prescription medicines
Blanket and cold-weather clothing for each family member
Pet food and additional water for household pets


For Traveling :

Check antifreeze
Check and replace older batteries
Keep the gas tank near full to avoid freezing water in the fuel line
Check tires and spare tire for proper inflation


Automobile emergency supplies:

Bag of sand, road salt or non-clumping cat litter.
Ice scraper
Jumper cables
Small shovel (to dig snow away from wheels, or scatter sand on roadway)
Tire chains (every driver should practice putting them on)
Flares or reflective triangle to warn other motorists if you break down
Flashlight and batteries
Gallon jug of drinking water
First aid kit
Jacket, hat, gloves and sturdy, snow-proof boots for each traveler
Nonperishable food
Cell phone
Money (cash)

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Vacation Checklist



____ Ask:
- Do doors open to an interior hallway vice to an outdoor balcony - criminals would probably be less likely to try to enter your room from an interior hallway
- Type of locks for the room doors:
- Self-locking?
- Dead bolt?
- Security bar and/or chain?
- Type of keys they use (stay away from metal keys with room #'s on them) - card keys are best e.g., with magnetic strip - they change the code after each guest
- Phone in room - which you could use if someone was trying to enter your room
- 24-hour front desk staffing
____ Ask for a room which is not on the first floor, especially if there's a sliding glass door to the outside, especially if you're a woman by yourself

____ Have dollar bills available for tipping door person, bell hop, etc.

____ Tip the door person and/or bell hop approx. $1 to $1.50 per bag, more if they provide extra services
____ Ask for a room which is not on the first floor, especially if there's a sliding glass door to the outside, especially if you're a woman by yourself
____ Ask for a room which is not above the reach of local fire department ladders, e.g., ladder trucks
____ Ask what kind of identification the staff carries
____ Determine fire excape routes/procedures

If someone comes to room saying they're hotel staff:
Before you let them in:
____ Call front desk to confirm that they're supposed to be there

If you expect to make more than a few phone calls:
____ Keep a log(list) of calls you make including day, time, number called, whether call was answered, lenght of call


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Before looking:

* Get a copy of your credit report and correct any errors.
* Reduce your consumer debt - pay down credit card balances.
* Assemble a cash down payment.
* Determine how much you can afford to pay for a home.
* Decide how much you are willing to spend for a home (different from how much you can afford).
* Get familiar with basic mortgage terms.
* Shop for a mortgage loan on the Internet.
* Get pre-approved or at least pre-qualified for a mortgage loan.
* Investigate neighborhoods where you want to look for a house.
* Consider neighborhood school quality and crime rates.
* Select two or three neighborhoods that meet your requirements.

When ready to shop:

* Find a real estate agent who specializes in the neighborhoods where you want to live.
* Work with your agent but also shop for a home at Internet sites such as HomeAdvisor and
* Visit homes for sale and make notes.
* Get your agent's help in evaluating the asking price of homes you like.
* With the help of your real estate agent, write an Offer to Purchase.
* Complete all mortgage loan application requirements

Once you find a home:

* Hire an inspector to examine your prospective home.
* Accompany your inspector during the inspection.
* Get agreement on repairs to be made by the Seller
* Inspect repairs and handle other details prior to closing day.
* Hand over a certified check for the down payment and pick up the deed for your home.


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To Do Today

1. Is your water heater turned down? A warm setting of 120°F will save energy and you won’t scald your hands.
2. Does your water heater have an insulating blanket? This will pay for itself in one year or less!
3. Do you have a waterbed? If you do, make your bed. The covers will act as an insulator and save up to one-third of the energy it uses.
4. Are you using the energy saving settings on your refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and clothes dryers? Start using these settings to save energy.
5. Have you replaced your light bulbs with compact fluorescents (CFLs)? If you haven’t replaced your incandescent lights yet, do this. CFLs can save three-quarters the electricity used by incandescent light bulbs. If you use lights that are 60-100W for several hours a day these are the best to replace.
6. Do you have newer appliances? The age and condition of appliances will affect their energy efficiency. Replacing them will save energy.
7. Have you replaced filters lately? By cleaning or replacing furnace, air-conditioner, and heat-pump filters you can save energy.

This Week

1. Rope caulk very leaky windows.
2. Have you assessed your heating and cooling systems? Determine if replacements are justified, or whether you should retrofit them to make them work more efficiently to provide the same comfort (or better) for less energy.

This Month

1. Gather your utility bills. Which bill is larger? Target the larger bill for energy conservation remedies.
2. Have you inspected your insulation? Crawl into your attic or crawlspace and inspect for insulation. Is there any? How much?
3. Insulate hot water pipes and ducts wherever they run through unheated areas.
4. Where are the leaks? Seal up the largest air leaks in your house—the ones that whistle on windy days, or feel drafty. The worst culprits are usually utility cut-through for pipes ("plumbing penetrations"), gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
5. Do you have a clock thermostat? Install one to automatically set it back at night.

This Year

1. Insulate. If your walls aren't insulated have an insulation contractor blow cellulose into the walls. Also make sure your attic insulation is sufficient.
2. Replace older inefficient appliances. An appliance may have a few useful years left but a new one will be more efficient.
3. Replace windows or boost current window efficiency. Replace with energy efficient models or add weather-stripping and storm windows to current windows.
4. Do a tune up on your heating and cooling systems in the fall and spring. Duct sealing can also boost the overall performance of your systems.


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Any "bad" records in a VIN history report?
Any maintenance records, mileage proof?
How many previous owners?
Why do they sell a car - tired of fixing it?
Any accidents, engine, transmission repair?
Has the car passed last Emission Test?

Start with exterior.

Indications of possible problem:
Are the exterior lines not straight? Ripples? Misaligned panels?
Driver's door has free play in the hinges? Troubles to close?
Are the gaps between panels too narrow (too wide) on one side of the car?
Lots of rusty spots?
Mismatched colors? Painting over spray?
Any panel of the car seems to be repainted?
Why? Accident? Corrosion?
Trailer hinge? The car was using for towing?

Indications of possible engine problem:

Any oil or coolant leaks from the engine?
Is the engine dirty or oily?
Is the oil level low? Is the oil on the dipstick too dark?
Any indication of poor quality repair work / lack of maintenance? (e.g. badly corroded battery terminals, very low oil level, etc.)
Start the engine:
Does it work unevenly?
Any knocking, pinging, whistling?
Any smoke? (slight water steam is OK)
Any warning lights come on while the engine is running?
"Check engine" light?
Is the engine oil pressure too low at idle?
Any hesitation on acceleration?
Is the engine enough powerful?
Does it look very dirty under the oil cap?
Smell of the burnt oil under the hood?

Possible automatic transmission problems:

Any previous transmission repair? Was it rebuilt?
Does the transmission fluid smell burnt?
Is the tranny fluid on the dipstick too dark/dirty?
Start the engine and try to switch from P to D and from P to R holding the brakes -
Is the time between shifting and the moment the transmission kicks in too long?
Any strong noises or jerks?
During a test drive:
Any delays or troubles shifting?
Any shudder? Does the transmission slip or jerk harshly?
The shifting seems to be delayed?
Does the kick-down function work?

The manual transmission:

Any leaks?
Any noises while driving?
Any troubles changing gears?
Is the clutch slipping?
Any trouble to shift into reverse?

The suspension problems:

Is any of shock absorbers leaking?
Is any of the shock absorber boots broken?
The steering has notable free play?
Does the car bounces too much when you push one of the corners down?
Tires have irregular wear? (alignment problem)
Does the car sit level?

During a driving test:

Any knocking or creaking noises when driving over bumps?
Does the car pull aside? Is the steering wheel out of center?
Does the vehicle feel unstable on a freeway?
Any humming or growling noise?

The brakes. Possible problem:

Is the brake fluid container leaky?
Is the brake fluid level too low?
Brake pedal goes down to the floor? Break pedal is too soft (spongy)? Too hard? Any brake fluid leaks under the car?
Badly corroded brake lines? Brake rotors appear corroded? During the test drive.
Any brake pedal or steering pulsation while braking?
Does the vehicle pull aside while braking?
Any grinding noise?
Does the brake warning light or ABS light come on while driving?


Any cracks, bruises?
Tread appears low?
Mismatched tires?
Damaged rims?
Vibration at high speed?
Humming noise? (uneven tire wear?)

The interior:

Is the driver seat / steering wheel worn excessively?
Dampness under the carpet or in the trunk?
Does the Radio / CD / Tape work?
Has the odometer any evidences of being tampered?
Does the air conditioner provide really cold air?
Are the power locks, windows, mirrors, sunroof, etc. working?
Are the heater, rear window defogger working?
Wind noise while driving?
Any of warning lights come on while driving?
Do you feel comfortable in driver's place?
Seats, seat belts, mirrors, controls, steering, visibility?
Spare tire, jack, wheel wrench?


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