I contacted Francois Newkirk, the owner/operator of Texas Dry Out and Restoration, based on his impeccable reviews on Angie's List; he has exceeded my expectations in almost every way and helped my wife and I recover our investment property from the devastating effects of a leak in an A/C drain line that ran through the attic. I should probably mention that we are not real estate investors by choice; we opted to lease out our home in Austin instead of selling when professional opportunities led us to move to Iowa two years ago (in 2011) in the midst of the financial melt-down and real estate market collapse. Our tenants called us in July of 2012 to report water pooling in the master bedroom closet of our rental property. Having dealt with previous water issues, we immediately called both a plumber and our insurance company. The representative the insurance company sent discovered mold inside the walls of the closet, which abuts the master bathroom shower. That shower is original to the home, which was built in the 1950s. As a result of this discovery, our insurance company refused to refer us to a mitigation company, pointing us instead to a state of Texas website for licensed mold remediation experts. That showed us who was qualified to do the work, but not who would do an excellent job. We turned to Angie's List to find a provider and are glad that we did. Francois Newkirk was the highest-rated mold remediation expert on the site and has been a pleasure to work with over the course of what became a 9-month remediation and restoration project. Francois went above and beyond to explain to me in detail what the remediation process would entail, what portions of it were attributable to water loss versus mold (this was important to our insurance company), and how to prevent future issues. Francois was not only extremely knowledgeable on how to mitigate water and mold damage, he was also exceptionally astute at helping us manage our claim with our insurance provider, USAA. Francois has worked extensively with USAA in the past and even knew the adjuster who had been assigned to our claim. Unfortunately, this also meant that he knew this particular adjuster would not be easy to work with. I soon found myself calling the City of Austin for detailed information on the residential construction code to support various aspects of our insurance claim (e.g. the removal and capping of a gas bathroom heater that was not properly vented and was in violation of the residential code - this qualified for insurance coverage because of allowances in our policy for improvements that bring the areas affected by our claim up to code). Eventually, we were able to get our claim reassigned to another adjuster and the difference was night and day. The second adjuster was much less combative and much more accommodating. Francois helped me navigate all of this. Our combined effort forced USAA to ultimately address the entirety of the loss, not just the superficial/cosmetic aspects. The difference was an initial claim of $5k and a final claim totaling nearly $35k. Francois helped me understand the full extent of the water damage to my home and ultimately forced USAA to additionally acknowledge that the work it's recommended service provider had done a year ago to mitigate a leak from a hot water heater connection that had failed had been inadequate. Throughout this entire process, Francois has held himself to the highest levels of professionalism. I can say unequivocally that Francois is honest and transparent in a way that is refreshing, having now worked with many contractors and tradesmen. Francois is prompt, thorough, and very good at setting expectations. Francois is so good at what he does because he focuses on his passion and his strengths: water mitigation, mold remediation, and insurance claim negotiation. My only regret in this whole process has been the sub-contractor that Francois and I hired to perform the build-back of and improvements to the property (RBS Services Company). Francois recommended this sub-contractor and I have no doubt that he has done excellent work in the past. I think our timing was bad, however. With the Austin real estate market booming, it appears that Ron Sevier (the principal at RBS) has been taking on more projects than he can handle; he delegated our project to his son, whose work was unimpressive. Ultimately, we released RBS from the project and brought in another contractor, who was able to complete the project to the standard we had initially expected. Francois worked with us to make this transition possible from both a contractual and a financial perspective. While the change resulted in lost time, we were still able to complete the project within our overall budget. Since completing our recovery from the 2012 water damage in Austin, our home in Iowa experienced flooding in the finished basement when the town sewerage system overflowed from heavy rains. We were away for a holiday weekend when this happened; by the time we got home all the local service providers were completely booked and unavailable. So ... I called Francois. Francois gave me detailed, step-by-step instructions (including what materials to use) to initially mitigate the water damage myself and minimize the damage to our home. If it isn't obvious enough already, I wholeheartedly endorse Francois. If you have the misfortune of having to deal with water and mold damage in your home, I at least hope you might have the opportunity to work with someone as professional and caring as Francois.