RE/MAX 440
Tom Loughridge
tloughridge@remax440.com
Tom Loughridge
701 W. Market Street
Perkasie  PA 18944
PH: 215-453-0913
O: 215-453-7653
C: 267-716-0920
F: 267-354-6868 
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Back-to-School: 5 Tips to Get Organized

July 19, 2016 1:31 am


There’s no better time than back-to-school season to organize for the upcoming school year. Begin with these five back-to-school, get-organized tips from the experts at Merry Maids:

1. Draw up a family calendar to keep schedules on track throughout the year. Hang it within view of all members of the household, including your child(ren), so that they know—and can change, if needed—appointments or obligations.

2. Set up color-coded files for your child(ren) to store assignments and projects as they come in through the year. Clear out the folders periodically, either over the weekend or over school vacations.

3. Organize a school supply cabinet with labeled baskets or bins. This will come in handy at homework time, guide your child(ren) during clean-up, and help you take stock when items need replenishing through the year.

4. Establish a time to pack lunches for the entire week—and enlist your child(ren) to help prepare them. Store the lunches in an accessible area in the refrigerator, so your child(ren) can grab-and-go each morning.

5. Designate a day each week for your child(ren) to participate in household chores—folding the laundry, picking up their toys, or setting the table, depending on their age and ability.

Putting school-time routines in place now not only starts the year off stress-free, but also ensures your household stays well-ordered in the months to come. Start with these tips!

Source: ServiceMaster Global Holdings, Inc.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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3 Ways to Waterproof Your House

July 19, 2016 1:31 am


Did you know water can enter and damage your home at any time, whether your house is in a low-lying area or otherwise?

“There are common water hazards that every homeowner faces at one time or another,” explains Michael Petri of Petri Plumbing and Heating, Inc. “It's a lot simpler than many people think to waterproof their homes and avoid those issues.”

Waterproofing your home not only guards it against flooding, but also eliminates unseen internal leaks. (Leaks, in fact, account for close to 15 percent of the average household’s water use.)

To waterproof your house, Petri recommends:

Scanning Pipes – Walk your property and note areas of mud or soil erosion, or wet spots on the driveway. These findings could indicate a broken pipe, which will require the services of a professional plumber to remedy.

Inspecting Sprinkler Heads – Look for vibrant green vegetation or moss growth on or around the sprinkler heads on your property. These may be signs of broken heads or damaged valves leaking into the ground (and potentially breaching your home).

Testing Toilet(s) for Leaks – Drip a few drops of food dye into the tank of the toilet. Wait 20 minutes; if a leak is found, replace the valve inside the tank.

These three types of leaks can develop in any house, both new and older, or on any property. If you suspect an irrigation or underground leak, call a professional plumber as soon as possible for help—continuous leaking can not only lead to extensive damage, but also can result in additional month-to-month costs.

Source: Petri Plumbing and Heating, Inc.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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What Role Does Insurance Play in Home-Sharing?

July 19, 2016 1:31 am


As the sharing economy hits its stride, more every-people are taking advantage of home-sharing platforms like Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO. The ease-of-use of these platforms, however, should not detract from insurance considerations, says John M. Huff, president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

“Sharing a home, car or even personal items with a complete stranger reflects a new level of trust between buyers and sellers,” Huff said in a statement. “When using companies like Uber and Airbnb, or lesser-known options such as Poshmark and TaskRabbit, failing to understand the insurance implications of these transactions can be costly. The NAIC encourages consumers to share with care.”

To determine adequate insurance coverage, home-sharers should discuss their intentions with their insurance provider, the NAIC recommends. The home-sharer may be required to supplement a standard homeowners insurance policy with additional liability coverage, home-based business coverage, or even landlord insurance.

The NAIC suggests the home-sharer confirm the damaged-related coverage an existing policy offers, as well. Home-sharers may opt to limit rentals to those who can show proof of homeowners, renters or personal liability insurance, so that they will be able to file a claim on the renter’s policy should the renter damage the property.

Most importantly, home-sharers should stay up-to-date on the policies and terms of use of each sharing platform. Home-sharing agreements are apt to change, and often, according to the NAIC.

Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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The Science Behind Grocery Shopping

July 18, 2016 1:31 am


Shopping is a science—one repeat savers know well. The savviest shoppers routinely apply it to recurring household expenses, like groceries, to reap the most savings.

Shopping app Ibotta recently cracked the code to the secrets behind the science of grocery shopping, revealing the best times to shop for everyday items.

Grocery bills, for one, are highest on weekends—the most popular time of week for shoppers. The savings, Ibotta found, are earlier in the week: better prices on beer, wine and ice cream can be found on Mondays and Tuesdays, and discounts on produce are common on Wednesdays.

Shoppers purchasing beer and wine on a Monday can expect up to a 9 percent discount off Saturday prices. The best stores for savings, according to Ibotta:

• Walmart ($7.75/six-pack beer)
• Target ($8.11/six-pack beer)

• Walgreens ($9.23/wine)
• Walmart ($9.39/wine)
• Sam’s Club ($9.61/wine)

Ice cream is also best bought on Monday, when shoppers can save up to 9 percent. Dollar stores, Ibotta found, have the steepest discounts: $3.01 at Dollar General, and $3.26 at Family Dollar.

Produce, on the other hand, is the least expensive on Wednesdays, especially at regional retailers like Albertsons or Food4Less.

Ibotta also pinpointed the purchase preferences of certain cities, with some intriguing findings: the city that purchases the most beer and wine, for instance, is Tampa Bay, Fla.—the “Booziest City.” The “Ice Creamiest City,” based on purchasing trends, is Richmond, Va. Seattle is named the “Healthiest City,” due to its penchant for organic, healthful food purchases.

And Green Bay, Wis., is the “Cheesiest City.” No surprise there!

Source: Ibotta
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Unpacking Summer's Hottest Housing Trends – Pt. 1

July 18, 2016 1:31 am


Housing’s on a hot streak this summer, as more buyers, sellers, investors and renters take advantage of the best real estate season in years.

Three trends are defining the season, according to ApartmentList.com: co-living, micro apartments and tiny houses. In this first segment of our series on these trends, we’ll drill down and unearth the facts behind micro apartments.

Rents can be a major challenge for people living in expensive markets like New York City. Enter micro—less than 400 square feet—apartments, where everything but the bare minimum is shaved away in a centrally-located unit.

The main purpose of a micro apartment is primarily function, though the spaces are made to appear roomier with strategic ceiling height, color and lighting, say the experts at ApartmentList.com.

Most who gravitate towards living in a micro apartment often do so for its amenities, and because they do spend a lot of time outside of home, explain the ApartmentList.com experts. Unlike co-living situations, micro apartments do not necessarily require a membership. Micro apartments have a more “permanent” feel compared to co-living spaces, as well.

The micro apartment trend has taken root in at least one market: Seattle, where a micro apartment development was recently unveiled. According to a blog by former Seattle Mayor Michael McGinn, the 170-square-foot units are affordable for individuals with “moderate” incomes, with an average rent of $575 per month.

McGinn also revealed Seattle's Planning Department continues to hear from builders who are interested in offering micro apartments. McGinn noted the demand for affordable housing in transit-friendly communities will likely continue to expand, especially in markets like New York and San Francisco.

Stay tuned for our upcoming segment, where we’ll dive into the next hot summer housing trend: co-living.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Current Economy Keeps Lid on Mortgage Rates

July 18, 2016 1:31 am


Mortgage rates, slow to react to Brexit, remain below 4 percent.

According to Bankrate.com’s weekly rate report, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate is averaging 3.57 percent, with an average 0.23 discount and origination points. The 15-year fixed mortgage rate is averaging 2.85 percent, with an average 0.20 discount and origination points. The 7-year adjustable mortgage rate is averaging 3.23 percent, and the 5-year adjustable mortgage rate is averaging 3.04 percent. The jumbo 30-year fixed mortgage rate is averaging 3.67 percent.

Borrowers obtaining a 30-year fixed mortgage at the current average rate can expect to pay $905.92 monthly. 

Close to three-quarters of mortgage experts surveyed by Bankrate.com expect rates to rise only marginally in the next week, due to the sluggish state of inflation, interest rates and economic growth globally.

Source: Bankrate.com
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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The Smart Home Takes a Swim

July 15, 2016 1:28 am


Smart home automation’s dipping into pools.

Many poolside mechanisms, such as the heater, pump and timer, can now be automatically controlled with smart home technology, optimizing energy use and performance and potentially extending their lifespan—a benefit that can result in thousands in saved repair or replacement costs, which are often a burdensome expense for pool owners.

“New automation options eliminate the inconvenience of trips to pool or spa equipment to reset timer clocks and thermostats,” said Kyle H. Chaikin, president of the Northeast Spa & Pool Association (NESPA), in a statement. “Control the pool at poolside, from inside the house, on the golf course or halfway around the world with handy smartphone apps.”

According to the NESPA, pool owners can automate any or all of the following features:

• Chlorine Generator
• Cleaner
• Filtration System/Pump
• Fountain
• Heater
• Jacuzzi/Spa
• Lighting
• Timer
• Waterfall

Pool owners can take automation a step further by assigning control to their pool service provider, Chaikin added.

“Pool and spa automation fits perfectly into any busy lifestyle. You can monitor your pool and poolscape yourself, or you can turn it over to your pool service company who will monitor it in real time, and be able to respond in real time, should any issue develop.

“Automation equipment quickly makes your backyard ready to use right when you are ready to use it, regardless of the season,” Chaikin added. “Owning and operating a pool and spa today has never been easier or more fun.”

Source: Northeast Spa & Pool Association/The Association of Pool & Spa Professionals
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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5 Tips for a Better Backyard

July 15, 2016 1:28 am


(Family Features)—Fenced-in or acreage to spare, a backyard should be worth coming home to. Get inspired to better yours with these tips, courtesy of the experts at Trex (Trex.com).

Light Bulb!
Start by drawing ideas from DIY bloggers, HGTV.com, Houzz.com, Pinterest and other resources. Bookmark the elements that resonate with you most. You’ll soon compile enough inspiration to form a near-complete design for your backyard.

A Helping Hand
Consider hiring a professional landscape contractor if your design is outside DIY ability. A professional can assist with projects like hardscaping or structural building.

Limbo
Factor any maintenance requirements into your design. Incorporate features like all-weather cabinetry, composite decking, shade and storage to keep function high and maintenance low.

Put the Heat On
Enjoy your new backyard any time of day or night with heat- and light-producing fixtures. Most popular now are fire pits and fireplaces, lanterns and tiki torches.

What Rules?
Lastly, be open to mixing up the furniture in your new backyard—a variety of styles outdoors reads inviting, not eclectic. Think outside of the box when it comes to accessories like pillows, tableware, and even artwork, to lend a personalized touch.

Source: Trex.com
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Expecting a Storm? Plan-Ahead Tips for Property Owners

July 15, 2016 1:28 am


Preparation is vital for property owners that stand to be impacted by an impending storm—so much so that it can be life-saving even after storm conditions have subsided.  Post-storm cleanup, especially, can be made less challenging with precautionary measures.

“Preparing for bad weather is always wise,” says Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an internationally-recognized association. “While everyone thinks about buying milk, bread and toilet paper before a storm, many people forget about making sure their outdoor power equipment is in order “It's important to keep your equipment in working order, have the right fuel for your generator or chain saw, and know where your safety gear is.”

Kiser and the OPEI suggest property owners plan ahead for a safe cleanup by:

Taking Stock – Take a look at the property and consider what-if scenarios:

• Will the buckling deck survive the storm?
• Will the shed withstand high winds?
• Will that tree fall?

Inspect the equipment you do have and purchase other items, such as a chain saw, reflective clothing or safety goggles, if needed.

Fueling Up – It is common for fuel stations to close in the days following a severe storm. Stock up on the fuel needed to power any outdoor equipment you may be using, including a generator. Bear in mind that for outdoor power equipment, it is illegal to use fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol.

Reviewing – Before the storm hits (and the power potentially goes out), take time to review operator’s manuals of any outdoor power equipment you plan to use for post-storm cleanup. Reviewing this information can help reduce safety risks when operating the equipment.

Staying Safe – To minimize hazards during cleanup:

• Exercise extreme caution when using a chain saw. A chain saw can “kick back” when the chain touches an object, so stand with your weight evenly distributed to both feet, away from the blade. Do not use a chain saw with one hand.

• Keep stable footing when using a pole pruner or saw. Ensure any bystanders and power lines are at least 50 feet away from the area.

• Ventilate portable generators. Do not operate a portable generator inside the home or the garage—doing so can cause buildup of carbon monoxide, which can be lethal. Place the generator outside of the home, away from windows, doors and vents.

Remaining Aware – Note the area surrounding the cleanup zone. Do not allow others (pets, included) in the zone, even if cleanup is just beginning. Stay abreast, too, of physical limitations. Keep hydrated and take breaks, if needed.

Source: Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI)
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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3 Tips from the Rich to Build Wealth

July 14, 2016 1:28 am


The overwhelming majority of affluent Americans accumulated their wealth not through inheritance, as is commonly believed, but through earned income and investments.

The financial editors at Money Magazine recently interviewed a sample of well-off individuals, coming up with three universal tips that may help average folks to build wealth:

1. Get There Slowly – While some attained wealth fairly quickly by starting the right business at the right time (or developing a killer app), most entrepreneurs say you can amass the better part of $1 million if you start to earn at a young age and remain persistent about saving for the long haul.

A 25-year-old beginning at $40,000 a year, for instance, who gets 2 percent annual raises and contributes 12 percent of his/her salary each year to a 401(k), would end up with an account worth more than $1 million at age 65, assuming a 6 percent annual return and an employer match of 3 percent per year.

2. Stick with the Basics – Many wealthy people own non-traditional investments, including hedge funds, timberland, and art, but when they were asked by Money how they made their greatest investment gains, 89 percent said traditional stocks and bonds.

3. Don’t Try to Out-Guess the Market – With pundits constantly predicting which stocks are heading up or down and which sectors will sizzle or fizzle, it’s easy to get the impression that success lies in shrewdly shifting your money around. The majority of the rich don’t buy that.

Just 14 percent asked by Money said they made the bulk of their investment gains by timing the market; the other 86 percent credited their success to good old buy-and-hold investing. They key, they said, is investing in a diversified mix of stocks and bonds, and riding the long-term upward sweep of the market.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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