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What Is A Mechanics’ Lien On Property?

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A Mechanics’ Lien is a lien (or encumbrance) on real estate held by a person for labor, service or materials furnished in connection with the construction or improvement of real estate. The claim will allow for interest or right to property, or a portion of it, by the lien holder that arises by law or agreement until payment of a debt or liability is satisfied.  This type of lien is typically codified by a statute of the state which governs the creation, extent, filing, and foreclosure of the lien. The time limitations for filing of the lien and foreclosure of it are set by statute.

In many cases, a lien on property must be removed before the sale of the property may commence.

For most states, the lien must be verified or sworn under oath and must include the names and addresses of the lien claimant, the owner of the real estate, and/or their agent, the street address and legal description of the real estate subject to the lien, the amount due or claimed, including an itemized list of labor or materials furnished, the nature of the work performed, and when the work began and ended. The time for filing of the lien determines its priority with respect to other liens on the real estate.  Please see specific state for details and/or differences.

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Budgeting For The Holidays And Special Events

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Big events and holidays can often mean big spending. A little pre-planning can help to ease and avoid financial pain. To the left are some worksheets that may be used when planning holiday or big event spending. In the meantime, here are some other tips for not overspending:

Set a Limit - Before any spending spree begins, make sure you know your limit. Set your cap a bit below as last minute expenses may arise. Did you account for mailing the gift? Gift wrap? The unexpected can creep on you before you know it! Also, take a look at how much you have spent in the past. Was it too much? What expenses surprised you? Asking questions like these will help you plan for the holidays and events to come.

Make a Gift List - Instead of hoping for something to catch your eye, keep a list of gift ideas. This way you will know what you are looking for and be able to better preplan the budget. This will also prevent buyers remorse - sometimes that gift that seemed like a great idea when you were in the store may not be so great when you sit down to gift wrap it.

Pay Cash - Credit cards are easy to use but not all of us are good at paying them off as soon as the bill comes. Taking cash helps you stick to your budget. Another alternative is the prepaid credit cards that you load with a limited amount in advance. Many also find these pre-paid credit cards a nice alternative to use for online purchases for extra credit protection.

Shop Early or Late - Depending on how far in advance you like, plan to shop either in advance of the holiday season or post-holiday season with the next year in mind. This will allow you to stick to a budget and not get caught up in last minute buys. It will also relieve a lot of the stress that comes with shopping during the busiest shopping days of the year!

Allow Time for Shipped Gifts - Plan ahead if you are shipping gifts to friends and relatives far away. Waiting until the last minute will mean more expensive postage to get gifts to the door on time.

Take Time to 'Comparison Shop' - Some of us get our list together and then just want to get it over and done with. Be patient, compare store prices and options before you go out to buy. This will help stretch that budget further.

Be Creative - Have fun with your gift ideas. Consider homemade or crafted gifts; however, don't forget the time involved making these items! Or make your own gift baskets - know a lot of chocolate lovers? Instead of buying a pre-made gift set - make your own basket of local chocolates or goodies.

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Ghostly Getaways: Haunted Hotels, Creepy Castles, Mysterious Mansions, Bewitching Bed And Breakfasts, And More! (Part 2)

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Many hotels, inns, and even castles offer spooky weekend retreats.  Why not have some fun and book a stay at one of the haunted places listed below:

Magnolia Mansion - New Orleans, LA

The History: This home was built in 1857 by Alexander Harris. After Alexander died of yellow fever, his widow remarried and sold the home to the Maginnis family. John Maginnis owned a cotton mill and, it was rumored he was struck by lightning because of the cruel way he treated his employees. In 1939, John's daughter inherited the home and willed it to the Red Cross. The Red Cross used the home to train nurses for WWII and the Korean War. In 1954, the home was again sold into private ownership. Magnolia Mansion was renovated in 2001 and opened as a B&B in 2002.

The Haunting: When renovating the home, the crew had to stop as an oily substance appeared over the walls. The owner then verbalized her plans for the place so the ghosts would know exactly what she was up to with the house. She told them she was improving the home and the ghosts would not be able to scare the guests away. This appeased them for a while, however, ghosts are still reputed to slam doors and snuggle into bed with guests on occasion. Many guests have photos of orbs and a few extra faces from their visits as well.

See It: This adult catering B&B offers a great escape to any non-smoker over 21 years of age. Specializing in romance with Elopement and Wedding packages, the B&B also has fun with their ghosts offering a romantic Ghostly Getaway package, which includes a room, treats, and ghost walking tours.

Mason House Inn - Bentonsport, IA

The History: This hotel was built in 1846 for steamboat travelers along the Des Moines River. Later, the Mason House was used as a 'holding hospital' during the Civil War for soldiers being transferred to Keokuk. It also served as a 'station' along the underground railroad. The Mason House keeps its name from the Mason family who owned the property for 99 years.

The Haunting: Three of the owners died in the building, and there was also a murder in one of the guest rooms. In 1860, poor Mr. Knapp had been drinking and accidentally went to the wrong room. The occupant thought he was being robbed and stabbed Mr. Knapp in self-defense. The home had also been a 'holding hospital' in the Civil War and some patients may have died in the home. Also, a doctor renting a room in the 1940s died in the building. All in all, a great hangout for ghosts. The ghosts come in many forms. There are wisps of fog and cold spots to actual figures who appear and disappear from sight. There is a boy who plays tricks; he likes to rustle sheets and tug at guests as they sleep. There are footsteps, thuds, and a woman in white. An abundance of ghosts and paranormal events for all!

See It: Request to stay in the B&B’s main house on the 2nd floor, rooms #5 & #7, for the best chance of paranormal dreams! Or stay in the restored caboose! Ghost Hunting 101 and 102 classes are available twice a year, and a Halloween Ghost Walk thrills in October.

McCune Mansion - Salt Lake City, UT

The History: This mansion was built in 1900 by a railroad tycoon named Alfred W. McCune. After leaving for California in 1920, the McCune’s donated the mansion to the Latter-day Saints Church. It was then turned into the McCune School of Music. It later became a Brigham Young University Salt Lake Center, and Virginia Tanner Modern Dance School. In 1999, it was purchased by Phil McCarthy who worked to restore the mansion and open it as a hotel.

The Haunting: Music is said to still haunt the McCune halls. A small room under the stairs was used by the McCune's as a stage for hired musicians. The whole house would be filled with music, but their guests did not know from where it came. It is said this music still fills the air. Other happenings include doors locking that are not fitted with locks, doors opening on their own, and lights going on and off on their own.

See It: Schedule a tour of the mansion through the Utah Heritage Foundation.

Myrtles Plantation - St. Francisville, LA

The History: This home was built by David Bradford in 1794, but stories of hauntings did not start until the 1950's. The house had a long history with many different owners. There is only one recorded murder, of William Winter, in 1871. However, there are many tales that are told about the home to justify the hauntings. Most of these seem to be fabricated tales, but many say that’s just because the house is so haunted, people needed some kind of explanation.

The Haunting: Among the haunting activity is the ghost of a woman in a green turban who some believe to be the ghost of a slave killed for poisoning the head mistress and her two daughters. Others claim this ghost is not a young slave but an older, unknown woman. There is also a little girl who has appeared as well as a frustrated piano player who continuously practices the same cord over and over on the old piano.

See It: Dine in the restaurant, take a tour or spend the night. The choice is yours.

The Queen Mary - Long Beach, CA

The History: Her maiden voyage was May 27, 1936, but with the coming of WWII, she was refitted and used as a troop ship housing 5,500 souls by May 5, 1940. By the end of the war, it was used to transport as many as 12,886 war brides and children from Europe to the U.S. and Canada on six voyages in four months. More war bride voyages would follow. It became a cruise ship in 1963 but, by 1967, it was purchased for Long Beach, CA to act as restaurant and museum with the first hotel rooms opening in 1972.

The Haunting: The ship’s first-class swimming pool has some of the most recorded ghost sightings and noises. Many women dressed in 1930 swimsuits have been sighted. But the spirits like to wander and have been seen in many parts of the ship - especially the engine room where two men were crushed to death by the heavy "Door 13." Those who take the self-guided walking tour of the ship have been spooked more than once!

See It: Brave enough? Spend the night or take a tour with Ghost and Legends of the Queen Mary group. The tour is technically enhanced to make certain you get a few jumps and spooks. The hotel also hosts a 'Terrorfest' of haunted mazes on Halloween.

Ross Castle - Ross, County Meath, Ireland

The History: This area shows record of settlement since the Iron Age. The castle tower was completed in 1537 by Richard Nugent, 12th Baron of Delvin. A family loyal to the English crown for their title and rank hoped to receive the extra boon of £10 given as encouragement for each fortification built in Ireland. In time, the Nugents began to marry the once rival Celtic nobles, especially the O'Reillys. In 1644, the castle was pulverized by Cromwellian soldiers in retribution for Myles O'Reilly's defiance. Restoration was begun by the family in the 19th century and the castle was later modernized with plumbing and electricity.

The Haunting: The castle's founder, Richard Nugent, was also known as the Black Baron and, you guessed it, he had a reputation for being quite unpleasant. The Black Baron had a beautiful daughter named Sabina who had the unfortunate luck to fall in love with Orwin O'Reilly, at this time still an enemy. Moved by love to give up their home, family and wealth, they decided to elope. However, as they made their escape by boat, a storm came up and it capsized. Orwin died but Sabina lived. Crushed with heartache, she pined away in Ross Castle tower until she finally gave up the ghost, which in turn walks the halls to this day. She is said to sometimes be heard screaming! The Black Baron is also rumored to haunt the grounds, as unpleasant as ever!

See It: Besides ghost hunting, you can go fishing, golfing, horseback riding, sailing, boating, hiking, cycling, watching the races or taking flying lessons! Plenty to do in a romantic setting.

Ruthin Castle - Ruthin, North Wales, UK

The History: Legend has it that the original castle was a wooden fort lorded by Huail. He fought King Arthur and wounded him in the knee. A truce was called but Huail later mocked King Arthur and was beheaded. The first stone structure was put up by King Edward I in 1277, and the castle was owned by the crown off and on until sold by Charles I in 1632. The modern stone structure was built in 1826. However, some of the older walls, dungeons, and tunnels are still standing today.

The Haunting: This castle comes with its own Grey Lady. Dating back to the time of Edward I, this ghost was sentenced to death for killing the lover of her husband. Soldiers are said to still march around the grounds, and prisoners, long dead, are still heard moaning in agony.

See It: Besides ghost hunting and random spooks, this castle offers medieval banquets (one with a murder mystery theme!), golf, and romantic getaway packages.

The Sagamore - Bolton Landing, NY

The History: This hotel was originally built in 1883 to provide a getaway on Lake George in the Adirondack Mountains. This historic building suffered two fires but was reconstructed in 1930. The resort was meant to be a retreat for the wealthy and is still neighbored by palatial mansions across the lake.

The Haunting: This hotel has many ghosts including a little boy on the golf course! This boy chased balls and sold them when alive. He died in a tragic accident when he was hit by a car running after a ball. Now his shadowy form can be seen running after golf balls on the course. He likes to steal balls and laugh at golfers as they look for them. When they give up, he tosses the ball at them, again laughing. Other ghosts include the guests who come down from the second floor for dinner every night and wait patiently in the reception area before they literally vanish. Then there is the portly cigar smoker in the elevator who may not appreciate the no-smoking policy these days.

See It: Stay in the hotel, vacation lodges or a castle (if you have the cash). Themed getaways are available, including a Murder Mystery Weekend.

The Stanley Hotel - Estes Park, CO

The History: Six miles from Rocky Mountain National Park, this hotel has famous views and offers a serene escape. F.O. Stanley created this hotel after moving to the west when forced to by poor health. Besides the hotel, he helped to create the sewer, power, and water supply for the area. A recent claim to fame is that a stay in this hotel inspired Stephen King's ‘The Shining.’

The Haunting: Both F.O. and his wife Flora haunt the hotel. They are amicable ghosts that enjoy hanging about the rooms they loved so much, such as the Billiard room and Ballroom. Rooms 407 and 418 have reputed activity of lights going on and off, noises, and, of course, rascally kids playing in the nearby hallway. One story relates some guests checked out early as the kids playing in the hall kept them up all night. When the hotel staff looked at the register, there weren’t any kids as guests - at least not any live ones!

See It: Spend the night and go on an Historic Ghost Tour, which explains the history that created a haunted playground. The hotel even hosts a ‘Shining’ themed Ball.

The Stone Lion Inn - Guthrie, OK

The History: F.E. Houghton built this mansion in 1907. It served most of its years as a residence and later was turned into a funeral home. The only person to die in the home seems to be a young girl who died of whooping cough after receiving the wrong medicine.

The Haunting: After turning this mansion into an inn, the new owners woke up at night to the sounds of footsteps and doors opening and closing. They called the police, but no intruder was found. Soon after, they realized they had experienced their first "guest," who may be a small girl as she likes to take out the toys at night to play.

See It: Stay at the inn for a night or two, and enjoy!

The Story Inn - Nashville, IN

The History: This historic inn is located at the borders of Brown County State Park and Hoosier National Forest. This inn and its collection of buildings is actually what remains of the town of Story, which was established in 1851, set up as a lodging community.

The Haunting: The Story Inn is haunted by a lady in blue who floats about the second floor of the general store, which has been turned into guestrooms. There has also been activity in the restaurant below. A guestbook details the experiences of the spooked over the years.

See It: If you prefer a ghost-less sleep, book a cabin in the close community.

Thornewood Castle - Lakewood, WA

The History: Thornewood Castle was built for Chester Thorne, a successful founder of the Port of Tacoma. This Tudor/Gothic estate was completed in 1911. Inspired by the estates in Britain, the stained-glass windows were even imported from a castle in Europe. The castle has been enriched with many different imported materials, which have been used in the structure and contents of the building. One of the more interesting details put into the castle are the "wishbone sticks" left in the basement underpinnings by the Native American workers who helped in the construction. These sticks are said to help ward off evil.

The Haunting: There are multiple photographs taken of orbs throughout the castle, and there are reports of objects moving on their own. Recorders have picked up voices, such as an unknown child. A child did drown in the lake and is said to haunt its shore, and perhaps the house as well. Overall, the spirits at Thornewood seem to be a good-natured sort. There isn’t a violent history attached to this home. Although the wife of Mr. Thorne is said to haunt the halls, this is more because she likes the place rather than she is out to get anyone. In fact, some believe Thornewood Castle acts as a vortex and can attract ghosts from the other side. Guests have reported making contact with loved ones from their lives who have no connection with the castle.

See It: You may stay in the castle, which is now a B&B. For an additional charge included with the cost of a room, you can spend the night and take a Candle Light Tour, exploring the haunted halls with a small group of ghost hunters.

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