What Is A 203(K) Consultant?

Those looking to fix up a home, remodel or repair a run-down property may apply for the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) 203(k) loan. The loans are offered to those who want to repair or fix up a home that has run into disrepair and live in it as their primary residence. These loans help reduce the risk that would otherwise have to be undertaken by a primary lending agency. Mortgage payments during the time of the remodel may be covered up to six months by the government. Down payments are reduced to encourage revitalization of neighborhoods. Only 3.5% of the purchase price plus repair costs need to be accounted for as well as good credit and steady income to apply. In order for the loan to be secured you will need to work with a 203(k) consultant.

Do you need a 203(k) consultant? What can they do for you? A 203(k) consultant is approved by HUD, or the government agency that oversees home mortgage lending practices. HUD stands for Housing and Urban Development. Consultants must be approved by a HUD field office and trained using their specific Work Write-Up Forms.

To begin with, a 203(k) consultant will view the site with the potential borrower. Together they will walk-through the site as the consultant assesses the amount of work that needs to be done and whether or not it’s possible to do the project. If the consultant gives the go-ahead, an agreement is signed and the client pays a retainer for services.

The second part of the service is where the contractor’s HUD training comes in. They prepare a detailed Work Write-UP. This lays out line-by-line costs associated with project. Included in the Work Write-Up are project specifications, construction costs analysis and HUD-required draw request forms. They also prepare bid packages and lender packages.

The next step is to deliver the Work Write-Up packages to the borrower, lender and contractor. After that the borrower finds a contractor to work with. It’s important to note that lenders have requirements that contractors have to meet. Contractors must know about the 203(k) process and how it will apply to the work they do.

Finally the loan closes. Repair funds are put in escrow and the actual work begins. After that, the consultant performs draw request inspections. During this phase the proper permits must be issued. As the building progresses a punch list is drawn up. Finally the project is completed and warranties and lien releases are gathered.

This type of investment isn’t for everyone, but for those interested in restoration of homes can find themselves a great deal if granted a 203(k) loan.

San Diego Home Inspector is your resource for prompt, honest and reliable home inspections and commercial property inspections. Our mission is to provide home inspection services that make a positive impact on the local community by protecting the physical and financial well being of our clients. Visit San Diego Home Inspectors today.

Signs a Business Needs IT Consulting Services

When a business experiences an IT problem, its principals often turn to the Internet for help, but at a time when IT advice is offered in thousands of blogs and business websites, it is difficult to know what advice to trust. When the health of a business’s network is essential to the health of its bottom line, IT consulting services should be used to address issues with the network. When a business experiences the situations below, a consultant from a managed services provider should be contacted for advice:

IT Investments that are Over Budget

Sometimes the need to retain a consultant is as obvious as businesses being over their budget with their IT investments. In some cases, the budget is simply too small for what the company needs, but a consultant often finds a way for the company to meet its needs for a lower price than seems possible. For businesses, the key is to seek advice during the planning phase and not when the budget is already in the red.

No Offsite Data Storage

Some businesses discover the true value of business data only after a major data loss. When a fire or a flood destroys the network, some businesses have no way to recover lost data for prospective clients, on competitors, the sales territory, etc. Storing data offsite prevents this from happening. According to research, most businesses never completely recover from a major data loss. Consequently, implementing an offsite storage system with the help of a managed services provider should be a top priority.

Potential to Reduce Staff

Web-based services make it possible for some companies to reduce staff. However, just because services are relocated offsite does not mean a company should immediately cut staff. In fact, when the data from offsite applications must be maintained onsite, the need for staff could increase. Before it assumes that web-based services reduce the need for in-house staff, a company should take advantage of IT consulting services.

Plan to Implement a New Network

When the needs of its network change drastically, a business may need an entirely new IT infrastructure. In most cases, however, network requirements tend to evolve gradually, allowing a business to upgrade components over time. If your business must upgrade its network, seek expert advice to find out exactly what needs to be upgraded. Otherwise, you could overspend by replacing more components than you need to.

No Disaster Recovery Plan

A disaster recovery plan helps businesses stay in business in the wake of a disaster such as a fire or a flood. Without a plan in place, a business may have no way of accessing or retaining its marketing and proprietary data for products or services. A recovery pan helps keep this from happening by supplying the data and hardware a business needs to maintain its network during a disaster.


When they experience the situations above, companies should receive IT consulting services before they make a final decision. For more information about the value of IT consultation, contact amanaged services provider today.

How to Start Your Consulting Career in a Small Town

Starting in a Small Town

When I decided to move from the city to a small sized regional town (35,000) of which I knew less than five people I had to have a plan to develop my consultancy in the small town.

This advice comes from a business consultant that has experienced the highs and lows of small town consultancies.

First, building trust

Small towns have a very efficient word-of-mouth network that is working overtime focused on all the latest gossip. Being a consultant your clients need to know they can trust you and worry that their information will become part of that gossip network.

Your professional brand needs to build trust and rapport to back up your actions. If you do or say anything about your clients, your consultancy will slowly fade away.

Second, keep your word

I was so used to service contracts and several formal presentations to clients while working in the city that it took a little time to get used to clients in small towns doing business by taking your word and giving theirs.

It doesn’t matter about contracts in small towns, if you break your word, your reputation will be over town within the week, and clients will lose your trust.

Make sure that if you promise to do something, do it. Never give your word if you cannot keep it. Understand that your clients may be put off by the formal contracts used by ‘city’ managers and build your business systems to operate within this less formal structure.

Third, get to know people as people

Rural towns shut down over the weekend as most people are busy going to local sports matches, hobbies or fishing for example. Become part of the community by engaging in similar social activities in an honest way. In other words, go because you enjoy it, not for cheap advertising.

Surprisingly your clients will want to see your social side as well as your professional side. Remember, you are not just doing consultancy work and then leaving them for the next contract. You will be expected to keep in touch as you bump into old clients while shopping or going to the doctors.

Fourth, change is slow

Even though you possess the latest industry knowledge and solutions be prepared that the town clients could be twenty years out of date. Not because of any deficiencies in the clients, but simply they don’t feel the need to change something they have been doing for decades just because larger towns may have.

Small Town overview

Most importantly you will need to retrain your body language to adjust to the town behaviours or you will be seen as intimidating and high pressure. Spend time watching how people in small towns meet and interact before you go in with your business card, power suit and wide smile.

Information supplied by Paul Baker

Over twenty years of business development & change management strategies successfully used in National organisations across Australia. The focus is on continuous improvement of business systems to stimulate growth through our principles of Initiate, Inspire, Innovate.

Customer-centric focus using our extensive experience in consumer behaviour and business process operations to find ways to help business owners manage their organisations.

Using Door Hangers for Consultants to Improve Business

The profession of giving advice on various fields is not often advertised. The professionals in this field often rely on referrals from the professionals in related fields. The demand for their services is, in most cases, not very high. It is for this reason that most of these professionals are continually on the search for methods of promoting their services in an attempt to increase revenues. Door hangers for consultants provide a solution for this problem. This is because the use of these cards provides an economical, yet very effective means of advertising the services of a particular advisor.

Making your Cards Effective

Door hangers for consultants provides a solution for marketing the services of a particular advisor. Their effectiveness, however, depends on a number of factors. Most important is the quality of the cards produced. The quality needs to be striking. It should show the potential clients that you value quality. Most clients are likely to keep your card. Most cards end up in the dust bins even before they are read because they do not offer any form of enticement for the potential client to see. The cards should have some form of decorations and neat writing that will attract the reader as they look at what services you have to offer. The clients may also choose to have these cards as decoration in their house and when they require your services they may easily contact you.

Call for Action

It is not enough for door hangers for consultants to be pretty. In some cases these pretty cards also get thrown away like the bad quality cards. These cards should create some form of necessity for the client. They should be able to influence some form of action. Creating this desire to take action often creates demand for the services provided by advisors. This, in most cases, may be achieved by highlighting the negative implications of the clients not seeking your services. For instance if you are a construction consultant, you may highlight the exploitation of construction companies. This will often make the client think and in most cases see that you have a point.

Distribution Strategies

Door hangers for consultants are a form of direct advertising. This means that the more the number of people that the marketers reach, the more their message spreads. These cards should, however, be distributed to the right homes. Depending on the field of expertise that the professional gives advice on, the homes where the cards are placed should have some degree of relation. It is often best to perform some sort of research on the homes before you start placing the cards. The relevant information should be the occupations of the occupants, as well as their income levels. This will help you gauge whether they may be requiring your services.

Internet Consultant Helps for Your Business Success

The Internet provides a promising opportunity for your business to reach a new level of promotion. Internet marketing has been proven to be an effective tool to reach out to your prospective customers without spending too much (it’s more cheap compared to print and broadcast media promotion). However, most especially for beginners, Internet marketing can be a challenging task considering its complexity.

With the help of Internet marketing consultants, you can handle your online business promotion tasks a lot easier. How can they help? Well, they are individuals who have specialized in a wide array of Internet marketing techniques, which are very helpful to make your Internet marketing campaign a success. Some of their approaches include the following:

Business website development – Internet marketing consultants give recommendation about which type of website is more suitable for your chosen niche, for your target customers. They can help you decide whether an e-commerce website is needed for the nature of business you have or a website that is built for the purpose of brand awareness.

Search Engine Optimization – they are also knowledgeable when it comes to promoting your website or brand to search engines. As we know it, majority of website visitors come to a website via search engines. Therefore, making your website more visible in the eyes of search engines like Google gives you more chances of getting visitors for your website

Pay-per-click ad campaign – good marketing consultants are also able to give you intelligent recommendation on when and how to invest in pay-per-click advertising for your business. They can help you understand when PPC investment becomes necessary.

Social media marketing – you can also work with them when it comes to social media marketing campaign. They can help you in harnessing the power of biggest social network names in the industry (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) to further elevate your online marketing campaign.

Local business marketing – most especially if you are promoting a business that is intended for customers of a particular geo-location, a local business marketing campaign can be a great tool and an Internet consultant can help your local business goal realized.

Analytics reporting – lastly, Internet consultants also have specialized in analytics and reporting tasks. They analyze data that your website and other online marketing campaign have generated and provide useful insights on how you can make use of these data for further enhancement of your online marketing campaign. They provide information, usually presented with numerical and graphical data, which give you useful idea about how effective your marketing campaign is, and what are the necessary steps to stay on the right track.

The Pros and Cons of Consulting an Interior Designer Before You Buy Furniture

A professional interior decorator, or even designer, is someone you can hire to help you decorate and organize a room to make it more attractive, functional and up-to-date. These décor professionals can do everything from a simple consultation to a full home overhaul. But, is it worth it?

Keep reading to learn the benefits and disadvantages of hiring or consulting a professional before you buy furniture.

Benefit – Discounted Prices

Because interior decorators have extensive contacts, they can often purchase furniture pieces at wholesale or trade prices. Consequently, you can routinely pick up beautiful, designer items for less money than you would ordinarily pay.

Drawback – Mark-ups and Consultation Fees

Interior design or décor professionals don’t work for free. What you may save on wholesale furniture prices is probably going to cost you in consultation fees.

Benefit – Expertise and Professional Consultation

If you’re not a design expert or even if you simply don’t have the time to deal with home decorating, hiring a professional to take care of those decisions could be a wise investment. If your time is valuable, delegating furniture purchasing to someone else could even save you money.

Drawback – Lack of Personal Input

While most design professionals actively seek input and guidance from their clients, you’re still surrendering some control over your space and furniture buying decisions. If you’re the kind of person who likes to be intimately involved in your home, consulting a professional might not be right for you.

Benefit – Tracking Down Discounts

Because interior decorators work in the field every day, they have a great knowledge base about tracking down hot furniture deals, where the good sales are and how to locate quality products at discounted prices.

Benefit – Making you Stick to Your Budget

One of the best benefits of working with an interior design professional before you buy furniture is that they make you stick to a budget. Let’s say you set out with a personal budget of $4000 to refurnish your living room. If you hire a professional consultant for $500 and give her $3500 to work with, you’re more likely to come in on budget than if you go out on your own.

Why? Because once you’re shopping, you’re more likely to authorize extra purchases, pull out that second credit card or indulge in items that you don’t need. A professional can rein in those impulses.

In short, whether consulting a professional before you buy furniture is worth it is going to depend on you and understanding your purchasing and designing style.

Fulfill Your Dream of Becoming a Fitness and Wellness Consultant

The world we live in today has so many stress factors that bombard us daily, our only release is to de-stress. Consultants are all around us but are you confident about your fitness and wellness consultant. If you are a fitness and wellness enthusiast, then you may want to become what you enjoy doing, while earning in the process.

• Certification

Being a certified fitness and wellness consultant gives you the edge, because it offers you the pleasure to do what you enjoy, while helping others to achieve their goals. To get certification, there are both physical and written exams you need to sit. You can go online to find the closest facility that offers courses in your community. Most certification courses are offered by professional fitness and wellness consultants as well as local community centers. First, the basic fitness and wellness certificate is what you need; this can be done online. With the basic certificate, you can specialize in prenatal and postnatal wellness. For having a higher certification that is recognized internationally, you may want to enroll in European Fitness Association or Fitness Association of America, both offers certification of the highest standard.

• Internship

After completion of your certification course, then the fun begins. You may want to enroll in an establish wellness and fitness club to fine tune your skills, get some documented experience under your belt, so you are able to deal with clients that may come to your facility with specific cases. This will help to build your confidence when you go freelancing as a consultant. Your knowledge acquired at the facility will give you valuable insight as to the kind of standard and quality service you want to offer your prospective clients. This will also help you build a good and solid relationship with your clients and so enhance your membership. Word of mouth is the best advertisement, and when great service is given, people will know. You may choose to work in a facility after you are certified, which is not a problem, as it cuts down on overhead expenses.

• Be Unique

Another way to build your client base is to offer special services, that most if not all, other fitness and wellness consultants’ agencies are not offering. You may consider consultancy in disease management, which requires you to be very knowledgeable on the subject. Offering clients advice in this area is unique, as many persons who opt to begin sessions, on fitness and wellness have problems in areas of certain chronic diseases. Smoking, diabetes, hypertension, even recovering cancer patients are generally pleased when they are able to have personal discussions with their wellness consultants to help in these areas.

The Consultative Approach to Sales

In today’s modern society where the economic downturn has inflicted doubts into the minds of every businessman and woman, sales and sales techniques have never been more essential to sustain a company’s life span in the corporate market.

One of the most talked about sales approaches of the 21st century is that of the consultative approach, or solution selling, a method developed by businessman, Frank Watt at Wang Laboratories when he was a leading sales consultants. At the time, Electronic Magazine deemed his idea “an unmistakable trend in the distribution of systems- related products.”

With the consultative approach, the sales person acts as a mentor, by gathering information from the prospect, weighing up the options that are available and returning with a solution.

This type of dealing is most commonly achieved through an amicable approach and restricts the ideals of “the hard sell,” thus creating a friendly relationship between both client and sales agent. Savvy business owners will often contract Sales Lead Generation companies to complete the first stage of this process by identifying the key prospects through a series of questioning and pro-active listening.

The idea behind this concept is that, by the end of the sales pitch, the prospect is sure that the product meets their specific requirements.

One of the key areas in successful consultative selling is to understand the client’s needs and wants, and the problems that they currently face. This research or Lead Generation probing is generally achieved by asking open questions specifically in relation to the area a company specializes in e.g. I.T.

Along with the open questions it can often help to look up information that is publicly available about the targeted company, on the net or within the mass media such as press releases or newspaper articles.

Before getting to the sales pitch, the sales person needs to open the conversation with the prospect in a friendly manner. Building trust is a fundamental element from the start of the sales process, and needs to be nurtured throughout and after the deal has been closed. It is the rapport that one builds with the client and the way it is done that helps gain their trust.

Along with mannerisms, product knowledge is another vital element to the success of the sale. A sales person should know the specialized market and product inside and out. This means demonstrating a vast amount of information on the product, knowing competitors’ products and the target audience. The salesman needs to demonstrate his expertise and knowledge.

During a consultative sales approach, the salesman focuses on the prospect’s needs during the conversation and endeavours to use his professional expertise to help provide a product / service that will help rectify or alleviate the pains. With this in mind, the consultative approach guarantees customer satisfaction and helps generate new, and or repeat profitable business. In complex selling situation, where decision-making is both a rational and emotional process, building a strong rapport through consultative selling will help make the difference.

The consultative technique was originally used by the legal and insurance professionals, but the method is now spreading into other sectors, especially the technology industry.

Get Safety Consulting Done Today!

Everyone needs healthcare and safety in their everyday life. There are various professions that involve serious threats to the health and safety of people. In many industries people have to work with many toxic chemicals and gases. These harmful materials can cause serious health issues. These toxic chemicals can also harm the environment which can harm thousands of people. The only way you can avoid these hazards is by getting a safety consulting service for your guidance.

You spend a great amount of time at your workplace and if your profession requires handling of heavy machines or hazardous chemicals then you and all the other workers at your workplace need immediate consultation. A well trained safety consultant will help people to understand how to work in dangerous situations at workplace. If you are the owner of a firm, taking care of your employee’s health and safety is really important if they work in an unsafe atmosphere. To prevent any kind of accident at workplaces, you need to find a good consulting service fast.

A safety consulting service will help you to train your employees to make sure that they are more careful about their health and safety. Most of the firms use chemicals that affect the environment. This is where safety consulting services will be of help. This specialized professional task force will guide your employees to handle any kind of hazardous situation that is harmful to their health.

Since there are many safety consulting agencies in the market, it is hard to choose the best one that will properly train you and the other employees at an affordable fee. If you and your co-workers or employees are working with harmful substances that can be harmful to the environment as well as personal health it is important to call a consulting agency immediately. A safety consulting agency will teach your employees or co workers to overcome this type of hazardous situations at workplace. This training is compulsory for all the employees because they need to know the company’ safety policy for their own good.

Nowadays almost every firm, airport, railway stations, hospitals, and schools are hiring these agencies to assure the safety of their customers, employees, patients, and students. Visit Hygieneering.com to know all about safety training agencies and their services. Certified industrial hygienists, certified safety professionals, and field technicians will make sure that the employees can handle any kind of hazardous situations at their workplace.

Essential Tips For Hiring a Consultant

Some time ago we talked about the circumstances under which hiring a consultant can add value to a business. If you’ve already established the need to recruit one, pay attention to a few issues before you plunge headlong into a contract. Here’s a quick checklist.

Assess in-house expertise. First of all, make sure that you’re not hiring a consultant to teach you things you already know! The best way to do so is to include your senior managers in the decision, and ask them about the existing pockets of expertise in their respective functions. At the end of it all, you might find that you have a smaller or even no need for an outside expert! Better now, than later.

Investigate credentials. There are consultants, and there are consultants. Each of them will have their strengths and weaknesses. Do a thorough background check on the consultant you plan to hire, in terms of capability, commitment and compatibility. Talk to the consultant’s other clients about their experience, if possible.

Pay attention to the contract. Hiring a consultant is serious and expensive business, and is more likely than not to leave a lasting impact on your company. Hence, you can’t seal a consulting assignment on a mere smile and handshake. Draw up a proper contract, which comprehensively covers all important points relating to the scope of the assignment, costs and fee associated with the engagement, and, of course, key deliverables. Have it looked at by someone who understands legalese.

Sign a confidentiality agreement. A consultant will be privy to a lot of internal data – make sure your interests are protected by getting him or her to sign an agreement of confidentiality. You can find guidelines on drafting one in our earlier story on the subject, or better still. If the project is of critical importance, you may like to include a clause that prohibits the consultant to work with a competitor for a certain period after the completion of your assignment.

Shop around. Price is always an issue, and when it comes to the expensive business of hiring a consultant, even more so. An established consultant may just charge for his or her reputation, make sure you find out what the going rate is. Often, you can agree to a basic fee, topped up by a generous bonus in proportion to the end result.

Describe your requirements. The very purpose of hiring a consultant is defeated if there is no clarity on expected results. It is in your interest to ensure that the boundaries of the engagement are made crystal clear – that includes deliverables, timelines and cost considerations.

Involve your team. This is the most important commandment for a company hiring a consultant. No one likes having an outsider telling them how to do their job, your staff included. Share with them the reason for taking on an expert, and what benefits you expect by doing so. Impress upon them the need to support the project, and its impact on the goals of the organization. Once they get used to the idea, it won’t seem like such a bitter pill to swallow. From your perspective, you need to ensure ground level support, without which you can kiss any chances of successful implementation goodbye!