All posts by Ralitsa Golemanova

About Ralitsa Golemanova

Ralitsa is a contributor for the JW Surety Bonds blog. She is an expert on surety bonds and licensing, which she has written extensively about and is closely following the dynamics of the industry.

Applications for New Home Purchases Increased in March


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Despite a slowdown in the annual rate of new home sales, there was a 15% increase in new home applications in March in comparison with the previous month. The new data comes from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and shows optimistic signs for home sales in general.

New single-family houses’ sales decreased by 10.1% to 479,000 in March compared to February. According to the MBA, all home sales in March were 46,000. In February, the number was 43,000, which signifies a 7% increase. The data is seasonally adjusted.

68.3% of new home purchase applications were executed through conventional loans, while 17.2% were done through FHA-backed mortgages. The average home loan went up to $296,428 in March as well.

Read the full article at Mortgage News Daily.

Trucking Employment on the Rise


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Employment in the trucking industry increased in March, as did the national employment as a whole, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

3,300 new jobs were added in for-hire trucking in March. This means a 1.8% increase in trucking employment from a year ago. The positive change from March 2010 is 12.9%. Still, trucking employment is below its peak from January 2007.

The transportation and warehousing sector as a whole added 7,990 new jobs.

The national economy added 192,000 new jobs last month. While this is a positive sign, unemployment remained unchanged at 6.7%. For the last year, 1.2 million people have found jobs and are out of the unemployment stats. The March employment increase comes mainly from the private sector.

Read the full article at Truckinginfo.

Closed Chrysler Dealerships Seek Compensation


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The federal bailouts of Chrysler and General Motors involved the closedown of many dealerships, which meant that many franchises had to go out of business forcefully. Now 148 Chrysler dealers are seeking compensation from the federal government for their losses.

The dealers’ point is that if the federal government had not pushed Chrysler to trim its sales centers, their businesses wouldn’t have been closed. They claim the forced closedowns were unconstitutional, as there was no financial compensation for the losses.

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit seems to be giving them a chance to present their arguments. If the dealers win the case, this would mean that the GM dealers who went through the same procedure can also appeal.

Read the full article at Autoblog.

Mortgage Rates Are at Their Lowest Point in a Month


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Last week saw mortgage rates falling to their lowest levels in a month at a quite fast pace. This was due to better rate sheets presented by lenders.

The 30-year fixed rate moved between 4.375% and 4.5%, but then stabilized around 4.375% and even fell to 4.25%. As for the 15-year fixed rate, it was at 3.375%. The 5-year ARMS rate was between 3% and 3.5%, varying between lenders.

Mortgage rates remain quite unpredictable, so it’s difficult to make specific forecasts on risks and gains. Loan originators mostly have a positive outlook on the situation. They see it as a great opportunity for consumers. According to them, the current floating presents a good chance to get high rewards with low risks.

Read the full article at Mortgage News Daily.

Nevada Contractor’s License Explained

To operate legally as a contractor in Nevada, you need to get a Nevada contractor's license

To operate legally as a contractor in Nevada, you need to get a Nevada contractor’s license

If you are considering starting a contractor’s business in the State of Nevada, there is plenty of work ahead of you in order to get your licensing and business going. It’s estimated that the licensing process takes between three months and a year. This guide is here to help you in the process of obtaining your Nevada contractor’s license and bonding, so that the administrative hassle is minimized for you.

Before you set off on the licensing journey, you should identify the specialty field in which you would like to work. In Nevada, there are a few classifications. They are split in three main groups, namely, general engineering (A), general building (B) and specialties (C):

  • A: General engineering
  • B: General building
  • AB: General building and general engineering
  • C1: Plumbing and heating contracting
  • C2: Electrical contracting
  • C3: Carpentry, maintenance and minor repairs

The licensing process and the requirements for all of these are almost the same, except for a part of the licensing exam as we explain in the next section.

Now let’s delve into the specifics of the licensing, so you are prepared for the process and all its details.

 

Your Nevada Contractor’s License

Once you have identified the classification in which you need a license, you need to access the Nevada State Contractors Board website to begin your licensing application. The NSCB is the licensing authority for contractors in the state. There is a Licensing Overview document on the Board’s website that can answer many questions regarding the Nevada contractor’s license requirements.

Construction in Carson City, Nevada

Construction in Carson City, Nevada

Before you start the licensing process, you need a business registration. If you want to operate as a corporation, LLC or limited partnership, you will have to register with the Nevada Secretary of State. There are some helpful tips in the Board’s New Business Check List on the topic.

You need to present proof of professional experience in your field for at least four years in the last ten years. To have your experience considered, it must be as a foreman, journeyman, supervising employee or contractor. If you have education in the specialty, it can be counted for up to three years of experience.

Next, you need to fill in the Application Form. Make sure you complete all details, sign your form and attach all required supporting documentation such as the Reference Certificates that prove your four years of professional experience, resume, financial statement and background disclosures.

You will also need to submit fingerprints. They are needed for the criminal background check.

As for the costs involved, the fee for the submission of the application form is $300. If your application is approved, you need to also pay a $600 biennial license fee.

Once you have submitted your full application, the Board will assess it and will notify you if you can go to the next step, namely, passing the licensing exams. There are two exams: Business and Law (Construction Management Survey Exam) and a trade exam in your specialty field. You need to take them with PSI, which offers locations: Las Vegas, Reno and Elko.

After you pass the exams successfully, you will have to submit a contractor’s license bond, Workers’ Compensation Insurance, and the biennial license fee.

 

The Contractor’s License Bond

You will need to get a Worker's Compensation Insurance and a contractor's license bond in the licensing process

You will need to get a Worker’s Compensation Insurance and a contractor’s license bond in the licensing process

The contractor’s license bond is one of the licensing requirements, so it’s a good idea to get a better understanding of what precisely it entails. You will know the exact amount of your bond when the Board reviews your initial application. It can be anywhere between $1,000 and $500,000, depending on the type of license and your financial responsibility, experience and monetary limit. While these amounts may appear considerable, you actually need to pay only a percentage of the bonding amount.

Getting a Nevada contractor’s license bond is indispensable for obtaining your license, but you also might need other types of bonds as well. If you would like to bid for public projects, you will have to get contract surety bonds. These include bid bonds, performance bonds and payment bonds.  Each of these will have to be obtained for every new project.

When it comes to both contractor’s license bonds and bid bonds, don’t forget they are not insurance for your business. The license bond is, in reality, a guarantee for your compliance with state regulations in your activity as a contractor in the State of Nevada. It acts as a protection for your clients, as the surety provides a guarantee for you. You can apply online for an instant quote.

 

Ready to go?

Once you’ve acquainted yourself thoroughly with the various steps of the licensing and bonding process, you’ll be equipped to start your Nevada contractor business. If you still have questions regarding the bonding requirement, contact us for further clarifications.

 

Spot Market Freight Rates Continue Soaring

According to DAT, even though the overall freight loads are decreasing, flatbed rates are steadily on the rise . The rate reached $2.30 per mile, which is a 3.2% increase only for the period March 30 to April 5. The general availability of spot market load decreased by 3.9%, as did capacity – by 0.4%

The DAT statistics show that the van and reefer sectors stayed at almost the same levels. Vans remained at $2.10 per mile and reefers saw a slight decline to $2.27 per mile. These rates are the highest in a month. The load-to-truck ratios of these two sectors decreased, though. Vans’ ratio decreased by 6.3% and reefers’ ratio decreased by 4.6%.

Generally, demand for vans and reefers is increasing, which is not typical for the season. The overview shows that demand is stronger than supply at this stage.

Read the full article at Truckinginfo.