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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

Last Holiday: What's in Store for Travelers This Labor Day

August 31, 2016 1:12 am


The unofficial end of summer is almost here, when scores of travelers will take to the roads for one last holiday in the sun.

So, what’s in store this Labor Day Weekend?

A recent poll of Labor Day travelers, conducted by Hankook Tire, reveals:

• Most travelers (73 percent) will drive to their Labor Day Weekend destination.

• Most travelers will have a wet Labor Day Weekend, with 55 percent heading to a beach, 29 heading to a lake and 13 percent heading to a water park.

• Most travelers agree: traffic is the worst part of Labor Day Weekend (71 percent), followed by long airport lines (24 percent) and no train seating (5 percent).

• Most travelers agree: an SUV or truck (48 percent) is the best vehicle to take on a Labor Day Weekend trip, followed by a luxury car (26 percent), a convertible (10 percent) and a sports car or an off-road vehicle (8 percent each).

• Most travelers (90 percent) will check their gas before trekking to their Labor Day Weekend destination, but many (45 percent) will not check if they have a spare tire on hand before departing.

That last finding is important—no matter where you’re off to this Labor Day weekend, conduct a thorough check of your vehicle before traveling. Hankook Tire’s experts say this includes checking the oil and tire pressure, as well as the spare tire.

Source: Hankook Tire America Corp.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Homeowners Ask: Should I Replace or Repair Flood-Damaged Systems?

August 31, 2016 1:12 am


It is no secret flooding can severely damage the HVACR systems in your home, but it can be difficult to determine whether to repair or replace them once water has receded.

Replacement, it turns out, is generally the best course of action, says Stephen Yurek, president and CEO of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI).

“Standing water in a yard, house or basement can damage a home's heating, cooling, and water-heating equipment in ways that are not always readily apparent, putting families at risk,” said Yurek in statement. “We advise homeowners to play it safe and replace, rather than repair, flood-damaged heating, cooling, and water-heating equipment.”

Yurek and the AHRI recommend:

Replacing the air conditioning system (and heat pump, if contained in a split unit) only if floodwaters have displaced its indoor or outdoor components, which could result in leaking refrigerant; if the system survived flooding, have it cleaned and inspected by a qualified service professional

Replacing the ductwork for a central air conditioning system only if it has been exposed to floodwaters; a qualified service professional should replace the ducts

Replacing the water-heating system, no matter if it is powered by electricity, gas or oil, only if in contact with floodwaters; many components in the system can corrode if not replaced

Yurek suggests consulting the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) organization to locate a qualified HVACR contractor in your area—it is imperative you have a professional perform any replacement work. This list can be found at www.hvacradvice.com/site/1/Home.

Source: Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI)
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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The Home-Buying Equation

August 31, 2016 1:12 am


Buying a home for the first time can seem daunting. One way to alleviate the process is to organize your finances before embarking on the house hunt. Unsure how to get yours in order? Remember A + B + C + D + E:

Ask + Budget + Check + Differentiate + Estimate

Before you start searching for a home, ask a real estate professional for guidance. He or she will have expertise related not only to financing, but also to negotiating a deal in your favor.

Next, set a budget that takes into account your down payment, your anticipated monthly mortgage payment (with interest), and your closing costs. These figures are all important considerations in the home-buying process.

Prior to house-hunting, check your credit report and score. Your credit is a determining factor in a lender’s approval or denial of your mortgage loan application, as well as your mortgage interest rate. Take steps to correct any errors on your report, or improve your score, if necessary.

Shop around for mortgage lenders to differentiate between loan offerings—even a slight variation in rates or terms can lead to significant savings over the life of your loan. Your real estate professional may recommend a lender, but it is ultimately your choice with whom to obtain a mortgage.

Estimate oft-forgotten homeownership-related expenses, such as your monthly homeowners insurance premium, your maintenance costs, your moving expenditures, your property taxes and your utility rates. These will all play a role in your overall affordability.

Completing A, B, C, D and E will not only prepare you for the home-buying process, but also lay a strong financial foundation for you as a new homeowner. The result of the equation speaks for itself!
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Home Away from Home: Packing and Protecting Your College Student

August 30, 2016 1:12 am


Millions of students are in the throes of college move-in, preparing to venture to their homes away home for another school year.

For freshmen, knowing what to bring—and what to leave behind—can be a challenge. New students should familiarize themselves with their school’s policies on acceptable belongings before packing. Students can then use a checklist (such as the one from DormSmart.com, below) to inventory what's packed upon arrival on campus.

A checklist can also be used if obtaining a College Property Insurance Policy—though students may never need to make a claim if they take secure measures, such as installing dorm locks or using a laptop safe.

One retailer, DormCo.com, offers security products for students:

Fire Gone – A dorm-sized fire extinguisher that delivers a strong, targeted stream of eco-friendly foam ($14.95)

Chipolo's Tracking Tag – A bluetooth system that connects matching tags with a smartphone to track down lost items within a 200 foot-range

TabletSafe – A three-dial padlock safe for tablets, wallets, cash, passports, and other valuables ($59.99)

To print the DormSmart checklist, visit DormSmart.com/assets/images/Dorm_Room_Checklist.pdf.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Preventing Water Damage at Home

August 30, 2016 1:12 am


Any homeowner who’s experienced flooding knows how damaging water can be. Millions of dollars are spent on water-related repairs and restorations each year, says Eric Corbett, owner of Larry & Sons, Inc., a Maryland-based air conditioning, heating and plumbing company.

“Water damage can be caused by any size leak,” Corbett says. “Even if it starts out relatively small, it has the potential to create a major problem inside your home. This leads to costly repairs if proper precautions are ignored."

Water leaks account for up to 14 percent of water usage in the average household, Corbett notes. Waterproofing potential leak sources is one way to not only reduce that percentage, but also lessen damage should a leak occur.

One of the most common leak sources is a running toilet, Corbett says. To determine whether a leak is present, drop a few drips of food dye into the toilet tank—evidence of a leak will be obvious after about 20 minutes. Replace the valve inside the tank to prevent further leaking.

Many leaks occur in basements, Corbett adds. A damp basement should be remedied by a professional as soon as possible to mitigate appliance damage and mildew and mold growth.

Weathered pipes can also cause leaks, especially if they are rusted. Signs of a pipe leak include visual indicators of accumulation, such as wet drywall, and dripping sounds, Corbett says.

Leaks can happen outside of the home, as well. Vibrant green vegetation or moss growth around a sprinkler head could be a sign of a broken head or damaged valve—a leak that must be addressed by a professional, says Corbett.

“These are common water hazards that every homeowner faces at one time or another,” Corbett concludes. “It's a lot simpler than many people think to waterproof their homes and avoid those issues.”

Source: Larry & Sons, Inc.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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The Cost of Housing: 25 Metros and the Salaries Needed to Live in Them

August 30, 2016 1:12 am


Homeownership comes with costs—in some markets more than others. How much will you need to earn to purchase a home in your area?

HSH.com recently calculated the salaries needed to afford housing payments on a median-priced home in 25 metropolitan areas, including mortgage principal and interest, taxes and insurance. HSH assumed a 20 percent down payment and weighed the standard 28 percent “front-end” debt ratio with the most recent median home prices reported by the National Association of REALTORS®.

The salary minimums, according to HSH’s calculations, are:

1. Cincinnati, Ohio – $37,179
2. St. Louis, Mo. – $38,131
3. Detroit, Mich. – $38,542
4. Atlanta, Ga. – $40,092
5. Phoenix, Ariz. – $44,716
6. Tampa, Fla. – $44,875
7. San Antonio – $48,753
8. Orlando, Fla. – $49,382
9. Minneapolis, Minn. – $51,794
10. Houston, Texas – $52,275
11. Philadelphia, Pa. – $53,422
12. Dallas, Texas – $54,764
13. Baltimore, Md. – $56,837
14. Chicago, Ill. – $62,456
15. Miami, Fla. – $65,120
16. Sacramento, Calif. – $65,363
17. Portland, Ore. – $70,613
18. Denver, Colo. – $72,847
19. Washington, D.C. – $81,940
20. Seattle, Ore. – $82,671
21. New York, N.Y. – $86,215
22. Boston, Mass. – $87,557
23. Los Angeles, Calif. – $92,092
24. San Diego, Calif. – $109,441
25. San Francisco, Calif. – $161,948

Don’t see your area listed? Consult a local real estate professional for the most accurate affordability estimates for your area, or visit HSH.com/finance/mortgage/salary-home-buying-25-cities.html.

Source: HSH.com
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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What to Buy—and Not Buy—over Labor Day Weekend

August 29, 2016 1:13 am


Amazon Prime’s “Black Friday in July” sale was a major win for both the retailer and shoppers—and prompted a number of big-box and department stores to ante up sales of their own. More savings opportunities are in store this Labor Day Weekend.

According to NerdWallet, the best bargains will be on:

Cars – Not surprisingly, car dealers will blow out this year’s models to make room for 2017 stock.

Kitchen Appliances – New models of refrigerators and other kitchen appliances come out just after Labor Day, as well, making the holiday weekend prime time to score deals.

Wines – Wine lovers know early September is the best time to stock the wine cellar. Major retailers offer their best deals now to make room for the newest vintage bottles.

The worst items to purchase over the weekend, on the other hand, are:

Cookware – Save the most on cookware in November and December, which are historically the months with the best prices.

Outdoor Grills/Patio Furniture – The further away from summer we get, the more desperate retailers are to make room for winter goods. You’ll have fewer grills and furniture to select from, but prices will be at rock-bottom.

Electronics – Labor Day sale ads often tout deals on electronics for back-to-school, but the best time to get a deep discount on them is later in the year, during the regular Black Friday sales frenzy. If you're shopping for a television, computer, laptop, video game system, camcorder, GPS navigator or digital camera, the end-of-year discounts are worth the wait.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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The Top Markets for Pet Owners

August 29, 2016 1:13 am


Eighty million households in America own at least one pet—that’s a lot of animals! Some housing markets are more pet-friendly than others, with more pet care businesses and providers available than in other areas.

Based on those criteria, WalletHub.com compiled the top 10 “Most Pet-Friendly Cities” in the country:

1. Orlando, Fla.
2. Birmingham, Ala.
3. Tampa, Fla.
4. Lexington, Ky.
5. Scottsdale, Ariz.
6. Reno, Nev.
7. Colorado Springs, Colo.
8. Cincinnati, Ohio
9. Las Vegas, Nev.
10. St. Louis, Mo.

Orlando comes in at No. 1 for its high density of veterinarians—65.6 per every 100,000 residents. Orlando also boasts the highest density of pet-related businesses, at 172.25 per 100,000 residents.

Scottsdale, Ariz., No. 5 on the list, has the highest number animal shelters per 100,000 residents: 6.26.

Many markets not in the top 10 are pet-friendly, as well—the least expensive pet care costs can be found in Stockton, Calif., where a veterinary visit averages just $32.92, and the least expensive dog insurance premiums ($21.63 per month) can be found in St. Paul, Minn., also not in the top 10.

To find out how pet-friendly your city is, visit WalletHub.com/edu/most-pet-friendly-cities/5562/.

Source: WalletHub
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Selling Your Home? Understanding Pricing Strategy

August 29, 2016 1:13 am


There’s no substitute for the pricing skills of a real estate professional, but home sellers often disagree as to the price their agent advises. Recent findings from the Journal of Housing Research, a publication by the American Real Estate Society (ARES), may impart some understanding.

According to the research, the most effective sale price is one that is just below a round number—$199,000, say, as opposed to $200,000. The difference, though negligible to the seller, is generally positively perceived by the buyer.

“We tested the age-old debate concerning the best technique to price a home when listing it for sale,” says Michael J. Seiler of The College of William and Mary, who conducted the research. “We find that using a price just below a round number works best, particularly in connection to the left-most digit in the price—so, $199,000 works better than $200,000.”

“On average, buyers are more attracted to a house priced at $199,000 than to a house priced at $200,000, and it appears that ‘just below’ pricing works out favorably for sellers in terms of their bottom line,” adds Eli Beracha of Florida International University, who also conducted the research. “Based on our research, the ‘just below’ pricing strategy yields a selling price that is, on average, roughly 2.5 to 3 percent higher—$5,000 to $6,000 on a $200,000 house—compared with a rounded pricing listing strategy.

“Our study suggests that by using the ‘just below’ pricing strategy, sellers can price their home slightly higher without driving away potential buyers,” Beracha notes. “As a result, they end up selling their house for more.”

In light of these findings, it’s important to remember that real estate professionals set prices after careful consideration of market data and trends—their recommendation, ultimately, is what will sell the home fastest and for the best price.

Need assistance pricing your home? Contact a real estate professional today!

Source: Florida Atlantic University

 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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The Reason You May Be Overpaying for Car Insurance

August 26, 2016 1:07 am


Every insurance provider collects information from policyholders. Car insurance companies, for instance, require insureds to provide their annual mileages—a factor that may be causing you to overpay, according to recent report from insuranceQuotes.com.

“Most consumers aren’t aware of the relationship between mileage and auto premiums,” said Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst for insuranceQuotes, in a release about the report, which reveals policyholders who drive 15,000 miles per year pay nearly 9 percent more for insurance than policyholders who drive 5,000 miles over the same period.

Premium increases due to mileage vary by state, according to the report. The highest increases between 5,000 and 15,000 miles are seen in:

• California (26.2 percent)
• Alaska (10.5 percent)
• Washington, D.C. (10.2 percent)
• Alabama (9.8 percent)
• Massachusetts (9.8 percent)

The lowest increases between 5,000 and 15,000 miles are seen in:

• North Carolina (0 percent)
• Utah (1.0 percent)
• Rhode Island (1.3 percent)
• Texas (2.8 percent)
• Connecticut (2.8 percent)

“If your daily commute decreases, be sure to notify your insurer quickly so you don’t overpay for coverage,” Adams added. “Drivers in the most expensive mileage states have the most to gain from reducing mileage—but if you can’t, be proactive and seek potential discounts at least once a year.”

Source: insuranceQuotes.com
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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