RE/MAX 440
Maureen Fitzgerald
731 W Skippack Pike
Blue Bell  PA 19422
 Phone: 215-643-3200 1824
Office Phone: 215-643-3200
Cell: 215-530-6438
Fax: 267-354-6880 
mfitzgerald@remaxcentralinc.com
Testimonials Buying Selling Glossary
Maureen Fitzgerald

My Blog

Plan Ahead for Winter Power Outages

November 8, 2016 1:48 am

With the snowy weather of winter comes a less beautiful seasonal sensation: power outages. To keep your family safe and cozy sans power, follow these tips:

Before the storm:
• Stock-up on batteries and flashlights.

• Evaluate the family's non-perishable food supply and restock if necessary.

• Review how to manually open the electric garage door.

• A practice run will help ensure a family knows how to properly locate and operate any equipment required during the power outage.

During/after:
• Never use a gas stove, oven or grill to heat a home.

• During the first few hours of the outage, keep the refrigerator and freezer closed. Snow can be used as ice to keep items cold in a cooler. 

• Choose mittens over gloves and wear layered loose clothing to stay warm.

• Always operate your portable generator outside of your home.

“Having a backup power solution ready ahead of a utility power outage prevents most of the headaches that go with living without power. With backup power, families won't necessarily need to worry about potentially dangerous temperatures, for example,” says Melissa Thomas, marketing assistant manager, Briggs & Stratton Standby power. “This gives families the security they desire to comfortably ride out long winter months.”

The most popular backup power solutions are portable generators and permanently-installed standby generator systems. Both types of backup power can keep a home's lights, the furnace and necessary appliances working in the event of a weather-related power outage or other emergency. Understanding the differences and capabilities between the two options makes selecting the best generator for a family's needs much easier.

Portable Generators: Immediate Backup Power Supply
Portable generators are generally low maintenance, compact and easily maneuverable on the property. These units are typically powered by gasoline and work well as an immediate solution during a power outage.

Additionally, they are designed to provide reliable electricity to a few essential items and appliances such as a refrigerator, basic light circuits and portable electric heaters at the same time.

While portable generators can provide users with flexibility and comfort, they need to be used appropriately at all times in order to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Never run a portable generator inside a home or in a garage.

Standby Generators: High-Wattage Backup Power Supply
Families who want a backup power source that offers uninterrupted power should opt for a home standby generator system. Home standby generators need to be professionally installed, so homeowners should allow time for the installation process and associated costs.

These home generators are connected to the existing propane or natural gas line of a house. When utility power to a house is interrupted, the home generator automatically turns on within seconds. Home standby generators can power more of a home's high-wattage appliances, like the furnace, electric water heater, stove and clothes dryer.

Source: www.briggsandstratton.com

 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

One Home System Not to Overlook

November 7, 2016 1:48 am

Over 25 million houses in the U.S. have a septic system, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Proper maintenance of the septic system is essential, but often overlooked—out of sight, out of mind.

An un-maintained septic system can contaminate groundwater, harming the environment by releasing bacteria, household hazardous waste and viruses to local waterways, according to the EPA. Maintaining the system not only protects the environment and public health, it also saves homeowners from having to make costly repairs due to neglect.

The EPA’s tips for homeowners include:
Protect It and Inspect It – Homeowners should have their system inspected every three years by a qualified professional, or according to their state or local health department's recommendations. Tanks should be pumped when necessary—typically every three to five years.

Think at the Sink – Avoid pouring fats, grease and solids down the kitchen sink. These substances can clog the septic system’s pipes and drain field.

Don’t Overload the Commode – Do not flush foreign items, such as cat litter, coffee grounds, dental floss, disposable diapers/wipes and feminine hygiene products down the toilet. These can all clog, and potentially damage, the septic system.

Don’t Strain Your Drain – Be water-efficient by spreading out water use, including laundry and dishwasher loads throughout the day. Too much water at once can overload a system that hasn’t been pumped recently.
Shield Your Field – Remind guests not to park or drive on a system’s drain field, where the vehicle’s weight could damage buried pipes or disrupt underground flow.

Source: www.epa.gov/septicsmart.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Millennials Move Past Gender Stereotypes When Shopping for Cars

November 7, 2016 1:48 am

Millennials continue to make waves as a generation like no other. New research from Edmunds.com shows that today's millennial car shoppers don't stick to the outdated (and oft illogical) stereotype that men should make important car-buying decisions while women stand by.

According to the study of 3,000 U.S. adults ages 18 - 65, more than 70 percent of both men and women feel self-assured during the car buying and negotiating process. However, when broken out by generation, Edmunds found that millennial men and women are more alike in their feelings toward car shopping than Gen Xers and baby boomers. For example, when asked if they believe if women are equal or better than men at car shopping, 64 percent of millennial women and 54 percent of millennial men agreed. When baby boomers were asked the same question, 67 percent of women agreed, while only 48 percent of men did, resulting in an opinion gap nearly twice as large.

Other noteworthy differences between millennials and older generations include:

Millennial men are more likely than older men to believe that women are equally or more logical than men during the car shopping process. There was a 15 percentage point gap in gender opinion for millennials (59 percent of men vs. 74 percent of women), compared to a 27-point gap among Generation Xers (52 percent of men vs. 79 percent of women).

Millennial men and women feel nearly equal levels of self-assurance and empowerment during the car shopping process, with a gap of only one percent and two percent respectively between the genders. This gap widens within the older generations, to eight percent for Gen Xers and 14 percent for boomers.

When it comes time to close the deal and purchase the vehicle, millennial men are more confident in women than men in older generations. Sixty percent of millennial men say that women are stronger negotiators versus 50 percent of Gen X men and 49 percent of boomer men.

"Gender inequality has been in our society for a very long time," says Lacey Plache, chief economist at Edmunds. "Shifting gender roles have been a main catalyst for lowering gender inequality, but this change is still in motion, and the differences aren't fully dissolved yet. As this continues to decrease on a societal level, we'll see its impact manifested in major industries like automotive, but until gender inequality is completely gone, the old-fashion notion that men control the garage will still linger." 

Source: Edmunds.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Traveling Baby Boomers Head to New Destinations, Study Shows

November 7, 2016 1:48 am

A new study by AARP focuses on the travel plans of baby boomers. While travel has always been an objective for older Americans, the AARP study shows that 99 percent of Americans age 50 and up are traveling for fun, with the majority planning at least one leisure trip in 2017, and the average boomer planning a whopping five or more leisure trips throughout the upcoming year.

So where are they heading?

Within the U.S., boomers still favor the predictable choices: Florida, California and Las Vegas. But things are shifting among international-bound boomers, with Latin America taking center stage as Europe moves to the back burner.

According to AARP's study, the top five destinations for international boomer travel include:
  • Mexico
  • The Caribbean
  • England/UK/Ireland
  • Central/South America
  • Italy  
Source: AARP

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

How to Make Mornings More Tolerable

November 4, 2016 1:39 am

Waking up on the right side of the bed comes naturally to some people. For the rest of us, mornings can be painful. Morning person or not, however, your habits upon rising have a lot to do with how the rest of your day will go. Here are some painless ways to turn your mornings into good beginnings:

1. Wake up gradually. Bolting out of bed to a loud, jarring alarm is not the way you want to begin your day. Set the option on your smartphone alarm for ascending sound, so that your alarm starts off quietly and gradually builds, gently rousing you from sleep.

2. Make coffee time sacred. Instead of hitting the snooze button for an extra 10 minutes of poor sleep, take that time to sit quietly with your coffee, tea, cocoa or whatever your morning poison happens to be. The few moments of peace will ease you into the day.

3. Gather your thoughts. Meditate, pray, journal, etc. This will help calm and focus your mind. The frenetic pace of the day is lurking around the corner, so here’s your one chance to get grounded.

4. Exercise. Even if you’ve had a bad night’s sleep and still feel exhausted, getting a workout or a walk in will wake you right up. Exercise boosts your serotonin and energy levels and will always put you in a better mood to face the day.

5. Eliminate decisions. Even the smallest decisions can seem overwhelming in the morning when you’re rushing to get out the door. Save yourself some angst by figuring out what you’re going to wear and bring for lunch the night before. Do the same for the kiddos, too.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Money Management

November 4, 2016 1:39 am

If you’ve been hit recently with a late fee or two, or thought you’d paid that overdue gas bill when you hadn’t, your money management skills may need a boost.

Consumer finance pros at Business Insider suggest five easy ways to make managing your money easier:

Automate your finances to simplify control – Sign up for auto-pay, and monthly payments are automatically charged to your credit card or paid from your checking account. Even if you prefer to pay off the full amounts due each month, signing up to have the minimums automatically paid will ensure you won’t be faced with late fees if you fail to make a payment on time.

Put due dates in your calendar – For bills you can’t automate – such as rent or utilities – enter reminders in your daily calendar a week before payments are due.

Sign up for text or email reminders – As an alternative to writing reminders in your calendar, check with your credit card company, mortgage servicer, auto loan servicer and/or student loan servicer about getting alerts for your due dates. Getting digital reminders can help you stay on top of payments.

Enroll in credit monitoring – Your credit score and credit report are important parts of your financial life, but keeping tabs on them may seem inconvenient or time-consuming. When you sign up for credit monitoring, the service will notify you if things on your credit report look suspicious, which could be a sign of identity theft. If you don’t enroll in a monitoring service, it’s a good idea to review your credit regularly – and if you see mistakes, dispute them.

Download a savings app – If you find it tough to save, download an app like Digit or Smarty Pig, which keep tabs on your accounts and analyze what you can put in a savings account. They can then automatically transfer money from your checking account into a savings account. Another app, called Acorns, will round your purchases to the nearest dollar and invest your spare change.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Don’t Let the Holidays Sabotage Your Fitness

November 3, 2016 1:39 am

It all started with Halloween. We bought way more candy than there were trick-or-treaters, and tore a little hole in the bag and started sneaking some treats days before the holiday even rolled around. From there, we roll right into Thanksgiving and Christmas, and end up ringing in the new year with the dreaded extra 5 - 10 pounds.

Sure, we can simply accept this as part and parcel of enjoying the fall and winter holidays – after all, we’ve worked hard all year and deserve some fourth-quarter indulgence. But, it is actually possible to splurge a little while maintaining your physique, not to mention your overall health. Here are a few simple strategies to avoid a holiday health meltdown:

1. Make it convenient: Ever wonder how celebrities are able to stay in such great shape? Because it’s so easy for them! From personalized nutrition plans to live-in chefs and trainers, the keys to fitness are at their fingertips because their paychecks depend on it. Try to make diet and exercise convenient in your world, too—make healthy meals on Sunday that you can eat all week, develop a quick home-exercise routine for when you can’t get to the gym, and pick a work-out buddy to help keep you accountable.

2. Keep the leftovers on the move: Bring leftover candy and cookies to work, or donate them to a school. Stock up on take-out containers, and as you’re cleaning up holiday dinners, make a doggie bag for guests. Satisfy your holiday baked-goods craving by hosting a cookie swap, which provides built-in portion control.

3. Strategize party days: Who wants to avoid partaking in the festive foods and beverages of the season? No one! On days when there’s a party or family gathering on the calendar, get a workout in early before having a low-calorie, nutrient-packed breakfast and lunch. That way you can let loose a little later without blowing your calorie goal for the day.

4. Commit to your pillow: To add insult to injury, most of us tend to shortchange our sleep thanks to the hectic holiday pace. However, getting enough sleep is actually essential to avoiding weight gain. The more sleep deprived you are, the higher your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which leads to weight gain. See what holiday-related activities can be cut from your to-do list in favor of getting more sleep, and don’t feel guilty about sneaking in a nap when you can. Your body—and your loved ones!—will thank you for it.

The biggest plus of staying healthy and fit during the holidays? No need to add “lose weight” to your new year’s resolution list!
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

America's Greatest Small Cities Offer an Affordable Urban Lifestyle

November 3, 2016 1:39 am

Are you looking to move to a city, but worried about the high cost? A new study broke down the best (read: most affordable) small cities across the country. Look past the Big Apple and the Windy City and find a space in one of America's great urban underdogs.

Why a small city? Well, urbanites in smaller spots still enjoy the perks of a thriving city scene, but with a cheaper cost of living—generally speaking, that is. According to the Economic Policy Institute, a two-parent, two-child family would need to earn $49,114 a year “to secure an adequate but modest living standard” in Morristown, Tenn., compared with $106,493 in Washington.

To hunt down these small cities, WalletHub’s analysts compared 1,268 U.S. cities with populations between 25,000 and 100,000. The study's data set of 30 key metrics ranges from “housing costs” to “school-system quality” to “number of restaurants per capita.”    

Behold, the top 10 small cities in America:

1. Westfield, Ind.
2. Princeton, N.J.
3. Leawood, Kan.
4. Littleton, Colo.
5. Brookfield, Wisc.
6. Kirkland, Wash.
7. Holly Springs, N.C.
8. Milton, Mass.
9. Brentwood, Tenn.
10. Southlake, Texas

Source: WalletHub

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Choosing the Right Health Insurance

November 3, 2016 1:39 am

When it comes to choosing health insurance, there is no “one size fits all.” Factors to consider include your age, lifestyle, marital status, and more. Whether you’re a newlywed, a new parent, recent college graduate or recently retired, there are several things you should consider when selecting your plan.  

Newlywed
Marriage is an exciting new adventure, and it impacts everything—including your health insurance. When researching plans, make sure the one you choose fits in with your family budget. Look at what you’ve spent on health care in the past and evaluate what you’re comfortable spending on monthly premiums now that you’re no longer single. Evaluate whether or not it makes the most sense to assume coverage under one of your employer-sponsored plans or an individual family plan.    

New Parent
Preparation is key when you're expecting, and this extends far beyond reading parenting books and decorating the nursery. Remember to make sure you choose the right insurance plan before you bring home baby. For new moms (and moms-to-be), plan choice will affect everything from prenatal and maternity care to pediatrician visits and immunizations. Consider the rules for in-network and out-of-network healthcare providers: how long of a hospital stay is covered? What prenatal tests are covered?    

Recent Grad
See ya later college! For new grads, there are many options to choose from when it comes to your health insurance. Whether it’s opting for a plan through your new job, remaining on your parent’s plan, or opting for an individual plan through the healthcare marketplace, it’s important to do your research and pick the plan that best fits your needs. 

Retiree
For those looking to retire, consider whether the Medicare plan you’re thinking about covers the health services you need. Look into the prescription drug benefits offered, how much your premiums and deductibles will cost and what you can manage to pay out-of-pocket based on your lifestyle.

Source:  Anthem.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Prepare Your Home for Holiday Entertaining

November 2, 2016 1:39 am

(Family Features)--As the holiday season approaches and you're tasked with hosting family and friends, it can be a little overwhelming to imagine all the work that has to take place for a successful celebration.

However, there's no reason the host can't join in the fun. To help keep calm and have your home ready for the party, follow these tips.

Cleaning
More often than not, the first step to readying your home for a house full of guests is to clean. Start by going room to room seeking out trash, recyclables and things that can be stored away – anything to clear up much-needed space. Once the clutter is cleared, work from the top down to clean surfaces, so any dust or debris that hits the floor can be vacuumed or swept neatly away. Remember to steer clear of harsh or highly fragrant chemicals, which may be an irritant to some guests.

Upgrading
Don't try to sneak by with old appliances this time around. Instead, upgrade your most important resources throughout the house in order to find success when it comes to playing host. For example, swapping out your old, cluttered refrigerator for a Whirlpool French Door Refrigerator with industry-first infinity slide shelves is a useful way to create more space in the kitchen. Its pantry-inspired layout lets families fit and find all their edible favorites. Every section, shelf and bin in the refrigerator was redesigned to deliver smart organization with panoramic shelves and unique features to store 30 percent more than other leading French door bottom mount refrigerators.

Planning
Staying organized and having a precise plan are vital to putting together the perfect night with family and friends. Make sure to nail down the specifics, such as the number of guests, what food will be brought, what needs prepared in advance and what can wait until the big day. Making lists and involving others in the family to help can make a seemingly insurmountable volume of work feel instantly manageable. As you think through your plans, remember to anticipate the unexpected and have an emergency party kit on hand to quickly respond to pitfalls, like spills or broken glass, before they derail the festivities.

Decorating
With all the energy you put into planning and upgrading, don't overlook the importance of taking time to make your home shine with a creative touch. Go festive with holiday-specific decor or keep it classic with timeless decorations placed throughout the home to make it really sparkle. For close family and friends, consider adding personal touches like mementos of holidays past. Or go with a themed approach with similar colors and textures that you carry throughout the house.

Source: www.whirlpool.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags: