June Croissette
HomeMy ListingsView Area Listings•  Foreclosures•  Short SalesInside ToursMortgage InfoCommunity InfoSchool InfoHelpful LinksAbout MeContactLoginBlog
RE/MAX 440   June Croissette
440 South West End Blvd, RT 309  Quakertown, PA  18951
Office Phone: 215-538-4400    Phone: 215-538-4400 Ext. 1210  Fax: 267-354-6834  Cell: 215-872-4966
jcroissette@remax440.com

My Blog

How Safe are Diet Supplements? Experts Weigh In

August 23, 2016 1:57 am


Dietary supplements are more popular than ever, with products such as botanicals, minerals and vitamins regarded as highly as other, proven, health-preserving activities. How safe are supplements, really?

A recent investigation by Consumer Reports revealed some supplements may contain ingredients that have the potential to harm health. The organization sent secret shoppers to retailers, including Costco, GNC, Whole Foods and the Vitamin Shoppe, to gauge how knowledgeable employees are when it comes to supplements. The information employees provided, according to Consumer Reports, was lacking—when asked about yohimbe, for instance, employees did not disclose that the plant extract has been linked to serious side effects.

All told, 15 ingredients were deemed “potentially harmful” by Consumer Reports—and, because supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these ingredients may be blended and packaged in a way that is even more detrimental to health.

“The dietary supplement marketplace lacks the oversight it needs to keep consumers safe,” said Ellen Kunes, Health Content team leader at Consumer Reports, in a statement. “Supplement manufacturers should register their products to enable them to be identified and tracked for safety recalls and to show they are safe before being sold in retail stores, doctors’ offices and hospitals.”

Another expert, however, says the majority of supplements pose little risk.

“There is a small minority of products that do contain ingredients that shouldn’t be in there,” said Steve Mister, president and CEO of The Council for Responsible Nutrition, “but the larger companies, the big brands that you and I see, the ones producing the majority of the products out there, are doing quite well and are very safe for consumers.”

“We are concerned that many supplements are either unsafe or unproven,” Kunes added. “Rather than looking to supplements, consumers should consider other lifestyle changes such as being more active, and eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables.”

Source: Consumer Reports
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Picnicking This Weekend? 7 Safety Tips

August 23, 2016 1:57 am


Summertime and picnics go hand-in-hand. Planning to bring a meal along on your next outdoor excursion? Keep in mind these safety tips from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

Keep Hot Foods Warm – Pack hot foods in insulated containers to protect against the formation of bacteria. Discard any leftovers that remain outside for longer than two hours.

Keep Salads Cold – Keep salads cold as long as possible. Discard salad leftovers that remain outside for longer than two hours, especially those that contain mayonnaise. (Consider, too, preparing salads that do not call for mayo at all.)

Pack a Food Thermometer – Grilling? Tote a thermometer to ensure safe cooking temperatures—burgers, at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and chicken breasts, 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Never partially grill meat or poultry beforehand.

Pre-Wash Produce – Wash raw fruits and veggies in cool tap water before packing them. (This includes melon, which may harbor contaminants on the rind.)

Take Care with Take-Out – Buy take-out meals ahead of time and refrigerate them before packing them.

Transport Food Safely – Pack perishables at the bottom of a cooler containing ice or frozen gel packs—and pack cold drinks in a separate cooler to lessen the amount of times the perishables cooler is opened.

Wash Hands Often – Pack a supply of moist towelettes.  Clean hands before and after handling food.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Boomers Sound Off on House Preferences

August 23, 2016 1:57 am


Baby boomers are one of the most significant home-buying segments in the market today, shifting households to accommodate needs more so than any other generation—and according to recently released research, they have specific preferences when it comes to purchasing a new home.

Their wish list, per a report revealing focus group insights by Hanley Wood and builder Taylor Morrison, includes:

• Common Space
• Clubhouse
• Energy Efficiency
• High Ceilings
• Natural Light
• Native Plants
• Open Floor Plan
• Pool
• Proximity to Dining/Entertainment/Shopping/Medical Services
• Quality Construction
• Safety
• Sheltered Areas
• Smart Home Technology
• Storage Space
• Walking Trails

“Information gleaned from the focus group helps set the stage on what the 55-plus homebuyer desires in a new home and how the industry should be building its homes,” said John McManus, Hanley Wood Residential Group editorial director, in a statement. “These influential buyers want a fresh start in a vital, connected, accessible new-home environment. And, as millions of baby boomers across the country begin the next phase of their lives, buying the right home is top-of-mind for them.”

The results of the focus group will inform the development of the NEXTAdventure Home, a model home slated to be introduced at the International Builders Show next year.

Are you a baby boomer considering a housing change? Contact a real estate professional for more information.

Source: Hanley Wood
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Report: 'Work Martyrs' Are Mostly Millennials

August 22, 2016 1:57 am


Forfeiting time off from work is not uncommon—it is most common, however, among millennials.

“The ‘entitled millennial’ narrative is dead wrong when it comes to vacation,” says Katie Denis, author of the recently released Project: Time Off report “The Work Martyr’s Cautionary Tale: How the Millennial Experience Will Define America’s Vacation Culture.”

“As the largest generation in the workforce—one that is now stepping into management—millennials are developing vacation attitudes that will define and negatively affect America's work culture,” Denis says.

According to the report, millennials are the generation most likely to have a “work martyr” mindset: forgoing time off from work out of fear or guilt.

“The circumstances of the millennial experience—the Great Recession and its aftershocks, growing student debt, and an always-connected lifestyle—have created a perfect storm for their work martyr behavior,” says Denis.

Work martyrs avoid taking time off work for a variety of reasons, the report found, such as:

• They believe they are showing complete dedication to the job.
• They believe they will be perceived as replaceable.
• They believe they may lose consideration for a raise or promotion.
• They believe only they can do the job.
• They believe their boss may have a negative reaction.

The report indicates the work martyr culture is perpetuated from both sides: millennials in management roles not only feel they cannot take time off, but also feel pressure to deny time-off requests from those they supervise.

Still, most millennials believe a work martyr is a good role to assume, and that the martyr mindset will be positively received by their bosses.

Denis cautions less time off can have widespread negative effects across all working generations.

“There are larger implications for the workforce when people don't take vacation,” Denis says. “Time off is essential to employee productivity, creativity, and overall performance.”

Source: Project: Time Off
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Homeowners Ask: Is It Too Early for an End-of-Season Cleanup?

August 22, 2016 1:57 am


The answer is no!

Summer is coming to a close, and for homeowners, now is the time to conduct property maintenance ahead of the change of season. Home improvement blogger Michael Miller and Seniorific.com recommend an end-of-season cleanup include the following tasks:

Remove thatch build-up. Thatch prevents moisture, oxygen and sunlight from reaching soil, potentially inhibiting the growth of (and harming) the lawn.

Perforate the lawn to allow air, fertilizer and water to strengthen its roots and reduce compacted soil.

Feed the lawn with a slow-release fertilizer to allow grass to soak up nutrients that will help it recover from summer heat and stress.

Store the lawn mower. Consult the owner’s manual for best practices when disposing of unused gasoline and storing.

Plant spring bulbs, like daffodils and tulips, if the climate permits. (Planting too early can cause them to sprout before winter!)

Water shrubs and trees once they go dormant (but before the ground freezes). Use a root irrigator or soaker hose.

Stow hoses. Inspect the hoses thoroughly before putting them away for the winter—check for leaks around connectors, and drain all water out of the hose.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

5 Credit Myths Debunked

August 22, 2016 1:57 am


There is a wealth of misinformation about credit—in fact, credit users, even those who check their scores often, incorrectly believe age, employment history and salary factor into a credit score, according to a recently released TransUnion survey.

“Checking your credit score is an important component of financial responsibility, but consumers should do more,” said TransUnion Consumer Interactive President John Danaher in a statement on the survey. “Our survey shows that even those who monitor their credit are only skimming the surface of their credit report and often don’t understand the factors that comprise their credit score.”

The most common misconceptions both credit-checkers and non-credit-checkers should know, according to TransUnion, are:

Myth: Checking my credit report will lower my score.
Checking your credit report will not impact your score—a lender checking your report, however, may.

Myth: Using my debit card will boost my score.
Use of a debit card does not reflect your credit habits, and, thus, will not impact your credit score.

Myth: My salary factors into my score.
Your salary will not impact your credit score, but a lender may factor it into the decision to approve your loan.

Myth: My credit card bill can be paid late, so long as it is paid.
Paying your credit card bill late will impact your score—late payments may remain on your credit report for seven years.

Myth: My credit score is all I need to know.
Checking your credit score is important, but so is checking your entire credit report. Assessing the full report not only helps you understand what impacts your score, but also helps you identify areas for improvement or errors.

Source: TransUnion
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

7 Fun, Frugal Ways to Spend Free Time

August 19, 2016 1:51 am


Spare time is something to be treasured. It can also be expensive, because there are so many tempting—and costly—ways to spend it. For the budget-conscious among us, contributors to U.S. News & World Report suggest seven ways to spend free time without breaking the bank:

1. Check Out Museums – Most of us have never explored the museums in our own communities. Free or discount admission days can provide a pleasant few hours or a fun date on the cheap.

2. Get in Shape – You don’t have to join a gym to get a healthy workout. Grab a friend for a daily walk or jog, or check out online videos for ideas.

3. Shop Second-Hand – If you do need to shop for clothes or household goods, go to a second-hand store—it’ll keep your spending to a minimum.

4. Take Up a New Hobby – Adopting a hobby, like or learning a new language or widening your cooking skills, is an affordable way to spend free time.

5. Visit the Library – Readers can check out best sellers and classics for free, along with e-books and hundreds of movies.

6. Volunteer – Find an opportunity that appeals to you, such as assisting at an animal shelter, to spend some fun, rewarding hours helping others without spending money.

7. Write a Blog – Try your hand at blogging on a topic you’re knowledgeable and passionate about.

How do you spend free time without spending money?
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Homeowner Handbook: What to Do If the Sewer System Breaks Down

August 19, 2016 1:51 am


Many homeowners have had to deal with a malfunctioning sewer line at one time or another—often, at the expense of limited know-how. It pays to be prepared if the sewer line breaks down, says Michael Petri, owner of New York-based Petri Plumbing and Heating, Inc.

According to Petri, a sewer line can fail for a number of reasons, including excessive rainfall; therefore, the first step to remedy a breakdown is to identify its cause.

“First, look for any backflow, issues flushing the toilet, and clogged drains,” Petri advises. “This is often an indication of potential sewer problems in need of repair, sewer cleanout, or replacement.”

In most cases, issues can be fixed by clearing drains that have backed up, says Petri. Garbage disposal and kitchen sink drains are often the culprits.

“We suggest examining your drains regularly,” Petri says. “Use grates to prevent debris, such as hair, from getting clogged going down the drain. In addition, pour water down the drain to check the speed of the water flow into the pipes.”

This type of maintenance—“preventative,” notes Petri—staves off damage that could warrant replacement of the system.

Ensure the sewer drains near the property are not blocked by litter, as well, Petri says—sometimes, the solution is a simple sweep of a nearby drain.

Petri also recommends inspecting the foundation of the home for standing water—this could be a sign of a worsening problem. (Standing water can also encourage mold growth, Petri adds.)

Work to minimize water use in the home during bouts of heavy rainfall. According to Petri, high volumes of household water, combined with rainwater, can place undue strain on the sewer system.

Source: Petri Plumbing and Heating, Inc.
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Trends: Luxe Meets Tech in Master Baths

August 19, 2016 1:51 am


More and more homeowners are investing in luxurious, technology-equipped master baths, incorporating features that range from built-in sound and radiant flooring to self-cleaning toilets and towel warmers.

This is according to the recently released U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Survey, which polled over 2,000 homeowners who are either in the midst of, are planning to, or have recently completed a master bath remodel.

“Our recent industry and consumer studies show an uptick in discretionary projects and spending in several areas of the home, including bathrooms,” said Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz, in a statement. “The Bathroom Trends study sheds light into what is behind the spending increase in renovations of these rooms, including a rise in high-tech and luxury features.”

Luxe…

Of those surveyed:

• 54 percent upgraded a master bathroom shower to a model with luxury features, such as a rainfall showerhead;

• 20 percent upgraded a master bathroom tub to a model with luxury features, such as room for two; and

• 6 percent upgraded a master bathroom toilet to a model with luxury features, such as a bidet.

…Meets Tech

• 20 percent upgraded a master bathroom toilet to a model with high-tech features, such as a built-in night light or motion-activated seat;

• 12 percent upgraded a master bathroom tub to a model with high-tech features, such as a heated backrest or scented mist dispenser; and

• 9 percent upgraded a master bathroom shower to a model with high-tech features, such as digital controls or mood lighting.

The most common elements and finishes in luxe-meets-tech baths, according to the survey, include:

• Ceramic/Porcelain Tile
• Gray Paint
• White Countertops/Cabinetry

Homeowners are shelling out to achieve the luxe-tech look, the survey concludes: two in five of those surveyed spent $10,000 - $25,000, and one-third spent over $25,000.

Source: Houzz.com
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Joined a Gym? Tips to Start Off on the Right Foot

August 18, 2016 1:51 am


Did you know exercise not only makes you feel healthier, but can make you feel younger, too?

Planet Fitness recently commissioned a survey of gym-goers over age 60 to determine their attitudes toward exercise. The most impressive result? Sixty-plus exercisers reported feeling 12 years younger than their actual age. Talk about incentive!

However old or young, joining a gym for the first time can be intimidating. According to Brian Zehetner, director of Health and Fitness for Planet Fitness and co-author of “Working Out Sucks (And Why It Doesn’t Have To),” making the experience stress-free is key. His tips include:

Asking for Help

Close to one-third of those surveyed by Planet Fitness reported feeling concerned they will not understand how to use gym equipment. Ask for help! Take advantage of the staff available to you—they will teach you how to use the equipment safely.

Starting Slow

Know your limitations, and don’t take on too much too soon—nothing is more frustrating than an injury, especially if you’re an older individual who will require a longer recovery period. Start by establishing a core foundation of cardiovascular conditioning, strength training and flexibility exercises.

Teaming Up

Having a workout buddy can make the gym experience seem less daunting, and provide motivation. (For most over age 60, the “talk test” is a good way to measure the intensity of the workout—if you can carry on a conversation while exercising, you're probably enjoying yourself more than you would be working out alone.)

Expecting Discomfort

Don’t be discouraged by soreness or stiffness after your first few workouts—these are signs that the body has identified the stress you’re putting it through, and responding and adapting in kind. Over time, exercise will become easier, and recovery won’t take as long.

Starting off on the right foot at the gym can set you on the path toward a healthier lifestyle long-term. Stick with it—you’ll feel benefits sooner than you think!

Source: Planet Fitness
 

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags: