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RE/MAX 440
Cathy Antonucci
701 W. Market Street
Perkasie  PA 18944
 Phone: 215-453-7653 1156
Office Phone: 215-453-7653
Cell: 215-589-5656
Fax: 267-354-6233 
cantonucci@remax440.com
Cathy Antonucci

My Blog

Tradition Trumps Mobile when Holiday Shopping

December 15, 2015 3:15 am

It’s no secret mobile shopping has become more popular than ever, and with the holiday shopping season in full swing, the convenience of mobile stands to drive an increase in browsing and buying via smartphone—but not for every shopper, says Mike Sands, CEO of marketing technology leader Signal.

"Mobile is critical during the holiday season because of the convenience it offers to time-crunched shoppers who can browse or buy the perfect gift for a loved one anytime, anywhere," says Sands. "But even today's busy, always-on consumers still want to enjoy the festivity of the season, and for many, browsing in stores is an important part of getting into the holiday spirit."

As such, many shoppers will endeavor on a cross-channel shopping experience, says Sands.  In fact, according to a recent Signal survey:

• 85 percent of respondents plan to shop from desktops or laptops;
• 82 percent of respondents plan to shop in stores;
• 60 percent of respondents plan to shop on smartphones or tablets.

Why is mobile taking a backseat? According to the survey, security concerns top the list of reasons why respondents are hesitant to make purchases via mobile. Respondents also cited concerns over viewing products on smaller screens and entering information on mobile devices.

Source: Signal

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Your Property: Signs of a Hazardous Tree

December 15, 2015 3:15 am

Hazardous trees pose a danger to people and property. When storms or high winds hit, limbs, and often whole trees, fall to the ground.

"Many fatal accidents and millions of dollars in property damage can be averted if homeowners heed the warning signs of a hazardous tree," says Tchukki Andersen, staff arborist for the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA). "By not paying attention to your trees, you are potentially placing your property, even your life, in jeopardy."

Fortunately, one can often read the clues that indicate a tree is prone to failure. For instance, if a tree has large branches attached with tight, V-shaped forks, you should consider having those branches removed or lightened. Other warning signs of structural instability include cracks in the trunk or major limbs, hollow and decayed areas, or the presence of extensive dead wood. Mushrooms growing from the base of the tree or under its canopy may also be a sign of root decay. Remember to be thorough in your evaluation; the absence of fungus growth does not necessarily mean the tree is healthy.

"It also pays to be highly suspicious of any tree that has had construction activities, such as trenching, addition or removal of soil, digging or heavy equipment movement, anywhere under the spread of its branches," says Andersen.

These activities can cause root death, which, in turn, could lead to the structural instability of the tree. The sign most people recognize is a hollow in a tree. Filling of hollow trees, a process called "cavity filling," was practiced by arborists for many years, but recent research shows it is not needed to support or improve the health of hollow trees.

In fact, cavity filling with cement can actually damage a tree. According to Andersen, "the column of cement created in the tree by a cavity fill doesn't move, just like a column on a building, but the tree is always moving. It sways with the wind constantly. The rubbing created by the swaying tree and the solid column of cement can further damage the tree."

Wood decay fungi that created the hollow in the first place may take advantage of new injuries created by the rubbing and invade the remaining healthy tissue of the tree. If cavity filling is desired for aesthetic reasons, there are new synthetic foams that can be sprayed into the cavity by professional arborists. These materials will bend with the swaying tree, reducing injury.

However, there is really no reason to fill a cavity other than for aesthetic reasons; it doesn't improve the tree's health and doesn't offer extra support. If structural support of a tree is required, a professional arborist will recommend cabling, bracing, propping, tree guying or removing the tree.

Source: TCIA

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Tis the Season to Prepare Your Home for Cold Weather

December 15, 2015 3:15 am

Approximately one-fifth of homeowners insurance claims are brought on by damage caused by water or cold temperatures—much of which comes as a result of snowy conditions, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.). Although standard homeowners and renters policies cover winter-related damage, such as that caused by burst pipes, ice dams and wind, as well as damage caused by either the weight of ice or snow, there are a few steps homeowners can take to protect their homes before winter kicks in. These include:

Cleaning out the gutters. Remove leaves, sticks and other debris so melting snow and ice can flow freely, which prevents damming, a condition in which water seeps into the house, potentially damaging ceilings and walls.

Installing gutter guards. This prevents debris from entering the gutter and interfering with the flow of water away from the house and into the ground.

Trimming trees and removing dead branches. Ice, snow and wind can cause weak trees or branches to break and damage your home or car, or injure someone walking by your property.

Adding extra insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. If too much heat escapes through the attic, it can cause snow or ice to melt and then re-freeze on the roof, resulting in an ice dam that can cause significant roof damage. Well-insulated basements, crawl spaces and unfinished rooms, such as garages, protect pipes from freezing.

Providing a reliable back-up power source. In the event of an electrical outage, continuous power will help prevent frozen pipes. Consider purchasing a portable generator to ensure your household’s safety.
 
Keep in mind that coverage for flooding, including flooding caused by melting snow, is available from FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and from some private insurance companies.
 
Remember also that melting snow can overburden sewer systems, causing raw sewage to back up into the drains in your home. Backed up sewers can cause thousands of dollars in damage to floors, walls, furniture and electrical systems. Sewer back-up coverage can be purchased either as a separate product or as an endorsement to your homeowners or renters policy.

Source: I.I.I.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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A 10-Step Winter Preparedness Checklist for Drivers

December 14, 2015 3:15 am

From just-above-freezing temps to record snowfall, there’s no shortage of wild weather when it comes to winter. Before the season sets in, it’s important to assess your vehicle and prepare it for the months ahead, say the experts at the Car Care Council. This includes:
 
• Checking the battery and charging system for optimum performance. Cold weather is hard on batteries;
 
• Checking the antifreeze. As a general rule of thumb, clean, flush and put new antifreeze in the cooling system every two years;
 
• Checking that heaters, defrosters and wipers work properly. Consider winter wiper blades and use cold weather washer fluid;
 
• Checking the tire tread depth and tire pressure. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly;
 
• Checking the oil and filter and be diligent about changing them at recommended intervals. Dirty oil can spell trouble in winter. Consider changing to “winter weight” oil if you live in a cold climate. Check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time;
 
• Checking engine performance before winter sets in. Winter magnifies existing problems such as hard starts, sluggish performance or rough idling;
 
• Checking the brakes. The braking system is the vehicle’s most important safety item;
 
• Checking the exhaust system for carbon online casino monoxide leaks, which can be especially dangerous during cold weather driving when windows are closed;
 
• Checking to see that exterior and interior lights work and headlights are properly aimed. During winter, drivers should keep their vehicle’s gas tank at least half-full to decrease the chances of moisture forming in the gas lines and possibly freezing;
 
• Checking the tire pressure of the spare in the trunk and stocking an emergency kit with an ice scraper and snowbrush, jumper cables, flashlight, blanket, extra clothes, bottled water, dry food snacks and needed medication.

Source: Car Care Council 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Ready, Set, Glow: 10 Tips for Bright, Beautiful Holiday Displays

December 14, 2015 3:15 am

To say holiday displays have gone extreme is an understatement. (“The Great Christmas Light Fight,” anyone?) But holiday lights don’t have to be over-the-top to have an impact—in fact, just a few professional-grade tricks are all it takes to create a sparkling, festive display.

1. Use LED lights. They burn at a lower temperature and use nearly 90 percent less energy than incandescent lights, making them a safer and more efficient option.

2. Choose a theme. Whether you prefer traditional or a more colorful, contemporary approach, keep your theme consistent to create an attractive and cohesive look.

3. Be unique. Be true to yourself in your design. Find something that speaks to your style and make that the focus of your display.

4. Use a timer. Timers are great investments that save energy and hassle. Set your timer to come on about 30 minutes before sunset and to go off between 11 p.m. and midnight.

5. Select a shade. LED lights come in two shades of white: traditional warm white and cool white. Both create a dazzling holiday look.

6. Don't over-do it. You can create a car-stopping display (without becoming the Griswolds) by adding eye-catching elements like character figures or animation lighting.

7. Use daytime décor. Since lights don't read well during the day, add daytime décor, such as greenery of character figures, to keep your home looking festive all day long.

8. Never use outdated products. Test all your lighting products before installation to confirm that all are in good working order. Replace any questionable or worn bulb or light strand.

9. Highlight the features. Outline a distinct roof line or windows with lights, drape an archway with a lit garland, or light the pathway to your home's door.

10. Don't forget the backyard. Decorate a small area in your backyard to create a holiday focus through your windows.

Source: Christmas Décor, Inc.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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4 Ways to Cut Kitchen Clutter

December 14, 2015 3:15 am

(BPT) - The kitchen may be the heart of the home, but it's also home to a lot of clutter. Resolve to bring order to your kitchen once and for all with these tips, courtesy of the experts at Moen.

1. You don't need a large pantry or countless cupboards and drawers to find the perfect spot for all your stuff. If you have blank space on the walls, consider adding a few open shelves. They provide plenty of storage while keeping everyday dishes and staples, like the coffee canister or cookie jar, within easy reach.

2. The biggest pain point for homeowners is a lack of counter space. Instead of adding to the chaos, designate a specific "drop zone" for items that find their way into the kitchen each day, like mail, paperwork or electronics.

3. Extend the "everything in its place" mentality to another kitchen staple: the dishtowel. Instead of leaving it in a damp heap on the counter, install a towel bar, towel ring or hook to the side of a cabinet or island to create a spot for it to hang. Not only will it free up space, but like in the bathroom or powder room, you'll always know where to look for it when you need it.

4. If you have a pantry, go beyond simple shelves to make this area work better—and smarter—for you. Pullout baskets and shallow drawers will ensure your pantry offers a proper place for everything. Curved cradles can turn an ordinary shelf into a beverage storage center, allowing you to store wine, water or soda bottles on their sides. And instead of wasting the space on the back of the door, install a slim, vertical storage system to provide a spot for plastic wrap, aluminum foil and other awkward-sized kitchen must-haves.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Helping Hands: Volunteers Number in the Millions

December 11, 2015 3:12 am

Ever house-sat for your neighbor? You may be one of the 138 million Americans who volunteered informally on behalf of a neighbor in the last year, whether by house-sitting, babysitting or shopping, according to a recent report by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC).

Many are performing neighborly acts of kindness beyond the block, as well. According to the report, 62.8 million Americans volunteered through an organization in the last year, totaling 7.96 billion hours worth an estimated $184 billion.

Who volunteers most? Gen Xers lead the pack at a rate of nearly 30 percent, followed by millennials at just over 20 percent. The Silent Generation leads when it comes to volunteer hours—over 100 hours on average, followed by baby boomers at 81 hours.

“We are calling on Americans to volunteer in their communities, and to invite their friends and families to join them,” says Wendy Spencer, CEO of the CNCS. “Volunteers enrich our communities and keep our nation strong. Service also connects us with our neighbors and provides a chance to use our skills for the common good.  There are so many ways we can make a difference for those in need, during the holiday season and throughout the entire year.”

Source: CNCS

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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6 Tips for Homeowners to Weather a Wet Winter

December 11, 2015 3:12 am

Warmer winters aren’t always better. With this season on track to be warmer (and wetter) than average, homeowners should prepare now for the potential of extreme precipitation, says Peter Duncanson, director of Disaster Restoration System Development at ServiceMaster Restore.

“When it comes to winter weather, it pays to be prepared for the worst,” says Duncanson. “Although many areas across the country experienced mild temperatures this fall, preparing now is vital, as excessive precipitation combined with freezing or near-freezing temperatures can cause significant damage overnight.” 

Duncanson advises:

• Reviewing your insurance policy closely and paying attention to specifics on what is and is not covered under the agreement

• Clearing rain gutters, repairing roof leaks and cutting away tree branches that could fall on the home

• Keeping gutters and downspouts free of debris and making sure water is flowing several feet away from the foundation

• Checking for cracks or small holes in the foundation where water can seep in—even a few inches of water from melted snow or excessive rain can cause interior water damage to carpet, drywall, wood floors and even your home’s structure

• Covering exposed outdoor water faucets to prevent freezing

• Leaving cabinet doors under sinks open to help circulate air and prevent frozen pipes during extreme temperatures

Source: ServiceMaster

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Selling or Not, Remodeling Boosts Homeowner Happiness

December 11, 2015 3:12 am

Homeowners preparing to sell often make home improvements both big and small to garner top dollar from buyers—but those same projects can also be beneficial to homeowners remaining in their homes, according to the National Association of REALTORS® recent Remodeling Impact Report. In fact, the report states nearly 65 percent of homeowners experienced increased enjoyment in their homes after completing a remodeling project.

And when it comes to resale, kitchen and bathroom renovations, hardwood flooring refinishes, insulation upgrades, new wood flooring and converted basements rank high among REALTORS® cited in the report, as well as new roofing, new vinyl siding and new vinyl windows.

For homeowners staying put, projects that bring the most happiness include fiber-cement siding, new fiberglass or steel-front doors, new roofing and new garage doors.

"Remodeling projects can greatly improve both the value of and satisfaction with one's home, which are great things no matter the reason for a project," says Judy Mozen, president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. "This report highlights the best projects to consider in either situation and showcases just how much of a difference a good and professional remodel can make in real numbers.”

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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5 Travel Trends to Watch in 2016

December 10, 2015 3:12 am

From in-flight tablet holders to “space bins,” travelers will see many an innovation in the coming year, according to a recent report by Cheapflights.com. Trends to watch include:

• Extreme long-haul flights, thanks to declining oil prices. Emirates will launch a 17-hour, 35-minute fight from Dubai to Panama City starting in February, and Singapore Airlines has plans for a 19-hour flight from Singapore to New York beginning in 2018.

• Airplane design changes, such as charging pads, tablet holders and extra wide seats. There has been a flurry of patents set to re-engineer passenger seating and cabin configurations, as well.

• Tracking technology for unaccompanied minors so parents can see where their children are at any given moment. Child-free zones will also come into play.

• “Space bins” that offer more space than the traditional overhead compartment. Alaska Airlines is leading the pack, putting “space bins” into service by 2017.

• Supersonic flying, with the goal of traveling from New York to London in just 90 minutes. Initiatives by Airbus, Lockheed Martin and up-and-comer Skreemr are all underway.

Source: Cheapflights.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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