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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

Not My House! A Before-the-Storm Checklist

October 21, 2016 2:30 am


Storms can cause all types of damage to a property, from loss of belongings to mold growth and beyond.

“Preparing before a storm is critical in managing the aftermath damage,” said Peter Duncanson, director of System Development with ServiceMaster Restore, in a recent statement. “We know how devastating storm damage can be for people, and we want to help them mitigate it as much as possible and be prepared to respond quickly.”

Duncanson and his team at Service Master Restore suggest following this checklist:

• Obtain emergency supplies (or refresh reserves, if needed) of items such medication, non-perishable food and water.

• Organize important documentation, such as birth certificates, insurance policies and receipts, into accessible, waterproof storage.

• Take stock of possessions, preferably with photos, including the items’ make, model and/or serial number.

• Unplug all electronics.

• Raise furniture, as well as below-window treatments. Board up windows, if necessary.

• Determine points of contact for emergency communications, and share that information with all members of the household.

• Clear gutters.

• Store outdoor furniture or any other outdoor items, including toys and tools, that could become airborne.

Source: ServiceMaster Restore
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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The 10 Paint Colors Designers Use Most

October 21, 2016 2:30 am


With hundreds of paint colors to choose from, selecting the shades just right for your home can be daunting. Good Housekeeping magazine recently rounded up the top 10 paint colors most often used by professional home designers. Get inspired by them:

1. Palladian Blue – By Benjamin Moore, this blue-green-grey shade can be used in any room, and is especially ideal for cooling down a sun-filled room or adding tranquility to a bedroom.

2. Garden Stone – By Clark+Kensington, this classic warm grey shade is a designer favorite projected to stand the test of time.

3. Manchester Tan – By Benjamin Moore, this shade is a go-to warm neutral favored because it changes with the light, going from rich to fresh.

4. Compatible Cream – By Sherwin Williams, this creamy yellow shade is warm and inviting, but not too sunny.

5. Intense White – By Benjamin Moore, this shade gives off a light grey-ish tone. Designers use it as a backdrop for rooms with brightly colored furniture.

6. Sprout 0.6 – By Colorhouse, this shade has a slightly pinkish hue, and is often chosen for ceilings because it reflects flatteringly on people in the room.

7. Revere Pewter – By Benjamin Moore, this fail-safe neutral shade is the perfect alternative to white, ideal for open floor plans with just a hint of color.

8. Decorator’s White – By Benjamin Moore, this shade has pure white undertones that provide a crisp, clean look on ceilings or trim, or in bathrooms. 

9. Essential Grey – By Sherwin Williams, this shade is best paired with white trim for a clean, sophisticated aesthetic.

10. Wool Skein – By Sherwin Williams, this neutral shade coordinates well with any color.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Study: The Value of a Consistent Retirement Saving Strategy

October 20, 2016 2:30 am


Reports about the retirement outlook for Americans have been less than encouraging since the recession. Recent data, however, show that the tide may be turning, this time favorably.

The average 401(k) balance, according to a study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and the Investment Company Institute (ICI), has grown in the last four years, through both workers’ and employers’ contributions, as well as gains. The average 401(k) balance among consistent contributors is now $130,493. “Consistent” contributors are defined as “those who remained active in the same 401(k) plan for the four-year period covering year-end 2010 through year-end 2014.” The median 401(k) balance among consistent contributors, comparatively, grew to $56,653. Approximately one in five consistent contributors have more than $200,000 in their current employer’s 401(k) plan.

These data are evidence that consistency is essential to wealth-building for retirement, says Sarah Holden, ICI’s senior director of Retirement and Investor Research.

“By studying the experience of workers who participate consistently across several years, this study shows more accurately the extent to which steady, paycheck-by-paycheck saving and compounding investment returns can help workers accumulate a sizable retirement nest egg,” Holden said in a statement.

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Did You Know Where You Live Can Affect How You Look?

October 20, 2016 2:30 am


You’d rarely think to move somewhere based on how it can change your appearance. A recent study, however, shows that where we choose to set down roots could actually impact how well we age.

The “2016 RoC Wrinkle Ranking,” compiled by Sperling’s Best Places, a research firm, and RoC® Skincare, offers a city-by-city look at premature aging and skin damage, revealing what you can expect to see when looking in the mirror decades down the road based on what city you call home. The analysis assessed factors commonly known to affect skin health: environmental, lifestyle and occupational influences.

The study predicts that in the year 2040, San Jose, Calif., will claim the least wrinkle-prone title as the city with residents who age the best. This is due to its shorter commute times, smaller population size and an anticipated shift toward a wetter climate. 

Philadelphia, on the other hand, will reign as the most wrinkle-prone city, thanks to airborne pollution, lengthy commute times and higher-than-average smoking rates.

The study highlights a number of key factors:

Large metropolitan areas, like Philly, Washington, D.C. and New York City, will likely remain the most wrinkle-prone due to extreme urban environments, more congested commuting and lower air quality.

Smoking rates will likely approach zero in 35 of the 50 cities ranked, which will decrease overall rates of premature wrinkles. However, Nashville, St. Louis and Kansas City are expected to retain smoking rates significantly higher than the rest of the country – leaving residents of these cities more at risk.

Higher temperatures, along with less precipitation, will increase the occurrence of wrinkles in certain areas, such as the Great Lakes and the Northeast. Texans in communities like Dallas, Houston and San Antonio will see the greatest decrease in average annual precipitation.

How about it? Will the possibility of premature aging give you pause about your city?
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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At Home: 8 Energy-Saving Tips

October 20, 2016 2:30 am


Energy costs account for a considerable amount of every homeowner’s budget. According to the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), the average annual utility costs are $2,200. Trimming that expense, even by a few dollars, can save hundreds each year—and save the environment from the effects of excess consumption.

Start saving energy at home with these tips, shared recently by the CFA.

1. Air-dry dishes, instead of drying them in the dishwasher. Avoid turning on the dishwasher until it is absolutely full, as ell—cycling through a wash every night is a high energy-consuming task.

2. Buy ENERGY STAR® products. If it is time to replace an appliance, purchase a model with the ENERGY STAR label, which indicates the appliance meets energy efficiency standards. 

3. Install a programmable thermostat to control the temperature in the home at different times of day automatically—this can save $100 a year, making the expense well worth the cost.

4. Replace incandescent light bulbs with LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs, which, according to the CFA, use up to 25 percent less energy. Replace them only when the incandescents burn out, however—the goal is to avoid unnecessary consumption overall.

5. Seal drafts with caulk or weatherstripping to prevent air leakage—this is proven to save hundreds in cooling and heating costs. Spray foam insulation can be used on the exterior of the home to seal gaps around the chimney, foundation, pipes and windows.

6. Set up motion detectors, or set timers, to control lighting when not in use. Use power strips where appropriate to keep energy use to a minimum at night.

7. Turn down the water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Water heaters, the CFA reports, are the second-highest energy consumers in homes. Turning down the thermostat on them by a few degrees can significantly reduce their energy use.

8. Conduct an energy audit. Many utilities companies offer free energy audits, which is a type of inspection that reveals the most energy-consuming (and costly) aspects in the home.

Source: Consumer Federation of America (CFA)
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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A Dietician's Secrets for Healthier Eating

October 19, 2016 2:30 am


Whether you’re on your own or feeding a family, it can be tempting to skip healthy meal preparation in favor of quick carry-outs. Don’t give in!

Registered dietician Jae Berman recently shared her healthy eating secret with the Washington Post: batch cooking.

Batch cooking is preparing enough foods at one time to provide proteins, veggies and carbs for a week or more. Her example:

• Roast two or three pans of vegetables and store them in a container in the fridge. Cook off 10 chicken breasts, brown two pounds of ground beef, and hard-boil a dozen eggs. You can even steam a big helping of rice, quinoa or other grains, and store them in the fridge, as well.

• Use condiments and sauces for flavor—add salsa, cilantro and canned chilies to the ground beef to make tacos with prepared tortilla shells, warm up chicken with lemon juice and herbs, and add them to pasta sauce with a bit of parmesan, or, chop them with celery, egg and a little mayo for a salad.

Berman has a host of other tricks on hand, too:

Prep Fruits/Veggies – Cut up a variety and keep them in the fridge for snacking, packed lunches or dinner sides.

Use That Crockpot – Almost any combination of protein, veggies, herbs and a little broth or other liquid popped into the Crockpot in the morning will wind up as a savory soup or stew at the end of the day.

Make a Frittata – Combine eggs, veggies and spices and cook in a large skillet. Then, slice like pizza and freeze for later use—warm up a slice, add a salad and crusty bread, and you’re good to go.

Use Canned Fish – Prepare enough canned tuna or salmon for two meals: the first as a salad with fresh veggies, and the second for tuna melts or salmon patties.

Remember Smoothies – You can make them ahead of time with yogurt and fresh fruit, then freeze in separate containers and use for breakfast on the go.

Will you try batch cooking this weekend?
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How-To: Take the Shiver out of a Drafty House

October 19, 2016 2:30 am


(BPT)—A drafty house is not just cold—it’s downright expensive. The kicker? The sources of those drafts can be eliminated inexpensively.

Take the attic, for instance. There was a large hole cut into the ceiling to make way for stairs to it. All of that insulation is now gone, replaced with a thin, unsealed sheet of plywood.

Attics are vented directly outdoors, so they get cold in winter—really cold. What separates your heated home from your cold, un-heated attic? A thin, unsealed sheet of plywood!

Need more proof? Turn the light on in your attic tonight, keeping the stairway closed. See that light streaming through? It’s shining on the gap that is costing you buckets in utilities each winter. Imagine that!

Whole-house fans (which are also installed by way of large hole) can be just as problematic. In this case, a flimsy ceiling shutter is all that stands between you and the elements. Nice.

Fireplaces, ironically, are also drafty—an open damper, even in a well-insulated home, can raise energy consumption by up to 30 percent!

A shut damper isn’t airtight, either. The chimney is an opening to the outdoors—think of it as a window, swallowing up (and out!) all of that costly heated air.

Let’s not forget dryer vents, or exhaust ducts, which can be a source of drafts, too. Most dryer vents employ a sheet metal flapper to reduce drafts—primitive protection, by today’s technology.

The good news is, all of these problems have economical solutions.

• Insulated Attic Stair Cover
• Whole-House Fan Shutter Seal (with Flexible, Textured Insulation, plus Velcro)
• Fireplace Plug
• Dryer Vent Seal (Floating Shuttle)

Winter’s still a few weeks away—get these fixes in now to warm up with all those savings!

Source: Battic Door
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Why Fall Is Time to Buy—or Sell—a Home

October 19, 2016 2:30 am


The data have it: October is one of the better months to buy, or sell.

Homebuyers, according to RealtyTrac®, tend to get the best deals in October, based on an analysis of more than 30 million single-family home and condominium sales that happened over the last 15 years—of the 2.7 million sales closed in October over that period, the average sale price was 2.6 percent below average estimated full market value.

Why the downtrend? One of the main causes is lesser demand, which results in lower prices. Another cause could be the presence of “spring leftovers”—the homes that didn’t sell in the spring or summer placed back on the market, at a reduced price, in fall.

Historically, fall has been an ideal season for homebuyers—it lacks the pace of peak real estate season, which can be intimidating (especially to newcomers), and it offers time to buy between the frenetic start of the school year and the holidays. The beginning of school, as well, means that fewer homebuyers will be out searching for homes, lessening the competition for other buyers, and bidding wars, as a result.

Still, fall can be ideal for those on the other side of the closing table—sellers. Sellers in the fall generally attract more serious buyers than at other times of year, upping the chance they’ll get a well-intentioned offer. They also could be on a faster path to closing, as well, because fall is outside of peak season—some buyers, then, may have a pressing reason to buy.

October, specifically, is also ideal for both parties in that appliances go on sale—manufacturers deeply discount previous years’ models to make way for the next years’ hitting the shelves. How about that for incentive?

Whether it’s spring, summer, fall or winter, I’m prepared to help you with your real estate needs. Contact me today!
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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America's Spending: Booze, Coffee, and a Whole Lot of Extras

October 18, 2016 2:30 am


“What did I spend all that money on?!"

Most of us have had that reaction at one time or another—it usually comes when we see that sky-high credit card bill come in.

What do we really spend our money on? Online coupon collector RetailMeNot recently discovered the answer as part of its “WTF Did I Spend My Money On?” campaign.

Food – Each week, 85 percent of us stock up on groceries, averaging $115, and 74 percent of us treat ourselves to a meal out each week, averaging $58. All that eating out can add up— $3,016 a year!

Beer – Forty-eight percent of us aged 21 and over buy beer each month, racking up $50 in the process. That’s pouring out $600 a year!

Coffee – Forty-eight percent of us spring for a cup o’ Joe each week, averaging $18, or $936 a year. That’s almost a grand!

Wine – Forty-three percent of us aged 21 and over purchase wine each month, averaging $51—about the same as beer buyers.

Other common contributors to spending, according to RetailMeNot, are manicures and pedicures—averaging $1,471.08 a year!—and pet supplies, averaging $221 per month for dog owners and $192 per month for cat owners.

More of us are also spending on newer types of recurring expenses—rides from Lyft or Uber average $45 per week ($2,340 per year), and meal delivery services average $42.44 per week, or $2,206.88 per year, RetailMeNot found.

What are you spending your money on?

Source: RetailMeNot
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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When's the Last Time You Really Cleaned Your Kitchen?

October 18, 2016 2:30 am


Your appliances and counters are sparkling, and your cabinets and floors are polished to a shine—but how clean are some lesser-seen areas of your kitchen?

Joe Sevier of Epicurious.com consulted with kitchen experts to get the low-down on areas of the kitchen we may be overlooking when it comes to cleaning. Here’s a list of what needs to be cleaned—and how frequently, too—from Sevier’s blog. You may be surprised!

Cleaning Brush – Daily (Rinse in hot water after each use.)

Dish Drying Rack – Weekly

Garbage Bin – Monthly

Kitchen Cabinets – Monthly (Wipe down fronts and knobs, and vacuum the inside.)

In-Drawer Flatware Caddy – Monthly (If you have a wire or mesh caddy, remove and vacuum debris that filtered down to the drawer.)

Refrigerator Shelves – Monthly (Tip: Wiping the bottom of jars and cartons will keep shelves cleaner, longer.)

Stovetop Exhaust Fan – Monthly

Utensil Caddy – Monthly, to remove food splatters, dust and grease

Water Filterer – Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, but generally, it should be cleaned every two months when you change the filter.

Ice Cube Trays – Once or twice a year if you use them regularly, but more often if you only use them once in a while

Source: Epicurious.com
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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