Know what you are signing BEFORE you sign……

Please make sure that you know what you are signing before you sign! Many times I have a title search come back with a lien on it that the owners know nothing about. In all areas, please be sure you know what you are signing before you sign but especially when dealing with contractors, remodelers etc. that are offering financing. Make sure you know how this financing will affect your title to the property.

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April 5th Meeting Recap

April 5, 2012 Meeting Recap

17 members present:

1. Victoria Bassols – Allstate Insurance
2. Debra Chandler – Chandler and Associates-Financial Svcs/Insurance
3. Janice David – Shining Stars Cleaning Services
4. John Fichtner – Fichtner Services Inc.
5. Brian Griffith – Armor Security
6. David Hoffman, P.C. – Attorney – Wills, Trusts and Estates
7. Mark Jenkins – Comfort Professionals (HVAC)
8. Roxanne Jenkins – Advanced Mobi Marketing
9. Lake Lester – Court Clothing
10. Suzie Loungeway – Calico Corners – In Home Consultant
11. Curt McArtor – Long and Foster Realtors
12. Sal Rotante – Prosperity Mortgage/CPA – individual tax preparation
13. Laylan Shali– Ally Electrical Contracting, LLC
14. Harvey Allen Silverman – Attorney – Personal Injury/DWI
15. Terri Aufmuth Stevens – Cornerstone Landscaping, Inc.
16. Rick Steeby – Home & Property Resolutions (home improvement)
17. Becky Taylor – Titleworks, Inc. (Virginia residential real estate settlements)

3 Guests present:

Misstie Pollard – Capturing Signatures

Jenna Bruce – Better Health and Better Living

Patttigene Long – Mary Kay

Members exchanged thank you’s for business exchanged since the last meeting. It’s exciting to see how our ‘thank yous’ are increasing at each meeting! I wrote down just a sampling of the thank yous that were exchanged at today’s meeting:

Victoria Bassols – thank you to Becky for home/auto insurance proposal request;
Curt McArtor – thank you to John Fichtner, Suzie Loungeway and Jacqueline Schweitzer;
John Fichtner – thank you to Curt and Natalie McArtor;
David Hoffman – thank you to a former group member Lori Power;
Rick Steeby– thank you to a former group member – Lynette Brunson;
Rick Steeby – thank you to Becky for estimate opportunity;
Rick Steeby – thank you to Mark Jenkins;
Debra Chandler – thank you to David Hoffman;
Terri Aufmuth – thank you to Rick Steeby and Becky Taylor;
Harv Silverman – thank you to David Hoffman;
Becky Taylor – thank you to David Hoffman for taking good care of my sister;
Becky Taylor – thank you to Rick Steeby for providing the estimate for my deck;
Becky Taylor – thank you to Terri Aufmuth for the great landscaping job at my house; Sal – thank you to Terri Aufmuth for the landscaping plans;
Sal Rotante – thank you to Suzie Loungeway for the business referral;
Suzie Loungeway – thank you to Natalie and Curt for business referrals;
Suzie Loungeway – thank you to John Fichtner for work done at her house;
David Hoffman – thank you to Lake Lester for the new suits; and
Lake Lester – thank you to David Hoffman for the business.

I may have missed some but just from what I have listed here – you can see that our group is working and that business sharing is happening within our group.

Member Presentation was from Rick Steeby. Rick shared information about his two businesses – Home and Property Resolutions and NoVa Barrier Waterproofing. He also shared how networking has helped grow and continue his business. Our networking group builds relationships within the group that can outlast membership within the group. Thanks Rick!

Attendance Reminder – although we do not have a set attendance policy – please keep in mind that our group is successful because of the relationships we build amongst ourselves. If you are not at a meeting, then you are not building relationships.

If you did not get some of the group business cards, please see our ‘card’ table at the next meeting and pick some up to give out when you invite new businesses to our meetings or ask Becky Taylor to send you some.

DUES – Dues for the 1st quarter are now due. The quarterly amount is $50.00. Dues are payable to Northern Virginia Professional Networking Group or Curt McArtor and can be given to Curt at the meetings or mailed to his home or office.
Our next meeting will be THURSDAY APRIL 19, 2012!!!! The guest presenter at our next meeting will by Sydnee Stein of Eagle Bank. Her topic will be networking – how it works and why it works.

Final note: From The Helping Habit by Scott Ingram, – Networking works because we help each other. The more you seek to help others, the more they will look for ways to help you. So to find the most success in your networking efforts you will be well served to find more and more ways you can help others.

Who have you helped today? 

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A Sad Story

// A Sad Story…//

SAD STORY: I ran across a client today who was injured in a car accident 26 months ago. She had no legal counsel. The insurance company for the other side kept dangling a “settlement” in front of her and she kept thinking they were acting in good faith. When the two year mark came and went the insurance company went silent. In spite of several calls and letters from this young lady, they refused to pay what they had offered. Now she is out of luck. In Virginia and many other states, you have two years to settle or file in court. It is called the Statute of Limitations and it cannot be ignored. Now this very nice young lady has thousands in medical bills to pay and no way to do it. She will have to declare bankruptcy. She could have seen an attorney at the out set and prevailed. If you know of some one who has had an accident, tell them about this sad story. I cannot help if the clock has run out. Check out my website for the particulars.

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NoVa Barrier Waterproofing Systems’ guide to waterproofing

Understanding the term Waterproofing is essential to choosing the right company to waterproof your basement or crawlspace.

You might understand that waterproof means not affected by water.  I could fill your basement with products that were made of glass, ceramic, and plastic all of which are waterproof but that wouldn’t mean your basement was waterproof.  It would mean that when your basement floods nothing in the basement would be damaged, but that isn’t the same as having a waterproof basement is it?

So if you were going to waterproof a basement how would that be done.  This was the answer I found by Googling it:


 noun \-ˌprü-fiŋ\


1 a : the act or process of making something waterproof; b : the condition of being made waterproof

2: something (as a coating) capable of imparting waterproofness

That is a pretty common accepted meaning, so if you were going to waterproof a basement you would coat it with a material that would make it waterproof.

If it was raining outside and I had a rain jacket, which we know is waterproof, where would I put it? I could put it on next to my skin then put on a sweatshirt over that and a jacket over that and go out in the rain.  Mind you my coat and my sweatshirt would get soaked but I would remain dry inside my rain coat, right?  We see the obvious problem here. To truly be effective as waterproofing, it needs to be on the outside.

If a company sells you waterproofing the #1 thing to remember is it must be done on the outside. If there is any work to be done on the inside — dehumidifiers, pipes, digging, drilling and piping on the inside, then it is not waterproofing, it is water management or flood control.

Waterproofing involves a barrier that is impervious to water. New gutters, downspouts, grading, and drain pipes are water management. If water is coming into the house through a basement window, then these are effective ways to treat the problem, but if the walls are damp and water is seeping up from around the floor by the walls, it will not solve that problem. For that you need waterproofing.

Besides waterproofing your basement, you want to protect it from damage that comes from other sources that cannot be addressed from inside. If you saw a root growing through the basement wall and into a hole in the floor how would you fix it?  If the outside wall was cracking and beginning to bow inward how would you stop that? These are things that cause basements to leak. I have found roots 2” in diameter growing into concrete block walls.  I have seen walls that crumbled on the outside that had to be rebuilt. Why did it happen? Water and water pressure. I can make the wall waterproof and roots and water pressure can still destroy your basement.

Simple rule of thumb, no water = no water pressure and no roots.  If I stop all the water from going through the walls and roots or water pressure crushes the walls, then what was the point of doing the waterproofing? None. So a system is needed to remove the water away from the house too.  Water management becomes a part of a system of waterproofing or it can still ruin your home.

There are lots of companies that claim they are water proofers, but if they do not meet these things they are not truly water proofers.

#1        Waterproofing is done on the outside and involves a waterproof barrier.

#2        Waterproofing involves a system that identifies and repairs damage occurring to the outside wall and repairs that before waterproofing barrier is applied.

#3        Waterproofing involves a system that eliminates water build up and water pressure against the walls of your basement, which minimizes root growth and prevents further damage to the basement walls.

Any company that comes to your home claiming to be water proofers should be able to show you how their system does all three things.  NVBWS does all 3 and uses their own state-of-the-art proprietary products that not only work, but are energy efficient and not harmful to the environment; even using recycled materials for some of our products helping, to eliminate some of the trash in our landfills.  

Please take the time to research our company and products online at or contact Jon, our waterproofing expert at 540-974-2755.

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10 Networking Tips by Carl E. Reid

Whether you are looking for a job or running a business, giving out business cards is crucial to marketing your skills or services. Even as a job seeker, develop the mindset of running the business of YOU, Inc. Business cards speak volumes about who you are, what you offer and how serious you are marketing YOU, Inc. as a business. Oh! So, you have a resume and don’t need business cards. Can you carry 10 resumes in your wallet’ Do you or can you carry your resume everywhere you go’ A church bell ringing lets people know they are open for business. Your business card is your bell. Here are some proven tips using business cards to increase your chances of landing a job or creating a business opportunity.

1. Never leave home without them. Before leaving home, your checklist should be expanded to include business cards, as part of “do I have my wallet/money, house keys, driver’s license'” Any ‘per chance’ meeting is an opportunity to give out a business card. A morning run or a quick trip to the local store could be an opportunity to network. My wife and I always ask each other ‘do you have business cards’, before leaving the house. Make it a habit to carry business cards.
2. Insert a business card when mailing bill payments. Bills contain advertisements. Why can’t you advertise your skills or services the same way’ Insert a business card with your payment. You may not think a person in South Dakota who opens your credit card bill payment can help you. Never underestimate the power of networking. A movie, entitled ‘6 Degrees of Separation’ points out we are 6 people away from knowing someone of influence. You could be 6 people away from knowing the President of the United Sates, your favorite movie star or someone who is in a position to hire your skills or services. Each of us knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone etc. Developing this powerful networking attitude will be a fundamental source of continued success.
3. Use proper business card etiquette. Whenever you give a business card, ask for a business card. When given a business card, don’t just take it and place it in your pocket. Make the person feel important by looking at their card for a few seconds. You might see something that could be a topic of discussion. Write comments on the card such as date, location and common points of interest. These comments will prove valuable when following up with that person. This also demonstrates a sincere interest in the other person. Then place it in your wallet. This lets them know they reside in a special place with you. “Skill with People” by Les Giblin is a book that expands on this approach. Make people feel important, in order to make yourself important to them.
4. Be generous. Give business cards out to everyone, including family and friends. Don’t let vanity stop you from giving out your last business card or giving 2 at a time to each person. I have met many people who have totally missed the purpose of a business card. I once asked a person for a second business card, so I could refer his services. His response was “I only have a few cards left and I need them”, as he looked again at his name on the card. Hoarding your business cards only makes your wallet feel full, not your bank account.
5. Ask for referrals. When giving a business card, people feel more comfortable when you ask; ‘I would appreciate a referral, if you know anyone that could use my services’. Don’t make people feel like they are on the spot. This approach disarms people much better than asking them, ‘is your company hiring” People naturally like to do favors for people. Saying ‘could you do me a favor by referring my services to someone’. This always places you in a better position with them. They will feel better about helping you. Give them 2 cards.
6. Maximize every “per chance” meeting. You never know when you might meet someone who can help you. Family or friends social events could produce unexpected encounters with people. Don’t discount those events. So you’re going to a birthday party for your friend’s kid. You never know who you might meet. At a family holiday gathering last year, I met someone that has been instrumental in developing our business this year. Who would have thought this could happen by giving him a simple business card.
7. Place yourself at the right place at the right time. Have you been to a job fair or business conference and been disappointed with the networking results’ Turn the tables around. Consider volunteering to help out at the job fair or other types of events. This puts you in a better strategic position for presenting your resume or business card. Company representatives might view you differently, if they know you are willing to go the extra mile in helping them make their presence easier to manage. Get involved by visiting,, or view the calendar of events for to place yourself in opportunities for giving out your business card. Volunteering for events has been a very successful resource for my business partner and I to expanding our business. Zig Ziglar, one of the most successful sales trainers in the world says “if you help enough people get what they want in life, you will get what you want in life”.
8. Use “In Your Face” follow up. Did you ever have a job interview or meeting with a recruiter, potential client or employer and wonder why they never called you back’ ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is the operative phrase to remember. Today’s economic climate dictates you might be competing with 20, 50, 100 or more other people for the same position or contract. It’s quite a task for people to keep track of each individual meeting. So it’s up to you to give a person a reason to call you back. Immediately after a meeting snail mail a hand written note thanking the person for their time. Insert your business card. Now you’re in the driver’s seat in standing out from other people. If you get no response, do it again. Patience and persistence pays off.
9. Use promotions to promote YOU, Inc. Newspapers often have stories of people being promoted to high levels in different organizations’ This is an opportunity for you. Consider getting some invitation size blank greeting cards. Use the Internet’s search capabilities to find out the address of the company’s executive offices. Send the blank invitation type card with a hand written note sincerely congratulating a person on their promotion. Insert your business card. For the cost of a 37-cent stamp, you have just made someone’s day and may create an impression that makes a person feel compelled to respond back to you. Make it a habit to do this once a week. Remember ‘6 Degrees of Separation’. You just never know . . . People open invitation type envelops faster than any others.
10. Brand yourself with a slogan. Print a slogan on your business card that answers the question ‘Why should I hire you’ Or “What makes you different from everyone else'” A catchy phrase or slogan insures people ALWAYS associate a company name with their product or services. People remember even after the commercial is over. That’s called branding. Companies pay big bucks to advertising agencies to come up with these lasting slogans. Consider doing the exact same thing on your business card. This is your insurance people remember you, after you meet. Don’t just put Hortence Smiley, Accountant on your business card. Add something like “Financial Services With Integrity”. A slogan makes all the difference between getting hired or not, because people will remember you long after a meeting.
About the Author
Carl E. Reid, Business-to-Business Consultant & Career Coach 
Carl advises small businesses on maximizing the Internet’s potential for creating new profit centers, while developing strategic alliances for win-win business partnerships. As a Career Coach for 15 years, Mr. Reid has helped hundreds of people jump start their careers or start businesses. 

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Buying or Selling a Home in Northern Virginia

If you’re considering buying or selling a home, selecting a real estate agent is the first important decision you will have to make. While there are many qualified real estate agents out there, it’s important to decide on a professional who will understand your needs and individual preferences, someone who you can respect and trust. Nearly four out of five homebuyers and sellers enlist in the help of a real estate professional or broker. Whether you’re looking to buy a new home or sell the one you’re in, choosing a professional who best fits your needs is vital. Here are some questions to consider when choosing an agent:

  • How long have they been a real estate professional?
  • Do they work full or part time?
  • How long have they been working in this particular area?
  • What type of homes do they usually handle?
  • How much of their business comes from repeat customers or referrals?
  • How many homes did they sell last year?
  • How often can you expect to be updated, regardless of any progress?

Above all you should choose an agent that you feel comfortable with. Your real estate professional will be your guide through the entire process of buying or selling a home, and can be a valuable resource. Make sure that whomever you select is well suited to your demands.

We would love to hear from you and have the opportunity to discuss why the McArtor Team may be right for you in the Northern Virginia area. You may also find it worthwhile to explore our website, it has plenty of information to cover your real estate needs. The site allows you to perform very detailed searches using search fields typically reserved only for real estate agents, so it’s a great place to start.

Don’t hesitate to call or e-mail us with any of your real estate questions, Natalie or Curt will be delighted to help you make the process of buying or selling a home a really smooth one.


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The Importance of A Good Website

Your website is the hub of your online business; it is the virtual representation of your company, whether your company exists physically or not. There are several things to keep in mind when developing or redesigning your website:

  1. Appearance: First impressions do matter! Do you allow your employees or sales representatives to be dressed in shabby clothes when dealing with customers or clients? Although a lot of businesses have gone with a more casual environment, most still follow dress code guidelines for staff to maintain a professional appearance. Similarly, the same is true with your online presence. If your website is put together shabbily and looks like a quick fix, you are practically shouting to your visitors that you are not professional and do not take pride in quality. On the flip side, if you have a professional looking website layout, you are portraying to your visitors that you give meticulous attention to detail and care about professionalism. You are organized, focused and really mean business!
  2. Well-Written Content: Most consumers turn to the Internet for all of their resources these days. It is important to provide your visitors with informative, well-written content, free from typos and grammatical errors. You want to keep them interested, but don’t want to provide information overload, so stick with the topic at hand when compiling your facts. Be sure to include several variations of keywords throughout the content on each page of your site to help with search engine optimization (SEO).
  3. Easy Navigation: If your site has easy to follow navigation, including category pages, product pages and resource links, not only will your visitors be more likely to stay (and most likely return), but search engine spiders are able to index your site quicker and easier – giving you higher search rankings.

For more information on web design/re-design and ways to improve your search engine rankings, please contact Virtually Articulated.

Click here for discounted domain names and web hosting

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