How to Buy a Home for Zero Down

1.Ask lenders about any zero-down programs they have. Look in the yellow pages under "Banks," "Savings and Loans" or "Real Estate - Mortgage." Talk to the loan department of your financial institution or get a referral from a local real estate agent. You also may be able to find a mortgage online.
2.Contact the county housing department in your area. There may be some federally or locally insured/backed financing programs that have zero-down options.
3.Talk to your employer. If you are a police officer or teacher or belong to a large labor union, special financing assistance may be available to you through professional organizations.
4.Ask the owners of the home you're seeking if they are willing to carry the loan. To compensate for paying no money down, you may want to offer more than the asking price or pay a higher interest rate.
5.Have good credit. Typically, when a borrower comes in with a zero down payment, the risk of foreclosure is much greater, so the lender requires a satisfactory credit history. Check with your lender about program specifications. 
Tips: Most zero-down programs have income limitations and are aimed at certain income levels. 
When you get a zero-down loan, even if your credit and income are excellent, the interest rate may be higher to compensate for the additional risk of putting no money down.
When you put zero down, you will have to pay mortgage insurance. Mortgage insurance is not the same as mortgage interest and cannot be deducted on your tax return.  Steps:
1.Give yourself the best chance at making the sale and purchase happen together: Shop and sell in the spring or summer when inventory is up and buyers are looking. (If you have to sell in the fall or winter, the time between finding a buyer for your home and a home for you to buy could be much greater.)
2.Make the sale of your home contingent upon your ability to find and close on the purchase of your next home - that is, unless you don't mind having to move into temporary housing until you find a home to buy.
3.Add a clause to any offer you make on a home stating that your offer is contingent upon the successful sale of the property you currently own.  
Put your home on the market first; that way, if you get a buyer, you can negotiate the escrow period to adjust to your purchasing needs.
If possible, have the transactions close simultaneously so you don't have to be out of the first house before you can move into the second.
It's not necessary to use the same agent for selling and buying, though using the same agent for the sale and purchase is a good opportunity to negotiate the commissions.
To make the transactions go smoothly, it will help to have the same title or escrow companies or real estate attorneys handle the property transfer.  Steps:
1.Be confident that your partner is responsible and willing to take a fair share of the responsibility for maintenance and finances.
2.Discuss and agree on how mortgage, taxes, upkeep and improvements will be paid for.
3.Consider worst-case scenarios, such as a breakup or death. Decide now, when feelings are good, how you'll handle the situation.
4.Discuss what happens if one of you wants to sell and the other doesn't. Will the property automatically be put up for sale, or will one person have the option to buy the other person out? How will you establish a fair-market value?
5.Decide what to do if one of you stops paying his share. Will that force the sale of the property? What happens if one of you loses his job and can't pay his share of the bills?
6.Decide how you will hold title. In most cases, your only options will be as Tenants in Common or Joint Tenants. Study each option and note the differences.
7.Put everything that you've talked about and agreed upon in writing.
8.Begin the home buying process by getting prequalified - together. 
Consider hiring an appraiser to establish fair-market value for your home in case one of you wants to sell in the future. Decide, when the agreement is made, who will pay for this appraisal.
It would be wise to contact an attorney to have a simple, yet legally binding agreement drawn up to clarify all the points you discussed. 
The way in which you take title to a property can have significant legal consequences. Be sure you understand what these consequences are.
Buying a home isn't something you can easily undo, so be careful in choosing your partner. 

How to Make and Apply a Tourniquet During First Aid

1.Put on latex gloves to minimize the risk of disease transmission.
2.Determine if a tourniquet is necessary (see "How to Treat Severe Bleeding During First Aid").
3.Gather the materials: a bandanna or cravat and a stick that won't break. If no sticks are available, use a trekking pole.
4.Fold the bandanna in half, from corner to corner; if using a cravat, don't perform this step. (The point is to form a right triangle, which cravats naturally are, whereas bandannas are square.)
5.Grab the corners that form the long side of the triangle and fold 3 to 4 inches toward the third corner.
6.Fold again and again in this manner until you've reached the third corner. You should now have a bandage 3 to 4 inches wide and several layers thick.
7.Tie the bandage with gauze around the appropriate limb between the wound and the heart, as close as possible to the wound but above the knee or elbow. Use an overhand knot (the same as the first stage in tying a shoe).
8.Place the stick on top of the knot and tie a second overhand knot over the stick.
9.Twist the stick until it pulls the bandage tight enough to stop the bleeding.
1..Tie the ends of the bandage around the limb and secure the stick with gauze.
1..Write "TK" on the injured person's forehead in pen, along with the time of application.
1..Splint the wounded area to avoid movement, which could restart bleeding (see Hows on splinting).
1..Get the injured person to a hospital as quickly as possible. If a hospital is more than an hour away, check the bleeding every 10 minutes by slowly loosening the tourniquet to see if clotting has stopped the bleeding. If so, clean and bandage the wound (see "How to Clean a Wound During First Aid" and "How to Bandage a Wound During First Aid"). If not, retighten the tourniquet and check again in 10 minutes. 
Contact your local chapter of the American Red Cross for information on first aid classes near you.
Contact the Wilderness Medicine Institute or the National Outdoor Leadership School for information on wilderness medicine courses and books. 
Apply a tourniquet only if the injured person is in imminent danger of bleeding to death, since complete cutoff of the blood supply can result in limb loss.
Never use material that will cut the skin, such as rope or wire.
Some diseases, such as AIDS and hepatitis B, are transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids. To minimize the risk of infection from oozing or spurting fluids, wear latex gloves and plastic goggles. 
Overall Warnings: This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. 

How to Prepare the Landing Site for a Helicopter Evacuation

1.Choose a suitable spot: as large and level as possible, and with as few surrounding obstructions (trees, cliffs, and so on) as possible.
2.Tie a large piece of clothing to a tall stake to serve as a wind indicator for the pilot. Make sure it is in a place where the pilot can see it.
3.Demarcate the periphery of the landing site with brightly colored items, most likely clothing. Weigh them down with very heavy rocks.
4.Remove from the landing site all items that may be blown by the force of the helicopter rotors: packs, tents, clothing, small rocks - anything at all that you suspect may blow.
5.Have everyone on the scene wear protective goggles, or at the very least glasses of some sort, to protect the eyes from blowing dirt or other debris.
6.Protect the eyes of the evacuee in a similar fashion.
7.Maintain eye contact with the helicopter pilot at all times. This means staying in front of the helicopter.
8.Direct everyone to get as far away from the landing spot as possible.
9.Follow any hand instructions of the pilot in directing ground personnel.
1..Approach the helicopter only from the front, only at the instruction of the pilot, and only in a crouching position, regardless of whether the rotors are moving. 
The primary reason for choosing a site with few surrounding obstructions is that even helicopters, as mobile as they are, have difficulty with purely vertical ascents and descents.
Place your wind indicator near the edge of the landing site, but not outside of it. The pilot needs to see it, and it needs to give an accurate indication of wind conditions within the clearing. 
Warnings: Under no circumstances should anyone on the scene be behind the helicopter and thus invisible to the pilot. 
Overall Tips:
Contact your local chapter of the American Red Cross for information on first aid classes near you.
Contact the Wilderness Medicine Institute or the National Outdoor Leadership School for information on wilderness medicine courses and books. 
Overall Warnings: This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. 

How to Keep Your Kids Street Safe

1.Talk to your children about basic safety, such as avoiding drugs, violence and strangers.
2.Send your school a list of people to whom your children can be released in an emergency situation.
3.Get involved in a neighborhood Block Parent program, or appoint several trusted neighbors who can reach you and to whom your children can go in an emergency if you are away.
4.Get involved in a Neighborhood Watch program.
5.Offer to provide sanctuary to your neighbor's children and to contact them in an emergency if they are away.
6.Report suspicious characters loitering in areas where children play to the police, along with license plate numbers and character descriptions.   

How to Inspect a Home Before Buying

1.Consider the house's general layout. Is it big enough for your family and belongings? Does it have enough storage space? Is there adequate parking/garage space? Is there room for expansion - and how much would adding on cost?
2.Look for amenities such as built-in dishwasher and washer/dryer hook-ups. Will these be easy to add?
3.Consider the yard. Is the lot big enough for your outdoor activities? How difficult will it be to maintain?
4.Look for cracks in the driveway. Wide or extensive cracks could indicate a drainage problem in the yard.
5.Look for cracks in the foundation, ceilings and walls, which indicate movement of the structure caused by settling, soil expansion or earthquakes.
6.Check walls and ceilings for signs of water damage.
7.Inspect windows by opening them, both to check condition of their hardware and to make sure they aren't painted shut. Bedroom windows should be large enough to escape through in a fire.
8.Examine both interior and exterior doors: open and shut them to see whether they are level and in working condition. Inspect sliding doors for energy-efficient insulated glass. Check for weather stripping and thresholds.
9.Look at the number, condition and size of closets.
1..Be sure that the fireplace has a working damper and is lined with terra cotta or firebrick (as opposed to common brick, which eventually deteriorates from intense heat).
1..Inspect floors and carpet for wear and tear as well as for moisture damage.
1..Determine if the walls, ceilings and floors contain asbestos, which is a health hazard. 
It's always best to hire a professional housing inspector to thoroughly check out the home before you buy. An offer to buy a home can be contingent upon a favorable inspection report.
If any of the above issues are unsatisfactory, ask the seller to repair the problem before you move in, or use it as a point in negotiating price. 

How to Spot Potential Avalanche Danger

1.Check the amount of recent snowfall. Heavy amounts of new snow increase the likelihood of an avalanche.
2.Pay attention to radical changes in temperature that may cause snow to melt, become heavier or change consistency. Layers of snow will settle and fracture where there is a major difference in consistency.
3.Stay away from steep slopes, where gravity will have a greater effect on the new snow.
4.Keep an eye out for fractures in the snow along the face of the slope.
5.Look in the chutes, gullies and at the bottom of steep slopes for avalanche debris. You will see a marked difference in the snow - it looks like cottage cheese or boulders.
6.Watch the snow around you as you ski. If it comes loose and sloughs down the hill with you, then you are at risk of getting caught up in it. 
Avoid the temptation to "ooh" and "aah" at avalanches. While you should respect their power, they are extremely dangerous.
Point out areas of concern to your guide and others in your group. 
Avalanches kill hundreds of people around the world every year.
Don't get cocky armed with this information-stay out of areas prone to avalanches.
Skiing is a physically demanding sport that could result in serious injury or death. We recommend that you seek proper training and equipment before attempting this activity. 

How to Pack for a Trip to New Zealand

1.Acquaint yourself with New Zealand's seasons. Spring starts in September, summer in December, fall in March and winter in June.
2.Prepare for warm summers and mild winters. Layer with long shorts, khakis, simple cotton dresses, skirts, T-shirts and sweaters during the warmer months. A jacket is necessary for the fall, while a coat is your best bet for winter.
3.Check the regional temperatures if your plans include the South Island. If you plan to visit its noted mountain ranges, cold weather clothes are a must - the higher altitudes bring much cooler temperatures.
4.Pack sandals and a pair of walking shoes. You'll need hiking boots if you plan to take on any of the mountainous terrain.
5.Take a swimsuit, sunglasses and sunscreen if you'll be visiting any of the country's many beaches.
6.Bring a light raincoat and an umbrella, as showers are possible any time of year.
7.Remember an electric converter and adapter. 
Bring a carry-on bag that includes all necessities - such as your passport, a change of clothes, all medications, spare contact lenses or glasses, all forms of money and any important documents - in case your luggage goes astray.
Pack to accommodate your needs. Leave superfluous items at home.   

How to Watch Fall Migratory Birds in New Jersey

1.Go to Cape May State Park for some of the best hawk-watching in the U.S. Other hawk watches take place at Sandy Hook and at Montclair.
2.Contact the Cape May Bird Observatory. It offers fall field trips and nature tours as well as other educational activities.
3.Visit the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge to see ducks, geese, shorebirds and migrating passerines.
4.Check the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and the Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge for waterfowl and shorebirds. The upland area of Supawna Meadows is good for migrating songbirds in fall.
5.Check the New Jersey Audubon Society site for birding information and a list of field trips. 
Tips: If you'd rather not bird by yourself, sign up for a professional birding tour. 
Warnings: Ticks occur in New Jersey all year. Bring a powerful insect repellent.   

How to Time Your Trip to Madrid

General Considerations
1.Keep in mind that Madrid is the highest capital in Europe. This altitude means that the seasons in Madrid are more extreme than they are in the rest of the country. Mid-April through June and September through early November are the nicest times to visit. The average December low is 34 degrees F and the average July high is 89 degrees F.
2.Check out what festivals, attractions and live performances are happening (see "Attractions and Seasonal Events" and Related Sites).
3.Contact Spain's Ministry of Tourism to request its booklet listing and depicting the 3,000 festivals (fiestas) and feasts held there each year. Call (91) 343-3500 or fax (91) 343-3446 or write Direccion General de Turespaña, Jose Lázaro Galdiano 6, 28036 Madrid, Spain.
4.Take care of your flight, transportation and accommodations (see Related Hows).
5.Check the weather forecast for Madrid shortly before leaving. 
Attractions and Seasonal Events

6.Bring in the New Year in style. In Madrid, midnight marks the beginning - not the end - of the party, which attracts hordes of people.
7.Join in Madrid's most important fiesta of the year, the Fiesta de San Isidro, Madrid's patron saint. On this day in the middle of May, you'll find a wide range of public performances, including concerts, dances and bullfighting.
8.Dance and carouse in the city streets during Carnival, the biggest countrywide celebration of the year. This night of revelry falls in the second half of February or early March (March 7, 2000).
9.Spend a week enjoying celebrations of Semana Santa (Holy Week), leading up to Easter Sunday. There are plenty of nonreligious festivities during this extraordinary week.
1..Visit during fall for pleasant weather and superb events. In September the concert houses and theaters are at their peak, while both the International Jazz Festival and traditional Fiestas de la Almudena occur in November.
1..Wander around the two most pedestrian-friendly parts of this huge city, Campo del Moro and Parque del Buen Retiro. Walk down the vibrant Gran Vía, set your bearings at Plaza Mayor, and see the center of town where 10 roads meet, the Puerta del Sol.
1..Don't miss the Museo del Prado, one of the world's top art museums. It focuses on Spanish, Italian and Flemish art from the 15th to 19th centuries, with excellent collections of Goya and Velázquez. Museum aficionados should also visit the Casón del Buen Retiro, the Museo de la Escultura Abstracta and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza.
1..Revel in the lap of luxury at the stunning Palacio Real (the Royal Palace), which is studded with incredible artifacts, including clocks, armor, tapestries and paintings. 
Overall Tips:
Spain's wonderful culinary tradition takes no getting used to, but the timing does. Lunch is eaten between 1:30 and 4 p.m., and is the biggest meal of the day. Dinner is eaten between 10 and 11 p.m., and is much lighter.
Get out and join in Madrid's wild nightlife. Much of the fun happens in the Plaza del Dos de Mayo, in the area known as Malasaña. But remember that things don't heat up until 11 or midnight.   

How to Flare on a Kneeboard

1.Ride on the left side of the boat, holding the handle in the baseball bat grip (one hand over, one hand under).
2.Cut toward the wake, gathering as much speed as possible.
3.Jump off the crest of the wake.
4.Turn your head and torso to the right while pulling the rope handle to your left side.
5.Pull your knees to your chest to get the nose of your board to point straight up.
6.Return your head and torso to their starting positions by pulling on the rope.
7.Push your knees down so that the nose of your board is slightly higher than the tail.
8.Turn your hips so that you land riding in the direction the boat is traveling. Keep the handle pulled close to your body. 
Do small flares when you're first learning, then gradually get flashier.
Keeping the handle close to your body is the key to most kneeboarding tricks. 
Warnings: Always wear a life vest and observe proper boating safety when kneeboarding. 
Overall Warnings: Kneeboarding can be dangerous. Seek proper training and equipment before attempting this activity.