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RE/MAX 440
Peter Ryan
4789 Route 309
Center Valley  PA 18034
 Phone: 610-791-4400 1958
Office Phone: 610-791-4400
Cell: 610-360-0820
Fax: 267-354-6890 
peterryan01@gmail.com
Peter Ryan

My Blog

Now's the Time: Test Your Home for Radon

January 13, 2016 12:46 am

Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, is responsible for over 20,000 fatalities each year. To avoid exposure to radon, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) strongly advises homeowners to test their homes for elevated levels of radon.

“Radon—a serious health threat to our families and communities—can be easily avoided through testing,” says Ron Curry, regional administrator of the EPA. “Testing for radon will save thousands of lives, prevent burdensome health care costs, and make America’s homes and schools safer for future generations."

You can test your home for radon with an affordable, do-it-yourself kit available at many home improvement and hardware stores, as well as online. If you prefer not to conduct the test yourself, you can hire a qualified radon professional.

If you’re in the market for a new home, make it a point to look for radon-resistant construction—your builder should have this information readily available for you.

Source: EPA.gov

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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5 Paint Color Trends That Imitate Life

January 13, 2016 12:46 am

Call it life imitating art, in reverse.

Interior designers often consult cultural trends to inform décor choices, especially paint colors. This season, color expert Sara McLean of Dunn-Edwards Paints forecasts a “combination of colors” that reflect current lifestyle preferences—colors that can be applied in any home.

“I believe that the combination of colors tell the story,” says McLean. “It’s about the entire palette and how a collection of colors evokes a feeling, an era or a scene.”

These color combinations include:

• Rose shades of pink, such as blush, with fresh and fruity pastels

• Deep, Prussian blue contrasted by stark whites, or Air Force blue with Scandinavian gray

• Rich, saturated reds, such as burgundy and Bordeaux, with poppy corals or softened peach tones

• Acidic green-yellow with turquoise, indigo, navy and periwinkle blues

Color combinations will also multiply, McLean says, to include rainbow coloring, manifested in color-blocking, flecked or speckled paints.

Source: Dunn-Edwards Paints

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Late Winter Prime Time for Tree Pruning

January 12, 2016 12:40 am

(BPT)—Homeowners: don’t hibernate! Tree pruning around your property is crucial in winter months. Why? Pruning trees and shrubs during their dormant cycle reduces the risk of pests or disease, and ensures a full growing season come spring, according to the experts at Husqvarna (www.husqvarna.com).

There are several species that can be pruned during winter months. These include:

Hardwood Trees – Pruning hardwood trees in winter is easy thanks to their lack of foliage. Branches should be cut just above the branch collar, which is the space where the limb and the tree come together. This area of the tree is rich in anti-microbial chemicals to help the tree heal from pruning without suffering decay. Clippers can be used to trim smaller branches, but for larger sections or dying plants, use a chainsaw.

Flowering Trees or Shrubs – Want the best blooms next summer? Prune any tree or shrub that flowers after May 15 late in winter. To handle those projects efficiently, use a hedge trimmer.

Fruit Trees – Winter is also a great time to prune fruit trees. Each species of fruit tree has special considerations you must take into account before pruning, so research your species before doing so. Once you're finished, your efforts will be rewarded in the spring with larger, sweeter fruit.

Bear in mind branches that pose a falling risk should be handled immediately.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Americans Say Now's a Good Time to Sell

January 12, 2016 12:40 am

Considering selling your home this winter? You’re in good company. According to Fannie Mae’s Home Purchase Sentiment Index™ (HPSI), the share of homeowners who believe now is a good time to list their homes for sale recently rose 4 percentage points to 8 percent. What’s more, 35 percent believe now is a good time to buy.

“Consumers ended the year on an improved note with regard to their income, job security, and overall economic outlook,” says Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “This more positive consumer sentiment brought the HPSI up a few points, moving the index up for all of 2015.”

According to the Index, 85 percent feel secure in their employment situations, and 15 percent have a significantly higher income than the year prior.

Source: Fannie Mae

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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2016 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report: The Best Bang for Your Buck

January 12, 2016 12:40 am

Remodeling your home this year? Expect to yield larger returns on your investment come resale, especially if the project includes an upgrade deemed most valuable in Remodeling magazine’s 2016 Cost vs. Value Report. The top five recouping projects in each cost category of the report are:

Under $5,000
1. Mid-Range Fiberglass Attic Insulation (Recoups 116.9 percent of project cost)
2. Mid-Range Garage Door Replacement (91.5 percent)
3. Mid-Range Steel Entry Door Replacement (91.1 percent)
4. Upscale Garage Door Replacement (90.1 percent)
5. Upscale Fiberglass Entry Door Replacement (82.3 percent)

$5,000 - $25,000
1. Mid-Range Manufactured Stone Veneer (92.9 percent)
2. Mid-Range Wood Deck Addition (75 percent)
3. Mid-Range Vinyl Siding Replacement (73.2 percent)
4. Upscale Fiberglass Grand Entrance (69.6 percent)
5. Mid-Range Back-Up Power Generator (59.4 percent) 

$25,000 - $100,000
1. Mid-Range Basement Remodel (70.4 percent)
2. Mid-Range Major Kitchen Remodel (64.9 percent)
3. Upscale Composite Deck Addition (57.7 percent)
4. Upscale Bathroom Remodel (57.5 percent)
5. Mid-Range Bathroom Addition (56.2 percent)

$100,000+
1. Mid-Range Two-Story Addition (69.3 percent)
2. Mid-Range Family Room (67.9 percent)
3. Mid-Range Master Suite Addition (64.1 percent)
4. Upscale Major Kitchen Remodel (61.5 percent)
5. Upscale Master Suite Addition (57.2 percent)

Keep in mind inexpensive projects tend to reap the highest returns—in fact, four of the five projects that cost less than $5,000 for a professional to do were ranked in the top five overall for cost recouped.

Source: Hanley Wood

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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5 Ways to Renew Your Commitment to a Better Financial Future

January 11, 2016 2:40 am

Most of us would concede our financial plans need improvement. In fact, according to a recent Northwestern Mutual study, just one-quarter of participants in the study felt secure in their ability to achieve their financial goals.

"Like any other partnership, creating a fulfilling financial life requires attention, consistency and communication," says Rebekah Barsch, vice president of planning and sales for Northwestern Mutual.

Barsch advises revitalizing your strategy by:

Making a Quarterly Date with Your Financial Plan – Only one-quarter of study participants who’ve created a financial plan review it on a quarterly basis. This is a missed opportunity, Barsch says, to reconnect with your financial resources and objectives and adjust to changing needs and market developments.

Talking It Out – Candid conversations with loved ones about financial priorities are essential to remaining committed to your retirement and lifestyle goals. Moreover, depending on your challenges and objectives, you may want to consider getting guidance from a professional.

Planning a 30-Year Vacation – If packing for two weeks away can be challenging, imagine preparing for a 30-year vacation. That’s essentially what retirement could be for many Americans as life expectancy increases.

Your "luggage,” or financial strategy, says Barsch, has to accommodate routine expenses like food and shelter, healthcare costs, lifestyle needs and perhaps even a legacy for your loved ones or a philanthropic organization. In a time of ebbing social safety nets and rising costs, proactive financial planning is key to shaping the retirement experience you've worked hard to enjoy.

Shedding the Debt Weight – Your financial happiness may be hamstrung by debt baggage. Revisit your budget and create a strategy to commit to a smaller number of credit cards and lighten your loan load as much as you can.

Remember: LTC Is the Same as TLC – The U.S. government estimates 70 percent of adults 65 or older will require some form of long-term care, or "LTC.” And the financial implications of caregiving can be quite sobering, explains Barsch, potentially accounting for a quarter of a caregiver's monthly budget. Tapping into savings or retirement funds and/or reducing discretionary spending are common ways of managing the financial demands of caregiving.

Barsch says this approach, however, could actually create more stress because it may impact lifestyle and future financial security. Proactively exploring options for long-term care planning can mitigate the pressure around care decisions for you and your loved ones.

Source: Northwestern Mutual

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Ask the Plumber: How to Conduct a DIY Leak Test

January 11, 2016 2:40 am

Did you know more than one trillion gallons of water leak from homes across America each year?*

“People are often shocked at the volumes of water wasted through household leaks,” says Paul Abrams, ROTOGreen expert with Roto-Rooter. “A dripping faucet is easy to ignore and fix whenever you get around to it, but numerous small leaks can add up and have a very noticeable impact on the water usage and water bill.”

The average household can save up to 10,000 gallons of water each year simply by fixing leaks—one of the biggest culprits of which is toilets, which can leak up to 200 gallons per day. To detect for leaks in the toilet(s) in your home, Abrams recommends the following DIY tricks:

• Put a few drops of food coloring in the tank and wait 15 minutes. If colored water appears in the bowl, you have a leak. Repairing this type of leak is best left to a professional plumber.

• Sprinkle a pinch of flour or talcum powder on top of the water in your toilet tank. Watch it carefully. If it drifts toward the tank’s overflow tube, then you have an overflow leak. Overflow leaks can easily be repaired by replacing the float valve.

*U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Source: Roto-Rooter

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Poll: What Motivates a Move?

January 11, 2016 2:40 am

People move for all kinds of reasons—but as a recent Harris Poll® revealed, their decision-making is primarily driven by region. Just over half of respondents to the poll, and mostly millennials, said they’d consider moving to another state to live in an area with a better climate or better weather.

Not surprisingly, climate consideration appears to be a greater motivating factor for prospective movers in regions prone to less-than-pleasant weather. According to poll results, 64 percent of Easterners and 61 percent of Midwesterners would consider moving to an area with better weather; just 48 percent of Southerners and 39 percent of Westerners would do the same.

The poll also shed light on other common moving motivators. Over 40 percent of respondents would consider moving for a job opportunity, more than one-third would factor in proximity to family, and exactly one-quarter would consider a move for health reasons.

Less common, yet still significant reasons emerged in the poll’s findings, as well. For example:

• Eighteen (18) percent of respondents would consider a move to be closer to friends.
• Sixteen (16) percent of respondents would consider a move to be closer to a significant other.
• Fourteen (14) percent of respondents would consider a move for an educational opportunity.
• Thirteen (13) percent of respondents would consider a move to a location in which their lifestyle is more accepted.
• Eleven (11) percent of respondents would consider a move to a location in which their political views are more accepted, or to a location in which recreational marijuana is legal.
• Seven (7) percent of respondents would consider a move to a location in which their religious views are more accepted.

Source: The Harris Poll®

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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An Expert's Guide to Closet Organization

January 8, 2016 2:37 am

(Family Features)—How many times have you put off organizing your closets? The issue doesn’t lie with your habits—often, it’s a lack of storage solutions that makes organizing intimidating, says professional organizer Barbara Reich. To quit procrastinating once and for all, it’s best to install functional storage systems—set-it-and-forget-it tools that help you keep your closets in order without constant upkeep, says Reich.

Start by determining your overall goal. Are you simply organizing what you have, or do you need to purge unused items? Don’t be afraid to get rid of things you don't need or won't wear, Reich says. Remember that items in good condition can be donated to those in need. 

Once you've determined just how much you'll have to organize, consider what systems will best fit your space and needs. Reich recommends do-it-yourself closet organizers, which are affordable, easy to install and adjustable. Accessories such as drawers, fabric bins and shoe shelves can also help personalize the space.

After your new system has been put in place, hang as much as possible—this makes it easier to see what you have, says Reich. Group and place like garments together, and position clothing you wear most often in a place that is most accessible.

Remember to stay consistent, Reich adds. Have a plan in mind when you purchase new items. A good rule of thumb is the 1:1 ratio: for every one item you purchase, remove one item from your closet.

Source: ClosetMaid

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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5 Tips for Safe Christmas Tree Removal

January 8, 2016 2:37 am

O Christmas tree, how low are your branches?

Like many homeowners, you’re probably wondering when to take down your Christmas tree. Did you know that the longer the tree remains in the home, the greater the fire risk becomes?

“Christmas trees are very flammable,” says National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy Lorraine Carli. “Trees dry out the longer they remain in the home, and can be consumed by fire in a matter of seconds.”

NFPA statistics show nearly 40 percent of Christmas tree fires occur in January—and though they are not common, they are much more likely to be serious when they do occur.

When removing your Christmas tree, the NFPA recommends the following safety tips:

• Use the gripping area on the plug when unplugging electrical decorations. Never pull the cord to unplug any device from an electrical outlet, as this can harm the wire and insulation of the cord, increasing the risk for shock or electrical fire.

• As you pack up light strings, inspect each line for damage, throwing out any sets that have loose connections, broken sockets or cracked or bare wires.

• Wrap each set of lights and put them in individual plastic bags, or wrap them around a piece of cardboard.

• Store electrical decorations in a dry place away from children and pets where they will not be damaged by water or dampness.

• Use your local community recycling program, if available, for tree disposal. Trees should not be put in the garage or left outside.

Source: NFPA

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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