TwitterFacebookLinkedin
RE/MAX 440
Stuart Dubbs
4550 W. Tilghman Street
Allentown  PA 18104
 Phone: 610-398-8111
Office Phone: 610-398-8111
Cell: 484-239-0950
Fax: 267-354-6247 
sdubbs@remaxcentralinc.com
Stuart Dubbs

My Blog

Real Estate with Perspective

Eyeing a New Appliance? Look Over These Tips First!

June 9, 2016 2:09 am

Are you getting ready to buy a major appliance, like a refrigerator, oven, dishwasher or dryer?

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM.org) recommends the following tips:

Get the specs. Ask your dealer for specifications from several manufacturers offering the type of appliance you need. Compare available features, designs and capacities.

Know what you need now, and what you might need later. Decide which features you will really use, and what you might need down the line. Some appliances may include the option to add features later, like installing an icemaker in a refrigerator.

Set your price range. Compare prices in relation to what the appliance offers—price tends to increase as features are added.

Determine the size. Know what size and features you’ll need, so you can select a model with sufficient capacity. Check the space available to make sure your new appliance will fit, and make sure halls and doorways allow clearance for entry and installation.

Consider the care. Ask your dealer for the appliance use and care manual. Read it carefully before you buy to get a better idea of the maintenance required.

Ask about delivery. Ask the dealer about the cost of delivery and installation. (Are they included in the price?)

Find the fix. Make sure authorized factory service is available in your area for the brand you select.

Check the power. Make sure your house has adequate electrical service for the appliance.

Do some light reading. Read the warranty before finalizing your decision. Does the warranty cover the entire product? Only certain parts? Is labor included? How long does the warranty last?

The number of options you have may seem overwhelming, but adhering to these tips from the AHAM will help you purchase an appliance you’ll love for years to come.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Why Title Insurance Matters

June 9, 2016 2:09 am

An owner’s title insurance policy protects your property rights as a homeowner. Those purchasing a home should obtain a policy to insure against defects associated with the title of the home.

Owner’s title insurance is worthwhile because…

…it protects your investment.

A home is likely the largest investment you’ll make. Insuring it, says the American Land Title Association (ALTA), is like insuring any other valuable asset. Owner’s title insurance protects the rights of the property owner for as long as he or she (or heirs) owns the home.

…it mitigates your risk.

Issues inevitably arise for every homeowner, but title discrepancies shouldn’t be one of them. An owner’s title insurance policy will cover you in the event a title claim occurs. According to the ALTA, these include a tax lien against the property, an outstanding mortgage or a pending legal action related to the property.

…it goes beyond insurance and warranties.

Standard homeowner insurance policies, as well as home warranties, do not cover your rights as the owner of the property.

What’s more, owner’s title insurance policies are inexpensive, paid for through a one-time fee that equals approximately 0.5 percent of the purchase price of the home, the ALTA says.

Above all, an owner’s title insurance policy ensures peace of mind after purchase.

Source: ALTA

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Are You Ready for the Summer? Choosing a Camp for Your Children

June 8, 2016 2:06 am

Summer camp is a lot more than cookouts, crafts and sing-alongs. For many children, it’s a first taste of independence and an opportunity to learn new skills, expand social horizons and gain self-confidence.

Day camps are a great way to get your child ready for a longer, sleep-away experience—but when that time comes, it may be challenging for you to determine the best camp to send your child to.

Hundreds of summer camps are listed on the American Camp Association (ACA) website (acacamps.org), which offers these suggestions for narrowing your choice:

Start with Your Child’s Interests – Include your child in the search. If he or she likes performing, or has an interest in science or a particular sport, consider a camp with that focus. Consider, too, that he or she may prefer a camp that offers traditional programming with a variety of activities.

Consider Special Needs – Be sure the camp you choose can meet your child’s dietary or physical needs. If your child is 10 years old or younger, you may want to start with a one-week experience.

Choose the Right Locale – This can be especially important if you will be driving your child to and from camp or visiting during on Parents Day.

Do a Background Check – How long has the camp been operating? What percent of campers return to the camp each summer? Are references available from other parents? Is there an open house or information night you and your child can attend?

Remember the Budget… – …but don’t count your child out of desired but pricey options, because many camps offer financial aid.

Once you have narrowed your list of choices, camp personnel should be willing and available to answer questions you may have about transportation, insurance, physical exam requirements, optional expenses and more.

You can also call the ACA at 800-428-CAMP for additional information or recommendations.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

5 Misconceptions About Composite Decking

June 8, 2016 2:06 am

(Family Features)—Composite decking has been an option for homeowners for over 20 years—yet misconceptions about it still exist. Decking and railing brand Trex Company and HGTV’s “Decked Out” stars Paul Lafrance and Kate Campbell debunk the most common composite myths below.

Myth #1: Composite decking looks unnatural.

“Composite decking has evolved tremendously since its beginnings more than 20 years ago,” says Campbell.

Products today mimic natural wood well, Campbell says, with a range of grains and finishes that replicate woods naturally found all over the world.

Myth #2: Every composite deck is manufactured from the same material.

“Since composite decking was invented in the early 1990s, the market has been flooded with competitive offerings varying widely in quality, aesthetics and value,” Lafrance says. “For my projects, I use what is categorized as 'high-performance' composite manufactured with an integrated, three-sided shell, or 'cap.' Capped boards feature an added layer of protection against severe weather, heavy foot traffic, fading, mold and staining.”

Myth #3: Composite decks do not need maintenance.

“Anything that sits outside in the elements for years on end is going to need some type of maintenance,” Campbell says. “When it comes to decking, the difference lies in how much upkeep is required.”

Natural wood decking requires regular sanding, sealing and/or staining, and can splinter, warp or rot, raising the potential for more costly maintenance measures; composite decking only requires a rinse twice each year, says Campbell.

Myth #4: Composite decking is costly.

“Over time, wood decking actually ends up being more expensive than composite,” Lafrance says. “Sure, the initial cost of pressure-treated lumber is less than wood alternatives, but since a deck is a long-term investment, it's important to consider the long-term costs, such as all the materials you'll need for seasonal stripping, staining, painting and sealing.

“Add to that the time and cost involved in repairing and replacing wooden deck boards that will inevitably warp and splinter over time—even if they are well-maintained. When you factor in the cost of ongoing maintenance required with a wood deck, a composite deck ends up paying for itself in the long run.”

Myth #5: Composite decking is not eco-friendly.

The opposite is true.

“Because it is made primarily from recycled content, composite decking is remarkably eco-friendly,” Campbell says.

There are several sustainable options available to homeowners, says Campbell. Consult with a composite decking manufacturer to learn how its products are produced with the planet in mind.

Source: Trex Company

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

7 Tips for a Healthier Home

June 8, 2016 2:06 am

A healthy home—one free of bacteria and pollutants—requires upkeep in several areas. Fortunately, many healthy home maintenance tasks are simple, and can be done in a matter of minutes.

“Small actions can make a big difference when it comes to creating a healthier home,” says Sarah Norman, director, Healthy Homes and Communities for NeighborWorks America.

What are these actions? Norman and NeighborWorks America outline principles of healthy homes:

A Clean Home – Vacuum your home with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) product regularly to keep dust from accumulating. Clean with products that are non-toxic, biodegradable and/or unscented.

A Maintained Home – Don’t let your home fall into disarray. Make minor repairs as soon as you are able, and check the structure and systems in the home periodically.

A Safe Home – Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly to ensure they are in proper working order. If you have children, take steps to childproof the home. These might include locking up chemical-based products, installing cordless window treatments and covering wall outlets.

A Contaminant-Free Home – Have your home tested for radon. If it tests positive for above-safe levels, install a radon removal system. In addition, if your home was constructed prior to 1978, have a lead repair and removal specialist fix cracked or peeling paint.

A Pest-Free Home – Adopt “IPM” (Integrated Pest Management) strategies to keep pests from entering the home. These might include sealing cracks in the structure of the home and storing food in airtight containers.

A Dry Home – Inspect your home—the roof, gutters, and plumbing fixtures—for leaks regularly, and fix them as soon as you are able. Keep an eye on your basement for any signs of water. (You may need to re-grade the home’s foundation if the problem persists.)

A Well-Ventilated Home – Promote air circulation, particularly in the kitchen and bathrooms, with an efficient ventilation system. Be sure the system moves air outside of the home

Taking these steps will go a long way towards a healthier household for you and your loved ones. A healthy home, after all, is a happy home.

Source: NeighborWorks America

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Homeowners Have Spoken: "We Love Yard Work!"

June 7, 2016 12:06 am

Yard work may be time-consuming, but for many homeowners, it’s time well spent.

That’s according to recently released research by Troy-Bilt®, which reports nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of homeowners “look forward” to working in their yards. The research finds over half of homeowners spend at least three hours each week working on their yards, with some devoting six hours or more to preparing their yards for entertaining.

Troy-Bilt’s research also reveals a pattern: most homeowners follow a routine that includes mowing, cleanup and weeding—and most do it all on their own.

“Homeowners are willing to work continuously on their lawns and gardens because they care greatly about the overall look of their outdoor spaces,” said Megan Peth, Troy-Bilt brand marketing director, in a release. “That may mean taking extra time to stripe the lawn, till a garden or edge along walkways, but they are committed to doing whatever it takes to make their yards into something they can be proud of.”

For homeowners eager to tend to their yard, Peth and Troy-Bilt share the following tips:

• When possible, water the lawn before sunrise or after sunset to minimize evaporation.
• If edging the lawn, do it early or late in the day, when soil is damp.
• When mowing the lawn, cut no more than one-third off the grass blades—any more may cause damage.
• To keep weeds at bay, apply nitrogen-rich compost to the soil in your garden.

Source: Troy-Bilt®

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Greet Guests from Work—or Paris—with Your Front Door!

June 7, 2016 12:06 am

It’s hard to believe our front doors could hold so much potential for technology—but automated door locks, cameras, facial recognition, intercom stations, lighting, motorized shades, peepholes and smart doorbells are all making the front door a new entry point in the smart home.

CEPro.com, a leading trade source for the custom electronics industry, recently unveiled their annual list of High Tech trends for the home—front door technology included.

According to CEPro.com, one innovation set to hit the big time is the smart doorbell—a fixture that’s barely seen a makeover since it was invented over 100 years ago!

The residential “access control” system didn’t enter the mainstream until recently, when SkyBell and Ring (originally Doorbot) launched smart doorbells with video cameras, two-way voice and apps, installed without the need for a professional. Since then, many other companies have entered the DIY doorbell fray, including August (of door lock fame), Yale (e.g., the Digital Door Viewer peephole cam with ZigBee and Z-Wave), Chui, DoorBird and Chamberlain.

Professionally-installed products are next to make waves. Case in point: the recently-rolled out Vivint Doorbell Camera has sold over 100,000 units in its first five months on market, according to CEPro.com, making it the company’s best-selling product ever.

This front door technology goes hand-in-hand with automated door locks—another category of growing popularity, CEPro.com reports. Airbnb recently launched Host Assist, a cloud service for managing digital key exchange and keyless entry through the company’s booking platform. Host Assist works cloud-to-cloud with network-connected door locks from August, Danalock, Igloohome, Kevo, Keycafe, Lockstate, Miwa, Nest, and Yale Locks.

Check out more of CEPro’s trend list at www.cepro.com/article/top_5_home_technology_trends_to_watch_closely_in_2016.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Home Security Sales Scams on the Rise

June 7, 2016 12:06 am

Scammers have found yet another area in which to con homeowners: home security.

Home security sales shams are on the rise, according to Better Business Bureau (BBB), with the majority of recent incidents concentrated in Utah.

The scam involves a “salesperson” knocking on doors, informing homeowners that their security system is being “upgraded” or that the security company is “going out of business,” and then threatening homeowners with discontinued service if they do not comply with their demands.

Many of these salespeople, BBB reports, claim to be from ADT, one of the nation’s widely used home security companies.

“[Last year], about 600,000 consumers nationwide turned to BBB to look up information about home security companies,” said Jane Driggs, president and CEO of BBB Utah, in a statement. “While we love it when they come to us for the research, they also come to us to complain—and what they complain about, far too often, is that the salesperson who knocked on their door was not honest about what they were selling. Consumers feel pressured into signing before they understand that they are switching companies and increasing their costs.”

Knowledge is your best defense. To learn how to spot a home security scam, as well as best buying practices, visit BBB.org/HomeSecurity.

Source: BBB

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

National Rose Month: 5 Tips for Your Rose Garden

June 6, 2016 2:03 am

June is National Rose Month—the ideal time to plant a rose bush in your garden at home.

Rose bushes are not as challenging to cultivate as some have been led to believe. In fact, according to the “Redneck Rosarian” Chris VanCleave, caring for roses is very much like caring for any other plant.

“All plants need the right growing conditions to thrive, and roses are no different,” VanCleave says. “If you provide the right conditions and the right care, rose bushes will thrive in virtually any garden.”

VanCleave and the experts at Weeks Roses recommend:

Choosing a variety ideal for your garden – Avoid purchasing a rose bush based solely on its flowers. Consider other factors, like bloom time and disease resistance, before committing to a species.

Surveying the location before planting – Like any other plant, roses will not thrive if the location is less than ideal. Areas in your garden that receive six to eight hours of sunlight are best.

Pruning – Depending on the variety you purchase, your rose bush may or may not be a
“repeat bloomer”—that is, a plant that flowers throughout the growing season. If the bush is a repeat bloomer, prune it each time it flowers.

Watering wisely – Roses—and other plants, as well—can die from either too much or too little water. Generally, roses need to be watered once a week (twice at most), deeply so that the water reaches the roots.

Fertilizing sparingly – Over-fertilizing can be harmful to your roses. Use a combination of fertilizer and compost to avoid damaging the plant.

Visit WeeksRoses.com or your local garden center to view the rose varieties available now.

Source: Weeks Roses

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

5 Household Products Wasting Your Money

June 6, 2016 2:03 am

Household products account for a portion of almost everyone’s shopping list. You can save money by making smart choices about the products and services you buy, says consumer editor Nikelle Murphy of CheatSheet.com—in fact, there are at least five common household products you can strike from your list:

1. Air Fresheners – Air fresheners are a multibillion-dollar industry. If you’re concerned about pet, cooking or other household odors, leave a bowl or two of baking soda on the counter, or sprinkle it into smelly shoes or on your carpet. Leave it in the bowls overnight, or vacuum it up after letting it sit for a while. The sodium bicarbonate in baking soda reacts with acidic odors and absorbs them.

2. Extended Warranties – Most manufacturers provide a warranty that covers any short-term issues you may encounter with their products—and retailers who sell extended warranties keep at least half of the proceeds. Except for a car, or perhaps a laptop, most extended warranties are a waste of money.

3. K-Cups and Coffee Pods – Coffee pods and K-Cups may be convenient when you want only one cup of coffee, but using them regularly will cost you five times more than one bag of home-brewable Starbucks coffee. They are also non-biodegradable, making them a poorer choice for the planet.

4. Paper Towels – Not only are paper towels harmful to the environment, but they are also far more costly than using rags or washcloths to clean up messes. Tear up fraying towels or an old jersey sheet and keep the rags handy. Toss them in the wash with the rest of the whites and save yourself a lot of cash.

5. Robotic Vacuum Cleaners – Robotic vacuum cleaners don’t save the cost of a regular vac, simply because they don’t do stairs, they lack the power of a traditional vac for heavy-duty cleaning, and they don’t navigate well around clutter. To boot, they’re expensive—between $300 and $900—and they require maintenance.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags: