Sweltering heat, power outages greet Louisiana evacuees returning from Hurricane Delta

LAKE CHARLES, La. (Reuters) – Storm-weary coastal Louisiana residents who fled from the path of Hurricane Delta in recent days streamed back to their homes on Sunday to face cleanup and repairs from the second hurricane to batter their state over the past six weeks.

A satellite image shows damaged houses after Hurricane Delta in Holly Beach, Louisiana, U.S., October 10, 2020. Satellite image 2020 Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS

Many returned to find that Delta, dissipating substantially as it drifted farther inland on Sunday, had ripped away temporary tarpaulin roofs installed over their homes in late August after Hurricane Laura, a more powerful storm, struck with devastating force.

Delta, the 10th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season to make U.S. landfall, churned ashore on Friday evening near the southwestern Louisiana town of Creole as a Category 2 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson intensity scale, packing maximum sustained winds

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Can You Insist that Contractors Wear Masks While Working in Your Home?

Since its initial outbreak in late 2019, COVID-19 has upended the daily lives of millions of people across the world. In the new world of social distancing, surface disinfecting, and mask-wearing, it can be hard to know exactly what to expect on the rare occasions where social interaction becomes necessary.



a person wearing a helmet


© Westend61/Getty Images


What happens, for example, if you need an emergency repair done in your home that’s beyond the expertise of an experienced DIYer? How far are you allowed to go to keep you and your family safe? And what safety measures can you require from the people coming into your home?

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Can You Ask Contractors to Wear a Mask?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you can (and should) ask any service provider entering your home to wear a mask. The best way to make that clear is to wear one yourself

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Apple’s HomePod Mini smart speaker might be its best smart home idea so far

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Apple

After months of rumors and speculation, Apple on Tuesday announced a new, smaller smart speaker called the HomePod Mini at its iPhone-centered event. 

Apple’s HomePod debuted in 2018 with a $349 price tag, great sound and the risk of putting white rings on your tabletop. Since then, despite some handy iterations on the HomePod’s features via periodic software updates, Apple hasn’t made much progress in the smart home, even as Amazon and Google continue to expand their audiences for Alexa and Google Assistant products across the board. That changed today with the reveal of a smaller, smarter speaker. 


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How big is the HomePod Mini?

The HomePod Mini is significantly smaller than its predecessor. Wrapped in a mesh fabric, it measures 3.3 inches tall and 3.9 inches wide (84 by 98 mm) and weighs 0.76

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Is Home Insurance Required When You Buy a House?

If you’re buying a home, one question you might wonder is this: Is home insurance required when you own a house?

In many cases, homeowners insurance is indeed mandatory—and even in cases where it isn’t absolutely necessary, it’s still a good idea. To help you understand why, we’ve put together this Home Buyer’s Guide to Home Insurance, which will help walk you through what you need to know from beginning to end.

In this first article, we’ll introduce you to what homeowners insurance is, why it’s often essential, and what can go wrong if you don’t have it.

What is homeowners insurance?

With home insurance, as with other types of coverage (including health insurance), you pay a relatively small amount of money either monthly or annually in exchange for the promise that your provider will help you pay for unexpected costs you might incur as a homeowner.

What can

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The pros and cons of buying a home without an agent

These days, we’re hearing from a greater number of younger buyers who believe they can handle the home buying experience entirely on their own, with the help of the Internet. Often, these buyers (mistakenly) believe they’ll save money by purchasing a home without an agent, because the seller will only pay a half commission, instead of the full commission.

That just shows ignorance of the process. Sellers who have listed their homes generally pay between 4 percent and 6 percent of the sales prices as a commission to the listing agent. The listing agent, in turn, typically pays the buyer’s broker around half of the total commission. No buyers agent means the listing agent doesn’t have anyone to share in the commission. So, unagented buyers unwittingly allow the listing agent to pocket the entire commission.

Unagented buyers make other mistakes in the process that can cost them money, like not

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Working From Home Is Here to Stay, So Let’s Get It Right

(Bloomberg Opinion) — The Covid-19 pandemic has crushed the economy, sent joblessness soaring, and killed over a million people worldwide. But there are a few ways in which the pandemic may prompt society to improve, and one is remote work. Though it was initially necessary to keep employees from getting sick, remote work promises to make people more productive and happier while helping the environment and preserving infrastructure.

When the coronavirus struck, those who could do their jobs remotely often did. The number has gradually declined as our understanding of safety measures increased, but it’s still substantial:



chart: Still Staying Home


© Bloomberg
Still Staying Home

And while many people will go back to the office after the pandemic is over, part of the shift will probably be permanent. A recent survey shows a substantial increase in the number of workers who say they won’t go back to the office full time:



chart: Workers Won't Rush Back After Covid


© Bloomberg

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State Takes over Houston’s Hurricane Harvey Home Repair Program

All Houston, Texas, resident Alice Torres has wanted in the three years since Hurricane Harvey hit was to repair her family’s flood-damaged home so her 85-year-old mother can feel safe and settled again.

But when her mother, Dolores Torres, died from COVID-19 on Aug. 2, her family was still trying to get help from a Houston program that has been criticized for its slow pace in repairing homes damaged by the massive storm. The state took over the program this week and Torres and other residents who have applied for assistance say they’re worried that could lead to yet more delays.

“She deserved so much better. She deserved her house. She deserved to have seen it nice,” Torres, 54, said. She said her home still has Harvey-related electrical and plumbing issues due to insufficient help from insurance and shoddy work from a contractor.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner called the state

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Lakeland Habitat for Humanity expands home-repair program for vets in Polk


Lakeland chapter accepting applications from entire county

Gary White
 
| The Ledger

LAKELAND — Lee Wilson and his 92-year-old mother, Rosezell Wilson, no longer have to worry that water might seep into their house the next time a thunderstorm stalls over their Lakeland neighborhood.

Contractors hired by Lakeland Habitat for Humanity recently replaced the Wilsons’ roof, while also making repairs to a bathroom and a porch and replacing a kitchen faucet and two windows. And it cost the Wilsons nothing.

Lee Wilson, 70, benefited from a Habitat for Humanity program that provides free home repairs for veterans and their families. Wilson served in the U.S. Army for three years, including one year spent in Vietnam during the military action there.

Most Americans probably associate Habitat for Humanity with the mission of building houses for people with low incomes. In recent years, though, the Lakeland affiliate has shifted more toward doing

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Local union contractors help woman with home repair gone wrong

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – In June of this year 81-year-old Dodi Sawyer hired a home improvement company to do some repairs. She says the contractor expanded the project, dismantled portions of the house, and made it unlivable. During the process she and her insurance company spent $11,000 for an unfinished job.



a dirty old room: Local contractors help woman who dealt with a home repair disaster.


© Provided by Toledo WTVG
Local contractors help woman who dealt with a home repair disaster.

A group of local contractors from the Associated General Contractors of Northwest Ohio got word of Sawyer’s situation and decided to help.

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“I was having the plumbing re-done and the electric re-done and that turned into three months of destruction of the inside, throwing away my kitchen appliances, and taking down my shower and leaving me with nothing but empty rooms,” Sawyer said.

Mike Gibson, a local carpenter with Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters said, “I was taught at

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State takes over Houston’s Harvey home repair program

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In this photo taken Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, Houston resident Alice Torres sits inside her home, which had been damaged during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Torres says she has not unpacked boxes of belongings in her living room because she is still waiting for help from a city program to finish repairs in her home. This week, the state of Texas took over the program over what it says is slow progress the program has made in repairing homes. Torres and other residents who have applied for assistance say they’re worried the takeover could lead to more delays.

AP

All Houston resident Alice Torres has wanted in the three years since Hurricane Harvey hit was to repair her family’s flood-damaged home so her 85-year-old mother can feel safe and settled again.

But when her mother, Dolores Torres, died from COVID-19 on Aug. 2, her family was

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