Page 1


Killeen Daily Herald’s 2016

how-to guide PUBLISHED BY Frank Mayborn Enterprises, Inc. KILLEEN DAILY HERALD 1809 Florence Rd., Killeen, TX 76540 PUBLISHER Sue Mayborn COVER DESIGN Andrew Cuevas LAYOUT DESIGN Renee Blue GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Amy Casto Jonathan Tubbs William Greenfield HOW TO CONTACT US Main Line: (254) 501-7499 Subscriber Service: (254) 501-7400 Retail Advertising: (254) 501-7500 Classified Advertising: (254) 501-7497 Newsroom: (254) 501-7540 Read this publication online at

RETAIL Salado Antique Mall...............4 Hidden Falls Nursery..............5

AUTOMOTIVE Pop-A-Lock............................7 Lithia Motors.........................9 Maaco................................10 David Millican.....................11 International Collision..........12 Sunbelt RV Center................13 Marine Outlet......................14

REAL ESTATE SWBC Mortgage..................17 Perry’s Office Plus................18 Brookside Apartments..........20 Rosa Rodriguez....................22 RNC Construction................23 Easy Home..........................24 J.R. Ash Tree Company.........29

MISCELLANEOUS A Touch from Above.............31 Bobby Barina.......................33 Crawford Bowers .....................34 Gym X.................................37

MEDICAL House of Smiles...................39 Dr. Dave Webster.................40 Killeen Veterinary Clinic........42


Did You Know? When you visit, you can view all of our special monthly sections online at any time.

Automax Superstore.............44 Teleperformance..................47 Express Employment............48

FINANCIAL GCTFCU.............................50 Union State Bank........ 53 & 56 John Lister...........................54 TTD Bookkeeping................55



How to choose AN ANTIQUE STORE


t is difficult for some of us to keep up with the latest fashions when it seems that they change almost weekly, especially in the area of home décor. In that light, it may be a good idea to forget buying new items at all and focus on classic items that have been around for a very long time. For the fashion conscious, staying power is important, and what has more staying power than an antique? The first step to investing in antiques is choosing a store that offers genuine antiques, not just old items. As a general rule, any item should be 50 to 100 years old before it is considered an antique, although all old items are not necessarily antiques — some are just old. Antiques are valuable because of their age, their workmanship and their popularity among collectors, which also helps to set the price of the piece. Another aspect to consider is the difference between collectible, vintage and antique. Many items are collectible, as this depends on the collector’s personal taste, from Pez dispensers to Mickey Mouse watches or salt and pepper shaker sets. Items peculiar to a particular era are

called vintage. Age helps to determine if an item is considered vintage, but the decade in which it was manufactured matters more than how old it actually is. For instance, if someone wants a pair of shoes, a dress, or other fashion item from the 1960s, then a 100-year-old similar item would not interest that person. Although it is possible to purchase genuine and valuable antiques online through auctions on the Internet, care must be taken to really know what is being purchased. Many people prefer to hunt antiques in person through flea markets, garage and estate sales. Often the best values are found locally and great items can be found to perfectly fit in with your home’s décor. If a specific item is needed, this method may be very time consuming, though, and in that case, searching the Internet may be the best way to locate the item in

question. If shopping on the Internet, just be aware that shipping and handling costs, as well as insurance, can add a considerable amount to the total purchase price. Trying to verify that you are dealing with a reputable business is not always easy, either. It makes better sense to try to find the item locally through antique stores. Check your newspaper for advertisements, and put the word out through friends, relatives and co-workers that you are looking for a reputable antique dealer. When you have narrowed your choices down to two or so dealers, visit each and try to establish a report with him or her. This is the best way to choose an antique dealer that will be willing to work with you when-ever you are looking for antiques for investment or to enhance your home. Most antique dealers are eager to talk about the items they offer and are a wealth of knowledge on collections or oneof-a-kind items. Once your dealer gets to know you and what you like, he or she will be more than willing to contact you as soon as a piece that may interest you becomes available. To keep your continuing business, the dealer may lower prices over what would be charged to just any customer off the street, as well. Finding a friendly antique dealer and forming a lasting relationship is the best way to choose an antiques store that you can count on for many years to come.


How to choose A GARDEN CENTER


s spring draws near, the birds start to come out of hiding and many people begin to turn their attention to gardening. Starting in January, mailboxes throughout America begin to be stuffed with seed catalogs. Although the perfect looking pictures can make your mouth water, not everyone wishes to start their spring garden from seeds. There are many other options to consider when planning the garden of your dreams. In many cases you will have more than one choice for a garden center in your area. Choosing the right one for you may be confusing. Ask yourself what features are important to you. It is simple to become familiar with the industry as long as you pay attention to a few key things. HOW LONG HAVE THEY BEEN IN BUSINESS? The longer a garden center has been in business, the more likely they are to have great service and offer quality plants. Even if the greenhouse or garden center has changed ownership, it is likely that there has been a continuation of business practices. While the length of time in business isn’t necessarily the only thing to be considered, it is a good indication of sound business practices. Many times when a business is sold the original owners stay on to provide training to new employees and owners to help with a smooth transition. This process of a smooth transition can often be a good indication of good management as well. IS THE GARDEN CENTER LOCAL OR NATIONAL? Sometimes this can be difficult to determine. In many cases, garden

centers may belong to a franchise and get their plants from other areas while having a local management team. This can make it more difficult to have control over the final product that you may buy. A greenhouse that grows all of their own plants from seeds has full control over their inventory. The closer the plant is grown to where it will eventually be gardened, the better the end results will likely be. It is important to understand that plants are shipped in very small containers for long distances. This can cause the plants to be subject to more plant diseases, most of which won’t be apparent until the plant is already in your garden. OPEN POLLINATED, GENETICALLY MODIFIED OR ORGANIC? Anyone who has spent any time digging in the dirt knows the meaning of these buzz words. Recently they have made it to the top of all gardening organizations. Open pollinated designates a seed or plant that will reproduce itself purely if seed is properly saved from the fruit of the plant. An organic seed or plant has been produced without artificial

or chemical pesticides. Genetically modified plants are created by laboratory technology that manipulates the plant’s genes. For example, instead of mixing two different kinds of corn to create one that is more resistant to diseases, they may combine genes from corn and a totally unrelated tomato plant. These modifications do not happen naturally in the breeding process. People are very wary of genetically altered seeds and plants. The truth is that there are many advantages to this type of plant. On commercial farms, this type of plant can give distinct advantages over those that are not genetically modified. In a backyard garden however, this is usually not necessary. When shopping at a garden center, you should know what types of plants are being offered. Many will have identifying points listed on the tag. If not, you should check with the staff to get information. Generally, commercial crops are more likely to have genetic modification done on them. There are many other points to consider that will help you make the right decision about a garden center or greenhouse. All else being equal, spend some time visiting all of the options. You may find a combination from several provide you with the best results. It’s important to feel free to shop around and compare prices. Customer service is also very important. Generally, gardeners are friendly and knowledgeable and always happy to give you pointers. You should find that the garden center you choose is informative and friendly.



How to choose A LOCKSMITH


ow to choose a locksmith is not something people think about until they find themselves in situation where they need one. The most common method most people use is to pick one out of the phone book or look one up online because they want to get the job done quickly. It is a good idea to choose a locksmith before you need one and have the info handy to con-

Don’t just ask if they are licensed, because “licensing” can refer to many types of licensing, including some not widely recognized. tact them when you do. Start by choosing one that is reputable. Get recommendations. This can include asking friends and/or neighbors. However, keep in mind that they probably don’t have a “regular” locksmith since locksmith service is one of those things people tend not to think about until they need that particular service. A more productive approach in finding a locksmith is to ask past customers of a locksmith you are considering or contact local businesses. Small local businesses are likely to use locksmith services on a regular basis or at least

have one they tend to go to when they have locksmith need and therefore would likely have one to recommend. Always ask the locksmith if he/she is licensed. Texas requires all locksmiths to have a license to perform locksmith services. The license is a rigid evaluation that includes fingerprinting and a full FBI background check. It’s oversight is through the Department of Public Safety Private Security Bureau. The license number can be used as a reference if you want to register a complaint. A company search can be done online at: https://www. You will also find that most reputable locksmiths are members of the Associated Locksmiths of America. ALOA has been training and qualifying locksmiths for 60 years. They have created the standards by which most locksmiths are measured. Be sure they are bonded and insured. This is in case they damage your doorway, car or anything else during the process. If a locksmith is not bonded and damage is done in the process of their work it may be difficult to recover the costs of the damages. Call locksmith services before you need them to inquire about their prices. Write down the prices they quote. Sometimes if a locksmith knows you are desperate they will inflate their charges. If you can call ahead of time before you need their services you can avoid being over charged.

Make a list of locksmiths you are considering. Ask each of them for the names and contact information of current or past customers. If they want your business and are on the up-and-up they will not mind sharing this information with you. You will want to ask current or past customers about the prices they charged and how the service was that was provided. Ask if they were on time and completed the job to satisfaction. If a past customer used them in an emergency situation, ask how long they had to wait and if they were over charged or charged fairly. Once you find a locksmith, check them out by calling your local chamber of commerce, police department or Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any previous complaints filed. A locksmith may not always admit they have had a complaint or complaints when asked. However, a reputable locksmith will not mind you checking up on them. Ask if they belong to trade associations. This may seem like a minor point, but indicates that they keep up with trends, technology and other current aspects of the field. Ask for a list of past customers. Past customers are often eager to share both positive and negative experiences. It’s best to search for a locksmith before you need one to avoid making spur-of-the-moment decisions. Doing a little homework can help you have a reputable, reliable locksmith ready when you need one.


How to choose a new car dealer


ew car buyers are often afraid of overpaying when they have to interact with a new car dealer to purchase

a vehicle. Because of this initial anxiety in the minds of car buyers, purchasing a new or even a used car has become a tactical encounter instead of a simple negotiation for a good price on a new or used car. There is a way to handle the entire process of car buying that consists of just a few calculated steps that will result in your finding a good car dealer you will be very pleased with. Selecting the right kind of car for you and your family is by far the biggest thing to consider. If you have a large family and you take frequent

trips with the family, you should be looking at an SUV or a van to accommodate everyone. On the other hand, a college student buying a car will find that a small sub-compact or a compact car will meet his needs adequately. Consider your neighborhood and preferences when determining the type of the vehicle and related op-

For your best two vehicle selections, it is best to find the closest couple of dealers for that make of vehicle. tions. In case you have a long travel drive to work on a daily basis, you should think of a smaller vehicle having a good MPG rating. Also, items like hybrid models and suitable options for your needs as well as your locale should be considered. Those who live in cold weather must seriously consider a style of vehicle with all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive. The next step is to spot vehicle types that interest you. Internet sites as well as other highly regarded resources are available for you to do research on styles which fit your needs. You really need to select from several models that interest you. Test driving the vehicle first, prior to

making any concrete decisions to purchase or to speak about price is the correct way to proceed . You have got to identify your top two or so choices so that you can select a new car dealership to start discussing buying a vehicle. Do not get caught up in talking about sales agreements yet; you’re still in the process of contemplating the ideal choice for your new-car. When you decide on a few cars you would consider purchasing, start to research the dealers in your local area. For your best two vehicle selections, it is best to find the closest couple of dealers for that make of vehicle. This is important in getting the selling price down, since dealers for the same types of vehicle will compete for your sale. Also make sure you have looked out for current sales of the car you are interested in. Automobile producers have several sales that may enable you to get a greater deal on the automobile of your choice. In addition at particular times in the year, such as the product year-end occasions, you can get a better deal on a brand new automobile. If you are adamant, and want to hold out for the best possible price, get in touch with the dealerships in your local area with a request for a price quote on your top two favored models. This way when it comes time for you to complete a buying decision, you will possess price quotes that you can use to get a potentially better offer on the vehicle. After you have received price quotes from the closest dealerships, start contacting dealers of your favorite vehicle selection. Obtain the dealerships’ very best price on your automobile. Then you may wish to go to these dealers and begin talking to sales agents regarding your potential automobile purchase. It is critical that you only deal with a dealership you’re comfortable with. Because of the large price of a car and the long-term commitment you are entering, you will find that it is worth it to invest a few extra dollars to get a seller who gives you a good buying experience and who meets your car buying needs.




How to choose AN AUTO BODY SHOP


our car, van, SUV, or truck is one of the most important things to your ever day life. It is there for the transportation of you and your loved ones, keeps your family safe on the road, and it even gives you a unique way to express yourself. It is important that you do everything you can to keep your vehicle in the best shape possible, especially if something unexpected happens. There are some people out there who are mechanically inclined and can take care of most of their car’s issues on their own. You may even have a favorite mechanic for changing the oil and belts, or even doing major maintenance under the hood. However, it is just as important to know what you are going to do for your car or truck if it is ever in an accident. Even if you are an extremely careful driver, following the rules and obeying the speed limit, there are still other people out there who are not. Accidents happen every day, and not everyone on the road is being extra careful. If you are ever in an accident, even if it is a fender bender that does not seem to have done much damage, it

can still cause lots of problems and annoyance. If you have a trustworthy auto body shop that does quality work, they can help make the situation go by with fewer troubles, and possibly even save you money in the long run. If you do not already have an auto body shop that you know and trust, it can be very helpful to get advice from your friends and neighbors who live nearby. Someone you know has likely already dealt with some of the auto body shops in your area and can tell you about their experiences, whether they are good or bad. Once you have a couple of recommendations, you can use the Internet to find out even more about the shops you are thinking of. Doing an Internet search can be great, not only because you may be able to find the auto body shop’s Web site which should tell you a bit about their practices, but you may also be

able to find out about other people’s experiences. If you find a lot of negative feedback about one of the shops you are thinking of, it is likely a good idea to pick a different one. Also, if you can’t get any recommendations from your friends and family, the Internet is a great place to start your search. Once you have found a few shops that look promising, it is time to hop on the phone. Call around to the shops you are thinking of, and describe that problem or even the accident to the person you speak with. If you are paying attention, you might be able to tell if they feel optimistic about the job, or if they seem less than enthusiastic. Some shops are very busy, and if you pick one that is not happy about doing your work, you may not be getting the best deal or work on what you need. If it seems like the shop is interested and glad to have your business, you will need to get a price quote. It may be hard for them to guess at the price before they see the car, but they can still give you an idea of what you may be paying. Write down the quotes you get from all of the different shops, and then get ready to head out and go see the shops for yourself. When at the shop, make sure to check for certification, guarantees, and prices. You will need to make you decision based on all of these things.





any people struggle to find the best insurance agent. It can be complicated knowing whether a specific agent is looking out for your needs or their own commission. Sometimes people do not know the best ways to go about finding an agent. It is important to ensure that you have the correct insurance in order to protect yourself, and you can do this with the help of an insurance agent. Before selecting the the type of insurance that you want, you will need to find an experienced agent. It is crucial to research agents and make sure that you are choosing one who is reputable. You may want to ask family members and friends if they recommend their insurance agents. If you are recommended an agent, chances are you will be just as pleased as your friends and family members. A good agent will do their work correctly and professionally in order to continue receiving referrals. If you choose an agent and are pleased, your agent will hope that you recommend their services to others. If you do not have an agent recommended to you, you can still do outside research. You may consider calling insurance brokers and individual insurance companies. If you choose to do business with a larger insurance company, their agents will often be more consistent from office to office because of standardized training and practices. You should consider that they may not be as creative with their services, however, as an independent agent. Take a lot of care when shopping for the best agent. Treat this research as your would purchasing a new car or home. Make sure that you pick a company that is highly

reviewed. You will also want to consider making sure that all licensing is in order for the agent that your choose. Once you decide on some possible agents, it is a good idea to meet with the agents or brokers. Have a list of questions and concerns so that you can get any questions that you have answered. Make sure that you feel comfortable with the broker or agent’s answers. If you feel as if an agent is trying to get you to purchase a policy that is not appropriate, this is not a good sign. Some agents may try to hard to up-sell a policy. Alert your agent that you are looking for more information and are not ready to agree on a policy right away. If you choose a good agent, they will allow you to take your time and gather all of the important research needed to make your decision. Also make sure that your agent is

willing to have a relationship with you. You do not only want to have a policy sold to you. With a relationship, you will be able to contact your agent if you have any questions or concerns. This can include receiving help with filing a claim. Take caution to choose an agent that is reputable and well-established. If your agent has been in the business for many years, chances are they will better understand the policies that they sell and be able to take extra care to ensure that you are properly protected. It is important to get the correct insurance in order to protect you and your financial future. The right research needs to be done in order to assure that you are getting the right insurance policy. You, your family and your finances will benefit from your efforts. You will be better protected with the help of a good insurance agent.



How to choose an auto repair shop


hen your car needs repairs or service, which they all eventually do, it pays to shop around ahead of time before the repairs are needed. If you have an auto repair shop set up before your car needs any repairs or service, you won’t be forced to make a quick decision because of the need to have something fixed immediately. Keep in mind that a wellmaintained car will run longer, have a better ride and help you stay within your budget for your car. THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW • Many mechanics say that less than 40 percent of their new customers are walk-ins. Most come to a certain mechanic because of recommendations from friends, relatives or co-workers. If you don’t have any recommendations, be sure to ask the auto repair technician that you seek out for references. • Check with the Better Business Bureau in your area. They can help you determine if the repair shop’s performance and reliability measure up to the standards of expertise and

professionalism. These factors are things that you should always look into before selecting a repair facility based just on the lowest price. • If you tend to travel quite a bit, you might want to find an auto repair shop that offers a national warranty. A warranty of 12,000 miles or 12 months will be helpful if you’re having repeat issues with the same problem. Also note that if the repair facility that you select is lacking in advanced technology, they may be unable to diagnose problems with newer cars, meaning you’ve likely gone to the wrong place. • Check if the shop offers a wide range of services including brake systems and electrical components. Also check their hours of operation. See if weekends or evening repairs would be available. Check to see if the shop can do warranty repairs on your car as well. Some facilities may provide loaner cars or rental cars and so will provide you with a shuttle to and from work while your car is being repaired. • To ease your peace of mind, make sure the auto care facility that you choose offers a good customer satis-

faction policy. You can do your part by giving the mechanic time to do the job properly. When choosing a shop, take note of the condition of the equipment and lighting. Be aware of the organization and cleanliness as well as the lack of both. • Check for the use of brand-name parts. These parts are engineered to meet the manufacturer’s specification of the car and will likely come with a warranty. The repair facility may also employ repair technicians who are certified by a specific car manufacturer or the National Institute for Automotive Services or the ASE. If they do, you will notice that they display the ASE symbol. • Compare the usual services that an auto repair facility performs such as a tune-up so that you can find an average price range. Make sure you are open to using either a big name franchise or an independently owned shop. • A shop which carries AAA approval is another good sign. This indicates that the shop’s customers have been surveyed and have given the shop an approval rating of 90% or better. In addition, you will know that they can handle the jobs they claim they can do. • After deciding on a facility, try to establish a good working relationship with the mechanic. Keep in mind that preventive maintenance is the goal. You may consider a trial run with the selected site such as an oil change or an air conditioning check. Some services are offered free of charge and can provide you with a good idea of the service you will receive.


How to choose AN RV dealer


hen you’re ready to buy a recreational vehicle, there are going to be a lot of questions running through your mind. A little research will go a long way toward making sure you get the best deal for your money, as well as making sure your RV is functional for years to come. A good resource when you’re getting ready for your first RV is other RV owners. If you have friends or family who are RV owners, ask to see their vehicles. Walk around and get a feel for what your money will buy you, which brands stand the test of time and which don’t, as well as what issues RV owners of today seem to have problems with. Also, it’s a good idea to research on the Internet. RV message boards are a dime a dozen as the nomadic lifestyle becomes more popular, and by reading up on brands and styles, you’ll save yourself a lot of wondering at the lot. Much like used cars, RVs are available previously owned from both dealers and private parties. These can range from affordable trailers or campers which fit on the back of a truck, to ultra-luxury “land yachts” with features such as plasma TVs and full-service kitchens. Knowing what you want out of your RV experience is important. Ask yourself questions about what you want out of your RV. What kind of size, style, or brand are you looking for? How much are you willing to spend? Are you intent on the idea of a new RV or are you willing to buy a used one? What level of service fits you best? Answering these questions, as

well as any others you can think of, will put you on the salesman’s level when you reach the lot, and you’ll be able to converse confidently without becoming confused. Size is an important issue with RVs as well. Will you be living out of your vehicle for an extended period of time while you tour the country, or will you be using it for one or two vacations a year? How many people will typically be traveling with you? Some RV parks have restrictions on size, so which RV’s are more widely accepted than others? If you’re buying from a dealer, you’ll want to be sure that they offer a factory warranty, as well as a vehicle report if you’re buying used. These reports are common in the car industry, but pitiful few potential RV buyers ever request one. There’s a bevy of damaged and repaired vehicles on both the used and new RV markets, and requesting a Carfax report, or a report from a similar service, is essential to making your new RV didn’t spend a month underwater before you bought it. Checking with the Better Business Bureau and the state attorney general’s office will help you find dealers who garner a large number of complaints, or even lawsuits. By studying the data from these sources, you won’t be able to find a reputable dealer, but it will help rule out the sellers you want to avoid. Many dealers will also provide incentives to buy from them, such as free upgrades or excellent terms of finance. While these add-ons can rope you in, always be skeptical of


whether or not you’re getting a good deal, or if you’re just being suckered into a bad one. Once again, education on the subject comes in handy here. It’s a good idea to take an RV owner with you to the lot, if possible. Most RV owners will be able to share their experiences and assure that you don’t get snowed under by special deals designed to rid the lot of faulty merchandise or overpriced vehicles. If you need a bit more out of your RV, consider a made-to-order model. Many manufacturers will gladly build a particular model to customer specification if the features you want are not available. Some dealers will even make an effort to retro-fit existing models, both used and new, with features you desire. Make sure your dealer has an on-site service department, or at the very least a contract with a reputable RV repair shop. RV repairs are very specialized and different from regular vehicles, and the last thing you want is to have an awesome warranty on your RV that is backed up by a sub-par service shop. With a little bit of research, you can make a wise choice in your RV, and probably get an excellent deal to boot. Browse many lots, many Web sites, and talk to RV owners to see what they say about particular models or manufacturers. Read magazines with reviews on RVs, especially the type you’re looking for. By educating yourself, you’ll ensure that you get the most out your RV for years to come.



How to choose a BOAT DEALER


here are many things to consider when selecting a boat dealer. These include the type of boat you need, customer reviews and if the dealer is certified by the National Marine Manufacturers Association. Boats are a big investment. It’s important to feel confident about your dealer and service department. Here are factors to consider when choosing a boat dealership: 1. Do some homework: First, be clear about what type of boat you want, what features and accessories you need and how much you plan to spend. Consider a used boat if what you want doesn’t fit your budget. Keep in mind that some marine dealerships only sell new boats, while others sell new and used boats. 2. Pick your spot: Before deciding on a dealership, decide where you will do most of your boating and where you will keep your boat. A dealer and service department near your boat’s location is best. If the dealership isn’t nearby, be clear about how it handles long-distance

Don’t buy a boat, especially a used boat, without trying it first. jobs. Will you need buy a trailer? If so, don’t forget you need a vehicle that can tow it. 3. Seek opinions: Ask family and friends for recommended boat dealers and service centers. Check your state’s attorney general’s office to see if consumers have filed any complaints against the dealer you’re considering. 4. Ask for credentials: The National Marine Manufacturers Association certifies boats, assuring consumers that the boats were manufactured in compliance with industry standards and federal safety regulations. A Marine Five-Star Certified dealership has industry-approved facilities, sales and service operations and employee training. They also maintain good ratings in customer satisfaction and agree to follow the Marine Industry

Consumer Bill of Rights. You can search the NMMA website or talk to someone at the dealership to make sure they are a certified dealer. In addition, ask if the technicians in the service department have special training or certification. 5. Take a test drive: Ask marine dealers how they arrange test drives. Reputable dealers understand that it’s important to try a boat on the open water. Don’t buy a boat, especially a used boat, without trying it first.





How to choose a MORTGAGE LENDER


or enthusiastic home buyers, the purchase of a house can be a thrilling yet confusing experience. Finding a dream home may take quite some time, but once it is accomplished the buyer will be anxious to solidify the transaction. Impatience can be a problem at this point. It is not the time to rush through the closing process. It is the time to choose a good mortgage lender. The mortgage lender can be a help or a hindrance to the buyer. If the lender is not just looking out for him or herself, the experience can be positive. However, if a mortgage lender is thinking only about future commissions and sales, the buyer must beware. The lender should be well prepared and ready to discuss all available options no matter how much time is involved. Reliable lenders encourage potential clients to ask questions and look forward to explaining confusing financial jargon to the buyer, taking their time to ensure everything is understood and clear. Becoming familiar with mortgage lending options beforehand is one important way a home buyer can test the honesty and ethics of a potential lender. Are you being steered to what is in your best interest or to what is in the best financial interest of your lender? Being forearmed with a basic understanding of the lending process will enable the client to more quickly grasp the professionalism and integrity of the lender. BUYER’S RIGHTS Dealing with mounds of forms, declarations, and financial obligations can be dizzying to the inexperienced home buyer. However intimidating, care must be exercised in making sure what is

signed and agreed upon is understood by the purchaser. A signature cannot be erased, and a buyer only has a short time to legally back out of a purchase in some cases — if at all. Even if done within that legal time

If a mortgage lender is rushing through the paperwork and pushing you to just sign the forms, the lender is not doing his or her job. limit the buyer still forfeits the deposit for reneging on the agreement and may owe an additional amount formulated according to when the first payment was originally due. It is an expensive proposition that can be avoided by signing forms carefully. If a mortgage lender is rushing through the paperwork and pushing you to just sign the forms, the lender is not doing his or her job. The home buyer’s best interests are not being looked after and could easily result in a misunderstanding for the purchaser.

KNOWING YOUR LENDER Questions and areas of concern for professional lenders involve the future long-range goals of the buyer. A lender wants to know how long the home will be lived in. Such knowledge helps the lender suggest the mortgage that best suits the homeowners needs. If a lender is not concerned with such questions it most certainly is a red flag for the buyer. DEAL LOCALLY Finding a local area mortgage lender is most preferred. Since interest rates can change daily, a local lender will be more attuned to the changes in the local housing market and whether or not selling conditions have changed. A local lender also allows closer monitoring of the loan application and is close by to answer any troubling questions that the potential home buyer may have. USING REFERENCES Feel free to ask family members and friends who they used as their mortgage lender and if there experiences were good and positive. Word-of-mouth recommendations are often totally reliable. Also check the amount of time the lending agency has been in operation and whether it has built up a good business reputation.





How to choose office design services


he perfect office design can not only make an office look more professional, but it can actually attract more clients to the business. People are attracted to beautiful, well-designed places, so it is no wonder why businesses with great office spaces seem to succeed. In addition, employees are happier and motivated to come to work every day in a beautiful space. Happy employees also make more productive workers. The

better an office space looks, the more respected employees will feel in a company. Employees will be more effective in delivering their services, as well as work in a more efficient manner.

While you may see the benefits of having a perfect design in the office, perhaps you are still wondering how to achieve a great look. Who do you hire? What should you look for in the person who designs the space?



Perry Office Plus is your complete office interiors source. Our services include: • Consultation & Needs Assessment • Design & Space Planning • CAD Plan Import Capabilities • 2D & 3D Room Renderings • Project Management • Professional Installation • Warranty & Repair • Seating Test Drive Program • Small- or Large-Scale Projects


If one pays too little, he or she risks hiring a firm that is not experienced in delivering aesthetic results in an office space. PRICE First, you will likely see what the price of the goods and services entailed in designing an office space are. Be sure to get an exact quote price from interior office space designers. Also, be upfront about the type of furniture you want in the office space, as well as the price of the furniture. All too often, interior designers will pick out incredibly expensive pieces of furniture for an office space. This can run up a bill and make it not worth one’s while to hire a designer. Price is important, but it should not be the only deciding factor when choosing an office design company. If one pays too little, he or she risks hiring a firm that is not experienced in delivering aesthetic results in an office space. On the other hand, you do not

want to get your business in debt simply by splurging on thousands of dollars of office space designs. It is important to choose a company that is right in the middle. PRODUCT QUALITY It is important to consider the quality of the furniture one is purchasing for an office space. A higher priced piece of furniture may not be an unwise decision, because it may last for many years and be comfortable. Employees need to be comfortable in a space. Customers and clients should also feel comfortable in the chairs within an office space. Design firms will sometimes offer very high-end pieces of office space furniture, but you can recommend other pieces too. If you happen to know that you want certain chairs in the office, then boldly tell the designer that this is what you want. Good designers will listen to your needs and suggest ways they can better be incorporated into a well-planned space. TYPE OF WORK PERFORMED Office space design services can vary greatly in the services they offer. One firm may only work on the lighting and aesthetic appeal of office spaces, while others focus on more basic tasks such as setting up cubicles.

Desking, Systems, Seating, Storage, Tables, Artwork & Signage, Lighting, Data & Power


Offices & Cubicles, Reception & Lobby, Conference & Training, Lounge & Break Areas, Classroom & Library, Storage & Archives, Home Office


Corporate, Education, Healthcare, Government, Churches, Hospitality, Retail

A great design firm will balance these two tasks and meet the needs of a company all at one time. It is important to figure out exactly what services a firm will be doing for your business so you do not pay for unnecessary services. Perhaps you only want a couple of services completed, as opposed to an entire package. Design firms will usually work with businesses to give them what they want. There is no need to feel locked in to a certain package or price. A great design firm will seek to keep everyone motivated and energized. The end result is an office space your employees and customers will be happy with, which is a wise business investment.





earching for an apartment can be difficult. It takes time to find an affordable apartment with the amenities, location, and price range you need. This process can become even more complicated when roommates are involved; finding an apartment that meets all of your individual needs can take some time. However, if you know what you are looking for and do your research ahead of time, you can make your apartment search far easier. There are two things that you must establish before starting your

apartment search. First, you must determine how many people will be sharing the apartment. Second, you need to set a reasonable budget range. Knowing these two factors early on will help you streamline your apartment search and eliminate unfeasible options. Some things to consider when sharing an apartment with others are the following: First, make sure that there is one bedroom per renter, unless two people want to share a room and can get along well. Secondly, make sure there is one bathroom for every two renters. Finally, make sure that each person will be able to afford their share of the rent and utilities before entering into an agreement with them. After determining these basics, you can begin your apartment search. There are several avenues to pursue when looking for an apartment. First, never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. Your friends or co-workers may know of an apartment

in their building or complex that is up for rent. Let people know you are searching for an apartment, and they may be able to help you. Second, look through the local newspaper for rental listings. You should also consider calling property management companies that may have a number of apartments in different buildings available. Sometimes, you can find good real estate magazines with up-to-date information about apartments in your area. Finally, online sites or other apartment search tools can be incredibly helpful. One thing to note is to be careful of sites that ask you to pay a fee to view listings. You should be able to find what you need without paying a fee. When you find a listing that fits your budget and needs, call or email for more information. If your correspondence with the renter or company is positive, you and your roommates should be ready to visit the property.



Visiting an apartment is the most important aspect of your apartment search. First, you should plan to arrive early to drive through the neighborhood. Make sure that the area around the apartment is clean and feels safe. You will also want to check out the parking situation and make sure the apartment is not next to any noisy nightclubs or a major road that will have a lot of traffic during the night hours. Be on the look-out for any concerns in the neighborhood immediately surrounding the apartment. When you get to the apartment building, check to make sure the roof, walkways, and hallways are in good condition. In the apartment itself, you will want to look for clean carpet, updated appliances, good lighting, properly opening windows, and other maintenance issues. Ask if the apartment has already been cleaned since the last tenant or if the landlord has yet to prepare the apartment for the next

renter. Finally, consider security issues. Are the locks working properly? Do you need a key or access code to enter the building? Are there security alarms and fire alarms in the building? After viewing the apartment and considering these questions, you are ready to sit down with your roommates and discuss the merits of the apartment together. Everyone must be in agreement on the apartment before you sign the lease. If one person has legitimate concerns, the group must take those to heart. It is very important to view a few different apartments to get a few different perspectives to consider. If, after viewing a few apartments, you have found the right one, it is time to consider the lease with your roommates. Read the lease in full, and make sure you ask any questions you may have before signing. This can help you avoid any problems with your apartment in the future.


rookside Apartments is an exclusive, gated community located in Killeen, Texas. All you could ever dream of in a new home and your furry family members are more than welcome here too! Our one and two bedroom apartments could not be more accommodating. The interior features include airy 9-foot ceilings with beautiful crown moldings, central heat and air, ceramic tile, and patios or balconies with custom French doors. Enjoy being in the center of fun and convenience in your new home! The apartments are just a short stroll from great shopping, popular nightspots, and fine restaurants like Texas Roadhouse. The Belton and Stillhouse Hollow Lake are also nearby for an outdoor adventure. We are approximately 10-15 minutes from Fort Hood Army Base and close to Lions Club Park, Heights Shopping Center, the Killeen Mall, and the Civic Center. Killeen Civic Center and Viva Les Arts Theater also has different shows and music such as The Nutcracker around the holiday season and other shows throughout the year. The Rodeo is right next door every spring at the Viva Les Arts building. When spending time at home take full advantage of our landscaped pool for a swim or our furnished clubhouse with an executive business center. If you need to hit the gym we also have a 24hour fitness center so cancel that gym membership because we have what you need! Call our leasing office today to see your new apartment at Brookside Apartments!



How to choose a home repair professional


urchasing a home is the single largest investment a consumer can make. For this reason, it is important to make sure that your home is properly maintained and the right repairs are performed when problems arise. Selecting the right home repair professional to handle these issues is a key to protecting your investment. However, when it comes to hiring the repair contractors for their home, many people put very little time or effort into their selection process to avoid the frustration that this process can cause. Some people choose to just contact the first name that they grab from their local phone directory. While many companies can promise to provide the results that you are searching for when it comes to the maintenance and repairs for your home, most of the time you will notice that these companies leave much to be desired when the project is completed. There are more fruitful ways of locating the most reputable professionals in your area to handle these jobs without getting frustrated and feeling overwhelmed.

ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS It is important to remember that you are interviewing a contractor or business to perform a service for you. For this reason you should conduct the consultation as though it were a job interview. Asking the right questions of the contractors is important. Some of the questions that will provide you a clear idea of the work provided through a specific contractor or business include: • How much experience do you have in this business? Make sure that you do a check to insure that they have the background and expertise that they claim to have. • When hired for a job, who performs the work? Sometimes there are sub-contractors that are hired by a company or main contractor to aide in completing projects on time. You have the right to know who will be working within your home and on your property. • Ask to see the contractor’s license. Most states require that all general and specialty contractors be licensed and registered in the state that they perform their work. • Ask to see the insurance certificates that the contractor has. A reputable contractor will carry property damage, personal liability and worker’s compensation insurance. • Inquire about any permits that may be needed and who will be obligated to insure that they are in place at the time work is being performed. GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING There are many homeowners that get stuck paying for unexpected expenses when a contractor has completed their maintenance or repair projects.

This can be avoided by asking the contractor for a written estimate explaining in detail all of the fees, expenses and costs that you will be responsible for when their job is finished. Be cautious of low-ball bids that you receive from a contractor. Often the contractor will be more interested in getting the job and will provide you with estimates that are lower than other contractors. Unfortunately the homeowner will find that the contractor makes up for this by using second-rate materials and skimping on their labor. BACKGROUND CHECK When you are finished with your consultation with the contractor, you should make sure that you perform a thorough background check on the prior work history that they may have. You can ask the contractor to provide you with a list of the previous clients that they finished work for. Contact the client and ask about their experience with the contractor and their satisfaction with the services they were provided. You can also contact the Better Business Bureau to inquire about the work history of the company and contractors that they may have knowledge of. The BBB will be able to let you know of any formal complaints filed against the entity that may exist. WARNING SIGNS There are specific warning signs that you should look for when hiring a contractor to perform maintenance and repairs on your home. These warning signs are not necessarily an indication that the contractor is unable to provide the results that you want, but you should be wary. These signs include: • Pressuring the homeowner into making an immediate decision on hiring them. • The contractor insists that a large portion or all of the costs of the repair be paid in advance. • The contractor will only accept cash as a form of payment, instead of credit cards or checks. • The contractor travels doorto-door to offer their services to potential clients.




f you are looking for somebody to install a new patio, walkway or wall, you will need to get in touch with a hardscape contractor. It is their goal to provide you with structures in such a way that space and workability is not compromised. When you are deciding on which contractor you want to work with, you will need understand that they will be doing a great deal of restructuring in a specific area of your home. The installation will ultimately be permanent, so it is important to be sure that your plans are firm before any work is done. It is also very important to make sure that you are working with a hardscape contractor who has liability insurance. This will take care of any financial issues that will arise if an accident occurs during construction. If there is no insurance available, both the contractor and the homeowner can end up spending a great deal of money if something goes wrong. Make sure that they are insured for both injury and property damage. Obviously, you will want to make sure that you are working with a hardscape contractor who has a great deal of experience. This is especially true if you want them to build something that does not fall within current trends, or for anything that will require at least some custom specifications. They should be professionals with experience in all hardscape styles so that no issues arise. It is wise to work with a contractor that is willing to change their model and work with you on subjects such as how specific areas should be built and what you would like to see it look like when they are finished.

In most cases, you will discover that they will be willing to address your suggestions and work with you to

Make sure that you speak with the project manager in order to make sure that they will be repeatedly checking up on the progress of the job. make sure that you are satisfied when the job is done. In addition to this, experienced contractors will also offer suggestions to you about what they feel will


be the most effective way to use the space. In most cases, you will want to take this advice seriously because they have had a great deal of experience with customer reactions to projects, and they know what people end up being most satisfied with. When it comes to walls, it is especially important to make sure that a hardscape contractor is very precise. If anything is out of place, a wall may not only look funny, it could be dangerous. Taking the time to ensure that all of the details have been properly addressed is vital. If your contractor is not experienced with this aspect of the job, you will be sorely disappointed when they are finished. One of the most important things that you will want to make sure of is that the staff is fully certified. In order to build large structures such as patios and porches, special training is necessary. Make sure that any company you work with provides you with workers who are fully aware of these issues. This applies to building codes and laws as well. Make sure that you speak with the project manager in order to make sure that they will be repeatedly checking up on the progress of the job. This is important in order to make sure that the work is getting done at the right speed and that it is in line with your expectations. Before making any decisions, make sure that you are completely comfortable with the contractor that you choose to work with. This is a job that will permanently affect the quality of your home, so it is important to make sure that it is done right the first time.





f you’re looking for a good furniture store, it can sometimes be a hassle. Many places are staffed with pushy sales people who follow you around as you try to simply see what the store has available. That is why easyhome makes it easy. So how can you find the best furniture store in your area? First, having a plan of action will make finding a good store much easier. One of the first things you should do is decide what kind of furniture you need.

Are you looking to make your living room more comfortable? Do you want to spice up your bedroom? Maybe you would be happier by adding something extra to the kitchen. Easyhome offers multiple group packages. Start by taking a look at what you have and deciding what would go well with it. If you’ve already got a certain

theme in mind, that will make it much easier to find a store you like. Once you know what you’re looking for, then it’s time to find out what furniture stores carry it. Some stores only deal in certain items. Easyhome makes it easy to order what you want, visit the location to shop via the in-store retail kiosk.



Colors, textures, and materials are three places where consistency can give a more uniform feel to your house. For instance, you might want to get a new bedroom set made of oak. That would mean you’re looking for a dresser and some matching nightstands. Some stores may only carry dressers or nightstands separately. Instead, it’s better to find a place that has more of the items you’re looking for, so you can buy them all in one place. In this example, a furniture store specializing in oak might be your best bet. It’s more likely they’ll carry matching sets to make your bedroom keep a more consistent theme. Themes are very important, too. When you’re shopping for furniture, it’s important to find a store that carries a style more similar to yours. Some stores may have a more cosmopolitan selection. Others may have contemporary or Victorian. Some may even carry exotic items you’d never find anywhere else. Taking into account the store’s themes is one of the more important considerations that can save you time in the long run. Easyhome can order products to meet you taste, so they make shopping easy. On the subject of decor, you should seek to obtain items that match the overall style of your home. Colors, textures, and materials are three places where consistency can give a more uniform feel to your house. It helps to make things blend more smoothly. Because of that reason, you want to look for a furniture store with more of the colors, textures and materials you’re already using. When you’re choosing a

furniture store, take a big-picture glance around while you’re standing at the front door. Do you see many of the colors you find in your home? If you’ve got a lot of leather, for example, do you see many items made of leather? If you’re using a country theme, do you see patterns and stitches that would blend in comfortably to what you’re already using? By taking a quick glance around, you should get a good idea if the store is right or not. Prices are another important factor when comparing different furniture stores. If you know one particular store unreasonably marks up the prices of their furniture, then the selection is of little importance when you’re paying too much. Easyhome guarantees to have the lowest payment or it is free, and they offer 6 months same as cash, and has $100 referrals. If you are looking to buy retail easyhome also will beat normal advertised Ashley prices at any competitor by at least 10%. Of course, if you’re looking for quality, then make sure the price is really suited to what you’re buying. Is the construction of the joints good? What materials are used? Is it made in a factory or by hand? Knowing the different factors that go into a good piece of furniture will allow you to see the difference with your own eyes. It is great knowing that easyhome carries name brand, quality merchandise with great warranties and customer service.

Our Vision We provide brand-name goods, pride of ownership, and respect to all customers regardless of past credit through a personalized shopping experience, flexible payment options, and industry-leading customer service. Easyhome is about access. We say “yes.” easyhome not only carries brand-name products for the home, we provide easy access through our flexible payment options which give our customers the freedom to lease or purchase at their own comfort level. With no credit needed and the ability to upgrade at any time, our customers have full access to the things they want and need to make their home a place they are proud of. With same day delivery and setup, home is just around the corner. Easyhome is about pride. It’s yours! easyhome is a place where you can be yourself while shopping, making a payment, or participating in a community event. We are proud to be able to serve our customers with customized payment plans, our satisfaction guarantee, and no-hassle return at anytime. You are the king or queen of your castle; we are here to help make that feeling a reality on a daily basis. Easyhome is about respect. Customer satisfaction is our number one goal as we help find what you need for your home. At easyhome, we get to know our customers as we provide them with a shopping experience that is second to none in the industry. We look in the mirror, not to our competitors, for inspiration on how we can improve while offering better services to our growing customer base. We take the time to get to know our customers; understanding is the gateway to access, pride and respect. Our Mission We are a relationship-driven business that thrives on the opportunity to provide customers with access to household goods, consumer merchandise, and services that enhance the quality of their lives. Our Values • Integrity • Respect • Quality • Pride • Enterprising



How to choose A BUILDER


uilding a new home can be a daunting task. A number of issues can come up during the process, which is why choosing the right builder is essential to having a finished home that you can truly appreciate with a minimum of unexpected expenses and construction headaches along the way. There are many key factors in choosing the right builder. Start by asking friends and neighbors for recommendations. When it comes to construction, word-of-mouth is a great way to find out information. When asking someone about the experience they had with a building project it is important to be specific. Things to ask about include if they started on time, had any delays (other than weather), kept costs within budget and finished when they were supposed to finish. It is also important to ask if the crews were professional and cleaned up once the project was completed. Ask if repairs had to be made after the project was done. Some minor issues are expected, but if there are repairs or minor touch-ups that had to be done, ask if they were handled quickly. You want to make sure they have good follow-up service. This is a question you want to ask to past customers, who are likely to be more honest about it. It’s a good idea to drive by homes the builder has worked on in the past. You might want

to do so on the weekend, that way you can talk to the home owners and ask questions. Take a notebook with you with questions you want to ask and write down their answers. It will be easier to review your notes later and make a final decision. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions. Even questions that seem insignificant can yield important answers. Ask the builder you are considering for references. When you contact the references ask the same questions. It is also a good idea contact your local Better Business Bureau and Home Builder’s Association. Once you have compiled a list of three of four possible builders, set up meetings with them. It is recommended to meet at the site of the building to give them an idea of what is required and to bring blueprints. Ask each builder to bring photos of work they have done. Prepare a list of questions. Ask how much of the work is done by their own crews and how much, if any, is subcontracted. Most builders will frame a house. Anything beyond that point is usually performed by other companies. Ask

ahead of time how far they will go with the project and who twill do the excavating, siding, roofing, insulation, cooling and heating, etc. Some builders will subcontract out the work for the entire project, which means dealing with many other companies. If they do this, ask which companies they work with. Ask about the quality of materials used and for an estimate of the total cost involved. Ask if the builder will oversee the work on a daily basis or if they have a project manager who will do this. This applies even if the work is subcontracted. You want to make sure that any possible problem is noticed and addressed quickly. If a problem is left undetected until the project is complete it could be very costly to correct it. It is generally much easier to catch a problem early on and correct it while the initial building process is still going on. Make sure the builder is open to questions and is good with communication. While choosing the right builder may take some time, in the end the efforts of being selective will result in satisfaction with the finished project.







How to choose a tree service


ree services offer many different sorts of services, so it is a good idea to know what needs to be done before proceeding. Our business is the product of three generations of professional arborists certified by the International Some tree services specialize in Society of Arboriculture. We service the entire central Texas area between Waco and Austin. saving injured or unhealthy trees, for example, while others specialize in cuttreatments and cures for illnesses on vehicles. ting them down and giving them trims. the spot. It is a good idea to get the docuWith a little bit of research and a If you want some simple trimming ments directly from an insurance comtight plan for your expectations from a or other procedure done, then it is a pany rather than trust documents from tree service, you will be able to find a good idea to take some time to shop a tree service company. The documents service that meets all your needs. for a company and clearly explain your may be outdated or forged. A large tree hovering over a home goals to them. Get a company’s recYou will also want to get references can make anyone nervous. Such a ommendations for following through from a tree service company you have large tree is usually on the brink of with the goals. never worked with. Many tree services falling, even though it has taken years It is also a good idea to get a site are ready and willing to hand over refto grow. A good tree service can come inspection from a tree service. This erences from happy clients in the past. in and safely remove the tree from a gives you the opportunity to ask as You will also want to see if a tree yard, in order to avoid the possibility many questions as you want. You can service company has a portfolio to that it could fall and hurt someone. find out what a company’s specializademonstrate their work. A portfolio can A good tree removal service will tions are, how long they have been in be a great way to see a tree company’s have the proper equipment to remove business, and how they can help you, particular work style and whether or such a large tree. Usually they will use the customer. not it suits your own needs. bucket trucks and cranes to remove the It is crucial that you make sure the A company Web site can also be a tree. A preliminary step often includes company you hire has insurance. You great place to check for photos of a trimming the branches on a tree. A tree service’s work. company like this may also have to trim can choose to receive a document from an insurance company that shows Be sure to always get a written branches from a tree that has grown your name and the contractor’s name, estimate before a contract begins. This between two power lines or that have along with specific coverage. This can be one of the most critical parts grown over into a neighbor’s property. coverage should pay for any liabilities, of hiring a high-quality tree service With all the possibilities for injurdamage to property, compensation company. ing people or damaging property, to workers, and repairs for damaged it’s important that you only select a tree company that has a long track record of happy customers and excellent, verifiable insurance. Tree doctors are another particular type of tree service that aids trees infested with pests. A tree doctor can help a tree stay alive and healthy, even if it has a certain disease or pests have infiltrated it. If you have a tree that you truly love and never want to go away, then a tree doctor can come in and see what to do that will enable it to survive for years to come. A tree doctor knows many preventative





How to choose A spa


trip to a spa is the ultimate in pampering and relaxation. Whether you’re there for a massage, a facial, a manicure or just some time in the sauna, the spa’s staff works hard to make sure you leave feeling refreshed and reinvigorated. In decades past, a trip to a spa was like a mini-vacation. Spas were more like resorts because you’d stay for a few days, and their expense meant they were luxuries most often reserved for the rich and famous. These types of spas, called destination spas or resort spas, still exist (and you don’t necessarily have to be a millionaire to visit one), but there’s another type of spa available now -- the day spa. A day spa may have most of the treatments and facilities available at a larger resort spa, but you only go there for as long as the treatment takes, typically an hour or two. Since you’re not spending the night, a day spa is quite a bit cheaper than a resort spa. How do you know if a particular day spa is the right place for you? Here are five tips for making sure your day at the spa is safe, sanitary and utterly relaxing. There isn’t any kind of universal certification for day spas (though there are usually state licensing requirements). Just because a place calls itself a day spa doesn’t mean it’s going to have the specific services you’re looking for. Most day spas have a selection of services listed with the price for each, which is generally referred to as “the menu.” Call ahead or stop in and go over the menu before you schedule an appointment. Smaller day spas might offer beauty salon services and massage, but if you’re looking for a full-service day spa, here are some services to look for: • Manicure and pedicure • Facial treatments • Body wraps • Hydrotherapy, steam room or sauna • Therapeutic massage

Some spas may offer more advanced services, including areas for meditation or yoga, electrolysis, laser hair removal or therapeutic treatments under the supervision of a physician. If you’re a spa first-timer, the spa’s employees will help guide you through the various services and procedures, letting you know what’s expected of both you and your esthetician. Still, it’s a good idea to learn about spa etiquette ahead of time. These are general rules that most spas adhere to, but if you have questions, you should call the spa to find out how the staff does things. It’s usually preferred that you remove all your clothing and wear the provided bathrobe for services such as massages or body wraps. The esthetician will drape your body with towels, so nothing more than necessary is uncovered. However, the client’s comfort is a spa’s primary responsibility, so if you prefer to wear a swimsuit or undergarments, you should be allowed to do so. Be aware that spa employees have other appointments, so it’s important to arrive on time. This way, you can enjoy maximum relaxation and be on your way before the next appointment starts. Some spas include a gratuity in the

base cost of a service, but if they don’t, it is customary to tip your therapist or other service provider. You can call ahead to find out how your day spa operates. Spa treatments, if performed improperly or in unsanitary conditions, could potentially spread germs and bacteria and lead to infections. Body wraps, facials, massages, saunas, pedicures and manicures -- any of these procedures or treatments could be a vector for disease or infection. This is especially true once you consider how many different people visit a spa each day. For that reason, it’s definitely a good idea to visit a spa before your appointment. Feel free to ask them about their safety and cleanliness practices, and take a tour of the facility. Keep an eye out for good sanitation practices and staff that behaves in a professional and courteous manner. If you see something that doesn’t meet your standards or appears to be unsanitary, find a different spa. A good spa will have clean towels, bathrobes and sandals available for all clients.





How to choose an attorney


hoosing the right attorney is the single best decision a person can make for his or her situation. There are some unethical lawyers out there, and it takes knowledge of the field to choose the right one. A good attorney can be the difference between winning or losing one’s case. Here are some tips that help a person choose the right attorney for his or her legal situation: YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR Sometimes paying more money for a highly skilled attorney is worth it, as opposed to paying a small sum of money for an unskilled or inexperienced attorney. The worst situation would be hiring an attorney that has been disbarred in your state or another state in the United States. RELEVANT ISSUES First, it will be important for a client to decide what legal issues he or she is dealing with. If the client is about to be sued for negligence in a driving accident, then a personal injury lawyer will be required for the case. On the other hand, if one is dealing with a purely commercial real estate transaction, then a real estate lawyer will be needed. It is important to know which legal issues you are dealing with — including whether a legal subspeciality might be helpful — before hiring a lawyer. GET REFERENCES A great way to find a good lawyer is to obtain references from others. Perhaps you need a good divorce attorney who will achieve a great settlement in the case. A good idea is to ask other divorced people about the attorney they used to handle their situation.

Surprisingly, many people are more than willing to recommend a great attorney that achieved good results for them in the past. At the same time, people are more than willing to also dissuade a person from going to a bad lawyer. SETTLEMENTS Depending on the case one is dealing with, it is a good idea to research the case history of an attorney. There

By meeting with a lawyer, a person can instantly “feel out” an attorney to see if they’re a good match for your needs. are plenty of Web sites which show an attorney’s success rate at winning cases or achieving good settlements with companies. Otherwise, it is a good idea to directly ask an attorney regarding his or her case history. If the attorney has great case history, then he or she will not be shy about discussing it. Otherwise, move on to find a different attorney. ONLINE RATINGS With the Internet, it is increasingly easier for consumers to find great lawyers. A consumer has plenty of Web sites he or she can look to for ratings on attorneys. Be sure to read the comments on how people have rated certain lawyers on these sites. Comments can be quite telling about

Bobby Dale Barina, Board Certified Attorney at Law a lawyer’s success rate. If a lawyer has a bad personality yet was still able to achieve great results for a client, then it may still be wise to hire that lawyer. Conversely, if a lawyer was always available to clients, friendly, yet lost cases, then that is probably a lawyer to stay away from. CONSULTATION Sometimes, a person will simply need to have a meeting with a lawyer to decide if that attorney is the right one. By meeting with a lawyer, a person can instantly “feel out” an attorney to see if they’re a good match for your needs. If you feel uncomfortable with the attorney, then it is probably not the right one for the job. You should also make sure the attorney is not billing the client for the first meeting.



How to choose a funeral home


hen grieving over the loss of a loved one, the last thing you want to be thinking about is planning their funeral. However, if no funeral plans were made prior to the death, you may find yourself facing this reality. This is a difficult process and you want to make sure that you are comfortable with any arrangements you might have to make. When you are ready to begin

planning, the first step you need to take is to choose where you would like to have the service. This decision may be easier if your loved one was a member of a church, synagogue, mosque or

The Federal Trade Commission mandates that each funeral home provide customers with a pricing list. other religious organization. Next, perform a search on the Internet or newspaper obituary page to find funeral homes in your area. Call each one and make an appointment for an on-site or telephone arrangement conference with a funeral director to discuss

your basic options. Most likely, the cost of the funeral is one of your concerns. Start your conversation with the funeral director by asking about the basic fee. Independent familyowned funeral homes may offer lower costs, but you won’t know for sure until you talk to them. From there, you can followup with questions on available services and any down payments you will need to make. After this initial conversation, you can make a more educated estimate of your funeral budget. There’s no getting around the high cost of funerals. It is said to be one of the most expensive purchases you will make. The total cost can easily run over $10,000, with the casket alone making up over half of the sum. With the funeral director, you will review general pricing with a list of services. You won’t want to make any decisions on the spot, so ask



Family lobby between large visitation rooms.

Serving more Veterans than any other provider the funeral director for an itemized price in writing. The Federal Trade Commission mandates that each funeral home provide customers with a pricing list. Remember that you have control over what services you receive. You should never pay for funeral services that you do not want. If casket prices at your chosen funeral home are too pricey, you have the right to purchase a casket elsewhere with no additional charge. Compare prices at other funeral homes and on the Internet, then make the choice that works best for your situation. If you are planning the funeral with other family members, make sure you discuss who is going to be the primary contact for all funeral arrangements. This makes things easier for both the funeral home and family members who are trying to get information on arrangements. After finalizing your decision on what type of service you would like, you need to get all

History of Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home

Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home was built in 1972 by William “Bill� Crawford and Delbert Bowers. As retired military men, they realized Killeen’s need for a first class funeral facility to properly memorialize American soldiers. That tradition of unparalleled quality of service continues under the leadership of senior Funeral Director Dan Carter, who has proudly served the CrawfordBowers Funeral Home since 1972.

of the paperwork in order. This means filling out and submitting all necessary permits and copies of death certificates, as well as securing burial arrangements at the cemetery or crematory.

The entry lobby of our location.

Refreshment area provided to all famalies with cookies, coffee, water and lemonade. This may all seem overwhelming, but remember that if you have done your research you have chosen the best funeral home for the needs of your loved one. They have the expertise to guide you through this difficult process and to ensure the funeral runs smoothly for everyone. Remember if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask the funeral home for their advice. You always have the option of finding a different funeral home if you have problems with them down the road. If that happens, you only need to pay for services that you requested them to perform. Contact your funeral home for additional questions or concerns.






oining a gym is an excellent step on the path to a healthier lifestyle, for both experienced fitness enthusiasts and those newly resolved to get in shape. The benefits of exercise are wellknown: it releases endorphins, elevating mood and fighting stress; it builds muscle, which more effectively burns calories; it increases energy and improves sleep; it can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of some types of cancer, osteoporosis, and Type 2 diabetes. However, any fitness regimen can be easy to begin but difficult to maintain. The excuses are varied. Lack of time, lack of motivation, or simple boredom all get in the way of forming good fitness habits. A gym works against the latter problem by providing a variety of equipment, programs and teachers to switch up workouts and keep exercise interesting. Membership is a great way to meet other people with similar goals, who can help offer motivation. And because you have already paid for the gym use, it is more difficult to claim lack of time as a reason to skip exercising. Once the decision has been made to join a gym, the choices can be rather daunting. The key is to look for a gym facility that can help attain individual fitness goals by motivating and inspiring its members. The right gym is not necessarily the most popular one; not every gym has the right services and programs for everyone’s abilities and goals. Both the seasoned gym member and the new patron who has never set foot on a treadmill should have a clear idea before signing the paperwork of the gym’s programs and services, so that the individual’s specific requirements will be fulfilled. Personal trainers will appeal to


gym members serious about reaching their goals with realistic programs and professional guidance. They also offer motivation by means of encouragement, sometimes gentle and sometimes more rigorous. A good personal trainer can occasionally seem without pity or

Many people inexperienced with gyms have a preconceived picture of weight lifting machines and treadmills, but gyms offer much more. compassion, but they will always work toward the client’s victory over personal goals, leading the client to not only achieve but surpass them while ensuring that healthy progress is kept. New gym members value personal trainers not only for their guidance but also for their health assessments, ensuring that the body is pushed to improvement, but at a healthy, safe pace. Trainers can also offer advice on nutrition in addition to devising a gym routine and monitoring physical progress. Many people inexperienced with gyms have a preconceived picture of weight lifting machines and treadmills, but gyms offer much more. Low-impact workouts are available in wide varieties to make workouts

accessible to those with joint pain or other health restrictions. Pilates is one such option that makes use of smooth motions and gliding actions to tone the physique and improve flexibility. Another option available at many gyms is participation in aqua aerobics. This involves a comprehensive workout, which made easier on the body due to the buoyancy of the pool and also challenging due to the resistance of the water. While most gyms offer a pool, not all provide an instructor for water aerobics. Those who suffer joint pain or some disabilities would do well to inquire about the availability of group or private instruction for an excellent workout that involves both cardio and endurance. Finally, in choosing a gym, a potential member should look not only to present goals but to the future. Whether interested in pilates or group aerobics to music, weight lifting or water aerobics, the goal is to constantly improve. The gym coordinator should be able to advise members on available class levels to ensure that goals can be met and set higher as skills continue to increase.





How to choose A DENTIST


hoosing a dentist can make a world of difference in a patient’s smile and oral health. It can also be a daunting task, especially as the number of practicing dentists continues to increase rapidly throughout the country. There used to be little choice as to which dentist to visit. Teeth cleaning, x-rays and dental operations were performed by whichever dentist served a particular area or insurance company. Now, more than ever, individuals are choosing their own dentist in hopes of finding a friend and ally ready to help create a gorgeous smile while offering a pleasant dental experience. When choosing a dentist, it is important to consider a few key things. Location and office hours are important in terms of convenience. The dental office should be located close to work or home and offer hours compatible with an individual’s lifestyle. Word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family are one of the best ways to find a reputable dentist as well as knowing which dentists to avoid. Most dental offices now have Web sites that offer valuable information about the dentists practicing at the office and usually include each dentist’s basic background information, education and dental specialties. Information to look for when reading through a particular dentist’s Web site include things such as what extra charges or costs are involved should an appointment be missed or cancelled, x-ray requirements and costs, and costs related to any extra services. It is also important to note how far in advance cleanings and appointments should be scheduled. Emergency dental services should be available for any dental crises. This information can also be obtained by calling the dental office. Look for dental offices with receptionists that are friendly, timely, and helpful.

A basic information check should be performed on any potential dentists before the initial visit. Check that they have earned a degree from a reputable school and are up to date with their licensing and educational requirements. They will preferably be keeping up with the latest dental technologies and trends. Always be sure that they support up-todate dental insurance. The best dentists consistently provide cutting edge dental care while striving to create and maintain a healthy, beautiful smile for their patients. Payment should be discussed ahead of time with estimates being given for any and all services. If dental insurance will be used, always check to be sure the dentist that has been chosen accepts the specific insurance. If not, a new dentist may need to be selected. Discuss payment plan options ahead of time, especially for expensive procedures. When visiting a dentist for the first time, the dentist should be professional and friendly. Questions should be asked based upon the individual patient’s needs and concerns. If phobias and pain are concerns, patients should express this during an initial

visit with a dentist and determine what can be done to alleviate them. Many dentists are willing to go above and beyond to cater to patients with these specific concerns. A basic oral history should be reviewed before hand, and future treatment and prevention options should be discussed. A good dentist will work to make a patient comfortable and should have a pleasant chair-side manner. First impressions mean a lot when choosing a dentist. If the dentist, hygienists or office staff create an atmosphere that is anything less than professional or pleasant, a new dentist should be searched for. The best dentists offer friendly, happy dental experiences. They consider the preferences and concerns of their patients and offer exceptional, cutting-edge dental services. Teeth are important to overall health and appearance and should be trusted with only the best of dentists. Finding a good dentist should involve finding a friend and ally in the dental industry who consistently keeps the health and beauty of their patient’s smile a top priority.





ne of the most important things you can do to safeguard your health is to choose the right physician, someone who will work proactively with you on your health issues. There are some important factors to consider when you’re in the process of selecting your doctor. Your primary care physician is responsible for all your medical needs, and should you need the attentions of a specialist, your primary care physician is responsible for making that referral.

The office of Dave E. Webster, DO, PA Most people will want to choose a generalist as their primary care physician, whether a family practice doctor or an internist. But in some cases, you may want to choose a physician who specializes in a certain area of medical practice. Often the personal physician you

choose will be mandated by the type of health insurance you carry. You will be required to choose your personal doctor from within that primary care physician (PCP) network. The best way to find a new doctor is through a referral from friends, family or someone else whose judgment


Before you make your final decision, be sure the physician you have chosen is accepting new patients. in this matter you can trust. People who like and trust their own physicians are eager to share their experiences. Whoever your choice turns out to be, once you’ve contacted the physician and found out whether they can add you to their patient rostrum, it’s a good idea to check with your insurance company and make sure that your visits to this doctor will be covered. Paying for medical care out of your own pocket can become very expensive. Another good source of physician referrals may be the local chapter of the American Medical Association or other professional physicians’ organizations in your area. Before you make your final decision, be sure the physician you have chosen is accepting new patients. Contact the doctors’ office to make sure that they are adding new patients to their practice and that they accept the type of insurance you carry. Under ideal circumstances, the very first visit you make to your new doctor will involve a routine physical examination during which your new doctor will take a detailed patient history. Some insurance companies will not pay for routine physicals, however. Some other factors to consider when choosing a physician: You’ll want to make sure his or her office is convenient to either your home or your workplace. You’ll want to make sure

the physician you’ve chosen has admitting privileges at a hospital where you’d feel comfortable should you have to become a patient there. Another point to consider when choosing your doctor, is your physician able to perform diagnostic tests and procedures in his or her own office or will you have to visit a separate facility when you need these services? Finally, verify how long it will take you to book an appointment. Not every one of your medical needs will require seeing a doctor that very same day, but when an emergency arises, you’ll want to make sure that your doctor can handle it. Dr. Webster, a family medicine physician has practiced medicine in the Central Texas area for 40 years. Dr. Webster has been voted the Best or One of the Best Physicians in the Central Texas area for the last 15 years. Dr. Webster accepts most insurance, has an in-house lab & x-ray and also accepts same day appointments. His office is conveniently located in the Rosewood Plaza at 5610 E. Central Texas Expressway, 5 minutes from Seton Hospital, in the Killeen/Harker Heights area. In addition to quality health care for the entire family, Dr. Webster offers HCG Weight loss, Allergen Immunotherapy and Facial Aesthetics within his practice and the community. Contact Dr. Webster at 254-690-1280 to schedule your appointment or consultation.


hoosing the right primary care doctor for you and your family is an important decision. After all, your provider is your partner in long-term health. You want your doctor to be knowledgeable and experienced, while still making you feel comfortable. At the office of Dave E. Webster, DO, PA, our experienced team is committed to building relationships with our patients of all ages, and providing them with the highest level of service within a warm and friendly atmosphere. Dr. Webster and his staff emphasize preventive care and can guide you through routine exams, immunizations, a healthy diet, and an exercise routine; as well as diagnose, treat, and manage illnesses and diseases, to help you lead a long, happy, healthy life. In-house services offered include, but are not limited to: • Preventive Health Maintenance • Medical Weight Loss – HCG • Treatment of Acute and Chronic Illnesses • Comprehensive Annual Physical Examination • Women’s Health and In-Office GYN Care • Pre-operative Examinations • Pre-employment Physical Exams • Office Pulmonary Spirometry • Electrocardiograms • Consultations • Coordination of Rehabilitation Services • Outpatient Surgery for Minor Injuries • Laceration Repairs • Dermatology and Cryotherapy • Chest X-ray and Digital Processing for Chest and Extremities In-office laboratory and x-ray tests we offer include: • Complete Blood Count • Urine Analysis • Lipid Profile (Cholesterol Levels) • Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT’s) • Glucose Finger Stick • Hemoglobin A1C • PPD (Tine Test for Tuberculosis) • H. Pylori for Reflux Disease • Chest X-ray (1 and 2 View): For Pneumonia/ Bronchitis/Asthma, etc. • Shoulder/Arm/Elbow/Wrist/Hand • Hip/Leg/Ankle/Foot • Sinus Series • Abdominal Flat Plate • Full-service Reference Lab For more information about our medical practice, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Webster, we invite you to contact us today!




How to choose a VETERINARIAN


n today’s society, pets are generally considered to be members of the family. As such, they should be provided with the excellent health care that any member of your family deserves. Many people neglect to bring their pets to a local veterinarian due to cost concerns. These people tend to believe that it is simply not financially wise or necessary to provide their animals with regular health care. However, by ensuring that your pet has regular check-ups from an experienced animal professional, you can add years to your pet’s life and improve upon its happiness.

You should never wait until your pet is sick to provide it with the health care that it needs. Many animal diseases can be prevented with regular checkups, saving you time and money in the long run. Visits to the veterinarian will boost your pet’s health, allowing it to lead a happier, more vigorous life. The process of searching for a veterinarian can seem intimidating. However, so long as you adhere to the following guidelines, you can easily locate an animal health care professional that will provide your pet with the services that it needs in order to lead a long, healthy life. When searching for a veterinarian, you should first ask for references from your friends and family. The best way to receive an accurate impression of a vet’s quality of work is by speaking with his or her past clients. A veterinarian’s references should assert that he or she is professional, timely, honest and compassionate. The Internet is also an excellent source of

information regarding the quality of a specific animal health care professional. Search for reviews from past clients, and check the business’s reputation with the Better Business Bureau. After you have narrowed down your choices, feel free to visit the veterinarian’s office in order to receive a personal impression of the professional’s values. The office should be scrupulously clean, and all employees should be friendly and welcoming. You should observe the interactions between the office’s staff and the animals that are present. If a large number of pets seem excessively stressed or anxious about their visit, this could be a warning sign that the vet is not as gentle or careful as he or she should be. You can even chat with the other clients that are present. Ask them about their past experiences with this particular veterinarian. Most clients would be happy to share their stories or recommendations with you.







2013/09/04 By Ronnie Ann f you’re wondering what are the steps for a truly good job interview, you’ve come to the right place. I’ll guide you through the entire interview process – from all-important preparation, to the actual day of the interview, all the way to the last step … the post-interview waiting game! But first a little secret about interviewers Before we get to the actual steps to a good interview, here’s a little secret that may help you relax: most job interviewers, even the tough ones, would love for your

interview to go well. Surprised? It’s not easy finding the right candidate. You’ll make their day if you turn out to be the one they want for the job. So, as part of your preparation, instead of seeing your interviewer as someone who is out to trip you up (not that some don’t try), it helps to think of them as someone who is actually rooting for you to do well. So what steps go into making a job interview great? Here are some tips I hope will help you get that successful interview both you and the employer want so much: PREPARING FOR YOUR JOB INTERVIEW Remember … success starts way before you walk in the door! • Research the company, if you haven’t already done this as part of your job search. There is nothing less impressive than sitting there chatting away with zero knowledge about the company. If possible, also look for info about the person or

people interviewing you – but use this sparingly or it can feel a little creepy. Use search engines and LinkedIn to help your research. may also provide some useful insights. • Carefully review the job description, looking up anything you don’t understand. This will help you match your answers to their needs. • Make notes for yourself using your resume and the job description, and then think of work-related stories … or ones from elsewhere if you think they will help you make your point. Use these to show how you’ve risen above and beyond to solve a problem or brought about a successful outcome or helped during a crisis or overcame a weakness or created new methods, etc. You may or may not use every story, but smart to have them ready in case. • Know your own resume. You’d be amazed at how many people I’ve interviewed who hemmed and hawed when I asked about some of their experiences listed right on the resume I had in front of me.


• Take time to practice answering some of the most popular questions, with the help of your mirror or a recording device. You may also ask friends or family to do some mock interviews with you. Get comfortable talking about yourself and all the good things you have to offer, without sounding too full of yourself – or conversely, too aw shucks and self-conscious. Just be yourself and think “conversation” rather than the far scarier word “interview”. INTERVIEW DAY • Dress professionally. It helps to think about the kind of company and try to match that (check them out online or in person if possible), but even if they wear jeans and tees, you probably shouldn’t. A jacket and nice slacks (or skirt) is a good choice if you think a formal suit is too much. Best not to be too much – too sexy (tone it way down), too elegant, too casual, too avant-garde or haute couture (unless that’s the kind of job you’re applying for; but even then don’t try to wow them). Less is more here. • Turn your cell phone off. Easy to forget. Not necessarily a deal-breaker (although for some it is), but definitely annoying. So just remember. • If you feel nervous before you leave for the interview, some exercise may help. Or singing. Or jumping jacks. Nerves are actually ok (and very normal) since nerves can be channeled into energy. Yoga or meditation also can be useful. But solid preparation – and believing in yourself – is often the best medicine of all. • Bring extra copies of your resume, just in case. • Remember that the receptionist can be a great ally, or at least not do you in. You may wonder why I mention this, but it’s to remind you of something important: words are only part of it, overall impressions make a huge difference in your interview. The interview doesn’t just start the second the interviewer walks into the room and shakes your hand, nor end when you leave the interview room. People – anyone – at any step of the process share information about the candidates. Be nice to all! • While in the designated waiting area, no parents (really – this happens), no gum, no cell phone, no tablet, no humming to yourself, no putting on make-

up, no slumping or feet up on a chair while slurping your coffee (this holds for the interview too). Be prepared to wait patiently – no matter how long it takes. Look as pleasant and energized as possible. Use the time to think about your stories and all the ways you and your experience fit the company. Also use the time to observe whatever you can, since you’re deciding if you want them, too. • Stay positive while waiting. I know a job seeker who spent the pre-interview waiting time building up anger. Why? First, they didn’t like her parents being there, and she argued about it with the receptionist. Yes … really. And then, as happens, they dared to keep her waiting. And after all that, she was upset the interviewer didn’t greet her with a smile. (She must have thought her attitude was invisible.) And then she was upset that they didn’t want her! DURING THE JOB INTERVIEW • Meet the interviewer’s eyes and smile warmly as you walk in. Shake hands firmly (no death grip match), and say something pleasant. • Be natural. Be real. And don’t use canned answers. When you’re in the actual interview, trust that you’ve done all you can up to that moment. Answer in your own words, making sure you heard exactly what they asked you. Job seekers sometimes prepare so much that they try to fit a canned answer into a question that wasn’t even asked. Not a good idea. Shows you don’t listen. So feel free to turn to your success stories, but also be conversational. Memorized words will lose you the human connection you want to build. • Be honest if you don’t know an answer. But also, if applicable, express your interest in learning or tell how you’ve already begun looking into it (if you have) or even add a good question related to what they just asked. No good employer expects you to know absolutely everything. • Use your real-life stories. You’ve researched the company. You’ve read the job description. Match your stories and experiences to what they are looking for. How you solved problems. How you overcame obstacles. How you improved processes. But once again, make sure you’re listening to them and answering their real questions, and not just trying to run the


interview yourself. • Still feeling nervous? It’s ok to mention nerves a little if you think it would help to diffuse your discomfort. Nerves are expected. You can add a few words about how excited you are about this opportunity. But keep it brief, and then move on to answering the question that was asked. • If there is more than one interviewer in the room, direct your answer mostly to the person who asked the question. But make sure to have eye contact with each person at some point. • Speak clearly, at a normal conversational pace. And remember to breathe – both in and out. • Avoid jokes. They can fall flat. A little humor can be fine if it feels right; and if the interviewer is being funny on purpose, feel free to laugh along. Just not one of those weird sitcom laughs – he he HEEEE he he. • Maintain eye contact and energy – and listen. If you feel yourself starting to think ahead about an answer or what else you might want to bring up later, stop yourself. You will lose more than you gain by trying to jump ahead. Just be in the moment and trust yourself. Again, the connection and a feeling that you would be a great person to have on their team is key. • Have some questions prepared should they ask you if you have any. They usually do. BUT … also feel free to take brief notes and use things you learned during the interview to come up with questions. A big plus. As your last question, if it feels right, let them know you’re very interested and ask when you might expect to hear from them. • Remember to shake hands and smile warmly as you thank each interviewer for the interview. AFTER THE INTERVIEW • The thank you note – Some say it’s not important. And in many cases, it might not make one lick of difference to your chances. Having been an interviewer for many years, and knowing how hard it is to find a good fit for any position, I can tell you that the note never changed my mind one way or the other. Well, there was that one time when it was so truly weird we decided to pass. But that said, send one. Short and pleasant. It leaves a nice impression. Snail mail is a nice plus, but email is fine.



How to choose aN EMPLOYER


ecause the economy is in the process of recovering, there are numerous individuals who are attempting to find employment. Some individuals are finding the process difficult as they do not have the required education or experience. Employment services can bridge the gap and help in finding jobs. As payment, the clients pay the service a certain dollar amount in order to find employment that they are qualified for. It is difficult to obtain a job but just as challenging to find a service through which you can find employment. The first feature to examine when choosing a service is how successful different agencies have previously been in finding jobs for previous clients. It is also essential to obtain information regarding each individual agent’s experience as well the age of the agency. You also want to check to see whether the agency provides training that would aid in the finding of a job. Some agencies will offer clients vocational training that is free

of charge so as to provide clients with a greater likelihood of finding employment. These additional skills will provide the client with resources that will help in obtaining a job and can also be helpful in the practice of a particular job or career as well as qualification for future promotions. Although some services provide training without additional cost, other agencies will require that you pay a fee in order to cover the costs of the training. Many employment agencies have one or two vocations as a specialty, and you want to make sure that your particular interests fall within this realm so that the service will be able to provide you the most benefit. Agencies exist that aid clients in finding jobs in fields such as finance, administrative assisting and health care as well as other professions. These specializations are important to consider because if you are looking to become a health care professional, you do not want to employ an agency to specialize in finance. In the same vein, if your specialty is as an executive of a large firm, you don’t want to be stuck with a service that can only get you a job in the medical field. Some agencies do not focus on a particular skill set, but it is important to make sure that they have had success with your interests in the past. Be aware of what the employment service is expecting of you as their client. Some have terms of

service that are not overly beneficial to the client, so you want to dismiss any agency that does not have your best interests in mind. You want to find a service that is there with you until you find a stable job — or hire a stable employee — and not one that only stays with you for six months because that is how long the contract is for. Finding a legitimate employment service should not be overly difficult, but you should still take your time when trying to find the right one for you.





How to choose an employment service


s the economy recovers, there are still many individuals who are trying to find employment. Some are finding the process difficult as they struggle with not having the education or experience employers are often requiring. Employment services, also known as staffing company, can help bridge the gap and help in finding you a job. In fact, the American Staffing Association found that 88 percent of employees who worked for a staffing company say temporary or contract work made them more employable. What to Consider The first feature to examine when choosing a service or company to work with is how successful the company has previously been in finding jobs for job seekers. It’s also essential to receive information about their experience, including how long they have been in business. Training Opportunities You can also check to see if the service provides training that could help you find a job. Some places will offer job seekers vocational training that is free to help give them a better

chance of finding employment. Having these types of vocational skills can help you become more employable for the jobs that are often the most in-demand by employers. “We don’t have the people we need. Some 82 percent of manufacturers say they can’t find workers with the right skills,” said Doug Oberhelman, CEO of Caterpillar Inc. “Welders, CNC programmers and operators, electricians, pipefitters, machinists—to cite a few examples—are highly skilled. And the jobs pay well. The

average manufacturing worker earns roughly $77,000.” Although some services provide training without additional cost, other agencies will require that you pay a fee in order to cover the costs of the training. Specialized Options Many employment companies will have one or two vocations they work with, so you’ll want to make sure that the company you work with is able to provide you the best service based on your interests and skills. There are services and companies that find jobs for people in specific areas including finance, administrative, health care, information technology and many others. Some services do not focus on a particular skill set or industry, but it’s important that whichever company you work with has had success with finding jobs for people with your same skillset. Finding a reputable employment service is not a difficult task, but you should still take your time when trying the find the right one for you.





How to choose a CREDIT UNION


t a time when banking industry woes are the talk of the evening news, many people find that a community-based credit union is the perfect option for taking care of their financial service needs. A credit union is a cooperative financial institution owned by its members. The deposits in most credit unions are insured by the federal government up to $250,000, making them a safe and secure choice for handling your financial accounts. Because they are not-for-profit orga-

nizations, credit unions also may be able to offer you more lucrative rates of interest on your savings and more competitive interest rates on loans. To choose the right institution, begin by first investigating which local credit unions will accept you as a member. Some credit unions

are tied to particular companies, so only those employees are eligible for membership. Others are linked to certain communities or school districts, so you can join if you live or work within the appropriate boundaries. With so many credit unions around the country, there are likely to



be multiple options in your neighborhood. Once you determine which credit unions you are allowed to join, you can narrow the field of possibilities by studying the services and fees at each institution. If you are you primarily interested in opening a savings or checking account, visit the credit union to get a copy of the current interest rate sheets for each of these services. Most credit unions will give you this information at their offices on request, and some even post the details on their Web sites. Always find out whether there are any fees associated with the accounts you want to open. Like many savings and loans and banks, some credit unions will charge service fees if you do not keep a minimum balance in an account. Others will charge fees if you don’t use your debit card a certain number of times each month. Extra fees can make a good interest rate seem less appealing, so study those details before you join. If you are interested in applying for a personal or business loan, be sure to ask whether lending is one of the services offered by the credit union. Then compare the loan interest rates and specials at local institutions to find out which credit union would best fit your needs. Many consumers want to compare the office hours at credit unions and the proximity of branches to their

homes before joining. Some credit unions may be open for longer hours in the evening or may have weekend office hours, which can be helpful if you work every weekday. Another important issue for many customers is the availability of ATM machines and the fees associated with their use. If you need money when the offices are closed, you will want to be sure the credit union has ATMs near your home to give you access to your money. In addition, some institutions have agreements for shared services with other credit unions around the country. Through these arrangements, customers may have access to ATMs and other services when they are away from home. This can be a handy advantage for those who travel or for people who have children attending college in other cities. If this benefit interests you, check with local credit unions to see which ones offer this service. Once you have done your research, make a list of the pros and cons so you can compare each individual credit union before making the switch. You will find that credit unions can be an excellent alternative to banks and other financial institutions, with comparable, competitive services and rates. If you do your homework, you can find an ideal credit union match.

Why Choose a Credit Union? Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives that conduct business for the mutual benefit and general welfare of their member-owners. Banks are for-profit financial corporations who conduct business to maximize the price of its stock and profit for stockholders. Philosophy Credit unions promote thrift, savings and sound credit use to improve members’ lives. Community Most credit unions are locally run. A credit union’s membership consists of specific people from employers, churches, schools or communities. Most banks are rarely locally run. Community banks are frequently sold to larger banks whose home office is seldom in the local community. Ownership Every member is an equal owner.

Leadership Boards of Directors are elected by members. Directors are volunteers, and are not paid. Credit union elections are held with each member getting a single vote. Federal Deposit Insurance Insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF), a Federal government agency. Taxation Credit unions are exempt from corporate income tax because they are not-for-profit cooperatives that return earnings back to members in the form of lower loan rates and higher deposit rates. Credit unions pay property, county, school, municipal, and employer taxes.

What is a credit union? A credit union is a member owned cooperative. In October of 1957, nine teachers went into the break room and put $5.00 into a pencil box and the credit union was born. These teachers were Annie Colbert, Ovis Mullen, Louise Colgin, Rita Lee, Elnora Agan, Wilma Smith, Velda Ayers, Jewel Black, Mordant Jackson, and Juanita Ragsdale. They are our founding parents. Their goal was to provide money to other teachers in the district at affordable rates while making a little interest for themselves. All the proceeds for the credit union are used to provide services to the members. A credit union is a group of members cooperating with each other to provide for one another - hence a member owned cooperative. When you become a member, we are here for you and want to help with your financial needs. We will strive to provide the best service and lending opportunities possible. Greater Central Texas FCU is a secure and sound institution. Every account is federally insured up to $250,000 by the NCUA (National Credit Union Administration).





n tough economic times, the need for a great financial planner for one’s finances is never greater. A smart financial planner can help a person do everything from creating a budget for one’s means to investing money into appropriate stocks. A financial planner is someone who can encourage a person to save one’s money rather than spend it, to put it simply. A financial planner will help a person get his or her finances in order so that financial problems do not arise in the future, such as bankruptcy. Looking for a financial planner is easy, once you know what to look for. First off, you should look to see how a financial planner has established himself or herself. It is a good idea to analyze the type of client that a financial planner serves as well. Another tip is to get a referral from a relative or good family friend. An even wiser choice is to get a referral from someone who is wealthy or has gone from having an average financial life to an extraordinary financial life over the years. Chances are, an intelligent financial planner has helped the person amass his or her great wealth over the years through strategic investments. It is wise to discuss one’s financial goals with a financial planner. It is a good idea to make sure that the financial planner’s own goals for your money align with your goals. For example, if you want slow financial growth over the years, then avoid placing your money with a financial planner who seeks to grow your money at a fast pace with very risky investments. When you finally meet your

If you want slow financial growth over the years, then avoid placing your money with a financial planner who seeks to grow your money at a fast pace with very risky investments. financial planner, make sure it is someone you trust. You are, after all, responsible for choosing the financial planner you work with. If the financial planner loses your money in the long run, the only person you really have to blame is yourself. Perhaps you are looking to grow your money for a specific purpose. Many people want to grow their money for retirement purposes or for the purpose of starting a small business. Whatever the case, be sure to share these goals with your financial planner. A good financial planner will be responsive to one’s goals and help to find a way to achieve those goals. Researching a financial planner’s

certifications is also a must. A financial planner must have certain certifications in order to practice financial planning. While credentials vary, it is essential that a financial planner have certain basic training in order to responsible handle the financial well being of other people. In addition, it may be wise to hire a financial planner with a strong degree in finance or business. An undergraduate degree shows that a financial planner has the dedication it takes to solve problems. Do not be shy about explaining your debt to a financial planner. It is important a financial planner know every aspect of one’s financial situation, including any debts a person may have. This may actually motivate a financial planner to work harder with your money and try to invest it as wisely as possible. Be sure to discuss how much your financial planner will be paid. Sometimes planners are paid a basic flat rate, while at other times a financial planner takes a cut from any profits made on investments. It is very important to understand this, so that you know how your money will be invested. Sometimes financial planners may try to make risky investments to make a quick buck. Take your time in choosing the right financial planner and it will pay off.





How to choose A FINANCIAL advisor


inding the right financial advisor for your situation is essential for your financial health. Think of it this way: Choosing a financial advisor who’s right for your specific financial situation is similar to choosing the right nutrition program for your specific body type. THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND Since not every diet program is suited for your specific health and wellness needs, not every financial advisor is suited for your financial wellness needs. You want to be able to rely on your financial advisor’s advice when it comes to trimming your expenditures and what to do to save for retirement the same way you rely on your doctor for keeping your body trim and fit. Be sure to do your homework before starting a relationship with a financial advisor. Before making a choice, perform a background check on the financial advisors on your list and review their credentials. Your financial advisor must have the necessary training from an accredited institution and the prescribed certification for your state in order to be a true financial advisor.

Ask yourself the following questions: • How many years of experience does the financial advisor have? • Have any complaints been filed against the financial advisor? • What awards, if any, has the financial advisor received? • Can the financial advisor provide concrete proof of a satisfied clientele? Answers to these questions are key when searching for a financial advisor who will meet your specific needs. AREAS OF EXPERTISE There’s a complete buffet of financial products that can contribute to your financial well-being. Everything from bonds to mutual funds and commodities to stocks are common investing tools. However, depending upon your appetite for risk, some investment vehicles are better for your portfolio than others. You want to find a financial advisor who’s an expert in customizing a financial plan for your benefit, not for your detriment. Consider the specific segment of the market in which you want to invest your money. Look for a financial advisor specializing in that particular investment type. For example, you might want to invest in the commodities market. If your potential financial advisor has little experience in the commodities market, consider a different choice on your candidate list. RATE OF SUCCESS Take a look at the rate of success each potential candidate has. Has the rate of return of his recommendations

outpaced the average market rate of return over the last year, five years, or ten years? One indicator of a solid rate of return is how well a financial advisor conducts research to strengthen his clients’ portfolios. Here’s where experience plays an important role. This is especially important in tough economic times. How well has your financial advisor-candidate weathered past economic recessions for his clients? Do his clients continue to thrive in a bleak financial environment? On the other hand, have his clients experienced multiple hits to their portfolios? That’s why an advisor’s success is well worth your consideration. FEES OR COMMISSIONS? Ask your financial advisor about her compensation. Is she fee-based or commission-based? That will make a difference in your final selection. After all it’s your money you’re investing, not your financial advisor’s money. A commission-based advisor is more apt to suggest financial products that favor her compensation. Such a situation could needlessly increase your exposure to market risk. Only go with a commission-based advisor if she has a proven track record of success and has your best interest in mind. If you feel the need to guarantee that your best interest will be served, go with a fee-based advisor. A feebased advisor is compensated only for the time spent on servicing your portfolio. INTERVIEW Finally, make arrangements to meet the top candidates on your financial advisor list. Get a feel for how the financial advisor will treat you as his or her client. Will he act condescending toward you and your ideas? Will she have the heart of a teacher when addressing your concerns? A good way to do that is to ask direct questions regarding experience, services and financial products offered, and the fee schedule. How your financial advisor-candidate answers your questions will give you a solid idea of which one is right for you.



What is Overdraft Privilege?

How to choose a BANK


any consumers spend an inordinate amount of time considering other financial transactions, but they rarely put so much effort into their choice of banks. Banking services can influence a wide range of financial matters, and there are several details to consider when choosing a commercial bank. Interest Rate and Fees The true value of a bank account can be found in its interest rates. Each bank has a slightly different interest rate for savings accounts, although most of them will adjust these rates based on the federal funds rate. Differences in interest rates may seem insignificant, but they can result in big changes when large deposits are concerned. Banks services also usually involve fees and penalties for certain transactions. A checking account might restrict the number of checks that you are allow to write per month before you pay a fee, or you might be required to maintain a minimum balance in your savings account. Every bank has its own policies, and these should always be taken into account by anyone who is choosing a bank. Convenience Convenience is another factor to consider when choosing a bank. Try to find one that has plenty of convenient branch locations not just close to where you live, but wherever you might travel on a regular basis. It’s more difficult to conduct financial matters when on the road if you’re using a local or regional bank. The important thing is that your bank is accessible when you need it. There will most likely come a time

As much as you try to avoid it, the occasional overdraft happens to nearly everyone. when you have to stop at a bank on your way home from work or make a mad dash to deposit a check before a bank closes. Having a convenient location (or several convenient locations) will make your life much easier. Overdraft Protection As much as you try to avoid it, the occasional overdraft happens to nearly everyone. Each bank has specific policies regarding overdrafts. Some offer overdraft protection in the form of a high interest credit line that kicks in when you bounce a check, while other banks charge a fee for each overdraft. Some banks don’t cover bounced checks at all. Consider the policies of your potential banks of choice before you come to a final decision. Bank Stability Stability is an often overlooked element of commercial banking. When you deposit money into a bank, it is important to consider the solvency of the bank’s balance sheet. Most funds held on deposit are invested by the bank under a fractional reserve banking system, and a bank with a clean balance sheet can best weather the turbulence caused by market corrections. Most banks are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for up to $250,000 per depositor. This value can vary

• A financial resource that can protect you from inadvertent mistakes caused by insufficient or overdraft checks • Union State Bank’s convenient response to your unexpected banking needs • A valuable enhancement to your banking relationship • Not a PROMISE . . .but a PRIVILEGE. . .to you, our customer If you write a check, initiate an electronic funds transfer, authorize an ACH debit to your account or authorize any other debit transaction to your account, excluding ATM and one time debit card purchases, we will either (a) pay the overdraft or (b) return the item(s) unpaid for non-sufficient funds (NSF). If we pay the overdraft, this service is called Overdraft Privilege. (Payment of ATM and one time debit card purchases using Overdraft Privilege and the assessment of the overdraft fee must be pre-authorized, to the bank, by the customer’s decision to Opt-In to include those transactions prior to the initiation of those transactions). Participation in the Overdraft Privilege program can save the customer the expense and the embarrassment of having an item returned. depending on the type and number of accounts held by a customer. Your money should be safe in any bank, but failures can occur. A solid bank should have limited exposure to toxic assets that put its balance sheet at risk. Services You Need Banks offer a wide range of services. Whether you need to take out a loan or open a checking account, choose a bank that satisfies your concerns with the lost cost and highest rate of return. Careful and vigilant shoppers can expect positive experiences with a trustworthy commercial bank.



How-to Guide 2016  

The Killeen Daily Herald's 6th annual...

How-to Guide 2016  

The Killeen Daily Herald's 6th annual...