RE/MAX 440
David J Feinberg

David J Feinberg
4789 Route 309  Center Valley  PA 18034
Phone:  610-509-4358
Office:  610-791-4400
Fax:  610-791-9575

My Blog

Tips to Help You Save Big When Planning Your Move

February 25, 2013 2:46 am

Moving can be stressful when trying to complete many different tasks in a small period of time. Take some of the edge off with these moving tips to help save you money, and maybe even some of your sanity, too!

Saving on moving supplies:


- Obtain boxes in the cheapest way possible. Ask a friend or colleague who has recently moved to give or sell you their boxes. Check the classified ads; people sometimes sell all their moving boxes for a flat rate. Ask your local grocery or department store for their empty boxes.
- Borrow a tape dispenser instead of buying one.
- Instead of buying bubble wrap, crumple newspaper, plain unused newsprint, or tissue paper to pad breakables.
- Shop around for the cheapest deal on packing tape and other supplies.
- Instead of renting padding blankets from the truck rental company, use your own blankets, linens, and area rugs for padding. Bear in mind that you may have to launder them when you arrive, which is an expense itself.

Saving on labor:


- If you use professional movers, consider a "you pack, we drive" arrangement, in which you pack boxes, and the moving company loads, moves, and unloads your belongings.
- Call around and compare moving cost estimates.
- If you can live without all your stuff for a while at your new or old location, moving companies sometimes give significant cost reductions if they can short-term-store and consolidate your moving items with other customers' items.
- If you move yourself, round up "volunteers" to help you load and clean on moving day. It's still customary to reward them with moving-day food and beverages (and maybe a small cash gift). You may also have to "volunteer" to help them move some day. But you may still save some money compared to hiring professionals.
- Save on child and pet care. Ask family or friends to watch your young children and pets on moving day.

With enough planning and preparation, you can cut your moving stress in half while efficiently getting the job done.

Source: MoversDirectory.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Make Sure Your Storage Unit Is Properly Insured

February 25, 2013 2:46 am

Whether you are downsizing to a smaller home, safeguarding heirlooms after a death in the family or just cannot let go of those old mementos, storage units can provide a useful solution for dealing with extra belongings. While storage units may be the answer to de-cluttering your home, adequate insurance coverage is the answer to protecting your belongings, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

"If an item is valuable enough that you are willing to pay for storing it, the item should be financially protected with the proper amount and type of insurance," said Loretta Worters, vice president for the I.I.I. "Even in the best managed storage facilities, theft, fire and other disasters can and do occur. That's why before signing a rental agreement, it is important to find out what types of losses will be covered by the storage facility and whether supplemental insurance may be needed."

The Self Storage Association notes that one out of every 10 households in the U.S. currently rents some kind of storage unit, including portable on demand storage (PODS).

Most storage facilities require that you maintain insurance for the full replacement cost of the contents of your storage room and ask to see a copy of your homeowners or renters policy. One way to satisfy your insurance obligation is by purchasing insurance through the storage facility. However, most storage facilities limit the value of property that can be stored in a unit, basing it on the size and the amount of your rent (usually up to about $20,000). If your property is worth more than the assigned amount, some storage facilities will allow you to increase the assigned value of the property in your unit. There are also exclusions including art, antiques, jewelry, furs, watches, money, securities and other documents of value. Be sure to check your homeowners or renters insurance policies first to determine whether your contents may already be covered.

One of the best ways to substantiate the value of your personal property is to create a detailed home inventory of all your possessions, including those in storage. If your property is stolen or damaged, an inventory can help speed the claims process and substantiate your loss. It will also help you determine how much insurance to buy to adequately protect your possessions.

The I.I.I. offers the following tips for choosing a storage company:

• Look for a secure facility. Fencing that secures the entire property and access control are the very minimum that a storage business should offer.
• Consider the safety of the immediate area surrounding the facility. Does the storage building have onsite security features such as 24-hour video surveillance cameras and coded security pads to access the building? If so, does the code work only for your floor or for the entire facility? Are there video cameras throughout the building or just at the entrance? An informed manager should have the answers you need.
• Look for a unit with climate control options. This will ensure your appliances and furniture are not in a harmful environment. Very high or low temperatures, as well as dampness can quickly cause damage. And make sure that rising ground water from snow or rain is unable to penetrate your storage unit.
• Select a company that offers insurance along with their space. If you do not already have coverage through your renters or homeowners insurance, look for a storage company that offers insurance, and make sure you fully understand how their insurance will cover any potential damage. Find out about the facility's procedures in cases such as fire, flood, etc. and keep in mind that any facility should also have their own insurance to cover damages or injuries that occur on their premises.
• Check that the storage facility is clean and well-maintained. If a storage facility is not routinely and thoroughly cleaned, there is a good possibility no one is monitoring for bugs and rodent infestations. Verify that the facility has a permanent, reliable pest extermination contract in place before you trust them with your belongings.
• Investigate the reputation of the storage company. Check with friends and neighbors who may be familiar with the facility, or ask the storage company for referrals.

Source: Insurance Information Institute

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Tips for Designing a Great Family Room

February 22, 2013 2:44 am

After the kitchen, the most popular room in most homes is the family room. It can function as a media room, a game room, a music room, a reading room—and often a homework area, too. Because this room is so lived in, there are lots of family rooms that could use a serious makeover. But where do you start?

Start by utilizing a design that reflects the interests of the family members. Use photos, children's artwork, mementos, maps, antiques and art collections to tell your family's story in this room. Consider having frames that can open to switch out kids' artwork or to showcase the latest photos from a family trip. Keep it personal, yet practical. Here are tips on how to create a family room that is both functional and attractive:

1. Comfortable seating is essential.
Sofas, sectionals and chairs for a family room should be chosen for reading and viewing comfort. Do you like to nap on the sofa? Be sure it's wide and deep enough. Chairs and sofas with an outside depth of 38-39 inches or more are ideal for both sitting and reclining.

2. Select furniture that's the right scale for the room.
If your room is oversized or has a cathedral ceiling, you probably need large-scale upholstered furniture that can stand up to the size of the room. Traditional sofas 72 to 78-inches wide will look diminutive in a big room. Look for large-scale sofas at least 88-92 inches wide with depth and height of about 38-39 inches for furniture with presence in a spacious room.

3. Consider sectional seating for design flexibility.
Sectional sofas with a variety of components are a good way to create more spacious seating that can be tailored to the size and shape of the room. If you want to pack more people into a tight space, your best choice is a sectional sofa. The L-shape creates a very strong line and utilizes every square inch, even the corner.

4. Vary the scale and visual weight of the furniture in the room.
For example, have large chairs, medium-size chairs and smaller slipper chairs. Incorporate ottomans and benches. Have firmer chair seats and cushier chair seats. Have a great reading chair or chaise. Be able to reconfigure the furniture and pull in extra seating for big family gatherings and parties. Furniture with a little variety creates a more interesting room than a matching suite that all appears to have come from the same source.

5. Ottomans are critical to reading and viewing comfort.
Ottomans should pull up easily to chairs or sectional components to support your legs. Will they be large enough for a long-legged spouse? Or will two people want to share one ottoman? Shop accordingly. If an ottoman will serve as both footrest and coffee table, consider a large 36" to 48" rectangular or square ottoman to serve all needs.

6. Find a fabric you love to pull out colors for pillows, window treatments, skirted tables and accessories.
If you have little ones, consider a more colorful combo for a family room as brighter colors really speak to kids. Start with the fabric, because there a million shades of paint and you can always find that later.

7. Lots of pillows are great for lounging, movie watching or support while reading.
Have pillows made in a variety of sizes and shapes--lumbar pillows to cradle your back while reading, smaller pillows to tuck under an elbow, larger pillows for napping--and even floor pillows for kids who love to lounge on the carpet.

8. Use window treatments to control glare on a television screen.
Light falling from a window onto a television screen creates sun glare. Window treatments that can be drawn, or shutters or shades that can be closed, will help to control glare and add privacy.

Source: CalicoCorners.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Getting a Handle on Nonstick Cookware

February 22, 2013 2:44 am

(Family Features) In the last several years, kitchen activity has increased as families bypass the drive-through to cook at home more often. According to a recent survey from DuPont, maker of the most popular nonstick coating for cookware, more than two-thirds of home cooks choose nonstick pots and pans because they help families cook convenient and healthy meals that are easy to clean up.

As families try out new recipes and pick fresh ingredients for their home-cooked meals, it’s a good idea to understand what cookware to look for when it’s time to buy something new.

Types of Nonstick Coatings
Not all nonstick cookware coatings are equal. According to the Cookware Manufacturers Association (CMA), most quality nonstick cookware has a PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) finish. PTFE, developed 70 years ago, is used as a nonstick coating that is both durable and high-temperature resistant. These nonstick coatings have been developed with a variety of coatings, which are reinforced to resist scratching and can come in up to three-coat finishes — which means greater durability and a longer life for your pan.

Consumers also may be familiar with pans that advertise ceramic finishes and claim they are natural or organic. Both ceramic and PTFE-based coatings start from minerals that are used to create a synthetic coating. PTFE coatings comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations for their intended use. In lab tests, which simulated cooking in a home kitchen, traditional nonstick coatings lasted up to seven times longer than ceramic finishes.

Using Nonstick Cookware
While there are few rules to using nonstick coated pots and pans, just like anything else in your kitchen, you can achieve the best results when you use proven techniques.

When trying out new recipes, or simply revisiting an old favorite, it’s best to use medium or low heat. Then add food and lower the heat to cook at an even temperature.

Because food releases so easily when you use cookware with nonstick coatings, you don’t need to use oil or fat when you cook unless you want to. And with recent improvements you also can use metal utensils on many high-quality nonstick-coated pots and pans without worry of scratching.

With nonstick pans, cleanup is easy. Simply wash with hot, soapy water after each use; a sponge or dishcloth is usually all it takes to get the surface thoroughly clean.

Many nonstick pans also are dishwasher-safe. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines before using a dishwasher. Cookware also should be stored carefully to prevent unnecessary wear and tear.

Buying a New Pan

Use these tips when shopping for nonstick cookware:

—Think about what piece or pieces you will really use most. Start there and build. You can buy a single pot or pan or a full set, depending on your needs.
—Check out all the new types of pans available, as manufacturers are constantly innovating. For example, there are new nonstick pans for grilling, stainless steel pans with nonstick coatings, as well as new colors to add flair to your kitchen.
—Finally, if you use cookware in the oven as well as on the stove, choose a handle that can take the heat, such as metal, and check the manufacturer’s guidelines for maximum temperatures.

Source: Dupont

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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January Existing-Home Sales Hold with Steady Price Gains, Seller's Market Developing

February 22, 2013 2:44 am

Existing-home sales edged up in January, while a seller's market is developing and home prices continue to rise steadily above year-ago levels, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million in January from a downwardly revised 4.90 million in December, and are 9.1 percent above the 4.51 million-unit pace in January 2012.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said tight inventory is a major factor in the market. "Buyer traffic is continuing to pick up, while seller traffic is holding steady," he said. "In fact, buyer traffic is 40 percent above a year ago, so there is plenty of demand but insufficient inventory to improve sales more strongly. We've transitioned into a seller's market in much of the country."

Total housing inventory at the end of January fell 4.9 percent to 1.74 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.5 months in December, and is the lowest housing supply since April 2005 when it was also 4.2 months.

Listed inventory is 25.3 percent below a year ago when there was a 6.2-month supply. Raw unsold inventory is at the lowest level since December 1999 when there were 1.71 million homes on the market.

"We expect a seasonal rise of inventory this spring, but it may be insufficient to avoid more frequent incidences of multiple bidding and faster-than-normal price growth," Yun explained.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 3.41 percent in January from a record low 3.35 percent in December; it was 3.92 percent in January 2012.

NAR President Gary Thomas said homes are selling faster. "The typical home is selling nearly four weeks faster than it did a year ago," he said. "In this environment, REALTORS® can help buyers strike a balance between moving quickly and protecting their interests, such as making offers contingent upon a satisfactory home inspection and obtaining a loan; of course, a loan pre-qualification may help too."

First-time buyers accounted for 30 percent of purchases in January, unchanged from December; they were 33 percent in January 2012.

All-cash sales were at 28 percent of transactions in January, down from 29 percent in December and 31 percent in January 2012. Investors, who account for most cash sales, purchased 19 percent of homes in January, down from 21 percent in December and 23 percent in January 2012.

Single-family home sales increased 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.34 million in January from 4.33 million in December, and are 8.5 percent above the 4.00 million-unit level in January 2012. The median existing single-family home price was $174,100 in January, up 12.6 percent from a year ago.

Source: NAR

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Get Your Home in Shape This Year

February 21, 2013 2:44 am

According to a recent survey conducted by HomeAdvisor, more than half of U.S. homeowners (53 percent) do not engage in any annual maintenance for their home, and only 18 percent of homeowners are very confident in their general knowledge of their home's annual maintenance needs.

Amy Matthews, TV Host and HomeAdvisor's Home Improvement Expert, offers homeowners five simple, useful tips to keep their homes in shape year round.

Spray Foam Insulation


According to survey findings, 77 percent of bill-paying U.S. homeowners are at least somewhat concerned about their high energy bills this winter. Small holes in foundation or siding, including anywhere pipes or wires penetrate the envelope of the home, can cause serious heat loss and increased costs. These small crevices can be the equivalent of having a window open all winter.

Matthews recommends using a can of spray foam insulation to seal these cracks to help save money on energy bills.

Hot Water Heater

Hot water heaters are becoming more energy efficient, but a homeowner who is not yet ready to upgrade can still get the best use out of their current appliance. A helpful tip is to see if the hot water heater is warm to the touch, and if so, to wrap it with an insulated blanket. This will help it work more efficiently.

Roof

Homeowners who live in regions that receive heavy rain, hail or snow should be on the lookout for water damage after large storms. Set a reminder to call a roofing pro to inspect the roof for damage or repair needs every one to two years. This continued maintenance will extend the life of the roof and give the homeowner peace of mind.

Heating and Cooling Systems

Ensure the proper function of heating and cooling systems by having them checked by a licensed heating ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) professional annually to prevent potential future emergency repairs. Matthews recommends that homeowners clean or replace filters every one to three months.

Garbage Disposal

The garbage disposal is one of the most frequently used kitchen appliances and, according to HomeAdvisor, was among the top home appliance repairs in 2012. To avoid garbage disposal repairs, never place coffee grounds, grease, eggshells, bones or potato skins in the disposal. Matthews recommends placing a few ice cubes and the rinds of any citrus fruit in the disposal every few months to keep garbage disposals clean and odor-free.

Source: www.HomeAdvisor.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Too Much Calcium Can Be Bad for Your Heart

February 21, 2013 2:44 am

In a new study from the National Institutes of Health, startling results showed that men who took calcium supplements were more apt to die of heart disease than those who didn't get extra calcium in supplement form.

Between 1995 and 1996, 388,229 middle-aged Americans ages of 50 to 71 were asked to answer questions about their lifestyle, general health and diet, including use of supplements. Over the next 12 years, scientists tracked how many of them died, and from what causes.

About half of men and more than two-thirds of women said they took calcium supplements or multivitamins containing calcium at the beginning of the study.

During the study period, almost 12,000 people—or about three percent—died of cardiovascular disease.
Lead researcher Qian Xiao, from the National Cancer Institute, and her colleagues found men who took 1,000 milligrams or more of calcium per day were 20 percent more likely to die of heart-related causes than those who did not supplement with calcium.

"It's possible that calcium build-up in the arteries and veins may affect cardiovascular risks in some people," said Xiao.

These findings confirm what Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, magnesium expert and Medical Advisory Board member of the nonprofit Nutritional Magnesium Association has been saying for years: "Magnesium is the key to the body's proper assimilation and use of calcium, as well as Vitamin D. If we consume too much calcium without sufficient magnesium, the excess calcium is not utilized correctly and may actually become toxic, causing calcification of the arteries, leading to heart attack and cardiovascular disease."

Studies on women and calcium supplementation have found similar results. In a 2009 study entitled Use of Calcium Supplements and the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in 52–62-Year-Old Women, Finnish scientists found "Calcium or calcium+D supplementation appears to increase the risk of coronary heart disease among women before old age."

Michael F. Roizen , MD, Chief Wellness Officer for Cleveland Clinic and New York Times best-selling author adds, "It has been known for some time that heart attacks are less common in areas where the water supplies are rich in magnesium. Magnesium is also known to lower blood pressure, dilate the arteries, and, when given after a heart attack, restore normal heart rhythms. Magnesium is especially important in the regulation of calcium. Because we do know that taking calcium helps reduce RealAge (physiologic age), it is also vital to get enough magnesium to allow for the proper absorption of calcium."

"Many people, especially those consuming dairy products, have high-calcium diets. This can lead to a greater amount of unabsorbed calcium," says Dean.

Dr. Dean recommends getting the minimum daily requirement of magnesium, and aiming for an even calcium-magnesium balance.

Source: Nutritional Magnesium Association

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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World Demand for Lighting to Exceed 78 Billion Dollars in 2016

February 21, 2013 2:44 am

World demand for lighting is projected to climb more than 12 percent annually through 2016 to $78.3 billion. Sales will be driven in general by acceleration in economic activity, personal income, global motor vehicle output, and construction spending. However, a more important factor will be the ongoing shift to higher value, more efficient lighting technologies, particularly as many countries phase out the sale of conventional incandescent lamps for general use applications. This shift is being propelled by the rising availability of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and other high efficiency light sources at more affordable prices and with improved light quality. Prices for key light sources such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and LEDs are expected to fall significantly. These and other trends, including market share and product segmentation, are presented in World Lighting: Lamps & LEDs, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.

Market gains in developing countries will outpace sales in the U.S., Western Europe, and Japan, fueled by ongoing industrialization efforts, increased manufacturing output, and rising standards of living. China alone will account for 49 percent of all additional product demand through 2016, strengthening its position as the largest national market for lamps and LEDs. Above average growth is also expected in countries such as Russia, Mexico, and Brazil. Sales of lighting in many of these developing areas will be aided by subsidies for consumer purchases of high efficiency lighting, sometimes with support from international organizations.

LED (or solid-state) lighting devices will record by far the fastest global market gains of any major product segment through 2016. The rapid rate of technological advances has dramatically improved their performance capabilities and resulted in substantial reductions in cost, leading to LED use in a growing number of lighting applications. Sales of fluorescent lamps will continue to expand, spurred in the near term by government-led efforts to phase out use of energy inefficient, general service, conventional incandescent lamps in many areas. While CFLs have generally been the replacement product of choice, sales are expected to be more limited going forward partly because of growing concern for safe disposal of spent CFLs and the increasing price and performance competition from LEDs.

Source: The Freedonia Group

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Design Your Own Personal Home Office

February 20, 2013 2:42 am

For those who work on the run, a home office is a perfect asset to consider. When designed carefully, a home office can offer you flexibility, convenience and saved time as you crunch to meet deadlines or carry on your business day. If you are thinking about creating your own home office, take these tips into consideration.

Always remember that privacy is important. Choose a location in your house that is far from the living room, kitchen, television areas and children’s bedrooms or play areas. Your house most likely will not shut down simply because you are working there. Family activity is to be expected, so carefully choose your home office location with these things in mind.

Is proximity to the front door important? It is if you are expecting to receive clients at home or have home office meetings with fellow co-workers. If either of these is the case, make sure your home office is only a short distance from the main door of your house. Avoid having clients, prospects or co-workers walk up stairs or past bedrooms. Even though you are at home, you can still provide and ensure a level of professionalism, organization and accommodation.

How much space you need will also determine the location of your office. Measure desks, cabinets, bookshelves and any other furniture you want to move in before doing so. Make a tentative plan of where you want to put things, and keep in mind you’ll need electrical outlets for many of your electronics. If your chosen location seems too small, you may want to think again.

Getting electrical assistance is highly recommended. Your home office will probably need more outlets than it had before it was an office. Power strips can be unreliable and sometimes can lead to power outages. Get expert advice and assistance. Have a professional add more outlets if you require them. Electrical issues are always better left for the pros.

Adding some soundproofing can certainly be a source of sanity. By replacing the drywall with a special soundproofing variety, you can be well on your way to minimizing auditory distractions. If that isn’t good enough, you can also replace the door with a new solid-core one. Both of these efforts will ensure that you hear less of your family or any other possible distraction. Concentration is key.

Don’t forget to decorate. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in your home office, and especially if you’re planning to have clients or co-workers drop by, take the time to choose a nice décor. A little bit of decorating goes a long way, and by adding color to the room, it will provide a cozy feel—a nice blend of work and home.

Your home office could be a fantastic personal decision for you, so do it right. By spending the time planning and setting up, you can be assured that your office will be a positive haven and work environment.

Source: Gannett News Service

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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The Most Popular Real Estate Listing Keywords

February 20, 2013 2:42 am

A new study released by real estate listings and property portal Point2Homes reveals what words agents use the most to market a home.

A sample of 300,000 U.S. property listings were mined for this analysis and the results show there is a tight competition between descriptive buzzwords such as "beautiful" or "spacious" and words referring to home attributes or upgrades like "hardwood floors" and "stainless steel appliances."

Moreover, the study offers insight into words that are particular to certain segments, e.g. time on the market, geographical regions, and pricing.

The Most Popular Keywords in 2012

The highest-ranking keyword advertising average U.S. homes (under $1 million) is "beautiful." However, other price segments reveal different favorites:

• Luxury homes ($1-$5 million) are commonly marketed as having a "pool," "hardwood floors" or "stainless steel appliances";
• The very top-end segment ($5 million and over) has an increased appeal when advertised as "private," "having a guest house" or a "wall of windows."

The study identified a list of specific keywords agents use to market homes in all four U.S. regions. The results may be used to understand the profile of homebuyers in these regions.

• East Coast homebuyers are particularly attracted to homes that are "move-in ready," and "renovated";
• On the West Coast, preferences go to "beautiful" homes with "mountain or ocean views."

Words that Sell NYC Homes Fast

There were 1,500 property listings analyzed for this part of the study. The results show that if you advertise properties with the things NYC homebuyers have the most trouble finding, such as light, space and city views, they are more likely to sell faster than the average time on the market (180 days).
Here are the top word choices agents used to sell NYC homes faster:

• Closet space
• City views
• Soaking tub
• Sunny
• Open kitchen
• Oversized windows

Brand Names Used in Luxury Home Ads

Wealthy homebuyers care about the style and quality of their home fixtures. As a result, they react positively to brands like Sub Zero, Viking and Miele.

Source: Point2Homes

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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