RE/MAX 440
Dale Joy
dalejoy1@verizon.net
Dale Joy
4092 Skippack Pike, P.O. Box 880
Skippack  PA 19474
PH: 610-584-1160
O: 610-584-1160
C: 215-460-5153
F: 267-354-6852 
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The Top 5 Mistakes Buyers Make

November 29, 2012 3:20 am

So you're ready to meet the challenge of buying a new home? With some common-sense planning, you can avoid these five common buyer mistakes and steer yourself towards success:

1. Impulse buying. In order to skip this mistake, do some serious research on your specific needs. For example, how do the local schools rate? Are there parks or recreation facilities that fit your needs? Can you tolerate the traffic? Is there sufficient shopping? In other words, rate areas in terms of what is important to you personally. You might find your "dream house" only to discover that resales are terrible, the schools are abysmal, traffic is a nightmare, or that aircraft patterns go right over the front yard. Bottom line – make your dream home earn its stripes. Before you commit to a long term relationship, make certain you are compatible.

2. Not setting any limits. Don't make the classic mistake of buying into more than you can afford. Needless to say, your first responsibility is to pay for your mortgage, taxes, and insurance. If you're set on upgrades or remodeling, can you fit them into your budget? What about furnishings? Can you afford the extra furniture for those extra bedrooms or for that huge new living room? And what about utilities? Those cathedral ceilings are breathtaking, but have you considered the additional energy costs?

3. Not getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Speaking of monthly payments, most experts consider it crucial for buyers to seek pre-approval from a lender before even looking to purchase. While pre-approval does not necessarily mean you are approved for a loan, at the very least it establishes precisely what you can afford. Once you're armed with that information, you can avoid the heartbreak of finding the perfect home only to discover that it's beyond your reach. In addition, pre-approval substantially improves your status as a buyer in the eyes of a seller.

4. Not working with professionals. So, you've found a lender. Now you need to complete your professional support team. Too many buyers believe they can do this on their own, and they disregard professional input. Avoid a nightmare later by assembling a group of professionals who will suit your needs, represent you, and whose expertise you respect. Begin your search with a buyer's agent. Resist the urge to call the number on the For Sale sign. The seller's agent works for the seller. You need an agent who will work on your behalf and negotiate with your interests in mind. Will you need a real estate attorney? It's a good idea to find a suitable lawyer as your search begins, rather than in the midst of it. To say that real estate documents are confusing is an understatement. A real estate attorney is best suited to protect you from unexpected terms or surprises when it's time to sign on the dotted line. And what about a home inspector? Which brings us to the next mistake…

5. Cutting corners on the home inspection. Lenders require a home inspection before they will approve a loan, but the bank generally pays for only standard home inspections that cover structural components such as walls, support, electrical and piping. Buyers are wise to pay for more thorough inspections to include roof integrity, sewage or leaks. A minor investment with your own inspector is a small price to pay in exchange for enormous deficiencies later.

Ultimately, with smart planning and a realistic approach to home buying, you really can enjoy the dream of owning your perfect home.

Source: RealtyPin

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Get More Value out of Your Game Day Party

November 28, 2012 3:20 am

(Family Features) No matter what your favorite sport is, when you host the watch party you need to be on your A-game. But, like many people, you don’t want to break the bank on food to entertain. In fact, 90 percent of people look for deals to get more value when making food purchases.

Here are a few tips for hosting a winning game day party on a budget:

Go Big – Grab some savings when you buy in bulk. Look for party-sized packages of your favorite chips, dips, pretzels and nuts. You can stock up on bulk beverages and desserts, too, saving you time and money.

Count on Teamwork – Have each of your guests bring a favorite snack or dish to share with everyone. To make sure you don’t have too many of the same dishes, assign different categories to people – one to bring chili, another to bring chips and dip, etc. For those that don’t cook, let them bring drinks, ice or paper goods.

Keep it Simple – Pizza is always a game-time favorite – but ordering carry-out or delivery pizza can get pricey and time-consuming. According to the same national survey, nearly two-thirds of consumers (65 percent) prefer the convenience and quick-preparedness of frozen foods versus ordering out or having food delivered. You can often get more pizza for your money.

DIY to Save – Deli and veggie trays from the grocery store can be expensive. You can make your own and save more money. Choose a variety of items you know your guests will eat. You can wash and cut produce a day or two before the party and just store them in the fridge until party time.

Don’t Trash It – When you skip disposable plates, utensils and cups, you not only save money, but you also cut down on the amount of trash you have to deal with when the party’s over. Use the dishes you have, even if they don’t match. If you’re having a large party and don’t have enough dishes, borrow some from friends.

It’s easier than you think to host a game-day party that doesn’t cost a fortune. A little planning and some smart shopping means you can enjoy the big game and all the delicious fun that goes with it.

Source: DiGiorno

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Holiday Travel and Home Plumbing Tips to Avoid Costly Problems

November 28, 2012 3:20 am

When pipes freeze, water pressure builds causing cracks, whether the pipe is made of plastic, copper or steel. Even a tiny crack can unleash 250 gallons of water in a single day. Cracked pipes are one thing, but the real problem comes when the pipes begin to unfreeze. If you're planning on traveling for the holiday season, take the proper steps to ensure your home's plumbing system will survive the cold and your house is protected from disaster.

• Make sure your furnace is set no lower than 55 degrees while you're away and throughout the winter to prevent pipes from freezing.
• Turn up the water heater slightly to retain hot water. Do not exceed 125°F.
• Insulate pipes in unheated areas. Apply heat tape or thermostat-controlled heat cables around exposed pipes.
• You can shut off the washing machine water valve supply to save on your bill.
• There are several places you can check for leaks that will save water and in some cases prevent potential messes while away including a running toilet and appliance hoses.
• Install a flood detection device that works like a smoke detector setting off an alarm to warn your house-sitter of a potential flood or leak caused by bursting pipes.

If you have a house sitter, leave them instructions for turning off the main water supply to your home, should a problem arise.

Source: Roto-Rooter

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Holiday Decorating 2012: Tips For Hanging Holiday Outdoor Lights

November 28, 2012 3:20 am

The holiday season is fast approaching and if you're hanging up holiday lights, now is the time. With a little pre-planning and helpful advice, what starts as a festive holiday activity should end as a festive holiday activity.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), hospital emergency rooms treat about 12,500 people for injuries from falls, cuts and shocks – all related to holiday lights, decorations and Christmas trees. Thinking about lining the walkway with candles to stay safe? Think again, as the CPSC warns that candles start about 11,600 fires annually resulting in 150 deaths, 1,200 injuries and $173 million in property loss.

To transform an outdoor area into a holiday wonderland as safely and efficiently as possible, try the following:

• Develop a plan. Sketch out a drawing, take before and after pictures and file them away for next year's decor. Having a plan is not only a time saver, but it also eliminates the amount of time spent on the roof or on ladders – a safety hazard for both pros and homeowners, alike.

• Make time. Plan on at least three hours for roof hanging. If it's the first time you're executing a plan, keep it simple. It's easier to add more lights on another day, but get the basic outline complete first.

• Test and retest. Test each strand of lights early and before attempting to hang. Don't test on the fly.

• Use the right stuff. Only use exterior extension cords, and use more than one. A common DIY mistake homeowners make is connecting all of the lighting through the same line and outlet. Doing so can blow fuses and lights.

• Tape it up. Tape up connections so that outdoor elements don't affect the circuitry. For example, exposed extension cords are trip hazards for both homeowners and visitors.

• Use clips. When hanging lights and decorations, use clips, not nails. Clips hold better and don't destroy the home's exterior.

• Never go solo. When mounting roof lights, work in pairs. Have one partner hold the ladder (on hard ground in an area free of small rocks, divets or holes) so that it stays secure. This reduces accidents and gets the job done quicker. And when in doubt, call in the experts. Professional lighting installers can install lights on high peaks and places that typical home ladders can't reach. They can also develop a plan to be implemented season after season.

Oftentimes, less is more. Use an elegant and simple holiday lighting scheme and don't go to extremes. Using too many colors or fixtures can look overbearing and take away from what you are trying to accomplish.

Source: Outdoor Living Perspectives

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Is It Possible to Retire Without a Mortgage to Worry About?

November 27, 2012 3:20 am

It's one thing to commit to a 15- or 30-year mortgage when you're in your 20s or 30s and have a (relatively) stable income. But what about when you're in your 50s and 60s and thinking about retiring? Suddenly, those once-manageable monthly mortgage payments can seem like a massive hurdle. Is it even possible to retire without a mortgage in today's day and age? Before the recession, Baby Boomers were sitting pretty on homes that were just about paid off – and skyrocketing in value. As a result, many of those Baby Boomers used all of that value to their advantage – like taking out second mortgages to help the kids pay for college, or getting home equity loans to pay for brand new gourmet kitchens and spa-like master bathrooms. Unfortunately, the housing bubble burst before many of them got a chance to make up for the cost. In fact, the average American lost 40 percent of his or her net worth during the recession, and those Baby Boomers were no different. As a result, many of them will be unable to have that carefree, mortgage-free retirement they dreamed of.

But what about younger Americans? Even though they have more time to plan, the investment options are slimmer than they were a few years ago – meaning there's not as many opportunities to "close the gaps" on mortgages as there were before. For example, back in the mid-2000s, flipping houses was all the rage. If you had enough for the initial investment, you could make massive sums of money, and relatively quickly, to boot! Today, flipping has started to rise from the ashes, but it's not nearly as popular as it once was. And, until the housing market gets back on its feet, it won't be the quick source of money that it once was.

So, what are your options in today's economy if you want to enjoy your golden years without a mortgage hanging over your head?

1. Increase your monthly payments now.
By paying a little more now, you can get your home loan paid off sooner. If you don't think you have extra money to pay now, think again. Remember, mortgage rates are at all-time lows. Take the money you're saving on interest, and put it towards higher monthly payments. That way, you won't necessarily need to spend more money than you had originally budgeted.

2. Cool it with additional debt.
Just because banks are starting to write more second mortgages and home equity loans again doesn't mean you have to take advantage of them. Instead, find ways to pay for things without taking out a loan. Even if it means cutting back on "fun" spending now, you'll thank yourself later!

3. Don't forget about your retirement savings.
Even if it feels like retirement is still a long way away, it's not. If you don't put money towards your retirement savings now, you're going to regret it later. In fact, make your retirement fund part of your monthly budget – just like your car payment or your grocery bills. That way, it will get the attention it deserves.

As long as you learn to work with the current economic landscape (and adjust your finances accordingly), you may not have to be tied to mortgage payments all throughout your retirement!

Source: RealtyPin

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Holiday Overspending Can Have Long-Term Consequences

November 27, 2012 3:20 am

Millions of consumers have begun their holiday shopping, snagging sale items either in-person or online, and therefore, considering themselves savvy shoppers. At the same time, many lost sight of the fact that regardless of the price, a bargain isn’t a smart purchase if it compromises a person’s overall financial health.

“If there’s one time of the year when people shop with their heart, not their head, it’s the holiday season,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). “Emotional spending during the holidays is often the tipping point that pushes people over the edge financially, as common sense can take a backseat during this time of the year.”

To help consumers remain financially responsible during the holidays, the NFCC offers the following five reminders of the long-term consequences of over-spending, some of which can last far after the lights are taken down and the tinsel is packed away.

• Paying additional interest - Adding new debt to an existing debt load, one which cannot be paid in full when the bill arrives, equals paying a larger dollar amount of interest due to the higher outstanding balance. Even worse, when a balance is carried over from month-to-month on an account, interest is paid on the previous months’ interest. People often boast of buying an item on sale, then pay for it over time, thus wiping out any savings.

• Diminished future borrowing power – An increased level of debt could cause lenders to decline applications for new lines of credit or loans. Since no one knows what the future holds, not being in a position to tap into new credit is something to guard against.

• Diminished future buying power – Buying on credit is a contractual agreement to pay the debt later, often with money that has yet to be earned. Using tomorrow’s money for today’s expenses compromises future spending.

• Lower credit score – Excessive debt often leads to paying late, skipping payments, and utilizing too high a percentage of open credit, all of which could lower the all-important credit score. Further, applying for new lines of credit simply to save money on today’s purchase will not only increase the temptation to spend, but will show as an inquiry on the credit report, potentially lowering the score.

• Debt interferes with life - Debt is a 24/7 problem, distracts people from their job and home-life, interrupts sleep and potentially causes marital strife.

“With the economy still on shaky ground and job security not something to be counted on, it makes no sense to self-inflict financial damage this holiday season,” continued Cunningham.

Source: www.DebtAdvice.org

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Five Tips to Rodent-Proof Your Home

November 27, 2012 3:20 am

As the cool temperatures start to settle in for the next few months, homeowners are advised to pest-proof their homes, garages and sheds now, because fall is when most insect and rodent pests seek shelter for the winter months.

With temperatures recently dropping, rodents and other pests tend to move inside structures this time of year to find a warm place to overwinter and breed. A pregnant female mouse can produce an average of eight pups in a litter, and a rat, seven pups on average, and there are typically four to five litters per year. Their gestation period is about a month, so before you know it, one mouse can turn into a major problem for homeowners.

Mice can fit through an opening the size of a dime, so it is important to fix any cracks in and under siding, doors and windows. In addition to warmth, rodents enter homes looking for food and water. They prefer cereals and grains, but will eat just about anything.

As you prepare your home for winter, keep the five following tips in mind:

• Make sure all holes, gaps and cracks larger than 1/4 of an inch are sealed.
• Replace door sweeps and make sure doors and windows close tightly.
• Clean out gutters and install gutter guards to prevent leaves and debris from accumulating.
• Store firewood as far from the home as possible.
• Trim branches, plants and bushes that hang over the home.

Source: Orkin

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Tips for Keeping Homes Safe During The Holiday Season

November 26, 2012 3:18 am

Plumbing and appliance emergencies are the most frequent service requests during the holiday season. Kitchen appliances, chimneys, furnaces and garbage disposals are especially prone to malfunction during the hectic holiday season. HomeAdvisor's Home Improvement Expert and DIY Network host Amy Matthews offers useful tips to help homeowners prepare their homes for the winter season.

"The holidays can be as stressful as they are joyous, especially if an unexpected home repair emergency occurs," said Matthews.

Kitchen Appliances
According to HomeAdvisor, the most frequent home emergency repair in 2012 has been for appliance repairs. Avoid having an emergency situation during a big family feast by thoroughly cleaning your oven and grill and keeping kitchen appliances in tip-top shape. If the oven isn't cleaned properly, homeowners risk the chance of filling their house with smoke and ruining their meal. A professional can inspect top trouble areas and provide insights on repairs or replacements.

Garbage Disposals

Matthews advises that homeowners avoid garbage disposal repairs by never placing coffee grounds, grease, eggshells, bones or potato skins in the disposal. It is also important that homeowners do not overfill their garbage disposal or use chemical drain cleaners to unclog it. It is unlikely that chemical cleaners will work completely and they leave the sink full of toxic liquids.

Chimney and Fireplace
A crackling fire is charming during the holidays, but dirty chimneys can be extremely dangerous and can cause a fire in the home. A professional should inspect the fireplace to ensure the chimney is clean before lighting the first fire of the season. A money saving tip is to install a glass enclosure or glass doors on the opening of the fireplace to reduce the amount of hot air that escapes from the house.

Furnace
Keeping a clean filter in the furnace through the winter is essential to maximizing its efficiency. Dirty filters make the furnace work harder and may even damage it. It is also best to hire a professional on an annual basis to install proper filters, vacuum the unit, and recommend appropriate upgrades. Annual maintenance on a furnace can increase its life expectancy by up to four years.

Yard
Dead and dying tree branches can be a danger to people and power lines. Keep your home safe and prevent power outages this season by hiring a professional to prune branches and limbs close to your home.

Source: HomeAdvisor

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Multifamily Market to Remain Strong through 2015 With 1.7 Million New Renters

November 26, 2012 3:18 am

The Freddie Mac Multifamily Research Group released its multifamily real estate market demand forecast for the next several years. The paper forecasts a base case that entails slow economic growth with an additional 1.7 million new multifamily renter households between now and 2015. In addition, the paper forecasts that the multifamily market and demand for rental housing will remain solid and healthy during the same period of time.

The forecast analyzes demographic trends, housing supply and economic data. The scenario-based approach explores rental market conditions under different economic environments: slow growth, no growth and accelerated growth.

Forecast Highlights:
• Recent declines in homeownership related to economic stress and high foreclosures in the single-family housing market have benefited the multifamily market.
• The homeownership rate will drop 1 to 2 percentage points if the current slow recovery continues.
• The single-family rental market, a growing and distinct market from multifamily, has expanded 16 percent (about 3 million units) since 2007.
• Multifamily market demand is expected to be strong through 2015 primarily due to demographic trends and a decreasing national homeownership rate.
• Rental demand will continue to grow faster than historical averages.
• Multifamily demand is likely to be 1.7 million new renter households between now and 2015. If the economic recovery accelerates, demand will be in the 1 million new renter range; and if no recovery, then in the 1.6 million range for new renters.

"The research supports the optimism that currently pervades the multifamily market. It confirms that multifamily is a bright spot in the real estate market and the economy more broadly, and it will likely continue to shine for quite some time," says David Brickman, senior vice president of Freddie Mac Multifamily.

Source: Freddie Mac

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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What's All the Buzz About Reverse Mortgages?

November 26, 2012 3:18 am

If you're near retirement age, and need some funding to finance home renovations, pay off your current mortgage, or to help cover medical expenses, there is a way to get cash fast without taking out a loan. It's called a reverse mortgage and many Americans over the age of 62 are taking advantage of it these days. How does it work? In a traditional mortgage, you pay your lender. In a reverse mortgage, your lender actually pays you. That's because in a reverse mortgage, you convert the equity of your home into cash, and you don't have to repay the loan as long as you live in the home. Instead, the loan is repaid to the lender when you die, sell the home, or when it's no longer your primary residence. In most cases, the proceeds of this type of loan are tax-free, and many reverse mortgages do not have income restrictions. There are three types of reverse mortgages:

1. Single-Purpose Reverse Mortgages - Offered by some state and local government agencies and non-profit organizations, these are usually the cheapest option. Like the name implies, these can only be used for one purpose, as specified by the lender. For example, if you need money specifically to pay off medical bills, a lender may grant you this type of reverse mortgage, but you can only use the money for that purpose, and must provide proof that you are doing so. Typically, single-purpose reverse mortgages are for people with low to moderate income levels.

2. Federally-Insured Reverse Mortgages -- These are often referred to as Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM) and are backed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Before applying for a HECM, you are required to meet with an independent government-approved housing counseling agent to go over the costs and alternative options. These reverse mortgages are very common, and they don't come with any income or use restrictions. The only catch is that the amount of money you can borrow is determined by your age, the appraised value of the home, and current interest rates. There are also several options of how you receive the money. You may get a fixed amount each month, fixed cash advances, or a line of credit where you can draw money whenever you need it. One thing to remember -- these reverse mortgages come with upfront costs. Be prepared to pay origination fees, a mortgage insurance premium and closing costs.

3. Proprietary Reverse Mortgages -- These are private loans that are backed by the companies that develop them. They are similar to HECM in that they generally do not have income restrictions, and you can use the money any way you'd like. However, the value of your home and how much you still owe on your original mortgage can affect how large of a reverse mortgage you receive. Regardless which type of reverse mortgage you choose, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:
- Reverse mortgages do not affect your Social Security or Medicare benefits.

- You'll get to keep the title of your home.
- The reverse mortgage does not have to be paid off until the youngest borrower in the home dies, sells the home, or no longer lives there.
- In the HECM program, you can live in a nursing home for up to 12 consecutive months before you have to start paying the loan back.
- Some reverse mortgages have fixed rate interest, but many come with adjustable rates.
- The amount you owe on a reverse mortgage grows over time. Interest is charged to the outstanding balance and added to the amount you owe each month.

Source: www.RealtyPin.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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