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

4 Things Parents Should Know before Paying for College

June 6, 2013 4:59 am

From $20,000 to $65,000 a year – that’s the tuition cost for one year of college, says John McDonough, a money expert who helps retirees and parents plan for their families’ futures.

“For the 2012–2013 academic year, the average cost for an in-state public college is $22,261. A moderate budget for a private college averaged $43,289,” says McDonough, CEO of Studemont Group College Funding Solutions. “But for elite schools, we’re talking about three times the cost of your local state school. Either way, your kid’s higher education can easily shoot into six figures after four years.”

Along with worrying about rising tuition prices, parents also fear for their own futures if their retirement savings are drained by children’s college costs, McDonough says. Only 14 percent, for example, are very confident they’ll have the money to live comfortably in retirement, he says, citing a 2012 survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

“Families feel they’re faced with conflicting goals, but there are numerous ways to pay for college while investing in your future retirement,” says McDonough, who offers insights for parents to keep in mind while planning for their child’s education:

The ROI of a college education: At a time when so many American families are financially strapped, college is an especially stressful topic because parents know higher learning will help their kids succeed. College graduates earn 84 percent than those with only a high school diploma, according to Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce. Here is how earning breaks down over one’s life time, based on education: a doctoral degree-holder will earn $3.3 million over a lifetime; $2.3 million is estimated for a college graduate; those with only a high school diploma can expect $1.3 million.

Move retirement assets to qualify for grants: Most parents know about the 529 savings account, but that’s not necessarily the best or only option. Reallocating your retirement assets, such as 401(k)s, can better position a child to qualify for grants and scholarships. This legal and ethical maneuvering may be the single most important factor when considering how to pay for college.

Know your student’s strengths and weaknesses: Consider independent and objective analysis of your future college student. Assessment might include a personality profile and a detailed search for a future career. Also think about a more nuts-and-bolts approach, including scholarship eligibility, SAT and ACT prep courses, review of admissions essays and an in-depth analysis of chances for enrollment in a student’s top four choices of colleges.

Make a checklist of financial aid forms: In order to maximize a fair price of higher education, remember there is plenty of data to review. McDonough recommends a checklist with a timeline and notable deadlines. Be ready to troubleshoot the “alphabet soup” of data forms: FAFSA – Free Application for Federal Student Aid; CSS profile – College Scholarship Service; SAR – Student Aid Report; and more. Think about this process as a second job, or find professional help you can trust.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Fannie Mae Takes Additional Steps to Streamline Short Sale Process

June 6, 2013 4:59 am

Fannie Mae introduced a new tool to help real estate professionals successfully close short sales. Listing agents are now asked to register accepted short sale offers with Fannie Mae to provide greater transparency into the process and allow Fannie Mae to proactively work with the mortgage servicer to finalize the sale. This process is the next step in Fannie Mae’s effort to work more collaboratively with real estate agents on short sales.

“Fannie Mae recognizes the very important role real estate professionals play in the short sale process and we want to work closely with them to get short sales done,” said Jay Ryan, vice president for real estate sales, Fannie Mae. “Our objective is to help stabilize neighborhoods by completing short sales as close to fair market value as possible. We believe this new process will help ensure all parties are in communication early on and are able to come to an agreeable and appropriate sales price. At the end of the day, Fannie Mae wants to get short sales done so that we can prevent foreclosures and help neighborhoods recover.”

Moving forward, agents are asked to provide short sale offer information, such as the property address, MLS listing information, offer details, and subordinate lien information, through Fannie Mae’s website. Agents will also be asked to upload scanned copies of the sales contract, estimated net sheet or HUD-1 settlement statement and borrower authorization form. REALTORS are also encouraged to proactively reach out to Fannie Mae early in the short sale process to request list price guidance to aid in marketing efforts.

Agents who have challenges such as valuation disputes, delays by servicers or uncooperative subordinate lien holders may also use the short sale escalation process on the website to request assistance. Once a case is escalated, Fannie Mae will directly engage with the agent or servicer to address challenges. Since the escalation tool was announced in February 2013, over 10,000 short sale cases have been submitted and successfully closed. In 2012, Fannie Mae completed 73,528 short sales.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Two-thirds of Engaged Couples Express Negative Attitudes Toward Discussing Money

June 6, 2013 4:59 am

The recent poll hosted on the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) website revealed that 68 percent of respondents held negative attitudes toward discussing money with their fiancé, with 5 percent indicating the discussion would cause them to call off the wedding.

“It is telling that two people who intend to spend the rest of their lives together would see a conversation about money as so disconcerting,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC. “The ability to have open and honest discussions is key to a successful marriage. With many brides and grooms walking down the aisle in June, regardless of how difficult it may be, the conversation about personal finances is one that should be neither ignored nor postponed. As a matter of fact, to increase the odds of making ‘happily ever after’ a reality, the discussion should take place before the ‘I do,’ not after.”

The NFCC recommends the following Do’s and Don’ts for that much-needed financial conversation:

Don’t spring the conversation on the other party. Instead, set a time to talk that is convenient for each.

Do make it a casual conversation about a serious subject, respecting the fact that each person has valid opinions and concerns.

Do be honest about the current financial situation. If the courtship phase of the relationship has painted a financially unrealistic picture, it’s time to be honest about what the long-term lifestyle will look like.

Do probe to understand long-held financial attitudes, often present since childhood and likely ingrained by observing how parents addressed money issues.

Do acknowledge that one may be a saver and one a spender, understanding that there are benefits to both approaches and agreeing to learn from each other’s tendencies.

Don’t hide income or debt. This is known as financial infidelity. Instead, in the spirit of openness, bring financial documents, including a recent credit report, pay stubs, bank statements, insurance policies, existing debt obligations and investments to the table.

Don’t point the finger of blame. That’s a real conversation stopper.

Do make a plan in advance to deal with any skeletons that come out of the financial closet. Such surprises can potentially compromise access to future credit. Now is the time to deal with surprises.

Do construct a budget that includes savings. When just getting started, money is often tight, making it tempting to delay beginning to save. However, when every cent counts, it is even more important to have a financial safety net in the form of savings.

Do decide which person will be responsible for paying the monthly bills. It is likely that one spouse will be a good fit for this task, while the other finds it burdensome.

Do allow each person to have independence by setting aside money to be spent at his or her discretion.

Do decide upon short-term and long-term goals. It’s appropriate to have individual goals, but having family goals is important, too.

Do talk about loaning money to family members and friends. Decide if it’s something each is comfortable with, or should be avoided.

Do talk about caring for aging parents, and how to appropriately plan for their financial needs, if necessary.

“The fact of the matter is that people bring financial baggage into a relationship, but often don’t deal with it until problems arise. Baggage can come in the form of a poor credit rating, significant debt, or no experience managing money. Regardless of the issue, the time to address money differences is up front, before the financial bottom falls out. Court records show that financial stress is one of the main causes of divorce. Taking action now could prevent a disaster later,” continued Cunningham.

For professional assistance bringing two incomes, two lifestyles and two financial attitudes together, or for help in working through financial problems that have never been addressed, consider an appointment with a certified consumer credit counselor at an NFCC Member Agency. To find the agency closest to you, call (800) 388-2227, or en Español call (800) 682-9832), or go online to

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Create Your Own Summer Vacation Hot Spot Right at Home

June 5, 2013 3:08 am

Not going away this summer? Home can be the perfect place for summer fun, as long as you’re ready for the heat. With summer around the corner, it’s not too late to revamp your house into an excellent summer hang-out spot. With a few minor changes and additions, you’ll be enjoying some fun in the sun in no time.

Be ambitious – add a new deck. Choosing the right material is the most important factor when building a deck. Synthetic decking materials and tropical hardwoods (like mahogany) are initially pricier, but they are also easier to maintain and more durable. Traditional wood decks cost less initially, but require way higher maintenance such as annual cleaning and resealing maintenance. This may get expensive over time.

If you already have a deck, try some simple care techniques. Give it a close inspection for cracked boards or protruding nails. Cut back nearby trees or bushes to prevent mold and rotting. Sweep and wash the deck; afterwards, when it’s completely dry, follow that up with some sealer or stain. A beautiful deck is a great spot for patio furniture, tanning and grilling. Build a deck and get great use out of it. It will only help your resale value.

If you have a pool, consider chlorine alternatives. Chlorine is the standard because it’s cheap and keeps pools clean by sanitizing, oxidizing and deterring algae. On the flip side, it has a strong odor, reddens eyes and causes allergic reactions in some swimmers. Alternatives include bromine, ionizers, water ozonators or PHMB. They may be a little more expensive, but if you have an allergic child, one of these choices can keep the entire family swimming. With these major summer necessities out of the way, it’s time to accessorize. Volleyball nets and reclining pool floats are great additions as well.

Fire up that grill and start cooking! Summer’s on its way.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Survey Shows People Would Love To Install Drywall Themselves but Fear They Wouldn't Know How or What to Buy

June 5, 2013 3:08 am

"’Do you drywall?’ is not a question most people ask or answer every day, but with rebuilding, remodeling and new home starts on the rise – and a growing number of people wanting to install drywall themselves – maybe it should be," says Anitra Mecadon , host of DIY Network's Mega Dens.

In a nationwide survey of 1,000 homeowners conducted last month by Priority Metrics Group, nearly 40 percent of them have remodeled their homes or built a new one in the past two years, and 80 percent did all or a portion of the construction themselves.

"I'm not surprised that so many people are becoming do-it-yourselfers when it comes to their homes, and with recent natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy or tornadoes in Oklahoma, I think do-it-yourself rebuilding and remodeling will only increase," said Mecadon.

The survey found that more than half of homeowners would consider installing drywall themselves, and those a little less confident were concerned they wouldn't know how to install drywall. They also thought it would be too difficult to install or they wouldn't know what kind of drywall to buy.

Based on the survey, nearly eight in 10 homeowners recognize that walls are more important than most people think – and compared to other features, such as roofing and flooring – walls and ceilings were cited by the majority of those surveyed as providing the most long-lasting value to their homes.

"When people are remodeling or building a new home, they usually focus on the types of countertops, appliances, fixtures and flooring they want, and rarely think about the kind of drywall they should use, but they should," said Mecadon. Drywall products provide unparalleled resistance to moisture, mold, mildew, scratches and dents, and can even reduce the noise you hear between rooms.

When asked whether men or women would be better at home improvement tasks such as installing and finishing drywall:

• Nearly six in 10 said men and women would be equally good.
• Generally speaking and depending on the task, nearly a third thought men would be better.
• Only seven percent of those surveyed – mostly men – thought women would be better than men at home improvement tasks.

Source: Purple

Published with permission from RISMedia.


The Best Colors for Front Doors

June 5, 2013 3:08 am

For homeowners seeking to spruce up their homes this summer, one of the best and most noticeable modifications to any home is a freshly-painted front door, but according to College Works Painting, the color of paint chosen could either make or break the entire house.

"There are many homeowners who would love to paint the entire exterior of their house, changing the very look and style of the home and breathing new life into an old structure," the company says. "This is a major commitment, of course, but a much easier and less intensive DIY project is to simply paint the front door. This can go a surprisingly long way toward changing the feel of the entire home."

Homeowners might consider repainting their doors red. Red is listed as a particularly bold hue, one that grabs the attention of anyone looking at the house. It’s also an especially good compliment for homes that are white, blue, and gray.

Indigo is also named as an especially good paint color for front doors. "The great thing about indigo is that it almost seems to change colors, depending on the time of the day," opines College Works Painting. "By day it is crisp and bold, but when night comes it appears dark, dramatic, and dusky."

Orange is also a solid contender. This not-to-be-ignored hue will draw people right inside. It’s especially attractive on charcoal-colored homes.

Meanwhile, black is listed as a color that can command attention, and that looks good with any other color scheme or door frame style.
Lime green, on the other hand, is a potential "show-stopper," but only on homes with certain colors. Try lime green as a good selection for homes that are brown or gray, College Works Painting recommends.

No matter what color you decide on, changing the color of your front door is a quick and easy way to totally revitalize the exterior of your home.

Source: College Works Painting

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Recruit the Kids - It's Moving Season!

June 4, 2013 12:14 am

With Memorial Day behind us, that means summer is right around the corner. In the real estate industry, everyone knows summer is one of the busiest times to move. It's the most convenient time for families, but what happens when the kids are adamant about not moving?

Planning a move can be hard, but planning a move with children can be even more difficult. When it comes to moving, most children aren't happy abandoning their childhood homes. Author Irene Agapion-Palamaris claims that children can be happy about moving if you prepare them in the right ways.

In her new children's book, Marilyn is Moving, Agapion-Palamaris tells the story of a spunky little girl named Marilyn and her emotions when she finds out she is moving. After her attempts at stopping the move proved to be unfruitful, she becomes involved in the selection process of her new home. It's then when she realizes moving can be fun.

With tips learned as a real estate agent, Agapion-Palamaris tells the story to help children understand the importance of the move. Here are a few tips to help make a move easier on children:

1. Be upbeat about the move from the start. Emotions are contagious. If your child notices your excitement for the move, he or she will feed off of your positive energy and will likely come around quicker.

2. Hold a family meeting to discuss the details and time line. If your children feel that they are an important part of the process, they will be more open to conversation regarding the move. Allow them to help make simple decisions, which will boost their feelings of self-worth.

3. Show the children the new house (if possible). Show your child what his or her new room will look like and offer suggestions for what they can do with the new room. This will increase excitement.

4. Start making plans for the designs of their rooms. What child doesn't like a totally awesome paint job? Let the child choose a color or pattern for the walls. With the correct supervision, children will feel like it really is "their room."

5. Host a moving party with all your children's neighborhood friends. Reinforce that it is not a "goodbye," but a "see you soon." Make plans with other children and their parents for a visit to see the new home. By keeping in touch with his or her friends, your child will adjust to the move more quickly.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Technicians Uncover Critter Hideaways

June 4, 2013 12:14 am

When spring and summer arrive, homeowners across the country are experiencing overheating dryers or dryers that are not working efficiently.

In many cases, the problem is lint build up. It is estimated that poorly maintained or clogged dryer vents are the leading cause of appliance fires, resulting in more than 15,500 dryer fires every year. These are only the reported cases.

Lint is not the only problem. "Spring is nesting season for birds and all types of small rodents," said Rhonda Nole, a Dryer Vent Wizard franchisee from California. "Dryer vents make warm, fuzzy condos for little critters."

Nole and her technicians, who service Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties as well as Lake and Mendocino, have had more than their share of unusual discoveries from birds, rats, squirrels, and lizards to objects like Barbie doll heads, cell phones, golf tees and more.

According to Nole, it's a mystery how some of these items, including animals, get into vents, even when there are wire screens in place. She revealed how one customer had a rat terrier that would sit and bark at the dryer for hours. Nole described other serious issues she and her technicians have uncovered including bad connections behind the dryer, burnt out wiring and even fires that have already occurred inside the dryer -- without the owner's knowledge.

"Many people are unaware that lint can smolder for hours and eventually result in a flash fire," added Nole, who works to educate customers about proper maintenance and regular check ups.

Homeowners should be aware of problems such as these to prevent fires and even take advantage of energy savings.

Source: Dryer Vent Wizard

Published with permission from RISMedia.


5 Critical Tips When Purchasing a Latex Bed

June 4, 2013 12:14 am

The mattress buying season has rolled around again. Google Trends shows that mattress sales consistently spike starting in June and peak in August. As consumers are heading out into the marketplace, here are five things everyone should know about buying the right latex mattress:

- Get 100 percent natural latex for the best results and longest life span.
- Buy from a store that sells only natural latex and knows how to properly blend the right densities and kinds of latex.
- Research the mattress through real customer reviews. Look for at least 30 reviews with a four-star rating.
- Look for a dealer with strong credentials. Pay attention to high BBB ratings and strong customer service ratings and reviews.
- Make sure that the dealer offers rock solid return policies – not a store credit – and that they honor them.

In addition, even the most comfortable mattress in a store may not work once you get home, so it is vitally important to make sure you buy from a retailer that offers a good trial period and a real money back guarantee.

Source: Habitat Furnishings

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Be Prepared for Severe Weather

June 3, 2013 12:12 am

(Family Features) Thousands of people are impacted by severe weather threats every year, yet many are unprepared to handle Mother Nature’s wrath. Before storms strike, families should have an emergency supply kit on hand and a crisis plan in place.

Create a Crisis Plan

Busy families spend most of their days apart, at school, work, sports practices or other activities, so your family may not be together when disaster strikes. Before an emergency occurs, gather your family to make important decisions about what to do in the event of a crisis:

• Establish meeting places in your home, neighborhood and a nearby town.
• Discuss the best ways to communicate. Make sure to share cellphone numbers and email addresses with family members, school personnel and close neighbors.
• Schools, daycare providers, workplaces and apartment buildings should all have site-specific emergency plans that you and your family need to know about. Keep a copy in a readily-accessible location.
• In your cellphone’s address book, label the contact information for one person as “ICE” or “In Case of Emergency.” If you are in an accident, authorities are trained to check phones for an ICE listing.

Keep Emergency Supplies On-Hand

An emergency supply kit is made up of basic household items that become critical in a crisis. Essential supplies include:

• Each family member will need food, infant formula, pet food and water for three days. The average person needs one gallon of water per day for drinking and sanitation. Check your supplies every six months for expired food or water.
• Extra cash and copies of personal documents.
• A battery-powered or hand crack radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert are essential.
• Stock a small toolbox with a flashlight, extra batteries, wrench for turning off utilities, manual can opener, and whistle to signal help.
• A cordless telephone.
• Medications and measuring spoons for each family member.
• Dust masks, plastic sheeting and duct tape to create a safe room in a damaged home.
• Change of clothing for each family member, along with personal hygiene items, diapers and trash bags.

Source: Panasonic

Published with permission from RISMedia.