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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

Cooks in the Kitchen: Most Keep Mealtime Routines

June 29, 2016 1:27 am

Our habits at home say a lot about who we are—and in the kitchen, our mealtime routines are most telling.

For many of us, dinners are either “cooked from scratch,” warmed up “from the fridge or freezer” or prepared using “shortcuts.” The rest of us buy made-ahead items from the grocery store, carry-out or order in to get dinner on the table.

These are just some of the findings of a recent Harris Poll that assessed behaviors in and around the kitchen, demonstrating that meal preparation is one of the most important activities in the home.

The majority of those surveyed in the Poll cook at least once a week, with approximately one-third cooking every day. Most turn to “back pocket” recipes to prepare meals, and some rely on recipes “of their own design” or “passed down from a family member.” A significant portion of those surveyed obtain recipes from a website or a television program.

The results of the Poll underscore the kitchen’s central role in the household. As the heart of the home, it serves as not only a preparation space, but also a gathering area for loved ones to share the meal.

What are your routines in the kitchen?
 
Source: The Harris Poll

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Big Push to Protect Children with HUD's Lead-Free Toolkit

June 28, 2016 1:27 am

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is working to better protect children from lead-based paint hazards in the home, recently launching The Lead-Safe Homes, Lead-Free Kids Toolkit for families living in HUD-assisted housing. Lead poisoning’s effects are irreversible, and even low levels of lead in a young child can have long-term, devastating consequences.

Announced earlier this summer at the HUD/National Environmental Health Association annual conference, this comprehensive toolkit offers both immediate actions and a long-term vision to address lead in homes.

One of its major components is providing increased resources for families to identify and respond to lead poisoning. This component will connect HUD-assisted housing residents with early education, nutrition programs, counseling and tutoring to combat the impacts of lead exposure; create a mechanism for housing advocates assisting HUD residents to report potential violations of HUD’s lead safety regulations; and launch an online clearinghouse of information for HUD residents about lead hazards, safety and their rights.

HUD recently rolled out the Healthy Homes Basics app, designed to raise awareness about health and safety concerns in the home and offer steps consumers can take to protect themselves. The app is available via Apple iTunes and Google Play.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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5 Hurricane Safety Tips

June 28, 2016 1:27 am

Hurricane season is upon residents in coastal areas around the country, but there are months to go before season’s end. There’s still time to prepare!

Your short list should include the following tasks:

1. Assemble an emergency kit. Set aside provisions of non-perishable food and water, a battery-powered radio, a first-aid kit, a flashlight (with extra batteries), hand tools and a whistle.

2. Gas up. Fill up your tank, provided it is still safe to travel ahead of the storm.

3. Set a plan for your household. Take time to discuss a communication and/or evacuation plan with the members of your household. Decide how best to contact each other in the event of a power outage. Charge all mobile devices—and keep them charged—in the time leading up to the storm.

4. Know your local disaster protocols. Familiarize yourself with your area’s evacuation routes, shelters and any other contingency plans—you may not be able to access this information once a storm hits.

5. Install a backup power source. Set up a portable or whole-home standby generator to keep lights on and necessary appliances operational. Never run a portable generator inside the home, even in an attached garage—this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Source: Generac Power Systems, Inc.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How Paint Colors Impact Sale Price

June 28, 2016 1:27 am

There are numerous factors that impact a buyer’s decision to make an offer on a home. One of those is color—a feature that may be positively or negatively received by buyers.

A recent Zillow Digs® analysis found that listings with kitchens painted soft shades of yellow sold for more $1,360 more than anticipated. Generally, listings with rooms painted in earthy hues garnered up to $1,300 more than expected at sale, according to the analysis.

Colors to avoid, the analysis found, include slate gray, terracotta, and—contrary to popular belief—white. Generally, listings with rooms painted in dark or white shades sold below expectations.

Specific findings include:

Wheat Yellow Kitchen – $1,360 more
Eggshell/Off-White Kitchen – $82 less

Beige/Oatmeal Bathroom – $283 more
Dark Brown Bathroom – $469 less

Eggplant/Lavender/Mauve Dining Room – $1,122 more
Slate Gray Dining Room – $1,112 less

Dove/Light Gray Living Room – $1,104 more
Terracotta Living Room – $793 less

Khaki/Light Green Bedroom – $1,332 more
Dark Brown Bedroom – $236 less

“A fresh coat of paint is an easy and affordable way to improve a home's appearance before listing,” said Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s chief economist, in a statement. “However, to get the biggest bang for your buck, stick with colors that have mass appeal so you attract as many potential buyers to your listing as possible. Warm neutrals like yellow or light gray are stylish and clean, signaling that the home is well cared for, or that previous owners had an eye for design that may translate to other areas within the house.”

The analysis assessed approximately 50,000 sold homes from across the nation.

Source: Zillow

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Mortgage Rates Slow to Rise

June 27, 2016 1:27 am

Fixed mortgage rates, on average, remain low. According to Freddie Mac’s recently released Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) is 3.56 percent, with an average 0.6 point, and the average 15-year FRM is 2.83 percent, with an average 0.5 point. The average 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) is 2.74 percent, which an average 0.5 point.

Why so low? Mortgage rates are gradually responding to recent fiscal developments, says Sean Becketti, chief economist of Freddie Mac.

“Mortgage rates have been slow to adjust to the 10-year Treasury yield, which has increased 12 basis points since [the week of June 6, 2016],” Becketti said in a statement. “[Last week’s] survey shows the 30-year fixed-rate inching up to 3.56 percent, only two basis points above last week’s average. The low rates continue to be good news for the housing market, as existing-home sales rose 1.8 percent to a 5.53 million seasonally-adjusted annual rate in the month of May—the highest level since February 2007.”

Source: Freddie Mac

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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3 Upgrades Every Homeowner Should Make

June 27, 2016 1:27 am

(Family Features)—Improving your home can grow the value of your investment—if the right upgrades are made. No matter which kind of home you own, these home improvements top the list.

1. Power Backup – Natural disasters are on the rise, and expected to become more impactful in the future. Installing a standby generator system is one upgrade that will pay dividends in peace of mind. Look for a system that has automatic “power management” technology—this will power all of your home’s appliances efficiently and safely.

2. Smart Home Automation – The smart home is here to stay, and more and more homebuyers are looking for properties outfitted with the latest in home automation. Whether it’s an app that flicks on the lights or a thermostat that self-adjusts, integrating this technology can save you from inconvenience, more money and more time.

3. Security – You can’t put a price on safety. From keypad and silent alarms to cameras and motion detectors, a home security system is well worth the expense. Consult a home security expert in your area to determine which system will be most beneficial for your home.

These three upgrades are ideal for any homeowner. Keep these in mind the next time you invest in improving your home—they will be well worth it!

Source: Briggs & Stratton

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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The Cities with the Highest and Lowest Property Tax Rates

June 27, 2016 1:27 am

Property taxes—levies imposed on owners of properties—are an important consideration for homeowners, buyers and sellers. The tax rate, which is typically overseen by a local government, varies depending on location.

“The property tax is a critical source of revenue for local government services, from education to public safety,” says Joan Youngman, chair of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy’s Department of Valuation and Taxation. The Institute recently released its annual 50-State Property Tax Comparison Study, which tracks “effective” property tax rates in every state.

Currently, the city with the highest property tax rate on a median-valued home is Bridgeport, Conn., at 3.88 percent, according to the study. Bridgeport residents have a higher rate because they pay no income or local sales taxes. The city with the second-highest property tax rate is Detroit at 3.81 percent, due to the city’s flat home values.

Rounding out the top five cities with the highest property tax rates are Aurora, Ill. (3.72 percent), Newark, N.J. (3.05 percent), and Milwaukee, Wis. (2.68 percent).

Honolulu, in contrast, has the lowest property tax rate on a median-valued home at 0.30 percent, due in part to high home values, according to the study. Cheyenne, Wyo. (0.65 percent), Denver (0.66 percent), Birmingham, Ala. (0.66 percent), and Boston (0.67 percent) follow suit.

Per the study, New York City ranks highest for apartment property tax rates, at five times higher than that on a median-valued home.

Generally, property tax rates are determined at the local level. Contact a real estate professional in your area for more information.

Source: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Fountain of Youth: 7 Foods for Longevity

June 24, 2016 1:27 am

The average American can expect to live until just shy of 80 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Though physical activity contributes to a long, healthy life, food also plays a role, says longevity researcher Dan Buettner, who recently partnered with National Geographic to match local food norms with populations who consistently live the longest.

Their report suggests seven food choices common to those who live well into old age:

Avocados – The fat in avocados is mostly monounsaturated fat—10 grams in just half. Regularly eating avocado can boost nutrient absorption, support eye health, and even contribute to weight loss.

Berries – Fruit satisfies the craving for sugar, and berries, which contain lower amounts of sugar than most fruits, are among the best choices. Regular consumption of whole berries has been shown to reduce the risk for disease.

Fish – Not surprisingly, populations that eat a lot of fish almost invariably live longer lives. While salmon has the rep for lots of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, most seafood contain the healthy fat and protein.

Garlic – Apart from adding flavor to food, garlic contains nutrients that can boost your immune system. Chop it yourself—pre-minced garlic has too many preservatives.

Nuts – Most varieties contain healthy fats, protein, and fiber, a combination shown to improve cognitive health. They are high in calories, so munch in moderation.

Olive Oil – Like avocados, this staple of the Mediterranean diet is a great source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which, according to dozens of studies, reduces the risk of heart disease even more so than a low-fat diet.

Whole Grains – New research suggests obesity can occur because a lack of fiber negatively affects intestinal bacteria. Whole grains are filled with important nutrients, particularly fiber, that can counteract this effect, staving off later-in-life conditions.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Need Roof Work? 5 Tips to Avoid Scams

June 24, 2016 1:27 am

Replacing or repairing a roof is a costly undertaking—one that for many homeowners has been marred by disreputable roofing contractors. To avoid roofing scams, follow these tips, courtesy of the Insurance Institute for Home & Business Safety (IBHS):

1. Research roofing contractors diligently before hiring one. Consult the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and search for reviews and ratings online. Avoid contractors who have generated complaints, lawsuits, etc.

2. Confirm all credentials before hiring a contractor. A reputable roofing professional will be licensed, insured and bonded, and will be able to provide locally-based references. Request to review their license number, federal tax identification number, and certificate of insurance—a qualified professional will provide them. Fact-check this information with the appropriate authorities.

3. Get detailed estimates (in writing!) from contractors you’re considering hiring—more than one is best.

4. Do not enter into an agreement with a roofing contractor who solicits business at your doorstep, particularly after a storm. This could be a sign of an imposter.

5. Exercise caution when dealing with contracts. Be sure to read and re-read all documents, or have a third party review them with you, before signing them. Do not sign a contract with missing information—a fraudster may fill these blanks with inaccurate information. Do not feel pressured to sign a contract on the spot.

Most importantly, never pay upfront in full for roofing work. Scammers will make off with the money, never to be seen again.

Source: IBHS

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Staying Put? How to Prepare to Age-in-Place

June 24, 2016 1:27 am

​Many older homeowners are set on staying in their homes as they age—“aging-in-place.”

To stay put successfully, preparation is key, according to Corey Carlisle, executive director of the American Bankers Association (ABA) Foundation.

“Older Americans make up the largest share of homeowners in the country,” said Carlisle in a statement. “In order for them to stay in their homes as they age, families and caregivers must plan ahead to ensure the elderly have all the resources they need to be safe, independent and financially secure.”

To start, Carlisle and the ABA Foundation recommend recruiting loved ones, or even a banker, to assess your finances. How long can you comfortably afford your current home? Will you need to budget for aging-in-place improvements? Will you require in-home care? Consider these questions as you evaluate your financial longevity.

A reverse mortgage is an important consideration—one that must be researched thoroughly. The ABA Foundation suggests visiting ReverseMortgage.org to comparison-shop for lenders and rates, and visiting HUD.gov to locate a reverse mortgage counselor in your area, before committing to a loan.

Size up your current home to see what modifications will likely be needed, and financially prepare to make them. Aging-in-place upgrades can include anything from handrails and no-slip flooring to a stair lift or ramp entrance—and, they can be as simple as placing an emergency contact list in plain view at home, according to the ABA Foundation.

After you’ve established a viable aging-in-place plan, conduct six-month check-ins going forward, the ABA Foundation advises. Revisiting your plan periodically will help you better adapt to the inevitable changes of aging.

Source: ABA

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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