RE/MAX 440
Margot Aronson Sells Homes, Realtor®, ABR, ASR, CDPE
margotaronson@live.com
Margot Aronson Sells Homes, Realtor®, ABR, ASR, CDPE
4092 Skippack Pike, P.O. Box 880
Skippack  PA 19474
PH: 610-306-7939
O: 610-584-1160
C: 610-306-7939
F: 267-354-6943 
Welcome Home from RE/MAX 440!

Margot's Blog

Margot does MORE

5 Ways to Prevent Mold at Home

August 21, 2015 2:15 am

(Family Features) Mold in your home is a serious matter that can cause not only substantial property damage, but also significant harm to your health. Mold can vary, but often, it has a white to greenish or black spotty appearance. You may also notice a damp, musty odor in areas where mold is growing.

If you cannot see or smell any signs of mold, you can do some additional investigating with a DIY testing kit. A test kit will detect mold spores accumulating in household dust, including the types most associated with water damage and health issues.

Depending on the degree and type of mold you discover, you may be able to clean it up and eradicate the problem yourself. If the growth is extensive, you will require the assistance of trained professionals to locate, remove and prevent further spread of the mold contamination. Once the mold has been safely removed, you can take some steps to prevent chances of a reoccurrence, such as:

• Making sure the filter you are using is correctly rated for your HVAC system. A filter that is too restrictive for your air blower may overstress and burn out the motor

• Monitoring humidity with a meter. A humidity level more than 65 percent invites mold growth. An inexpensive electronic humidity meter can monitor your rooms and identify areas that need better ventilation or dehumidification

• Having a professional check for high humidity in an attic or crawl space

• Venting appliances properly and installing exhaust fans in rooms that see high levels of moisture, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchens

• Identifying any sources of moisture or leaks throughout the home, including faucets and around windows and doors, and take steps to correct them

Source: Healthful Home

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

7 Tips for Safe Browsing

August 20, 2015 2:15 am

For all the Internet’s advantages, users remain vulnerable to fraud, identity theft and other scams and must take precautions online, say the experts at the American Bankers Association (ABA). To stay safe and secure while browsing, the ABA recommends users:

Secure your Internet connection. Always protect your home wireless network with a password. When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, be cautious about what information you are sending over it.

Keep computers and mobile devices up to date. Having the latest security software, Web browser and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.

Set strong passwords. A strong password is at least eight characters in length and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters.

Keep personal information personal.
Hackers can use social media profiles to figure out your passwords and answer those security questions in the password reset tools. Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting things like birthdays, addresses, your mother’s maiden name, etc. Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know.

Watch out for phishing scams. Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information. Do not click on links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from sources you are not familiar with. Forward phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at spam@uce.gov – and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the email.

Shop safely. Before shopping online, make sure the website uses secure technology. When you are at the checkout screen, verify that the web address begins with https. Also, check to see if a tiny locked padlock symbol appears on the page.

Read the site’s privacy policies. Though long and complex, privacy policies tell you how the site protects the personal information it collects.

Source: ABA.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Leave Tree Work to the Professionals

August 20, 2015 2:15 am

For the DIY homeowner, outsourcing tree work may seem like an unnecessary expense. In reality, the costs of tackling tree care on your own can run high. “Most homeowners simply don’t have the tools, knowledge or experience necessary to safely attempt their own tree work,” says Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) Staff Arborist Tchukki Andersen.

Safe tree work requires extensive knowledge of tree physics and biology, which can take years of experience and study to acquire. For example, felling a tree in a controlled manner is not as simple as cutting through the trunk with a chain saw. It requires establishing a drop zone, making precise cuts, and sometimes guiding the tree safely to the ground with ropes as leverage.

Up-ended root plates or root balls are also unpredictable. Severing the trunk of a fallen tree from an up-ended root plate releases tension, which may be strong enough to pull the stump and root ball back into the hole, trapping anything nearby underneath it.

Other hazards may be invisible to the untrained eye. Rotten trunks and limbs, pest and fungal infestation and other defects can only be identified and treated by an experience tree care practitioner.

In addition, many trees grow near power lines and have their branches, leaves and limbs entangled in live wires. Navigating this danger is challenging even for professionals, and should never be attempted by homeowners under any circumstance.

Homeowners may also be unaware of proper tool usage, especially when using chain saws and ladders. Common mistakes are to use a dull saw, which forces the operator to use excess pressure and potentially lose control of the tool, and to saw branches on the ground, which can result in kickback. Ladders that are too short, on unstable ground or supported by a faulty limb can easily result in injury.

Tree work may also require tools the average homeowner does not own, such as stump grinders, wood chippers and aerial lifts.

The best option for homeowners seeking tree work or removal on their property is to consult with a professional arborist.

Source: TCIA

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Mortgage Delinquencies Fall as Credit Improves

August 20, 2015 2:15 am

Fueled by an improving credit landscape, the mortgage delinquency rate has rapidly declined, recently falling to 2.72 percent, according to TransUnion’s Industry Insights report. The rate is characterized as the rate at which borrowers are 60 days or more delinquent on their mortgages.

“This is the lowest mortgage delinquency level we’ve seen in several years–down from a peak of nearly 7 percent in early 2010,” explains Joe Mellman of TransUnion. “This is largely due to foreclosures and other seriously delinquent accounts continuing to work their way through the foreclosure process, as well as a reflection of the high credit quality of recent originations.”

Average mortgage balances per consumer continued to increase, up to $188,237, according to the report. The largest mortgage balance growth was observed in the Super Prime risk category, with balances rising 2.5 percent. The Prime risk group also increased by 0.5 percent; the Prime Plus remained approximately the same. Both the Subprime and Near Prime categories experienced mortgage balance declines of -2.9 percent and -1.0 percent, respectively.

Source: TransUnion

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

10 Tips for Road Trippers

August 19, 2015 12:15 am

During peak travel seasons, embarking on a road trip is one of the easiest ways to get to your destination. All you need is a full tank, the open road and these smart tips, courtesy of the editors at Rand McNally, publisher of the Road Atlas series.

1. Plan your trip. There often are many sources for planning, but use those with which you feel most comfortable. Talk with friends and family for recommendations.

2. Load the car strategically. Start with the least essential items, followed by gear you'll need to access, including grab-and-go overnight bags. Keep absolute essentials nearby, especially medications.

3. Improve fuel economy. Roll down the windows when traveling at lower speeds, and use the air conditioning for highway driving. Hot weather can actually increase fuel economy since your engine warms up to an efficient temperature faster. Warm air also tends to cause less aerodynamic drag than cold air.

4. Be road ready. Pack a first-aid kit, plenty of tissues, moist wipes and a travel size spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol. You can use the alcohol to sanitize hands and clean surfaces.

5. Bring a cooler. It's smart – and wise for your budget – to bring a small cooler filled with drinks, fruit and other healthy treats to stay well hydrated and well nourished on the road.

6. Pack for entertainment. The license plate game can only go so far until the inevitable delay looking for the elusive Hawaii plate. Bring car games, print and audio books, and tablets loaded with digital books, games, and movies.

7. Create a customized playlist. Have fun selecting the perfect soundtrack to your road trip. If you don't have time to make your own, find a compiled playlist at www.NPR.org.

8. Pack a separate container to hold recyclables.
If your campground doesn't offer recycling, use an app to help locate recycling centers.

9. Stay connected.
Bring a wireless router for mobile Internet access.

10. Take time to try new things
. Whether it's pulling over for a scenic overlook or stopping for lunch in a local diner, make time to explore beyond the official itinerary.

Source: Rand McNally

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Report: More Americans Prioritizing Retirement

August 19, 2015 12:15 am

With the economy rebounding, households are saving significantly more so than in previous years. According to a recent Bankrate.com report, nearly 20 percent of working Americans are saving more for retirement now than they were one year ago, and more than half (55 percent) are saving about the same amount that they were saving one year ago.

Just 14 percent of working Americans are saving less for retirement, a vast improvement from 29 percent seen four years ago.

The uptick in savings might be attributed to heightened feelings of job security–despite a slip of optimistic feelings about debt, net worth and overall financial situation, according to the report.

Ten percent of working Americans have not contributed anything to their retirement accounts this year or last year.

"With millions of Americans behind in their retirement savings, it is important not only to save, but to save more each year," says Bankrate.com Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride. "Even for those saving the maximum, 401k contribution limits increased for 2015, affording the opportunity to put more away for retirement."

Source: Bankrate

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

The Top Interior Color Trends to Watch

August 19, 2015 12:15 am

Defining a color palette in the home is as much about personality as it is about aesthetics. Whether seeking to renovate a room or simply refresh seasonal decor, consider incorporating this year’s most popular colors in the design, which not only speak to individuality, but are also right on trend, according to the color experts at Valspar.

1. “Sixth Sense” – Modern Grays, Transparent Blues and Radiant Yellows
Impressive advancements in smart technology and intuitive digital devices - from smart phones to smart cars to wired-clothing - are becoming a benchmark in all aspects of everyday life. This trend represents the seamless, perceptive presence of smart technology with cool, luminous and visionary hues featuring transparent glowing tones of blue, green, aqua and radiant yellow balanced by a stylish modern gray that expresses intuition. Bringing in touches of iridescent and ombre finishes can elevate the flowing effect of these luminous hues.

2. “New-Fashioned Family” – Happy Reds, Timeless Blues and Deep Burgundies
Shifts in family structure, as they become increasingly diverse, blended and anything but cookie cutter, are impacting today's homes. This trend is characterized by joyful, optimistic, contemporary hues capturing the independent spirit of this new demographic and includes confident, happy shades of red, coral, berry and orange grounded with a timeless, comfortable denim blue and a soulful, deep burgundy. Pairing these joyful hues with high-gloss finishes and translucent accents adds a pop of personal style to the home.

3. “Picture-Perfect” – Soft Tans, Dreamy Blues and Filtered Platinum

This trend zooms in on the social media movement and the powerful influence of personal storytelling. This palette embodies the warm connective nature of self-expression with soft coral tones, a tan that represents human interaction, and dreamy shades of blue, copper and platinum that bring to mind popular photo filter effects. Layering these filtered hues with subtle shimmer and metallic finishes can add a flash of excitement.

4. “Nurtured by Nature” – Mineral Grays, Rich Reds and Fresh Yellow-Greens

This trend is translated by a collection of lush, organic colors that include unrefined mineral grays of the earth; a rich clay red; an invigorating blue and a fresh yellow-green that radiates energy and growth. Natural stone and hammered steel accents ground the energy of these lush hues and heighten the sensory appeal of the space.

“‘What colors are trending?’ is probably the most frequent ask I receive as a designer,” says Genevieve Gorder, design expert, television personality and Valspar color ambassador. “Grouping colors into relatable families through cultural events makes an overwhelming category of home feel approachable, logical and most importantly, doable.”

Source: Valspar

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Survey: Vacationers Stress to De-Stress

August 18, 2015 12:15 am

Vacations are supposed to be relaxing – right? According to a recent Wyndham Hotel Group survey, the process of planning a vacation can trigger stress greater than that induced when visiting in-laws. Yikes!

The most stressful aspect of vacation planning, the survey found, is staying within budget. While nearly all respondents feel they need a vacation, most believe an overseas vacation is out of reach.

The survey also assessed the relationship between parents and children on vacation, finding families that take just one or two vacations a year fight less than those that don’t. At home, a third of parents talk to their children more via mobile devices than face-to-face; on vacation, three-quarters of parents use their mobile devices less, proving a getaway to be the ultimate cell phone dead spot.

Source: Wyndham Rewards

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

10 Pool Safety Tips

August 18, 2015 12:15 am

Safety is crucial in and near water, especially around pools. Whether you plan to splash down in a community pool or enjoy your pool at home, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) strongly advisers pool users to follow these guidelines to prevent accident or injury.

1. Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim.

2. Install a four-foot or taller fence around the entire perimeter of the pool and use self-closing and self-latching gates. Ask your neighbors to do the same at their pools.

3. Never leave a child unattended in or near a pool or spa, and always watch your children closely around all bodies of water.

4. Designate a “Water Watcher” to supervise children in the pool or spa. This person should not be reading, texting, using a smartphone or be otherwise distracted. Adults can take turns being a Water Watcher.

5. If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first.

6. Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.

7. Ensure any public pool and spa you use has drain covers that comply with federal safety requirements. If you are unsure, ask the pool manager if the facility complies with the “VGB Act.”

8. Learn how to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly.

9. Install and use a lockable safety cover on your spa.

10. Have lifesaving equipment such as a life ring, float or fiberglass reaching pole available and accessible.

Source: CPSC.gov

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

5 Tips for Hiring a Contractor

August 18, 2015 12:15 am

It is no secret summer is the more popular time of year to complete a home remodel. In fact, remodeling contractor queries on Angie’s List in June, July and August total one-third of all remodeling contractor queries in the other nine months of the year. The most popular remodeling projects, per Angie’s List data, include kitchen, bathroom and bedroom overhauls, updated lighting, and expanded closets and pantries.

According to Angie Hicks, co-founder of Angie’s List, hiring too quickly for a home remodeling project can lead to serious consequences. To ensure you hire the right professional for your project, Hicks advises:

• Researching 5 to 10 potential companies to determine local reputation, how well their work stands the test of time, and if they specialize in the work you want done;

• Getting at least three written estimates to compare costs and timeliness;

• Verifying applicable trade license, bonding and insurance status;

• Insisting on a payment schedule tied to project progress and keeping at least 10 percent back until the job is complete to your satisfaction;

• Including the payment schedule and a termination clause in your written contract that allows you to walk away easier if terms are not met.

Source: Angie’s List

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:
TwitterFacebookGoogleLinkedin