RE/MAX 440
Patty Jo Anzivine
pattyjovine@gmail.com
Patty Jo Anzivine
4550 W. Tilghman Street
Allentown  PA 18104
PH: 610-390-0415
O: 610-398-8111
F: 267-354-6902 
Welcome Home from RE/MAX 440!

My Blog

Six Ways Homeowners Can Prepare for Winter Weather

November 14, 2014 2:13 am

This year's winter weather predictions vary on the amount of precipitation we can expect, but many of them agree that much of the country will experience below normal temperatures. Energy authorities encourage homeowners to take steps before these cold temperatures set in to help keep warm air in your home and money in your pocket.

"Most winterizing steps can pay for themselves relatively quickly with heating bill savings," says Molly Hall, executive director of the Energy Education Council. "Don't overlook simple energy-saving steps such as letting the sun warm rooms on sunny days or closing the damper when the fireplace is not in use. These are effective energy-saving tips that cost you nothing."

Lowering the thermostat is the easiest way to save energy. Energy use is reduced for every degree dialed down. Turn it down when you are away from home or sleeping, and keep it to the lowest comfortable level when you are home. Consider installing a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature.

Use these tips to help keep the cold air outside and to cut costs to heat your home:
  • Before firing up your heating system, make sure the furnace and heaters are in good working order, and have a professional check and service your furnace system to ensure peak efficiency and safety.
  • Clean or replace your furnace filter every month to save energy and improve heat circulation. Dust and dirt slow down air flow. This makes the system work harder, which wastes energy and costs more money.
  • Seal all air leaks around your home with weather stripping or caulking. There may be gaps that contribute to the loss of heat in your home. Some common areas to find air leaks include: windows, doors, the attic hatch, wiring holes, plumbing vents, furnace vents, dryer vents, and recessed lighting.
  • Make sure walls, attics, and flooring, especially above unheated spaces such as crawl spaces and garages, are properly insulated, and repair any leaks on the roof.
  • Replace window screens with storm windows. If you have older or leaky windows that you cannot replace, use temporary fixes such as plastic film kits that create the effect of an interior storm window.
  • Electric space heaters can be useful to heat small areas, such as a study or living room. However, if you need to keep large areas warm, your home heating system will do the job more efficiently. If a space heater is being used, make sure the wiring is adequate, and check for cord fraying, splitting wires, or overheating. Do not place a portable heater in high-traffic areas, keep it clear of anything flammable, and do not leave it on unattended.
"Most people will be pleasantly surprised to realize double-digit percentage savings on their heating bills by using these simple measures," Hallsays. "Most winterizing steps will pay for themselves relatively quickly with energy bill savings, and don't forget, saving energy is the cheapest and cleanest way to add to our energy supply."

If you find you need to replace your heating system, talk to your installer about getting the most efficient unit you can afford. Investing in energy efficient equipment will help you save money on heating bills.

Source: Energy Education Council

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

How to Select the Ideal Exterior Color for Your Home

November 14, 2014 2:13 am

(BPT) – Whether designing new construction or renovating, choosing the right exterior color and complementary accent shades is critical to creating curb appeal. With color and architecture trends varying from city to city, it’s important to consider local design trends when selecting colors for the exterior of your home.

Determine the best color choices for your home by following these guidelines.

Location - Consider the neighborhood as a whole. Think about the next-door neighbor and the homes down the street. Regardless of the neighborhood, the streetscape - sizes and facades of homes, landscape architecture, balance of light and shade - plays a role in creating an idyllic neighborhood and affects the value of individual homes and communities overall. The natural surroundings also play a significant part in color selection. For example, a green wooded area would blend better with earth tones than a home near the blues and grays of the ocean.

Color combinations
- Selecting the right combination of colors for a home varies, but a good rule of thumb is to use three to six, depending on the siding and trim of the home. A best practice is to avoid selecting more than two siding colors, one trim color and one accent color for features like doors and shutters.

Balance of color choices - A home's visual balance can be disrupted by color hues that don't mix or match. The eye is naturally drawn to light colors, so consider pairing a brighter, lighter garage door with a darker siding shade. Licensed contractors, builders or remodelers can help guide homeowners on choosing multiple siding colors and trim hues that not only create a classic look for a home, but also help it blend in with its surrounding environment.

Color performance – While the home is a reflection of the person and family in it, it's also an investment. If exterior products are both functionally and aesthetically sound, they offer a greater curb appeal, which can also help with resale value when the time comes.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Holiday Scammers: Signs to Watch For

November 13, 2014 2:25 am

Scammers love a holiday, and all types of hoaxes tend to increase during the holiday season. The most common schemes to watch out for include:

Charity scams:
Bogus charities claiming to benefit disaster victims, sick children, police, firefighters and veterans and are among the most successful schemes, especially in duping older donors.

To avoid being scammed, don’t click on attachments or links in solicitation emails, which can unleash a virus into your computer. Ask callers for the organization’s phone number, then call the number to make sure a campaign is underway. Authenticate charities by checking names and reputations at the Wise Giving Alliance (operated by the Better Business Bureau), Charity Navigator or GuideStar, or by contacting the state agency that regulates charities where you live. Never provide a credit card number to telemarketers and beware of any group that offers to send a courier to pick up cash or a personal check at your home.

Benefit scams:
According to the Better Business Bureau, some scams promise cash payouts for pensions, but typically pay only 30 to 40 percent of their actual worth. Other hoaxes involve self-proclaimed "advocates" who promise benefits by transferring retirement assets into an irrevocable trust.

Beware of official-sounding names, and don’t depend on nursing homes, community centers and assisted living facilities to protect you; often they are paid a fee to let volunteers give presentations.

Car scams: Another ruse involves classified ads offering cars or other items in exchange for an upfront payment that never materializes.

Make sure you see the car and test drive it. Check Edmunds.com or Kelley Blue Book for realistic pricing information by vehicle year, make and model – and check out local inventory via AutoTrader.com. Get a photocopy of the vehicle title and registration, and do a CarFax check of its vehicle identification number to ensure its existence, location, and accident and repair history.

Source: AARP New York

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Most Homeowners Leave Home Improvement Projects Unfinished

November 13, 2014 2:25 am

According to a recent survey released by Black+Decker, more than half of U.S. homeowners (52 percent) currently have unfinished home improvement projects and the vast majority (78.7 percent) have two or more incomplete projects.

“We’ve all been there – the project is halfway done, but life gets in the way. Walk one step away from a project and there’s a chance you’ll never go back,” says Allison Nicolaidis, president of Black+Decker. The survey revealed that time is the biggest factor in leaving a project incomplete, with respondents reporting that they do not set deadlines when taking on a project.

Finances are the second biggest reason home improvement projects go unfinished, followed by skill-level.

The most common unfinished projects are room improvements (repairs, maintenance, updates, upgrades), followed by walls, including plaster repair, painting or shelf installation. However, family events are the biggest motivation for homeowners to complete those projects.

When asked how they feel about home improvement projects, respondents were most likely to feel “challenged,” but also “proud” and “accomplished.”

Source: Black+Decker

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Home Protection Tips For Snowbird Travelers

November 13, 2014 2:25 am

With last year's polar vortex fresh in the minds of many Americans, the flock of snowbird travelers could grow considerably this season as folks head to the sunny states. Whether families spend a couple of weeks or the majority of the winter in a different state, preparing a residence for a prolonged absence is important. Snowbird travelers must protect their homes from the forces of nature and potential burglars or trespassers.

Protect your home before you fly the coop with these tips.
1. Forward mail, stop newspapers and have a neighbor collect fliers. A house with mail and papers piling up is a sure sign the owners have flown the coop.
2. If absent during the growing season, snowbird homeowners must make sure someone is mowing the lawn. This maintains the appearance that someone is in the residence and keeps the property in compliance with local ordinances.
3. Ensure motion sensing exterior lights are working, some interior lights are on timers and alarm systems are activated.
4. Close fireplace flus to prevent birds, bats and rodents from making their way indoors.
5. Clean the kitchen and pantries before leaving. Even a small amount of garbage or loose food could be signal to bugs that the buffet is open.
6. For season-long trips, it's a good idea to unplug and defrost freezers and refrigerators and turn off the water.
Source: Aprilaire

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

During Holiday Gatherings, Spend Time Assessing Aging Family Members

November 12, 2014 2:37 am

With fuel prices the lowest in four years, more than 40 million Americans are expected to take to the roadways, railways and airways as they head home for the holidays. Take advantage of one of the few occasions when multiple generations gather under one roof to observe signs of decline in aging loved ones.

"Adult family members visiting their parents over the holidays should be aware of the obvious,” says Mary Merrell Bailey, an estate planning attorney. Bailey suggests watching out for a combination of the following factors:
  • Is the mail piled up or unopened, or are there notices from creditors?
  • Were mom's family recipes burned or not cooked enough?
  • Is there insufficient food in the pantry or decaying food in the refrigerator?
  • Are the pets being cared for and is the home being maintained as usual?
  • Does the car have signs of damage?
  • Are there changes in personality, hygiene, or ability to engage in dinner conversation?
According to Bailey, spotting issues early on can help ensure that seniors who are living independently will receive proper care if their condition progresses. Mismanagement of financial and legal affairs, which often occurs with diminished capacity, can be addressed through legal guardianship proceedings.

Source: Your Caring Law Firm

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

How Millennials Can Affordably Personalize a Home

November 12, 2014 2:37 am

(BPT) - Every generation of homeowners has its design priorities. Baby boomers, for example, tend to seek home design that accommodates aging in place, while Generation X desires features that facilitate busy lifestyles. Millennials, on the other hand, crave decor that blends personalization, energy-efficiency and family-friendly features. Since many millennial homeowners are just starting out in their personal and professional lives, affordability is essential.

Millennials can achieve a personal look without breaking the bank. Meet your needs with these tips for budget-friendly design.

Paint is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to give your favorite interior spaces an instant facelift. Gray has become the must-have neutral, while pops of color add energy throughout any season. Place an accent color on a singular focal wall or add a border between the ceiling and the wall color for a subtle pop that adds timeless style.

Repurpose furnishings. Whether it's an heirloom china cabinet that's been in your family for generations, a rocking chair from a secondhand store or that shabby but still comfy sofa from your parents' living room, repurposed furniture can add a personalized look to your decor at a fraction of the cost of new items. Inspect all the parts of a refurnished piece to ensure they're in good repair; tighten screws, apply wood glue where needed and add a fresh finish or new upholstery. Personalizing a repurposed piece creates a unique look at little cost, and by reusing an older piece, you're doing something good for the environment, too.

Upgrade lighting
for a cost-effective way to personalize the look of a room. There are a variety of fixtures available to suit every decorating taste. Simply switching out an ordinary fixture in the breakfast nook, dining room or family room for a design that speaks to you can elevate a room's personal feel. Outfit new fixtures with electricity-sipping CFLs or LEDs. Such bulbs produce the same level of light as incandescent bulbs, and they use about 80 percent less electricity. Plus, they can last eight years or longer.

Make your own wall art for a deeply personal touch. You don't need to be an artist or even particularly crafty to create your own wall decorations. Look online for wall art that appeals to your sense of style, then search for instructional videos and guides that can help you achieve the same look on your own. Whether you opt for hand-framed prints you created yourself, an arrangement of mirrors as an accent on one wall or creative treatments of your favorite family photos, wall art is an easy, cost-effective way to create a personal look in any room.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Step Up Your Energy Efficiency This Winter

November 12, 2014 2:37 am

Days are getting shorter, the weather outside is getting cooler, and the holiday season is right around the corner. It is during this time of year people are spending more time indoors, cranking up the heat, and using more lighting throughout their home, which ultimately leads to higher energy bills. Porch.com, the world’s home improvement network, advises homeowners to reduce their energy bills by choosing energy efficient light bulbs.

“People don’t have to invest a lot of time and money to make a difference. Little changes such as switching to energy efficient light bulbs add up,” says Matt Ehrlichman, CEO of Porch.com. “In fact, an average American household can save over $200 per year by replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED bulbs.”

For those who have not switched over to energy efficient light bulbs (compact fluorescent lights [CFLs], light-emitting diodes [LEDs], and halogen incandescent light bulbs), the American Lighting Association recommends investigating different lighting options. “Only around 10 percent of the energy in old style incandescent light bulbs goes towards lighting, with the remaining 90 percent of energy spent on producing heat,” says Larry Lauck, American Lighting Association.

In fact, the wasted heat produced by just 34 incandescent 60W bulbs producing 850 lumens of light each would be enough to cook your Thanksgiving turkey at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It would take a whopping 258 LED bulbs, or 850 lumens each, to waste the same amount of heat.

Lauck advises that the first thing homeowners do is identify the lights in their home that are on for a significant amount of time. For many people, this could be porch lights or outdoor lighting. Both are best suited for LEDs as they have the greatest energy savings and last over 20 years.

When considering lighting options in a kitchen or bathroom, Lauck encourages homeowners to talk to a professional. Unlike old style incandescent light bulbs which all have a universal warm yellow hue, energy efficient light bulbs come in an array of colors ranging from cool to warm hues. Professionals can speak to color temperature, dimming features, and energy efficiency to help homeowners choose the right light bulb for their space.

Source: Porch.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

How to Safely Prepare a Thanksgiving Meal

November 11, 2014 2:49 am

(Family Features) One of the most memorable moments at any holiday dinner is when the turkey is brought to the table. Make sure your holiday meal is a special one by following these simple tips for preparing your turkey safely.
  • Don’t unwrap a frozen turkey before thawing.
  • Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator for 24 hours per 5 pounds in weight. For example, a 20-pound bird takes four days to thaw. Thaw it faster by covering with cold water in the sink and changing the water every half hour per pound of turkey.
  • Refrigerate the turkey as soon as it has thawed or cook it immediately.
  • Lay a tent of foil loosely over the turkey to prevent over-browning.
  • Never partially cook a turkey. Always cook it completely once started.
  • The turkey is done when the meat thermometer is 180°F and the stuffing is 165°F. If you don't have a meat thermometer, look for the red stem to go up on the pop-up timer. Press a thumb and forefinger into the thick part of the drumstick to see if it feels soft or wiggle a drumstick to see if it moves easily.
  • For easier carving, let the turkey stand at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.
Source: Rhodes Bake-N-Serv

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Three Winter Home Upgrades That Add Resale Value

November 11, 2014 2:49 am

According to the Appraisal Institute, homeowners should take steps to winterize their homes in order to reduce energy costs, increase comfort in cold months and improve resale value.

“With the fall season coming to a close, now is a great time for homeowners to consider making seasonal updates to their properties,” says Appraisal Institute President Ken P. Wilson, MAI, SRA. “Not only can these types of home improvements make the cold weather manageable, many can provide a nice return on investment in resale value.”

The Appraisal Institute encourages homeowners to focus on three main updates this winter: windows, exteriors and furnaces.

Adding vinyl or wood windows to a home can have an average payback of nearly 80 percent, according to the Remodeling Magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value Report. Vinyl and wood replacement windows have a higher projected return on investment than many other home improvement projects, including a bathroom addition, family room addition, garage addition or roof replacement.

That same study found that a combination of interior and exterior replacement projects retained the most value in home improvements. For example, a minor kitchen remodel returned nearly 83 percent of homeowners’ original investment, while a wood deck addition returned more than 87 percent.

A furnace doesn’t just provide heat and comfort during cold months, but proactively tuning or replacing a home’s furnace can alleviate issues when considering resale. According to Consumer Reports, the average lifespan of a furnace is 15 to 18 years. Homeowners should keep this timeframe in mind when debating servicing versus replacement.

Homeowners should contact an appraiser before deciding on any winterization projects. “A qualified, competent appraiser can make recommendations about which updates will likely provide the most impact on resale value, as well as how to not exceed community norms for the local area,” Wilson says.

Source: Appraisal Institute

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags: