Another Mobile Home Burns! Will Your Insurance will Cover your Home?

On March 15, 2018 a mobile home was destroyed completely by fire in the City of Cypress, Orange County. The photos show the devastation. The man inside the home suffered burns. According to a March 15 Orange County Register report the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Officers escorted the subject away from the residence seconds before an explosion occurred.

When a fire like this happens the first questions or comment is, “We sure hope the owner of the home was insured.” Unfortunately, the answer to this question is frequently that the home owner is either uninsured or under insured.

Fires happen. It could be your home damaged by a fire in a neighbor’s home or a huge disaster like wild fires where embers land on your roof and there is no stopping the damage and devastation that follows.

The pictures of this disaster tell the story. Don’t be caught without insurance. It is recommended that you consult with a professional who specializes in insuring mobile and manufactured homes for your insurance coverage.

The key is to have the home insured for replacement value. If you have a loan on the home and it is completely destroyed by a fire, you still owe the loan amount, plus you need to now replace the home.

The insurance coverage needed will need to cover the removal of the old, destroyed home, the preparation of the lot for the placement of a new home, payment of the mortgage and the purchase of a replacement home. This could be a considerable sum, but far better to be insured for the total loss.

Californians vs. Gas Prices

California is the third largest state in the United States by square miles. Although some cities have reliable public transportation, it’s easier to get around in the suburban cities if you have a car. Whether you drive a few miles every day for your errands or commute for an hour for your work, we have all seen the gas prices going up recently.

An article written by Kevin Smith, published in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, explores a few reasons why you might be paying more for gas than you should. If you are looking for ways to lower your expenses, consider the following points made in the article titled, “Here are the top money-wasting habits when buying gas, are you guilty of any of them?”
Smith uses a study done by GasBuddy and boiled down the list of these money-wasting habits to a few categories.

The study showed that almost 80% of the respondents have a gas station they regularly go to. It’s not a surprise that many people have a gas station they regularly go to, since it’s probably the most convenient location. Continue reading

Thinking of selling your home?

Before selling your home, be sure everything is in order regarding the registration of the home with the State of California, that taxes are all paid and current, and that you are aware of the proper disclosure forms that must be provided to the buyer of your home. These forms are outlined in California Civil Code Sections 1102 and require the seller of a manufactured home to disclose information including what items are included in the home, significant defects/malfunctions, hazardous materials in the home, and that any room additions comply with the appropriate code. The disclosure form is far more detailed, so be sure that you are thoroughly aware of this section of the California Civil code BEFORE you put your home up for sale. You will also want to advise the on-site manager/park owners that you are selling your home so that they can provide you with additional information or procedures that will need to be followed.

Caring for Your Well-Being

The tragedy of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida has sparked a massive debate between gun control laws and mental health issues. As you probably have read or seen in the media, there are extensive arguments for both sides of the issues. No matter what your political or personal views are, we can all agree that mental health is a very important aspect of our lives. Yet we are not constantly reinforced to take good care of our mental health. Think back to your upbringing, schooling, or training from work – how many figures in your life taught you to take proper care of your mental health? Now think about the stigmas and stereotypes associated when you think of “mental health issues.” Do these stigmas inhibit you from seeking mental health support?

According to American Psychological Association, one in four adults of age 65 or older experience mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia or dementia. As you age, it may become more difficult for you to take care of your mental health, especially if you need to care for your physical health. But according to the World Health Organization, mental health correlates with physical health.

It’s important to remember that you are responsible for your own mental health. If you are feeling depressed, have anxiety, feel anger, or feel isolated or lonely, it is your responsibility to speak up when you visit your primary care practitioner. Many health systems are merging health care into primary care visits, and if your doctor is unable to help you, he can direct to you to the right place. There are many factors that can affect your mental health. You don’t have to have gone through a traumatic experience to have mental health issues. You don’t have to invalidate your feelings by thinking that it is “not a big deal”, or thinking that you can “tough it out.” It is far better to be proactive and seek help or support instead of hiding behind any feelings of shame or embarrassment.

If you are thinking about seeking support for your mental health but don’t have healthcare or don’t know where to start, there are many resources available locally and even online. If you visit the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, you can find local and online peer support groups. You can contact your county’s public health office to be referred to a professional, a screening and assessment service, or a local support group. If you know someone else who seems to be having mental health issues, you can reach out and advise them to seek support. Remember that taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your body. With a little effort, you can have the support that you need to maintain your well-being.

Resources By County:

San Bernardino Public Health: http://wp.sbcounty.gov/dph/resources/

Riverside University Health System: http://www.rcdmh.org/Directors-Message

Orange County Social Services Agency: http://ssa.ocgov.com/health

Senior Health Outreach & Prevention Program: http://www.ochealthinfo.com/phs/about/phn/specialized/shopp

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance:

http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=home

Source:

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/2017-10-11/older-adults-struggle-to-get-adequate-mental-health-care

Cold and Flu: Winter 2018

As you probably have heard by now, this season’s flu has taken the lives of many individuals. Hospitals and emergency rooms are over-crowded by patients showing symptoms of the flu. Some have had to pitch tents in their hospital parking lots to treat patients. If you have been fortunate enough to not get sick this winter, make sure you take enough precaution to stay healthy. It’s not too late to get the flu shot and take extra measures to keep your environment germ-free. The following article written by Barbara Brody has a few guidelines for how not to get sick, as well as what you should do if you do catch a cold.

Kick the Cold by Barbara Brody

How to avoid getting sick in the first place–and what to do if it happens anyway

You know the misery the common cold can bring. Most adults battle two to four colds every year, thanks to more than 200 viruses that can make you cough, sneeze, and feel like you can hardly breathe through your nose, thanks to congestion. But you’re not powerless to reduce your risk or tame symptoms.

How not to get sick

Your friend might insist that loading up on vitamin C, eating garlic, or taking zinc supplements has made her cold-proof, but so far research does not show such strategies make a major difference.

What to do instead? “The most important thing you can do is to wash your hands often,” says Lisa Kalik, MD, an internist at Medical Offices of Manhattan and clinical assistant professor, Department of Medicine, at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Throughout the day, you touch germ-covered doorknobs, subway handles, and other people’s hands when you shake them. The only surefire way to get them off before they infect you is to use soap and water. The CDC advises scrubbing thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.

If you don’t have a sink handy, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer should also do the trick, says Kalik. It tends to work well enough at killing the viruses that cause colds, so keeping a bottle in your purse is a smart move.

I’m sick–now what?

When you do come down with a cold, expect it to last seven to 10 days. If you’re sick longer-or if you have a high fever, wheezing, or are coughing up blood–call your doctor.

You can’t really cure a run-of-the-mill cold, though some evidence suggests that taking vitamin C, Echinacea, and zinc supplements might shorten the duration by a day or two. That said, you can do plenty to feel better. The key is to match the complaint to the remedy. For example, if you have:

  • A low-grade fever or feel achy, try over-the-counter pain relievers.
  • A cough with chest congestion, try an expectorant, like guaifenesin, or a cough suppressant, such as dextromethorphan, which may help with the dry cough that often comes with a cold.
  • A stuffy nose, try a decongestant like pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine.
  • A lot of sneezing and a runny nose, try an antihistamine like chlorpheniramine. You may want to take these at night, since some can cause drowsiness.

And if you want some drug-free remedies, try honey to soothe a cough, a saline nasal rinse to clear out mucus, or a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home. Be sure to stay hydrated with plenty of water.

Ask your doctor

Do I need antibiotics?

“For the common cold, the answer is 100% no, because it won’t help,” says Lisa Kalik, MD. But if you don’t feel better after 10 days, check in with your doctor to rule out other conditions.

Are over-the-counter cold remedies safe to take?

Yes, but if you have any chronic conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure, be sure to check with your doctor first.

Can I try immune-boosting supplements?

“It generally can’t hurt to try one,” says Kalik. Still, make sure that supplements won’t interact with other drugs and supplements you take.

Should I be tested for allergies?

If a cold seems to last forever–and your doctor has ruled out more serious problems–you may be dealing with allergies instead.

Source: https://www.medicalofficesofmanhattan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Winter-17-WH-_Cold-Story1.pdf

Free Webinar: HUD’s Manufactured Home Dispute Resolution Program

You may have heard about the Manufactured Home Dispute Resolution Program, a resource that manufactured homeowners or prospective homeowner can use to resolve disputes regarding the correction or repair defect in manufactured homes. If you would like to be more knowledgeable about this program, there is a webinar on Tuesday, February 13th from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The webinar will teach you about how the program works, the issues handled by the program, federal disclosure requirements, and additional resources available. Upon registration, you can submit any questions you have about the program or any issues, and they will be answered by the webinar hosts. If you think of more questions after registration, you can submit them to info@huddrp.net by Tuesday, February 6.

You must register to participate in the webinar. Visit the link below to register, and contact Christine Biddlecombe at cbiddlecombe@savangroup.com for any questions about the webinar.

Registration: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/2950621205121298945

Resource: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/housing/rmra/mhs/mhdrp

Mobile home owners face hidden risks

Written By: Ben Metcalf – Nov 10, 2017

More than 500,000 California families find their path to affordable home ownership through the purchase of a mobile home or manufactured home, but an estimated one-third lack proper title and registration – putting each of those homeowners at risk.

In an effort to encourage all mobile and manufactured homeowners to secure proper title, the state is offering a limited-time program that waives many back fees and taxes.

Many homeowners purchased their property thinking they had all the proper documents, but later found out that the prior owner left them with unpaid fees and taxes. The state program offers a way out of that problem.

There are lots of good reasons to make sure mobile homes are properly titled and registered:

– Only mobile home owners with proper title and registration can buy flood and fire insurance. Sadly, we recently saw more than 200 mobile homes destroyed in devastating fires in Northern California – many of which did not have proper title and registration, and consequently no fire insurance.

– Registration helps owners to sell or legally transfer title to heirs – a spouse, child, or another loved one.

– Many home-improvement projects require a building permit, which can only be obtained if you have proper title and registration.

– More utility companies are offering financial assistance. However, participation requires current title and registration.

The state fee and tax waiver program — Register Your Mobile home California — waives certain state and local fees and taxes that could result in thousands of dollars of savings for a mobile home owner.

In the weeks and months ahead, the California Department of Housing and Community Development will work with mobile home park owners, community groups, and others to get the word out that help is available.

To help spread the word, we have created an easy-to-use website – RegisterYourMobilehomeCA.org – where homeowners to get the information they need to waive fees and taxes and secure title.

We also have a toll-free number – (800) 952-8356 – homeowners can call to receive assistance. English- and Spanish-speaking representatives are standing by, and interpreter services for other languages are available.

We urge all unregistered California mobile home and manufactured homeowners who haven’t registered their homes to do so as soon as possible. It is an important way to protect their most important asset and ensure their homes are safe and secure now and in the future.

Ben Metcalf, Director

California Department of Housing and Community Development.

Safety Tips for Your Home During Holiday Seasons

We are approaching a very joyous time of the year – whether you celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, or the New Year, it is a time to celebrate by gathering with family and friends. With many gatherings and parties, there’s usually a grand display of foods that someone has worked very hard to put together.  Whether you are given the opportunity to host a party for the first time, or you have been doing it for many years, it helps to take a minute and review some safety tips.

According to Foremost Insurance and the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), Thanksgiving and Christmas are known for cooking-related home fires. You can imagine millions of people cooking in the kitchen, many of them pressed for time and stressed out from wanting to make everything perfect. It’s more than likely that just a few carelessness or inattention in the kitchen will lead to big disasters. Although the following tips were written to advise people for holiday feasts, you can apply these same tips for whenever you are cooking in the kitchen:

  1. Make sure that no flammable objects, such as kitchen towels, oven mitts, paper towels, hot pads, and food packaging, are away from your stove top. If you are rushing or not fully paying attention, it’s easy to forget about where you put these objects. It helps to clean off your kitchen counter as you cook so that you have space to put your kitchen tools and can keep track of where things are.
  2. Stay in the kitchen at all times if you have something boiling, frying, grilling, or broiling. If you are an experienced cook at home, you probably think that you can leave the kitchen for a short period of time. But why risk having a tragic accident in your kitchen right before an important gathering? Always keep an eye on your stove, or turn it off if you need to leave the kitchen.
  3. Always check on your foods that are simmering, baking, or roasting. Just because your pumpkin cheesecake recipe states to bake for one hour and to not open the oven door while it’s baking, you can still look into the oven every now and then to make sure that everything is going smoothly. If you are a forgetful cook, always use a timer, especially for dishes that calls for long hours of cooking.
  4. Don’t use the stove if you are feeling sleepy or have consumed alcohol. It’s very easy to start cooking and fall asleep while you are waiting. Pass the torch to someone else who is alert and wide awake to do the cooking.

It’s very easy for anyone to be a victim to kitchen disasters, especially when you are busy entertaining guests or if you are preparing everything by yourself. Make sure you stay safe by reading the Foremost Insurance article as well as visiting the National Fire Protection Agency website.

Resources: http://blog.foremost.com/thanksgiving-fires-turkey-fryers-and-safety-choirs.asp

https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/cooking.html

Is Your Mobile Home Level?

Many homeowners choose mobile home living as a long-term housing arrangement. There are many reasons for choosing the mobile home lifestyle including affordability, community setting, and convenience. One major reason, especially for seniors, is the accessibility of a single-floor layout. As your mobile home ages, it becomes increasingly important to keep up with maintenance. Although the manufactured homes that are built these days are very durable and can even look like a traditional home, one of the most crucial and often overlooked necessity is re-leveling of your mobile home.

As the years pass, all manufactured homes begin to settle. This can cause problems such as creaks and leans in your floor, as well as doors not closing properly. What does all this mean? Well you can rest assured, your home is not sinking or damaged, rather it means that your home needs an adjustment.

Without regular adjustments to the level of your home, the piers underneath the home that may be constructed of non-treated wood may show wear, tear, and erosion. Bolts could become stressed and less effective, and other deterioration underneath the home may have occurred.

What is re-leveling?

Re-leveling your mobile home is simply the appropriate redistribution of the weight of your home to make it even again.

Can I re-level my own home?

Unless you have the experience and equipment necessary, this is not a do-it-yourself job. To safeguard your home and guarantee that the re-leveling is done correctly, you will need to consult a professional.

The best place to start is with the company that sold your mobile home to you. Mobile home dealers often know the most qualified contractors. Or ask a neighbor which company they used. Another way to find the right company is to search the web. But be cautious, always investigate the company’s qualifications, credentials and previous clients’ comments and reviews.

Finally, get multiple quotes in writing and ask these potential companies questions. Find out who will actually be completing the job and verify their experience and credentials and request an accurate timeline for the project so you can plan ahead.

Re-leveling may seem like a major repair, however it really is quite basic, but definitely necessary. If you plan ahead and do your research your mobile home life style can continue to be comfortable and safe for many more years to come.

Source: http://mobilehomeliving.org/understanding-mobile-home-leveling-issues/

Is Mobile Home Community Living Low-Income Housing?

In the Southern California region, there is a broad choice of housing ranging from very affordable to very expensive. Generally, multifamily rental housing, including mobile home parks, are considered to be affordable housing. However, the closer the apartments or mobile home parks are located to the beach or other desirable neighborhoods, the more expensive they are. Likewise, the farther inland or in less desirable neighborhoods, the less expensive all forms of housing become. The very same 800 square foot 1940’s bungalow located in San Bernardino will rent for a mere fraction of what it rents in Newport Beach. The real estate adage, “location, location, location” applies to all forms of housing.

Generally multi-family rental housing is considered affordable housing and mobile home parks are included in that category. It is important to note that there is a big difference between “affordable housing” and “low-income housing.” Affordable housing is available to everyone as a lifestyle choice, regardless of one’s income. It is very common to find people choosing to live in a nice apartment community or mobile home community because they like the lifestyle. It has nothing to do with whether they could afford to live in a larger or more expensive house.

Low-income housing is another type of housing entirely. To address the needs of low-income families, government has provided a variety of programs including Section 8 rent subsidy programs and other subsidized housing. To live in a subsidized low-income apartment or condominium the renter or purchaser has to meet the low-income criteria.

Cities are required to adopt housing elements identifying the types of housing in their communities. The number of single family homes, condos, apartments, mobile home parks and subsidized low-income housing is outlined in these housing elements. Many cities and counties have adopted zoning requirements that require developers to include affordable housing within their housing developments or to pay the jurisdiction a fee for affordable housing.

Apartments and mobile home parks are not low-income housing. They provide a rental housing choice that, depending on the location, can also be an affordable housing choice.